DISCLAIMER: Watch out, this is femslash (lite). Don't read it if you're not into this sort of thing. I own nothing of Grey's Anatomy. I'm only having fun with the characters I'm fast becoming obsessed with.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: For gsrfan7, from the Passion and Perfection 2008 "Christmas Wish-list" challenge. This may not be exactly what she was wishing for, but I hope it at least introduces potential. Written in December, 2008. This is my tenth Grey's Anatomy story. Thanks to Brenda S., Mighty Editor Goddess.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
It had taken surprisingly little time for Hahn to tie up loose ends at Seattle Grace and be gone from the place. She'd even had Michael Norris transferred to Mercy West, where he could wait for a suitable heart in an environment that wasn't riddled with criminal activity and constant reminders of heartbreaking awakenings.
And the most beautiful part of it all was that she'd hadn't had to step one foot inside the hospital to accomplish it. Thank God for computers, faxes, and cell phones.
Oh, sure, Richard Webber had begged, which was oddly flattering given their final heated words regarding Izzie Stevens, but his pleas did nothing to persuade her to stay. She'd told him she was not going to report Stevens to UNOS (his sigh of relief had been deafening), but that was as far as her charity went. She'd be leaving for the East Coast in two weeks.
The only hospital she'd stepped into before her departure was Mercy West, just to make sure Michael was comfortable and to say goodbye. She still cursed herself for getting so emotionally involved with this particular patient, but in hindsight, it seemed her destiny to do so, and in the end, so much more had been made painfully clear because of it.
Now, sitting at a minuscule table in the airport bar in St. Louis, waiting for a connecting flight to Baltimore, she ordered a glass of crimson Merlot and flipped open the Science magazine she'd indulged in purchasing.
Thusly occupied, Erica did not notice the bar filling with people or that the chair opposite hers had become nearly the only other available seat. That is, not until a warm hand touched her shoulder and caused her to jump a mile.
The person had the good manners to immediately remove the hand. "Oh! I'm sorry! I didn't mean to startle you. I was just going to ask if you minded if I shared your table, since yours seems to be the only seat left in the house."
With her adrenaline spiking and her attention split between that and the article she'd been reading, Erica looked up distractedly, only to be fully snared by a pair of sparkling green feminine eyes, nestled in a face framed by the thickest mahogany hair she'd ever seen. As alarms sounded in her head, Erica wondered with incredulity how on earth had she lived this long without realizing how attracted to women she could be. It seemed unfathomable that before Callie, she had only slept with men and did not think she was missing anything! Her body, busy ratcheting up all systems, was obviously not wasting any time playing catch-up.
Easing in a careful breath to throttle down her pounding heart, Erica found sense enough to return a smile and a word. This stranger was, after all, only asking for a seat, not for her hand in marriage. "Yeah, uh, yes," Erica fumbled, gesturing toward the empty chair, "please sit down."
Erica watched with adolescent fascination as the woman folded her long slim legs into the chair, arranged her bags on the floor beside her, and scooted the chair around. Finished with her settling in, she directed her green gaze back to Erica, who had just in time closed her mouth. "Well, hi. Thanks for the seat. My feet were killing me. Where you headed?"
Thank God it was a question that didn't require too many words. "Baltimore."
"Oh yeah? Me, too. Headed home. How 'bout you? Do you live there?" The waitress had by this time arrived at the table. The stranger pointed to Erica's glass and asked with a quirked eyebrow, "Merlot?"
Erica nodded mutely. Wait, what was she again? Oh, yes, a brilliant surgeon. She wondered if she looked as dumb as she felt.
If this woman noticed anything funny about the way her new tablemate was acting, she never let on. "I'll have one of those. Thank you. So," the woman continued, turning back to Erica as the waitress departed, "where were we? Oh, you from Baltimore?"
"No, no. I've been in Seattle. Going east for a job. Or at least I hope a job. Johns Hopkins."
The woman nodded knowingly, clearly familiar with the famous name. "In the medical profession, are you?"
"Cardiothoracic surgeon, actually."
Now the redhead fell back in her chair, placed her hand over her heart, fluttered her eyelids and exclaimed in a mock Southern accent, "Be still, my beating heart. Not just a doctor, but a heart surgeon. My momma would be so proud." This was followed by light musical laughter that had Erica's stomach doing somersaults.
Dumbsquizzled was about the only word that could describe the whole of Erica's reaction. Speech completely abandoned her, while adrenaline ramped up threefold, causing her hands to shake, and sweat broke out along her hairline. It was all she could do to remain in her chair.
And it was all perfectly ridiculous, Erica chided herself, but even as she fought to regain control of her body's runaway reaction, the woman reached over and, as naturally as if she'd been doing it all her life, gave Erica's hand a quick squeeze, and offered an apology.
"Hon, I'm sorry. I do that to new people all the time. My friends say I'm an incorrigible flirt and I guess they're right. Besides, has anyone ever told you you're cute when you're flabbergasted?" She tagged this question with a one-shoulder shrug and a wink. "I'm Veronica, by the way. Veronica Taylor. But you can call me Ronnie. And you are?"
This should have been easy, but for the life of her, Erica could not get her own name past her lips, too obsessed with what the woman had just said. Her friends called her an incorrigible flirt and she guessed they were right? And furthermore, did she wink at me and say I was cute?
Good Lord, how could this be? That in a crowded airport bar in St. Louis, she should end up sitting across from a perfect stranger (correction, a perfect female stranger, emphasis on the perfect female part), who was clearly flirting with her. What, did she have a lavender "L" on her forehead? Was there some kind of radar? How could this woman possibly know Erica might even be remotely interested?
And then a thought occurred to Erica, one that immediately eased her discomfort and brought a faint smile to her lips. She marveled that in all her born days not even with Callie she had never gone so fast from one emotional state to another. It was weird, and new, but it wasn't bad, and it gave her courage she might otherwise not have had. How could this be, huh? Well, this could be about as easily as one could kiss a woman in an elevator. And that was certainly accomplished easily enough.
In short, what it came down to was this: If it feels right, you just haul forth and do it. If she'd learned anything from Callie, in spite of the pain Callie had caused, she'd learned that life is far too short to spend it entirely in an OR.
Brightening up her smile, Erica stretched out her hand. "I'm Erica. Erica Hahn. And it's very nice to meet you, Ronnie."
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