DISCLAIMER: These characters belong to Shonda and ABC, no infringement intended.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
SPOILERS: References to events up to 5.07.
Callie stood at the nurses' station nervously tapping her pen while she read through a patient's file.
"You ok there Cal?"
She looked over to see her best friend giving her a concerned look. "I'm fine. Why wouldn't I be fine?"
"Well... let's see, your ex-girlfriend is performing surgery in the OR and your current perky, usually smiley girlfriend hasn't shown her dimples all day." Mark replied. "Come on Cal, tell uncle Mark all about it."
Callie rolled her eyes. "You know, this is one of those times when I can't remember why I'm friends with you."
"You love me and you know it." Mark smirked at her. "Really though, how are you doing? Are you going to talk to her?"
Callie sighed and started to walk down the hallway. "I don't know. I don't think I want to. I can't see the point you know? I used to imagine her coming back, or me tracking her down, because I wanted to know why she left without a word, and how she could do that to me, but now I don't really think it matters anymore. I'm with Arizona now, she loves me, I love her, it's all good. So why bring it all up again?"
Mark slung an arm over her shoulder as they walked. "You know I'm there for you either way, but this might be the last time she graces these hallowed halls Callie and you spent a lot of time gnashing your teeth over this before Dimples showed up, I just think you might regret it if you don't hash it out once and for all."
Callie sighed "Well, she's in surgery for another few hours, so I've got time to change my mind. Again."
Mark laughed, and pressed a kiss to Callie's head "I've got a surgery, but let me know if you want to drown your sorrows later."
Erica left her patient in the OR with Yang closing up and headed downstairs to talk to his family. Even if nothing else came out of this nightmare trip to Seattle Grace at least her patient had made it through and should have a full recovery. Now she just had to make it through the next hour or so and she was free and clear.
God knows she'd never really liked Seattle Grace. When she'd first moved hospitals she'd had the obvious hurdle of having to overcome filling Preston Burke's shoes, but that had paled in comparison to the trouble she'd had navigating the murky waters of Seattle Grace itself. The constant drama from all around her, the cliques, the break-ups and make-ups had been too much for her. There was also the fact that Seattle Grace was a teaching hospital, and she was not a teacher. Not a good one anyway as the Chief had taken to pointing out. So she'd been adrift in a sea where nothing was familiar and then she'd been thrown a life preserver in the shape of Callie Torres.
She thought about that now as she headed for the elevators. Her relationship with Callie had been surprising on oh so many levels. She hadn't expected to make friends with her, they weren't that alike when it came down to it, but they had become friends. No-one was more surprised than her when their friendship had deepened though. That'd been scary and exhilarating at the same time. So when they'd decided to begin dating to see where it could go, she'd been... uncertain. They'd muddled along though, and she'd felt herself falling for this woman, in a way she hadn't ever dreamt possible. So she'd been hurt when Callie had come to her to tell her that she'd slept with Mark Sloan. Obviously they were in different places when it came to their 'relationship' but she hadn't been ready to give up on Callie or the 'leaves' and had agreed to move on.
That'd proved to be harder than she thought though, since Mark and Callie were now buddies and she'd then spent the following few days trying to save a long-term patient of hers only to discover he should have been saved the year before. Would have been saved if not for Izzy Stevens. That was bad enough, but Callie taking Izzy's side and telling Erica she was wrong for wanting to report it? That'd been the last straw. She couldn't see the point in staying somewhere she wasn't liked, working with people she could no longer respect, when the one person who should have had her back... just didn't. It was all just too much and so she left, and didn't come back.
She got into the elevator when it arrived and watched the numbers as it moved down. Now here she was, back at the scene of the crime so to speak. Callie was here too, Erica knew she was in the hospital today. God knows she'd heard enough people whispering about the situation today to know there was good money being spent on what would happen should they actually see each other. The rumour mill also alluded to the fact that Callie was seeing someone new. That someone was Dr Arizona Robbins, a world class Peds surgeon and apparently Callie had never been happier. The nurses at the station where she'd picked up her patient's chart and given Yang her instructions, had been only too happy to discuss this happenstance within her earshot. She'd even had the pleasure of passing this paragon of virtue on the way to the OR. Yang, who she didn't remember being so chatty, had been only too happy to point Dr Robbins out.
New girlfriend or not though, she was hoping to see Callie. She needed to talk to her, she wanted to at least say sorry for the way she'd disappeared. It was so unlike her to just run, she usually faced everything head on. She needed to hear from Callie too, although she wasn't quite sure what it was she needed to hear or if it would help or hurt to hear it. She glanced up as the elevator doors opened. Of-course Callie was standing there, this was Seattle Grace after all. It looked like she was going to get her wish.
Callie moved from foot to foot as she waited impatiently for the elevator. She'd been going to head up to Peds to spend some time with Arizona and see if she could coax the infamous dimples out of hiding, but a visit to the surgical board had shown that Arizona was still in surgery. Instead she was heading upstairs to her favourite on-call room to grab some shut-eye and wait for Arizona so they could head home. The fact that sleeping in the on-call room would also provide her with a way to avoid Erica was just a bonus.
She was a little tired of all the whispers behind her back and sympathetic glances from her friends. The sooner Erica's surgery was over and she was on her way out of Seattle Grace the better. Since word had gotten around two days ago that Erica was coming to Seattle Grace to operate on one of her long-term patients, the whole place seemed to be buzzing about what would happen between them when she arrived.
Callie had mixed emotions about the situation, she hadn't been kidding when she'd told Mark that she'd changed her mind about half a dozen times as to whether or not to talk to Erica. She was torn between wanting to confront the other woman and just letting it all go. After all she was in a much better place now than she had been in even before she and Erica had begun dating, certainly she was in a better place than she'd been in when they broke up. Though that was something she attributed more to Arizona than herself.
Arizona had been concerned about Callie when she'd heard that Erica was coming. She'd worried that a visit from Erica would upset Callie and send her back into a funk like she'd been living in before Arizona cornered her in the bar bathroom and reminded her that hope still existed. Callie shook her head, she could understand why Arizona was concerned, but she didn't need to worry, Arizona exuded joy, light, hope and love and no-one who was around her could live in darkness for very long. The woman worked miracles on everyone around her. Alex Karev had given in to Arizona's awesomeness and moved over to the 'Ped's is hardcore camp' and Bailey was attending 'girls nights' and dating the 'gas man', both things proof that Arizona could work her magic on anyone.
She sighed and pushed the button again. "Come on already."
The elevators opened and of-course the one person Callie wasn't certain she wanted to see walked out.
Erica looked over at Callie as she moved out of the elevator. "Uh... Callie. Hi."
"Erica" Callie replied with a strained smile. "Your surgery all done?"
"Yeah, we managed to repair the damage to the aorta, so I'm hopeful he'll make a full recovery." Erica replied looking uncomfortable.
"That's great." Suddenly Callie decided that her first instinct had been the right one, she didn't need to talk to Erica, and she didn't really want to. "Well, it was good to see you, but I was just heading upstairs..." She started to move around Erica
Erica reached over and put a hand on Callie's arm. "Wait Callie, please. Can we talk for a minute?"
Callie stopped and looked back but said nothing as she gave Erica a considering look.
"To what end?" Callie said after a minute.
"I sorta don't see the point Erica." Callie replied with a shrug. "I've been going over it all day, wondering if we should or not, but now that you're here, and I've seen you, I don't think we need to. At this point there really isn't anything that either of us will say that will change anything that happened, and even if we could change it, I wouldn't. I'm happy with where I am now, I'm happy with who I am now. I don't really feel the need to talk it through and get 'closure' or anything. I'm good. I hope you're good. But I don't really need to talk about it, so I think I'm just going to head upstairs."
"That's it? That's all I get? What if I need to talk about it? What if I need closure? Don't you think you owe me that at least?" Erica said, a bit of hurt creeping into her tone. "All day I've been glared at and whispered about and I don't need to wonder why, since everyone here thinks I'm the bad guy. They don't know everything that happened though, do they? You really don't think you did anything wrong Callie? You were blameless? You don't owe me anything?"
Callie contemplated that and then shook her head. "Honestly, no. You walked out on me, remember? Just 'poof', gone. No word, nothing. So, no I don't think I owe you anything Erica. If you need closure, you'll have to get it another way. Because it turns out I am over it. So, like I said, I hope you're doing good. I hope you have a nice life and all that, but I really think we both need to just let this go."
Erica shook her head "Fine. Great. That's great. Thanks. Always nice talking to you Callie." She said as she moved angrily away.
Arizona pushed her shoulder into the door leading to the Attendings locker room and moved into the room. She paused when she saw the blonde doctor changing her clothes and groaned under her breath. 'Just perfect, 36 hour shift, 4 surgeries, I've spent the day worrying about Callie and what having Erica here will mean for her, and us, I'm completely exhausted and now that I'm finished do I get to just go home? No... of-course not, I have to run into Callie's ex before I can leave.'
Erica looked up at the sound and frowned a little when she saw who had entered the room. "Not to worry Dr Robbins, I'm just on my way out."
Arizona shrugged "No need to rush on my account, take your time."
That got a snort from the other woman "Believe me I'm not really interested in spending any more time here than necessary. "
"Well... from what I hear you've had practice at making a quick exit, so it shouldn't be a problem for you."
Erica looked over at that. "I'd expect that from Callie, maybe, but I'm not sure why you think I have to take it from you."
Arizona started to say something and then reconsidered. She gazed contemplatively at the other woman. "You're right. I suppose, I don't really have the right to speak to you about any of this, but you weren't here to see the aftermath of what your leaving did to her and I was. Usually I can be the bigger person, but you hurt her, and I love her, so I can't just let that go."
Erica gave Arizona a considering look and then sighed. "I cared about her too you know. She wasn't the only person who got hurt. It didn't end well and pretty much every day since I left I've wondered what would have happened if I'd stayed. Now having come back, I have a pretty good idea and I'm actually glad I left. I shouldn't have done it the way that I did, but I'm glad I went. Do you know why?"
"No," Arizona replied, "But I'm fairly sure you're about to tell me."
"Because I've spent the last 24 hours walking around this hospital being the bad guy. I've seen the stares, and heard the whispers. Everyone here who knows and cares about Callie, they're all mad at me, they all blame me. Even you, and you weren't even here."
"No I wasn't here, but like I said, I saw the aftermath. You shattered her, did you know that? She was just so broken. She's this magnificent, awesome, fearless creature and she was broken into so many pieces that she didn't even recognise herself. You did that. The part that I really don't get though is that you had her and you just walked away, I don't understand that, I can't. "
Erica raised an eyebrow, 'Ok I've really had enough of this, I don't have to stand here and be lectured by this little blonde sprite'. "Really? You can't think of any circumstance where you might walk away from her? It must be nice to be able to judge this only from Callie's perspective, but have you given any thought to mine? Did she tell you everything that happened Dr Robbins? Did she tell you about sleeping with Sloan after she'd slept with me? I was under the assumption that we were dating. That's what I thought we were doing and to me that meant that we were only seeing each other. So we're stumbling around, trying to figure out how this all works and we reached the place where we slept together, and the next day, the next day, she sleeps with Mark Sloan. Because she's doesn't like to fail or whatever and then we sleep together again, and I tell her how I feel and her response? She sleeps with him again and then comes to me and tells me that sleeping with him convinced her that she should be with me. As though sleeping with me wasn't enough to do that. You're sleeping with her right? Can you imagine her coming to you after you slept with her and having her tell you she had to sleep with Mark Sloan to make that alright?"
Arizona paled, feeling a little sick at just the thought.
Erica laughed humourlessly "Yeah, that's what I thought. Then all the stuff with the whole Denny situation came out, and all I heard from Callie was how I wasn't being fair to Izzy Stevens. A woman who stole the heart right out of my patient's chest. I wasn't in a place where I could hear that, and I couldn't reconcile it with who I thought she was or with who I thought we were and what I thought we were doing."
Erica took a breath and then continued on. "So, I left. You don't think I know I shouldn't have left without telling her, or explaining why I had to go? I do know that. And I also know she wasn't the only one who got broken. I wasn't the only one doing the breaking. She wasn't the only one who needed to be put back together afterwards either. I'm not going to put up with you making me out to be the bad guy though ok? Because at the very least, I wasn't the only one. There are two sides Dr Robbins, but everyone conveniently forgets that. She was lucky though, because she worked here, where everyone loves Callie. She wasn't alone, she didn't have to go somewhere and start over with no-one who cared about her to help her through. She was my best friend. My only real friend and I walked away from that. But I know now that it would have been a hundred times worse if I'd stayed, because here where I was surrounded by people I knew, I would have still been all alone, trying to start over with no-one who cared to help me through and that would have been worse. "
Erica shrugged on her jacket and grabbed her bag moving towards the door. As she put her hand on the handle she turned back. "Ask yourself this Dr Robbins, if you two were to break up, would you be able to stay here? How many friends do you have here that weren't her friends first? How many people here would care about you, if you weren't part of you and her? Would you be able to stay and be the bad guy? Because you shouldn't kid yourself, you'll be the bad guy Dr Robbins, no matter what happens, no matter who does what, if the two of you break up, you're going to be the bad guy." And with that parting shot Erica opened the door and walked out.
Ouch. Ok so, when they said you never hear anything good about yourself if you eavesdrop on other people's conversations, they didn't lie. Callie had come looking for Arizona, one of the nurses having told her that her surgery was finished. She'd seen the blonde disappear through the doors and had gone to follow her through when she'd heard Erica's voice. She was honest enough to admit that she really, really didn't want to be in a room with her past and her present at the same time and had opted for the more cowardly option of standing outside and listening to them talk.
Not her best idea as it turned out. When Erica said she had things she wanted to talk about Callie hadn't really thought about what they would be. Or that most of it would be Mark. She'd stupidly believed that Erica had understood what had happened with Mark, but when she thought about it now from Erica's perspective she knew she would not have been ok with it if that'd been her.
Sighing she made her way after Erica. Turns out they did need to talk after all.
Erica made her way to the exit, glad this seemingly never-ending day was over and determined that this would be the last time she walked through this particular set of doors.
"Erica" she heard a voice say from behind her. She sighed. 'Oh well... so much for a clean escape.' Turning she saw Callie walking up to her.
"What?" Erica said glaring at Callie. "Look Callie, you were right, we don't need to talk about this. I just want to get out of this god-forsaken hospital where everyone hates me and I don't particularly like them and start working on repressing the memory of ever having heard the words 'Seattle Grace'. So let's not and say we did."
Callie winced. "Ok, I deserved that. And I know people here haven't exactly been welcoming. I could have done more to help with that, but I was feeling petty so I didn't and I'm sorry for that."
Callie took a deep breath and plunged on. "I overheard you talking to Arizona, and I realised that I haven't been fair to you. I guess it was easy for me being here, because you're right, everyone here automatically took my side, and that made it easy for me to forget that there are two sides, and mine wasn't great either. So, before you go, I just wanted to say that I'm sorry. I'm sorry that I slept with Sloan, you're right, we were dating and I hate cheaters, and I did that to you, so I'm very, very sorry for that. I'm sorry I didn't realise that while I was talking to Bailey and Mark about us, and working through everything, that you were working through it all by yourself. I'm sorry I didn't try harder to talk to you about the Denny situation. I'm sorry that I didn't at least try to contact you when you left, to try to work through some of this. And I'm sorry that I made you into the bad guy. You're right Erica, you weren't the only one."
"Ok," Erica said. "Thank you. I'm sorry too. But you know that since you heard me talking to Dr Robbins. So.." She shrugged. "I guess we're done." And she turned to walk away.
"Wait," Callie said. "That's it?"
Erica turned slightly and looked back at Callie. "Yes Callie. That's it. I appreciate your apology, I hope you can accept mine. But you're right, it doesn't really change anything. You're sorry. I'm sorry. It could have been handled better but it wasn't. If we'd been able to talk we might have been able to work it out, but we couldn't, and we didn't. The world kept turning. We both moved on. So that's it. I'm going to go. You're going to stay. It's the same outcome at the end of the day." The smile she gave Callie was bittersweet. "Take care Callie. Have a nice life."
Then she moved through the doors and walked away. And for the second time Callie watched her go and didn't try to stop her.
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