DISCLAIMER: I own nothing of Grey's Anatomy, because if I did, Brooke Smith would still be playing Erica Hahn, and she and Callie would still be together. My timelines could differ from yours and could differ yet again from the show's screwy ones. Caution, this is femslash (lite) and there are some bad words and taking of the Lord's name in vain. Do not read it if these things bother you.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: Even though it won't happen on the show, I wanted to see if Callie and Erica could work it out, plus I just needed to get some things said, ya know? This story provides both women's points of view, but it favors Erica because I favor Erica. Thanks to my Mighty Editor Goddess, Brenda S., and to Jules 68, who always provides an honest, objective opinion. Thanks to Cabenson for the "Kool-aid" crack. Written in January, 2009. This is my twelfth Grey's Anatomy story.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
The line was open, because Erica could hear ambient noise that sounded too much like the hospital, but it was a moment before Callie ventured to speak.
It was evident by Callie's sharp intake of breath that she was surprised Erica had actually answered the phone, but Erica wasn't about to help her out by inviting conversation. Neither was she going to hang up.
"Ohmygod, I didn't think you'd answer. I-I did you get my message?"
"Yes, all twenty of them. I'm home."
"Good. I-I was worried. You know, because of what I said " Callie's voice trailed off, clearly hoping Erica would take up the slack.
But Erica was determined not to indulge Callie, to make Callie do all the talking. Yet as the line remained silent but for background noise and the sound of Callie's soft breathing, Erica succumbed, venting what she'd been stewing over since arriving home.
"Callie, listen, I'm a big girl. I can drive, even when my lover of all of two weeks sides with the hospital screw-up over me and then claims that fucking women is something she can do on the side, you know, like a hobby, while keeping dick in her back pocket, for when the girl thing finally wears off.
"Christ, Callie, give me a break, would you? I get that you may not be gay, but what I don't get is why you would go to Sloan for lessons on how to sleep with me! Do you think I can't talk, can't tell you what I'd like? I may not have experience with women, but I think I'm smart enough to figure it out, being as I am a woman and all." Erica had really not intended for it to come out quite so harshly, but the wine loosened her tongue and the hurt was far too fresh.
The line remained silent for so long that Erica thought Callie had hung up. But then Callie spoke, in a voice barely above a whisper. "Huh uh, yeah, I deserved all that. But you know why I went to Sloan? I went to him because-because I was scared."
This feeble response did nothing to cool Erica's anger. Shoving the blanket to the floor, she stood and began to pace the room. "Scared? Did you say 'scared?' Oh my God, Callie, I think that was the first honest thing you've said to me since we started. Good for you, then, you went to Sloan because you were scared. SCARED OF WHAT? ME?"
Erica could hear Callie shrinking back from the phone. "Please stop yelling. Have you been drinking?"
"Oh, you have got some nerve, Calliope Torres! You're damn right I've been drinking, and not nearly enough! And you don't get to answer my question with a question. Are you scared of me?" Erica was determined to get Callie's answer, but she wasn't sure why it had become so important.
"No, no. I'm not scared of you. I'm-I'm scared "
Erica snorted at Callie's hesitation. "C'mon, Cal, spit it out."
"Wait. You act like you already know."
And here was the rub. Of course she knew. "Of course I know! You think I don't know you? I know you better than you know yourself." Now she was on a roll, and the wine only encouraged her to continue, cheering her on from the half-empty glass that sat staining her coffee table. "You're scared someone's going to think you're a lesbian. And by 'someone,' I mean Mar"
Callie cut her off, loudly. "You're right, Erica, okay? You're RIGHT!"
This time, Callie's outburst did take the wind out of her anger. "Whoa, wait. I'm right?"
"Yes, yes. About everything, okay?" And now it was Callie's turn. "You're right about why I didn't just ask you about the sex instead of running to Sloan. You're right about wanting to keep my options open. God, Erica, you're right about Izzie, too, but we have to save Izzie for later, please.
"When you kissed me in the elevator, I freaked. I mean, suddenly you were full up inside my head, just like that. I swear I've never ever felt about anyone the way I felt about you after you did that. You rocked my world, and I wanted to do something about it, but I didn't know what. C'mon, no woman ever kissed me before! I couldn't get you out of my head, out of my whole body, and it just kept getting worse.
"Remember being in that trauma room, getting Andrew out of the cement? Oh. My. God. I could barely breathe, you were so close! And Mark, God, Mark might be a pig, but he's not blind. He saw it, saw the way I was acting around you. Hell, he was the one who encouraged me to kiss you that night in front of the hospital.
"Please, Erica, I was an idiot to go to Mark, but like I said, I was scared. But not of being a lesbian, because I'm just not a lesbian, okay? I was scared of not being good enough for you in bed. God, that sounds stupid, I know, but, seriously, I just didn't have anything to compare it to. I thought I was supposed to automatically know, but I didn't, and the only thing I could think to do was ask Mark, because he's my friend and he already knew how I was feeling about you. I didn't want you to think I was dumb or naive, but now I know the only dumb thing was going to Mark in the first place.
"I-I just feel like the world's spinning too fast, you know? You have it all figured out, you know exactly who you are, but I don't. When you told me this morning I was your glasses, I wanted to scream at you that you were wrong. How could I possibly be the person who makes you realize you're gay? I can't be that person!" Callie halted abruptly and took a ragged breath. As the silence dragged out, Callie spoke again, clearly worried. "Please say something."
Erica, standing in the middle of her living room staring at the phone, could barely think of words themselves, much less how to actually speak them. Here was Callie, who a mere two hours earlier, stood solidly on the opposing side of nearly everything she had just said. The turnaround was astounding. What on earth could have happened in the space of a few hours that could have changed her so completely? Bringing the phone back to her ear, she asked the obvious. "Callie, are you hearing yourself? I've been agonizing for hours about how to even get started working this out between us, and here you are, making it almost too easy. Why? What's caused your sudden change of heart?"
After another small space of silence, Callie said simply, "You."
Every word but one abandoned Erica, and even that one had to be squeezed out of lungs suddenly void of air. "Me?"
"Yes, you." A deep sigh. "Erica, I-I oh God I love you. And and this isn't like a crush or being curious about women, this is about you, about loving you. If you want to talk about being gay or not being gay, okay, we can talk about it. But in the meantime, you gotta understand I'm with you for the long haul.
"But wait, wait. I know I can't just say 'I love you' and think everything'll be all right between us. I know we have a lot to talk about, stuff to work out, but please, Erica, please, we can't let this wreck what we have. Please don't leave me over this. I-I may die if you leave me."
While Callie's flair for the dramatic was worthy of Broadway, the drama did not diminish her heartfelt admission. If anything, it gave more weight to her words. It was clear that "comprehending Callie" was going to be tough, and for a moment, Erica was unsure how to proceed, even filled as she was with newfound hope for their future together.
Meanwhile, Callie continued with her drama. "Erica? Erica? You still there? Listen, I'm sorry I just blurted it out like that. I mean, I know I can't just say it like that and expect everything to be fine. I know that. I know " Callie's voice had taken on an edge of hysteria, and before she could descend into full-blown panic, Erica spoke up.
"Callie, I'm still here, and stop apologizing. You don't know how badly I want to believe you when you say you love me, and that you made a mistake going to Sloan, but it's hard for me. You walked out on me this morning, and that hurt. You took Stevens's side over mine, and that hurt. You're complicated, I'm complicated, this whole thing is complicated, and if you think realizing I'm gay means I've got it 'all figured out,' you're crazier than I thought. You've given me so much to think abou"
"Right," Callie interrupted. "I understand. You need time to process, and I've been such a shit, I'd understand if you decided it wasn't worth it. That I wasn't worth it, that I"
Erica returned the interruption. "Callie, Callie, calm down, and for heaven's sake, would you cut the "poor me" drivel and just let me say something?"
Callie was immediately contrite. "Sorry. Go ahead."
"Oh, Callie," Erica chuckled softly.
"What? What's funny?"
"Nothing. You are. Listen, here's the thing. I owe you an apology, too. I'm sorry I yelled at you tonight, sorry I accused you of not being 'lesbian enough.' That was unfair, and I only said it because I was upset. I shouldn't've left you there, but I was just so mad. So I'm sorry for that, I really am.
"The thing with Stevens, well, I'm glad to hear you think I'm right about that, but I've been thinking about it, too, about what Richard said, and about my patient. I haven't decided yet whether or not I'm going to report her, but now that I've had time to get over myself about it, I suspect Richard may be right that I just need to let it go.
"Stevens actually helped Michael today, which does count for something, much as I hate to admit it. But now at least Mike's been given the time he needs to wait for a heart, so it's probably healthier all the way around for me to drop it. Besides, it's easy to see Izzie's suffering over something possibly more than any of us even realize so I guess that's punishment enough for her.
"But, Callie, there are a couple things I need to say. First, I'm a lesbian. I am. No two ways about it. And I'm not ashamed of it. In fact, so many things from my past have fallen into place because of this new knowledge, I'm surprised I've lived this long without knowing. My life makes sense to me now, as strange as that sounds, because it really didn't not make sense before. For lack of a better explanation, I'm comfortable in my own skin now. And I have you to thank for it, Callie. It's not something you should ever feel bad about. You did a great thing for me."
Callie was silent for a moment, but Erica could sense a paradigm shift. "Wow. I-I you are amazing, Doctor Hahn, you know that? And, seriously? I can accept that I did 'a great thing' for you, but you gotta understand that for me for me I'm sticking with "whole forest girl," because I can't think of anything better that would describe me, just the way you say 'lesbian' is the best way to describe you. Right now I'm seeing the leaves, okay? I mean, I could see leaves for the rest of my life, in fact, I want to, but for now I'm still whole forest."
Erica decided she could concede this point, though it seemed outrageous from her new point of view that after all that had happened, Callie would still deny she was gay. But Erica understood this was her point of view, not Callie's, and she would have to allow for it or they would never heal. Filing it mentally under "comprehending Callie," she said simply, "Fair enough, Cal."
"Okay, so what's the other thing?"
Trust Callie to keep her on point. "There's no way I can stay at Seattle Grace, you understand that, don't you?"
"Yeah, I kinda figured that. So where you gonna go?"
Erica suspected this question held more weight than Callie's casual tone implied, and it deserved a sincere answer. "I haven't decided yet."
"What-what about us?"
And here, Erica knew, was the question Callie had wanted to ask from the start. It was time for the unvarnished truth. "Callie, my darling, I want 'us' more than anything in the world."
Callie's relief was audible. "So that means you'll be staying in Seattle?"
"For the immediate future, yes. I'm fairly certain Mercy West will take me back for the time being, but I'll probably look for more permanent employment outside Seattle."
With the sharper edges of their conversation honed down, Erica wondered if it wasn't time to say goodbye; to begin again tomorrow. She was exhausted and pretty sure Callie was, too. It would be wrong to invite Callie over, even though that very thought crossed her mind.
With her thoughts thusly conflicted, Erica almost missed it when Callie asked if she could come over. Caught up short, Erica voiced doubt. "Callie, I don't know "
"C'mon, I'm tired of talking on the phone. I want to see you, okay? Just look at you, see you there, to know you're still in my life, is all. Would that be all right? I promise, no touching. Please say it's okay."
Knowing they'd tried unsuccessfully once before to make this "no-touching" promise and that was when things had been going well between them Erica had a sense that wrong might not quite cover what was dangerous about Callie coming over.
But the unvarnished truth was even after everything that had been said (and had yet to be said) Erica wanted to see Callie just as much as Callie wanted to see her. Two hours of thinking they were through had been two hours too long.
If touching happened to occur, well, then it occurred.
"You know this is probably a bad idea."
"Yes, a very bad idea."
Rise up, my love and come away,
The rain is over and gone.
You are the fruit of my darkest day,
And I am your rose of Sharon.
-- From the song, "Rose of Sharon," as sung by Joan Baez
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