Author: Chelle Storey-Daniel
Rating: This part PG
Summary: Making amends can be the hardest thing in the world. But sometimes the chaos is worth it.
Pairings: Alex/Addison George/Callie Meredith/Derek implied Mark/Izzie eventually
Author's Note: This format is a little different than anything I've ever written. I don't know that I love it or if it works. But if I don't post it and stop obsessing over it then I'm never going to write the rest of it. I hope you like it.
Recovery is defined as the act of regaining or saving something that is lost, to return to an original state. Abused children grow into adults, but recovery is not option. You can forget it for a while, you can move past it, but you can’t truly recover. Innocence is lost, childhood is shattered, and you can’t return to what you were before it happened because that person ceases to exist. These are things that Alex and Callie knew beyond a shadow of a doubt. When Alex held his hand out to her and helped her to her feet, his eyes confirmed that he knew and he *understood*.
"So, how about some dinner now?" With a grin, Alex nodded toward the door. "Because the pizza place that delivered? Best I’ve ever had."
She knew what he wanted to hear, what would make everyone happy, but her stomach clenched at the thought of it. "I’ll try tomorrow, but-"
"No." Alex crossed his arms over his chest and studied her. "I’m not like George or Addison, okay? I don’t own any kid gloves and I don’t give a rat’s ass how delicate your feelings may be. Your dad was an ass and then something totally and completely horrible happened to you. Horrible things happen every day. We see it. We fix what we can and we offer our apologies when we can’t. Get over it. Move on."
Callie was taken aback. She opened her mouth, closed it, then narrowed her eyes at him. "You can’t-
"Come here. I want to show you something," Alex told her, opening the sliding glass doors that led to the shared balcony between the two bedrooms.
Callie followed him, wrapping her arms around herself as a blast of wind lifted her hair. "It’s freezing!"
"I heard you say that you wanted to throw yourself off the balcony. Well, here you are. If you’re gonna jump then have at it."
For most of her adult life, nothing had shocked Callie. In her profession, she had pretty much seen it all, but never had anyone said something so ... so unbelievable to her. "I don’t want-"
"You don’t want to die?" Alex, whose stomach was rolling from being up so high, took a deep breath and joined her at the edge. Without warning, he grabbed her, forcing her head over the railing so she could see the street below them. She fought, but he held her there, hoping she didn’t feel how hard he was shaking. He was as terrified as she undoubtedly was. "Do you?"
Callie gazed down at the street below them. She was clutching the railing hard enough to hurt her palms. She stopped fighting after a second and closed her eyes. In the distance, she could hear an ambulance wailing toward Seattle Grace. Alex leaned a little closer and said, "Do you hear that? That siren? Someone’s inside there clinging to their life." His hand settled on one of hers and he squeezed a little. "The same way you are. You don’t want to die, Torres."
"No." A chill raced through her as she shook her head.
Her throat constricted painfully. "I don’t want to die," she said, her voice cracking.
"Okay." He let her go.
"If you walk back through that door then you’re choosing to live." Alex shrugged his shoulders. "People have to eat to live. So, I’m going to let Addison know that you’ll take that pizza now and you’re going to enjoy it. If you come back in that is."
Callie watched him walk away with wide eyes. She turned back to the city, taking in the twinkling lights and flurry of activity. She could see the hospital, most of the rooms were lit up despite the late hour. Patients were inside, some of them were hers. As she listened, the siren stopped abruptly. The person had made it to the hospital. She hoped they lived.
Letting go of the railing, she took a step back. She hoped that she lived, too. She wanted nothing more than to disappoint whoever had plowed into her car, whoever wanted her dead. A burning desire flared in her stomach: desire to stand up in front of Roy Porter and say what needed to be said, desire to overcome her past and beat it down, desire to be a wife, a mother. She wanted a baby, several babies, just to prove that motherhood could be done right ... that the cycle stopped with *her*.
Two roads spread before her and she could either drive over the cliff or head towards home. For the first time in her life, she had a real home. A home full of love and family and people who accepted her. Pop had always tried, but he had been a busy man and she had understood and made concessions. Inside the apartment, there were people who made time for her, who wanted to help her, and she was pushing them away.
Callie was ready to pull now. She was ready to pull away from the edge and never travel down that path again. She smiled a little, imagining the cartoon light bulb suddenly activating over her head. Who would have thought that Alex Karev could turn it on. Of all the people ...
"Callie?" George stood in the doorway, watching her closely. The look on her face terrified him and he reached for her, closing his hand around her wrist. "What are you doing?"
"Let go, George."
It took all his resolve to let her go, but he did. She looked back out at the sparkling city for several seconds and nodded her head as if she was confirming something to herself.
When she finally turned to look at him, a huge smile lit her features and it had been so long since George had seen it that it took his breath away. "Cal?"
"You know what?"
"I just realized that I’m gonna be perfectly fine," she told him, beaming. "And - and I’m starving."
He grinned back at her, his heart flying. "It’s about time."
Callie walked into his arms and kissed him, the smile never leaving her face.
"So, score one for you." Addison leaned against the island in the kitchen, watching as Alex ran water over the very empty plate he brought back from Callie’s room. Because of the argument, Addison had stayed away. "How did you do it?"
"I told her to jump off the balcony or eat."
"Oh my god, Alex! Is she okay?"
"Why don’t you go ask her?"
"She’s mad at me. Did she - did she say anything about me?"
"And because we’re in high school I’m going to answer that." He turned the water off and leaned back against the sink, studying her. "What you said to her ... about not having a backbone ..."
"You heard that?"
"I couldn’t help but hear it. I’m sure half the building heard it." Alex kept his gaze on hers. "It pissed me off, too."
"I - I didn’t mean-"
"You have a temper and you have your fair share of issues, but I’ve never seen you be cruel to anyone before. That was cruel, Addison."
"And telling her to jump off the balcony is kind?"
"She’s not my best friend," Alex replied with a shrug. "And someone had to wake her up."
"By telling her to commit suicide?"
"By forcing her to realize what she really wanted. She didn’t want to starve, Addy. She just needed someone to prove it to her." Alex said. "I’ve been there, where Callie is. I was younger, sure, but I felt the same way. After my dad destroyed my face I didn’t want to live. And the doctor who repaired it, who eventually took me in, did the same thing to me. I told him I wanted to die and he gave me the opportunity to do it. Call it an epiphany, whatever, but she doesn’t want to die now."
Addison could have reached out and touched him he was so close, but the look on his face made him seem a million miles away. Her eyes welled with tears and she tried to blink them away, but failed. "I’m sorry."
He leaned against the island as well, his face just a few inches from hers. Smiling a little, he looped his finger in a lock of her hair and tugged her forward. Pressing a kiss against her lips, he grinned at her. "You’re forgiven."
"Just like that?"
"Your nose is swollen enough. The last thing you need to do is cry."
She lifted an eyebrow. "That’s all it takes to get what I want?"
"I’ll know if you’re abusing it." He gave her another kiss. "We should go to bed. Bailey wants me at the M&M tomorrow morning and she’ll kick my ass if I fall asleep in there again."
She followed him toward her room, pausing outside Callie’s door. She leaned her head against it, listening, but all was quiet. Lifting her hand, she started to knock, but thought better of it. The prospect of going to bed without apologizing weighed heavy on her. Alex reached past her and knocked very hard on the door, then shrugged and ducked into Addison’s room.
"Come in," Callie said.
Addison took a deep breath and opened the door. She expected to see George in bed with Callie, but he wasn’t there. "Hey, where’s George?"
"He’s in the shower. Did you need him?"
With a shake of her head, Addison walked in and gingerly sat down on the edge of the bed. "Callie, I am so-"
Callie scooted closer and hugged her, effectively silencing her. "If you apologize then I’m going to have to apologize and then we’ll probably cry and really ... I’m over the whole crying thing. So you didn’t mean it. I didn’t mean it. And we’re good."
Addison squeezed her hand. "Are you sure?"
"Did Alex really tell you to jump off the balcony?"
Callie laughed. "You know, for the first time I’m beginning to understand what you see in him."
"Well, I’m glad he didn’t tell me to jump off a balcony to make me like him."
"Dude, he destroyed your kneecap! I think I came out a little better."
Addison flashed her a secretive smile. "But the way he made up for destroying my kneecap totally made me forget it."
"How is George?"
Callie sighed a little. "You know, he’s hanging in there. And for the life of me I can’t figure out why. I mean .. his dad is in the hospital and that’s enough to fill his plate, but he keeps dealing with me. I put him through hell and he keeps coming back."
"What else is he supposed to do? He asked you to marry him. That means he’ll keep coming back, Callie." Addison pointed at the ring on Callie’s finger. "And when the hell were you going to tell me anyway? I didn’t see it with that stupid sling you were wearing."
"I’m sorry. I’m scatterbrained."
"You’re forgiven. But we should celebrate or something. Have a party."
"After the hearing. We’ll invite everyone."
Addison wrinkled her nose. "Even those snotty female interns?"
"Even those snotty female interns. We’ll extend the olive branch or whatever."
"If I extend a branch of any kind it’s going to be to whack someone."
"I could enjoy that."
George emerged from the shower, wearing a towel around his hips. He drew up short when he saw Addison, turned on his heel, and quickly fled back to the bathroom. Addison laughed and glanced at Callie, who was grinning like a madwoman. They said goodnight and Addison quickly left the room, calling out to George that the coast was clear.
When he returned to the bedroom, George’s cheeks were a little red. Callie thought it was adorable and hugged him. He kissed her and hopped into the bed, shivering a little. "Your shower? Heaven," he said.
"Just wait until I can get in there with you."
"You know, I may have missed a couple spots on my back. You want to go help me with that?"
Sadly, she shook her head. "No can do, doll. I’m a little high on pain meds."
"Damn." He pointed down at her attire. "Because the gown? Total turn on."
"You with the towel? Almost made my heart stop."
"Considering that it’s already bruised that doesn’t make me happy."
She waited for him to turn off the lamp, then snuggled next to him. She fit against him perfectly and when he softly stroked her arm, she said, "George?"
"I - I know you’re probably thinking that life with me is going to suck and be this ... horrible all the time, but -"
"You wanna know what I’m thinking?"
"Uh." She frowned. "I don’t know."
"Well, I’m gonna tell you anyway." He pulled her a little closer. "I’m thinking that when you smiled at me earlier, everything was worth it. I’m not gonna lie to you -- I’m tired. I’m tired of worrying about my dad and about you, but I’m not worried about what happens with us. You and me? I have faith in what we have. And I can’t wait to spend the rest of my life with you."
"Really. And I’m also thinking that I’m grateful to Alex for whatever he said to you."
"He told me to jump off the balcony."
George shook his head with disbelief. "And you like him for it. Don’t you?"
"Yeah, pretty much."
"If I told you to jump off the balcony you’d kick my ass. Guys like Alex ... they say it and it’s hot."
"It wasn’t hot. It was ... unexpected."
"I need to work on my lines."
"You don’t need lines with me, George." She settled her hand on his stomach. "And if you even think about using lines on anyone else it wouldn’t be pretty."
"I like that."
"I like you."
The following week passed in a blur for Callie. Several staff members from the Archfield brought the rest of her belongings, along with Addison’s, to the apartment. The four guards that Pop had hired, went berserk and searched everything. Callie made a joke about anal probes that Addison found hilarious, but the guards didn’t agree. Both women received a very lengthy speech about taking their safety seriously.
Chastened enough to do it privately, Callie and Addison retired to Addison’s bedroom, where they giggled like idiots over the fact that their underwear had been dumped into a pile and pawed through. Addison maintained that it was the most action her panties had ever seen, but Callie heartily disagreed, and reminded her that Alex had spent every single night there and she doubted it was because of the expensive mattress.
It was easy enough to forget the guards when they weren’t molesting undergarments. They kept to the hallways and lobby, only interrupting if food was delivered or Alex and George had arrived. On Friday, Callie and Addison went to the hospital for their checkups, driven in a nondescript black sedan and surrounded by guards in similar cars. They were greeted with a hero’s welcome. People applauded, which totally embarrassed both women. Addison’s bandages were removed from her nose for good and Callie’s weight hadn’t changed, so Webber was satisfied that she wasn’t secretly lighting candles under a Nicole Richie shrine in her closet.
After an EKG confirmed that the contusion on Callie’s heart had healed she expected to be cleared to return to work. Chief Webber dashed her hopes, however, when he informed her that she needed to take another week off. He wanted her to deal with the hearing and put it behind her before dealing with patients. She was shocked, but relieved at the same time. The trial was only a couple days away and while she would have welcomed the distraction of work, she doubted she would be there in spirit. She consoled herself by visiting with Harold, who was still being kept under, and Louise for several hours.
Addison was also given the week off, but only because she had asked for vacation time. Chief Webber had been hesitant at first, telling her that she was sorely missed. After Addison reminded him that she had already requested the time off to be with Callie, he relented and agreed that her place was with her friend.
Time moved fast after the checkup and when Callie walked into Addison’s room and saw her packing for the trip to the hearing, she gasped. "It’s really tomorrow."
"It really is. And I can’t help but notice that you haven’t packed a bag. Our flight is leaving in four hours, Callie."
"I’ve been talking to Detective Peden again." Callie sat down on Addison’s bed. "Every single lead has been a dead end. The address that the guy used was fake. He paid for his treatment with cash. And the bar that he claimed to work at has no idea who he is. Undercover officers have been going there every night to see if he’s hanging around because he clearly knew about the place, but so far nothing."
"And he hasn’t been spotted around here. What’s the consensus?"
"He either moved on, got scared, or is waiting for a better opportunity to present itself."
"Let’s go with moved on." Addison neatly folded the suit that she was planning to wear for the hearing. "Is George meeting us here or at the airstrip?"
Callie shook her head. "Mr. O’Malley’s esophagus has gotten infected."
"So that’s why George rushed out of here."
"Burke told him not to freak out, but he is. You know?" Callie stood and paced to the windows, gazing out at the rain. "I told him not to come to New York with us. He needs to be with his family."
Addison frowned. "You were counting on him. Are you okay with him not being there?"
"I didn’t want to tell him this, but I think I count on him too much. I’d rather have the chance to do it alone than rely on him to pull me through it." Callie wrapped her arms around herself to push away the chill, even though the room was comfortable. "I have to prove to myself that I can stand up and do it on my own."
"So, it’s a girl’s trip." Attempting to lighten the mood, Addison chuckled. "You know what that means. Bars and whores and booze."
"With our *guards*. I hate this." Callie walked back to the bed and sat down. "It was hard to talk Pop and Chloe out of coming."
"They love you. I think they really wanted to be there," Addison replied. "They're amazing. I had the best time with them at dinner. They really like George."
"Good. Because he's not going anywhere."
"Are you sure you don't want them to come now that he's not?"
"I just feel like having so many people there would have put too much pressure on me. Having you there is more than enough for me."
"Is that an insult?"
"Nah." Callie folded a pair of Addison’s socks and dropped them into the suitcase. "It just means that you’ve secured your spot as maid of honor."
"Go me!" Addison zipped her bag and put it in the floor. "So, you and George get married and what happens next?"
"I want the cliché. Happily ever after."
"But you’re gonna keep living here right?"
"Yes, dumbass!" Callie laughed at her. "And I want a long engagement anyway."
"I’m just making sure you’re not going anywhere."
"You’re stuck with me."
Addison stretched out on the bed. "What’s the private jet like?"
"There are plenty of video games."
"God help me. You’re like a twelve year old!"
"Fine! It’s like a regular plane except it’s ... better. Leg room is not an issue. Neither is the bathroom. It’s not like a coffin. It’s nice." Callie lay back beside her. "We’re going to be getting to the city pretty late in the day. Pop was furious that they couldn’t get a better flight plan."
"It's the time difference that will suck. It’s okay."
"I should pack."
"You really should."
With the most obvious pathetic face she could muster, Callie glanced at her friend. "I don’t suppose you want to help me."
"I’m the one in the leg brace! Hello!" Addison glared at her. "Have I not been on your ass all week? Have I not been telling you to get your stuff together? You are a procrastinator! You procrastinate! You chronically put off things that are-"
"Okay! I get the point," Callie grumbled. She sat up and slipped off the edge of the bed. "But I totally helped you."
"Oh my god! You’re right! Where would I be without that one pair of socks you tossed into the bag?!" Addison scowled at her when she blinked several times. "Don’t do it, Callie. Don’t you dare do the eyes!"
Callie did the eyes.
Addison helped her pack.
George and Alex showed up at the small airstrip that Archfield Air had been given permission to use. Callie was so excited to see George that she almost fell out the door of the plane. One of the guards caught her around the waist and settled her on her feet in time for George to board and hug her. He apologized profusely for not being able to go and Callie promised him that it was fine. The talked about his dad and Callie held onto him, assuring him that Harold was strong enough to fight off the infection. After a quick tour of the plane, the pilot informed them that they would be taking off in ten minutes.
It was hard not to cry, but somehow Callie pulled it off. She hugged George, kissed him, told him that she’d be careful, and led him back to the door. He lingered as long as he could and when Callie finally took her seat, she could see him standing next to Alex, waving at the plane.
"It’s just for two nights, Callie." Addison sat down next to her, fastening her seatbelt.
"Is that why you molested Alex up until the last minute?"
"It’s going to be fine. Absence makes the heart grow fonder."
The plane began to turn and she had to twist in her seat to see him as long as she could. "Maybe I was wrong about being okay with him not being here."
"I’ll call him when we’re in the air."
"Callie," Addison replied. "We’re on a private jet. There are adorable little bottles of alcohol to amuse us, a stocked library of movies to watch, and since I’m feeling really generous I’ll play Ms. Pac Man or something."
"Ms. Pac Man?"
"What? It’s a game!"
"Does that look like an Atari?"
"How are we even friends!?"
"Fine! I know Frogger, too!"
"Step out of the eighties, Addison."
"Those were the best days of my life," Addison sang.
"That’s a song about 1969, idiot."
"How long is this flight?"
The phone at the nurse’s station had been ringing off the hook for most of the day. The harried nurses grabbed it when they could, but the ringing was getting old. It was incessant. It was driving Miranda Bailey out of her mind. She counted ten rings and closed her eyes, taking a deep breath. She could have answered it, should have, but she had been attempting to make notes in Harold O’Malley’s chart for the better part of two hours and she was determined to remain focused. When the phone stopped ringing, she groaned with relief.
"Dr. Bailey," Izzie said. "I need to know if I can scrub in with Mark Sloan. He asked me to be his intern."
Bailey kept her head down, but managed to glare at Izzie all the same. "On the facial laceration that came in earlier?"
Izzie grinned and nodded. "The facial lacerations that go all the way to the bone? The facial lacerations that require total reconstruction? Yes. That one. I’m stoked!"
Closing the chart, Bailey shook her head. "You interns amaze me. That’s a real human being in there with their face hanging off, Stevens! Show some compassion!"
Izzie’s eyes widened. "Okay, first I’m too compassionate and now I’m not compassionate enough?"
"If you want me to say yes to you scrubbing in then close your mouth."
Izzie pursed her lips, but implored Bailey with her eyes. Bailey opened her mouth to reply, but the phone began to ring again. It was resting right next to Stevens and Bailey was tempted to toss it across the room. "Answer the phone, Stevens."
"Do you see anyone else around here to get it? We’re short handed in case you failed to notice." Bailey tucked the chart under her arm and added, "Answer it and go scrub in with Sloan."
"Yes! Go me! I *so* rock." Izzie grabbed up the phone and said, "Seattle Grace. Emergency. This is Izzie."
"Hello, Izzie," a man said. "I’m trying to get in touch with my daughter Calliope Torres."
"I’m sorry, Mr. Torres, she’s not working for a few days."
"Well, goodness! I’ve been so worried about her after the accident. I haven’t had a chance to get in touch with her. How is she doing?"
"She’s good. She had her final checkup. I’m not certain, but I believe that she’s a hundred percent better."
"Oh, thank god. I’ve been beside myself. Listen, do you have her new phone number handy? I know she moved."
"No, sir. But she won’t be at home for a couple of days. She’s flying to New York tonight."
"It’s imperative that I get in touch with her," the man replied. "Do you know where she’s staying?"
"Hold on one second, sir." Izzie saw Derek at the end of the hallway and quickly beckoned him forward. When he joined her, she said, "George told me that Addison and Callie are staying at Addison’s old apartment in New York tonight and tomorrow. What’s the phone number? Callie’s dad needs to get in touch with her."
Izzie relayed the information and hung up.
In New York City, a man with a pink cast on his arm typed the phone number into the computer and waited patiently.
Within seconds, Addison Montgomery-Shepherd’s home address filled the screen.
The man smiled. Sometimes finding people was far too easy.
And he couldn’t wait.