Author: Chelle Storey-Daniel
Pairing: Callie/OC, George/Izzie
Summary: For my friend Rebecca, who is dealing with breast cancer. She said, "I think they should bring on somebody new for Callie and let George go be with Izzie. And I think that who they bring on for Callie should be blond and Australian because I'm still in love with Heath Ledger." So, for Rebecca, Callie gets her Aussie and George gets his Izzie. And Rebecca, may your remission come as fast and furiously as Callie's happiness. I love you, my friend.
The divorce was final. George had cried to her in the elevator that morning, telling her that he didn’t believe in divorce, that they could try again, but she simply gave him what had become the patented Callie stare down and shook her head. Calliope Torres wasn’t much for living in the past and she liked to think that she learned from her mistakes. When they exited the elevator together, she felt much lighter ... actually, she felt one hundred and sixty seven pounds lighter. That was O’Malley’s weight and it was gone.
She went about her duties that day with a sense of calm resilience that she had never felt before. She had always felt doomed, like Wile E. Coyote in all the Road Runner cartoons for most of her life. But today? Today she felt like Road Runner.
And that was why she raised her hand to volunteer for a dangerous rescue mission on Mount Rainier.
"We need someone skilled. A doctor who knows how to climb and won’t lose their head when they see the carnage."
"Hello?" Callie called. "Standing right here."
"You know how to climb?" The head guy over search and rescue was old. And wrinkled. And he reminded Callie of Deputy Dog. She had to repress that mental image and fight hard to keep the smile off her face.
"I’ve done Everest six times, Rainier four, and I’ve done the Swiss Alps twice." Callie cocked her head to one side. "And carnage makes me happy."
Deputy Dog handed her a rope and asked for a complicated climber’s knot. Callie handed it back to him ten seconds later, knowing it was perfect and that the look of shock on his face guaranteed her spot on the ‘dangerous rescue mission’. She listened as the old man barked out an order and then gasped as a living, breathing Adonis stepped in front of her. He was tall, with broad muscular shoulders and the hard planes of his chest were evident under the tight green T-shirt he wore. She put him at six foot five and he had the blondest, curliest hair she had ever seen. His eyes were bright blue and when he smiled at her, dimples dotted either cheek. He was too pretty and too masculine to be real.
She hated him on principle alone.
"Hi," he said, holding out his hand. "My name is Zane. I’m going to be your partner for this little fire mission."
He spoke with an Australian accent that was thick and unabashed. She blinked and shook his hand. "Dr. Torres. You can call me Callie."
Zane glanced at the front of her jacket. "No, I don’t think I will. Your name is Calliope and that’s a perfect name, mate."
"Ohhh." She shook her head. "Only my mother calls me Calliope and lives to tell about it."
"Well, I don’t plan on dying, Calliope, and clearly your mother was onto something when she named you after one of the nine muses. Calliope was known for her beauty and her voice. I was actually in the audience when you won the grand prize at the Seattle Karaoke Competition."
"Oh my god." Callie put a hand to her face. "That was not my fault. Nurse Tyler dared me and -"
"What a great dare then, eh?" He kneeled down and opened the large emergency bag at his feet. "Let’s go over a few things, then. Our ambo is waiting."
Callie was aware that *everyone* was watching the exchange and she heard someone gasp when Zane put his hands on her hips. His face was mere inches from her crotch and she *knew* that he was simply gauging what size harness she would need, but it still looked erotic as hell, so she rolled with it. "Feel something you like?"
He smiled up at her. "I feel something that makes me want to have a naughty, love."
She bit her bottom lip. His hands lingered in places that they really didn’t need to be for an assessment and she knew that he knew that she knew. She knew because his eyes met hers and he *kneaded* the flesh of her backside under the long tail of her coat. She realized that she had stopped breathing and when he pulled his hand away she inhaled. He held up a harness and she stepped into it, her hands on his shoulders. God, they were very big, very strong shoulders.
He slid the cords between her thighs and then boldly reached between her legs to adjust one of the knots. His knuckle rubbed against her center and she gasped. He looked up at her and the dimples were back. It took five minutes of him fondling her before he decided that the harness was a perfect fit and slipped it back down her thighs. If he felt the way she trembled, he didn’t acknowledge it. He stood and smiled down at her. "Do you have a special field suit that you wear or will you be needing one of ours?"
"I have one."
"Damn." Zane stepped into his coveralls. "Because I was gonna let you hop right in. Like a Kangaroo."
Callie swallowed hard, watching as he zipped the tight suit almost to the neck. "There’s not much room."
"Just the way I like it." He reached out and touched her hair. "You may want to put this up. Not only is awfully distracting, it’s never wise to have anything loose that can get tangled up in the wires."
"I’ll be right back."
One day after rescuing the two climbers who had been stuck on Rainier, Callie was doing another stare. This one was more of a glare and it was because Cristina Yang was loudly reading the newspaper in the cafeteria. They had interviewed Callie and made her sound like some kind of working class hero. She crushed her milk carton and threw it at Yang, who caught it and continued reading. She stopped abruptly when Zane walked into the cafeteria carrying a bouquet of flowers.
"There you are, Calliope!"
He handed her the flowers, which were big enough for her to hide behind, but she didn’t. She set them on the table and stood, brushing her hair behind her ears. "Uh, hello. And thank you. You apparently ... bought every multicolored rose in the city."
"Only four dozen of them," he replied. "I figured you’d like the red, but you know the colors all have a meaning. The red, naturally, is romantic. The pink ones show appreciation. Yellow signifies a promise of a new beginning. To me the lavender celebrates your courage. And the orange is desire. I think you’ll notice that there are more reds and oranges than anything else."
She smiled at him. "So, there’s a hidden message?"
"I certainly hope it’s not hidden." He plucked a red rose from the assortment and held it out. "Be careful of the thorns, mate. Would you like to have dinner with me tonight?"
"What’s on the menu?"
"Ooh, tricky." He looked thoughtful. "I could be forward and say that *I* am on the menu and since I just said that then it’s out there and I can’t really take it back, but it’s my night to cook at the station so we’re having pizza delivered. I like you too much to kill you with my abilities in the kitchen, but all Americans like greasy bread and fake cheese."
"I would love to come. Uh, to dinner." She squeezed her eyes shut at the blatant sexual innuendo. "Can I bring anything?"
"Just yourself." He leaned a little closer and whispered. "I’d love for you to come, too. I’m sure it’s quite a sight to behold. And I can assure you you’d always come first."
Four months after dinner at the station with Zane, she moved in with him. It was fast and impulsive and she didn’t care. He had a house on Puget Sound and he liked to wake her up by opening the window so she could hear the water birds. They had coffee on the deck when it wasn’t raining and occasionally when it did. He liked to read her the newspaper in a horrible American accent and spent hours teaching her Australian slang. He took great care in explaining, with massage, what ‘how’s your bum for warts’ meant. Callie wasn’t sure she believed his definition, but she liked it all the same.
She was able to try out her new found vocabulary when he took her to Australia to meet his family nine months later. Being thrill seekers, they had climbed to the top of the Sydney Harbour Bridge and there, in front of his parents, he had proposed. The ring was large, a family heirloom, and she had cried so hard she wasn’t really able to appreciate its beauty until later.
One year after the proposal, they got married in Australia. Her entire family came out to see it and she wore an off white Vera Wang dress that her mother had commissioned the designer to create exclusively for Callie. It was lavish and ridiculous and when her father lifted her veil and Callie saw the tears in Zane’s blue eyes, she knew that it was worth it. They danced until dawn and then went to Tuscany for two weeks.
In Seattle, they had a large reception party. Everyone from Zane’s workplace turned out and everyone who could get off duty at the hospital arrived with smiles and gifts. Callie danced with Chief Webber, with Deputy Dog (who felt entitled to call himself the orchestrator of their romance) and then found herself dancing with George. He seemed so much smaller than she remembered, but she put her hand on his shoulder and swayed with him as if she didn’t have four inches on him in her heels.
"I didn’t think you liked blonds." George looked up at her and his smile was a little sad.
"I didn’t like *your* blond. Which I still don’t." Callie glanced at Izzie, whose pregnant belly looked ready to pop at any given moment. "And if she goes into labor at my party and messes *that* up, I’ll strangle her."
George laughed a little. "You’re happy. You’re really happy, right?"
"I really am. Who knew?" Her eyes found her new husband and he winked at her. "Are you happy, George?"
"I’m gonna be a father. You think my dad knows?"
"I think he does." Callie nodded. "And I think he’s proud of you. I think he’d be a little happier if you married her, but -"
"No." George shook his head. "I’m still married, Callie. I always will be."
She took a deep breath. "We were never meant to be. You wanted the supermodel and I wanted-"
"A muscle bound Aussie who dances the electric slide to slow music?"
Callie looked over her shoulder and shook her head. Someone was trying to teach Zane to line dance and it was like watching Hulk Hogan try to ballet. "Oh my god. I must go and film that! Our children will -"
"Are you -"
Callie smiled at him and put her finger to her lips. "He doesn’t know yet. I have on panties that say ‘Congratulations, Daddy’. He’s been talking about taking my dress off all night so when he does ... he’ll find out."
George glanced down at her hips, clearly imagining the panties. He looked back up at her and said, "You’ll be a great mother."
"You’ll be a great father." Callie smiled and reached up, turning down his collar, which was crooked. "I’m glad we’re friends."
"We should have been friends first."
"Nah, I think we did it the right way." She took his hand in hers. "It makes us appreciate what we had."
He squeezed her fingers and looked at her ring, running his thumb over the princess cut yellow diamond. "This is what you’ve always deserved."
"Buy her a ring, George. She loves you."
"Hey, mate." Zane appeared at her side and kissed her neck. "I think I’ve learned the finer art of electronic sliding so do you want to have a go?"
George and Callie simply smiled at one another.
Life was a slide.
It was a long, winding slide that was scary and unpredictable.
And sometimes it sent you in opposite directions.
But you landed right where you needed to be.
Rebecca, may you land with both feet firmly in remission. I'll help you shop for wigs. :)