Callie was walking around with a very tired and sleepy seven year old hanging on her scrub shirt. The way he was pulling it was an indication of how tired he was. She was gathering her charts wanting to write in the orders that were absolutely necessary, so she could finally leave. Lucas had looked at her with a mixture of fear and anxiety when she laid him back on the bed earlier. He looked so scared that she felt compelled to ask if he'd like to come with her. He shook his head at first and looked at Allie still asleep on the bed.
"She'll be scared," he said.
So she asked one of the interns to come in and sit with Allie in case she woke up and took him with her. She knew he was tired, but she didn't think he'd fall asleep if she left him anyway. If she couldn't make him sleep, she would try to make him a little less scared. He stuck close to her, looking around at the people and the machines. She hadn't noticed until now, but hospitals could look really scary at night.
She led him over to the small waiting area just off the nurse's station so they could sit as she completed her charts. Lucas was leaning heavily on her arm, but she could tell he wasn't asleep. She was filling out the last of the charts when she heard the only voice that always managed to sour her mood.
"What are you doing here?"
Callie looked up from her charts. It was Gretchen, but she was lacking her usual peppiness. Lucas's head snapped up at the sound of her voice and she felt his little body pressing hard against her. Gretchen was walking towards them. She looked strange. Callie rose from her seat as Gretchen approached them her gaze on Lucas. He got up from his chair with Callie and reacted to Gretchen's hard look by wrapping his arms completely around Callie's leg making it a little awkward for her to move. Callie reached for his arms, removing them from her legs.
"Sweetie, it's okay, I'm here."
She draped an arm around his back, felt him wrap himself around her legs again, less awkwardly this time, and simply rubbed his back before turning her attention to Gretchen.
"What do you want?"
"He's supposed to be downstairs. Erica will be pissed if he's not there when she's done."
Gretchen stopped right in front of Callie, her stance completely confrontational. Callie looked around. Something had happened. She wasn't sure what, but something had lit a fire under Gretchen.
"Did she bite your head off when you told her whatever you told her? Back off Gretchen. You're scaring him," said Callie. She stepped away from Gretchen and turned wanting to shield Lucas.
She looked at him. Boy he was tired and scared and he was not doing well.
"Listen sweetie, I have to talk to Gretchen, but I'll be right here okay."
She felt Gretchen inch closer to her. Seriously what was her problem? Did she not notice there was a child here? Callie didn't mind going up against a bully, but she hated to do it in front of Lucas especially when he was already scared. She turned to face Gretchen again, feeling Lucas's head along her hip, his arm once again wrapping around her legs.
"I don't know what your problem is, but you need to walk away from here now. You do not want to do this with me," she said.
"I'm taking that kid back to his room. He's not yours and Erica will be looking for him."
Callie was taken back not used to being challenged about Lucas. Everyone in the hospital knew she was like a second mother to him.
"I'm serious," said Callie. "You make one move to touch this kid and you will hit the ground hard."
Gretchen was taller than her and Callie was seriously not looking to tangle with this woman right now, but she was not backing down either and crazy as it was, Gretchen seemed ready to engage. Neither woman noticed Meredith Grey making her way to OR3, as she passed quickly through the area barely glancing their way.
"Mommy," said Lucas in a shaky voice. "Let's go, let's go back to the room."
Callie looked down at him cupping his face with her hand. "It's okay sweetie. Gretchen was just leaving. We'll go down to the room to pick up Allie after she's gone."
"I already told you, you're not taking him anywhere."
Callie was about to respond when Gretchen reached for him. She didn't have time to think, she just reacted moving Lucas behind her and getting in Gretchen's face.
"You will not touch him," said Callie.
Callie wanted to look around, but she couldn't afford to take her eyes off Gretchen. People mill about this hospital day and night and yet not a soul was near them tonight. She didn't know what she was going to do, but she knew there was something seriously wrong with Gretchen. This was not normal behavior. This was obsessive psychotic behavior and there was no way she was letting this woman anywhere near Lucas.
Gretchen was not so far gone that she couldn't calculate and she appeared to be doing that now, looking Callie up and down, walking around her. Callie moved with her turning as Gretchen walked, one hand holding the small arm wrapped around her leg, coaxing Lucas to move along with her, so that she was always in front of him.
Gretchen finally made her move, trying to reach around Callie, but Callie managed to block her. She could hear Lucas crying.
"Gretchen, you're acting crazy. Just go and sleep it off in an on-call room. Don't worry about Erica. She'll be fine with me having Lucas."
"No, he's not your kid. Who do you think you are anyway?"
"I can't let you hurt this little boy."
Gretchen started moving again, once again circling Callie and Lucas. "He's not the one I'm going to hurt," said Gretchen with a weird smile.
This is insane, thought Callie. She wanted to send Lucas away tell him to run, so she could deal with Gretchen, but there was nowhere for him to run to. The hospital halls were mostly dark in this section where patients were sleeping and visiting hours were long over, but she was going to have to do something because Gretchen was getting ready to attack.
Callie started backing away hoping to reach the hall before Gretchen launched herself. She knew Erica was down that hall in surgery. The lounges were down there too. She was going to have to send Lucas down that hall and hoped he either ran into a resident who knew him or find a place to hide.
"Where do you think you're going?" asked Gretchen following her, but so far not getting between Callie and the hall.
Callie was taking a chance, but she had to talk to Lucas. She turned around feeling a tingling sensation on her back, knowing she had just exposed herself to Gretchen.
"Lucas, listen to me. I need you to go find help. I need you to be brave and run down that hall until you find a doctor."
He shook his head, his eyes full of tears.
"I need you to be brave," she said cupping his chin.
She felt the rush of air just before the blow. She didn't know what Gretchen had hit her with, but it was heavy. She almost toppled on top of Lucas.
"Go," she managed to get out.
He took off running.
Meredith was preparing to walk into OR3. She was trying to do it fast scrubbing her hands and forearms quickly, hoping to get in on the surgery before it ended. Today had been such a crazy day, but from her perspective good, which she knew was kind of sick and twisted. Traumas like this meant lots of surgeries and lots of surgeries meant more opportunities for all the residents. She and Christina relished it. She had just finished surgery with Derek who told her to go home, but she knew Hahn was still going, so she thanked him politely and then went in search of Hahn's surgery, hoping they still needed help. It had been so easy to get in on surgeries today.
It was dead quiet in the hospital, she noted, so different from just a few hours ago when everything seemed to be happening at once. She finished rinsing and heard what sounding like rhythmic tapping just as the water shut off. She tilted her head slightly trying to make out the noise when she heard a thump. She looked toward the sound, and saw the doors to the scrub room explode inward.
She jumped back as she saw a little brown haired boy topple into the room. Her brain was trying to make sense of this scenario. Little boys were not supposed to be here, in this space, at this time of night.
"She's gonna kill Mommy!" he shouted from the floor where he had fallen.
He got up quickly and was rushing her before Meredith recognized him. He slammed into her body and grabbed her hand just as her brain registered who he was.
"She's... gonna... kill Mommy!" he was sobbing. "Hurry!" he said as he pulled her hand toward the door.
"What? Who...wait. Calm down, Lucas."
He was tugging so hard that his hand slipped from hers and he was sent sprawling on the floor. "COME ON!" he shouted his fist hitting the ground in frustration.
Meredith jumped toward the OR room doors.
"Dr. Hahn?" she said not even bothering to keep the fear out of her voice.
"What?" said Erica calmly not turning around.
"Lucas is here. He seems upset."
Erica stopped. She looked at Yang.
"I got this, Erica," said Yang. "We just need to close up here."
"Thank you," she said as she handed her instruments to the nurse and stepped away from the table, stripping off bloody gloves and her gown as she went. She saw him on the floor in tears.
"We gotta go!" he shouted to no one in particular. He was rubbing his eyes.
She removed her cap and sat down next to him.
"Lucas, what's going on? What are you doing here?"
His head snapped up to her. "Mom, we gotta go. Dr. Samuels is going to kill Mommy."
He stood and ran to the door. Erica's head was about to explode. There were so many things wrong with the sentence he had just uttered. She got up quickly, stopping his forward motion and laying her hands on his shoulders.
"Lucas you need to tell me what's going on," she said.
"Dr. Samuels was being mean and scary and they were gonna fight and then Mommy told me to run and Dr. Samuels was hitting her with a chair."
He was seven and had a wild imagination, but he was also smart and he wasn't a prankster and so Erica knew that no matter how ludicrous it sounded, he was telling the truth.
"Grey, keep an eye on him. Lucas where are they?"
He pointed down the hall as he shrugged off Meredith's friendly touch on his shoulder. Erica took off at a run and Lucas followed. But Meredith had been expecting it and lunged for him, bringing her thin body closer to his as she held him back.
"Let me go!" he shouted at her.
"I'm keeping an eye on you. They'll be back."
He struggled, but gave up after a minute, spent and exhausted.
Callie turned around as she scrambled away. She saw Gretchen with a chair from the waiting room standing over her laughing.
"Bitch" said Gretchen as she came after Callie again. "Who do you think you are, the wife? That's not your kid!"
Gretchen was completely crazed, but as long as her attention was on Callie, Callie felt like the situation was under control. Lucas was nowhere in sight. Her back was throbbing, but nothing felt broken. She managed to stand. She moved to the side as the chair came flying at her.
"Gretchen, stop throwing shit at me!" Her anger was surfacing now. Without Lucas here to worry about it, she could unleash it readily. "And I got news for you, I am the wife, I already know how good Erica's hands are and Lucas is my kid."
Without a chair in Gretchen hands, Callie felt free to charge her.
"I told you if you tried to touch him you would hit the ground."
Gretchen looked around for something else to throw, but the chairs and everything else in the sparse space were out of her reach. Callie was on her before she could think of another plan. grabbing her scrubs and pushing her up against the wall. Gretchen was trying desperately to push her away, but Callie's grip was solid. She kicked out in desperation and managed to connect hard with Callie's legs. Callie winced but kept her hands on Gretchen.
"Enough," Callie shouted, pressing up against her. When she didn't stop struggling, Callie just made a fist, whipped her arm back and let fly.
Gretchen yelled and then stopped thrashing. She reached for her nose and her body went limp. Callie let her go. Gretchen slumped to the ground in shock. The pain in Callie's fist was killing her as was her back and legs. She pushed that to the side and made a dash for the hallway she had sent Lucas down. She spared one last glance at Gretchen before sprinting down the hall.
She saw the inky black outline of a body turning the corner at a run and thought she recognized the hair. She continued to run until she was close enough to see that the hair was blonde and then a voice was calling her name like a desperate plea.
Callie continued running right into Erica's arms.
"I sent Lucas this way, we have to find him," she got out wrapping her arms around Erica, wanting to apologize for losing her son.
"He's with Grey. Are you okay? Where is she?"
"God, Erica," she slumped against her. "I think something's wrong with her. She was acting really weird. Wanted me to hand over Lucas. What did you say to her?"
"I fired her. Callie you're bleeding!" said Erica, her hands had reached for Callie's automatically, wanting to be sure all parts of her were okay.
"Yeah, it hurts."
"What the hell happened?"
"My fist met her face."
Erica hugged her hard for a long moment. "We need to take care of your hand, but you should find Lucas first. He thinks Gretchen was killing you."
"Oh God, poor Lucas. He was so scared." said Callie clutching at Erica. "Wait, where are you going?"
"I'm going to find Gretchen and kick her ass."
She placed her hands on Callie's face and just stared. "I'm sorry, Cal."
"Why are you sorry? She's the freak." Callie smiled and then leaned in and did what she had been wanting to do all day.
Her lips reached Erica's and were consumed in an instant. It had always been like this with them or rather with Erica. Erica always reacted to her in this way. She was the picture of perfect control, never pushing beyond the carefully guarded but invisible line that only she could see. Even when Callie pushed like she had in the kitchen the morning after she spent her first night on Erica's couch or even later during the fateful sleepover when Erica asked that she stop the flirting, Erica remained in control. But when Callie kissed her, the control evaporated and she seemed incapable of holding anything back. Erica seemed to get lost in her, in much the same way Callie herself would get lost just staring at those sexy blue eyes that matched the color of sky on a cloudless day. She indulged in the kissing, opening her mouth wider, deepening it slowly, wrapping her arms around Erica's neck and pulling herself closer. It was intoxicating. In an instant the pain in her hands, back, and legs faded like a whisper lost in the wind. There was just her and Erica's tingly skin.
Vaguely she heard the slapping sound of shoes on cold tile in the background, but Erica's lips were moving against her, so she swatted the sound aside, willing it to disappear as she continued concentrating on the kisses.
"Mommy!" she heard and began the process of pulling away, a not so easy task as the kissing felt so damn good and the pain in her body registered the more she pulled away.
She felt Lucas hug her legs just as her and Erica separated. Erica opened her eyes as she pulled back and simply watched her. Callie pulled one arm from Erica's neck and brought it to Lucas hugging him to her, but her eyes never left the ones boring into her. There was a look of unfiltered pure desire and love in those eyes. Callie was taken back and had to look away, the intensity of that gaze too strong for her to take in here at the hospital, with Lucas wrapped around her leg. But she knew from here on out there would be no more arguments about where she was sleeping. They would never spend another night apart willingly. Ever.
Finally they parted. Callie bent down to engulf Lucas in a hug.
"You were so brave," she said. His tiny arms had never hugged her so hard. He was still crying, so she lifted him up.
"S-Sorry, he got away from m-me," said Meredith. She stood awkwardly at a loss as to what was required of her. "Patient is out of surgery," she offered weakly as she looked at the three of them feeling like an intruder.
Callie was holding Lucas close, his face was buried in her neck, his little arms wrapped tightly around her neck. She was leaning into Erica, who had one arm around Callie's waist, the other was rubbing Lucas's back, unconsciously holding them close to her.
"There goes the pool," she said smiling under her breath.
"Yeah," said Callie through a smile. "Christina will be pleased."
I guess I just came out - kind of.
She looked over at Erica who seemed to have just noticed that Meredith was there and saw confusion in her eyes at the mention of a pool. She had no time to contemplate it however.
"I have to deal with Gretchen," she said to Callie as she stroked Lucas's hair. He had stopped crying, but was holding on to Callie pretty tightly.
"Grey, can you take care of Callie's hand?" She turned to Callie. "I don't know how long I'll be and I'd really like to take care of you myself, but I have to deal with Gretchen."
"I can check on Gretchen, Dr. Hahn," said Meredith wanting to be helpful and let them have a moment alone.
"NO," said Erica forcefully. "I'm dealing with her. She's caused enough problems as it is. I'll handle it."
Callie wanted to go home. She wanted to be home with Lucas and Allie and Erica. She hated the thought of going home without Erica tonight, right now, but she knew Erica needed to stay. Had she no obligation as Gretchen's boss to deal with her, Callie knew Erica would have stayed anyway. She knew Erica and she knew Erica was feeling responsible for everything that had happened and she needed to make it right. She would not let anyone else deal with the Gretchen problem. Callie knew it made sense and it was right, but she still hated it. They couldn't all go home together, so she would have to go with the next best thing. She needed to get the kids home.
"I'm going to take them home," said Callie.
Erica's eyes softened.
"That sounds good. Look I don't want to keep you here any longer than you have to be, Callie, but can you give me the short version of what happened? I'll need to tell the Chief."
"She was acting weird, tried to take Lucas, hit me with a chair, so I punched her."
"She hit you with a chair!"
"Lucas said she was hitting you with a chair, but I was hoping he was wrong about that."
Erica reached for Lucas. "Sweetie, Callie's hurt so we need you to stand on your own for just a little bit longer, okay?"
He nodded but attached himself to Callie's leg as soon as he was set down and looked up. "Mommy's hurt?"
"I'm okay, sweetie. Erica I have to get them home. I'm fine, my hand is fine, just a little bruised. I just really want to be home with them and you, so do what you need to do and come home."
"Why don't we let Christina take care of your hand and I'll go fetch Allie and your car? That way you get home as soon as possible and we get to patch you up," offered Meredith.
"That sounds like a plan. Thank you Grey. Callie? You okay with that?"
Callie rolled her eyes. "Fine"
She turned to Erica. "Be careful. And come home soon. We'll be in the big house."
"Okay," said Erica. She bent down and kissed Lucas lightly. "Everything's fine now, okay? Everyone's okay. You're safe now." She smiled and looked up at Callie briefly. "Mommy's okay too."
He nodded, unconsciously increasing the pressure around Callie's legs.
Erica straightened and turned her attention to Callie. She looked nervously at Meredith for a second before focusing on Callie again. Callie saw the uncertainty there. Erica didn't know how to act or she was trying to figure out how to act in front of Meredith. Callie reached for Erica's waist, using Erica's scrub shirt as a hand hold and pulled hard until she felt their bodies connect.
She reached up to wrap her arms around Erica's neck, saw Erica give Meredith another nervous glance and decided Meredith was getting way too much attention. She pulled them closer and placed her lips near Erica's ears.
"Mommy needs to say goodbye, but she'd like to remind you that there will be three very anxious people waiting for you, so kiss me already so you can go do what you need to do and then come home to us, okay?"
Erica opened her mouth to say something, but nothing came out.
Callie smiled. "Erica? The kissing?"
Finally Erica leaned in to her, her intent clear. She didn't look at Meredith or down the hall where the Gretchen problem was waiting for her. She just smiled and engulfed Callie's lips in a kiss. It was soft and sweet, and so very annoyingly swift that Callie almost frowned.
Meredith giggled. Erica rolled her eyes at Callie, gave Lucas one final pat on the head and began walking away and down the hall.
Callie watched her go for a few seconds before turning to Meredith. "Okay, let's make this quick. I really need to go home."
Erica made her way down the hall slowly. She hoped Gretchen was still wherever Callie had left her. She did not want to be participating in a search for her tonight. She was going over the events of the last few hours, trying to remind herself that she was a professional and wondering how the hell she was going to prevent herself from kicking Gretchen when she saw her.
She found Gretchen on the floor slumped against a wall, clutching a bloody nose. The hall she was in was dimly lit. Erica walked up to her silently. Gretchen did not look up.
"Get up," said Erica sharply.
Gretchen did not move. She sat still, clutching her bloody nose saying nothing.
Erica nudged her with her foot roughly. "Get up or so help me God, I will kick you so hard you'll forget all about your bloody nose."
Gretchen finally made a move. She put one hand on the floor, the other was still holding her nose and tried to stand, but she was unbalanced and unsteady. Her feeble attempt had her slumping to the floor again.
Erica crouched in front of her. "Does it hurt?" she asked. Gretchen nodded.
"Good," said Erica. "Now get your ass up."
After a few more attempts, Gretchen was standing. "Follow me," said Erica as she started walking.
They walked all the way down to the ER. Erica took the long way, which included a long trek in the stairway. She instructed Gretchen to sit.
"I'm going to clean you up and set your nose, but I'm not as good as Callie is at setting bones, so I guarantee you it's going to hurt."
She gathered the things she would need and turned back to Gretchen. "I want you to remember the pain, Samuels. I want it to register deep inside of you because if you ever go near my family again, you'll feel worse pain. You won't be able to rate the pain you'll feel. I will cut your hands off without blinking."She let Gretchen stew on that for a bit. "Do we understand each other?"