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28 September 2007 @ 03:21 am
Alternate Season Four, Episode Four, Part One  
Altered Anatomy Presents

Grey's Anatomy
An Alternate Season Four

Episode 4.04-1

"When Love and Hate Collide" (PG-13)

Written by Tom Beaumont

The Start of the Twelfth Day (the best part of wakin' up...)

George's head hurt this morning. And not like the past few days. It was a throb that started behind his eyes and thudded through his skull. He'd taken a couple of Extra-Strength Tylenol caplets from the bottle in his locker and washed them down with a double espresso, but acetaminophen lazily blended with caffeine wasn't going to erase his memory. Not according to the instructions on the bottle, anyway. And when he set the bottle back in his locker, his eyes caught his bare left hand.

The toxic memories bubbled up in his brain and spilled over. The ring...the marriage...the hope...all left behind in the musk of the commission of a dirty little 'gotcha-back'.

His head throbbed harder, so he closed his eyes, and rested his forehead against the cool steel of his locker door. The events of the past week and a half had been like a freight train roaring through his brain night and day with no end in sight. And just when he thought the worst was over, the steel wheels would whine and spit sparks against the window of his mind's eye.

Izzie tells him she's in love with him...


Callie says she wants a baby...


He takes his heart out to Izzie, and tied a big red bow around it...


and she'd rejected it (and him) out of hand, seemingly forever...


and then to top it off, discovering you-know-who you-know-where you-know-whatting with...


No wonder his head hurt.

He noticed his intestinal tract had joined in on the torture, groaning and popping, mostly for embarrassing effect. Shoot. He needed something else to keep his mind occupied. Anything else, instead of thinking about Izzie's sad eyes, or that condescending look that Doctor McSlimeball shot at him during -

"Have you seen Patel, George?" he heard Lexie ask.

George snapped to attention, then glanced at his watch – eight minutes to six. His eyes found her on the bench in front of her locker, re-tying a shoe. "No," he replied, a little relieved that she had broken the stranglehold his subconscious had on him. "He's not here yet?" George feigned a gasp. He tried to hide his headache, but could tell she had noticed his wince. "Did we miss our shift?" he asked, forcing a bit of comical worry in his tone.

"I hope not. That man doesn't know the meaning of the word 'late'," Lexie replied. "Maybe it's some kind of test."

George silently appreciated Lexie not talking about his ring-free hand today. "Patel testing us? Never," George said, massaging his temples as he sat down. "We would have received a five page notice beforehand."

Lexie rubbed the back of his neck. "Including a glossary of terms and extensive footnotes," she said with a chuckle.

Nice technique, he thought. Less pressure than – that woman who he was madly in love with and wouldn't talk to him. Yeah, not saying her name was a good solution. "I guess he doesn't want us failing - " George started to say just as Bailey pushed into the locker room. Their eyes met for an instant, and George felt his face begin to heat.

"O'Malley? A word?" Bailey said, motioning for George to step outside with her.

His heart sank just as his headache was lessening. This was bound to be pleasant, he thought.

Once in the hall, Bailey's voice softened into Miranda's. "I'm sorry, George, but I need my living room back."

"Uh," George said in a hushed tone. "If it was that 'failing' crack, I said it without thinking, and I was regretting it - "

"And you should," she replied. "We're past that. Over and done."

"Yes. Absolutely."

"Good." She studied his eyes. "Headache?"

"Yeah," George replied.

"Then I'll be quick," Bailey said. "It's been eleven days. You've been on my couch for eleven days."

"Uhh," George said.

"You said it would only be for a week, tops. And that was – let's see – eleven days ago."

"Well, yeah, but..."

"No buts. You need to move on."

George started stumbling for words, like he was falling down, and grasping for anything to catch himself. "I – I don't have any - prospects."

She held out a collection of fliers that had once been pinned to bulletin boards in various break rooms around the hospital. "There's at least eight or nine here, and I found them all in my first half-hour this morning."

He took the crinkling papers, his heart dropping past his stomach. "Thanks."

"George," she said. "Tucker and I have been glad to have you in our home. You've been a gracious guest, very respectful and helpful and appreciative, and William – well, he loves you a lot." Her eyes saddened. "But it's been eleven days. You need to move on."

And while he knew that she was right, it didn't make the hurt go away. She seemed to notice it, and gave his forearm a small squeeze. Then her being morphed into Bailey again. "Time to get to work," she said.

"Yeah," George replied. "If Patel ever gets here." Just then he caught a wicked smile forming on her lips. "Aw, no way," he found himself groaning.

She burst into the locker room again. "Morning, people. Doctor Patel has had to take a personal day, he should be back tomorrow. So today, you get the pleasure of being my interns. As the look on O'Malley's face should indicate, you're in for a treat."

The grimace-slash-smile on George's face was as close to happy as he could fake. Patel's reliance on organization could be annoying, but it was a cool breeze compared to the heat Miranda Bailey put on you.

Callie stared at the next mound of paperwork she had yet to tackle. More requests to alter schedules, more weekly budget reports, inventory forms, unsorted complaints, supply paperwork, payroll documents, forms to order more documents, documents to order more reports, reports to order more forms...

Daunting. All of it. Sure, she had an office and a good parking spot and a non-voting seat on the hospital board (another two nights a month lost to adminstration, but worth it to make sure that the residency program had a voice), but the position was also supposed to come with some real authority, and she hadn't noticed any of that.

The fifth-year residents didn't listen to her. Heck, most of the other residents didn't, either. That could have had a little bit to do with her being -

Married? No, Calliope, she thought, as she started chewing on her pen. George left his ring on the room service cart. He hasn't returned for it. He doesn't want you. He may have never wanted you.

Izzie Stevens had succeeded. She had stepped in, planted doubt in his mind, then seized an opportunity when he was weak and -

Stop. Stop letting him off the hook. He was just as guilty. He took his supermodel best friend to bed and lied about it. Flat-out lied.

So she slept with Mark Sloan again. Big deal. Lots of women have -

You swore. Swore that it was a one-time mistake. You did it because you were ticked at George (again), and Sloan was offering (again).

Why couldn't she have just told Sloan to leave? Or had a moment's thought that sex with him wasn't going to accomplish anything?

Why couldn't she have said no when George proposed? Or stayed away after the last time they broke up?

Because, she thought, George was supposed to be the man she'd always wanted...but 'supposed to be' never really was, at least not for Calliope Torres.

She thought about this for a moment, then felt her pager vibrate. A Pit call. Time for work.

Izzie was picking at a blueberry muffin, supposed to be reading a cardiac patient's history, but lost in thought instead. And all because she'd kept hearing George's voice all morning, echoing in the hallways. Him with his new best friend, who just happened to be Meredith's half-sister. Talking with her. Laughing with her. Deep conversation, real laughter. With Lexie Grey, M.D.

And he wasn't wearing his ring. Probably to impress the new girl. On to the new, right, Georgie-Porgie?

Wait, she thought. That's not fair, especially if the rumors about George walking in on Callie and McSteamy's hook-up were true. Plus, it wasn't even two week ago that he was professing his love. So her thoughts about George and Meredith's way-too-laughprone part-sib were definitely unfair.

And, Izzie continued, unlike Callie, she had done the right thing. She walked away from this snake-bit triangle. She needed to take comfort in that decision. It was best for everyone involved.

While she was trying to keep convincing herself, she heard him talking again. It was nothing she knew about, but his stupid (no, it wasn't) voice was keeping her from concentrating, because she couldn't help seeing his stupid (no, it wasn't) face. His earnest smile, the roundness of his cheeks, the gentleness in his eyes. The memory of his eyes was sticking in her mind – especially how they seemed to be the window to his breaking heart as he stood on her front steps and listened to her say words that she desperately needed to believe.

And then, as it did sometimes, the picture would change. Soften and blur at the edges. He would approach...not take no for an answer...not be denied...she could feel his hands on her face...his heartbeat against hers...

She was beginning to melt into him when Alex appeared over her shoulder. "Is that - " he managed to get out before she seemed to fire toward the ceiling and back.

"Alex!" she cried. "Don't do that!"

"Must be a good muffin," he said. "Or a good chart."

"No, they both suck," Izzie grimaced. "I shouldn't buy muffins off the cart. They just aren't - "

"Yours. Gotcha." Alex craned his head over hers. "And the chart?"

"Heart patient. Fifty-four years old, wife, six kids. He's a four pack a day smoker. Seventy-five pounds overweight." She groaned. "You'd think he'd try harder."

Alex squinted. "Try what?"

"To stop doing the things that hurt him," Izzie muttered, snapping the chart closed. "Yeah, quitting smoking is hard. Or going on a diet. It's not easy to just give up, I know, but – but sometimes, you just have to, you know? For your own health. Your own sanity."

Alex nodded sagely, pondering this. "You gonna finish the muffin?" he finally asked.

Izzie shook her head and handed it to him.

He grinned and took off again.

Izzie sighed, and closed the folder as her pager beeped and buzzed. Someone needed her for a surgical consult in the Pit, which meant she had even less time to waste thinking about people she didn't love.

Addison had not been surprised by her last day at Seattle Grace, and she was glad. It was to be a quiet, uneventful day; she had set it up that way – handed off patients and appointments to other doctors in the department, made sure her office was empty and locked a day before, took her name off the boards and so on, all of which she had found shockingly easy. Not at all unpleasant. She had been afraid that she was going to be a blubbering mess when she said goodbye to her friends and colleagues, but there were no tears or butterflies or anything.

But that didn't mean she was exactly overflowing with joy. Especially when she had a broken, bloodied body being rushed into the Pit just as she was erasing "Addison Montgomery" from the last of the Seattle Grace call boards.

"Addison! We need you!" she heard Callie's voice call, and within a pulse beat, her mind carried no more thoughts of today being quiet or uneventful. Now she was a sprinter, striding to aid the people who needed her, and no longer concerned about anything else.

"What do we have?" she asked over the sobs of the young woman on the gurney.

Callie was on top of the case. "Heather Young, thirty-two years old - "

"My baby!" the woman cried. "My baby – is he all right?!"

Addison was stunned for an instant. The woman's stomach was flatter than the proverbial pancake. "She's pregnant?"

"Seventeen weeks, according to the ultrasound," squeaked an excited and nameless intern. "Fetal heart rate is ninety. There are multiple fractures and contusions on the adult's body - "

"My baby!" the patient shouted frantically. "Please tell me he's all right!"

"Heather," Addison said firmly. "I need you to take some slow, deep breaths, okay?"

Heather's eyes brimmed with fast-flowing tears. "Please! My baby!"

"Fetal heart rate is dropping," the intern said.

"Somebody get me an OR right now," Addison commanded. "And page Karev."

"Sonuva..." Cristina muttered through her surgical mask. A leaky atrial valve had decided to spring more leaks, and at the worst possible time. Blood spurted against her gown. "No, you don't, you little bugger," she said. "Suction."

"Keep your grip loose," her attending said. "Smooth and steady."

"Tell me something I don't know," she grumbled.

"Doctor Yang," the attending snapped. "If you have someplace you'd rather be..."

Cristina frowned. "No. Sorry."

"Step back, Doctor," the attending said.

"I said I was sorry," Cristina replied, still trying to plug the leak.

"And I said step back," the attending ordered.

Cristina was startled by the sharpness of the tone. This was a surgery she'd done with Burke at least half a dozen times, and he'd always been patient and understanding with her, let her do the work.

Oh, yeah, she thought. Because he loved you. And as she stood and watched the attending finish the surgery with the clean surety of a seasoned pro, she missed Preston Burke even more.

Lexie studied Izzie Stevens as the first-year resident examined her patient, a thirty-ish woman with a several-years history of heart problems. Lexie knew right away that Izzie was a major-league doctor. Those round, all-seeing eyes of hers. Careful hands. A soft, kind voice asking questions...and a patience waiting for answers.

And, oh yeah, she was also a heartbreaker. Shimmering blonde curls, a long neck, and a shape that made you feel ever so slightly inadequate. George hadn't exaggerated that.

Izzie caught Lexie's gaze. "Doctor – Grey?" The words seemed to stick in her throat.

"Yes, Doctor Stevens," Lexie wheedled. "I was just – uh – observing your technique."

"Okay," Izzie said, putting a stethoscope to the now-upright patient's back, "if you could take a few deep breaths for me."

"I like your lipstick," Lexie said, immediately regretting her choice of conversation segues.

Izzie's eyes turned at that. She studied the intern for a moment. "Yeah?"

Lexie decided to push on. "It really goes with your skin tone, highlights your smile, that sorta thing."

Izzie blinked at Lexie and then turned to the patient. "Well, Mindy," Izzie said, "I'm still concerned about that murmur, so we're going to have to - "

"It's just that George - "

"George? Doctor O'Malley." Izzie's tone was icy.

"Yeah, both of them," she said, trying to lighten the mood.

Izzie cut off the attempt. "What about him?"

"He talks about you. A lot. Did you see that - "

"Doctor Grey," Izzie said through gritted teeth. "I'm not in the mood for girl talk right now. You get that, right?"

"Well, I - "

"And if I was, I wouldn't want to do it with you." Izzie went back to work. "I am examining a patient. I must be allowed to do that examination uninterrupted. Understood?"

"Yes," Lexie replied softly.

"Good," Izzie snapped. She turned her attention back to the patient. "Mindy, I - "

Into this simmering stew of awkwardness dropped George O'Malley. "Hey, Lex, wanna go get – oh." His expression dissolved from a doctor checking on a colleague to a little boy who'd been sent to the principal's office for the third time today. "Izzie," he said, his voice disappearing. "How – how are you?"

Izzie kept her eyes off him. "I'm fine, George," she replied flatly. "How are you?"

George's gaze found something on the floor. "Also fine."

Izzie lurched the conversation back to the patient. "As I was saying, I'll schedule your stress test for later this morning, okay?" She handed the chart back to Lexie, and zipped past George to get out of the room, while he stood still and let her pass.

Lexie tilted her head at her fellow intern. "I know you two are – uncomfortable - but that was just sad."

"Lex, this isn't any of your business," he replied.

"George, you love her," Lexie said. "But she won't talk to you. And you aren't even trying."

"That's not fair," George replied. "It's just that - she doesn't – she wants – you can't - "

"My dad calls that 'galumphing'. It's even sadder," she said, then her eyes brightened. "Buy me a cup of coffee and tell me about it."

(Act Two - The Middle of the Morning - is up NOW!)

Tom_Beaumont_On_LJtombeaumontonlj on September 28th, 2007 04:49 pm (UTC)
If only...

Did you notice how much I got right in my first story - written in late August?

(Sloan trying to be Derek's friend, in particular; or Lexie and George bonding...)

Spooky, huh?

The men at the institution said I had psychotic powers...or was that psychic...

I wasn't listening...;P