Stephanie (slybrunette) wrote,

trade-off {ga: cristina, teddy, owen}

Title: Trade-Off
Fandom: Grey's Anatomy
Characters/Pairings: Cristina, Teddy, Owen. Clear references to Owen/Cristina and Owen/Teddy.
Rating: PG-13
Word Count: 1,327
Prompt: #83 - Doctor for 100_situations
Author's Note: Not a happy Owen/Cristina fic. Not even slightly. You have your warning.
Summary: Post 6.11 - Blink. She knew it was true the second it passed through her lips. And that just changes everything.

It’s nothing but a rush of air, a fast blur of words that she isn’t even consciously aware she’s saying because all she can think about is the tears threatening to cloud her vision and the way her throat tightens and closes around the words – she’s thinking about nothing but how to make it stop.

And yet.

“Fine. Done. Take him.”

And doesn’t that just change everything?


Cristina runs.

There is no Mexican stand-off, and there is no moment where they look at each other in silence and wait for gravity of that statement, that slip, that moment where her subconscious kicked in and tried to get away with murder, to settle over them.

Instead, there is Cristina’s feet on the walkway, on the lobby floor, and she doesn’t stop until the door to the on-call room three floors up is shut solidly behind her.


“Owen’s looking for you,” Callie will hiss into the phone, some hours later.

Cristina is still at the hospital. “Tell him I’m busy.”

She thinks she can hear him in the background, in her apartment – she wonders if he’s heard. “You’re sure everything’s okay?”

Casual disinterest, indifference, is easy to fake. “Why wouldn’t it be?”


It would be easy to call it a result of the heat of the moment.

Except as soon as it passed through her lips, as soon as she realized what she’d said, she’d know without a single doubt that it was true.


Teddy is there in the morning, looking like she’s had about as much sleep as Cristina’s three hours.

They lock eyes at opposite ends of the same hallway, each turning and finding a different route; afterwards, there is an elevator ride, just the two of them, and Cristina stands ramrod straight and swears that she can hear the backlight behind the numbers on the wall flicker and die and come to life again as they move from floor-to-floor in absolute silence.

When she sees Owen in the elevator, out of the corner of her eye just as she’s about to head into it for the ride back up, she decides she’d rather take the stairs.


A day passes, in which she does post-op work on Ruthie and occupies herself with whatever drama Meredith’s managed to cook up between herself, Derek, and the Chief.

Any words that pass between her and Teddy are purely perfunctory; the looks hold more significance.

That night, she beats Owen back to her apartment, makes a beeline for her bedroom and locks the door. Callie looks at her oddly; Arizona murmurs something about staying out of it.

On day two, there’s a new case. That was bound to happen sooner or later.


“Hey,” his fingers catch her wrist, pulling her back to him. She has her free hand on her pager, willing it to go off. “I haven’t seen you in awhile.”

“Yeah, you know, things were slow yesterday and so I crashed early.” For half a second, she meets his gaze; it’s not that she has trouble lying to him and doing it convincingly; it’s just that she’s having a hard time putting in the effort.

At some point, this ceased to have anything to do with Owen at all. He is merely a player; he isn’t the game. This is about her and Teddy and how she’s come to the realization that her happiness depends less on where Owen is in all of this, and more whether or not Teddy is here at all, pushing her and leading her at the same time.

Maybe it’s been that way for awhile and she just hadn’t noticed.

“Cristina,” he starts and his grip tightens around her wrist; his eyes are pleading. Something’s wrong and he doesn’t know what it is, but he still knows enough. Too much.

“Look I’ve actually got to go check on lab results, so we’re going to have to do this later.” She pulls away and he doesn’t stop her. A few steps, a count of five, and she whirls on him and repeats it like she means it, which she might. “We’ll do this later.”

She thinks he might nod; she isn’t there to see it.


Teddy called it quits two days ago.

She’s still here.

Cristina doesn’t know what that means yet.


They’re left standing alone in a patient’s room, after one of the intern’s has taken Mr. Webster off to run to run the tests that Cristina had lied to Owen about earlier.

In unison, they break.

“Are you staying or going?”

“Did you mean what you said?”

Teddy’s hip is cocked and she leans against the table next to the empty hospital bed, a copy of the patient’s chart held loosely in her hands. Cristina drops into a visitor’s chair and scrubs a hand over her face. “This is the only constant I have in my life. Surgery. I can’t let go of that. And I will do anything to keep you here because you believe in me.”

She thinks she can find some amount of compassion in the other woman’s face.

Her throat tightens again, like two nights ago, but her eyes remain dry. “You believe in me more than he does. And I meant it, whatever kind of person you think that makes me, I meant it because I need this.”

No going back now, she thinks, and crosses her arms and waits for an answer that she should already have. She isn’t asking Teddy to give up anything, it’s quite the contrary in fact; she’s giving her what she wants.

“It’s not that simple, Cristina. It’s much more complicated than that. He loves you; I don’t know if he even...”

“So I’ll back off. I’ll tell him that this isn’t working and that he’d be better off with you. I’ll tell him anything, I’ll get you anything you want, I just – “ she takes a few breaths, pulls herself together, tries to keep the strong hint of desperation out of her voice, “It’s been years since anyone has pushed me, since anyone has given me any opportunities, and I can’t sit on the sidelines and wait. It’s killing me and you’re the first person in a long time that’s made me feel like I might be back on track. I need this.”

The clock on the wall ticks faintly and her heart is racing in much the same way as it had been when she was racing down those stairs and out those doors. This is her at her most raw, her most vulnerable; this is everything she’s got left in her.

And then, there is a change in the other woman’s breathing, something edging on a sigh.



“This isn’t going to work.”

Her voice is cold, detached, and she breezes by Owen on her way out the door, all the while telling herself that this was probably a long time coming anyways.

Teddy’s somewhere down the hall, in his line of sight, and she watches his gaze shift to her as the remaining puzzle pieces slide into place.

That’s fine.


Owen stands outside the door to her apartment for half an hour.

He lasts twenty minutes after she tells him to leave, with a cracked door and a blank expression on her face.

Another ten after she closes the door to her bedroom.

Another two after Callie and Arizona jointly tell him to try again another night in soothing ‘it’ll all be okay’ tones, even if she’s already told them that they’re over, twice now.

This is the very definition of cold turkey, of cutting ties completely, and she knows that if she survived coming back to Burke’s empty apartment in her wedding dress she can certainly survive this.


Two weeks later, Teddy lets her go solo again.

Owen sits in the gallery and the pounding of her heart has nothing to do with his gaze.



Tags: !fic, character: ga: cristina, character: ga: owen, character: ga: teddy, fandom: grey's anatomy, table: 100_situations
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