Fandom: Grey's Anatomy
Character/Pairing: George O'Malley, Cristina Yang [mentions of Cristina Yang/Meredith Grey, Callie Torres/George O'Malley, and Izzie Stevens/George O'Malley.]
Summary: When George looks through the peephole and sees Cristina with a basket of muffins, he has the feeling he should be more surprised than he actually is.
Original Story: Drop a bomb (gently) by zvi_likes_tv.
When George looks through the peephole and sees Cristina with a basket of muffins, he has the feeling he should be more surprised than he actually is.
But his brain is still fuzzy and worn, so he opens the door and the first thing he sees is the muffins, and they’re in a huge basket with a bow, no less—and so he has to ask, even though really, there’s no point when he already knows the answer. “Izzie?”
Cristina confirms it. "I don't even know what the hell's in here. Chocolate. And stuff."
Cristina comes in, and he never thought of bringing Cristina—or any of his friends—to this place, just as he’d never thought to imagine Cristina carrying a basket of muffins that had a bow on it. And as he lets her in, he can read her face, and he can see how she sees his apartment, and it makes a part of him flinch.
“Are you living here? This is not a good place, George.”
And that’s too much, and so George snaps back at her, because he’s busy and he’s exhausted all the time, not to mention he’s kind of really dirt-poor at the moment, and he’s not really interested in criticism concerning anything about his life right now.
It’s almost kind of funny in a way, because he can actually see Cristina about to make a tactless response, and then she shuts her mouth and instead makes what he recognizes to be a rather kind gesture. "Your mom's in Tacoma, right? I know some people who are doing residencies up there; do you want me to—"
“No,” George says automatically, and then adds, “Thank you.” It doesn’t hit him until right then that Cristina’s still carrying the basket, and so he waves at the table, showing her where she can put it.
She sets it down and peers in, giving him a laundry list of what's in it, and it almost makes him want to smile. Izzie thought of everything. That was Izzie for you, thoughtful and thoughtless at the same time.
He has to ask. “Is Izzie being…?” He shrugs, can’t finish with all the things he thinks of. Smug. Loud. Right.
And that starts the usual line of thinking, from Izzie looking up at him during that night of drunken sex to Callie looking at him with tears in her eyes and saying, “This was a mistake, George. We’re done.”
But he’s gone through all that a million times and the story hasn’t changed yet, no matter how much he might want it to, and there’s company here, and he’s forgotten enough of his mom’s lessons on how to behave (how to be a good person, how to just be good) and he won’t forget this one.
"Sorry about Callie. I know you loved her."
And it helps to hear that, hear someone recognize that no matter how he screwed up or how quickly they had gotten married or even if Izzie had been right about him not being ready to be married—he had loved Callie. Still did, as much as he didn’t like to think about it. And thinking about marriage makes him think of how Cristina was blindsided at the altar, and for the first time, George wonders how she's been handling all of that.
When Cristina hands him the plate of zucchini bread and the cup of milk, George says, "I, um, never said. But sorry. About you and Burke. And thanks."
Cristina nods, but stays silent, and George doesn't want to push—although he does have a lot of questions as to just what even happened—so he just starts eating his bread and takes a long gulp of his milk.
Cristina says at last, “Thanks, but Meredith fucked me through the worst of it."
George's mom had taught him a lot about behaving in front of company, and he's pretty sure she wouldn't approve of him spitting milk in someone's face, but considering the circumstances—Cristina and Meredith are doing what now?—he thinks he should be granted a little leeway.
George looks at her face, and yeah, okay, it's his fault and he should apologize, but Cristina is solemnly dripping milk right now, and she so totally waited until the perfect moment to tell him that. It isn't until he laughs that he realizes that's the first time he's done that in a while. "Seriously?" he asks after a moment, because—wow. Seriously.
"Seriously," Cristina confirms, matter-of-fact. George is a little amazed he hadn't heard about this by now—sure, he's only mostly talking to Bailey (and Callie sometimes) at this point—but the shrieking from Izzie alone would carry through most of the city.
He asks how he didn’t hear about it, and Cristina drops another bombshell when she tells him that nobody knows, except for him now that she’s spilled the beans.
Her explanation for what happened follows as thus: “It’s just that Meredith got drunk one time while we were mending my broken heart.”
No kind of explanation at all, of course, unless you happened to be acquainted with Meredith Grey.
George finishes for her, “And wildly inappropriate sex happened.” Which is oddly…appropriate.
Cristina shrugs once more, glances around the apartment, and asks lightly, “You want to move into my place?”
Really, if Cristina wants to keep dropping this kind of stuff on him without any warning, she has no right to complain when he coughs half-eaten food onto her face. The helpless giggling is mostly from shock, because—him and Cristina as roommates? With nobody to act as a buffer or a referee?
He’d be eaten alive.
But Cristina lays out her plan, and the scariest thing is that a part of George—the part that isn’t scoffing or still reeling just the tiniest bit from Cristina and Meredith turning into Cristina-and-Meredith—a part of George is actually thinking it through.
There is, of course, the most obvious problem to address first. “And I won’t…make the thing you have with Meredith weird?”
And then George gets a glimpse into the truly terrifying way Cristina’s mind works as she offers that the thing she has with Meredith isn’t weird, that it’s just ‘maintenance fucking.’
God. George has no idea how to respond to that, other than to eat more zucchini bread, which is delicious and saves him from having to think about how Cristina’s scary, scary mind works. He prods a little more, despite himself, asking about how they’d split the groceries, for example—and when he thinks about this, the deal is beyond ridiculously generous. From Meredith or Izzie, it would have been pity, but this is Cristina, and she doesn’t do pity.
“Why?” he asks at last. “For real this time.”
Cristina’s eyes flick away as she admits, “I don’t like living alone. Anymore,” she adds, and if George had ever wanted proof that they’d all changed in the last year, the proof was right there. The Cristina from before would have never even hinted at that, not out loud.
As if she knows what he’s thinking and wants to cut him off, Cristina adds that the thing with Meredith is already getting weird, seeing as McDreamy’s been sniffing around Meredith again.
George has to roll his eyes; it’s oddly comforting that at least some things haven’t changed. “Dr. Shepherd strikes again,” he mutters, and tries not to hear the slight bitterness that runs through his voice. He’s over all that now anyway, and it’s not like his latest disasters in love haven’t blown that whole mess with Meredith and Shepherd out of the water.
He asks Cristina for another brownie and she obliges. He eats it fast, not bothering to draw it out, and that’s when George finally admits to himself that he’s already made his decision.
Cristina’s eyes widen a little bit when he says yes, and her voice rises when she says, “Seriously?”
Yes. Seriously. It’s a generous offer, and beyond it making financial sense—George misses what he had before, misses being part of a unit, of a group. He misses seeing everyone on a regular basis and knowing that he belonged somewhere, that he was a part of a family.
He’d left for a good reason. But maybe…maybe he could come back for a good one too. Being able to change wasn’t about where you were, but what you were doing. Maybe this is the next step in whatever cracked journey to self-discovery or enlightenment or whatever he’s looking for—living with a woman who was possibly one of the craziest and yet also probably the most sane person he’d ever met.
He tries to explain all this to Cristina, but the words get tangled up a little. It’s okay, though, he’s pretty sure she still gets it anyway.
Still, she rolls her eyes at the description of her place as a ‘halfway-house’. “We’re not drugs, George,” she chides.
"You really kind of are," he responds, and even if he's not really kidding, that's actually okay anyway.