To Ship the Impossible Ship Part 2

Arizona x Leah

Disclaimers in Part 1

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Two days after her failed visit to Leah's apartment, Arizona was close to falling apart. After she came home from Leah's, Callie pitched a fit, demanding to know if Arizona had gone back for another go with the intern and Arizona had lost it. She told Callie she went to confront Leah about skipping out on her job but found out the young woman was suffering from a severe case of the flu. Callie just rolled her eyes and insinuated Arizona's bedside manner was more personal than required.

Arizona had tried to ignore the snide remarks and the coldness even as they pretended that everything was normal except it wasn't. There were embraces and kisses that only began to stir the remembered fire when Callie pulled away and said good night.

Finally after two days of snark and thinly veiled insults, Arizona had had enough. She told Callie she was through being her punching bag. She was through trying to make up for her mistake because it was evident Callie was never going to be able to forget and she was tired of having a wife that wouldn't make love to her. They spent the next hour fighting, crying and then finally talking.

Eventually Callie wiped her eyes and sighed. "I love you Arizona and I always will, but you're right. I can and I do forgive you because I finally understand how lost you were feeling. I understand how much you were struggling with everything that had happened. I missed it at the time and that's on me. It's just…as much as I do love you and as much as I want to I can't let it go."

Arizona's eyes had burned as it began to sink in that her marriage was truly over. "I know Callie and I will always hate myself for what I did to you."

"Don't," Callie said in resignation. "It won't change anything and you'll never let yourself be happy and after everything we've been through, I think we both deserve to find some happiness. Even if it's with someone else."

Arizona snorted. "Has anyone that we know ever been happy for more than five minutes?" she sighed, leaning her head back against the sofa.

"There's Derek and Meredith," Callie offered tiredly.

"Well there's happy and then here's disgustingly giddy," Arizona quipped, relieved to hear Callie's laugh.

"I'm still willing to try again," Callie said turning her head to look at Arizona.

"Let me ask you something," Arizona said softly, reaching out to stroke her wife's cheek. "When you look at me…when we kiss, can you honestly tell me you aren't remembering what I did?"

Callie was silent for so long that it made Arizona nervous. "I want to be able to tell you that, I do," Callie said honestly, covering Arizona's hand and kissing the back gently.

"I know you do," Arizona replied sadly, "and I know you can't and I will never forgive myself for that, but I can't…"

"I know," Callie sighed. "And it's hard because I know how you feel. Erica Hahn was the first woman I ever loved," she admitted more wistfully than she was aware of. "And I cheated on her."

Arizona gaped at her wife. She'd known a little about Callie's relationship with Dr. Hahn, but obviously not everything.

"When we first began to date," Callie continued, "it came as a total surprise to me…I didn't really understand it at the time because I'd never even looked at a woman that way, but it was amazing. Erica is an incredible doctor who's as driven as I am if not more and that intensity carried over into her private life too. I'm not sure how it happened but somehow…we just connected. She had never been attracted to a woman before either but it didn't seem to faze her at all."

Callie paused as she remembered her first kiss with the former cardiothoracic surgeon. It had been different than anything she'd ever experienced and made her feel things she never had and it had scared the hell out of her. "I, on the other hand, completely freaked out. I was really attracted to her but I didn't want to be different so I panicked. That's when I slept with Mark," she continued sadly. "We tried to fix it and she eventually forgave me but she wound up leaving me anyway because I was never comfortable enough with who I was to fully commit to a relationship with her. Oh my God…" she said suddenly sitting up and gaping at Arizona.

"What?" Arizona said suddenly alarmed.

"That's it isn't it? That's why you slept with Boswell. You wanted to feel normal and I just kept reminding you of what you'd lost."

Arizona looked away and nodded. "Yes, but it doesn't justify it. No by a longshot."

Callie reached out and stroked her face gently, causing Arizona's eyes to slide closed as she remembered the way things used to be.

"No it doesn't, but how can I condemn you for doing exactly the same thing I did Arizona? And even when I was lashing out at you for cheating, a part of me still remembers how hurt Erica had been when she found out I cheated on her. The only difference is that Erica was more understanding and quicker to forgive than I was."

Arizona frowned as she studied her wife finally seeing something she'd not seen before. "You still have feelings for her don't you?"

Callie looked away. "No."

Arizona smiled sadly. "You don't lie for shit," she teased.

Callie shrugged. "She's been gone so long and once I fell for you, it became easy to push her to the back of my mind but…"

"You never forget your first," Arizona finished.

Callie smiled wryly. "I guess not. I'm sorry Arizona. I swear that she never crossed my mind while we were together. Well maybe she did after we broke up. I couldn't help but remember, you know? My ex-husband cheated on me, I cheated on Erica…"

"I cheated on you," Arizona added.

"Why do we do this to people we love?"

Arizona shrugged. "There are all kinds of why. I can say why I did it and you can say why you did it, but it doesn't really change anything does it?"

"No."

"But it doesn't mean we don't love each other Callie. Sometimes the baggage we carry just becomes too much for other people to carry. The trick is to find that one person stronger than the baggage."

Callie frowned. "And for you is that person really Murphy of all people?" she asked dubiously.

Arizona sighed. She so didn't want to have this conversation but as this was the first honest conversation they had in over a year, she couldn't hold back now.

"No," she finally answered and then thought. "I don't know. Leah is actually stronger than people think," she said. "I know you don't want the details but I need to explain how this all happened."

Callie winced but nodded.

"I…the first time I was so drunk I don't really even remember it. It happened after the fundraiser. I was just… you had ignored me all night and then I found out you were telling people I was dead."

"Arizona, I…"

"No," Arizona smiled. "You don't have to apologize. I know why you said it and I know you had…have…every right to resent me, but at the time I couldn't handle it and I just sat in the supply closet with April and got drunk and apparently I treated Leah like a waitress when we ran out of champagne. Then when I got into the cab to go home, Murphy followed me out and read me the riot act about treating her with respect and I'm still not really sure what happened after that."

"Murphy told you off?" Callie couldn't hold her surprise.

"Yeah. I didn't think she had it in her either," Arizona remembered poking Leah on the nose and calling her adorable, but she wasn't about to tell that to her wife.

"So what happened? You said it was more than once?" Callie said, a touch of accusation returning to her voice.

Arizona looked away but she had to tell Callie everything and hoped she would understand, even if she herself didn't. "The night you kicked me out of the house right in front of her, I was humiliated and sad because that was the first time I really began to accept we were over and I fell apart. Leah offered me a place to stay and she was just there. I was feeling like nothing and she was caring and made me feel like I wasn't an utter fuck up and I gave into it," Arizona admitted with shame.

"I knew it was wrong immediately. Unfortunately Leah didn't see it that way and when I found out how seriously she'd taken it, I told her it was a mistake and wouldn't happen again." Arizona remembered how strong Leah had tried to be but the pain and rejection in her eyes still broke Arizona's heart.

"Then you and I had another fight. And that night I was lying in my hotel bed feeling depressed and lonely. I was finally dealing with the fact that you would never take me back and…I know it doesn't excuse anything, but I needed to feel wanted and Leah gave me that."

"I don't know what I'm supposed to say to that," Callie said angrily after a long pause. "Am I supposed to feel guilty because you were lonely?"

"No," Arizona said quickly. "Callie, I don't want you to feel guilty about anything and I don't want to fight anymore. I'm not trying to excuse what I did. I'm just trying to explain why I was with Leah."

"Do you have feelings for her?"

"Maybe," she said honestly. "It's just…you're so incredibly strong Callie. You are a wonderful wife and mother and a brilliant doctor but you are also so independent. Leah makes me feel needed. She knows all the mistakes I've made and it doesn't matter. I don't know if it's anything more than that."

"Well Jesus Arizona. Do you know how that makes me feel?" Callie accused, sitting up.

"Yes," Arizona cried. "I do know and I'm not proud of it, just like you're not proud of the feelings you still have for Erica, but I'm trying to be honest with you."

Callie took a deep breath. "I know. I'm sorry, it's just a lot for me to accept, but then again, I don't have a lot of room to judge do I?"

"Yeah you do. You have every right to judge me and to be angry with me."

"Yeah, though I guess you do too. With me. I mean I know you still haven't gotten past my making the decision to amputate your leg and I pushed you too hard and too fast to get over it. I made it about me and I really wasn't there when you needed me."

Arizona shook her head, not really knowing how to explain the unexplainable. "Yes Callie, I was angry about my leg but I've finally come to understand that it wasn't really about that. We're surgeons and we know that people live perfectly normal lives after an amputation. It was the fact you made the decision for me. I mean, I had no control over the plane crash or anything else at that point and then suddenly I didn't even have control over my own body and I didn't handle it well and I took back control the only way I could find."

"But why Murphy of all people?" Callie asked again, more sincere confusion than anger in her voice, though there was still a touch of that. "I mean she's so….Murphy."

Arizona was quiet for a long time as she tried to find the answer least likely to hurt the gentle woman sitting next to her and then realized there wasn't one. "The truth? Callie, since we've been back together, you've done nothing but talk about phase two of your project with Derek and how you're doing it to give me a better prosthetic so I can be like I was before."

Callie bristled in anger at that. "I want to help my wife," she said defensively. "I want you to feel the way you used to and I want us to be able to do everything we used to. Why is that wrong?"

Arizona quickly cupped Callie's face. "It's not wrong Callie," she replied earnestly. "And I love you for wanting to do that for me, I do but…I'm finally content with my life now and with how I am. I guess when it comes right down to it, that's why I turned to Leah. You want me how I used to be…and I swear I don't fault you for that at all. I appreciate it and I really hope you succeed with the project and I will help you any way that you want, but Leah despite how I treated her…she just wants me for who I am now. Limitations, flaws and all. And…she needs me."

Callie's anger vanished instantly as she finally began to understand why Arizona had cheated the first time. "You don't think I need you? You believe I didn't think you were enough the way you are?" she asked, hurt painted across her features.

Arizona's first instinct was to deny it, but she was done trying to cover her feelings. That instinct had ruined everything. "Yeah."

"But that' not true. You've always been enough," Callie argued.

Arizona had to smile. "Not really. I know you love me Callie but we really just happened so fast. Once you accepted and were comfortable with who you were, you swept me off my feet. You are a woman who finally knows what you want and won't give up until you get it. That's one of the things I love about you but in the time we've been together you've always put Sofia first, your research second and then me. Come on Callie be honest and tell me that's not true."

Callie opened her mouth to do just that and then it hit her. She couldn't help but remember all the times she'd pushed Arizona aside for one project or another or for their daughter, of all the times she only pretended to listen to her wife while she continued on with her research and it was like a punch in the gut as she remembered everything that led Erica to leave her.

"I didn't know," Callie said, tears beginning to fall. "You have to know that Arizona. I never meant to put you last. Why didn't you ever tell me?"

"I shouldn't have had to," Arizona said as gently as she could.

They sat in silence for a long moment, neither knowing what else to say and trying to accept that their marriage was at an end while hoping to salvage at least a good friendship.

"You're welcome to stay here," Callie finally offered. "You will always be a part of Sofia's life. Of mine too."

Arizona began to cry. "I'm so sorry Callie. For everything. I do love you and I never wanted to hurt you. I never wanted to hurt anyone."

Callie sighed and pulled Arizona into her arms. "I know," she finally said as she began to cry as well. "I'm sorry I told everyone you were dead."

Arizona snorted in a sad amusement and just rested in Callie's arms as they tried to mend what had been torn apart, even if it wasn't the way she'd hoped.

TBC