"Cristina gave me to you?" Owen's roar seemed to shake the house or so Cristina thought. On the other hand, it could be the wine in which case she needed to have more of it. She added that to the list in front of her.
"She told me I could have you if I wanted you as long as I stayed to teach her," Teddy shot back.
Cristina snickered into her wine glass at that. Both of her antagonists rounded on her.
"I can't believe you'd dump me for surgery," Owen said, his tone somewhat hurt. He blinked in that way that Cristina secretly thought made him look like an owl, all wide eyed and shocked. Teddy put her hands on her hips and glared at her.
"You'd just give him up for surgeries just like that?" she asked. "Are you really that shallow?"
At that, Cristina pushed away from the table and stood up. Picking up her wine glass, she drained it then poured the last of the Cabernet in. "Neither of you has a reason to complain. You," she pointed at Owen who immediately closed his mouth, "have this whole wounded warrior thing going on with Teddy, which means there are things that you two have that we don't have. Mind you, I have that with Meredith but I don't want to sleep with Meredith and you sort of kind of want to sleep with Teddy."
"I…" Owen began but Cristina dismissed him with a wave of her hand.
"And you," she continued, her index finger stabbing at Teddy, "have been sniffing around Owen ever since you set foot in the hospital." Cristina swayed a little in place and put her hand on her chair to steady herself. "Yes, I know you're pissed that he brought you here as a present for me — not that I'm not grateful, honey but you put yourself in a bit of bind doing that. Anyway, Teddy, you get me and I think I get you which is why trading Owen for surgeries seemed like a good idea at the time."
Both Owen and Teddy stayed quiet as Cristina continued. "This thing," she made a circular motion that encompassed the three of them, "between us needs some work. I don't know what that entails and I'm probably too drunk right now to make any sort of sense right now." She pushed the piece of paper she'd been scribbling on forward. "Read that and we can go from there."
Teddy picked up the paper just as Cristina walked into the bed room and closed the door. Owen rubbed his forehead, closing his eyes against a suddenly spiking headache. "What does it say?"
"It's a list," Teddy said. Owen walked around the table so he could look over her shoulder.
Very few people could read doctors' handwriting. Outside of nurses and other doctors, notes on charts looked like demented chicken scratches. As it turned out, Cristina's inebriated state meant that her handwriting was painfully perfect.
"1. Meredith Grey is my person. Accept this and move on.
2. Owen: Ask Teddy out on a date. Figure out if the two of you are compatible.
3. Teddy: Ditto. Also, teach me dammit!"
"Cristina is focused, I'll give her that." Owen said when Teddy looked over her shoulder at him. "What? She knows what she wants."
"Drama Queen," Teddy muttered before she rolled her eyes and kept reading.
"4. Make time to talk about stuff. (Please Note: I'm not good at this AT ALL)
5. Think about getting a bigger bed.
(This one had been crossed out multiple times and replaced with "Find out who snores worse.")
6. Get more wine (see point #4)
7. When in doubt, ask Meredith (see point #1)"
Teddy looked towards the closed door, thinking about the drunk woman on the other side of it. "Is she always like this?" she asked Owen. He threw up his hands before running them over his head.
"Yes and no. Cristina is…Cristina."
Teddy Altman fell in love with Owen Hunt the minute she saw him striding across the landing pad in the Green Zone. Even covered in dust and blood, shouting orders to move every patient out of the zone and into the operating theater, there was something about him that called to a deep primal part of herself.
At least, that's what Cristina thought Teddy said the first time she tried to explain her attraction to Owen. There might have been something in there about camaraderie and loving in a war zone but all Cristina knew was that this woman, her cardio-goddess, was sniffing around her guy. It was unseemly. But this was Seattle Grace, correction, Seattle Grace-Mercy West, where sexy times were almost as important as surgeries.
"You know, we all three can't be off the floor at the same time." Teddy said in the same tone as if she were talking about the weather. "Someone might come looking."
"True," Cristina replied as she shucked first her scrub shirt then her tank top. "We'll be quick." She watched as Teddy did the same, the thin, silvery scar on the other woman's rib cage drawing her attention. Teddy noticed where she was looking.
"Shrapnel popped up under my flak jacket during an attack at the base," she said. Cristina dropped to her knees and pulled Teddy forward so she could press her lips to the scar.
One of the nurses wiped Owen's brow and he blinked hard, feeling the creeping sensation of fatigue and old memories work their way up his spine. He took a deep breath then held out a hand, closing his fingers around the instrument that had been placed there.
The kid he was working on had been on the wrong end of a drunken pileup that had most of the OR spaces full. They were going to have lunch when the call came in. Arms deep in triage for thirty minutes before Owen was called away for this kid and even now as he stitched, tucked and prayed it's still a struggle not to smell cordite and see blood mixed with sweat and sand in front of him.
He looked up towards the observation room and saw Cristina leaning back in her chair, Teddy next to her, elbows on her knees. Both of them covered in blood and broken promises.
Later that night, he spread them both before him in bed and rested his hands on their hearts.
Teddy didn't move into the firehouse until the first of the new year. "I like having my own space," she'd said more than once over dinner, after sex, after dinner and sex.
"It could be your space," Owen would counter. He'd look over at Cristina who'd learned her part in this drama early on.
"We have room," she'd say then lay back listening to them dicker back and forth.
That lasted until the day they were at Teddy's house for one reason or another. Owen and Teddy were gearing up for another round in the moving wars when Cristina went out to pick up some lunch and returned with Kung Pao chicken and some boxes from the liquor store down the street.
"I'm going to collect some of Teddy's stuff and put it in this box." Cristina held up the box in question. "You two keep arguing and I'll be in the bathroom." She gave them kisses on the cheek then sauntered into the bathroom.
"Were we just handled?" Owen asked. Teddy smirked.
"She was your girlfriend first."
They both turned just as Cristina popped out of the bathroom holding a toilet paper doll cover that Teddy's grandmother had sent years before. "This is not coming to our house. "
By the end of the second year, Meredith had slept over at the firehouse at least twice. Cristina spent both of those nights wrapped around her on the sofa bed. The morning after the second time, Owen looked over at Cristina who was making coffee for Meredith.
"I don't think we're going to make it in today," she said quietly. "Can you..?" her voice drifted off.
Owen nodded. "You're both off the schedule. Sick days." He kissed her on the forehead and Teddy squeezed her hand.
"I'll bring home dinner," she said. "Call if you need anything."
Cristina nodded then took the coffee into the bathroom. As they were leaving, they heard Meredith start to cry.
Teddy didn't dream like Owen did, with flailing limbs and balled fists. Her personal terrors left her curled in a ball moaning, their sheets sweat soaked.
Arizona was the one who provided an answer which is how Cristina found herself sitting in a circle in a small room at the local Vet Center.
"My name is Cristina," she said when her turn came. "And both my lovers are veterans. I need help."
They eventually bought a bigger bed. They bought sheets. They got a dog. Cristina and Teddy both argued that it was actually Owen's dog and it only tolerated them.
They argued. They made love.
Owen framed Cristina's list along with the letter liberated from Teddy's apartment which exhorted prospective thieves not to trash the house (and offered a dollar for their trouble).
They were having a party celebrating their fifth year when Derek approached Owen and asked, "How do you do it?"
Owen turned the steaks over and the smell tickled his nostrils. The roof of the firehouse made for a perfect summer hang out and they'd opted to have a barbeque. He looked over and saw Cristina and Teddy dancing with Meredith, Lexie, Arizona, and Callie and his heart swelled. Then he looked at Derek.
The wistfulness on the other man's face was something that Owen knew well; he'd worn that same expression the first year when everything seemed so uncertain.
"That," Derek said, inclining his head towards the dancing women. "I always thought it would be me and Meredith. When we found out about the three of you, let's just say the betting pool at the hospital didn't give you great odds."
Owen thought about that as he took the steaks off the grill. Then he picked up his beer and smiled.
"I bet on us," he replied and went over to join the rest of the party.