Fandom: Station 19, Grey’s Anatomy
Characters: Maya Bishop & Carina DeLuca
Summary: A chance meeting at a bar leads to these two idiots falling in love. Follows canon and fills in the gaps of their relationship that we didn’t get to see on screen.
Also @ AO3.
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Denial is the shock absorber for the soul. It protects us until we are equipped to cope with reality.
- C.S. Lewis
Maya watches as the door closes, Carina’s shadow disappearing and leaving nothing behind but the lingering scent of her perfume, floral and heady. It is a smell that Maya enjoys, usually as she nuzzles her face into the crook of Carina’s neck while her hands roam her body, but not today.
Maya drops her head and inhales deeply, trying to steady her breath. There is guilt somewhere underneath everything else she is experiencing right now, knowing that she shouldn’t have snapped at Carina like that; but the overwhelming feeling she can’t shake is one of irritation. No-one has ever understood her relationship with her dad, not even her mom or Mason. They try to paint him as a bad guy, but what is so bad about wanting your daughter to succeed? It was her dad who made her who she is today – tough and resilient, always working hard, always striving to do and be the very best. Okay, so he wasn’t perfect and sometimes that determination led to some tough training tactics, but to call it abuse was not fair. After all, Maya should know. She was the one who supposedly endured it.
It was jealousy, she concludes. Her mom never liked the amount of time she spent at the race track with her dad, always cajoling her to go shopping or get their nails done. But Maya wasn’t interested in that. She liked running, it made her feel strong and powerful, and there was nothing better than the breeze against her face as she circled the track. She would run until her lungs hurt and her muscles ached, and then she would run some more. Her legs carried her around the track and when they had no energy left in them, her mind took over. Embrace the pain, eyes forward at all times. She liked to win, too, always pushing herself harder because she loved to see the pride in her father’s eyes when she was the first to cross the finish line.
Carina doesn’t get it and why would she? She has never met Maya’s dad. Okay, so maybe Carina’s upbringing was rough – she rarely talks about her own father, other than mentioning once that he was Bipolar and had passed it down to Andrew. And if that’s the case, then of course Maya feels sorry that had to go through that, but that doesn’t mean that their childhoods were the same. Far from it, Maya grew up knowing that her father only wanted her to be the best she could be.
Denial? The thought is ridiculous. Maya is not a child. She knows what abuse looks like, she has seen it plenty of times in her job. She has seen the women who make excuses for their husband’s bad tempers and the children who cower away from their parents. She is not one of them. Her dad is not an abuser and she is not a victim. She won’t let anyone tell her any different.
There is a knock at the door and she doesn’t know whether she feels nervous or hopeful that Carina has come back. She sits up straight and wipes the last of her tears from her face.
The door opens and Andy’s face appears. “Hey,” she says as she steps inside looking a little nervous, immediately noticing Maya’s dour face and red cheeks. “What’s wrong?”
“Nothing,” Maya says dismissively, not in the mood for another conversation about it.
Andy isn’t easily convinced, knowing Maya too well. She glances around the room. “Did Carina leave already?”
Maya’s body tenses at the obviously triggering question, her brow crinkling. “Yeah, she uh… she had other plans. How’s it going out there?”
Andy knows the question isn’t genuine and sees immediately that Maya is trying to change the subject. She sits down in the chair on the opposite side of Maya’s desk without waiting for an invitation.
“You know you’ve been weird all day,” Andy comments. “Ever since your mom…”
“Andy, what are you doing here?” Maya interrupts, her voice hard and tinged with annoyance.
They may not be as close as they once were, but Andy knows Maya well enough to see the shutters coming down and she figures it must have something to do with the bombshell that Maya’s mom had dropped about leaving her dad. Andy has only met Lane Bishop a handful of times, he has always been polite and interested in their work. She wouldn’t think much of him if she met him in street. But it was the way that Maya would behave when her dad dropped by that was more noteworthy, how her body would stiffen and her mouth would twitch, waiting for either approval or condemnation, as if never knowing which one it would be. And then there were the stories of how hard he pushed her and the training sessions that filtered down into their team workouts. Andy’s impression of him was that was hard and strict, so very different from her own warm and loving father.
“Are you sure you’re okay?”
“I’m fine,” Maya snaps, signalling the end of their conversation. “What’s up?”
Andy gives up, realising that she is fighting a losing battle at trying to get Maya to talk to her.
“There’s, uh… there’s something you should know and I’d rather you heard it from me,” Andy says.
It piques Maya’s interest and she leans forward curiously. “Is everything okay?”
“Everything’s fine,” Andy reassures her. “Look, I know you know that Robert and I have been seeing each other.”
Maya shoots her a smile. “I figured it out, yeah. It seems like he’s really been there for you the last few weeks.”
“Yeah, he has,” Andy says. “But what you don’t know is that… we got married.”
Maya is clearly taken aback by the news, her mouth gaping open in surprise. “Oh,” is all she says as she tries to process it. When? Where? Why?
The expression on Maya’s face tells Andy that she has the same concerns that Jack had shared earlier that day. She puffs up her chest in preparation for having to explain it all again.
“I know it was kind of spur of the moment, but I’m happy about this,” Andy insists. “My dad was there and he got to walk me down the aisle, so…”
Tears spring up in Andy’s eyes and she is surprised by the emotions stirring inside of her. No matter what Jack says, no matter what doubts he puts in her mind, Andy would not trade that day for anything, knowing the memory would be hers to keep forever.
Maya takes a moment as the news sinks in and she realises from Andy’s stance that she has been defending her decision to the rest of the team. She doesn’t want to be another one to ruin Andy’s joy, especially when they’re on good terms at the moment, so she springs from her seat.
“Congratulations!” she cheers, walking around the desk where Andy now stands to accept her celebratory hug. “I’m happy for you. You deserve some good in your life right now.”
Andy squeezes her back. “Thanks Maya.”
When they pull back, Maya is shaking her head in wonder. “Married huh? I’m not gonna lie, I’m a little disappointed we didn’t get to throw you a bachelorette party.”
Andy rolls her eyes. “So you and Vic could get me into some awkward and embarrassing situations? No, thank you.”
Maya grins cheekily.
“And some more good news is that Dixon finally agreed to let my dad have a line of duty funeral,” Andy says.
“He did? Finally,” Maya says, welcoming the news. “What made him change his mind?”
“I don’t know, I guess he was just fed up of us pestering him all the time,” Andy says with a shrug of her shoulders.
“Well, whatever the reason, it’s what your dad deserves. And we’ll make it the best line of duty funeral that anyone’s ever had,” Maya promises. “How are you doing being at work?” She hasn’t had the chance to check in with Andy all day, another thing to blame on her mother’s unexpected announcement, and she asks the question more as her friend than her captain.
“It wasn’t easy walking through the door this morning,” Andy admits. “I know he hadn’t worked here for a while, but he’s everywhere, you know? My childhood was spent here with him. My work, my career – it’s all been here at this station, with him watching over me. All those memories are wrapped up in this place and sometimes they’re a comfort but sometimes they feel cruel, because they’re just reminding me of what I’ve lost.”
Maya nods. “You know you can take more time off if you need it,” she offers. “I mean, you did great today. You were on it like you always are. But if you need more time, don’t be afraid to ask.”
“Thanks, but I’m glad to be back. I need to be back,” Andy says. “But…”
She pauses, feeling bad about ratting out a friend, even though she knows in her gut that it is the right thing to do.
“But I think Jack is struggling.”
Confusion crosses Maya’s face. “Jack?”
“He freaked out today, Maya. In the bowling alley, when we were trapped. I think the storage facility incident might have triggered his PTSD.”
They had been so caught up in mourning Pruitt’s death that Maya hadn’t thought about what sort of impact that day might have had on the team. “I didn’t notice.”
Maya had seen signs of it the last time after the skyscraper fire, they all had, except it had taken Pruitt to call them all out on it before they had done something. She strives so hard to be the kind of captain that Pruitt would be proud of and she kicks herself for missing something so important.
“Well, you know Jack,” Andy says. “And he says he’s been seeing Diane Lewis, so I guess he’s been doing okay. But today was different, today he couldn’t cope. And I know he’s going to be pissed I told you, but you need to know.”
Maya nods. She knew he had been having counselling sessions ever since Diane’s visit to the station a few weeks ago, although she knew better than to ask for details. “Thanks. I’ll talk to him.”
Shoving her hands in her pockets, Andy tips her head towards the door. “I should get back. You coming?”
The thought of a crowd is not appealing to Maya right now. “Maybe in a bit, I have some paperwork to catch up on.”
Andy shoots her a conspicuous look. “You know, whatever’s going on between you and Carina, you should make it right. She’s good for you, she makes you happy. And you deserve that.”
Andy looks pointedly towards the pile of calendars that sit on Maya’s desk. “You should take her one of those, call it an apology gift.”
Maya frowns. “What makes you think it’s me who has to apologise?”
Okay, so she is right, but Maya is still affronted by the assumption. Andy simply smirks.
She dodges Maya’s playful swipe of her hand and shuffles backwards.
“Come and grab a plate at some point. You should eat, even if you’re not in the mood for company,” Andy orders her.
She walks out of the office, leaving the door ajar as she makes her way back to the spaghetti dinner. Before Maya has the chance to think any more about how to make it up to Carina, her phone buzzes and she hopes it is her girlfriend giving her the chance to say she is sorry. She turns and reaches across her desk for her cell phone, pulling up the message. Her chest immediately tightens when she sees her mom’s name light up the screen.
She almost doesn’t bother to read it but curiosity gets the better of her. She taps on the message to open it.
I know it’s hard for you to hear, honey, but the way your father treated you and your brother when you were younger wasn’t right. My therapist says that it’s not unusual for children to bury the truth about their abuse. Please come and talk to her, she can help you. I love you.
Maya throws her phone down on the desk, catching the stapler and smashing one corner of the screen. She lets out a low growl, her body tensing once again. There is that word again: abuse. Everyone keeps throwing it around like it is simple, judging her dad and judging her childhood like it’s a damn case study.
She hears laughter floating through from the barn and it aggravates her. She pushes herself away from the desk and stalks across the room, closing the door with such force that the blinds rattle against the glass. Any interest she had in joining the fundraiser has gone and she spends the next few hours brooding in her office, busying herself with paperwork and brushing off her colleagues when they encourage her to join them.
When night falls, Maya doesn’t bother to try and sleep, knowing that she won’t be able to turn her mind off. She has got better at sleeping on shift over the last couple of months. The thoughts that used to race through her head at night are no longer there because she has Carina in her life. She can speak those things out loud and Carina will listen, and her mind is at peace more often than it used to be. But not tonight. Tonight, her mind is on overdrive as she replays moments in her life. Memories of her father – the early morning training sessions, the Saturday afternoons at the track. Pushing and pushing her to run faster and better until she was the best of all of her track team. They are good memories, they are the foundation of everything she has achieved since, and she hates her mom a little bit for trying to take that from her.
She is glad when the alarm sounds just after midnight: a fire at a nearby elementary school, likely arson. The science wing causes them problems and it takes them a long time to get it under control. They finally pull into the station around four a.m. and Maya helps the team with their chores, ignoring the raised eyebrows and curious looks. When they are done, Maya sends the rest of them to get a couple of hours’ sleep while she writes up her report.
When eight o’clock rolls around, Maya lingers in her office, waving off her team as they make their escape one by one. Andy points at the pile of calendars as she passes the door, giving Maya a knowing look.
Maya picks up her phone and pulls up the last message that Carina sent to her yesterday morning, telling her she was bored at home and on her way to the station to see her. She remembers the way her had heart leapt when she read those words. Despite only leaving Carina asleep in bed a few hours earlier, Maya had looked forward to seeing her again so soon – except her elation had soon been dampened by her mother’s visit.
She knows she owes Carina an apology and her fingers hover over the keys, quickly realising that a text message isn’t going to cut it. She knows Carina starts rounds at nine o’clock and hopes that an apology in person, with a cup of her favourite coffee as a sweetener, might earn her forgiveness.
Maya drops the papers she has been reading into a file and closes it, shoving it into a drawer to worry about tomorrow. She grabs her backpack, her eyes falling on the calendar and, taking heed of Andy’s advice, picks one up and tucks it into her bag, then slings it over her shoulder.
She walks the three blocks to Grey Sloan at a casual pace, letting the early morning commuters weave around her, and stopping at the coffee shop on Jeremy Street on her way. It has become a familiar place to her by now and she reels of Carina’s coffee order easily.
It’s a short walk to the hospital from there and she spots Carina’s car in the parking lot, which tells her that she is already at work. Maya knows the corridors by heart now, making her way straight to Carina’s office, pausing just outside the door and taking a deep breath, before knocking three times.
“Come in,” Carina’s voice sings from the other side.
Maya pushes the door open just as Carina takes a swig of coffee from a small paper cup.
“Hey,” Maya says tentatively, unsure of the reception she is going to get.
“Hi,” Carina says, leaning back in her chair.
Maya can see the tentative look in her eyes, as if she doesn’t know what Maya will say next, and it makes her feel guilty. A memory comes and goes of sitting at the table with Mason, their mom making dinner as they did their homework. It is just after six o’clock and her dad arrives home from work a little later than normal, everyone freezing in their place as they hear the front door close, waiting to see if his late finish has irritated him.
She brushes the memory aside. Everyone has bad days at work, right?
Her eyes drop to the coffee cup on the table and she lifts the one in her own hand. “Great minds.” She offers a small smile, waiting to see if Carina accepts her gesture, hoping that the fact it doesn’t come from the hospital cafeteria will win her some brownie points.
Carina takes a moment before she responds with a simple, “thank you”, as she dumps her own cup into the waste bin.
Maya takes it as a sign that she is welcome inside and walks forward, placing the cup on the desk and sliding it forwards.
“I’m sorry about last night,” Maya says. “I was upset with my mom and I took it out on you, and I shouldn’t have done that. I’m really sorry.”
Carina knows her apology is genuine, her eyes pleading for forgiveness alongside her words.
“It’s okay,” she says, standing up and walking around the desk, resting on the edge next to where Maya stands. “I know it’s hard to hear what your mom has to say.”
Maya feels herself getting riled again but she pushes it back down, determined not to let her frustrations with her mother’s nonsense spill into her relationship with Carina. Instead, she shakes her head.
“Don’t listen to my mom,” she says, trying to brush it aside. “She’s always been… dramatic.”
“I mean it. The picture that she’s painting isn’t real. I don’t know why she’s doing it, but she’s lying,” Maya says. “That wasn’t my childhood, that wasn’t our life.”
Carina frowns. “Are you sure?” she asks gently. She doesn’t know much about Maya’s upbringing outside of her running achievements, but from the things her mom said and especially from Maya’s reaction to them, she doesn’t believe it was just tough love.
Maya’s face darkens in anger, annoyed that Carina won’t let it go. Beads of sweat form on her forehead and she twists her lips to stop herself from saying something else she regrets.
“I don’t want to fight with you about this.”
Carina can see the walls building up around her and her heart drops. She has seen Maya open up gradually over time, letting her into her deepest thoughts about work and her team and Pruitt’s death. This feels different. This feels like if Carina keeps knocking at those walls, they will only get stronger and she doesn’t want that. Maybe in a day or two she’ll try again, Carina thinks. Maya just needs to sit with information for a little while, she needs time to get her head around it before she is ready to acknowledge the truth in her mom’s words. And when she does, Carina will be there. After all, they have learned to be each other’s shoulder to cry on and they should be able to talk about it. They will talk about it. She won’t let another person she loves hurt like this.
“I don’t want to fight with you either,” Carina says eventually. “I just want to know that you’re okay.”
“I’m fine,” Maya says forcefully, then catches herself and softens her tone. “I’m fine, honestly.”
Carina doesn’t need another patient on her hands, not after everything she has been through with Andrew lately, and Maya is determined not to add any more stress to her life.
“I brought you a present,” she says, flashing a conciliatory smile as she slips her backpack off her shoulders. She drags the zip and opens the bag, pulling the calendar out. “I’m June.”
She still feels stupid about it, but hopes that it is enough to bring a smile to Carina’s face. It works. Carina flicks through the pages to June, her eyebrows shooting upwards in delight when she sees Maya’s photo.
“Bella, you look hot!”
Maya blushes. “Yeah well, Dixon approved Pruitt’s line of duty funeral anyway, so they’re a waste of paper now.”
“Oh no,” Carina objects, “this is definitely not a waste of paper.” She twists and reaches for a pen from the pot on her desk, holding it out towards Maya. “You said you’d sign it for me.”
Maya tilts her head to one side. “Seriously?”
“Seriously,” Carina says with a playful glint in her eyes. She looks at Maya expectantly.
Maya rolls her eyes. “Fine. But you owe you me fifty bucks.”
“I thought it was thirty-five for a signed copy?”
“Yeah well, the price just went up,” Maya teases as she scribbles her name across the bottom of the page, glad to hear Carina laugh. She hands the signed calendar back to Carina, watching in amusement as she hangs it on a spare thumb tack in her wall, keeping June on display.
“Have dinner with me tonight?” she blurts out, desperate for a normal night out where they can ignore everything with her mom and enjoy each other’s company. “We can try that sushi place in town that you’ve been talking about. My shout.”
Carina knows it is a peace offering and accepts graciously. “I’d like that.”
Maya smiles, glad that a truce has been reached. “So you’ll never guess what Andy announced today…”
Carina listens as Maya launches into the story of Andy and Sullivan’s wedding. She sees it for what it is, knowing that Maya is avoiding the bigger subject, and she lets it go, also grateful that the tension between them has eased. Whatever it is that Maya is burying is going to come to the surface one day soon, and Carina knows that all she can do right now is resolve to be ready for whatever comes next.