Title: Streetlights Deliriously Flicker
Feedback address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Date in Calendar: 16 June 2005
Word Count: 1,008
Fandom: Grey's Anatomy
Pairing: Izzie Stephens/Miranda Bailey
Summary: Izzie has secrets. And boundaries. And moral standards.
Spoilers: Through "Who's Zoomin' Who?"
Advertisement: Part of the FSAC DD05
Disclaimers: Grey's Anatomy is the intellectual property of the Mark Gordon Company and Touchstone Television. This original work of fan fiction is copyright 2005 Mosca. No money is changing hands, so this work is protected by the fair use provisions of the Copyright Act of 1976. All rights reserved. All wrongs reversed. Look me in the eye and tell me you don't find me attractive.
Notes: Many thanks to k and Distraction for beta reading, and to MC for help with doctorbabble. Written for the 2005 Dog Days of Summer Advent Calendar. The title is from "Self-Improvement," a poem by Tony Hoagland.
The best way to protect your secrets is to pretend you don't have any. "My life's boring," Izzie told everyone at lunch, and they laughed, totally buying it. All the other interns were walking around like characters in a bad spy movie, like their vigilance would protect them. They were new to secrecy. They hadn't learned how to act yet.
The only person with thespian skills to speak of was the Nazi. That alone wasn't what set off Izzie's gaydar, but it was a definite factor. Izzie could have just asked, but she feared for her life. Bailey was so aggressive in her defensiveness that it was hard to tell if she was actually hiding anything at all. That made Izzie curious in exactly the way she wasn't curious about Meredith or Cristina or McDreamy.
Izzie fired up a spy movie plot of her own. Meaning she hung around just slightly longer than she had to, prolonged "good mornings" into real conversations, stopped smiling like a dip and let herself scowl in sympathy when Bailey was barking at people. Sometimes, it felt like she was coming on too strong, but other times, she was obviously Bailey's least-hated intern.
None of this would have made much difference if Izzie weren't attracted to the damn Nazi. Maybe it was all those photo shoots with stick figures, but Izzie had a weakness for short and curvy. She felt like she was constantly untying her tongue, and the spy games weren't getting her anywhere.
And she still wasn't getting laid. When she mentioned that little fact, people assumed she was lying. The hot ex-model could have her pick, right? But Seattle Grace wasn't a great place for a woman to pick up women, and Izzie didn't know where the great places were.
That was her way in, Izzie realized.
The next morning, she grabbed an extra coffee for Bailey and tried to act casual. When Bailey handed out their assignments, she saved Izzie's for last. "And as a reward for the flagrant sucking up, you get to shadow me for the rest of the morning," Bailey said. Izzie feigned dejection.
She assisted Bailey in a few bedside checks and a routine tonsillectomy before she found a quiet moment to take advantage of. "So," she said, "where do people go to meet people in this town?" She needed someone to slap the idiot out of her, but there wasn't time.
"The break room at Seattle Grace," Bailey deadpanned.
"What about people with actual ethical boundaries?" Izzie said.
Bailey snorted. "I wouldn't know," she said. "I'm too busy saving other people's lives to have a life of my own." She laughed sadly at herself. "Can't you ask one of those friends of yours?"
"I could if I wanted to meet men," Izzie said. Her life needed a rewind button very, very badly.
Bailey actually had to brace herself on a nearby crash cart. Her eyes could have melted steel. "Why in the world would you think I would be more qualified than anyone else to help you find a lesbian bar?" Bailey said.
Izzie wished she were a tiny, animated woodland creature who could dash away, leaving an adorable puff of dust in her wake. "I'm sorry," she said. "I didn't mean to imply—"
"It really is that obvious, then?" Bailey said. Her smile was more terrifying than her death glare. "Damn."
"I don't think anyone else knows. If you're worried. I mean, some of them call you a Nazi dyke, but I don't think anyone really suspects you of being German, either."
Bailey looked like she wasn't sure whether to laugh or to kill herself a few interns.
"But that's not how I think of you," Izzie said quickly.
"I know," Bailey said.
"Well, um, good," Izzie said. The impending awkward silence rumbled and echoed like an oncoming herd of rhinos. "It's... close to lunchtime, isn't it? You could—you could join me. Us."
Bailey had that sad-amused-murderous look on her face. "I've got charts to review," she said.
And Izzie understood. I've got charts to review. I've got a crush on you. They were almost interchangeable. "Liar," Izzie said.
The rhinos of awkwardness screeched to a halt. Bailey folded her arms; she looked like she was waiting. But hopeful, imagining. "Talk to me when you're a second-year," she said.
"Darned ethical boundaries," Izzie said. "They get in the way of a girl's social life."
"Only for a while," Bailey said. The wider she smiled, the scarier she got. "You know, I always suspected that your boyfriend was the kind who 'lived in Canada'."
"Was it the hockey?" Izzie said. "No, he was real. But he was... I think I went out with him because I knew he was disposable."
"You're lucky to have those kinds of options," Bailey said.
"That's what everyone keeps telling me," Izzie said.
"You... you got this Thursday off, right?" Bailey said, and Izzie nodded. "There's a bar in Capitol Hill that has an 80s night—bad music, cheap drinks. We could go together, if—"
Izzie put up her hands. "Boundaries."
"As friends," Bailey said. "There's nothing unethical about friendship."
"Friends," Izzie said, marveling at how different the word sounded when it was referring to Bailey from how it sounded when she was talking about Meredith or even George. With them, the boundaries were permanent structures. With Bailey, the boundaries were scaffolding and particle board, meant to be taken down. She peeled them back and kissed Bailey, who felt stunned but soft and full against her lips. "Just a preview," Izzie said. "Something to look forward to."
"No kidding," Bailey said. As if to take her mind off of the kiss, Bailey studied her clipboard. "Three more patients to check in on before lunchtime," she said. "Want to see if we can finish early?"
"You're the boss," Izzie said. She smirked, because those words were so much true than they'd been five minutes earlier. And because it wouldn't be long before they weren't true at all.