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With you? I would run into any fire.

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For the firefighters at station 19 Grey Sloan was like a second home, they go there every single day dropping off patients, stopping at the coffee stand because honestly? Theirs is way better. They know every single hallway, every entrance, every stair, elevator, wing, ORs, rooms everything, and actually, have spent countless of hours pouring over the plans of the hospital so in the off chance it were to need them they would know exactly what to do, where to go, how to help. And now, now they were waiting, hoping the doctors who somehow have become some kind of comrades in arms in between patients and crazy stories told at the bar just across the street, could help save the life of their captain.
- Captain Maya Bishop – the resident wasn’t even speaking loudly but they heard it as clear as if someone yelled to their ears.
- I’m her lieutenant – and her best friend but that wasn’t relevant.
- The Captain has sustained really severe burns, smoke inhalation and broke her left shoulder. Dr. Lincoln is trying to fix it while Dr. Avery debrides the burnt skin.
- Is she going to be fine? - Victoria Hughes didn’t really understand or care for that matter what all that meant, she only wanted to know that her friend was gonna make it out of surgery and kick her ass again at running.
- As I said her injuries are quite severe and extend so we won’t know till they finish.
- How come you won’t know? Where did you study eh?
- Hey, Miller stop it, you are not helping – the burly man was almost towering over the petit guy and yes, Andy Herrera wanted answers as much as anyone else but, starting a fist fight with the poor kid would only get them thrown out – Sorry, she is not just our captain she is like family to us, is there anything we can do to help?
- Umm, yes that’s actually why I’m here, we need her POA – absolute horror appeared in their faces, some even became white as ghosts, when you join the Fire Academy they make you do all sorts of paperwork, paperwork you were told would only become necessary if doctors deemed your situation critical enough a foot has been placed in the other side – Okay okay, I’m not saying anything by it, but because of the nature of her injuries is hospital protocol to at least have the number in case its needed which right now is most definitely not – and not a single firefighter there believed the man, they all had injuries, surgeries, scary life-death moments and POA has never been brought up.
- All right, Gibson! Go to the station her papers should be on the red file behind her desk – the man nodded rapidly before storming out of the room.
Minutes passed without any noise except for the squeaky sound of the boots wandering around aimlessly, here and there someone would let out a sob or sigh but it went mostly unnoticed, they could not afford to lose their composure, their captain needed them and they would not let her down, until the startling ringtone of Andy’s phone made them all jump on their seats.
- Tell me Gibson
- Who the hell is Carina DeLuca?
- Who?
- Maya’s POA is someone called Carina DeLuca.
- What?
- Yes, it says it here in Maya’s handwriting “if something were ever to happen to me I, Maya Claire Bishop, grant power of attorney to Dr. Carina Lucia DeLuca”. Who the fuck is she?
- I…I… I don’t know – Andy could feel how her phone was taken from her grasp but her shock made it impossible to respond, she was her best friend, she knew even the darkest details about her childhood, but she didn’t know the person who was granted the right to make decisions about her life? How could that be possible?
- Gibson it’s Warren, is there any number that we can use to reach out to this person?
- Umm, let me see…yes there is one but is international – oh my god Maya, who is this freaking person?
- Okay, bring it here I’ll talk to Miranda, she’ll know how to proceed – POA’s needed to be contacted by the police or a doctor, normally they would already be here or if not, someone from SPD would go fetch them, but given the fact that this person didn’t appear to live at least in the States, then, how do they tell them?
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Miranda Bailey thought she had seen it all in all her years at Grey Sloan but it seemed this place still had some tricks up its sleeves to surprise her. How did she end up with Interpol at the other side of the phone? Tracking an unknown number from an unknown person who was the POA of her husband’s boss? Yeah, how did it Yang called it? Oh, yes Seattle Grace Mercy West strikes again.
- Dr. Bailey?
- Yes, I’m here.
- Okay mam we’ve located Dr. Carina DeLuca, she is an OB at a hospital in Italy. Right know her boss has summoned her to her office so you can talk to her in privet, hope everything goes alright.
- Thank you, sir – and again, silence, she had wanted to catch up on some work while dealing with this mess but, turns out, having to tell someone that a really important person to them is in pretty bad shape is not the most productive situation, who would have thought so?
- Hello?
- Yes!! Dr. Carina DeLuca?
- Yes it’s me, who I’m talking to?
- My name is Miranda Bailey and I’m chief of surgery at Grey Sloan Hospital in Seattle
- OH MY GOD, what’s happened to Maya?
- Dr. DeLuca, Captain Bishop has been injured while putting out a fire, right now she is in surgery to help fix her shoulders and debride the burns she’s sustained but she is stable. I’m calling because by hospital protocols we need her POA on standby and…
- And I’m hers, I know Dr. Bailey, I’ll be there as soon as I can, please take care of her for me till I’m able to be by her side.
- Of course – and then the mysterious person hanged up.

Chapter Text

(ITALY, 6 am) Her shift has been kind of uneventful, so much so that she has started to define it as boring in her head (just not out loud because she wasn’t stupida), it was in days like this that she hated more than usual the time difference with her girlfriend which in turn led to a rabbit hole of wondering and pondering pros and cons of this long-distance relationship, not a very good thing for her mental health but she couldn’t help it. The thing was that they never meant to take so much time being in different countries, but their plans went to shit sometime after the 2012 Olympics, life, fathers, found families and expectations happened and their relationship goals kept being pushed to the bottom of their list. How could she make her love leave the only family she’s ever met just to be with her? How could she resign all she has worked for all her adult life? Were they being too naïve? Should they break up? But every time she thought about losing her, something heavy settled in her chest making her take deep breaths willing the oxygen to enter her system. No, that was not the solution, they’ve overcome so many obstacles, knew each other like the palm of their respective hands, grew up together but most importantly they made each other happy, was it not the really important bit? As said before, a rabbit hole, one that would have led undoubtably to a panic attack if it wasn’t for her pager breaking the silence, ugh alla fine!! Wait, what did the chief want her for? Merda, she shouldn’t have let her residents lead the ER.

- I’m sorry Dr. Moncini I shouldn’t have let the residents unsupervised – in all her years working at this hospital she has learned many things, one was that an apology could placate the angriest of people, so even if she thought that her students were competent enough to be let out into the wilderness alone it couldn’t hurt to try to deescalate the situation. Another thing was that, Dr. Moncini was never caught off guard, always with perfect composure at work, so the confused expression made Carina uneasy. – Carla?

- Umm, Carina, there is a woman who needs to talk to you.

- Who?

- I don’t know.

- Carla I’m not up for jokes, who is this person?

- I think you should ask her, I’m really not sure and use your English she is not from here. – so, she sat at her boss’ chair, picked up the phone and started the conversation that would change her world forever.

- Hello?

- Yes!! Dr. Carina DeLuca?

- Yes, it’s me who I’m talking to? - okay if this was some kind of prank, she really didn’t have the time nor the energy.

- My name is Miranda Bailey and I’m chief of surgery at Grey Sloan Hospital in Seattle – no, no, no, no, no, please no, please, oh god, no.

- OH MY GOD, what’s happened to Maya? – please, please, please, god let her be okay, please.

- Dr. DeLuca, Captain Bishop has been injured while putting out a fire – oh dio mio - right now she is in surgery to help fix her shoulder and debride the burns she’s sustained but she is stable – okay, okay, she is alive, Carina you need to pull your shit together, come on you can do it, dam it! - I’m calling because by hospital protocols we need her POA on standby and…

- And I’m hers, I know Dr. Bailey, I’ll be there as soon as I can, please take care of her for me till I’m able to be by her side.

- Of course – she ended the call before her sobs could reach this American doctor, she would be dammed if they heard her break down, her vision began to blurry and she knew her heartbeat was way too fast but not even half a life in therapy could help her at the moment.

- Okay, Carina, look at me honey, that’s it, breath Car, good, good – it took Carla twenty minutes of repeating the same mantra to bring her friend back, and even another half an hour ‘till she became responsive again - What happened sweetie?

- Ma…ma…Maya was…was… was injured and…and… is in sur..sur...surgery.

- Okay, what do you need me to do? – Carla was actually one of the few people in the entire city who knew about the relationship, it was not that they kept it secret just that they didn’t exactly appreciate the comments and advice of others, so they mostly decided not to bring it up in conversations unless you were family or really close friends.

- I…I…I need to call Andrea, he is in Seattle, maybe he can be there for Maya – good, keep thinking about what needs to be done – and I want to call Arizona and… and Addison, see if this hospital is good enough. And… and… I have to book a flight, oh god, I need a flight to Seattle now, how am I going to find a seat at six for like this afternoon?

- Okay, Car, you are going to go home, call those amazing surgeons of yours and pack your bags, I’ll handle your brother and the plane tickets, deal?

- Oh my god, Carla, my patients, I have a woman 5 mm dilatated, I cannot leave her.

- Car, you are in no way fit to deliver, I’ll page the OB on call, now go home and take a taxi I don’t need a call from the police saying you were involved in a car wreck.

If someone were to ask Dr. Carina DeLuca how she arrived at her apartment she would have nothing for an answer, it was like autopilot, hail the taxi, give her address, pay the driver, unlock the door, close the door, collapse. How much time did she pass sitting on her ass? Again, no answer. It was her phone that pulled her out of her haze, her baby brother’s face greeting her from the screen, and as it all became real, ugly fat tears started tracing her face.

- Hey, hey, hey, Carina calm down, please, Carla told me, she is going to be fine.

- You don’t know it, Andrea!

- I know that she loves you too much to leave you without putting up a hell of a fight and we both know how good of a fighter she is. But, for that she needs you, so you are going to wipe that pretty face of yours and start packing because your flight leaves in two hours. – he knew he was pretty much the only person on Earth who could use that kind of tough love with her without ending under her scalpel so he didn’t hesitate because he knew that if her sister didn’t catch that flight, she would never forgive herself.

- Okay, I…I’ve gotta go, have to get somethings sorted out.

- I’m gonna swing by the hospital to see if I can get any info on her situation, I’ll keep you posted.

- Thank you, Andrea.

In years to come, Carina DeLuca would always remember this moment as the most chaotic when in reality years of international travel allowed her the ability of packing efficiently while trying to contact her friends overseas. She thought about calling Robbins first, at the end of the day she lived in New York so night would come upon her before but, Addison was closer to her plus she knew about her relationship which admittedly had been a drunken mistaken, one she was very grateful for at the moment.

- You’ve reached Dr. Montgomery; how can I help you?

- Addison is Carina.

- Carina hey, long time no see, how are you doing?

- Hey, well not very good, umm, what do you know about Grey Sloan Memorial Hospital in Seattle? - Why do you want to know about that place?

- Maya is having surgery there.

- WHAT?

- Yes – what shirt do I take? Shit I should have looked up Seattle’s weather.

- What happened?

- I don’t really know, they said she had an accident at a fire – I don’t have time for this, shit, Robbins is going to be worse, shit, please stop asking, I cannot think about it now.

- Oh my god Carina I’m so sorry, what do you need?

- For you to stop playing twenty question and tell me if my girlfriend is having the best care possible and if not, where do I take her!!! – merda, she really didn’t deserve bitchy Carina – Sorry, I’m stressed.

- Don’t worry I get it, but you should take a breath DeLuca, you are not any good to her if you have a heart attack.

- I know, but I need to pack, to see where Maya can get the best care possible so I have to call Robbins to ask her opinion too because I think she worked in Seattle, take a flight in under two hours and all that while my girlfriend is in fucking surgery!!!

- Okay, okay first of all Grey Sloan is one of the best hospitals in the country, actually Meredith Grey works there and I know that because I worked there too. I also know that if you ask Robbins her answer would be the same, not only did she work there as head of pediatrics but she owns part of the hospital. So, all in all, if my own son needed surgery, I would take the first flight up there to have him seen in that hospital. Maya couldn’t ask for better care. Secondly, bring as many warm clothes as you can because Seattle’s weather has nothing in common with sunny Sicily, yes, I heard your whispering before, and finally roll your shoulders, put that face of super boss and go get that flight.

She managed to shut her house in record time, leaving a very confused neighbor with all her plants so they wouldn’t die and got into the airport with enough time to buy herself a good cup of coffee. So, what if her legs wobbled a bit while boarding the plane? She was Carina DeLuca and she would move heaven and Earth if it meant having Maya with her.

Chapter Text

(SEATTLE, 3 AM)

Miranda Bailey used to like night shifts, the contrast between the busy hospital and the quite sleeping city fascinating her and, to an extent, she still enjoyed them but her age made it quite difficult to recover, leaving her exhausted for the next twenty-four hours. That’s why she tried to find slots of time where she could rest her head in her office, but on this long and already hectic night a certain blonde on the east coast had different plans for her.

- What do you want Robbins?

- Hello to you too, Bailey, great hearing you – the blonde doctor appeared at the other side of the screen with her signature big smile as if, instead of the 3am her clock showed, they were at hour 11 of the next morning.

- Oh, cut the crap Arizona, it’s too early for that.

- Okay, someone’s grumpy.

- Robbinss.

- Right – the smile fading from her face to be replaced by the serious expression she had mastered when talking to parents about the difficult procedures she usually had to perform - I’m calling to ask you to give the absolute best care to Maya Bishop, I don’t care what it takes, you make sure she lives and recovers as if nothing has ever happened.

- Hey, you don’t tell me how to run my hospital!!!

- Do I need to remind you that it is MY hospital? And I’m asking as a personal favor – had anyone told her about a decade ago she would be talking like that to her former boss she would have called that person crazy, now after everything that’s happened well, it was one good thing she got out of Seattle Grace Mercy Death.

- Anyway, how do you know her?

- She is the girlfriend of Dr. DeLuca – again that name, who was this woman? – so, the only doctors that will touch her would be the department heads, I want Meredith, Jackson, Maggie and Teddy on the case, no questions asked, if they protest, you send them my way.

- Who is this DeLuca girl? Why are you going to such great lengths to ensure her girlfriend is alright? And how do you know Bishop is a patient here, it’s not been released to the press yet!!!

- You are kidding right?

- No, I am not, and neither am I in the mood to play detective so out with it Robbins.

- Miranda, she is one of the best OBs in Europe, if not the best, which means both Addison and I had attended many conferences to learn her technique. Plus, she’s become a close friend of ours, that’s why I have been woken up by a call from Addy telling me the situation, so yes, you make sure that captain is able to kiss her lips for many years to come – crap, so basically, she had European medical royalty coming in the next few hours, great exactly what she needed.

- She is also Ben’s boss so she was already receiving top notch treatment.

- Great!! Oh… I have to go Sofia has woken up, sleep tight Bailey!!

- Bye Robbins, give that sweet girl of yours a kiss from me.


(In a plane above the atlantic ocean)

The last time she had been on a plane was last summer, it was Maya’s turn to choose their holiday destination, the sunny coast of Spain full of beaches and mountains, the perfect combination for them. They spent endless hours walking hand in hand by the shore and trekking through the rocky pathways, splashing each other and sunbathing by the pool, soaking up on the time they had to be together. How did she wish now she had never let go of that hand, never got into the plane headed to Sicily, never lost sight of the love of her life.

Planes had always been their thing, stolen kisses and roaming hands under the blankets were the beginning of their relationship, eyes searching for the other on airports when their federations decided to book the same flights, that bright smile of hers when she opened the door of her hotel room so they could share a few hours together during the hurricane that worlds and diamond leagues were. Wondering when would be the next time they could be together, her hugs and kisses became the best fuel to better her mark, to reach the next goal, to make the international team. In all honesty, her gold medal was as much hers as Maya’s, not that she’d ever tell her, her ego didn’t need more boosting.

The itinerary on the plane’s tablet indicated she still had three hours left of this flight to Seattle; she knew she should try to catch some sleep but her mind was in overdrive. She’s always known firefighting was dangerous, even became one very difficult subject in their relationship, but the years passed and as no serious injury was sustained her confidence grew, in her girlfriend and all the safety protocols and gear she had described in painstakingly detail. All those hours explaining every bit of the inside work they did to ensure they came out in one piece from every call became her mantra, whenever she couldn’t contact Maya while she was on shift. It had started one day, when Carina called mid panic attack because that morning, they had lost a firefighter. It was her third year of residency and wasn’t supposed to be in the ER but they were short staffed so her boss asked her to join the very hectic department. They received the call from the ambulance alerting them of the situation, he had been inside the building when out of nowhere the roof collapsed trapping him inside the burning hell, she knew every doctor did all they could, used every piece of knowledge they had but as her attending told her, he was gone from the moment that roof fell on him, nothing could have been done to save that life. It took Maya a whole two hours to calm her girlfriend down, she couldn’t hug her so she did the next best thing, talk; so she listed every single part of the protective clothing made specifically to keep them alive, told her about all those protocols who were a pain in the ass to study but made their job significantly less dangerous and most of all, she talked about her team, how she trusted them with her life, how she knew they would never let anything happen to her. It became their thing, talking about their jobs, a way of feeling closer despite all the miles between them.

And now she was on the verge of meeting all these people who were family to the most important person in her life. She was nervous, scratch that, she was terrified of what they would think of her, how they would react to her presence. Carina had a basic understanding of every one of them thanks to her conversations with Maya, she knew Andy was her best friend and was married to Sullivan (former chief/ drug addict turned probie) who has been challenging the captains authority quite a bit recently then came Miller, whose baby girl she had helped deliver, although no one knew the friend Maya contacted was in another country separated by a literal ocean and wasn’t exactly a friend. Gibson who in all honesty she was a bit looking forward to meet, even if it was just to see his face when he realized the woman his been trying to flirt with all those years was very much taken and Vic and Travis, oh my god, now they were the ones she was most excited to meet, if her girlfriend had been correct in her description, she could see them getting along marvelously. She looked at her watch, either way, she was two hour away from facing the music that’s been avoided for far too long.

Chapter Text

Addison wasn’t joking when she said Seattle and Sicily had nothing in common when it came to the weather, so here she was, standing on the pavement hoping a taxi would take pity on the very well dressed Italian woman soaked to her very bones. It was times like these where she regretted not paying more attention to her girlfriend when she explained the ins and outs of the city, but who could blame her for focusing instead on those perfect eyes and lips?

- Hey!! I thought someone was in need of a ride? – she turned around to find her brother waiting by his car just a few feet away, it’s been so long since the last time they were together that he has let his beard grow way too much making him look “serious” which in her book just meant “ridiculous”.

- Oh Andrea!!!! It’s been way too long little brother!! – Andrew had a protest on the tip of his tongue, after all he couldn’t be considered little anymore, but the strong hug his sister was giving told him that this wasn’t the moment nor the place, if she needed some familiarity while her life was literally pending on a scalpel then he would give her that as much as he could.

- I know sis, I know – he started leading them to the car while discreetly getting Carina’s bag and suitcase, just one, quite the opposite of the two or three she tended to travel with, no doubt the result of the hurry in which she left home .

- Have you been able to get information on Maya?

- No, I’m sorry my friend at Grey Sloan was quite afraid of HIPPA – Andrew knew it was too much to ask, he wouldn’t have given the information either if roles were reversed, but he at least had to try, for both of his sisters.

- Don’t worry Andrea I understand.

The trip to the hospital was filled with tense silence, neither knowing how to start a conversation that didn’t sound frivolous nor made them tear up with the the sheer possibility of something happening to their beloved blond.

- This is it – the parking lot felt gloomy, although that could be her projecting her own mood into the location – The entrance is on the right side, I’m going to find a spot and then I’ll join you okay?

- Yes – her head was rushing, but her mouth felt like sandpaper, it was quite the miracle she had been able to actually answer to her brother.


The first thing she noticed was the brightness of the lobby which after the darkness of outside made her tired eyes hurt, she should have gotten her glasses from the backpack. Deep breath. Where could she get information on Maya? Think Carina, think. After looking around the Italian felt rather stupid for not taking into consideration the rather self-explanatory large desk at her right, with three woman in scrubs behind the computers.

- Excuse me, I’m here for my girlfriend, Captain Maya Bishop – the lady behind the counter looked confused and for a split second she wondered if she had spoken in Italian by mistake.

- I’m sorry ma’am what did you say? – the doctor made a very conscious effort of showing the woman across from her the air pods she had been using while reviewing an echocardiogram.

- Maya Bishop, she was injured in a fire accident?

- Oh yes, the fire captain, right?

- Yes, could you tell me how or where is she?

- I’m sorry ma’am I cannot divulge information about her to anyone but family – oh my god, were this Americans stupid or what?

- I’m her girlfriend, my name is Carina DeLuca and your chief contacted me because I’m her POA, so yeah you can tell me everything – so what if she was being rude, she had been in a 28 hour flight with two layovers.

- Wait a minute, I’m going to page her doctor.

- Can you just tell me if she’s alive? – her voice cracked, the possibility of not seen her love again finally more present than ever, during all this time she had been able to push the worry aside occupying her mind with all the things she needed to take care of and the tranquilizer she took before boarding the plane helped her fall asleep during the majority of the trip, but now, now she was faced with the cruel reality that she may not ever get to see those beautiful blue eyes again.

- She is – a voice behind her said, female and somehow familiar that once she turned around could see was linked to the face she had seen time and time again from the pictures Maya would send her. In front of her stood Lieutenant Andrea Herrera, best friend of her girlfriend – Dr. Bailey had been gracious enough to let us know.

- So, she is alright? – fear, plain and simple, of having understood her wrong.

- Well, all we’ve got is that she is alive and on the recovery room, for more information we need her next of kin – relief run through her veins and nerves, eliminating all the tension she had accumulated since that first call in Carla’s office, so much so her muscles threatened to stop working and leave her to the mercy of gravity but years of intense and grueling physical exercise made her sufficiently strong to prevent her fall in the last minute – I suppose that’s you – the voice, seconds before welcoming, turned into a slightly darker shade obviously not very impressed with her presence.

- Yes, I am, Dr. Carina DeLuca, pleasure to meet you Andy, Maya talks a lot about you – the Italian extended her hand remembering how Americans don’t really tend to kiss during first meetings.

- Interesting, she had never mentioned you – the Hispanic woman turned avoiding completely the hand offered to her, and started marching to the waiting area where the rest of her team stood.

Carina took the hint that for the time being friendly would not be the word to describe her relation with her girlfriend’s best friend, she could only hope the rest of her station family warmed up to her faster or her time here would be in another level of difficult. But she wasn’t going to give them the opportunity to say she had been rude to them, for Maya she was going to try, because they were her family, unconventional as they may be, and family had to stick together.

Chapter Text

Being a firefighter was like signing a deal with death and danger, they all knew that, the fires made it quite difficult to ignore that fact. But most of the time, in between kitten rescues, locked out people and installing car seats for first time parents, the parts of the job that were inherently life threatening hid themselves in the back of their minds waiting for the other shoe to drop, and for station 19, 24 hours ago, the whole shoe rack fell.

He couldn’t lose another person to this job, not her, the person who silently supported him when Michael died. That’s why when he saw Andy’s face coming back from the nurses’ station, his heart plummeted, his head became dizzy and his legs jelly, no it couldn’t be, Miranda said she was alright for now.

- Look who I found – their friend pointed backwards making him realize that, in his anxiety, he hadn’t seen the tall brunette staring at them from the desk, the poor woman was soaked, but what really perturbed Travis whas the look on her face, the same one he saw when he looked himself in the mirror and the one Vic wore when she thought no one was paying attention.

- Who? – Miller wasn’t up for riddles after so many hours.

- That Carina girl, apparently, she is Maya’s girlfriend

- WHAT???? – the loud shout attracted more attention than they all had intended with a few frowns and glares.

- Yep, said so herself, guess Bishop is not who we think she is. After that nobody knew what to say because even if it pained them Andy was right, how could Captain Maya “monogamy is for the weak” Bishop have a secret girlfriend?

- Umm, hi!! My name is Carina DeLuca, umm I just wanted you to know that Maya is alright, the surgery went as well as possible considering everything, they expect she makes a full recovery – they all stared at her, mouth agape, like they were seeing a ghost – Umm, yeah, I thought you would want to know – Travis could feel the nervousness radiating off of her, he had to admit it took courage to approach them given the fact he was sure she had heard their earlier comments, after all quiet was not an adjective he would use to describe their team.

- Thank you, Miss DeLuca, we appreciate it – Warren as diplomatic and mature as ever, for things like this he was the Station Dad. The woman nodded in their direction before retreating, he wondered where until he saw a man of around her height coming towards her, who was that guy?... Wait a minute…nahh…or maybe… could Bishop be in an open relationship? That would certainly answer some questions.

- Why were you so nice to her? – yep, bitchy hurt Andy was the worst.

- Because she had no obligation to tell us anything and she did even when you were so rude – for the record he was on Warren’s side, just not publicly, he didn’t fancy a week on toilet duty.

- What did you say? Need I remind you I am you lieutenant?

- Oh, cut the crap Andy, we are off duty here, which makes you as mortal as all of us, and yes you were rude for NO FREAKING REASON – Montgomery could read her best friend better than anyone else, possibly even Vic herself, but one didn’t need that much knowledge to see how Carina’s face had struck a chord inside her, if Andy was half as smart as he gave her credit for then she would start backing off. Now.

- No reason?!? NO REASON?? How about the fact she is the reason we haven’t been able to know if Maya, you know our captain and friend, is okay or not??

- That’s so not her fault Andy and you know it, and neither is the fact that you didn’t know your best friend was in a relationship or that your pride has been thrown out of the window, woman up and at least be nice – it all happened at light speed, one moment they were just shouting and the next Herrera stood up from her chair and started marching towards Hughes, if it weren’t for Gibson and his good reflexes maybe they would have three firefighters down instead of one.

- Okay ladies, it’s been a long day, how about we take some time off eh? – the male lieutenant offered, while steering Andy out of the waiting room, a few seconds later Vic went the opposite way clearly in search of fresh air.

As for Travis he couldn’t stay any longer in between those four walls with chairs in it, so giving the excuse of stretching his legs, got up and without a plan in mind he started wandering around. It was unusual for them to go past the ER, or the first floor so, with his curiosity peaked, he decided to take the stair to the second floor see what happened there. At first it was just the same boring white walls with a few posters in them about healthy habits, with a few nurses going one way or another, the hustle and bustle of the ward carrying him through the maze ‘til he found himself standing in front of a vending machine that was being punched by a woman, a brunette to be exact, and…now that he was nearer he could tell was the same one that approached a few minutes before with the update. Oh god Travis, why could you not stay in your seat?

- Ummm, hi! – the first froze mid-air, horror painted the features of this almost stranger, and immediately the firefighter felt bad, it was clear she didn’t want to be caught in that state – Don’t worry I won’t tell anyone you got into a fight with a vending machine if you don’t mention I got lost in the hospital I’m supposed to know like my own house – he threw a wink for good measure, relief possessed his soul when he heard her laugh unrestrained.

- Thank you.

- Travis, nice to meet you – he said extending his hand.

- Carina, likewise – he thought about keep joking saying that she was quite popular, but considered this new relationship too fragile yet for that level of familiarity.

- So… what got you so angry at this poor machine?

- It wouldn’t give me my protein bar.

- Okay, I’m sorry if its too early for this but I owe it to my captain and friend, I know that’s not really the reason – her piercing stare got him more nervous than a five-alarm fire but he didn’t budge, how many times Maya had stayed beside him putting up with much more crap just so he could get off his chest the oppressing feelings? – I lost my husband to a fire, for a while I went in between feeling depressed to an anger greater than anything you could think of, I was furious with the universe, with his team, with mine … Maya was there for me during those first weeks, silent, letting me know her shoulder would be there to take my tears if I needed it or that she would get the gloves if, instead, I needed to hit something until my muscles were so weak, I couldn’t lift my own water bottle. I…I’m just trying to say, I’m here for whatever you need – he saw how a single tear framed her left cheekbone, his heart squished by the anguish he knew so well.

- Thank you so much. - You’re welcome, now I think there is a waiting room full of firefighters that I know would welcome you and that love Maya very much – he had to laugh, that raised eyebrow was identical to the one his friend would give him every time something stupid would come off his big mouth – I’m serious, even Andy, she just needs time, it’s been quite the shock to know May has a girlfriend, come one who could have thought that five feet gnome could score such a supermodel level hot woman?

- One she is not that short and two I, actually, was a supermodel once – the laughter could be hear from all the corners of the floor, yes, Carina thought, maybe these people were as good as her love told her.

Chapter Text

- Hey, you wanted a protein bar, right? – Travis could have facepalmed himself, he had steered the poor woman off the vending machine without giving a solution or alternative.

- Si, I haven’t eaten in a while – the sheepish look she gave him elevated his admiration for Maya ten times, damm Bishop how can you resist those eyes so much you haven’t left us already?

- Okay, we can go to the cafeteria, it’s not the best food ever but it would do for now unless you want to go to another restaurant nearby.

- I don’t want to leave the hospital – determination slipping from her lips, reminding them that as great as this meeting was going it definitely wasn’t social, they were here in this moment and place because someone they cared for very much was in a rather dear situation.

- Okay, let’s go, but if you get food poisoning, I’m telling Maya it’s your fault, I don’t fancy a lecture from her – yes, thought Travis, keep this as light as possible.

The cafeteria was rather empty, just a few doctors and residents were scattered around. They chose a secluded table in the left corner that gave the feeling of privacy, the firefighter staring at his lousy salad while the Italian gave her coffee a suspicious look, instead of eating the plastic lettuce she decided on a muffin, not exactly healthy, but who cares?

- I’m sorry for asking, but, is Maya really going to be okay? – he had tried to keep his friends situation out of conversation, god knows he has tried, the last thing this woman needed was to be constantly pestered about the horrible state of her girlfriend, but she was his friend, he had seen her crawl from under literal fire, had rushed to her side praying with each step that she was alive. He was sure the image of his so very hyperactive captain, still, in a gurney while they did everything possible to stabilize her enough so that a chance to get her alive to the hospital was real, would never leave his brain. The way he kept shouting at Miller to drive faster, while looking like a maniac to the monitors willing them to not show any adverse symptoms, it was all too much to keep out of his head, too much to push his anxiety aside.

- Yes, at least for now. Her injuries are extensive but the doctors have showed me everything and for what I can tell, barring complications, there is no reason why she wouldn’t make a full recovery although is going to take time, a very long time until you can see her on the station. Right now she is in recovery from the anesthesia, once they mover her to the ICU we’ll be able to see her, one at a time – the young man across from her let out a sigh, while the last few hours suddenly caught up to her making her feel for the very first time how close she had been to not be eating in a cafeteria but saying goodbye to the love of her life in a morgue.

- Hey, hey none of that okay, she is going to make it out of this, come on is Maya Bishop we’re talking here – she was so very grateful for this man who had taken it upon himself to help her deal with everything, and right now was making sure her mind didn’t go to any dark place, so she brushed the tear threatening to spill around her face, there will be time for this later once she had seen Maya, touch her, let herself believe she wasn’t going anywhere, and preferably in the privacy of an embrace – why don’t we talk about something happier eh?

- Like what?

- Mmmm, I don’t know if Maya has told you this but I’m kind of a gossip queen, so why don’t you tell me how did you two met?

- Okay, but I have to warn you, it’s a rather long story.

- I have time.

- The first time I saw her was on a training camp in Estonia. The USA always brought such a huge team, with lots of athletes, coaches, nutritionists, basically all you could ever need or dream of they had it, whereas us, the Italian federation were by far more modest, just a few of us went there. In between two burly sprinters was this tiny blonde thing with more confidence and attitude than most of us, I remember pointing her out to one of my teammates, betting how long did we think she would be around. The thing was, for all those people the USA brought over to camp only a very selected few would continue to attend, it was kind of a test, to see if they could perform well under an international setting. I said I gave her two more seasons then, it would be like she had never set foot onto the national team. I lost twenty euros.

It wouldn’t be until much later, maybe two or three years after that moment, that I got to know the person behind that wall of strength and speed. It was summer, we were at another training camp, this time in Sevilla Spain, gearing up to another season. It was hot, like really really hot, more than I’ve ever experienced at the time, I think there was some kind of heat wave going on at the moment. My home in Italy is in the coast so the ocean would make sure to cool off the temperatures, but this city was not only on the south of the country but also didn’t count with beaches so we were left drinking lots of water praying to not dehydrate too much.

By that time, I had been attending international gatherings for about four or five years, while Maya had joined us for three and was already at the top of her category. The only time I got to see her was on the track when they would change with us steeplechase runners, I was friends with other 800m racers because we would hang around while the staff prepped the hurdles and such for us but never her. She would always go running to who I thought was just her coach, a man with a serious expression and a baseball cap hiding his eyes, always the same one always with his arms crossed over his chest while he wasn’t using them to amplify his voice when shouting something at Maya.

It was the third day of training, my roommate asked me if I could avoid being in our shared room because some javelin guy was coming over to “catch up”. I didn’t know the city or the language at the time well enough to brave a session of sightseeing by myself but, at the same time, had way too much energy in me to try to crash at another room. So, I went down to the track thinking about running some laps now it was cooler outside, it would be around ten p.m. late enough that the possibility of there being another human was slim to none and my social persona was looking for a respite. But, to my surprise and disappointment, there was another person there, a racer for the professional running technique, petite and really fast; with that description there was only one woman who matched.

- Hey Bishop! – I hollered from the stands, she froze mid-step turning slower than I’ve ever seen her move, the darkness didn’t allow me to see her expression but I would bet my entire bank account that it would resemble a deer caught in headlights. I waved quite enthusiastically and saw her shoulders relax, leaving the tense position grazing her ears, later I learned it was because she thought she had been caught by someone from the stadium or team USA staff who would scold her for training so late. She approached me but I told her to wait, descending the stairs as fast as I could muster ‘till I was standing right beside her – Race you? – and started running without waiting for her response, at first she shouted how unfair it was from my part but our competitive personalities won and we ended up lying on the track, breathless after around ten or eleven laps, laughing so hard our lungs were threatening to combust. I don’t know who won the race and I honestly don’t care, but it was the best one I’ve ever done, truly, if it had been my last, I would have been happy with it. For me, running was never about the result, just a way to scape my father’s iron pressure on my studies. He couldn’t deny a spot on Italy’s national team even if it meant dedicating less time to learn muscles and bones or at least, while my marks didn’t slip past the A.

Anyway, I’m going off topic, that night we talked and talked about everything and anything, about our countries, our families, our brothers, school, athletics, what we liked to do when we were alone, when there were no responsibilities no nothing. I told her I loved to turn the volume up and dance around in my room, jumping, hollering, being silly, until my legs gave up on me, and a sense of peace took place in my chest and mind. She talked about how much she loved to sit under the tree on her backyard reading a book while her baby brother painted besides her, how sometimes, she would get distracted from the story while watching the strokes of the cheap pencils, Mason’s hands creating the fantasy world he would describe her on hushed tones before going to bed, exactly as he said, no detail left. We shared more in that night than neither of us had been able to in all our lives. It was magical, kind of like some protective shield has been placed upon us, guarding us off from the outside world keeping our secrets and that fragile and innocent link we had just formed, safe, forever existing in that track at midnight in Spain.

The next day we went off to our usual routines, but this time instead of acting as the strangers we were not even a day ago we would smile to each other with the complicity of teenagers sharing a secret too precious to contaminate with spreading it around.

Looking back, we were lucky, like really lucky. On the last day of training camp, they gave us the day off to explore the city, have fun, live a little (our coaches’ words not ours). Maya’s father had come down with some kind of virus so he wouldn’t be able to attend and asked one of the other team USA guys to look after her, thinking he would have the same strict standards but that man, bless him, only told Maya to call him every hour to make sure she was okay and to please enjoy her time throwing a wink for good measure.

We decided to explore the place by ourselves, too giddy from our late night chat to spoil this new opportunity of being alone with other people’s presence. She was so carefree, trying on every hat we could find, eating ice cream on Plaza Nueva, letting me take her photo on the Jewish neighborhood. There was one in particular where she is behind a tree with her head peeking from one side slightly looking up to the top brunches, the light is illuminating her eyes making the blue pop, her smile so big it still gives me goosebumps, it’s the photo I hold onto for so many years after. When I was feeling lonely in my room back in Sicily or at university, when the world didn’t make sense, and the expectations were starting to oppress my chest so much, breathing began to feel hard I would dig out my copy of that photo, I would trace with my finger those arms where I had felt the most safe, reminding myself there would be a time we wouldn’t be this far, we would not have to wait months to see each other, we would fall asleep every day on the same bed, telling myself we would get there that I only needed to keep going for a little longer, that soon I would not have to do this alone, that she would be taking each step with me, together, as a team.

- Wow, that’s…that’s a beautiful story Carina – Travis didn’t know what to say, it had honestly blown his mind away, the love with which she talked about his captain was so deep it cut right to his heart – what happened to that photo?

- I left it back in Italy locked in my beside table’s drawer, I couldn’t face the fact that maybe the dreams it encapsulated were lost forever, I couldn’t bring myself to dig it out, take it overseas just to be told they would never be able to come true, that I was too late.

- But you were not.

- No, but I can’t keep wondering what if next time there is no more second chances? What if next time I lose her?

- If we live in the what ifs we stop living in the now and then time is lost, and that my new friend, never comes back – the firefighter tended his hand to the amazing woman he had come to admire in the short period of time they had shared, telling her she had his unwavering support – let’s take you to the ICU, Maya should be there already, what do you say we stop losing time?

- That, Travis Montgomery, is the smartest thing you’ve said in my presence.

Chapter Text

Andy didn’t know how she ended up on the plant room in the third floor of the east wing of Grey Sloan with Meredith Grey besides her, silent. Her memory was kind of a fog. She remembered getting to the hospital, Gibson’s call from Maya’s office, seeing Carina, arguing with Vic and then, well, a blur.

- I can hear your thoughts from here Herrera – the raspy voice startles her, a leaf working as separating wall between the two, giving enough sense of privacy to allow all feelings to run rampant without embarrassment.

- Last time I checked if you don’t use your voice, no one is able to read your mind, are you telling me you have some superpower?

- Nah, just perception, you seem to forget I have three sisters and three kids, I have way too much practice at reading upset people’s body language.

- Are you going to leave me alone?

- Only if you really want to.

- You are infuriating, did you know this?

- I may have heard it once or twice. So, what’s up? – the doctor opened one eyelid making sure the firefighter was still as calm as a few seconds ago.

- Do you have a best friend?

- Yes, but she is in Switzerland now, you?

- She is in the ICU.

- The captain?

- Maya, yes, we met at the fire academy. Being one of the few female cadets we were kind of predestined to at least be friends but she ended up being more than that.

- What’s she like? – the fire lieutenant gave her a weird look – what?

- A bit personal don’t you think? - You were the one who started with the best friend thing Herrera!! – a deep laugh erupted from the surgeon’s lungs seeing the pout on the other woman’s face – it’s not my problem you don’t want to open up!!

- Fine. But if Maya asks, I’ve not said a thing – the blonde put both of her hands up sealing the deal without using words that could potentially stir them from the main topic again – at first, she was a bitch the kind of person who would do whatever it takes to get what she wants, if it meant no friends then she would go without friends. I remember one time we all decided to hit the bar across the street, she said and I quote “you go and enjoy the now, I’ll stay so I can enjoy a place as battalion chief tomorrow”

- Auch, sounds like my best friend if she could deny a shot of tequila – the doctor smiled remembering the wild nights partying during her residency years, those were some of the best times of her life – sorry, continue.

- Yeah, ummm, where I was I? Oh, yes, around the third week of training we were both at the gym I was practicing picking hoses and she was doing leg work on the other side of the room. I was awful at hoses, like coaches yelling at me all time kind of terrible, so I spent every minute of free time to practice the technique. I could feel her stare on my neck all the damn time but I was determined to not let it show how difficult it actually was for me. You see Bishop was a beast, good at everything, effortlessly doing every bit of training, no complaining, no sweat, no weird walking from the aching muscles, she was like a cadet robot.

- I bet it was infuriating.

- It was, more than you can imagine, no less because I was a legacy child, I was supposed to be the one breezing through the academy not her!! – Andy chucked when an image of them popped in her mind – anyway, she approached me that day, told me that if I wanted she could give me a few pointers, I don’t know where all my resolution and pride went in that moment, I guess I was exhausted of getting shouted at about my bad movements, and how disappointing I was that I just accepted her offer. We spent hours on that gym, trashing each other, and in between all that I found that she wasn’t as perfect as she had tried to make us believe and, weirdly, that made me admire her even more.

- And you are sad and angry because she got hurt, right?

- No, well yes, I’m upset about that but I’m angry because I thought I had her all figure out and the world just crumbled.

- What do you mean?

- She’s got a girlfriend, the person I think of as my sister, has a secret love I knew nothing about who, apparently, has been by her side for all this time and more.

- You are jealous.

- NO!! I’m… I feel I don’t know betrayed? She knows everything about me!!

- Does she? Every little secret? - Well the important stuff.

- Aha so you are jealous because there is someone out there who potentially knows more about Bishop than you and you feel betrayed because she herself didn’t open her heart to the fullest when neither did you – Dr. Grey had that knowing smile, the one she used around her sisters to get all the juicy details and information.

- But she knows me!!

- And you don’t know her? Think Andy, what does it change that Maya has a girlfriend? – the surgeon was met with a lifted eyebrow as an answer – okay, what I’m saying is that while yes, having a partner is a big part of your life that doesn’t change who you are, girlfriend or not she is still your best friend almost sister. Although I’m not sure if she will continue to give you that title if you keep refusing being friendly with this Carina girl, I know if Cristina hadn’t accepted Derek it would have drifted us apart pretty badly.

The firefighter stayed in that room, surrounded by green, for a long time so much that her companion had to get out to go to surgery and a new nurse shift came. She just sat there, pondering over the words of wisdom Meredith had given her.

Andy wasn’t stupid she knew that Maya wouldn’t be a different person just because she now had a partner, which in all honesty explained the no sex/hook ups rule. They always thought it was some weird “eyes forward” thing, but nop she was in a monogamous relationship, good grief Bishop are you ever going to stop with the surprises? But what really struck the lieutenant was the final bit of her conversation with Grey, was she really going to let this ruin all the years of friendship? After everything they had been through, after almost losing her not even two days ago was she really willing to burn down the bridges with her best friend? No, loosing Maya was not an option and for that Andy Herrera had to apologize to Carina DeLuca, great.

Heading down to the ICU was a long walk, mostly because she was in the cardio ward while her friend was currently in the burnt unit all the way in the plastic floor on the other side of the hospital, no wonder she hadn’t seen any of her teammates, couldn’t say she had missed them either. The pending scolding, she was due to receive not on top of her list of things to look forward to. She had never been inside the intensive care floor, knew people who had been admitted to this specific place but never so close she had been warranted permission to enter, truth be told she was half expecting to be kicked out with her not being “family”.

- Hi! I’m here to visit Maya Bishop, I’m her friend Andrea Herrera.

- She is in 108 – a voice behind her said, startling her not least because it had the same accent than the one she had heard before. The Latina knew she needed to turn around, not doing so would mean being rude and lord knows she had been enough of that already, god karma really had a twisted way of showing, how could they end up almost on the same situation but with the role reversed not even twelve hours before?

- Hi! Thanks, I’m Andy – she said, and the cringe could be felt for all the seconds it took for her arm to be completely extended with her palm open. The Italian stood there contemplating her options, she knew the woman before her deserved to be left with her hand hanging like she had been in the entrance, but at the same time this person was Maya’s closest thing to a sister, uggh why was life so complicated?

- Carina – it wasn’t hostile but it couldn’t be considered friendly either, not by a long shot, it was the same introduction she used when standing in a conference, polite and firm, letting everyone know she may be pretty but she meant business – Maya is in room 108, I was heading there now only one person can be in there so the waiting room is on the left, I’ll come fetch you later – yes, sister or no sister Carina DeLuca wasn’t going to let this woman roam around unscathed, after all if her father taught her something of value was that DeLuca’s weren’t humiliated, ever.

Chapter Text

Carina couldn’t bring herself to open the door of the ICU room, so much could happen once she entered the space, reality would sunk in and she would have to stop trying to tell herself that Maya was okay, just a few scraps and minor burns and that everyone was overreacting.

- Hey, you know how to open a door right? – her stupid little brother appeared right besides her, arms folded across his chest and a knowing smirk on his face – Last time I checked Italy had the same kind of contraption than here.

- You would know if you came to visit at least once – his smirk grew larger, yes, a riled-up Carina was a fearless Carina.

- Oh well you are here now, no need for me to do the endless hours travel, thanks sis. Also, it would be great if you could open that damn door and let me see my favorite sister – he knew he was in dangerous territory, based on his experience this could go great or really, really bad.

- I…I can’t.

- Yes you can, on the other side of this wall is Maya, with lots of tubes and machines connected to her, yes, but she is still the speedy gnome you came home so excited about all those years ago, no matter how battered and bruised, she still is the same person who arranged to have flowers delivered in another country so her girlfriend could have a little token of appreciation before her first conference, rose lilies and white carnations because those were the flowers said girlfriend’s nonna used to plant every year, in her garden, back in Sicily. She is still Maya Bishop, she is still alive, whatever comes next you will both face it together as everything else you’ve both been through.

- How do you know about the flowers?

- That’s all you take from the grand speech I just gave you? – Carina’s raised eyebrow was enough to shut him up, it sometimes was scary how much she could resemble their late mother – Who do you think fought with that stupid florist to get you carnations and lilies on the same bouquet? You know I love her but she is helpless in Italian.

- She knows some words.

- “Baciami” and “ti amo” don’t exactly get you an atypical bouquet from one of the most expensive florists in Milan. Now come on its time for you lovebirds to get together again – fear clouded his sister’s face, he knew she had been purposefully stalling, knew also that she had needed that time to decompress a little, but now she had to get in there, needed to face the music, before it became too much again so he did the honors of opening the door, letting Carina in, putting his hand on her shoulder to show his silent and unwavering support, he’ll be there for his sisters in any way they needed him to.

Carina felt her knees shaking, her beautiful, strong and amazing girlfriend looked so small and vulnerable in that hospital bed, her entire torso was covered in bandages and too many tubes were coming out of her body, a big bruise was starting to form on the right side of her face, with a sling keeping her shoulder immobile. Her head started spinning, nausea tingling, her throat threatening to spill the small meal she had earlier and a sudden need to be by her side engulfed her, so she ran, well most like take really quick steps ‘till she was holding the hand not on the sling conscious of not disturbing the IV line on the back.

- Oh, bambina, I’m here – the world could collapse right in that second that the OB wouldn’t know as she was so fixated on their little bubble, the intensity in which she kept looking at the firefighter making the male DeLuca question whether he should leave the room and give them privacy, but his wondering was cut short by a raspy voice.

- Okay, what do we have here? – a raven haired woman in a white lab coat head down looking at her iPad entered followed by a mousy man (more like boy) with glasses sporting another tablet – Smicth present – Andrew cleared his throat – Oh, sorry I didn’t realise there were family here already, I’m Dr. Amelia Sheperd, head of neuro surgery

- Neuro surgery? No one said anything about her brain.

- Don’t worry it’s just routine.

- And why is the head of neuro doing the routine check up?

- Because my boss said so, apparently this woman is quite popular between the big hospital heads.

- Uh?

- Arizona Robbins? She is the one who ordered the department heads be the ones involved in her treatment.

- Ah, si, guess Addi called her.

- Addi? As in Addison Montgomery? OB god?? – the raven-haired doctor wore a shocked expression. -

Yes – hesitancy colored her response, she knew her friend was a really good surgeon, top of her specialty here in the states, but even that didn’t warrant such a reaction from a random doctor most of all if her focus was the brain and not the female anatomy.

- I’m sorry, I’m a friend of hers, that’s why it has been a shock to hear her involvement in the treatment of captain Bishop. And you are?

- Carina DeLuca, Captain Bishop’s girlfriend and POA, so what’s her neurological status?

- She is fine, no brain bleeds, responsive pupils, we won’t know for sure ‘til she wakes up but, there is no sign that would prevent a full recovery. One of the things that hooked Amelia Sheperd to medicine was the relieved faces and the gratitude after hearing a loved one was going to be okay, being able to give that to a family was everything her little self could dream about, and now seeing this woman standing before her and watching how her body relaxed with every word, a balm to her worried soul, the lullaby that put her nerves to sleep even if it was for the time being she knew her younger self would be proud.

- Thank you, Dr. Sheperd, thank you so much.

- Of course, depending on what the other heads say about her evolution, we are hoping to get her off deep sedation in the next two days. Dr.Grey from general surgery should be up next – after that the surgeon left the room followed by the intern, leaving the siblings alone once more. Andrew leaned on the wall opposite Maya’s bed while Carina sat at her right blocking the sunlight that streamed through the window, holding hands and whispering sweet nothings to her ear. A silent tear run down the male DeLuca, it wasn’t fair, after everything the both of them had gone through, after all the heartache they had faced regarding their respective families, it wasn’t fair to have the possibility of happy ever after snatched out of their hands, the ones who had carried him out from the deepest and darkest hole he had ever encountered. These two deserved all the light the sun had to offer, so why did darkness keep being so stubborn?

He silently left the room, aware of the one per room policy of the hospital, and started walking towards the exit door of the ICU. In his way he passed the waiting room where a bunch of people in firefighting gear were, well, waiting. He knew they were there for Maya, hell even recognized some of them from the stories she would tell him in their weekly get together at a bar downtown so he stalled, debating with himself whether to approach the group or not, pondering what the blonde would like him to do. He sight, from the times where Maya had a bit too much to drink he knew they were the blonde’s family, as strange as it was for him to consider a bunch of people who worked together as such, there was no denying they were as close to her as his own sister was just in a different kind of way. So he made a ninety degree turn and headed towards the small room.

- Um, hi! – all the eyes focused instantly on him, with emotions raging from curiosity to fear to exhaustion reflected in each of them – um, I’m Andrew, Maya’s brother-in-law, I just came from her room and for the looks of it she is going to make a full recovery so… yeah – he knew it was lame but god, those burly firefighters were intimidating – and thank you for taking care of her while we got here.

- She is our captain, she is family, we take care of our family – the biggest man of the lot spoke, he supposed was Miller, sat on a chair looking fiercely at the wall in front of him – she would have done the same for us, has done the same before, so thank you for telling us I know you didn’t have to.

- Yea man, thank you – now it was an older guy who spoke – and could you tell Dr.Deluca we are sorry about what happened before with our collegue?

- Yeah sure, no prob, I’ll make sure she knows you are all here but may take a while ‘till she comes by, her priority is Mai everything else gets shut down plus she just has just gotten off a twelve-hour flight with a layover, so yeah, just hang on she knows how important you all are to Maya – he started retreating feeling like his time was up, after all he didn’t know anyone of them all that well.

- Hey, wait, should we call her parents? Or are you going to do that? – this time it was a woman sitting beside the burly man who uttered the words that made his heart stop and freeze, so this people didn’t know how fucked up Bishop’s relationship with her folks where, shit. It wasn’t his story to tell that’s for sure if it hadn’t been for Carina figuring it out back when they both were athletes, he probably wouldn’t know either.

- Umm, look, I don’t know what she has told you but, for now, is best if they are kept out of the loop – he saw how some of them were going to start a protest – yeah, I know it sounds cruel and all, but trust me its what she would want, when she wakes up you can all question her although I’m not sure how much she would say.

- And how do you know so much? Eh, we’ve never heard of you before, if you are so close, she sure would have mentioned you.

- You’re Gibson, right? You know how I know that, because she tells me stories about all of you every Friday after work when we both grab a beer. Look, their relationship has been tough, they love each other but the outside world has not been that kind so they learnt to keep it quite just between them. How would you have reacted if she came one day and told you that she had an Italian girlfriend, that they have been together since 2006 way before she became an Olympic champion, but that they only see each other twice a year if they are lucky. What would you have said if she told you that brunette is the most important person for her? – he saw how everyone started looking at each other – yeah, you would have questioned it, tried to tell her that if after all those years they haven’t settled at least in the same country that it was better if they quit, that it was crazy, it would never end up good, would never get her happy ending. And, sadly, you wouldn’t be first nor the last so yeah, they keep it a secret so they can protect the beauty of what they have – and with that he left the room in search for his car.