Thank God For You
This is canon season 12 so obviously there’s Penny. Also, I’ve not reread so sorry for any mistakes!
Can you imagine how wonderful it is to be in love? To be so deeply sure of your feelings for another person that you’re certain you want to spend the rest of your life with them?
Now can you imagine how devastatingly lonely it is to know that that person, the absolute love of your life, doesn’t feel the same? To live everyday knowing no matter what they say or how they try and pretend, even to themselves, you’re not what or who they ache for. You’ll never look right or sound right or feel right. You’ll never be right.
Because you’re not them.
Penny does. It’s something she lives with every single day and somehow, the more she loves Callie, the less she seems to love her back. The further away she slips and the closer to goodbye they tread.
Penny works ridiculously long hours these days. She often comes home to the girls asleep already, darkness engulfing their tiny apartment. Most times Callie has ‘accidentally’ fallen asleep with her mini-me, arms embracing each other tightly, Sofia contently curled into her mama as Callie’s arm reaches over her as though reaching for another body that will never be there.
Tonight though, with Sofia happily in Seattle with her mommy and Callie on early finishes, Penny had been delighted to be granted an evening off. She stopped off for her girlfriend’s favourite take out and wine, hoping they could have a cosy, romantic evening in.
Recently Callie had taken to teaching Sofia the piano. Penny had been frustrated at first, saying the huge thing took up so much space in their small home but the other woman was adamant and Sofia had taken to it like a pro. So she was used to the melodic sounds of Callie’s talented hands dancing accords the keys, even become to begrudgingly enjoy it despite not particularly being a music fan.
What she wasn’t used to, had never heard before, was the hauntingly beautiful sound of the older woman’s voice as she lost herself in words of a song she seemed so immersed in.
These wounds won’t seem to heal, this pain is just too real, there’s just too much that time cannot erase.
Penny can’t see her but the words float through the crack in the door and surround her and somehow she knows she’ll never forget the sadness she can feel seeping from the other woman.
When you cried, I’d wipe away all of your tears. When you’d scream, I’d fight away all of your fears and I held your hand through all of these years but you still have all of me.
Penny reaches an arm out to steady herself against the couch and thinks silently to herself what a thing it must be to be loved so completely and irrevocably by this woman and wishes regretfully that she’d only get the chance to know.
“Mama, mama, please can I put the special one on? Pleeeease?” Sofia flutters her long lashes, looking every bit as angelic as she always does with her wide brown eyes and dimples out in full force.
Callie can only give a throaty laugh and nod, ruffling her daughters silky hair, “yes mija, go ahead.”
Sinking into the couch, Callie crosses her legs, one hand holding her wine glass and the other resting in her lap as she watches her daughter, finally home from visiting her mommy.
“There. Perfect!” Sofia gives a toothy grin that is so amazingly like her mommy’s it makes Callie’s heart ache. She clambers onto the sofa next to her mama and they both admire their work.
The fairy lights sparkle against the huge green tree, a mixture of decorations collected throughout the years are neatly in place and the whole apartment smells like Christmas.
For a few moments everything feels a little bit okay.
“Hey guys! Wow, you two did a great job in here.” Penny leans over the sofa as soon as walks in, placing a kiss on Callie’s cheek and smiling at the two brunettes.
She wanders over to the tree, admiring the work the two had done and how homely it felt to be celebrating their very first Christmas. Something catches her eye though, something that makes her stomach curl in that way it does whenever a certain blondes name is mentioned.
Her fingers traced over the golden, glass bauble, over the three names written in fancy scrawl like they all belonged together. Like they were a family.
She doesn’t even know how it happens, she doesn’t even know it does happen until a distraught cry from a little girl breaks her trance and she realises that somehow the bauble is no longer on the tree and lays in shards, broken on the wooden floor by her feet.
Sofia looks as sad as Callie has ever seen her and it takes away the anger she feels at her girlfriend, the pain at her daughters sorrow surrounding her in a completely different way. The youngest brunette is desperately trying to pick up the broken pieces and Callie has to hurry to stop her from cutting her tiny fingers.
“Sof’, sof’ honey, come here. Come on.”
Sofia hurries over to her mamas arms, trying to get words out as her little chest heaves and as she watches, Penny feels absolutely awful.
“Mama it’s broken, daddy’s love is all broken.”
“Oh baby, it’s okay. It’s still there, daddy’s love is still always, always with you. Just like we always told you.”
Through sniffles she asks, “can I speak to mommy?”
Callie pushes back dark black hair from the young girls face, the backs of her fingers softly caressing damp cheeks as she nods, “of course mi amor. Go get your pjs on and and I’ll meet you in bed with the phone, okay?”
She doesn’t stop to look at her girlfriend, she doesn’t even blink in her direction as she climbs up from the floor, grabbing her phone and following her daughter. The slam of the bedroom door lets Penny know she won’t be seeing either brunette for the rest of the night and a tiny part of her is so drained, she wants to crush the rest of the glass to unrecognisable shards with the sole of her shoe.
Sofia rummages through her drawers, finally finding what she’s looking for. Clad in her pink flannel pyjamas, eyes red and puffy, she clambers into her bed, clinging to her mummy’s sweater that still smells just like home. Sofia cuddles into her mama and grabs the phone, waiting for her mommy’s face to finally appear.
When it does, both mother and daughter breathe a sigh of relief.
Arizona is beaming, eyes taking in the once familiar sight of the two brunettes curled up together and full of love. The smile drops quickly once she takes in her daughters tearful eyes and puffy cheeks and immediately she switches to protective mode.
“Hey my sweet girl, what’s got you in such a tiz, huh?”
Arizona nods quickly, sitting closer to the screen as though that somehow brings her closer to her precious little girl, “I’m here, Sof, right here. You can see me good, huh? You can see I’m right here. All yours. Can you tell me what’s making you so sad? Can you do that for me?”
Blue eyes flicker to her ex wife’s for a minute, watching the guilt brimming in her eyes. She’s not entirely sure if it’s for whatever’s causing their daughters sadness or for keeping them so far apart in moments like this.
“Daddy’s love broke, mommy. The glass Christmas ball that we hang up every year with all our names on it.”
Arizona nods, feeling dread in the pit of her stomach at what she assumes is about to come, “I know the one, sweetheart. I remember daddy buying it your very first Christmas for his best girl.”
“It got broken, mommy. Mama and me put up the big tree and all the decorations and when Penny came home she dropped daddy’s love to the floor and it broke.”
Arizona notices that Callie won’t look at her and she has to bite back her anger at how this could have happened.
“Oh Sofia, love, I’m so sorry that your daddy’s present got broken. I’m sorry that you’re hurting.”
Sofia wipes her eyes on Arizonas sweater, holding it close to her face, “you said it was his love, mommy. A big ball of all his love. Where does the love go now?”
The desperation in her daughters eyes and in her voice settles in Arizona’s heart, taking hold and making itself at home.
“Oh, my sweet, sweet girl. it’s okay. That love is all around you, always. It’s everywhere you are, my beautiful girl. Because I’ve never seen anyone love anything the way your daddy loves you. He waited his whole life for you, Sof. You were all the good things in all the world wrapped up in his little Sofia and he wanted to be with you every minute of every day. And that’s how I know he’s always close. He’s watching you all the time, honey. Every time you play soccer, when you open all your Christmas presents, when you get a gold star at school, daddy is cheering you on because he loves you so, so much baby. You were his dream. Okay? You were his dream just like you were mama’s dream.”
The tired girl seems to take in those words, accepting her mommy’s promises as absolute truth.
“Sofia, you and mama and even your daddy were better than any dream I’ve ever had. You’re my whole world and I love you.”
“I love you too mommy,”
“Whenever there’s a time we can’t be together-” Arizona smiles and Sofia gives her a genuine, loving one in return, “just keep me in your heart, I’ll stay there forever,” she finishes with a yawn.
A few more minutes of quiet whispers and Sofia is fast asleep. Her small hand still grips Arizonas old sweater and she cuddles closely in to her mama.
Quiet lingers between the two women and botch know they should hang up but neither can bring themselves to.
“Are you okay?” Arizonas tone is soft, gentle and warming and it brings Callie some peace.
“I miss- I miss everything.”
“I do too.”
And that’s all that really needs to be said.
It’s quiet the next afternoon. Penny had left early for work and Callie had been preparing lunch for the two of them. Her usually loud, energised little girl was subdued and quiet most of the morning and all Callie wanted to do was cheer her up.
Heading into the youngsters bedroom, she quickly comes to a halt at what she finds. Sofia sits on her bed, mesmerised at what she is watching. On the screen is an old homemade movie from years back when Mark was video camera obsessed and Callie’s heart twists painfully at the sight as she leans against the door, hand flat across her chest. She quickly moves and switches it off, holding her hand out for Sofia,
“Come and eat some lunch with your mama.”
The two eat together at the breakfast table, a whole buffet of their favourite foods and Callie’s relieved to see a smile back in place on her daughters lips.
“Mama, did you love mommy?
Callie drops her fork and it clatters loudly against her plate. With wide eyes, she quickly picks it back up, clearing her throat with a cough.
“I…I did, baby girl. I loved your mommy so very much.”
“Why did you fall out of love with her? Will you fall out of love with me too?”
“That can never, ever happen Sof. Never. When you really love someone it can never, ever stop. It never goes away. No matter what.”
Sofia nods, smiling almost triumphantly, “that’s what mommy said too.”
Callie hasn’t answered any texts but she knows her girlfriend won’t be home for hours and she finds herself drawn all day to the same hidden away box her daughter had been.
She picks at disk at random, sitting crossed legged on the floor in front of their big tv as she puts it into the DVD player.
Laughter fills the whole room, Marks face suddenly huge across the screen.
“Torres!” He’s looking at the camera he’d had for a while now, his face right against the lens, making Callie laugh tearfully.
“How do I flip this thing around again?”
Callie suddenly comes into view, rolling her eyes at her best friend, “your daddy’s a goof, Sof,” she says to the camera, “good job you got two brilliant mama bears to keep you on track, little legs.”
Mark gives a hurt “hey!” and Callie laughs loudly, sticking her tongue out at him.
Suddenly the camera goes black and when it’s switched back on, Callie is clearly behind it. She remembers this day so incredibly well.
Sofia, we’re gonna be really quiet and catch your mommy in the act, okay?“ She whispers to the device as though it’s her daughter, “she swears she doesn’t keep creeping in here for extra cuddles but she’s lying because she’s a huge baby hog. Right mommy?”
Arizona comes into view, cradling a tiny, sleeping Sofia to her chest, breathing gently against her neck. The blonde looks up and smiles, hair in a messy pony tail and wearing some old shorts and a vest top. She looks radiant.
“It’s not my fault she’s so yummy,” she whispers and the camera zooms in on the floor for a moment as Callie obviously leans in for a kiss.
Placing their sleeping baby back in her Moses basket, Arizona laughs as Callie pulls her through to the front room, still filming despite her protests. She places the camera on a shelf and now all that can be seen is their waists, bodies close together, arms wrapped around each other as they laugh joyfully and slow dance to the background noise of the radio.
Callie’s hand comes to her chest to reach for a necklace that is no longer there, her big brown eyes overflowing with tears as she focuses so intently on the memories. She remembers exactly how Arizonas forehead had rested against her own, how they had stolen kisses and shared tender words before falling into bed, the camera left playing in another room as other needs took over.
She’s so focused on what she’s watching that Callie doesn’t hear Penny come home and she doesn’t hear her quickly leave again either.
Callie is relieved to finish her shift, happy to finally relax with a new journal and a large glass of wine. Legs curled up under herself, she barely looks up when Penny sits beside her, close but really not close at all.
Penny is sitting forward on the edge of the couch and it makes the other woman finally place down her book and face her.
“Do you think… do you think if we’d met at another time, in some other place or without so much history, we would have made it?”
Callie’s eyes sheen with tears immediately, her voice broken and husky with angst and guilt and Penny thinks almost relief, “what?”
“It’s okay, Callie. Really, I’ve made peace with it. Sort of. It’s okay. But you have to too. You have to accept that she’s your one or she’s going to slip past you and you’ll live the rest of your life like… well, like this. And you don’t deserve half a life, Calliope Torres. You truly don’t.”
“Penny-” Callie doesn’t say anything else because she really doesn’t know how to. She can’t claim that what’s being said isn’t completely true, she can’t live a lie any longer. So she lets herself cry, grabbing her now ex girlfriends hand, “I’m so sorry, Penny. I’m so sorry.”
And she is.
It takes three days for Callie to gather the courage to call Arizona. And even then she almost backs out. Before she can hang up though, her call is connected and the always familiar drawl of her name floods her senses.
“Morning Calliope. You do realise it’s 5am here, right?”
“I’m sorry if I woke you, Arizona. I just need to ask a favour.”
“It couldn’t wait til a more normal time?” Arizona yawns and Callie has to clench her eyes closed as she imagines the other woman stretching in bed, tank top rising up to give her a miraculous view of her toned stomach.
“It waited too long already.”
“Okay? Whatever you need, Callie.”
Taking the plunge, Callie breathes deeply and jumps, “you.”
“Yeah I got that part but I’m gonna need some more words, hon.”
“Arizona, I need you. I need you to not be across the country when our daughter is sad. I need to fight over new furniture and whose turn it is to take out the trash. I need to go to sleep with you and wake up with you and be with you. I need to massage your leg when it’s hurting and let you rub my feet when I’m exhausted. I need it all and I think you do too and also I need you to pick us up from the airport later on because we’re kinda homeless and I love Meredith but if I have to live with her again, I’ll kill her.”
She’s met with silence and only shocked, heavy breathing and Callie thinks the wait it going to drive her insane.
“Calliope Torres. You’re the- the- the biggest pain in my ass I have ever met. And thank god for you.” She’s tearful and her voice breaks and Callie’s heart feels entirely full as she listens to the blondes whispers,
“Thank god for you.”