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You can't put back a petal when it falls from a flower

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The next time Cristina and Meredith are able to arrange two days off in a row at the same time, they spend them together, no boys allowed. Which effectively means no Derek allowed, because Cristina has not been on a date since Burke walked away, but Derek understands that they are not hating on him, they are merely having girly time together.

They do not start out by having girly time together. They start out by sleeping together. Cristina sleeps for fourteen straight hours. Meredith only manages twelve, but just puts on her MP3 player and wraps herself back around Cristina when she wakes up. They do get up, eventually. In the spirit of the day, Meredith scandalously does not shower and Cristina scandalously showers for forty-five minutes.

They indulge themselves with a grazing sort of meal at Pike's Place, where they get one item to share at six or eight different food places, plus four different coffeeshops. During the honeymoon, they acquired an odd fondness for museum gift shops (not the museums themselves, which are full of old or beautiful things one isn't allowed to touch, but the gift shops, which have toys one is encouraged to leave with), so they travel to the Asian Art museum. Cristina falls in love with a rug that she is prepared to leave behind, since it will never be vacuumed, but Meredith points out she can hang it on the wall and beat it occasionally.

They walk out of the museum into a drizzle. Meredith has brought an umbrella but Cristina listened to the weatherman who predicted sunshine all day. They huddle under a single umbrella, but it doesn't really work. Cristina says, "Fuck this noise. I need a haircut anyway." She dashes across the street, and Meredith follows right after, too busy looking at cars to figure out where Cristina's headed.

Cristina goes into a small storefront with a barberpole in front. Meredith pauses to read the sign, then stops to re-read the sign and decide if she actually wants to go in some place labeled Dyke Hair and Nails. But then Cristina opens the door and gives Meredith a look, and she doesn't really have a choice. It looks more or less like a normal hair place: no plants, the decor's a little darker, and most of the women on the wall have short hair and nails. She recognizes Ellen Degeneres, K.D. Lang, and Melissa Etheridge, but that's about it. No, there's a picture of Queen Latifah with flat braids, in coveralls. It's got to be a scene from a movie or a tv show, but Meredith's never seen Queen Latifah act, not even in Chicago.

She goes to sit down on one of the waiting chairs and grabs a magazine without looking. It turns out to be an issue of Bitch, a magazine Meredith vaguely recalls from her one brief foray into the Women's Center in college. She flips through it. There aren't many pictures that aren't ads, and the articles are a lot of bitching or celebrations of cult-y pseudo-lesbianness, but there's one review of a book about the history of dildos that she actually reads. She's flipping through reviews of movies and bands she's never heard of when Cristina taps her on the shoulder. Meredith points. "Your hair is. Gone."

It really isn't, and Cristina runs her fingers through an almost bushy sort of bob thing and shakes her head. She rolls her eyes, too. "Let's go. I'll explain the concept of 'lesbian haircut' on the way home."

Cristina does not explain the concept of a lesbian haircut, because the first thing that Meredith says when they get out of the salon is, "Are you a lesbian?" Cristina's rant on bisexual invisibility lasts all the way back to Meredith's and results in at least four people unsubtly moving farther away from them during their journey (two people cross the street, a blue Honda Civic slows down in traffic to let them pass, and Alex decides that the toothpaste he forgot on his shopping trip is vital to his future health and welfare.)

Once Cristina has been appeased with coffee and sugar and a slice of zucchini bread, Meredith says, "What I actually meant was, do you actually have sex with women?"

Cristina's eyes flash, her mouth opens—.

Meredith puts up her hand. "I fully accept your bisexuality as a preference not to prefer based on a concept which bears only marginal relationship to the reality of people's lives. Or whatever. It just, it seems to me like we've been kinda gay for two years except—."

Cristina says, "It's not gay without pussy, Meredith." She leaves the house.

Izzie is unfortunate enough to be the next person to come in the kitchen. (Alex, wisely, decided that he needed to watch aliens or irradiated ants or zombies or whateverthefuck blow up on a very large screen for many hours, instead of dealing with Cristina and Meredith.) Izzie just wants a shower and a hot dog, maybe two. Not necessarily in that order.

"If you had to choose one person for me to spend the rest of my life with, do you think Cristina would be a better choice than Derek?" says Meredith. She's leaning against the refrigerator door, so Izzie can't ignore her.

Izzie can delay though. She gets herself a glass and fills it with water from the tap, drinks it all in three gulps. "Work was a zoo today, with you and— with two people out. I stole your sister for the clinic and she made a patient cry."

"I was fully aware," says Meredith, without actually looking at Izzie, "that Cristina and I are intense and vaguely lesbionic. I just didn't know Cristina was queer enough for us to have sex. It, it puts my relationship with Derek in a whole new light. Do you think?"

"I try very, very hard not to think about your love life, Meredith. I'm trying not to think about anyone's love life. Why are you asking me this?" Izzie gets hotdog buns out of the breadbox, and a saute pan out of the cabinet. She's going to have hotdogs, even if she has to physically move Meredith from in front of the refrigerator.

"Normally, I would ask Cristina."

"Awkward," says Izzie. She gets an onion and a clean knife and starts dicing up just a little onion. Probably, there's a partial onion in the refrigerator, but Meredith is still standing there like an East German border agent. "Don't you have other friends? You could ask, you could ask George."

Meredith sighs. "I haven't talked to George about my sex life since he was part of it."

Izzie snorts, brings herself under control. "I forgot about that." She turns around and looks at Meredith. There's nothing else she can do about getting her hotdogs without going into the refrigerator. "Can I…?" She waves her hand vaguely to one side.

Meredith moves away from the refrigerator, and Izzie wants to kill her. Izzie was completely unprepared for Meredith's cooperation, and it sort of invalidates the slow burn in her stomach. "You should get out," she says.

"What?" says Meredith. "How's that going to help on the Derek vs. Cristina front?"

Izzie has hotdogs and mustard and, oh!, there's half a tomato in the fridge, and maybe pickle relish would be good. "Joe!" she says. "You should ask Joe about sleeping with Cristina. Because he's a gay bartender. I think this is much more his area than mine." She kicks the refrigerator closed with her foot and takes her dinner to the counter beside the stove.

Meredith says, "Did you skip lunch? You seem a little…intense."

"Mmm," says Izzie and nods. "Did a bypass with Hahn that coded three times."

Meredith winces and asks, "Did he make it?"

"Still alive when I left the hospital." Izzie smiles. "I pulled the guy through the second code."

"Maybe I should take you to Joe's."

Izzie shakes her head. "I want my hotdogs, my shower, and my bed. In that order." She turns to throw Meredith a grin, to let her know that they're cool, that Izzie is really just tired.

Meredith's got her eyes wide and hopeful, mouth open just the tiniest bit. "Those look so good, Izzie. Can I have one?"

Izzie flips Meredith off. "Get out of here. Go tell Joe all about the twisted love triangle that is your heart. Leave me and my hotdogs alone."

Meredith scrunches up her nose, pouts, and flounces out of the room.

Izzie puts the pickle relish down so she can laugh without dropping the glass jar.

Meredith is, frankly, a little nervous about asking Joe. It's like coming out to the whole damn bar, and Meredith's never actually come out to anyone: she just slept with her roommate in med school whenever Lauren decided Meredith was too drunk to hook up with strangers. It's just Meredith's bad luck that business picks up after her first two beers, and Joe doesn't have time to do more than slide down another Coors light and charge her credit card when Meredith waves at him.

Sometime around beer four and half, Meredith forgets why she came to the bar, exactly. She knows she wanted to talk to Joe about something, boobs, maybe. Izzie sent her to the bar. Izzie has nice boobs. When Joe hands her beer number five, she says, "Izzie sent me here to ask you about her boobs."

Joe gives her a look and says, "Meredith, do you want me to call Derek? I think you need to go home, now."

Meredith thinks about this a little bit. She, there's something. There's something she's not supposed to tell Derek, because she was supposed to talk to Joe first. "No! Don't call, Derek. No, no, no! You have to tell me what to do first, Joe."

Joe just hmmms at her and says, "You only get one more, kid, and then you're going home."

Meredith smiles at him and says, "Do you have lime? I think lime makes beer taste good." Joe gives her half a dozen lime wedges, far too many for one bottle of beer, so she asks for another.

When Cristina hands her a bottle of water, Meredith is not surprised at all somehow. "Come and sit down, Cristina," she says. "You can't take me home because I have to talk to Joe."

"The bar is closing, and you're slurring your words so badly that he can't actually understand what you're saying." Cristina is pulling on Meredith's right arm, the one without a beer bottle in hand, but Meredith collapsed on the bar about half an hour ago and is not particularly interested in moving. "Meredith, come on, it's time to go."

"Got to talk to Joe," Meredith says again.

"Joe will be here tomorrow," says Cristina. She gets an arm under Meredith's torso and heaves.

Meredith slithers off the barstool and leans against Cristina. "Niiiiiiiice," she says.

Cristina looks at her and frowns. "Why are you still here? You're about three beers past slutty." Cristina pulls Meredith towards the door. The lights are up, the floor is empty except for Walter turning chairs onto tables.

"Need to talk to Joe," says Meredith as she cuddles up to Cristina, head on Cristina's shoulder and both arms around Cristina's waist. "He's a gay bartender. Izzie said so."

Cristina mutters darkly, and Meredith doesn't understand her at all.

"You're my you," Meredith says. "You know that." If Cristina replies, Meredith doesn't hear anything. She passes out as soon as she sits down in the front passenger seat of Cristina's car.

She wakes up miraculously not hung over, but dehydrated. There's a tall glass of water on the nightstand, the tall, black, lacquer one which means she slept at Cristina's.

"Hey," says Cristina, standing in the doorway. She's wearing a camisole and boyshorts, both in blue.

Meredith has never seen them before, doesn't know what to think. "Thanks," she says, waving the water glass around. "And thanks," and the water glass is waving to encompass the bed and getting Meredith safely in it.

"You thought I was Joe last night."

Meredith takes a minute to realize why that's a problem. "Did I—?"

"Yeah." Cristina shifts, leans on the doorframe. Her camisole rides up and Meredith can see her belly.

"It's kind of weird," says Meredith, slowly, "that everyone I ask about that refuses to give me an answer."

"I didn't answer you last night because you were too drunk to know what you were doing."

Meredith gets up carefully from the bed. Her stomach's fine, her head's fine, and she feels steady on her feet. Cristina must have got more than just the one bottle of water down her. She turns to face Cristina. "I'm not drunk now."

"You're really stupid for Derek," Cristina says, shrugging.

Meredith is still for a few seconds, then she walks slowly to Cristina. She stands in the doorway, too, hips canted towards Cristina. "I don't think that's the answer to the question I asked." She raises her shirt and scratches her belly a little, drags her nails over her thighs. Her skin feels dry and tight, which is weird in Seattle. "The question is, would I be better off with you instead of Derek."

Cristina looks away, shifts her weight. "If I say me, what happens?"

Meredith smiles, points at the floor. "Stay." She walks off to the bathroom, brushes her teeth, rinses and brushes again. Drinks some more water because she's still thirsty.

She gets back to the bedroom and Cristina has walked off. Meredith rolls her eyes, and puts on the flip flops she keeps at Cristina's. Hardwood floors are pretty, but they're not exactly warm.

Unsurprisingly, Cristina is in the kitchen. There's two bowls of cereal on the table, and eggs boiling on the stove. Cristina is pouring juice.

"You didn't stay," says Meredith.

"I'm hungry and so are you," says Cristina. The carton goes back in the refrigerator and Cristina picks up the glasses.

She walks towards Meredith, who is standing between her and the table. "Hey," says Meredith. "Wait."

Cristina puts the juice down, and turns to face Meredith. She raises an eyebrow.

"Hey," says Meredith again. "This is what happens." She reaches out her hands and puts one on the back of Cristina's neck, the other at the small of the back, and she pulls Cristina close. They kiss for a long, long time, but they pull apart when the coffeemaker beeps that it's done.

Cristina says, voice all kinds of husky and low, "Breakfast or sex?"

"I only get one?" asks Meredith. She kisses Cristina again, on the jaw, then pulls away to get coffee for them both.

"Breakfast or sex first?" says Cristina, and now she sounds like Meredith said something stupid and intern-ish.

"Milk's already in the cereal, isn't it?" says Meredith. She gives Cristina a mug and a kiss and sits down in front of her bowl. "Also, before we have sex, I should probably dump Derek."

"It's classier that way," agrees Cristina, picking her cereal up and starting to eat.

"All the classiness goes away if I textmessage him, doesn't it?"

"Every drop." Cristina stands next to Meredith, hip pressed up against Meredith's shoulder. "He's into negative classy in your relationship, though."

Meredith turns, presses a kiss to Cristina's stomach, and goes back to her cereal.