Short And Sensible
by Keren Ziv

This is a Dickinson kind of day: everything feels like a yellow rose and nobody is whom she wants to be. As of this morning, her mother maybe recalls that she's a mother (but perhaps not how long ago she started), and she managed to avoid being in a room alone with Derek Sheppard all shift, a feat nullified by the fact that she woke half sprawled atop him this morning.

Now dusk has overtaken twilight with evening not far behind, and Orion will soon lay sprawled over the winter sky. Meredith waits.

Izzie's been in the pit for the past twelve and a half hours, but she told Meredith that she was on her last patient and would be out in a quarter hour. She's on her third rotation there this week (put there, nobody says, because she's good at it). Meredith feels that Izzie's got a way with trauma victims that's enviable. Sometimes, she shuts her eyes and imagines that she too can take a look at an emergency surgery patient and just fix him like Izzie seems to do.

"Aren't you scare sometimes?" she'd asked Izzie that morning when they'd gotten their assignments from Bailey (Meredith: post-ops again). "The ER's got crazies."

Izzie'd just stared at her like she were the crazy one. Of course, Meredith isn't supposed to say things like that. Izzie has confidence that she doesn't even realize she possesses, and she assumes that Meredith Grey, for God's sake, would have acres more than she. Meredith asking her that question wasn't a reflection on herself but Izzie.

"I'm just teasing. And jealous."

Both had been true enough. Izzie'd rolled her eyes at Bailey's back (and Meredith got the nagging feeling that eyes in the back of their resident's head was not out of the realm of possibility) and went on her merry way to the emergency room, suturing, and possibly gunshot victims.

"Lucky bitch," Alex'd muttered.

It isn't luck though, Meredith knows. Izzie has it, whatever it is that makes a surgeon a good one. She clams up with simple, silly questions from the textbook -- questions that Meredith memorized and collected just as her mother was losing them -- but Izzie knows the human body like she knows how to make her heart beat and her eyes see. Izzie has reached into the chest of a vanishing man and pulled out death. Meredith's popped a glove.

"I know I'm later than I said I'd be," Izzie says as she walks up, "but staring at your nails like that is so junior high snarkdom. You couldn't have been that bored."

"I'm thinking of getting them cut. Manicures aren't exactly practical in our line of work."

A half-smile on her face, Izzie takes Meredith's hand in her own, and Meredith sees her nails are short and sensible; they're moon-shaped, not blunt. Izzie's fingers are longer than Meredith's own, and she thinks, this is the next great surgeon if only she believes in herself. Being pretty is a curse that Izzie knows better than any other intern at the hospital, perhaps because she was saddled with the further bother of poverty. Bootstraps look good on her.

"Maybe," Izzie says, and she smiles at Meredith. "But not too short. You've got to be able to feel along with the tips of your nails."

Meredith laughs. "It's a fine line between style and function, but, with your help, I'm sure that it can be done."

Izzie, gangly tall and silly, takes Meredith's arm and marches them toward the car.


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