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Therapy

Chapter Text

It was her first therapy session with Dr. Lewis. Well, unless you count the one right after Rigo died, but that had been mandatory. Maya was heading into this therapy session voluntarily. After everything had come to a head with her dad and she had gone and begged Carina to take her back, Maya decided she needed therapy.

She actually decided she needed to see someone before she begged Carina to take her back because she knew it wasn’t fair to her girlfriend to ask her to forgive her if she wasn’t willing to do the work to make sure she didn’t blow up their relationship again, and Maya knew that without the help of a professional, there was a 100% chance she would destroy things with Carina. Carina was in full support of Maya going to see a therapist, confiding in the firefighter that she herself had been in therapy for the past 5 months with everything going on with her brother.

Maya called Dr. Lewis on her way to apologize to Carina and got an appointment for a few days later. Dr. Lewis agreed to come to the station before her shifts.

This first session though, Maya asked to have on her day off. They were going to use Sullivan’s office because the captain from C shift needed the Captain’s office because it was his shift. Maya didn’t know how this was going to go so she wanted to do it when she would have a lot of time to process it.

Carina walked her to the station that morning, mostly because all Maya wanted to do was run and never stop, but she knew she needed this.

“You can do this Bella,” Carina said, kissing her cheek as they walked into the station.

Dr. Lewis was standing near the desk, waiting for Maya.

“Captain Bishop,” the therapist said, “Ready?”

“Do you want me to wait?” Carina asked as Maya took a deep breath.

“No,” Maya said, shaking her head, “No. Go catch up on your charting. I’ll text you when I’m done.”

“Alright,” Carina said, leaning down and giving Maya a quick kiss before leaving.

“Who was that?” Dr. Lewis asked as they walked upstairs and into Sullivan’s office, Maya closing all the blinds because she did not want anyone at the station to see what was going on.

“My girlfriend,” Maya said, sitting down in one of Sullivan’s chairs as Dr. Lewis sat down behind the desk, “Dr. Carina Deluca.”

“How long have you two been together?” Dr. Lewis asked, taking out her notebook.

“It’s kinda complicated,” Maya said, suddenly finding her hands very interesting.

“Complicated is why we are here,” Dr. Lewis said.

“Well, we were together for about three months,” Maya said.

“Were?” Dr. Lewis said, cocking an eyebrow, “I thought you just said she is your girlfriend.”

“Yeah,” Maya said, nodding, “She is again now. But about two weeks ago, we had a big fight about my dad and whether or not he was abusive which I was in denial about and I ran out like I always do and I came here because this is basically my second home and I slept with Jack who is my ex-boyfriend in my office which I’m sure you already know because I know he’s been seeing you and then I went home and she was still there because she is a saint and waited there all day on her day off when she could have been doing anything else and I was so mad at her and myself and my dad and the universe that I yelled at her and told her I had just slept with Jack and I broke us.”

“Ok,” Dr. Lewis said, taking in everything the captain had just told her as she watched tears run down Maya’s face, the blonde trying desperately to wipe them away on her shirt sleeve, “And now you two are back together?”

“Yeah,” Maya said, wiping away another tear, “Yeah. I realized some stuff and I went and begged her to forgive me and she took me back.”

“She sounds like an amazing woman,” Dr. Lewis said, scratching some stuff down in her notebook.

“She is,” Maya said, nodding, “I never would have taken me back if I were her.”

“Why?” Dr. Lewis said, looking up.

“What?” Maya said.

“Why wouldn’t you take you back if you were her?” Dr. Lewis asked as Maya looked up at her.

“Because I’m broken,” Maya said as if it were obvious, “Because I messed everything up and I was awful to her and no one should have to deal with this mess, especially not Carina.”

“So you think you’re not worthy of her?” Dr. Lewis asked.

“Not really,” Maya said, shaking her head.

“Why?” Dr. Lewis said, curiously.

“What do you mean why?” Maya said, a little agitated, “Did you not just listen to what I said? I messed up so much.”

“So you think people can’t make mistakes and be forgiven for them?” Dr. Lewis asked.

“Well, everyone makes mistakes,” Maya said.

“But just not you?” Dr. Lewis said.

“I make mistakes all the time,” Maya said with a sigh.

“But you don’t think people deserve forgiveness?” Dr. Lewis said.

“No,” Maya said, “Of course they do.”

“But you don’t deserve forgiveness,” Dr. Lewis stated more than asked. Maya didn’t say anything, just looking down.

“Why don’t you think you deserve forgiveness?” Dr. Lewis pressed.

Maya bit her lip, trying to keep more tears from falling down her face. They just sat in silence for a minute, Maya not wanting to answer the question.

Finally, Maya looked up a little, still not meeting Dr. Lewis’s eye, “Because what I did was unforgivable.”

“But Carina said she forgave you, right?” Dr. Lewis said.

“But I don’t know how,” Maya said, “I’m having a hard time believing she would forgive me.”

“If she did what you did, would you forgive her?” Dr. Lewis asked.

Maya thought for several minutes, running scenarios in her head before answering, “I think I would. I think it would be hard, but I think I would.”

“Why?” Dr. Lewis asked.

“Because I love her,” Maya said, tears filling her eyes again.

“Do you think she loves you?” Dr. Lewis asked.

“She says she does,” Maya said, wiping at her tears again.

“Do you believe her?” Dr. Lewis asked, writing again.

“I…I…I want to,” Maya said, stumbling over her words, “I think I do, but it’s hard to. I don’t know.”

“Why is it hard for you to believe her when she tells you she loves you?” Dr. Lewis asked.

“Because I’ve never had anyone say they loved me before,” Maya said, biting her lip so hard it almost started bleeding, “Except my little brother and even he hasn’t said it in a long time. I guess maybe it’s hard to believe I’m worthy of her love, especially because of everything I did.”

“Has she ever lied to you before?” Dr. Lewis asked.

“No,” Maya said, shaking her head.

“Then shouldn’t you believe her now?” Dr. Lewis asked.

Maya slowly nodded, not even trying to stop the tears that were running down her cheeks.

“I think it’s good you called,” Dr. Lewis as she set her pen down, “Unfortunately, our hour is up for today. I will be back next Tuesday if that’s alright with you, before your shift, right?”

“Yeah,” Maya said, nodding, “Thanks.”

“And before I see you again,” Dr. Lewis said as Maya stood up, “I want you to spend five minutes every day writing down all the times Carina was honest with you. It can be anything from her favorite color to something bigger, but I want you to realize that what she is telling you is real.”

Maya nodded, wiping her eyes again.

“Thank you, Diane,” Maya said, shaking her hand, “I’ll see you next week.”

Maya walked out of the office, glad she had worn running attire today. She shot Carina a text, telling her she was going for a run and then she would bring lunch by the hospital. Carina texted her back, telling her that she would see her soon.

Maya ran for a while, just needing to calm down and get in a better headspace before she went to see Carina. Then, she ran to their favorite place near the hospital, grabbing lunch for both of them before walking to the hospital.

“Hi Bella,” Carina said, smiling as she walked into the office, “How was it?”

“Overwhelming, challenging, frustrating, hard” Maya said, going to Carina and giving her a kiss, “But it was good.”

“I am very proud of you,” Carina said, smiling as she and Maya moved to the couch to have lunch.

Maya just smiled as they opened their food, feeling a little more relaxed than she had in a long time.

Chapter Text

“How did it go the last week?” Dr. Lewis asked as she settled into Maya’s desk.

The two of them agreed that it was easier for this to work if Maya was sitting in her chairs and Dr. Lewis was at the desk.

“It went ok,” Maya said, fiddling with the side of her notebook, “I did what you said. Well, actually. That’s kind of a lie.”

“What do you mean?” Dr. Lewis asked as she pulled out her notebook.

“Well, most days I couldn’t stop at five minutes,” Maya said, opening her notebook and reveling about fifteen pages full of writings, “Well, except one day when we had non-stop fires, but even that day, I did my writing instead of showering which I don’t think my team appreciated very much.”

“Wow,” Dr. Lewis said, pulling out her pen, “That is impressive. It’s sometimes like pulling teeth to get firefighters to do my assignments.”

Maya just shrugged, looking down at her paper.

“Do you want to talk about anything you wrote down?” Dr. Lewis asked.

“It’s just simple stuff mostly,” Maya said, “Like her favorite coffee and her best friend when she was a kid and where she likes to go on vacation. And some other stuff like that her brother and dad have Bipolar 1 and that her dad was abusive like mine.”

“How does that make you feel?” Dr. Lewis asked.

“How does what make me feel?” Maya asked, “That she is honest with me about all this stuff? It makes me feel like I can trust what she tells me and trust that she loves me when she tells me.”

“Good,” Dr. Lewis said, smiling.

She took a beat, seeing if Maya would fill the silence. This time, the fire captain did.

“It makes me mad that her dad abused her,” Maya said, gritting her teeth a little, “She is one of the nicest most wonderful people I have ever met, and it makes me want to scream that she had to endure what she did.”

“What kind of abuse did she go through?” Dr. Lewis asked, “If you feel comfortable sharing about something so personal to her.”

“Emotional abuse,” Maya said, biting on her lip a little, “Her father never thought she was good enough. He has bipolar disorder, and her mother left her when she was 7 and came to America with her brother leaving her to deal with her father and his drastic mood swings and short tempers and screaming. He doesn’t value her work, and all he does is put her down.”

“Does she still see him?” Dr. Lewis asked, “Have you ever met him?”

“He lives in Italy,” Maya said, shaking her head, “He hasn’t been here in two years, and I’ve never been there. She talks to him on the phone every once in a while, but not often.”

“How does she handle it?” Dr. Lewis asked.

“Most of the time, she’s fine,” Maya said, “Sometimes after she talks to him, she gets a little moody, but she knows how to handle it. She’s been in therapy since she was a teenager because of it and her own stuff too. She honestly handles it better than me.”

“Better than you handle how he treats her?” Dr. Lewis said, “Or better than you handle you own father’s abuse?”

Maya looked up, a little confused.

“You mentioned last week that your dad was abusive and that you were in denial about it,” Dr. Lewis said, looking at her notes, “I’m curious about how you are handling that. It’s kinda a big thing to accept. So how are you handling it?”

Maya took a long, deep breath before blowing it out.

“He pulled my hair,” Maya said, looking up at Dr. Lewis.

“Who did?” Dr. Lewis asked.

“My dad,” Maya said, “He showed up last week at the station right as we got a call and he followed us there and it was a high stress situation because my team was trapped inside with a bomb and no way out and I was in charge and he kept interrupting and then he started yelling at me about how my family was falling apart and I was playing captain and I told him to go wait at the station and he came under the tape into my scene and I told him to leave and I turned away and he grabbed my ponytail and pulled it.”

“And what did you do?” Dr. Lewis asked as Maya stopped talking.

"I screamed at him and the cops that were there pulled him off and that was the moment that I realized that everything my mom and Carina had been saying was true and I felt like such an idiot and then once my team was out safe, we came back here and I cut my hair off because he is never going to do that to me again,” Maya said, looking up at the ceiling, trying to hold back the tears.

“Was that the first time he got physical with you?” Dr. Lewis asked.

“It’s the first time he ever laid his hands on me,” Maya said, nodding, “But when I was a kid, he did a lot of stuff that most people would probably consider physical abuse. There was one time, he made me walk home 20 miles after a track meet because I didn’t do as well as he wanted. And he used to dump ice water on me in bed if I slept too late, like past 6. And he was so controlling. I was never allowed to have any sweets or carbs unless it was the night before a meet. He yelled all the time about stupid stuff like if I didn’t break my times every meet or if my brother left his shoes out of place on the rack or basically anything he didn’t like. There was one time, I was maybe 10, and I tripped while I was running in a race. I didn’t even fall, but it slowed me down a little and I came in third. He gave me the silent treatment for two weeks after that.”

“How does it feel to have all of this resurfacing?” Dr. Lewis asked.

Maya took a few deep breaths, tears running down her cheeks.

“It sucks,” Maya said, wiping her tears on her sleeve, “My entire life, everything I have done, it has been because my dad pushed me to be better, faster, stronger, and now it feels like all of that has been tainted by what he did.”

“It doesn’t have to be,” Dr. Lewis said, “What you accomplished, you did that. He might have been there, but it was all you.”

Maya nodded, taking a deep breath, just sitting there.

“I’m scared,” Maya said, taking a breath.

“Scared of what?” Dr. Lewis asked, cocking her head.

“Of being like him,” Maya said softly, tears running down her cheeks, “Of hurting Carina like he hurt me and Mason and my mom. I spent so much time with him growing up, and I have his temper. I snap too easily and I lash out and I don’t think about other people.”

“Maya,” Dr. Lewis said, “You are here, aren’t you? You are doing the work. You are recognizing the patterns in your life and doing something to change it. That is something your father never did. I’m not saying it’s not going to be hard, but if you are willing to do the work, you don’t have to repeat the patterns you grew up with. Is Carina abusive to you?”

“No,” Maya said, shaking her head, “Never.”

“And she grew up with an abusive father right?” Dr. Lewis said.

“Yeah,” Maya said, nodding as she wiped her eyes.

“So it is possible to move beyond what you know into something new and better,” Dr. Lewis said. Maya nodded shakily before looking at her watch.

“Crap,” she said, wiping harder at her eyes, “My shift starts in five minutes.”

“Alright,” Dr. Lewis said, “For next week, I want you to write down patterns that your dad had with you when you were a kid and a different, healthy reaction you could have to the situation.”

Maya nodded, standing up.

“Thank you,” she said, taking a deep breath, “I’ll see you next week.”

Dr. Lewis nodded, getting up and leaving the office.

Maya went into her bunk, looking in her mirror, wincing at how puffy her face looked. She grabbed a cloth, wetting it with a water bottle before pressing it to her eyes.

She grabbed her phone, seeing that she had two minutes before her team would be expecting her in the beanery for their morning meeting. She saw she had a few texts from Carina, telling her she loved her and that she was hoping therapy went well. Maya texted on her back on her way up the stairs, telling her it went well and that she loved her too.

She walked into the beanery right on time, handing out assignments for the day and telling them she would have a workout for them around 11.

She grabbed coffee and a banana before going back to her office. Normally, she ate with the team, but today, she just needed a little air. About thirty minutes later, there was a knock on her door.

“Come in,” Maya called from where she was standing at her desk, working on paperwork.

“Just checking in,” Vic said as she and Andy came into the office, “You seemed a little off at breakfast. And you didn’t eat with us which is a very Sullivan thing to do, but not a very Bishop thing to do.”

“I’m fine,” Maya said, nodding, “I… I had something to do before shift today, and it left me a little drained. I just needed some time alone to decompress.”

“Everything ok?” Andy asked, knowing Maya had been going through a lot in the past few weeks.

“Yeah,” Maya said, nodding, “I’m good.”

“Alright,” Vic said, offering the captain a smile as they turned to leave, “Well, let us know if you need anything. We’re here for you.”

“Thanks,” Maya said as they left, “Leave the door open please.”

Maya sighed as they left, knowing she wasn’t going to be able to hide her therapy from her team for long.

Chapter Text

“So how have things been going this week?” Dr. Lewis asked, sitting down at Maya’s desk, earlier this week because Maya realized she needed more than 5 minutes to get ready for work after therapy.

“Remember when I said I think about dying?” Maya asked, looking at her therapist.

“I do,” Dr. Lewis said, notebook already out.

“Well, it doesn’t work anymore,” Maya sighed with frustration, tears pricking the corners of her eyes, “When I think about dying, it just makes me more anxious and I haven’t been able to fall asleep this whole week and Carina has been working a lot this week and my team almost got hurt in one of our calls and every shift we have been out on calls all night and I haven’t been sleeping well at home and I don’t know what to do and I’m exhausted.”

“Why doesn’t it work anymore?” Dr. Lewis asked, “When you think about it now, how does it make you feel?”

“It makes me feel more anxious,” Maya said sighing, “I think about dying and leaving Carina and it makes me feel like I can’t breathe.”

“And why do you think that is?” Dr. Lewis asked.

“I don’t know,” Maya said, shrugging her shoulders.

“When did it stop being comforting and start being anxiety inducing?” Dr. Lewis asked.

“I don’t know,” Maya said, running her hands through her short hair, “Recently. Around the time Carina and I got back together maybe. I don’t know. I had a hard time sleeping around that time because of everything that happened and then since then, thinking about dying hasn’t been comforting.”

“Do you think it might have to do with Carina?” Dr. Lewis asked.

“Maybe,” Maya said, thinking, “I guess.”

“Remember when you told me the only person who ever told you they loved you was your brother until Carina?” Dr. Lewis said.

“Yeah,” Maya said, nodding as she wiped at tears she wasn’t even sure why they were falling.

“Well, do you think it’s possible that because you have someone you love and who loves you that dying is something that is less comforting?” Dr. Lewis said, “That having something that takes your eyes off of forward and onto something in the present makes the end seem less desirable.”

Maya nodded slowly, looking like she had been hit by a ton of bricks.

“But now what am I supposed to do?” Maya asked, “I need to sleep and I can’t calm down enough to sleep. I have barely slept in over a week.”

As Maya was talking, she got up and starting pacing, feeling panic fill her body.

“Ok,” Dr. Lewis said, standing up, “Maya, take a deep breath. We are going to work through this and you are going to sleep.”

Maya kept pacing, clearly struggling to breath.

“Maya,” Dr. Lewis said, “You are having a panic attack. Let’s sit down. You’re going to be fine.”

Maya nodded, following Dr. Lewis to the chairs. The therapist guided her through a breathing technique to calm her down.

“Have you ever had a panic attack before?” Dr. Lewis asked once Maya was calmed down.

“The first time was right after Rigo died,” Maya said, feeling her body shaking a little bit, “But since then they happen like once a week, sometimes more when it’s been a bad week. This is the third one I’ve had this week.”

“Ok,” Dr. Lewis said, “So this is probably not something that is just going to go away. It sounds like you might have an anxiety disorder. From what I just saw and what you told me, it’s probably a panic disorder, but it also seems like you might just have a generalized anxiety disorder. It’s probably what’s keeping you from sleeping, and it sounds like you had a coping mechanism that isn’t working anymore.”

“So I need a new one,” Maya said, “I need thing to think about to calm me down.”

“That’s one option,” Dr. Lewis said, “But it’s not what I would recommend. I want to work on getting to the root of what is causing this anxiety because that’s the only way you are going to be able to get past this.”

“But I need to sleep now,” Maya said, “Or, not now, but after my shift.”

“What is keeping you up?” Dr. Lewis asked, going back to Maya’s desk.

“I just keep thinking about everything that I did to Carina,” Maya said, “And how horrible it was and why I should do to make it better. And then I think about losing my team because that almost happened a month ago and I think about how shitty of a friend I’ve been to Andy and how terrible I was to Jack and how I basically break every relationship in my life.”

“Why do you say you break every relationship?” Dr. Lewis asked.

“Because I do,” Maya said, “I put my career and my goals above everything and everyone. That’s why I’m captain. I don’t let my personal life get in the way of my professional life, but that means my personal life is a mess and I’ve never cared until now.”

“Why do you care now?” Dr. Lewis asked.

“I don’t know,” Maya said instinctually.

Dr. Lewis just let them sit in silence for a few minutes as Maya thought.

“Can I offer a suggestion?” Dr. Lewis asked.

Maya nodded, tears of frustration having been running down her face for the past two minutes.

“Based on the fact that no one besides your brother ever told you they loved you and the abuse from your dad,” Dr. Lewis said, “It sounds like you didn’t have a very stable home life so you probably felt very little about keeping that life together. And you were a runner, which can be a very isolating sport meaning you probably didn’t feel very much allegiance to your team. And then you came here. I know what station life is like. I know the family this creates and from what I’ve seen in this house, of your team, you have a good family here. A safe family that you can trust, but you don’t know how to handle that and it scares you.”

Maya nodded, tears rolling down her face, “How do I fix it?”

“You are starting to do it,” Dr. Lewis said, “You have recognized it’s a problem. That’s the hardest part. The next step is to recognize when it happens. Also, if you want to fix the relationships you feel you have “broken,” it starts with talking to the person who you hurt.”

Maya nodded, wiping at her tears.

“That’s what I want you to do this week,” Dr. Lewis said, looking at her watch, “I want you to either talk to at least one person you have hurt or write them a letter if it’s too overwhelming to talk to them right now, although you will eventually have to tell them in order for this to work.”

Maya nodded, rubbing her eyes.

“As for your sleep,” Dr. Lewis said, “I have a few things for you to try. The first is a meditation app called Calm. Just check it out. There’s another one called headspace. Try using those before you go to sleep. And when you start to think of something that makes you anxious, I want you to write it down and then tell yourself now that it’s written down, you can deal with it later.”

Maya nodded, wiping furiously at the tears running down her cheeks.

“You need to rest Maya,” Dr. Lewis said, “Is there any way you can put one of your lieutenants in charge for a few hours so you can take a break?”

“I’ll be fine for this shift,” Maya said, “And I’m mostly caught up on my paperwork so maybe I can try to rest during chores this morning if we don’t get a call. I need to get ready for shift. It starts in 20 minutes. Thank you. See you next week.”

“See you next week Maya,” Dr. Lewis said, “Let me know if the techniques for sleeping don’t work.”

Maya nodded as Dr. Lewis left. She walked into her bunk, repeating what seemed to be her new normal post-therapy routine. She dabbed her eyes with a cool wash cloth as she grabbed her phone, texting Carina. As she walked back into her office, she saw Andy walking in.

“I just saw Dr. Lewis in the parking lot when I was coming in,” Andy said, “Is everything ok? Did something happen?”

“No,” Maya said, shaking her head, “Can you, uh, close the door?”

“Are you alright?” Andy said, closing the door, “You look like hell.”

“I, uh, Dr. Lewis, uh, I’ve been seeing her,” Maya said, looking down at her hands, “After everything that happened with my dad and Carina and Jack, I just decided I needed someone to help me with sorting it all out.”

“Good for you,” Andy said, nodding, “I’m sure that wasn’t easy for you.”

“Nothing has been easy over the past few months,” Maya said with a sigh, “And I know everyone has their own stuff going on, their own cross to bear or whatever, but I really like Carina and I really don’t want to implode this relationship… again. So judge me all you want, but I think I’m going to stick with it.”

“When I said we all have our own cross to bear, I had no idea what was going on with you, not really,” Andy said, walking to Maya, “I get it. I’ve been thinking about talking to someone too. With everything with my mom and dad and Robert, it’s been a lot. I just haven’t picked up the phone and called. Maya, I’m not judging you for being in therapy. I’m actually a little jealous of how courageous you are for admitting you needed the help.”

Maya let out a soft chuckle, looking up at Andy for the first time, tears running down her face.

“Hey,” Andy said, pulling Maya into a hug, “Hey. It’s alright.”

“We have to go,” Maya said, pulling back and rubbing her eyes, “Morning meeting starts in 3 minutes.”

“Do you want me to make up some excuse and buy you a little time?” Andy asked.

“No,” Maya said, wiping her eyes, “No. I’m good. I… um… I haven’t been sleeping well recently and I’m going to try to catch a nap at some point this morning, so if you could cover for me then though, that would be helpful.”

“Of course,” Andy said, nodding, “I need to go change and then I’ll meet you in the beanery?”

Maya nodded, grabbing a tissue before she grabbed her clipboard and headed upstairs, feeling a little better that she told Andy.

Chapter Text

“Did you sleep?” Dr. Lewis asked as she walked into Maya’s office, smiling as the captain handed her a cup of coffee.

“Kinda,” Maya said, nodding as they sat down, “I mean, more than I did last week, but still not great, but I think the meditation is helping at least a little bit.”

“Are you feeling better than you did last week?” Dr. Lewis asked.

Maya shrugged, “I think so. I did what you said and wrote down what made me anxious when I was trying to sleep and it was really helpful.”

“Good,” Dr. Lewis said, “Is there anything on that list you want to talk about?”

Maya shrugged, looking down at her notebook.

“I talked to Jack,” Maya said, “And I wrote a letter to Carina. I wanted to talk to her, but we’ve barely seen each other in the past few days because of our schedules. We are going to be home together tomorrow though so I’ll talk to her then. I need to talk to Andy, but Sullivan got admitted to the hospital again for some post-op complication and something came up with her mom and I don’t want to bother her right now.”

“How did it go?” Dr. Lewis asked, “Talking to Jack.”

“It went well,” Maya said, thinking back on her conversations with her friends, “Better than I anticipated.”

She started with telling Dr. Lewis about her conversation with Jack.

“Gibson,” Maya said, calling to one of her Lieutenants as he was walking out.

“Yes Captain,” Jack said, walking into the office, his bag slung over his shoulder.

“Are you busy right now?” Maya asked, taking a deep breath.

“Not with anything that can’t wait,” Gibson said, shaking his head, “What’s up?”

“Can you close the door?” Maya said before stopping him, “And can you open the blinds?”

Jack nodded, doing as he was instructed before turning to face his captain.

“Can you sit?” Maya asked, not really making eye contact with him.

“Is something going on?” Jack asked, “Am I getting transferred or something because…”

“I’m sorry,” Maya spilled out, cutting him off.

“What?” Jack said, looking confused.

“I’m sorry,” Maya said again, “I’m sorry for how I have treated you for the past few months. I’m sorry I broke up with you to get Captain and I’m sorry I acted like you meant nothing to me and I’m sorry I used you for sex when I was pissed off and hurting a few weeks ago. I’m sorry I threw you going to therapy in your face. I’m sorry I let you and Rigo go out in the field together and that you have had to deal with that, and I’m sorry I have been such a shitty friend, captain, and person to you lately. I’m sorry I broke your trust and our friendship or whatever it was before we started hooking up. I just… I’m just sorry.”

“Who are you and what have you done with my friend Maya?” Jack said, laughing a little before looking at her and seeing the tears she was trying to keep out of her eyes, “Hey. Thank you. It really means a lot that you said all that. I’m sorry too, for being so hard on you when you got Captain and for letting you have sex with me. I knew it was wrong and that you had Carina, but I didn’t try to stop you.”

“Don’t blame yourself,” Maya said, shaking her head, “I was… am so broken, but I’m working on it. I started seeing Dr. Lewis a few weeks ago.”

“Really?” Jack said, leaning back in his chair, “Wow. I never thought I’d see the day that Maya Bishop decided to go to therapy.”

“Neither did I,” Maya said, chuckling a little as she wiped the remaining tears from her face, “But it’s not fair to Carina to ask her to be with me if I’m not willing to try to work on some of the broken.”

“You really love her and care about her,” Jack said as a half question half statement.

“Yeah,” Maya said, nodding as she looked down at her hands, “Thanks for telling me to go apologize to her that day after the bomb.”

“I have never seen you like you are with her ever, not with me, not with anyone,” Jack said, “I’m glad you found her. You deserve to be happy Maya.”

“So do you Jack,” Maya said, eyes swelling with tears again.

“Can I give you a hug?” Jack asked, knowing that their relationship had been strained since everything that happened.

Maya nodded, getting up as Jack rose and walked to her. He pulled her into a hug just for a second before she pulled back.

“Thanks for listening Jack,” Maya said, smiling at him.

“Of course,” Jack said, nodding, “You should go home. Be with that amazing woman who you love so much.”

“She has to work today,” Maya said with a sigh, “We are on opposite schedules this week.”

“Well, you should still go home and sleep,” Jack said, “No offence Captain, but you look like hell.”

“Shut up Gibson,” Maya said as the lieutenant turned to leave.

“See you tomorrow,” Jack called as he walked out.

“And how did it make you feel?” Dr. Lewis asked, “Talking to him?”

“Better,” Maya said, “It feels like maybe he and I can get back to having at least a work relationship. He and I were never going to work as anything more than friends anyways, and I don’t want to hurt Carina by being friends with him.”

“Why would it hurt Carina?” Dr. Lewis asked.

“Because I cheated on her with him,” Maya said, “And I don’t want to make her jealous because that’s not fair to her.”

“Do you think you can still work with him?” Dr. Lewis asked.

“I think so,” Maya said, nodding, “I’ve talked to Carina about it and she says it’s fine. I told her she needed to be honest with me and she said she was so I think we’re good, but I don’t know.”

“Are you still having a hard time believing her?” Dr. Lewis asked.

“Only when it comes to what happened with Jack,” Maya said.

“Why is that?” Dr. Lewis asked.

“Because it was a terrible thing to do,” Maya said, “And I hurt her so much. God, that night, after I came back to my place and she was still there, I was so overwhelmed and angry that I told her what I had just done. I basically spit in her face and then slammed the door in her face. And then I heard her start sobbing right outside the door and all I wanted was to do was throw something and scream and comfort her and tell her I was sorry.”

“What did you do?” Dr. Lewis asked. “I sat on my bed until she left and then I went for a run. I think I ran for three hours until I couldn’t feel my toes and my ankle was throbbing,” Maya said, “And then I went home and I thought about dying.”

“Like you used to?” Dr. Lewis asked, “To help you sleep?”

Maya shook her head, looking down at her hands.

“No,” she said softly, “No. Like I actually sat in my bathroom with a bottle of pills I have from an old injury and thought about just ending it. And then I went and found my bottle of whiskey and drank probably half a bottle. I don’t know. I drank until I passed out.”

“Have you thought about it since?” Dr. Lewis asked gently, “About ending it?”

“Sometimes,” Maya said shakily, “I’ve never done anything about it, and I don’t think I would, but I don’t know, sometimes it just seems like everyone’s life would be better, simpler if I weren’t in it. I’ve thought about it since I was like 15. Sorry I lied to you about that before.”

“Is that how Carina feels?” Dr. Lewis asked, “That her life would be better if you weren’t in it? Or is that how your team feels? Has anyone ever told you their life would be better without you in it?”

“My dad,” Maya said, tears running down her face, “And my brother, although he was high out of his mind at the time so I don’t know.”

“But no one that’s actively involved in your life right now?” Dr. Lewis said.

Maya shook her head, “But they act like it sometimes. My team all resented that I became captain and not Andy and they all think I’m a crappy person because I took it.”

“They were mad about your job and the situation,” Dr. Lewis said, “But not at you as a human. Does feeling like this ever stop you from doing things you normally enjoy?”

“Kinda,” Maya said, shrugging, “I mean, I don’t go out with everyone, like at all anymore because they don’t want me to be around, but most of the time, I’m just too tired.”

“That’s another symptom of depression,” Dr. Lewis said, nodding, “Have you ever told anyone about feeling like this?”

Maya shook her head, wiping her tears.

“Would you ever consider telling someone?” Dr. Lewis asked.

“I don’t want to,” Maya said, shaking her head, “I just need to embrace the pain and get through it.”

“It’s your choice whether or not you want to tell anyone,” Dr. Lewis said, “But this is not just something that will go away, at least not quickly. You are dealing with a lot of stuff that is going to be a long road to figuring out. It’s good to have support through that.”

“I don’t want to scare anyone,” Maya said, “I don’t want anyone to have to deal with my brokenness. Carina told me early in our relationship that she’s not in the habit of fixing broken people, and I don’t want to ask her to.”

“Telling her doesn’t mean she has to fix you,” Dr. Lewis said, “That’s actually not healthy for her to try to fix you. But letting her know what’s going on will probably help her understand what had been going on.”

Maya nodded, “I’ll think about it.”

“Alright,” Dr. Lewis said, “Now, I have to ask before I let you go today, after everything we talked about, are you currently, actively thinking about hurting yourself or taking your own life?”
“No,” Maya said, shaking her head, “No.”

“Alright,” Dr. Lewis said, “Well, for next week, I want you to think about telling Carina what’s been going on and try to find time to talk to Andy and Carina this week.”

Maya nodded, taking a deep breath.

“Thank you Diane,” Maya said as the therapist stood.

“I will see you next week Maya,” Dr. Lewis said, leaving the office.

Maya sighed, going into her bunk. She felt like she had been punched in the stomach. She had been so adamant with Carina that there were no mental health issues in her family. Now, she had been told she probably had anxiety and depression.

She felt horrible and all she wanted was to go home and curl up in her bed and sleep, or go for a run because she was feeling incredibly overwhelmed. She felt her heart start to race and her breathing getting harder. She started pacing, trying to figure out how the hell she was going to calm down before her shift started in ten minutes.

She heard someone walk into her office, and she started to panic more before she saw both Carina and Vic walk in.

Carina set down the cups of coffee she had on Maya’s desk before going to her girlfriend. Vic gave Carina a look before leaving the office, closing the door behind her.

“Bella,” Carina said, guiding Maya to her bed, “Hey, eyes on me. Just follow my breathing.”

Maya calmed in Carina’s arms relatively quickly.

“What happened?” Carina asked after Maya was calmer, “Did therapy not go well this morning?”

“Can we not talk about it right now?” Maya said, “I have to go to work in like 2 minutes. I promise, I will tell you tomorrow. I’m fine, or I will be fine. Just heard some stuff that was hard to hear.”

“I don’t have to work for another two hours,” Carina said, “Do you want me to stay?”

Maya thought for a minute. She really wanted to talk to Carina, but she wasn’t sure how it was going to go. However, her desire to talk to and be with her girlfriend after not seeing her for any substantial time in the past 5 days overtook everything.

“Stay,” Maya said, “Only if you want to though.”

“I want to,” Carina said, “I was just going to go read journal articles in my office which is not even that important.”

“Ok,” Maya said, “Now I am officially late so I need to go. I’ll be back soon. Do you want anything to eat?”

“I am good,” Carina said, giving Maya a gentle kiss before the blonde left.

“Sorry I’m late,” Maya said, walking into the beanery, getting right to the task at hand.

“You’re not joining us for breakfast again?” Travis asked as Maya went to walk out of the beanery once everyone had their assignments for the day, “Everything alright?”

“Yeah,” Maya said, nodding, “Carina just stopped by with coffee before her shift and we have literally been on opposite shifts all week so I’m just going to go spend some time with her.”

“Say no more,” Travis said, smiling at the blonde.

Maya smiled back before heading downstairs. She walked into her office, closing the door behind her.

“I put Vic on desk so she will take care of anything that comes in unless there’s an emergency,” Maya said to Carina, extending her hand and guiding Carina into her bunk.

She didn’t feel like having this conversation at her desk. She wanted to be sitting next to Carina, holding her hand. Just as they were about to sit down on the bed, the alarm started going off.

“No,” Maya said, tears springing to her eyes.

“It’s alright Bella,” Carina said, leaning in and kissing Maya, “We will talk tomorrow. And if you need me, just call ok?”

“Thanks,” Maya said, wiping her eyes quickly, “Love you.”

“Love you too,” Carina said, sighing as Maya left.

She could tell her girlfriend was going through something today. However, she also knew that a call that required all 4 trucks was likely to take more than the two hours she had before her shift started so she gathered up her stuff and headed to Grey Sloan.

Chapter Text

Maya was grumpy and moody the rest of her shift, everyone on her team giving her wide berth after she snapped at Miller on their call over nothing. She went and apologized to him before dinner, telling him she was out of line. He forgave her, though he was a little surprised that she apologized at all.

After dinner and evening chores, Maya was in her office working on paperwork when she heard a knock on her door.

“Come in,” she called, not looking up from the file she was working on.

“Hey,” Andy said, coming in and closing the door, “Are you super busy?”

“Just let me finish this up,” Maya said, signing what she was working on and giving it a once over before closing the file and setting it aside, “What’s up?”

“I just wanted to check on you,” Andy said, sitting down, “You’ve seemed off all day, and I just wanted to make sure everything was alright.”

“I’m… I had my weekly appointment with Dr. Lewis this morning and it was tough. I’m trying to process it, but it’s not going well.”

“I’m sorry,” Andy said, offering a sympathetic smile, “Is there anything I can do? Do you want to talk about it?”

“Not really,” Maya said, shaking her head, “How are things going with you? How is Chief Sullivan. And your mom?”

“Robert is home and a lot better,” Andy said, “And my mom found a place to live in Seattle so she is out of our house which is making everything a lot easier.”

“Good,” Maya said, smiling at her friend, “I have been wanting to talk to you, but I didn’t want to stress you out more than you already were.”

“What is it?” Andy asked, worried when she saw the look on Maya’s face.

Just as she was about to start, the alarm went off “Aid car 19, PRT 19.”

“Not me,” Andy said, shaking her head.

“I’m sorry,” Maya said, looking at her friend, “I’m sorry for everything. For being such a shitty friend to you. For not talking to you about my promotion before I took it and not thinking about how it would impact you. And I’m sorry that I acted so crazy the first few weeks I had this job and I’m sorry I wasn’t there for you after Ryan died like you needed me to be, and your dad too. I’m sorry I put my goals and ambitions above our friendship ever single time. I’m sorry I haven’t been very supportive of everything that has been going on in your life and I’m sorry I yelled at you about your dad. I’m sorry Andy and if there’s anything I can do to show you that, I am willing to do it.”

By the time she was done, Maya was looking down at her hands with tears rolling down her cheeks which is why she was a little surprised when she felt Andy wrap her arms around her in a hug. Maya moved to embrace her friend as well.

“I forgive you,” Andy said after they pulled apart, “I wasn’t even mad about most of that. And I’m sorry too. I’m sorry I treated you so badly when you became captain. You were the right choice for this station at this time. And I’m sorry I wasn’t there for you when you needed it.”

“You had enough of your own stuff going on,” Maya said, shaking her head, “You shouldn’t have to worry about me.”

“You’re my best friend Maya,” Andy said, “My tribe. I worry about you.”

Maya nodded, wiping the tears from her face.

“Are you sure you’re alright?” Andy asked, putting a hand on Maya’s back.

“I will be,” Maya said, “And I promise I will talk to you about it sometime, but I just need to process it a little more first.”

“Alright,” Andy said, nodding, “Well, if you need me, I’m here.”

“Thanks,” Maya said, smiling at her friend, “I think I’m going to turn in. I’ve been exhausted.”

“Get some rest,” Andy said, nodding as she left.

Maya finished the last file that was on her desk before going into her bunk. She always slept in her uniform when she was at work so there wasn’t much to do before she laid down. She grabbed her phone, deciding to try to facetime her girlfriend, just needing to see her face.

“Hi Bella,” Carina said, picking up quickly, “Is everything alright?”

“Yeah,” Maya said, nodding as she sat down on her bed, “Just about to turn in for the night and wanted to see you before I did.”

“You’re going to bed already?” Carina asked, looking at her watch, “Maya, it’s barely 8. Are you sure you’re alright? Are you getting sick?”

“Just tired,” Maya said with a sigh, “Very, very tired. How has your day been?”

“It’s been good,” Carina said, “I delivered triplets this afternoon and all the babies are really healthy. The rest of the day had been uneventful. Just a lot of exams. I have two mamas laboring right now, but they are hours away from delivering. How was your day? Any big calls?”

“No,” Maya said, “I mean, the one first thing this morning was a house fire, but we got it taken care of within a few hours, including overhaul. And we had a few small calls this afternoon, but not really anything too intense.”

“I miss you Bella,” Carina said, seeing the exhaustion written all over the captain’s face.

“I’ll see you tomorrow,” Maya said, laying down in her bed, “What time do you get off?”

“Noon,” Carina said, “And you are off at 9, yes?”

“Yeah,” Maya said, “I will make brunch for us for when you get home.”

“Can’t wait,” Carina said, smiling at Maya, “Now, get some sleep. Love you.”

“Love you too,” Maya said before hanging up.

Before she tried to sleep, she turned on the meditation app she had been using for the past week, clicking on the day’s activity. She struggled to focus on meditating today, finding her mind spinning in about a million directions.

When she was done, she got up, grabbing her notebook and started writing down everything that she was thinking about. Maya was getting frustrated with how she was feeling, nothing she was doing calming her down.

After another half hour of trying to sleep, she got up, pulling on workout clothes and going up to the gym. She loaded up the bar and started lifting, just trying to get her mind to shut up.

After her arms were exhausted, she grabbed a jump rope, hopping from one foot to the other. Vic walked in while she was jumping rope, just standing in the doorway for a minute before Maya noticed her.

“What’s up Vic?” she asked, slowing a little so she could talk.

“Nothing,” Vic said, “Andy just told us you turned in almost two hours ago, but this doesn’t look like turning in.”

“I couldn’t sleep,” Maya said, stopping the rope, “I just needed to get some of my energy.”

“How do you have energy?” Vic asked, “I know you don’t sleep when we’re off.”

“I just do, ok,” Maya snapped, “I can’t sleep because I have all this energy I need to work out.”

“Ok,” Vic said, putting her hands up, “Just checking on you because you have been off all shift, really for the past few weeks and I just wanted to make sure you were alright.”

“I’m fine,” Maya said, jumping on one of the bikes.

“Alright,” Vic relented, “Well, I’m here if you need me.”

“Thanks,” Maya said as she sped up on the bike.

It was almost midnight when she finally went back to her bunk. She was about to try to sleep again when the alarm went off. Maya groaned, getting up and running out of her office.

The fire they responded to ended up being a really intense 3 alarm and they worked until almost 11 the following morning both on getting it out and then on overhaul.

“Want a ride home?” Vic asked Maya on the way back to the station.

“I’m gonna run,” Maya said, shaking her head.

“Mai, you didn’t sleep last night at all,” Vic said, “How could you possibly want to go run right now?”

“I just do,” Maya said, shrugging.

“Fine,” Vic said, “See you at home.”

Maya went for a run for almost an hour before going home.

The second she stepped through the door and saw the time, she started cursing because she remembered she was going to make Carina brunch.

She smelled terrible, like a combination of smoke from the fire last night and sweat from her run so she needed a shower too. She decided to take a fast shower, knowing that she needed to get the nastiness off of her.

Once she was done, she headed into the kitchen. Vic came out to see what she was doing.

“I told Carina I would make brunch,” Maya said, opening the fridge and looking inside, trying to figure out what to make, “But of course, I stupidly forgot and now she’s going to be home any minute and I have nothing ready.”

“Maya,” Vic said, “Hey, calm down. Carina won’t care.”

“Carina won’t care about what?” Carina asked, walking into the house.

“No,” Maya groaned, “You’re not supposed to be home yet.”

“Um, yes I am,” Carina said, confused, “My shift ended at noon. It’s almost 12:30.”

Maya shook her head, walking out of the kitchen and into the bedroom.

“Is she alright?” Carina asked Vic.

“She says she is,” Vic said, “But I don’t think she’s telling me the truth. She’s not herself, especially not during our last shift. And we had a call last night that lasted 12 hours. We didn’t get back to the station until after 11 and then she went for a run. She didn’t sleep at all last night.”

“She called to tell me at 8 and said she was turning up,” Carina said, confused.

“Turning in,” Vic laughed, “And yeah, no, I found her in the gym when I went to turn in at 10 and she was still pushing it hard.”

Carina nodded, worry crossing her face.

“Why don’t I go out and grab us all some food from that acai bowl place down the street that she loves?” Vic said, “Why don’t you go check on her.”

Carina nodded, all but running into the bedroom. She found Maya on the bed, sitting with her arms crossed, an angry look on her face as silent tears ran down her pale face.

“Bella,” Carina said, going and sitting down on the bed next to Maya, “Hey, what’s going on?”

Maya opened her mouth to try to talk, but all that came out was a heart wrenching sob.

“Ok,” Carina said, pulling her close, “Ok. I’m right here. It’s going to be alright.”

Maya just sobbed, holding onto Carina like her life depended on it. Carina just held her, kissing the top of her head.

When the tears stopped, Carina grabbed a tissue, handing it to Maya. The blonde took it, blowing her nose.

“I am going to change,” Carina said, getting up, “And then I am going to sit back down and we are going to talk. Something is clearly wrong.”

Maya nodded, wiping her swollen eyes. Carina pulled on some pajamas before going into the bathroom, cleaning the makeup off her face before going back into the bedroom. Maya was still sitting on the bed, knees drawn up to her chest.

“Ok Bella,” Carina said, “You need to talk to me. What is going on?”

“I lied to you,” Maya said softly, “I’m sorry.”

“About what?” Carina asked as worry and fear surged through her body.

She had been working hard with her therapist to work on trusting Maya again, but it was a process and her first instinct when Maya said this was to think that she was cheating on her again.

“I told you there was no mental illness in my family,” Maya said, “But that’s not true. At least not anymore.”

“What are you talking about?” Carina asked, sitting down next to Maya, her worry transferring to a new source.

“Dr. Lewis thinks… Dr. Lewis told me… she thinks I have anxiety and depression,” Maya choked out, tears stinging her eyes again.

“Oh Bella,” Carina said, pulling her girlfriend close, “It’s ok. It’s ok. You will be ok.”

Maya just cried again as Carina rubbed her back.

Things were starting to make more sense now to Carina. Maya’s panic attacks, the self-destructive behavior, the constant exhaustion, the inability to sleep, all of those were symptoms of anxiety and depression. Carina felt her heart breaking for her girlfriend, knowing how hard dealing with mental health issues was, knowing that it had probably been going on for a long time and that Maya would continue to struggle with it for the rest of her life. She knew how exhausting her own mental health journey was sometimes, and it killed her that the woman she loved was going to be dealing with her own struggles now.

Maya stopped crying after a few more minutes, looking at Carina.

“I’m sorry,” Maya said.

“No,” Carina said, “No apologizing for this. Did Dr. Lewis tell you this yesterday?”

“Kinda,” Maya said, “I had a panic attack during our session last week and then I told her how bad the panic attacks have gotten recently and she told me it’s probably an anxiety disorder. Then yesterday, we were talking about some stuff and she thinks it’s probably depression too and now I just feel so broken and I completely understand if you just want to leave right now. I wouldn’t blame you.”

“Why would I leave?” Carina asked.

“You said you aren’t in the habit of fixing broken people,” Maya said, “And I’m about as broken as it comes, but if you’re going to leave, can you just do it?”

“I’m not going to leave,” Carina said, “I am also not going to try to fix you. I tried to do that with my papa for a long time and all it did was make me exhausted. I will be here for you, but I am not going to try to fix you.”

Maya let out a soft cry, just hugging Carina tightly.

“What did you talk to her about today?” Carina asked after Maya had calmed down again, “That made her think you have depression? Not that I think she is wrong, just wondering. You don’t have to tell me if you don’t want to, but I want you to know you can tell me anything you want. I know what I can handle, and I can handle you Maya Bishop.”

“Before I tell you that,” Maya said, wiping her eyes, “I need to tell you something else. This was actually my therapy assignment from last week, but I’ve barely seen you in the last week so I’m gonna do it now.”

“Ok,” Carina said, nodding as Maya sat up and looked at her.

“I’m sorry,” Maya started, “I’m sorry for cheating on you with Jack and for pushing you away and being so emotional and angry. I’m sorry for projecting how I was feeling about my dad onto you and for yelling at you when you tried to help. I’m sorry for not being there for you when you needed me and for doing things to purposely hurt you. I’m sorry for not being the girlfriend you deserve and I’m sorry for taking you for granted. I’m sorry I broke us.”

“Oh Bella,” Carina said, tears running down both their cheeks by the time Maya was done, “Thank you for saying all of that. It is not all on you. I pushed you in ways you weren’t ready for and didn’t back off when you asked me too. I am part of what broke us too and for that, I am sorry. And I forgive you. That does not mean it doesn’t hurt, but I do forgive you.”

“Thank you,” Maya said, hugging Carina tightly. This was not the first time they had had a version of this conversation, but it still was something that they both clearly needed to say.

Just then, Carina’s phone buzzed. She looked at it, seeing it was Vic, saying she was back with food.

“Are you hungry Bella?” Carina asked, wiping a tear away from Maya’s cheek.

“Not really,” Maya said, shaking her head, “But you should go eat.”

“You need to eat Bella,” Carina said.

“I just don’t feel well right now,” Maya said, shaking her head, “Go eat, I’ll be fine.”

“Will you at least join us in the kitchen?” Carina asked, really not wanting to leave Maya alone right now.

Maya nodded, taking Carina’s hand and following her. Vic looked at them as they walked out of the bedroom, seeing Maya’s swollen eyes and blotchy face.

“You alright Mai?” Vic asked softly, putting a hand on her friend’s back.

Maya just shook her head no, and Vic got the message that her roommate did not want to talk.

Instead, Vic just squeezed Maya’s shoulder, the blonde reaching up and putting her hand on top of Vic’s, just standing there for a second before letting go.

“Did you get acai from Juicebox?” Maya asked, looking at what was on the counter.

“I did,” Vic said, nodding, “It seemed like you needed a little pick me up today.”

“Thanks,” Maya said, smiling a little at her friend.

They all took their bowls, going and sitting on the couches. They ate, Vic and Carina talking about their days, Maya interjecting every so often, but mostly just sitting next to Carina, her head on her girlfriend’s shoulder. She ate some of her food, although she really wasn’t hungry.

Once Vic and Carina finished eating, Vic told them she was exhausted and was going to sleep.

“Want me to put that in the freezer for later?” Carina asked, pointing to Maya’s bowl that was still mostly full.

“Sure,” Maya said, nodding, “Thanks.”

Carina got up, going into the kitchen. When she looked back at the couch to ask Maya if she needed anything, she saw that the blonde was gone. She grabbed a glass of water for each of them before heading into the bedroom where she found Maya curled up in bed, knees drawn to her chest.

“Do you want to talk some more?” Carina asked, setting down the waters before climbing into bed, “Or do you want to sleep?”

Maya laughed a little bit.

“What?” Carina asked, confused.

“I have barely slept in the past three weeks,” Maya said, biting her lip, “Maybe more.”

“Oh Bella,” Carina said, realizing that Maya’s issues were a lot bigger than she had initially thought, “Come here.”

Maya crawled into Carina’s arms, the brunette just holding her.

“What has been keeping you up?” Carina asked gently.

“Everything,” Maya said, “I just start thinking and I can’t stop and then I get up and work out. Dr. Lewis thinks it’s because I have someone I care about now which has rendered my old way of falling asleep useless.”

“How did you used to fall asleep?” Carina asked, confused.

“I used to think about dying,” Maya said quietly, “Not like killing myself, but about the day, at the end of my life when I could finally just be done and rest. It always used to make me feel comforted somehow, like at some point all of this awfulness would end and I would be able to sleep, but now, when I think about dying, I think about leaving you and most of the time, that just kicks up my anxiety even more.”

“Most of the time?” Carina said, concern growing inside of her.

“Yeah,” Maya said, debating if she wanted to tell Carina or not, “Sometimes I think that if I died right now, it would just be better for everyone.”

A soft cry escaped Carina’s lips as her worst fears were realized, that Maya was at least somewhat suicidal.

“I’m sorry,” Maya said, trying to backtrack when she realized she had made Carina cry, “I’m sorry. Just pretend I didn’t say that. I’ve never really tried to do anything. That was too much. I’m sorry.”

“No,” Carina said, shaking her head, “No. Do not apologize. Maya, these are not tears because I am mad at you for telling me. These are tears of hurt for you. It makes me sad that you think this world would be better without you in it because that is not the case at all. Everything you do makes this world a better place. I just wish you knew that and believed that.”

Maya had tears running down her face as did Carina at this point. They just held each other for a long time, letting the tears run.

“What do you mean never really?” Carina asked, pulling back from Maya as she reran the conversation in her head.

Maya was seriously debating whether or not she should answer this, but she decided that she should just lay it all out on the table now that she was already almost all the way there.

“I seriously thought about swallowing a bottle of pills I have from an old injury,” Maya said, not meeting Carina’s eyes.

“When?” Carina asked, voice breaking.

“The night after I slept with Jack,” Maya said, looking down at her hands, tears running down her cheeks, “But I didn’t. I put them back and drank whiskey instead.”

She was trying to bring some levity to the situation, but it was not working. Carina nodded slowly, taking a deep breath.

“And now I have scared you,” Maya said, “You can go.”

“I am not going anywhere,” Carina said, “I might need some space to process this, but for right now, I’m staying.”

Maya nodded, tears rolling down her cheeks. Carina pulled Maya to her, just holding her tightly as they laid in bed, neither of them sleeping.

After about an hour of just sitting there, thinking, Carina took a deep breath.

“Maya,” she said, looking down at the woman lying next to her who was just starting at the ceiling, “Did Dr. Lewis give you anything to help you sleep?”

“She gave me some meditation techniques,” Maya said, rubbing her eyes.

“Ok,” Carina said, “Are they helping?”

“A little,” Maya said, “Not really. I don’t know. Sometimes.”

“Hey,” Carina said, “It’s ok. I’m only asking because I think it might be a good idea if you take something to help you sleep, at least right now. Everything is going to keep spiraling if you don’t sleep. I can call in something for you if you want, a sedative. I know you hate taking medications, but you need to sleep.”

Maya thought for a minute before nodding, knowing Carina was right. Carina let out the breath she didn’t know she was holding before grabbing her laptop, getting a prescription called in for Maya.

“I’m going to ask Amelia to pick this up for you, ok?” Carina said, grabbing her phone.

Maya nodded, knowing someone had to and she didn’t want Carina to leave right now. Within a half hour, Amelia was at the door with the bag. Carina left Maya in the bedroom to go get the medication from her friend.

“Hey,” Amelia said when Carina opened the door, “Whoa, are you alright? You look terrible, no offense.”

“No,” Carina said, shaking her head, “No, I’m not really ok.”

“What do you need the alprazolam for?” Amelia asked, “Or should I say, what does Maya need it for?”

“She’s struggling,” Carina said, “She’s not sleeping. She just got diagnosed with anxiety and depression and she’s been suicidal on and off recently and she just told me all of this.”

“Oh Carina,” Amelia said, pulling her friend into a hug, “I’m so sorry.”

Carina just cried a little as Amelia rubbed her back before pulling away.

“I need to get back in there with her,” Carina said.

“Do you want me to stay?” Amelia asked, “That stuff will knock her out pretty quickly and then we can talk or cry or whatever you need.”

“I really need to sleep,” Carina said with a sigh, “I worked last night and I haven’t slept yet, but are you working tomorrow?”

“I am not,” Amelia said, shaking her head.

“Can I come over and just spend the day with you guys?” Carina asked, “I am going to try to get Maya to let Andy and Vic come over and hang out with her because I need space to process everything.”

“Of course,” Amelia said, nodding, “Let me know if you need anything before then.”

Carina nodded, hugging Amelia again before the short haired brunette left. Carina went back into the bedroom where Maya was just laying, starting at the ceiling. Carina walked in quietly, pulling out the bottle of pills. She had only ordered Maya 10 pills, knowing they could become addictive. She just wanted her girlfriend to be able to get some sleep.

“Here,” Carina said, handing her one of the pills and some water, “This is probably going to knock you up quickly.”

Maya almost spit her water as she laughed.

“Knock me out,” she said, “Knocking me up would mean it got me pregnant.”

“Oh,” Carina said, blushing a little as she laughed, “Yeah, it won’t do that.”

“Good,” Maya said, swallowing the pill. Carina climbed into bed with Maya, pulling her close.

“I’m sorry I just dumped all of this on you,” the blonde said, laying with her back flush to Carina’s chest.

“Don’t be sorry Bella,” Carina said, pulling Maya’s short hair back from her ear, kissing the spot just behind it, “I’m glad you shared with me how you are doing. It’s important in a relationship to be honest about this kind of stuff. I will never be mad about you opening up to me about this kind of stuff.”

“You can tell me how you’re doing too,” Maya said, rolling over to face Carina, “What you are thinking.”

“I am feeling a little overwhelmed right now,” Carina said, “What would you think about tomorrow, having Vic and Andy hang out here and I will go to Amelia’s for the day?”

“I don’t need a babysitter,” Maya said, shaking her head, “And I don’t really want to tell them what’s going on.”

“So I will tell them you’re sick,” Carina said, brushing blonde hair from Maya’s face, “And you can just hang out in here and sleep and they can play games or just hang out in the living room. You don’t have to tell them anything, but I just don’t want you to be alone. It would make me feel better.”

Maya nodded, agreeing. Carina grabbed her phone, texting Maya’s friends, asking if they would hang out with her tomorrow because she was sick and Carina had somewhere to go. Carina knew she wouldn’t hear back from the other two women for a while because they were sleeping after their long shift so she just put her phone down, looking back at Maya.

The blonde was falling asleep in her arms. Carina kissed her girlfriend’s forehead before closing her own eyes, holding Maya a little tighter than normal, just trying to make her feel how much she was truly loved.

Chapter Text

Maya woke up around midnight, having been asleep for 8 hours, longer than she had slept in the last 10 days combined. She felt weird, kinda groggy and fuzzy.

As she woke up, the past 24 hours came slamming down on her and she felt tears well up in her eyes, curling into a ball.

“Bella,” Carina said, startling Maya a little, “Hey, what’s wrong?”

“I don’t know,” Maya said, shrugging as she rolled over and looked at her girlfriend, “Everything and nothing at the same time.”

Carina nodded, setting her laptop aside.

“Why are you working?” Maya asked, “Isn’t it the middle of the night?”

“I slept for 5 hours with you,” Carina said, opening her arms to Maya, “But I couldn’t sleep anymore if I wanted to get any sleep for the rest of the night. How are you feeling?”

“Groggy,” Maya said, laying her head on Carina’s chest.

“Would you like something to eat?” Carina asked, rubbing Maya’s back gently, “You’ve barely eaten all day.”

“Maybe something small,” Maya said, “Some toast or something. I don’t know. I just don’t feel great.”

“I know,” Carina said, kissing her temple as she grabbed her phone.

Five minutes later, there was a knock on the door, and Vic came in with a plate of toast with peanut butter.

“Hey,” she said, “Carina said you aren’t feeling well. Is there anything else you need?”

“I’m good,” Maya said, sitting up a little, “Thanks.”

“Of course,” Vic said, smiling at her friend, “If you need anything, just let me know.”

Vic left, closing the door behind her. Maya picked up a piece of toast, taking a small bite.

“She and Andy both said they’ll hang out here tomorrow,” Carina said, “I told them you were sick so you can do whatever you want. If you just want to lay in here and sleep or rest all day, you can, but Maya, they are your friends and they are worried about you. They know something is off with you. I’m not going to tell you you have to tell them everything or even anything, but they love you Maya. Let them be there for you.”

“I’ll think about it,” Maya said, nodding as she put her head on Carina’s shoulder.

“Also, I will not tell anyone you don’t want me to about anything you told me,” Carina said, “But I am going to Amelia’s tomorrow and talk to her.”

“That’s fine,” Maya said, nodding, “Just don’t tell anyone from the station. I don’t want them to look at me differently or judge me. Amelia won’t care. She already thinks I’m crazy.”

“You’re not crazy Bella,” Carina said, shaking her head.

Maya just shrugged, eating another bite of her food, when she was done, Carina took the plate, putting it on the nightstand before looking down at Maya.

“Do you need anything?” Carina asked. Maya just shrugged, closing her eyes for a minute.

“I am going to go get ready for bed,” Carina said, Maya moving from her place in her lap, “You probably should too. And how would you feel about taking another sedative? You need to sleep.”

“I don’t want to,” Maya said with a sigh, “But I think I need too. I don’t think I’m going to be able to fall asleep. God, I hate feeling like this. I should be able to sleep. It’s a basic human function. I’m so screwed up I can’t even do something that babies are born knowing how to do.”

“Hey,” Carina said, sitting down on the bed next to Maya, “Hey. It’s ok. You are going to be able to sleep again. This is not how it is always going to be. And you are not screwed up. You have an illness, an illness as real as the flu and insomnia is just one of the symptoms. It will come and go, but it won’t be like this always.”

Maya nodded, wiping at the tears running down her face. Carina handed her a tissue before heading into the bathroom to get herself ready for bed.

Once she was done, Maya went into the bathroom, sighing a little when she saw how swollen her face was. She got ready for bed before going back into the bedroom, climbing into bed. Carina handed her another pill which she took.

“What time are you going to Amelia’s tomorrow?” Maya asked, cuddling next to Carina.

“I’m going to text her when I wake up in the morning,” Carina said, “But probably around 10, maybe earlier. Andy said she was going to come over when she woke up in the morning.”

Maya nodded, “Thank you for not leaving today. I know it was a lot, and it means a lot to me that you stayed.”

“Of course Bella,” Carina said, leaning down and kissing her, “I love you.”

“I love you too,” Maya said, kissing her back.

Within ten minutes, both of them were asleep again. Maya stayed asleep until almost 9 am. She woke up alone in bed, but she heard noise in the bathroom. She pushed herself up to sitting, rubbing her eyes that felt awful from all the crying yesterday.

“Hey,” Carina said, walking out of the bathroom, smiling at her, “You slept a long time. How are you feeling?”

“I don’t know,” Maya said, rubbing her eyes again, “Kinda like I’m hungover except instead of drinking, all I did was cry. Pretending I’m sick today is going to be easy.”

Carina offered her a sad smiled before coming over to her.

“Andy got here about a half an hour ago,” Carina said, “And I am about to leave for Amelia’s. Do you need anything?”

Maya shook her head, pulling her blankets up.

“Have fun with Amelia,” Maya said as Carina sat down next to her.

“I will miss you,” Carina said, leaning down and kissing Maya, “Remember what I said yesterday. They are your friends and they care about you. I will be back sometime later tonight. I am going to leave you two of these pills. If you need to sleep, just take one.”

“I slept for 16 hours last night,” Maya said, “I don’t think I’m going to sleep any more today. That is more sleep than I’ve gotten in the past two weeks, maybe more. And yet I am still exhausted.”

“I know,” Carina said, rubbing Maya’s back, “I wish I could take this away from you.”

Maya moved to hug Carina, just needing to be close to her girlfriend for a minute before she left.

“Go,” Maya said after a minute, “Go take care of yourself. I love you.”

“I love you too,” Carina said, kissing Maya before she left, “I will see you tonight.”

Carina left and Maya just curled up under the blankets, not wanting to move. About twenty minutes later, there was a soft knock on her door before the door creaked open.

“Hey Maya,” Andy said, coming in with a glass of juice followed by Vic with a plate of what looked like muffins, “Carina told us you were awake before she left. How are you feeling?”

Maya shrugged, not really wanting to come out from under the covers.

“We brought food,” Vic said, setting the plate down on Maya’s night stand.

“Thanks,” Maya said, not moving from her place under the covers.

“Do you need anything else?” Andy asked, laying a hand on Maya’s forehead, checking for a fever that did not exist.

Maya shook her head, pulling the blanket up over her head. Vic and Andy got the message and left. Carina hadn’t told them what was wrong with their friend, only that she was sick and Carina didn’t want her to be alone. They went back into the living room, turning on a movie and just relaxing.

Back in the bedroom, Maya was in an internal debate about what to do. Part of her was saying it was rude to ignore her friends who were there for her, but the other part of her never wanted to leave her bed again.

She struggled with this in her head for over two hours before there was another knock on her door. Andy came in, alone this time with a glass of water.

“Not hungry?” she asked, pointing to the still full plate of food.

“Not really,” Maya said, shaking her head as Andy set the glass of water down on the nightstand next to the still full glass of juice.

Andy then laid down in the bed next to Maya, putting a hand on her friend’s back. Maya felt the tears start to prick in her eyes and she tried to blink them away, but failed as they came faster and before she knew what was going on, she was sobbing. Andy felt the shaking and looked down, seeing the tears running down Maya’s face.

“I’m right here Mai,” Andy said, laying down and just holding her friend as she cried.

Ten minutes later, Vic came to see what was going on and Maya was still just sobbing. Vic gave Andy a questioning look to which the Latina shrugged. Vic just climbed into bed next to the blonde on the other side, both of them just being there for their friend.

It took a good thirty minutes, but eventually, the tears stopped, Vic handing her a tissue.

“I’m sorry,” Maya said, voice still quivering from the crying.

“It’s ok,” Andy said, rubbing her back, “Do you wanna talk about it?”

“Not really,” Maya said, shaking her head, “I don’t want to change the way you guys look at me. But I think I need to.”

The three of them just sat in silence for a few minutes, Maya’s head on Andy’s shoulder as Vic rubbed her back. Maya took a deep breath, sighing before she started talking.

“Andy already knows this,” Maya started, “But I have been seeing a therapist for the past few weeks to deal with everything that had been going on. And I have been having a really hard time recently. And I haven’t been sleeping and in the past few weeks, I got diagnosed with anxiety and depression and I have been having thoughts about how everything would be better if I weren’t here anymore and I’m not actually sick today, just really sad and overwhelmed and I told all of this to Carina yesterday so today she is with Amelia because she needed space and I’m sorry if this was too much. You don’t have to stay.”

Maya waited for her friends to get up and leave, but instead, about two seconds after she finished talking, both Andy and Vic had their arms wrapped tightly around her in a hug. Maya started crying again. The three of them just sat there for a while, tears running down all their faces.

Eventually, they all pulled away, Vic grabbing tissues off the night stand and handing them to everyone.

“I’m sorry you’ve been going through all of this,” Vic said, putting an arm around Maya’s shoulder, “And I’m sorry if you felt like you couldn’t tell us.”

Maya just bit her lip, trying to stop herself from crying more.

“Is there anything we can do?” Andy asked, putting a hand on Maya’s back.

“I don’t know,” Maya said, shaking her head, “Just being here is good for now. And don’t tell anyone at the station. I barely have everyone’s respect and if they knew this…”

“You don’t have to tell anyone anything you aren’t ready for,” Vic said, “As long as you are able to do your job safely.”

“I would never put you guys at risk,” Maya said, shaking her head.

“We know,” Andy said, nodding.

“When we are on calls, that is one of the few times I actually feel clear headed and present,” Maya said, rubbing her eyes.

The other two women nodded, knowing how true that was. No matter what was going on in their personal lives, most of the time, when they were on a call, everything was completely focused on the people they were helping and Maya was better than any of them at doing this.

“We are here for you,” Andy said, rubbing Maya’s back, “Whatever you need.”

“Thanks,” Maya said, sniffling a little before she yawned.

“Do you want us to go so you can nap?” Vic asked.

“No,” Maya said, shaking her head, “No. I won’t nap. Until last night, I had only slept maybe 10 hours in the last two weeks, 8 of which were this last week.”

“Maya,” Vic said, her heart breaking for her friend.

“But don’t worry,” Maya said, “Carina got me a sedative and I slept 17 hours last night so I don’t think I can sleep anymore. But if you guys want to go, you don’t have to stay.”

“Do you want us to go?” Andy asked.

“I don’t care,” Maya said, “I’m not very good company right now.”

“How about we watch something?” Vic asked, “Do you want me to get my laptop and we can watch it in here or we can go out to the couch?”

“I don’t care,” Maya said, looking down at her hands.

Truthfully, she didn’t really want to get out of bed, but she didn’t want to make her friends stay in her bed.

“Let’s stay here,” Andy said, reading Maya’s body language.

“I’ll go grab my laptop,” Vic said, getting up, “Anyone need anything?”

Maya and Andy both shook their heads as Vic left.

“I’m sorry I haven’t been there for you,” Andy said, putting an arm around Maya’s shoulder as the blonde laid her head on her shoulder, “I could see you weren’t ok, but I didn’t want to push. I’m sorry I didn’t.”

“You’ve had enough of your own stuff going on,” Maya said, “And I didn’t even have the language to tell you what was going on until yesterday, not really at least.”

“This has been going on a lot longer than the past few weeks hasn’t it?” Andy asked gently, almost not even as a question.

“Not this bad,” Maya said, “But yeah. Basically, since I was like 14 or 15 I have felt like this to some extent.”

“You know that even when I was so pissed at you, I still wanted you in my life, even if I thought I hated you,” Andy said, tightening her grip on Maya’s shoulder, “You are important to me Maya. You are my tribe, and I don’t know what my life would be without you.”

Maya didn’t say anything, trying to keep the tears that were stinging her eyes from falling down her cheeks. She wanted to believe her friend, but everything inside of her was screaming at her that Andy was lying to her, just talking and not telling the truth.

“I need to go to the bathroom,” Maya said, getting up a minute later and walking into the attached bathroom.

She turned on the fan to muffle the quiet sobs that were coming without her permission. She wasn’t totally sure why she was crying, but she was beyond overwhelmed. She managed to get her tears under control, using the bathroom before going back to her bed.

“Where’s Vic?” she asked, voice rough from all the crying in the past few days.

“I’m right here,” Vic said, walking in with two big bowls and her laptop, “I was just making some popcorn.”

“Sounds good,” Andy said taking the bowls from Vic as Vic plugged in her laptop before climbing into bed.

“What are we feeling?” Vic asked, turning on her computer and going to Netflix.

Maya shrugged, leaning on Andy’s shoulder.

“How about something funny,” Andy suggested, “Parks and Rec?”

“Sounds good to me,” Vic said, looking to Maya.

“Sure,” Maya said, nodding.

Vic searched for the show before starting a random episode. The three of them just laid in bed, Vic and Andy eating popcorn.

Maya just laid between them, laughing a little at the jokes, but having a really hard time getting out of her head.

Andy fell asleep during the third episode they were watching and Maya carefully moved off her shoulder, not wanting to wake her up.

“You know you can always talk to me, right?” Vic said, wrapping an arm around Maya, “About anything. I am here for you. You and Andy are like the sisters I always wanted as a little kid except better because I never had to share my toys with you.”

“Thanks,” Maya said, cracking a small smile.

“Can I get you anything?” Vic asked, “You need to eat something Mai. I know you probably don’t feel well, but you need to eat so you name it and I’ll get it.”

“My acai bowl from yesterday is in the freezer,” Maya said, knowing her friend was right, “Can I have some of that?”

“Of course,” Vic said, getting up and going into the kitchen, grabbing the bowl from the freezer along with a spoon.

“I’m going to let this sit for a few minutes,” Vic said, placing the bowl on the nightstand, “And then you need to eat some of it.”

Maya nodded, rubbing her eyes, “What time is it?”

“It’s like 2:30,” Vic said, “Why? Do you have somewhere to be?”

“No,” Maya said, shaking her head, “No, I don’t want to get out of bed.”

“And that’s ok,” Vic said, offering a soft smile, “If you don’t want to get up today, you don’t have to.”

Maya just leaned her head on Vic’s shoulder, wondering how Vic was so good at making her feel a little less insane.

After about ten minutes, Vic handed her her left over food from the day before and Maya ate a little over half of it, nowhere near the amount she normally would eat, but enough to satisfy Vic.

The rest of the afternoon, they spent curled up in Maya’s bed, just watching Parks and Rec. Vic and Andy both fell in and out of sleep.

Maya was still feeling beyond overwhelmed and anxious and sad. Part of her just wanted to be alone, but being with her friends was helping her feel a little better, at least for now.

Around 5, Andy had to leave because she had dinner plans with Sullivan and her mom.

“I am here for you Maya,” Andy whispered in her friend’s ear as she hugged her goodbye, “Any time you need me, just call.”

“Thank you,” Maya said, hugging her friend back before Andy got up to go.

Vic walked her to the door and while they were gone, Maya crawled back under her covers. Vic walked back in once Andy was gone, seeing Maya buried in her blankets.

“Can I stay?” Vic asked, not wanting to stress Maya out more, but really wanting to be with her friend. Maya nodded, moving a little as Vic got back into the bed.

“Are you feeling up to dinner?” Vic asked, “I can order whatever or cook if you want.”

“I don’t know,” Maya said, shrugging, “Maybe something from the deli. Unless you want something else. I don’t really care.”

“The deli sounds good,” Vic said, nodding, “What do you want? Wait, let me guess, potato soup and a turkey sub?”

Maya nodded, smiling a little at her friend as she pulled out her phone, putting their order in online.

“It’ll be here in a half an hour,” Vic said, putting down her phone.

“Thanks,” Maya said as Vic placed a hand on Maya’s back, “For everything. For being here today. I think I needed this more than I knew.”

“Of course,” Vic said, nodding, “You and Andy were there for me after Lucas, even when I didn’t want you there. I don’t know what you are going through, but I know what it feels like to be incredibly broken and sad and think that if you shut everyone out, it will somehow protect them. But it doesn’t. It just makes the people who care about you worry about you so I am just going to be here for you whether you want me to or not.” Maya nodded, tears filling her eyes as she hugged Vic.

The two of them just hung out, watching TV until dinner got there. Then they ate, Maya eating all of her soup, but not feeling up to the sandwich.

Around 8, they both heard the front door open and a minute later, Carina walked into the bedroom.

“Hi Bella,” the Italian said, smiling at the blonde who lifted her head off Vic’s shoulder and smiled a little at her, “Hi Vic.”

“Hey Babe,” Maya said as Carina came over to the bed, leaning over and giving her a kiss, “How was your day?”

“Good,” Carina said, “It was good to hang out with Amelia. She even managed to get the house completely empty for most of the day which was nice. I missed you though. How was your day?”

“It was alright,” Maya said as Vic closed her laptop, gathering her things, “Thanks for hanging out today Vic.”

“Any time,” Vic said, “Seriously. Anytime you need me, I literally live across the hall. I’m here for you.”

“Thank you,” Maya said, smiling as her friend left the room.

“You told them didn’t you?” Carina asked, going to the dresser and pulling on a pair of pajamas.

“I did,” Maya said, nodding as she leaned back into her pillows.

“How did it go?” Carina asked, climbing into bed next to Maya, the blonde moving toward her immediately.

“Better than I expected,” Maya said, “They were both really supportive and I don’t know. They didn’t leave. Andy had dinner plans tonight so she left around 5, but Vic literally just laid in this bed with me all day, just watching TV and being here.”

“I told you they cared about you Bella,” Carina said, kissing the top of Maya’s head, “I am proud of you for telling them. Now, I have something to ask you?”

“What?” Maya said, feeling her stomach drop as anxiety filled her body, terrified of what Carina might say. Had she seen the light when she was with Amelia today and she was getting ready to leave?

“Now, I know how you feel about medications,” Carina said gently, “But what’s going on with you right now, it is not just going to go away. It is almost certainly something chemical on top of everything else and the only way you are going to be able to start to feel better is probably going to involve some kind of medication, at least for a while.”

“Like antipsychotics?” Maya asked.

“Like anti-depressants and anti-anxiety medication,” Carina said, rubbing Maya’s back as she felt her tense up, “Would you at least consider it? Or talk to Dr. Lewis about it? She cannot prescribe them, but she can refer you to someone who can.”

Maya was quiet for a minute and Carina worried she had overstepped, but when she looked down at Maya’s face, instead of the telltale pinched eyebrows of anger, she saw tears, sadness written all over her face.

“What are you thinking?” Carina asked, running her fingers through Maya’s hair.

“That I hate that you are right about this because I don’t want you to be right because I don’t want to need a pill to be able to function like a normal person,” Maya said, rubbing at her eyes.

“If you had diabetes, would you feel bad about taking insulin?” Carina asked, sitting Maya up a little so they could look at each other.

“What?” Maya said, confused.

“Well, diabetes is a chemical issue in the body that requires medication to help keep it in check,” Carina said, “In the same was that anxiety and depression are chemical issues in the brain. So if you had diabetes, would you feel bad about taking medication?”

“No,” Maya said, shaking her head, “If diabetics don’t take their medication, they can die.”

“Exactly,” Carina said, nodding as she raised an eyebrow at Maya, hoping the blonde could see the parallel.

“Oh,” Maya said, looking down at her hands.

“There is no shame in taking medication for your mental health,” Carina said, “I have been on anti-anxiety medication since I was 17. You know this. Does it make you think I am weak?”

“No,” Maya said, shaking her head, “No. It’s important so you can sleep and not feel like the world is closing in on you all the time.”

Carina smiled as Maya parroted exactly what the brunette had told her girlfriend after the first panic attack Maya had ever had in front of her while they were on vacation, “Si. And from what you told me and what I’ve seen in the past few weeks, you need some help with those things too.”

“But I don’t know if I’m even allowed to and keep my job,” Maya said, rubbing her eyes.

“Ask Dr. Lewis,” Carina said, “I’m sure she knows all the rules and regulations.”

“I’ll think about it,” Maya said, nodding slowly.

“That is all I ask,” Carina said, kissing Maya gently, “Do you have work tomorrow?”

“No,” Maya said, shaking her head, “This was our three days in a row off. I’m off again tomorrow, but you work right?”

“Tomorrow afternoon,” Carina said, nodding, “Noon to midnight. The best shift in my opinion.”

“That’s because you hate mornings,” Maya said, laughing a little.

“Si,” Carina said, nodding, “I was thinking, though, tomorrow, maybe I can hate mornings a little less and we can go walk down by the water before I go to work?”

Maya bit her lip. The water in Seattle was one of her favorite things about the city she grew up in and she spent a lot of time running there.

“Maybe,” Maya said, thinking about it.

“I know you aren’t feeling like doing much,” Carina said, “But sometimes, getting up and being outside helps, even just for a little while. And we don’t have to go for a long time. Just an hour, and if it’s too much, we can come home.”

“Alright,” Maya said, nodding, “I guess.”

“Good,” Carina said, “Now, would you like to watch something?” “Would you read to me?” Maya asked, “We watched Parks and Rec all day.”

“Of course, Bella,” Carina said, picking up her Italian poetry book and picking out one of her favorites as Maya relaxed into her side.

Chapter Text

Carina drove to Amelia’s, rubbing her tired eyes. She hadn’t gotten the best sleep the night before after everything that had happened yesterday. She was still trying to process who her girlfriend who she loved more than she had ever loved anyone outside of her family, was as sick as she was right now. That’s how Carina saw it, as an illness just like any other illness.

She pulled into Amelia’s driveway, not totally sure who was home today. She was hoping the house was at least somewhat quiet because she did not feel like dealing with the insanity that was this house when everyone was home. She was especially hoping her brother wasn’t here because he got very judgy about everything when it came to Maya after Carina had decided to go back to her. She grabbed her purse before climbing out of the car, walking up to the door.

She knocked, knowing that the chances of there being a sleeping person in this house was close to 100% at any given time. She heard footsteps and then Amelia opened the front door, a happy looking baby Marcus in her arms.

“Come on in,” Amelia said, opening the door, “You don’t have to knock here. I’ve told you that a million times.”

“I know,” Carina said, smiling as she walked in, toing off her shoes before following Amelia to the living room, “It’s just strange to me, just walking into someone else’s house.”

“So how are you doing?” Amelia asked as they sat down on the couch, “Do you wanna talk or cry or drink or scream or something else? Just tell me and I’m there.”

“Thank you, Amelia,” Carina said, feeling tears fill her eyes. Before she could do anything, tears were streaming down her face.

“Ok,” Amelia said, moving the baby in her arms so she could wrap her arms around Carina, “Ok. I’m right here. It’s going to be alright.”

Carina just cried for a while, Amelia rubbing her back. Marcus started fussing after about twenty minutes.

“Link should be here any minute to get him,” Amelia said, bouncing the baby a little.

“Get him?” Carina asked, the tears having mostly stopped by now.

“Yeah,” Amelia said, nodding, “He’s going to take him to see his parents for the day. They always complain they don’t get enough time with him.”

“That’s nice,” Carina said, smiling, “Who else is home?”

“No one,” Amelia said, shaking her head.

“What?” Carina said, “Someone is always home in this house.”

“Meredith took her kids to spend the day at the zoo with Jo,” Amelia said, “Maggie is working, and Link is taking Marcus to his parents so it’s just us today.”

“Did you plan this?” Carina asked, grabbing a tissue off the table.

“Mer already had her plans,” Amelia said, “And I don’t control the hospital scheduling because if I did, I would never work a 7 am shift again. But I did ask Link to take Marcus, but he needs to take him over there more anyways so it all works out.”

“Thank you,” Carina said, blinking more tears back.

Just then, the front door opened and Link walked in.

“Sorry I’m late,” he said, going to wash his hands before coming and taking Marcus from Amelia, kissing her gently, “I had a surgery that ran long. Hey Carina.”

“Hello Link,” Carina said, smiling at the ortho surgeon.

“So the bag is packed,” Amelia said, going into the kitchen, “I put the pumped milk in the cooler bag, but you should put it in the fridge when you get there. Everything you need should be in there.”

“Thanks,” Link said, kissing her, “I will be back around dinner time. Love you.”

“Love you too,” Amelia said, kissing him again.

“Bye Carina,” Link called as he walked out the door.

“Bye,” Carina called as Amelia closed the door, “I can’t believe this house is empty.”

“Isn’t it lovely?” Amelia said, sitting back down, “Now, have you eaten breakfast because Maggie made banana bread yesterday and it is to die for.”

“I already ate breakfast,” Carina said, “But I can’t turn down banana bread.”

“I’ll be right back,” Amelia said, going into the kitchen.

Carina looked out the window, looking at the typical Seattle rainy sky. She sighed, thinking about how it was a perfect metaphor for how she was feeling today. Amelia came back in with two plates of banana bread.

“Thanks,” Carina said, taking the plate Amelia offered.

“So how is she doing?” Amelia asked, taking a bite of her food, “How are you doing?”

“She is struggling,” Carina said, sighing, “She took two sedatives yesterday/early this morning which helped her sleep. She has barely slept in the past few weeks. And she’s not eating normally. I can tell she’s lost weight. And the panic attacks. She has had at least two every week for the past few months, sometimes more. It’s so hard to see her like this.”

“I know,” Amelia said, putting a hand on Carina’s shoulder, “Is it bad enough she’s going to need to be admitted?”

“I don’t know,” Carina said, shrugging, “She is seeing her therapist so I am going to leave that call to her unless it gets really bad. She hasn’t done anything to try to hurt herself and she is still functioning at work. It’s so hard.”

“Is she on medication?” Amelia asked, “Because it sounds like she might need to be. I’m not a psychiatrist, but I do know a lot about the brain and this is not just going to get better. At least part of it is chemical.”

“I know,” Carina said, “And I don’t think so. I haven’t asked because I didn’t want to push yesterday, but she needs to see a psychiatrist, at least to get on meds to help her feel better. She has been through a lot which is not going to go away with a pill, but at least she will be able to feel a little better so she can work through it. I’m hoping it’s not a fight. She normally hates taking any kind of medications, even for simple things like fevers or injuries.”

“I can talk to her if you need me to,” Amelia offered, “I can be very persuasive.”

Carina laughed a little, “I will let you know. I’m going to try to bring it up when I go back there tonight. I’m hoping she listens to me and it doesn’t turn into a fight.”

Amelia nodded, knowing from what Carina had told her that Maya was a very combative person when it came to things she didn’t want to accept. Amelia had been the one to pick up the pieces after Maya literally ran out on Carina and slept with her ex-boyfriend because she didn’t want to accept that her dad was abusive.

“I just wish I could show her how much I love her,” Carina said with a sigh.

“You are,” Amelia said, nodding, “You are doing everything you possibly can for her. But you could tell her you love her until you are blue in the face and it's not going to change the fact that she is severely depressed. You know that.”

“Si,” Carina said, biting her lip, “Lo so. But I just wish I could change it.”

“If she keeps working on it, it will get better,” Amelia said, putting a hand on Carina’s shoulder, “It’s not going to be easy, for her or you, but one day, it will be not as bad as it is now. You know that. Just look at Jo. She didn’t get out of bed for almost two weeks. She was drinking at work and literally crying in patient’s arms, and now she is back to kicking ass in the OR. I’m not saying she doesn’t still struggle, because she does. Link had had to go over there a few times to be there for her, but it’s not as bad as it was because she did the work and got help.”

Carina nodded, grabbing a tissue off the table.

“I know,” Carina said, wiping her eyes, “I’m just scared she’s going to do something to hurt herself and not make it to the not as bad.”

With that, Carina broke down again, sobbing in Amelia’s arms. Amelia just held her friend, knowing that there was nothing she could do besides just be there for her friend. She had had friends who were suicidal before, but never anyone she loved as much as she knew Carina loved Maya. Carina’s tears slowed after a while and she pulled back.

“Sorry,” the long haired brunette said, grabbing a few more tissues.

“Do no apologize,” Amelia said, shaking her head, “I knew what I was getting myself into when I invited you over. Plus, it’s good for you to get all of this out here because I know you are going to go back home and try to be strong for Maya. You need a place to process all of this and that’s what I’m here for.”

“Thank you Amelia,” Carina said, putting her head on her friend’s shoulder.

Just then, the doorbell rang. “That must be Teddy,” Amelia said, getting up as Carina moved her head.

“Teddy?” Carina said, confused.

“I invited her over,” Amelia said, “I hope that’s ok.”

“Of course,” Carina said, nodding as Amelia went and opened the door, letting the blonde in.

“I brought wine, brownies, and pizza,” Teddy said, coming in with her hands full, “Hi Carina.”

“Hi Teddy,” Carina said, waving a little.

Teddy put her stuff down before going and wrapping Carina in a hug.

“What’s going on?” Teddy asked, “All Amelia told me was that you needed us today. Is it Maya again? Do you need me to go beat her up because I will?”

“No,” Carina said, shaking her head, “I mean, it is Maya, but you do not need to beat her up. She is going through a really bad time right now. She got diagnosed with anxiety and depression by her therapist a few days ago and she’s been having suicidal thoughts.”

“Oh Carina,” Teddy said, tears filling her eyes as she pulled her friend close.

Carina leaned into Teddy’s embrace, just letting her friend hold her for a minute. She pulled back eventually, wiping the tears off her cheeks.

“How are you doing with all of that?” Teddy asked, grabbing tissues for both of them, dabbing her eyes. “It’s hard,” Carina said, letting out a long sigh, “But I am glad she seems to be accepting it. She fought so hard about everything with her dad, but she seems to at least be open to the fact that she has some mental health issues going on. She hasn’t tried to run yet, but I don’t know if that makes me feel any better.”

Teddy nodded as Amelia came back into the room with wine glasses and paper plates.

“I wasn’t sure if anyone was hungry, but I figured I’d put these plates here just in case,” Amelia said, setting everything down.

“How is your mental health doing with all of this?” Teddy asked, knowing Carina struggled with anxiety that she had a pretty good handle on. However, she knew something like this could bring up hard stuff.

“I’ve been ok,” Carina said slowly, thinking, “Overwhelmed for sure. And I didn’t sleep well last night, but that happens sometimes without anything prompting it. I have my normal appointment with my therapist the day after tomorrow so I’ll talk to her. And coming here is good, healthy. Something I never would have been able to do with my papa. When he started getting bad, I used to skip school to check on him and take care of him. It made me so anxious to be away from him when he was having an episode. But I learned that I could not fix it and the best thing I could do for both of us was to take care of myself.”

“Just when I think I’ve heard everything amazing about you, you say something like that and I’m in awe yet again,” Amelia said, shaking her head as she grabbed a piece of pizza.

“I’m not saying I’m always good at it,” Carina said, shrugging, “Part of me is having a really hard time being here instead of at Maya’s, holding her and trying to make all of it ok. Honestly, Amelia, if I had not seen you yesterday, that is probably what I would have done.”

“Well, I’m glad you decided to come over,” Amelia said, smiling at the Italian, “It’s better for both of you if you are keeping yourself healthy.”

“Si,” Carina nodded as she leaned back into the couch.

She knew Amelia was right, but it didn’t make it much easier to be away from her girlfriend who was hurting so badly right now. She was tempted to call or text her, but she decided against it, knowing it would be better for her if she just allowed herself to trust that Maya was safe with Vic and Andy.

“Where are Allison and Leo today?” Carina asked, deciding she wanted to change the subject.

“Alison is with Owen’s mom,” Carina said, “Evalyn takes Alison one day and Leo another day every week when Owen and I are working or on call. They are too much for her to have together, but she loves spending time with them. Leo is at daycare.”

“I don’t know how you both manage with two little bambinos,” Carina said, shaking her head.

“Well, it helps that we share one of them,” Teddy said, laughing as she nudged Amelia.

“True,” Amelia said, nodding, “And it’s not so bad. I mean, when Marcus was first born, it was rough, but now that he’s a little over two months old, he is sleeping better and I am working again which is keeping me sane.”

“I don’t know if I could ever do it,” Carina said, shaking her head.

“Come on,” Teddy said, “You’re an OB. Babies are part of your job.”

“No,” Carina said, shaking her head, “No, the mamas are my part. I just deliver the babies and then hand them off. Having one of my own would be so different.”

“I used to think that,” Teddy said, nodding, “Before Alison and Leo, I never thought I would be a mother. Didn’t think I was cut out for it. But then, Alison came along which meant Owen and Leo and I don’t know. It all just works, you know.”

“I don’t know,” Carina said, shrugging, “It doesn’t matter anyways. I don’t have to make any choices right now, and it’s not like Maya can accidently get me pregnant.”

Teddy and Amelia both laughed at this. The conversations flowed easily between the three unlikely friends. Carina ate some food, which made both Amelia and Teddy happy. They knew that when Carina got stressed, food was the last thing she wanted so getting her to eat anything on a day like today was good.

Eventually, they decided to put on a movie, and Carina ended up falling asleep on the couch for about an hour. She woke up to a door closing. Carina sat up, rubbing her eyes as she looked around.

“Teddy just left,” Amelia said, seeing how Carina looked confused, “She was on call and got paged.”

“Sorry,” Carina said, rubbing her eyes, “I didn’t mean to fall asleep.”

“That’s ok,” Amelia said, “We don’t care. You clearly needed the rest.”

Carina nodded, knowing her friend was right.

“So, did you like, move in with Maya?” Amelia asked, grabbing some popcorn that magically appeared since Carina had fallen asleep.

“No,” Carina said, shaking her head, “No. We have only been back together for a month and I still need space I can go to if I need time alone.”

Amelia nodded, “Would you ever move in with her?”

“I think so,” Carina said slowly, thinking, “We have a lot of issues to deal with, but I really do love her. I don’t know. It just feels so complicated.”

“Relationships are complicated,” Amelia said, nodding, “Link still has his place, which he keeps suggesting we move into, but thinking about moving in with him makes me nervous for some reason. I mean, I have a baby with the man and I can’t commit to moving out of this house again.”

Carina laughed a little, reaching for the popcorn.

“Part of me wants to move in with Maya to show her I will be there for her,” Carina said, popping a piece of popcorn in her mouth, “But I’m not ready for that so I don’t think it would be wise.”

“Yeah,” Amelia said, “Don’t do it unless you are ready. You can still be there for her and have your own place. It will be healthier for both of you if you wait until you’re ready to move in.”

“Also, we have never talked about moving in together,” Carina said, laughing a little, “So I don’t even know if that’s something she would be interested in.”

“Carina, that woman loves you so much that she is willing to go to therapy and deal with her shit so she can be a better partner to you,” Amelia said, shaking her head, “If she doesn’t want to move in with you one day, I have completely misread her. And I am never wrong.”

Carina threw a piece of popcorn at Amelia, but knew the short haired woman had a point. She knew Maya was in therapy partly for herself because she needed to deal with her dad’s abuse and other issues, but being with Carina was the final push she needed to do the work. After everything that had happened with Jack, Carina had been struggling to trust Maya again. The one thing she knew for certain though, was that her girlfriend truly loved her.

The two friends just hung out for the rest of the afternoon, Carina just enjoying being with her friend. They ordered Chinese and ate dinner together, chatting about some research they were thinking about starting once Amelia got back into the swing of things at work. Andrew came home around 7, surprised to see his sister there.

“What’s going on Carina?” he asked, noticing his sister didn’t look like her normal self, “Is it Maya? I’m gonna go settle this. She is such an idiot. You deserve so much better.”

Amelia noticed how overwhelmed Carina looked and stepped in.

“Calm down Andrew,” Amelia said, giving him a look, “Maya didn’t do anything to your sister. They are just going through something, and Carina needed some space. You are going to go upstairs and leave us to the rest of our girls’ day. Bye.”

Andrew looked like he wanted to argue but knew better than to get on the youngest Shepard’s wrong side.

“Thank you,” Carina said, looking at Amelia as she wiped her eyes, “He is so stupido sometimes. And he is still so irrational which I know he cannot always control, but…”

“He’s just not who you need right now,” Amelia finished.

“Si,” Carina said, sighing.

“I understand,” Amelia said, “My brother was the same way sometimes. He always wanted to fix everything and protect me from everything.”

“Yes,” Carina said, nodding, “Why is it that men are always like that? Some things cannot be ‘fixed’ just because they want to make it better.”

Amelia nodded, shaking her head. Just then, the door opened again and Meredith and her kids came in along with Link and Marcus.

“We all pulled in at the same time,” Link said, seeing the confusion on Amelia’s face as she got up and went to her boyfriend, taking their son.

“Baily, upstairs, take a bath,” Meredith said as her kids all ran in, “Ellis, Zola, go up to your room and clean up.”

The three Shepard kids ran upstairs as Meredith walked into the living room.

“Hey Carina, I didn’t know you were here today,” Meredith said, smiling at her boyfriend’s sister.

“Just having a girl’s day,” Carina said, smiling.

“Is Andrew home?” Meredith asked, “He was supposed to be done with his shift two hours ago.”

“He’s upstairs,” Amelia said, “He was banned from crashing girl’s day.”

Meredith nodded, “I need to go get the kids bathed and ready for bed. See you later Carina.”

“Bye,” the Italian called as Mer headed upstairs, “I should probably get going.”

“You are welcome here any time,” Amelia said, giving Carina a side hug as Marcus cooed in her arms, “Call me if you need anything. Seriously, day or night, I’m here for you.”

“Grazie,” Carina said, smiling at her friend, “See you tomorrow at work?”

“Of course,” Amelia nodded as Carina walked toward the door.

“Ciao Link,” Carina said, calling to her friend in the kitchen.

“Bye Carina,” Link called, walking into the entry way with a glass of water.

Carina walked out the door, getting in her car. She was still feeling a little emotionally overwhelmed, but she felt better after spending the day with her friends. She headed back to Maya’s, feeling ready to see her girlfriend.

Chapter Text

The next morning, Carina woke up at 8 am and was not surprised the bed next to her was empty. She had never known Maya to sleep past 6 am except the day before and that was because of the sedatives she had taken. She had taken one the night before too, but around 10, meaning it wore off around 6.

Carina stretched a little, getting up and walking out into the living room. She was shocked to see Maya curled up on the couch, still in her pajamas.

“Bella,” Carina said softly, going to her girlfriend.

“Oh, hey Carina,” Maya said, pulling her headphones out of her ears.

“No running this morning?” Carina asked, sitting down next to Maya.

“I just didn’t feel like it today,” Maya said with a sigh, “I might go later. I don’t know. I didn’t want to wake you up and I couldn’t sleep, so I just came out here. Sorry, I know you hate waking up alone.”

“It’s ok,” Carina said, pulling Maya into a hug, “Are you feeling up to going for a walk down by the Sounds this morning? We can stop at that little coffee place on the way.”

“I don’t know,” Maya said, biting her lip, “I kinda just want to go back to bed.”

“Why don’t we go for a little bit?” Carina countered, knowing that being outside and getting out of her head for a little bit would probably be helpful to Maya, “Please? I have to work this afternoon and then you work tomorrow, and we are not going to see each other for like the next 3 days because of our schedules.”

“Alright,” Maya said, nodding a little.

“If you really start feeling bad, we can come back,” Carina said, reassuring the woman she loved, “I promise.”

Maya nodded, knowing Carina was right. The brunette pulled her girlfriend up.

“You need a shower,” Carina said, wrinkling her nose, “No offense, Maya, but you do not smell good right now.”

“Probably because I didn’t get out of bed for like 36 hours,” Maya said, sticking her tongue out at Carina, “But you’re right.”

“Would you like me to join you?” Carina asked, wanting to be close to her girlfriend, but also not wanting to push her.

Maya thought for a second before shaking her head.

“I’m sorry,” she said, tears welling up in her eyes, “I just don’t…”

“No,” Carina said, cutting her off, “None of that. You never need to apologize for not feeling up to having sex or being intimate. It’s your body and you get to choose what you want to do with it.”

“I just feel bad that you want to and I don’t,” Maya said, not looking Carina in the eyes.

“Maya,” Carina said, cupping her face with her hands and pulling it up so their eyes met, “I am not mad. There are times I don’t want to as well. It is not a big deal. Now, go take your shower.”

Carina then leaned down and kissed her girlfriend gently before releasing her, wiping the tears off her cheeks. Maya smiled a little before going into her bedroom and then bathroom.

Carina went into the bedroom, opening the drawer Maya had given her months ago when Carina started spending the night, pulling out a pair of leggings before opening one of Maya’s drawers and stealing one of the blonde’s old Team USA shirts that Maya didn’t wear often, but Carina loved. She pulled it on before deciding to change the sheets on Maya’s bed. She had a suspicion that her girlfriend was going to spend the afternoon in bed again and knew that clean sheets might make her smile for a second. Carina made quick work of stripping the bed, putting the old sheets in the washing machine before remaking the bed.

She scribbled a quick note to Maya, tucking it under the covers on her side of the bed, knowing that even if Maya didn’t spend the afternoon in bed, Carina was planning on spending the night at her own place because she got off work so late.

She grabbed one of her clips off the dresser, twisting her hair up and securing it with the clip. By the time she was done with all of that, Maya opened the bathroom door, wrapped in her towel.

“You’re wearing my shirt,” she said, walking to the dresser and pulling out her own clothes.

“Is that alright?” Carina asked.

“Always,” Maya said, smiling, “I love it when you wear my clothes.”

“Good,” Carina said, smiling back, “Because I love wearing them.”

Maya dressed quickly in her own leggings and t-shirt, thinking about drying her hair, but deciding she just didn’t care enough to do that today. As they were getting ready to walk out the door, Vic came out of her bedroom.

“Where are you two going?” she asked, smiling at them.

“Down to the Sound to walk,” Carina said.

“Have fun,” Vic said, waving as they walked out the door.

Carina grabbed Maya’s hand as they walked out the door, knowing her girlfriend was anxious just by looking at her.

“Just tell me if you are feeling overwhelmed, and we can come back,” Carina whispered into Maya’s ear as they headed down the stairs.

“I’m good,” Maya said, nodding.

They walked down the street, stopping at “their” coffee place about a block away from Maya’s place. Carina got her normal cappuccino and a croissant, and Maya got black coffee and a blueberry scone at Carina’s insistence.

They walked hand in hand down to the Sound, walking for a little while before stopping at a bench to eat their food.

“How are you feeling?” Carina asked, pulling out her croissant and taking a bite.

“I don’t know,” Maya said, shrugging as she broke off a small corner of her scone, taking a bite, “Kinda anxious for no particular reason, but the sun feels good.”

“Good,” Carina said, leaning her head on Maya’s shoulder for a second, “So what are your plans for the rest of the day?”

“I might try to go for a run,” Maya said, “And then, I don’t know. I don’t really feel like doing anything. I will honestly probably just curl up in bed, maybe read a book or something.”

“Sounds like a good day,” Carina said, smiling at her girlfriend, “Have you thought any more about what we talked about last night?”

“Yeah,” Maya said, nodding slowly, “I’m gonna talk to Dr. Lewis when I have me next session and I was wondering if maybeyouwouldcomewithme?”

“What?” Carina asked, confused.

Maya took a deep breath and started again, “Would you maybe come with me? I just…I don’t know how to have this conversation with her alone.”

“Of course,” Carina said, nodding, “Of course I will.”

“Thank you,” Maya said, sniffling a little.

Carina just wrapped an arm around Maya’s shoulder, kissing her cheek.

“Do you have anything interesting on your schedule today?” Maya asked as Carina finished her croissant.

“I have a c-section for twins,” Carina said, thinking for a minute, “And an appointment for my mom who is expecting quadruplets. Other than that, whatever comes in.”

They sat for a few more minutes, Carina coaxing another few bites of food into Maya before the blonde put the rest of her pastry in her purse, promising Carina she would eat it later. They then got up, walking hand in hand around the Sound.

“How are you doing?” Maya asked Carina as they walked.

“I am alright,” Carina said, thinking, “I have therapy tomorrow which will be good, and getting to talk with Amelia and Teddy was helped me feel a little better. I’ve been a little more anxious than normal, but not too bad.”

Maya bit her lip, feeling guilt fill her as Carina talked, but she didn’t say anything. She didn’t want to make Carina feel like she couldn’t share with her because that wasn’t what she wanted. She didn’t want to feel this way when Carina told her things, but she didn’t know how to stop feeling like this.

They walked a little longer, Maya trying to pull herself out of her head but struggling. Carina noticed that Maya was quiet and looked over, seeing the overwhelmed and slightly panicky look on her face.

“Maya,” she said, stopping walking, “Hey, Bella. What’s going on?”

“Nothing,” Maya said, shaking her head.

“Hey,” Carina said, guiding her to a bench, “None of that. I know something’s bothering you.”

Maya just shrugged, tears welling up in her eyes.

“Alright,” Carina said, taking Maya’s coffee out of her hands, setting it down before pulling her into a hug, “What are you thinking right now?”

“That I just want to be able to function like a normal person,” Maya said, tears running down her cheeks, “I want to be able to go out and have a normal conversation and not feel like I am getting swallowed up in my head, and I want to be able to be there for you just like you are for me and… I just want to feel normal.”

“I know Bella,” Carina said, holding her close, “And it will get better. Not right away, and not probably as fast as you want, but it will happen if you keep working on it. And you are here for me. Today, I needed to go on this walk and you came. And you are working on yourself which is also being here for me. This is how a relationship works, sometimes you need to lean on me more, and other times, I need to lean on you. Right now, you need to do more of the leaning and that’s ok.”

Maya nodded, just enjoying Carina’s embrace as the taller woman rubbed her back.

“Do you want to go home?” Carina asked, kissing the top of Maya’s head.

“We can walk a little more if you want,” Maya said, pulling back, “I’ll be alright.”

“Are you sure?” Carina asked gently, not wanting to push Maya.

“Yeah,” Maya said, wiping her eyes before grabbing her coffee, “Let’s go.”

They got up, continuing their walk. Maya tried hard to stay present, to enjoy the conversation with Carina and the beautiful day; however, she was struggling. She stopped walking suddenly. Carina stopped when she felt the tug on her hand from Maya stopping.

“Can we go home?” Maya asked, tears filling her eyes as she looked at Carina, “I’m sorry. I know you wanted to come down here, and I did too, but I just… I don’t know… I just don’t feel good.”

“Hey,” Carina said, “It’s ok. We can go home. It’s not a big deal.”

Maya nodded, rubbing her eyes, “Thank you.”

“Thank you for telling me what you need,” Carina said, kissing Maya gently, “Let’s get you home.”

Maya nodded, biting her lip after Carina pulled away. They walked home relatively quickly which Maya was grateful for because everything around her starting to feel overwhelming. The only thing keeping her in the present was the feeling of Carina’s hand in her own.

They got home, Maya immediately going into her room. Carina took a breath before following. She found Maya pacing her room, breathing too fast.

“Maya,” Carina said, “Hey, come here.”

“I can’t… I…” Maya said, pulling at the neckline of her shirt, clearly in the throes of a panic attack.

“I know,” Carina said, guiding Maya to sitting, “Just focus on me. Eyes right here. Just follow my breathing.”

Maya nodded, trying to follow Carina’s instructions. It took a few minutes, but she managed to get her breathing back under control.

“I don’t even know why that happened,” Maya said, tears running down her face as Carina moved them to lean against the pillows.

“Sometimes, panic attacks just happen,” Carina said, shrugging as she held Maya, “The last one I had, I was walking from the OR to my office two weeks ago and I just felt the walls closing in on me. No reason at all.”

“Why didn’t you tell me you had a panic attack two weeks ago?” Maya asked, looking at Carina.

“Because I have been dealing with them since I was 12,” Carina said, shrugging, “I don’t even think about it when they happen. If they happen more than once a month, I know I have a problem, and then I would tell you. But when there’s no reason, I don’t know. It’s just something that happens.”

“Well, just know if you ever need to or want to talk to me about it, I’m here for you,” Maya said, leaning up and kissing Carina.

“Thank you, Bella,” Carina said, smiling at her girlfriend.

They just sat there for a while, Carina rubbing Maya’s back.

“What time do you have to leave for work?” Maya asked, rubbing her eyes.

“11,” Carina said, looking at her watch, “In about half an hour. Are you going to go to work tomorrow?”

“I don’t know,” Maya said, taking a deep breath, “I should. I need to. But part of me doesn’t want to. I don’t know. I probably will.”

“Do you think you will be able to work safely?” Carina asked, still trying to get over the shock that Maya admitted she was thinking about not going to work.

“I don’t know,” Maya said, tears filling her eyes, “Part of me is worried if I stop going to work, I’ll never go back.”

“You will go back,” Carina comforted, “But if you aren’t feeling well enough to go to work, you are allowed to stay home and take a sick day.”

“I’ll probably go,” Maya said, wiping her eyes, “I need to work. I can do it safely. I’ve been good on calls at least. I don’t know.”

“Whatever you decide, I will support you,” Carina said, “And if you need to talk about it, you can call me. I need to get ready for work right now though.”

Maya nodded, moving a little so Carina could get up. She grabbed her phone, seeing she had a few messages from Vic.

From Vic: Hey, I’m going to help Trav with some redecorating this morning. Text me if you need me.

From Vic: Is it ok if Trav comes over this afternoon? I totally understand if you don’t want anyone over right now.

Maya texted her friend and roommate back, telling her it was fine if Travis came over. Vic told her she was tell him that Maya had a migraine or something if she wanted to give the blonde an excuse for not being social. Maya said she didn’t care, that she was probably going to just chill in her bed for the day. Vic said that was fine, to let her know if she needed anything.

Maya put her phone back on her nightstand, debating if she should go for a run or not. Logically, she knew she should go for a run, her anxiety levels were skyrocketing and she knew running would help.

However, she also felt like she had no energy and didn’t want to.

“Are you walking to work today?” Maya asked as Carina came out of the bathroom, going to the dresser and opening her drawer.

“I was going to,” Carina said, nodding, “Amelia and I get off at the same time tonight and she offered to give me a ride home.”

“Can I come with you?” Maya asked, sitting up, “I want to run, but I also don’t but I should so if I walk you to work, I can run after.”

“Of course,” Carina said, nodding, “I love when you walk me to work.”

Maya was already dressed in something that she could run in so she just grabbed her headphones, tucking them in her pocket along with her phone.

“Ready?” Carina asked, looking at her girlfriend.

Maya nodded, getting up and going to grab her shoes. Carina grabbed her bag and they headed out. The Italian woman was happy her girlfriend had decided to go for a run. It was something she knew was good for anyone’s mental health, but especially Maya’s because it was something she was so used to doing.

They walked the five blocks to the hospital, stopping out front before Carina had to go in.

“Are you coming back to my place tonight?” Maya asked.

“Probably not,” Carina said, sighing, “I work until midnight, which obviously could go later if anything happens. And you have to be at work at 8 si?”

“Yeah,” Maya said, nodding, “Well, then I guess I will see you…”

“When is your next therapy session?” Carina asked.

“Three days,” Maya said, thinking for a second.

“Well, I will see you then if not earlier,” Carina said, smiling a little at her girlfriend.

Maya smiled back, moving closer and kissing Carina. They kissed for a minute before Carina pulled away.

“Call or text me if you need me,” Carina said, putting a hand on Maya’s face, “I love you Bella.”

“I love you too,” Maya said, “And the same goes for you. If you need me, I’m only a phone call or text away.”

They kissed one more time before Carina went into work.

Chapter Text

Maya took a deep breath, getting ready to go run when Amelia walked up to her.

“Hey Maya,” the doctor said, startling her a little.

“Oh, hey Amelia,” Maya said, smiling a little, “How are you?”

“I’m good,” Amelia said, bouncing a little as Marcus fussed in her arms, “Just about to drop this little man off at daycare and them I have to work. How are you doing?”

“I’m…” Maya started, then remembered Amelia knew everything that was going on, “I’m… making it through. I don’t know, you know?”

“I understand,” Amelia said, nodding as she put a hand on Maya’s shoulder, “I know we’re not super close, but if you ever need me, I will be there for you.”

“Thanks,” Maya said, not totally sure why her eyes were filling with tears.

“You are going to make it through this Maya,” Amelia said, “I know it doesn’t feel like it now, but there will be a day when it’s not as bad as it is today.”

Maya nodded, blinking a few times.

“I’ve gotta get to work,” Amelia said, “I’ll see you later.”

“Bye,” Maya called, waving as Amelia walked into the hospital.

She then found a bench, stretching a little before she started running. Maya ran for a long time, just trying to clear her head.

Unfortunately, she wasn’t pay attention to where she was running and she tripped on a cracked piece of sidewalk. Her ankle that she had sprained before the Olympics twisted as she fell. She luckily caught herself with her hands, taking a deep breath before trying to get up. As she put weight on her ankle, she felt the tell tale pain that happened when she twisted her right ankle.

“Damn it,” Maya cursed, tears springing to her eyes. She started limping home. She made it about half way before she just sat down on a bench, her ankle killing her. She just started crying, everything feeling way too overwhelming.

She had been sitting for about fifteen minutes when a car pulled up in front of her. Maya didn’t even look up until someone walked up to her. She looked up and saw Vic standing in front of her.

“What’s going on?” Vic asked, sitting down next to her.

“I tripped and twisted my bad ankle,” Maya said, “And I don’t know…”

“Well, you are in luck,” Vic said, “Travis and I were just heading home so we can give you a ride. Do you need me to go get him so we can carry you?”

“No,” Maya said, laughing through the tears that were still streaming down her face, “I can walk.”

“Come on,” Vic said, standing up and offering Maya her hand.

The blonde took it before Vic wrapped an arm around her, helping her to the car.

“What happened to you Maya?” Travis asked as Vic helped her into the back seat.

“I twisted my bad ankle,” Maya said, wiping at her eyes.

“Ouch,” Travis said as Vic climbed in the car, starting to drive toward their apartment.

The ride home was pretty quiet. When they got home, Vic and Travis helped Maya back upstairs even though she insisted she could do it herself.

“Go shower,” Vic said as they got into the apartment, “I’ll have ice ready when you’re done.”

Maya nodded, going into the bedroom and then her bathroom. She pulled off her clothes, groaning when she saw how swollen her ankle already was. She took a quick shower before going back into her bedroom, putting on a pair of shorts and one of Carina’s sweatshirts.

She then pulled back the blankets, her eyes filling with tears for the millionth time when she saw clean sheets on the bed and the note from Carina. She grabbed the note, climbing into bed and putting a couple pillows under her ankle.

She picked up her phone, texting Carina and telling her thank you for changing her sheets and for the note. Carina texted her back, telling her she loved her and to have a good afternoon.

“I have ice and food,” Vic said, coming into the room with a bag of ice and a smoothie. Travis came in behind her with a glass of water.

“Thanks guys,” Maya said, getting the ice on her swollen ankle.

“Do you need anything else?” Vic asked, setting the smoothie on the nightstand.

Maya shook her head.

“Just text me if you need anything,” Vic said as they left, “Like anything.”

“Thanks,” Maya said, smiling tiredly at her friend.

As soon as Vic and Travis left, Maya felt tears filling her eyes again. She just felt so defeated. Her ankle was throbbing, her head hurt, and all she wanted was to sleep forever. She felt like she was a burden to everyone in her life and she hated it.

She wasn’t sure what to do so she just laid in her bed, staring at the ceiling as tears ran down her face. She got up, limping into the bathroom.

She stood there, staring at her medicine cabinet, debating what she wanted to do. She opened the cabinet, finding that the bottle of pills that had been in there for the past two years was missing.

A sob escaped her lips as she slid down the wall, realizing Carina must have taken them. She was suddenly hyperventilating and felt like she couldn’t breathe. It was just then that Vic walked in to check on her.

“Maya,” she called, not seeing her friend in bed.

However, she looked into the bathroom, immediately going to her friend’s side.

“What happened Mai?” Vic asked.

Maya just sobbed, Vic holding her. A minute later, Travis walked in to see where Vic was. He gave her a confused look, but Vic just shook her head. He sat down on the other side of Maya, just being there.

Once Maya stopped crying, she just sat there, staring straight ahead.

“Can you give us a minute Trav?” Vic asked, knowing how Maya felt about telling other people.

He nodded, getting up and leaving Maya’s room.

“Do you wanna talk about it?” Vic asked.

“I don’t… I just…No,” Maya said, shaking her head.

“Ok,” Vic said, nodding, “Do you want to move? Or just stay here for a little bit?”

Maya just shrugged, not moving.

“Do you want me to stay?” Vic asked, still holding her friend.

“You can go be with Travis if you want,” Maya croaked out.

“That’s not what I asked,” Vic said, “Do you want me to stay?”

Maya was still for a moment before nodding her head a little.

“Ok,” Vic said, rubbing her back, “Then I’m not going anywhere.”

They just sat on the floor on the bathroom for a good twenty minutes before Maya moved out of Vic’s arms.

“Thank you,” Maya said, wiping a few stray tears.

“You don’t need to thank me,” Vic said as they both stood up, “I’m your friend. This is what we do. Now, do you want to come out into the living room or stay here?”

“I think I’m just going to go lay down in bed,” Maya said as they walked out of the bathroom.

“Do you want me to stay?” Vic asked as Maya climbed into bed.

“Travis is still here,” Maya reminded her.

“I can go ask him to leave,” Vic offered, “Or we can both come hang with you. We were just planning on chilling and watching movies this afternoon.”

Maya shrugged, not particularly wanting to be alone, but also not sure she wanted to be with anyone either. It was beyond frustrating to her, and she almost started crying again.

“Can you stay?” Maya asked so quietly Vic almost didn’t hear her.

“Do you want Travis to stay too, or do you want me to send him home?” Vic asked gently.

“He can stay,” Maya said, rubbing her eyes.

Vic nodded, leaving the bedroom, returning a few minutes later with Travis.

“What did you tell him?” Maya asked Vic quietly as her friend sat down next to her in bed.

“Just that you aren’t feeling well,” Vic reassured her, “And that you needed some company.”

Maya nodded, rolling over toward Vic as she put a movie on on her laptop. They spent the afternoon much as they had the day before, just in bed, watching TV.

“I’m gonna go make some dinner,” Vic said around 5, getting up.

When she left, Travis moved closer to Maya, the blonde still just buried in the blankets.

“Whatever’s going on,” Travis said, “Just know that I’m here for you Maya.”

“Thanks Travis,” Maya said, sitting up a little, offering him a small smile, “It’s all just a lot right now.”

“Do you want to talk about it?” he asked, knowing they weren’t super close, but wanting to open the door if she needed it.

“Not tonight,” Maya said, shaking her head.

Travis nodded, putting his hand on Maya’s shoulder. They just sat there together, watching a movie until Vic poked her head in.

“I’ve got chicken and rice ready,” she said, Travis getting up and leaving as Vic walked over to Maya.

“Want me to bring you a plate?” Vic asked.

“I’m really not hungry,” Maya said, shaking her head, “Maybe I’ll get something later.”

“Alright,” Vic said, not super into the idea of letting Maya skip another meal, but knowing she wasn’t going to get the blonde to eat if she didn’t want to.

May just laid in bed, mind running about a thousand miles an hour. She wasn’t sure how long it had been, but her phone suddenly buzzed.

She picked it up, seeing that she had a few different messages she had missed during the day. Most of them were from their A shift group chat and were about nothing, but also had one from Carina. She opened that one first.

To Maya: Hello Bella. I hope your afternoon has been alright. Just wanted to check in and tell you that I love you so much.

Maya smiled a little as she read the message, texting her girlfriend back, telling her that she was fine and had spent the afternoon in bed with Vic and Travis, purposely leaving out her injury. She also asked Carina how her day was going.

As she waited for Carina to text her back, there was a knock on her door.

“Come in,” she called.

“Hey,” Vic said, coming in with a bag of ice, “Travis just went home. I thought you might need more ice?”

“Yeah,” Maya said, nodding as she took the bag, wincing a little when she saw how swollen her ankle was.

“That looks bad Mai,” Vic said, eyes wide, “I don’t think that’s going to fit in your boot tomorrow.”

“If I wrap it, it probably will,” Maya said, shrugging.

“Can I get you anything?” Vic asked.

“I’m probably just going to knock out,” Maya said, “I’m exhausted even though I literally did nothing all day.”

“Do you want something to eat before you sleep?” Vic asked, not even sure her roommate had eaten anything all day.

“I’m not hungry,” Maya said, shaking her head as she moved to get up to brush her teeth.

“Fine,” Vic said, “But you are eating something tomorrow. Text me if you need anything tonight. Is Carina coming over?”

“No,” Maya said, shaking her head as she moved to get up to get ready for bed, “She works until midnight or later. I’ll see her in a few days.”

“Alright,” Vic said, “I’ll see you in the morning. Goodnight.”

“Goodnight,” Maya said, “Thanks for everything today.”

Maya got ready for bed before taking one of the pills Carina had left for her before grabbing her phone.

She had a message back from Carina, telling her that her day had been good, uneventful, and that she hoped Maya was feeling a little better than she had been earlier.

Maya texted her back, telling her she had just taken one of her pills and that she was going to sleep, telling her she loved her. Carina texted back right away, telling her goodnight and that she loved her too.

Maya drifted off to sleep, hoping beyond all hope that the next day would be a little better than this one.

Chapter Text

The next morning, Maya’s ankle was still huge and painful, and she was seriously thinking about not going to work, not only because of her ankle, but also because she just didn’t want to get out of bed. She laid there for almost two hours before there was a knock on her door.

“Hey,” Vic said, coming in, “Are you thinking you’re gonna come in today or take a sick day?”

“I’m coming,” Maya said, sighing as she sat up, “It’s just taking a lot to get out of bed today.”

“Sorry you’re still feeling so terrible,” Vic said, coming in and setting a cup of coffee on Maya’s nightstand, “If you want to take the day, no one would care.”

“No,” Maya said, shaking her head, “I need to go in. I’ll be fine.”

“Alright,” Vic said, eyeing her, “Well, I’m leaving in about a half an hour if you want to go in together.”

“Yeah,” Maya said, nodding, “I’ll come with you.”

The blonde got up, wincing as she stepped on her ankle. She went into the bathroom, grabbing an ace wrap and carefully wrapping the tender joint in a way she had become so familiar with during her training.

She then dressed for work, throwing back some anti-inflammatories. She normally didn’t take them, but she was in a lot of pain and not 100% sure her ankle would fit in her boots.

“Ready?” Vic called from the living room.

“Yeah,” Maya said, limping out of her room.

“Oh, girl,” Vic said, “Are you sure you should work?”

“I’m fine,” Maya said, slipping on her shoes, “Let’s go.”

They drove to work, Vic heading up to her locker as Maya went into her office, changing into her uniform before sitting down in her desk chair, taking a few deep breaths. She was a little shaky, and felt super anxious, but she was determined to get through this shift.

She headed upstairs, her ankle a little less sore thanks to the meds she had taken. She walked into the beanery, getting her team going for the morning before sitting down to eat with them.

Vic thought she was being sneaky, checking to see if Maya was eating, but the blonde felt her eyes on her. She took a small bowl of fruit and yogurt, giving Vic a look as she did so. The younger woman nodded before turning back to her own breakfast. Maya didn’t eat much breakfast but managed not to set off any alarm bells with her roommate.

She headed back down to her office to work while everyone else started chores. The alarm went off about an hour later and they all ran into the barn, Maya shoving her swollen ankle into her boots, trying to ignore the searing pain that came when she did so.

They headed to a house fire, working the call for several hours as sparks from the first fire spread to two other houses thanks to strong winds. Maya forgot about her throbbing ankle until they got back to the station.

As she stepped out of the truck, her ankle all but gave out on her and she grabbed the side of the truck to steady herself.

“Maya,” Andy said, running up behind her from where she had just gotten out of the aid car, “Are you alright?”

“Yeah,” she said, “I’m fine. Let’s get the rigs restocked.”

She pulled off her turnout pants and boots before slipping back into her regular shoes. She limped back to her office before pulling them off again, seeing the swelling in her ankle had gotten worse.

“Damn it,” she cried to no one.

Just then, there was a knock at her door.

“Just a sec,” she called, wiping the tears from her eyes as best as she could, “Come in.”

Vic and Andy both walked in, closing the door behind them.

“Andy said you almost fell getting out of the engine,” Vic said, looking at Maya.

“It’s just my ankle,” Maya said, shaking her head.

“Can I see?” Andy asked, walking closer to her friend.

“It’s fine,” Maya said, moving so Andy could see her ankle.

“Maya,” Andy said, eyes wide as she knelt down, looking at the ankle that was swollen to almost twice its size, “This looks terrible. How did you work on it?”

“It’s fine,” Maya said, shaking her head, “I just need to take something and rewrap it.”

“Maya, you should rest it,” Vic said, “Or it’s going to take longer for it to get better.”

“I’m fine,” Maya snapped, “I need to work, ok. I’m fine.”

“How about I wrap it, and we get some ice on it?” Andy said, treading lightly, “And maybe you can put it up?”

Maya nodded, knowing her friends were right.

“I’ll be right back,” Vic said, heading upstairs to get ice as Andy wrapped Maya’s ankle in the wrap.

“Maya, if you need to take some time, I can cover for you,” Andy said, noticing how terrible Maya was looking.

“I’m fine,” Maya said, rubbing her eyes, “I need to work.”

“Alright,” Andy said, “But just know, if you need it, I’ve got your back.”

“Thanks,” Maya said, nodding.

Vic came back a minute later with an ice pack, handing it to their captain.

“Thanks guys,” Maya said, “Go wash up.”

“Want us to bring you some lunch?” Vic asked.

“I’m good,” Maya said, shaking her head.

“Maya, you need to eat,” Andy said, eyeing her friend.

“I’m fine,” Maya said for what felt like the millionth time that day, thinking that maybe if she said it enough, she might actually believe it herself, “Thank you for your help.”

Both Vic and Andy left her office, worried about their friend.

Maya, meanwhile, was in her office feeling awful. She felt like she was failing everyone. She was slipping, spinning, and she was terrified she wasn’t going to be able to stop. She went into her bunk, putting her ankle up on a pillow as she started to cry. She wanted to curl up in a ball and disappear. She heard a knock on her office door, but she just ignored it, not wanting to see anyone.

However, the next thing she knew, her bunk room door was opening and Vic was walking in.

“Hey,” the young fire fighter said, setting down the plate of food on the dresser, “Can I?”

Vic motioned to the bed, and Maya nodded as her friend climbed in next to her.

“I’m right here Maya,” Vic said, wrapping her arms around her friend, “I’m not going anywhere.”

Maya sobbed into Vic’s chest, not entirely sure why she was crying but also completely unable to stop. Vic just stayed with her, not saying anything. Eventually, Maya’s tears slowed, but neither of them moved.

“What do you need right now?” Vic asked after several long minutes.

Maya just shrugged, still not moving.

“Can I stay with you?” Vic asked.

Maya nodded, not really wanting to be alone. They just stayed there, Vic thanking their lucky stars that they were somehow not getting called.

About two hours later, there was another knock on the door, and Andy walked in.

“Is it ok if Andy sits with you for a while?” Vic asked as Maya looked to see who had just walked in.

“I’m fine,” Maya said, rubbing her swollen eyes.

“I’d like to stay if that’s ok?” Andy asked as Vic climbed out of the bed.

“I don’t need a babysitter,” Maya mumbled, not really protesting.

“I’m not a babysitter,” Andy said, shaking her head, “Just a friend who is a little worried about their captain.”

“I’m fine,” Maya said, sniffling.

“There are many things going on here that contradict that,” Andy said, wrapping Maya in a hug, “And that’s ok.”

Andy just sat there with her for the next hour and a half, occasionally saying something, but mostly just being there. They probably could have sat there all night, but the alarm went off.

“You can stay back,” Andy said as Maya moved to get up, “Jack and I can cover for you.”

“No,” Maya said, shaking her head as they headed into the barn, “No, I need to do this.”

The entire team had noticed Maya’s absence all day, but no one questioned it, knowing better than to set off their often-temperamental captain who really looked like she was struggling.

The call lasted well into the early morning hours, the team not getting back to the station until close to 4 am. Everyone went and showered before trying to grab a few hours of sleep in their bunks.

“Hey,” Vic said, grabbing Maya’s wrist as she went to go downstairs, “Do you want me to come hang out again?”

“I’m…” Maya started.

“Fine,” Vic finished, raising an eyebrow, “Yeah, I don’t buy that.”

“I need to go get some work done,” Maya said with a sigh, “I didn’t get anything done today.”

“Mai, you need to sleep,” Vic said.

“I’ll sleep at home,” Maya said, shrugging.

“Are you sure?” Vic asked.

“I’m sure,” Maya said, nodding, “I need to go put my ankle up though.”

Vic nodded, letting the captain go downstairs. She had thought about calling Carina all day, but she knew that the two of them were in a fragile place. Plus, Vic was starting to think that Maya was going to have to take some time off work because she was barely functioning, and she wanted Maya to know she had different people to lean on besides just her girlfriend. She also wanted to make sure Carina knew they all had Maya’s back, and hers, if she needed it.

The blonde went into her office, working on incident reports from their last shift. Before she realized it, the sun was shining in the windows of her office. Vic came and knocked on her door after shift ended.

“Ready for a ride?” Vic offered, smiling at Maya.

The blonde nodded, grabbing her bag and limping out after Vic.

“Where are we going Vic?” Maya asked as they drove away from the station in the opposite direction of their place.

“We’re just going to go for a drive,” Vic said, handing Maya a bag of ice, “Put this on that ankle and put it up on the dashboard. You can just close your eyes and relax.”

“But where are we going?” Maya asked, adjusting her wrap so the ice would stay on her ankle.

“I just told you,” Vic said, “We’re going for a drive. After Lucas died, Travis used to take me on these drives. We would go for hours, just drive down the coast, and it sometimes made me feel a little bit better. The sun, the beach. Sometimes, it didn’t, but at least I wasn’t laying in my bed alone all day. If you really don’t want to, I can take you home, but I thought this would maybe… I don’t know, give you a little something to hold on to.”

“Aren’t you exhausted?” Maya asked, looking at her friend.

“A little,” Vic said, shrugging, “But I’ll be fine. We are stopping for coffee and breakfast before we really get going.”

“Why are you doing this?” Maya asked, tears filling her eyes.

“Because you are my family, Maya,” Vic said, “And you are hurting, and this is what family does. You’re not in this alone Maya.”

Maya was quiet, just staring out the window.

“What do you want from Benji’s?” Vic asked as she pulled into the parking lot, “And if you say nothing, I will get you something.”

“Coffee?” Maya requested.

“And food?” Vic said.

“I’m not really hungry,” Maya said.

“You didn’t really eat all shift,” Vic said, shaking her head, “You need something.”

Maya just shrugged, looking out the window again. Vic got out of the car, returning about fifteen minutes later.

“So I got you that breakfast sandwich you like,” Vic said, “And a coffee. Will you at least try to eat something?”

Maya nodded, taking the sandwich and taking a small bite. Vic nodded, taking a bite of her own breakfast burrito before they hit the road again. Vic put on some music, filling the empty space. Maya didn’t eat much, but she ate enough to get Vic to leave her alone about it. They drove up to Bellingham, driving to a waterfall before Vic stopped the car.

“Do you want to get out?” Vic asked, looking over at her friend.

Maya thought for a minute, before slowly nodding. Vic smiled, getting out and helping Maya do the same.

“Come on,” Vic said, “Let’s go sit on those rocks.”

They walked the short distance to the rocks, both of them sitting down.

“I know you said you didn’t want to,” Vic said, “But have you thought any more about telling the team what’s going on? They’re all really worried about you.”

“I just don’t want to mess up everything I fought so hard for since I became captain,” Maya said, pulling one of her knees up, resting her head on it.

“Maya, you can’t keep going like this,” Vic said gently, “You need to rest and take some time to take care of yourself.”

Maya nodded a little, looking down as her eyes filled with tears.

“I know,” she said, looking out over the lake, “It all just sucks.”

“I know,” Vic said, putting a hand on Maya’s back.

They just sat there together for a long time, neither of them speaking much.

After about two hours, Vic looked over at her friend.

“Come on,” she said, “I know this great food truck spot up here. Let’s go grab some food because even if you’re not hungry, I am, and then we can keep driving or head back to Seattle.”

Maya nodded, limping back to the car after Vic. They went to the food trucks, Vic managing to get a little bit of food into Maya.

“Can we go home?” Maya asked as they got back in the car, “I’m really tired.”

“Of course,” Vic said, nodding, “I just need to put some gas in the car and we can go.”

Maya nodded, putting her ankle back up on the dash because it was really starting to bother her again.

As Vic pumped gas, Maya grabbed her phone for the first time since they left the station. She had a few messages from Carina, asking how she was doing and also if she could come over when she got off around 8. Maya texted her back, telling her what she and Vic were doing and that she would love it if she came over. Carina still didn’t know about her ankle or about how bad her last shift had been, but she would tell her that night.

She and Vic drove home in a comfortable silence that Vic filled with showtunes. They got home around 3 pm, both of them exhausted from having not slept much the night before.

“I’m going to go crash,” Vic said as they went inside, “Unless you want me to stay with you.”

“No,” Maya said, shaking her head, “No, you’ve done plenty for today.”

“Alright,” Vic said, giving Maya a small hug, “Well, I have no plans all day so if you need me, I’m right here.”

“Thanks,” Maya said, “Carina’s going to come by when her shift ends tonight. I should be fine until then.”

Vic nodded, smiling a little at her roommate before going into her room. Maya limped into her bedroom, grabbing a quick shower before pulling on Carina’s sweatshirt and some joggers. She thought about going to get some ice, but it seemed like such a colossal effort so she just climbed into bed, putting her swollen ankle up on some pillows.

She tried to sleep, but of course that didn’t happen so she just laid in bed, listening to some music. Before she even realized how much time had passed, there was a knock on her bedroom door.

“Come in,” she called, rubbing her eyes.

“Hey Bella,” Carina said, smiling as she came into the room.

“Is it already 8?” Maya said, sitting up.

“Si,” Carina said, nodding as she came over to her girlfriend.

“How was work?” Maya asked, leaning up to kiss the doctor.

“Good,” Carina said, brushing a piece of short hair off Maya’s face, “Nothing too exciting. Just a few routine deliveries and regular exams.”

Maya nodded, leaning back on her pillows.

“I’m going to change,” Carina said, “And then I brought dinner.”

“I’m not hungry,” Maya said, shaking her head.

“Maya, have you eaten today?” Carina asked as she pulled one of Maya’s old t-shirts out of the drawer.

“I ate a little bit with Vic,” Maya said, not really meeting Carina’s eye.

“Maya, you need to eat,” Carina said, sitting down next to her, “Come on, I brought your favorite soup from the deli you love. Or I can bring it to you here.”

“I don’t know,” Maya said, “Maybe you should just go. I’m not good company right now.”

“Hey,” Carina said, deciding food could wait, “Maya, I want to be here. I’m not looking for some crazy night. I just want to spend time with my girlfriend, no matter what that looks like.”

Maya just buried herself in Carina’s arms. Carina just held her, rubbing her back gently. They just sat there for almost a half an hour before Carina’s stomach grumbled.

“You need to go eat Car,” Maya said, sitting up.

“Will you join me?” Carina asked, smiling at Maya.

The blonde nodded, needing to use the bathroom anyways. She got up, limping to the bathroom.

“Bella,” Carina said, seeing her walk, “What happened?”

“I twisted my bad ankle running two days ago,” Maya said, shrugging, “I need to pee.”

Carina sighed, trying not to get mad at Maya for not telling her. When the blonde came out of the bathroom, Carina stopped her.

“Can I see?” the Italian asked, gesturing to the ankle.

Maya sighed, but sat down on the bed, pulling up her joggers to show her swollen ankle.

“Bella,” Carinas said, bending down to get a better look, “Did someone look at it?”

“No,” Maya said, shaking her head, “I’ve done this before. Whenever I twist this ankle, it swells thanks to my stupid Olympic screw up. I’ll be fine.”

“Are you sure?” Carina said, gently touching the inflamed ankle, “Maybe we should go to Grey Sloan, have someone look at it?”

“No,” Maya said, shaking her head, “It’s fine.”

“Wait,” Carina said, “You did this two days ago? So you worked on this?”

“Yeah,” Maya said, shrugging, “It was fine. My ankle was the least of my worries last shift anyway.”

“Cosa?” Carina said, looking at her girlfriend.

“Let’s just eat first,” Maya said tiredly.

Carina nodded, helping Maya into the living room.

“Is Vic home?” Carina asked.

“Yeah,” Maya said, nodding as she sat down on the couch.

Carina went down the hall, knocking on Vic’s bedroom door.

“I have food,” the Italian woman called through the door.

“I’m coming,” Vic said, opening the door, “Hey Carina.”

“Hi Vic,” she said, smiling as they walked down the hall to the kitchen.

“Hey Mai,” Vic said, smiling at her roommate.

Maya waved a little, leaning her head on the back of the couch. The three of them ate dinner together, Maya not really eating much or talking much.

“I’m going to go back to bed,” Maya said after about a half an hour, “Sorry. I’m just really not feeling well.”

“I’ll be in in a minute Bella,” Carina said, squeezing Maya’s hand as she got up.

Maya nodded, limping back into her bedroom.

“Carina,” Vic said quietly after Maya was gone, “She’s really not ok. Like, at all.”

“What happened?” Carina asked, worry filling her entire body.

“She spent all of our last shift that we weren’t on calls in bed,” Vic said, “Andy and I took turns sitting with her, but she wouldn’t eat. She didn’t sleep. I don’t think it’s good for her to be working right now, and I think she knows it.”

Carina sighed, nodding.

“I’m going with her to therapy tomorrow,” Carina said, “I’ll try to bring it up. I’m going to go clean up the kitchen and then go be with her.”

“I’ve got the kitchen,” Vic said, shaking her head, “You go get her.”

“Grazie,” Carina said, “And thank you for being there for Maya.”

“She’s basically my sister,” Vic said, shrugging, “It’s what we do.”

Carina nodded, smiling a little before going into the bedroom, finding Maya lying in bed, staring up at the ceiling. She crawled into bed next to her.

“I can’t keep doing this,” Maya said, not moving, “I’m too tired to keep going.”

“It is going to get better,” Carina said, rolling over to face her girlfriend.

“But when?” Maya asked, voice breaking, “I just want it all to stop.”

“Maya,” Carina said, taking a deep breath, dreading the answer to her next question, “Are you thinking about doing something to make it stop?”

“No,” Maya said instinctually, “Maybe. I don’t know. Not right now.”

“Were you today?” Carina asked, trying to keep her voice steady.

Maya didn’t say anything, just nodding her head a little. Carina took a deep breath, absorbing this information for a second.

“Maya, do you have a serious plan?” Carina asked, trying to keep her mind out of girlfriend mode and in doctor mode.

“Not really,” Maya said, “I don’t know. I’m just so tired.”

“Maya, I think maybe we should go to the ER,” Carina said, knowing that was the best way to get someone admitted for psychological help.

“No,” Maya said, finally looking at Carina, fear and tears in her eye, “No. I don’t need that. I’m ok. I promise I won’t do anything, just please don’t make me go to the hospital.”

“Maya,” Carina said, trying to keep her girlfriend calm, “There’s nothing wrong with getting help.”

“I don’t want to go to the hospital,” Maya said, tears running down her cheeks, “Please don’t make me.”

“Ok,” Carina said, deciding that at least for tonight, Maya was safe, “Not tonight. I’m right here.”

Carina wrapped her arms around her girlfriend, hugging her tightly as the blonde started having a panic attack.

“Breath with me,” Carina said, trying to calm her down, “You’re safe right now. I’m right here.”

Once the panic attack ended, they just laid in bed, Carina playing with Maya’s short hair.

“Do you want to talk about what you said earlier?” Carina asked after a while, “About how your ankle was the last of your problems last shift?”

“Least of my problems,” Maya mumbled, “My brain was more of a problem than my ankle.”

“How so?” Carina asked, already knowing what Vic had told her but wanting to hear it from Maya.

“I just couldn’t do anything,” Maya said, not moving from where she was laying on Carina’s chest, “I spent most of my shift in my bunk. I was just too tired.”

“Maya,” Caria said, “Have you thought about taking some time off? At least until you’re feeling a little better.”

“I… I just… I don’t know,” Maya said, burying her face into Carina’s shirt.

“I know,” Carina said, trying to take in the fact that Maya didn’t fight her on it, “I know. You don’t have to decide now.”

“Sorry I’m such bad company tonight,” Maya apologized again.

“No,” Carina said, “No more of that. You are the company I want, that I chose, for tonight. You are anything but bad company. Now, I think it’s time to go to bed. You are going to take something and then we are going to sleep.”

“You’re still coming to therapy with me tomorrow?” Maya asked, looking at Carina through swollen eyes as she sat up.

“Si,” Carina said, handing Maya a pill.

“Thank you,” Maya said, “Thank you for everything.”

“You don’t have to thank me Bella,” Carina said, brushing a piece of hair off Maya’s forehead, “I want to do this. I want to be here for you.”

“I love you,” Maya said, leaning her forehead against Carina’s.

“I love you too Bella,” Carina said, giving Maya a kiss, “Now, let’s get some sleep.”

Maya nodded, both of them getting ready for bed before curling up in bed, Carina’s arms wrapped around her girlfriend, the Italian happy that, at least for tonight, Maya was safe in her arms.

Chapter Text

The next morning, Carina was awake first.  She hadn’t slept great the night before, worrying about Maya. 

 

She had gone to therapy two days ago which had been good for her.  She loved and trusted her therapist who she had been seeing for the past six months.  She thought about the session as she laid in bed, holding Maya and waiting for the blonde to wake up.

 

 “Hello Carina,” Dr. Jillian Peterson said as Carina walked in for her session. 

 

“This week had been terrible,” Carina said, sitting down with a sigh.

 

 “What happened?” Jillian asked, opening her notebook. 

 

“My girlfriend wants to kill herself,” Carina said, tears filling her eyes, “And I hate that she feels like that and I hate that I can’t do anything and I hate her father for abusing her.” 

 

“Ok,” Dr. Peterson said, “That is a lot going on.  Is your girlfriend safe?”

 

 “Si,” Carina said, nodding, “Or I think so. I took the pills she told me she thought about taking and got rid of them yesterday.  She is working today and she just texted me telling me she was at work and there are people there who will look out for her.” 

 

“Good,” Dr. Peterson said, “Is she getting help?” 

 

“She’s in therapy,” Carina said, nodding, “And she just got diagnosed with severe anxiety and depression and I want to be so angry at her right now because of what she did with Jack and I still am, but it’s so hard to be mad at her when I’m so mad for her.”

 

 “It’s alright to be angry about a situation and still love the person who created the situation,” Dr. Peterson reminded her, “Are you taking care of yourself?” 

 

Carina had told Dr. Peterson about what her life had been like growing up, always trying to take care of her father until it came back to bite her in the butt and created more problems than it solved.  Carina had spent her childhood taking care of her papa and ignoring her own suffering mental health.  Carina’s friends had had to help her realize what was going on and help her get the help she needed. 

 

“I went and spent the day with Amelia and Teddy two days ago,” Carina said, nodding.

 

 “Good,” Dr. Peterson said, writing something down, “And how are you feeling?  How is your anxiety?” 

 

“It’s… definitely up from what it normally is,” Carina admitted, “Sleeping has been a little harder too I guess.” 

 

“Ok,” Dr. Peterson said, “And are you practicing the exercises we talked about for when you can’t sleep?” 

 

“I’m trying,” Carina said, nodding, “And I’m journaling when I have time which is helping.”

 

 “Good,” Dr. Peterson said, nodding, “We talked some last week about how hearing about how you were struggling with how to handle Maya’s infidelity and learn to trust her again.  Have you worked on thinking of small ways you can trust her?”

 

 “Si,” Carina said, “And it’s still hard, but now I think it might actually be possible to trust her again.”

 

 “So you’ve officially decided to stay in this relationship?” Dr. Peterson said, “Last week you said you weren’t sure.” 

 

“I’m sure now,” Carina said, nodding, “I am going to stay.  After hearing about her diagnosis, I was able to see that at least part of the infidelity was her trying to sabotage herself, which I know isn’t an excuse, but at least it’s a reason beyond her not really wanting to be with me which somehow makes it less terrible I guess.” 

 

“And are you maintaining healthy boundaries?” Dr. Peterson asked.

 

 “I think so,” Carina said, “I mean, there are times when all I want to do is do everything in my power to make Maya feel better, but I am taking the space I need to continue to work through my feelings about the infidelity.  I only spend two or three nights with her, and I try not to text her too often during the day, to give her the space she needs and that I need.  I took my time to be with my friends to process what she told me, but I didn’t push her too hard to tell her own friends.” 

 

“So you are the only one who knows what’s going on?” Dr. Peterson asked with concern. 

 

“No,” Carina said, shaking her head, “No.  I told her that she didn’t have to tell her friends, but that I thought they would be there for her if she did, and she ended up telling her two closest friends so they know too.”

 

 “That’s good,” Dr. Peterson said. 

 

“It was a big step for her,” Carina said, “Trusting others.  She doesn’t do it easily, doesn’t like to show her vulnerability.  And when she told me she told them, it felt like a weight had been lifted off my shoulders, like it was going to be just a little bit easier.” 

 

“Why?” Dr. Peterson asked. 

 

“Because I don’t have to be the only one to keep her safe,” Carina said, “I don’t have to fight the urge to always be there for her because there are other people who are there for her, one of them even lives with her.” 

 

“You are not responsible for anyone’s safety but your own,” Dr. Peterson reminded her. 

 

“I know,” Carina said, nodding as she grabbed a tissue, “But when I started dating Maya, she had no one.  Everyone in her station was mad that she was their captain and they all turned their backs on her and all I wanted to do was make some of that pain go away.  And I know it wasn’t my job, but Andrea wasn’t letting me help him and it felt good to actually be able to do something for someone, to be able to ease her pain even a little.  And I know it’s not my job to make her feel better or feel safe, but she makes me feel better, just by letting me be there for her, by being there for me, and I want to do the same.  But after everything that’s happened, I know I can’t do it alone so I’m glad her friends can be there too.” 

 

“I understand,” Dr. Peterson said, writing something down, “Well, our time is almost up.  Is there anything else?” 

 

“Do you have any ideas on what I can do to help Maya?” Carina asked. 

 

“Take care of yourself, for starters,” Dr. Peterson said, “You can’t help her if you burn out.  And try to help her make choices that are healthy for her, but don’t push her too hard.  People who are struggling like you said she is need to be pushed some to help them keep moving, but if you push too hard, it can make her feel like she is even more out of control than she probably already feels and that will make everything worse.  Make sure she gets help is she needs it.  And just be there as much as is healthy for you.  Remember you can’t love the pain away so don’t put pressure on yourself.  And if it gets to be too much, lean on those around you for help.” 

 

“Thank you,” Carina said, nodding as she took in the information.

 

  “And let me know if you need anything before our next session,” Dr. Peterson said, “I’m sorry you and Maya are going through this.”

 

 Carina smiled, giving her therapist a hug before she left.

 

 Carina looked down at the woman who was sleeping next to her, kissing her forehead.  Maya’s eyes fluttered open, looking up at her girlfriend.

 

 “Good morning Bella,” Carina said, smiling at her. 

 

Maya tried her best to muster a smile, “Morning.  What time is it?”

 

 “Almost 7,” Carina said, brushing a piece of blonde hair off Maya’s forehead, “What time is your therapy appointment?” 

 

“7:45,” Maya said, rubbing her eyes, “I don’t want to get up.”

 

 “Well, you don’t have to yet,” Carina said, “I’m going to go get some coffee though.  Would you like some?” 

 

“Yes please,” Maya said, nodding as she buried herself back under the covers.

 

Carina got up, going into the kitchen, starting the coffee pot before throwing some bread in the toaster, spreading some peanut butter on the toast when it was done.  She then carefully carried the food and cups into the bedroom.  Maya poked her head out from under the covers when she heard Carina walk in.

 

 “Why were you up so early?” Maya asked as Carina handed her the coffee mug. 

 

“I was just thinking,” Carina said, shrugging, “Sleep has not been the easiest the past few weeks.  It’s not a major issue.” 

 

“Are you sure?” Maya asked, “I don’t want you to ignore how you’re feeling because of me.” 

 

“I’m not,” Carina said, shaking her head, “I know when it gets to a point that it’s a problem, and I’m not there yet.  I promise I am taking care of myself.” 

 

Maya nodded, leaning her head on Carina’s shoulder.

 

 “I brought you some breakfast,” Carina said, handing Maya the plate, “And do not say you are not hungry because you need to eat.”

 

 Maya nodded, taking a small bite.  She ate half a piece of toast before handing the plate back to Carina. 

 

“I need to get up and get ready,” Maya said, groaning a little. 

 

“Are you going to work today?” Carina asked tentatively.

 

 “I…Ma…I don’t know,” Maya said, running her hands over her face, “I want to, but I don’t know if I should, not after how bad last shift went.” 

 

“Why don’t you see how therapy goes?” Carina suggested, “You don’t have to make any decisions right now.”

 

 Maya nodded, taking a deep breath before moving to get up.  Both women dressed and got ready before leaving the bedroom. 

 

“You heading out?” Vic asked from where she was eating breakfast in the kitchen. 

 

“Yeah,” Maya said, nodding, “I’ll see you in a little while.” 

 

“Maya,” Vic said, stopping her before she walked out the door, “Just know, no matter what, I have your back and I will support you.” 

 

“Thanks,” Maya said as Vic reach out, squeezing Maya’s shoulder gently. 

 

Carina took her hand, smiling at Vic as they left.  Carina drove them to the station, turning off the car when they parked.

 

 “Ready?” Carina asked, looking over at Maya. 

 

“Not really,” Maya said, shaking her head, “But I don’t think I ever will be.  What if this ends my career?”

 

 “It won’t,” Carina said, shaking her head.

 

 “It could,” Maya said, biting her lower lip. 

 

“Let’s not think that until we know,” Carina said, rubbing circles on the back on Maya’s hand. 

 

They got out of the car; Maya take a deep breath before they headed into the station.  They went into Maya’s office, the blonde putting her stuff down. 

 

“Let me go grab you a chair,” Maya said, realizing she only had one extra chair in her office. 

 

“I can get it,” Carina said, noticing how much Maya was still limping, “Just show me where.” 

 

Maya nodded, guiding Carina down the hall to one of the storage rooms, showing her the chairs.  Carina grabbed on, carrying it back to the office just as Dr. Lewis walked through the door. 

 

“Good morning Maya,” the former firefighter said. 

 

“Good morning Diane,” Maya said, “Diane, this is my girlfriend Carina, Carina, this is Diane, my therapist.  I hope it’s ok I brought her today.” 

 

“These are your sessions Maya,” Dr. Lewis said, reaching out to shake Carina’s hand, “Nice to meet you Carina.” 

 

“Likewise,” Carina said, smiling as they all sat down. 

 

“Now, Maya, why did you want to bring Carina today?” Dr. Lewis asked, reaching in her bag for her notebook.

 

 “Because I need to talk to you about something that scares me,” Maya said, looking down. 

 

Dr. Lewis just sat there, knowing the best way to get Maya to talk was to make it her choice to do so.  After a minute of silence, Maya took a deep breath. 

 

“Am I allowed to be on medication and still be a firefighter?” Maya asked shakily, “Like, if I take meds to help me feel better, will I get fired?  Or chained to a desk?” 

 

“No,” Diane said, shaking her head, “Not at all.  The department would rather have a healthy firefighter who takes medication to keep them that way than an unhealthy one who puts themselves, their team, and civilians at risk who is unmedicated.  Why?  Are you wanting to try medication?”

 

 “I don’t want to,” Maya asserted quickly before getting quiet, “But I think I need to.” 

 

Dr. Lewis waited, allowing Maya to take a few deep breaths, grabbing Carina’s hand before she continued. 

 

“I…I’m not ok,” Maya admitted softly, “And the things you give me are kinda helpful, but most days I can’t get out of bed and when I do, I feel terrible the whole day and I can’t sleep without medication and I just can’t do this anymore.”

 

 Maya broke down, sobbing, Carina placing a hand on her back.  Dr. Lewis just let her cry for a little while until Maya calmed down. 

 

“I agree with you,” Dr. Lewis said as Maya looked at her, “I think medication would be a good idea.  Now, there are a few ways we can go about this.  I could transfer your care to a psychiatrist who can do sessions like this and also prescribe medication.  Or you can go to your primary care doctor, and I can work with them to get you on the right medication. Or, if you feel like you need it, you can go straight from here to the ER, get admitted to a program, and they will get you what you need.”

 

 “I don’t want a new doctor,” Maya said, shaking her head, “And no hospitals.” 

 

“Alright,” Dr. Lewis said, “I am going to give you a survey to fill out that will help me determine exactly how bad your symptoms are.  I’m going to go get some coffee.  You and Carina can fill it out together if you want.”

 

  Maya took the paper, looking down at it. 

 

“Can you read it?” Maya asked, her eyes too full of tears to do it.

 

 Carina and Maya went through the entire thing, Maya answering yes to a lot of the questions which broke Carina’s heart a little bit. 

 

Dr. Lewis came back fifteen minutes later. 

 

“Are you done?” she asked, sitting back down at the desk. 

 

Maya nodded as Carina handed her the paper.  Diane looked through it, nodding as she did so. 

 

“Ok,” Dr. Lewis said, “So you’ve got some pretty severe symptoms going on, which I knew, and this solidifies that you need to be on medication.  Now, you said that you are struggling to work.  Have you been working?” 

 

“Yes,” Maya said, nodding, “But last shift, I spent more of it in bed than doing anything else.” 

 

“Have you thought about taking some sick leave?” Diane asked. 

 

Maya was silent, looking down.  Carina was a little confused at all the silence in this session, but it seemed like both Diane and Maya were used to it so she didn’t say anything.

 

 “Maya, why don’t you want to take time off?” Dr. Lewis asked.  

 

“Because I don’t want to feel useless,” Maya said, “And I don’t want to take a million steps back after I fought so hard for every one forward over the past few months.”

 

 “Maya, your team wants you healthy,” Dr. Lewis said, “I’ve spent time in this house, and you all are a family.  They want what’s best for you.” 

 

Maya nodded, wiping her eyes. 

 

“Here’s an idea,” Diane said, “Why don’t you call your doctor, get an appointment for later today, and then take today and your next shift off.  Just give yourself a chance to rest.” 

 

“I… ok,” Maya said, nodding. 

 

“And what do you think about telling your team?” Dr. Lewis asked, “Just let them in a little.”

 

 “I told Vic and Andy,” Maya said, “But maybe you’re right.  God, I hate all of this.  I just want to feel better.” 

 

“I know,” Dr. Lewis said as Carina grabbed Maya’s hand, “And you will.  You are taking good steps in the right direction.  This road is long, but the hardest part is getting on it.  Medication is a good step, but unfortunately, it takes 6 to 8 weeks for most medications to start working fully, and we might have to change it before we get it right.” 

 

“It’s going to take 2 months and it might not even work?” Maya said, eyes wide, “Then what’s the point?” 

 

“May I?” Carina asked, looking at Dr. Lewis. 

 

The therapist nodded, sitting back. 

 

“Bella, when I first started medication, I was a wreck.  I was having panic attacks every day and barely able to function at all,” Carina said, “And I thought that it was never going to get better.  The first medication I took made me so tired, but it took the edge off the anxiety.  The next one made me feel like I was going to be sick all the time, but it stopped the panic attacks.  The one I take now, the final one, helps with the anxiety and didn’t make me feel horrible.  But every time I took one, I felt a little better so even if the first one doesn’t work, it will probably at least make you feel a little better than you do now.” 

 

Maya nodded, biting on her lip. 

 

“Alright,” Maya said, nodding, “I’ll try.” 

 

They spent the next ten minutes talking about Maya’s options, settling on the medication she wanted to try first so that Dr. Lewis could relate the information to Maya’s doctor. 

 

“Alright,” Dr. Lewis said, “Call me if you need anything.  And if you start feeling worse, go to the ER.  There is no shame in reaching out for help if you need it.” 

 

“Thank you,” Maya said, nodding.

 

 “Take care of yourself,” Diane said, heading out, “And it was nice to officially meet you Carina.” 

 

“You as well,” Carina said, smiling a little as Maya crashed into her, desperately needing to be held.   

 

Chapter Text

After a minute in Carina’s arms, Maya pulled back, grabbing her phone and make doctor’s appointment for eleven. She then looked at Carina.

“Will you come with me to talk to my team?” the blonde asked as Carina wrapped har arms around her, Maya leaning on her chest.

“Of course, Bella,” Carina said, “Whatever you need.”

“Thank you,” Maya said, just staying in Carina’s arms.

She looked through the blinds on her office, seeing Andy walk in. She broke away from carina, pulling the door open.

“Herrera,” Maya said, “Can I see you in my office for a minute?”

“Sure,” Andy said, walking into the office, “Hey Carina. Is everything ok?”

“Not really,” Maya said, shaking her head, “I need to take some PTO for the next couple shifts and I was hoping you could take over? Just for a few days?”

“Of course,” Andy said, nodding, “What’s going on, if you don’t mind me asking?”

“I’m having a hard time,” Maya said, “With everything we talked about the other day. It’s too much right now so I am going to take some time. I’m not in the right state of mind to captain this team right now.”

Andy walked over to Maya, wrapping her arms around her friend.

“I’ve got this for you Maya, for as long as you need,” Andy said.

“Thanks,” Maya said, tears running down her face, “I am going to tell the team what’s going on this morning.”

“All of it?” Andy asked.

“Most of it,” Maya said, nodding, “They deserve to know.”

“I’m proud of you,” Andy said, wiping a tear off her own cheek.

“Thanks,” Maya whispered, “Now, go get ready for shift because you are Captain.”

Andy nodded, squeezing Maya’s shoulder one more time before heading upstairs.

“I’m proud of you too Bella,” Carina said, walking over to where Maya was, “I know none of this is easy.”

“I’m already exhausted,” Maya said, leaning on Carina, “I feel so terrible right now.”

“I know,” Carina said, rubbing her back, “Let’s go talk to your team and then we can go home.”

Maya nodded, wiping her eyes one last time before taking Carina’s hand, heading upstairs. They stopped outside the beanery door, Maya just standing there for a minute.

“I’m right here,” Carina said, putting a hand on Maya’s shoulder, trying to calm the shaking that had started in the blonde’s body.

Maya took a deep breath before walking into the beanery with Carina.

“Morning Cap,” Dean said, “Hey Carina.”

“Can everyone sit down, please?” Maya asked, trying to keep her voice steady.

“Something wrong?” Travis asked, already knowing the answer was yes just based on Maya’s face.

“I have some things I need to tell you,” Maya said, sitting down in a chair, Carina sitting next to her, not letting go of her hand.

“Is everything alright?” Ben asked, voice full of concern.

“Let’s let our captain talk,” Vic said, nodding at Maya.

The blonde took a deep breath before starting.

“So, as I’m sure some of you have noticed over the past couple of weeks, I’ve been going through some stuff,”’ Maya said, voice even, “I’ve been seeing Dr. Lewis, and I was recently diagnosed with anxiety and depression. It’s gotten pretty bad, and I have decided to take some time away from work. I don’t really know how much time yet, but at least our next two shifts, possibly longer. Andy has agreed to step up and cover for me for now. I tried to push through, to keep going and make it work, but I just can’t right now, and I hope you all understand. I need to take care of myself right now. I’m sorry if any of this makes anyone feel like I have done a disservice to you in any way. I’m sorry I’m failing you as your captain.”

Maya tried her best to hold herself together, to not have a complete breakdown in front of her entire team.

“You’re not failing us, Maya,” Andy said, getting up and going to her best friend, wrapping her arms around her as Maya started to sob.

Carina tried to move back, to give Maya a moment with her team, but the blonde had a death grip on her hand, so she stayed.

Once Maya had stopped crying so much, Ben looked at her, eyes glassy, “Why didn’t you tell us sooner? We could have helped.”

“Because it’s embarrassing,” Maya said, looking down, “I am supposed to be your leader, the person you all can come to with issues and trust to keep you safe on calls, and I’m barely even able to function half the time. But I promise I never put any of you in danger. I never went into a scene I wasn’t prepared for, but that’s why I need time away, because I’m not in a headspace that I trust to keep you safe right now.”

“Maya, there is no shame in needing help,” Travis said, “We have all been through more than our fair share of traumas. All of us have had points where we’ve had to lean on others to get through the day. It doesn’t make you a worse leader. If anything, it makes me have more respect for and trust in you because you are willing to admit your limits, to put our safety above everything, even your own comfort.”

Maya just sat there, tears running down her cheeks as Travis got up, giving her a hug. Just then, the alarm went off, sending the aid crew team, today Jack and Dean, out the door. The rest of the team just sat there with her for a few minutes.

“You all need to get to work,” Maya said after a while, starting to feel a little uncomfortable.

Slowly, they started to leave.

“I know we’re not close,” Ben said, putting a hand on her shoulder, “But if you need anything, you can always call.”

“Thank you,” Maya said, offering a watery smile as he left.

“Take your time to heal,” Travis said, “Don’t rush back into this before you’re ready, but when you are, we will welcome you back with open arms.”

Maya nodded as he went to help Warren with tool maintenance.

“I’ll stop by after shift tomorrow,” Andy said, giving Maya a hug, “And I’m always here if you need me.”

“Thanks,” Maya said, wiping at her eyes as Andy headed downstairs to get to work on her captain duties. “

I’m really proud of you,” Vic said, smiling at her roommate, “I know that was hard. You should be proud of yourself.”

Maya just shrugged.

“Get some rest Maya,” Vic sad, “I’ll see you after shift.”

Maya nodded, wiping her eyes one more time before she and Carina stood up, walking out of the beanery. They stopped by the Captain’s office, Maya grabbing her stuff before they headed out. They didn’t say much on their ride home, Carina just holding Maya’s hand in her own, rubbing comforting circles on the back of it.

Maya was still shaking as they got out of the car, going up to Maya’s place. As soon as they were inside, Maya went into her room, changing into pajamas before climbing into bed. Carina came in a minute later with a glass of water, changing her clothes as well before climbing in next to her girlfriend.

“Come here,” Carina said, pulling Maya’s shaking body close to her, “I am so proud of you for everything you did today. I know none of it was easy, and you did it anyways.”

Maya didn’t say anything, her entire body beyond exhausted from what she had just done. They just laid in bed, Carina rubbing Maya’s back, pressing kisses into her hairline every few minutes.

“What time is it?” Maya croaked out after a while.

“Almost 10:30,” Carina said, “We need to get up. Did you want me to come with you to the doctor?”

“Only if you want,” Maya said, not moving as Carina sat up.

“I’ll come,” Carina said, knowing that that answer was Maya saying yes, “Come on.”

“I don’t feel good,” Maya said, rubbing her eyes as she sat up.

“I know,” Carina said, “I know all of this feels terrible, but it is going to get better. Now, come on.”

Maya nodded, taking Carina’s hand and getting up. They both got dressed, Maya pulling her hair up into a messy bun, before they headed out the door.

The doctor’s appointment was fairly painless. Dr. Lewis had already called and talked to Maya’s physician about what was going on.

Maya was shocked when she stepped on the scale, seeing that she had lost almost twenty pounds since the last time she had been in for her yearly physical just six months earlier. She wasn’t going to tell Carina, knowing it would just make her girlfriend worry, but she found out anyways when Maya’s doctor brought it up as a concern.

After the appointment was done and Maya had prescriptions for an SSRI, an emergency anti-anxiety medication because there was a good chance her anxiety was going to spike before it got better, and a sedative that would not be addictive, they got in the car.

“The meds will be ready in like twenty minutes,” Carina said as they got in the car, “How about we go grab some coffee and something to eat and then we can go get it?”

“I’m not hungry,” Maya said.

“I know,” Carina said, “But you need to eat. Maya, you cannot keep losing weight.”

“I know,” Maya said, voice starting to get angry, “I know that I need to eat, and I know that I am underweight, and I know that I’m not alright and I feel like I’m spiraling, and I can’t stop, and I’m terrified of my own mind right now and I hate it.”

After she finished screaming, she broke down, pulling her knees up to her chest. Carina reached over and tried to put a hand on her girlfriend’s back, but the blonde bristled, and Carina pulled her hand back. Maya cried for a long time, eventually coming out of her ball and letting Carina hold her.

“I’m sorry,” the fire captain said after a while, tears still flowing down her face.

“I know, Bella,” Carina said, brushing a tear off her cheek, “And I know that was not meant for me. You have every right to be overwhelmed and exhausted. I know none of this is easy and today had been long and so hard. I’m right here for you.”

“I love you,” Maya said, offering a watery half smile.

“I love you too,” Carina said, kissing Maya’s hand, “Now, we are going to get coffee and food and your meds and then we can go back to your place and do whatever you need to for the rest of the day.”

Maya nodded, rubbing at her eyes. Carina drove to a nearby coffee shop, grabbing them both a drink and sandwich. She convinced Maya to eat about half her sandwich, which was nowhere near what the blonde should be eating, but it was more than Carina had seen her eat in a week, so she wasn’t going to push it. They stopped by the pharmacy, getting all of Maya’s new medications before Carina drove them back to Maya’s.

They went inside, Carina going into the kitchen to put away the rest of Maya’s lunch and grab both of them some water before going into the bedroom. She found Maya curled up in bed, buried under the covers. Carina pulled off her sweater and pulled on one of Maya’s t-shirts before climbing into bed next to her girlfriend. The blonde moved closer to her as soon as she sat down.

“You should take your meds,” Carina said, grabbing the bottle of the medication that Maya would be on for a long time, maybe the rest of her life.

Maya took the pill, taking a deep breath before swallowing it.

“I’m proud of you Bella,” Carina said, leaning over and giving her a small kiss, “I know that was not easy.”

“I just want to feel better,” Maya said, snuggling closer to Carina, “I feel so shitty that I will do anything to feel better.”

“It will get better,” Carina said, “You are taking the right steps to get there. It just takes time.”

“Don’t you have to work today?” Maya asked as she put her head on Carina’s chest.

“I took today off,” Carina said.

“Why?” Maya said, “I’m fine. You don’t need to take off for me. You should go to work.”

“Today was a long and difficult day for you,” Carina said, looking at Maya, “You did a lot of things that were incredibly brave, but also very draining. I wanted to make sure I was here for you today. Besides, I worked a lot of overtime a few weeks ago so people owe me.”

“Thank you,” Maya said so quietly Carina almost couldn’t hear her.

Carina just pulled her close, rubbing Maya’s back.

“Do you want to do anything?” Carina asked, “Movie, TV, book, music, talk?”

“I don’t know,” Maya said, shrugging, “Maybe music?”

Carina pulled out her phone, putting on some music. They spent much of the rest of the afternoon in that way, just curled up in Maya’s bed. Carina went and ran a bath for them after getting Maya to eat a little bit of soup for dinner. The blonde joined her in the bathroom, sighing as she slipped into the bath with her girlfriend.

“Thank you for everything today,” Maya said as Carina wrapped her arms around her in the tub.

“Of course,” Carina said, kissing Maya behind the ear, “I am here for you Maya. Even if I have to step back sometimes, I am in your corner, fighting for you even when you can’t fight for yourself.”

“Thank you,” Maya said, turning to look at Carina, tears in her eyes, “I love you so much.”

“I love you too, Bella,” Carina said, “Always.”

Chapter Text

That night, Maya took her new sleep medication, hoping it worked as well as the one Carina had given her.

Around two in the morning, she was woken up when Carina got up.

“Where are you going?” she asked as Carina started to get dressed.

“Sorry,” Carina said, pulling on her pants before going to Maya, “There was a major accident, twenty -five care pile up, and they need all hands-on deck at the hospital. Are you going to be alright here alone?”

“Yeah,” Maya said, “Go. Save lives. God knows it’s more than what I’m doing.”

“Maya,” Carina said, leaning down and kissing her cheek, “You are doing what you need to do right now. I’ll be back when I get off, although I have a shift this afternoon so I don’t know when that will be. I love you.”

“Love you too,” Maya said as Carina left the bedroom to head to the hospital.

Maya was now wide awake. She still felt like absolute garbage, so she just stayed in bed, curled up under the covers, her mind running at about a hundred miles an hour.

All she kept thinking was that she was such a burden to everyone. Carina was taking off work because of her, Andy was having to step up and work harder because of her, her team was left with yet another interim captain because of her, she and Carina were in a fragile relationship because of her. Everything bad that was going on was her fault, something she caused. Everyone would probably be better off without her, despite them telling her otherwise, because they just didn’t know how much better their lives would be without her in them.

It was nearing 8 am when Maya made the decision that she was going to do what was best for everyone and just take herself out of the equation. She knew her pain meds were gone but sitting on the table next to her was a bottle of emergency anti-anxiety medication that she had looked up and knew would work. She grabbed a piece of paper, scribbling a note to Carina and one to her team which she left on the dresser.

She shakily took the bottle of pills and went into the bathroom, swallowing the entire bottle before sitting down on the floor, waiting for it to work. Within five minutes, she was unconscious on the floor.

Vic came home about ten minutes after Maya had taken the pills, setting down her stuff before going to check on her roommate. Carina had texted her the night before and told her she had gotten pulled into work, asking if she would check on Maya when she got home.

“Maya,” Vic called, knocking on her door.

When she didn’t get an answer, she thought about just leaving her probably sleeping friend alone, but something made her open the door. She noticed the bathroom door was closed and knocked on that door.

“Mai,” Vic called, “Hey, are you alright?”

After waiting for an answer that didn’t come, she knocked again.

“Maya,” Vic called, getting worried, “Hey, if you don’t answer, I’m coming in.”

When she still got no answer, she cracked the door, throwing it open when she saw Maya passed out on the floor. She checked to see if she was breathing, feeling a weak pulse and shallow breath. It was then that she saw the empty bottle of pills on the counter.

“Damn it, Maya,” Vic said, grabbing her phone and calling 911.

She made sure Maya was still breathing, trying to keep herself together.

“Is that Captain Bishop?” Barnes asked as he and his partner came in.

“Yeah,” Vic said, “Yeah, she swallowed a bottle of pills. She’s still breathing, and her pulse is weak, but there. Can we just get her to Grey Sloan?”

“What did she take?” he asked as they loaded Maya onto the gurney, getting her hooked up to monitors that confirmed that Maya’s heartrate was low but present.

Vic gave Barnes the bottle as they took Maya out to the aid car.

“I’m going to give her some flumazenil,” Barnes said as they started, drawing up the meds, “Hopefully, this does the trick.”

They drove the short distant to Grey Sloan, Maya remaining unconscious the whole time.

“30-year-old female,” Vic said, jumping out to help, “Attempted suicide. Took approximately 300 mg diazepam. Unknown how long ago. Flumazenil has already been administered.”

“Oh my God, Maya,” Teddy said as she looked at who was in front of her, “Let’s page Dr. Shepard and Dr. Carina Deluca stat.”

Within a minute, Carina was running into the ER.

“What happened?” Carina asked as Vic grabbed her, keeping her from going into the trauma room where Maya was being treated.

“She took her entire bottle of diazepam,” Vic said, “I don’t know when, but I’m guessing not that long ago. I found her when I came home. She’s going to be alright, Carina.”

“Except she’s not,” Carina said, eyes filling with tears, “She just tried to take her own life. She is not ok.”

“I know,” Vic said, realizing that she herself was shaking.

Amelia ran past them into the trauma room and they both looked as the door opened, seeing that Maya was still on the table. “I should be in there,” Carina said, moving toward the door.

“I’m sorry, Dr. Deluca,” Schmitt said, coming out of the room, “Dr. Altman asked that you wait out here. She’s stabilizing though so you should be able to go in soon?”

“I am going in now,” Carina said, pushing past the resident and walking into the trauma room before Vic or Schmitt could stop her.

“Carina,” Teddy said, “You can’t be in here.”

“I need to be,” Carina said, watching her friends work, “Is she alright?”

“She’s stabilizing,” Teddy said, nodding as she checked Maya’s vitals, “Her heart rate is coming up, and I think we avoided a seizure.”

“I’ll do a neuro check when she wakes up,” Amelia said, going to her friend’s side, “But she doesn’t appear to have hit her head. I’ll get a CT to double check though. She’s lucky Vic found her when she did.”

Carina nodded, tears pricking her eyes as she slid down the wall, “I can’t believe this happened.”

“I know,” Amelia said, sitting down next to her friend, wrapping her arms around the OB/GYN, “I know.”

Teddy continued to work, checking a few different things before going over to Carina.

“Is there anyone we should call?” Teddy asked.

“No,” Carina said, “No. I will call her mom at some point, but not yet. She and Maya have a strained relationship at best. And you know about her dad. Vic is outside though. Can she come in?”

“Of course,” Teddy said, “We will probably move her to a room for a few hours of observation. I do have to call psych. You know how it goes.”

“Before we have anyone else come in, I want to get a CT,” Amelia said, getting up and pulling Carina with her, “Just to be safe.”

Carina nodded as Amelia went to order the CT.

“Come on,” Teddy said, wrapping an arm around her friend.

“I can’t leave her,” Carina said, shaking her head.

“I am going to take her up to CT,” Schmitt said, coming in, “And Vic is out in the waiting room. I think she could use some company.”

“But,” Carina started.

“She will be fine,” Teddy reassured, “I will come find you as soon as she is out of CT and in a room.”

Carina nodded, going out to find Vic.

“How is she?” Vic asked, wringing her hands.

“She’s still unconscious,” Carina said, “Amelia wants a CT. I can’t believe this happened.”

“I know,” Vic said, shaking her head, “I need to text Andy. She needs to know. Should I text the rest of our team? They need to know too right?”

“I don’t know,” Carina said, “Andy, yes. Everyone else, wait, if that is ok, just out of respect for Maya’s privacy.”

“Yeah,” Vic said, nodding as she texted Andy.

Within two seconds, Vic’s phone was ringing.

“Are you serious?” Andy asked, voice shaking.

“Yeah,” Vic said, “I am. Can you come down to Grey Sloan?”

“Yeah,” Andy said, “I’m already on my way. What the hell happened?”

“Our best friend tried to kill herself,” Vic snapped, “What more is there to say?”

“Hey,” Andy said, knowing Vic was lashing out in anger, “It’s going to be ok. Are you alone?”

“No,” Vic said, “Carina and I are here together. We are in the waiting room by the ER.”

“I will be there soon,” Andy said. Vic hung up, looking over at Carina.

“Andy’s on her way,” the younger woman said, putting her hand on Carina’s.

The doctor just nodded, staring off.

“She’s going to be alright Carina,” Vic said, seeing the tears gathering in the corners of her friend’s eyes.

Carina just nodded, not saying anything. Five minutes later, Andy ran in, immediately finding them.

“Hey,” she said, “How is she?”

“She’s getting a CT scan,” Vic said, “We’ll know more soon, but they think she’s going to be ok.”

“Carina,” Andy said, sitting down next to her, “How are you?”

“I need some air,” Carina said, getting up and walking out.

“Should we go after her?” Andy asked, looking at Vic.

“I’ve got her,” Amelia said, approaching the women, “Maya is out of CT and in room 42. You guys are welcome to do sit with her. She’s still not awake.”

Vic and Andy nodded, getting up. Amelia then walked outside, finding Carina standing over a trash can, throwing up.

“Hey,” Amelia said, jogging over to her, rubbing her back, “It’s ok. Just breath.”

Carina threw up one more time before she started sobbing, Amelia just holding her. Carina started having a panic attack and Amelia quickly guided them to a bench, helping her friend calm down.

“I’m right here Carina,” Amelia said as the broken woman sobbed, “She’s going to be ok. You are going to be ok.”

“I shouldn’t have left her,” Carina said after a few more minutes of sobbing.

“What?” Amelia asked, confused.

“I shouldn’t have left her last night,” Carina said, shaking her head, “I knew she wasn’t ok, and I left her and then this happened. I should have stayed.”

“No,” Amelia said, “Absolutely not. You are not going to blame yourself for this. This was something that happened because Maya is mentally not ok, not because of anything you did. This is a terrible thing that happened, but nor because you aren’t enough for her or because you weren’t there enough. This happened because her mind was too much for her and her illness was too much for her, but not because you are too little.”

“I just hate that she thought that this was the best thing for her,” Carina said, taking a tissue from Amelia, “That she thought that anything would be better without her.”

“Maya doesn’t think that,” Amelia said, “Maya’s illness made her think that because her brain isn’t working right right now.”

Carina nodded, leaning on Amelia’s shoulder. Just then, the neurosurgeon’s pager went off.

“Maya’s starting to come around,” Amelia said, “I need to do a check once she’s awake. Do you want to come?”

“Si,” Carina said, nodding as she wiped her eyes again.

They walked into the hospital, going straight to Maya’s room. They walked in, Maya still not completely awake.

“Vic and Andy went to grab some coffee,” Teddy said.

“Carina?” Maya said sleepily, “Where am I?”

“Bella,” Carina said, going over to her girlfriend, “Something happened, and you are in the hospital, at Grey Sloan.”

“Oh,” Maya said, remembering what happened, “Oh, what did I do? Why…I’m so sorry.”

“It’s ok,” Carina said, brushing a piece of hair off Maya’s forehead, “You’re ok now.”

Maya started crying and Carina climbed into the bed, holding her close.

“I’m here,” Carina said as Maya sobbed, “It’s going to be ok.”

Carina just held Maya for a while until Vic and Andy walked back in.

“Hey,” Vic said, offering a half smile, “You’re awake. How are you feeling?”

Maya just shrugged, not really looking at them. Before they could say anything, there was a knock on the door.

“Hello, I’m Julia from Psych. I’m here to talk to Maya Bishop.”

“Can’t I just talk to Diane?” Maya asked.

“Who’s Diane?” Julia asked.

“My therapist,” Maya said, rubbing her eyes.

“Well, we can call her if you want,” Julia said, “But I need to talk to you too, if that’s ok?”

Maya sighed and nodded.

“We can go, if you want,” Andy said.

“If you don’t mind,” Maya said, voice shaky.

“Of course,” Vic said, nodding as she and Andy left.

“Do you want me to go or stay?” Carina asked, rubbing Maya’s arm.

“Can you stay?” Maya asked, “Or you can go I guess.”

“I can stay,” Carina said, pressing a kiss to Maya’s cheek, “As long as it’s ok with Julia.”

“It’s fine with me,” Julia said, sitting down in a chair next to Maya, “Now, can you tell me what happened today?”

“I swallowed all of my diazepam,” Maya said, not looking at anyone.

“Why did you do that?” Julia asked, scribbling down what Maya said.

“Because I didn’t want to be alive anymore,” Maya said quietly, Carina taking her hand.

“And why is that?” Julia asked.

“Because everyone’s life would be easier without me in it,” Maya said, voice cracking.

“Did someone tell you that?” Julia asked.

“No,” Maya said, shaking her head.

“Why do you feel like that?” Julia asked, grateful that her patient’s girlfriend was not interrupting what often happened with significant others.

“Because it’s true,” Maya said, Carina gently squeezing her hand.

“Why do you say that?” Julia asked.

“Because I make everyone’s life harder,” Maya said, tears filling her eyes.

“How so?” Julia asked.

“Well, because of me, my best friend has to work harder because I’m too depressed to work and my team is in limbo again because of the same thing and my girlfriend is always worried about me and my brother is addicted to drugs and living on the streets because I couldn’t protect him and my family fell apart because I didn’t stand up to my dad and I can’t do anything right so what’s the point?”

Maya was crying by the end, and Carina wrapped her arms around Maya, still not speaking, but just being the comfort her girlfriend needed.

“Maya,” Julia said, “I don’t know you very well, but when I walked in here, there were three people who all seemed very concerned about you. Would you agree?”

Maya nodded, rubbing her eyes.

“And do you think their lives would be better, happier, if you weren’t in them?” Julia questioned gently.

“I don’t know,” Maya said quietly.

“May I?” Carina asked, knowing she should be quiet, but this seemed like a place she should step in.

“Sure,” Julia said, nodding.

“Maya, we all love you,” Carina started, “And my life has only gotten better since I met you. You make me smile more than anyone I’ve ever met, and I love you more than I thought I was capable of. And your team, they love you too. Maya, everyone who knows you is glad you are in their lives. No one thinks it would be better if you weren’t here.”

There were tears running down both of their faces as Carina talked, the blonde embracing her girlfriend when she finished.

“Maya, you have people who are here for you,” Julia said when they broke apart, “People who care about you who want you here with them.”

“Sometimes it’s just so hard to believe that,” Maya said, rubbing her eyes as she pulled away from Carina, “The logical part of my brain knows it’s true, but there’s another part that just can’t believe it.”

“I understand that, and I know it’s so hard to fight that,” Julia said sympathetically, “But do you think you can believe them, at least a little?”

Maya nodded a little.

“Now, are you still thinking about ending your life?” Julia asked, “And please be honest.”

“Not really,” Maya said, shaking her head, “I mean, everything sucks, but I don’t think I’ll do anything like this again. I just couldn’t get out of my head this morning and everything just seemed so bad and I just wanted to stop hurting everyone and stop feeling all this pain, but it didn’t work, and it didn’t make me feel better and I don’t know. I don’t think I’ll try it again.”

“Was this the first time you ever tried to end your own life?” Julia asked.

“The first time I ever did anything, yeah,” Maya said, nodding, “But not the first time I thought about it.”

“Ok,” Julia said, nodding, “And have you told people about your thoughts?”

“Yeah,” Maya said, “My friends, and Carina, and my therapist.”

“Good,” Julia said, “And your therapist, you are still seeing her regularly?”

“Yeah,” Maya said, nodding, “I just saw her yesterday.”

“Good,” Julia said, “I want to get her information so I can call her and talk to her about what we talked about, if that is ok with you?”

“Yeah,” Maya said, nodding.

“Now, have you been diagnosed with any mental health disorders?” Julia asked.

“Yeah,” Maya said, “Anxiety and depression.”

“And are you on any medications?” Julia asked.

“I just started yesterday,” Maya said, nodding, “So they haven’t done anything.”

“Well, stick with them,” Julia said, “And do you live with anyone?”

“I have a roommate,” Maya said, “Vic, she was in here earlier.”

“Ok,” Julia said, “I don’t want you to be alone tonight.”

“I’m going to stay with her tonight,” Carina said.

“Good,” Julia said, “Well, I am comfortable letting you go home as long as you make an appointment to see your therapist within the next few days, and if you have any thoughts of trying to end your life, please, come back to the ER.”

Maya nodded, leaning back into Carina’s arms.

“Can you tell my friends they can come back in?” Maya asked.

“Of course,” Julia said, nodding as she left, “And Maya, remember, there are people who care about you.”

Andy and Vic came back in a minute later.

“How are you doing Mai?” Vic asked, looking at her friend.

“I feel terrible,” Maya said, “But as soon as Teddy releases me, I can go home.”

“She’s letting you go?” Vic said, a little concerned.

“As long as I’m not alone tonight,” Maya said, nodding, “And Carina said she would stay.”

“I’ll be home too,” Vic said.

“And I want to stay over too, if that’s ok,” Andy said.

“Does our whole team know I’m here?” Maya asked, suddenly extremely worried.

“No,” Vic said, “We decided not to tell them, but I needed someone here, so I texted Andy. I hope that’s ok.”

Maya nodded, relaxing a little. Teddy came back in a few minutes later, checking a few things before agreeing to let Maya leave.

“Amelia and I are going to drop by later,” Teddy said quietly to Carina, “If that’s ok.”

“Could you guys wait?” Carina asked, “I don’t want to overwhelm her tonight, but tomorrow?”

“Of course,” Teddy said, “Whatever you need.”

“Thank you,” Carina said, giving her friend a hug, “For everything.”

“Of course,” Teddy said, “Make sure you’re taking care of yourself too. Today was a lot.”

“I know,” Carina said, “I already set up an emergency therapy appointment tomorrow.”

“Good,” Teddy said, “Now, get your girl home.”

“Will do,” Carina said, taking a deep breath before turning back to Maya, taking her girlfriend’s hand and guiding her out of the hospital.

Chapter Text

They got home, Carina guiding Maya into the bedroom. Vic and Andy were following in Andy car so they weren’t home yet. Maya climbed into bed.

“Don’t you want to change Bella?” Carina asked, walking over to the dresser to get something other than her work clothes to change into when she saw the two notes on Maya’s dresser.

“Wait, Carina,” Maya said, remembering what was on the dresser a second too late, “Oh…. Sorry. You shouldn’t have to see that.”

Carina took a deep breath, trying not to cry.

“I’m sorry,” Maya said, “Come here.”

Carina pulled on one of Maya’s t-shirt before climbing into bed with her girlfriend, the blonde wrapping her arms around her.

“I’m sorry,” Maya said again.

“You don’t have to apologize Bella,” Carina said, shaking her head as she leaned up and gave Maya a kiss on the cheek, “I’m sorry you felt that way.”

The just stayed curled up in bed together for the next ten minutes until Vic and Andy walked into the apartment. The two firefighters came into the room. Vic carefully avoided the bathroom, sitting down on the opposite side of the bed.

“You guys don’t have to be here,” Maya mumbled, rubbing her swollen eyes.

“I don’t think I could be anywhere but here right now,” Andy said, looking at her best friend.

“Same,” Vic said as Carina leaned over and kissed Maya’s forehead.

“Well, I’m probably going to sleep,” Maya said, “I feel so sick right now.”

“We will be here when you wake up,” Carina said, holding Maya close.

The three other women just sat in the bed quietly for a long time.

“I’m going to go make us some food,” Andy said after almost two hours.

Vic and Carina just nodded.

“How are you doing?” Carina asked Vic as the young firefighter looked at her roommate.

“I don’t know,” Vic said, taking a shaky breath, “It’s a lot to process.”

“If you need to go, you can,” Carina said.

“Not tonight,” Vic said, shaking her head, “I don’t think I could leave her after… Tomorrow, I might go to Travis’s. I don’t know. I don’t know if Maya wants anyone else to know, but I need to talk to him. Finding her, like that… it was terrifying.”

“You’re the one who found me?” Maya asked, startling both women, “Vic, I’m so sorry.”

“Maya,” Vic said, not realizing her friend was awake.

“You can tell Trav,” Maya said, “I don’t care. You can tell everyone I guess. I’m so sorry I put you through this. I’m so sorry I put all of you through this.”

“Maya, you do not need to keep apologizing,” Vic said, looking at her friend, “I do not blame you for any of this.”

Maya just buried her head under the covers, Carina rubbing her back.

“I have food,” Andy said, coming into the room with two plates.

“Bella,” Carina said, “Come on. You need to eat.”

“I don’t feel well,” Maya said, shaking her head as she poked it out from under the covers.

“You need to eat,” Carina said gently, “I will get you whatever you want.”

“Nothing sounds good,” Maya said, “Everything today… My stomach’s just really unsettled.”

“How about some juice?” Carina said, knowing Maya needed some calories in her, “You need something Bella.”

“Fine,” Maya agreed, knowing what Carina was right.

“I’ll get it,” Vic said, getting out of the bed.

Andy came back in with another plate and Vic followed with a glass of juice.

The rest of the night was spent in much the same way, no one talking much. Maya took her sedative and fell asleep around nine.

Andy and Vic both fell asleep around eleven, leaving Carina in a very crowded bed wide awake. She just stared down at her girlfriend who was asleep in her arms, trying not to think about what her life would be if things had gone differently today. She felt the tears welling up in her eyes as she reflected back on the day, trying hard not to wake anyone around her because somehow she was in a bed with three other women. It wasn’t the first time it had happened, but this was by far the least fun.

As Carina tried to wipe her tear, she felt Andy stir beside her.

“Carina,” Andy said, realizing her friend’s girlfriend was still awake and crying, “Hey, are you alright?”

“Not really,” Carina said, shaking her head.

“Anything I can do?” Andy asked, sitting up.

“Just being here for Maya is enough,” Carina said, “Knowing there are people looking out for her is comforting. I am so terrified to leave her again, at least right now. I made this therapy appointment for tomorrow while I was waiting to see how Maya was, but I think I might cancel it because I can’t leave her.”

“Don’t do that,” Andy said, shaking her head, “Let me help you. I can send out some texts and make sure someone is here with her for the next few days, if you want.”

“But you all work at the same time,” Carina said, wiping at her eyes.

“But your friends don’t,” Andy said, shrugging, “I will make it work.”

“Thank you,” Carina said, eyes fill with fresh tears.

“She’s my best friend,” Andy said, looking over to where the blonde was sound asleep, “Without her, I don’t know what my life would look like, but I can tell you from the two months I shut her out after she became captain that it is not good.”

Just then, Maya started moving around in bed, soft cries escaping her lips.

“Maya,” Carina said, gently, knowing this was a nightmare, “Hey. Wake up. It’s ok. You’re ok.”

Maya’s eyes opened and she gasped for breath.

“Hey,” Carina said as Vic woke up from all the commotion, “It’s ok. Eyes on me. I am right here. Breath.”

The panic attack lasted about five minutes before Maya crashed into Carina, sobbing.

“Shhh,” Carina cooed softly, “You are safe.”

Andy, who had gotten up a minute ago, came back in with a glass of water for Maya. Vic was just sitting there, her hand on her friend’s back as the blonde woman cried. The four of them just sat on the bed for a few more minutes before Maya looked around.

“You guys should all go to bed,” she said, wiping her eyes, “I’m fine. You shouldn’t be kept up because I can’t get it together enough to sleep without having a panic attack.”

“Maya,” Vic said, getting her friend to look at her, “Today, I thought I was going to watch you stop breathing right in front of me. The fact that you are here to keep me awake tonight is something I am so grateful for that I don’t care if I don’t sleep at all tonight as long as I am spending my time with you.”

“Don’t push us away Mai,” Andy said, reaching over and rubbing Maya’s arm, “We all want to be here. We are choosing to be here not because you are forcing us, but because we love you. Sleep be damned.”

Maya just nodded a little, rubbing her swollen eyes. They spent the rest of the night just lying in bed, all four of them drifting in and out of sleep at various points.

Around 3 am, Carina gave Maya another sedative because she needed the rest, and after that, everyone slept pretty well for a few hours.

Around 7, Andy had to leave for couple’s counseling which she had all but forgotten about, promising Carina that she would get a schedule together of who could be with Maya when over the next five or so days.

Around 8, everyone was awake for the day. Maya stayed in bed, not having the energy to get up while Vic and Carina headed into the kitchen.

“I am going to head to Travis’s,” Vic said as she handed Carina a much needed cup of coffee, “Unless you need me to stay.”

“I have therapy at 9,” Carina said, biting her lip, “And I really don’t want to leave her alone. I think I’m just going to call and reschedule.”

Just then, there was a small knock on the door, Carina going to answer it.

“Amelia?” the confused doctor asked as her friend came into the apartment, “What are you doing here?”

“Andy texted me and said you were going to cancel your therapy appointment to stay with Maya,” Amelia said, setting down a box on the counter, “And asked if I would come over and hang out with Maya so you can go there and Vic can go to Travis’s.”

“Seriously?” Carina said, her eyes filling with tears.

“Yeah,” Amelia said, nodding, “Carina, yesterday was traumatic as hell for all of you, and you all need space to process that is not this apartment.”

“Maya’s not going to like having a babysitter,” Vic said, shaking her head.

“She can deal with it,” Amelia said, “Now, both of you, go get ready. Oh, also, donuts are for you two because what is better for an emotional hangover than fried sugar.”

“You can come here whenever you want,” Vic said, grabbing a donut out of the box, “Thanks.”

“Thank you Amelia,” Carina said, looking into the box but not taking a donut, “I’m not really feeling up to one now, but later for sure.”

“Whatever you need,” Amelia said, smiling at Carina as she went into the bedroom, smiling a little when she heard gentle snores coming from Maya.

She quickly dressed and got ready before gently kissing Maya’s forehead. The blonde stirred a little, smiling at Carina.

“I’ll be back later Bella,” Carina said softly, rubbing the blonde’s back a little before she left.

A few minutes after Cairn left, Maya was startled by her door opening.

“What are you doing here?” Maya asked as Amelia walked into her room.

“I am hanging out with my friend’s girlfriend,” Amelia said, plopping down on the bed next to Maya.

“I don’t need a babysitter,” Maya said, glaring at Amelia.

“I’m not here to babysit you,” Amelia said, pulling out her laptop, “Trust me, I do enough of that for Mer. I have work to get done.”

“Then why are you here?” Maya asked, still glaring.

“Because Carina needed to go to therapy,” Amelia said, “And Vic needed to go to Travis’s and someone needed to be here with you so I offered.”

“I don’t need anyone here with me,” Maya bristled, “I’m fine.”

“Whatever you say,” Amelia said, “But Carina wouldn’t go to therapy if you were going to be alone and she really needed to go so I’m here with you.”

“So now Carina doesn’t trust me to be alone?” Maya said, deflating a little, “I’m never going to be able to be alone again?”

“No,” Amelia said, setting her laptop aside, “Maya, right now, you are not ok. And that’s alright. And you might be fine by yourself, but Carina needs to know you are ok and for right now, that means someone being here with you. Yesterday really scared Carina, and I’m not saying that to make you feel bad or guilty or anything, but I just want you to know where she’s coming from. It’s not that she doesn’t trust you, it’s that she doesn’t trust your mental illness.”

“I guess,” Maya said, pulling her blankets up.

“I know none of this is fun or what you want,” Amelia said, “I’ve been there. It does get better. Now, would you like me to keep talking or shut up?”

Maya just pulled the blanket over her head and Amelia laughed, going back to her charting. She forced some food into Maya around noon, but other than that, she left the blonde alone.

Around one, there was another knock on the door.

“Who is that?” Maya asked, looking at Amelia.

“My replacement,” Amelia said, “I do have a boyfriend and baby at home to get back to.”

“I don’t need a babysitter,” Maya complained as Amelia went and answered the door, Travis following her in.

“What are you doing here?” Maya asked, glaring at her friend.

“I’m just here to spend some time with my captain,” Travis said as Amelia gathered up her stuff.

“Bye Maya,” the neurosurgeon called, “If you need anything, just text me.”

“What I need is to be left alone,” Maya grumbled as Travis sat down next to her.

“Well, that’s not going to happen today,” Travis said, “I brought some movies. Or we can just sit here in awkward silence. Whatever you want.”

“I want you to leave,” Maya said, glaring at him, “I’m fine.”

“And that might be true,” Travis said, “Although I highly doubt it after what Vic told me. And that’s ok Maya. It’s ok to not be fine all the time.”

“Shouldn’t you be with Vic?” Maya asked, desperate to get Travis to leave.

“She is having lunch with Jennifer today,” Travis said, “And Carina had something come up at work so you are stuck with me.”

Maya glared at him, but because he was Montgomery, she couldn’t keep it up.

“What did Vic tell you?” Maya asked, not liking the vulnerability of having people know things about her without her knowing what it was.

She was a private person with some of the worst control issues in the world who curated everyone’s views on her as much as she could.

“She told me what happened yesterday,” Travis said quietly, “How she found you and everything after that.”

Maya nodded, not looking at Travis.

“Maya, you know that you are important to me, right?” Travis said, “Your dedication to your job and ability to push us all to be our best is admirable. And it’s nice to be at the same station as a captain who is part of the Seattle Fire Queers because I know you won’t judge me, and you will stand up for our right to be who we are. In our line of work, I have always been a little afraid of being harassed for my sexual orientation, but since you became our captain, I know that even if that happens, my boss has my back, and that is no small thing. I selfishly need you around Maya so don’t try to go anywhere.”

Maya was crying by the time Travis was done, and he tentatively put a hand on her back, just being there for her.

“Sorry,” Maya said as the tears tapered off.

“I don’t mind,” Travis said, shaking his head, “Tears are good, healing, healthy. And Maya, as much as I know you hate all of this, having us here, we are all just coming because we love you, and we love Carina. All she wants, and all all of us want, really, is for you to be safe and be able to fight the illness you have, but you have to be here to do that. Carina is only thinking about you, Maya. Don’t push her away. You two are made for each other.”

Maya nodded, wiping her eyes.

“You said something about movies?” Maya asked after another minute.

“Yeah,” Travis said, “I’ve got Rent, Newsies, Grease.”

“You pick,” Maya said, shrugging.

The lack of any kind of joke at his choices worried Travis, but he put Rent on and the two of them just sat there, watching the movie. When that one finished, Travis forced Maya to eat one of the blueberry muffins he had brought before starting another movie.

Around 6, the front door opened a second before Carina appeared in the doorway.

“Hey,” Carina said, smiling at her girlfriend and Travis as she walked in.

“Hey,” Maya said, giving Carina a tired smile, “How was your day?”

“Long,” Carina said, “I was just going to go to my therapy appointment and then maybe catch up on some of my charts, but instead, a bus hit a Lamaze studio and I ended up delivering multiple babies, most of whom were premature.”

“Sorry it was such a long day,” Maya said, frowning as Travis got his stuff together.

“Well, I will leave you two to your evening,” Travis said, “There is some veggie and rice soup in the fridge for you both. Oh, and Vic is spending the night with me tonight, just a heads up.”

“Thanks Travis,” Maya said, rubbing her eyes as he headed to the door.

“Any time,” Travis said, “Feel better Captain. I’ll see you soon. Bye Carina.”

“Bye,” Carina called, poking her head out of the bathroom where she was taking off her makeup, “Thanks for everything.”

Travis let himself out as Carina came back into the bedroom, changing out of her work clothes and into pajamas.

“I am going to go get us some dinner,” Carina said, leaving the bedroom, coming back ten minutes later with some of Travis’s soup and some bread.

“You need to eat,” Carina said, handing Maya the bowl.

Maya nodded, taking a small bite.

“How was your day?” Carina asked as she ate her dinner.

“I got to be babysat by Amelia and Travis,” Maya grumbled a little.

“I’m sorry,” Carina said, not quite looking at Maya, “I know you do not need to be watched, but…”.

“No,” Maya said, shaking her head, “I get it. And you’re probably right. I probably shouldn’t be alone right now. I have an appointment tomorrow at 10 to see Dr. Lewis at her office so I don’t need to be watched for that hour.”

“I have to work tomorrow,” Carina said, nodding, “But Jo is going to come over in the morning. She can drive you if you want.”

“I guess,” Maya nodded, putting her bowl of soup on her nightstand, having eaten maybe half of it.

“I’m sorry all of this is happening to you Bella,” Carina said as Maya’s head dropped onto her shoulder.

“I’m sorry it’s happening to you,” Maya said, looking up at her girlfriend, “You shouldn’t have to deal with this. I’m giving you an out. You can go and live your life without dealing with all my mess and if I ever figure this out, we could try again then.”

“Is that what you want?” Carina asked, putting her own bowl down, her blood running cold, “Do you not want to be with me?”

“I just want what’s best for you,” Maya said, biting her lip, “And I don’t want to lose you because I don’t know how to do this.”

“Maya, I want to be with you,” Carina said, “Even through the hard parts and the pain because that just makes the other times that much better. I do not know how to do this either, but I want to try because you are worth it.”

Maya just let out a small sob as both she and Carina wrapped their arms around each other, holding tightly and knowing that even if this wasn’t easy, it was worth it.

Chapter Text

They both slept some that night, Carina waking up from a nightmare around midnight, and her movement woke Maya. The blonde helped her girlfriend fall back to sleep before spending the next three hours just staring at the ceiling. She was exhausted and feeling so guilty and just wanted to stop hurting everyone she loved.

Finally, Maya rolled over and took another one of her sleeping pills, desperate to get some more rest. When she woke up next, Carina was not in bed. Maya debated getting up, but decided she wasn’t ready yet. It was only 7 am so she had a little time before she needed to get up. About twenty minutes later, the bedroom door opened and Carina came in.

“Good morning Bella,” Carina said, smiling at her.

“Hey,” Maya said, rubbing her eyes.

“You need a shower,” Carina said, offering a hand to Maya.

The blonde sat up, taking a deep breath before she stood up.

“Do you want me to join you?” Carina asked, brushing a piece of hair off Maya’s face.

Maya thought for a minute before nodding, “But just for a shower.”

“Of course,” Carina nodded as they both wen t into the bathroom.

After the shower, Carina dressed for work while Maya dressed in a pair of sweats and a t-shirt. Carina brought Maya a smoothie she had made her before disappearing again. She came back in a few minutes later.

“I have to go now Bella,” Carina said, sitting down on the bed, “I’m working 24 hours so Jo will be here this morning, Teddy will be here for a few hours this afternoon, and Andy is coming to spend the night.”

Maya nodded, hating that she was being watched around the clock, but knowing better than to argue about it because this was the only way Carina could keep her sanity.

“Have a good day at work,” Maya said, sitting up and kissing Carina.

“I hope therapy goes well,” Carina said, “Text or call me after if you need to?”

“I will,” Maya said, nodding, “And I’m here if you need me.”

“I’ll see you later,” Carina said, getting up.

Carina headed out as Jo walked into the bedroom.

“Hi Maya,” the general surgeon said, “Can I sit?”

Maya nodded a little, snuggling under the blankets.

“You know I went through something like this last year?” Jo said, sitting down, “It sucked. All I wanted was for all of it to stop, and there were days when it felt like it never would, like I would be stuck in my bed, drowning in my head, forever.”

“How did you get out?” Maya asked quietly.

“I trusted the people who wanted to help me,” Jo said honestly, “And some days, I still just want to stay in bed, and some days, I do. I don’t think it ever really goes away, but it does get better.”

Maya nodded, not really knowing what else to say.

“What time is your appointment?” Jo asked.

“Ten,” Maya said, “But we need to leave here at like 9:30.”

“Alright,” Jo said, “What do you want to do until then?”

Maya just shrugged, burying herself into the blankets. Jo sighed, deciding to work on charts. The time flew by, and soon enough, it was time to go to Maya’s therapy. Jo drove them there, Maya silent the whole time.

“I am going to go work at the coffee shop down the street,” Jo said, walking Maya inside, “I’ll be back in an hour?” T

he blonde nodded as Dr. Lewis came to meet her.

“Maya,” Diane said, gesturing for her to come back to her office.

Maya had never been to Dr. Lewis’s office before, much preferring the comfort of her own station.

“So, you had a day two days ago,” Diane said as Maya sat down on the couch.

Maya nodded, rubbing her eyes.

“What happened?” Dr. Lewis asked.

“I swallowed a bottle of pills,” Maya said, looking at her hands.

“Why?” Dr. Lewis asked gently.

“I wanted it to stop,” Maya said.

“Wanted what to stop?” Diane asked.

“All of it,” Maya said, “Feeling like I’m failing, like I am completely out of control, like all I do is hurt people, like nothing is ever going to change, like my brain is in overdrive all the time and I can’t calm down, like I am just going to keep messing up and hurting every person I try to be friends with or love.”

“And now?” Dr. Lewis asked, “Do you still want it all to end?”

“Yeah,” Maya said, nodding, “But I’m not going to try to stop it. I just want to feel like I did before, when I was in control.”

“Why do you feel so out of control?” Dr. Lewis asked.

Maya was quiet for a minute, just playing with her hands.

“Because everything in my life feels like it has been a lie,” Maya said finally, “Like everything that I thought about who I am and what I am is a lie because my dad isn’t the person I always thought he was and I spent my whole life trying to be him and now I don’t want to be like him and I don’t know how to stop and I don’t want to be around him ever again and I wouldn’t blame anyone in my life if they never wanted to be around me again because he is a terrible person and I am just like him.”

Maya broke down, sobbing into her hands as she sat on the couch, having finally admitted what she had been holding in for so long. Maya just cried for a long time, probably close to ten minutes, before the tears quieted a little.

“That is a big burden to feel like you are carrying,” Dr. Lewis said, “Why do you think you are like your dad?”

“Because I spent my whole childhood trying to be just like him,” Maya said, “To learn his every move and anticipate it so that I didn’t have to deal with as much of the yelling and the other things he did, but that meant I became him.”

“How so?” Dr. Lewis asked, looking at Maya.

“I am cold, and calculating, and I put my ambitions over everything and I yell and I push and I want control and I can’t let people get close and I think my way is the only way,” Maya said quickly, voice still shaky from the crying.

“But do you have to be?” Dr. Lewis asked, “Do you have to do all those things?”

“I don’t know how to not,” Maya said, biting her lip.

“That’s why I’m here,” Dr. Lewis said, “To help you learn how to not do those things, but Maya, the only way you can learn to be better than your father, which you already are, by the way, because you come here and admit you are struggling, is for you to be here, alive.”

Maya nodded, looking down again.

“Maya, you can get through this,” Diane said, “It will get better. It is going to take time, and it is going to hurt and probably make you feel awful sometimes, but it will get better. Do you trust me?”

Maya nodded, looking at Diane.

“Good,” Diane said, “Now, I know you said you aren’t thinking about ending things, but do you feel safe being alone right now?”

“I’m not,” Maya said, shaking her head, “Alone, I mean. I really scared Carina, and my friends, and if I’m being honest, myself, the other day, and Carina has people with me around the clock for the next week at least.”

“How do you feel about that?” Dr. Lewis asked, raising an eyebrow.

“Well, I don’t like it,” Maya said, “But it makes Carina feel better, and I feel so bad that I put her through what I did the other day that all I want try to help her trust me again.”

“Maya, you realize that you are doing something you said you didn’t do, right?” Dr. Lewis said, “You said earlier that you think your way is the only way, but this isn’t your way. This is Carina’s, and you are letting it happen because you care about her which is something else you said you didn’t do. Maya, you are not your father.”

Maya took a shaky breath, realizing Dr. Lewis was right.

“You can do this Maya,” Diane said, “You can make it through this.”

The blonde woman nodded.

“I’m glad you aren’t going to be alone,” Dr. Lewis said, “I would like to see you back in a week, unless you would like it to be sooner.”

“A week is good,” Maya said.

“Alright,” Dr. Lewis said, “I want you to keep taking your meds let the people who want to be there for you, be there. This is a long road, Maya, and you need cheerleaders and people running alongside you in order to make it.”

Maya nodded, wiping the tears off her cheeks.

“I will see you next week Maya,” Dr. Lewis said, “Call me if you need to talk before.”

“Thank you,” Maya said, getting up and heading out the door, finding Jo waiting for her in the waiting room.

“Ready?” the doctor asked, standing up. Maya nodded, following her out to the car.

They drove home, Jo stopping by a Chinese place she raved about, getting some chicken noodle soup for both of them.

“This was all I ate after I left rehab,” Jo said, handing Maya the bag as she got back in the car.

“Rehab?” Maya asked, confused, not remembering Carina saying anyone by Amelia and Richard had substance abuse issues.

“When I was really bad, like you,” Jo said, “I couldn’t figure out how to get out of it so I checked myself into a rehab. It was pretty helpful, actually.”

“I don’t want to go to rehab,” Maya said quickly, shaking her head.

“And that’s ok,” Jo said, “It’s not for everyone. It worked for me, but I know people who it doesn’t work for and regular therapy is better.”

Maya nodded, looking down at the bag in her lap. The two of them went back to Maya’s place, Jo serving up the soup while Maya crawled back into bed. Jo got Maya to eat a little before Teddy came to replace her.

“If you ever need to talk to someone who’s been there, call me,” Jo said, heading out, “I’m serious. There is nothing you are feeling that will freak me out, and sometimes, it’s nice to have someone like that to talk to.”

“Thank you,” Maya nodded as Jo left.

 

Meanwhile, at the hospital, Carina was in her office, trying to concentrate on her work but having a hard time with it. She thought back to her therapy session the day before, trying to remember what her therapist had said.

“So, why did you ask for an emergency session?” Dr. Peterson asked as Carina walked in.

“My girlfriend tried to kill herself yesterday,” Carina said, tears immediately starting before she even sat down on the couch, “She swallowed an entire bottle of meds and tried to end her life.”

“Oh, Carina,” Dr. Peterson said, handing her a box of tissues, “I am so sorry. Is she alright? Physically, I mean?”

“Si,” Carina said, nodding as she wiped her eyes, “Her roommate found her and called 911. She got released from the hospital yesterday afternoon.”

“Where is she now?” Dr. Peterson asked.

“She’s at her house,” Carina said, “Amelia is there this morning, and one of her friends will be there this afternoon.”

“So, she’s not alone?” Dr. Peterson asked.

“No,” Carina said, “One of her friends made a schedule so she would have someone with her around the clock for the next few days. I can’t let her be alone?”

“Why is that up to you?” Dr. Peterson asked, looking at Carina.

“Because I left her and she tried to kill herself,” Carina said, looking at her hands.

“Left her how?” Dr. Peterson asked, “Like broke up with her?”

“No,” Carina said, “I got called in to work, and while I was gone, she swallowed the pills. If I would have been there, I could have stopped her. She would have been safe.”

“Carina,” Dr. Peterson said, “Maya did what she did because she is sick. There is nothing you could have done to stop it. She would have done it another time. You can’t be with her all the time, both because it is impossible and unhealthy. You need to have time to be yourself and live your life. If Maya cannot be alone, she needs to be admitted to a hospital.”

“I think she probably can be alone,” Carina said, “I just can’t imagine leaving her alone because what if it happens again?”

“Has she said she is still thinking about ending it?” Dr. Peterson asked.

“No,” Carina said, shaking her head, “No. She said to the therapist in the hospital yesterday that it didn’t work so she wouldn’t try it again, but it’s so hard to trust her.”

“Why?” Dr. Peterson asked as Carina wiped her eyes, “Because of this, or because you are still learning to trust her again after everything with Jack?”

“Both,” Carina sighed, “I mean, she told me she would never do that again, and she hasn’t, and she has stayed away from him as much as she can, but it is hard. Trusting is hard.”

“I know,” Dr. Peterson said, “And that’s ok. It should be earned, but how does Maya feel about having someone with her around the clock?”

“I don’t know,” Carina said, biting her lip, “I didn’t ask.”

“And I think, in this case, it’s ok that you are taking some control of the situation to keep her safe,” Dr. Peterson said, “Based on what you’ve told me recently, Maya is probably having a hard time making decisions, but you still should probably check in with her, make sure she is ok with it. But I also think it is smart that you have found a way to not be the only person she is leaning on because it will exhaust you if you don’t and you will eventually resent her for it. And, if for the next few days, this is how you keep yourself sane, as long as it is not hurting Maya, it is probably what’s best for both of you.”

Carina nodded, wiping her eyes.

“You need to take care of yourself, Carina,” Dr. Peterson said, “Give yourself the space to feel all of this and let Maya learn to lean on people who aren’t you, to trust people who love her. It will be best for both of you.”

“So, are you saying I shouldn’t see her right now?” Carina asked, taken aback.

“No,” Dr. Peterson said, “You can still see your girlfriend, but don’t spend all your free time with her. Go for a hike, hang out with your friends, sleep at your own house, go out for dinner. Do things that make you feel good and help you feel better because you are no good to anyone if you burn out helping Maya.”

Carina nodded, taking a deep breath.

“Is there anything else you want to talk about?” Dr. Peterson asked, glancing at the clock and seeing they were almost at time.

“I don’t think so,” Carina said, shaking her head.

“Alright,” Dr. Peterson said, “Well, if you need another appointment, just email me. And remember, take care of yourself.”

Carina nodded, grabbing another tissue and blowing her nose before standing up, leaving the office. As Carina sat in her office, she tried to remember what Dr. Peterson had said.

“Take care of yourself.”

With that in mind, she grabbed her phone, texting Amelia and seeing if she wanted to grab lunch, deciding that work could wait a little longer so she could have some time with her friend.