|How to Love a Stranger
Author: skye3 PM
UPDATED! CHAPTER 7 UP! AU MerDer. After 3 and a half years missing and presumed dead, Derek Shepherd made a reappearance just when his wife, Meredith had become engaged with his best friend Michael. Complete summary inside. Read and Review please!Rated: Fiction T - English - Romance - Chapters: 7 - Words: 24,447 - Reviews: 127 - Favs: 36 - Follows: 37 - Updated: 05-22-07 - Published: 04-10-07 - Status: Complete - id: 3486433
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Notes: Yes, I'm still alive. And I haven't forgotten about this fic. I'm really sorry for taking forever to update. I procrastinated. And well, I had pre-finale jitters and post-finale stress. I don't even want to talk about the finale anymore. I've already ranted about it in my livejournal.
So, here's the last chapter for this story. I really hope you like it. It's kinda hard to write a happy MerDer when they're not in the show. So please tell me what you think about it.
Derek stroked her hair, absently trailing his fingers through the silken ends, watching the fairness of its color glisten in the light. Her eyes were closed in absolute contentment.
"Would you say it now, Mer?" he asked in a huskily caressing voice.
"Say what?" she questioned in equal softness, not quite sure if words could express anything close to what she was feeling.
"Welcome home, Derek," he supplied the words.
Tipping her head back, she opened her eyes and looked up to his face, love bringing an amazing glow to her exotic green eyes. "Welcome home, Derek." She repeated the words. Her voice trembled with the depth of her meaning. A strangled moan of came from his throat, as if a long tormented journey had finally ended. He lifted her the few inches necessary to plant a hard, possessive kiss on her lips. Then his trembling fingers moved over her lips as if to apologize for hurting them.
"I've been waiting so long to hear that." His voice muffled as he buried his face on the side of her neck. "But now, it doesn't seem that important anymore."
"The day you returned and I saw you standing there in the house, I thought it was someone's idea of a joke." Meredith confessed.
Derek shook his head. "I should have made more effort to get hold of you or have the authorities reached you before I came back." He paused, tracing her jaw line with his thumb. "I knew it would be a shock. Michael tried to convince me to let him break the news to you, but I didn't listen."
"It wasn't just shock," she explained. "It was guilt, because I was engaged to Michael. And then there you were, my husband. I wanted to run to you, but I couldn't. Then suddenly, you seemed so different – someone I didn't know." Meredith sighed.
"I didn't want to admit that I changed, that we've changed," he murmured with a rueful smile. "I guess I just wanted everything to be the way it was."
"But, things might have been different if I hadn't been engaged to Michael." Meredith turned to rest her head on his chest and listen to the strong rhythm of his heartbeat.
"It might have made us less wary of each other, but we would still have to adjust to the changes that happened to us," he insisted.
"Yes, but Michael – " Meredith started to argue.
"Was never a threat to our relationship," Derek interrupted, his voice firm, sure and cocky.
Meredith relaxed, realizing that he was right. Smiling, she slid her hand over the flat of his muscular stomach. "But weren't you just a little bit jealous of Michael?" The question was half teasing and half serious.
"No, I was never jealous of him," he chuckled, his hand absently continuing its previous task of playing with her hair.
"Never?" Meredith feigned disappointment.
Derek sighed in defeat. "Okay, I admit. There were times when I was envious of him."
"Because you were so natural with him, so warm and friendly, trusting him and turning to him when you needed help. I wanted it to be me," he explained. "I was jealous of Michael because you looked to him for security and not me."
"I feel very secured now." Meredith hugged up to him. Then she moved up and planted a soft kiss on his lips. "I love you Derek. I never stopped."
"That's what I really wanted to hear," his arms tightened around her, almost crushing her ribs. "Welcome home was just a substituted for I love you."
"I love you." she repeated. "You don't have to ask me to say it. I'll keep saying it until your ears fall off." She laughed.
He rolled, pinning her to the bed under his weight. He looked into her eyes. "I missed you." he said, voice wavering with emotion. Then he dipped his head and kissed her, long and passionate. When they stopped for air, there was a long silence. They reveled inwardly at the rediscovery of their love, holding each other.
"I hate to bring up something so mundane," Meredith whispered, "but where are we going to sleep tonight?"
"I don't even want to go to sleep," Derek said, teasing her.
"Aren't you tired?" Her sleepless night of the very soft mattress was beginning to catch up on her. And the dreamy contentment of his embrace was lulling her further into sleepiness.
"Exhausted," he admitted with a smile in his voice. "But I'm afraid if I go to sleep, I'll wake up and find that none of this has happened. Or worse, that I'm still in the jungle."
"If you are, I'm going to be there with you," she declared, and poked a finger in his chest. "You Tarzan, me Jane." Derek chuckled and kissed her hair.
"Seriously, Derek, are we going back to the house tonight?"
"Not if the storage boxes in the garage have blankets in them. Do they?" he questioned.
"Did you take everything that I had in storage?"
"Every single thing," he confirmed.
"Then there are blankets in one of those boxes," she promised.
"Is that what you want to do, Meredith? Stay here?"
"If you want to. I can go get the blankets." Meredith started to move but Derek held her still.
"You know what I'm really asking."
"The house?" Meredith guessed, propping herself up on an elbow beside him.
Derek nodded. "Do you like it?"
"Yes. I love it," she smiled. "It's everything we ever said we wanted in a house."
"Good. That's what I thought too. Monday morning I'll have the agent draw the papers we have to sign. As for now, I don't think he'll mind if we start unpacking the boxes in the garage."
"What if he sells it to someone else?"
"He won't. I put earnest money down to hold it until you saw it."
"Were you so positive I'd like it?"
"As positive as I was that you're still madly in love with me," Derek answered smiling in full confidence.
"Oh get over yourself already!" Meredith teased, slapping him lightly on the chest. "It would serve you right if I didn't like it."
"But you do. And now you can take over the decorating of it."
"It might end up looking like a hotel," she warned.
"It better not," he laughed, and pulled her into his arms.
Snow fell endlessly from the pearl-grey sky and snowflakes had started to build up on the other side of her office window. A serenely joyful light was in Meredith's eyes as she smiled against the telephone she held to her ear.
"Thank you," she said, "Merry Christmas."
Hanging up, she turned her attention to the papers on her desk, absently humming along the Christmas carols coming from somebody's computer speakers somewhere down the hall. The inter-office line buzzed and she picked up the telephone again. She had barely said 'hello' when Derek's crisp voice came, "I want you in my office, now."
"What's this about?" Meredith questioned, her brows furrowed in confusion.
"We'll talk about it when you get here."
An eyebrow arched at his sharpness. "Okay," Meredith agreed calmly, "Give me a few minutes."
"I said now," he snapped.
"You're forgetting, it takes fifteen minutes to walk from here to your office," she reminded him dryly.
"Now, Meredith!" And then he hung up.
Breathing in deeply, Meredith stared at the dead phone before finally putting it back on its cradle. She took a few more seconds putting her desk into some kind of order, then walked out into the corridor, closing her office door as she left. Fifteen minutes had definitely been an exaggeration. Eight minutes later, Diane Chandler glanced up from her computer screen and motioned her into Derek's office with a greeting wave of her hand. Meredith knocked twice on the connecting door before opening it and walked in.
Derek sat behind his desk, leaning back in his chair when Meredith entered. His blunt male features were drawn into harsh cold lines, matching the temperature outside. Anger blazed in his eyes and Meredith had no idea why.
"You wanted to see me, Derek?" she walked to his desk, smiling warmly at him, but it didn't soften his expression. "What is it?" she asked, clearly puzzled by his behavior.
"What's this?" He reached forward to shove a paper across his desk towards her, his hard and watchful gaze never leaving her face for an instant. "What's this all about?"
Meredith reached for the paper and scanned over it. "This is the revised budget request," she frowned as she recognized it. "Where did you get it?"
"From Michael," Derek snapped.
Her mouth became a straight line of grim frustration. "He wasn't supposed to give it to you. I wanted to go over it with you myself when I submitted it."
"He didn't give it to me, I took it. And you can go over it with me now," he ordered. "This is the – what – third or fourth budget revision?"
"The third." Meredith was trying her best to stay calm and not match his biting tone. "And if you'd told me why you wanted to speak to me, I could have brought some supporting papers."
"I don't need supporting papers, I want an explanation. Why the increase this time? And don't tell me its inflation."
"It's a lot of things," she began. "We had to change advertising agencies for the campaign because the first one wasn't able to carry on because of some internal problems. That meant an increase in the cost."
"You should have checked more carefully into the first company," he rebuked.
"I did. Their difficulties came after we'd signed the contract with them," she replied sharply to his criticism.
He didn't look like he believed her, but he didn't pursue the topic. "What else?"
"We had to revise the cost figures on refurbishing some of the hotels. The – "
"I knew it," he declared through clenched teeth. "The redecorating costs for the hotels increased every time you submitted a budget. Are you redecorating them or rebuilding?"
The slow-burning fuse of her temper was finally lit. "Sometimes I'm not so sure myself," she snapped back. "Have you seen the hotel in Florida? It looks like a hospital! We've tried landscaping, painting, nothing works. It needs a whole new façade."
"Why don't you just have it torn down and build a new one?" he flashed.
"That's the best suggestion I've heard!" she retorted. "Why don't you bring that up to the expansion department?"
"At the rate you're going, it might be the most logical decision!" With controlled anger, Derek pushed out of his chair, standing behind desk and looked at her. "You –"
"Enough!" Meredith held one hand up, glarring at him. "You have to st –" She stopped mid-sentence as she suddenly felt nauseous. Her knees buckled as the floor seemed to move. She stepped forward, grabbing unto the desk to steady herself. In an instant, Derek was there beside her, he held her shoulders, keeping her still. She reached a hand to wipe the cold sweat on her forehead.
"Meredith?" Derek asked, their previous argument completely forgotten. His cold accusing gaze was replaced by panic and concern. Meredith didn't answer. She closed her eyes and willed the room to stop spinning. "Meredith?" he asked again. He reached to tuck her hair behind her ear and cupped her face. "Mer?" He asked yet again, concern evident in his voice.
She slowly opened her eyes and focused on his face. "What's wrong?" He asked.
"I..I suddenly felt dizzy." She supplied.
"Okay." He nodded, taking hold her arms and guided her towards the couch. "You should sit." Once she was settled on the couch, he moved to get her a glass of water. He placed a comforting hand on her back as she drank. "That's thrice this week." He stated frowning. "I don't think it's because you're tired from work anymore. Maybe we should go see a doctor."
"No," she shook her head weakly.
"No?" he questioned.
"No." she confirmed, turning her head to look at him. "I..I already went."
"To the doctor?" He raised his eyebrows, only to furrow back in confusion. "When?"
"Yes." She replied, lowering her chin, still angry and hurt by his previous attack. "Yesterday afternoon. You were in a meeting." She paused. "I'm going to have a baby."
In the next second, his hands were on her shoulders to gently turn her towards him. "Are you sure?" he asked quietly.
"Yes, I'm sure." She nodded. "Doctor Montgomery called a few minutes ago to confirm the test results."
"Why didn't you tell me?" his tension was exhaled with the question.
"How could I when you've been yelling at me for the past five minutes?" Her eyes flared open to glare at him.
His fingers lightly touched her cheek before he cupped it in his hand. "I was, wasn't I?" There was a rueful quirk to his mouth.
"Yes, you were." But her statement didn't carry any sting of anger.
Derek let out a sigh, raking one hand through his hair. He didn't know what had gotten into him. "I'm sorry. I lost my perspective for a moment, the order of importance. I could lose everything and it wouldn't matter as long as I didn't lose you." The glow radiating from his face was warm and powerful and Meredith basked in the love light. That peaceful happiness she had known before their argument returned with doubled strength.
"No, it doesn't matter as long as I have you," she agreed and turned her lips into his hand to press a kiss in his open palm. His head lowered, his mouth claiming her in a sweetly fierce kiss that rocked her senses. She clung to him, reveling in the possessive embrace that gathered her close to him. Warmth raced through her veins, filling her body with love and pleasure.
She was breathless when the kiss ended, and the sensation remained as Derek buried his face in the dirty-blond hair, his mouth trailing a blazing fire to the sensitive skin of her neck. She felt the tremors vibrating through his muscular form and she knew she disturbed him as sensually as he disturbed her. When he finally lifted his head, there was a disarmingly dreamy smile on his face. His hands moved to tangle his fingers in her hair and hold her face up to for his gaze to explore. Meredith knew this was a moment she would treasure in her heart forever.
"We're really going to have a baby?" There was a faintly marveling look in his eyes as Derek turned the statement into a near question.
"Yes," Meredith nodded.
"Are you alright?" he frowned.
"I'm fine," she smiled.
"I'm sorry." He apologized again.
"Apology accepted." She smiled.
"Okay." He kissed her lightly and gazed into her eyes. "When's the baby due?"
"The new campaign will be in full swing by then. I can already see you directing operations from the maternity ward." Derek chuckled. Meredith laughed, as she playfully slapped his chest.
"You should be glad that I'm your boss," He added with an arrogant smile. "A boss that's understanding and will let you set your own hours or work at home, if that's more convenient?"
"I guess I'm very lucky," she slid her arms around his neck, her fingers playing with his hair. "Lucky in more that one way."
"Mer," Derek spoke her name in an aching murmur against her lips as he lowered her to the couch.
000000 End 000000
So, that's it. That's 'How to Love A Stranger.' I'm sorry that I had to put a McAss moment for Derek in there. I guess the events the show had gotten into me. Also, no marriage is perfect. Their bound to have arguments like these, and they'll still be together because they really love each other. Even if he yells, even if she yells, they're always going to show up for each other. And yes, Addison had I little cameo in there. I'm really going to miss her on the show. Because even though I'm a big MerDer shipper, I also love Addison's character. She's one of the reasons I watch the show.
Anyway, Please do tell me what you think of this last chapter.
Lastly, I would like to thank all the readers, especially those who reviewed. You really helped boost my confidence that I could actually finish this fic. So thank you, thank you, thank you. Cheers!