|Safe In The Arms
Author: surrendersomething PM
The aftermath of the season 6 finale, told through the events that take place at 3am one night, four weeks after that fateful day. Meredith and Derek, with a brief cameo from Cristina.Rated: Fiction T - English - Romance/Angst - Meredith G. & Derek S. - Words: 6,542 - Reviews: 21 - Favs: 42 - Follows: 7 - Published: 05-28-10 - Status: Complete - id: 6005548
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Disclaimer: I own nothing, except the ramblings of my mind at 2am. I'm not sure anyone else would want those.
A/N: When I watched the finale, it wouldn't be a word of a lie to say that I was shaking the entire way through. I definitely wasn't in the emotional state to deal with that sort of drama, and I know there are mixed opinions but I would like to pay credit to Shonda – the sign of a good piece of TV for me is when I'm so drawn in that I do, for example, sit shaking. For the same reasons that I wasn't in the emotional state to deal with the finale, I have also been awake into the early hours of the morning, and this story has been an escape of sorts. It takes place on a night about 4 weeks after the finale – while I wanted to write a post-finale story of some sort, I didn't want to tackle the immediate aftermath for Meredith and Derek, at least not directly. I was interested in the ramifications of that day a little bit into the future. On that note, enjoy.
Safe in the Arms
Derek lay silently in bed in the darkened room, confined to the one position that proved itself as being anything resembling comfortable. Meredith was sprawled on her stomach next to him. Fast asleep, one arm grasping his lightly as she lay at a slight diagonal. Snoring, very lightly.
It was the closest she trusted herself to be at night. The closest she could be at night, if he was honest. Not that it was helping him to sleep, if his 3am monologues were anything to go by.
Everything was off kilter. She was lying on his right, well away from his wounds, when her side was usually on his left. She was lying on her stomach, when she was normally spooned in his arms. She was the strong one, she was looking after him. And they were stuck in the damn house, without a scalpel in sight.
Once a surgeon, always a surgeon, he thought dryly. Even if he hadn't had much of a look in an OR of late.
Four weeks had passed since that traumatic day. Meredith had barely left his side, claiming her position as the Chief's wife and his position as the Chief (albeit in absentia) more than authorised her prolonged leave - after the brief medical leave she herself needed, of course - from the second home he knew she was dreading returning to.
In some ways, the fact that there wasn't a scalpel in sight was actually a blessing. For now, at least.
For now, he was content to lie with his wife. Talking, reading, sleeping. Watching television, slowly working their way back to eating proper meals, sleeping some more. All the things they had grown accustomed to missing out on, as surgeons.
In a strange, slightly morbid way, he would almost cherish his forced bedrest.
Time with Meredith, especially after staring death in the face, was something he would never resent. Time alone with Meredith was especially worthy of cherishing.
His first two weeks post surgery had been spent within the walls of Seattle Grace, much as he and Meredith had been desperate to leave.
Both had needed medical care, albeit he in a far more concentrated fashion.
His first week had been slow. Incredibly slow. Aside from her heartbreaking confession, he barely remembered being awake for the first three days. Meredith assured him that he hadn't missed much.
Apart from the fact that their room, as he liked to think of his hospital room, had seen a constant stream of people. He was too damn popular, she'd told him in a brief, private moment later in the week. He remembered simply smiling and asked for a kiss.
She had been all too happy to oblige.
From the fourth day, he realised she was right.
Doctors. Nurses. Friends.
Carolyn and Kathleen had been on the very next flight out, and he suspected they'd sped straight to the hospital the second they received Meredith's tearful phone call. Had he been more conscious, he suspected he would have been immensely proud of his wife's newfound ability to cope with his family. When he finally managed to keep his eyes open for more than ten minutes on the fourth day and found that the Shepherd family descended he had expected her to take a backseat (and secretly hoped she wouldn't), but she'd stayed firmly by his bedside.
From what she told him, he suspected she had barely been aware of their presence in the previous three days, but he knew she had endeared herself to them a thousand times over by that mere fact.
Amelia had arrived a day later than her mother and eldest sibling, flying over from LA and announcing in her usual, somewhat tactless manner that she'd had to forcibly restrain Addison and his friends from joining her. Meredith had simply smiled and offered to call Addison herself with an update as soon as she got the chance.
By that point, his pride for his wife would have been about fit to burst, had it been medically advisable.
Nancy and Emily had arrived last, if you could call a mere 48 hours after the event last. If Meredith had even found herself able to remember the unfortunate circumstances of her first and only meeting with Nancy, he wouldn't have been able to tell as he was informed that she had simply embraced his sister like a friend.
If there was one thing to be grateful for out of the whole situation, it would be the new bond between Meredith and his family.
His family stayed for the entire two weeks, taking care of them both. When he referred to his family, he included Mark Sloan without hesitation. As a result, so did his family.
He and Meredith had made a quiet decision that this was not the time to share the news of their loss. It was something too private, that too many people were already aware of.
If there was a right time.
His family, minus Mark, had left en masse the night he was released home – thanks, he suspected, to Carolyn's maternal instinct and her resulting realisation that really, he just needed his wife. That they were desperate for some peace and quiet. To heal. To deal with what had happened to them, and to attempt to return to some sense of normality.
To grieve, they would both add.
On their first night at home, alone, Meredith told him that she still remembered him telling her way back at the start of her intern year that he would want his family around him should anything happen, and that that was the reason she had remembered to call them so quickly. Without hesitation, he told her she was the biggest part of his family now.
The kiss he had been rewarded with nearly blew his mind.
He also told her how proud of her he was. She made him a very dirty promise in response, conditional on his return to perfect health, which he was still looking forward to her keeping. He thought it was the first time they had laughed, since she'd promised him a night full of dirty sex before Gary Clark had even made his presence noticed.
In the two weeks they had since spent at home, he could honestly say he had never been more grateful for his wife. He could also honestly say he had never been more amazed by his wife. They had conversations he would never have dreamt they were able of. There was no avoiding. No running. They physically couldn't have sex, so that wasn't an obstacle to their communication. Indeed, it was replaced with conversations in which neither of them had held back.
Conversations in which they were able to deal, or start to deal with everything that had happened to them.
Start to heal. Start to grieve.
And there was no way he would have managed it, without Meredith.
Suddenly, the bedroom door burst open, interrupting his thoughts with a sudden shock and revealing an intruder who was fortunately familiar.
"Hi, Cristina" he greeted warmly once he had caught his breath, flashing a tired smile at his former arch enemy (when it came to the privilege of sharing Meredith's bed at least). Since she became his lifesaver as well as his wife's person, something had changed. Where once they had merely tolerated one another out of a mutual love for Meredith, and would both freely admit so, as he met the fiery, panicked eyes of the young Asian resident, he saw them instantly soften at his greeting.
"Derek," she sighed tiredly. They were on first name terms now, and she had surprised him by coming to check on his wellbeing more times than he could remember in those first two weeks, especially when she was aware Meredith was absent from his hospital room. They had struck up a camaraderie in those lone visits, which he suspected had been equally surprising to them both. He watched as her eyes slid to Meredith's sleeping form, taking on a sheen of frustration. "Is she...?" she queried. He nodded simply in response.
"Out cold, since about twelve," he confirmed quietly, watching her face fall as she moved to turn in the doorway. "Cristina," he continued quietly. She turned, regarding him for a long second.
"Just... get her to call me, okay? I need to tell her... ask her..." she trailed off, shaking her head sharply. Something in the intonation in her voice stopped him from letting her leave, however.
She was Meredith's best friend. He was seeing things in a new light, and that was enough to make him want to help.
"Is it... about Owen?" he asked calmly, following his hunch at the risk of incurring her wrath – something even he found mildly terrifying. "Cristina," he called quietly again, as she prepared to bolt. She was similar to Meredith in many more ways than one. He brushed his fingertips lightly over his slumbering wife's shoulder at the thought. "Sit," he told her quietly, gesturing to the armchair by the window. "I might not be Meredith, but... maybe a male perspective could help?" he offered, relieved when she stayed still. "It's the least I can offer," seeing as you saved my life, he finished.
Suddenly, Cristina moved, dropping herself with considerable force into the chair.
"How are you?" she asked eventually, propping her chin on her hands as she looked up at him. Avoiding the topic.
"Bored," he answered instantly, with a wry grin, picking up on her avoidance. "Out of my mind, in fact."
"Good analogy, for a neurosurgeon and all," she shot back sarcastically, her grin meeting his for a second. "Shouldn't you be all lovey dovey and sickening with your wife?" she continued, smirking. Once they actually took the time to talk, they discovered they actually weren't that different, after all - both possessing a similarly sharp, witty sense of humour.
Both realising, all of a sudden, why Meredith held them both so close.
"Jokes aside," Cristina probed eventually, turning her sharp gaze on him again while she contemplated whether she was ready to talk.
"Okay," he replied. "It's still a slow process, but I was expecting that."
"You're not sleeping," she pointed out astutely. "Are you in pain?"
"Not so much," he replied, with a sweep of his hand toward the array of drugs littering the table beside their bed. "Feels strange, taking them myself, but they keep it manageable. Just need a bit of strength back. " He paused, considering how much to share. "And everything just feels..."
"Off?" she queried instantly, in a moment of understanding. He nodded, relieved.
"She normally sleeps on this side, and..." he shook his head, waving a hand to the other side of the bed to demonstrate his point. "Too much to think about, I guess." She flashed him a sad smile at that, nodding slowly without any expectation that he continue. They'd had this conversation already.
It was solely with Meredith that he had begun to learn how to deal with the events four weeks prior.
But his conversations with his wife were heavy, emotive events which understandably ended up with one or both in tears more often than not. When he had talked about the events with Cristina, as he had done on multiple occasions, they stayed objective. Factual, even. Meredith was his first and only confidante, but Cristina offered a different perspective. She was fiercely practical, and he'd appreciated her honesty at certain points. She spoke her mind somewhat brutally, whether it was positive or not, and he know that both Meredith and himself had been on the wrong end of her sharp tongue more than once over the last four weeks if they looked close to hiding or avoiding.
It had been a swift kick that both of them had needed evey time, something that only Cristina was able to administer. She'd always been part of their relationship, whether he'd admitted it or not.
He shook his head slightly, shaking himself out of his reverie and finding himself strangely grateful once again for the presence of his wife's best friend. None of the heavy conversations really needed to be dragged up again at three in the morning, and with someone to talk to he was able to stop his mind taking quite such a dark track.
"How's my hospital?" he asked eventually, with a quick glance to check his wife was still peacefully slumbering – if the light snore didn't tell him already – before looking up at Cristina. She wasn't ready to talk. He sensed that, and employed a technique he used on a regular basis with Meredith.
Keep the conversation going, and eventually it will take the path you want.
"Still standing," she replied with a smirk, back on somewhat familiar territory. "Somehow. Actually, credit where it's due. Sloan's doing a remarkably stellar job as acting Chief. I won't lie, I'm a little surprised," she added, as Derek chuckled quietly. Mark Sloan probably wouldn't have been his first choice as his interim replacement, but with Richard out of the picture it had seemed strangely logical. Mark was his brother. The second person he'd asked for.
Second only to his wife.
He trusted him, implicitly. A quality he hadn't really realised had returned to their relationship until he was asked to choose his replacement. Not that he really should have been making decisions on that many painkillers, as Meredith kept telling him.
"Ah, well that's because he's on the phone to me every five minutes," he told Cristina eventually. "So what you're seeing is actually my work..."
"Through the body of an annoyingly attractive manwhore?" Cristina questioned, smiling suddenly.
"I don't think he's made a single decision on his own," he confirmed with a smile.
"That's probably no bad thing," she agreed, shaking her head slightly.
It was tiring, running the hospital from his bed, but the fierce sense of protectiveness he had experienced as Gary Clark ran loose with a gun had yet to abate, even though it had resulted in his current situation. And almost in his death, if he was honest.
It was easy to see how Richard had ended up so devoted to the job.
When April had begged him not to leave his office, the words he had uttered had been his only concern. This is my hospital.
There had been no other choice.
In hindsight, he thought humorously that Meredith surely would have killed him with her tiny, ineffectual fists had he confined himself to a room with the vastly less appealing reincarnation of the lusty, lovestruck intern, had the circumstances played out a little differently.
It was almost enough to bring a chuckle to his lips.
"How's Meredith?" Cristina asked eventually, almost reading the fact that his thoughts had turned to his wife. He glanced over at his wife, still snoring peacefully, oblivious for once to the intrusion into their private space.
"Getting there," he acknowledged quietly. "There's... less pain in her eyes, than there was." He paused, for a long moment. "Cristina?" he asked, waiting for her to look up. "I don't... know that I thanked you," he offered.
"For saving your life?" she queried with a grin, her headstrong personality shining through. "No problem, I am officially a cardio god which is a fact you are no longer in any position to deny, and in fact will have to attest to. Often. And..." she paused, her expression softening. "Meredith's thanked me more than enough for the both of you," she finished, sincerely.
"For saving my life," he agreed, flashing her a smile. "But... for looking after Mer, too. I just... it breaks my heart, to think of what she went through that day." Finding out she was pregnant. Hiding from a shooter. Watching her husband get shot. Fighting to save his life, covered in his blood. Staring down the barrel of a gun. Watching her husband die, momentarily. Losing her baby. The silent list went on and on. "Thank you, Cristina," he vocalised, just not knowing what else to say.
"Anytime," she told him, and if it appeared that she was brushing it off, they silently acknowledged that she wasn't. "But Derek?" she asked quietly, running a hand roughly through her wild curls. "Marry her properly?" she asked earnestly, shaking her head as if she couldn't quite believe the words were coming out of her mouth. "No more of this post-it shit."
"I plan on it," he confirmed, without a second's hesitation. "But the post-it... has its history. It would be a part of it."
"Fine," she sighed, without any real resentment. "I guess I can accept those terms." They shared a smile, before lapsing into silence for a long moment. "I love Owen," she told him quietly, finally finding her voice. "I love him, but he couldn't choose between me and Teddy. He lied and lied and practically told you to fire her, and he's really messed up, and I broke up with him."
"But then you asked Meredith to save him," Derek finished quietly. "What has he said, about Teddy?"
"That he loves me," she answered quietly. "I just..."
"Don't know if you trust him?"
"How do I?" she asked bitterly. "You... when you chose, between Meredith and Addison..." he shook his head at her question, the uncanny resemblance to his and Meredith's situation really hitting him.
"That's why you needed Meredith," he voiced quietly. "When I chose between Meredith and Addison... I chose wrong, and it screwed us up for a long time," he told her. "Even after I chose right. You broke up with Hunt?"
"Yeah," she sighed.
Meredith had broken up with him, and they'd had a happy ending.
"That day?" she asked, accepting his reluctance to vocalise what happened. "He's there, and he's saying all the right things, but he's messed up, like... really messed up and not just about this, and I don't know what to do, and Meredith's been there." Derek smiled, both at the mildly creepy mirroring of their lives and their scarily similar ability to ramble.
"For what it's worth, if he says he loves you, I'd be inclined to believe him," he told her quietly. "From what I can see, Owen's a simple kind of guy, once you get down to the things that matter. Wears his heart on his sleeve, even if you can't see it. That... that day," he sighed, "made all of us see things a lot clearer. If he says he loves you now, after, try and believe that."
"You say it like it's that simple," she pointed out, eyebrow raised. He knew it wasn't, particularly with Hunt, but it was a start, surely?
"Let me tell you something Meredith told me once," he smiled. "She told me that she didn't know if she trusted me, but that she was going to try, because she thought we could be extraordinary together, rather than ordinary apart." His wife was wiser than her years. Wiser than a lot of people realised. She'd experienced it all. Lived through it all and come out the other side. Dark and twisty really was her greatest strength, and she had found her happy ending. With him. Maybe her own words could now help her best friend find her happy ending, if it was meant to be with Hunt. He smiled slightly, his mind drifting back to the house of candles as he left Cristina to ponder his - Meredith's - words.
And suddenly, his eyes were drawn to his right.
Meredith stirred, stretched slightly, unfolded her arm from his and blinked a few times, raising herself up on her elbows as her eyes instinctively fell on his. As if she sensed her words were being used.
"Derek?" she rasped hoarsely, rubbing her eyes once more. Concern ringing clear from both her voice and her gaze as she realised he was once again awake.
"Hey... you," he offered softly, having to bite his lip to stop a very private, affectionate nickname from crossing his lips. A name which for the past three weeks, his formerly cynical wife had tolerated, even enjoyed as they both relished the heightened affection they had unsurprisingly rediscovered. A name which he doubted she would want to come to the attention of her best friend, however. There were limits, after all.
The sleepy smile that crossed her lips as she held his gaze for a long moment suggested that she knew exactly what he would have spoken, however. The realisation also alerted her to the fact that they weren't alone, and so she turned to her best friend.
"Cristina?" she asked, trying to rub the confusion from her eyes. "You should've woken me," she told them both.
"We talked. Male perspective and all," Derek filled in, rewarded by a sleepy but brilliant smile from his wife as she was once again shocked by the friendship between them.
"And did it help?" she asked them with a smile. He inclined his head to Cristina, waiting for her to answer.
"Yeah," she decided suddenly, pushing herself out of the chair. "Look, I'm... sorry I barged in so late. I'll leave you for now," she said, apologetic where once she would have been unashamed. She was surprisingly welcome in their room at three in the morning, even if he was lost in the eyes of his wife, carrying out a silent conversation full of telling looks and gestures.
"We'll... talk tomorrow?" Meredith asked eventually, tearing her eyes away from his as she shook her head in mild amazement. Whatever her notoriously difficult best friend's problem was, he had managed to appease it. If that wasn't fulfilling his husbandly duties, he wasn't sure what was.
"Sure," Cristina agreed. "Derek, get some sleep," she added, before disappearing as quickly as she appeared, audibly muttering the word extraordinary to herself. Meredith shook her head once again, turning back to her husband.
"You know, I like this new relationship between the two of you, but should I be starting to get jealous that you're going to steal my best friend?" Meredith asked, leaning up to kiss him lightly. The term of endearment he'd held back previously slipped unbidden from his lips as she pulled away, and he was rewarded by a brilliant smile.
"Not a chance," he assured her, tangling his fingers loosely in her hair.
"You weren't sleeping?" she asked quietly, reaching a hand up to run through his own hair, before smoothing her fingers over his forehead. "Derek," she sighed when he didn't deny it. "You should've woken me."
"You need your sleep just as much as me," he told her instantly. "You looked so peaceful," he added, getting another smile in return.
"Even if I snore?"
"Even if you snore," he assured her affectionately. She flashed him a piercing look, waiting patiently as she settled carefully next to him.
"I just... miss sleeping with you," he confessed eventually. "Not in a dirty way," he added quickly, a brief smirk crossing his lips, "although that too." She swatted him on the arm, gently, a smile crossing her own lips.
"Be serious, Derek," she admonished.
"I miss holding you. Properly," he told her quietly, the sudden moistness in her eyes telling him she missed it too. They were close sleepers, and it wasn't at all rare to wake up wrapped in one another's arms. Normally, anyway.
"I love you," she told him quietly, as her fingers closed around his. Settling for three simple words she hoped were the next best thing to the hug he craved.
"I love you too," he answered simply, leaning forward to brush his lips against hers. Quickly, now a well-established habit.
"Soon," she told him after a moment's pause, lingering close to his lips. "You're doing so well, Derek," she added, pressing a light kiss to his lips. "I miss it too," she told him softly, stroking her fingers down his cheek, "and it sucks," she added decisively, flashing him a brief smile, "but I'd rather deal with this, than..."
"Me too," he assured her instantly, when she too couldn't quite put things into words. He knew all too well how hard it was to comprehend. Resting his forehead against hers, he met her gaze for a long moment.
They'd already had plenty of time for the long, intimate conversations they needed to go through, and whilst it was hard to think of anything else, none of it needed to be revisited. Which was testament itself in fact, to the leaps and bounds they'd made in their relationship.
Conversation came naturally. The healing would follow.
A small smile crossed Meredith's lips as she leaned forward to brush them lazily against his. His fingers slipped to the back of her neck, holding her there as he allowed himself to kiss her slowly. Lovingly.
Seconds turned into minutes as they lost themselves in one another, locked in a loving embrace. Eventually, he drew his lips away from hers, stretched and winced a little as she rubbed his shoulder reassuringly.
"I know," she assured him, before a word left his lips. "It just takes time," she told him quietly, letting him settle back into his one comfortable position. Lying down next to him, she propped herself easily on her side, shifting restlessly until she was comfortable. "I don't like sleeping on the right," she told him with a smile, playfulness reflected in her words once again. "It feels wrong."
"Tell me about it," he sighed, his fingers closing around hers. She stretched up, kissing his cheek quickly, impulsively.
"Soon," she promised earnestly. He nodded, closing his eyes as tiredness suddenly swept across him. As it tended to, when she was there and actively taking care of him.
He didn't like to need people. That wasn't Derek Shepherd. But somehow, when the only person he needed was Meredith, suddenly it didn't seem so bad.
He allowed himself to drift in and out of something close to sleep, lulled by her warmth and the familiar scent of her conditioner.
"Derek?" she asked eventually, sitting up a little. "Are you awake?" He hummed in response, opening his eyes slowly. "What aren't you telling me?" she asked perceptively, and he shook his head slightly.
"When did you get so good at reading me?" he asked, reaching for her hand.
"Oh, since I married you?" she offered with a smile, reaching up to kiss him quickly. He let go of her hand, resting his against her cheek and brushing away a strand of hair.
"Let's do it properly," he told her earnestly, his conversation with Cristina ringing in his ears. He hadn't meant to suggest it quite so soon, but suddenly he didn't want to wait. "Get married," he added quickly, shaking his head as her eyes slid upward, towards their post-it. "Those promises still stand. They always will. You're still my wife, I just... I want to do it properly. I want to wear a ring. I want you to wear a ring," he told her, reaching for her left hand and rubbing his thumb over her ring finger. "I want it to be official. If nothing else, in case..." She shook her head sharply, silencing his sentence with a kiss.
"I know," she told him quietly.
"So let's do it," he urged her. She regarded him quietly, for a long time. "Meredith?" he asked eventually.
"I love you," she told him quietly, a smile starting to spread across her lips. "Okay. Let's do it. Let's get married But not in a big white dress, and not until you're better," she added quickly, reaching over to kiss him softly. Slowly, like they had all the time in the world. Once again, he savoured the feeling of her lips on his. Much like he had four weeks ago, he thought, although that was an entirely different definition of savouring. Savouring a kiss on the OR table in case it was your last was nothing compared to savouring a kiss because you were planning the rest of your life.
"But don't think I'll automatically take your name. And don't think that gets you out of talking," she told him eventually, brushing her thumb comfortingly across his lips. As if she sensed the slightly darker route his thoughts were taking. "What did you and Cristina talk about?" she asked eventually, wondering if that was what had him lapsing into silence.
"This and that," he answered, shifting slightly. "How I was. How you were. How the hospital was. How Mark was coping," he added with a chuckle.
"How does she think Mark is coping?" she asked with a smile, her fingers moving to rub his shoulder soothingly. She knew all too well how Mark was coping, having seen and heard more than enough of him - as she'd voiced to him on more than one occasion, but she was as interested as he to hear what her best friend thought of his efforts.
"Remarkably well, surprisingly," he answered.
"Probably because ninety-five percent of his words aren't his own," she chided, the look in her eyes reminding him she wasn't entirely happy about the amount of 'work' he was doing. He shook his head slightly, smiling as she leant in for another kiss.
"We talked about Owen, too," he told her eventually.
"You did?" she asked, surprised.
"We did," he confirmed with a smile, reaching up to move her fingers a little. She nodded, concentrating on a particularly knotted muscle.
"And what exactly did you tell her, about Owen?" she asked eventually.
"I told her that if she loved him, and if he loved her, then maybe he should try and trust her," he answered simply, shaking his head slightly.
"That's... pretty sensible advice," she admitted. "Probably more objective than I would have managed," she smiled, still failing to register that his advice actually had come from her.
"Probably," he agreed, smiling as she leant over for another kiss. She'd make the connection eventually, and until then he wouldn't deny that he was still enjoying their renewed affection. Renewed connection. Not that it ever really faded with them, together or not.
That would be together, from here on in.
"I do have one question," she offered hesitantly, looking up at him. "One more question," she qualified.
"Yeah." She replied, waiting. He nodded eventually, ready for her to continue. Every time he thought they'd talked about every part of that day, one of them remembered something else.
"What... what did you say to him?" she asked very quietly, a slight shake to her voice. "I just... you had him. He was lowering the gun, and I thought you were safe, until... April," she sighed, stopping. Until April had burst onto the scene and somehow renewed Gary Clark's anger, he finished silently. Until he pulled the trigger. He knew that Meredith and April had struck up a somewhat awkward truce, but that it would never be anything close to friendship.
"I just... I tried to reason with him," he told her eventually, shaking his head. Truth be told, he'd barely been aware of what he was saying. He had been, in essence, absolutely petrified.
Had he known Meredith was watching the whole thing, that terror would have multiplied tenfold. It still haunted him every day that she'd had to be witness to that, even though he knew that was also the only reason he was here today. That he ran a hospital full of remarkable surgeons, and Cristina and Meredith's quick if panicked reactions were the sole reason he was alive. Still, it made it no easier for him to cope with.
"I..." he shook his head, suddenly realising the other thing he hadn't told her. What she had somehow realised he hadn't told her. "I told you how my dad died," he told her eventually. She nodded, trying to keep a lid on her surprise at the seemingly abrupt change of topic. "I didn't tell you that I saw it," he finished, looking down for a long moment.
"Derek," she breathed, her fingers grasping for his as tears filled both their eyes. She moved her other hand, brushing his tears away with a featherlight touch. "Damn stupid injuries," she muttered under her breath. When he looked up, she shook her head with a brief hint of a smile. "I just want to hold you," she told him quietly. He closed his eyes for a long moment. Lifted his right arm carefully and smiled a shaky smile as she tucked herself very carefully into his side. "Is this okay?" she breathed, her fingers barely settling on his stomach as she held her weight away from his body as much as she could.
"Better than," he told her quietly, not even caring about the pain it caused.
"Derek, I'm sorry," she whispered quietly. "I... had no idea. That must've been horrible for you," she sympathised.
"No worse than that day was for you," he offered quietly, and she nodded slowly in understanding.
"I don't think it'll ever leave me," she offered quietly, a shudder tearing through her body.
"It hasn't me," he agreed quietly, biting back a wince as her shudder sent ripples of pain through his own body. "Meredith, don't think about it now," he urged gently. "I'm fine. I'm here."
"I know," she assured him, reluctantly moving out of his arms a little. Apparently his pain didn't go unnoticed. Not that it really surprised him - not that it had gone unnoticed by her once in the last four weeks, no matter how well he though he tried to hide it.
"How does that answer... did you tell him that, about your dad?" she asked eventually, realising. "Why?" she added, when he nodded.
"He... suggested that I was God. That I became a doctor... to be God. I thought... if I told him why I became a doctor, it might..."
"Change his mind," she breathed. "Derek, that's... brilliant. Or, it would've been," she muttered under her breath. "I'm sorry," she added quickly, a brief smile crossing her lips as she recalled the many conversations they had had on the fact. "I know I'm meant to be nice to her now, but she's not just the lovestruck intern, she's now the lovestruck intern that practically got you killed," she snapped.
"Mer," he whispered, guiding her to move so he could kiss her quickly. "I love you," he affirmed. "And I'm fine. Let's not talk about April Kepner."
"Let's not talk about the hospital at all," she agreed quietly.
"Let's talk about the fact that once I'm better, I'm taking you on the most extravagant holiday I can find." He smiled, letting himself get carried away in the thought. "With white sandy beaches. Clear blue sea. A swimming pool." He paused, laughing. "And a hot tub. Biggest bed you've ever seen. Amazing food. Even better sex." She giggled as he stopped, and as he looked down her eyes were starting to fill with that sparkle he loved so much. "How does that sound?"
"Amazing," she replied with a wide smile. "Maybe... you could teach me to swim," she offered quietly, barely a tremble in her words.
It was then that he realised they really had got past the drowning. This was their new ferryboat crash.
"Well with the sea and the swimming pool... and the hot tub," he smiled, fingers rubbing her arm reassuringly, "I think that I might have to."
"You don't need to swim to be in a hot tub," she shot back instantly, a laugh escaping her lips as she met his eyes for a long moment.
"I'd love to teach you," he told her quietly. Truth be told, it would be a weight off his mind.
"Deal," she told him quietly. Her words... word, was simple. It was in her eyes that the trust shone through.
The ferryboat crash would always be a part of their history, but it was no longer a determining factor in their future. And that meant that they could get past this, too.
"You look tired," she told him eventually, stroking her fingers over his cheek lightly.
"Cristina must have tired me out," he realised with a laugh. "I guess her late night visits can serve their purpose."
"She has a habit of doing that," Meredith replied with a smile, as he almost felt a wave of tiredness wash over her. She settled back down with a yawn, her small hand snaking back around his arm, resting just above his wrist. They were quiet, for a long moment, until she voiced her final, somewhat suspicious question. "And why was she muttering extraordinary, anyway?" That word only had two points of significance in her mind, and he watched her mind finally make the logical connection before smiling, closing his eyes with his own sudden wave of tiredness.
"Don't worry, I gave you credit," he assured her with a sleepy chuckle, before finally allowing sleep to claim him.
Safe in the arms of his wife.