How to Save a Life
Addek, post S2.
Two words. It's over.
Yet, too much said.
He sat on the edge of the bed now, looking around at the utter emptiness that was left behind. She had taken all of her belongings and there was not a trace of her left, no evidence of her having ever been there at all. The only thing that lingered now were the memories of so many nights spent loving and hating and everything in between; the slight scent of her musky perfume hanging in the air; and a lifetime of regrets. Oh, and the look in her eyes - the horrified, broken expression in her eyes - was seared into his mind forever. He had decimated her tonight. He had decimated them. Damn him.
His eyes kept roving over the nothingness, hearing her final words in his mind. He had messed up before. Sure, he had. By being an unforgiving, narcissistic asshole, but this trumped it all by far. He had done the very thing he had shunned her for. He had become everything he had openly proclaimed to despise most about her but multiplied by a hundred.
He had fucked up so badly tonight. He could never make things right but in that moment, he wanted to. It was that old cliché that oddly rang true: it had taken him losing it all to realize where his heart really lay.
With his wife.
What if he didn't want it to be over though?
Addison and Meredith. Two such different women and yet somehow, he had managed to hurt them both, had managed to betray them both. His remorse was depthless, endless.
Meredith had asked him once more to choose her and he had turned her down yet again. Even after he had fucked her after the prom. Even after she had lost Finn because of Derek. Even after he had shamed her and humiliated her still more.
But his heart belonged to Addison. If only he would have realized it eons before, if only he hadn't been such an unforgiving prick.
He watched her in the hallway. She was standing close – too close – to Mark. He wanted to hate them both for it, so much. But it was impossible to hate Addison any longer. He realized now that he never really had. He'd been angry and he'd let his pride cloud everything. He was a bastard.
He turned away and started down the hall. He then heard footfalls behind him. "Don't make me chase you again, Derek," Addison's voice reached his ears.
He immediately turned around. He thought she was about to over an olive branch, a chance, a truce, something to hold onto. But instead she passed him a clipboard. "I need you on a consult." Her voice was brisk, detached, not even cold. Just professional. Like he affected her no more.
He sighed internally. "Sure."
He followed her down the hall and they walked into a woman's room. The blonde was largely pregnant and a man stood beside her, holding her hand. As Derek looked over her chart, he realized two things. Maggie Halpern had a brain tumor and the man with her was her husband. Michael Halpern had vowed to stand by her through it all, in sickness and health, for better or worse.
A vow Derek himself had broken – about a hundred times over, at least.
His eyes briefly drifted to Addison. She immediately turned away.
He needed her, he loved her, he desired her with everything in him.
But how would he convince her of that now?
"Doctor, what are our options?" Michael Halpern asked Derek. He stood beside his wife, rubbing her back in slow, soft circles as she sat in bed, looking uncomfortable and incredibly sad. Maggie, meanwhile, clung to her husband's hand as if his touch was her life-force.
'Our', Derek mused. As in 'we'. Even though Maggie is the one with the tumor, they are united. Her problem is his too…
Derek sighed inwardly. When had he and Addison stopped being an "our", a "we", a united force and just became … whatever they were now? Was it Addison's affair with Mark that started the ball rolling or had it happened long before that – when Derek started to pull away from Addison for reasons that no longer made any sense to him?
"Dr. Shepherd?" Addison prompted him and he realized that he hadn't spoken yet. The professional, impersonal tone she used with him was going to take some getting used to.
Derek cleared his throat and closed the chart before him. "I'd like to run some tests myself but I am not going to stand here and give you false hope. From what I've read in your chart, your tumor, Mrs. Halpern, is growing at an alarming rate. Taking swift action is the only way to ensure your survival."
Maggie clutched her rounded abdomen. "And my baby? I'm only five months along…"
"We could be looking at a … late-term abortion."
The minute Derek spoke; he knew that he had said the exact wrong thing. For the Halperns and for Addison. Maggie let out a little gasp and Michael's face became ashen. Derek looked at Addison. Her eyes were filled with derision and the corners were crinkled in that certain way that communicated how disgusted she was with him. It was virtually the same look she'd had when she had told him it was over.
Derek held up a hand, to try to say something, to try to make sense of everything, maybe even to try to absolve himself but Addison cut him off before he could speak. "Dr. Shepherd, may I consult with you in the hallway for a moment?"
Derek looked at the Halperns again. Maggie was crying and Michael was wiping her tears one by one. Derek's chest clenched.
He followed Addison out into the hallway and she shut the door after them. She suddenly whirled around so fast that he felt dizzy. She turned her eyes on him. They were full of fire. "Derek, are you fucking kidding me?" She demanded in a low hiss.
"Addison, you know as well as I do that that woman will die well before the baby is full-term."
"You know what I know?" Addison asked, eyes still blazing. "That 'that woman' and her husband have been married for ten years and trying to have a baby for nine of those ten years. They have been through so much disappointment and heartache. Maggie went through painful, invasive procedure after painful, invasive procedure to finally make their dream of having a child come true. This is their dream and you're not going to kill it."
"I am thinking of saving her life here, Addison." Derek looked deeply into Addison's eyes and beneath the raw anger; he saw disappointment swimming in the liquidy depths. Somehow the disappointment she felt towards him cut him far worse than her anger. He had let her down so many times and this was no exception.
"Saving her life means saving her baby's life too," Addison said. "She and Michael want this little girl so badly."
"You are the most talented neurosurgeon I've ever known, Derek," Addison said. She sounded neither happy nor begrudging about saying that. "I brought you onto this case because I knew if anyone could save all of their lives it was you."
"I can't work a miracle." He took no joy in saying those words.
"There have to be options."
"There aren't always great options." He felt sick saying all of this to her.
Addison shook her head and started to turn away. Derek quickly grabbed her arm and tugged her back. "Addison, wait," he said. Her skin felt so warm and soft under his hand. His mind went blank for a moment and all he could feel was her. Then he felt her pull away.
He sighed once more. "Look, Addison, you know that I'm not a miracle worker but I will do whatever I can to try and save both Maggie and her baby."
"That's all I can ask for, Derek. That you try," Addison said. She then opened the door to the Halperns room and walked back inside.
Derek took a deep breath and followed.