Meredith Grey sighed as she collapsed into bed alone, listening as the dull Seattle rain pounded against the roof. While she was thrilled to have landed in a warm, cozy bed after another 48 grueling hour shift, she was not thrilled with the lack of a warm body in the aforementioned bed.

She reached over and pulled a pillow into her chest, squeezing it tightly and trying to blink her tears away. Usually she was okay. But on days like these—when she was exhausted and overworked and maybe a tad discouraged—she longed for him more than usual. It was understandable, in a sense. They'd been together for seven years and they'd lived together since she finished her undergrad degree. She had a right to miss him.

When these days came about she tried to remind herself that they were in the home stretch. She tried her hardest to keep in mind that in six weeks he would be here—not on the phone, but actually here—to hold her and listen to her and take care of her on the bad days as well as to celebrate with her and be proud of everything she was doing on the good days. They had survived four and a half months of living on separate coasts, and only six weeks remained. But those six weeks were beginning to feel like an eternity.

She hid herself under her comforter and clutched her phone tightly, wishing with everything in her that he'd be home soon and she could, at the very least, hear his voice. That would get her through the night. She'd try to be better tomorrow.

Derek Shepherd handed some cash to the driver and stepped out of a cab six blocks from his apartment. He couldn't take the Manhattan traffic any longer. He'd walk the rest of the way. He needed to get home so he could speak to her in peace.

The walk was quick and he breathed a sigh of relief as he made himself comfortable on the couch. He looked around longingly, missing the days when there were signs of her all around. Soon his things would be gone, too. Six more weeks. Six more weeks and things would be back to normal. His stupid fellowship would be over and he'd start his new job on a new coast with his same love

He quickly dialed her number, smiling widely as he waited for the line to connect.

"Hello?" she murmured.

"Meredith," he breathed.

"Hey," she offered.

"What's wrong?" he asked, growing alarmed by the sadness in her tone.

"Nothing, just a rough shift," she tried, but the tears she had been attempting to blink away began to overflow and caused her to sniffle.

"What happened? Did you lose a patient?" he questioned softly.

"Two," she responded, "and I just…I need these six weeks to be over. I need you to be here with me."

"I'm always here for you, Mer," he reassured her.

"No, I need you to physically BE HERE. It's pathetic and whiny, but it's been too long and I've hit my wall," she cried.

Derek felt his heart shattering into a thousand pieces. In the seven years they'd been together he wasn't sure he'd ever heard her this broken up about anything. And there was nothing he could do about it because he was across the country, "Mer, I love you so much. I'm so sorry…"

"It's not your fault," she tried.

"It is," he insisted, "if I hadn't…"

"Stop," she demanded, "I can't handle blames-himself-for-everything-Derek right now, I just need you to talk me down."

He took a deep breath in, "In six weeks, I will be there with you. Permanently. And every single night that one of isn't on call, I will be there with you and for you in any and every way that you need me to be. I'll take you to dinner, and we'll walk through the park, and ride the ferry boats. Everything will be back on track in six weeks."

"Six weeks," she breathed in a calmer tone.

"Six weeks. When's the last time you slept?" he asked.

"Forty-eight hours ago," she mumbled.

"Meredith you need to sleep," he chastised gently.

"I know that, but I wanted to talk to you first," she confessed, "Stay on the line?"

"Always," he assured. It was a common request for both of them.

"Goodnight Der, I love you," she whispered.

"I love you, too. Get some sleep, Mer," he smiled in spite of the fact that she couldn't see him.