A/N: Thank you to everyone who reviewed; they help me write. The Muse is starting to take over this story, so I think we'll know the "ships" in a few more chapters.
Disclaimer: If I owned Grey's Anatomy, I would have a much better wardrobe, as well as professionally dyed hair. (Meaning, no, I don't own it.)
x x x x x
"Today was long," George stared dumbly at the bar. "Very, very long."
"Yes, it was," Meredith agreed after downing a shot of tequila. She normally reserved tequila for when her life was closer to rock bottom, but Derek was on the opposite side of the country and a day surrounded by idiot teenagers in prom dresses simply required tequila.
"Thank God we have six months until Homecoming," Christina interjected. "I skipped my high school reunion for a reason."
"Seriously," Meredith agreed.
"Seriously, what?" Izzie asked as she came up to the bar.
"Seriously, you are awfully perky for a day leading the Code Team," Christina accused.
"Oh, well, Bailey switched me to labs."
"Bailey switched you to labs?" Meredith clarified, raising an eyebrow at Christina.
"So, who ran the Code Team?" Christina pressed.
"Uh huh," Christina said as she and Meredith smirked and George gulped at his beer.
"What, you guys?" Izzie protested their suspicions. "Bailey switched us!" At their incredulous looks, she defended herself, "Seriously!"
x x x x x
"What are you doing?" Addison asked as she walked into the kitchen.
Derek just ignored her and continued to open and shut the cabinets and drawers.
"Derek," she said insistently.
"I'm looking for my tackle box, Addison!" he snapped. "What do you think I'm doing?"
"You're looking for your tackle box in our cutlery drawer, and you're acting like I'm the crazy one." She arched an eyebrow at him. "I don't think so, Derek."
He slammed the last drawer shut, put his palms on the counter, dropped his head, and let out a long sigh.
She quietly moved past him, opened a cabinet, poured him a glass of scotch and set it beside him. She then poured herself a glass of Jack Daniels and sipped, waiting for him to speak.
When it seemed that his tirade had officially reached a lull, she started moving around the kitchen again.
"What are you doing?" he finally looked up at her.
"You're making dinner?"
"Yes, Derek," she responded, irritated. "Typically, after work, people eat the meal known as dinner. As I do not have a short order cook on staff, I make my own dinner."
He was wise enough not to reply.
"Would you like some?" she asked in the same irritated tone.
"No, I should go," Derek lamely began to excuse himself from the situation, which was overwhelmingly both familiar and foreign.
"Derek," Addison said, losing her patience. "Just stay and eat. We both know that if you go back to the hotel, you aren't going to bother to eat, and I will not have you operating on Annie Shaw without the proper nutrition."
Derek nodded; she was right and had a valid point. He would be too lazy once he returned to the hotel to forage for food. Might as well eat now, even if the company was, well, Addison.
He folded up the cuffs of his sleeves as he watched her peel apart the lettuce. "What can I do?"
"Here," she passed him the carrot peeler.
"Thanks," he said, and he went to work peeling the carrots.
x x x x x
"So, what's Shepherd doing in New York?" Karev asked as he sidled up to the bar.
"His old boss called and asked him to do a surgery, and the Chief okayed it," Meredith replied.
"And he went, just like that?"
"Yeah," Meredith answered. "Something wrong with that?" Her defensive tone caught the attention of Christina, George, and Izzie as well.
"Nah," Alex said with a shrug.
"What?" Meredith asked. "What?" more insistently.
"Nothing," Alex responded carelessly. "I just figured the guy left New York for a reason to come all the way to Seattle, and it surprises me that he'd go back there for just anything."
Meredith looked slightly panicked. She had never given much, or really any, thought to why Derek had moved to Seattle. Seattle was great; who wouldn't want to live in Seattle?
Meredith turned to Christina for some kind of reassurance.
"McDreamy will come back to Seattle," she picked up on her cue. "He's just doing a favor for his old boss."
Meredith's shoulders relaxed, but she still looked uncomfortable.
"Why did Shepherd leave New York anyway?" Alex asked Meredith.
"A better opportunity?" Meredith offered.
"Seattle more opportunity than New York for a neurosurgeon," Alex shook his head incredulously. "I don't buy it. New York had to be able to pay him more than we do . . ." he paused, actually noticing Meredith's worried expression. "But, hey, whatever," he glanced at Izzie for some kind of validation. "It rains here. A lot. Maybe he likes the rain."
Izzie smacked him on the arm, George muttered, "Nice save," and Christina stared him down with "Enough from you Evil Spawn. Who invited you anyway?"
Alex just shrugged, but Izzie responded, "I did. I thought it would be fun if all of us could get to know each other better."
Christina rolled her eyes, gagged in her mouth, and watched Meredith take two shots of tequila.
x x x x x
"This is good," Derek attempted to fill the silence as he and Addison ate.
"Yes, it is," she agreed. "Thanks for the help."
"You're welcome," he smiled slightly at her.
She returned his smile, and the two of them sat in comfortable silence until Addison suddenly remembered that this was her estranged husband that had left without even leaving her updated "In Case of Emergancy" information.
She broke his gaze and, shifting uncomfortably in her chair, asked, "So, where did you go?"
Immediately defensive, Derek reacted, "Don't start, Addie."
Angry that he assumed she was picking a fight, she replied, "What, Derek? Are you worried I'm going to move to wherever it is you are hiding out in hopes of winning you back? Believe me, Derek, I'm in no hurry to chase after someone who has gone to so much trouble to get away from me." She looked at him, face flushed from anger and humiliation. "It was just a question," she said quietly.
She picked at her food a bit more and then gave up on eating. She was too upset anyway, so she took her dishes to the kitchen and began rinsing them off.
Derek followed her, and they fell silently into their old routine of washing and drying.
She raised a questioning eyebrow at him.
"That's where I moved, Seattle," he said, still drying the plate.
"Oh," she hesitated, scared to ask any other questions.
"Richard is the Chief of Surgery at Seattle Grace," he continued. "Remember, how he wanted to hire the two of us a couple years ago?" She nodded. "Well, that day, after, well," he paused awkwardly, "I called him and asked if he still needed a neurosurgeon. He said, 'of course' and," another pause, "that he also needed a brilliant neonatal surgeon."
After a few moments, when it was clear that Derek was content to stop his story there, Addison asked, "What did you say?"
Derek sighed. "I said that you had some family issues to address before you could consider leaving New York."
"And he left it at that?"
"Mmm, hmm," Derek nodded affirmatively. "I think, though, that he assumed we were more or less a package deal, and I didn't bother to clarify the situation."
Addison felt a spark of hope in her chest. Derek hadn't told Richard. He was angry enough to move across the country, but not so angry that he had told Richard. Maybe there was hope for them after all.
"How are Richard and Adele?" she asked tentatively.
Derek smiled. "They're good. You know Richard; he loves being busy. Being Chief really suits him. He loves his hospital and his people."
"That sounds like him," Addison commented.
"Yeah," Derek agreed. "And, Adele, as always, is his pillar, keeping him fed and functioning, so he can run his world." He paused. "She asks about you, you know."
"Oh, that's sweet of her. Please tell her I say hello." Addison turned toward Derek, the dishes finally finished.
"I always do," he smiled.
x x x x x
"Alex is right, you know," Meredith drunkenly informed Christina.
"If I ever hear you give Evil Spawn credit for anything ever again, I'm going to smack you." Christina informed her.
"Well he is!" Meredith insisted. "I don't know anything about Derek!"
Christina rolled her eyes. She was remembering why she used to never get stuck as the designated driver. Being sober when hanging out with drunk people was not fun.
"He could be a serial killer, and I wouldn't know," Meredith was still talking. "I mean, seriously," she leaned closer to Christina, "the morning after, you know, after I met him, I didn't even remember his name."
Christina just sighed, turned to Meredith and said, "So what? You had a one night stand. No one is required to know anything about their one night stand except whether or not he was any good. Was he?"
Meredith nodded drunkenly.
"Good, then you don't have a problem," Christina spoke authoritatively. "So, you're going about it a bit backwards. Most people in relationships do names and then sex, but that's just chronology. You have a dreamy-looking, good-in-bed neurosurgeon who is crazy about you. What else do you need to know?"
Meredith shrugged. "It would still be nice to know if he's a serial killer."
x x x x x
"Well, I should go," Derek told Addison as they finished their traditional post-dinner drinks.
Addison nodded and walked him to the door.
He put on his coat, "Thanks for dinner."
"You're welcome," she murmured. "I miss you." The words were out of her mouth before she had even consciously thought them.
"Yeah," he said.
Then somehow, their lips met, tentatively at first, but then his hands were moving over her body and hers were running through his hair, and all signs of hesitation vanished.