Title: Loud And Clear

Authors: Sara And Lizzie

Rating: T for language, mild sex

Disclaimer: we don't own grey's anatomy, or any anatomies but our own at that.

Summary: Sequel to One Hell Of a Racket. Babies, weddings, and rain. Seattle at it's finest. Babysitting for the ex wife, meeting the family, planning the wedding and fending off the intern. All in a day's work.

Author's Note: The final story in our trilogy. We're staring two days from where 'Racket' left off. Also, we made up all the names and details of Derek's family, save for Nancy, who we adore, by the way.

WE ARE SO SORRY. We hope this makes up for the long delay in updates.


His footsteps were heavier than they should have been. Addison had spent enough time here to be able to read them. There were certain ways that they moved, and she just knew. Burke was always self satisfied after a successful surgery. They all were, but there was something about Preston Burke after he saved a life. A certain spring in his step that wasn't otherwise there.

That night, after four hours in the OR with Derek, his steps were slow, like he was trudging down this hallway to say something he'd rather not. She and Mark sat on either side of Meredith, with Alex close by, Izzie in a nearby on call room with Ashlyn. Addison was the first one to see Burke round the corner, the chief behind him, with George trailing behind. She sat up straighter on instinct, and Meredith's head snapped up.

They filed in front of them, and no one said anything. Burke and Richard looked at each other, as if they were trying to decide who would say what and how. "George." Meredith said, her voice shaking. "George, please just tell me." She said. He looked down.

Meredith stood up quickly. "Look at me!" she demanded, her voice shrill. "Someone look at me and tell me that he's not dead!"

Burke cleared his throat. "He's not dead." He said. "He got through the surgery. Now it's all a matter of waking up."

"Is something wrong with his brain?" Mark asked standing.

Richard shook his head. "The trauma to his body took its toll. But he's healthy and strong. All signs are pointing to him waking up just fine."

Meredith kept her eyes trained on George. Her friend lifted his eyes to meet Meredith's. "They were amazing in there, Mer." He said softly. "He's going to wake up." She collapsed back down into her chair.

"Meredith…"Addison said. She shook her head and stood again.

"I have to… I can't." she said, running for the elevator. They watched her go, the elevator doors shutting.

"She's not running." Mark said. "She can't sit here anymore. But she's not running." They all stood, staring at the elevator, knowing that somehow that was enough.

Cristina stood in the intensive care unit, staring at Derek Shepherd. She sat down on the chair by his bed, going over the surgery in her mind. Every second, every incision, every stitch. It was all still there. She listened to the sound of the machines he was hooked to.

"Listen." She said finally. "You kissed the intern. That doesn't matter." She paused and stood up. "Meredith is my person." She said firmly. "And I was there for her when you left. But you can't leave her again. It's not what you do. You're McDreamy. You have to pull through this."

Cristina swallowed hard and forced herself to continue. "You have to fight, Shepherd. She falls apart without you. And you made promises. There's supposed to be a wedding we can pretend to hate but secretly love. There's supposed to be a house. And babies. And I swear to God, you can not let her down. She loves you. It might not be smart, but it's real. So you will get through this. You will fight and you'll make it. For Meredith." She nodded to herself, and turned on her heel, looking into the soft eyes of Miranda Bailey.

"I couldn't have said that any better myself, Yang." Bailey whispered. Cristina looked down at the floor, then met her former resident's eyes. She nodded resolutely. "Come on." Bailey said. "Your friend needs you. And there are plenty of lives to save." Cristina cast one look at Derek, then followed Bailey out of the room.

While they moved through the hospital, Meredith stood still. Inside, sitting in that chair had been confining and scary. The walls had slowly closed in on her until she felt like she couldn't breathe. The roof was open. The rain came down in a mist so fine she could barely feel it. The breeze blew, and she could see all of Seattle, illuminated by hundreds of twinkling lights, like the city itself was trying to assure her. She stared at the skyline, transfixed; stared until her vision blurred and the buildings swam in front of, a mass of electricity and light.

Up here, she wasn't haunted by her last words to Derek, or the image of him lying on the operating table, or the look between Burke and the chief, or the way George had looked at her nose, not her eyes while he promised her he would be okay. Up here there was nothing but her and Seattle.

"I heard he's out of surgery." Came a voice from behind her. She turned slowly, confused, not expecting to hear anyone. Chestnut hair, vibrant green eyes and a body that rivaled Izzie's came into view.

"He's out of surgery." She repeated. Bridget walked over to her and leaned on the wall of the roof, looking in the same direction that Meredith stared in. Her hand rustled in her pocket, and the flick of her lighter sounded. "Give me one?" Meredith asked quietly. Bridget shot her a look that went virtually unnoticed by Meredith, but handed her a cigarette anyway.

"You know those things will kill you." Bridget said.

Meredith smiled. "There's this kid in India that thinks he can cure cancer." She said. Bridget laughed softly, in spite of herself.

"I'm so sorry." She said.

"This isn't your fault." Meredith told her. "You weren't the drunk driver that hit him doing ninety."

"But I…" Bridget faltered. Meredith inhaled deeply and coughed a little.

"Dr. Neilson." She said. "Bridget. Don't blame yourself for this. Kissing him was…. You're young. I'm not excusing it. Expect to be on scut for a very long time. But I know you didn't… that doesn't seem so important right now."

"He really loves you." Bridget said. "I'm not cleaning up here, Dr. Grey. I'm not seeing the error of my ways enough to do a 180, but I understand that I should…try."

Meredith nodded. "That's all you can do." She said. Bridget took a long drag and flicked ashes from the tip of her cigarette over the side of the building.

"He'll be okay, you know." She said. "I know it doesn't mean anything, coming from me, but he'll be okay. He's not the quitting type."

Meredith smiled to herself, as it all rushed back in Technicolor. The gestures. The proposal. The look in his eyes when he looked at her. "That's for sure." She whispered. "How'd you know I was up here anyway?"

Bridget smiled. "Lucky guess."