A/N - So I decided to write a new story...mainly 'cause I felt like it. And I was inspired by this really amazing song. A few things about this story: it takes place between As We Know It and before Mer slept with George. Also, George's little crush for his roommate mysteriously disappeared -cough- and has been replaced with nothing more than brotherly affection. Another thing about this story is that it shifts between Meredith's and Derek's POVs. It starts off from Meredith's perspective and the first ruler signifies the shift to Derek's perspective. The second ruler signifies the shift back to Derek's perspective and so on and so forth. I really hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoy writing it.
Disclaimer: I do not own Grey's Anatomy. If I did, I would forego the famous Ellen/Patrick chemistry and cast myself as Meredith. I also do not own "This Heart" by Paramore, for which this story is titled.
I am finding out, that maybe I was wrong.
That I've fallen down, and I can't do this alone.
Stay with me, this is what I need,
"Meredith Grey?" one of the nurses from the ER called. I stood up and she turned her attention to me. "Dr. Hahn will see you now."
The nurse led me through the hallways of Mercy West. I felt strangely at home in the antiseptic smell, the immaculately impersonal and clinical appearance of the hospital itself. A place, very similar to this, had been my home for the past year or so. It had been my heaven and my hell and now I felt like I was betraying it by seeking a consult with the second best surgeon in cardiothoracics. I felt guilty, but I couldn't go back on the decision now.
"Just wait in here," the nurse said, gesturing to the empty room. "Dr. Hahn will be with you in a moment."
I nodded to the nurse. "Thank you."
I had been in a room like this one many times, but I had always been on the other side. I had always been the bearer of bad news, the clinical and professional one. I never truly appreciated what it was like to be a patient until now.
I sat on the hospital bed in silent contemplation when Dr. Hahn walked into the room. She took one look at me and stared down at the chart in surprise. "Dr. Grey? What are you doing here?"
I shrugged. "I came to ask for a consult," I replied.
Dr. Hahn's raised eyebrows told me she didn't buy it. "Really? You have the best surgical team on the west coast at the hospital you work at, why would you want a consult from me?"
I sighed. "It's personal."
She appraised me with piercing blue eyes for a little while longer, then approached me, penlight in hand. "What's wrong, Dr. Grey?"
"Lately I've been losing a lot of weight, Dr. Hahn," I began, "and I get bruised really easily. And I had what at first I thought was the flu, but I'm not sure anymore."
Her eyebrows shot up again. "You and I both know very well what that could mean," she said very cautiously. "How long has this been going on?"
"A few months now," I told her. "Look, I know what this could mean. I know very well what this could mean, which is why I didn't want a consult at Seattle Grace."
She nodded. "I'll have to have some tests done. How long do you have, Dr. Grey?"
"The next two days. The chief's been enforcing the fifty hour work week and I've already hit my limit," I informed her.
"Alright then," she said as she scribbled something down on my chart and pressed the call button for an RN. "I'll need some blood tests done and then we'll go from there. How does that sound, Dr. Grey?"
"That sounds fine," I told her. Anything to get away from Seattle Grace.
"Okay then. Len?" she said, referring to the nurse that brought me here. "Take care of this one. She's valuable property to Seattle Grace and if something happens to her Webber will have my hide."
Len smiled and nodded. I smiled back softly, finally happy to get away from the walls that trapped me, suffocated my every moment of every day.
It was good to get away from all that.
"Dr. O'Malley?" I saw the intern standing at the nurse's station, writing up post-op notes for the tumor removal he had just scrubbed out of. He looked up and immediately looked down, out of respect for his friend, I assumed.
"Yes, Dr. Shepherd?" he asked, not taking his eyes off of the charts. God, this whole loyalty thing, while admittedly admirable, was really infuriating. I could never get a straight answer from any of her friends and they were usually the only ones that knew what was going on with her, where she was, what she was doing.
"Where is Dr. Grey?" I asked.
He closed the chart and handed it to the nurse at the station. "With all due respect sir, I can't tell you. You don't have the right to know where she is anymore. She's not your girlfriend." Then he fixed me with what I think was supposed to be an intimidating glare and said, "So stay away from her."
He left me standing there, completely stunned beyond all belief that I just got told off by George O'Malley, a geek that probably got beat up on a daily basis for his milk money.
In all honesty though, the thing that really stung was the truth of his words. He was right, of course; Meredith wasn't mine to worry over anymore. She wasn't my responsibility, but it still scared the crap out of me whenever I didn't know where she was. After the bomb scare…I just wanted to know where she was. I wanted to know that she was alright, because if she wasn't, I didn't know what I'd do.
"Dr. Shepherd?" one of the nurses asked tentatively. "Dr. Shepherd, Bailey needs a consult on a neuro case."
He frowned at the nurse. "Why didn't she just page me?"
"Oh, I wanted to tell you myself," she said breathlessly. "Because I just saw you and all, and well…yeah."
Great. Another fainting admirer.
"I'll be right there," I said, trying to repress my sigh.
I guess seventeen-year-old me would be happy right now. Girls fawning all over me, nurses fainting left and right…and two incredibly hot doctors fighting over me. Unfortunately, right-now-me wasn't so thrilled. And while I'm being honest with myself, I might as well admit that I love Meredith. I love her so much more than I ever thought possible and it threatened to suffocate me under the weight of it all.
"Hey," Addison greeted as the elevator doors opened. "Whatcha up to?"
I cringed, hating how she thought everything was fine. "I'm going for a consult," I said shortly, pulling out my pager. I was also freaking out over where Meredith was, but I didn't think she would have appreciated that.
"Oh, have you seen Meredith?" she asked. I cringed again, hating the way her name sounded on her lips. It was just wrong.
"No," I sighed. "I haven't seen her."
"Oh. Well do you know where she'd be then? Because I need an intern and everyone seems to be home because of this fifty hour thing. I guess she was one of them too."
"I guess," I said. She unknowingly gave me the very welcome information, inspiring me to get off my shift as soon as I could. Hopefully she was home. And hopefully she wouldn't slam her door in my face.
"So, Dr. Grey, the results of the blood tests are back," Dr. Hahn said. She had the face; she was sporting the bad news face and I knew immediately that there was something really, really wrong.
"And…?" I asked. "Look, Dr. Hahn, I can handle it. I'm a doctor, so just give it to me. No anesthesia."
Dr. Hahn smiled sadly and I knew that it was probably worse than I thought it would be. "Dr. Grey," she began as she folded her hands in front of her. It was the typical patience stance. I learned it in med school; it was the stance that put the patient at ease. "The blood tests have shown that you have an unusually large amount of white blood cells in comparison to your red blood cell count."
I sucked in a breath. "Will you need a marrow biopsy?"
She nodded. "I'd like one, yes. Just to see what exactly we're dealing with here."
I nodded. "Okay." Dr. Hahn gestured to Len and the nurse stepped forward with the needle. "When will you have the results, do you think?"
"Probably sometime later this evening. Why don't you get yourself something to eat?" she suggested maternally. "You look like you could use it."
I chuckled. "Alright."
Len gestured for her to follow me and I went with her to an exam room where all the tools for the marrow biopsy were sitting on a tray. Without her having to ask, I unzipped my jeans and slid down one side of them to expose my hip.
"I love having doctors as patients," she declared in a very heavy accent that was hard to place as she wiped my skin with some alcohol. "I never have to tell them what to do."
I nodded. "This is kind of weird for me, you know? I'm usually the diagnoser. Now I'm the diagnosee."
Len wrinkled her nose at my poor English. "You know," she began as she inserted the needle, "whenever I say the wrong thing, I at least have an excuse. English is your first language, Dr. Grey. Shouldn't you be getting it right?"
I sighed. "Cut me some slack, okay? I've been having a really crappy…life."
The nurse rolled her eyes. "Seriously? What in the world could happen to a pretty little thing like you?"
"You have no idea," I muttered.
Later that night, I was sitting atop the sheets of my hospital bed, flipping through a medical journal I had brought with me. Dr. Hahn entered the room and raised her eyes skeptically. "It's your day off, Dr. Grey," she informed me, as if I had forgotten. "You shouldn't be reading anything remotely medical."
I shrugged. "I'm an intern." Then I closed the journal and sat up straighter, slightly dreading the news she was about to bring me. "So, Dr. Hahn. What's the diagnosis?"
She paused for a moment before beginning. "Meredith," she said very slowly. The use of the first name with someone you are not on a first name basis with is always a bad thing in any situation. "There were some abnormal blood cells in the sample we took from you. Upon closer examination, we found that you have acute myeloid leukemia. I'm very sorry." She added that trite phrase on at the end, like it was supposed to fix everything.
I didn't realize I hadn't been breathing until I let out a long sigh. I guess I really shouldn't have been all that surprised, though. My life had been too quiet as of late. I needed some new disaster because I am Meredith Grey, and I am queen of dark and twisty.
"What's the prognosis?" I asked, trying to block out the sound of ringing in my ears.
"We're running tests for that right now, but you're very young with no history of bad health. Most likely your prognosis will be normal."
I nodded and let my head sink further into my pillow. "So after the prognosis is determined, I'll begin treatment?"
"Yes," she said. "Is there a way I can contact you? I'm assuming that you'd like to continue treatment here, of course."
"Of course," I echoed. "You can call my cell phone. Or you can page me. I think I put that in the paperwork."
"Okay then," she nodded. "If you have any other questions, feel free to call me. Or you could ask Dr. Burke." She said the name with relative coolness, as if my asking him would be a mistake. "But I think you should tell Dr. Webber. He might want to know why you'll need several weeks off very soon."
I nodded. "Okay. I'll tell him."
Honestly, though, I didn't think I would. Webber didn't treat me like his other interns; I was the daughter of his ex-lover, and was treated with an unusual amount of respect and favoritism. He was one of the last people I wanted to tell.
I got home later that night to Izzie baking in the kitchen and George sitting in front of the television with a beer, looking like a typical guy. "Hey, Mer," Izzie greeted, a look of concern on her face. "Where've you been all day?"
"Oh, just running a few errands. Visiting my mother, stuff like that," I said, very flippantly. Bailey once said I was a bad liar, but I must have been better than she thought I was because Izzie and George bought it.
"Okay," she said as she continued mixing in her big bowl. "I'm making brownies. Would you like some later?"
"Yeah, sure," I said in a very fake cheery sort of way. She didn't notice.
George sauntered in with a beer bottle attached to his palm. "So Dr. Shepherd came by earlier," he said. "He was looking for you."
I nodded, quickly dipping my finger in the batter before Izzie slapped my hand away.
I pretended like I didn't care. But I really did. I cared so much. Too much, actually.
"He said he'd be back later," George informed me, handing Izzie a greased pan so she could pour the batter into it. "Hey, there's nothing going on between you and Shepherd anymore, is there? Because—"
"No, George," I interrupted. "There isn't anything going on between Shepherd and me."
At that moment, the doorbell rang. "Speak of the devil," Izzie muttered under her breath. She set down her tools and walked out to the door. I, however, remained where I was. I didn't want to see him. Not when I had so many other things to think about.
"Yes, Dr. Shepherd?" Dr. Stevens asked in a very passive aggressive sort of way.
"Is Meredith in there?" I asked, craning my neck to see if she was standing behind her. Izzie held the door very close to her face, so I was unable to see much.
"Yes, she is here, and no, she would not like to talk to you," she informed me. "Goodnight."
I held out my hand before she could slam the door in my face. "Could you tell her something, then for me please?" I pleaded. I had actually rather wanted to tell her myself, but her friends were making sure that didn't happen.
She sighed. "What?"
"Could…could you tell her that I'd really like to talk to her?"
"Um, no," Izzie said. "Not until you prove that you're not a scumbag."
"Dr. Stevens," I said as severely as I could manage, "I am your boss."
"Not right now you aren't. Right now, you're the asshole standing on my friend's doorstep asking to talk to her when you really don't have the right. You're the asshole who lied to her about having a wife and forced her have a series of one-night stands and drunken nights at Joe's. Do you know what it's like, escorting her home after she's had too much tequila? Do you know what it's like, watching the guys come in and out of this house? No, you don't. Because you're the guy that made it happen in the first place. So get out of here, Derek. Go back to your wife."
It broke my heart. It literally broke my heart, standing on that front step, watching Izzie give me the death glare and forcing me to go home with her eyes. It broke my heart knowing that Meredith was in there, trying to glue herself back together. But most especially, it broke my heart knowing that I was the reason she had to get the glue out in the first place.
A/N - So that was the first chapter. Please tell me what you think. I really would love your opinions.