A/N - Gah, I know! I have no excuse at all for the delay in updates. But be happy because this is the last chapter!
"Thank you very much, Mrs. Chu," Meredith murmured under her breath as she finished stitching a gash in the lady's arm. "I need you to come back in five days so I can remove the stitches."
Dr. Webber was walking through the pit and spotted the young intern suturing wounds closed. He frowned at the sight and immediately walked over to where Meredith sat. "Dr. Grey, aren't you supposed to be in surgery with Dr. Shepherd?"
Meredith didn't want to meet her stepfather's disapproving gaze, so she kept her eyes on the wound though she had cleaned it several times. "Um, yes."
"Then why aren't you?"
"Because I'm needed here, sir."
She couldn't prolong the woman's care any longer. After putting a bandage over the closed wound, Meredith led her to the nurse's station to fill out the rest of the paperwork and reluctantly turned to her stepfather. "Look, I know--"
"Meredith, I believe I specifically told you to stay at his side," he said sternly.
"You did," she admitted. "And we were! But…"
"But what? What could be important enough to ignore my orders?"
"I can't work with him anymore," she begged. "I just can't."
The older man sighed. "Come to my office. We need to talk."
She followed him to his office and the moment she crossed the threshold it was no longer a talk between teacher and student. It was a personal discussion between stepfather and stepdaughter.
"Alright," he sighed as he took a seat in his leather chair. "What's going on?"
"I can't do this!" she cried. "I can't work with him! I can't work with him. Please, I'm begging you, put me with someone, anyone else!"
"Meredith, I know better than that. Something happened that you're not telling me."
She gnashed her teeth and her stepfather's intuition. This was so not something you discussed with your stepfather. "I…"
He waited for her to spit it out. "You what? Come on, Meredith. I'm not getting any younger."
"I…I kissed him."
There was definitely a surprised reaction in the exchange. However, the surprised reaction was not Dr. Webber's doing.
"So?" he asked calmly.
Meredith's jaw dropped at her stepfather's words. "Didn't you hear me? I kissed him."
"I am not deaf, Meredith. I heard you the first time and now I'm asking you: so what?"
"What do you mean so what?" she exploded. "I kissed the man I've hated since I was old enough to walk! Don't you understand what this means? It means I can't work with him anymore!"
"No," he cut through her diatribe. "It means that your feelings for him aren't what you originally thought. It means that maybe you were too quick to judge him as an adult."
"Dad, please!" she begged. "I can't work with him! I just can't!"
He was finally fed up with it. "Yes you can!" he exclaimed back. "You are running away from your problems instead of facing them head on. You think that if you just turn your head and ignore the problem that it will go away. You're a doctor. You know better than that."
"And what about Derek? Have you asked what he feels about any of this? Have you bothered to look past your own feelings to ask him what he's going through? Maybe he's feeling the exact same confusion that you are. Believe it or not, he's not the self-centered jerk you've made him out to be. He has feelings and he deserves better than the treatment you've thrown at him."
For the first time, Meredith caught a glimpse of how much she must have been hurting Derek. She looked back at all the times she had talked to him that day and realized that there had been pain in his eyes each and every time. He was hurt.
Did this make her the bitch he had been calling her for so many years?
"You will resolve this between the two of you," he said very firmly. "If you don't, I will have no choice but to put you on probation."
Meredith simply nodded, still reeling in the revelations that kept coming. The moment she was dismissed, she ran out of the office to find Derek.
She didn't have to run for very long. She turned the corner and walking out of the scrub room was none other than Derek Shepherd himself.
"Dr. Grey," he said coldly when he saw her. "You missed out on a very interesting surgery today. Your loss."
No. This wasn't what it was going to be like.
Without stopping to think of the consequences of her actions, she swiftly took his face in her tiny hands and brought her lips crashing against his.
Derek was taken by surprise, but immediately began kissing her back, wrapping his tired arms around her waist. He was trying to figure out what had her acting like this, but he couldn't think properly. He couldn't think at all when she kept stealing his breaths, when she kept running her long fingers through his equally long hair.
"I'm sorry, Derek," she whispered when she finally pulled away. "I'm so sorry for everything. For everything I've done. I didn't mean to be everything you said I was."
He frowned at her, despite his rapidly beating heart. "What do you mean?"
"I was a selfish bitch. I didn't realize that I was hurting you. I didn't realize how you felt at all."
Derek gazed into her eyes, feeling traitorous hope staining his heart. "Does this mean…"
Meredith answered him with another kiss. "Only if you promise not to put anymore pregnancy books in my locker."
He smiled widely, unable to contain his happiness. "Deal."
A/N - Thank you to everyone who's stuck with this story through the end. I appreciate it immensely.