Title: Starting From Scratch
Author: MeredithMcSteamy
Warning: Sexual situations, some strong language.
Spoilers: All Seasons, just in case
Genre: Romance/Drama/Humor
Relationship(s): Mer/Mark, past Mark/Addison, Mer/Der
Summary: Meredith is tired of all that her life entails, so she leaves to find herself in hopes that when she returns she'll be whole again. She's not alone though, her fellow mistress is starting new too. Their journey may lead to more than ever expected,
Disclaimer: I do not own any rights to Grey's Anatomy or the characters involved.

Starting From Scratch



"What appears to be the end may really be a new beginning."


There is a point in everyone's life where things become too much. A moment when we want to shout: 'Enough already! Please!' We can pull through unimaginable turmoil, rough through the hardest moments of ours lives, but when it all piles up, and the smallest of things happens, sometimes we just need to throw in the towel. There are people to be left behind; people who matter and will worry. But sometimes, a person just needs to go away and rebuild themselves; from scratch.

Meredith Grey stalked through the hospital, her hair falling out of her regular ponytail as she forced herself not to make a scene by running. Though most would just assume she was busy, the hospital was unnaturally calm for the moment, and the tears in her eyes would be a dead give away. She couldn't do it anymore. She couldn't stand the crying, the hurt, the anguish that seemed to dog her every step. She didn't want to have to go through one of their patented talks, where he apologized with that pitiful look on his face, like she should be the one who feels bad. She just couldn't do it anymore! She was done. Finished! Over it! There was no more Derek and Meredith; he could have his new little intern for all she cared. She'd put him out of his misery just like he wanted her to; of course she wanted to do it in a more realistic way, rather than his metaphorical.

Her blue scrubs were thin and barely shielded her against the cool wind that met her as she finally escaped Seattle Grace Hospital. She took a deep breath, her lungs filling but only clenching hard as she forced a sob back. How many times had he been the cause of her tears? How many times had she run off to Joe's to lick her wounds and find somebody to make her feel like she was worthy of attention? Well not tonight! No, she wasn't going to go through the same old routine, only to come back and face the music another day. She was sick and tired of being his chew toy, of being torn back and forth at his every whim like some kind of tug o' war game! And why did she keep referring to their relationship in dog metaphors? She snickered, rubbing at her stinging eyes as she began jogging toward her car. She had to get away; out of the hospital, out of the situation, out of the city itself. She had to get away from all of it. Find a place where she could breathe, a place where she could gather what little dignity she had left and fix herself.

She was nearly at her car when the rain began and her feet faltered as it soaked through her scrubs to freeze her already chilled skin. She laughed then, letting her tears fall and mix with the cold of the drops soaking her all over. Hysterical and filled with sobs, she laughed and felt a scream well up in her throat. What had she done to deserve this? What had she done that was so horrible she needed to be punished every day of her life? What made her so unlovable? Her shoulders slumped, her laughter subsiding and leaving nothing but a broken woman in its wake. Her knees shook beneath her and she wanted nothing more than to let herself fall to the cold pavement, to curl up in a ball and wait for the next ambulance or hurried car to run her over and put her out of her own misery. Wouldn't that be ironic?

"Grey?" she heard a voice call out, loud and deep over the pounding rain.

She turned slowly, her eyes lifting to the blue gaze that found hers. Pain sat resolutely in his own eyes. He'd had his share of heartbreak recently, too. He'd come all this way for a woman who didn't want him, didn't love him. The only woman he'd ever loved, throwing it back in his face time and time again. For what? For Derek? He wasn't worth it. She wished she'd known that. He wasn't worth all the pain and heartache and tears. He wasn't! "Sloan," she replied, her voice void of emotion. She was tired; she just wanted to get to her car. She'd go home, pack a bag, and catch a flight. She wasn't sure where, she just knew she had to get away.

"Looks like my favourite mistress isn't riding cloud nine anymore," he said. His voice was rather flat, void of its usual humour.

She shook her head. "Not sure cloud nine exists anymore," she replied, blinking rapidly against the beads of rain that fell heavily on her face.

"Sure it does. Right there between eight and ten; can't miss it," he said, a poor smile barely finding his face. He was getting soaked too, but he barely noticed it. Hadn't he told her awhile back that he hated the rain? Hated Seattle; period. Why was he still here then? she wondered. Addison left; got out as quickly she could. Found a job somewhere sunny and happy, less depressing and emotionally charged. So why didn't Mark return to New York? Maybe he wanted to fix the friendship with Derek, or maybe he just grew to put up with the rain. She didn't know, didn't really care. All she wanted to do was get to her car, get to a plane, and find refuge somewhere far away from Seattle.

"I'm leaving," she said, having no idea why she told him.

"I figured that when I saw you on your way to your car," he said, but the intense expression on his face told her he knew exactly what she meant.

"I don't know where," she said, lifting one shoulder. "Somewhere without cheating residents, hateful fathers, and half-sisters I've never met before." Her tears had stopped, but she could feel them behind her eyes, stinging and heavy. "Somewhere without ferryboats or dreamy doctors that pursue you only to hurt you in the end." She paused, taking a deep breath and letting out shakily. "You wouldn't happen to know where that is, would you?" she asked, her voice sounding rather meek to her.

He didn't answer right away, simply staring at her a moment. "Sounds like the place I'm going. A place where begrudging ex-best friends don't live, where ex-lovers haven't completely broken me, and where I don't have to see the face of the lowly intern that ruined by hopeful happily-ever-after." He sighed, his shoulders slumping, and for once Meredith witnessed the less than confident Sloan she wasn't sure even existed.

Sniffling, Meredith wiped at her face, pushing her sopping hair back. "Where's that?" she wondered, lifting a brow.

"A long plane ride from here," he replied, lifting his eyes and staring at her seriously. "I've got an apartment there, it was on the market but I can cancel selling it now, no reason to get rid of it anymore. I've got a practice of my own there, too. Pick up where I left off, with a few adjustments here or there." He frowned, sighing heavily. "Got an extra room if you need it, until you're ready to come back that is," he offered, looking unaffected either way.

Meredith stared at him, knowing that she should probably do the more mature thing and face her demons, but when she saw his expression, she knew her face had mirrored it a thousand times. A deep hurt that never quite faded; a hope for a better future if only given the chance to really try. She would do it this time; she would go away and when she came back, she'd be better because of it. "Be at my house in one hour," she told him, nodding. "I'll be ready to go."

"You're sure?" he asked, lifting a sceptical brow.

"Never been more sure of anything in my life," she told him, nodding. A faint, very small smile appeared. "Thanks Mark," she said sincerely.

"No problem, Grey. I was going to leave with or without you anyway." He shrugged noncommittally. "Could be nice having you around; you're never boring." He smirked; a less confident and cocky but still Sloan-like, smirk.

Meredith rolled her eyes slightly, turning toward her car once more. "One hour, Sloan. Be there," she called out to him, walking swiftly toward her vehicle. She was doing the right thing; the intelligent thing. She needed this; a break from all of it. She'd call Cristina when she got there, so she wouldn't worry. Everything would be better, she just knew it. She could feel it in her gut; a new, better beginning.

An hour later, with three suitcases and a duffel bag, Meredith met Mark on her porch and smiled appreciatively as he helped her with her luggage to the car. There was no conversation, just a faint solemn mood that entrapped them. The rain had stopped, she noticed. Things were still damp, the air was still crisp and cool, and she could smell the scent that came after every rainfall, but the icy beads no longer fell from the sky to chill her skin. She'd taken a hot shower and traded in her wet scrubs for a pair of comfortable jeans and a wool knit sweater. The warmth still clung to her skin and she smiled lightly as Mark stared at her over the top of his car. "You ready?" he asked, lifting a brow.

Taking a deep breath, she nodded. "Yeah. I'm ready."

A/N I've already got chapter one nearly finished. I'll be updating "A Dark and Twisty Happily Ever After," soon. I'm writing on a different computer, otherwise I'd have it ready to go already. I have a sequel to "A Better Man Than I," underway, if anyone is interested. It'll deal with future!MarkMer and how Derek is dealing in a life that doesn't have revolve around him and Mer anymore. Hope you enjoyed this chapter. It's probably an overused topic, but I'll try and write it to the best of my abilities. Be sure to check out my MerMark community on LiveJournal. Go to my profile here to see the details! Review, please!