"Where are the kids?" asked Derek as he walked into a surprisingly tidy kitchen, usually there were toys, crayons, plates and literally anything else lying around. Meredith was standing at the sink doing dishes, looking out onto the land.
"Playing in their tree house," said Meredith pointing out the window.
"Still," said Derek peeking out the window to watch them. "It's been over a month since we built that."
Meredith and Derek had gotten married a week before Ella's first birthday, they had built their dream house on Derek's land. Ella was now six, and still the spitting image of Derek. Declan Michael Shepherd was four, he had Meredith's fair hair and Derek's piercing blue eyes.
"I know," Meredith laughed softly. "Declan wants to sleep out there. He had lunch in there today."
"So…that's normal," said Derek. "I used to love my tree house, it was the only place I had to hide from my sisters."
"I know that."
"And you have encouraged him to climb a tree," said Meredith worriedly.
"Relax," said Derek wrapping his arms around her waist. "He's fine."
"He is up a tree," said Meredith still watching out of the window intently. "He's still a baby."
"He's four years old."
"That's exactly my point."
"He is not a baby."
"He's my baby," said Meredith.
"You need to stop worrying," said Derek pulling her closer to him.
"I'm his mother, it's my job to worry."
"Is Ella out there with him?" asked Derek.
"Yes," said Meredith. "She's trying to make him play teddy bear picnics."
"So we have an empty house," said Derek lighting kissing Meredith's neck.
"Derek the kids are right out there," she moaned.
"Hmmmm," he said nibbling on her ear.
"Derek," she moaned. "We can't…"
"We can," he said slipping his hands up her shirt and stroking her stomach. Ever since she had been pregnant with Declan, Derek had loved her stomach, it was so soft and feminine he was always touching it.
"DADDY," Ella cried when she spotted him standing at the window. She ran as fast as she could into the house.
"Hey princess," said Derek bending down to catch Ella as she ran into his arms. "How was school today?"
"I got a new book," said Ella. "Will you read it with me?"
"Of course I will," said Derek.
"Dinner will be ready soon," said Meredith. Another big change was that Meredith had learned to cook proper food in the past few years.
"Okay," said Derek. "Come on lets try and get Declan out of his tree house for dinner."
"Okay Daddy," said Ella taking his hand and going into the garden.
"Mummy I read the whole book by myself," Ella shouted as she ran into the bathroom where Meredith was bathing Declan. "Didn't I Daddy? Tell her."
"She did, all by herself," said Derek proudly.
"See," said Ella triumphantly.
"Well done," said Meredith. "You're getting so good at reading now."
"Yup Daddy said I'm a genius," said Ella. "And when I'm older I can be a brain surgeon like you."
"Did he now?" said Meredith looking up at Derek.
"It was only a suggestion," said Derek smirking.
"I bet it was," said Meredith shaking her head at him. "This coming from the man that bought her operation before she could stand."
"She asked what we did at work," said Derek innocently. "I thought it would help explain it to her."
"She couldn't string a sentence together at that age."
"Yes I could," said Ella defensively. "Daddy tell her I was smart."
"You were a genius baby," said Derek.
"Me too. Me too. Me too," said Declan as Meredith towel dried his hair.
"No Dec," said Ella as if she was so much wiser. "You were a boring baby, you just pooped and cried."
"NO!" shouted Declan.
"I'm biggest I know," Ella argued.
"No I'm biggest," said Derek. "And I know best. You were both little darlings."
"See!" said Declan triumphantly.
"Alright that is enough all of you," said Meredith picking up Declan. "Story time and then bed."
"Can I pick the story?" asked Ella as she followed Meredith into Declan's room.
"You picked last night," said Meredith. "It's your brother's turn."
"Did you hear about that spinal surgery this morning?" Meredith asked once Ella and Declan had gone to bed. She was lying on the sofa with Derek, watching TV while he read over some paperwork. He was resting his chin on the top of her head, as she snuggled her head in the nook of his neck.
"Patient with creeping paralysis," he said.
"Yeah I heard about it, how did it go?"
"I saved him," Meredith boasted. "Full body function, thank you very much."
"Well done Dr. Shepherd."
"Thank you Dr. Shepherd."
"Yeah," she said.
"I love you."
"I love you too," said Meredith surprised. "What brought that on?"
"I can't tell my wife I love her?"
"You can, it's just when you just say it like that you've usually done something bad."
"Like what?" laughed Derek.
"Like when you hired a handy man to build that damn tree house, when took Ella to the fair and let Mark give her cotton candy at eight at night…"
"Alright I get it," he chuckled kissing the top of her head. "I was just thinking about us."
"What about us?"
"I'm so lucky," said Derek. "You, the kids, everything. I just don't feel I deserve it sometimes, you know? I still don't understand why you took me back after everything we went through…"
"Hey what's brought all this on?" asked Meredith worriedly they hadn't talked about Rose or anything in years.
"Seven years ago this week, you left me," said Derek sadly.
"Right," said Meredith. That sounded right, seven years ago she had told him she had gotten rid of Ella. "We've come so far, and we're happy now."
"I know, ignore me," said Derek kissing the top of her head. "It's scary though how different things could be."
"Everything worked out," said Meredith. "We aren't meant to be apart."
"No we're not."
"Derek," said Meredith as they were getting ready for bed that night.
"Do you remember when I was pregnant with Declan?"
"Yes," said Derek not seeing where she was going with this.
"And I would wake you up at 3am because I was hungry and then again at 6am because I had morning sickness, and I was likely to burst into tears at any given time?"
"The most interesting and terrifying nine months of my time, yeah I remember," said Derek crawling into bed next to her.
"And I told you I wouldn't do it again until it was possible for you to give birth?"
"I changed my mind, I want another baby," said Meredith hurriedly.
"What? You do?"
"You don't," said Meredith flatly.
"No I do," Derek quickly reassured her. "I just…thought you didn't."
"Well I didn't but then…I don't know something changed and I started to get all…mushy again…looking at baby clothes, old photos…strangers babies in strollers," babbled Meredith. "My point is I want another baby…if you do."
"Well Mrs. Shepherd I think it's time to get in some practice for all this baby making."