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CHAPTER THIRTEEN

"I hate funerals," Alex muttered as he drove to the cemetery where Thatcher's simple service was to be held.

"Really? Because I love them," Izzie replied sarcastically. She studied Alex's face. "You're angrier than usual," she observed out loud.

"Am not," Alex argued.

"You're still hungover aren't you?" Izzie asked cheekily.

"Shut up," Alex replied.

"The two day hangover from hell," Izzie teased. "Sucks to be you." They pulled into the parking lot at Cristina's apartment building where she was waiting for them.

"I hate funerals," Cristina muttered as she climbed into the back seat of the car.

"Izzie loves them," Alex spoke up. Izzie hit Alex on the back of his head with her handbag.

"It's good of you to come," Izzie said to Cristina.

"You thought I wouldn't?" Cristina asked.

"Well you do have more intimacy issues than most people I know," Izzie replied. "And funerals are full of people hugging and crying and-"

"Stop the car," Cristina snapped. Alex laughed and kept driving.

"We're just here to let Meredith and Lexie know that we care," Izzie said. "We don't have to hug anybody. It's just about being there."

"Somehow I doubt you'll be able to refrain from the hugging and the commiserating," Cristina said bitterly. Alex laughed.

"Good one," he said to Cristina who also laughed a little.

"I wouldn't boast about being a detached robot if I were you," Izzie snapped back. "I can't help it if I care."

"Hey, I care," Cristina protested. "I'm here aren't I? This is me being supportive."

"You probably have your scrubs in your handbag," Izzie said, rolling her eyes. Cristina didn't reply. Instead she guiltily looked out of the window. "Cristina, I was kidding!" Izzie said, exasperated. "Alex, she has her scrubs in her bag."

"I'm wearing my scrubs under my tux," Alex said with a shrug of the shoulders. "There's nothing wrong with being prepared."

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Meredith and Lexie rode together in the back of the car that George was driving. Every so often George would look into the rear vision mirror to check on the Grey sisters and smile a little to himself. He had noticed the bond that had been formed since Thatcher's death. It was a bond that hadn't been there before but which would be there for the rest of their lives.

Lexie bit her lip anxiously and Meredith gave her hand a supportive squeeze. Meredith never had been the best communicator but she didn't need words to let Lexie know that she was there for her.

George was there for Lexie too. In the days that had passed they had been spending more and more time in each other's company and had grown closer, each wondering silently where their friendship was headed.

Finally George reached the cemetery. There would be no elaborate church ceremony. Just a simple, dignified farewell at the plot reserved for Thatcher Grey next to his late wife Susan.

"Are you okay?" Meredith asked Lexie as George opened the door.

"Yeah, I'm okay," Lexie said nervously. She took George's hand and allowed him to help her out of the car.

"Lexie!" A voice called from up ahead. It was Molly, her sister, and her baby Laura. Lexie dissolved into tears as soon as she laid eyes on Molly. The thought of little Laura never knowing her grandfather proved too much to take in that moment. George put his arm around Lexie and led her over to Molly where the sisters embraced.

Meredith climbed out of the car and stood back from the others. Although she and Lexie had made progress, she still didn't feel a part of the Grey family. She barely knew Molly and she certainly didn't know Thatcher Grey the way that her sisters did. Meredith looked around at the mourners who had gathered for the memorial service and realized that she didn't recognise a single face. Lexie had been the one to work on the guest list. Perhaps some of the guests were relatives that Meredith didn't know. She wasn't sure. She knew very little about her father's family.

Meredith took a deep breath and took a step forward. She stopped when she heard footsteps behind her. She turned around out of courtesy not expecting to see anybody that she knew but broke into a smile when she saw Alex, Cristina and Izzie approach her.

"Thank God," Meredith said, relieved.

"How are you?" Izzie asked, concerned.

"I don't know," Meredith said truthfully. "I don't even know what I'm doing here to be honest."

"You're here because it's the right thing to do," Alex said, speaking from experience.

"Yeah, I guess it is," Meredith replied.

"There will be liquor at the wake, right?" Cristina asked.

"God, I hope so," Meredith replied. They looked at each other and managed to laugh a little. Meredith was glad that her person was there with her.

"Meredith," a familiar voice said from behind her. Meredith turned to see Derek Shepherd standing there. "Sorry I'm late," he said as he headed over to the group.

"You're not late. We're early," Meredith said as Derek scooped her up in his arms and hugged her lovingly. It wasn't a gesture that Meredith had expected but she appreciated it greatly.

"We'll see you over there," Cristina said as she, Alex and Izzie joined the other mourners, leaving Meredith and Derek alone.

"I'm glad you're here," Meredith said to Derek.

"Me too," Derek replied. He leaned forward and kissed Meredith softly on the lips. Meredith hungrily responded, giving Derek permission to kiss her more passionately.

"We'd better get over there," Derek said, noticing that most of the crowd appeared to be assembled at the plot.

"Yeah," Meredith agreed, slightly breathless. Derek entwined his hand with hers and they walked over to the others.

The service was surprisingly moving. Thatcher was not made out to be some kind of hero. Sure, his worst traits weren't focused on but his love for his family shone through. Meredith surprisingly felt herself shed a tear now and then. She wasn't sure that she ever wanted to get to know her father but she didn't like the option being taken away from her. It hurt that she would never get that chance.

When the service was over, everybody headed to Thatcher's house for the wake. Meredith stuck to her small group of supporters, allowing Lexie to deal with the majority of the mourners.

"Meredith." Meredith looked over to see Molly calling out to her from the sofa. "I haven't seen you in ages. I want you to come and meet some people." Meredith smiled nervously at Molly and the people surrounding her, obviously relatives of Thatcher's. Meredith took a sip of her wine and looked at Derek nervously. Behind him she couldn't help but notice George and Lexie sharing a tender first kiss.

"Go on," Derek said supportively to Meredith. "Go and meet your family."

THE END