She was pretty.

Meredith wasn't sure why she had expected her to not be pretty but she was. She was kind of beautiful. Her smile was a little toothy and when she laughed her eyes looked like they may pop out of her head but besides that she was pretty. When she didn't smile or laugh she might even be a model or something, with all that perfect hair. It made sense that she had perfect hair.

And she definitely wasn't a mess.

"Stop staring, it's creepy," Cristina groaned after swallowing a shot of whatever her poison of choice was this evening.

"I'm not staring."

"You're definitely staring."

"It's just…" Meredith sighed, biting her lip as she watched the nurse reach across the table to touch Derek's hand. And Meredith really did try to not feel too triumphant as Derek quickly pulled his hand away from her. "Yesterday, we broke up yesterday and now he's…he's…flirting. And he's on a date. He's on a date and we broke up yesterday."

"Hate to kick you when you're down but you didn't break up yesterday," Cristina shrugged.

"What? Of course we did."

"Oh really?" Cristina raised an eyebrow. "When did you get back together? Because I think I may have missed it completely."

"We…I told him I didn't want him seeing anyone else," Meredith murmured, looking down at her hands.

"And then he said that he wanted to be with only you and got all McDreamy and you decided to give in another go?"

"Well…no."

"So it happened after that?"

"After… he… house plans. He came over the next morning with house plans."

"You're both idiots."

"What?"

"He brought you house plans," Cristina rolled her eyes. "When did the ass have house plans drawn up?"

"He said…he said a few months," Meredith murmured as she looked back at Derek, who was taking a sip of his Scotch and apparently listening to something the nurse was saying. Meredith quickly blinked back tears. "He said it was…was a few months."

"So before or after he decided he was done with Addison?"

"Cristina…"

"Or was it when you chose him over Finn? It had to be before he complained to Burke about you being a ghost after that Ellis mess. Actually maybe it was after you nearly died? Very romantic. Of course it could be why he kept disappearing after that. And we can't forget the flirting with your sister thing. Or you pushing him away. But it couldn't have been it been during the last couple of months of that sex and mockery hell. At one point have you two been on steady enough ground for long enough for him to draw up house plans?"

"Cristina…" Meredith hissed, trying not to notice how Derek's eyes were now on her, or on Cristina, or something else in the general area.

"And now you're sitting there acting like the wronged woman."

"I'm…date, he's on a date," Meredith murmured, looking over and briefly catching his eye. Both looked away quickly. "With the skanky nurse that he kissed."

"When did the skanky kiss happen?"

"What?"

"Was it before or after you told him you didn't want him to see anyone else?"

"Oh um… I don't know," Meredith admitted quietly.

"And yet you're acting like he's some ass who cheated," Cristina shook her head. "I know it's not what you wanted to hear but you weren't together. Hell Mer, you knew he was dating. You had to know kissing might come with dating."

"So you're…you're…you're saying this is my fault," Meredith breathed.

"God no," Cristina rolled her eyes. "McDreamy morphed into McAss. No way is anyone letting him off the hook."

"He was supposed to be waiting for me to be ready," Meredith whispered. "He said he'd wait. And I was trying."

"McAss," Cristina nodded.

"He…lifetime, he said he wanted a lifetime. And kids and dying in my arms when he's one hundred and then. He said all these entirely perfect things that…I want those things. With him. I want those things and…how does someone say those things and take them away a few weeks later?"

"I don't know, Mer," Cristina sighed, gesturing to Joe for them both to get another shot. "He's a man. By definition they fuck up constantly."

"I wanted the house."

"What?"

"Not now, definitely not now," Meredith shook her head quickly. "But eventually, Derek…house and everything, it sounded like a really nice future with him. A kind of amazing future."

"Did you tell him?"

"Yeah, I mean…I said eventually. I told him I wanted to take steps," Meredith whispered, wiping a tear away as she chose to ignore the concerned looks Derek was sending her way. "And it…it wasn't enough. He wanted something more. He wanted her. He wanted it all now."

"Ass."

"What am I supposed to do now?"

"You're not going to beg," Cristina shook her head. "I'll kill you if you beg. He's an ass who couldn't give you a couple of weeks to get your shit together. If anyone is begging, it's him."

"I'm not begging," Meredith shook her head firmly. "He said thing and now he's on a second date in two days with his nurse so no, I'm not begging. Not again. He messed up and I'm not begging. He doesn't deserve begging and he doesn't…he probably doesn't even deserve a second chance. I should just walk away or something. Because he's an ass. And I could…I really…I don't need him. It's just…he's just…"

"Spit it out, Grey."

Meredith didn't answer and silence fell between the two friends as Meredith let herself look at Derek again, watching as he talked to the nurse, who's name she knew but she didn't actually care to remember it. Derek didn't look like Derek. For the first time since she had spotted him, she realized he looked off. He looked tired. He looked like he needed a shave. He looked like he hadn't even touched his hair. And there was something else, something she couldn't even put her finger on.

"I miss him," she finally whispered.

"Oh god…"

"And I love him," Meredith murmured, brushing away at tears. "I mean, not right now. Right now, with his being all McAss-y, I don't love him. I don't. But when he's…when he's him which recently he hasn't been but you know…I love him. I love him in this big scary way that doesn't just go away when he's being an ass. Even when he's being an ass, I love him."

"Meredith…"

"Don't judge me, please don't judge me. Not about this."

"I don't judge you."

"Cristina."

"Fine, I judge you but…" Cristina sighed, toying with her empty shot glass. "I'm about to give you advice and I don't usually do this so you better damn listen."

"Advice?" Meredith murmured.

"You love him," Cristina shrugged. "The man keeps messing up and you keep loving him. It's messed up, Mer. At this point, I don't know why and I don't think he's worth this heartache but you love him all the same so whatever. You have two options."

"Two options."

"You can cut your losses and run. God knows the ass deserves it," Cristina sighed. "And find someone else to love. Who's hair may not be perfect but will treat you a hell of a lot better. This option is easier. It involves denial, avoidance and all of the other things we love. But it may end in heartache and pain."

"What's the other option?" Meredith whispered, cursing under her breath as a wave of fresh tears hit her and she saw Derek frown in concern.

"Have you ever tried talking to him?"

"What?" Meredith frowned. "Of course…we were together. We practically lived together. Of course we talked."

"No, I mean really talk," Cristina sighed. "Not about surgery and how hot you are for each other. Really talk. About the She-Shepherd shit, and the mommy and daddy issues and all that other shit. God, you two are messed up. About that stuff."

"But…but…you and Burke didn't talk," Meredith protested softly. "You never talked, you can't…you can't tell me to talk."

"Burke left me on the altar on our wedding day and had McShithead tell me I was never going to see him again. Is that really how you want this thing with Derek to end?"

"I don't want it to end," Meredith whispered.

"I know," Cristina sighed. "So talk. I'm pretty sure it's the only way to fix this mess. I swear the two of you don't have a brain cell to share sometimes."

"At least he didn't leave me at the altar."

"That was low, Mer," Cristina smirked.

"Sorry," Meredith sighed. "You're being nice and helpful and listening. It's not normal. Someone has to be mean."

"Don't worry. The nice thing won't happen again."

"Good," Meredith nodded, before taking a deep breath and starting to chew on her lip again. "So I should talk to him."

"That or get over his ass."

"Talk."

"Now would probably be good."

"Now?" Meredith's eyes widened. "Not…Cristina…date. He's on a date. With her. I'm not…I can't talk to him about stuff when he's on a date with her. That's just…I can't. I can't. No. Now…now is not good."

"Now is perfect."

"Date," Meredith hissed.

"Oh it's not like he actually likes her," Cristina groaned.

"You don't know that."

"He doesn't," Cristina shook her head. "All that one talks about it getting married and having kids and all that other shit Shepherd has been spewing since you tried to off yourself. And he thinks he wants that. She's a classic rebound. Boring and the complete opposite of what he had."

"Cristina…"

"Besides he's so madly in love with you the man can barely see straight."

"You don't know that."

"Sadly, I do," Cristina sighed, looking over at where Derek and the nurse sat. "If he could see straight he wouldn't have kissed a woman that looks like a horse. Actually…more like a t-rex or something equally as ugly."

"Cristina," Meredith giggled.

"It's true. Did you see her teeth?"

"Yeah," Meredith sighed, toying with her empty shot glass. "Yeah. I want it."

"Want what?"

"All the shit…the marriage and kids and family and all that. I want it with Derek."

"So you said," Cristina sighed. "Now go tell him that for once. Before I decide to do the world a favour and off both of you for making me be all…girly or something."

"Mean," Meredith giggled. She took a deep breath and stood up. "I'm doing it."

"About damn time. And don't forget to tell him that moment after thing. The safe shit or whatever. It's lame but it sounds like something he'd like."

"Yeah…yeah."

Meredith took another deep breath and headed toward the table where the love of her life sat with another woman. It sounded cheesy in her head, the love of her life part at least ad she currently wanted to kick her own ass for thinking that, especially considering their current crap ass situation. But they had been in a crap ass situation more then they had ever been in a good one. And she had always loved him so she saw no point in changing that norm now. As if she even could. Loving Derek Shepherd, even when he was an idiot, was kind of a permanent state of being. She breathed, she thought, she loved Derek.

She was definitely kicking her own ass after this.

"Derek," she said as she reached the table, because she had no idea what else to start with. His name seemed like a good place to start.

"Meredith," he murmured, looking up at her.

Tears, there were tears in his amazing blue eyes that still managed to look vibrant blue in the dark bar.

"I…you…we need to talk."

"Excuse me, but we're on a date," the t-rex named Rose cut in before Derek could say anything else.

"Oh…" Meredith whispered, turning to move away.

"No," Derek said quickly, jumping out of his chair. "I mean…we can talk. If you want. You want to talk?"

"I do," Meredith breathed, ashamed when more tears sprang to her eyes. They had to stop eventually. "I want to talk."

"Okay," he nodded, the remnants of a smile tugging at his lips. "Where?"

"Outside?"

"It's raining, Mer," Derek laughed softly. "The hospital?"

"No…no…not there," Meredith shook her head.

"Your place?"

"That's…no," Meredith murmured, biting at her bottom lip. "Bathroom?"

"Bathroom?" he laughed softly.

"It's…it's private," Meredith shrugged. "And this…we should probably talk in private. Because…this…everyone is going to be talking about the Meredith and Derek show anyway because we're talking…so private. Private washroom. Which is stupid so…"

"The Meredith and Derek show?"

"That's…that's what you got out of that ramble?"

"Private bathroom," Derek smiled softly, now completely ignoring the sounds of protest coming from Rose.

"Okay…"

And then his hand was in hers, squeezing it firmly as he led her through the crowded bar. He was just holding her hand so they wouldn't get separated in all of the people. Meredith was sure of that. That or it was an old habit, one that hadn't died quite yet, that Derek Shepherd held her hand when they walked places. It meant nothing more than that. She just needed to not concentrate on the way her heart had sped up since hand had made contact with hers. Or slowed down to a stop. She wasn't actually sure which it was and she wondered if it was possible to do both, to speed up and slow down at the same time. If it was, Derek's touch made her do it.

"Everyone is going to think we're coming in here to have sex," Derek laughed nervously, squeezing her hand again as he opened the bathroom door.

"Yeah," Meredith giggled, feeling slightly breathless.

"So…" he murmured as the door swung shut.

His lips were on hers, soft as he pulled her tightly into his arms, the kiss remaining gentle as she let out a little gasp and wrapped her arms tightly around him. The kiss tasted like tears, and scotch and Derek. Meredith was quite certain she never wanted it to end. She let her fingers tangle themselves in his curls as his tongue asked for entry into her mouth that she gladly gave. Meredith whimpered into his mouth as she felt his wet cheeks against her own.

"Meredith…" he breathed, pulling away from her slightly, only to drag her close to his chest with a crushing force.

"Derek," she whimpered, burying her face into his chest and cursing under her breath as her shoulders shook with repressed sobs.

"It's okay," he whispered, his hold tightening more as he rocked her ever so slightly. "I'm here…let it go."

"We…we…" she gasped, her fingers fisting around the back of his shirt a she let a sob out. "Oh god."

"We broke up," he whispered, his breath catching as his own shoulders shook.

"Over, we're over…" she murmured, forcing her shaking body further into his arms. This wasn't how this was supposed to be happening. There was supposed to be talking. Talking about really important thing like how badly things had gone between them. She wasn't supposed to be sobbing in his arms, quite certain that he was the only thing holding her up.

"Meredith…" he whimpered, as a sob ripped through him.

"Derek…Der…" she breathed, holding him closer as his body began to shake harder, the sobs wrenching through him, echoing her own.

"We…we…broke up…" he gasped.

They were kissing again, he had her back pinned against the wall, as he kissed her harder this time, a sense of urgency in his kiss that she had never actually felt before. His body trembled as another sob racked through him as she deepened the kiss, her fingers tugging at his curls.

"I…I can't lose you," Derek murmured as he pulled away. "Mistakes…I have made so many mistakes. You can't be one. What happens…happened…between us can't be a mistake."

"I love you."

"What?"

"I love you," Meredith nodded, surprised at how strong and firm her voice suddenly sounded, despite all the tears and the thoughts swirling through her head. "I know…I should have said it a long time ago. I've felt it…I've felt it so much, Der. And I have should have…because now it's too late and you're on a date with her and she's probably great. But I love you, Derek. I really do. I love you."

"You love me," he whispered, his voice shaky.

"No," she shook her head. "I mean, yes, yes, I love you but you…you can't talk. Because you could say things and I have…I have things to say. And if you say things, I can't promise that I'll ever get to say my things. So no talking."

"Okay," he nodded, reaching to brush a tear off her cheek.

"I love you," she whispered, taking a deep breath. "I love you so much. And this…I don't want this. I don't want us to be this mess that I don't even recognize and…I don't want this. I want…I want to be with you. And happy. But we hurt each other, we…all we do is hurt each other. I never meant to hurt you. I don't think you ever meant to hurt me but we do…and I…I love. I want everything with you. I just can't…"

"You don't trust me," he finished for her.

"Oh…" she sighed, looking down. "I didn't know if you heard that…"

"You kind of yelled it at me."

"I didn't think you were listening."

"I was," Derek nodded firmly nodded. "And I get it…"

"No," Meredith stopped him. "No talking, I said no talking."

"Oh, sorry," he smiled slightly, pressing a light kiss on her lips.

"Hmmm…" she breathed, and then shook her head. "No. None of that either. Just…listen."

"Listening."

"I love you. I can't trust you, not after everything. Not after Addison and Rose and the chief thing which I still don't…I don't even know. I don't know how to trust you anymore. And I don't think you should trust me. Because…I tried to kill myself and I made you…you shouldn't trust me. But you do love me or you did, at some point…you did."

"Meredith…"

"No, no," she shook her head quickly. "One way or another, I don't want to hear it. Not now. Later, you can tell me…later. Because I want it, Derek. I want it all. The married things, and the house…the was perfect, stupid perfect. And kids…maybe…I think…yes, maybe. I want it, the lifetime, the one hundred and ten years and all that stuff, I want it all. With you. Not right now, I don't want it all right now. Eventually. Or I did. I wanted it."

"You…you want it?" he breathed, wiping a tear off his own cheek.

"I did. And now…I don't know. I love you so much but I can't trust you and if I can't…I don't know how to want it now, Derek. You're on a date. You're on a date with someone that's not me. You're moving on and I'm not begging this time. I'm not going to point out how great she is and then tell you to pick me. Because I'm not that girl anymore. I don't want to be. And she…she's not that great. And that's not some petty thing, she's just…does she bite? I mean, all those teeth and…I know that's mean, I do. But you're on a date with her so I think it's allowed. She's just…she knew. She had to know about us and she still went there, which is…I know it's partly your fault, but she…who with any self respect would get in the middle of this mess? So her…not that great."

"Meredith…"

"Still talking," she snapped. "So this is not me begging. This is me…this is me just saying that I love you. And I want things. Even though I can't trust you…I eventually want things. With you, only with you. So I…I want to make this work or something."

"You…you want to make this work? You want to work through our issues?"

"If…if it means I get to be with you, I do. And I'm not…I don't want to get back together. Not yet. But if…if you want to be with me, we both have to be in this. So you can't date her. Or anyone else. And maybe I don't have the right to demand that anymore but if we're working on us…it has to be just us."

"Okay…"

"And you…this isn't a decision, Derek. I'm not asking you to pick me because…if you…she should be a non-option or whatever. If you meant one word of everything you ever said, if you love me that much…there should be nothing to pick. This shouldn't be a decision."

"Mer, it's…"

"And now…you're still not going to talk. You're not going to say anything because you should think. I said things, I said a lot of things and now you should think. Think about what you want, what you really want."

"I…."

"Derek, I mean it, you need to think about what you want. You always do what other people want but now…what do you want? Think…just…this won't be easy. I get that. If we try, it won't be easy…just think."

"I'll think."

"And I…I really need to breathe."

"That was kind of amazing, Mer," he laughed softly as she let her body sag against him.

"It kind of was," she giggled softly.

"It was."

"Don't look at me like that."

"Like what?"

"Like that. If you look at me like that you don't have to talk to…I know things when you look at me like that."

"Maybe I want you to."

"No," she shook her head. "Even if…I want you to know. I want right now there not to be a doubt in your head about what you want. But still…I said a lot and I changed everything. So please just think because you need to be sure. This isn't going to be easy and you just need to be sure."

"Hmmm…" he nodded.

"Oh Der," she murmured, suddenly wrapping her arms around his neck.

"This isn't like you," he breathed, squeezing her tightly.

"The talking part or the depending on you part?"

"All of it."

"I know," she whispered. "But it feels like me. I think…maybe this is me except a new me that wants to fight…that…that doesn't want to stop swimming."

"Hmmm…" he breathed, kissing her neck softly.

"I'm going to go now."

"Okay."

"And I'll…later, we'll talk later."

"I love you."

Meredith opened her mouth to protest but instead leaned for and lightly brushed her lips against his, deepening the kiss only a little as he pulled her closer, groaning as her tongue lightly played against his, sighing at the feel of his muscles against her.

"I love you too," she whispered as she pulled away. "I just…I need to know if we have a chance or if I should just move on."

Before she could hear Derek's answer, she was gone.

Where do we stand, what am I supposed to do
Give me the clearest indication,
that I am not alone with you