The trees all looked the same.
She hadn't driven these still familiar streets in months, and yet all she could think about as she made this drive was that every single tree looked the exact same that she remembered from the last time she had taken this trip. Which didn't seem right, it didn't seem right that nothing had changed, not one of the trees had changed and yet so much of her life had.
She was starting to get weird in her own head, which she did when she was about to do something crazy.
Not that this was crazy. It was no where close to crazy. They had finished the surgery and right after Derek had disappeared. He had murmured some excuse as they had scrubbed out and she hadn't missed the pain and the worry in his eyes. She hadn't known why it was there, but it had been and now she was driving to his trailer for the first time in months. But it wasn't crazy. She had to tell him things, things about how the patient had lived, how she was awake and talking, if not a little drowsy. But she was awake and Derek needed to know.
So driving out to tell him that wasn't insane.
The other thoughts running through her head definitely bordered on insane, but she wasn't driving all this way to tell her that stuff.
She was driving to him for their victory dance.
That was all.
He's with Rose. He's with Rose. He's with Rose.
She just had to remember that mantra, she had to remember the only words that could keep her sane for now. He was happy and he was with Rose. Thinking anything else at this point was not an option.
Which was her fault.
She got that now. Dr. Wyatt had helped her get that. It was her fault. Or at least partially her fault that she was driving alone, her heart pounding in her chest as she went to tell her ex-boyfriend about their patient finally living. It her own fears that had led to them to this, to sharing a bottle of champagne to celebrate saving a patient finally, and then her going home without him. She had been the one to push him away.
This was probably stupid.
He's with Rose. Which probably meant Rose was at the trailer, having sex with him and she was going to see something she never wanted to.
She pulled up to the familiar clearing and tried to ignore the memories that flooded her brain, of the first time Derek had taken her out here without any warning as to where they were going. She had been shocked and confused and completely taken aback at what he had shown her. And then she had walked into his trailer and probably fallen more in love than she had ever been and it was best to not think about that right now when she was about to walk in on him having sex with the new girl that he loved. She still smiled at the site of the trailer though, the trailer that was so clearly part of who Derek was.
There were no cars there that she didn't recognize, just Derek's. And the Chief's pulled up next to his trailer. She had heard that the Chief was living here now, which was weird, it was definitely weird.
"Derek?" she called softly, even though the entire area looked abandoned. The light was on in his trailer, but nothing moved. There was none of the music that Derek usually listened to when he was home at night. There was no sound of the tv, or even Mark's obnoxious laughed. The area seemed empty.
"Derek!" she called again, her voice louder than the first time as she felt her chest squeeze weirdly. She wasn't going to panic. There was no actual reason to panic. He just wasn't here. Which was okay. It was fine that he wasn't here. He had probably gone home with Rose, who probably lived much closer to the hospital than he did, as Meredith was pretty sure no one lived as far away from the hospital he did. Someone from work had probably called him and he was celebrating with his girlfriend, and they would probably laugh a lot if they knew she was standing on his land panicking about him being somewhere other than home. "Der…"
A crunch came from somewhere behind her and she felt her breath catch in her throat. She hated Derek's land. She hated being in the middle of no where and she hated it even more when he wasn't here to protect her. Not that she needed protecting but anything could be in the trees.
"Ah.." she jumped slightly, as Mark's voice filled the silence that had been there seconds before. "Mar…Dr. Sloan."
"Dr. Grey," Mark nodded slowly as another man stepped into the soft light the trailer gave off.
"Meredith," Dr. Webber greeted, frowning slightly. "What brings you out here?"
"Oh…ummm…" Meredith murmured, not meeting her boss's eyes. "Derek…uh….I mean, Dr. Shepherd, he umm…the patient…he wasn't…I just…crap. Where's Derek?"
"He's up at the cliff," Dr. Webber replied.
"Derek didn't show you the cliff?" Mark frowned. "Of course he didn't show you the cliff, if he had shown you the cliff you would have…nevermind. Just follow the path."
"Yes, Grey, the tiny clearing in the trees. It's made for walking and…"
"I know what a path is."
"Than…why are you still standing here?"
"I…going, I'm going," Meredith nodded.
She grabbed the bottle of champagne and started up the path, her heart thundering in her chest. This was insane. At this point, she didn't even know where she was going. They hadn't taken hikes, they hadn't even taken walks. She had never seen anything past the clearing where his trailer was. And now she was thrashing through the woods to tell him a patient had lived.
This was definitely crossing lines into insane. It was one thing to go to his trailer to tell him, another to take a hike. She could have just left. She could have told Mark the news and Mark could have told Derek. She could have just told Mark to tell Derek to call her. She could have waited at the trailer with the others until Derek came back down. There was lists and lists of things she could have done before climbing up what had to be considered a mountain just to tell him that the patient lived. It wasn't like they even had glasses to drink the champagne out of once she got up there.
If Meredith made a list of everything insane thing she had done, this would be on the top.
She hadn't even thought to ask if Rose was with him.
His back was too her even though he must have heard someone coming, as she was anything but quiet. But he hadn't moved. He stood still and something about the way he held himself made her heart squeeze with a pain that had started to feel far too familiar. For a second he was all she could see, and then he shifted and the view in front of him came into focus. The view overlooking Seattle, all of the buildings looking far too small to be real, the dark sky sparkling with stars.
"Mer?" he asked, turning around quickly.
"That's…that's wow, Derek. This is…I don't even know…it's just…amazing," she whispered, shaking her head slowly.
"Oh," he smiled slightly. "Yeah."
"Hmm…" he nodded, turning back to look over the cliff. "What are you doing here?"
"I…I just…" Meredith breathed, looking away from the amazing view to look at the man standing beside her. In the soft light of the moon she could make out some lines around his eyes that had never been there before. It was too dark to know for certain but it looked like there were more grays through out his dark curls and her heart squeezed. This was her Derek. And somehow, even though right now he was smiling, there was something incredibly sad. She hadn't picked up on it before, she hadn't even noticed.
"Oh…I…I'm not a quitter."
"What?" Derek frowned slightly, even though he didn't turn to look at her, just kept starting over the edge of the cliff. "I never…"
"I'm not a quitter."
"I know," he nodded slowly. "Mer…"
"And I'm not a coward. Or I have been. I have been a coward but I don't want to be a coward anymore. I don't want to be a…I don't want to run just because I'm scared. And I am scared, I am so scared."
Meredith shook her head quickly and even though he wasn't looking at her, even though he had no way of knowing she had even moved, he stopped talking. Which was good. Because Meredith had no idea what she was doing. She hadn't come here for this, she hadn't meant to say any of this. But he looked so sad. Something about him looked sad and she hadn't noticed it until now, and the words were just spilling out.
"I'm scared but I don't want to run anymore. I don't…I can't run, I can't keep running from you because…I'm not a quitter. And I don't want to quit this."
"Meredith…" he breathed, suddenly turning to look at her, something else flooding his eyes that certainly hadn't been there before. She was too scared to even think about what it could be.
"I don't want to quit us."
"Mer…you…I…we already did."
"Okay, okay," she nodded slowly. "We did, I know we did. There was yelling and now you're with Rose, which is…okay, that's actually crap, it's crap that you're with Rose but I know we quit this, I know. It's just…I don't want to. I don't want to quit this. I want a…do over or something."
"You want a do over?"
"Yes, I want…I need a do over. Because…I can't quit this."
"Mer, this isn't a game, there's no do overs."
"I know that, Derek, I know that. But I…we can't be over. We can't be. The idea is…it's insane. Me and you being over is insane and I don't want it to be insane, I want us to be…I want this to work. I'm terrified but I don't want to quit you. I don't want to run away and be a coward. I don't want to be my mom."
"You're my Andre," she blurted out. "And my Phillip. And…my Todd. You're all of that."
"You're…Todd…Todd wasn't supposed to love him and he did. He loved him anyway and you're…that's you. You're the guy that I'm not supposed to love and I love anyway. And you're…Phillip. She was never supposed to get a guy like Phillp but she did and I got you against all odds and now…Andre. Andre wasn't supposed to exist, Derek. I thought Andre didn't exist. No one did, well you did but that's because you're you. And the point is, Andre wasn't supposed to exist but he did. And you do. You exist and I didn't think you did. But you do."
"Mer…" he breathed. "What…what are you saying?"
"I…I love you."
"You don't believe in love."
Meredith's heart stopped in her chest. She hadn't been expecting that. She had no idea what she had been expecting because saying this hadn't been anywhere her plan for ever, but she hadn't been expecting him to say something like that. He had sounded cold, he had sounded distant and he had sounded entirely not like Derek. She hadn't been expecting him to not sound like Derek.
"And yet you love me?"
"I…that's saying something, Derek. Doesn't that say something? Because I don't even believe in love but I love you and…I'm confused and scared and Derek…I love you."
"Stop saying that!"
"I can't!" she cried, feeling tears prick her eyes. "I can't stop saying that because…I said it. I said it and now I want to say…I love you. I love you."
"You don't…you don't believe in love," he breathed.
"I want to. I want to believe in love. I want to believe in us and the way…the way we feel or at least the way you used to feel because now I don't know but I want to believe in this and I want this. I want this so bad, Der."
"Why…why now?" he breathed.
She stopped for a second, suddenly noticing that the moonlight was shining against wet tracks along his cheeks.
"I'm in therapy, Derek," she whispered, letting her free hand find his.
"I'm…after we broke up, after I lost you…I decided to get some help and it's been…god it's been a battle, Der. It's been hell but I'm finally getting somewhere, I'm finally…I'm working through things and I'm starting to figure out what's wrong with me. I'm fixing myself."
"Mer…that's…that's great," he whispered, squeezing her hand.
"My mom tried to kill herself after Chief Webber left her."
"My mom tried to kill herself. And I didn't…I didn't think it got me. I didn't think it had anything to do with me and my problems but…how…how am I supposed to believe in love when it nearly killed my mom? She…she raised me to be stronger than that, to be…"
"She raised you not to fall in love and…end up alone," he nodded slowly.
"But…I…you…I can't not love you," she breathed, shaking her head quickly as she felt the tears begin to flow. "I've tried, Derek. I've tried to run, and I've tried…but I can't. I can't not love you."
"So you don't want to love me," he whispered.
"No," she protested quickly, squeezing his hand. "I didn't, I didn't want to love you but I've been…I'm working through things and now…now I just want to be with you, Derek. I know it won't be easy, I know we have a lot to work through but I don't want to run anymore. I just want to be with you. I want this. I want to love you. I want…everything."
"You…you've said these things before Mer…how…how am I supposed to believe you?"
"I…I don't know," she breathed. "I just…I love you, Derek."
"I love you too, Mer. I always will."
Meredith smiled slightly as she leaned into him, feeling her heart soar at his words. Which was stupid and cheesy and Meredith's heart didn't soar. It wasn't supposed to soar. But it did. "I want this, Derek. I know it's taken me a while and I know…I know you might be sick of waiting and maybe I'm too late. But I want…the one hundred and ten years, I want the lifetime and the wedding and the kids. It all terrifies me, I can't…I can't lie. It terrifies me. But I want it. I want it so much."
"Mer…I…I still want it. I still want it with you. I do, Mer. But…you've said all this before. I thought you wanted this all before and you…what you did…"
"I'm sorry," she whispered.
"I know…I know you are," Derek murmured, wrapping an arm around her. "I just don't know if I can do this again. I don't know if I can risk you running away when it gets too hard."
"Marry me," she whispered, feeling a smile spread across her face. She hadn't planned that at all, she hadn't even been thinking it but she couldn't take it back. She didn't want to take it back. "I…that's insane. I know it's insane. But…marry me.'
"You…that…that means forever, if we get married…that means forever. It means…it means lots of things, big huge things. You can't just…you want to get married?"
"I…I don't…I want forever, Der. I'm going to love you forever and I know that, I know I will. I love you and I want to be with you so we should…we could get married, if you want. If you want to get married, I want to get married. I want…marry me, Derek."
"That…we…we can't get engaged like this."
"I…I don't have a ring," he half breathed, half sobbed. "I don't have a ring and I'm still…I'm kind of with Rose. I'll have…I have to end it with Rose before we get engaged. And I need a ring. I'm going to need a ring so we can do this right. So…"
"Is that a yes?"
"It's a….yeah, it's a yes but not an official yes."
"Oh," she giggled through her tears.
"We're…we're getting married," Derek laughed, wrapping both arms tightly around her. "Mer, are you sure? Because I…this wasn't only you."
"I know that."
"I've made so many mistakes, I have messed this up so many times…"
"And you still…"
"We'll work through it, Derek," she whispered. "Because…we love eachother and that's what people who love eachother do. So we…we'll talk or something and…work through it."
"Okay," he smiled. "But you…this means no running. You can't run when we're married."
"I don't want to run."
"Oh Mer…" he laughed, wiping at his eyes. "I never…this isn't…I never expected to get you back and now we're…unofficially engaged. Which is better than anything I ever hoped for. Can I…can I thank your therapist?"
"Yeah," she giggled.
"I am so proud of you."
"Don't be," Meredith shook her head. "Don't…there's nothing to be proud of. I just…I did what I had to do. To have what I really want."
"And you want me."
"I want you."
"Why do you have the champagne?"
"Oh!" she gasped, suddenly pulling away from him. "Beth…Beth's awake, Der. She's groggy and still out of it but she's awake. She's awake and she's alive and things look…they look good, Derek. I think we may have…"
"We got it right?"
"I…I think so."
"We got it right?"
"I said I think so," she giggled.
"Mer…" he breathed. "We did it."
"We did it."
"Now…now we're going to need some more patients, Webber won't shut us down so we have to work on finding some more people to try this on. We need to prove it works a lot more than once so…people. That's your job. And then…if it really works…"
"Derek, breathe," Meredith giggled slightly.
"I…I am," he nodded.
"No, I don't think so," she laughed, leaning into him.
"This…this is where I was going to build the house," he murmured. "The house plans and everything, this is where I was going to put it."
"Do…do you still have the plans?"
She looked up at him then, and smiled at the complete change that had taken over him. His eyes were shining and a wide smile brightened his face. And then his lips brushed gently along hers, sending a shiver through her body before he pulled away. She moved, standing on her tiptoes, pressing her lips against his, letting her fingers tangle through his hair as she deepened the kiss that he had begun.
Look into my eyes
No one's givin' up quite yet
We've got too much to lose