AUTHOR'S NOTE Short story, I know, but hopefully you enjoyed it! I wasn't originally going to make Jack and Derek twins, but Matthew Fox and Patrick Dempsey were born in the same year, so I figured, why not?
DISCLAIMER I own nothing from Lost or Grey's Anatomy.
Meredith found Derek later that afternoon sitting alone in a stairwell. She said nothing as she sat next to him. For a few minutes, the two of them sat in silence apart from the echoes of doors and footsteps above and below them.
Then suddenly, Derek said, "Jack is my brother."
She frowned. "But you told me you only had sisters."
They fell back into uncomfortable quiet. Again it was Derek who spoke first. "When we were six, our parents got divorced. Mom had custody, but Jack threw such horrible tantrums that before long she sent him to live with our father. Mom and Dad hated each other so much that we hardly ever heard anything about Jack after that." He sighed. "I know he's a doctor and I know that he was on his way back from Australia with Dad's body, but that's it."
Meredith had picked up on the things he had said and was frowning. "When you were both six?"
He nodded and gave her a flat look. "We're twins."
She opened her mouth but could not find words. Twins? Derek had a twin? "You have a twin?"
Ruefully, he nodded. "I have a twin."
"And now he's missing."
"Missing and presumed dead."
What else was there to say? "I'm sorry."
He stood up and shrugged. "Nothing to be sorry for. But at least I know what that feeling was all about."
Cocking her head, Meredith said, "Your brother's plane crash?"
He nodded. "What else could it be?"
She shrugged. "I don't know. I've never had a twin. Or any siblings for that matter."
He said nothing, choosing to silently hug her. "Thank you," he finally said.
"For what?" she asked.
"For trying to understand." Then he rested his hand on the door handle. "I better go. You know, check on my mom."
She nodded. "You should do that. I'll talk to you later."
Derek nodded and disappeared through the door. Meredith sighed before heading downstairs. She had the sudden urge to call her mother.
Addison found Derek's mother sitting alone in the Radiology waiting room and staring out the window. "Hi," she said softly.
The older woman looked up. "Addy, hi." She stood up and looked around. "I wasn't sure where to go. This seemed the quietest place."
Smiling sadly, Addison nodded. "It is. How are you doing?"
Mrs. Shepherd sighed and sank back down in the chair. Addison sat beside her. She said, "You don't ever get used to it."
"Get used to what?" Addison asked.
"To losing people," Mrs. Shepherd replied. "When my husband and I divorced, I had to get used to living alone with my children." She smiled wryly. "Apparently I didn't do that very well. It's been over twenty years and I still go by Mrs."
Addison shook her head and looked at the floor. "That's not necessarily a bad thing."
Mrs. Shepherd shrugged. "It doesn't matter now. Then when Jack left to live with Christian, I had to get used to it again. But to get the news that Christian had died and suddenly Jack's gone too…" She trailed off, shaking her head.
Addison looked at her. "You can't lose hope! Jack could still be alright."
Putting a hand on Addison's arm, Mrs. Shepherd said, "You've always been so optimistic. Try not to lose that."
Thoughts of Derek and Meredith assaulted Addison's mind and she just nodded. "I'll try," she told her mother-in-law.
Just then, Derek pushed the door open. "Mom, I've been looking everywhere for you," he said.
She stood up. "Hello Derek."
Derek looked between Addison and his mother. "Having a little chat?"
Addison stood up quickly. "I'll let you two alone."
As she let the door to the waiting room swing closed, she heard Mrs. Shepherd sat, "Come on Derek. There's that you need to help me do."
Derek held his mother's trembling hand as she pushed open the door to the hospital's chapel. "Are you sure about this?" he asked.
She nodded. "You need this too, Derek."
Regretfully, he nodded. Together they went into the small sanctuary.
There were candles along one of the walls, with a box of long matches lying on the table. Slowly, Mrs. Shepherd pulled out two matches and handed one to her son. Her hand was surprisingly steady as she struck the match and lit one of the candles. "For Christian Shepherd," she said, her voice soft.
Derek lit the other match and touched the flame to another candle. "And for Jack."
They were silent for a minute, watching the tiny flames. Then Mrs. Shepherd said, "May they rest in peace."
Meredith paused at the front door of Seattle Grace to wrap her scarf around her neck before heading home. The sky was soft black and a few stars shone through the reflection of the city lights.
She heard footsteps behind her and turned to see Derek trudging toward her, his head down. "Hey," she said.
He looked up to meet her eyes. "Hey," he said.
Meredith peered behind him. "Where's your mother?"
"She caught a cab earlier back to a hotel," Derek said.
She frowned. "How are you holding up?" she asked.
He met her eyes and she could tell that he was upset. "We lit candles in the chapel," he said. "To wish them to rest in peace."
"But?" Meredith prompted.
"But I don't believe Jack is dead," Derek admitted. "Call it crazy or ESP or some kind of twin bond. But Jack is alive."
Meredith could hear the certainty is his voice and allowed herself a small smile. "Jack is alive."
Giving her a kiss on the cheek, Derek said, "Thank you, Meredith. Thank you for everything today."
She smiled. "No problem. Goodnight Derek."
They left the front steps of the building together but parted ways in the parking lot. Meredith returned to her mother's house, comforted in the knowledge that although she was sick, Ellis Grey was at least alive. And Derek returned to his trailer, secure in his hope that somewhere Jack Shepherd was alive and someday would show up again.