Better to Have Loved

A Grey's Anatomy fic by Gigi

Disclaimer: I own Gigi-land, but sadly, I do not own Shonda-land.

Chapter 1: I Need You

A/N: You'd think I'd have learned by now that by starting yet another multi-chapter fic, I'm making it harder for myself to update my other stories quickly, especially since school has started back. Oh well.

A/N: I have taken some creative liberties with the scene where Derek gets Addison's phone call because—well, because the story wouldn't have been nearly as interesting if I didn't. So yeah. I'm done writing in bold text, so read the un-bolded text (the story) now!

Derek sat on his and Meredith's bed, turning a small box over and over in his hands. He didn't want to open it, because then he would be forced to ask himself if he would really propose to her. He hadn't even been planning to propose, but then his mother visited him and met Meredith—alarmingly high ponytail and all—and gave him the ring, saying she was different than Addie.

Which begs the question, why could he only think about Addie when he looked at this ring?

Derek kept telling himself that it was only because when he and Addie had been dating, he always eyed the sparkling diamond ring that rested on his mother's finger in hopes he could propose to her with it. He insisted it was only nostalgia that made him constantly picture the white-gold band nestled not on the long, skinny finger of his girlfriend, but on the slender, workman's finger of his ex-wife.

But he should hold off proposing until he could stop seeing Addison's face in it, right?

Right.

His pocket started buzzing when his phone received a call. Reaching into his pants pocket with the hand that wasn't holding the small velvet box, he extracted his cell phone and picked up.

"Hello?" A sob answered him. Right away, he knew who it was. "Addison?"

"Derek," she heaved, sounding more broken than he had ever heard before. Putting aside his own dilemma for the moment, Derek gripped the phone so tightly his knuckles became white. "I need you." He could hear the constant hitches in her voice that came from her crying.

"What happened?"

"Archer has neurocystic sarcosis," she announced, making Derek's eyes go wide. "He's in a medically-induced coma to prevent anymore brain damage from constant seizing." Another cry ripped out of her, and he could just picture her covering her mouth with her hand, eyes swimming with anguish.

"Where are you?"

"In Seattle." He knew what pain she was going through now, and he was fully aware of that pain. But somewhere in the back of his mind, he couldn't believe that his ex-wife was back near him just as he received the long-awaited engagement ring from his mother for Meredith. "I'm at the hospital, but you're not! I need you here, Derek. I need you to make it all okay," she pleaded.

Addison paced in the courtyard in front of the hospital, with one hand holding her BlackBerry up to her ear and the other propped on her hip. Derek could faintly hear the soft clicking of her heels against the pavement, and suddenly that was the only place Derek could think of being. "I'm on my way."

8D

Derek had driven like a madman to the hospital. He'd haphazardly parked in a red zone, and he couldn't even remember if he'd locked his car. All he could focus on was the woman who waited for him by the hospital doors. As soon as she saw him power-walking to her, she rushed out to meet him.

"Derek!" Addison cried out in relief, letting him envelope her in a tight hug when they reached each other.

"It's okay, I'm right here," he soothed, rubbing her back. Addison buried her face in his neck and clutched his shoulders for dear life.

"He was fine, and then--" she broke off.

"I know."

The pair stood there for a few minutes. He simply held her while she finally let herself break down. Every now and then, he heard her whisper, "He's my big brother," in a way that made his heart hurt. He was already going to try to save his former brother-in-law, but seeing Addison in so much torment, he realized had to save Archer.

A/N: Such a shortie! I'm writing this in the car, and I really want to sleep now, and I can't think of anything else to add to this without making it drag on. So review, and maybe I'll post the next chapter soon. But only if I get reviews.