Disclaimer: I don't own Grey's Anatomy, et al.

Eyes Wider Than Before

This story is based on one of my most favorite songs ever by one of the best most soulful artists and lyricists out there today ... Scott Matthews. If you have not listened to this song or have never heard of him, take a listen, anywhere you can ... you just might melt right out of your skin.

Until about the midpoint of this story, each chapter has only TWO parts ... one from Meredith's POV and one from Derek's POV over the SAME moment in time. Thereafter the chapters are longer, many with three or more parts.

Also, each chapter of this story has its own song inspiration, but the main ideas in this piece of fiction reside in the lyrics from this song.

Lyrics: "Eyes Wider than Before" by Scott Matthews:

Oh Lord, a distant beam of light
The jab of neon floods my weary eyes
It illuminates my soul, is on fire
I'm heading your way with the traffic on my side

Remember how it was before
Just a minute away, I'll be knocking on your front door
Don't underestimate this precious time
Every second is treated as though there is no time

Your eyes are wider than before
So little has changed
But your eyes now see much more

Hush, now sway and fall asleep
Gonna drive you away from the trampling of bustling feet
You can lose your troubled thoughts for tonight at least
You can wake in the morning, feeling that you can breathe

Little darling, you're mine for tonight
Your mellow and tender soul is hard to find
From you I draw no doubts deep inside
I surrender myself to your presence and peace of mind

Your eyes are wider than before
So little has changed but your eyes now see much more
So much more, so, so much more
So much more, so much more

Chapter 1 – Heartbeats

Likewise, take a listen where you can … Jose Gonzalez's rendition of Heartbeats is beautiful. Here are the lyrics:

One night to be confused
One night to speed up truth
We had a promise made
Four hands and then away

Both under influence
We had divine scent
To know what to say
Mind is a razor blade

To call for hands of above
To lean on
Wouldn't be good enough
For me, no

One night of magic rush
The start a simple touch
One night to push and scream
And then relief

Ten days of perfect tunes
The colors red and blue
We had a promise made
We were in love

To call for hands of above
To lean on
Wouldn't be good enough
For me, no

To call for hands of above
To lean on
Wouldn't be good enough

And you, you knew the hands of the devil
And you, kept us awake with wolf teeth
Sharing different heartbeats
In one night

To call for hands of above
To lean on
Wouldn't be good enough
For me, no

To call for hands of above
To lean on
Wouldn't be good enough
For me, no

Chapter 1 – Heartbeats – Meredith Grey

Meredith Grey turned the scalding hot shower off and stood still for a moment in time. A new day was upon her, the sun had just broken over the horizon … just a few more days to convalesce now. Her heart raced … just slow down, she coached herself. She watched the steam flourish and float off of her pink skin into the dim steamy air all around her. She focused – envisioning her pain, allowing it to float up and out of her soul and into the atmosphere – but it was no use, it was still lodged deep within her core. Her heart was on fire as her skin continued to burn. Her heart beat on and on – thump, thump, thump – as she closed her eyes and saw Derek's handsome face, still etched with pain and uncertainty.

She reached out beyond the shower curtain – her flesh puckered against the colder air – she quickly pulled a clean towel down from the rack. She draped it over her shoulders and gingerly leaned down to pat herself dry – paying close attention to the small new scar on her abdomen – so far it was healing as expected; at least she could count on that.

She wrapped her hair in that towel and grabbed another one for her body. Steam continued to rise from her glistening shoulders as she carefully stepped from the warm porcelain tub onto the cold tile floor. She took two steps and turned to face her reflection in the small vanity mirror … she was muted and fuzzy, much like how she felt at that very moment.

She could easily disappear.

Meredith grabbed the hand towel from the edge of the sink and swept it across the mirror with haste to find a more clear vision of herself – she looked fine, healthy, good as new on the outside, all stitched back together – but little did the naked eye reveal that on the inside she was falling apart. Her skin was nothing but the tissue holding the fragile pieces of her physical existence together.

For she was broken – the hairline fracture in her heart she had learned to live with since Derek went back to Addison had officially cracked open – and now she was as good as dead, lonely, crestfallen and bitter.

Her reflection became blurred again as unshed tears welled in her eyes … could this warped new view of herself be the new "her"? Just when she thought she couldn't shed another tear, she blinked and that new collection premiered along her flushed cheeks, pain seared her broken heart once again.

Damn, she sighed, secretly wondering what her mother would say if she saw her now. It wasn't hard to imagine, for people always seemed to have a lot to say about Meredith Grey.

People would say she was as strong as she was weak in the same breath.

People would say she was a scrappy fighter, and given her childhood of abandonment, she wouldn't disagree.

People would say she was a good woman who fell in love with the right man at the wrong time.

People would say she hit ground zero the day she put her hand on that bomb.

But Meredith Grey knew better.

Because this was far worse than that, for she knew she was at the edge of oblivion – but she had little desire to turn away from it – she would rather lean into it at this point. Yes, it was true; she could easily step off and let herself be forgotten. Disappear back into that sea of everyday life. Just go with the tide – the natural ebb and flow – seeking solace from the masses of nameless and shapeless faces at Seattle Grace and the world at large.

But Meredith Grey knew too much … far too much to do just that.

As she wrapped the damp towel around herself and exited the bathroom, she knew what she had to do. She had to get her affairs in order. She crossed the room to her dresser and dropped the towel. She quickly pulled her panties and a pair of jeans on. She released her hair from the second towel, it fell to her feet. Dismissing the idea of a bra, she slipped her favorite cashmere sweater on and heaved a sigh.

She had to walk away, now that he had walked away … again.

Yes, she had to walk away – and God knows – it would be hard. She knew that much. It would be easier to stay put and go through the motions just like she had since Addison showed up. She could put up that front … the brave 'they can't break me' front … again. Hell, she was groomed for that! Yes, staying would be easier because lets face it – according to most, it suited her – for she was the classic underdog, she was the one with the crises of hope … the heroine in the backward fairytale who was likely never to wake up to find her prince.

And perhaps their timing was destined to be … off, her timing with Derek. Maybe they were destined for single nights of magical rushes and simple touches … never fated for more. Tears pooled again in her tired green eyes … no, this time she had to break away.

Meredith bent down gently, wincing at the pain radiating from her healing flesh before she picked the towels up and added them to her growing pile of laundry. She put a brush through her hair, glad to feel that at least her new conditioner was doing the job. She grabbed her cell phone and crossed the room, the floor creaked under her trivial weight and she found solace in the predictability of hearing those familiar sounds. She opened the doorway and peered down the length of the dim hallway, it would seem she was alone.

She padded down the hallway now, slipping carefully by Izzie's room, for she hadn't been sleeping much lately as the idea of losing Denny slowly became her reality. Meredith sighed inwardly, not much about that situation could have ended well … and now it seemed they all had to deal with the fallout. She made her way down the steps and rounded the corner to the kitchen – it still smelled like a bakery down here– a welcome odor that somehow began to overpower the clinical hospital scent that seemed to follow them all home.

Meredith made some coffee and surveyed the muffins at large, Izzie was on auto-pilot and no one seemed to be able to stop her – Meredith looked over this morning's selection and decided on the most simple one she could find – she grabbed a small plate for that, prepared her coffee and exited the kitchen to sit in the living room and make her calls.

She set the plate down on the table in front of her and held her coffee mug, secretly hoping to would heal her cold heart; she took a sip, no such luck. She put the coffee cup down and stared at her cell phone. It taunted her … daring her to think about what kind of mess she was about to get herself into with the call she was about to make. She held the phone out and scrolled through her address book looking for the number and without another thought she pressed 'send' on her desired contact.

She listened to the brill of the ring, thinking she could hang up, she could still undo what was almost done – but something told her not to – some other force permeated through her and she stayed on the line until the serious no-nonsense voice of Patricia, the Chief's secretary, flooded into her ear.

"Patricia, this is Meredith Grey calling. I was wondering if the Chief had any time in his schedule for me," she said into the line softy.

And so as Meredith set up her appointment with the Chief, her heart beat wildly in her chest chanting – live, go, live, go – and she found herself mercilessly repeating that all too familiar mantra in her head …

What did I do, what did I do, what did I do?

Chapter 1 – Heartbeats – Derek Shepherd to follow.