So I really enjoyed the Christmas episode, I did. Except it was like...too much good shoved into not enough time and I think it would have been a lot better if it had been 2 hours because I think some stuff was left out...like the big huge fact it was Mer/Der's first Christmas together and Derek clearly loves Christmas and I think M/D fans would have liked it so to me this fic...is a tiny moment that we didn't get to see but I like to think happened anyway.
Tonight you had felt like you were married to him.
Not that that was that odd. Except most nights you didn't. Most night he met you in the locker room, or you'd find him already at home or he would show up hours later and you were always happy to see him, always loved his soft kiss as a greeting but on those nights, you mainly just felt like Meredith and Derek, the same Meredith and Derek you had always been, the ones that just made sense.
But tonight when all of your friends and messed up family and some people you barely knew had been hugging you goodbye and thanking you both for having them and saying how great everything had been, you had felt very very married.
Tonight you had felt like Mrs. Meredith Shepherd.
Not Dr. Meredith Grey.
And for tonight, and probably just for tonight because the idea of being a Mrs anyone made your stomach turn ever so slightly, it had been okay.
You turn and look for your husband after closing the door on your last guests to leave, Mark, Lexie and Mark's daughter – your head is still spinning at that one even though she had been a thorn in your sister's side for a month now – and you find him already moving toward the dining room, moving to clear the million dirty dishes away. And he probably has the right idea, it was the good China his family had insisted on buying you after they had found out about the very unofficial wedding, so letting the gravy dry onto it was probably really really bad and you'd only grow to regret it in the morning.
Except it was your first Christmas as Mrs. Meredith Shepherd or whoever it was you were today and between working and hosting dinner, you had barely had a minute alone with Mr. Derek Shepherd.
And that for sure was completely and entirely wrong.
You watch as Derek moves to grab the crystal off the table, some gift from some other relative of his that you were yet to even meet, and you can't help but smile. He looks exhausted, which wasn't surprising but you could still see the joy in his movement. Since Thanksgiving had passed, if you had learned anything about your husband it was that he really loved Christmas. He really loved it and he waxed on poetically about wanting to be with people, family and friends and he had dragged you along through all of it...through the tree and decorating and the gifts and the invite list and every single little bit and for the first time in as long as you can remember you felt something akin to Christmas joy. But it had been a crazy four weeks, amazing and crazy and now you just needed a second alone.
"Der..." you murmur, walking closer to him, smiling softly as you notice that his curls have definitely started to flop the way they do at the end of a long day, as if they got exhausted long before he allowed his body to.
"Can't those wait till later?" you ask gently, gesturing to the plates in his hand.
"They can, but they really shouldn't," he sighed softly, the exact response you had expected from him because most of the time it was very clear that you knew your husband too well.
"But they can."
"But they shouldn't," he repeated, although he was definitely smiling now.
"But they can," you giggle softly, giving him the eyes you know he can't resist because most of the time knowing him too well comes in handy. "They can and your wife, who hasn't even been your wife for a year yet, would very much like some alone time with her husband on their very first Christmas together."
"When you put it like that," he laughed, placing the plates down.
"And you look exhausted."
"Long day," he sighed, closing his eyes for a second.
"And now they're all gone and we can...alone, which...I know that sounds like a proposition and later...later it definitely is but right now, I just...it's Christmas and I don't even usually like Christmas all that much but this one was...and I want to be alone with you."
"Alone sounds nice," he smiled.
"It does," you nodded, leading him toward the living room, choosing to also ignore the fact that your mothers expensive rug was currently covered with torn wrapping paper. "So how was your day? We haven't even had time to talk."
"It was a day," he sighed, pulling you onto the couch. "Oh...when you do the banking next, don't be alarmed that the one account had a major drop. I wrote a check to the hospital today."
"We ran out of funding on the instruments we were making," he sighed, stress lines appearing around his eyes that make him look older. "We offered our bonuses over to pay for it, but apparently those don't exist this year so Mark, Arizona and I paid for them out of our pockets."
"You did?" you raised an eyebrow.
"We're going to save a little boy's life," Derek defended.
"Okay," you giggle slightly, raising an eyebrow at him. "Just...consider texting the wife next time you spend that much money."
"Will do," he nodded, sighing deeply.
You frown and reach over to run your fingers through his hair, loving the feel of the soft curls as you watched him carefully. It was Christmas, it was his favourite day of the year and instead of smiling and trying to figure out a good excuse to celebrate Christmas naked, he looked like he was too deep in thought to appreciate the fact that the place was covered in Christmas or that it was finally your first Christmas together. "What's wrong?" you ask quietly.
"There's no bonuses this year."
"You said that."
"And we don't...we don't need them," he shrugged. "But there are people in that hospital, people that are struggling to make ends meet and pay off student loans, they need those bonuses. They depend on those bonuses."
"There's nothing we can do, Der," you murmur gently.
"How many people didn't get an amazing Christmas this year?" he asked quietly. "Who got laid off and couldn't...or just had been depending on the extra cash and..."
"Derek, the economy is crap, it's not anyone's fault. Well maybe Bush's..."
"The merger was supposed to fix this."
"It...it can't fix everything over night."
"It hasn't fixed anything," he groaned, leaning his head back against the couch and squeezing his eyes shut. "Good doctors are losing their jobs, no one can get inside an OR, patient care has taken a nose dive because everyone is so damn scared that they just keep fighting, the hospital is a mess and it hasn't given us more money."
"It's my hospital and...the man that taught me everything is just...letting it crumble. It's falling a part and I can't do a damn thing."
"Der..." you murmur, looking at him carefully. You should tell him, tell him what you expected was going on and then maybe he could feel like he could do something. Except you weren't sure exactly what was going on, or you did know, your gut knew but you weren't really ready to think that maybe in this case your gut was right so you weren't exactly sure what to say to your husband about what you expected was going on. Because you could be wrong and Webber was definitely acting like you were wrong so it would be very possible you'd be adding fuel to the fire your husband was already burning brightly.
Besides, you knew him. He had grown up without a father and Webber had taken him under his wing and this...this could quite possibly break his heart because he was more fragile than he'd ever let on.
And you were not going to break your husband's heart on your first Christmas together.
"It's not your job to save everyone," you murmur finally.
"I can try."
"Okay, Clark Kent," you smiled slightly, leaning toward him. "But I think even Superman took Christmas Day off."
"Hmmm..." he laughed softly, opening his eyes again, the light coming back ever so slightly to them, sparkling and soft in that way that made you want to fall into them or some other cheesy thing that would only make Derek smile. The lines were there, the stress etched across his handsome face, but at least you had taken a step. "I love you."
"I love you too," you smile, grabbing his hand, as suddenly inspiration struck and you pulled gently, trying to get him to get off the couch. "Come on."
"Come on," you urged, standing up.
"What are we doing?" he frowned slightly, standing up beside you.
"I am showing Superman how to take a break," you giggle softly, squeezing his hand and smiling at the roughness of his palm. You loved his hands, how rough they were from fishing and camping and how gentle they were from all of his time in the OR. You lead him quickly to the tree, which decorating with him was definitely going to go down as one of your favourite Christmas memories ever even if he had insisted on playing cheesy Christmas songs. You even smiled at the ornament you had opened today, the one that cheesily had a couple kissing and said first Christmas. But right now you smiled.
Because right now, you were pretty sure right now you felt completely bright and shiny.
That was of course until you pulled him down onto the floor, sticking your head under the tree like you had done the two previous years, as he stayed sitting on the floor, staring at you like he may very well be thinking you were going crazy. Suddenly you didn't feel very bright and shiny at all because two people had missed everything.
"What are you doing?" he asked quietly.
"Watching the lights," you explained, yanking at his hand. "Get down here and you'll see."
"Oh...okay," Derek breathed and you feel him moving beside you. You don't need to see his face, you can hear it in your voice, the way he gets when he thinks you might be a little crazy but he loves you anyway so he goes along with it.
"Izzie, George and I used to do this."
You didn't have to say anything else, because he knew you too well, which meant he knew everything you had said in just the simple sentence.
"Missing them?" he asks quietly, shifting so his arm was around you and your heads was resting on his chest.
"Hmmm..." you nodded, cuddling into your husband's arms, taking a deep breath as you try to not think of laying under here with two of your best friends. You still hadn't adapted to George being gone, six months had passed since then and yet it still felt like any day he would show up at work, wearing his scrubs, smiling eagerly, anxious to catch up on everything he had missed. It didn't seem possibly real that he could be gone. And Izzie was...you had no idea. She was with her mom, or she had been and you didn't know if she was coming back, you had no idea what was going through her head and you really didn't know when you were ever going to see her again.
"You okay?" he whispered.
"They should be here," you murmur. "Izzie and George loved Christmas, the rest of us...we hated it but they loved it and now...I don't know what Izzie's doing but George...the point is, they're supposed to be here."
"George is here," he whispered. "I know it sounds horribly cheesy but he's here, he's still here and Izzie...Izzie is probably having a great Christmas at home with her mom."
You're not sure if he actually believes it, or if he's just saying it to make you feel better but you love him for it.
"I know..." you whisper, staring up into the tree. "But my point is...everything is upside down right now, Der. It's not...everything is messed up. My friends are gone...even Alex didn't come and the hospital is a mess, it's a complete mess. My dad was here, and Webber was here and everything is like...and Mark has a kid."
"Things are messed up," Derek laughed softly. "Especially Mark being a dad."
"But we're not messed up."
"We're not," he agreed.
"And right now, it's just," you murmur. "Everyone else is gone and it's just us and this tree and it's our first Christmas together, Der. Our first Christmas and..."
"Christmas makes you want to be with people you love."
"I want to be with you."
"I want to be with you too."
"So..." you breathe. "Stop trying to save the world for the day, stop trying to fix everything that's wrong and being you. Because I love you but us...this Christmas for us has been perfect and I think you should just...look at the tree."
"It looks...amazing from this side."
"It does," you smile, snuggling into him, smiling wider as you feel the cold chain press around your neck from the necklace he had gotten you. "And it's Christmas."
"Which is..." you murmur. "Der, everything is a mess but I'm happy. Which I'm pretty sure is because I'm married to you so tonight, I just want to be happy."
"It's our first Christmas," he suddenly breathes and you can hear the smile in his voice. "Our first of many Christmases."
"It is," you giggle.
"This should be a tradition," he sighed. "Even if we're at my mom's...at the end of the night, when everyone's gone to bed, we sneak under the tree and just...look at the tree and remember that..this is what matters. None of the other bullshit, this."
"I love you, Der."
"I love you too."
"I really really love you."
He sighed happily as his arm tightened a little more around you. He was all but crushing you to his chest but you didn't mind all that much. It felt amazing. Because right now, tonight felt entirely amazing.
You had never even liked Christmas, you had actually hated it. All you had for memories of childhood Christmases was how they made you realize how alone you were. Everyone else had had lists of plans with their parents, things that sounded amazing and fun and you had had the sinking feeling in your stomach that you would be spending your two weeks off school in an empty home, with a tree that was only half decorated, because you couldn't reach the top of it and your mom couldn't be bothered to help. Christmas had been the worst part of your childhood.
But things were different, you were married and maybe life wasn't perfect. You had started to come to the very real realization that maybe you had found the love of your life, but it was very likely that life was never going to be perfect. And that was okay.
Because at least at Christmas, you would be able to cuddle with Derek underneath the tree.
When it seems the magic slipped away,
We find it all again on Christmas Day.
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