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

So yesterday I heard this song at my friend's daughter's dance recital and then it stuck with me. I came home, found a recording, and let me say, Alicia Keys, she is something else with this song. So … I listen and listen and then I have an idea and this is what came out, a two shot. I'll post the balance tomorrow night.

I truly hope you enjoy and please tell me what you think. If you do a youtube search for this song, use "Caged Bird – Alicia Keys" you'll find a recording easily, listen while you read, music can mean all the difference, to me anyway.

Lyrics for Alicia Keys' "Caged Bird":

Right now I feel like a bird
Caged without a key
Everyone comes to stare at me
With so much joy and rivalry
They didn't know how I feel inside
Through my smile I cry
They don't know what they're doin' to me
Keeping me from flyin'
That's why I say that
I know why the caged bird sings
Only joy comes from song
She's so rare and beautiful to others
Why not just set her free
So she can
Fly, fly, fly
Spreadin' her wings and her song
Let her
Fly, fly fly
For the whole world to see
She's like caged bird
Fly, fly
Ooh just let her fly
Just let her fly
Just let her fly
Spread the wings
Spread the beauty

###

Caged Bird – Part 1 of 2

"You spent less than an hour with Meredith, you barely even know her."

As soon as I heard myself say these words to my mother last night – I started to wonder if I had really gotten it – gotten to know what makes Meredith Grey tick. And here's the thing, I'm not all that sure I do.

In fact I know this is a work in progress for me as I stand here now, shrouded in my long wool coat just outside the steel bars of the maximum security prison – where a man has been held down, caged and now truly convicted of his crimes against humanity – whilst I stand idly here, breathing in and out, and wait for my lover.

I stand firmly on my own two feet, of my own sound mind and body … I stand here with my heart in my hand and wait for Meredith to emerge safe and sound and hopefully still whole and healed.

And as I stand here, even now, even after everything it took to get me to this place – my fears of the unknown aside, my anger over the loss of my father also aside – I stand here and I wonder if I'll ever be able to measure up to what Meredith stands for – I wonder if I'll ever be enough – or be strong enough to keep up with her as she spreads her wings and flies into that expansive gray and forgiving area she lives within.

"You see things in black and white, Meredith doesn't."

My mother was right (and she usually is), I do see things differently than Meredith does, I am less forgiving and perhaps more jaded and for these reasons I have often wondered what she sees in me.

I wonder why she has forgiven me time and time again – she would say it is because she loves me and she tried to stop and she couldn't – she would say that everyone deserves some kind of second chance (or in my case, third or fourth chance) to make things right.

But I still wonder if I will ever be able to earn these chances – for she gives so much, yes, she gives and I perpetually take of her – yes, I take and she loves me anyway. I take and she exhibits her tolerance, her capacity for compassion and sometimes all I can do is what I am doing now, stand idly by and watch her, knowing sometimes she is so beautiful it hurts to look at her.

"You need her."

I do need her (my mother again, she calls it how she sees it) – and I know at this point, I know for sure I cannot be who I am without Meredith – she grounds me, she understands me … although my question remains unanswered: will I ever really 'get' her?

I ponder this conundrum now – especially as we've grown closer and our relationship has become more perfected – and yet, I never would have guessed I would be standing right here, right now … proof once again that Meredith's vast gray area is just too big for my black and white mind some of the time.

I hunker down as the wind changes direction – I seek the heat of my own body to keep me warm – I shrug my shoulders against my predicament, pondering Meredith's condition as she would come to stand in front of me … soon. Though her condition is of no consequence to me because I am in this thing – my eyes are wide open and there is no going back – no going back to a life without her because … she's the one.

"She's the one."

And on my mother's words, I find myself smiling inside, as hard as it is to fathom a future beyond tonight – a future that does not include this amount of ugliness – I am smiling inside. And as I smile, the wind slams against my face and reflexive tears cloud my eyes – the bars in front of me become one in the same – but I stand my ground and wait, leaning back against the cold side of my truck … I wait.

Wait and watch my bated breath twirl and swirl up and into the atmosphere from deep inside my lungs (this place right near my inside smile) – I heave a sigh, swallowing another deep breath of the frigid air because a man was dying and I still have the right to breathe and to live and survive if only to learn to understand my lover – if only to become that man who could see her and truly connect and understand her vast gray area of compassion that I evolved to love so very much.

I close my eyes on this act of love … on this act of compassion … on this latest mission of hers to bestow some kind of compassion or second chance – to William and all of his ugliness – and I hope and pray he does not take too much of her with him.

Because I love her.

And because she sees things in black and white.

And because I could use a little bit of that.

And because I need her.

And because she's the one.

And somewhere within the range of reasons why I stand here still and wait and wait for a man to die and wait and wait for my lover to emerge from his chamber of mercy – I hear the heavy metal door open from within the prison boundary – and therein, I open my eyes.

I press my lips together in a stance to hold myself steady, pressing my cold breath down, down, down as I watch Meredith emerge, I lock my eyes on hers and she fastens her watery gateways to mine and then it hits me … out of nowhere.

She's upset, of course she is – but I find clarity; I find what I am looking for and I realize it has been there the whole time – she's in front of me before I can blink. Her beautiful endless eyes are storm-filled and bloodshot. She's crying and telling me how she doesn't understand herself and how she knows I don't understand her.

But as I fold her in my arms and breathe her in, finding her sweet essence with precision, despite the stench that's there too …

all I can think of his how much my heart hurts just looking at her this way …

all I can seek is her innate heat and how she warms me up from the inside out …

all I can feel is the reason why I cannot live without her or her vast gray area I love so much.

I swallow hard and kiss the top of her head and let her cry and cry while I cry and cry inside because I have learned, I have evolved and she knows this, she knows this because she knows I know the reason for her stance.

For it seems I have earned my second chance – because unlike within the many other stormy times of our relationship – she does not recoil this time … she does not run and does not hide – for she has no reason to.

Not now, not when I see how she doesn't act reflexively, she doesn't run because she finally trusts herself to lean into me and onto me and finally, finally she trusts me to love her in this precise moment and beyond – even if I don't understand her and even if she doesn't understand herself – she lets me love her and it's enough.

I finally know it's enough. For now – it's blessing enough – it's enough that she gets into the truck with me and lets me take her away.

Caged Bird – Part 2 of 2 to follow.