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

Author's Note: A big "thank you" the few of you who have read the first part of this story and were thoughtful enough to leave a note for me, I do so appreciate your time. I also hope you enjoy the second part (and this little note right here: disclaims the erotica found within, please note the change in the rating to M).

Caged Bird – Part 2 of 2

"Right now I feel like a bird; caged without a key."

Derek holds my hand as he starts the truck and pulls me away from my self-imposed imprisonment – my chest hurts, my heart hurts even more – and the whole time I was in there, in that chamber of mercy, I speculated what I would feel like when I walked out of that moment and back into my life.

And now here I am and it isn't what I expected at all.

I wondered how I would process this horrific event that I would likely see so readily now in my mind's eye – for all the rest of my days – I thought, 'you can do this', I thought, 'you have compassion' … and then I watched William die – a patient I fought to save – I watched him die, I watched him take his last breath – 'breathe, breathe, breathe' – I coached myself and then I turned around and walked out of the room that housed this memory that would become mine.

I swallowed the bile lodged in my throat and steadied myself against a cinderblock retaining wall just outside the chamber. I took a deep breath of the stench and the hallow, lifeless air filled my lungs and suddenly I felt beleaguered by my choice to seek the benefit of the doubt, to offer compassion to an already dying murderer ... and then I wanted out. I was done.

"They didn't know how I feel inside; through my smile I cry."

So I leave the walls of imprisonment and I can barely focus through my tears and then I see Derek standing across the street ... waiting for me. And then I realize that all bets are off with respect to how I was going to deal with the fallout of this decision – because he's finally there, right where I need him to be, and for the first time it felt like there was a 'we' – and then I smiled inside because he finally showed up and it was somehow enough … it was somehow enough to know he didn't need or want an explanation … just that he was there because he wanted to be.

And therein, I didn't have to run, I didn't have to hide or explain myself – because I really don't understand myself and what makes me tick – I am a work in progress and suddenly I am okay with that. It doesn't change the fact that William is dead and that I can't stop crying – and Derek doesn't know what to do and I don't know what to tell him to do for me – but he showed up and held me close and I finally let him … which leaves me where I am presently.

Crying tears of anguish – regret, sorrow, mercy, relief, compassion – crying thick tears that are splashing onto my scarf, the stench from the prison filling the small cab, sticking to me like Hester Prynne and her infamous Scarlet Letter. It is all-consuming, it is everywhere I turn until Derek pulls in front of Cristina's apartment building and turns the truck off.

"That's why I say that; I know why the caged bird sings."

He is holding my hand – and I turn to him, but still no words come – only fierce tears, I don't know what to say, but I know in my heart that Derek Shepherd finally understands what I need and that it isn't always going to be him. And for that, I fall even more in love with him than I already am. I love him as he sits with me and holds my hand still for a beat longer. No words need to be spoken. I love him, I know this now as he leans over and kisses my wet cheek – and I trust him as I lean into him, feeling the familiarity of his lips as he pulses them against my skin – I love him as he cracks the window open a half an inch (Does he smell the stench too?) and slips from our small space.

I trust him now as I watch him go and I sit and wait instead of running or hiding or protesting. I wait and he is gone for several minutes before Cristina emerges with him. She gets into the truck with me while Derek sits on a stone bench outside and watches us. He watches me with my person and only in that moment do I realize how much he has grown into the man I fell so deeply in love with.

He gets me is all I think as I hash this thing out with Cristina – this idea of compassion – this idea of learning what makes me tick inside this vast gray area I seem to live within. She tells me, 'you're you, this is what you do' and I believe her. She says, 'you're strong and smart and the best person to be my person because I see things as black and white … and you … you're Meredith Grey' – and then I smile weakly.

"She's so rare and beautiful to others; why not just set her free."

Our conversation lasts just long enough for the flow of my tears to diminish and for Cristina to hug me, which she's learned to do (but only when I really need it). And then before I know it she opens the door – a gust of fresh air funnels inside and cleanses the space – Derek walks toward us, he is pensive, his eyes are wet, I can see this and much more now as he comes to switch places with Cristina. And suddenly it's like the changing of the guards – they rotate, he thanks her and for once in her life – she doesn't roll her eyes or make some kind of snide remark. She simply squeezes his forearm and turns away.

Derek gets back into the drivers' seat and this time I take his hand and hold on tight as he starts the ignition and pulls us further and further away from whence we came. I keep my eyes trained on our destination – a turn here, a red light there, another green light, finally our street – we pull in front of my mother's old house and somehow it feels different coming home.

I feel more appreciative. I feel more blessed. I just feel more.

Derek walks around to my side and holds the door open for me – his arm draped around me as we walk up the front steps and slip inside now – safe and sound and wrapped around one another. He takes my coat and makes to hang it on the peg there inside the door, but I grab a hold his wrist and grasp it tight and instead, he drops it to the ground.

"It smells," I say softly. "It's filthy," I say as I pull my scarf free and drop it to the ground, my voice already sounds different to my own ears; I contemplate what else might be different about me now.

"No one's home, just take everything off, we'll get it tomorrow," he encourages, stepping forward, he trails his fingertips under the hem of my sweater, I raise my arms, he pulls it off.

We strip down to our underclothes and leave everything in the foyer. I smile weakly as he takes my hand and we walk straight upstairs together. We slip into our room and he heads for the bathroom, turning the shower on to the hottest setting (just how I like it). I walk to the sink, an urgent need to brush my teeth presents itself and without thinking I begin to frantically clean my mouth, clean, clean, clean.

Derek follows my lead, resting his warm hand on my bare shoulder as he does. He watches me through the mirror, his blue eyes never leaving my red-rimmed ones. I look like crap – I avert my eyes, he squeezes my shoulder, 'I'm here' he says without words – I find him again and I answer, 'I know' this I know', also without words – I rinse my mouth, remove my bra and panties and step into the shower. Once there, I dip my head back and into the scalding hot spray, opening my eyes just enough and reach for the shampoo, smiling when my lover joins me and takes that shampoo bottle before I do.

I turn around and back into Derek and let him shampoo my hair – relaxing while he massages my scalp like only a brain surgeon could, staying put as he moves his hands all over my body now, lean, lean, trust, trust – I close my eyes and feel it, how things are different.

I open my eyes and turn halfway around. I meet his gaze, I smell better now, like flowers and toothpaste. I kiss the underside of his neck before I turn around again and tilt my head back, letting the shampoo and debris and stench wash away, down and away. I open my eyes and look down in time to watch the little bubbles of soap and filth circle the drain just like I William did.

My heart starts to sink, but then I release the anchor and then I let him go – William, I set him free – for good. Because I am still me … still whole, still healed …still vacillating and living within the comfort of my gray area.

I revolve in Derek's arms again then and plant my minty lips against his – stepping even closer to his heat, the warmth from the shower suddenly not enough – I let my lips linger upon his, kiss, kiss, mine, mine, he tastes like toothpaste and shampoo – he tastes clean and alive and I realize I cannot get enough of him – his attention is solely on me and what makes me tick now.

He washes me clean … he kisses me clean … he loves me clean … he loves me … period.

He washes his hair and I lather my body up and switch places and then switch again – it's all very amicable and domestic – though in my mind I want and I crave far more than amicable and domestic … no … I need to get lost within him. I need him – I need our brand of connectivity – I also know Derek needs me. I turn the water off and we grab our towels. I step from the shower and shimmy the towel along my back, squeezing the excess water from my clean hair as I walk to our bed.

I drop my towel to the ground and slip in between the cold linens. The room becomes dark as Derek turns the bathroom light off, seconds later, the bed shimmies under his familiar weight and we instinctively roll into one another. Like a pro, I find his eyes in the dark and drape my thigh over his hipbone, inching closer. He presses his lips together and I watch his eyes swell with tears, I also watch him blink them away as he takes a stacked, deep breath and draws me even closer.

"Spreadin' her wings and her song; let her fly, fly, fly."

"Kiss me," I whisper, pulsing my lips along his shoulder.

I breathe him in, replacing the death-stench with my elixir once and for all, my lover's warmth and his power over me are suddenly all I can feel or want to feel as Derek presses his naked, hard body against mine and holds me still – reaching up he cradles my skull in his hands and focuses his intense eyes on mine – the storms there receding now as he leans closer, rolling me beneath him before he heeds my call and begins to kiss me senseless.

"Heal me," I say against his mouth, darting my tongue into his minty depths, pulsing my nerves against his.

His body moves over mine like a fishtail – his torso moving back and forth as he dips his head lower and lower – his wet locks tickle my neck as I arch my back and he heals me over and over again with his tiny, wet kisses – kiss, kiss, pluck, nip, suck, suck – he swipes his tongue and lips along my fever-pricked skin, dipping lower he pulses his lips around my nipples, volleying between them before he focuses his attention on just one, latching on, he pulses, suck, suck, pull, pull, bite, massage.

My core wakes up and I feel my vaginal walls begin to pulse, my hips gyrate – 'Derek' – I hear myself sigh into the night air. I clasp my feet behind the small of his back and hold him there inside the moment. He leans up, my sensitive nipples cut against his hard and finds me in the dark – and though our euphoric haze has become thick, it's just the two of us here now, 'in the gray' – and therein, I find him too.

I smile and shift my body beneath his, the evidence of my arousal fills the air, twirling, swirling – I take a deep breath and savor it – I smile again and so does he. I'm still me. I release his body and plant the soles of my feet to the mattress, flexing my hips up, his torso pressing against my pelvic bone, my wet pussy pressing back and against him.

He shifts, hovering over me for a beat. I reach up to the nape of his neck and pull him back down, my lips on his again, I kiss and kiss and heal and heal him too. Keeping my mouth on his, I explore his body with my fingertips, dancing my way all over his dewy skin, seeking the 'different', I want to feel everything … his ribs … his spine … his perfectly toned ass until I finally pin my hands to his shoulders and hold on tight.

"I love you," he says when he finds me again and somehow his voice is also different, I feel his breathing hitch, I feel his intensity and his insecurity, I feel everything. "What do you need from me?" he asks hesitantly, pushing his nose against mine, he inhales my essence.

"You … just you," I state evenly. "Consume me," I sigh heavily into our sticky heat. "I need to feel … you … life … just you," I articulate, my voice breathless, my lungs finally warm and full of our air.

He presses his forehead against mine, press, press, his forearms flank my neck now. "Consume you," he repeats, reaching back, he raises my knee – I push my heel against his ass – opening my hips open wider for him. "You … consume … me," he husks, his voice shaking, full of truth and honesty – we consume one another at will now – because maybe things are different.

"Fill me up," I say, snaking my hand between us, I fist his lengthening cock – his beautiful muscle twitches within my grasp – I stroke him, up, down, up, down. "Hmm, I need you … consume me," I whisper, pressing my lips to his neck before my heart gives out, 'I love you too', I want to say, because he finally 'got' me, back there at the prison.

"I need you too," he whispers, his open mouth against mine now, he reaches down and takes a hold of his cock with me. "Consume me," he husks, our hands moving in tandem now, my slick heat lubricating his sensitive head and everything in between.

"Hmm, feels so good," I mutter, both lost and found at the same time. I open my eyes and stare at him – this man I love – this man, alive and well who consumes me when I ask him to. "I love you, Derek," I find myself saying into the confessional of our sacred time together. "So much, so much it hurts …," I confess breathlessly. Tears prick his eyes but I can only see depth, I can only see more clearly inside our hazy gray area. "Fill me up, take me … fill me …," I heave, positioning his cock along my folds … so pliant … so slick and ready to be breached.

And so he does, he slowly lowers himself into my heat and we cradle each other as my muscles stretch to accommodate him, as my hips roll back and up and as I open myself to him – because I love him and I want him to fill me up – and help me feel … everything … because everything is different now.

And so with his eyes locked on mine, Derek makes slow love to me … he takes me … he fills me, fills the void of everything lost in my life and he does it just right – just how he always has, from the very beginning before all the rest of it – he fills me up, slow and easy with his eyes locked in mine and his heart beating faster and even faster still.

He consumes me and I consume him. We take of each other, kissing, loving, moving, caressing – we give and take, for this is what we do – we're lovers first and when we're lovers first: we give and take at will and it's a beautiful thing, even now, even after everything.

And tonight is no different – we synchronize, we harmonize – and we find each other and our range of well-kept secrets in the vast, murky darkness of the gray area because we've survived and we're alive and we're connected … and we finally see each other … in our own special way.

Climaxes will surely come quickly for us as we take and take of each other, emotional sensitivities already running high only seem to add another layer of depth to our lovemaking – but we connect – above all the ugly in life, we connect and for that I know we are blessed. I tighten my hold on his cock now, mine, mine, mine I chant as he pulses into me, pounding into me with gentle force – his thumb gently massaging my clit now, he brushes my nub, around and around – the intermittent weight of his body provides just enough pressure to get me off.

We roll and I am on top now, riding him like a chariot, my hot skin pressed against his, my ass stays low as I fuck just the sensitive head of his beautiful rod, my heavy breasts and ripe nipples cut across his chest muscular chest – I am on fire, smoldering from the inside out – my mouth is connected to Derek's, his strong hands palm my ass, keeping me down, holding me inside the moment before we roll again and he begins to claim me once and for all.

And claim me does now as he plants his mouth on mine and maneuvers my knees under his forearms where he pins them to his sides, opening my pussy even wider, he strikes me deeper, his cock pulsing against my cervix, my clit on fire, he makes love to my mouth and pussy in tandem now as I reach behind him and gently palm his sack, he's so close, so tight and close! He growls my name and his speed picks up – he pulls back and hovers over me now, we are close, closer than ever before – I look down and watch his cock play peek-a-boo with me, his glistening shaft moving with ease inside our well-lubricated machine.

I tighten my vaginal hold on him – I want to cum with him – I want precision; I want to escape into the gray area with him … with only him for forever and ever!

With this in mind, I snake one hand down and rapidly flick my clit, swirl, swirl, I watch his rod, slip, slip, my fingers bumping against him as I work myself into a heated frenzy. I roll my hips back and up and Derek seizes this opportunity to pulse deeper and deeper and even deeper still until there is nothing but the two of us in the here and now … deeply suffused within the euphoria of our gray area.

And only then do we cum, we cum hard and 'come' together, we consume each other – we take, we give – we collapse in a heap of sated arms and legs … our bodies still interlocked … our muscles still pulsing with ownership … what's different has become our reality.


A while later, I burrow deeper into Derek's post-coital heat (my favorite variety of his heat), the heat that makes me remember I am safe – the heat that somehow eases into my bone marrow and stays there for a little longer each time we do this – make love, fall asleep together. I kiss his clavicle and jackknife my knee over his thighs. His hands move up and down my back and his nose is pressed into my wild, damp tresses. I peek up and kiss the underside of his neck. I watch his face soften and then see his eyes open to find me – he checks on me, scanning my face, surely looking for signs of duress – but he only smiles, a small smile, the one he saves just for me.

"Thank you," I whisper, my eyes become glassy; I can't seem to avoid it. "For not pushing me," I elaborate. "I know you want to know more, but I have nothing I can say," I whisper honestly.

Leaning up, I run my fingertips along the halo of his hairline and I get lost in his watery gateways, yet another thing I can't seem to avoid. He smiles weakly and caresses my cheek with his healing hands.

"It's a balancing act … the not pushing thing … this thing I have with you," he sighs, holding me close now as his lips find my neck and he pulses my flesh there, surely breathing me in as he does.

"There's a line – and before you ask me – I don't know if it's real or imaginary," I sigh and then I giggle. "But it is … it's something else – this thing, our thing – this place, our place," I muse, reflecting on the power of 'us' when we do connect and when we do 'get' each other.

And then I hug him tighter inside my belief of that extraordinary power while he chuckles, pulling back, he finds my eyes in the darkness. I kiss him and he kisses me right back. I situate myself on top of him and cover him like blanket – protecting him, saving him – while he protects me and saves me too. I rest my head in the crook of his neck and he pulls the thin cotton sheet over us before his hands find my ass where they stay. He chuckles and holds me close and then he cackles and holds me even closer and I know where his head is – and I know because I know him – and then I giggle too.

I raise my head and find his eyes. "Go on," I say after a minute. "Say it," I challenge him. "You finally made it," I teased, seizing his lips because I love him and because he finally 'got' me and understood me enough to know what I needed tonight and also to know it might not always be him.

He laughs and then kisses me with everything he has in him, pulling back just enough I spy his glassy, happy eyes – the fear, the trepidation, the hallow depth gone for now – for he knows it isn't just up to him anymore – it's the give and take – it's up to both of us and this gray area we have … this place where black and white does not exist – this place where a caged bird chirps and sings as happily as his beloved nightingale – and then I smile because I know it's true.

I know he has indeed arrived … I know this as I watch him closely and silently dare him to say it.

"So … this is it … the 'Grey Area'," he muses with a sigh of relief and song in his heart and a twinkle set deep inside his endless … soul-filled … all-seeing … all-consuming eyes.

"It is and it's ours … welcome home Derek," I say softly, finally acknowledging that there will always be a place for him here.

"For the whole world to see; she's like caged bird … fly, fly, ooh just let her fly."