This is my first fanfic! I hope you like it! And, of course the characters don't belong to me. Also, the verse at the end is from a song titled "Dancing in the Minefields" by Andrew Peterson.
Dancing in the Darkness
In the darkness of their room, she heard a gasp and felt him go rigid beside her. A tell tale sign that all of this mess was finally catching up with him.
On the way home from the hospital, not a word was spoken. She had turned on the radio to drown out the overwhelming silence between them. His blank expression and sagging shoulders told her -better than ten thousand words could have - of his struggles with the news of the day. Was she right in telling him about the baby? Was he ready to bare that burden? Yes, she sees now, no matter how painful it was to let her secret pain become his secret pain, he needed to know. NOW. After all, it might just have been the thing to save him. Physically, anyways.
She really was worried sick about the speeding. It had to stop, and no matter how hard it was to get his head on straight, she's glad it's not permanently screwed up with the combination of speed and a telephone pole.
When they walked in the door, she figured he would open up over a warm meal and a little bit of wine. Dinners together, and alone were generally their favorite time to decompress from the constraints of being Dr. Shepherd and Dr. Grey and transform into just Derek and Meredith.
They'd usually sit at the table or on the sofa in the living room, eating and talking with that ever present mutual reverence. On many occasions that light and playful banter that is pure magic and the very essence of "them," would come out to shine in the evening hours spent at home. Meredith loved this time because it was just that -time. Time they didn't have in the hospital. There was hardly time for them to see each other at SGH. Especially since the days of Meredith's residency were becoming more and more pressured. She had to pick a specialty soon! And, of course, since "that day" their lives had been moving at lightening speed, yet oddly frozen in fear, suffering, and confusion.
With their dinner plans thwarted by the discovery of Cristina dejectedly sitting in the darkness of their living room, the expected conversation about the miscarriage never happened. By the time Meredith had patched Cristina up and sent her off with a prescription to try this thing with Owen, Derek had apparently left a grilled ham and cheese on the counter for her, had a can of low sodium, low fat, low taste soup for himself, and then quietly headed for bed.
Meredith ate the sandwich he gifted her with, cleaned a few dishes in the sink and looked around for something else to do, anything else to do really. She knew that when she went upstairs and into her bedroom something would change. Whether that change was good or bad, she wasn't sure. After taking out the trash (something she generally avoids like the plague) she owned up to her stalling tactics and moved forward.
While she moved one foot in front of the next and ascended the stairs, her conversation with Cristina played over in her head, " the thing is, this is the worst part…there will be better parts." If she could say that to Cristina, surely she could practice what she herself preached.
The bedroom was dark and quiet. Just a hint of light cascaded into the room, enough for her to see the form of her husband already in bed and turned towards the master bath. With a small sigh, she silently undressed and went over to his dresser to grab a t-shirt. She wanted to feel like she was wrapped in his arms, and since he obviously was not up for that, his shirt, with his scent slightly lingering on the fabric, would have to do.
She climbed into the bed and leaned against the headboard waiting for something, a sign maybe?
Would he open up and talk about what she told him?
Did he even care?
Was he mad at her for keeping that big of a secret from him?
Should she speak first?
She knew he was still awake just by listening to him breathe. When you spend most nights pressed up against someone, you know their breathing patterns. You know the subtle slack in their frame when they finally rest deeply. Meredith knew, in spite of the complete silence and stillness, that Derek was wide awake.
She closed her eyes and found herself praying to a higher authority. Ever since that day she'd been saying little prayers more and more frequently.
"Please don't let Derek die."
"Please take care of my baby since I can't."
"Please heal Cristina's broken spirit."
"Please keep Derek safe. Don't let him wrap his car around a tree."
At this moment, she prayed, "Help me. I don't know how to help him. Show me how."
As the moments passed, she resigned herself to the fact that they wouldn't talk, at least not yet. He so obviously wasn't ready. Just when she closed her eyes and decided to attempt sleeping, he tensed up, completely rigid, and made a strangled, gasping hiss of a sound.
He didn't turn or acknowledge her, so she said it again, "Derek?"
Finally, in a low raspy wisp that sounded strained and wounded, he answered her call,
"Talk to me. I know you're upset."
After another pause that seemed to stretch to infinity, he rasped out, "Tell me. Tell me what happened to the baby…what happened to you. I want to know everything."
"I was going to tell you, that day. You paged me to your office. Do you remember? You were stressed and I knew that wasn't how I wanted you to find out, so I said I'd see you at home…and…"
Derek rolled over towards her, "You promised dirty sex. Was that celebration sex?"
A lump formed in Meredith's throat, "Yeah."
"When did you find out about the baby?"
"That morning. I took a test from the supply closet and it was positive. I was shocked, but excited, you know? It wasn't like I thought I would feel. I thought I would be scared, but when I found out, I was just excited and happy. I was happy for you. I knew you would be so surprised and…thrilled about it."
Derek lay completely still in the dark space of their bedroom, the space where they can say anything to each other. The space where truth lives.
With a voice so small and broken, Derek asked, "When did you lose the baby? How did it happen?"
With a tight throat and a heavy heart, she answered,
"I started cramping up while you were in surgery, Derek. I lost it while I was working on Owen's GSW."
A low sob escaped from Derek's mouth. In a resigned and dark whisper he said to himself, "So this is my fault too."
Meredith wrapped her body around Derek's, legs meshed and intertwined; her arms cradled his broad chest. She held him and soothed him as he cried.
In that moment, she realized something. Dr. Shepherd, the surgeon, was moving forward at breakneck speed, doing rockstar procedures while holding himself and everyone else together with his rock solid facade, but Derek, the man, was frozen with grief and guilt, still suffering with a gaping wound. Anger for all that Gary Clark stole from them welled up inside her.
"No, Derek. No! It's not your fault; it's not my fault, its Gary Clarks fault. Derek, you can't blame yourself for this. There is no choice here. You don't get to choose. I need you Derek. If you let this eat you up, you'll flame out. Then what? We've got to keep living, and yes, so far, most of this life has been hell for the both of us…but Derek, if you keep this blame game up, then he wins."
Derek looked up at her with his beautiful blue eyes sparkling in the moonlight, "How do you do it Meredith? How do you stay so strong? We lost so much. Everyone lost so much."
"You don't give yourself enough credit Derek. You and I have been knocked to the floor and gotten back up too many times to count, don't you think?"
His gaze held her own for several seconds with no real response other than to hold her a little tighter.
She struggled with what to say next, but continued on. "I think life is like a minefield, and we're stuck in the middle of it. You can stay put and nothing will ever happen to you. You can try to take steps out in it and hope you never step on a mine, walking in constant fear, or you can grab your person, the person you love and want to share your life with, by the hands and go out dancing. You just live it up, grateful for what you have, because no matter how much you worry, you are going to step on a mine. We hit a mine, Derek, but what can we do about it? We can stand still and never give or get anything more out of this life, or we can dance. It's up to us."
Derek let out a soft chuff of a chuckle and said, "You know Meredith, I was never one for dancing, but I'll dance this one with you. I love you. Thanks for holding me up when my feet quit working."
With a small smile Meredith replied, "That's what this thing is about, this post-it thing. We promised to never leave each other and to take care of each other when were old and smelly and senile." With a sideways grin she added, "And Derek, the whole speeding thing, definitely senile."
And for the first time in a long time, Derek and Meredith laughed.
"I'll walk with you in the shadow lands till the shadows disappear.
Let's go dancing in the minefields and sailing in the storms."