Alright Folks... This is a Grey's Anatomy fic that I actually wrote... *gasp* June of 2008. It's not in canon in any way... so basically it is my story with the Grey's characters injected. I'll be posting it in long chapters, and I just ask that you bear with me as I do so. The story does contain some physical abuse, but (as far as I can remember) It's only mentioned, and never described... (I'm not into that kind of writing.) I hope that you all enjoy the story... and... there is a sequel to it as well... so if i'm brave, I'll post that too. Enjoy!
Tiny feet swing back and forth, hanging delicately from the big chair as the sparkles on the little girl's shoes twinkle in the lights of the airport terminal. Two gray eyes watch as each shoe swings up into her view as her feet move back and forth. A soft, sweet song was gently humming from her lips as her feet continued to dance back and forth lazily, her mouth opening as she released a long, deep yawn that changed her hum for a moment to a gentle sigh as she continued to stare at her shoes.
"Now Zoey, sweetheart. The flight attendants are going to help you get onto the plane and they'll be there to help you if you need anything. You listen to what they have to say, and your sister will be right outside the door to pick you up when your plane arrives."
"How am I going to know who she is?" The little girl asked as her face turned up toward the woman who had been fostering her since her mother had died two weeks prior. Her grey eyes sparkled with unshed tears as she swallowed hard.
"She knows what you look like, she'll be looking for you… I have to go… You sit here on the chair in the terminal near the big desk, and the flight attendants will make sure that you get on the plane alright. Just look at your shoes, and don't make eye contact with anyone on the plane. Don't talk to strangers… and be safe."
"But I don't want to go, Miss Rory."
"You'll be just fine… be a brave little girl, and I'll write letters. I have your address where you'll be staying… Be a good girl…" She whispered as she crouched down and let the little girl wrap her arms around her neck, feeling her tight grip on her body as she wrapped her arms around the little girl and kissed her cheek softly. "You be a good girl." She whispered as she looked up at the flight attendant as her warm embrace slowly disappeared and the little girl took a step back, taking the flight attendant's hand. She watched the little girl look up at the flight attendant, an intense fear held deep within her eyes as she stood up and watched the little girl walk away with the flight attendant, her eyes flashing back at the woman as she held tightly to her doll, and carried on her back the little pink backpack with toys for the plane as she slowly waved as she disappeared out of sight.
She sighed wistfully once again as she continued to stare at her feet, tears slowly filled her eyes as she watched the little pink shoes pop into view time and time again.
The flight was late.
There were severe storms wracking the east coast and planes were not moving anywhere. The little girl continued to sit, staring at her shoes, the sparkles dulled by the shadow of other travelers who were crowding around waiting for their flights. Her tears had stopped, though her eyes never wavered from the pink sparkly shoes. Several people had come and gone, sitting beside her talking to her as she continued to hum, blocking out their attempts at conversation, her pink shoes the focus of her mind.
The flight attendant kept a close watch on the little girl, watching curiously as the little girl ignored person after person who sat beside her, gripping her doll tightly in her arms as she refused to talk to anyone. Her eyes were focused, her brow furrowed as she tried to remain brave. She walked to the front of the little girl, crouching down to try to get her attention. "Zoey?" She said softly, knowing the little girl's name from her boarding pass and special boarding instructions. "Zoey, are you alright? Are you hungry?" She asked, watching as the little girl refused to look up at her, her focus remaining strong on her toes. "Zoey, it's alright to talk to me… I'm not a stranger. I'm your friend."
The little girl's eyes remained on her toes. The soft curls in her hair bobbed slightly as she kicked her feet back and forth again, her eyes remaining on her shoes. "Sweetheart, are you hungry?" She asked again, watching as the little girl shook her head, her eyes never leaving her shoes. "If you're hungry… will you tell me?" The flight attendant asked, watching as the little girl shook her head again, her humming becoming a little louder as her bottom lip stuck out. Her face was turning red slowly as tears began to flow down her cheeks. "Do you want me to leave you here and go back to work?" She asked, watching as the girl nodded quickly, her eyes still on her shoes. "I'll be right there, okay?" She whispered as she calmed down as the flight attendant backed off.
Zoey continued to sit her seat, as the flight attendant moved away from her, her kicking legs slowly stopped as she watched the shadow of someone much taller than her sit down beside her. The man made a grunting sound as he settled in his chair, a bit of agitation in his voice as he flipped his phone open and dialed a number, listening carefully for someone to pick up, he sighed as he flipped the phone closed and shoved it in his pocket. His eyes passed to the little girl in the pink sweater sitting on the chair beside him. She wore blue jeans and her shoes were pink and sparkly. Her hair was long and blonde, cascading down her tiny shoulders with bits of curl here and there, hanging from the tiny butterfly barrette in her hair. She looked to be about six or seven years old, and she appeared to be concentrating very hard on her toes. Her eyes were determined, though he could see a bit of fear laced within her expression, and her knuckles were nearly white as she gripped the seat of the chair, sensing that he was watching her.
"Hey…" He said softly, watching as her feet began to kick a little harder, her eyes still focused on her feet as more and more travelers crowded around them, he reached forward and pulled his carryon bag a little closer. "Hey, is anyone sitting here?" He asked, noting that she was not with an adult, but sitting very much on her own, as still as could be except for her swinging feet, which seemed to be moving faster. His eyes went to hers as he noticed the intense stare she had on her feet. "Those are some nice shoes you have there." He said, watching as she kicked harder, her eyes staring more intensely than ever. "Sparkly…" He pointed out as he nodded as she began to breath deeply, trying not to cry as she listened to the man's low, soft voice as he spoke to her. "Yep…" He said as he settled back in his chair and looked to the ceiling. "I have a pair just like them…" He said, wondering if she'd understand his joke. He listened carefully and noted that the sound of the little pounding feet had stopped suddenly. They had stopped and among all of the loud cell phone conversations and frustrated customers. Among the screaming babies and screeching children, and yelling parents right behind them, all he heard was silence.
Slowly, he turned his head in the direction of the little girl's chair, only to find a pair of grey-blue eyes staring back at him. He was only being friendly, noticing that she seemed so lost and alone in the big, loud airport, her tiny frame seemingly lost in the chair that she was sitting in. Her eyes held a deep, sorrowful sadness. Her tiny pink lips were slightly parted as she looked into the sad blue eyes of the stranger sitting beside her. She watched him with a strange curiosity, unsure of exactly what to do, what to say, how to react.
She had been sitting in that chair for a very long time, and all anyone ever asked her was if she was alright. They always asked her if she needed anything, wanted anything. They noted the sad, sullen look on her face, in her eyes, in her expression and assumed that she was in need of cheering up. The man sitting beside her now, however had caught her off guard. He didn't ask her how she was feeling, if she needed anything or if she was lost. He didn't offer to help her or do something for her. He was simply making conversation. Her eyes had remained on his for a moment as his eyes showed a bit of amusement in his words, making her feel slightly warmer as her eyes slid down his long frame to his feet. He was currently wearing a pair of black dress shoes, nothing fancy as her eyes passed back up to his eyes. "Oh… you thought I was wearing them today? Oh, I only wear them for special occasions…" He nodded. "You know… tea parties, dance recitals, and stuff like that." He nodded, listening carefully as he thought that he heard a slight giggle emitted from the little girl's throat. Her eyes narrowed lightly as her lips pursed and she tried so hard to hold it back, but she couldn't help it as the corner of her lips rolled upwards, a gentle smile on her lips as she giggled. "See... this was all a ploy for me to see if you had teeth." He nodded as she giggled a little more. "Yep… you've got teeth…" He said as he turned his head and leaned back in his chair as he listened carefully to her giggle, as he listened to her feet kicking a bit lighter as she giggled and watched her toes once again as the man beside her settled into his seat for his long wait for the airplane.
The plane was delayed another half hour, and another as the man watched the little girl closely. Her eyelids were drooping, her feet long since stopped wiggling as she tried to keep her head up. He looked to the clock on the wall and noted the late hour, his eyes traveling to the little girl once again as her head dipped and lifted quickly once again as she tried desperately to stay awake.
"Excuse me." He said quickly as he reached a hand toward one of the flight attendants. The flight attendant stopped and looked into the man's eyes as his eyes dropped down to the little girl just as her head drooped and lifted again. "Do you have a blanket or a pillow that she can use?" He asked in a soft voice as the woman looked to Derek and to the girl.
"She won't accept it, sir. She's our responsibility right now, not yours."
"Yes… but when she falls off that chair in an exhausted heap onto my briefcase, I'd like to know that she won't damage it." He said with a sarcastic growl, his point brought across to her very clearly. "I'd appreciate it if you could please bring me a blanket and a pillow for her."
"She will not accept it, sir."
"I will talk to her." He said with a soft nod as he watched the flight attendant walk to the counter. She pulled a small pillow and blanket similar to those that they have on the airplane and walked to him. She carefully placed the items in his hands and watched as he walked over to the little girl.
He knelt before her slowly, her eyes rolling back as she tried to steady herself, her backpack pulling her back as she tried to retain a sleepy balance. "Hey there…" He said as he knelt before her, the pillow and blanket in one hand as he ran his fingertips through his dark locks. He was positive that the flight attendant was watching his every move, and he had no qualms about it whatsoever. It made him feel glad that someone, somewhere was watching over the little girl. "Aren't you cold?" Derek asked as he watched her shake her head, refusing the blanket.
"I bet that you're tired?" He said as he watched her shake her head again, her body wobbling as she yawned a great big yawn, her hand moving to her mouth as she refused to speak. "Are you tired?" He asked, watching as her eyes stared into his as she shook her head softly. "What about if I leave this blanket here… next to you, just in case you get sleepy… will that be okay?" He asked softly.
Her grey eyes lightened slightly as she looked up at him, her cheeks were blushed with sleepiness as she opened her mouth just a little and he listened as a little squeak slipped from her lips.
"What is it, sweetheart?" He asked softly as he watched her carefully. He watched as she moved her lips, whispering something so softly that he couldn't hear it. "What was that, sweetheart?" He whispered as she swallowed hard and tilted her head as he leaned his head toward her and listened carefully.
"What is your name?" Her voice was sweet and angelic, falling softly across his ears as her breath tickled his ear as he leaned back and looked into her eyes.
"Derek." He said as he held out his hand to her. "My name is Derek." He said softly as he watched her nod her head softly.
"I…" She whimpered, her voice a little stronger as she reached her tiny hand to his. It slowly slid into his much larger hand as he tenderly gripped her hand, shaking it softly as her lip began to tremble. "I…I…"
"I have to pee pee, Derek." She whispered, leaning closer to Derek as she pulled her hand from his.
"Oh… oh, you have to go to the bathroom?" Derek said softly as she nodded her head in affirmation. He turned his head and glanced to the flight attendant as she watched him carefully place the blanket on the chair arm. He nodded slightly at her as she walked toward them, crouching down to their level.
"What is it, sweetheart?" The flight attendant asked softly as she glanced to Derek.
"She needs to go to the ladies room." Derek said with a half smile as he watched the flight attendant nod.
"Oh… you have to go potty?" The flight attendant asked as the little girl nodded, reaching her hand toward Derek, she grabbed hold of his sleeve.
"Derek can take me." She whispered as she looked into his eyes pleading as the flight attendant shook her head softly.
"I think it'd be best if I take you, sweetheart. No boys are allowed in the little girl's room."
"I'll hold her place." Derek said softly as he nodded as the little girl's grip slowly loosened. "Go on, go with the nice lady to the potty." Derek said as he watched her gray eyes lift to the flight attendant.
"Would you mind holding her bag?" The flight attendant asked as she helped the little girl pull her pink backpack from her back.
"I wouldn't mind at all." Derek said as he carefully took the backpack and watched the little girl slide from the seat. She grasped tightly to the flight attendant's hand as he watched her turn around and give him a half smile. "Bye, Derek." She said as she waved her hand, walking away quickly with the flight attendant.
He waved his hand, watching the little girl disappear through the crowd with the flight attendant as he sat for a moment holding her bag. He looked at the little tag on the backpack, where neatly it was written.
342 West Manhattan St.
He smiled sadly at the little girl's name, swallowing hard for a moment as he tipped his head back for a minute or two. He closed his eyes as he tried to block out the sounds surrounding him as people bustled and shouted, yelled and grunted in dissatisfaction. The longer he sat there, the more he dreaded the ultimate flight to Seattle. A five hour flight in an enclosed area with all of these people was bound to be dreadful. He sighed deeply as suddenly he felt a slight pressure on his leg and looked down just in time to see the little blonde headed girl in motion, her hand on his leg as she pulled herself into his lap in her own accord, settling with her back against his arm and her head against his chest before he could say a word. "Hey, what do you think you're doing?" Derek asked as she reached forward and grabbed the blanket from the arm chair, pulling it over herself, she pushed her head into his chest.
"Shh…" She whispered, as she closed her eyes against the stranger. Derek shook his head and watched the curious little being in his arms as she breathed one long deep sigh, and immediately drifted off.
The flight attendant stood above them for a moment, watching the entire exchange as she watched the perplexed look on Derek's face. She reached out to lift the little girl from his lap, and was stopped by Derek's gentle fingertips on her hand. "No…" he whispered as he nodded toward her. "Just let her sleep." He whispered, as he held the tiny stranger in his arms, as she nodded softly and stood up, as everything around them continued to move.
With a loud snort and a head jerk, Derek was awake. His vision was blurry for a moment as he felt the sharp pain in his neck from having it in one place for so long, and it took him a moment to realize that someone was tapping on his shoulder. "Sir?" The flight attendant said as he realized that his arms were holding something protectively, he looked up at her blankly. "Sir…I need to put her on the plane…" She whispered as she nodded toward the little bundle.
He looked down into his arms at the tiny curled up creature, her hand grasping tightly to his shirt as her lips moved amid a tender, sweet dream, her lips curled up just slightly. "The plane is boarding?" Derek asked in a husky, sleepy tone as he shifted the tiny girl and sat up, carefully standing with her still in his arms.
"Sir, the plane is full… were you on standby?"
"I was… I was bumped from and earlier flight and they put me on standby for this one. Please, please tell me that the plane isn't full." He shook his head as he continued to hold the little girl.
"I'm sorry sir, but if you didn't answer the page when you were called, you missed your opportunity." She said softly as she reached across and carefully lifted the little girl from his arms.
"You're kidding me…" Derek shook his head as he reluctantly gave up the warm body that had been resting against him. "Please, please tell me that you're kidding…" He said as he ran his hand through his hair and shook his head.
"Another flight is leaving in an hour… I can make sure that you're on it…" She nodded as she turned toward the door to carry the little girl toward the gate, disappearing through the door as Derek stood and stared as it closed behind her. He sighed a frustrated sigh as he walked back toward the seat, his head in the air as he paced back and forth for a moment, his head dropping as his gaze stopped at the seat.
"Shit…" he whispered to himself as he reached forward and grabbed hold of the little pink backpack, turning swiftly as he grabbed his briefcase, as not to leave it unattended.
"Excuse me…" He said to the woman at the counter by the door. "Excuse me, this bag… this bag belongs to that little girl that…"
"I'm sorry sir, do you have a ticket for this flight?" The woman asked in an agitated tone as she watched him hold the pink backpack in his hand tightly.
"No… no, but the little girl… Zoey… the little girl that the flight attendant just brought to the…" Derek said as the woman held her hand out to him rudely and shook her head.
"Sir, you're going to have to take a step back… the plane is almost ready for take off, and you can't be shoving bags in our faces… I'm going to have to call security if you don't calm…" As she finished her sentence, the phone at the desk rang and the woman lifted he receiver while giving Derek an angry stare. "What is going on down there…?" She asked into the receiver as Derek continued to hold the bag out to her. "Kay… are you…? Bring her back down then… she can go on the next flight if she's that worked up… Call her contact and let them know that she's having a fit. Her information is up here at the desk… Besides, there's a man here that claims that she forgot her… Oh… so she did forget her bag…" The woman muttered as she reached forward and grabbed it from Derek before she said another word. "Just bring her down here…" She said as the door to the gate opened and the harried flight attendant walked through the door, only preceded by the screeching and howling of the little girl in her arms. Her face was bright red, her tiny fists pounding into the flight attendant's chest as she struggled and screamed to get out of her arms.
As soon as she stepped onto the other side of the door, she let the little girl down, watching as she started to run, she reached out to grab her arm as Derek's arm reached down and wrapped his arm around the little girl, scooping her off the ground before she got too far. Her feet stopped kicking as she rolled around in his arms, reaching her own arms up to encircle his neck. "No… don't let them take me…" She sobbed against Derek's neck. "Don't let them take me, Mister Derek… Don't let them take me!" She sobbed as he held her, looking at the perplexed look on the flight attendant's face. "Please… please… I want my mommy… I want my mommy…" She sobbed as she held him tightly around the neck, her fingernails digging deeply into his skin as he let her hold him.
"Listen." Derek said as he pulled out his wallet with one hand as he supported her with his other. He pulled an identification card from his wallet and handed it over to the flight attendant. "I'm a doctor… that's my ID card… see… If… it wouldn't be too much trouble… I can… I can watch her…" He said as he held her tightly as she cried into his shirt. "I've got four sisters… tons of nieces and nephews… I'll just… I'll just walk her around a little and try to calm her down…"
"Sir… we can't let you take her from our custody…" The flight attendant said with a sigh as she reached for the little girl, only to receive a loud, heart racing scream from the little girl as she gripped Derek's skin even tighter.
"NO! NO!" She screamed louder as people stared and watched the entire scene.
"Please… please, the flight doesn't leave for an hour… have security follow me around… I don't care… she's breaking my goddamned heart." Derek said as he repositioned her a little, feeling her arms tighten even more around his neck.
The flight attendant watched him for a moment as he rubbed the little girl's back gently, his eyes tender and sweet as he rocked her back and forth. He was trying so hard to get her to calm down, her tiny body so tightly attached to him, he looked so comfortable holding her. "Let me call a security officer… and we'll see what we can do." She said as she walked toward the desk as Derek followed her. "While I'm at it, I'll secure your seat on the next flight." She said as Derek nodded gratefully and kissed the little girl's head as he tried desperately to calm her heart breaking sobs.
Derek held the little girl in his arms and rocked her gently as she cried. The flight attendant called security and arranged for a security guard to keep an eye on Derek as he tried to calm the little one in his arms. Derek cradled her softly in his arms as he gently rubbed her back, her breathing slowing, her hand moving to her mouth as her thumb slipped between her lips. Her other hand gripped Derek's shirt tightly as her head rested on his shoulder as her crying slowly stopped.
Derek started out pacing slightly. His feet wearing themselves into the carpet of the waiting area near the gate that they were going to be leaving from. He walked back and forth gently rocking the tiny girl with full knowledge that the security guard in the corner was watching them closely. He began to bounce her just slightly in his arms as she continued to suck her thumb quietly, every now and again letting a sniffle out. He walked and bounced her slightly in his arms, every now and then bouncing just a little higher as he shifted or moved her a bit. After a couple of minutes, the extra little bounce in his step would elicit a small gasp from the little girl, and after the third or fourth one, he was sure that he had heard a slight giggle.
The first time he heard it, he wasn't sure if his ears had deceived him. She was still gripping his shirt quite hard, though she appeared to be slowly releasing it. He bounced again and couldn't miss the high, rippling sound of the little girl's giggle. He did it again and her giggle rang out around her thumb as her head lifted slightly. He gazed into her gray eyes as they narrowed slightly and smiled before her lips moved as he bounced again, her smile following her eyes as her gentle, melodic giggle tickled his ears as he smiled at her. As he smiled, he watched as her eyes sparkled at his and her smile brightened at the sight of his.
"You're being silly…" He said as he bounced again, finally breaking the shy giggle into a full laugh as he bounced again and again, reveling in the sound of her laughter as her thumb fell from her mouth.
"I'm not silly… you're silly…" She said as he bounced again, listening to her laugh once more. Derek stopped for a moment as she watched him, her eyes following his as he gave her a sad smile. "Did you do that to see my teeth again?" She asked, remembering what he had said to her earlier.
"No…" He said as he shook his head gently. "I did it because I like to hear pretty sounds… and your laugh is very pretty."
"Ha ha…" She said as she pretended to laugh.
"Not that laugh… silly…" He shook his head as he bounced her, listening to her real laugh as it danced off her lips. "That one…" He said as she giggled, covering her mouth with her hand as she watched Derek for a moment, leaning forward to rest her head on his shoulder once more as he held her tightly.
Derek sighed slightly as he walked with Zoey, bouncing her now and again as she giggled. He turned toward the newsstand store and walked inside. He turned his head and watched the security guard for a moment as he innocently perused the racks of objects. Zoey lifted her head and looked at the stuffed animals in the racks on the wall and Derek lifted a little pink bear. "He's pink." She pointed out.
"He is…" Derek nodded. "Wouldn't that make it a 'she'?" Derek asked as he realized he was talking to a child, he watched her shrug as she reached for it. "Do you want me to get it for you?" Derek asked as the little girl nodded her head. "Are you sure?" He asked as she nodded her head harder and Derek handed her the bear as they neared the counter.
"I'm going to name her Mister Derek." She said as she nodded her head, holding the bear at arms length, glancing to Derek as she wiped her tear streaked face with her sleeve.
"I thought my name was Mister Derek…"
"Um…" She said as she poked her chin and looked between Derek and the bear and back to Derek. "Um… no… her name is Mister Derek… you can pick a new name."
Derek chuckled at her logic, watching as she smiled proudly at her answer because of his reaction. "A new name, huh?" He asked as she nodded at him. "How about just Derek…" He asked with a shrug.
"Mm…" She said as she poked her chin again, watching his kind eyes as he tilted his head. "Mmmokay…" She nodded as she leaned forward into his shoulder and cuddled her new found bear friend, as Derek walked to the counter to pay for it.
Derek lifted Zoey to the ground as they stepped out of the store. She held his hand tightly as she gripped her new teddy bear in her other arm. "Mister Derek is hungry." She said softly as she looked up at Derek.
"He is?" Derek said as she looked up at him and sighed. "I mean, she is?" He corrected himself as he smiled down at her. "What would she like to eat?"
"Um…" She sighed as she watched Derek. "A cheeseburger?" She asked as she tilted her head at him.
"A cheeseburger…" Derek repeated as he looked around at the different food vendors in the airport. He checked his watch and walked with her toward the McDonald's down the hallway. "I had no idea that pink bears liked cheeseburgers."
"Little girls likes cheeseburgers too. I'm going to help her eat it." She nodded as Derek chuckled as he stepped up to the counter and ordered the cheeseburger. They walked over to the bright red chairs beside the yellow tables and Derek pulled the chair out for Zoey so that she could climb up onto it as he put the yellow wrapped cheeseburger in front of her. She looked up at Derek and tilted her head. "Aren't you hungry too, Just Derek?" She asked as Derek looked at her for a moment with an amused expression as she unwrapped her cheeseburger.
"What did you call me?" He asked with a laugh.
"Just Derek." She said as she lifted the cheeseburger to her mouth and took a big bite. "That's what you said to call you." She said with a full mouth as she watched him laugh.
"I suppose I did say that." He said as he jumped a little in his chair at the shrill sound of his pager going off on his belt loop. "Darn it…" He said as he pulled the pager off his belt and looked at it.
"You have a peeper!" She exclaimed as she pointed at the pager in his hand.
"A peeper?" He asked, watching the wide eyed expression on her face as she continued to point at it.
"Yes! Mommy had a peeper! And it would go 'peep, peep, peep' and she had to go to the hospital to rescue people."
"Your mommy is a doctor?" Derek asked as he looked at the number on the pager and shook his head with a sigh.
"Mommy was a doctor… she's in heaven now." She said as she took another big bite of her cheeseburger as she watched Derek look up very slowly from his pager.
"Heaven…?" Derek said in a whisper, not connecting everything at once. He was exhausted and as soon as it dawned on him what she meant, he immediately felt bad.
"Yes…" She nodded as she swallowed her mouthful. "Mommy's peeper went off and she went to the hospital and then went to heaven." She said as she watched Derek's Adam's apple bob up and down as he swallowed hard. "How old are you, Just Derek?" She asked, tilting her head as she watched him continue to watch her. "Just Derek?"
"Hm?" Derek muttered as he shook his head for a moment.
"How old are you?" She asked as she changed the subject by just asking the first question that popped into her head.
"Twenty six." Derek replied as he turned his phone on and flipped it open.
"Oh… that's a lot older than me. I'm six… who are you calling?"
"I need to call the hospital… that's what this is for…" He said as he smiled softly and showed her the pager.
"Don't go to heaven, okay?"
"I'll try not to." Derek swallowed hard as he dialed the number on the pager. He watched the little girl as she watched him very closely. "Mark?" Derek said as he sighed. "I'm still in New York and probably will not be around until tonight… can you schedule that for tomorrow afternoon? Thanks… Was that all you needed? Okay… I'll call when I get in… thanks." He said as he sighed, watching as the little girl held her hand out to him. He closed the phone and looked at her curiously. "What?"
"Can I see that?"
"The peeper." She said, wiggling her fingers as she tried to get him to hand it over.
"Oh, you don't need the silly peeper…" He shook his head as he snapped the pager back on his belt and watched her wiggle her fingers at him.
"No heaven, Peeper!" She said sternly to the inanimate object, wiggling her finger at the pager as she looked up at Derek and smiled, crumpling the paper from her cheeseburger up. "Oops!" She exclaimed.
"What?" Derek asked with a bemused expression.
"I forgot to share my cheeseburger with Mister Derek! He must be so hungry still!" She said as she held the bear up in her arms.
"Why do I get the feeling that you're using him as a scapegoat?" Derek asked flippantly as he chuckled.
"Bear, Just Derek. He's a bear… not a goat." She sighed as she giggled, listening to Derek laugh as they sat together waiting for their flight to be called.
While sitting together at the table, Derek heard the flight to Seattle being called for boarding. He smiled at his tiny friend and nodded toward the gate. "Are you ready to get on the plane?" He asked as he started to stand up.
"No, thank you." Zoey replied as she played with the bow on her bear's neck.
"No thank you? I thought you wanted to go to Seattle…"
"No. I want to stay here in New York. I like New York." She said sadly as she sighed.
"Alright…" He shrugged as he grabbed his briefcase. "But I have to go to Seattle…I'll see you later…" He shrugged as he started to turn around.
"Wait! Just Derek, where are you going?" She asked as she jumped from the chair and grabbed his hand as she pulled hard on it.
"I have to go to Seattle…" He said as he watched the little girl grip his hand tightly. "You said you didn't want to go…"
"But… but… but… I…" She exclaimed as she started to panic.
"What are you so afraid of?" Derek asked as he crouched down and faced her, looking into her eyes as she bounced in frustration, sighing loudly.
"I don't know my sister…" She shrugged. "My mommy didn't tell me I had a sister… and now I have to go live with her? I don't want to go…" She whimpered. "I don't want to go…can't I stay with you?" She asked as she sighed.
"I don't think you'd like that." Derek said as he reached for her hand as she leaned forward into him.
"Why?" She asked softly.
"Well… um…I snore… and… I'm allergic to dogs… and I like to um…I don't like pink things… " Derek said as he watched the sincere expression on her face.
Her mouth opened wide in shock as she pulled her hand away from him and squeezed her bear tightly. "I thought you said you had pink sparkly shoes!" She exclaimed as she glowered at him.
"I didn't say that I liked them…" Derek replied, trying so hard to keep a straight face.
"Where's your mommy?" She asked as she sighed, rocking the teddy bear in her arms as Derek glanced to the gate, relieved that they hadn't quite started boarding passengers.
"My mommy is in heaven too." Derek replied, watching her eyes widen. "I have four sisters though… but they live here in New York… I live really far away from my family…" He said as he shrugged. "They all live here in New York… I live in Seattle."
"I don't got a family…" Zoey mumbled as she held his hand tightly.
"You have a sister." Derek replied as he leaned forward slightly. "You have a sister, and I'm sure that she loves you… even if she has never met you. You're pretty, and sweet… and come on, you like cheeseburgers…how can someone not love a little girl who loves cheeseburgers. I bet… that your sister is just as nervous about meeting you, as you are meeting her." He said as he reached over and poked her nose lightly with his finger.
"You really think so?" She whispered as she watched the sincerity in Derek's eyes.
"I do…" He nodded as he smiled at her. "I think it might make her sad if you never show up… if you'd rather live here all alone in New York and not go to Seattle to at least meet her." Derek said.
"I have never been on an airplane before." She said quickly as she looked at him nervously.
"Oh, I've been on a million airplanes…" He said, pushing his hand to make it seem like it isn't a big deal.
"A million?" She exclaimed.
"At least!" Derek said as he shrugged. "And since you're staying here in New York, I'm not going to have anyone to talk to on the airplane…" Derek shrugged. "It's going to be so boring…I'll have to eat all of the little pretzels by myself…"
"I'll go! I'll go!" She jumped up and down as she watched Derek's smile appear on his face.
"Well then, we had better hurry… I think they're getting everyone on the plane."
"Then hurry, hurry Just Derek… we have to get to Seattle!" Zoey exclaimed as she pulled his arm, grasping her teddy bear tightly as Derek chuckled and let her pull him along toward the gate for the plane.
Derek held the little girl's hand as they walked up to the gate. He glanced to the security guard as they walked to the desk. Derek pulled his boarding pass from his pocket and they nodded for him to pass as they accepted Zoey's boarding pass as well.
"It looks like you two are sitting next to one another." The flight attendant said with a smile as Derek nodded slightly.
"She promised to entertain me." Derek said as Zoey held Derek's hand tightly.
"I think you two are going to be troublemakers…" The flight attendant laughed as she followed the two of them down the hallway to the seats that they were assigned. Derek allowed Zoey to slide in to the seat close to the window and he buckled her in as the flight attendant watched on, ensuring that she was happy and comfortable on the flight. "Alright… if she needs anything, Mr. Shepherd, please let me know." She said as she handed Derek Zoey's bag, which he slid beneath the seat in front of her.
"I will." Derek nodded as the flight attendant turned to help other passengers as Derek rested for a moment in his seat. He turned his head to see Zoey staring out the window as the airport people placed the bags into the cargo hold. "What's so exciting out there?" Derek asked as he watched her wide eyes staring out of the small window.
"What are they doing?" She asked, looking up at Derek and then out the window again.
"They're losing luggage." Derek said as he watched them drop a bag onto the ground and then swing it back up and slam it onto the top of the pile. "Probably breaking stuff…"
"Huh?" She asked as she turned her head.
"They're putting the bags in the plane so that everyone will have their clothes when they get to Seattle." Derek explained.
"Oh." She nodded as she continued to watch, pulling her bear tighter into her arms.
Derek chuckled as she watched, her eyes entranced on the actions of the workers. He turned his head and closed his eyes, leaning his head back on the seat, he rested for a moment. He sat there for several minutes, his eyes closed as he suddenly felt like he was being stared at. He turned his head slowly and watched Zoey for a moment as her eyes stared not at his face, but at his side. Her eyes moved up to his eyes and she looked away quickly. "What is it?" He asked as she continued to look out the window, holding her bear tighter.
"Nothing." She whimpered as she now stared at her reflection in the window, seeing Derek's eyes looking directly at her.
"Come on… you can tell me… what's wrong? Are you worried about the plane?" He asked, fairly sure that it wasn't what she was thinking.
"No." She replied in a soft voice, her fingers running over the bear's soft pink fur.
"Were you looking at my pager?" He asked as she continued to stare out the window. She didn't answer him, but could feel him watching her. After a few moments, she nodded slowly. "Hey… what are you so worried about?"
"Peepers are bad." She whispered as she turned her eyes to Derek. Her gray eyes were soulful and concerned, her voice was whispery and anxious as her eyes moved to the pager and then back up to Derek's eyes. "They're very bad." She said as she swallowed hard.
"Do you want me to put it away?" He asked, watching her eyes close tightly and look up at him again, she opened her mouth and then closed it quickly as she shook her head.
"No… no, it's okay." She said as she gave him a quick smile.
"I can put it away if you want me to."
"No, just don't go to heaven." She whispered.
"You're really going to have to stop it with that… it's creepy." Derek admitted as the little girl smirked at him. "I'm not going to heaven… I promise."
"If your mommy is in heaven, and my mommy is in heaven… do you think they know that is who they are?"
"You want to know if my mom would meet your mom in heaven?" Derek asked, surprised by her question as he watched her nod. "I think they might… your mommy was a doctor, right?"
"Uh huh…" She nodded.
"My mom was a nurse… see… I bet they met in heaven…"
"Miss Rory says she is watching me from heaven… do you think she can see me in this airplane?"
"Oh, I bet she can… I bet she can see you everywhere you go."
"That's weird." She said as she gave Derek a humored smile. "So she can see me when I'm sleeping…"
"And when you're awake… she knows you've been… wait… that's Santa…" Derek muttered to himself as he listened to the little girl giggle. He turned his head and smiled softly at her as he reached a hand out and touched the top of her head. "Don't you worry about it, alright? We're going to get you to Seattle… and you're going to have tons of fun with your sister… you won't even remember being sad."
"Will you remember me?" She asked, her grip loosening on the teddy bear as she watched Derek smile tenderly.
"How can I forget a face like that?" He asked as he watched her blush and smile shyly, tilting her head as she giggled. They looked up as the safety announcement began, and they prepared for the plane to take flight.
When the safety demonstration was over, Zoey glanced to Derek and sighed. "Why did they show us those mask things?" She asked as she put her hand over her mouth and pointed at the flight attendant.
"Just in case something happens with the plane…" Derek muttered tiredly, not thinking about what he was saying.
"Just in case something happens with the plane!" She exclaimed as she opened her mouth wide. "I have to go…" She said as she pulled at the seatbelt across her lap.
"Oh, no… you're not going anywhere…" Derek said as he put his hand on the buckle. "Nothing bad is going to happen…"
"But it won't… I promise." Derek nodded.
"We could fall and get boo boos." She said as she sighed.
"No one is going to fall." Derek reassured as he shook his head and laughed at her.
"I promise…" Derek said as suddenly, the plane started to move.
"Oh my gosh! The plane is moving!" She exclaimed as she looked out the window, a small smile finding its way to her lips as she trembled in excitement.
"Well, that's how we are going to fly… we have to move if we want to get there…" Derek shrugged. "Now you have to hold on and not be nervous… because the plane will know if you're scared…" Derek said with a laugh as he watched the little girl give him a confused look.
"The plane doesn't know I'm scared…"
"Now it does! You just told it!" Derek said as she covered her mouth with her hand and giggled. "Now what happens?" She asked as they started to roll down the runway.
"Now… it's going to go really, really fast… and you're going to feel it push you against your seat a little and it's going lift up!" Derek exclaimed excitedly as he watched her listen to him.
"Like this?" She asked as she held her teddy bear in front of her and lifted him off quickly, flying him around in front of her for a moment as she looked up at Derek.
"Yep, just like that…" Derek said as he chuckled. "Though I'm not sure how much the plane's pink bow drags on the ground." He said as he listened to the little girl's giggle.
"The plane has a pink bow?" She asked excitedly, teasing Derek as she watched him laugh, shaking his head. Suddenly, the plane started to pick up speed, rolling quickly down the runway as Zoey's mouth widened in surprise, followed by her closing her eyes and gritting her teeth as the plane finally lifted, pushing them smoothly into the air. Her eyes remained tightly closed as she hugged her teddy bear tightly.
"You can open your eyes now." Derek whispered as he watched one eye open, looking directly at him. "We're in the air now… you can open your eyes."
"I'm still here?" She whispered.
"You're still here."
"Nope." Derek replied as he watched her open her other eye, her face turning for the window, she leaned forward and looked out. He watched her stare out the window for a long while as she held her bear close to her, straining to see out the window. The plane lifted into the clouds and after a moment, the seatbelt sign made a noise.
"Oh! Oh my gosh!" Zoey exclaimed.
"That's just the seatbelt sign…" He laughed as the intercom announced that they were at cruising altitude. He watched Zoey relax and sit back, her eyes periodically looking out the window.
She turned her head toward Derek and smiled. "Are we there yet?" She asked, a smile spreading over her face as Derek laughed out loud.
"…And then we went to the zoo… and there were lots of animals at the zoo but they were pretty tired and warm. Mommy said that they don't like to come out when its warm so they always go inside and cool off. The zoo was fun because it has a swing set and a jungle gym and a spray splash place where you can put your bathing suit on and go splash in the water. Mommy always said that young ladies shouldn't splash in the water, but there was one time where she let me do it because it was my birthday. We invited all of my friends from daycare to go to the zoo. There was Ralph and Martha and Sarah… we went to the zoo and splashed in the water in our bathing suits and had a real good time… have you ever done that before, Just Derek? Have you ever been to the zoo there before? Did you splash in the…" Zoey stopped talking as she looked over at Derek. His head was back slightly and his mouth was wide open as he sit up sleeping. His eyes were closed and he was snoring softly as he snorted slightly and shifted. She watched him for a moment and sighed as she turned her face toward the window.
She turned her face back at Derek and noticed his cell phone in the front pocket of his brief case sticking out. She reached for her waist and carefully unbuckled her seatbelt as she climbed to the floor and grabbed the blue phone from its hiding spot. She turned and climbed back into her seat, watching Derek carefully as she smiled and flipped open his phone. She pushed a button or two, playing with the lighted numbers as she glanced to Derek every now and again. "Hi, this is Zoey Grey calling… get me a operatey room now…" She giggled as she glanced to Derek and played with the phone a little more.
One or two more button pushes and she found the camera on the phone, snapping pictures of various things unknowingly, she giggled as she saw Derek's snoring face, a bit of drool sliding down his chin through the little viewfinder as she pushed the button to hear the little click. "Silly, Just Derek…" She giggled as Derek snorted loudly again, making her jump slightly as she flipped the phone closed. She slid off the seat and pushed the phone into his briefcase as she watched his eyes slowly open. He shifted slightly and lifted his face up, wiping the drool from his chin with the back of his hand he found himself looking into the eyes of a very guilty looking six year old.
"Hi!" She exclaimed happily beside him as she wiggled her fingers in a tiny wave.
"What are you up to?" He asked in a gruff, playful voice as he cleared his throat.
"Nothin'." She said as she smiled and climbed back up into her seat, turned around and buckled her seatbelt.
"Why don't I believe you?" Derek asked as he looked around to see if anything had been moved.
"I dunno…" She shrugged as she held her teddy in her arms. "Did you have a nice nappy?" She asked as she tilted her head with a sweet smile.
"Yes… thank you for asking…" He said as he continued to look at her with a scrutinizing look. "You're a slippery little one, aren't you?"
"I'm a sweet princess, Just Derek… that's all I am." She shrugged as she yawned.
"You're getting sleepy…" Derek pointed out as she shook her head, trying to deny it. "Oh yes you are…" He said as she shook her head.
"No, you're sleepy…" She said as she pointed at him.
"I bet if you lay your head down on me right now, you'll be asleep in five minutes…"
"Nope…" She giggled.
"Well, I dare you to try…" Derek said as he reached over and poked the tiny nose as she crossed her eyes to see his finger, giggling.
"Okay…" She said as she yawned again, leaning her head down slightly, she rested her golden locks into his side as she tucked her tiny hand under her cheek and closed her eyes. Derek wasn't very surprised… and he was wrong about the five minutes, because as soon as her eyes closed, within two minutes, she was already dreaming peacefully.
"There's nothing quite like making a deal with the devil…" Derek said with a chuckle as he gently rubbed the little girl's arm as he comforted her in her sleep.
Derek rested with the tiny girl pressed against his side. He found his finger running through her long blonde hair as he watched her sleep peacefully against him. The thought occurred to him that he didn't even know who this tiny little girl was, and that the connection she had made to him was almost magical. One minute, he was watching this withdrawn, sad, absolutely precious little girl sitting alone in the airport, and now she was pressed up against him, holding him as if he were the only thing keeping her together. He has nieces and nephews, and he loves each and every one of them. He had spent time with them, played with them, talked with them, seen them grow, learn, and love. He had been their uncle and their friend. However, he had never had this chest tightening feeling every time his name was uttered from their lips. Perhaps he felt bad for this little girl with the gray eyes and pink sparkly shoes, perhaps that was all it was. Perhaps he felt connected to her because he too felt so alone and withdrawn. Perhaps it was because she was just so concentrated on those pink sparkly shoes that she looked like she needed someone to tell her story to, just like any adult would. But it could be just her voice, her sweet angelic voice and how she would look at him and smile and her smile would light his own face up, would warm his heart like nothing ever had. She certainly was a special little girl, and her situation broke his heart.
"Just Derek?" A tiny voice emitted from his side as he leaned forward to see her gray eyes staring up at him.
"Hmm?" He asked softly as he watched her sigh a little.
"What happens if I get to Seattle and I'm scared?" She whimpered as she watched him. "What happens if there isn't anyone to read me a story?" She asked as she sat up a little. "What happens if there's no one to get me a cup of water in the middle of the night… what happens if my sister doesn't like me… where do I go? I want to go home." She whimpered as her lip began to tremble.
"You mean you've been laying here, comfy and safe and you've been worrying all this time?" He asked, watching her lip stick out a little more as she nodded. "You don't have anything to worry about." Derek said softly as he watched her sigh as a tear escaped her eye. "I'll be in Seattle… I'm your friend, right?"
"Uh huh…" She nodded.
"Maybe we can get together sometime with your sister… go to the zoo… I can check on Mister Derek here…" He nodded toward the bear.
"I would like that." She smiled as she wiped her tears.
"Why do you like me so much?" Derek asked as she watched his eyes carefully, a small smile spreading over her lips.
"Cuz you're nice… and you… you rescued me…" She said with a giggle as she snuggled her bear. "And you got me my favorite bear…"
"You know… I'm sure that your doll is feeling very jealous right about now, hearing you tell that bear you love her so much."
"Oh, Molly is okay with it… she can share." The little girl giggled. "Mommy said that I've had Molly since I was a little baby."
"Well, Molly is a very special doll then, so don't you go and replace her with that ole Mister Derek." He said as he listened to the little girl giggle.
"Mister Derek is going to be a very good friend to me." She said as she cuddled her head into him and rested.
It wasn't long after she had woken up before the flight attendant announced over the intercom that the plane would be landing shortly. Zoey sat up and watched out the window as the plane glided delicately over the sun rising sky as morning broke in Seattle. She was sleepy, as it were early afternoon in New York City, but the sunshine sliding delicately through the windows of the plane draped them in pinks, oranges and purples of the early morning. "Aren't you sleepy?" Derek asked as the little girl looked up into his eyes for a moment, her head turning to face the clouds they were descending into.
"No." She replied as she cuddled his arm a little. "I don't want to be asleep when you have to say goodbye." She smiled as he shook his head and watched her continue to stare out the window as the plane slipped through the clouds and drifted down toward the runway and Seattle, where the two strangers would part ways.
Zoey grabbed hold of Derek's arm and closed her eyes tightly as the plane landed. She squeezed him tightly as he held her securely beside him and reassured her that it would be fine. As the plane slowed and her eyes opened just slightly, she glanced to Derek. "I made it!" She said with a laugh as Derek laughed at how excited she was for surviving the whole plane trip. "Wowee, we made it!" She said happily as she released Derek's arm and smiled as she hugged her teddy bear closely. "We made it, Just Derek… did you see that?"
"I did…" Derek chuckled. "We made it…" he said as the plane slowed by the gate and stopped as the lights turned on and everyone started to move around.
"What do we do now? What do we do now? Do I get off the plane now? Am I going to meet my sister now? I'm scared, Just Derek… I'm very scared… What if she doesn't like me? What if she…"
"For such a tiny little girl, you sure do have a ton of worries." Derek teased as he touched her hand. "Just relax… and be you… and don't worry… your sister is going to love you." Derek said as he felt a pang of sadness in his heart at the worried tone in the little girl's voice and the way that she clung to him.
"Zoey." The flight attendant said as she looked over at the little girl before they opened the door of the plane. "You stay seated and we'll bring you to your sister." She nodded as the little girl glanced to Derek. "Mr. Shepherd, you can go if you'd like."
"Actually… if you don't mind, I'll walk with you and Zoey to her sister." He said as the flight attendant smiled.
"You've really gone above and beyond, sir."
"Well, she's made a pretty bad situation into something much better… and I'd like to say goodbye properly." He said as she nodded and turned as they opened the door of the plane and the other passengers left the plane.
They sat and watched as the passengers walked past them on their way out of the plane, and after a moment, Derek felt a tiny hand beside him as it grabbed hold of his sleeve and pulled as a tiny butt deposited itself in his lap. She looked up at him and smiled as she grinned at him, her grey eyes shining happily as she leaned her head on his chest as they waited together. "You're a little flirt, you know that?"
"I don't even know what that means…" She shrugged as she shook her head, her smile soft and sweet as they waited for all of the other passengers to walk off the plane. As the last passenger passed them, Derek lifted the little girl up and stood before his seat as he grabbed his briefcase and her bag in one hand. She smiled as she held onto his shirt, leaning her head on his shoulder as he stepped into the aisle. The flight attendant smiled at the two of them as Derek walked forward in the plane and she walked out in front of them as Derek held her securely in his arms.
"Her sister should be at the gate waiting for her." She said softly as Derek nodded, walking down the hallway slowly as he didn't think he was quite ready to let go of his tiny friend just yet. Zoey held Derek tightly as they stepped through the door, the crowded airport was filled with people waiting for their chance to board the plane to its next destination and the flight attendant stepped up to the counter and talked to one of the women behind it as Derek held tightly to the little girl in his arms. Derek watched as she looked up at a young woman sitting in one of the chairs who stood up as soon as they stepped off the plane and glanced to the flight attendant as the woman at the counter pointed toward her. The flight attendant nodded and signed a form as she glanced back to Derek as Zoey wrapped her arms around his neck, holding him tightly.
"Don't let me go, Just Derek." She whispered into his ear. "I'm not ready yet."
"I'm not ready either…" Derek whispered back as he held her tightly as he continued to watch the exchange as the young woman stepped to the counter. The flight attendant talked with her for a moment and Derek watched her carefully. She was of average height, thin with short, dark hair. She looked nothing like the little girl and he hoped for just a moment that her sister hadn't showed up, that this woman was there waiting for someone else. "What am I thinking?" He whispered out loud as he tried to figure out what exactly he was hoping for and why he would be thinking such things. "Your sister is here, Zoey…" He whispered as they started to walk over toward them. "She looks nice…" He said softly.
"Mr. Shepherd, This is Lexie Grey… Zoey's sister." She said as she introduced Derek to the woman who was standing before them. "Zoey?"
"I don't want to go." She whimpered.
Lexie looked very confused as to why the little girl was holding onto the man before her. He looked like just a run of the mill passenger, and she was supposed to be traveling alone. "She's a little nervous." Derek spoke up as he held out his hand. "I'm Derek Shepherd." He said as he held his hand out and shook Lexie's hand. The flight attendant turned and walked away, saying goodbye to allow Lexie to take her sister into custody. "I'm very sorry to hear about your mother's death." Derek said softly as the young woman nodded.
"She actually isn't my mother." Lexie replied a bit coldly. "Zoey is only my… half… sister." She paused as she said it quickly as she tried to pull the little girl from Derek's arms. "Let's go, Zoey…" She said sternly as she tugged her again.
"No!" Zoey exclaimed as she squealed loudly, gripping Derek's shirt tightly as he watched the desperate look in her eyes.
"Zoey…" Derek said softly as he glanced to Lexie, who released her and watched as Derek looked at the little girl lovingly. "Hey…"
"Mr. Shepherd, I really appreciate you making sure that she got here alright." Lexie said quickly as she tried to figure out how she'd disconnect the little girl from the man's neck. "Come on Zoey… we're going to have a lot of fun… I can show you your new room… and I have some people that are really interested in meeting you…"
"I don't want to meet no one…" Zoey said stubbornly as she gripped Derek harder.
"Zoey…" Derek said softly as he pulled her fingertips from his skin and shirt as he crouched down, placing her feet on the ground as she tried to pull them back up, attempting to wrap them around him and climb back into his arms. "Come on… come on, let go… it's alright… it's alright…" He said soothingly as finally, the little girl relented and stood on her own, letting Derek crouch before her.
"No… please… please…" She stomped her feet as he watched tears roll down her cheeks. "Please… please…" She hiccupped as he shook his head, trying to keep his own tears from falling.
"Look… look at me, Zoey… look at me…" he said softly as he looked up at Lexie, who appeared to be losing her patience. She smiled a quick smile, and Derek could feel the uncomfortable air about her. He chocked it up to her picking up a child who had never met her before, a scared and lonely child, and for a split second wondered if she had any idea how to handle the tiny soul. "Look at me… this is your sister, Lexie… see… she looks friendly and nice… and I'm sure she's going to take very good care of you…" he said softly as he reached into his pocket and pulled out a business card. He looked up at Lexie and handed one to her. "Here…" He said softly. "This is my card… if she's lonely or something… if she needs anything…please, please call me…" Derek said as she reluctantly took the card. He carefully set Zoey's bag down onto the floor and slipped a card into her bag without either girl's noticing as he turned it around and held out the strap. "Here… put your backpack on… you don't want to lose Molly…" He said softly as he watched her nod and hold her hand out as she sniffled and whimpered.
"Mister Derek is going to miss you." She whimpered as she reached out and held the bear to Derek.
"I'm going to miss Mister Derek… in all her pink and fuzziness…" Derek said as he kissed the bear on top of its head.
"I thought you didn't like pink." She sniffled.
"What can I say… you've changed my mind." Derek winked. "Now you be a good girl… And don't you forget me…" He said with a half smile.
"I won't…" she whimpered. "Can I tell you a secret?" She whispered as she held her finger out and beckoned him closer.
"Of course…" he whispered as he leaned in. With that split second, she leaned in to whisper in his ear and instead left a sweet, soft peck on his cheek. "I love you, Just Derek." She said with a smile, tilting her head as she smiled such a sad, solemn smile. "Please don't go to heaven." She whispered.
"I love you too, little princess." Derek whispered. "And I promise." He said as she looked up at Lexie and swallowed hard.
"Bye…" She said as she wiped her eye and held her bear tightly.
"See you later, alligator." He said as he winked, her soft giggle tickling his ears one more time before she reluctantly took Lexie's hand and let her lead her away from Derek, periodically turning to see him still crouching where she had left him, waving sadly at her with a lone tear rolling down his cheek.
Derek brushed away the tear that had made his way down his cheek after Zoey had long since disappeared down the terminal hallway. He swallowed hard as he grabbed his briefcase and bow his head as he walked through the airport like a zombie, making his way down the crowded hallway as he walked toward the baggage claim. He got to baggage claim and after a good half hour of waiting, he grabbed his bag and made his way to his car. He walked through the dimly lit garage, his heart heavy and sad as he tried to shake off the feeling of dread that was invading his every step. He stepped up to his dark colored car, sitting alone between two empty parking spaces and he sighed heavily. He pushed the button on his key, sending the trunk lid opening quickly as he swung his bag hard into the back of the car. He lifted his briefcase up and reached into the front pocket to grab his phone as he tossed the briefcase into the trunk as well and slammed it closed.
He pressed the button for the lock of his car, hearing the beep from it as he swung open the door and slumped inside the car. He slammed the door closed and sat, staring out of the windshield for a few moments, his mind whirling and spinning as he tried to ward off the heavy feeling in his heart, mind and soul. His stomach was twisting in knots as Zoey's cries echoed in his head, that feeling of dread still refusing to leave his mind as he tried to focus on the task at hand.
He flipped open his phone, giving it a strange look as he noticed that it was on already, fairly sure that he had turned it off before the flight, he shrugged it off as he dialed a familiar number.
"Sloan." The voice was gruff on the other end of the line as Derek sighed.
"You're still at my house, aren't you?"
"You needed a house sitter…" Mark said with a sigh.
"No… I needed you to check on it once in a while… I didn't need a lazy ass surgeon using it as a bachelor pad." Derek said into the line, his voice coming through as angrier than he had intended.
"Geez… Airport food must not be agreeing with you… what's your problem?"
"You're there with a woman, aren't you?"
"Derek… now why would I…?"
"Please get her out before I get home… I just got into the car… I'm leaving in a minute."
"Hey, you're not really pissed off because I stayed at your place this week, are you? Your place is so much better than…"
"Mark… I don't really give a shit… I'll see you in a half hour." Derek said as he pressed the button on his phone. As he did that, he noticed that the picture on his phone had changed and instead of just the blank blue background that he usually had, there was an extreme close up of a very familiar pink bear. "What is…?" He mumbled as he found himself smiling slightly, shaking his head as he maneuvered his attention to the other pictures on his camera. He smiled brighter with each one. Along with the picture of the teddy bear, he found a picture of a pair of familiar pink sparkly shoes, a picture of a tray table. He chuckled when he saw the picture of himself sleeping as he shook his head. "Sneaky, sneaky…" He chuckled as he switched to the last picture, a perfect shot of a certain little girl smiled back at him. Her eyes held a sparkle of innocent mischief as he felt the lump in his throat growing. "You little thief." He whispered as he looked at the picture of the little girl. "You stole my heart." He whispered as he began to cry softly.