A/N: This story is loosely based off the song, "We Are Young," by Fun. It's set in season 7 of Grey's Anatomy and season 4 of Private Practice, but it also has several flashbacks, which are in italics. Anyway, I hope you like this story, and I'd love to hear what you think!
Between the Drinks and Subtle Things
"Give me a second. I need to get my story straight-"
"What story, Derek?" Mark interrupted. "It's perfectly normal for us to be here."
"We should have called her first," Derek insisted, directing his eyes over towards the bar, where Addison sat, drinking a martini. "L.A.'s her place. We have no right to be here."
"Of course we do," Mark disagreed. "Bizzy died. Addison came back from Connecticut and found out that Sam kissed Naomi. Addison's going through a rough time. We're exactly where we need to be."
"I guess," Derek conceded. "But, wait, why are we over here, sitting in this booth together, and not at the bar with Addison? It makes us seem like stalkers…and kind of like a couple."
Mark rolled his eyes. "We can go over to her. You were the one who was all worried about getting your story straight."
Derek nodded and directed his attention back to Addison. "It looks like she already has company," he noted as a man wearing sunglasses sat down next to Addison and began to strike up a conversation with her.
"Damn, that was going to be my seat," Derek muttered under his breath. He quickly turned to Mark. "We should probably step in now, right? Addison's in a vulnerable place. I don't want Sunglasses to take advantage of her." That was a half-truth. He didn't want anyone to take advantage of Addison, but he also didn't want anyone else to be with her, period.
"That's some scar you've got there, Derek," Mark mused, ignoring Derek's previous statement.
"Wait, where?" Derek asked, as he examined his bare arms. "I don't see anything."
"It's an emotional scar," Mark explained, rolling his eyes.
"Since when did you become poetic?" Derek shot back. "And we're supposed to be focusing on Addison, not on the emotional scar that I may or may not have."
"We are here for Addison," Mark nodded. "But she's not the only one who's going through something right now. You-"
"I'm fine," Derek assured his friend, even though he was anything but.
"If you say so," Mark shrugged, obviously unconvinced. "I was just saying-"
"Well, stop saying things," Derek said irritably. He looked over at Addison, and shot Sunglasses an angry glare. "I'm going over to her," Derek insisted, as he stood up and began making his way towards the bar, leaving Mark alone in the booth.
He discretely positioned himself next to Addison; her back was towards him, so she had no idea that he was there. She was listening to Sunglasses ramble on about some water sport that Derek knew she would never try.
Derek signaled to the bartender. "Double scotch, single malt," he ordered.
Hearing the familiar drink order and the unmistakable voice, Addison turned in her seat and found herself face to face with her ex-husband. "Derek," she gasped. "What are you doing here?"
The bartender came with Derek's drink, and Derek smiled his thanks. Then, gesturing towards Addison, he added, "Can you bring another martini for her as well, please? You can add it to my tab."
"Derek," Addison said softly.
"What? Am I not allowed to buy you a drink?"
"Excuse me," Sunglasses cut in, "but do you two know each other?"
Derek gave the man a wry smile. "I'd say that's a huge understatement. We know each other very well." He said this more suggestively then was probably appropriate, but it worked – Sunglasses got the hint.
"Oh, um, I, uh, I should probably go," Sunglasses stammered uncomfortably. "It was nice to meet you," he said to Addison, as he quickly walked away.
Addison turned to face Derek. "Derek, what are you doing here?" she asked, still unable to wrap her head around the fact that her ex-husband was in L.A. – her place.
"Apparently warding off men in sunglasses," Derek teased.
Addison gave him a slight smile. "What are you really doing here, Derek?" she asked more seriously.
Derek looked at the floor, uncomfortably. "I, uh, Mark and I…we came to see you."
"Wait, Mark's here too?"
Derek nodded, and gestured over to the booth where Mark was sitting, now accompanied by a group of women.
Mark saw Derek and Addison looking at him, and immediately excused himself from the table and made his way over to them. "Addie!" he exclaimed, wrapping his arms around Addison.
"Mark, it's good to see you," Addison smiled. "Although, some things never change," she added, glancing back at the group of women sitting at Mark's table. "I'd hate to keep you from your friends."
Mark shrugged, and signaled for the bartender. "You mean more to me than a group of random women."
Addison smiled. "So what are you guys doing out here?"
"Derek didn't tell you?" Mark asked.
Addison shrugged. "He said you came here to see me."
"Which is the truth," Derek said, shooting Mark a warning look.
"Right," Mark agreed quickly. "We heard about Bizzy, and we're sorry."
"Yeah, we should have been at the funeral," Derek added.
Addison shook her head. "Don't worry about it. It was a disaster. Everyone from L.A. came out to Connecticut to be with me, but they didn't know Bizzy, and they don't understand my family, so I turned into this fake, Stepford wife…and I probably gave the worst eulogy known to man."
"Impossible," Derek disagreed. "You give great speeches."
"I do." Addison agreed. "But this wasn't one of them."
"Well, either way, I'm sorry we missed Bizzy's funeral," Derek apologized. "She was…" He paused for a moment, trying to think of right words to describe his late ex-mother-in-law. "She was one of a kind," Derek grinned. "She always kind of scared the shit out of me, but I liked her. And, man, could she drink. She could drink me under the table any day, no problem."
Addison smiled at her ex-husband's words. She hated to admit it, but there was more genuine emotion in Derek's little impromptu speech than there was in her entire eulogy. Go figure. But there was something about Derek's words that she found strangely comforting, and she couldn't help giving her husband a soft smile – a smile, which he returned, making her heart skip a beat. And suddenly, Addison and Derek found themselves unable to break eye contact with each other.
Mark accepted his scotch from the bartender and, noticing the sparks that were flying between Addison and Derek, he figured he'd do them a favor and give them some time alone together. "I think I'm gonna get back to my table," he announced, snapping Derek and Addison out of their haze.
Addison looked over at the booth where the women were still sitting. "So, which one of them are you gonna sleep with," she asked in a mock whisper.
"None of them."
"None of them?" Addison asked in surprise. "Mark Sloan?"
Mark shrugged. "I'm changing, Addison. Remember Lexi?"
"That's still happening?" Addison asked.
Mark shook his head. "It's not. But I want it to happen. And it can't happen if I go around sleeping with random women."
Addison gave Mark a wry smile. "And if you and Lexi happen, you and Derek would be family…legally family. Isn't that sweet?"
"Well, not exactly," Mark explained. "Because Derek and-"
"Mark," Derek cut in. "Not now."
"Wait, what's going on?" Addison asked, looking at Derek suspiciously.
"Nothing's going on," Derek said quickly. "It's just, we're here to comfort you, not to go on and on about our lives." He shot Mark a warning look. "Right, Mark?"
"Right," Mark agreed quickly. "Now, even though I'm turning over a new leaf, I'm not above a little shameless flirting, so I'll catch up with you two in a little while," he said, standing up. "Good to see you Addie," he smiled, kissing her cheek. Then, leaning in towards Derek, he whispered, "You should just tell her. She's gonna find out eventually anyway." And, with that, he made his way away from the bar and toward the table of women.
"You sure you're okay?" Addison asked Derek, once Mark had left them alone together.
"I'm fine," Derek said, doing his best to give her a convincing smile. "It's just, I'm sorry."
Derek nodded. "Yeah. And about Sam."
Addison shook her head. "Don't be. Sam and I weren't right. We didn't work. He and Naomi…they work. They're giving their marriage another chance."
Addison studied the expression on Derek's face. "You're not really sorry about me and Sam," she assessed knowingly. She and Derek had known each other forever. It was easy for her to recognize the holes in his apologies.
Derek smiled; sometimes he forgot how well Addison knew him. "You're right," he confessed. "I'm not sorry about you and Sam. But I am sorry about us," he said quietly, moving his hand to rest on top of hers. "I'm really sorry."
Addison smiled slightly. "Me too."
They sat there quietly, sipping their drinks, her hand still in his.
"Hey, Derek," Addison said gently. "If you wanna talk-"
"Thanks," Derek smiled. "But I'm fine."
She knew he wasn't fine. Just like she wasn't fine. She knew something was wrong with him. He could deny it all he wanted. But between the drinks and subtle things, she realized that maybe Derek was hurting just as much as she was. Maybe more so.
"Okay," Addison whispered, squeezing Derek's hand reassuringly.
Derek motioned to the bartender, and ordered another round of drinks for himself and Addison.
"Derek," Addison chuckled, when the bartender put a new martini down in front of her. "We should probably stop with the drinks. I can't drink like I could back when we were younger."
Derek gave Addison a warm smile. "I'll tell you what; if by the time the bar closes, and you feel like falling down, I'll carry you home tonight."
"Is she going to be able to stand up?" Mark asked Derek, as Addison drained another martini. "I don't think I've ever seen her drink this much."
"You know I can hear you," Addison said, rolling her eyes. "And I'm fine. You've seen how much Bizzy and The Captain can drink. Having a high tolerance is practically in my blood. Besides, it's my thirtieth birthday; I can drink as much as I want to."
Derek leaned in close to her, lazily trailing his fingers up Addison's thigh. "What do you say we cut the drinking short, and find another way to celebrate your birthday?" he whispered seductively in her ear.
"And I've decided that I've drank enough," Addison declared.
"Oh, she is so drunk," Mark chuckled.
Derek nodded in agreement. "I think we're going to head home. Do you want to share a cab with us?"
Mark shook his head. "Nah, I'm good. You two have fun."
Derek nodded, and he and Addison exited the bar, and hailed a cab.
"Do you think I'm old?" Addison asked Derek, her head resting on his shoulder, as they drove through the streets of Manhattan.
Derek smiled, and kissed Addison softly. "No," he laughed. "You're young. We're young, successful surgeons, on our way to becoming the best in our fields," he said, before kissing her again, a little more passionately this time.
"So you're not going to leave me for some younger woman someday?" Addison teased when they broke apart.
"That'll never happen," Derek insisted. "You're the love of my life. You always will be…no matter how old we are."
Addison smiled at her husband's words. "Thanks, Derek."
Derek gave Addison a soft smile, and pulled her in closer. "No, thank you," he whispered.
"Wait, why?" Addison asked in confusion.
Derek smiled and kissed Addison softly on the lips. "Thank you for being born."
"Derek, that's the sappiest…"
But Derek cut her off with a kiss. "Happy Birthday, Addie," he whispered.
Addison met her husband's eyes and smiled. "Thanks, Derek."
"Thanks, Derek," Addison smiled, as Derek paid for another round of drinks.
"No problem," Derek nodded.
"I'm going to regret this in the morning," Addison muttered, gesturing towards her martini. "We're getting too old for this."
"We're not old, Addie," Derek insisted. "I mean, you look practically the same as you did when I first met you."
"Yes, practically being the operative word," Addison smirked.
"Yes," Derek agreed. "Practically is the operative word. You look better now."
"Derek," Addison protested. "You really shouldn't -"
"Just take the compliment," Derek interrupted.
"Thank you," Addison smiled, allowing herself to get lost in Derek's eyes. "You still look good too, you know," she murmured. "Better even." The words had left her mouth before she even had the chance to think about what she was saying. Derek had a post-it wife, and that made her comment way out of line. "I'm sorry, Derek," she apologized. "I shouldn't have said-"
But she found herself at a sudden loss for words when Derek gently placed his hand on top of hers and gave her a soft smile. "Thanks, Addie."
A small smile played on Addison's lips, as she locked eyes with her ex-husband, his intense blue eyes meeting her pale blue ones. But she forced herself to look away. She wasn't okay, and he wasn't okay; and they didn't need new ways to fall apart. She felt his hand tighten over hers protectively and, confused by the gesture, she glanced up from her martini to look at him. But he didn't meet her eyes; he was staring intently at the entrance of the bar. Addison followed Derek's gaze – Sam and Naomi had just entered the bar, hand in hand.
"Derek, it's okay," Addison reassured her ex-husband. "I'm okay, I swear. Sam and I weren't a good couple, and Sam and Naomi are great together."
Derek nodded at Addison's words. She really did seem to be okay with Sam and Naomi, but he still couldn't bring himself to let go of her hand. He rationalized that it was just the protective, brother-to-four-sisters part of his personality coming out. Deep down, he knew that this wasn't the truth, but he wasn't ready to entertain the truth just yet. Besides, Addison didn't seem to mind.
"Do you think they're going to come over here?" Derek whispered to Addison.
Addison shrugged. "Probably. We're all friends, after all. Plus, it's not everyday that you're in L.A."
"That's true." Derek agreed. "How do think I'd fare if I lived in L.A.?" he asked thoughtfully.
Addison chuckled. "I'm not sure you're cut out for L.A., Derek."
"I could be," Derek insisted.
Addison shook her head. "People in L.A., they walk on the beach, they buy aromatherapy candles, they're very Zen."
"You're not very Zen," Derek pointed out. "You seem to be doing okay."
"And I have a hard time picturing you lighting aromatherapy candles," Derek laughed.
"I bought some when I first moved out here," Addison defended.
"And," Derek pressed.
"They smelled horrible," Addison mumbled. "And they didn't work."
Derek smiled triumphantly. "You are so not Zen, Addie. Hell, I'm more Zen than you are."
"Derek, I'd hardly call you Zen," Addison chuckled.
Derek was about to respond, but he was interrupted by Sam and Naomi, who came rushing over to him and Addison.
"Derek Shepherd, are you really in L.A.?" Naomi exclaimed excitedly, as she wrapped her arms around Derek. "It's good to see you," she smiled.
"It's good to see you too," Derek grinned. "You look happy, really genuinely happy."
"I am," Naomi smiled.
"We are," Sam agreed.
"That's good," Derek nodded, quickly looking over at Addison. She seemed unfazed by the whole situation, and he was glad.
"Well, it's about time you showed up," Mark laughed, walking over to the group, and putting an arm around Sam and Naomi. "I was afraid that Derek and I had come all this way, and wouldn't get a chance to see you."
"It's nice to see you, Mark," Sam grinned. He glanced at the entourage of women standing around Mark. "Who are your friends?" he chuckled.
"Oh," Mark smiled. "These ladies didn't believe me when I told them that we were all doctors, so I need you guys to back me up here."
"We're all doctors," Naomi confirmed. "We all went to med school together."
Derek nodded. "It's true. Mark's the foremost plastic surgeon, west of New York."
"Wow," one of the women smiled, eyeing Mark appreciatively. "He's that good?"
"He is," Addison nodded. "It's annoying."
Mark signaled to the bartender, and when the bartender brought him his scotch, Marked raised his glass, and grinned. "I'd like to propose a toast. To the five of us being together again. And to being doctors."
"We're doctors!" Mark exclaimed, raising his glass of scotch.
"We're doctors!" Addison, Derek, Naomi, and Sam echoed, raising their own glasses, and toasting their graduation from medical school.
"Now all we need to do is make it through residency, get a fellowship or two, and then we'll be attendings," Derek said.
"Derek," Mark groaned. "We're celebrating, not talking about all of the work we still need to do to become attendings."
"Okay, okay, I'll stop," Derek laughed. "But when I'm Chief of Surgery, one day, this ambition will be why."
"Are you finished yet?" Mark teased. "I'd really like to get back to drinking. And we have more important things to talk about… like how much easier it's going to be to pick up women now that I'm actually a doctor, and not just studying to be one. Not that it was ever too difficult for me to pick up women before. I'm just saying-"
"Are you done yet?" Sam teased.
While Mark, Sam, and Naomi continued to drink and laugh, Addison turned towards Derek. "So, Chief of Surgery, huh?"
Derek grinned. "Yeah."
"You're gonna have some competition," Addison challenged.
"Oh, really?" Derek smirked, wrapping his arm around his girlfriend's waist.
Addison nodded. "If you want to be Chief, you're gonna have to fight me for it. And you know how hard I fight."
Derek smiled. "Well, it may be a ways away, but I'm looking forward to it."
"Me too," Addison agreed. "Hey, do you want to make things interesting, and put a little wager on it?"
"What do you have in mind?"
"Something sexual," Addison answered flirtatiously.
"Oh, definitely something sexual," Derek agreed.
"How about the loser has to enact the sexual fantasy of the winner's choice in his or her new office?" Addison asked with a mischievous smile.
"That's perfect," Derek grinned, his eyes darkening in desire, just at the thought of his and Addison's bet.
"So we're on?" Addison asked, extending her hand.
"We are," Derek nodded, shaking Addison's hand and sealing the bet that he would technically win (twice) but would never get to cash in on.
"You know," Addison whispered, "all this talk of sex is-"
"I know," Derek agreed quickly. "Do you want to get out of here?"
Addison nodded. "Yeah, let's go home."
"We're going to go home," Naomi announced.
"Yeah," Sam agreed. "We're not in med school anymore. We can't stay out late like we used to."
"If I remember correctly, you two were never very good at staying out late," Mark smirked.
"Well, we did have a child to get home to," Naomi pointed out.
"True," Mark conceded.
"Anyway, we really should go," Sam said, extending his hand to Mark and Derek, as Naomi gave Addison a hug goodbye.
"You know, I miss this," Derek whispered to Addison, once Sam and Naomi had left, and Mark had returned to his table full of women. "I miss spending time with you and our friends from med school."
Addison looked at Derek in surprise. "But what about your friends in Seattle? I'm sure they're-"
"Not the same," Derek filled in.
"Well, Seattle has Meredith," Addison pointed out. "That should make Seattle the clear winner."
Derek nodded. "Yeah. It's just, this is nice."
"You know, L.A.'s not as nice as I imagined it would be," Addison said quietly. "I mean, the weather's beautiful, and it's nice working with friends, but life still happens, and I still sleep with the wrong people, and…I guess, it's just frustrating because I came out here looking for a change, you know...I came out here looking for happy."
"Did you find it?" Derek asked softly.
"I guess I got the change. I'm still looking for happy, though," Addison admitted.
Derek swallowed hard. "Me too."
Addison moved her barstool a little closer to Derek's, and wrapped her arms around him. "You know, Derek, whatever you're going through, right now…whatever it is, you're going to be okay. You will. I know you. You're going to be okay."
"Is he okay?" Addison asked the bartender, as she entered her and Derek's favorite bar in New York City. According to the bartender, Derek had been sitting there for a while, alone, nursing a glass of scotch and, as Addison watched him, she couldn't remember ever seeing him look so upset before.
"You okay?" Addison asked gently, as she sat down next to Derek.
Derek raised his eyes to look at her, and shook his head. "No. Not really."
"You want to talk about it?"
Derek looked at Addison sadly.
"You don't have to talk if you don't want to," Addison said gently. "We could just sit here and drink…or, if you want to be alone, I could leave, and you could sit here and drink."
"Don't leave," Derek said quietly.
"Okay," Addison nodded.
She and Derek drank in silence for a while, before Derek finally broke it. "My father died twenty-five years ago, today," he said softly.
Addison swallowed the lump that had suddenly formed in her throat and covered Derek's hand with her own, gently stroking the top of Derek's hand. "I'm so sorry," she whispered, knowing that there was nothing she could do or say to make today any easier for him.
"Thanks," Derek nodded, taking a sip of his scotch. "It's just, we missed out on so much, me and him. We missed out on so much time together."
Addison nodded at Derek's words. "He'd be proud of you, you know that?"
Derek gave his wife a slight smile. "I like to think he would."
"He would," Addison affirmed. "You're a good doctor, a wonderful husband, and, above all else, you're a really great guy."
"My dad was a good man," Derek smiled. "A really good man."
"Tell me about him," Addison said softly.
"Uh, what do you want to know?" Derek asked.
"Whatever you want to tell me," Addison smiled.
"Okay," Derek nodded. "My dad was a big baseball fan. He liked the Yankees. And, uh, every year on opening day, he'd take me to Yankees' Stadium, and we'd watch the game. It didn't matter if I had school or if he had work…we'd skip it, and go to opening day."
Addison smiled at her husband. "That sounds nice."
"It was," Derek agreed. "I know it probably sounds silly but, I don't know, I always imagined doing the same thing with our kids."
Addison gave Derek a soft smile. "You think about things like that?"
Derek nodded. "Yeah. I do."
Addison leaned in and placed a soft kiss on Derek's temple. "Tell me more about your father."
"Uh, well, let's see," Derek began. "My dad was hard working. He had to be with five kids and all. I like to think I get my ambition from him. I think all my siblings like to think that about themselves," he added with a chuckle. Derek swallowed hard, and stared into his scotch glass. "But, uh, my dad…he was a really good dad. You know, a man who genuinely cared about his family. I, uh, I hope I get that from him. I hope I can be half the dad he was, one day."
"You will be, Derek," Addison reassured her husband, as she continued to gently stroke the back of his hand with her fingers. "Because your dad taught you how."
Derek smiled. "Thanks, Addison." He took a sip of his scotch, and looked back at his wife. "You're amazing, you know that?"
Addison moved towards Derek and kissed him softly on the lips. "I think you're pretty amazing," she whispered.
"Thanks for being here, Addie," Derek said appreciatively.
"I wouldn't want to be anywhere else," Addison said softly. "Thanks for telling me about your dad, Derek. It sounds like he was a really good man. I think you get that from him."
"You know," Addison began thoughtfully. "When we do decide to have kids, I think, I don't know, I think we should name our first child after your dad. You know, as a way to honor him."
"You'd do that for me?" Derek choked out, fighting back tears.
Addison nodded. "Yeah. Plus, I like your father's name. Michael is a good name."
"What if we have a girl?" Derek asked. "Michael isn't exactly a girl's name."
"Makayla is pretty," Addison said. "And it's a derivation of Michael."
"I like it," Derek approved.
Addison smiled, and raised her martini glass. "Well, then, here's to your father and to our future."
Derek lightly tapped his scotch glass against her martini glass. "I'll drink to that."
Addison smiled and took a long sip of her martini. "I love you, Derek."
"I love you too, Addie. You're the love of my life."
Addison leaned in and kissed Derek softly, but he quickly deepened the kiss, making it more passionate and intimate, and less appropriate for a public place.
"What do say we get out of here?" Derek whispered suggestively.
Addison nodded, and both tossed back their drinks.
"Okay," Derek smiled. "Let's get a cab"
"So do you want to take a cab back to the hotel?" Mark asked Derek, as he joined Derek and Addison at the bar. "It's getting late, and the bar's about to close."
Derek hesitated. "I, uh, I think I'm going to take Addison home first. You know, make sure she's okay."
Mark nodded. "You should just tell her, Derek. Just tell her already."
"Tell me what?" Addison asked, from her barstool.
Derek and Mark exchanged a glance. "Don't even think about it," Derek warned Mark.
A small smile played on Addison's lips as she watched the interaction between Derek and Mark. Her eyes were a glassy and a little red from drinking, but her voice sounded perfectly sober. "About how you and Meredith broke up?" she asked Derek innocently.
Derek and Mark's eyebrows shot up in surprise. "You told her?" Mark asked.
"I didn't," Derek said. "How did you-"
"Derek, we were married for eleven years," Addison sighed. "And there was a time when you considered me your best friend. So between the drinks and subtle things, I just, I pieced everything together."
"Oh," Derek said quietly.
"I'm sorry," Addison apologized. "About you and Meredith." She paused for a moment before echoing the words that Derek had said to her earlier in the evening. "And about you and me."
"Me too," Derek said softly, trying to discern just how drunk Addison actually was.
Mark pulled Derek aside, out of Addison's earshot. "She doesn't know the whole story, Derek," he whispered harshly. "You should tell her. You need to tell her."
"And what makes you think you know the whole story?" Derek shot back.
Mark shrugged. "Hospital gossip. You broke up with Meredith because you never got over Addison. And the life that you and Meredith were planning together…you know, the house, the baby, the happily ever after…you realized that the only woman that you want that with is Addison. At least, that's the rumor that's going around."
Derek nodded, taking in Mark's words. Everything Mark said was true but, still, Mark didn't know the half of it. Nobody did. Nobody knew that it had been weeks since Derek had last worn one of his wood-chopping fisherman shirts, and that he had been wearing the shirts he had relegated to the very back of his closet: the shirts that he worn back when he and Addison were married. Nobody knew that, even after the divorce, Derek had hung onto old pictures of him and Addison and that, over the years, he had found himself looking at them more and more. Nobody knew that, despite giving Addison a hard time about still wearing her wedding rings, Derek had never gotten rid of his own wedding band. Nobody knew that when it came to baby names, Michael and Makayla were still the top two (and only two) names on Derek's list. And even though Mark would say he understood if Derek were to, one day, cave and tell him all this, he wouldn't understand. Not really. Addison might. And it might be a conversation that he could have with her one day. But not tonight. Right now, he was focused on one thing and one thing only: carrying her home tonight.