A/N: Thank you to all my lovely reviewers. Each and every review makes my day.
9 MONTHS LATER- October 21, 1996
"So we had that talk in homeroom today," said Meredith as she leaned against the wall next to Derek's locker.
"So did we," he said, shoving a few books in the overcrowded locker.
"So…where do you want to apply to school?" she asked carefully.
"I think I want to stay in the north east," he said. "What about you?"
"I'd like to be near home too. But not too close," she shrugged.
"Well, I'm happy as long as I have you," he said, earning a large smile from Meredith.
"We're applying together, then?"
"Of course, silly. I can't go four years without being within spitting distance from you." Derek leaned in and kissed her cheek lightly.
She smiled. "Just…good to know."
"Let's get to class."
Derek reached over his stack of homework to grab the ringing phone. "Shepherd residence, Derek speaking," he answered politely.
"Derek," a low sultry voice answered.
"Hi," she giggled.
"Hi," he said back, a question in his word. She started giggling louder and he heard a thump. "Meredith?" he questioned in panic.
Her voice reappeared. "I dropped the phone," she laughed.
"Mer, are you drunk?"
"Maaaaaayybe," she said, stretching the word out before erupting into another fit of giggles.
"Give me a minute. I'll be right over.
Derek groaned and hung up the phone. "Ma!" he called as he trotted down the stairs.
"Yes, dear?" she called back.
"Meredith just called me really upset. I'll bet she had a fight with Dr. Grey." Carolyn frowned at the mention of the awful woman's name. "Can I go over there for a while? I'll just see if I can get her to calm down and go to sleep."
"Of course, dear. If she doesn't want to be alone, bring her over here. Her room is ready for her."
"Okay. I'll be back in a bit." Derek grabbed his jacket from the coat hanger and walked out the front door. Sighing, he threw his jacket over his arms and ran a hand through his mess of curls. Meredith only ever drank when her and Dr. Grey got into bad fights. He assumed this was one of them. Tequila was her only weakness and with some of the thing Dr. Grey said to her daughter, he could hardly blame her. Sometimes he just wished she'd come to him rather than getting drunk.
Pulling out his keys, he used his emergency key to the Grey's house and walked inside the marble foyer. "Mer?" he called out into the large, empty house.
"Derek!" he heard his girlfriend squeal. He followed the sound of her giggles to the living room where he found his girlfriend sprawled on the couch with a tequila bottle in her hand. "Hi DerBear."
"Don't call me that," he groaned, walking to sit on the couch beside her. He fell on to the cushion with a sigh of relief and grabbed the bottle from Meredith's tiny hands. She reached for it like a baby for its bottle. "No more," insisted Derek, placing the bottle on the table away from her. She reached for it like a baby for its bottle, her arms waving in front of her. "No," he said sternly, putting the bottle out of her reach. She pouted. Derek pulled her off the couch to get her into the kitchen.
"You're cute," she grinned, draping half her body over his chest as he basically dragged her to the kitchen. "We…we should have sex."
Derek flushed red, trying to ignore her intoxicated words.
"I-I think we'd be good at the sex together," she stated. "You're not really sexy," he frowned, "but you're really, really cute. And I love you lotsssss." She hiccupped.
"I love you too," said Derek as he settled Meredith at the kitchen counter. In the light, he discovered a red mark on her face and a slice of split skin on her cheekbone. "Did your mother hit you?"
"I want tequila," she whined.
Sighing, he quickly got a glass of cold water from the sink, adding two ice cubes, before handing it to Meredith. "Chug," he commanded, figuring she'd respond more when she sobered up a little."
"I-I don't want waaaater. I want…I want more teqqqquiiiila."
"No more tequila. Chug," he insisted again. She held the water to her lips and chugged it down like she was told until the glass was empty. He refilled it a few times, every time watching as the water disappeared. After a few glasses she ran to the sink and threw up a few times, the toxic liquids vacating her body. Derek stood beside her, holding her hair back and rubbing her back in soothing circles.
When she calmed down, he sat her back down, grabbed some bread and peanut butter from the fridge, and made her a sandwich exactly the way she liked it. Meredith babbled drunkenly from the counter as Derek worked, occasionally grabbing his attention when her conversation topic reverted to his penis or something of that nature.
Kissing her head, he handed her a plate with the sandwich on it before walking out to grab aspirin. He needed to sober her up so he could drag her back to his house with his mother just thinking she was exhausted from crying.
He grabbed the plastic bottle and returned to Meredith who was quieting down from her loud drunken rambles to a exhausted looking state as she finished the sandwich. "Take two he instructed, shaking two pills into her hand. She grasped the glass of water in front of her, threw the pills into her mouth and took a drink to swallow.
"Feeling a little better?" he questioned. She nodded tiredly. Derek walked up to her and wrapped his arms around her. She curled into his thin chest and her arms hugged his torso. "Did she hit you?" he questioned again.
Meredith nodded sadly. Derek lifted her chin so he could examine the side of her face. He pressed a soft kiss to the red area then squeezed Meredith tighter. The sounds of Ellis' raised voice and the sing of the slap reverberated through her mind as Derek held her close.
You're choosing colleges based on a boy, Meredith? I thought I raised you better!
I love Derek mom! He's family!
No. I'm your mother and you will choose the best school possible.
After a few minutes he shifted so one arm was behind her back, her arms were around his neck, and his other arm was positioned, ready to scoop her legs up. He mustered all his strength and picked her up, beginning to walk towards the door. Somehow he managed to get it open, walk through, and close it again behind himself. Meredith nose nuzzled into the crook of his neck, her arms tightly holding his neck.
Her soft lips pressed against his neck as she whispered, "I love you," to him.
"Love you too, Mer," he sighed, kissing her temple. He walked across the grass to his house and kicked the door three times instead of knocking. Moments later, Carolyn was opening the door, a worried expression on her face. "Is it okay if Meredith lies in my room with me for a bit?"
"Of course, I trust you two to be responsible. Just leave the door open a crack."
"Do you need anything?"
He shook his head. "I think we're okay."
"Just yell if you need anything."
Smiling he nodded and continued forwards. As he made it to the bottom of the stairs he quietly asked, "Can you walk?" She nodded, allowing herself to be gently dropped from his arms. Her arms slid down his body, wrapping around his waist rather than his neck. One of his arms slid around her shoulders as they climbed the stairs.
Derek managed to get her up to his room and tuck her into bed. As he sat beside her, she immediately curled into his chest. Safe and warm in Derek's arms, Meredith allowed herself to let a few tears fall on to her cheeks.
No matter what, she vowed, I will never leave him.
So darlin', darlin' stand by me
Oh stand by me
Oh stand, stand by me, stand by me
A/N: Remember how I was doing little epigraphs at the end of the chapters... then forgot about them? Well, they're back.