A/N - Tah dah, my first Grey's Anatomy fic, and my second fic ever! It is unbetaed and I consider myself to have a decent grasp of grammar (watch, I'll have been using English incorrectly for the last 20 years), but if anything leaps out at anyone, please let me know.
Disclaimer - I own diddly. I own squat. Diddly squat!
All of Paradise is Mine
Every tear Meredith had shed since Finn left her hospital room had rolled down into her hair or around her ears. Any effort made to wipe them away would be an acknowledgement that she was actually crying, and she refused to admit that she was crying over Derek Shepherd yet again. It bothered her that she was still taken by surprise when he managed to find a brand new way of breaking her heart.
She felt as though she should look wan and unhealthy. While she was naturally fair, the blame for her unusually pallid appearance as well as her tears could be lain at the feet of her recent surgery, which she was choosing to do. After all, when every breath brought with it a wave of pain that was a reminder of how recently she had been the one on the operating table, it was a perfectly valid reason for her quasi-breakdown.
She breathed in deeply, deliberately provoking her incision and allowing the resulting pain to wash over her. Angry, pink-haired Meredith would have firmly believed that the pain was all she had left. This Meredith knew it only felt that way, but the knowing was poor comfort.
The dark, empty room was the perfect accompaniment to her mood. Cristina, Alex, and George had stopped in on their way home and upon ferreting out the reason for her tears had wanted to kick Derek's ass then stay with her for long as she wanted. She talked them out of both, the former because she didn't want all of Bailey's interns to be forced from their jobs in a spectacular fashion, and the latter because she was tired of having witnesses to her emotional trauma.
Just as she was about to give in to an almighty sob, the door to her room swung open and she saw Bailey walk in. "Grey, we'll officially round on you in the morning, but I wanted to check up on you before I left for the night."
Meredith barely managed an "Okay," before her voice broke.
She noticed the older woman's concern set in and silently cursed Bailey for having such an excellent bedside manner as the doctor moved to close the door before approaching the bed and asking, "Meredith? Are you in pain?"
In a voice straining to hold back sobs, she answered, "No."
Her resident smiled softly and shook her head. "You're a bad liar, remember? Let me give you another dose of morphine."
Bailey's gentleness completely did Meredith in. Futilely trying to suppress her tears, she sniffed, "Really, Dr. Bailey, I'm fine, thank you."
Bailey chided her. "You're not fine, you're-" She stopped short and Meredith saw the realization dawn. "What did he do now?"
She contemplated asking why she had automatically jumped to Derek, why her recent surgery couldn't be enough reason for her to be crying, why another of her many men couldn't be responsible, anything to avoid having this conversation. The look on Bailey's face squelched that urge and she offered sadly, "He walked away."
She heard her words repeated back to her in a soft, thoughtful voice, which rapidly about-faced to sound like typical Bailey. "All right, Meredith, try and get some rest. I'll see you in the morning." With that, she watched as Miranda Bailey exited her room, leaving her to her tears, her pain, and her pallor.
Bailey felt her heart breaking a bit for the desperately sad young woman she had just left and an urge to beat Derek Shepherd's head in with a shovel. Unfortunately for him, she spotted the object of her ire pacing the corridor just out of sight of Meredith's window. She marched up to him.
"Why am I not surprised to find you skulking around out here?"
He heaved a long-suffering sigh and began to speak. "Miranda-"
She held up her hand and cut him off in disgust. "Uh-uh. Dr. Shepherd, I take it you know who is in that room?"
Glaring at him, she continued. "No, not Dr. Grey. Dr. Grey is my intern. Meredith, my patient, is in that room. Do you understand? My patient. I am responsible her wellbeing. And right now, her wellbeing is not so good. You have caused me to fail at my responsibility. I don't like it when I fail."
He attempted to interrupt her. The poor, poor man. "Miranda, I-"
She lit into him. "Why did you have to break up with her right after she had surgery? You've done enough damage already without adding jeopardizing her health to the list."
His face blanched. "Jeopardizing her health?"
She started yelling again, and with every word, she could see the guilt on his face grow. "Did you even think about what emotional stress does to the body's attempt to recover?"
After processing exactly how big of an ass he had been, he met her gaze straight-on and she could see the determination set in. "Tell me how to fix this."
Grateful as she was that he had decided to stop making her life difficult (because any drama involving her interns made her life difficult), she had to laugh disbelievingly. "I don't know! Of course, I don't think she should give you the time of day anymore, but that's my opinion. She loves you, God only knows why, but even if she won't let you try to make things up to her, try anyway." She left him to internalize her advice and called out over her shoulder as she walked away. "And now, I am going home. Good night, Dr. Shepherd."
His voice stopped her in her tracks. "Miranda? Do they have any idea how much you care about them?"
She whirled around and began to shout. "McDreamy, if you so much as breathe a word to my interns, I'll-". He had the audacity to flash that patented grin at her, which rendered her speechless with indignation. Finally fed up with woebegone interns and lovelorn attendings, she washed her hands of the whole mess and set him free. "Go romance my patient."
It was all the permission he needed.
Derek's fervor to make things right with the woman he loved carried him through her doorway, but suddenly deserted him as he found himself searching for something to say. The silence grew lengthy as he stared at her, taking in the unnatural shine in Meredith's eyes that told of tears being recently shed, and the lack of color in her face that was dramatic even for her. He saw how much poorer she seemed just hours after he was with her last. Bailey's accusations echoed in his mind, and he would have stood there tongue-tied, drowning in his guilt, had she not spoken.
"Hi." Her voice cracked, but betrayed no other hint of emotion. He had no such goal, however, and quiet concern shone through his reply.
The ice broken, Meredith ventured a cautious question. "What are you doing here?"
He smiled ruefully and seated himself next to the bed, careful to avoid any actions that would immediately remind her of what had happened earlier. "Dr. Bailey is an intimidating woman."
"Yes, she is."
"I'm glad. She managed to knock some sense into me." Up close, he could see how long she must have been quietly weeping. He brushed the back of his fingers against her cheek. "You've been crying."
Her reply yanked his heart out of his chest and tore it to pieces. "It's okay, I'm used to it."
Breathing in deeply to relax the sudden tightness in his throat, he spoke again. "I'm sorry for that too."
"I've hurt you a number of times, and that absolutely sickens me. I want to make it up to you, if you'll let me. And even if you don't, I'm trying anyway." He looked at her and awaited his fate. She would decide what he did next. While her being receptive toward his overtures would be of great help, he would continue on, regardless of what she said. Without taking her eyes off of him, she reached out her hand and slipped it inside his. Beaming, he raised her hand and pressed it to his lips, finally triggering a smile in return.
She then raised an eyebrow and commented airily "You know, I went from having two boyfriends to having none in as many minutes. Are you telling me I'm getting one back?"
"If I'm the one you want."
He grinned, pleased in spite of himself that he had, at long last, bested the vet. "Then yes, you have a boyfriend back. With more wooing and courting than you'll know what to do with."
"Good. I haven't been able to experience much of it till now."
Silence set in once again, though far more comfortable than it had been a scant few minutes back. The words bubbled out before he even realized it. "I love you." Once aware of what he said, he refused to regret it, but hoped that unlike the last time that particular confession had been made, she wouldn't be stunned and on the verge of tears.
A faint smile graced her lips, and Meredith began to speak. "When I told you and Finn that I wanted to give dating a shot, I looked at Finn and said 'I really like you,' and what I should have said to you, I didn't. I was scared. Plus, I just couldn't do that to Finn. And a part of me really did want to have two hot guys wooing me." Derek moved to say her name but was silenced when she held her finger to his lips. "I love you."
He gazed adoringly at her, fully cognizant of how sappy he was being, but utterly uncaring of it. "It's high time we said that to each other without a choice of any sort being involved, don't you think." She shook her head at him and he winced. "Still too early to bring that up, isn't it." She nodded, and he settled back into holding her hand and gazing adoringly at her.
She took her turn to break the silence and inquired after his plans for the rest of the night.
"Whatever you want me to do. I'm completely yours." She acknowledged the double meaning with a shy smile and put in a request.
"Will you stay with me then?
"Of course. There are plenty of places more uncomfortable than a visitor's chair."
Upon noticing her hesitation, he softly queried, "Meredith?"
"I meant with me."
His heart, which had had quite the workout tonight, melted. He moved the chair aside and lay down on the bed, positioning himself in order to comfortably wrap Meredith in his arms. She sighed happily, then winced. He leaned to press a kiss into her hair and found it to be matted with what could only be tears. His stomach clenched and he wordlessly promised her 'Never again.' Despite this, he had to check with her one last time that this was what she truly wanted, what she truly believed would make her happy. He felt her twist until she could stare at him in amazement.
"Derek, today I had an appendectomy; was dumped by one guy, then dumped the other; cried for a couple hours; then got back together with the first guy. And you know what? Only one good thing happened and I still feel like I have paradise. How's that for being sure?"
He reached down to claim her lips with his as his answer.