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He was disgusted. Even though he initiated the kiss, he just felt disappointed with himself afterward. While he knew he had feelings for Meredith, his disgust with himself just overcame him. He was now starting to realize what it must’ve been like for Addison when he caught her and Mark in their bed together. While they got dressed, he heard Meredith say something about not being able to find her panties but Derek was quiet. So quiet it freaked her out.

“Derek!” Meredith yelled, snapping him back to reality.

“What?” Derek said softly. He looked up but avoided her eyes. Instead, he stared past her at the door.

“What does this mean?” She asked. Instead of responding, Derek looked down to the floor.

“Derek!” She called out again, moving her head around, trying to get him to look her in the eyes. When he finally looked at her, he sighed, sad eyes and all.

“I’m sorry,” he muttered. It was stupid. It felt stupid. But it’s all he could muster to say right now.

“You’re sorry?!” Meredith yelled back. When Derek couldn’t say anything else, she looked back at him, defeated, and stormed out of the room, passing Callie in the hallway.

After she left, Derek turned around and leaned with his hands on the counter as he held his head low. He was disgusted with himself and found himself fighting back tears. Before, when he saw Meredith dancing with Finn, all he felt was anger. Jealousy. But after he got her, he felt sick to his stomach. And all he could think was that he didn’t know what to do now. How he’d face his wife, the one who’d done everything to make him happy. The woman who’d done everything in the past few months to earn his forgiveness. And if he weren’t so damn stubborn, he would’ve accepted her apology. Instead, he continued blaming her for one mistake. And he made the same one. Meredith wasn’t a one-night stand, she wasn’t revenge. He was in love with her. Emphasis on the was. Because now, all he felt was shame.

After taking a few deep breaths, he knew he couldn’t stay there all night. Addison was still at the prom. But he also knew he couldn’t go back out there. Not after what he did. He couldn’t look his wife in the eyes and pretend like everything was alright. Everything was not alright. It was pitiful. But he couldn’t stay in this room for another minute. Because all it did was remind him of his mistake. Of everything he just threw away his marriage for.

As Derek walked solemnly in the hallway, Richard appeared from around the corner and informed him of a head trauma in the ER. Thank God. An emergency. But he couldn’t just leave Addison out there alone. He at least had to tell her he’d be stuck at the hospital. It wasn’t ideal seeing her in this state, but at least he knew he wouldn’t see her for long. At least not long enough for her to notice something was off.

“Hey, where have you been?” Addison asked, slightly wincing at how sweet the punch she just drank was.

“Uhh...bathroom,” Derek said back, not very convincingly. Addison shot him a suspicious look but he knew he had to get through this exchange quickly.

“There’s a head trauma in the ER,” he started. “I’ve gotta go, but I should be able to get back to the trailer in the morning,”

“Okay,” Addison said back blankly. She knew something was up, she just didn’t know what just yet. “Well, can I at least get your jacket? I forgot to bring one and I think it started raining outside,”

“Yeah, of course,” He said as he slipped it off his shoulders. It was the least he could do, Derek thought. Little did he know that Meredith’s panties were in his pocket. But all he could think about right now was that he just cheated on his wife. And if he wasn’t going to tell her (at least not yet), the least he could do was give her his jacket so she wouldn’t catch a cold in the Seattle rain. In the city he forced her to move to for him.

After a long night doing surgery after surgery, it was finally morning. And upon seeing the OR board was clear, at least for him, Derek knew it was time to come home now. And he dreaded it. Operating on brains kept both his mind and his body occupied all night, but it didn’t last. He stood at the nurse's station staring at the board, trying to will another head trauma into fruition. When he saw Richard come up behind him, he thought his prayers might actually get answered. However, he was dead wrong.

“Nice work, Derek,” the Chief started. “It’s been a long night, why don’t you head home and get some rest?” Damn, the universe really couldn’t do Derek any favors, could it?

“Yeah,” Derek sighed as he walked away. After changing out of his scrubs, he made his way to the elevator and found Meredith and the rest of the interns (sans Izzie) standing in it when it opened.

“Derek,” Meredith breathed. She didn’t mean to say his name out loud but she just felt his name come out of her mouth involuntarily. When Derek looked down at his shoes and didn’t respond, Cristina and George helped drag Meredith out of the elevator, at which point Derek walked into it. Even after Meredith turned around to see him, Derek continued looking down at his shoes. He couldn’t look at her. He had Addison at home waiting for him. And he knew he had to tell her the truth. It wasn’t even up for debate. He needed to tell her what he’d done. But that he’d never do it again. She deserved better. And he was determined to make sure she knew how much she meant to him, despite what he’d done last night.

When he got back to the trailer, Derek took a deep breath as he held his hand on the doorknob. When he opened the door, he found Addison sitting up on the bed, back against the headboard, and her knees up against her chest. But more notably, she was wearing Derek’s jacket from last night. And when she saw him look up at her, she looped Meredith’s panties around her index finger that she’d left on the bed beside her and held it up. And Derek felt his stomach drop even further.

“So, are you done?” Addison asked. “Are you done hurting me back yet?” her voice cracked just slightly. And Derek could tell she was trying to be strong. The way she always did.

“Addie…” Derek started. “I’m so sorry,” Addison put the panties down back on the bed and took the jacket off her shoulders, revealing her Yale hoodie underneath. And Derek knew it was bad. She only ever wore her Yale hoodie when things were bad.

“So where do we go from here?” She asked, getting up from her position on Derek’s bed.

“I don’t know,” Derek said softly after a beat.

“Does this make us even now?” Addison asked plainly. Derek looked up at her, confused. Did she really think he did this to get back at her? To make them even?

“I didn’t…” Derek started, struggling to find the words. “I didn’t mean for it to happen,” he admitted. Even though Addison picked herself off the bed, Derek didn’t move an inch and looked back to the floor. They were quiet and relatively civil now, but he knew Addison was a fighter. Knew that it’d get heated sooner than later. So he knew he needed the physical space between them. Even if was just for one more minute.

When he looked back up at Addison, he saw her wipe a tear off her face as she looked away. Gracefully and subtly. She wouldn’t be a Forbes Montgomery if she didn’t at least try to appear stronger than she felt. He’d always loved that about her. The fact that she had her WASP-y ways to fall back on. But when they were alone, when it was just Derek and Addison, she let her guard down. At least she used to.

“I’m sorry,” Derek said again, softly. Addison blinked and let a few tears fall, but he could tell that she had tried her hardest not to let them fall by the almost angry look she had on her face when she wiped them away.

“So what do we do now?” Addison said, continuing to fight back her tears. Her voice cracked a little more now and he knew she was on the verge of completely breaking down. He knew he didn’t deserve it, but all Derek wanted to do was wrap his arms around her and let her cry into his chest. But he also knew there was no way she’d let him touch her right now.

“I don’t know,” Derek said again. It felt stupid, to say it all again, but he didn’t know what else to do. What else to say.

“I need more than I don’t know!” Addison raised her voice a little louder. Hearing her voice start to crack under the emotion was breaking Derek inside as much as it broke her. Derek swallowed hard and thought about what he’d say next. She was right. They couldn’t go on like this. They couldn’t just keep saying they didn’t know.

“You were right,” he finally said. Shocked, Addison looked up at him and bit her lip to try to stop her tears from falling. But it was no use, they were free-falling down her face now. And there was nothing she could do to stop them now. And it made her feel weak. Even after all these years with Derek, as a Shepherd instead of a Forbes Montgomery, she still heard Bizzy’s voice in her head, telling her that crying in front of other people made her weak. Derek tried his best to get that voice out of her head, but at the end of the day, Bizzy was her mother. Even though she doesn’t remember ever calling her Mom or Mommy.

“Right about what?” Addison sniffed as she continued crying despite her best efforts to stop herself.

“Right about me. About Seattle, Meredith, everything,” Derek winced a little when he said Meredith’s name again. His feelings for her weren’t completely gone, but they were slowly but surely getting replaced with his overwhelming sense of disgust.

“We should’ve never stayed here,” Derek admitted. “I never…” he struggled to find the words again, but he knew he had more to say. “I never gave her up, and I should’ve. If I’d been smart enough to listen to you before, maybe we’d be Derek and Addison again,”

Hearing him say Derek and Addison softened her. He hadn’t heard him say it since he’d tried throwing her out of their New York brownstone. After Mark. Derek and Addison was all she wanted to get back. And this past month, it felt like that goal kept slipping farther and farther.

“I think we can still get there,” Addison said softly. Derek’s head propped up a little more and looked her in the eyes.

“You really think so?” Derek asked.

“Yeah,” Addison swallowed hard. Her tears were finally starting to let up and she even started smiling slightly. “But it’s never going to happen here, in Seattle,”

“Where would we go?” Derek asked.

“I uhh….called Naomi last night,” Addison started. “I didn’t know what would happen with us but I knew I needed a friend. And umm….I haven’t really made any here,” she admitted.

Hearing her say that hurt his heart a little. Because he knew she was right. Even though he was the married attending that screwed the intern, everyone sided with him when Addison arrived. Everyone rooted for him and Meredith, alienating Addison. And it wasn’t fair. She came out here to fight for their marriage, and he agreed to fight with her. But it didn’t stop everyone else at the hospital from taking sides. But it wasn’t a fair fight because no one sided with her. And it was his fault.

He called her Satan and the queen of Passive Aggressiva. And instead of fighting it, she embraced it. She called herself the Ruler of All that is Evil and the Wicked Witch, and he let her. But he should’ve fought harder. For her, for their marriage. For the Addison and Derek they used to be. Instead, he resented her. Kept throwing her mistake in her face while he pined for Meredith Grey. Just thinking of her name nauseated him now. But it was his price to pay for cheating. It was only fair after what he put Addison through these last few months.

But now they were even. It was a gross thought, but a true one. He couldn’t throw Mark in her face anymore. Not without her throwing Meredith at him right back. It was a fair fight now. As messed up as it sounded. Things could be good again. It could go back to the ways things were. No, they could be better. They couldn’t go back. They both had affairs, both liable. And maybe it was better that they couldn’t go back. Because the past, their past, is cluttered with anger, pain, and mistakes and they couldn’t go back. They had to bury it. The only way to do that now was to start fresh. Or at least start on an even playing field.

“She told me their OB-GYN just quit at their practice. And they’re looking for someone to replace her,” Addison said plainly as if what she just said wouldn’t completely change their lives.

“Are you gonna take the job?” Derek asked cautiously. They’d always worked at hospitals. They’d once toyed with the idea of opening their own practice with Mark. But nothing ever came from it. But he’d heard that Sam and Naomi did go through with it. In LA.

“I don’t know,” Addison said honestly. “It’d be a fresh start,” Derek sighed. “Fresh start”. Like Seattle.

“For both of us,” Addison added after a beat. Derek looked back with a confused look on his face. But a small smile crept through. If she still had faith after everything, after what he did, for them to make their marriage work again, he’d promise this time he’d try harder.

“She didn’t say anything about hiring a neurosurgeon, nor do I think she’s looking for another doctor,” Addison started. It only confused Derek more. If they weren’t looking to add another doctor, then what was the point of all this?

“But she did mention that they’re having some money issues,” Addison said, cocking her head playfully to the side a bit. Derek couldn’t help but widen his small smile ever so slightly.

“If I can convince her to let us, and the rest of the doctors there, buy into the practice, I think we could be happy there,’ Addison finally said, widening her smile in the same way Derek had been as he listened intently.

“You really think it’ll work?” Derek asked. “Buying into the practice,” Derek added. Maybe it was a ridiculous idea, and maybe it was foolishly optimistic, but he knew that she was right. There was a chance, a real chance, at them being happy again. Together. And if this was their chance, he knew they had to take it. He couldn’t bear the thought of walking away again. Not this time.

“Naomi said things were pretty bad,” Addison said. “She said the administrative stuff just started piling up and that the practice is pretty close to going under,”

“It’s gotten that bad?” Derek asked. And he was even more surprised when Addison nodded back. He’d always known Naomi to be a very capable person. And a great doctor. But administrative duties weren’t for everyone. He knew that. But he found that he and Addison had gotten pretty good at it over the years. Even though they both preferred being in the OR, they’d gotten good at dealing with administrative crap. Which is why when Richard called him out here to Seattle dangling the Chief of Surgery job, he had to take the chance. But at the time, he just had to get out of New York. Now, in light of everything, he knew he had to get out of Seattle. That they both had to get out of Seattle.

Plus, over the past few months, the Chief of Surgery job was getting less and less appealing. Seeing Richard through his separation and probable divorce wasn’t something he looked forward to. And after everything he and Addison had been through this past year, adding that pressure into their relationship would destroy them for good. But helping to manage a smaller private practice would be different. It’d be extra work, but it’d be manageable. It’d be far different than being Chief of Surgery for an entire hospital.

“Should we try it?” Addison finally asked. Even after all the suffering, they both seemed surprisingly optimistic about fixing their relationship. And they knew the feeling was crazy, but it was mutual. Which didn’t make it feel that crazy after all.

“Yes,” Derek said almost immediately and Addison let out a breath of relief like she’d been holding it in. He wasn’t going to walk away this time. He wasn’t going to run. This time, he had to try, really try, to make their marriage work. And they couldn’t do that by going back to New York or staying in Seattle. They had to start fresh, in a new place. And while he’d gotten used to the perpetual rain in Seattle and the crisp air of New York, Los Angeles seemed like it’d be a nice place to get used to. It’d be much warmer and they could live on the beach. Maybe it would finally relax them, force them to relax.

“We’re moving to LA?” Addison asked, knowing Derek would agree.

“We’re moving to LA,” Derek confirmed.

Chapter Text

After they talked, everything started moving pretty quickly. Addison gave Naomi another call and after a long talk with her and Sam, they agreed to let Addison and Derek buy their way into Oceanside Wellness. It would’ve been a much shorter and easier talk if Addison hadn’t accidentally spilled the beans about the practice’s economic troubles, which Naomi failed to tell Sam about. That plus all the emotional baggage Sam and Naomi still had from their fresh divorce. But it was finally dealt with.

Then came the task of finding a place in LA and leaving Seattle. After everything that happened here, Derek graciously offered to inform Richard of their new plans and deal with the aftermath with him while Addison dealt with finding their new house in LA. Luckily, Naomi gave Addison the name of Sam’s realtor and they found a place right on the beach. Plus, they’d apparently be Sam’s new neighbors, which would just be downright convenient, professionally and personally, for the both of them.

When Derek walked into the chief’s office, the last thing Richard expected was Derek handing him his two-week notice. And even worse, he gave him one for his wife too.

“What’s the meaning of this?” Richard nearly shouted.

“I’m sorry,” Derek said, apologetically. He was getting really tired of saying sorry after the past 48 hours, but here he was saying it again.

“You’re handing in your two-week notice and all you can say is I’m sorry?!”

“Yeah, and you’re not gonna like this but,” Derek handed him another two-week notice. This time, for Addison.

“It’s not bad enough I’m losing you, but now I’ve gotta lose Addie too?” Richard said angry and frustrated.

“We can’t stay here,” Derek tried to explain. “There’s too much baggage here,”

“It didn’t seem to be a problem before,” Richard said frustrated.

“Yeah,” Derek sighed. “Well, that was before I slept with Meredith,” he felt himself wince at the mention of her name again. Richard looked at him, confused at first. But when he saw Derek wince and look down at the ground in shame, he understood what he meant.

“So you guys are trying again?” Richard asked after waiting for a beat.

“Yeah,” Derek sighed, his voice sounding a little more optimistic now. “I never really tried before. I just...said I was,” he explained. “But now, we might have a shot. A real shot at getting back to…” he momentarily struggled to find the words, but then found them again. “Being Derek and Addison again,”

Given the fact that Richard had known Derek and Addison since they were residents, he knew exactly what he meant. Seeing them together for the past few months was starkly different than what he’d been used to seeing. He remembers their residency days like they were yesterday. They were young but he could already tell they’d become great surgeons one day. And they were. He’d done his job, molding them into brilliant doctors. The best in their respective fields.

But other than seeing them become great surgeons, Richard distinctly remembers how sweet they were together. They were young but he could tell it was real between them. They were together already when they entered the surgical program at Mt. Sinai but he did see them throughout their engagement and the first few years of their marriage. They were like the couples from movies, that ideal true love. They weren’t always super affectionate, at least not when they were working, but what they had was real. They were happy together, but they had their bad moments too. But seeing them work through it was what made them, what everyone thought was, the perfect couple.

At some point, they must’ve lost it along the way. But by then, Richard had already left and gone back to Seattle Grace to take the Chief of Surgery job. So when Seattle Grace lost their head of neurosurgery, he knew Derek would be the right choice. And he knew that if Derek came, Addison would come too. And while Derek was great, Addison was the real star. A double-board certified OB/GYN with specialties with practically everything under the sun: maternal-fetal medicine, fetal surgery, and genetics. Not to mention she was one of the foremost neonatal surgeons in the country. So he found it odd when Derek came to Seattle without her. But when Addison emailed him back saying that she’d consider joining him in the future, he left it alone.

Before Addison got here, Richard heard rumors about an attending sleeping with an intern. But then, he heard about Burke and Cristina, so he figured that’s what the rumors were about. Then, he saw Derek and Meredith after his brain surgery and he knew something was wrong. So he called Addie down to Seattle, hoping that it’d snap Derek back to reality. But then he found out about Mark and realized it’d be much harder to reconcile the two. And then, they got back together but everyone could see how resistant Derek was to making it work with Addison. Plus, he still had feelings for Meredith. And he wasn’t exactly hiding it. Any of it. So if moving to LA would fix them, he knew he had to let them leave. Even though he didn’t want them to.

“Okay,” Richard finally said. As Derek nodded, Richard motioned towards him to bring him in for a hug. Derek chuckled slightly in response but went in for the hug anyway.

“I really hope you guys make it,” Richard said as they broke free from their embrace.

“I do too,” Derek said softly. Richard looked back at him concerned but when he mustered up a smile, he smiled back at him.

Even though Derek handed in their two-week notice, they still had, well, two weeks left of work. Neither of them were thrilled that they were stuck at Seattle Grace for another two weeks, but they knew it was the right thing to do. Professionally-speaking. So they worked, did as many surgeries as they could. They knew their specialties weren’t changing, but they knew working at a private practice wouldn’t be nearly as exciting. At least not when compared to state-of-the-art surgical wings, a full staff, and back-to-back surgeries.

After the first few days, everything was good. Not great, but good. At the very least, it was better than it had been for the past couple of months. Derek and Addison were talking. Not a lot, but talking. Really talking. Though it was only at short intervals at a time. It was like they were tiptoeing around each other. They were being polite, but not because they felt they had to. Which is what they were kind of doing before. They were being nice because they wanted to. And things were gradually getting better. Every once in a while, Addison caught his eye glimmer while they talked and she knew they had a real shot. And for now, after everything, that was enough.

But then, Bailey noticed the panties. On the lost and found board. Right as she was handing out assignments to the interns. She knew it was petty, but Addison couldn’t resist it. She thought it’d be like her last, screw you, to the blonde. Again, petty, but she had to do something to feel like she was in control again. But she did tell Callie, who was the only person she’d gotten even remotely close to at Seattle Grace. After working on a tragic case, they bonded over Mark, who she’d slept with when he came to town, and their shared misery pertaining to their love lives.

“...You can tell me whose damn panties are on the bulletin board!” Bailey yelled as the interns turned around to look. The boys snickered but Meredith and Cristina immediately recognized them. As they panicked and whispered to each other about the panties, Bailey knew it had to be one of them.

“Alright, whose panties are these?” Bailey demanded. Meredith and Cristina just stared back at her, with the panic clear on their faces. And Callie watched all the interns in silence, already knowing they were Meredith’s. But she wasn’t going to say a word. Not after what Meredith did. While the two had admittedly gotten closer over the past few weeks, it was incomparable to how close she’d gotten to Addison. When neither Meredith nor Cristina said a word, Bailey just stuck her face even closer to the both of them, knowing it wouldn’t take long for them to crack. And she was right.

“I know it’s one of you,” Bailey said, scanning both their faces, one by one.

“Not mine!” Cristina blurted. Feeling shocked and betrayed, she looked over at her friend as Cristina swallowed hard. After that revelation, George and Alex’s snickers grew louder. Then, Bailey sighed, walked over to the board, yanked the panties off, and handed it to her. To which Meredith quickly snatched her panties out from her hand as fast as she possibly could and held them close to her gut, trying her hardest to hide them. But Callie smiled as she watched her struggle. She knew it was petty, but she couldn’t help but feel like Addison got a little of her power back today.

“As I was saying,” Bailey quickly changed the subject as she continued handing out assignments to the interns. When she finally got to Meredith, everyone, Callie included, was surprised to hear that she’d been put on Derek’s service. When she saw everyone’s faces freeze, Bailey knew something was up.

“You got a problem with that?” Bailey asked, looking around at all the interns, who still looked shocked.

“No,” they all said, quickly shuffling out of the room with their heads down to find their assigned attendings.

When Meredith got to Derek, he barely glanced at her before looking away and sighing.

“I didn’t ask for this, Bailey assigned me to your service,” Meredith explained. Still, Derek refused to really look at her. Instead, he either looked at the ground or the wall behind her. He couldn’t look at her. It’d been days, and he still couldn’t look at her face. At least not without feeling like he was gonna hurl.

“Look, I’m not happy about this either,” Meredith said, frustrated as she moved her head around to try to get Derek to look her in the eyes. And she was successful in getting him to look, but he clearly resented it.

“But this is work, and we’re personal,” she added. “And whether we like it or not, we have to work together. And this is my career we’re talking about here, and I’m not going to transfer out just because we slept together,” She didn’t know Derek and Addison were leaving yet. Actually, no one knew. No one but Richard and Callie. And Callie only knew because Addison told her.

“You don’t have anything to worry about,” Derek said, barely above a whisper. “I won’t be here for much longer so you’ve got nothing to worry about,” he said softly. Meredith looked back at him, confused.

“What do you mean you won’t be here for much longer?” She asked.

“We’re leaving,” Derek explained simply. “Addison and I, we’ll be gone after next week,”

“What?” Meredith was shocked. There had still been plenty of gossip going around the hospital, but she wasn’t sure what happened between the neurosurgeon and his wife. They were, after all, just rumors. In fact, she thought Derek might actually leave Addison for her. Or at the very least, she expected they’d be broken up after their one night in the exam room. But now it all started to make sense. Of course, he didn’t leave her. He chose Addison before, how could the blonde be so naive in thinking he wouldn’t choose her again? But being with Derek, even though it was brief, turned her into someone hopeful. Someone who wasn’t as dark and twisty. But hearing him tell her that he and Addison were not only back together (again) but leaving Seattle Grace brought back her darker side.

“Well, we still have work to do today,” Meredith said, trying to brush the shock off her face. “So, are you going to make this difficult, or not?” she said. Her voice was strong, almost adamant, but inside, she felt broken. It wasn’t bad enough that Derek chose his wife over her once, but twice? The universe really was conspiring against her.

“You’re right,” Derek said. And from there, they went back into work mode as they walked the halls over to their patient’s room.

...

“Aren’t you tired of this yet?” Alex asked begrudgingly. It’d been almost two weeks of being stuck on Dr. Montgomery’s service and he hated it. Or at least he pretended to. Truth be told, Addison was admittedly the best teacher among all the attendings at Seattle Grace and she always had interesting cases. They might not always be the most interesting, but they were at least more interesting than trolling for surgical cases down in the pit. But he couldn’t admit that he liked being on her service. The last thing he wanted was for everyone to think that Alex Karev was interested in gynecology or obstetrics.

“Nope,” Addison smiled, looking up from her chart at him. “Makes my whole day actually,” Addison said, cheerfully. And she wasn’t kidding. Alex had an attitude problem, there was no doubt about that, but he could see how much better he was getting. He went from helping a man sue her for doing exactly what the patient wanted (unbeknownst to the patient’s husband, unfortunately) to the guy that willingly sat with preemies in the NICU to make sure they were okay. The Alex she’d met a couple of months ago would’ve never been that guy. Not without her help. And she knew it.

Again, no one knew that Addison and Derek were leaving Seattle Grace, but they were making the most of the little time they had left here. And even though Alex outwardly expressed how much he disliked being on Addison’s service, she wouldn’t leave it to chance to get Meredith as her intern. Even though she knew that it meant it would give Derek a bigger chance of getting her on his service. But over the past few days, she could see how much he resented what he did. It didn’t happen often, but whenever she caught Meredith hanging around Derek, she saw the look on his face. Saw how he couldn’t look at her, saw him wince whenever someone said her name.

And she knew exactly how he felt. She’d felt the same way after Derek left, after everyone at Mt. Sinai found out why Derek left. And even though she tried to make it work with Mark, she knew it wouldn’t work out. She admitted she was in love with Mark for a while, but Mark was Mark. And when she caught him with a peds nurse, she was hurt, but she wasn’t surprised. And in the week before Richard called, she’d acted the same way around Mark as Derek was acting now when he was around Meredith. So, even though she forgave Derek, even though the possibility of having Meredith be put on his service seemed like a punishment, she thought that maybe he deserved it. She knew she wasn’t innocent in all of this, but if Addison had to be punished at Mt Sinai (even if Derek wasn’t there to see it, even though it was brief), then Derek should be punished at Seattle Grace too. Plus, she took comfort in the fact that it wouldn’t be for long.

After Addison and Alex met with their patient and explained the procedure they were going to do to her, she stopped him in his tracks in the hallway before he headed off to run her labs.

“Alex,” Addison said, softly placing her hand on his shoulder. He was shocked, she’d always been relatively nice with him, but never this nice.

“I know these past few weeks haven’t been all that fun for you,” Addison said, although she secretly hoped he’d like being on her service. “But…” Addison struggled to find the words momentarily. She wanted him to know how great it’d been to work with him, but she didn’t want to get too personal. Too invested. It was a trait of hers she wasn’t particularly fond of, but she’d always been the doctor that got too invested. And perhaps that why she’d seen Izzie like a younger version of herself. Except Izzie was definitely much more cheery than Addison had ever been.

“I’ve really enjoyed working with you these past few months,” she finally said. Alex smiled but he was still confused. It was a nice sentiment though. But he couldn’t help but notice that there must be some reason why she was saying this. Or at least saying this now.

“Thanks,” Alex said. “It’s...been nice working with you too,” He wasn’t sure why this was happening now, but he decided now wasn’t the time to push her. He’d heard about what happened between Derek and Meredith. And by now, he knew Addison probably knew about it too. If not from her husband, she would’ve at least heard about it from the nurses, who were always gossiping. And Addison had been hyper-focused on work lately, which had admittedly been good for him because it meant getting more time in the OR. But he knew there was a lot the redhead wasn’t saying. But he wasn’t going to be the one to push her.

“I’m sorry, I just…” Addison tried to explain herself because she knew this all must’ve seemed random, timing-wise. “I’m leaving Seattle Grace after next week,” She finally added. And with that, she could see the shock on Alex’s face. Even though he tried to hide it.

“You’re gonna be a great surgeon one day,” she added. “And I couldn’t leave without telling you that,” Addison smiled at him fondly. Working with Alex had been a bit of a rollercoaster, but it’d also been an experience she knew she’d remember forever. And she couldn’t wait to see how great of a surgeon she knew he’d be one day.

“Thanks,” Alex finally said after a beat and smiled. He knew he’d been a pain in the ass but he also knew that Addison was a world-renown surgeon. And he knew her efforts hadn’t been for nothing. Hopefully, she didn’t feel like they’d gone unnoticed too.

“You’re a big reason why,” Alex added. To that, Addison’s smile grew wide and she blushed slightly.

“Thank you,” Addison said as she took her hand off his shoulder, sending him off to run her labs.

By lunchtime, there still weren’t many people who’d heard about Derek and Addison leaving Seattle Grace. Other than Richard, Callie, Alex, Meredith, and a handful of nurses who overheard their conversations, everyone else was still in the dark. But that was about to change.

“So apparently, Derek and Addison are leaving Seattle Grace,” Meredith said as she sat down between George and Cristina as Alex sat across from them.

“Yeah, well you didn’t think they’d stay after what you did, did you?” Alex said with his mouth half-full.

“Wait, they’re leaving?” Cristina asked, shocked. “I mean, I know the McSex probably wasn’t great but I didn’t think that’d mean they’d leave,” she added.

“Well, if Derek wants to make things work with his wife, he knows they can’t stay here,” George added as he spooned some yogurt into his mouth. When Meredith grew quieter and sank into her seat, they all looked at each other. While Cristina and George looked concerned for the blonde, Alex snickered. To which George and Cristina looked back at him, visually scolding him.

“Like he’d leave her for you,” Alex said as he added fuel to the fire, continuing to snicker. He’d be the first to admit that he wasn’t a great guy, but he knew better than to ever try to convince a woman to leave her husband for him.

“Alex!” George scolded him as he tried to maintain whatever dignity Meredith had left.

“What is wrong with you?” Cristina chimed in. She knew what Meredith did was wrong, but she was still her person.

“No, he’s right,” Meredith said, on the verge of tears, still staring down at her lunch tray where her sandwich sat, still wrapped in plastic wrap.

“I should’ve known better,” she said softly. George wrapped an arm around her and tried to give her a side-hug of sorts but she just tried shrugging his arm off her shoulder. Cristina, however, knew better than to try hugging her. But she didn’t know what else to do other than sigh in an attempt to show Meredith that she sympathized with her.

“Well, at least they’ll be gone soon,” George said after letting Meredith sulk for another beat. He knew it wasn’t much to cheer her up, but he had to try something.

“Yeah, and who’s gonna replace them? Some second-rate surgeons?” Cristina added, to which George glared back at her.

“What? I’m sorry but am I just supposed to pretend like we’re not losing out on our education?” Cristina explained. “They’re world-class surgeons,”

“We still have Burke,” George added.

“Yeah, well one world-class surgeon is not the same as three world-class surgeons,” Cristina said frustrated as she leaned back in her chair. She felt for Meredith, she did. But a big reason why she chose Seattle Grace over the numerous other surgical programs she got accepted to was the draw of getting to learn from brilliant surgeons like Preston Burke and Derek Shepherd. Addison hadn’t been originally advertised as she came later. But Addison was one of the foremost neonatal surgeons in the country. Only eight people did what she did, at the level she did. So if anything, losing Addison from Seattle Grace would be an enormous loss. And they all knew it. Even if they didn’t give her the time of day to support their friend.

“Seattle Grace as we know it is over,” Cristina concluded. And they all knew she was right.

Chapter Text

Before they knew it, their two weeks were up. Derek and Addison packed up everything from the trailer, sold the land, and made their way to LA. Derek was surprised when Addison suggested they’d make a road trip out of the move. After all the years he’d known Addison, Derek never thought of her as a road trip person.

Things had gotten better between them over the past two weeks, but maybe not enough to withstand 18 hours stuck in a car with her. But she insisted. And Derek still felt like he owed her after what happened with Meredith. So he agreed. Derek figured they’d drive his truck but was surprised to find Addison driving up to the trailer in a cute little red Porsche convertible.

“What’s this?” Derek asked, amused.

“Our new car,” Addison announced. “I figured, new life, new car,” she laughed slightly. It’d been a long time since he’d seen her laugh. And it just made him laugh along with her as he carried their bags to the trunk. After he did, he was surprised to see Addison stay in the driver’s seat instead of moving over to the passenger side.

“Are you at least gonna let me drive it?” Derek asked as he got into the passenger side.

“I pick the music,” Addison said as she put the car into drive. “And we have to stop for a bacon cheeseburger somewhere on the way,” she teased as she glanced over at him.

“Deal,” Derek said, chuckling. It was nice to see her like this again. He thinks he even caught her blushing a little. She was smiling, the wind blowing through her pinned-up hair with a pair of sunglasses resting on her head. It was a nice image. And seeing her like this reminded him of what made him fall in love with her in the first place.

Addison was brilliant. She always had been, since before he met her. But she was also kind, easygoing, and a little awkward. Over the past year, he saw her as the opposite. She was the wicked witch from the east, coming to ruin his new life in Seattle. His fresh start. But after she agreed to stay, she was still tense. But he could tell she was pretending to seem more relaxed than she felt. But he knew her better than that. And as much as she may deny it, he knew the gossip around Seattle Grace about her, about them, got to her.

And it didn’t help that she’d really only made a couple of new friends during her brief time there. The more Derek pulled away from her, the more Addison reverted back to being a Forbes Montgomery. Instead of being this beautiful, easy-breezy redhead he’d fallen in love with, she was poised and put-together. Or at least pretended to be. In the almost-cold manner that he knew she hated about her family.

“So, why the car?” Derek finally asked as they were making their way onto the freeway.

“I don’t know,” Addison mused. She couldn’t have really bought a brand new car on a whim, could she?

“I used to pass by the dealership driving home from the hospital,” she started. It was odd hearing Addison refer to his trailer as “home”. It started to feel like home for Derek, but he knew she never liked it there. She at least made that abundantly clear.

Instead of arguing about what she was really mad about, she’d complain about the trailer. It was too small for her things so she had to keep her shoes in plastic containers. Plus, Doc made one of her $900 shoes into a chew toy once. When he was still around. She never said it and no one ever asked her, but Addison really grew to love Doc. Especially since she hadn’t really made many friends at the hospital.
“And sometimes, when I didn’t want to get back to the trailer yet, I’d park the car and look at the pretty cars from the parking lot,” she continued. It pained Derek to hear her talk about not wanting to come home. “Home”. It wasn’t really home, but at this point, it was the closest thing they’d had for a while.

“And I don’t know, I guess I just decided why not buy one today?” Addison laughed slightly. And it took Derek out of his wallowing over his guilt for how he treated Addison these past few months.

“That easy?” Derek teased.

“Yeah,” Addison breathed, as she kept driving. “We’re making a change,” she said optimistically.

Hours went by and they finally made their first stop for gas and a bathroom break. After Addison had driven all that way, Derek offered to pump the gas as she went to grab the snacks. As he did, he couldn’t help but admire the car. It was a beautiful red and a classic 356. And the wind blowing through his hair gave him, and her, he suspected, a freeing feeling. He had to admit, Addison always had great taste. And it was never tacky, which was part of the reason why Derek always let her take the lead when they moved into their New York brownstone. It was their first big place together, and Addison had a real knack for decorating.

It was the Forbes Montgomery in her, she’d say. And she’d be right, but it’d always been a trait of Addison’s that Derek, and all of their friends, envied about her. How easy it was for her to put a place together. She did it for them at their old apartment too. But their brownstone was just that much more space for her to work with. That became their new home after they got married. It was their sanctuary, where they spent their free time, and where their friends and family came to see them in their element as a couple. Be it Thanksgiving dinners, birthdays, Christmas, or small get-togethers. That brownstone was their place.

Until it wasn’t. Until Derek came home one day and just knew Addison was screwing his best friend. And that moment, that life-changing, earth-shattering moment, poisoned everything he ever thought to be true about their marriage. It was why he’d left New York so abruptly, why he’d resented Addison for showing up, right as he was moving on, and why he refused to really try even after he told her he would. That brownstone had been everything to them, to their marriage. But they couldn’t go back. Because as happy as they used to be there, he knew that it wasn’t just that night that ruined their home.

They hadn’t been happy for quite some time before Mark came into the picture. He didn’t want to admit it at the time but he was distant. He’d stay at the hospital for longer and make up reasons why he didn’t come home on nights when he wasn’t operating. But Addison could see right through all of his lame excuses. And after a while, it got easier for her to pretend to believe him. At least to his face. It was only after she couldn’t take it anymore when she started talking to Mark about their marriage.

And that’s when things went downhill. Mark and Addison started having conversations that she should’ve been having with Derek. But they couldn’t have them if Derek wouldn’t even come home at night. Or if he went straight to bed, dragging himself up the stairs because he was so tired. She could’ve fought harder, Addison always thought. But she didn’t. And for that, she’d regret it for the rest of her life. As much as she loved Mark, it never took away from how much she loved Derek. Mark was comfort and Derek’s best friend. But he wasn’t Derek. And it wasn’t until Addison got pregnant with Mark’s baby when she realized how much she wanted Derek back.

“Find anything good?” Derek asked as he finished up pumping gas into the car.

“It might as well be a hospital vending machine in there,” Addison said, smiling as she held a plastic bag full of junk food.

“Well, then I guess we’ll have to find those burgers sometime soon,” Derek teased. His eyes twinkled as he smiled back at her when he turned around and Addison couldn’t help but feel like they were med school students all over again. It was that look on his face that made her fall in love with him in the first place. And she couldn’t help but feel like they were finally getting that back. And when Addison smiled and blushed back at him, Derek felt it too.

“Let me just run to the bathroom real quick, and then we can go,” Derek added as he made his way towards the gas station. When he got back to the car, he was surprised to see Addison outside, leaning against the car, keys in her hand. When he walked closer, she threw the keys for him to catch.

“I figured it was your time to drive,” Derek chuckled as he looked down at the keys he’d caught. When he finally reached the car to where Addison was standing, he couldn’t help but kiss her. And when he did, she put her hand on his cheek as he rested his hands on her waist.

“What was that for?” Addison teased as they pulled away. Not that she minded.

“I just um…” Derek struggled to find the words. “Wanted to kiss you,” he admitted shyly. After smiling back, Addison pulled him closer for another kiss, to which Derek just deepened in response. How long had it been since Derek said he just wanted to kiss her? She knew it couldn’t have been too long but for some reason, the last time she remembers him saying that was when they were still residents at Mt. Sinai.

She’d been checking her patient’s chart when Derek whisked her to a call room. After he checked around to see if anyone was around. Or at least any attending. Everyone knew they were together. They were even newlyweds at this point. So there was really no reason to hide their relationship, or their affection. But they both wanted to be seen as professionals in front of their peers, but especially in front of their attendings. So when Derek grabbed her one day and pulled her into an on-call room for a kiss, Addison was surprised. Pleasantly surprised, but surprised nonetheless.

“What was that for?” Addison asked breathlessly, her hands still on Derek’s cheeks
after Derek kissed her deeply.

“I just wanted to kiss my wife,” Derek emphasized the word wife and leaned in for another kiss. And Addison immediately wrapped her arms around his neck and leaned into him just slightly. Then, Derek’s pager went off and they both sighed.

“Guess that’s my cue to go,” Derek said, checking his pager. When he looked back at his wife, she pouted playfully in the way he’d grown to love over the years.

“I’ll see you later?” Derek gave Addison one last peck on her lips.

“Fine,” Addison said. “But you owe me,” she said playfully.

“Deal,” Derek said as he rushed out the door.

It was a short memory, but a sweet one. And it felt like a lifetime ago. Because it was. Somewhere along the way, they got busy, they got successful, and they got lazy. It didn’t happen all at once, but one day, Addison realized she was lonely. Not because she was without friends like in Seattle. But because she realized she lost her best friend: her husband. And even worse, neither of them seemed to care. Or at the very least, neither of them tried to fix whatever went wrong with them. They couldn’t even say what the problem was.

So instead of fighting, instead of working on their marriage, they dove further into their work. Derek became one of the best neurosurgeons in the country and Addison became one of the foremost neonatal surgeons in the country. If Derek could hide behind his work, so could she.
Work had always been a place of comfort for Addison. While there were many, and I mean many, things wrong with the Forbes Montgomery’s, one thing was certain: they were all professionally successful. And everyone knew it. But take a peek behind the curtain and it was a shitshow. There was always a steady flow of alcohol and pleasant conversation, but stay in it long enough and you’d notice how cold their smiles were and how stiff their postures were.

And Addison, along with her brother, Archer, spent years studying Bizzy and the Captain. Or more specifically, their WASP talk. After a while, it got easier to understand what they were really talking about. Over the years, they’d almost mastered it. But then she met Derek. And after a while, she met his family, who were the complete opposites of the Forbes Montgomery’s. They were warm, bubbly, and said what they thought without making it sound like a code. Derek was the only boy in the family and after he brought Addison home, it was like he had five sisters instead of four. It was refreshing and exactly what she wanted her entire life.

If only Derek’s mother liked her. She was nice and insisted that Addison call her Mom. But she could tell Carolyn was holding back somehow. She tried her best to be as warm as the rest of the Shepherds but somehow, her WASP-y parents came out whenever the two women were left alone. Something about Carolyn made her feel like she needed to be good enough for her son. And that just brought out the Forbes Montgomery in her all over again because that’s exactly how always felt around her parents.

While driving, Derek and Addison made easy small talk. They talked about medicine, about past patients, and they even gossiped about the interns at Seattle Grace. Sans Meredith Grey, of course. Somehow they successfully avoided the blonde without making it awkward. And after a while, they felt like Addison and Derek again. They were gossiping and making light of everything. And all they could think was, why did this use to be so hard?

They spent months tiptoeing around each other after Derek agreed to try again. But even before then, they’d spent years pretending like they were okay, like they were happy. And the worst part of it all was that they knew better. They knew their marriage was going down the drain and they knew they had to say something, do something, to fix it. Instead, they pretended like everything was fine and they dove deeper into their work. They pulled further away instead of holding onto each other tighter. And now, they were doing everything they could to hold on tighter now. For a while, they both thought they’d lost each other. That they’d gone too far. But here they were, on their way to their new life in LA, talking like it was the easiest thing in the world.

After another few hours of driving, Derek saw a sign for a diner and knew it was time to make good on his end of the deal. By then, they’d been surviving off of granola bars, potato chips, and crappy gas station coffee, which they took one sip out of and left alone for the rest of the trip. So when they finally got to the diner, they were just glad they were finally gonna eat a real meal.

“Two bacon cheeseburgers and two coffees please,” Derek ordered once the waitress got to them.

“Coming right up,” the waitress said after writing down their order. Before she walked away, she even had the guts to wink at Derek. And Addison couldn’t help but giggle.

“What?” Derek asked, innocently. He half-expected for Addison to make some snarky comment about the waitress flirting with him.

“Nothing,” Addison said, still chuckling. “I guess there’s a reason why everyone called you McDreamy,” God, he hated that nickname. He tolerated it when he was with Meredith, but the truth was, he hated it.

“If I never hear that name again...” Derek laughed slightly.

“Yeah,” Addison said softly. “I mean, I get the dreamy part, but why add a Mc in front of it?” she joked. And it was enough to make Derek laugh a little harder, which made Addison laugh a little harder too. More importantly, it was enough for both of them to start letting go of their guilt.

They didn’t really know what the future held for them in LA. But they knew that at least for right now, they were Derek and Addison again.

Chapter Text

Derek and Addison took turns driving until they finally reached their new home in LA. It was a beautiful house with plenty of space and the beach was right in their backyard. But they were supposed to go to the practice to meet with Sam, Naomi, and the rest of the doctors. So they did just that. But when they got there, they were met with more opposition than they thought they would. They were excited, this was their new life, their second chance at being Addison and Derek again. But everyone at the office was tense. They were curt with their words and Sam and Naomi could barely look at each other. They knew the divorce was bad but this was just on another level.

After Sam and Naomi introduced both Addison and Derek in the conference room, everyone went their separate ways without saying another word. Derek and Addison looked at each other, confused at what to do next. Addison talked to Naomi throughout the divorce and she told her that they were friends, that they were mature, responsible adults about the whole ordeal. They had a daughter, Maya, and a practice they loved and were running together. And they weren’t going to throw it all away just because they were getting a divorce. So seeing them passively aggressively avoid each other wasn’t what they expected to see.

“I thought you said they were friends,” Derek looked at Addison after everyone left the conference room.

“I thought they were,” Addison admitted. She felt a little stupid now. Of course they weren’t friends. And of course things were tense at the practice. Frankly, it’d be a little odd if it wasn’t at least a little weird. But this was borderline hostile.

“You take Sam, I’ll take Naomi?” Addison finally said after taking a deep breath.

“Divide and conquer,” Derek nodded and smiled at Addison. “Good idea,”

After they went their separate ways, Derek went over to Sam’s office to find Sam frantically typing away on his computer.

“You wanna tell me what that was about out there?” Derek asked coyly as he leaned on the door frame.

“I’m just trying to keep this place running,” Sam sighed and slouched in his chair just slightly. “After Naomi practically ran it into the ground,” he mumbled after his breath.

“Ahh,” Now things were starting to make a little more sense. This wasn’t about the divorce, not entirely anyway. This was about Naomi almost bankrupting the practice and not telling him about it.

“Well, I’m sure she didn’t mean to,” Derek said as he tried to defend Naomi.

“Yeah, I know she didn’t mean to,” That much, Sam could agree to. “But she could’ve at least told me about it. This is our practice. We’re supposed to be partners. Business partners,” He added.

“Yeah,” Derek said softly after a minute. He didn’t really know what else to say. He was right. But he wasn’t going to throw Naomi under the bus. Not when he knew there must’ve been more to the story. He knew that Naomi was probably freaking out about the whole thing and she probably just didn’t want Sam to freak out too.

As for Addison and Naomi, things weren’t going too well with them. After Addison knocked on her office door and peeked in, she also kept herself busy reading patient charts.

“Hey,” Addison said as she stepped into Naomi’s office.

Naomi didn’t say a word back. In fact, she didn’t even look up from her charts.

“So…do you wanna tell me what just happened in there?” Addison asked nervously. But Naomi wasn’t giving her an inch. Instead she kept her head down as she continued reading her charts. Or at least pretended to.

“Are you really gonna tell me that things are fine?” Addison joked. After Naomi refused to respond once again, it started to irritate Addison.

“Nai!” Addison had moved closer to her desk and tried literally snapping Naomi out of it. And it startled Naomi a little.

“What?!” Naomi asked, annoyed.

“What the hell’s going on with you?” Addison demanded. “I moved my entire life down here for you and you can’t even talk to me?!”

“I told you about the practice’s financial problems in confidence,” Naomi finally said. She knew Addison wouldn’t just walk away without getting an answer.

“And then you go off and tell Sam,” Naomi added, as she tossed her charts lightly onto the table and leaned back in her chair slightly.

“I didn’t realize it was a secret,” Addison said, earnestly. She knew Naomi handled all the administrative stuff for the practice, but she also figured that Sam would know about the practice’s financial problems. I mean, it was their practice. How could Sam not already know?

“Well it was,” Naomi said angrily. “And after he talked to you, he decided to take over. Got everyone together and said that I was ‘relieved of my administrative duties’” she said as she used air quotes.

“And now, he’s pressuring everyone to make more money instead of focusing on our patients,” Naomi added.

“Well, you guys will need both if you want this practice to make it,” Addison after a minute.

“Yeah, I know we need both,” Naomi scoffed. Did she really think she was that incompetent?

“I thought everyone buying into the practice was supposed to help with the financial problems,” Addison added.

“Yeah, it did,” Naomi said. “But it’s only to keep us afloat for now. What’s gonna happen next year when the balloon payment’s due again?”

Addison sighed. She knew the practice was in a bad place, but she also thought buying into the practice would fix things. So it was a bit of a disappointment to learn that it didn’t. In fact, maybe it made things worse. Everyone was angry and resentful, and apparently Sam was pushing everyone to make more money. And it only aggravated everyone even more.

This was supposed to be her and Derek’s new beginning. And it was starting to look like it might not happen. At least not without some intervention. They couldn’t live like this. They couldn’t work at an office where everyone was angry all the time, where everyone resented each other. She knew she had to do something. Or that she and Derek had to do something. But they just got there. They didn’t have the right to just boss everyone around. They just met them. But when Addison left Naomi’s office and found Derek back in the kitchen, she could tell that he felt the same.

“We need to do something,” Derek said.

“Yeah,” Addison agreed. “But we just got here, we don’t have any power here,”

“No, but we can at least try to get everyone to deal with their crap,” Derek added.

“And how do you propose we do that?” Addison asked. “They barely even look at each other, let alone talk to each other,”

“That’s it,” Derek straightened up. “We just need to get Sam and Naomi in a room together. Make them talk to each other,”

“You’re right,” Addison agreed. “But I think we should get the other doctors on board,” She added.

“Why?” Derek asked. “The problem’s between them,”

“Yeah, but their fight is affecting everyone else here,” Addison pointed out. “And I think the last thing we need is for everyone else here to hate us,”

“Wait, who hates you? I mean, I know they’re all not happy that we’re just coming in, but they don’t hate us,” Derek said. “They just don’t know us yet,”

“Nai hates me,” Addison confessed.

“Nai? Why? You guys are best friends,” Derek was confused.

“Yeah, that’s what I thought,” Addison said softly. “But apparently the practice’s financial problems were a secret. One that Sam knew nothing about,”

“Sam didn’t know they were about to go bankrupt?” Derek was shocked. How could he not know? Wasn’t this supposed to be their practice?

“I thought it was weird too but I guess Naomi really does everything here. It might be their practice but Sam might as well be just another doctor here,” Addison admitted.

“Or at least he was just another doctor,” Addison added.

“What do you mean by that?” Derek asked. This was getting more complicated by the minute.

“Apparently, Sam took over after he found out,” Addison said.

“What do you mean he took over?”

“He staged a coup,” Addison revealed. “He basically told everyone that he was the boss now instead of Naomi,”
“No wonder they’re so hostile,” Derek said after a beat.

“Yeah,” Addison said softly.

“So…” Derek took a deep breath. “Where do we start?”

After that, they came up with a plan: Derek got Pete and Cooper to meet him in the kitchen while Addison got Dell and Violet. The last thing they needed was for Sam or Naomi to suspect anything so they figured the kitchen would be a safe place to hold a secret meeting with the other doctors. It wasn’t easy to get them all out of hiding in their respective offices, but they couldn’t resist. Especially when they said they wanted to “save the practice”.

“So what’s the plan?” Pete asked as he grabbed some snacks from the cabinet.

“Look, we know we just got here,” Derek started. “But it doesn’t take a genius to see that things aren’t going well,”

“Wow, way to sugar coat it,” Cooper said sarcastically.

“We don’t mean to sound demeaning,” Addison added.

“Well, you’re not doing a very good job so far,” Violet flashed a fake smile towards them.

“Look, the bottom line is, we know that things have been rough since Sam took over,” Derek finally said.

“Yeah, he’s been running around and shaming us with a board with dots on it,” she started to ramble and after seeing the confused looks on both Derek and Addison’s faces, she knew she wasn’t making any sense.

“What she’s trying to say is, Sam’s been really on us to make more money. But I…I’ve been failing miserably,” Cooper admitted.

“Yeah, and I bought a non-invasive cellulite reduction system…” Pete started.

“A defatalator” Violet interrupted.

“Yeah, a…defatalator,” Pete admitted. “But I couldn’t do it, it’s just not the kind of doctor I want to be,”

“Well, we want to help you get back to the doctors you want to be,” Derek said. “And figure out a way for this practice to make money,”

“And how are we supposed to do that now? I liked it better when Naomi was in charge,” Violet admitted. “At least she didn’t drive us to buy defatalators or do 15-minute consults,” she grumbled.

“Yeah and what good is Naomi’s way if it’s gonna bankrupt us?” Dell countered. If he didn’t care so much about everyone else here, he would’ve quit already. But he wasn’t ready to let go just yet.

“Well, what’s the point if we’re just gonna be these money-hungry doctors that don’t care about their patients anymore?” Pete added.

As they argued, Derek and Addison looked at each other and sighed. This was their new life. And now that they were finally doing better, they weren’t ready to just give up and walk away.

“This isn’t helping!” Addison shouted, which got everyone to stop arguing.

“We just need to get Sam and Naomi in a room together, lock them in if we need to. And just force them to talk,” Derek added.

“You really think it’s gonna be that easy?” Pete scoffed.

“Yeah, I mean, people do interventions all the time,” Violet added.

“And they work?” Cooper asked. “I’m not mocking, I’m genuinely asking you, do they actually work?” he added after Violet made a face at him.

“Sometimes,” Violet admitted.

“We have to at least try,” Addison added. And they all had to admit that Addison had a point. They couldn’t just keep things the way they were. They had to do something. And maybe getting Sam and Naomi to talk wasn’t going to fix things completely, but it’d be doing something. Which was better than just sitting on their hands as things got progressively worse.

So, the next morning they all came to the office a little bit earlier than usual and met in the conference room. Addison even brought some cupcakes to try to soften the mood. And they waited until they heard the elevator ding and the doors open, revealing Sam and Naomi standing in the elevator together. But they stepped out and continued not looking at each other. Eventually, they both reached the conference room, where they always met everyone for the morning meeting. But when they saw everyone already there waiting for them, they both knew something was up.

“I thought we said no more secret meetings,” Sam said, bluntly. Apparently, everyone else had one before about Sam’s board of dots and he wasn’t happy that everyone (sans Naomi) was meeting without him.

“It’s not secret,” Derek insisted.

“Whose cupcakes?” Naomi asked as she saw them sitting on the table.

“These are for you,” Addison pushed the cupcakes in her direction just slightly.

“I, I don’t want cupcakes right now,” Naomi brushed her off. Clearly, she was still angry with her.

“Okay guys, what is this?” Sam asked.

“This is an intervention,” Violet said.

“Somebody have a problem that I’m not aware of?” Naomi asked.

“No, no, no, it’s for you,” Cooper explained. “For both of you,” he added.

“To get you two back…” Addison started confidently. “To the way it used to be. Our leaders, together,”

“You don’t even know what this practice used to be,” Naomi scoffed.

“No, that’s - that’s not gonna happen,” Sam brushed her off. After seeing Addison look a little defeated, Derek placed his hand on her back for encouragement. When she looked over at him, he gave her a look that said, “You can do this,”.

“Sorry, but no,” Naomi echoed what Sam already said. When Addison turned around, she saw everyone else give her some encouraging looks and she knew she couldn’t give up yet. Paired with Derek’s support, she found her strength again.

“Okay, I was being polite,” Addison gestured with her hands to stop Sam and Naomi from trying to leave the room.

“That is exactly what is going to happen,” Addison added.

“We canceled your morning patients, so you two are gonna sit in this room until you figure this out,” Derek said.

“And then, you are going to agree on a way to move forward with this practice, together as a family,” Addison started closing the doors.

“Don’t come out, until you’re done,” Addison added before closing the doors.

After they all left Sam and Naomi in the conference room, the doctors all dealt with their morning patients. Given the fact that it was their first day, Addison met with a sweet couple having trouble consummating their marriage while Derek consulted with one of Cooper’s patients, who he suspected wasn’t actually autistic. Instead, Cooper suspected his patient might have acquired aphasia, which Derek knew a little more about than he did.

Then, a couple hours passed and everyone else finished with their morning patients to find Sam and Naomi talking. Actually talking, in a civil manner. So everyone was hopeful that things might actually go back to being back to the way they used to be. Granted, Derek and Addison didn’t really know what that meant, but they knew it was better than what it was now.

“I think it might actually be working,” Addison mused. “Naysayer,” Addison directed her comment towards Pete.

“Well, at least they’re talking,” Derek added.

“It is what it is,” Pete added.

“What does that even mean?” Violet asked.

“You think we’re back?” Cooper asked.

“I think we might be back,” Addison said, trying to stay positive. Then, they all saw Sam and Naomi get up from their chairs and walk into the hallway where they were all standing and waiting to see what would happen to the practice from here.

“Okay, well we agree,” Naomi said.

“Agree on what exactly?” Derek asked as he sipped his coffee from his mug.

“We’re all gonna vote,” Sam announced. Everyone looked back at them, confused.

“My way, or Naomi’s” Sam clarified as Naomi raised her hand when he mentioned her name.

“What? No,” Addison exclaimed.

“You choose which one of us runs the practice,” Naomi clarified further.

“And we’ll abide by the decision,” Sam added.

“This is a bad idea,” Derek warned.

“This is gonna tear us apart,” Addison added.

“I warned you,” Pete said quietly as he leaned towards Addison.

“Look, you were right. We can’t keep on the way things have been going? So we will campaign fairly…” Naomi started.

“Right, no dirty tricks, no bribery,” Sam continued.

“Civil, democratic. The way the practice should be run,” Naomi added.

“Are you suggesting that I want anything else,” Sam said as he sensed Naomi’s accusatory tone. Derek was about to counter but Dell stepped up first.

“Do I get a vote? I mean, I am a part of the practice” Dell asked. He wasn’t a doctor at the practice but he was studying to become a midwife. Plus, he had plans to go to med school eventually. He just needed a way to pay for it first. But for now, he was just their receptionist.

“Yeah, of course, you are,” Naomi said sweetly as she placed a hand on his shoulder.

“Right. I..I wouldn’t have it any other way,” Sam hesitated. He knew things got bad between Dell and Naomi when he helped her cover up their financial problems. But he also knew that Dell had had a schoolboy crush on her since he started working at Oceanside. And Naomi convinced him not to leave when he threatened to quit. So he knew getting Dell to his side may be tricky.

“So, uh, tomorrow, at the close of business,” Naomi started.

“Right, we vote. Tomorrow. Alright?” Sam said as both he and Naomi went their separate ways, leaving the other doctors standing there, shocked at what had just happened.

“This will not turn out well,” Derek mused as they all watched Sam walk away. Then, everyone looked at Derek and Addison, who both stood in the middle of everyone, gave them a look, and all went their separate ways.

“We’re screwed,” Addison added after they all left. They both took a deep breath as Derek wrapped his free hand around her waist and kissed her forehead.

“We’ll figure it out,” Derek said, trying to reassure the both of them.

Chapter Text

For the rest of the day, as well as the next day, Sam and Naomi relentlessly campaigned. And everyone hated it. Derek and Addison included. Dell at least tried to get Naomi to let him log more hours so he could be a midwife. Meanwhile, Addison continued working with Jeffrey and Kathleen, her patient from the day before and got Pete to help. After a lot of assurance from Violet and even Derek. Derek and Addison weren’t believers in the alternative medicine route, but even he had to admit that it was time for Addison to let Pete try. After all, they were supposed to be practicing cooperative medicine. So, they might as well embrace it.

As for Derek, he got to deal with his first patient, which he got from a referral from Dr. Charlotte King, St. Ambrose’s chief of staff. Everyone at the practice didn’t seem to like her much, but Derek didn’t get the same vibe from her. Instead, she found her impressive for being one of the youngest chiefs of staff in the country. And while he saw why the other doctors might not like her, Derek had worked in hospitals long enough to know that as annoying as it was, administrative crap was just part of the job. And he found it wrong to just place all the blame on her when all she was really doing was her job.

Sam and Naomi’s arguing and constant campaigning came to a head in the middle of the day when they were openly arguing in the kitchen. They weren’t just arguing about the practice, though it was definitely a big part of it. Naomi threatened to leave to go work for St. Ambrose, which she didn’t really want to do but she also hated what things had come to over the past week. Sam tried to defend himself for pushing everyone but Naomi didn’t really give him much of a chance to speak. Then, Naomi brought up their marriage so to say it was getting out of hand was an understatement. And everyone was fed up with it. So Addison thought it was only time to step in, once again.

“Addison!” Sam exclaimed as he tried to get her to butt out.

“We’re trying to have a private conversation here!” Naomi added.

“I don’t care,” Addison shouted louder so they’d both stop arguing.

“Great,” Naomi muttered to herself.

“Look, maybe this is my fault,” Addison admitted.

“Addie, it’s not your fault,” Derek added.

“No, I pushed us to try to recapture the past. To what this place used to be,” Addison started.

“You don’t even know what this place used to be!” Violet interrupted.
“No, but it didn’t take long for the rest of you to tell us,” Derek said as he came to his wife’s defense. And he was right. Over the last few days, as everyone became stuck in Sam and Naomi’s fight, both Derek and Addison had heard stories about what Oceanside Wellness used to be: a cooperative medical practice. One that put the patient’s care above everything else.

It sounded more like a fairytale, but they all insisted that this practice really used to be something. But Derek and Addison also weren’t naive. They knew that as great as the medicine was at this place, the financials, or more specifically, how the financials were managed, were atrocious. They loved Naomi, but it became clear that she’d drive the practice into the ground if they hadn’t stepped in.

When Naomi and Addison spoke on the phone, Naomi even admitted to her that she let a patient pay her off so that she’d implant her with a baby with a genetic match to her dying son. The ethics alone there were disastrous, but she did anyway because they needed the money. And the fact that Naomi refused to let anyone help only made matters worse.

“Look, the past is clearly cluttered with anger and mistakes, and we need to bury that,” Addison started again, thankful that her husband stepped in to defend her.

“It doesn’t matter who did what when, it matters what we do now. What we want this place to be moving forward,” Addison said as everyone listened intently, realizing that she was right.

“We need to focus on patients, and we need to make money. We need Naomi and we need Sam. The best of both of you. And this vote? It’s a bad idea, an idea that we might never recover from. We shouldn’t do it,” Addison offered a solution. One that made a lot of sense. However, Sam and Naomi still looked at her, unconvinced. Regardless, Addison continued her speech.

“Let’s sit down and figure out what we want this place to be, together,” Addison proposed.

“If you force us to choose between you, that will create scars that won’t heal. We need to move forward, not back,”Addison said after hearing Naomi and Sam groan slightly.

“Addison’s right,” Derek added. The situation they were in, that they were all in, was a crappy one. Here they were, being forced to vote on who should lead the practice. And to make matters worse, neither of them had shown that they were capable of running the place. At least not effectively. Naomi was too insistent on enforcing the practice’s values while Sam focused too much on the money, making it hard for everyone to focus on the medicine.

Having both of them work together would make for a great solution, but it’d only work if they both agreed to put aside their stubbornness and pride. But it didn’t look like that was going to happen, unfortunately. After Addison’s speech, everyone looked around at each other and knew she was right. Well, everyone except Sam and Naomi, who were both still unwilling to let go of their pride.

“We vote at the end of the day,” Sam said adamantly as he got up from his chair and left the kitchen. Then, Naomi walked out the door and after exchanging some more looks, everyone else followed suit.

After everyone finished up their patients for the day, it was finally time for the vote. Derek had just come back from the St. Ambrose after a surgery and Addison performed a hymenoplasty. The patient’s parents arranged a marriage for her back home in Kabul, but her new husband would only have her if she was still a virgin. She told Addison and her parents that she’d been raped, but it ended up being a lie. The truth was she had a boyfriend.

But even after Addison convinced her to tell her mother about her boyfriend, she still wanted the surgery. So she did it. But only after a lot of discussion and deliberation with everyone else at the practice. Naomi included. As angry as Naomi still was at Addison, she still made sure to put in her two cents about the procedure.

When Derek and Addison stepped into the conference room, Derek sat down next to Dell, who gave him a piece of paper and a pen. When he looked back up at Addison, she stayed where she stood, leaning against the doorway.

“So we’re really gonna do this?” Addison asked. Everyone else refused to answer and instead looked back down at their pieces of paper to write down their vote.

“I’m not voting. I won’t be a part of this,” Addison threw her hands up as if she were surrendering. Whatever was going to happen to this place was now out of her hands.

“Well, let’s just…let’s count the votes we have,” Dell said after everyone put their folded-up pieces of paper and put it into a bowl placed in the middle of the table. After both Sam and Naomi earned themselves a vote each, things started to change.

“Addison,” Dell called out as he read the next card.

“Okay, whoever did that, it is not funny,” Addison added. However, she did think that it must’ve been Derek’s card. But then, Dell read off the rest of the cards and was surprised to hear the rest of the votes went to Addison as well. And it made her think that maybe everyone was just playing some sick joke. But everyone seemed to have a pretty good poker face, so she couldn’t be sure. However, Derek made no effort to conceal his happiness and pride he felt for her.

“No. No, no, no, no, no, no, no,” Addison got up from leaning against the wall as Sam and Naomi got up from their chairs to leave. This was a joke, right?

“No, no!” Addison continued, but there was no use. They had just appointed her as the new leader of Oceanside Wellness. And there was nothing she could do about it. But everyone else (sans Sam and Naomi) stayed sitting at the conference table for another minute.

“Nice speech,” Pete said after he clapped and got up from his chair.

“It won my vote,” Pete added as he got up and put his hand out for a handshake. Addison returned the favor but it wasn’t much of a handshake because she still stood there, stunned at what had just happened.

“Congratulations, boss,” Dell said as he walked out of the room.

“Even you voted for me?” Addison asked Violet, as she continued in her chair. After their conversation earlier in the day about her patient who lied about being raped, she didn’t think Violet liked her all that much. But either way, Addison discovered that rape was a touchy subject for Violet. And it became clear that it was because Violet had been raped at some point.

“If either one of them had won, this place still would’ve been divided,” Violet said as she too headed for the door.

“What am I supposed to do now?” Addison sighed and sat down across from Derek, who’d been sitting there the whole time.

“I guess it means we’ll have to figure out what the new future is,” Derek said, smiling back at her, despite the fact that Addison felt completely out of her element.

“We?” Addison raised an eyebrow.

“You didn’t think you’d have to do this alone, did you?” Derek teased as he scooted close enough to his wife to hold her hands.

“We’re gonna be okay,” Derek reassured her. “We’ll figure out how much it’s gonna take to keep this place running and put in new rules so that this place will last a long time,”

After Derek kissed her forehead, they both got up to leave. Addison told Derek that she just needed to change (because she was still wearing her scrubs) so Derek told her he’d meet her at the elevator. After the day she had, Addison had one more place she wanted to stop before going home.

“Violet,” Addison knocked on Violet’s office door frame.

“About what happened earlier…” Addison started. She wasn’t completely sure what she had to say to her now, but she knew she wanted to say something that would assure her that she could talk to her. Despite the fact that they were practically strangers.

“I don’t…I don’t want to talk about it,” Violet said quickly.

“Are you sure?” Addison asked, hesitantly.

“Yeah. We’re not…we’re not going there, Addison,” Violet quickly dismissed Addison again. She appreciated Addison’s concern but she wasn’t ready to talk about it openly. At least not with Addison.

“Well, if you ever do want to talk,” Addison added. “My door’s always open,”

After that, Addison walked back over to Derek, who was waiting by the front desk next to Pete, looking at something behind Addison. So once she got there, she turned around to look at what they’d been staring at. And there they were, Sam and Naomi, in his office, kissing. And they all couldn’t help but smile. It felt like they’d all just been through a war this past week. But it somehow brought Sam and Naomi together. And even though Naomi and Addison’s friendship was at a standstill, Addison had always been rooting for Sam and Naomi all along. After all, if Derek and Addison could find each other again after everything, Sam and Naomi should be able to too.

“Do you think they’re gonna make it?” Addison asked Derek as he watched the basketball game on TV.

“Sam and Naomi?” Derek looked up at her.

“Yeah,” Addison said softly as she sat on the arm of the couch.

“I’d like to think so,” Derek said, giving her his signature “McDreamy” smile.

“Do you think I’ll really be able to lead the practice?” Addison said after a beat.

“Yeah, I do,” Derek got up from his seat and put his hand on her cheek. “You’re gonna be a great boss,”

“You really think so?” Addison asked softly. “Because you know, you’ve always been better with all the administrative stuff. I mean, you’ve always wanted to be chief of surgery. I mean, that’s why you moved to Seattle and…” she began to ramble and before she could add anything else, Derek kissed her.

“You’re gonna be a great boss,” Derek said again, reassuring his wife. “And I will be right here by your side,” he added.

This time, Addison leaned in and kissed him, and he only pulled her closer. Before they knew it, Addison climbed on top of him on the couch. After a while, Derek flipped her over and climbed over here. Before they knew it, they were naked and out of breath on the floor.

“When was the last time we did that?” Derek asked, breathlessly.

“What exactly?” Addison teased as she raised an eyebrow and rested her chin on Derek’s chest.

“Had this much fun?” Derek finally added after waiting for a beat. When she smiled back at him, Derek stroked her cheek with his hand as her red hair fell on his hand. Addison smiled back at him and kissed his hand before turning back over and resting her head on his bare chest.

After a week, Addison (with Derek’s help) came up with a plan to help the practice. Oceanside would now open for longer hours and work Saturdays, which they previously didn’t do. But even after that, they still needed to find another $487,000. And since Derek still only had a small number of patients, he agreed to help her find that money. After all, he was the one who actually figured out how much they needed to keep the practice afloat.

After holding a morning meeting with everyone to lay out their new plan, Addison also roped Dell into helping them find the extra money. Though, everyone was distracted by some patient named Jenna, so they weren’t as appreciative as she hoped they’d be. Plus, Naomi was still clearly mad at her and refused to talk to her unless it was work-related. Despite Addison’s best efforts. But Derek reassured her that she was doing the right thing.

Soon after, Dell informed her that the practice was due $142,000 in overdue accounts. It wasn’t the full amount, but definitely a good start. So Addison pushed him to become the enforcer to get that money. With an hour to kill, Derek decided to help Dell call previous patients to tell them to pay up. Especially since Dell didn’t seem to be doing well. Derek even came up with a sure-fire way for Dell to get the money from their past patients. But the real key was getting Dell to not let them talk about how bad the economy was or any personal details that gave them an excuse not to pay. It was cruel, especially after Dell had already heard countless excuses of being left by their spouses or a death of a loved one, but they needed the money.

After checking in with Jenna, everyone else’s shared patient apparently, Addison was concerned. She was a 17-year-old girl who was dying from cancer but they were all helping her get pregnant. They’d apparently known this girl since she was five, so they were all attached. But Addison still couldn’t believe they’d taken things this far. So she couldn’t help but say something to Jenna’s husband, Nick, when she literally bumped into him when leaving an exam room. To say that everyone was even more unhappy with Addison now was an understatement because Nick panicked and ran off. Though, Addison couldn’t blame the kid. This was a lot for anyone to take in, let alone a 17-year-old kid.

With everyone still pissed off with Addison, she went over to Dell and Derek, who were still calling patients. Derek was doing well, but Dell was still struggling. But having Derek around definitely helped as he pushed him to keep going with their plan, despite the patient’s sad excuses.

“How’s it going over here?” Addison asked.

“I’m done. You know the economy’s really bad, right? People are hurting,” Dell was exasperated. He hated this. He was good at his administrative duties, but he wanted to practice more medicine. And he didn’t feel right trying to force people to pay when he felt they had legitimate reasons as to why they haven’t yet.

“Dell,” Addison sighed as she did some paperwork.

“I came here to be a midwife. I thought I was going to do less administration,” Dell explained. “Wasn’t that part of the deal?”

“And when we dig ourselves out of the hole, you will. Right now, everyone’s taking on extra duty,” Addison said.

“They’re doing more medicine!” Dell exclaimed. “I’m a…bill collector,”

“Well, we’ve gotta get that money somehow,” Derek sighed. He didn’t necessarily mind the extra work. At least not right now. He wasn’t getting to practice much medicine either because he was still fairly new to this practice. But he also recognized that this was temporary. They couldn’t just do nothing. Not if they wanted this practice to survive. But after Derek said this, both Derek and Addison caught Dell giving them a suspicious look but then turning away. And it was then when they realized he knew something. Something that would help with the practice’s financial problems.

“What?” Derek asked, suspicious of what he knew. “You know something,”

“No, I…I don’t” Dell got up to walk away and stuttered because he knew they were right.

“Dell,” Addison said as she blocked his exit from the front desk.

“I don’t know anything,” Dell insisted as he admitted defeat by standing in place now as both Derek and Addison blocked both of his exits from his desk.

“William Dell Parker,” Addison warned as Dell sighed.

“What do you know?” Derek asked.

Before they knew it, Dell told them both about the fourth floor, which was empty. But Sam and Naomi were still holding onto it with the hopes of turning Oceanside into more than it was now. So Derek and Addison each grabbed Sam and Naomi, respectively, and dragged them to the fourth floor for an explanation. They were all killing themselves over finding the extra money, the money that they all knew the practice needed to stay afloat. And there was just a whole floor of prime unused office space that was hemorrhaging their profits.

“We’ve been killing ourselves trying to save this practice and you have 10,000 square feet of prime office space on the fourth floor?!” Derek exclaimed.

“It is not as simple as it sounds,” Naomi said calmly against Derek and Addison’s angry demeanor.

“Then help us understand, Nai!” Addison exclaimed. “The practice is at stake here!”

“This is the practice. This was our first space, mine and Sam’s,” Naomi said as she proceeded to tell them about her and Sam’s original idea for Oceanside Wellness.

They saw this floor as their opportunity to expand the practice. To create a “medical sanctuary”, as Naomi put it. They wanted it to be more than what it was now. They wanted surgical suites, MRI suites, a dedicated lab, and to add on other specialties. It was a nice dream, even Derek had to admit that (at least to himself). But with where the practice was now, financially speaking, there was no way it was feasible. Not now, anyway.

“This was the practice we always dreamed of,” Naomi said as she finished her speech.

“The practice that still can be,” Sam chimed in. He agreed with her, which is why, even when he was hounding everyone to make more money, he held onto this floor.

“Look, now, the only way to lease this place is with a five- or ten-year commitment,” Sam started as Naomi nodded along with him. “And that would mean giving up on our future,”

“If we lease it, we could pay off our debt, our cash flow would be way up,” Derek said as he started counting with his fingers all the ways leasing this floor would help this practice.

“It’ll allow us to stay afloat,” Addison butted in.

“No,” Sam refused to give in. “This is an issue on which we see eye to eye,”

“We’re not leasing it out, Addison,” Naomi stated. It was still Sam and Naomi’s practice, and even though they were both voted out as the boss.

“You are holding on to something that we cannot afford,” Addison argued.

“And once again, you are trying to control everything,” Naomi said, still bitter about it all. Including the Jenna situation.

“What? It’s not bad enough that you ruined the last wish of a dying girl?” Naomi added insult to injury as Addison started pacing.

“You know what, Nai? Keep it up. ‘Cause eventually, I’m gonna stop caring whether or not you forgive me,” Addison was tired of arguing. This wasn’t just about their friendship anymore. Or just about her career. She was the boss now, and that meant taking care of everyone else at the practice. Even if the right thing to do pissed off her best friend.

“And Sam, you knew about this place and you kept it from me,” Addison wasn’t just angry at Naomi anymore.

“Nice. Great,” She added, sarcastically as she walked away.

“It’s not her fault,” Derek added after Addison left.

“Oh, please, you’re just saying that because she’s your wife,” Naomi argued.

“No, I’m not,” Derek argued back. “She’s right, and you know it. And not just about this floor,”

“What’s that supposed to mean?” Sam asked.

“You realize you were about to inseminate a 17-year-old girl today?” Derek heard about the Jenna situation too, from the other doctors as well as Addison. And after Addison talked to Nick, he knew everyone was mad at her. But he knew that Addison was just being a good doctor. She didn’t have to convince Nick of anything, despite what everyone said. All she did was be a good doctor. Jenna may be dying but it wasn’t just about her. It was about her family and what they were going to do with the baby after she died. And her 17-year-old husband was nowhere near ready to be a father.

“It’s what she wants,” Sam argued. He, too, became attached to the kid. She knew exactly what she wanted to do with her life and here he was, debating whether or not he should get back together with his ex-wife. He divorced her because he felt like he wanted more out of life, but he hadn’t done anything since.

“Yeah, and everyone’s going along with it because they don’t want her to die.“But she is going to die. And a baby isn’t going to change that,” Derek pointed out as he walked away.

Later that night, Derek and Addison lay in bed together, silently. They both knew what had to be done. Leasing the fourth floor would make both Sam and Naomi angrier than they already were, but what was the alternative? Letting the practice go under? They had moved their entire lives here for their fresh start. They banked their entire lives, as well as their professional careers, on this practice. If they knew all of this beforehand, they probably would’ve thought twice before moving down here. But here they were. They couldn’t go back. And they were honest with themselves, they didn’t want to go back.

New York was great, at first. Med school, residency, marriage. It’s where they met, where they fell in love, and where they started their lives together. But, after a while, things changed. They got caught up in their professional lives and perhaps took each other for granted. They used to talk. They used to argue whenever something was wrong. But after a while, they stopped. They stopped caring enough to fight anymore. For their relationship. For their marriage. And then, when Addison leaned on Mark, things got worse. It got so bad that Derek left, and Addison became the cheating wife that was shacking up with her husband’s best friend.

After Derek left, everyone knew. Their families, their friends, their co-workers. Mt. Sinai wasn’t the same without him. Everyone could see that there were problems in their marriage before, but this was an all time low for Addison. After she left countless voicemails and emails apologizing profusely and begging him to come back, she had to face reality. He wasn’t coming back. So she tried to make it work with Mark. And for a while, it was okay. Everything seemed like it was going to be okay. Her marriage blew up and she wasn’t proud of what she did, but she and Mark kind of fit together. At least for a while.

But then, Mark showed his true colors. Or, more accurately, he reminded Addison that he was a bastard. He wasn’t the commitment type, as much as he cared for Addison. And it crushed her. Discovering he got her pregnant only made things worse. But it did make her realize that she wasn’t happy with Mark. Not really. She was trying to be, she was trying to convince herself that she didn’t just throw away her marriage for a fling. But when she looked at the pregnancy stick, all she felt was terrified. All she felt was dread. She wanted to be a mother, she did. But she wanted to be a mother with Derek by her side. And as much as she loved Mark, it wasn’t the same.

So, when Richard called, it almost felt like serendipity. She knew Derek was still angry. I mean, he wasn’t answering her relentless phone calls or emails. And he wasn’t talking to his family either. And that was hard for her. I mean, to be the one to talk to Nancy and tell her what she’d done. And to know that Nancy would then tell the rest of the family. She loved the Shepherd’s, felt proud to be a part of them. But she knew that everyone on his side of the family either hated or was ashamed of her now. But going out to Seattle felt like a chance to make it right. At least at first.

Derek already had a girlfriend when she got there. And as much as Addison wanted to pretend like it didn’t bother her, it did. But after he didn’t sign the divorce papers, it gave her hope again. In fact, her entire time in Seattle felt like a rollercoaster. She went from feeling hopeful to feeling hopeless, and they went back and forth on what felt like an hourly basis. But finding the panties in Derek’s pocket felt like a nail in the coffin.

But then, Derek came home, or the trailer, which never really felt like home to Addison, and she saw it on his face. He wasn’t relieved. He wasn’t happy like she thought he’d be. He was disgusted. He was ashamed. And it surprised her, and maybe it surprised him too. But seeing him like this gave her hope again. Real hope this time. And it only got better when he agreed to try again somewhere else. Somewhere they could truly start over. And that’s what LA was. What it had been up to this point. And things were going great. They were going better than great. So they weren’t about to give it up just because Sam and Naomi were stubbornly holding onto a floor they couldn’t afford. Even if it meant they’d be pissed.

“Tell me I’m doing the right thing,” Addison finally said as she rested her head on his chest.

“You’re doing the right thing, Addie,” Derek stroked her hair and gave her a sweet peck on the lips. But then, Addison kissed him back, deeper this time as she climbed onto him. Soon after, Derek climbed over her as they both started undressing. They were finally back. Back to being Derek and Addison again. Everything that had happened over the past few months felt stupid now. Trivial. All they could think now was, how did they let things get so bad? And how did they ever let each other go? When did they start forgetting that they loved each other?

Chapter Text

Sam and Naomi weren’t happy about it, but Addison leased the fourth floor. But they ultimately knew she was right. Even if they weren’t ready to admit it. But shortly afterward, they found out that their new tenants were opening a competing medical practice. Which no one was happy about. Least of all Cooper because Charlotte, his girlfriend, was managing it. After years of referrals from St. Ambrose, everyone knew things were about to change. But after the first month of a quieter office, things started getting back to normal, business-wise.

Other than that, Sam and Naomi decided they weren’t going to get back together. Despite their kiss in Sam’s office. But they were both committed to staying professional. The divorce and the financial troubles nearly killed the practice before. And now, there was this competing medical practice on the fourth floor. They couldn’t afford to make them go through hell all over again.

As for Derek and Addison, they were doing great. Better than great, really. Addison loved working at the practice, even though it was a big change from working at a hospital. This way, she got to really connect with her patients. Plus, the cases they got were usually pretty interesting. It made her really think about medical ethics, and she found debating with the rest of the doctors to be fun. It wasn’t back-to-back surgeries, but it still exercised her mind in a way she didn’t expect small town medicine to. Plus, within a couple of weeks, Naomi and Addison were back to talking (really talking) and the practice was starting to make money again (thanks to renting out the fourth floor). So everything finally felt like things were falling into place for Addison.

However, Derek, while he understood why Addison loved it, didn’t exactly feel the same. But their relationship was in a great place. But he found himself bored at work. He liked getting to know his patients and debating with the other doctors, but he wanted more. He needed more. He missed being in the OR all day every day. He missed feeling challenged. Richard asked him to come out to Seattle Grace because he knew how great of a surgeon he was. But more than that, he knew he was a surgeon that took risks. One that wasn’t afraid to push the boundaries. And Seattle Grace, as terrible as it was for his and Addison’s relationship, was great professionally speaking.

But instead of telling Addison about his overcoming boredom, Derek kept his mouth shut. At least for now. He knew he’d have to say something eventually. Part of the reason why their relationship started going downhill in New York was because they stopped communicating. So he knew he had to say something. But he could see how happy she was here. He could see how much she loved working at the practice, with these people. And their relationship, besides the fact that Derek was hiding his professional boredom, was in a great place. The best place it’d been in years.

The fact that Derek started avoiding his problems with sex definitely helped though. Addison knew it was getting to be a lot. They hadn’t been this sexually active since they’d first gotten together in med school. Or when they were newlyweds. Either way, Addison knew something was off. But she also knew that she wasn’t ready for it to end yet. It’d been a long time since she’d felt loved by her husband. Actually, it’d been a long time since she felt like her husband found her attractive.

By the time Mark came into the picture, Derek barely looked at her. And his dismissive demeanor and behavior just made her feel like she’d let herself go. Like she’d somehow become an ugly old married woman over time. She knew she was attractive. She’d always been an athlete, thanks to Bizzy’s constant push for her to do every extracurricular activity she could handle.

Plus, with all the extra time on her hands (given that she wasn’t stuck in a stuffy hospital all day anymore) and the beautiful weather, she found herself exercising more. She’d also always been a healthy eater (again, because of Bizzy, her personal chefs over the years, as well as Bizzy’s criticism whenever she felt Addison was slacking in her physical health). So LA was kind of the perfect place for her. Now that she was here, it felt odd that she never thought of moving her before.

Before they all knew it, months passed and it was suddenly August. Derek found himself extremely bored with himself at work. But he was still using sex with Addison as a distraction. And Addison was letting him. For the time being. She, too, knew they had to talk about it at some point. But she also wasn’t ready to shatter their marriage bliss they’d been living over the past few months.

“Derek!” Addison exclaimed as he started kissing her neck after she’d gotten into bed.

“What?” Derek continued kissing her down to her shoulders as he slipped her pajama shirt down her shoulders.

“I love you,” Addison stopped him by putting her hands on his cheeks. “But I am exhausted,”

Derek made a playful pouty face, which made Addison giggle.

“I love you,” She said again. “But, just fair warning, I may be coming down with something,”

“What do you mean?” Derek sat up, concerned. “Are you okay?”

“Yeah, I think it’s just a stomach bug,” She said, nonchalantly. Truthfully, she’d been feeling under the weather for the past week, but she didn’t say anything. And it was getting to the point where she started to worry she was pregnant.

They’d always talked about having kids, but not since they were newlyweds. They both decided it’d be better to wait until they established their careers. And by now, they had. But then, life happened. Their marriage started falling apart and having kids became the last thing on their minds. But she knew everything would change the minute she took a pregnancy test. And she wasn’t quite ready for that just yet. So, she was holding off for the time being.

“Fine,” Derek sighed dramatically. “But you owe me,” he added, playfully as he got under the covers.

“Deal,” Addison said as she turned off her lamp and gave him a peck on the lips before joining him under the covers.

The next morning, they went to the office together where Derek went back to teasing her flirtatiously the minute the elevator doors closed. And Addison let him kiss her deeply. They loved being in their marital bliss. Even though it nauseated everyone else in the office. But they weren’t ready for it to end. Truth be told, they just didn’t want it to end. But they were in for quite the surprise when the elevator doors opened.

“Mom,” Derek said, shocked. What was his mother doing in LA?

“Derek, Addison,” Carolyn said, calmly as she stood near the front desk with a suitcase by her feet. She’d just come from the airport and took a cab to see Derek and Addison.

“What a wonderful surprise!” Addison exclaimed as she moved to hug her. She’d always loved Carolyn but she knew the feeling wasn’t mutual. I mean, she still welcomed Addison into the family and made her call her mom after they got married, but she knew Carolyn wasn’t Addison’s biggest fan.

But Carolyn, as well as the rest of the Shepherd clan, really, was a big reason why Addison said yes when Derek proposed. The Shepherds were like the complete opposite of the Forbes Montgomery’s. It was a big family, and they were like the ideal close-knit family while the Forbes Montgomery’s couldn’t get through a family gathering without a constant stream of gin. Or any alcoholic substance, really.

“What are you doing here, Mom?” Derek asked as he too went in to hug her.

“Well, you didn’t show up for Thanksgiving or Christmas last year or the year before,” Carolyn said, bitterly. “And then, I have to hear from your sister that you’ve both moved to LA,”

Derek and Addison both chuckled awkwardly. They had to admit that they’d both had an interesting year, to say the least. Addison’s affair with Mark started right before Thanksgiving so no wonder Derek didn’t show up to the Shepherd’s that holiday season. And while Addison loved going to Carolyn’s house for the holidays, it felt wrong to come after the affair. Plus, by then, Addison was committed to making it work with Mark. But it all imploded right after New Years.

“Yes, well, it’s been…quite the year,” Derek said, awkwardly. It was an honest response, but there was much more that was unsaid. And all three of them knew it. But before it could get too awkward, the other doctors started piling in. And for that, they were both thankful.

“Mrs. Shepherd?” Sam asked after seeing her. Carolyn met both Sam and Naomi at Derek and Addison’s rehearsal dinner. And she’d heard stories about them beforehand from Derek as well.

“Sam! Naomi! It’s so nice to see you two,” Carolyn pulled both in for a hug, one at a time. “But please, I told you to call me Carolyn,”

“It’s lovely to see you again, Carolyn,” Naomi said as she shot Addison a look. What the hell was Derek’s mother doing in LA?

“Uhhh…Mom, this is Dr. Pete Wilder, Dr. Violet Turner, and Dr. Cooper Freedman,” Derek introduced everyone else as Carolyn politely shook their hands, respectively.

“So, does this mean we’re not having the morning meeting?” Cooper asked. It became somewhat of a daily routine to have a morning meeting to discuss their patients for the day and any other concerns. Over time, it wasn’t as formal as it had been in the beginning. Now, it was mostly just talking in the kitchen over breakfast and morning coffee. But they still called it a morning meeting anyway.

“Uhhh…Yes, yes we are,” Addison said, just wanting an excuse to work instead of dealing with Carolyn.

“Right, sorry. I didn’t mean to interrupt your work day,” Carolyn added, politely. But then again, what did she expect by coming to their office, Addison thought.

“Why don’t you come grab some breakfast with me in the kitchen?” Derek offered. He too wasn’t thrilled to see his mother. But he also knew better than to just make her wait out in the reception area while they all scurried off to work. She’d still wait to talk to him or Addison or preferably both. But she wouldn’t be happy about it. Plus, Addison knew his schedule anyway so it’s not like he had to be at the morning meeting.

“Sure,” Carolyn said as everyone else made their way to the conference room.

“So what are you really doing here, Mom?” Derek sighed as he started brewing some coffee.

“First, you run off to Seattle,” Carolyn started. “And now you’re in LA of all places?”

“What’s wrong with LA?” Derek countered.

“Nothing’s wrong with LA,” Carolyn insisted. “But…this isn’t you,”

“What do you mean this isn’t me?” Derek scoffed slightly. “What does that even mean anyway?”

“This practice?” Carolyn threw her hands up. “This isn’t you,”

Derek sighed. He knew she was right. He could pretend like he didn’t know what she was talking about, but as annoying as it was, his mother knew him well. And she knew that this practice wasn’t enough for him. He needed to be challenged. He always had. It was why he made a good surgeon. And this practice, as great as it was, wasn’t doing that for him.

“We’re happy here,” Derek said after a beat.

“But it’s not enough for you,” Carolyn pointed out.

“Maybe,” Derek said, softly. “But she’s happy here,” Derek handed her a mug full of hot coffee.

“But you aren’t,” Carolyn said as she grabbed the cream from the fridge.

“I am happy here,” Derek insisted. He was happy. With Addison. But the days felt like they were getting longer. And he desperately missed being in the OR. It’s not like he didn’t operate anymore. But it wasn’t the same. It wasn’t constant the way it had been in New York or Seattle. And they both knew it.

“No, you’re not,” Carolyn said as Derek leaned against the counter, looking at the floor. He hated how his mother still had a way of seeing right through him.

“I love her,” Derek said after a minute as he finally looked up at her. “And we’re finally us again,”

“But it’s not enough for you,” Carolyn said again.

Meanwhile, Addison and the rest of the practice met in the conference room. And they were all prepared to talk about their patients for the day. But they’d also become close enough friends by now to know that Derek’s mother showing up wasn’t good. And if they didn’t know that before, they could see it now with Addison’s demeanor. She was usually so put-together, professional, and relaxed. But now, she was a little flustered and distracted. They couldn’t just not say anything.

“So, what’s Derek’s mother doing here anyway?” Cooper asked, nonchalantly.

“I don’t know,” Addison said honestly, as she finally put down her small stack of files that she’d been fussing with for the past minute.

“Does she not like you?” Violet asked. Everyone, Addison included, just glared back at her.

“What?” Violet asked. “It was a valid question,”

“She hates me,” Addison admitted.

“She does not hate you,” Naomi insisted.

“She does!” Addison exclaimed. “And not just because I gave Nancy salmonella that one year,”

“You gave someone salmonella?” Pete asked, curiously.

“It wasn’t on purpose!” Addison defended herself. “I’d never cooked a turkey before and Derek barely gave me a day’s notice before inviting 34 people to Thanksgiving,”

“Ooof,” Sam added.

“Yeah, well then Derek came in to save the day by grilling hot dogs. But not until after I gave Nancy salmonella,” Addison sunk deeper into her seat.

“I’m sure it wasn’t that bad,” Sam tried to reassure her.

“Yeah well, it probably doesn’t help that I also cheated on him with his best friend,” Addison muttered. By now, everyone knew of the affairs. If not from Addison directly, they at least found out from Sam or Naomi.

“You could always try family counseling,” Violet offered, trying to lighten the mood. Addison glared back at her. Violet just couldn’t say the right thing today, could she?

“Or not,” Violet said.

After Derek talked to his mother and Addison held the morning meet (which they did eventually have after venting a bit), they both went about their day. Carolyn hung around Derek’s office and kept him company in between patients as Addison stayed in her office. She knew Carolyn had to be here to tell Derek he was making a mistake with her. She had to be. And she did not want to deal with it just yet.

So she went about her day seeing her patients and then dealing with administrative stuff in between, not giving herself much of a break. Over the years, work was the one constant in her life. When everything else failed, work was always there for her. And today, she was leaning on it. She even grabbed her lunch from the fridge and ate in her office to continue avoiding Carolyn Shepherd. And it didn’t seem like Carolyn really wanted to talk to her just yet either.

Carolyn thought Addison was a lovely woman, but she’d always thought she was wrong for Derek. And as cordial as she was towards her, Addison always knew she didn’t like her. Every time they went to visit on holidays, Derek reassured her that Carolyn loved her. But Addison knew the truth. Or at least suspected it. And Carolyn’s colder demeanor towards her today proved it.

At the end of the work day, the moment came. It was time for Derek, Addison, and Carolyn to finally confront each other. And Addison, particularly, was dreading it. Addison always felt like she had to impress when she was around Carolyn. Being around her turned her into someone she wasn’t: someone insecure, awkward, and overly polite. The Shepherd’s were always so inviting and warm, and Addison always admired that. Envied it really. It was such a stark difference from her family, but it was what she always craved. Which made it that much more heartbreaking to know that Carolyn, AKA the woman that created that warm family dynamic between all the Shepherd’s, didn’t like her.

“There you are,” Carolyn said, trying her hardest not to sound too sarcastic. All Addison could really do was smile back at her politely.

“So, I thought Nonna’s might be nice for dinner,” Derek interjected.

“Sounds great,” Addison smiled.

After that, all three of them took the awkwardly silent elevator ride downstairs and drove to the restaurant. It was a nice Italian restaurant, reminiscent of restaurants they used to go to in New York. Even though Carolyn seemed to take pleasure in LA’s beautiful weather, Derek thought it was a safer choice for dinner to pick something that reminded them all of their past lives. During dinner, they sat, ate, and made pleasant conversation.

Carolyn talked about the weather and Addison, desperate to find something she could ramble on about, brought up a study she’d been reading about cystic fibrosis. She’d been working with a whole family with cystic fibrosis that day with Sam and Cooper and it was all she could come up with. Plus, Addison’s fellowship in medical genetics was all about cystic fibrosis so she had a lot she could talk about there. Derek wasn’t as knowledgeable but he knew enough to keep up with her.

After that, they all went back to Derek and Addison’s beach house as the sun started setting. And it was then when Derek and Addison realized they wouldn’t have work or dinner as a buffer. They had no choice now but to deal with Carolyn.

“This is a lovely home,” Carolyn remarked. It was vastly different from their New York brownstone, that was for sure. But even Carolyn had to admit that having the beach as their backyard was incredible.

“Thank you,” Addison said as she hung up their coats in the closet and Derek rolled her suitcase towards the stairs. Soon after, the room went silent for a minute. But after everything that happened today, Addison couldn’t take the awkward silence anymore.

“Okay,” Addison sighed. “Let’s hear it, Mom,” Addison had never been that confrontational with Carolyn. Or with any of the Shepherd’s for that matter. Other than Derek. But she had to admit, LA had made quite the effect on her. It was the change she never knew she wanted. She felt freer here. Like she could be herself here. And she wasn’t about to let Carolyn Shepherd take that away from her. Plus, the past year taught her to fight for what she wanted. And what she wanted was Derek and this new life they made for themselves.

“Derek isn’t happy here,” Carolyn said, simply. “I know you both love each other, but Derek needs to be challenged. And that’s not happening here,”

Addison looked over at Derek, who was now leaning against the back of the couch with his head hanging low. He couldn’t say she was lying because he knew it was true. He just wasn’t able to tell Addison yet. They’d tried so hard to be happy again, and they were. And he couldn’t tell her that he hated the job. Not after seeing how happy and free Addison was here. The last time he’d seen Addison so carefree was when they were in med school.

The last thing Addison ever wanted to be was cold the way that her parents were. And even she admitted that she slightly reverted back to her WASP-ier ways around Bizzy and The Captain. But Derek used to be able to break her out of it, at least a little. But when Derek stopped noticing her, she started reverting back. She held her tongue and kept pretending she and Derek were still the perfect couple everyone thought they were. She stopped fighting, because he stopped fighting. It wasn’t until they got to LA when she started letting all of that go. Even in Seattle, she tried pretending to be stronger than she felt. So the last thing Derek wanted to do was make her revert back to that.

Seeing Addison finally stand up to his mother made him weirdly proud. He knew how much Addison admired Carolyn and how much she wanted her to like her. And he pretended not to see the signs that said the contrary. So whenever Addison talked about how his mother hated her, he’d reassure her that she didn’t. Even though he knew, deep down, that Addison was right.

“Why didn’t you just tell me that?” Addison finally asked.

“I didn’t want to ruin it,” Derek kept his head low. An awkward silence came over them all over again.

“It isn’t enough for him,” Carolyn echoed what she said to Derek earlier. “He needs more than this,”

Addison looked at Derek, hoping he’d say something encouraging. Hoping he’d say something to counteract what Carolyn was saying. As much as she loved him, Derek had never been great at standing up to his mother. Then again, it wasn’t very often when he thought she was wrong. But she at least wanted him to stand up for her.

She knew Derek loved her, that they were happy together here. But she also knew that Carolyn wasn’t just talking about the job. Not that Derek really noticed. Derek probably would’ve stayed quiet about his true feelings about the job for a long time. And she knew that it’d only be a matter of time until he resented her for staying in LA. But it hurt that Derek didn’t even try to stand up for her. Carolyn never thought Addison was enough for him. And Addison always suspected this. But hearing her say it to her face hurt even more.

After Derek stayed silent, Addison walked upstairs. She couldn’t stay to talk anymore. She may have opened the door, but she couldn’t deal with this right now. And with the possibility that there was a baby Montgomery-Shepherd growing inside of her was too much. So she walked upstairs and went straight for the master bathroom and took out the pregnancy test she had in her purse. She wasn’t ready to take it before, but she couldn’t wait anymore. Not when she felt like her marriage was starting to fall apart all over again. After a few minutes, she got up from where she sat on the bathroom floor and checked the stick. It was positive. There was a baby growing inside of her. And all she could feel was conflicted.

But she decided she wasn’t going to say anything just yet. If Derek was going to stay quiet for the time being, so was she. For a while, all Derek wanted was to be a dad. But they were still residents at the time and Addison wanted to be smart about this. She told herself that she needed to be more established in her career before having kids. The last thing she wanted was to be a mother and still working to become a surgeon.

She told herself to wait until she finished her residency and finished her fellowship. But by the time that happened, Derek and Addison’s marriage exploded. Then, she got pregnant with Mark’s baby and couldn’t go through with it. She just couldn’t. Not when she was still in love with Derek. Not when all she wanted was for the baby to be his. Now, here she was, pregnant with his baby. And she felt almost as terrified as she was when she was with Mark. Derek and Addison had been in a good place recently but Carolyn showing up changed things. It made her realize that maybe they weren’t as happy as she thought they were. She wanted this baby, but she was terrified about what would happen next.

After Addison laid in bed alone for a few minutes, Derek finally came up. He got ready for bed and when he climbed under the covers, Addison turned towards her side. Their silence, their inability to communicate just reminded her of Seattle. And she hated it. They both did. But they weren’t ready to talk. Addison still had to figure out how to tell Derek about the baby and Derek didn’t want to hurt her. He loved her but he wanted to know for sure what he’d say before he talked to her.

The next morning, Derek woke up to an empty bed. In LA, this was actually somewhat normal. Addison had taken running early in the morning so it wasn’t uncommon for him to wake up alone. But she’d usually be back from her run by the time Derek brushed his teeth and got dressed for the day.

However, this morning just felt different. He knew Addison probably just went on her run, but after last night, he didn’t know if she’d come back from her run as soon as she usually would. Maybe she’d avoid coming home like she avoided talking to his mother yesterday. Maybe she’d run an extra few miles to avoid them both. But he knew thinking about it wasn’t helping. So he got up, brushed his teeth, and got dressed, hoping to hear the light patter of her footsteps outside.

When he didn’t hear her, he knew it was his fault. He knew he should’ve said something to his mother last night. He knew Addison was hurt. But he couldn’t muster up the courage to stand up to her. He knew she was right. He knew that he needed more to stay in LA. He wasn’t thinking about leaving, but he knew he needed something more if he really wanted to be as happy as Addison clearly was here.

After a minute, Derek walked out onto the balcony. If he was going to sulk, he might as well look out at the beach. But then, he looked down to see Addison, sitting in one of their lounge chairs in her workout clothes. She clearly already went for her run but she just wasn’t ready to go back inside yet. So she stayed outside to look out at the beach. It looked like she and Derek had the same idea there.

Before Derek went downstairs, he smelled something sweet in the air and noticed that the guest room was empty. His mother was already awake. And it finally kicked in what he was smelling: pancakes. When he got downstairs, he found Carolyn flipping pancakes in their kitchen.

“Good morning,” Carolyn said as she took the pancake off the heat and stacked it on a plate. “Breakfast?”

“Thanks, Mom,” Derek thankfully took the plate of pancakes.

“You didn’t have chocolate chips but you do have blueberries,” Carolyn turned to grab the glass of orange juice. “Oh, and you’re out of orange juice,” She handed him the glass.

“Thanks, Mom,” Derek said again as he took a sip and grabbed a stool to sit at the kitchen counter.

“Oh, but you did have this weird green juice,” Carolyn made a face. Never in a million years did she see her son as someone that drank green juice.

“Yeah, that’s Addison’s,” Derek swallowed a bite of her blueberry pancakes and got up to grab it from the fridge.

“Since when did she start drinking…that?” Carolyn watched as Derek poured a glass of the stuff.

“Uhhhh….since we got here,” Derek thought back. Addison really embraced LA. Much more than she ever did in Seattle. She’d always been fit and led a pretty healthy lifestyle. She went to the gym, ate healthy, and made an effort to make sure Derek took care of himself too. But that only became clearer once they got to LA.

She started drinking green juice, ran most mornings, and still found time to go to the gym a few times a week after work too. It kind of amazed him how good she was at taking care of her physical health. And he knew that Bizzy was partly to thank for that with all the sports teams Addison was a part of growing up: soccer, gymnastics, swim. No wonder she was so fit.

“You know, she could always come in to eat and drink that,” Carolyn pointed out.

“Yeah, I know,” Derek sighed. His mother wasn’t going to make this any easier. “I just want to give her another minute to breathe out there,”

As Derek went outside with a plate of pancakes in one hand and Addison’s green juice in the other, Carolyn couldn’t help but roll her eyes. She knew things were tense but the least she could do is come in to face it. After all, she confronted her first. In the Shepherd family, they confronted their problems head-on. And maybe that’s what she didn’t particularly like about Addison. She and her family swept all their problems under the rug and pretended like it wasn’t there. Or when they did deal with their problems, they were always so…indirect.

They’d talk about flowers or charity events that were coming up. Derek said they were “speaking WASP”, but Carolyn never quite understood what he meant by that. And when she asked him what it meant, even he had to admit he didn’t really know either. But he did say that Addison knew how to decipher it, most of the time. And this just confused Carolyn even more. What good came from talking around things? Why not attack things head on? No wonder her family was so cold. They never talked about anything. They just talked around everything. And she knew that was no way to raise a family. Not one that was as loving and open as the Shepherd’s.

When Derek opened the back door, Addison heard him coming. She’d spent the morning jogging on the beach and if she weren’t so exhausted, she would’ve jogged for longer. But she was also a doctor who knew better than to overwork herself while a tiny human grew inside of her. It wasn’t just about taking care of herself anymore, there was a baby Shepherd to think about now.

And keeping the pregnancy test in her pocket definitely became a constant reminder. The last thing she wanted was for Derek to find out by seeing the test poke out of the trash bin. Or worse, for his mother to find it first. So she panicked and took it with her on her morning jog. And since she finished her jog, she’d been fiddling with it in her pocket while she thought about what she wanted to say next.

“Hey,” Derek said as he finally got to her.

“Hey,” Addison softly as she turned around. She was surprised to see that he brought breakfast out for her. She knew Carolyn was in their kitchen making breakfast. Even in LA, Carolyn still made breakfast whenever she stayed with them and insisted they eat at the table while she slaved away at the stove. And when Addison or Derek tried to convince her to sit down next to them, she’d brush them off and tell them to just enjoy their morning. So it was strange that Carolyn just let Derek bring a plate out to her instead of getting her to come in to sit at the table.

“Hungry?” Derek put the plate and glass down and sat beside her.

“Thanks,” Addison sat herself up and took a sip of her green juice first.

“So,” Derek started. “I know I should’ve said something last night,”

Addison looked at him as she started eating.

“But I…” Derek stuttered. “She’s right. I do need more. I love you, and I know how much you love this place, how much you love the practice. But I need more. It’s not enough for me,”

They both sighed as Derek waited to hear what Addison would say next. He talked about the job, but he still said he loved her. So, was that the only problem? Was it just the job that was bothering him? Or was he starting to regret moving out here with her? Did he regret trying again with her? But instead of asking, Addison decided she’d try a different approach.

“What about now?” Addison yanked the pregnancy test she’d been fiddling with out of the pockets of her hoodie and placed it between them on the lounge chair.

“Is this enough?” Addison asked.

Chapter Text

There it was: two lines on a pregnancy test. Derek couldn’t believe it. Addison was pregnant. They were pregnant.

“Is that…Are you..?” Derek stuttered. He couldn’t believe what he was seeing.

“Pregnant? I think so,” Addison took a breath. “I’m gonna have Nai do a blood test on to be sure,”

Derek’s face stayed blank for another minute. It was hard for Addison to gauge how he felt. He just stared at the test sitting between them. After letting him freak out for another minute, she’d had enough.

“Derek!” Addison snapped him out of his trance. “Say something!’

To her surprise, Derek looked up and smiled as if it were hard for him to contain. Then, he started to laugh. And it confused Addison. Was he happy? Or did he think this was like some kind of karmic punishment? It was hard to tell.

“What?!” Addison started laughing along. She could play along. If he was laughing about the irony of it all, she could pretend like she felt the same. But to be honest, laughing out loud, even for a short minute, felt like a relief in itself. She felt like she’d been holding in her breath ever since she took the test. Things weren’t great with them. I mean, he did just say that he wanted more than this life they’d made for themselves here in LA.

“Derek. Please say something because you’re starting to freak me out,” Okay, so maybe Addison couldn’t just play along. Not while her hormones were on the fritz.

“Addison,” Derek stroked his hand on her cheek. “We’re having a baby?”

“Yeah, that’s kinda what the pregnancy test means,” Addison said, plainly. “I mean, unless it’s a false positive, which is why I’m taking a blood test to be sure. Actually, I was gonna wait to tell you but it kinda just came out and…” Addison began rambling. But Derek quickly shut her up with a deep kiss. Addison returned the kiss by deepening it.

“We’re having a baby,” Derek said it as a statement this time as he pulled away from the kiss.

“This is more than enough,” Derek added as he kept his hand on her cheek, stroking it slightly with his thumb. Addison smiled back and sighed a sigh of relief. He was happy. This was a good thing.

“If you need more than the practice,” Addison started. She didn’t want to ruin their marital bliss they’d somehow found again, but she knew she couldn’t just put it off. “We’ll figure it out. You can work at St. Ambrose, or another hospital, if that’s what you want,”

“We’ll figure it out,” Derek echoed. His boredom at work didn’t feel like it was such a big deal anymore. They were having a baby. They were gonna be parents. And it’s all he’s ever wanted.

In fact, he wanted to have kids years ago but they kept putting it off. There was always an excuse why they didn’t. They were young and focused on their career. Every time Derek brought it up, Addison would insist it wasn’t time yet. Not the right time. And Derek would groan. When was the right time? Was there ever going to be a right time? It was a topic that would always warrant an argument between them.

He knew Addison was trying to be responsible. Trying to do the right thing. Trying to be a grown-up, she would say. And Derek was tired of fighting about it. A part of him knew she was right. If they had started their family during residency, they probably wouldn’t be where they are now in their careers. They were both determined, not just to become great surgeons. They wanted to be world-class. And now they were.

Was that what went wrong in their marriage the first time around? Did he just resent her for not giving him children? After a while, he stopped believing he’d ever be a father. He’d never admit that out loud, but it was true. But it was all he ever wanted to be. Before he ever knew he wanted to be a surgeon, before he ever knew he wanted to be a doctor, he wanted to be a father. Maybe it had something to do with watching his father get murdered in front of him and growing up with four sisters. Whatever it was, he had what he’d heard people call a parent’s instinct. And he, and everyone around him, knew it.

Addison never had that. She was great with babies. After all, she was a baby doctor. But she was always afraid she’d turn out to be like her mother. Cold and impossible to please. Derek used to say that she was nothing like her mother. That she was warm and a good person. Addison wanted to believe him. She knew, deep down, that he was right. But that didn’t stop the fear that she held of being a bad mother. And it didn’t help that Carolyn constantly made her feel that way.

“So…,” Addison started. “What do we do with your mother?”

Derek looked back into the house at his mother, who was still at the stove making more pancakes. He took a deep breath. It was time to stand up to his mother. It was time to stand up for Addison. It was time for him to grow up and be a man. So, he got up and went into the house as Addison followed closely behind, holding her plate of pancakes and her green juice.

“Mom,” Derek opened the back door as Carolyn turned to look at them.

“Good morning, Mom,” Addison nodded as she sat down at the table with her breakfast.

“Morning,” Carolyn said back.

“Mom,” Derek started. He took a deep breath. He’d never really stood up to his mother before. Not really, anyway. But he knew he should’ve when it came to Addison. It’s not like Carolyn hated her, but she didn’t particularly like her either.

“Look, Derek,” Carolyn spoke. “Maybe I was a little harsh last night, but I just couldn’t stand seeing you guys pretend like you’re happy here,”

“We are happy here,” Derek insisted. Although, he knew he wasn’t completely telling the truth.

“No, you’re not,” Carolyn argued. “You’re both kidding yourselves if you think that’s true,”

“We’ll figure it out,” Derek straightened his posture to take a stronger physical stance. “And for the record, Addie’s happy here,”

Addison just looked up from her plate of pancakes that she’d been staring at as Derek motioned over to her. Not knowing if she should say anything, Addison took a sip of her green juice. Was this really how he was going to stand up to his mother? If it was, he wasn’t doing a very good job.

“How?” Carolyn asked rather sarcastically. But when she saw Addison get back to eating her breakfast, avoiding her eye contact, she knew Derek was telling the truth.

“You’re really happy here?” Carolyn directed the question towards Addison.

“Yeah, I am,” Addison quickly swallowed her food as she spoke. Bizzy would kill her if she saw her now.

“How?” Carolyn asked earnestly this time. To be honest, Derek didn’t understand it either. But he could tell that she was happy here. Both professionally and personally. He just didn’t get how. They were surgeons. World-class surgeons, who spent their entire adult life working hard to get to where they were now in their careers and competing with other surgeons to be the best. Addison’s drive was part of the reason why Derek first fell in love with her. But here, in Los Angeles, at the practice, it was quiet.

As Carolyn and Derek looked at her for an answer, Addison thought about what she’d say. She wanted to be honest, but she didn’t want to sound like she was rambling nonsense. It was hard to put into words, but there was something about this place that made her happy.

“I don’t know,” Addison said honestly, shrugging her shoulders slightly. This only made Carolyn and Derek more confused.

“It’s just…magical here,” she finally said. It was the only real way she knew how to describe it. She wasn’t doing groundbreaking surgery like she had been in New York or even in Seattle. But there was just something about this place that she loved. Something about LA and the practice. It felt like this was where she was meant to be.

“What do you mean…magical?” Carolyn asked. To be completely honest, Addison sounded crazier than usual to her. But she wanted to understand her. And by the look of Addison’s face, she could tell she was being serious. But what the hell was magical about this place?

Before Addison could answer, or more accurately, come up with a better answer, her pager went off.

“I’ve gotta get to the hospital,” Addison glanced at her pager as she stood up to put her dishes in the sink.

“But I’ll…um, see you at the practice?” Addison directed her question at Derek as she grabbed her purse.

“Yeah,” Derek breathed as Addison leaned in for a quick peck on the lips.

“Bye, Mom,” Addison said, offhandedly as she rushed out the door.

“Well, that didn’t go as planned,” Carolyn looked over at Derek, who just sighed in return.

After Addison left, Derek finished his breakfast as he and his mother made small talk. They both already said all that needed to be said, as far as either of them were concerned. To them, Addison was the one who confused them. Derek loved Addison, and he was willing to stay and fight for their relationship, their marriage, their possibly growing family. But he and his mother didn’t understand Addison’s fascination with this place or this practice.

Everyone was perfectly nice at the practice. It was nice to reconnect with Sam and Naomi, but it wasn’t very exciting. At least not to Derek. He missed the OR. Desperately. And he still got to go in from time to time at St. Ambrose. But it was infrequent and St. Ambrose was minuscule compared to the other hospitals he’d worked at before. Most of his time nowadays was spent doing consults for non-surgical patients or consulting with another doctor at the practice.

But since he was having a relatively light work day, again, he invited his mother to tag along. I mean, it beat hanging around the house waiting for him and Addison to get home. So she agreed. They both agreed that maybe they’d see whatever “magic” Addison saw in the place if they stuck around long enough. Though, they both thought it was unlikely.

When they got to the office, Derek guided Carolyn to the kitchen and agreed to come back after the morning meeting. If the meeting wasn’t going to be about their patients, he would have invited her to sit and watch. But with doctor-patient confidentiality, they both figured it’d be best not to let her listen in on everyone’s patients.

Before the meeting ended, Addison took Derek aside for a minute to tell him that she was having Naomi run a blood test later that day. Their relationship clearly wasn’t in the best place at the moment with Carolyn in the picture, but Derek couldn’t contain his excitement. Despite Addison’s best efforts to at least try to hide his excitement. But with her (probable) hormones raging, she couldn’t help but be excited too.

“We’re gonna be parents!” Derek whispered, excitedly.

“Maybe,” Addison warned, but she couldn’t help but let a small smile sneak through.

“You’ll let me know when you get the results back?” Derek asked.

“Yeah, of course,” Addison smiled as Derek pulled her in for a sweet kiss.

Then, as they parted ways, both Derek and Addison couldn’t help but look back at each other for one last smile.

After Derek met Carolyn back in the kitchen, he informed her he had a patient coming soon so she’d have to entertain herself for a bit. He assured her it wouldn’t take too long and that Addison was free for another 30 minutes if she wanted to go see her. Considering the fact that they didn’t really get to finish their conversation from that morning (not really, anyway), she agreed. When Carolyn came into Addison’s office, she found her scribbling down some notes.

“Derek said I should wait here with you until he’s finished with his patient,” Carolyn said, plainly.

“Of course,” Addison took a sharp inhale and awkwardly gestured towards the chair in front of her desk. Something about Carolyn always made her a little nervous.

“So, how was your patient this morning?” Carolyn asked, trying to make light and polite conversation.

“Good,” Addison took another sharp inhale. “Eight pounds, two ounces,” she added as she continued looking at her papers.

“That’s nice,” Carolyn said, politely. She wondered why Addison found pleasure in normal baby deliveries when she knew Addison was known for being a world-class surgeon. Derek certainly didn’t like short consultations, so what was it about this job that made Addison feel…magical?

Then, Dell interrupted their awkward silence.

“Addison, we need you,” Dell said, urgently. Addison got up immediately as Carolyn followed her. Then, Dell led them to the lobby, where Sam was calming down a female patient.

“Dell, I thought you meant there was an emergency,” Addison sighed.

“She said that they had to leave the hospital because they were trying to kill ‘em. Her and her baby,” Dell tried to explain. Addison (and Carolyn, for that matter) was still confused. But I guess they had to check her out now.

“Hi,” Addison walked up to Sam and the woman. “I’m Dr. Montgomery, why don’t we take a look at your baby,”

Calm, polite, and warm, Carolyn thought. She knew Addison was a brilliant doctor, but she’d never really seen her work before. She definitely had her bedside manner down. She was empathetic yet professional. She’d seen Derek with patients before but never Addison. I guess she wouldn’t be a great doctor if she wasn’t great with patients, Carolyn thought.

After Sam and Addison whisked the patient away, Carolyn waited in the lobby. She was curious to know what happened to that girl but she knew it wouldn’t be right to just follow them into the exam room.

“Mom,” Derek spotted Carolyn as he came out of his office. “What are you doing out here? I thought you were gonna wait with Addison,” He gave his mother a perfunctory kiss on the cheek.

“I was,” Carolyn insisted. “There was some kind of emergency,”

Derek looked to see what Carolyn was looking at. The blinds were drawn in the exam room but he could tell she was just waiting to see her come out and listen in to figure out what was going on.

“You know what happened?” Derek asked, also curious about this emergency.

“Not really,” Carolyn said, honestly. “Some woman left the hospital and came here,”

“Huh,” Derek joined her in staring at the door, waiting to see Addison come out. Shortly after, she did with Sam. But neither of them noticed Derek and Carolyn staring as Naomi came up to talk to them.

“She won’t tell us where she came from,” Sam says as he starts filling Naomi in. “She’s afraid we’ll send her back,”

“Damn right we’re sending her back,” Naomi said. “I’m gonna get Dell to call all the local hospitals,”

“I’d like to run some tests,” Addison stated.

“Fine,” Sam gave in. “But just until we figure out where she belongs,”

“Thank you, Sam,” Addison said as she walked away.

“What’s going on?” Derek walked up to Sam and Naomi with Carolyn following closely behind.

“Some woman left the hospital and won’t tell us where she’s from,” Naomi explained.

“She said something about how they were gonna kill her and her baby,” Sam added.

“And Addie thinks we should help her,” Naomi said, rather begrudgingly. She didn’t understand why Addison was so insistent on helping this woman. For all they knew, she could be a crazy person.

“I’m sure it’s for a good reason,” Derek said, coming to Addison’s defense.

“She said she’s always had stomach problems but nobody’s been able to figure out what’s wrong with her,” Sam added.

“Well, I’m still getting Dell to make some calls,” Naomi said as she walked back towards the front desk.

After that, Addison took care of her next scheduled patient as Derek chatted with his mom between patients. They both weren’t sure why Addison was arguing with everyone else about this woman, but Derek kept insisting that there must be a reason why. After Addison walked her next patient to the elevator, Dell came out from the exam room to find her.

“Hey, I just checked on our Jane Doe,” Dell said to Addison.

“What are you doing checking on my patient?” Addison asked. She knew she was the odd man out at the practice with this Jane Doe patient.

“She’s having contractions,” Dell interrupted Addison.

Then, the both of them hurried back into the exam room where Addison gave her some medication to stop the contractions and to check on the baby. Out in the lobby, Derek and Carolyn waited patiently to see what would happen next. Then, the elevator dinged, revealing Charlotte King, who didn’t look very happy to be at Oceanside Wellness.

“I hear you have something of ours,” Charlotte said as Addison came out of the exam room.

“She came here on her own,” Naomi argued. “We called every other hospital in the city to figure out where she came from,” The last thing they needed was to get on Charlotte’s bad side. Charlotte was the chief of staff at St. Ambrose and it’s where they got most of their business.

“You know our Jane Doe?” Addison asked, curiously. Derek and Carolyn watched as if they were watching a movie.

“Her name’s Rebecca Hobart,” Charlotte informed them.

Then, everything became clearer. Apparently, Rebecca left the psych ward at St. Ambrose but Charlotte was going to arrange transportation to get her back to the hospital. Eventually, Charlotte told them that Rebecca had Munchausen and had been in and out of psych ward since she was a teenager, which only made the other doctors more skeptical about treating her at Oceanside. However, Addison wasn’t convinced.

“Rebecca wants to stay here,” Addison argued. Everyone, including Derek and Carolyn who sat back watching, looked at Addison, confused.

“Her mother is her medical guardian. Under state law, if she wants her back at the hospital, Rebecca goes back,” Charlotte argued.

“Agreed, she goes,” Naomi gave in. But Addison still wasn’t ready to give up.

“She’s having contractions, you wanna move her now? Make her lose the baby? Be my guest,” Addison added. Naomi looked back at her. Why was she fighting this?

Reluctantly, Charlotte agreed and Sam, Naomi, and Addison went off to the hallway to argue some more as Derek headed off to see his next patient. Which left Carolyn in the lobby alone, once again. But she didn’t mind. She raised five kids, all of which became doctors. By now, she was used to waiting around while they worked or emergencies coming up, interrupting dinner plans or canceling them altogether. It’s why she always kept a book in her purse nowadays.

Meanwhile, Naomi was not happy with keeping Rebecca at Oceanside. Especially now that she knew she was a Munchausen patient. But Addison was adamant. Even after finding out who Rebecca really was, she still believed she was telling the truth. Eventually, Addison convinced both Sam and Naomi to allow Violet to do a psych evaluation on the woman, even though Rebecca already had a long documented psych history.

Rebecca was less than thrilled about the psych eval. She knew by then that they all knew she came from a 5150 hold at St. Ambrose. And she knew that everyone saw her the way everyone else had since she was a teenager: crazy. But it did help that Addison was still willing to help her, and that she seemed to convince the other doctors here to give her another chance. Plus, Violet and Addison moved her to Addison’s office, which was far more comfortable than sitting in the exam room.

While Violet evaluated her, Derek finished up with his patient, leaving him a scrip for some medication. He was still worried that he had a brain tumor, but Derek assured him that it was just migraines caused by vascular spasms. God, what he would kill for a good ole brain tumor. Then, he met his mom sitting in the lobby and joined her. But before they could really talk for long, Addison and Violet came out of the exam room.

“From what I can see, Rebecca doesn’t totally fit the Munchausen profile,” Violet started.

“Do you think I”m personalizing this case? Like, maybe I need to believe in the happy miracle baby?” Addison asked.

“Well, instinct’s a bitch, right? You only know you can trust it after the fact,” Violet said. It didn’t really help answer anything for Addison, but she still couldn’t shake the feeling that Rebecca was telling the truth. Shortly afterward, Pete came out of his office, walking his patient out.

“Pete,” Addison called out to him.

“Could I get a consult on my patient’s nutritional status?” Addison asked after Pete introduced his patient to her.

“Yeah sure,” Pete said.

“Great, thank you,” Addison said, handing him her patient’s paperwork.

Later on in the day, Addison went back to her office to check on Rebecca. With all the drama that came with this patient, it gave Addison something to focus on. The last thing she wanted to do was deal with Carolyn Shepherd. But at the very least, Addison did get Naomi’s help for a blood test for herself. So, by the end of the day, she and Derek would know for sure if they were having a baby or not. So working with Rebecca all day also gave her something to distract herself with as well.

Carolyn and Derek watched Addison as she came closer to Rebecca to feel her baby move inside of her. Derek was right, Addison did look happy. But it didn’t last long because Charlotte came back with Rebecca’s mother and an ambulance waiting to take her back to the hospital. They couldn’t hear what was going on in her office but they could tell that Addison was still fighting to keep Rebecca here. And Rebecca definitely wasn’t happy that her mother and Charlotte were here to drag her back to St. Ambrose.

Then, they saw Naomi pass them to get to Addison’s office and by the look on her face, they knew it couldn’t be good news. When she got in there, Naomi handed Addison some paperwork and Addison walked back behind her desk, looking defeated. They saw the other doctors say something as Rebecca argued back with them.

Then Addison said something back. They weren’t sure exactly what she said, but they knew she was finally accepting defeat. Shortly afterward, Dell brought in a wheelchair as Carolyn and Derek watched from the lobby. Then, Rebecca’s mother wheeled her out of Addison’s office with everyone following closely behind. Everyone but Addison, who kept a good amount of distance between them. But before they got to the elevator, Sam surprisingly spoke up.

“Wait,” Sam started. “We need more time with her,”

“I know that you’ve been through Hell,” Sam started after Charlotte and Naomi protested.

And maybe your daughter is a master manipulator. But…she risked a lot to come here because she thought we were different. And better,” Charlotte rolled her eyes at him.

“And I believe we are,” Sam looked straight at Addison, who, by the look on her face, was silently thanking him for believing in her.

After some more protesting between the doctors, Mrs. Hobart finally agreed. It’d been years of dealing with Rebecca so if they could find something medically wrong with her that wasn’t psychological, she was willing to take that chance. So she gave them all one hour to see if they could figure something else out.

“Derek?” Addison turned to him as Charlotte and Mrs. Hobart left. “We could use your help,”

Then, all the doctors went into the conference room and laid all of Rebecca’s files out. They even pinned up scans they got from St. Ambrose. By now, all the information was out there so there was really no reason to keep Carolyn out in the lobby, so she came too. But she’d just act as a silent observer. This was a chance to see how things really worked at Oceanside Wellness.

“I don’t know. I don’t…nothing’s jumping out at me,” Addison as she sat down after looking at the scans on the board.

“Why’d you believe her in the first place?” Derek asked, curiously.

“Because I thought she was telling the truth,” Addison said, honestly.

They were all stumped. They now had less than an hour to try to figure out what was wrong with this woman. If there was something physically wrong with her. She’d been to multiple different hospitals and she’d been checked out by multiple doctors. All of which couldn’t find something wrong with her. Nothing physical, anyway. How could they possibly figure it out in less than an hour?

“Ignore the files,” Addison said as she pushed the papers aside on the table. “Ignore all preconceptions and let’s look at the facts as if everything Rebecca has told us is the truth,”

Then, everyone started brainstorming together. If there was really something that was physically wrong with her, it meant that the doctors missed it at the beginning. And with the psych diagnosis, everyone assumed it just meant she was becoming more destructive. Then, after listing out all of Rebecca’s symptoms, they eventually came up with a game plan: they needed to do a GI camera study, which was a newer procedure. And whatever Rebecca had could be some kind of autoimmune disease.

After that, they all went into the lobby and found Dell near the elevator. Apparently, Charlotte and Mrs. Hobart already took Rebecca back to St. Ambrose despite Dell’s best efforts because their hour was up. So Addison, Sam, Derek, and Carolyn rushed over to the hospital, with Carolyn riding with Derek and Addison. She wanted to know how the story ended and wanted everything to turn out okay for this poor woman who’s been stuck with a psych diagnosis.

Eventually, they all convinced Charlotte to run the test. She was reluctant, but Charlotte finally agreed. After they ran the test, they finally had their answer. Carolyn wasn’t going to go into Rebecca’s hospital room but Derek left the door open a smidge so she could at least hear what was going on.

“You have Crohn’s disease,” Addison told Rebecca. Never had anyone ever been so happy to hear that news than Rebecca.

“You were eating, and it was making you sick,” Addison added.

“So you believe me?” Rebecca asked, gleefully.

“I believe you,” Addison confirmed.

“You believe me,” Rebecca said, excitedly as she held onto her arm.

Then, Mrs. Hobart came in to apologize and everyone else cleared the room to give them a moment. But Addison couldn’t help but look back at them and Derek and Carolyn caught her lingering for another moment. She helped fix their relationship. And that was magical.

“Magic,” Addison said simply after she came out of Rebecca’s room.

Derek and Carolyn looked back at her and smiled. Addison fought all day for Rebecca, even though everyone else thought she was crazy. But she wasn’t. She was telling the truth, and Addison was the only one who seemed to believe her. And now, Rebecca and her family knew what was really wrong with her and could now effectively treat the symptoms instead of locking her away in a psych ward. Rebecca’s strained relationship with her mother was no longer strained because of her. She did that. And that was magical. And even though this practice was much smaller than what Derek and Addison were used to, Carolyn knew what she meant now when she called it magical.

Then, they all came back to the practice to let everyone know that Rebecca was indeed not crazy. So they all decided to come back to Derek and Addison’s place to celebrate with some takeout and drinks. But before then, Addison got her blood work back from Naomi, who wasn’t excited about giving it back to her. She already knew her answer before she looked at it herself. She wasn’t pregnant. When she told Derek, she could tell he was disappointed but he was still hopeful.

“I still want a baby,” Derek admitted.

“I do too,” Addison said, softly.

“You do?” Derek was surprised. In every conversation they’d had about having babies in the past, it was never the right time. But now it suddenly was?

“Yeah,” Addison breathed.

“Let’s have a baby,” Derek said, as he held her in his arms.

“You say that like it’s easy,” Addison joked.

“We’ll figure it out,” Derek pulled away from their hug and leaned in to kiss her.

Finding out they weren’t having a baby wasn’t exactly great. But they took comfort in knowing that they both wanted one. They both wanted to be parents. And that was, at the very least, a small victory.

Chapter Text

When Addison thought back about her and Derek’s conversations about starting a family, she mostly just remembered the fights they used to have. Their conversations were so vastly different when they were young residents getting married. They’d talk about how their babies would have her auburn hair and his nose. Derek would remind her that he wanted to name their son after his father, Christopher. And Addison would jokingly argue that she’d only give in if the baby looked like a Christopher. But the idea of having a mini Derek and Addison excited them. It still did. They just didn’t talk about it anymore. At some point, they stopped talking about it. Stopped dreaming of the life they were going to have.

Addison wondered when that stopped. Was it after the umpteenth fight about how Derek wanted a baby and Addison would insist it was too early? Or did it come later when Derek would just accuse her of being scared? I mean, how could she argue with that? She was scared. She still is. She didn’t exactly have the best parental role models growing up. Addison spent most of her childhood doing everything she could to impress Bizzy, to no avail. Then, there was covering up The Captain’s numerous affairs. Her parents never even let her call them “Mom” or “Dad”. How could Addison ever be a good mother when her own parents lacked in the parenting department?

She did have some great nannies growing up, however. Although, they were mostly great because they knew how to deal with Addison when she was upset over something Bizzy said. The last thing she wanted was for their kid to love the nanny more than her and Derek. But she was kidding herself if she thought her kid wouldn’t have a nanny considering the long hours she and Derek worked. So, in order for this to work, there needs to be some kind of balance. But Addison would need to get over her crippling fear of being a bad mother first.

Luckily for Derek, he got to have the quintessential role model in Carolyn Shepherd. And maybe the fact that Carolyn always despised her didn’t make her feel any more confident about her potential parental skills. Despite the fact that Derek’s father was murdered, Carolyn still carried on. And flourished. All of her kids grew up beautifully. They all had a place to call home, their mother to confide in, and completely healthy adult relationships. Addison always blamed her affair on her father. She spent so much of her childhood helping The Captain hide his mistresses, leaving Bizzy clueless about the entire thing. If anything, it was a miracle Addison turned out to be so sane. At least that’s how she thought.

Derek never understood any of that. He never once doubted himself as a father. He had no reason to. Even though he watched his father get murdered in front of him, he didn’t let it bother him. For the most part. It was only when confronted with criminals that his anger against them came out. But it had nothing to do with parenting, whatsoever. Addison never met Christopher, considering the fact that he died when Derek was a kid, but she’d heard plenty of stories to make it feel like she knew him.

Of course, Derek and his family only ever talked about the great things about him. She was sure there were less than admirable things about him they weren’t saying. But no one ever talked about what they didn’t like about a lost loved one. It made sense why Derek wanted to name their future kid after his father. And why Addison never had that. But she always liked the idea of leaning on Derek and his family even more because of her family’s lack of affection. She got along great with the rest of Derek’s family: his sisters, cousins, in-laws. But none of it mattered if Carolyn didn’t like her. At least to Addison.

Over the years, Derek insisted Addison was being crazy. That of course his mother loved her. And sometimes, Addison would believe him like when Carolyn insisted she call her mom instead of Mrs. Shepherd or Carolyn. But as time passed, she realized that everything she ever did or said around Addison was more or less a courtesy. Perfunctory kisses on the cheek and small compliments on her shoes or her dress. Addison didn’t know what was genuine and what wasn’t anymore when it came to that woman. But she hoped that seeing her in action gave Carolyn a little more insight into why LA made her so happy. Regardless, she was glad Carolyn more or less accepted their new arrangement and went back home to Connecticut.

Despite the fact that Derek and Addison weren’t pregnant like they thought they were, they both agreed they wanted a baby. So they decided it’d be a good idea to get checked out by Naomi. She was the fertility specialist, after all. But it would take a while before they got their test results. But Derek wasn’t worried. Addison, however, was still convinced she was being punished for, well, everything. But she couldn’t help but give in to Derek’s hopefulness.

“What about for a girl?” Derek asked as he finished drying off a clean dish.

“What?” Addison asked.

“A girl,” Derek repeated. “What name do you like for a girl?”

“Oh,” Addison realized. She momentarily checked out and started diving headfirst into both her parental and possible fertility problems. “I don’t know, Carson?”

“Carson,” Derek gave her a look that told her he was already vetoing it.

“What’s wrong with Carson?” Addison asked, sipping her glass of wine. To which Derek just chuckled in response.

“What about Ella?” Derek asked. Addison’s stomach dropped.

“Not that one,” Addison took another sip of her wine and looked away. She couldn’t look at him, honest eyes and all, and tell him why they couldn’t name their future baby Ella.

“Why not? I like it. It’s cute. And it’s weirdly old-fashioned and modern at the same time,” When Derek finally turned to face Addison, he saw her fidgeting her fingers.

“What? Did someone named Ella bully you or something?” Derek joked. When Addison didn’t answer, he realized there had to be something more to it.

“Addie,” Derek walked over to her sitting at the table and placed a hand on her shoulder. But Addison still couldn’t bring herself to look at him. They were finally in a good place, what good would it be to blow things up all over again?

“Who’s Ella?” Derek asked, earnestly.

“No one,” Addison took a sharp inhale, grabbed her glass of wine, and walked away.

Derek knew he struck a chord, he just didn’t know why. And it didn’t look like Addison was giving in anytime soon. But he wasn’t in the mood for a fight. They were going to have a baby, one way or another. And Ella was a nice name, but it wasn’t one he was set on. So he thought it’d be best to leave it alone for now.

The next few days, Derek and Addison continued talking about their future children, all of which brought them back to the honeymoon phase of their relationship. All because they were both avoiding the name, Ella. Eventually, it was time for them to see Naomi for their test results.

“Good or bad, just tell us,” Addison said, bluntly.

“It’s gonna be good,” Derek smiled at her. It always surprised her how optimistic Derek always was.

“Well,” Naomi took a deep breath. And it was then that Addison knew something was wrong.

“Is it me?” Addison interrupted Naomi before she spoke again. Naomi hesitated at first but then gave her a sympathetic look.

“It’s me,” Addison said, with no questioning tone this time.

“What is it?” Derek asked.

“Addison, your FSH level is high,” Naomi stated, plainly.

“Well, maybe it’s just high this month,” Derek suggested. “We could always try ovarian stimulation,”

For a second, both women looked at him in awe. I guess all that studying with Addison really paid off.

“And her antral follicle count is only two,” Naomi added.

“Well, that could be due to stress,” Addison tried to rationalize.

“Guys, I’m sorry. I did all the tests. There is no fertility potential here,”

“I’m finally ready to have a baby, and I can’t,” Addison laughed a little and sank down into Naomi’s armchair in her office. Derek tried to comfort her by rubbing her back gently with his hand but it didn’t seem to help all that much.

“Addie, there are other options,” Naomi offered.

“Yeah, I know, about the options,” Addison sat up and ran her hand through her hair.

“I’m so sorry,” Naomi looked to both Derek and Addison. “I know how much you wanted this,”

“It’s okay,” Derek said softly.

“I just didn’t realize I was out of time. That’s all” Addison said, her voice starting to break as she tried to hold back tears. Derek continued trying to comfort her but Addison walked out of Naomi’s office before they could see her really break out crying. Derek thought about following her out but thought maybe it’d be best to just give her a minute.

This was karmic justice, Addison thought as she started breaking down once the elevator doors closed. She already aborted a baby, so now the universe was punishing her now that she was ready to have one with the right person. The one she was supposed to have a baby with. Maybe Derek was right. Maybe they should’ve had a baby years ago. Maybe if they did, their relationship wouldn’t be such a mess. Not that Addison really subscribed to the school of thinking that a baby could fix a marriage. But in this case, maybe it could.

As for Derek, he still held onto the hope that they could have a baby. Their baby. Even after Naomi told them that there wasn’t any fertility potential. He still thought they could do it. There had to be a way.

“Can we still try fertility treatments?” Derek asked after a beat.

“Derek…,” Naomi started, sympathetically.

“No,” Derek refused to let this be the end of starting their family. “Is there a chance?”

“A slim one,” Naomi said.

Derek turned to leave but stopped before he walked out the door.

“Do you know who Ella is?” Derek asked, hesitantly.

“I think I’ve had a couple of patients named Ella,” Naomi said. Derek sighed.

“Why?” Naomi asked, suspiciously.

“We were talking baby names and I offered the name Ella and Addie just,” Derek waited for a beat and started pacing slightly. “She shut down. And I don’t know why,”

“That’s weird,” Naomi said, honestly. The only other person that knew about Addison’s abortion was Mark. And she mentioned the name Ella after she saw how excited Mark was about having a baby with her. But after she had the abortion, Mark cheated on her with a peds nurse and Addison left for Seattle to get Derek back. Addison thought about telling some of her friends, like Naomi or Savvy. But she was too ashamed to tell them. She already knew they judged her for the affair. Telling them about the abortion would only skyrocket it.

“Yeah,” Derek breathed. He took a deep breath. Addison was probably at the car by now, waiting for him to go home.

“Thanks,” Derek said, curtly before leaving Naomi’s office. When Derek got downstairs, he found Addison in the downstairs lobby, standing near the door.

“Ready to go?” Derek asked.

“Yeah,” Addison said plainly as she turned to walk to the car with Derek. On the short walk there, Derek placed his hand on the small of her back and Addison leaned her head slightly towards his shoulder. The last thing she wanted was for Derek to know about the little mental breakdown she had in the elevator.

When they got home, they kept their conversation light. They ordered takeout for dinner and wound up watching a movie on the couch. They didn’t say much but they didn’t need to. Their fertility troubles didn’t deter them from wanting to start a family. And it definitely didn’t deter Derek from wanting to still try to have their own biological baby.

“I’m sorry,” Addison said softly as she rested her head on Derek’s shoulder as they watched a movie on the couch.

“Don’t be,” Derek kissed her sweetly on her temple and rubbed her shoulder softly with his hand. She didn’t have to say what she was apologizing for. He knew how much they both wanted this. And he didn’t blame her for their fertility issues. After a while, everything was good. It wasn’t great considering they knew they might not be able to have the family they’d always envisioned. But they knew they were on the same page: they wanted a baby, and they were willing to try anything to get it.

After the movie, Derek started stacking the dishes to put in the sink as Addison straightened things out on the couch. After almost a year of living in LA together, they’d fallen into a pattern. It wasn’t monotonous, it was comforting. They were used to having more sporadic schedules when they worked in hospitals before, but now, they worked at a small private practice with a pretty set schedule. It was only every once in a while when they had to rush to St. Ambrose for a patient emergency.

As they were cleaning up, Derek couldn’t help but let his mind wander to Ella. Who was Ella and why did it bother Addison so much. He tried thinking back on the stories Addison used to tell about her childhood and past coworkers. But he ultimately came up empty. He remembered a story she told once about this bully that used to make fun of her braces, but she couldn’t really still care about that now. Could she? Derek couldn’t let it go. He had to know.

“Addison, who’s Ella?” Derek finally asked. He knew that Addison would most likely shut down again but he couldn’t keep tiptoeing around her. He turned around to catch her face and saw that she was holding back.

“No one,” Addison said, quickly as hearing the name again stopped her in her tracks. But after seeing Derek look over at her, she went back to folding the blanket they had just cuddled under during the movie.

“Addie,” Derek said frustratingly as he stepped away from the sink towards her.

“I just don’t like the name,” Addison insisted. Though, not very convincingly.

“Addison. This isn’t gonna work if we’re not honest with each other,” Derek said. She couldn’t argue with him there. But seeing the look on Derek’s face just flooded back memories of him kicking her out of the brownstone.

“Please, Addie,” Derek pleaded. His eyes were always so open and honest. It was one of the many reasons why she fell in love with him in the first place. But she was still scared of losing him again. They were finally in a good place. They were talking about starting a family. It was a miracle that he took her back after the affair, after both affairs. She didn’t know if he could take it anymore. But she also knew Derek would never let this go.

“Ella was my baby,” Addison said, softly as she looked away. She wanted to be honest, but she couldn’t look at him. Not with those eyes.

“You had a baby?” Derek asked, confused. But he kept his voice soft because he could tell how upset it made her.

“No…Well, yes and no,” Addison clarified.

“I’m gonna need a little more than that,” Derek said.

“I had an abortion,” Addison said, holding back tears.

“It wasn’t yours,” Addison added quickly when he saw the look on Derek’s face. She’d never abort Derek’s baby. But she could tell that was his first thought when she looked at him.

“Who’s…,” Derek started. But then, it dawned on him.

“Mark,” Addison said it out loud anyway. Derek sat and took a deep breath as he ran his hand through his hair.

“He got me pregnant and I…,” Addison paused for a moment and took a deep breath. She wanted to be sure of what she said before letting it all spill out. Derek watched her intently as she spoke.

“He was excited,” Addison started. “He even went out and he bought this insane Yankees onesie and a calendar and marked the due date,”

“But you had an abortion,” Derek added.

“Yeah, I did. I wasn’t excited, I was ashamed. And embarrassed, and scared. I was everything a woman shouldn’t be,” Addison said.

“You didn’t want a baby?” Derek asked.

“I wanted you,” Addison said, honestly. “I wanted to have a baby with you,”

Derek gave it a moment to sink in. This was, after all, a lot to take in. He knew Addison stayed with Mark after he left. And he knew they tried to make it work. After seeing Mark show up in Seattle, he could see it written all over her face. And his. But he was too angry at the time to really ask anything. To really talk about any of it. And as much as he hated it, he had to admit he was partly to blame for everything blowing up.

After Mark, he agreed to try again with Addison. But he never really meant it. He never really tried. And they both knew it. So Addison tiptoed around him and did anything and everything she could to just keep the peace between them. All while he pined for another woman. The wrong woman. All he wanted for months was to be with Meredith. But when it finally happened, he wanted to take it back. All of it. He wanted to go back and change things. He’d argue with Addison more, yell loud, fight harder. It’d be messy, but they wouldn’t have wasted so much time talking circles around each other and pretending like everything was okay. It was the moments when they avoided the fight when things went to shit for them.

It happened in New York. They both got so busy with work that after a while, they just got lazy. They didn’t make time for each other anymore. After a while, it got to the point where he actively avoided Addison. And she’d make little comments about how he was never home and always working. But he’d just give off the half-assed excuse of being a surgeon, saving lives. But he knew she worked just as hard, and was just as busy doing the same. But he’d use it time and time again anyway.

After a while, she stopped pushing. She’d still make sarcastic comments sometimes, but it was only after he started walking away. No wonder she turned to Mark. Who else was she supposed to turn to? When Derek found them in bed, his bed, all he could feel was white-hot rage. And that fight was like this release of all the fights they should’ve been having already. But now, finding out about their baby was something else. He was still angry, but the fact that Addison aborted the baby meant something too.

Was it enough? Was Addison aborting Mark’s baby and choosing him instead enough for him? All he did was explode when he found them together. And when Mark showed up in New York, he did it all over again. He even made sure Addison knew he didn’t really forgive her. He knew it was despicable to throw that one in her face but with Mark around, he couldn’t help but let that last bit slip out.

“Derek,” Addison pleaded after a few minutes of sitting in silence. “Please say something,”

“You named her,” Derek finally said.

“Yeah,” Addison took a deep breath. If she’d kept the baby, she’d only be about two months old and she’d be back in New York. In the city she had so much love for once upon a time. But New York was the past. A painful one at that. And LA was her future. LA was their future.

“It was too early to know the gender,” Addison wiped a tear away. “But it was a girl. I knew it would’ve been a girl,”

“You wanted it. Her,” Derek added.

“I wanted her to be yours, ours,” Addison added softly. “I wanted her to have my red hair and the gap between my teeth but your eyes and your smile. I wanted her to be our baby,”

Derek felt conflicted. Just thinking of Mark made him feel that white-hot anger creeping up on him again. Almost as much as Meredith’s name still disgusted him. But hearing Addison talk about aborting their baby was something else. It made him feel something unexpected. He could tell he wanted Ella by the way she talked about her. And with that look on her face, he knew she still thought about her. He knew she had at least some regret for aborting her. Maybe more so now that they were trying to start their family.

But she gave her up. She gave up her entire life in New York, her friends, her family (though they technically lived in Connecticut, it was still close enough that required her to visit Bizzy, The Captain, and Archer on occasion), and Mark. Derek was angry about the affair but he wasn’t so blind to not see that Mark wasn’t just a fling. Mark wasn’t just his best friend, he was theirs. If Addison stayed in New York, if she’d given birth to Ella, she and Mark would be a family right now. They’d have the life that he and Addison had always envisioned for themselves.

She could’ve stayed and had it all. It would’ve been Mark instead of Derek, but it would still be everything they both ever wanted. But she gave it all up. For him. It was the picture-perfect future but it wasn’t worth it to Addison. Not if she had to be with Mark instead of him. Derek loved and was angry at Addison all at the same time. He loved Addison’s professional drive, sarcastic humor, and even her awkward tendencies. He found it endearing, even more so after he met her family. How she turned out so sane amazed him. Despite it all, he still found himself angry at her for her one mistake. Which was unfair because he made the same mistake. Just in another city under different circumstances.

But if he were truly honest with himself, Derek was angry at himself too. He had her. Mark may have always been flirting and pining for Addison, but Derek was the one who had her heart. Even throughout the affair, even now. And he let her go. Somewhere along the way, he forgot how much of a prize he had on his hands. He dove headfirst into his career, and she did the same for hers. The only difference was she tried to hold on tighter when he let her slip.

And then when he did, Mark swooped in to pick her up off the ground. He gave her the attention she craved, the comfort she needed. And after he left, Mark was the one who had her heart. Or at least he thought he did. But the part that really angered him was the fact that he managed to get her pregnant. After hearing about Addison’s fertility troubles, Mark still managed to get her pregnant. And here Derek and Addison were, contemplating their options. Their other options. If Derek weren’t so stubborn, if he’d stay to fight and work things out with Addison in New York, there would never be an Ella. Or if there was, she’d be his.

“Okay,” Derek finally said.

“Okay?” Addison was confused.

“Okay,” Derek repeated himself. “So we won’t name our baby Ella,”

He said it so matter-of-factly, it shocked Addison. Was he angry? Was he upset? It was hard to tell. It didn’t help that Derek just went back to the sink to wash the dishes like everything was normal. She expected him to snap. She expected him to explode all over again. But he didn’t. And that scared her. As awful as their fights got, it was usually what got them through. It was the quieter moments when they ignored their problems when things would get bad between them.

“That’s it?” Addison asked, cautiously.

“Yup,” Derek said, plainly.

“You’re not mad?” Addison wasn’t sure if she should fight his nonchalance or just accept it. But she couldn’t just leave it alone. Not when time and time again, arguing helped their relationship more than leaving things alone. It sounded counterintuitive, but there were plenty of studies out there that talked about how arguing could help strengthen a relationship. And that tended to be true for Addison and Derek.

“No,” Derek said after thinking about it for a minute. Addison stood there, watching him finish up the dishes, dumbfounded.

“Everything’s okay,” Derek chuckled a bit when he turned around to see Addison, stunned. And he meant what he said. But Addison wasn’t convinced just yet.

“Are you sure?” Addison asked, hesitantly.

“Yes,” Derek wrapped his arms around her waist. The look on Addison’s face made him feel like he had to explain further.

“I’m not exactly happy that you got pregnant with Mark’s baby,” Derek started, cupping her face with one of his hands, while he kept his other hand on Addison’s waist.

“Well, I expected that much,” Addison said, honestly.

“But you gave it up,” Derek added. “You gave up the whole idea of having a life, a family, in New York with Mark for me,”

“I did,” Addison agreed as she started letting go of Derek’s lack of an angry response.

“And as much as I hate to admit it, I know that couldn’t have been easy,” Derek rubbed his fingers on Addison’s cheek as he kept his hand on her cheek.

“It wasn’t,” Addison added. Instead of saying anything else, Derek just smiled back at her, his blue mesmerizing eyes and all.

“So, we’re good?” Addison asked again just to be sure.

“We’re good,” Derek said, leaning in for a kiss.

Chapter Text

“You guys sure you wanna do this?” Naomi asked for the second time.

 

“We’re sure,” Addison confirmed, looking back at Derek as they both sat in Naomi’s office.

 

“Okay, well, you already know the drill,” Naomi said as she zipped up the small container full of hormone shots. “And if you need anything, you know where to find me,”

 

Derek and Addison looked back at each other and both their smiles only widened. This was it. Step one. Addison was still worried they might not get any good eggs but she was trying to stay positive. With Derek’s encouragement, of course. It may have only been the first step in what they knew would probably be a frustrating process, but Derek was optimistic. He always was. But even then, it amazed Addison how he managed to stay so positive about the whole ordeal. 

 

Later that afternoon before they went home for the day, Derek gave Addison her first shot of hormones. And it wasn’t a fun process for either of them. Getting a shot in the ass, not ideal. Nor sexy. But they both knew it’s what they needed to do if they wanted a shot at having a family. A biological family, that is. And while they were definitely open to getting a surrogate or adopting, they wanted to at least try to have their own baby. When they got home, they were surprised to find their front door unlocked. Which was troubling because they both swore they locked it.

 

“Should we call the police? Just in case?” Addison asked.

 

“Yeah,” Derek said, cautiously. Part of him wanted to just brush it off and just go inside. But hearing the worry in Addison’s voice made him think twice about playing the knight in shining armor. As Addison dialed 9-1-1, Derek heard a noise coming from inside.

 

“Did you hear that?” Derek asked as he instinctively held Addison back with one of his arms.

 

“Hear what?” Addison asked as she held the phone up to her ear.

 

“I think there’s someone in there,” Derek said, honestly. If this didn’t already scare Addison before, this really did the trick.

 

“What?!” Addison crept closer to Derek’s backside as he kept his arm out to protect her.

 

After that, Addison spoke to the 9-1-1 operator and it wasn’t long until a small swarm of police officers showed up.

 

“Hi there, I’m Chief Davis,” The police chief introduced himself to both Derek and Addison.

 

“Is there anything we can do?” Derek asked, just wanting to help.

 

“For now, just stay back and we’ll handle this,” Chief Davis explained as he then began instructing his men on what to do next.

 

“Officer Nelson?” Addison recognized the cop from the practice. From the Susan McCullough case.

 

“Dr. Montgomery, Dr. Shepherd,” Kevin nodded to them in acknowledgment but he was clearly busy doing his job. 

 

Not long after that, officers stormed into Derek and Addison’s place and found two people naked on the floor of their kitchen. They announced they were LAPD, got them to cover up a bit, and started arresting them. However, the man insisted he wasn’t an intruder. In fact, he insisted he knew Addison.

 

“Dr. Montgomery, do you know this man?” Kevin asked as he pulled slightly to a now-handcuffed Archer Montgomery.

 

“Archer?!” Addison exclaimed. 

 

“See? What’d I tell you?” Archer glared back at Kevin.

 

“He’s my brother, Archer,” Addison explained.

 

“What are you even doing here?” Derek finally chimed in.

 

“What? I can visit my little sister?” Archer joked.

 

“I’m really sorry for the trouble officers,” Addison apologized to the slew of cops that stood around them.

 

“So, I’m guessing that means you’re not gonna press charges?” Chief Davis asked, just to be sure.

 

“You know, maybe letting him sit in jail for a night isn’t such a bad idea,” Derek said, half-joking.

 

“Derek,” Addison warned. Although, she had to admit it was a little funny.

 

“Haha, very funny,” Archer mocked as he walked himself back into the house.

 

“No, we won’t be pressing charges,” Derek clarified, sighing. “Thank you for everything. We’re sorry about the trouble,” 

 

“Don’t worry about it,” Chief Davis said back.

 

“It was nice to see you again Dr. Montgomery. Addison,” Kevin added before he left as Derek started walking into the house. After their first meeting, Addison initially introduced herself as Dr. Montgomery but also gave him her first name. She could feel him staring at her when she first came out to the lobby and as happy as she was with Derek, it was nice to get the attention. 

 

“You too, Officer Nelson. Thank you, again,” Addison added, gently placing a hand on his shoulder before he left.

 

Derek was already back inside but he heard them talking. And caught a glimpse of Addison putting her hand on his shoulder. Was there something going on between them? Or was she just being nice? As much as he hated to admit it, he knew Addison craved attention, especially from him because he refused to give it to her for the longest time. But this was just a small thing. Maybe it was nothing, maybe he was just being paranoid. But what made all this worse was looking up to see Archer with a cocky smirk on his face.

 

“You know, most people call before coming to visit,” Derek glared at him as he crossed the room.

 

“What fun would that be?” Archer joked as he put on his pair of jeans that had been laying on the floor. 

 

Instead of trying to think of some quippy and sarcastic response, Derek just sighed and started getting the Barolo out from the top shelf. It was something Archer and Addison still had in common: their taste in wine. It was something Derek had to learn when he met the Montgomerys. Or rather, it was something he wanted to learn more about to try to impress Addison’s parents.

 

“Derek, this is ridiculous!” Addison laughed as Derek’s head stayed buried in a “Wine: A Beginner’s Guide” book.

 

“I want your parents to like me!” Derek claimed as he started chuckling alongside her.

 

“You know I don’t care what my parents think of you, you know,” Addison insisted as she pulled herself closer to Derek on the floor, wafting away the book still in Derek’s hands.

 

“That doesn’t mean I don’t care,” Derek said.

 

“I know you do,” Addison smiled as she placed her hands on his cheeks. “And I love that. But the Montgomery’s are hard to please. They don’t even like their own kids half the time,”

 

Even though Addison said it jokingly, Derek could tell she meant it. It shocked him how Addison was so cavalier whenever she talked about her family. She spoke fondly of her brother, Archer. He looked out for her and said they commiserated together over their family woes. But as much as she loved him, even she admitted he was an arrogant ass. But she just chalked it up to being his mother’s son. Beyond that, Addison described her family as WASP-y: polite but cold. But if her family was so cold, how did Addison turn out to be so warm?

 

Derek sighed and momentarily gave up on his quest of learning about wine from a book. So, he finally put the book down and focused his attention back on the gorgeous redhead in front of him. Then, it donned on him. He had a wine expert right in front of him who could teach him everything he wanted to know.

 

“You know,” Derek started. “ You know a lot about wine,”

 

“Yeah…,” Addison said, suspiciously. 

 

Instead of saying more, Derek just smiled wider. And Addison followed suit until she realized what he was asking her.

 

“No!” Addison exclaimed, laughing as she picked up the book. “Honey, I told you, you don’t need to impress my parents with useless wine knowledge,” 

 

“I know I don’t need to impress your parents,” Derek said, pulling her closer to him as they both sat on the floor of his dorm room. “Maybe I wanna learn to impress you ,”

 

To that, Addison couldn’t say no. So, she started flipping through the book to see where she could start. And thus began Derek’s journey into wines. 

 

“Archie, what the hell were you thinking?” Addison asked as she walked over to sit on the couch. “And who even was that?”

 

“I went for a swim, I thought she was a neighbor, so I invited her in to be neighborly,” Archer said, nonchalantly.

 

“This is LA,” Addison playfully hit Archer with his own white sweater he’d left on the couch. “No one is neighborly,”

 

“Well, in that case, you should really do something about your alarm system,” Archer joked as he got his sweater from Addison and proceeded to put it on.

 

“Then again, it looks like you had your own private cop to keep you safe,” Archer joked, knowing it’d piss Derek off, who was already coming up to them with the bottle of Barolo and two empty. One for Archer and one for him and Addison to share.

 

“What are you talking about?” Addison laughed as she handed Archer a glass before grabbing the other for herself.

 

“What?” Archer looked up at Derek, who still looked annoyed. “Are we just supposed to pretend we didn’t hear you with that cop,”

 

“Oh, come on! He was a friend of a patient, that’s all,” Addison laughed it off

 

Archer looked his normal self, sarcastic and joking as he always was. But when Addison looked over at Derek, he sat on the coffee table pouring the wine into the glasses. He couldn’t even look at her. Was this…jealousy? He couldn’t really think there was something going on. Could he? This was a rare occurrence. He’d only ever seen Derek jealous when it came to Mark. And only post affair. Derek had always been the optimistic one, the one that was so sure of their relationship. Or at least he was. Maybe he really did care that Kevin flirted. Even if it was brief.

 

“Derek,” Addison put her glass on the table as he looked away. “There’s nothing going on,”

 

“Well, he doesn’t seem convinced,” Archer commented as he took a sip of wine. 

 

Instead of giving him an equally snarky comment back, Addison just glared back at him.

 

“Derek,” Addison put a hand on Derek’s leg, causing him to finally look up at her.

 

Looking back at her, he knew she was telling the truth. Something about Archer made him crazy. It didn’t help that neither one of them hid their contempt for each other. Once Derek felt reassured, he slowly gave her a small smile and Addison sighed in relief. 

 

“What are you even doing here anyway?” Addison asked as she let the situation die down. 

 

“My publisher suckered me into attending his winter launch party,” Archer explained. 

 

Derek snickered quietly as he got up to sit next to Addison on the couch and took the glass out of her hand for a sip. 

 

“He needed some star power, so, I figured it would give me an opportunity to see you and get drunk,” Archer put his glass down and leaned back slightly.

 

“Your publisher couldn’t get anyone better?” Derek joked as took a big sip of wine. Addison glared at him just slightly as Archer gave him a sarcastic smile.

 

“That’s not why you’re really here though, is it,” Addison said, taking a sip of wine after getting it from Derek’s hands.

 

“You’re here to spy on me for Bizzy,” Addison added.

 

Derek sighed. He knew his mother-in-law never really liked him all that much. The Captain didn’t either but he was at least polite enough not to make snarky backhanded compliments like his wife. 

 

“She’s not happy with you,” Archer revealed. “First Seattle, now this? She thought you’d come back to civilization,”

 

“Since when is L.A. not civilization?” Derek countered. 

 

“L.A.’s sodom and Gomorrah as far as she’s concerned,” Archer commented.

 

Addison rolled her eyes mockingly as she put the glass on the coffee table and leaned back into Derek’s arms which wrapped around her shoulders and around her neck. Archer stared at them curiously, which caused Addison to look up at Derek, who was looking back down at her. 

 

“What?” Addison asked Archer, who was still eyeing them.

 

“Nothing,” Archer said, nonchalantly. “I just forgot how obnoxious you guys could be,”

 

Addison smiled up at Derek, who mirrored her expression. They hadn’t been called obnoxious for a long time. The last time Archer saw them was for the Montgomery’s annual Christmas party. They always stopped there before going to Carolyn’s place but Addison dreaded it every year. As did Derek the last few times they went. It was before the affair but it’d only be a couple more months before Addison fell into Mark’s open and available arms. 

 

They weren’t fighting, but they weren’t talking either. It’d been that way for the last few years and Addison was getting restless. Derek avoided Addison and she pretended like she was okay. Somewhere in their marriage, it started to feel like they were together because they’d been together for so long. It wasn’t about the love between them anymore. Or even the friendship. It was a necessity rather than a desire. And it started feeling like more of a struggle to stay together than it did to be alone.

 

The last few years were torturous. But it only intensified when they went home to see their families for the holidays. It was a little easier to hide it with the Montgomery’s. Bizzy and the Captain’s marriage already felt stiff. If anything, Derek and Addison blended in more when they weren’t talking. Or saying the bare minimum. 

 

When they went to see the Shepherds, everyone noticed. The tension between them was palpable. But Derek’s family tried their best to ignore it, to go on with their holiday festivities. Carolyn, however, couldn’t help herself. It was one flippant comment about how quiet they were, but it was something. They both brushed it off and pretended to not know what she was talking about. But they both knew their marriage was sinking. Only Addison still found it worth saving. Derek already looked defeated, like he accepted the fate of their marriage would always be this.

 

No wonder Archer was surprised. When was the last time Derek wrapped his arms around Addison like this? It was simple, loving. A drastically different image of them from when they barely looked at each other at the Montgomery’s estate. When they barely said two words to each other, or anyone else really, at Carolyn’s house. 

 

The next morning, Derek and Addison took Archer to the office so he could see the place. He met all the other doctors and Addison rolled her eyes when he tried flirting with all the women. Unfortunately, it was a tense day to show him the office. Violet informed them all that they’d have a pedophile in the office for court-mandated therapy. They weren’t happy about it but they were all aware they couldn’t really do much to change it.

 

Later, they all got dressed and attended Archer’s publicist’s party. Archer pointed a cute girl toward Sam while he stayed close to Naomi. But Addison didn’t notice because this was the first time in a long time where she and Derek were at a formal party and she wasn’t sulking in the corner. 

 

“What?” Addison giggled slightly when she caught Derek staring. “Do I have something on my face or something?”

 

“No,” Derek said simply, his smile only widening. 

 

“Then, what is it?” Addison asked, returning the smile.

 

“Dance with me,” Derek finally said after waiting for a beat. 

 

When all Addison did was smile back, Derek took her hand in his and led her to the center of the ballroom. Once people saw them dancing, a few joined in. Derek and Addison looked to see other couples join them on the floor just briefly but soon, it felt like they were the only ones in the room. And Archer and the other Seaside doctors definitely took notice.

 

“She’s happy here Archer,” Naomi finally when she caught him watching Derek and Addison.

 

“Yeah,” Archer said. “I guess she is,”

The next morning, Derek and Addison continued their routine but were only mildly surprised that Archer hadn’t come home the other night. They both figured he must’ve had too much to drink and shacked up with someone. But Addison still wasn’t happy about it.

 

“A polite houseguest would’ve called to say they weren’t coming home,” Addison commented as Archer came in through the back gate.

 

“Good thing I’m not polite,” Archer remarked as he sat down and grabbed the paper she was working on. Even in LA, Addison still liked reading the New York Times, even if it was just to fill out the crossword, which was clearly a family trait as Archer also grabbed the pen out of her hand as well.

 

“I thought I was doing you a favor staying out,” Archer added. “You and Derek looked pretty cozy last night”

 

Instead of gratifying him with some sarcastic comment, Addison playfully rolled her eyes and couldn’t help but smile. It was true, last night was a great night for her and Derek. And she couldn’t hide that.

 

“Look who finally decided to show up,” Derek commented as he stepped outside with a French press full of coffee and two mugs.

 

“Yeah, well, I had to come back for my clothes eventually,” Archer joked.

 

“Well, I at least hope you got Naomi home okay,” Addison said. “Before what I can only imagine was a night of drunken debauchery,”

 

Derek and Addison decided to leave the party early but they also gave Naomi a ride. So, Archer graciously offered to drive her home. They knew Archer would be back eventually but they thought it’d be nice to have a little alone time. Especially after that romantic dance.

 

“Yeah,” Archer said as he wrote in a word on the crossword. “I absolutely got her home,”

 

The way he said it caught both Derek and Addison’s attention. They knew Archer was not only arrogant but a womanizer. But they also knew Naomi was smart. She knew this about him. She wouldn’t really sleep with him, would she?

 

“What did you do?” Derek asked, accusingly.

 

“Nothing!” Archer feigned innocence.

 

Neither Derek nor Addison were convinced, but they left it alone. For now.

 

“Did you sleep with my brother?” Addison asked Naomi as she stormed into her office.

 

“Yes,” Naomi said, with a grin on her face.

 

Then, Addison continued arguing with her. Archer, of all people. She chose to sleep with Archer of all people. What the hell was she thinking? Naomi was thrilled about it and Violet couldn’t be happier for her. Violet even asked if she could sleep with him. She needed someone to vent to. Someone that would understand.

 

“They did it!” Addison exclaimed as she entered Derek’s office.

 

“What?” Derek asked, confused.

 

“Archer and Naomi. They slept together,” Addison filled him in.

 

“What the hell was she thinking?” Derek sighed, his hand brushing through his hair.

 

“I don’t know,” Addison said honestly, sounding like she was on the brink of tears.

 

“Hey,” Derek said softly as he got up. “It’s okay,”

 

“I know,” Addison said as her voice continued to break slightly. “My brain knows it’s fine but I -,” 

 

“The hormones are driving you a little crazy,” Derek finished her sentence as she pulled her in for a hug.

 

“I don’t know what’s wrong with me,” Addison cried slightly into Derek’s arms.

 

“You have a massive dose of hormones running through you, that’s what’s wrong,” Derek chuckled and kissed the top of her head.

 

“I don’t know how to act normal anymore,” Addison laughed along with him as she pulled away from his embrace.

 

“Just take a deep breath,” Derek instructed her and she proceeded to follow his advice. “And know I’m right here if you ever need anything,”

 

Addison chuckled slightly as Derek softly wiped away the few tears that had fallen down her face. Then, Addison placed a hand on his cheek and pulled him in for a kiss. It started small and sweet but she quickly deepened it. Something about being in Derek’s arms calmed her. After all these years, even during their tougher times, he was still her home. He was still the one she wanted and loved, even when she knew she deserved better. 

 

The rest of the day went fairly smoothly. Archer continued being his womanizing self and Naomi was unbothered by how bothered Derek and Addison were about her one night stand. Addison’s anger towards Naomi and Archer kept building but she tried to keep her cool. She took deep breaths and walked away when she knew she needed a break. It was working for her. That is, until it was time for everyone to head home.

 

When Addison came out of her office, Derek was already waiting for her near the reception desk. And Archer and Naomi were giggling like teenagers. And Derek looked on, disappointed at both their friend and his cocky brother-in-law.

 

“Seriously?” Addison exclaimed, causing both Archer and Naomi to look back at her.

 

“What?” Archer asked, feigning innocence.

 

“It wasn’t bad enough that you two slept together?!” Addison continued.

 

“You slept with Archer??” Sam asked as he had just stepped outside his office to overhear their conversation. Apparently, no one filled him in on what everyone else already knew.

 

“It was just sex,” Naomi insisted. “And this isn’t about you, any of you,” 

 

“How?” Addison countered. 

 

“This is about me. This is about me and a really handsome man who I was attracted to who wanted me! And for once in my life instead of second-guessing, I just…let go,” Naomi said happily, disregarding Addison, Derek, and Sam’s feelings.

 

“You can’t really be that naive,” Derek commented.

 

“Excuse me?” Naomi said back, insulted, even though she didn’t fully know what he meant by it.

 

“Look Nai, you know I love you but this isn’t you,” Derek started.

 

“What? I’m not the kind of girl who can get with attractive men?” Naomi said, still insulted. 

 

“No, it’s not that,” Derek was still surprised by the whole idea, quite frankly. He sighed, frustrated and disappointed in his friend. 

 

“So, you can sleep with some intern in Seattle while you’re still married but I can’t sleep with some guy even though I’m divorced?” Naomi said back.

 

The room went dead silent. It was a low bar, bringing Meredith back up. Even if it wasn’t by name, everyone knew what she meant. Derek winced. It’d been months, almost a full year since they left Seattle. Naomi, more than anyone perhaps, knew how hard Derek and Addison were trying. How far they’d gone since then. Instead of dignifying an answer, Addison just walked back to her office, not knowing what to say.

 

“Real nice,” Derek commented as he chased after her.

 

After that, all the other doctors, Archer included, started leaving, not knowing what else to say.  Even though she didn’t say anything more, Naomi instantly regretted it. But it was too late. It was already out there. Instead, Naomi stood there, frozen. Why did she have to bring up Seattle? She felt attacked, but over what exactly? She knew deep down that Derek was right. Naomi was a serial monogamist. She knew in the long run, she couldn’t handle a casual relationship. No matter how much she wished she was that kind of girl.

 

“Are you okay?” Derek asked as Addison stood, slightly leaning over her desk. He knew she needed a minute and they needed some space after Naomi’s comment. So he opted to stand near the door frame before moving closer.

 

“The hormones aren’t helping,” Addison’s voice croaked out. Derek gave her another minute before coming closer. The last thing he wanted to do was make it worse.

 

“How do I make it stop?!” Addison exclaimed. After that, Derek immediately moved to her side to wrap an arm around her waist.

 

“It’s okay,” Derek whispered as he held her in his arms. “It’s just the hormones,”

 

“I know,” Addison sniffled as she pulled away. “I just wanna stop crying,”

 

Derek looked back at her and gave her a sweet smile. Something about Addison crying over the fact that she couldn’t stop crying because of the hormones amused him slightly. After softly wiping her tears with his fingers, he pulled her in for a kiss. And that seemed to not only stop Addison from crying but it also reaffirmed the trust and love they had for each other.

 

As for Naomi, Archer tried to convince her to let it go. This was their problem now, he said. But Naomi wasn’t convinced. She couldn’t leave things like that. Things with her and Derek had always been fine, civil. And things with Addison had been better now that Naomi came to her senses over how Addison saved the practice. But she’d never really confronted her feelings over the couple’s whole situation in Seattle. 

 

From what she’d heard from Addison, it sounded miserable. And it became clear to not just them but everyone around them that Derek was clearly still hung up on the intern. Addison didn’t really say too much about it but she could tell things were grim just from the sound of her voice. Naomi was angry, and it wasn’t justified because she knew Derek was right about her. But she lashed out and brought up Seattle. She took things too far and she couldn’t just leave things as they were. Especially since she knew deep down that Derek and Addison coming to work with them in LA was their practice’s saving grace.

 

“Addie,” Naomi said when she finally barged into Addison’s office, where she and Derek were caught up in a mini makeout session.

 

“I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have said that,” Naomi continued. “I didn’t mean it,”

 

As Naomi walked closer, Addison finished wiping away whatever tears were still left on her face.

 

“I was angry for nothing and I didn’t mean it,” Naomi took her hand in one of hers and clutched her shoulder in her other hand. “Please tell me you know I didn’t mean it,”

 

“I know,” Addison said softly, squeezing her hand. “I’m fine, I’m just being crazy and hormonal,”

 

At that moment, Archer popped his head in.

 

“Wait, are you pregnant?” Archer deduced from the conversation.

 

“No, I’m not pregnant,” Addison corrected, sniffling what was left of her residue tears.

 

“We started fertility treatments yesterday,” Derek added. He dreaded what Archer was going to say next. His arrogant brother-in-law always had something snarky to say. He knew exactly how to get on his nerves. And it annoyed him that he couldn’t have the same effect on him. But he was surprised at what he said next.

 

“I’m gonna be an uncle?” Archer asked, excitedly. 

 

“Maybe,” Addison warned. She wasn’t pregnant. Yet. And she may not actually get pregnant. The last thing she wanted was to get everyone’s hopes up. Especially since it was just her second day on these hormone shots.

 

“But you’re gonna have a baby. Even if you’re not gonna have it yourself, I doubt you’re just gonna give up if this doesn’t take,” Archer said as he walked closer to Addison. 

 

“Well, yeah,” Addison stuttered. This was unexpected. Was he actually excited that he was going to be an uncle?

 

“That’s great, Addie,” Archer said as he went in for a hug. Addison stood there, frozen, while Archer hugged her. This was…unexpected. And everyone else in the room felt it too as Derek and Naomi watched, utterly confused at Archer’s surprising reaction.

 

“Who are you and what have you done to my brother?” Addison finally said as Archer let her go from their hug.

 

“What? I can’t be excited for my little sister?” Archer joked.

 

Without knowing what else to say and not wanting to argue, Addison just chuckled back. She never thought she’d see the day that Archer would be excited to be an uncle. If anything, she thought he’d try to talk her out of it or just act distant when it came to her future kids. It wasn’t an ideal outlook but Archer had never really been a fan of kids. If anything, he was good at teasing or mocking them. This was a surprise. But a nice one.

Chapter Text

“So, we’re not going back for Christmas this year?” Derek asked, frustrated. They already missed out on Thanksgiving with the Shepherds. At the time, Derek had an emergency surgery to work on and it just didn’t end up working out. 

 

“I’m sorry,” Addison apologized sincerely. “I didn’t realize that when I signed up to help with the Safe Surrender program that it was going to be over Christmas Eve,”

 

Neither of them was necessarily excited to go back to Connecticut for Christmas, but it was a family tradition. After a few weeks of fertility treatments, Addison still wasn’t pregnant. After going through the cycle twice, they both mutually decided it’d be best to take a short break. They were exhausted and frustrated by the whole ordeal and said they’d wait a week. Then, they’d re-evaluate and possibly look into surrogacy or adoption if they were ready to accept they couldn’t have one on their own. 

 

“Mom’s gonna kill me this time,” Derek lamented, dreading the inevitable phone call.

 

“Tell her sorry for me,” Addison yelled out from the closet as she continued getting dressed for work.

 

Later that day, Derek made the call. And she wasn’t happy to hear it.

 

“You already missed Thanksgiving,” Carolyn argued from the other end of the line.

 

“I know,” Derek said. “I’m sorry, Addison tried but she can’t get out of it,”

 

It was the truth. Addison did try to get out of it. She talked to Charlotte but after she basically got guilt-tripped, she had to admit defeat.

 

“Are we ever going to see you again?” Carolyn asked, jokingly. Though, they both knew she wasn’t really joking.

 

“We just saw you a few months ago!” Derek chuckled along.

 

“Yeah, but what about your sisters?” Carolyn asked. “They miss you too, you know,”

 

“I know,” Derek sighed. “I promise we’ll take a trip over when we can,”

 

“When we can,” Carolyn said back, mockingly. She knew full-well that they’d never have the time. Or make the time, for that matter.

 

“I’m sorry, Mom. We both are,” Derek apologized again. There wasn’t really much more to say. With five kids, all of which were doctors, Carolyn knew the drill by now. But she still wanted to see her kids (as well as all her grandkids) over the holidays. Usually, it wouldn’t be too much to ask because everyone lived relatively close. Or at least close enough. That is, until now. LA had a whole other time zone, which made things infinitely more complicated.

 

“So, how’d she take it?” Addison asked Derek later that night as they got ready for bed.

 

“As well as expected,” Derek said, his mouth full of toothpaste as he continued brushing his teeth.

 

“You did tell her I was sorry, right?” Addison asked.

 

“Yes,” Derek chuckled as he spits into the sink.

 

On the morning of Christmas Eve, Addison woke up early, too early, to her pager buzzing on the bedside table. In fact, it was barely morning. When her pager buzzed, Derek stirred slightly, but Addison kissed him softly on the forehead and ran a hand gently through his hair to calm him. Then, Addison got ready as quietly as she could and headed off to volunteer with Pete for the Safe Surrender program.

 

Later, Derek woke up to the doorbell ringing. When he checked his alarm clock, it read 6:04. He didn’t usually have to get up until at least 7:00. It was the one thing he loved about working for Oceanside, the fact that they didn’t open until eight in the morning. Regardless, who was coming over this early in the morning anyway?

 

When Derek went down to answer the door, he was surprised to see his entire side of the family standing outside the front door.

 

“Surprise!” they all exclaimed, excitedly once Derek opened the door.

 

“What are you all doing here?” Derek asked as he began the onslaught of hugs with his sisters, in-laws, nieces, and nephews.

 

“Well, you said you couldn’t come this year so we decided we’d come to you!” Nancy explained as if it were a small thing to fly across the country to see him.

 

“You couldn’t come a little later in the day?” Derek asked, still a little groggy from just waking up.

 

“Nope!” Amelia chimed in, laughing at Derek’s still sleepy state.

 

After shuffling all the Shepherds in with the myriad of presents they brought along with them, Carolyn got started cooking breakfast as Derek went upstairs to get changed and cleaned up. When he came back down, everyone was chatting as Carolyn was finishing up making pancakes for breakfast. Not long afterward, Derek and his sisters found themselves plating pancakes and passing them out to the kids first. They may all be in LA in a much smaller house than they’re used to, but the routine was the same. And it was oddly comforting.

 

“So, where is Addison anyway?” Lizzie asked as she took a bite out of her pancake.

 

“Safe Surrender program,” Derek said, pouring himself a cup of coffee. “She got called in early this morning but she’s probably at the hospital or the office already,”

 

“Will we get to see your office, Uncle Derek?” Matthew, one of Derek’s nephews, asked.

 

“Of course, we will,” Carolyn chimed in before Derek had a chance to respond. 

 

Instead of arguing, Derek accepted defeat. Thankfully, not everyone was coming to the office. There just wouldn’t be any logical way to do that. So, most of the kids and his in-laws stayed back at Derek and Addison’s place. But Derek’s sisters and, of course, his mother, insisted on coming. The only kid that ended up coming along was Matthew, who wouldn’t take no for an answer. The other kids could care less about seeing the office.

 

After they finished breakfast, they made their way to the office. On the entire drive over, Derek kept thinking about it in his head. Addison left so early that morning, who knew what state she’d be in? She wouldn’t be happy about this either, he thought. But it was too late to do all that much about it.

 

When they got to the office, they made their way up the elevator. They were all greeted by Dell at the front desk, who was surprisingly good at getting everyone to keep the noise to a minimum without it sounding incredibly rude. All these years and Derek couldn’t even do that.

 

“Is Addison here?” Derek asked.

 

“No, she’s at the hospital,” Dell said. 

 

“Wow,” Sam commented as he and Naomi came out from around the corner.

 

“Looks like the whole Shepherd clan came out this year” Naomi exclaimed as she and Sam went on to greet and hug everyone.

 

“So, I guess we missed Addie,” Kathleen commented.

 

“Oh yeah,” Naomi added. “She’s still at the hospital. Long night,”

 

After Derek gave everyone a brief tour and introduced everyone to the rest of the doctors (sans Pete, who was at the hospital with Addison), they all headed to St. Ambrose to see Addison. When they got there, Charlotte greeted them and guided them to the NICU, where Addison was with a baby she saved earlier that morning.

 

“You gonna stay here all day?” Pete started yawning as he checked his watch. It was already noon and they’d been awake for almost 12 hours straight.

 

“He should get to feel wanted for at least one day,” Addison cooed as the baby finished off his bottle.

 

“Especially since it’s Christmas Eve,” Addison added as she stood up with the baby still in her arms as she placed him back into the incubator.

 

“Well, Merry Christmas, Addison,” Pete added before leaving the room. When he opened the door, he was surprised to see Officer Nelson already there.

 

“Sorry,” Kevin chuckled as he moved aside to let him out.

 

“Don’t worry about it,” Pete said as he left the room.

 

“Hey,” Addison said, looking up.

 

“How’s the little guy doing?” Kevin asked as he put on a facemask and some scrubs over his clothes.

 

“He’s okay,” Addison said, smiling down at the baby as Kevin walked over to get a closer look.

 

“He needs to be observed for a while longer but all things considering, he’s good,” Addison explained further.

 

“Yeah, it looks like he got his color back,” Kevin chuckled as they both continued looking at the baby. He’d been nearly blue that morning when Addison and Pete found him and his mother in the park. Unfortunately, his mother wasn’t so lucky as she’d already started bleeding out. Addison worked on trying to save her for a while, certainly longer than most doctors probably would, but it was unfortunately futile.

 

“Were you able to find her family?” Addison finally asked. 

 

“No,” Kevin laid his head down low slightly. “We couldn’t find anything about her. I’m sorry about that, Addison,”

 

As they continued talking and routinely looking back at the now snoozing baby, Derek and the rest of the Shepherd clan got there, watching as Addison talked to Kevin.

 

“Who’s the hottie?” Amelia asked.

 

“Officer Nelson. One of Addison’s friends,” Derek said as he looked down and cringed slightly.

 

“What’s wrong? You don’t like the hot cop?” Liz teased.

 

“Leave him alone girls,” Carolyn said, noticing how much it all bothered Derek.

 

“It’s fine,” Derek sighed slightly. “He just clearly has a thing for her,”

 

“So what?” Amelia added. “Your wife’s hot, everyone has a thing for her,”

 

Before anyone could say anything else, they saw Kevin walk out the room. 

 

“Oh hi, Dr. Shepherd,” Kevin greeted.

 

“Hi,” Derek said back, faking a smile as Kevin walked past everyone and disappeared around the hallway.

 

After he left, everyone saw Addison coming out, giving them the perfect opportunity.

 

“Surprise!” Everyone shouted once Addison came out.

 

“Oh my God,” Addison laughed slightly and started hugging everyone periodically. “What are you all doing here?”

 

“Well, since you couldn’t come back home for the holidays, we thought we’d come out here and see all LA has to offer,” Nancy said, gesturing to the bleak hospital hallway. 

 

Addison just smiled back. LA was beautiful but St. Ambrose certainly wasn’t very convincing. Throughout their time here, Derek and Addison made it a point to sightsee a little wherever they could. At leasy every two weeks, they agreed. They haven’t seen too much aside from multiple different beaches and swanky new restaurants, but it was a start. 

 

With their plans of wanting to start a family soon, they decided they’d wait until they were parents before they went to Disneyland. It’d be a magical experience for all of them, Derek said. And it was something Addison just had to agree with.

 

“John says he’s ordering food for all of us and the kids if we all want to meet back at your place,” Nancy informed them all after she hung up the phone.

 

“Sounds great,” Derek said, not wanting to argue. They usually just ate in the kitchen at the office but how could he say no to his family on Christmas Eve? Especially after they all traveled this far. Plus, it was supposed to be their day off. The only reason why they were here was to see Addison.

 

As everyone shuffled out, Derek looked back to see Addison, who was obviously lost in thought and almost frozen where she stood.

 

“Addie?” Derek asked as he gently put a hand on her shoulder. This seemed to wake Addison up from her brief trance.

 

“Sorry,” Addison said, snapping back to reality.

 

“Are you okay?” Derek asked, softly.

 

“Yeah,” Addison sighed as she tried to give him a small smile. “It’s just been a long night. Or morning,”

 

“Yeah,” Derek said softly, gently rubbing the small of her back as he led her towards the elevator. He wasn’t sure what happened exactly, but he could tell she lost a patient. There was a heaviness in her eyes that he couldn’t quite explain. One that differed the pure exhaustion he could tell she felt.

 

By then, the rest of the family already left in a separate elevator. So now, it was just the two of them. Knowing that Addison was still reeling from everything that morning, he pulled her closer and continued rubbing circles on her back, and let her rest her head in the crook of his neck. Once she leaned in, she started to cry, gently. 

 

She was still trying to be strong but also knew she wouldn’t be able to keep it in for much longer. They both knew they had to face the rest of the family again soon enough but they also knew they needed this moment. Addison needed it to grieve, even if it was just for ten seconds.

 

Right before the elevator dinged, Addison fixed her posture and cleaned herself up slightly to look a little more presentable to the Shepherds, who were all waiting for them when the doors opened.

 

After that, they all made their way to Derek and Addison’s place where they were greeted by all of the other nieces and nephews. After saying all their hellos to everyone, Addison excused herself to grab a quick shower before lunch. A while later, Derek excused himself and made his way upstairs to check on Addison, who was drying her hair when he got there.

 

“What are you doing up here?” Addison said, turning off the blow dryer. 

 

“I just thought I’d check on you,” Derek said solemnly as he sat on the bed.

 

“I’m fine,” Addison insisted as she brushed out the last few tangles in her hair while walking toward him.

 

“I know,” Derek smiled, making her smile and blush back. “I just wanted to be sure,”

 

Addison leaned in to kiss him sweetly, which he immediately deepened in return. As much as she wanted to keep going, she cut it short knowing that everyone was waiting for them downstairs. But first, she kept her hands on Derek’s face and touched noses with him. She’d done that since med school and it became their thing. A small, but private thing between the two of them. They never talked about it or anything like that, but Derek knew he still had her whenever she did it. 

 

Admittedly, it’d been a while since the last time. And Derek breathed it in and let them stay like that for another moment longer. Shortly afterward, Addison guided Derek up, dragging her hand from his cheek over his shoulders and down his arm until her hand eventually got to his, where he squeezed it gently. 

 

Together, they walked downstairs, ready to face the rest of the Shepherds. They both loved the family, but being with them for the holidays was exhausting. Especially now that they were all stuffed in their small home. It was one thing when Carolyn hosted but another with Derek and Addison hosting. And even though it was Christmas time, this was LA. There wasn’t any snow here, and the weather, while it was colder, may as well have been a summer’s day to everyone else. 

 

Plus, this was a surprise visit. They weren’t prepared to host this many people. Addison was more worried about this than Derek, who’d always been more relaxed when hosting in the past. When they hosted Thanksgiving that one year, Derek brushed off the fact that the turkey was inedible. He just went out and got hot dogs and saved the day. Addison hated how easy it was for Derek to just relax and handle something like that so easily. She hated that he didn’t realize how hard that day was for her even more. 

 

But today, Derek could see how the morning already wore Addison down. She was still beautiful and it wasn’t a particularly noticeable difference. But he could see it. Saying she was exhausted might as well be an understatement at this point. She needed a constant stream of caffeine to keep up with everyone, which Derek happily supplied. As hard as that morning was for her, seeing all their nieces and nephews playing around their living room helped. Then again, seeing happy kids always cheered her up.

 

Despite everyone’s ability to just relax, Addison couldn’t help but feel like they should be doing more to entertain them. It was the Forbes-Montgomery in her, she supposed. But she didn’t end up getting much time to worry about it because before long, the delivery guys rang the doorbell and everyone gathered around for lunchtime. They all made easy conversation and asked about the kids, work, and all the other topics they’d always circle around whenever they all got together. 

 

It’d been almost a full year since Addison (and Derek, for that matter) saw everyone other than Carolyn. When they lived in New York, they used to see his sisters all the time. Now, they’d send emails back and forth and call each other on the phone from time to time. But it was nowhere near the same as it used to be. As much as Addison missed Derek’s sisters, she knew LA was the right move for them. Even if everyone else didn’t seem to agree.

 

“I still don’t get why you guys moved all the way out here,” Nancy commented as she took a sip of her water.

 

The room grew quieter as Derek and Addison looked at each other. They knew why but explaining it to other people proved to be harder than they thought. After all, Carolyn came all the way out here months ago to figure out just that. Granted, Carolyn finally understood after seeing how happy this place made Addison. How happy it made both of them, really. But it took some time for her to finally understand. And even then, Derek and Addison still weren’t convinced she was happy about them being here.

 

“We needed a fresh start,” Addison finally said. They all knew about the mess of the past two years. The affair with Mark and then again with Meredith. New York had been their home, but with everything that happened with Mark, they couldn’t go back. Then it was Seattle, where everyone heard about Derek and his little intern. Before Addison came to try to win him back, Derek insisted on Meredith being the real thing. Carolyn even believed him when he said it. But his sisters knew better. Despite the hurt and the anger, Addison was still the one for him. No matter how hard he tried to push her away.

 

It was a simple statement, but they all understood. Seattle was supposed to be their fresh start, at least that’s what Derek said. But there was no way that’d ever happen with Meredith around. The truth was Derek thought Meredith would be his fresh start. He thought he could move on, that what Addison did was so terrible that he shouldn’t have to try with her. At least that’s how he rationalized it at the time. But he could see the hurt in Addison’s eyes when he continued to be distant. When he continued to be indifferent.

 

Even worse, he saw it when he came back to the trailer to find Addison pulling out Meredith’s panties from his suit pocket. He knew, better than anyone, how much that hurt. She may not have caught them in bed together, but she may as well have. After that night in New York, he didn’t think he could ever forgive Addison for what she did. He couldn’t fathom how someone could just do that to another person. That is until he did the same. 

 

He knew his feelings for Meredith were real, and he knew he wasn’t really trying with Addison. Despite his best efforts to convince himself and everyone else (Addison especially) that he was. But he never meant to take things that far. When he did, he regretted it instantly. It was a mistake. It sounded stupid coming out of his mouth the same way it felt hearing Addison say it before. But it didn’t make it any less true.

 

“So, are you ever coming back to New York?” Kathleen asked, bluntly. “I mean, I know there’s a lot of history there, but it feels like an end of an era,”

 

Derek and Addison looked at each other. The honest truth was they didn’t know. They were happy here but they never talked about settling here permanently. Addison knew she wanted to stay here indefinitely but they still hadn’t figured out stuff for Derek yet. He was happy to focus on all things baby for the time being and she knew he’d make a great father. But Carolyn said herself last time that LA, the practice, wasn’t enough for him. 

 

Derek’s other sisters as well as his in-laws glared at her. Kathleen had a real habit of poking the bear and psychoanalyzing everyone. She’d chalk it up to being part of the job but they were almost all doctors. And they’d known enough psychiatrists to know that not every therapist was like her.

 

“What?” Kathleen asked, innocently, feeling everyone glare at her. “It’s a valid question!”

 

“I don’t know,” Addison answered for the both of them. “We haven’t really figured it all out yet,”

 

Derek looked down, somewhat solemnly, in response to Addison’s answer. The truth was he didn’t want to go back to New York. He wasn’t sure if Addison wanted to but he knew she was happy here. That they were happy here. But Derek didn’t know if he could stay here forever. The practice was nice but he couldn’t help but feel utterly bored all day. He missed the rush of working in a hospital. A great hospital. He missed the constant surgeries, the challenge of risky surgeries. Here, it felt like an eternity since his last procedure.

 

“Well, it doesn’t look like Derek wants to stay here,” Amelia commented, bluntly.

 

When no one glared at her, Kathleen found it a little insulting.

 

“So, Amy can say whatever she wants but not me?” Kathleen asked rhetorically, frustrated.

 

Amelia just shrugged and chuckled slightly as everyone else stayed relatively quiet. After a while, one of the kids came up to John, Nancy’s husband, to clean up her now empty plate.

 

“Aunt Addison,” Sophie asked, looking up at the redhead, her eyes widened.

 

“Yes?” Addison asked, kneeling down to Sophie’s height. She couldn’t resist the sweet four-year-old’s big brown eyes.

 

“Can we play on the beach?” Sophie asked, looking out to Derek and Addison’s backyard.

 

“Of course!” Addison said, giggling slightly. “Did you bring a swimsuit?”

 

When the little brown-haired girl nodded excitedly back, Addison held out her hand for Sophie to hold and went towards the luggage to find her swimsuit. The rest of the adults just smiled back watching them. It wasn’t soon after until the rest of the kids insisted they wanted to swim too and started going through their luggage for their swim clothes.

 

Having the beach as their backyard ended up being a godsent this holiday season. The house was tiny compared to the Shepherd’s family home. And they couldn’t go out to play in the snow like they usually did. But the kids thought the beach was pretty cool. And the adults definitely saw the appeal of it as well. After a few hours of the kids playing in the water and digging their hands and feet into the sand, they finally tired out. Their parents gave each kid a bath, one at a time, in Derek and Addison’s two bathrooms and most of them went down for a nap. The older ones, however, stayed up and did other things to preoccupy them.

 

After the kids went for their nap, Carolyn and some of the Shepherd sisters helped her start dinner. While everyone was outside at the beach, Carolyn borrowed Derek’s car to go grocery shopping. Derek and Addison’s living room went back to casual chatter as everyone relaxed for the evening now that the little ones were asleep. And Addison, despite her three cups of coffee, was definitely still trying to act more awake than she felt. 

 

“So, you have a cop friend,” Liz said, bluntly as she not so subtly implied there was something going on.

 

“Yes,” Addison said, giving a small smile back.

 

“Derek doesn’t seem to like him,” Kathleen commented,

 

“I didn’t realize I needed his permission,” Addison quipped. 

 

“What do you have against hot cop anyway?” Amelia turned to Derek, who looked back innocently as if he weren’t listening to the conversation.

 

“Is it just ‘cause he’s hot?” Amelia continued. “I’ll take him if you wnt,”

 

“Amy!”Carolyn scolded. Addison couldn’t help but laugh slightly. She loved that the youngest Shepherd rarely ever had a filter. 

 

“Derek says he has a thing for you,” Liz commented. 

 

“He does not have a thing for me,” Addison chuckled. “We’re just friends,”

 

“How does one become friends with a hot cop anyway?” Amelia continued joking despite Carolyn and Derek’s glares towards her.

 

“Well, it’s simple. You just help a cop’s dead partner’s widow give birth in a water bath,” Addison joked. Unfortunately, the rest of the family didn’t find it as amusing.

 

“But seriously though, Addie, it might not be a good idea if Derek doesn’t like him,”

 

“We’re just friends,” Addison insisted, brushing off all their concerns. “Derek knows that,”

 

“I wouldn’t be so sure about that,” Kathleen interjected.

 

When Addison looked over to Derek, he fiddled with his hands slightly and didn’t look at her. And it was then that Addison realized he wasn’t okay with it, Hadn’t they already gone through this months ago? Wasn’t it enough last time when she assured him when Archer came too visit? 

 

“Derek,” Addison said softly as Derek slowly looked up at her, “Nothing’s going on, I promise,”

 

“Well, you can’t really blame him, right?” Amelia commented.

 

The room grew quiet for a minute. They all knew about Addison’s affair with Mark. It was hard not to, especially after Derek ran off to Seattle. Plus, given how often Nancy saw Addison in New York, it was hard not to notice that she and Mark stayed together after Derek left. 

But they didn’t know too much beyond that other than the fact that Addison followed Derek to Seattle months later and then ended up in LA another few months after that. 

 

“That isn’t fair,” Addison finally said quietly.

 

“Why not? You cheated on him with his best friend!” Liz exclaimed.

 

“Oh come on,” Nancy added. “It’s Mark , he’s like a rite of passage,”

 

Carolyn, Derek, and Amelia looked shocked, whereas Nancy could care less. Liz and Kathleen, however, decided it’d be best to stay quiet. She was right, they’d all slept with Mark at one point or another. 

 

“Unbelievable,” Derek sighed as he ran a hand through his hair.

 

“At least I didn’t sleep with an intern, of all people,” Addison muttered. Derek glared back at her.

 

“Dude,” John and Andrew, Liz’s husband, commented.

 

“Really? An intern? That’s like the secretary equivalent for doctors!” Kathleen exclaimed,

 

“That was only after I caught her and Mark in our bed!” Derek argued back.

 

“So, sleeping with her and leaving her panties in your pocket for me to find after we got back together was what then?” Addison bit back. Part of her resisted saying anything all. Bizzy and the Captain would have her head if they could see her now. But she’d had enough of everyone, Derek’s family especially, always making her out to be the bad guy.

 

“Please tell me you didn’t,” Liz looked over at her brother, who sighed back.

 

“Wow,” Nancy commented. “I didn’t think you were the type,”

 

“What type?” Derek asked.

 

“You know, the guy that has an affair with their secretary,” Kathleen answered for her. Everyone around nodded back in agreement. That is, except Addison who sulked in her chair.

 

“She wasn’t a secretary,” Derek growled.

 

“She might as well have been,” Andrew added.

 

“Yeah, interns are basically secretaries for doctors,” Joel, Kathleen’s husband, added. Derek glared back at him.

 

The room grew quiet again. No one knew what to say. This clearly should’ve been a private conversation between Derek and Addison but it wasn’t. There wasn’t just one person responsible for where their marriage stood today. They were both liable. Instead of talking about it, they skated around it. It was easier that way, to pretend like they were okay. They loved each other but they didn’t trust each other. And they both knew that it’d destroy their marriage beyond recognition one day. They just weren’t ready to admit it, That is until now.

 

“So what are you two going to do?” Carolyn finally asked.

 

Derek and Addison looked at each, both afraid to speak. Or more accurately, afraid of what the other would say. They both had their affairs and neither trusted the other. Not fully. They blamed each other, even though they knew it was both their fault. But this betrayal buried deep within them couldn’t stay down any longer. It was time for them to let out their inner beast.

 

“Are we really gonna do this?” Addison asked, knowing a fight would ensue. “Now? In front of everyone?”

 

“Yes, yes you are,” Carolyn interjected. Everyone looked back at her, puzzled. “You two need to let it out,”

 

Carolyn didn’t love the idea of fighting but she knew it might be the only way to fix Derek and Addison’s marriage. They’s spent too much time walking on eggshells and trying to prove to themselves and everyone around them that they were fine. That they were great. Derek had always been that way, optimistic and looking at the world through rose-colored glasses. Carolyn never thought Addison was that kind of woman but perhaps Derek rubbed off on her. Derek and Addison knew she was right. 

 

“Why Mark?” Derek started. “It could’ve been anyone. But he was my best friend! It wasn’t bad enough that my wife cheated on me?!”

 

“I never meant for any of it to happen,” Addison said, softly.

 

“It still didn’t stop you,” Derek muttered.

 

“Okay, you know what?” Addison got up from her seat, finally taking her stance. “I was alone. While you took every surgery possible and slept at the hospital, I came home to an empty bed,”

 

“So, you just thought it’d be a good idea to invite Mark into it,” Derek argued back sarcastically.

 

“No,” Addison bit back. “You sent Mark in your place everytime you canceled our plans. Dinners, social nights…everything,”

 

“I was working! Becoming a great surgeon doesn’t happen overnight. You should know!” Derek defended himself. 

 

“Well, I still managed to have some free time,” Addison argued back.

 

They both sighed, they were already tired of fighting. Especially since it didn’t seem like it was going anywhere.

 

“This is good,” Kathleen interjected. “Keep going,”

 

“Now’s not the tome for you to overanalyze,” Liz warned her.

 

“No, but Mom’s right,” Kathleen added. “You guys need to let it all out. Every stupid, messy, insulting thing you can think of that you’re keeping inside. You guys aren’t gonnamake it if you keep burying it,”

 

“How long was it going on?” Derek asked. “From med school?”

 

“What? No, of course not ,” Addison answered. 

 

“Well, how am I supposed to know?” Derek continued. “We were all close, it’s not like it’s that crazy of a question,”

 

“Derek, no,” Addison adamantly. “Nothing happened back then. Mark’s always been a flirt but I was in love with you . I always have been. I still am!”

 

“Well, you can’t be that in love with me if you slept with him,” Derek remarked. “If it was a one-night stand with a stranger, maybe I could forgive that. But Mark? There’s no way it could’ve just been physical,”

 

“You mean like you and Meredith?” Addison quipped.

 

“Is that the slutty intern’s name?” Nancy asked, just above a whisper.

 

“She’s not a slut!” Derek argued.

 

“So, you can defend her but I can’t do the same for Mark,” Addison scoffed. “Great,”

 

“Meredith was a mistake, but I needed something to take my mind off of you,” Derek tried to explain. “I was so angry, I couldn’t think straight,”

 

“Who’s to say Mark wasn’t a distraction?” Addison added, “He was there when you weren’t. He’s not you but I was just so…lonely. All I wanted that entire year was for you to look at me, to show any kind of interest in me,”

 

“Well some of us have to actually work to become a world-class surgeon,” Derek muttered. 

 

“So, this is what this is about?” Addison scoffed. “You know as well as I do how hard I worked to get where I am,”

 

Everyone looked at Derek, stunned, as he sat there in silence, looking down. He didn’t want to admit she was right, but he knew she was. Derek had to work twice as hard to get the credit and prestige in New York. Meanwhile, Addison was a superstar surgeon, and everyone knew it. And it largely had nothing to do with her Forbes-Montgomery moniker. While Seattle was a way for him to escape the deep betrayal and anger he felt from Mark and Addison’s affair, it was also a way for him to finally get the praise he felt he deserved in his career. Richard made him head of the neurosurgery department. Seattle Grace became a place for him to shine, rather than his wife for a change. 

 

“Unbelievable,” Addison said, turning around frustrated as she ran a hand through her long, red hair. 

 

“So, when you said Meredith was a fresh start…,” Addison started, continuing to scoff. “What you really meant was she waa boost to your fragile male ego,”

 

Derek didn’t say anything, but the glare he sent her said it all.

 

“Is that why you never came home? Why you practically avoided me at the hospital? Because you were jealous?” Addison couldn’t help but start to chuckle. It was ridiculous. A little flattering, if she were completely honest. But crazy.

 

“You think this is easy for me?” Derek finally asked, standing up. “My wife was the head of two departments and Chief Langford would rarely even give me the time of day let alone make me the head of a department,”

 

“It doesn’t mean you’re not a great doctor,” Addison insisted. “I never cared about titles, you know that,”

 

“But I do,” Derek argued back, now aware of how petty it sounded. But it didn’t change how he felt.

 

“And I’m not going anywhere here,” Derek muttered. “I love you and I love how happy you are here. And I told you I’d make it work. But since it doesn't look like we’re gonna have a baby anytime soon, I need more than this,”

 

“Wait, what baby?” Nancy interrupted him.

 

For a second, Derek forgot they were fighting with their family around.

 

“We were…trying to get pregnant,” Addison explained. “But it doesn’t look like it’s gonna happen,”

 

Then, the argument and conversation came to a close. They were both already tired of fighting. But at least now, everything was out in the open. At least they knew where the other stood. Up till now, they’d been kidding themselves. In Seattle, Addison was the only one trying to fix what she felt like she broke. And she took responsibility for her mistake. Derek never did. Until now, that is. Addison felt crazy in the almost two years that led up to her affair. Of course, Derek was working hard. He was trying to get the chief job after Langford retired. If he’d ever retire, that is. 

 

Trying to rationalize Derek’s distant behavior didn’t change the way she felt, however. Rather, it made her feel crazier. She knew why or at least thought she knew why Derek was never home. She knew how hard he worked, how important his career was to him. So, why did she feel so…alone? And why was Mark the only person she confided in? 

 

Thinking back on it now, she knew she wasn’t crazy. She admitted that jumping into bed with Mark was wrong. And she apologized over and over again, profusely. It never felt like enough, and no matter how hard she tried, she still felt like a failure. She felt like Derek tossing her out into the rain and leaving that night was well-deserved. For the longest time, she felt like it was all justified. Then came Seattle.

 

Seattle was a dumpster fire. They were only there for a year and it was still the worst year of her life. But Addison was proud of that chapter of her life. She fought for love, for Derek. She was still fighting for it. And after Derek cheated on her with Meredith, it looked like he was finally fighting for her too. It would’ve been nicer if it didn’t take another cheating scandal for it to happen, but Addison forgave him for it. At least enough to move on.

 

Derek used to say Seattle was his “breath of fresh air”. Well, that’s what LA was for Addison. She didn’t spend nearly as much time in an OE, but she didn’t care as much as she thought she would. Tending to a small handful of patients had its draw and gave her a chance to really get to know her patients. With that came better patient care. But it wasn’t enough for Derek.

 

He longed for the days of standing in an OR for hours on end, carving into a patient’s brain. Something about a surgeon fueled him. Derek needed that level of stimulation, that rush. He wanted to feel it again, that quiet but empowering focus he felt in the OR. There was something about it that made him feel powerful, and it fed into the ego that every surgeon had. 

 

It wasn’t enough to just sit in an office and deal with a few patients a week. Helping Addie with some administrative stuff helped fill out some of his time, but it wasn’t enough. He needed to cut, to innovate. And he needed to feel like he was contributing to the medical field. Or at least that’s what he told himself. 

 

After some more time passed, quiet and casual conversation resumed. Nancy’s kids were turning out to be quite the athletes apparently, with J.J joining the baseball team and little Gracie getting into soccer. Liz’s kids, however, were apparently more into music and the performing arts. Matthew started piano lessons and Liz and Andrew insisted that even his piano teacher called him “impressive”. Throughout the easier conversation. Derek and Addison stayed back listening quietly. And they continued staying relatively quiet for the rest of the evening through dinner. Eventually, it came time for everyone to leave. As beautiful as their beachfront was, they didn’t have nearly enough space to let everyone stay. So, everyone left except Carolyn and Amelia, as there was a guest room as well as a not-yet set-up office space and an air mattress in their closet.

 

As Derek helped Amelia set up the air mattress, Addison went out to their back porch with a glass of wine for a chance to breathe. It’d been a long day. The morning was already longer than usual. Hosting the entire Shepherd on a whim was unexpected. And as entertaining as her and Derek’s fight must’ve been to them, it wasn’t so fun for her. For either of them, really. It was needed for their relationship. They didn’t say it out loud, but rather quietly to themselves. 

 

As Amelia and Carolyn got ready for bed, Derek went back downstairs to see Addison still standing outside. The moon was out and their backyard beach view was breathtaking. Sometimes Derek forgot how beautiful this place really was. When he opened the back door, Addison turned around and gave him a small smile before turning back around to admire the night sky. As he saw the bottle of wine on the table, he picked it up and got the glass out of Addison’s hand to refill her glass. Before he gave it back to her, however, Derek took a sip.

 

“Thank you,” Addison said as Derek handed her back the glass.

 

Derek smiled back but the found themselves in a comfortable silence once again.

 

“So, where do we go from here?” Derek finally asked.

 

“I don’t know,” Addison said, honestly, as she turned her head slightly to look at him. “Where do you want us to go from here?”

When Derek didn’t answer, Addison continued.

 

“Derek, I love you,” Addison said. “And I’m trying here. You know that, don’t you?”

 

“Of course, I do,” Derek replied.

 

Another brief silence.

 

“I’m sorry,” Derek finally spoke again. “You’re a brilliant surgeon and I know it’s not just because you’re a Forbes Montgomery. And I shouldn’t have said it was,”

 

“Thank you,” Addison said, genuinely appreciative of his apology. 

 

“Why didn’t you ever tell me?” Addison asked. “I knew you wanted to be chief but you never told me how you felt about me or about…us,”

 

“I was embarrassed,” Derek said, sheepishly. “What kind of husband is jealous of his own wife?”

 

Addison passed him her wine glass for a drink and gave him a sympathetic smile before opening her mouth to say something.

 

“I’m your wife,” Addison finally said. “We’re partners,”

 

“It didn’t feel that way,” Derek sighed. “I felt like a failure,”

 

“You are anything but a failure,” Addison turned to fully face him. “I promise,”

 

Derek chuckled slightly and look towards the floor for a moment as Addison wrapped her arms around his neck. When Derek looked back up, Addison placed her hands on his cheeks.

 

“I know LA hasn’t been the right place for you, professionally speaking” Addison started. “But we’ll find something for you,”

 

“What makes you think we’ll find it,” Derek asked, unsure.

 

“We’re Addison and Derek,” Addison said, smiling. To which Derek chuckled back. “We’ll figure it out. We always do,”

 

Derek leaned in and kissed her deeply as she slowly but surely moved her hands back around his neck. 

Chapter Text

After their dramatic holiday season, Derek and Addison were glad to see the Shepherds go back home. They loved them but it’d been a long weekend. But the kids were a Godsent. After their argument, all the parents set up the living room so it’d all be ready when they came back in the morning. In the morning, all the kids came surprised to see that despite the change in location, there was still a huge pile of presents under Derek and Addison’s Christmas tree. Then ensued a full day of spending quality time with the Shepherds and all of their kids. By the time they all left that night, Derek and Addison were all tired out from entertaining everyone.

 

“What about a clinical trial?” Addison asked suddenly as she and Derek got ready for bed.

 

“What?” Derek yelled out from the bathroom, with his mouth full of spit and toothpaste.

 

“Well, you said you wanted more. You wanted a challenge,” Addison started, walking over to stand at the bathroom door frame.

 

“What would I even do a clinical trial about?” Derek asked, spitting into the sink afterward.

 

“I don’t know,” Addison said, honestly. “But at least it’s an idea,”

 

Derek thought about it for a minute as Addison watched. A clinical trial. That could be interesting. But if he was going to start a project like that, it’d have to have a purpose behind it. He couldn’t just do one because he was bored, he thought. Well, he could, but it felt wrong to do something that momentous for that small of a reason. 

 

“I guess I should start researching,” Derek smiled back after seeing Addison’s face light up. This wasn’t a definitive solution yet, but it was a start. A start in the right direction.

 

Over the next few weeks, Derek did his best trying to figure out what he could do a clinical trial on. There were plenty of options and he compiled a list of possible questions he could further investigate. But none of them felt right.

 

“Honey,” Addison started as she leaned as Derek sat at his desk, staring at the computer. “You’re gonna go crazy staring at that,”

 

“I just,” Derek sighed. “I don’t know what to do. There’s aphasia, cerebral palsy, Parkinsons,”

 

“Stop,” Addison spun his chair around as he sat on it, frustrated. “You’ll figure this out. But not by staring at this list!”

 

“What do you suggest I do then?” Derek sighed. He knew Addison was frustrated with him, he was frustrated with himself enough as it was. But he didn’t see what the alternative was. At least not at the moment.

 

“Take a break,” Addison ran her hand through his hair just slightly. Derek smiled back and chuckled, looking down as he did. She was right, and he knew it.

 

“Fine,” Derek said, pretending to sound dramatic as he got up from his chair.

 

“You’re right,” Derek admitted, wrapping a hand around her waist.

 

“Of course I am,” Addison said, playfully. Derek pulled her in for a quick but sweet kiss and Addison went back to work afterward.

 

Derek continued trying to figure out what he wanted to do with his career. He finally felt like his personal life with Addison, with this family they were trying to build together, was right where it needed to be. And it was miles better than it had been in years. But now, he felt like his professional life was faltering. He started to question whether it was possible to have it all, to have a great personal life and a great professional one. 

 

After lunch, all the doctors went off to their patients and Derek found himself yearning to get back into the OR once again. Luckily for him, Charlotte threw him a bone whenever she got the chance. She said there was a big accident nearby and all hands were on deck. Spending the rest of the day working with other doctors, other surgeons , felt good for once. 

 

When he got home that night, Derek was still hopped up on adrenaline from his day. After seeing how excited he was, Addison was reminded that Carolyn was right. Derek does need more than just a small private practice, unlike her. She thought she’d be more like him, itching to get back to the OR. When she didn’t, she was surprised. She’d worked for her entire life towards becoming a brilliant surgeon, and she still was one. She just wasn’t practicing nearly as much as she used to. And she was surprisingly okay with it. 

 

Addison liked the practice. No, she loved it. Her days standing in the OR all day were nonexistent, her schedule was pretty free and clear, and she really got to focus on each and every patient. And she felt like it made her a better doctor. If anything, it made her love surgery even more. When she did get the chance to operate, it excited her. There was a smaller likelihood that it’d feel monotonous, especially given that plenty of her past cases were relatively common and standard. Nowadays, surgeries only happened when necessary and were anything but ordinary.

 

As Derek raved on about his surgeries that day, Addison was also a bit annoyed because of her patient that day. She worked with Naomi with a married couple looking to get pregnant. Except they discovered Angie, the wife, didn’t actually want to get pregnant. She wanted the opposite. Her husband, Ray, seemed like such a nice guy and Angie was lying to his face and expecting her and Naomi to go along with it. 

 

Ray didn’t deserve that, and Naomi and Addison both agreed that they didn’t want to keep Angie’s secret for her. When leaving the practice earlier, both decided they’d drop them as patients. Angie clearly didn’t want to have a baby and Ray obviously did. And they weren’t going to lie to Ray just because Angie couldn’t tell him the truth.

 

“So, how was your day?” Derek finally asked as he started plating the food he’d been cooking previously. 

 

“Infuriating,” Addison said, not revealing much just yet.

 

“What, why?” Derek chuckled. He had to admit it was amusing to see Addison on edge sometimes. As long as it wasn’t directed at him.

 

“My patient,” Addison started. “She and her husband came in for help to get pregnant. Except, spoiler alert, she doesn’t want a baby. She just wants us to lie to her husband and tell him he’s the reason why they can’t get pregnant. Which isn’t even true because she’s still taking birth control,”

 

The explanation came spilling out of Addison. She didn’t mean for it to come out that bluntly or that fast, but she couldn’t help it. 

 

“Wow,” Derek remarked as he placed their dinner on the dining table.

 

“Yeah,” Addison sighed.

 

“So, what are you gonna do?” Derek asked as they sat down for dinner.

 

“Well, we’re not lying for her,” Addison said as she poured the wine into their glasses.

 

“So, you’re just gonna drop her as a patient then?” Derek gathered.

 

“Yes,” Addison said. “If she wants to lie to her husband, fine. But we’re not gonna help her do it,”

 

Then, there was a lull in the conversation as they ate dinner.

 

“But I’m glad you had a good day,” Addison finally added, smiling back at him. Then came some laughter from the both of them.

 

“Yeah,” Derek sighed as he smiled. “I don’t know if a clinical trial’s the best idea anymore. I think I just…want to get back into the OR,”

 

“Well, you could always just work for St. Ambrose full time,” Addison suggested. “I mean, I’ll miss you at the office, but I want you to be happy,”

 

“You do?” Derek asked.

 

“Of course,” Addison insisted. “And if standing in an OR all day is gonna do that for you, then that’s exactly what I want for you,”

 

“St. Ambrose isn’t exactly the biggest hospital,” Derek added. Neither was Seattle Grace, he thought. But at least Richard was trying to expand into something bigger, something more competitive. Last he heard, Seattle Grace was pretty high up in the rankings. And Richard mentioned in his last email about something big coming. He didn’t say what exactly, but knowing Richard, he wouldn’t say that if he didn’t mean it. 

 

“No, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be someday,” Addison added. “I mean, you can always figure something out with Charlotte,”

 

She made a good point. So, what if St. Ambrose was a small hospital? It didn’t mean it had to stay that way. Charlotte King was one of the youngest chiefs in the country. And Derek was a capable doctor as well as someone who was admittedly pretty good with administrative tasks. Why not expand St. Ambrose?

 

“That’s not a bad idea,” Derek said as he continued pondering it. 

 

As the night went on, they finished up dinner and helped each other clean up and wash the dishes, all while making light conversation. Eventually, they made it to the couch where Addison started flipping through the channels to find a movie for them to watch.

 

“So, where are we on the baby front?” Derek finally asked as he sat down, handing Addison her glass of wine.

 

“Honestly? I don’t know,” Addison said. They decided to take a break and figure out where to go after that. But it’d been a while since they checked in with each other on that front. They both still wanted a baby, but it didn’t look like they’d have their own biological child with Addison’s fertility troubles.

 

“Maybe we should wait a little longer,” Derek said. “Just until we figure out what we want to do,”

 

“Yeah. That sounds like a good plan,” Addison said, smiling back at him.

 

Derek leaned in for a kiss as Addison put her wine glass on the coffee table. This wasn’t exactly how they pictured their future, but nothing was anymore. And at this point, Addison was starting to make peace with it. They both were. Things were starting to look up for Derek now too and neither of them were pretending like things were better than they actually were anymore. Everything was out in the open now and as messy as their fight over Christmas became, it was exactly what they needed.

 

“We’re not watching a movie tonight, are we?” Addison asked coyly between kisses.

 

“God, I hope not,” Derek chuckled as he climbed over Addison on the couch.

 

The next day, Angie came back with an explanation. There was, indeed, a valid reason behind why she didn’t want a baby. And why she wasn’t telling her husband. Huntington’s Disease ran in her family and passing it on to her future children wasn’t something she wanted. But Angie apparently looked Addison up online and decided she had to know if she had the Huntington’s gene. 

 

After a few weeks, Angie’s results came back and she, unfortunately, had the Huntington's gene. And it made her want to run further away from her husband’s open, if not uninformed, arms. Ray, however, was just left confused by it all. As much as Addison wanted to tell him everything, she couldn’t. Even though he was Angie’s husband, she couldn’t reveal her tragic diagnosis. No matter how much she thought he deserved to know.

 

But the case did make Addison think for a minute. They’d all die someday, the only difference in Angie’s case is that she knew a little more about her fate than most did. But just because she knew how it’d end, Angie already made up her mind about everything in between. They’d all die someday. So, why should that stop her from going after what she wants? Which for Angie, was starting a family with Ray.

 

“A person should get to have a whole life,” Addison finally said at the end of her speech after getting Angie to come back to the office.

 

Thankfully, Angie agreed. Not right away, but she did. And the next day, Angie and Ray came back. This time, with all the facts, still wanting to start a family together. And despite Angie’s diagnosis and the large chance that their child could have the gene as well, they still wanted to try. And they’d deal with the disease later. Together.

 

When Addison got home that night, Derek was working on his laptop. He was jotting down ideas he had on how to improve St. Ambrose and had even talked to Charlotte about this plan. Or at least what ideas he had so far. And she was thrilled. A big reason why she started working for William White’s new medical practice was because she wanted to get back to being a doctor again. 

 

But she still kept her job at St. Ambrose because it was a great way to get patient referrals. With Derek’s help, she could reduce her hours at the hospital and let Derek take some of that administrative work off her shoulders. Especially since he seemed to not only be good at it but excited by it.

 

“Hey hon,” Derek said, briefly turning to see her put her coat up on the rack before turning his attention back to his laptop.

 

“Hey,” Addison walked over and kissed him on the cheek and took a look at what he was typing.

 

“You want to make St. Ambrose a teaching hospital?” Addison asked after reading some of Derek’s written proposals.

 

“Yeah,” Derek said, nonchalantly.

 

“What do you think?” Derek leaned back and looked up at Addison, who gently put her fingers through his hair as she stood behind his chair. 

 

“It’s definitely not gonna be an easy job,” Addison said, honestly.

 

“No, I know,” Derek said. “But maybe that’s a good thing,”

 

“Yeah,” Addison agreed. “Maybe it is,”

 

“Is everything okay?” Derek asked, sensing Addison’s slight nervousness.

 

“Yeah,” Addison smiled back. “I just…,” 

 

“What?” Derek looked a bit concerned now as he got up from his chair.

 

“I want a baby,” Addison finally said with conviction.

 

“I know, I do too,” Derek chuckled. 

 

“I think we should adopt,” Addison added.

 

Derek looked a little confused. Were they ready to give up on having their family already? 

 

“What about surrogacy?” Derek asked.

 

“I…don’t think I’m ever gonna have a baby of my own, “ Addison admitted. They hadn’t tried for that long, in all honesty. But it felt long enough. That paired with Naomi initially telling them that their chances were tragically low, Addison was ready to move on. Derek, however, stayed quiet, not giving much of a clue of where he stood on the issue.

 

“I know we wanted to try to have our own biological baby, but I don’t think it’s gonna happen,” Addison continued after Derek didn’t speak. 

 

“But I think we should go straight for adoption, save even more of the disappointment and dread and…,” Addison started stuttering, trying to come up with more to say. The silence from Derek was killing her.

 

“Derek! Please say something,” Addison finally said.

 

“So, we’re really giving up on having our own baby?” Derek asked. “Just like that?”

 

Hearing Derek say it like that broke Addison’s heart a little. He said it like they hadn’t been killing themselves trying to make it work. Derek’s constant enthusiasm and hope was always something that Addison loved about him. Especially since he was also great at inspiring hope in others as well. But this was different. Addison was the one who got shot up with hormones, feeling and acting crazy because of it. More than that, she felt the brunt of the disappointment after finding out once again that they weren’t pregnant. It’s not that Derek didn’t feel it too, but it was different. Addison felt responsible, and that she was getting punished for her affair and abortion. It was unclear if Derek thought so too, but it didn’t change how she felt regardless.

 

“Derek, I want a baby,” Addison said again, practically pleading. “And I don’t wanna wait anymore. And we’ve already… I’ve already waited too long. I want our own baby too, but I really don’t think it’s gonna happen anymore,”

 

“I’m sorry,” Addison added as her voice cracked. She was trying her hardest not to cry. But it wasn’t working. 

 

“Hey,” Derek put his hands on her shoulders and pulled her in for a hug. If anything, their embrace just made Addison let out her cries a little more. Derek rubbed her back slightly as he let her cry.

 

“You know it’s not your fault right?” Derek finally said after they let go of their embrace. Somehow, Derek could always see right through her. And Addison just chuckled back as she wiped off the last of her tears.

 

“I love you, and I don’t wanna wait anymore either,” Derek said, stroking her cheek softly with his fingers.

 

“Yeah?” Addison asked, sniffling.

 

“Yeah,” Derek confirmed as he brought her in for a kiss.

 

Derek wanted to be a father. He always did. And it was a disappointment that he and Addison couldn’t have one of their own biologically speaking, but it didn’t change things for him. Whether it was biological or not, he’d still be a father. They’d still be parents. And he knew it wouldn’t matter how they got their baby. He knew the minute they laid eyes on him or her, they’d fall in love with their baby, just as they would if Addison actually gave birth.

 

So, their baby wouldn’t have his eyes or her hair. So, what? They’d still have their baby. And both Derek and Addison were in agreement that they didn’t want to wait anymore. They were done waiting, they just wanted to be parents. When they were newlyweds, they talked about their future all the time. They both wanted to be brilliant, world-class surgeons. And they both agreed that they wanted to be parents. One boy and one girl, at least. 

 

Somewhere along the way, life happened. Kids were still on their mind, but it was never the right time. First, it was Addison who wanted to wait. She wanted to be smart about it, finish med school, her residency, and her fellowship. Then, they’d start trying. After all that, their marriage went to shit. But Derek kept bringing it up. The only problem was that it was the furthest thing from Addison’s mind at the time. 

 

Their marriage was in shambles, Derek was always at the hospital. And even when they did see each other, they barely said two words together. Sometimes, Derek wouldn’t even look at her. Bringing a child into their home was the last thing Addison wanted to do. She knew what that would do to a kid. Hell, she grew up in that household. Bizzy and the Captain were together her entire childhood, and still were. And for the life of her, she could never figure out why. She never thought that she and Derek would end up that way. But for a while, it felt like that’s exactly who they’d become. 

 

Then came Seattle, which was a disaster. But a necessary one to get them back on track. And now, they were finally in a good place again. They felt like the invincible Derek and Addison again. They weren’t necessarily settled, far from it. But they were moving towards something greater. Something for both of them. Derek was going after the career he needed for himself and they were both moving forward in their journey of becoming parents. Even if that meant they weren’t going to have children of their own.

 

The next day, they both went into Naomi’s office to tell her they were definitively going to stop with the fertility treatments and start looking into adoption. And Naomi was thrilled for them. She knew they both wanted their own biological family, but she also knew the facts. There was an incredibly slim chance of Addison getting pregnant. But they practically begged her to let them try. And every time it didn’t work, she could see the disappointment and frustration in both their eyes. Adoption would be great for them, Naomi thought.

 

Almost immediately, Derek and Addison started the adoption process. Addison focused more on the official paperwork as Derek continued working with Charlotte on improvements they could make to St. Ambrose. And the next few weeks were practically blissful for the pair. Busy, mind you, but they were both happier than they had been in a long time. But things were about to take a turn.

 

“Hey Addie,” Archer said after Addison opened the door to find Archer standing there with some luggage sitting beside him.

 

“Archer! What are you doing here?” Addison asked as he went in for a quick kiss on the cheek and a hug.

 

“What? I can’t visit my little sister anymore?” Archer brushed her off as he picked up his luggage and headed on into the house.

Chapter Text

“Archer?” Derek said as he saw his pompous brother-in-law walk in lugging what he knew was an expensive, Bizzy-approved piece of luggage.

 

“Hey, Derek,” Archer said back as he left the suitcase near the staircase and found his way to the couch. 

 

“What is he doing here?” Derek mouthed at Addison, to which she just shrugged. They both then proceeded to have a silent conversation where Derek tilted his head towards Archer on the couch, trying to get Addison to ask him aloud.

 

“She’s my little sister,” Archer said as he laid out on their couch. “And I can see her whenever I damn please,” 

 

Instead of arguing, both Derek and Addison decided they’d move on. But not before Addison rolled her eyes slightly and Derek sighed in frustration. Regardless, Archer was here. Whatever he was here for, they were sure they’d figure it out eventually. He already came for Bizzy last time, surely he can’t be here for the same reason again. Unless Bizzy suddenly wanted annual updates on Addison, which she couldn’t fathom to be true.

 

“So, how’s the baby making going?” Archer joked, disrupting both Derek and Addison’s pondering thoughts of why Archer was here in LA. 

 

“We’re…looking into adoption,” Addison laughed slightly as she went towards the kitchen for a bottle of wine and some glasses for the three of them.

 

“So I take it screwing didn’t work?” Archer joked again as he got more comfortable slouching on their couch.

 

“Archie,” Addison said in a slightly threatening tone as Derek just glared at her ass of a brother. 

 

Archer put his hands up in defense mockingly, as if signaling to both Derek and Addison, that they were taking his comment too seriously. Addison chuckled slightly at this, knowing that her brother wasn’t someone who ever took anything seriously. 

 

 

The next morning, Archer tagged along to the office, where everyone, especially Naomi, was surprised to see him back.

 

“Archer,” Naomi said, shocked.

 

“Hey Naomi,” Archer gave her a smoldering smile, to which both Derek and Addison rolled their eyes at.

 

“Relax, we’re all friends here, right?” Archer said, seeing Sam spot him from across the hallway. He didn’t exactly leave on the best terms the last time he was here. 

 

Sam was really not in the mood to deal with Archer, however, so instead of trying to make nice, he just walked right past him. 

 

“At least I thought we were,” Archer half-joked, adding a chuckle in there for good measure.

 

“He’ll come around,” Naomi insisted as she gently stroked the back of his arm and shoulder.

 

Archer spent the day following Addison around whenever he could and hanging around the office, hitting on any woman he deemed worthy. Derek spent the day talking to Charlotte, either on the fourth floor, or at St. Ambrose. He had a lot of ideas and he didn’t mind following her around to figure out the details together. Plus, it gave him an excuse to completely avoid Archer.

 

Addison, despite her rolling her eyes at Archer whenever he said anything remotely flirty or inappropriate to either her coworkers or patients, liked having him around. He was an ass, sure. But he loved her and was just doing his best to look out for her. She knew other people didn’t see it that way, but she knew Archer well enough to know that that was the closest he’d get to being sincere.

 

Later in the day, Addison just finished up with a patient when she came out to the lobby to find Archer and Naomi talking. They were both smiling at each other and Addison already knew Archer was up to his womanizing ways, again. It still perplexed her that Naomi was falling for it. She knew who he was and yet, she was falling for it. But Addison had to remind herself that they were both grown adults that had the right to do whatever they pleased. It didn’t change the fact that it bothered her, but she couldn’t really do anything about it at this point.

 

“What?” Archer turned around after seeing Naomi smirk slightly when Addison rolled her eyes at her.

 

“Haven’t you moved on by now?” Addison asked, sarcastically.

 

“Maybe I don’t want to move on,” Archer said smugly, directing this comment more towards Naomi.

 

“Stop!” Addison waved her hands dramatically in front of Archer’s face. But her slight giggling didn’t help with asserting her authority over the two. 

 

“Seriously, though,” Addison’s tone changed as she leaned against the reception counter and fully faced Archer. “What do you think you’re doing?”

 

“Relax, Addison,” Naomi said, stepping forward a bit to stand next to her instead of behind her. “We’re just…having fun!” 

 

Naomi’s tone sounded more enthusiastic than she felt. What was she doing with Archer Montgomery of all people? It was just sex, she’d say to herself. Though, even she wasn’t doing a very good job at convincing herself. If it really was just sex, why did she care about what Addison thought?

 

Addison decided it wasn’t worth the effort of trying to convince her best friend or her brother otherwise and chose to just walk away instead. Instead, she was going to focus more on the adoption process. It still felt surreal that she was going to be a mother. That she and Derek were going to be parents. 

 

The adoption agency already approved their application and told them it was now up to a prospective mother to pick them. They were both doctors, so that must be a plus, Addison thought. Derek kept insisting that it’d be crazy for any birth mother to pick them but he was always much more optimistic than Addison. 

 

Later that evening, Derek came home to find Addison pouring herself a glass of wine and a bag of takeout on the counter. When Derek looked around, he discovered that Archer was nowhere to be found. After giving his wife a quick kiss, she handed him a wine glass and started opening the take out bag.

 

“Where’s Archer?” Derek asked as he started pulling out takeout containers out of the bag.

 

“Probably out on a night of wild debauchery,” Addison joked as they both moved over to the dining table for dinner.

 

“Well, at least it’s gonna be just us tonight,” Derek gave her a playful wink and Addison couldn’t help but giggle slightly. 

 

“I’d be happier if I didn’t already assume that he’s with Nai tonight,” Addison couldn’t help but mutter under her breath.

 

“What is he even doing with her anyway?” Derek asked, equally frustrated with Archer.

 

“I don’t know,” Addison sighed as they started eating dinner.

 

As for Archer and Naomi, Addison and Derek were right in thinking that they were together. It was still, for the most part, just sex, but both also admitted to each other that they were starting to catch feelings. But Archer also added that he was just the “good-time guy” despite the fact that he decided to spend the evening with Naomi instead of going on a pre-scheduled date with someone else. Naomi had no choice but to just accept and decided that they’d figure it out eventually. But for now, there was no pressure in defining whatever the hell was going on between them.

 

Things at the practice were great again. Derek and Addison were well on their way of trying to adopt a baby together and Cooper and Charlotte made up, for the most part. Though, when it came to them, there was always something dramatic going on. Even Violet started seeing someone. Or what ended up being two someones. One of which was a fellow therapist working downstairs and the other being Pete of all people. And Violet got pregnant in the process. 

 

Eventually, the secret came out when Violet finally told both Pete and Sheldon about it. And neither were particularly happy. Neither knew that Violet was sleeping with both of them. They both assumed it was an exclusive relationship. More than that, neither were happy that she waited that long to tell them. About the relationship and the pregnancy. But there wasn’t much they could do about it at this point. At least not after Violet made it clear that she didn’t expect anything from them.

 

For Naomi, Archer showing up was great. Waking up next to a man again was a nice feeling, Naomi thought. And Archer was fun and unlike everyone Naomi had ever been with. Being with him made her feel cooler and much more easygoing than ever. The last time he was in town, Naomi brushed this thing between her and Archer as just sex. But this was now the second, or more accurately, third time they slept together. And Archer may be the “good-time guy”, but he was right to say that she definitely wasn’t the “good-time girl”. But it was fine, they’d figure it out. Eventually.

 

Unfortunately, things took a turn. Archer started seizing and even though it didn’t end up lasting for too long, Naomi panicked and called the ambulance. Archer was being an ass, as always, brushing it all off. But Naomi was worried. And she knew Addison would be too. But the honest truth was she was terrified. And that only proved to her that whatever was going on between her and Archer might actually be real. The whole no-strings-attached mentality just wasn’t going to work anymore.

 

Naomi promised she wouldn’t tell Addison. Or rather, Archer pretended like this incident fell into the whole doctor-patient confidentiality area. And even though Naomi knew Archer wasn’t really his patient, she still felt conflicted. She still felt like she owed Archer something, like she had to keep his secret. But why did she owe him anything? Because he slept with her? It’s Archer, he sleeps with everyone. After almost a full day of debating in her own head, Naomi did what she thought was right. She walked into Addison’s office and told her the truth.

 

Immediately, Addison wanted to see the scans to see if there was anything that could be done. She ordered the scans from St. Ambrose from Archer’s most recent seizure and she made a series of phone calls to hospitals back in Connecticut and New York. And Naomi just watched her for a moment as she frantically made call after call to multiple different hospitals. When Sam peeked into her office, Naomi walked out with him and filled him in.

 

“Hey, can I call you back later, the ER’s a little crazy right now,” Derek said on the phone.

 

“No, it’s Addie,” Sam said, ominously.

 

“Why? What’s wrong?” Derek asked, concerned.

 

After Sam filled Derek in, he got to the office to find Archer also arriving. 

 

“A tumor?” Derek said as they stepped into the elevator together.

 

“How did you…?” Archer started to ask. He didn’t know Naomi told Addison already.

 

“Naomi,” Archer sighed.

 

“What the hell is wrong with you?” Derek asked, slightly angry. 

 

“Excuse me?” Archer asked, acting more offended than he felt.

 

“I know you’re an ass, but she’s your sister,” Derek started. “You didn’t think it’d be a good idea to tell her that you’re dying ?”

 

“What good what that be?” Archer asked. Derek just gave him a disgusted and confused look back.

 

“No, I’m serious,” Archer added as the elevator doors opened. “I’m gonna die, and I don’t want the last few years of my life to be Addie trying to save me even though we both know she can’t,”

 

Instead of saying something, Derek sighed and made his way to Addison’s office. When he and Archer got there, the rest of the Oceanside Wellness doctors were already there, looking at Archer’s brain scans, trying to figure out what they could do.

 

“I’d feel flattered if I wasn’t dying,” Archer joked.

 

“That isn’t funny,” Naomi muttered.

 

“The doctor said it’s operable,” Addison said, leaning against the front of her desk.

 

“One did, three said no,” Archer countered. “They’d have to tear through half by brain to get this,”

 

“How about chemo?” Sam offered.

 

“Radiation?” Pete threw in a suggestion as well.

 

“Chemo’s not proved effective for this kind of lesion, and radiation would fry all brain tissue before it made a dent,” Archer said, simply. 

 

“I’d lose my sense of humor,” Archer added to lighten the mood. Meanwhile, Derek just kept staring at the scans, trying to figure out if there was a way to save him. He might hate his brother-in-law but he was still family. And Addison still loved him more than Derek thought he deserved.

 

“You can’t just give up,” Addison insisted.

 

“I’m not giving up!” Archer exclaimed. “At the rate this is growing, I could have five years. Five great years and I get to keep all my hair,”

 

It didn’t matter how serious his condition was, Archer always knew how to make a joke. Whether it made much of a difference or not.

 

“I’ll adjust my seizure medication,” Archer settled.

 

“What if it’s not slow-growing?” Naomi asked, genuinely concerned. “What if instead of a couple of years, it’s a couple of months? Or worse?”

 

“When was your last CT scan?” Addison asked. But Archer debated whether or not he should actually tell her.

 

“You know her, she’s not gonna give up on this,” Pete said after seeing Archer’s face.

 

“These were my last,” Archer started as he walked up to the scans everyone left up as Derek stepped aside. 

 

“They were taken, uh, three weeks ago. They follow a set from two months ago…” Archer continued as Sam, Pete, and Derek watched him. They all noticed it.

 

“Wait, read that date again. This time, don’t tilt your head,” Sam said.

 

“What?” Addison asked as she walked closer to try to see what the three men clearly saw.

 

“Yeah, he has an upward gaze palsy,” Derek said, agreeing with Sam.

 

“He’s right, you can’t look up,” Pete added. “But that’s not consistent with third-ventricle glioma, is it?”

 

“No, it’s not,” Derek answered for him. 

 

“What else could it be?” Naomi asked.

 

“We need to do another CT scan and we need to do it now,” Addison said as she walked over to her desk to get him in at St. Ambrose.

 

“Looks like we might be stuck with you,” Derek joked. Addison glared a bit as she waited for someone to pick up at the hospital.

 

Regardless, Archer wasn’t in the mood to joke anymore. He’d been living with this diagnosis for almost a year now. And now this roomful of doctors were telling him it was the wrong diagnosis? Was there a chance he could survive after all? Part of him wanted to be hopeful, especially after almost a year of thinking he was dying. But he also knew that even though his diagnosis was wrong, it didn’t mean there wasn’t something wrong. He’d spent the last few months trying to pretend like it wasn’t true, like he was just living life like normal. But he was kidding himself, and he knew it. 

 

It was only a couple months ago when he realized he didn’t want to die with regrets. As much as Archer hated (or at least strongly disliked) Derek, he loved his little sister. He’d always been overprotective of her, and she reminded him of this when she waited with him to get his new CT scan.

 

“We were about a half-mile from home and you picked me up,” Addison said as she continued telling the story of when she fell off her bike at seven years old.

 

“You told me it was gonna be okay and you carried me home. You weren't even that big. But you were my big brother. And you knew I was scared. And you carried me home,” Addison waited another moment before continuing. 

 

Archer looked back at her, seeing the tears fall down her cheek. They both grew up with Bizzy and the Captain, but Addison always had a soft spot for him. She couldn’t hide how she felt with him.

 

“Who's gonna carry me home if you die?” Addison’s voice wavered as she wiped a tear away.

 

“I fix things, Archie. It's what I do. I wanna fix this for you,” Addison pleaded.

 

“Some things you can’t fix,” Archer said, honestly. 

 

There were very rare moments when Archer was sincere. In the face of Bizzy and the Captain’s general indifference and fake niceties, Archer developed what was now his signature sarcastic sense of humor. But Addison was his soft spot, just as he was hers. They both loved to tease each other. Addison called him an arrogant ass while Archer called her a bleeding heart. But it was all in good fun. As cold as the rest of their family was, they knew the love they had for each other was real.

 

Addison leaned her head against the door frame as Archer got in to do the CT scan. Afterward, Archer realized what was wrong with him. Neurocysticercosis. Leave it to Archer to diagnose himself. Addison, as well as most of the other doctors, wanted Derek to remove the cyst. Archer wanted to take the medication instead.

 

“No way am I letting your tool of a husband dig into my brain,” Archer said after Addison tried to convince him to get the surgery.

 

“There are other neurosurgeons,” Derek said. If Archer didn’t want him operating on him, fine. But not having the surgery at all was stupid, in his opinion. And as much as he hated him, he was still family.

 

“None as good as you,” Addison added as she continued arguing with her brother. Derek couldn’t help but feel a little flattered by the sentiment. Addison probably didn’t even realize it was a compliment. Instead, she was too focused on trying to get Archer to change his mind. 

 

“Addison, he has the right to make his own decision,” Naomi butted in after Archer laid out all the reasons why he thought it’d be better to take the antiparastics.

 

Archer looked up and gestured towards Naomi, grateful that he had someone on his side now.

 

“Come on, Nai! You’ve been sleeping with him for a few weeks and now you’re on his side? ” Addison scoffed, even though she knew that was a bit of a low blow. 

 

With Addison frustrated, Derek put an arm around her waist and pulled her closer, knowing it would help relax her. Even if it was only slightly. Derek felt Addison exhale sharply leaned into him a little more. 

 

“It’s his field, and it’s his life,” Naomi said, calmly. She knew Addison was just lashing out and thought it’d be best not to lash out back. She was insulted, yes, but not enough to make matters worse at the moment.

 

“No, actually it’s mine,” Derek argued back. Everyone was surprised to see Derek take a stance. He’d been quiet throughout most of this process, just being here to support Addie. And they expected that much because they never really got along. But Derek speaking up now was curious. Though, he was right, this was Derek’s expertise.

 

“Right now, it’s a single cyst in the third ventricle,” Derek started, as he pointed it out on the CT scan. 

 

“But the meds could work,” Archer continued insisting.

 

“Or they could send your immune system into overdrive,” Derek countered.

 

“If you wait, it could not only rupture, but it could multiply. And if they do, there would be no way I could surgically navigate through them without rupturing one,” Derek added, knowing that as arrogant as Archer was, he knew he was right. Though, he’d never admit it though.

 

“You’re getting that surgery,” Addison said with conviction.

 

“Fine,” Archer resigned. 

 

He thought about arguing even further, but he knew it wouldn’t make a difference. Addison made up her mind and even though this was his life, he knew that Derek and Addison were right. As much as he hated to admit it. Derek might be a great neurosurgeon but he wasn’t world-class the way that Archer was. In his mind, that still made him better than him. But it was times like these when Derek’s expertise reigned supreme.

 

The surgery went without a hitch as Addison, Sam, Naomi, and even Charlotte sat in the gallery watching Derek. They’d all, at one point or another, seen him operate. But this was different. Archer was the body on the table this time. The pressure was higher and Derek knew Addison expected greatness out of him. 

 

But as nerve wracking as it should’ve seemed, Derek felt exhilerated. This was the rush he was looking for. And it only made him want to strengthen St. Ambrose’s reputation even more. As Derek scrubbed out of surgery, he heard the door open behind him. When he turned around, he found Addison standing there, leaning against the door frame.

 

“What?” Derek asked, laughing slightly after a minute of Addison watching him.

 

“I know that wasn’t easy for you,” Addison started as she walked over to grab him a towel to dry off his hands.

 

“It wasn’t that bad,” Derek said. And it was true. It was a single cyst and seeing the parasite wiggle out afterwards was a relieving moment.

 

“No, not the surgery,” Addison added. “Archer,”

 

“Oh,” Derek said.

 

“I know he’s a handful but he’s still my brother,” Addison said, feeling the need to defend him.

 

“And he’d do anything for me,” Addison added.

 

“I know,” Derek said, knowing she was right.

 

“But does he always have to be such an ass?” Derek joked, causing both of them to break out in a laugh. After the day they’d had, it was nice to finally relax and laugh it off.

 

“Come on, let’s go,” Derek said, roping an arm around Addison’s waist and kissing her temple as they walked out the scrub room together.

 

After letting Archer get some much needed rest, he woke up in a mood. He complained of a headache and insisted Derek missed something. When Charlotte came in to check on him, he demanded a CT. Derek was busy with another patient by then but she knew it’d be a good idea to get another CT scan anyway. She knew Derek wouldn’t be happy about it but Archer was the patient. And he was asking for it.

 

“See?” Archer pointed out a spot on the scan. “He missed it,”

 

Shocked and panicked, Charlotte went to find Derek, who was finishing up a surgery.

 

“Dr. Shepherd,” Charlotte said with a stern voice while holding her face mask with one hand, Archer’s CT scan in the other.

 

“Dr. King, what can I do for you?” Derek asked as he continued operating.

 

“Archer Montgomery,” Charlotte started. “He’s saying you missed something,”

 

“I didn’t,” Derek insisted. “Archer’s just being an ass,”

 

“Then, what’s this?” Charlotte walked closer to him holding up the CT scan for him to see.

 

“It’s Archer being an ass,” Derek scoffed.

 

“You wanna say that again?” Charlotte asked.

 

Derek explained to her why Archer was completely fine. And why the CT scan still showed some fluid. But Archer clearly didn’t know or remember that. After the explanation, Charlotte and Derek had a nice little laugh over how neurotic Archer was being.

 

“You’ve got one hell of a brother-in-law,” Charlotte finally said as she was leaving.

 

“I sure do,” Derek said, sighing.

 

When Charlotte got back to Archer’s room, he was crying. Legitimately crying. All over crashing Sam’s old car in the past and apologizing over how he he was leaving Naomi all alone because he was dying. Charlotte couldn’t help but laugh hearing them but finally went in when enough was enough.

 

“Relax Archer, you’re not dying,” Charlotte said, chuckling.

 

Archer angrily grabbed the CT scan from her hand as Derek walked in.

 

“What do you mean?” Sam asked, hoping for some clarification.

 

“Next time I save your life, Archer, a simple thank you would suffice,” Derek butted in. Archer still looked back at him angry.

 

“If you were a neurosurgeon and not just a neurotic, you would know that it is common for a CSP to temporarily fill with fluid post-surgery. Repeat a CT in a month and it’ll be clear,” Derek explained to everyone, including Archer.

 

“What? Wait, you mean he’s gonna be fine?” Naomi asked, just to be sure.

 

“Yeah, he’s gonna be an ass like he’s always been,” Derek couldn’t help but add before leaving again to check on his other patient. 

 

Archer looked embarrassed, putting down the CT scan as Charlotte and Addison couldn’t help but let out a small laugh. 

 

“It was a nice sentiment,” Violet said after a moment.

 

“He crashed my car,” Sam looked back at her.

 

“Well, yeah but he apologized,” Violet pointed out.

 

“I think it’s nice that he wanted to lay it all out there before he died,” Violet added.

 

“But he’s not dying anymore,” Pete pointed out.

 

“Still,” Violet said.

 

Later in the day, everyone got together at the local bar to wind down after a long day. Well, everyone but Archer, who was still recuperating at the hospital. While everyone eventually came together for Archer, the other doctors still had their own patients to deal with. Pete, Cooper, and Violet dealt with a new mother who was completely sleep-deprived to the point of post-partum psychosis. And Violet struggled through it with her newfound pregnancy hormones. 

 

“You know what I couldn’t stop thinking about today?” Naomi asked.

 

“What?” Addison asked as she took a sip of Derek’s scotch. 

 

After feeling the glass slip away from Derek’s fingers, he couldn’t help but smile at Addison. For a while, Addison avoided caffeine and alcohol because they were trying to get pregnant. Now that they were trying to adopt, she went back to her morning coffee and the occasional glass of wine in the afternoons.

 

“Your song,” Naomi started. “Did you guys think all those years ago that we’d be here?”

 

“Not the song,” Derek started. The rest of the Seaside doctors looked confused.

 

“I like the song,” Addison insisted.

 

“What song?” Pete asked, swallowing a sip of his beer.

 

“Derek wrote Addison a song,” Sam filled everyone else in. “And then he sang it at their wedding,”

 

“Wow,” Charlotte commented. “Didn’t take you for a songbird,”

 

“I wanna hear the song,” Violet added, sipping her club soda. God, she missed wine.

 

“No, no, no no,” Derek refused.

 

“Sing it, sing it, sing it!” Cooper started chanting. It wasn’t all that loud but Derek couldn’t help but look around at the other customers, looking embarrassed.

 

“Our eyes met over the cadaver,” Naomi started. Derek sighed, this was going to happen whether he wanted to or not. Cooper clapped his hands softly like an excited little kid.

 

“And I knew I had to have her,” Naomi continued, laughing in between.

 

“Had his mitral valve grown too thick,” Sam continued where Naomi left off.

 

“Is that what made our cadaver so sick,” Naomi kept singing.

 

“Okay, but what’s the chorus?” Sam asked. 

 

“All I remember is that your name starts the chorus,” Sam pointed to Addison, who couldn’t help but laugh along.

 

“Addison Montgomery, he met her in the summery,” Addison sang, giving a little dance with it as well.

 

“It wasn’t summery, I’d never use summery as a noun,” Derek pointed out while everyone else laughed along.

 

“I met her in the summer she ,” Derek corrected.

 

“Oh, summer she! Really?” Addison exclaimed. 

 

“Yeah,” Derek laughed along.

 

“She was cutting up a very dead body,” Naomi went back to singing their song as Sam joined in near the end of the sentence. Derek was still embarrassed, but at least they were embarrassing together.

 

“And in her eyes, I saw my life,” Sam sang out.

 

“I knew that she would be my wife,” Naomi continued on.

 

“And she would breathe the life back into me,” Sam and Naomi sang in unison, with Naomi adding an adlib at the end.

 

“From every day until eternity,” Sam and Naomi continued singing together as the rest of the doctors watched.

 

“Or until I’d be as dead as that body,” Sam’s voice got lower, causing all the doctors to bust out laughing at his strained baritone voice.

 

Sam and Naomi bowed as if they’d just put on a show to the entire bar. The bar didn’t have too many people in it but the people who were there clapped and laughed along in support.

Chapter Text

“He’s grateful, you know,” Addison said once she and Derek got home.

 

Derek scoffed in response as he hung up his coat on the rack near the door.

 

“I mean, we both know he’ll never admit it,” Addison joked as she placed a hand on his chest once he turned around to face her.

 

“But he is,” Addison concluded as Derek smiled and leaned in for a kiss.

 

It was true. They both knew it was, but Archer was stubborn. He always had been and as far as they knew, he always would be. But right now, they’d put it aside. Archer was alive and recovering. Now, they could focus on the adoption, which was still an ongoing process. Derek tried to push surrogacy again but when Addison tried to meet them, she had a problem with all of the potential birth mothers.

 

For the next two weeks, everything was great. For the most part. Derek was moving forward with Charlotte in expanding St. Ambrose into more than what it already was as Addison kept working at Oceanside Wellness. Things with Naomi started getting a little dicey though. First, Archer stuck around for another week or so before he inevitably cheated on her. 

 

Addison tried to warn her before she even knew for sure that Archer was cheating but Naomi didn’t want to hear it. It wasn’t until after Addison caught Archer with some woman when she told Naomi. She was upset but she also tried to stay strong because she should’ve known better. Addie even warned her it would happen. But she was hoping that Archer would prove her wrong. No such luck, unfortunately.

 

Then, things got worse when she told her William White offered her Charlotte King’s job at the competing practice. Naomi didn’t say this outright but Addison could tell Naomi was gearing up to leave. But things with Derek and Addison were great. Better than they had been in a long time. They were on the same page, both professionally and personally.

 

“Hi,” the blonde receptionist at Pacific Wellfare Center batted her eyes at the handsome man that stood in front of her.

 

“Hi, I’m looking for Dr. Derek Shepherd,” the man smiled at the receptionist’s not-so-subtle attempt at flirting with him.

 

“Oh, I’m sorry,” the receptionist replied. “We don’t have a Dr. Derek Shepherd here,”

“Are you sure? Maybe I got the address wrong,” Mark looked at the piece of paper in his pocket. After flying back to Seattle again, Richard gave him an address for Derek’s new workplace so he flew to LA to find him.

 

“Oh, you’re looking for Oceanside Wellness Group . That’s upstairs,” the receptionist informed him after he showed her the piece of paper.

 

“Thanks,” Mark said as he headed into the elevator.

 

Once he got upstairs, Dell greeted him and asked who he was looking for. Mark gave Dell Derek’s name and just as Dell was telling him that he was working at St. Ambrose, Addison came out of her office, saying goodbye to her patient.

 

“Mark,” Addison stopped in her tracks seeing him after her patient walk towards the elevator.

 

“Hi, Red,” Mark smiled back at her.

 

“What are you doing here?” Addison asked in a hushed tone.

 

“Don’t worry, I’m not here for you,” Mark said slightly insulted.

 

“I’m here for Derek,” Mark stated.

 

“He doesn’t wanna see you,” Addison replied.

 

“He doesn’t even like hearing your name anymore,” Addison said as he followed her back to her office.

 

“He’s my best friend, Addie. What else am I’m supposed to do?” Mark argued.

 

“Yeah, well, you’re not best friends anymore,” Addison sighed sitting in her seat. 

 

“Well, he forgave you!” Mark argued.

 

“Thanks for telling me, by the way,” Mark grumbled.

 

“What did you want me to do? Call and tell you I got back together with my husband and moved to Los Angeles?” Addison waved her arms around, frustrated.

 

“Yeah, well, as far as Derek knows, I was just the chump that seduced his wife. Real nice,” Mark bit back.

 

“He doesn’t think that,” Addison said softly.

 

“He knows about us, that it wasn’t just…that we were,” Addison struggled to find the right words.

 

“He knows ?” Mark asked quietly. He didn’t know how, but he just knew she was talking about the baby. 

 

“Yeah, he knows,” Addison said back just as quietly.

 

“Well, I don’t know if that helps or hurts me here,” Mark joked trying to lighten the mood.

 

After neither of them knew what else to say, Mark sat down sighing rather dramatically in one of the seats in front of her desk. 

 

“You still like me though, right?” Mark teased.

 

Addison glared him back but after a couple seconds, she couldn’t help but laugh. Their relationship in New York was complicated. And the way they ended things weren’t ideal. But deep down, they both knew they weren’t right together. After Derek left, Addison tried to make it work with him. She stayed with him after realizing that she couldn’t stay at the brownstone. Not without Derek. 

 

When Addison got pregnant, that’s when things turned real. And neither of them were ready for it. Mark was weirdly excited. That was a surprise to both of them. But Addison definitely wasn’t. She was terrified. And behind Mark’s enthusiasm, he was scared shitless too. He just wasn’t willing to say it out loud. Especially since Addison didn’t give any kind of clue on how she felt about the whole ordeal.

 

After Derek left, Addison jumped in with Mark. She was, admittedly, a little too desperate to make it work. She’d blown up her entire marriage for him, but it was too much. As much as Addison tried to detach from Derek, she couldn’t. She wouldn’t take her rings off and cried almost every time she found herself alone. Being without Derek was too hard. And as great as Mark was, he wasn’t Derek. He never would be. And as much as she wanted it to work, she couldn’t get past her husband.

 

The baby was what really put things into perspective. She made things real. Even realer than it was before. After Addison aborted the baby, that’s when they were finished. They never said it was over, but they both knew it. Addison came back to his apartment and found Charlene, the peds nurse from the hospital, leaving in a rush. And Addison was weirdly relieved to find Mark cheating on her. It was the final nail in the coffin for them.

 

When Richard called, it just happened to be perfect timing. Mark chased her to Seattle for a bit, but she made it clear to Mark that she loved Derek.

 

“Addison,” Mark stood up after waiting for her at the bar. He walked closer to her but she didn’t reciprocate.

 

“He doesn’t love you anymore,” Mark added when Addison stepped back.

 

“But I still love him,” Addison croaked out.

 

“I’m sorry,” Addison said, wiping a stray tear.

 

“I never had a shot with you, did I Red?” Mark sighed after a brief pause. He asked the question, but it sounded more like a statement. 

 

“I’m sorry,” Addison said again.

 

“I need to see this through,” Addison said. Mark nodded back, signaling he understood.

 

It was unspoken, but of course, Addison still liked Mark. She didn’t love him the way that she loved Derek, but she did love him. And as much as she loved LA and being close to her best friend, Mark was kind of her best friend too. It was just a symptom of being in a long-term relationship. At the beginning, it’s all about the two of you, spending every minute possible with each other. But then, you meet each other’s friends and their friends become yours. 

 

With Mark, Addison already knew him from class. And Derek and Mark were practically inseparable. Addison used to tease them about being the couple and her being the third wheel. When Derek started spending all day and night at the hospital, Mark became more like her best friend. She’d complain about how Derek was never home and Mark would both defend Derek and sympathize with her. It started to feel like they were the married couple and Derek was the third wheel.

 

The friendship between the three changed more than any of them imagined it would. For the longest time, it was Derek and Mark against the world. They’d been best friends since forever. When Addison came into the picture, it somehow got better. There was something about her that clicked with the both of them. And the three of them couldn’t be happier. Well, until they weren’t. 

 

“Of course, I still like you,” Addison chuckled. Mark’s face lit up at the sound of that.

 

“But I also love my husband,” Addison turned serious.

 

“And I have no intention of getting in the way of that,” Mark put his hands up in defense.

 

“Again,” Mark added jokingly. Addison couldn’t help but giggle a little in response.

 

“I’m here for Derek,” Mark said with conviction.

 

Addison sighed, knowing he wasn’t going to back down. 

 

“Fine,” Addison gave in.

 

“I knew you couldn’t say no, Red,” Mark teased.

 

“But if we’re gonna do this, we have to do this right,” Addison added.

 

“What’s that supposed to mean?” Mark asked.

 

“I wanna talk to Derek first,” Addison started.

 

“If you just surprise him at the hospital, he’s just gonna walk away. Or punch you again,” Addison thought about it for a minute. 

 

The last time Derek saw Mark was in Seattle. And he got very protective over Meredith when he saw Mark flirting with her at the nurse’s station. It felt like Addison’s low point in Seattle at the time. Derek and Addison were “trying”, but they weren’t really. Or at least Derek wasn’t. He was still pining after his young, intern, girlfriend while Addison did everything just to get him to look at her. When Derek caught Mark and Addison in bed together, he got angry and threw her out in the rain. And then he left. He saw his best friend on top of his wife in his bed and walked away.

 

But the second Derek sees Mark talking to Meredith at the nurse’s station, he punches him in the face. Addison was only a few feet away when it happened but it felt like a sucker punch to the gut. 11 years of marriage versus two months with Meredith. Addison knew that that punch wasn’t just about Meredith but it hurt seeing how willing Derek was to fight for Meredith when he wasn’t doing the same for her. 

 

But things were different now. Derek and Addison were in a good place. They were even as far as affairs went. It was weird, but it worked for them. And they were trying to adopt a baby. They couldn’t be in a better place. Plus, Derek’s work with St. Ambrose seemed to fulfill him as much as Oceanside Wellness fulfilled her. The only missing piece was Mark. If Addison brought Mark up, Derek would probably dismiss her. He’d say he didn’t need him, that he had Sam and Naomi. 

 

And he wouldn’t be completely wrong. Sam and Naomi were great. But Sam wasn’t Mark. Mark was his best friend, he still was. Despite the fact that they haven’t been friends in almost two years now. Naomi was exactly what Addison needed. Especially since the only real friend she made in Seattle was Callie. But even for Derek, he never really made friends there either. Not really, anyway. 

 

Preston Burke didn’t even let Derek call him by his first name. He did, however, let Addison call him Preston as he called her Addison. And this was odd considering Derek and Preston worked together for a few months longer than Addison had. Whether Derek liked it or would admit to it or not, Derek needed Mark. Despite everything, he was still his best friend, and no one, not even Sam, could take his place.

 

“I swear the paperwork’s killing me,” Derek sighed as he got into the front door. 

 

Over the last few months, Derek would just meet Addison at home now that he was working at St. Ambrose. It just made more sense that way rather than carpooling like they had before. As Derek reached the kitchen where Addison stood, she pulled up a glass of scotch and held it out for him.

 

“I mean, I had a hard day, but not that hard,” Derek joked. However, he still took the glass and took a small sip.

 

“Well, it’s about to get a little harder,” Addison hinted, biting her lip in the process.

 

“Why?” Derek asked chuckling.

 

On cue, Mark got up from the armchair in the living room. He was far enough that if he needed to, he could make a run for it toward the backyard. He’d have to circle around to the front past the probably-locked wooden gates, but it was that or running into the ocean. Regardless, it gave the two plenty of physical space between them. Neither Addison nor Mark knew exactly how he’d react but they both agreed it’d be best to give both men some physical space just in case.

 

“What the hell is he doing here?” Derek raised his voice as he took a few angry steps towards him before stopping to look back at Addison.

 

“I’m here for you,” Mark said with more conviction than he felt. It wasn’t that he was scared of Derek, but he wasn’t fond of angry Derek either.

 

“What the hell is he talking about?” Derek directed his question toward his wife.

 

“Derek, I know you’re still mad at him,” Addison started gently. Derek scoffed in response.

 

But he’s still your best friend,” Addison added, trying to sound as calm as possible to try to calm her husband down.

 

“He hasn’t been my best friend since he screwed my wife,” Derek said angrily.

 

“But you forgave me,” Addison, again, kept her tone calm.

 

“And I love you and I know we’re happy now,” Addison took a step towards Derek, who was gripping his fingers onto the counter. 

 

“But Mark is still your best friend, whether you like it or not,” Addison continued.

 

“And you will never truly be happy if you two don’t work this out,” Addison finally added.

 

Derek sighed and looked over at Mark who stood looking back. He looked strong and stoic as he held his ground. In reality, Mark was scared. He’d never admit it though. Just like how Derek couldn’t admit that he not only needed Mark as his best friend, he missed him too. Mark took a deep breath as his toes clenched to the floor. Never had he been happier to be wearing a pair of shoes to hide this fact. As the room grew quiet, Mark realized it had to be his turn to speak. Addison and Derek already said what they needed to say, but Mark hadn’t.

 

“I came to LA for you,” Mark finally said.

 

“I didn’t come for Addison or Naomi or even Sam,” Mark continued. 

 

“I came for you, I came to get you back,” Mark looked confused for a second afterward. 

 

It’s not that he didn’t mean what he said but it sounded weird. Something about the way it was worded sounded more romantic than he intended it to. And with Derek mirroring his look back, they both knew they were thinking the same thing. Addison couldn’t help but let out a giggle first.

 

“I know, I wanna take it back now but I already said it so,” Mark laughs nervously.

 

“Yeah,” Derek laughed along.

 

“Maybe we should have a drink,” Derek added.

 

“We could?” Mark asked hesitantly.

 

“Yeah,” Derek sighed as he looked back at Addie, who lifted up the scotch bottle and another glass.

 

Addison smiled watching them. It wasn’t going to be easy but she somehow knew that everything would be okay between them. She wasn’t naive to think it would happen overnight though. It’d be a gradual change. But eventually, it would lead to the two of them being best friends again. Despite their messy past.

 

After having some drinks and focusing more on some basketball game that was on that night, Mark said his goodnights and headed off to a hotel for the rest of the night. If this had been a few years ago, he would’ve just stayed in their guest room. Or crashed on the couch. But given everything, Mark figured it’d be best to stay at a hotel. And he was right in thinking so because even though things were better now, Addison knew that there was no way in hell Derek would let him stay overnight. At least not yet.

 

“Who’s hot stuff?” Charlotte asked as she saw Mark walk up behind Derek the morning after at St. Ambrose.

 

“Dr. Mark Sloan, plastics,” Mark introduces herself as he holds out a hand for her to shake.

 

“Dr. Charlotte King, chief of staff,” Charlotte takes his hand and shakes it.

 

“When Addison told me you worked at the hospital and not Sam and Nai’s practice, I didn’t realize you worked for such a small one,”  Mark commented as he looked around at the narrow hallways.

 

“We’re small but efficient,” Charlotte said through gritted teeth.

 

“And we’re expanding,” Derek added, partly to remind Charlotte but also to prove that he was working towards something bigger. Even if his plans weren’t completely concrete just yet.

 

“That sounds more like you,” Mark concluded. He found it odd to find Derek not working with Sam and Naomi at their practice. And he found it even stranger when he found Derek at St. Ambrose, a small and more importantly, barely distinguishable hospital. 

 

“So, what kind of changes are you gonna make to this place?” Mark asked, trying to keep the conversation light. 

 

Last night was good but he and Derek barely talked. And when they did, they kept topics close to the game playing on TV, the beautiful private beach backyard they had, and the LA weather.

 

“Well, I want to start a surgical residency,” Derek started as they walked down the halls toward his and Charlotte’s now shared office. 

 

With Charlotte working at Pacific Wellcare Center, she wasn’t at the hospital as much anymore. Instead, Derek shared some of her chief duties as he worked on his pitch to the board to start a surgical residency program. So, Charlotte offered to share her office as she wouldn’t be needing it nearly as often as she used to. 

 

“Like the one that was at Seattle Grace?” Mark asked. 

 

Considering everything Addison told him about Seattle yesterday (before he faced Derek, obviously), he was surprised. Then again, he wasn’t much of a teacher. Not really, anyway.

 

“Yeah,” Derek replied.

 

“But better,” Derek added.

 

“I’m sure your old chief would love to hear you say that,” Mark joked.

 

“Richard will just have to deal with it,” Derek joked back.

 

At this point, Derek was basically like a co-chief at St. Ambrose. He didn’t have the proper title or accreditation, but everyone was aware of the changes he wanted to make to this place. As well as how willing Charlotte and the board was to making those changes. Derek, officially-speaking, was still just the head of neuro at St. Ambrose. But everyone there knew that it’d only be a matter of time before he became chief, or at least some other higher-up title. 

 

“Anything I can help with?” Mark offered as Derek started giving him a tour of the hospital.

 

“Mark? Teaching? What a novel idea,” Addison said as she rounded the corner behind them.

 

“Hey, Red, what are you doing here?” Mark asked.

 

“Emergency c-section,” Addison explained quickly as she gave her husband a quick peck on the lips.

 

“Wow, you guys have a nice setup here,” Mark observed.

 

“Working with your best friends, beach for your backyard, hot weather, hot doctors ,” Mark continued.

 

Derek and Addison smiled back at each other as they walked the halls of St. Ambrose. Mark was right, it was great here. And things were looking up with their friendship with Mark. Addison watched as Derek laughed along as Mark made inappropriate remarks about Charlotte as well as any other remotely attractive women that came their way. 

 

Later, Addison went back to the practice as Mark hung around Derek at St. Ambrose. Derek didn’t say anything when Charlotte started wooing Mark professionally-speaking. There was a big fire in a neighborhood nearby and Charlotte decided it was the perfect opportunity to get Mark on board. 

 

With not much else to do, Mark agreed to help out. Plus, it helped that Derek didn’t seem to protest it either. Over the course of the day, he realized that St. Ambrose was a pretty great hospital. It didn’t have the same level of prestige as others he’s worked at, but it had grit, Mark thought. As the day went on, he realized what Derek saw in this place. It wasn’t going to be an easy feat, but he knew that if anyone could pull it off, it was Derek. Plus, Charlotte seemed like a highly capable doctor too so that helped.

 

St. Ambrose didn’t have a great plastics surgeon on staff in all honesty and while Derek wasn’t completely over Mark and Addison’s affair, he was aware it’d only be a matter of time before he would be. Plus, Mark’s stellar professional reputation could help in making St. Ambrose into the place Derek wanted it to be. In a way, it felt like a win-win for him. He and Addison would just have to figure out some ground rules when it comes to Mark. He forgave her and mostly Mark, but he wasn’t completely ready for Addison and Mark to hang out alone just yet.

 

“Hey Red,” Mark greeted Addison as he and Derek came through the front door of their house.

 

“Hey, good day?” Addison caught on to his happy mood. And hearing the two chuckle as they walked in the door before they greeted her was also a good sign.

 

“No wonder you guys moved here,” Mark said as he admired their beach backyard. After Derek hung up his jacket, he went over to give Addison a quick kiss on the cheek.

 

“Right?” Addison said in agreement.

 

Derek didn’t add to the conversation other than chuckling along but Addison could see him smiling. And with Derek, she could always tell if it was genuine or not. As Mark talked on about how great LA was: the weather, the girls, the beach, Addison kept her gaze fixed on Derek. He was smiling, really smiling. Things felt normal again. Or as normal as they could be anyway.

 

The three of them then proceeded to spend a nice night in, and even Sam and Naomi joined them. Addison ordered some pizza as the guys watched the second half of a baseball game they found on TV while starting on some beers. After the pizza arrived, they all headed outside to have dinner on the patio where Sam eventually saw them and joined in. When Addison went in to grab another beer for Sam and a bottle of wine and some glasses, she called Naomi to come over and soon it was like they were in college again. 

 

“So, it looks like you guys are back,” Naomi nudged Addison as they both stood in the kitchen grabbing another case of beer to bring out to the guys.

 

“Yeah, I think we are,” Addison smiled back at her.

 

With that, Naomi smiled at her and grabbed the case of beer as they both walked back to the patio. Halfway there, Addison looped her arm around Naomi’s and they both leaned into each other slightly. 

 

“So, you think you gonna stay?” Sam asked as Naomi gave him a new bottle of beer.

 

“Yeah, I mean, this is the life ,” Mark gestured as he admired the sun going down. It was hard not to look out at the water with this view.

 

“Yeah, it really is,” Derek said, looking back to Addison as everyone else looked at the glowing sunset.

 

As Addison blushed, Derek held a hand out on the table for her to grab. She gracefully slipped her hand into his and as he turned his attention back to the sun, she felt him squeeze her hand. This really was the life. 

Chapter Text

Over the next few months, things were going steadily. Derek and Charlotte pitched their ideas to the board successfully and they were both hard at work building it into something bigger and better. And even Mark was helping out where he could. Months passed as Violet’s pregnancy progressed normally but then things turned for the worse. One of her and Pete’s patients with a delusion disorder cut her baby out of her. Physically cut him out.

Naomi and Pete rushed her to the hospital where Addison, unsurprisingly, saved the day. Derek stood in the OR with her, Naomi, and later Dell. Dell was trying to be optimistic but him talking to an unconscious Violet just annoyed her more. Derek came over and spoke softly to her and even though it was just a simple, “it’s okay, take a deep breath”, but it worked. Something about Derek always calmed her. It also helped that before they started operating, he said his famous catchphrase, “it’s a beautiful day to save lives”.

After that, things got rough. Violet left baby Lucas with Pete and Naomi went to work at Pacific Wellcare on the fourth floor. Sheldon understandably then demanded for a paternity test. Violet, still traumatized after her experience, agreed. This didn’t sit well with Pete so he came to try to get Violet to put his name down as Lucas’s father on his birth certificate. But Violet refused, citing that this issue was between them.

After Addison performed the paternity test, Pete turned out to be the father after all. He was obviously ecstatic about the news, but Sheldon wasn’t. He really did think Lucas had his ears. After the first month or so of Pete trying to get Violet more interested in Lucas’s life, Sheldon couldn’t take it anymore. He hated the fact that he wasn’t the father, but he could see how this was making things worse.

Despite everything, Sheldon still cared about Violet, Lucas, and even Pete. Even if he was still angry at him. So, he suggested Pete go to work with him and Naomi at Pacific Wellcare. He was already downstairs all the time anyway, and Naomi clearly needed a friendly face. Eventually, this meant that Oceanside had to make up for the fact that they lost out on now two physicians. The best way to do that was to buy out Naomi and Pete’s shares. This ultimately ended with Charlotte paying for Cooper’s spot at the practice as he apparently couldn’t. And she handed Addison a blank check to buy into the practice as well.

Charlotte wasn’t happy about Naomi taking her job, but Derek’s help at St. Ambrose helped. Plus, her new work at Oceanside Wellness would make up for all the extra administrative work she was hoping to minimize. Even though Charlotte helped, this whole project at St. Ambrose was Derek’s, so she let him take the reigns where she could. At Oceanside Wellness, she could actually practice as an actual doctor again.

Cooper and Charlotte were still technically together, but things weren’t great. Not after Cooper found out she used to be married. They were living together and working together but, as Charlotte put it, they weren’t talking. Or they were barely talking. But Addison decided it’d be best to stay out of it. And in the elevator up, she said just as much to them.

“Hello,” The Captain greeted Addison as she stopped dead in her tracks with a folded-up newspaper in her hand.

“Hello,” Addison said, still feeling frozen in her spot.

“Hello,” Cooper smiled as he joined the conversation. Clearly, this wasn’t a laughing matter.

“Oh, I thought we were saying hello,” Cooper said after realizing that this was hardly the time to be silly.

“We’re not,” Addison’s tone sounded stoic. It was unlike her. Or at least unlike the version of her that Cooper and Charlotte had come to know.

“Kitten,” The Captain said as Addison tried to walk past him.

“My name is Addison,” Addison looked at the floor as he continued trying to walk past him. But he kept blocking her way.

When the Captain called Addison “Kitten”, both looked at the Captain and back at Addison, confused. Cooper thought it might be fun to make some kind of inappropriate comment or joke but he couldn’t think of one in the moment. Plus, neither of them seemed like they were in a joking mood. Charlotte and Cooper, instead, resign to watching Addison interact with this mysterious older man.

“I thought that we could have a drink,” The Captain proposes as Addison finally gets past him.

“It’s nine AM,” Addison says as she walks towards her office.

“Ah, I thought we could talk,” The Captain says nonchalantly as he turns to face her.

“Are you dying?” Addison asks.

“What?” The Captain asks dumbfounded.

“Do you have cancer? Renal failure? A brain tumor?” Addison continued listing off terminal diseases.

“Are you dying?” Addison asked again, not willing to let the Captain get a word in beforehand.

“I came to see you,” The Captain smiles at her.

“Well, here I am. You saw me,” Addison states before walking back to the elevator.

“So, now you’re leaving?” The Captain asks as she pushes the elevator button.

“You are,” Addison says.

The Captain sighed before taking one last look back at Cooper and Charlotte, who are back at the receptionist’s desk pretending to look over their messages. With the elevator door open and Addison glaring back at him, The Captain decides it’s best to just leave.

“I’m at the Carlisle,” The Captain says before stepping into the elevator.

Later that day, Cooper and Charlotte were gossiping about the exchange in the kitchen with the rest of the doctors. As they did, Mark and Derek came in, both there to visit Addie for lunch.

“She has taken a lover. A lov-ah,” Cooper says in an old-timey voice as he walks into the kitchen.

“Addie? There’s no way. She has Derek,” Sam said as he took a bite out of his salad.

“And he’s old?” Violet asked surprised as she spread cream cheese on her bagel.

“Good-looking old. From the way she looked at him, I would say he’s not her lover anymore,” Charlotte added.

“Who?” Mark asked as he and Derek entered the kitchen.

“Coop and Charlotte said someone came to see Addie this morning,” Sam explained.

“A lov-ah,” Cooper added in his old-timey voice.

“It’s not a lover,” Sam insisted.

“Not anymore,” Charlotte added.

When Addison entered the kitchen to get herself some coffee, she could feel everyone staring at her from behind. But she went to kiss her husband first.

“I am not talking about it,” Addison turned around to everyone staring.

“Who’s the guy, Red?” Mark asked.

“The Captain,” Addison sighed, finally giving in.

“See? Told you it wasn’t a lover,” Sam said.

“The Captain’s here?” Derek asked as he rubbed her back softly. No wonder Addison seemed a little on edge.

“Yeah,” Addison said as she smiled back at her husband’s attempt to soothe her. He could feel her shoulders relax a bit as he rubbed them gently.

“Who’s The Captain?” Violet asked.

“Is The Captain his real name?” Cooper joked as the other doctors laughed along.

“My father. And no, it’s not his real name,” Addison revealed. Though, she probably didn’t need to inform them The Captain wasn’t her father’s real name.

“You call your father, The Captain?” Charlotte asked.

“Yeah, it’s a WASP thing,” Mark said nonchalantly.

Most of them looked back confused. Regardless, they realized it was something they would probably never understand.

“What was he doing here?” Derek asked, pouring Addison her cup of coffee.

“He says he wants to talk,” Addison said.

“Actually, he wanted to grab a drink first,” Addison corrected herself.

“It’s barely noon,” Derek looked at his watch.

“Doesn’t matter,” Mark answered for her.

If anyone understood this aspect of Addison’s family, it was him. His mother was a drunk. But “drunk” wasn’t an acceptable WASP phrase. Instead, whenever Madeline passed out from too many drinks, they’d call it “the vapors”.

“Well, I say go for it,” Derek said as he helped Mark pull out the lunch he and Mark brought along with them.

Both Mark and Addison looked back at him, surprised. Derek had never been a fan of Addison’s family. It wasn’t just Archer that he had a problem with. The Captain was maybe who he disliked the least, but still. Bizzy outwardly disapproved of him and Addison. And Archer’s arrogant demeanor alone was enough to deter Derek. The Captain, however, just went along with all of it. He didn’t actively say anything that directly insulted him. But neither did Bizzy. The only Forbes-Montgomery that would was Archer.

“He’s still your father,” Derek said as he handed Addison a plate of food.

Later, Addison gave and called The Captain. The two arranged to meet at the Carlisle for dinner that night. Derek decided it’d be best to let her handle it on her own. Whatever The Captain was in town for, he was sure it didn’t have to do with him.

“You’re late,” Addison said as The Captain sat at the seat across from her.

“You look good,” The Captain smiled as if the scowl on Addison’s face could bother him less.

“The California air has done you well,” The Captain added as a waiter came over with their drinks.

“Thank you,” Addison said to the waiter after he distributed their drinks.

“You remembered,” The Captain lifted his drink and looked back at her fondly.

“I’ve been mixing your drink since I was eight years old, it’s not something you forget,” Addison teased.

Then, a short silence as Addison practically chugged her martini.

“Of course, a lady never downs a drink in the company of a gentleman,” The Captain said after watching her.

“Oh, well, you’re not a gentleman. You’re my father,” Addison countered..

“So, what’s her name?” Addison asked.

“Who?” The Captain looked confused.

“Your mistress. I mean, I’m assuming you have a mistress in LA. Why else would you be here?,” Addison asked.

“Addie,” The Captain looked like he was ready to laugh along.

“I mean, you didn’t come when Archer was dying, that wasn’t important enough for you. So, I’m thinking, there must be a prime piece of ass here on the west coast to get The Captain to fire up the old jet and come on out,” Addison rambled as The Captain looked back dumbfounded.

It was rare to see Addison stick up to him. She had before but last time, she basically told him that she was done with him, hence the icy greeting from this morning. Addison looked pleased with herself for telling her father off.

“...The Addison I know didn’t use that language,” The Captain finally said. He was still astounded to hear his daughter talk like that.

“Well, the California air has done me well. I’m a whole new girl,” Addison joked.

Then, they proceeded to argue about The Captain’s cheating past. While she was well aware that cheating wasn’t hereditary, sometimes it felt like it was in the Forbes Montgomery household. The fact that Bizzy apparently thought he was in France didn’t help his case. Regardless, The Captain insisted on staying. He wanted them to start over, even though Addison couldn’t see how they could.

“So, how’d it go?” Derek yelled out when he saw Addison came out to the patio.

Derek and Mark were outside playing catch with an old baseball closer to the water. Addison argued weeks ago that they needed to be careful because the last thing she wanted was for them to break a window. Instead of not playing, the guys decided to just throw the ball closer to the water. It’d be much harder to hit a window from that far.

“Just what I expected,” Addison said as she took her shoes off before stepping onto the sand closer to them.

“What’s that supposed to mean?” Mark asked as he threw Derek back the baseball.

“It means he’s The Captain and Bizzy has no idea he’s here,” Addison struggled to find the right words so she said the first thing she could think of from their conversation.

“Well, what’d he say?” Derek asked as he passed the ball back to Mark.

“He said he wants to us to start over,” Addison said with a hand on her hip.

“What’s wrong with that?” Derek asked as he caught the ball.

“He says he wants to spend time with me but I don’t even think he knows how to spend time with me,” Addison continued.

“He could learn,” Derek proposed.

Addison gave him a sarcastic look back. Derek just chuckled at the sight of it.

“Why now?” Addison asked.

“She’s got a point there,” Mark agreed as he motioned for Derek to throw the ball back to him.

“Look, I don’t have the answers for you,” Derek started as he went over to comfort his wife, leaving Mark to throw up in the air to play a now-solo game of catch.

“But I do know that he’s family. And it sounds like he wants to fix things between you two,” Derek tightened his grip on the sides of Addison’s waist just slightly.

Addison sighed and admitted defeat. She knew she had to at least try. It was odd timing but she did always envy how easy it was for Derek to get along with his family. His mother was practically a saint according to her children. And while she never met his father, she feels like she knows him just from all the incredibly heartwarming stories she’s heard. From Derek as well as the rest of the Shepherd family. Meanwhile, Addison found it hard to get close to either of her parents.

The next morning, Addison called The Captain and they made lunch plans. He came to the office and properly met the rest of the doctors and even found time to objectifiably stare at Violet’s ass. Regardless, they went out to lunch and things were awkward. They drank as The Captain tried to make small talk, but he didn’t really know how to spend time with her. Desperate for something to talk about, Addison started talking about the tough case she and Pete were working on that week.

To her surprise, The Captain grew interested. Though, Addison shouldn’t have been surprised. Medicine was the one thing they could connect on. Kind of. The Captain was part of why she wanted to be a doctor growing up. She’d sit in on his classes at Yale and practice on hot dogs as his students used cadavers. Even back then, Addison knew she wanted to be a surgeon. And even though The Captain never said, he was impressed by her.

But as an adult, things were different. He talked to her about things she already knew while she nodded along. It was easier than trying to argue again about the fact that she already knew the things he was saying. But then, something truly surprising happened. He asked to watch her surgery.

It was a tricky procedure. And a risky one. Addison couldn’t help but feel compelled to say yes. The Captain never watched her do surgery before. He’d never asked to watch either. She had a stellar reputation, one that he was well-aware of. But this was different. He called her surgery “elegant” after it was over. She expected him to say something horrible, but he didn’t. When Addison got home that night, Derek could sense how happy she was.

“He called it graceful,” Addison said as she hung up her bag and coat.

“That’s great!” Derek exclaimed pulling the dinner he made out of the oven.

“You made dinner?” Addison asked pleasantly surprised. Derek didn’t cook too often, but when he did, it was always exciting.

“Yeah, I needed to clear my head a little,” Derek said as he closed the oven door and started grabbing plates from the cupboards.

“Everything okay?” Addison asked.

“Yeah,” Derek sighed as Addison rounded the counter to get closer to him.

“The board’s just not convinced we can get far with the residency program,” Derek revealed.

“How come?” Addison asked before giving him a sweet kiss on the lips before letting him answer.

“Well, I mean, this is LA,” Derek started.

“And there’s a lot of competition out there. I mean, UCLA alone’s gonna be hard to beat,” Derek sighed.

“Yeah, but UCLA doesn’t have you,” Addison teased.

“I’m serious,” Derek pulled her in and tightened his grip around her waist.

“So am I,” Addison said as she gently brushed the back of his hair with her thumb while holding onto his arm with her other hand.

“Plus, it’s not like you can’t recruit. We do know some other pretty great doctors,” Addison suggested.

Derek smiled at the thought of it. He did know some pretty capable doctors. Addison walked backwards toward the farther counter to grab some napkins and utensils, she playfully pointed at her head and winked at him.

As Addison set the table, Derek carved the roast chicken he made and proceeded to plate the sides afterward. Then, both ate and talked about their days. Addison talked about how unsure she felt about her father watching from the gallery at first. But once she got in the OR, her nerves subsided. And she talked about how relieved and genuinely touched she felt when The Captain called her surgical skills, “graceful”.

Derek told Addison about how he felt like he was getting buried by paperwork. He admitted he knew that it’d be a big part of what he was signing up for, but still. Then, he told her about his frustrations and fears about transforming St. Ambrose. This was a big deal. And it was a bigger job than anything he’d ever done before in his career. Addison reassured him that it’d all be okay. That she believed in him.

Then came talking about the adoption. It’d been months of endless waiting as well as one close call. And they were starting to feel restless about the whole process. There was a young girl who was this close to picking them. But she admitted in their interview that she was looking at another couple. One that already had some kids of their own. After Addison delivered the baby, Addison and Derek got to hold the baby girl for a few minutes each. But it didn’t take long for the girl to tell them that she was choosing the other couple.

That night, they went home and just held each other. They both cried in each other’s arms as they laid in bed together. Neither of them wanted to move. It was heartbreaking. After meeting this girl, they thought they were going to be parents. They thought they’d bring a baby home with them. She really did seem to like them. Over the past year, they started building out their nursery. By now, it was finished. But there still wasn’t a baby to fill it.

The next morning, Addison burst into Naomi’s raving about her surgery with The Captain watching her. Unfortunately, Naomi couldn’t help but tell her that The Captain slept with Violet. Right when Addison thought things were looking up with her father. But before she could confront Violet, Pete told her that there were complications with their patient. So, they both rushed to the hospital and again, Addison came to the rescue.

When Addison came back to the office, she couldn’t help but find Violet before getting back to her office. To her surprise, Violet called The Captain “wonderful” and “a gentleman”. Words she’d never heard spoken about her father. When Addison got home that night, The Captain and Derek were sharing a nightcap out on the patio. Things were quiet. That’s how it’d always been between those two. But Addison couldn’t help but break the silence.

“Wait, he slept with Violet?” Derek asked after Addison started her argument.

“Yes, yes he did,” Addison confirmed.

“You took advantage!” Addison exclaimed.

“I don’t think Violet feels taken advantage of,” The Captain countered. Derek sighed. So much for these two making up.

“She doesn’t! She called you a gentleman. She said that you were wonderful to her,” Addison replied.

The Captain? Wonderful? Derek couldn’t help but think.

“...Nothing compared to hearing that because it made me wonder, Daddy,” Addison’s voice started breaking as her eyes watered.

The last time she tried calling The Captain “Daddy” was when she was four years old. She heard the other kids call their dads “Daddy” and wanted to do the same. The Captain didn’t say anything to oppose it, but even at four years old, she could see how weirded out he felt. It didn’t help that Archer made some comment about how they didn’t get to call their dad “Daddy” like the other kids. Plus, it felt so unnatural after calling him The Captain for years before then. So, she went back to calling him The Captain instead.

“Why is it that you can be so good to every woman in the world except Bizzy and me?” Addison asked.

“Especially when we’re the ones that love you the most,” Addison added before grabbing the glass out of Derek’s hand and walking back inside.

Before Derek could say anything, The Captain pulled out his phone. To Derek’s surprise, he called Bizzy. If anything, he thought he’d at least wait until he went back into the house after Addison.

“Bizzy, hi,” The Captain looked up to see Derek staring. While he’d prefer he were alone in making this phone call, it was all about to go to shit anyway so he might as well listen, he thought.

“Listen, if you don’t come out here and tell her the truth, I will,” The Captain warned before hanging up the phone shortly afterward. Derek assumed Bizzy agreed to his thinly-veiled threat.

“The truth about what?” Derek asked.

“Guess you’re about to find out,” The Captain said before putting his glass of scotch down and walking out the back gate.

Chapter Text

It didn’t take long for The Captain’s plans to be set into motion. When Derek found Addison in their bedroom, she’d just gotten off the phone with Bizzy.

 

“I’ll see you in the morning, Bizzy,” Addison said as she hung up the phone.

 

“Well, that was fast,” Derek said as he came into the room.

 

“What?” Addison asked.

 

“The Captain just called her from outside,” Derek pointed out to the now empty patio.

 

“He did?” Addison asked confused.

 

“Yeah,” Derek said.

 

“He told her to tell you the truth or he would,” Derek said ominously.

 

“Truth about what?” Addison asked.

 

“I have no idea,” Derek said.

 

The next morning, Addison sat next to The Captain as Bizzy’s private jet flew in. They both had a newspaper in their hands as they both filled out their crosswords. It was the same paper and Addison couldn’t help but realize that whether she liked it or not, she was still a Forbes Montgomery. And her habits like doing the NYT crossword would just be another habit she picked up from her parents. She wasn’t alone in that either because she knew Archer did the same.

As they sat there waiting, Addison tried probing him for answers but he wouldn’t budge. Instead, The Captain tried to give Addison an answer to today’s crossword. But she refused to hear it. She just wanted to know what Bizzy was coming for. The Captain stayed silent instead. When Bizzy’s jet came into view, The Captain left saying that Addison could now find out why she was here. He made some quippy comment about just being there to make sure she showed up and it only made Addison’s curiosity grow.

 

“What is going on?” Addison demanded before The Captain left.

 

“Ask your mother,” The Captain said before heading out the automatic doors.

 

When Bizzy stepped off the jet, Addison waited for her right in front of the short staircase down. Bizzy took off her sunglasses and it was then that Addison realized she also was wearing sunglasses. Another Forbes Montgomery habit that she just would never be able to shake.

 

“You cut your hair,” Bizzy noted after taking off her sunglasses. 

 

“Yes, uhh, I wanted uhh, something different,” Addison said as she too took her sunglasses off her face.

 

Truth be told, Addison chopped off her hair after Derek and Addison didn’t get the baby last time. It was a little ridiculous looking back on it now because she felt like a cliche. Like the girl that chopped her hair off after a boy dumped her. And it didn’t help that she also remembered that she dyed her hair blonde the day after Derek left the brownstone.

 

At least her mother didn’t know the real reason. Nor did she ever see her in her blonde hair, thank God. Especially since she’d done it herself and the results were disastrous. Mark tried to lie and compliment her at the time, but Addison knew the truth. It was hideous and she went to the salon to get it professionally fixed less than a week afterward.

 

“Hmm..,” Bizzy noted as she walked past Addison only for her to follow her.

 

Bizzy then proceeded to talk about how “dreadful” her flight was and how she was going to make a formal complaint. 

 

“I cannot believe you two moved to this place,” Bizzy said as they walked.

 

“But here I am,” Bizzy added.

 

“Yes, about that, I was surprised that you came to visit,” Addison started.

 

“Addison, don’t push,” Bizzy could already tell that she was looking for answers. 

 

She was doing so politely, which she appreciated, but she just landed in LA. There was no way she was just going to tell her everything right this second. And Bizzy still was hesitant about telling Addison anything at all. The Captain may have made his threats but Bizzy really only came out here to make sure The Captain wouldn’t say anything. 

 

“You know, short hair isn’t for everyone. Some people look older with it,” Bizzy commented before putting her sunglasses back on. Addison followed closely behind as she also put her sunglasses back on.

 

Later that night, both The Captain and Bizzy came to Derek and Addison’s house. Derek came home a little later than Addison and brought Mark with him. He knew it’d only be a matter of time before seeing both of them together in their house. And Mark was also from this world so he knew how to fit in with the Forbes Montgomerys better than he ever could. After saying their hellos, Addison handed both Derek and Mark each a martini, and the three of them went out to the patio to sit, drink, and listen to The Captain and Bizzy’s conversation.

 

They were talking about flowers and Bizzy’s gardening club, but they all knew that they weren’t really talking about flowers. They were speaking WASP , as Addison called it. Sam saw them outside and joined them eventually. With the drink cart, cocktail shaker, and extra martini glasses, Mark poured Sam a glass.

 

“They’re…chatting about flowers?” Sam finally asked as he took a sip of his drink.

 

“They’re not talking about flowers,” Derek and Mark said in unison. 

 

“So, what are they saying?” Sam asked after Addison gave him her spiel about WASP talk and how she, Archer, and even Mark learned it at an early age.

 

“See, now that’s the thing. Usually, I know. But, this time, I have no idea ,” Addison admitted. 

 

It didn’t take long for Bizzy to come out to greet Sam. With her drink still in her hand, of course.

 

“Mrs. Montgomery,” Sam got up and pulled out his chair for her to sit.

 

“Now, Samuel, how many times have I told you to call me Bizzy?” Bizzy joked.

 

“Yes, Mrs. Mont-...Bizzy,” Sam corrected himself as Bizzy sat down.

 

Eventually, The Captain came out to join them all on the patio and they made small talk. Derek told them about his progressing work at St. Ambrose and how he roped Mark into helping. It wasn’t long before The Captain and Bizzy made some comment about how they were staying here at the house with Derek and Addison. 

 

They figured they’d stay at a hotel, especially because The Captain had been staying at the Carlisle up until this point. They knew it was useless to try to argue with them. However, Derek and Addison took comfort in knowing that they had another guest room because they converted one of them into a nursery.

 

Everyone continued the night by making small talk. Well, Bizzy and The Captain made small talk as everyone else just kind of nodded along. Derek, Addison, and Mark did their best to try to decipher what they really saying but they couldn’t figure it out. Eventually, Sam retreated to his place and everyone went back inside as the night grew colder. After a while, they heard the doorbell ring.

 

“I got it,” Addison offered, just needing a break from it all.

 

“Addie!” Susan exclaimed lovingly after she saw Addison open the door.

 

“Susan? Wha - what are you doing here?” Addison exclaimed genuinely surprised as they both went in for a hug.

 

“Ha ha ha, hi,” Susan said as they embraced.

 

“Oh my God, you look great, you look -. How long has it been? You look exactly the same,” Addison noted as they pulled apart.

 

“Oh…about eight years? And I look a mess. You have your mother’s skin,” Susan remarked.

 

“Ohh,” Addison rolled her eyes as she blushed at the compliment.

 

“So, how is it?” Susan asked, knowing she’d get an honest answer out of her.

 

“She’s driving me crazy. He is driving me crazy. I don’t know how you work for them,” Addison said, finally relaxing for the first time that night.

 

“Remember to breathe,” Susan coaxed.

 

“And many cocktails,” Susan joked as Addison laughed along.

 

“What are you doing here?” Addison asked again.

 

“You know Bizzy’s rule; wherever she goes, I go,” Susan said nonchalantly. 

 

“Susan, why is she here?” Addison’s tone grew more serious.

 

“I have no idea,” Susan answered honestly. 

 

Bizzy told her nothing other than the fact that she was going to see Addison in LA. It was odd considering it wasn’t close to any holiday and it didn’t seem like Addison was in any type of crisis. Not that Bizzy would necessarily come at the sound of that anyway. After all, neither Bizzy nor The Captain came out for Archer’s surgery. Even though Susan told her she should’ve at the time.

 

“She didn’t tell you? You really don’t know?” Addison probed.

 

Susan nodded her head no as Addison sighed loudly.

 

“Let’s go face the dragon,” Susan joked before Addison repeated her earlier advice.

 

Then, they both found their way inside Addison’s house where Bizzy and The Captain sat at the dining table with a deck of cards now. 

 

“Look who I found,” Addison said excitedly as she and Susan came into view.

 

“Susan, it’s nice to see you again,” Derek said as he got up to politely kiss her cheek. 

 

“Derek, it’s good to see you too,” Susan said back.

 

“And uh, I don’t think you’ve met Mark,” Derek said, introducing the two as Mark stepped forward from behind Derek.

 

“No, but I’ve heard plenty,” Susan joked.

 

“Hi, it’s nice to meet you,” Mark said as he shook her hand. He could only imagine what Derek and Addison have said about him over the years.

 

“I brought the documents for the Houston charity ball,” Susan said upon seeing Bizzy’s face.

 

“Hello Captain,” Susan said awkwardly.

 

The Captain gave her no response and Addison and Derek saw Bizzy and The Captain share a look. Neither knew what it meant but they could tell Susan’s presence was unwarranted. Which was strange because Addison assumed Susan was only here because Bizzy asked for her. And Derek assumed the same. But from the look of it, no one knew she was coming.

 

“I’m going to bed,” The Captain announced as he made his way upstairs.

 

Stunned, no one said a word. But Addison looked like she wanted to say something. The problem was, what was there to say? It was awkward. And no one really knew why. Susan had been Bizzy’s assistant for 20 years now. If anything, Susan’s presence shouldn’t have changed the entire mood of the room. But it did.

 

“Well, I should get going then,” Mark said as he got up from the couch.

 

“Bizzy, it was good to see you. Susan, it was nice meeting you,” Mark said before waving his goodbyes to Derek and Addison as he walked out the front door with his jacket in hand.

 

After that, it didn’t take long before Susan and Bizzy started talking about this charity ball Bizzy was hosting. Or co-hosting. Regardless, it went from awkward silence to stale boredom. Derek and Addison quickly excused themselves and informed Bizzy and Susan that they too would be turning in for the night.

 

When Derek and Addison got upstairs, they found The Captain standing in front of the open-doored nursery. Realizing that this might be a good chance for Addison and him to talk, Derek kissed Addison on the cheek and went first toward their bedroom as she stood in place.

 

“This is quite the room,” The Captain said. His tone and demeanor were still stoic.

 

“Yes,” Addison said as she walked over closer to stand alongside The Captain on the other side of the doorframe.

 

The two were silent for a moment as The Captain seemed to continue inspecting the room. The walls were still white as Derek and Addison decided they didn’t want to genderize the room. So they agreed they’d get a peel-away wallpaper later. But that didn’t stop Addison from hanging up some cute nature-esque picture frames above the also-white crib with a solar-system-themed mobile. 

 

“Is there something you failed to mention tonight?” The Captain finally asked.

 

“Derek and I are looking to adopt,” Addison said plainly. 

 

She didn’t really know what to expect from The Captain upon hearing this news, but it was times like these when she found emulating The Captain’s stoic and straightforward demeanor helpful.

 

“Do you remember when you used to sneak into my study when you were a little girl?” The Captain asked.

 

“I snuck in there even when I wasn’t a little girl,” Addison mumbled quietly. Then, she swore she saw The Captain crack a small smile at the sound of that.

 

The Captain’s study back at the Montgomery estate was like a lion’s den. It’d always been Addison’s favorite room when she was a kid. The wooden bookshelves were full of scholarly books, medical textbooks Addison later found out. Even when Addison got older, The Captain sitting at his desk in his office was the image that stuck in her mind when she thought of her father.

 

“Do you remember the telescope?” The Captain asked. To her surprise, he looked right at Addison when he asked the question.

 

“Of course,” Addison replied looking back at him.

 

“Yes, well, I took you and Archer out there a few times to look at the stars,” The Captain said.

 

“You did?” Addison asked. 

 

“Yes,” The Captain confirmed.

 

She couldn’t remember The Captain taking her out to the telescope on the balcony. Archer did plenty of times. They weren’t supposed to be in The Captain’s office let alone his balcony but they only really got in trouble for it a handful of times. Archer was the one who taught her about space. She remembers he wanted to be an astronaut when he was younger.

 

“You were probably too young to remember, but I carried you so you could look through the telescope. And then I’d let your brother have his turn” The Captain added.

 

“Is that why he wanted to be an astronaut?” Addison asked.

 

“I suppose so,” The Captain said nonchalantly as if the thought never occurred to him. But Addison knew he knew that the answer was yes.

 

They grew quiet again. Addison and The Captain had always had a strange relationship. She looked up to him as a kid. As she got older and found a habit of walking in on him at the wrong time, she grew to resent him. Bizzy wasn’t exactly her favorite person in the world, but Addison still believed that she didn’t deserve to be treated that way. But it never deterred her from wanting to be a doctor. Sitting in on his classes at the university was always her favorite thing to do. And it saved Addison from playing soccer or some other physical after-school activity.

 

The Captain eventually walked away and towards the guest bathroom to get ready for bed. No further elaboration. He may be her father, but even to her and Archer, The Captain was an enigma. He was brilliant-minded, a logical thinker, and enjoyed the finer things in life. He wouldn’t be a Montgomery if he didn’t. 

 

Other than that, he was someone that was hard to get to know. Really know. Every once in a while, he’d turn around and surprise them. He’d say some sentimental if not offhanded comment or observation. And then walk away, just as he had tonight. Addison never knew how to react. It also didn’t help that he’d never bring it up again.

 

“So, what’d he say?” Derek asked from the bathroom, his mouth still full of toothpaste and spit as the toothbrush hung from his mouth.

 

“He said he used to take me and Archer out on the balcony to look at the stars with his telescope,” Addison said plainly.

 

“What’s that supposed to mean?” Derek asked before spitting into the sink.

 

“I don’t know,” Addison admitted laughing slightly as Derek rinsed his mouth.

 

“I never know with The Captain,” Addison added.

 

“Well, at least Bizzy didn’t see it. Yet,” Derek joked as he walked up closer to put his hands on her waist.

 

“I should probably just tell her before she finds it herself,” Addison chuckled as Derek gave her a quick kiss on the lips.

 

Addison then went back into the hallway and saw that the lights were out downstairs, meaning that Bizzy had already came upstairs. The guest bathroom light was still on and Addison could hear the sink running. The guest bedroom light was on as well and the door was shut but she knew that The Captain was still in the bathroom, which meant Bizzy was in the bedroom. 

 

“Bizzy,” Addison opened the guest bedroom door surprised to find Bizzy and Susan kissing. 

 

Immediately, she shut the door. It was like she was a teenager all over again catching her father and her nanny or her French tutor. The Captain was the one who did wrong but Addison always felt like she was the one in the wrong. She never knocked before she entered, she was the one who intruded. Somehow, it was always her fault. As an adult, Addison knew she wasn’t to blame. But something about growing up in the Forbes Montgomery household had that effect on her.

 

“So, what’d she say?” Derek asked while sitting up in bed with a book in his hand. 

 

Addison blinked and stared blankly back at him as she went straight for the bathroom. She felt like she was going to hurl. Or she just wanted to be alone. She couldn’t tell. All she knew was she didn’t know how to explain how she was feeling.

 

“Addison?” Derek followed her into the bathroom to find Addison sitting on the closed toilet seat, her head in her hands.

 

“Addison?” Derek asked again as he lightly brushed some of her hair and rubbed circles on her back.

 

“Addie, what happened?” Derek asked softly after letting her have a minute to cry or whatever she needed to.

 

“Susan,” Addison muttered.

 

“Susan? What about Susan?” Derek asked confused.

 

“And Bizzy,” Addison added. 

 

It was all that would come out of her. It was like she couldn’t form words anymore. Derek was confused. But whatever happened must’ve traumatized her.

 

“What the hell happened?” Derek stormed into the guest bedroom to find The Captain, Bizzy, and Susan.

 

“Excuse me,” Bizzy said in an insulted tone.

 

“What. Happened?” Derek asked slower this time to emphasize the words.

 

“You’ll have to ask Addison,” Bizzy finally said calmly. 

 

Her daughter may have just caught her and her lover, but she wasn’t going to say it out loud to her son-in-law. One that she never particularly liked either. The Captain got up and left the room. Derek watched him walk out the room and looked back at Bizzy and Susan. Neither were saying a word. The Captain, however, went all the way downstairs, mixed some drinks, and went into Derek and Addison’s bedroom, where she stood on the balcony looking out into the night sky.

 

“Drink,” The Captain handed Addison a drink from behind. Addison took the drink and did as she was told. After a big sip, she put the drink down on the coffee table beside one of the outdoor chairs.

 

Eventually, Bizzy showed up behind The Captain as well. Susan, however, stayed in the guest bedroom with Derek, who was trying to grill her into telling her what the hell was going on. 

 

“They need to sort this one out on their own,” Susan said after some time passed. 

 

It didn’t tell Derek much, but it was all Susan could muster at the moment. Regardless, Derek knew it was something big. And whatever it was would change everything for Addison. Desperate for answers, Derek went back to his and Addison’s bedroom to find Addison, The Captain, and Bizzy out on the balcony. Addison turned around after taking a big sip from her drink to see both her parents standing behind her. 

 

“Mother, I’m just…I’m so sorry about what happened. About what he did to you,” Addison started as she pulled Bizzy in for a hug. Shocked, Bizzy just froze in place.

 

“Okay, that was a mistake,” Addison set letting go as she thought out loud.

 

“Who did what to me?” Bizzy asked confused.

 

“The Captain!” Addison exclaimed.

 

“Addie,” The Captain said gently. This was going to be harder than they both thought.

 

“Addison this is not your concern,” Bizzy started. 

 

The Captain glared at her. She saw them. Addison wasn’t the type of girl who would just leave things alone.

 

“It’s not my…?” Addison scoffed.

 

“You’re my mother!” Addison exclaimed.

 

“Exactly! Let’s not discuss these things,” Bizzy replied.

 

“You can’t just leave it alone,” Derek interjected from behind them as he stepped outside to the balcony. 

 

For a minute, all they heard was the wind blowing and car engines driving out on the Santa Monica road. The Captain glared over at Bizzy, waiting for her to say something. He wanted Addison to finally know the truth, but he knew Bizzy was hesitant. She’d never even said it outloud to him before let alone their daughter.

 

“You’re wrong. About your father,” Bizzy finally said. The Captain looked relieved to hear her finally telling her the truth.

 

“I’m wrong? Bizzy, don’t -,” Addison started. She was about to say, “don’t defend him, what has he ever done for you except cheat on you multiple times with multiple women?”

 

“He drove you to kiss another woman!” Addison exclaimed. 

 

The Captain sighed and looked to the floor. This practically felt torturous. He retreated inside to Derek and Addison’s bedroom. He didn’t know how much more of this he could take. Addison was a smart girl, but you’d never know by the way she was acting right now. 

 

“Addie, I don’t…I don’t think that’s how that works,” Derek added as he caught on to what Bizzy was trying to tell her. Or at least enough of it.

 

“Susan…has been with me for 20 years,” Bizzy finally said.

 

“Yes, I know, she’s worked for us for ages which is why…,” Addison still didn’t get it.

 

“Susan has been with me for 20 years,” Bizzy said again, slower this time to try to emphasize each word.

 

Then, Derek guided Addison to sit down in one of the chairs they had out in the balcony and gestured for Bizzy to sit in the one across from them. Derek and Addison shared a seat as he rubbed circles on her back to try to calm her down. Surprisingly, Bizzy went on to explain further, how she experimented with girls when she was younger, how none of those counted. Then, she talked about Susan, how she was the first real one in a sense.

 

“Did you ever love him?” Addison asked.

 

“Bizzy, why did you marry him?” Addison laughed after Bizzy didn’t answer her first question.

 

“We’re from Connecticut!” Bizzy exclaimed. Derek chuckled a bit at her response. Like that was an explanation.

 

Addison then proceeded to call Bizzy “the cheating whore” as opposed to her father, who she usually reserved that nickname for. Bizzy got up ready to leave, saying that she wasn’t going to stay if she was going to talk that way. Derek watched as they fought it out. Judging by the way Bizzy was talking, he could tell Bizzy really loved Susan. And Addison concluded the same. Then, they heard Bizzy say she loved Addison and Archer. Addison can’t remember the last time she heard her say that. If she’d ever heard her say that.

 

Then, Bizzy said she loved The Captain. And everyone, including The Captain, who was sitting inside, knew what she meant. She wasn’t in love with him. But she loved him nonetheless. Susan, as she put it, was the one thing for her . And if Addison didn’t already feel awful, Bizzy added that her children took everything else

 

“...Until you have a child, you have no idea what it’s like to be a mother. You have no idea the sacrifices a woman makes when she has children. So don’t you dare judge me ,” Bizzy added. 

 

At the sound of that, Addison couldn’t help letting her tears finally fall. Her mother always said that she should never cry in public. Their bedroom balcony wasn’t exactly public, but she wasn’t alone either so it felt rather public. It’s not like anyone else could hear them other than maybe their closest neighbors. But even then, it was close to midnight now and other than Sam, their neighbors mostly kept to themselves.

 

The fact that Derek and Addison were actively trying to adopt made this comment hit particularly hard. And it didn’t help that they failed in trying to have their own biological baby before as well. With all the ups and downs from her and Derek’s marriage, Addison worried about what bringing a baby into the mix would do. How it would change her life and her marriage. If it would make it better or destroy it all over again. And Bizzy’s comment just scared her even more.

 

After that, Bizzy walked back inside and went back to the guest bedroom where Susan presumably was waiting for her to come back. The Captain got up from sitting on their bed and walked out on the balcony, his own drink still in his hand, and picked up Addison’s drink off the coffee table.

 

“Drink some more,” The Captain said as he handed her the drink before taking the seat across from her. Addison saw no reason to argue with that.

 

“Just give me one good reason why my entire childhood was a lie. One good reason,” Addison says as she gets up from her chair as Derek stays seated. 

 

“We were trying to protect you and Archer,” The Captain says. Though, it’s not very convincing.

 

“Really? That’s a bunch of crap, protecting us. I want a good reason,” Addison says as she raises her voice.

 

“She’s the love of my life,” The Captain says. Addison scoffs back in response.

 

The Captain then goes on to talk about his and Bizzy’s marriage. Their now 40-year marriage. Bizzy is all he knows and despite her being in love with someone else, it doesn’t change how he feels. Neither of them knew about Bizzy’s sexuality when they got together let alone when they got married. He called Bizzy his best friend and his everything.

 

From everything that Addison has seen from her father, she never expected this. He’d always been cold, mysterious, brilliant. She’d never seen the softer side of him before. Despite his misguided feelings, he was in love with her. Hopelessly and irretrievably in love with her. She would never love him the same way back but his feelings were persistent nonetheless. Hearing him say all this made Addison wonder if he was the reason why she was such a hopeless romantic. It must be, she couldn’t help but think.

 

“Love is complicated,” The Captain said finishing his speech.

 

“Being a lesbian is not a choice. She’s not going to change her mind,” Addison found it ridiculous that she had to say this out loud. 

 

“Hell, she’s practically screwing Susan right under your nose!” Addison started to shout. 

 

“The mouth on you, you know,” The Captain sighed as Addison paced to the other side of the balcony taking another big sip from her drink.

 

Derek found himself getting up from the chair. He didn’t know what to do to calm her down, but he knew he couldn’t just sit and watch anymore. But he also didn’t know what to say so he just stood there frozen in place watching this argument unfold between his wife and father-in-law. 

 

“...This is like some pathetic, sad, after-school special, which is just awful. I mean, ‘cause now, now I hate you both,” Addison said as she started walking back inside toward their bedroom.

 

The Captain sighed and lay his head low. Derek stayed standing there, feeling like an idiot. Like there was some part of that argument where he could’ve interjected, said something to make it better. But the truth was that there was nothing to say that would’ve made it better. 

 

“I think it’s time for you to go. All of you,” Derek finally said after Addison went back inside.

 

“And then what?” The Captain asked honestly.

 

“I don’t know,” Derek said.

 

“You think there’s any way to fix this?” The Captain asked as he stood up.

 

“I don’t know,” Derek said again.

 

“I hope so,” Derek added.

 

The Captain nodded and solemnly walked back inside and walked towards the guest bedroom. He told Bizzy, and Susan who was still there, that it was time for them to go, just as Derek said. The Captain said he’d call Wilson, their pilot, and they’d all catch a flight back to Connecticut in the morning. But for now, they couldn’t stay in Derek and Addison’s home. Without any protests, the women agreed, picked up their bags, and all three of them went downstairs and left.

 

“Addie,” Derek said softly as Addison finally came out of the bathroom. 

 

She changed out of her pencil skirt and blouse and was now wearing one of Derek’s t-shirts and a pair of pajama shorts. Despite Derek calling her name, Addison stayed silent. Instead, she climbed into bed and turned her back away from him. 

 

Derek sighed knowing that she didn’t want to talk about it. Yet. Instead of trying to get her to talk again, he just turned off the lights and crawled into bed beside her and wrapped an arm around her. When he tightened his grip around her ever so slightly, he felt her shoulders drop a bit to relax. But Addison’s breath was still unsteady. She was crying but trying so hard not to. 

 

“Shhh, it’s okay,” Derek said into her ear as he held her close.

 

As Addison cried, Derek kept holding her tight until the tears subsided and her breathing grew steadier. Eventually, his grip loosened as he fell asleep and while it took longer for Addison, she eventually fell asleep too. In the morning, neither said a word as they got ready for work. They didn’t need to. 

 

When they got downstairs, Derek started making breakfast as Addison brewed the coffee. Then, the doorbell rang. Both looked at each other and considering the fact that Derek was over a hot stove, Addison made her way to the front door.

 

“Susan,” Addison said surprised, her voice slightly coarse. A result of her crying combined with the fact that she hadn’t said a word since last night.

 

“We’re leaving, all of us,” Susan informed her. Addison stayed silent.

 

“Bizzy never meant to hurt you. I tried to get her to leave, I was the selfish one, I…wanted more. But she wouldn’t leave her children. That should count for something,” Susan explained. 

 

“We’re flying out at 11,” Susan finally said after Addison continued not to say anything.

 

It did count for something. Addison just didn’t know what to say. How to say it. They all loved each other despite the arrogance, WASP talk, and/or outspoken tendencies. But they never said it. Not like the Shepherd family where the hugs, kisses, and I-love-you’s were constant during every get-together. With Bizzy and The Captain, it was implied. But when you’re a kid and don’t hear your parents tell you they love you, it takes a toll. The Forbes Montgomery curse, as Derek called it once. 

 

Later that morning, Derek took the morning off and went with Addison to the office instead of St. Ambrose like he normally would. He sat in the morning meeting as everyone else spoke. Addison said a few words about her patients that day, but nothing more. The rest of the office had their attention on Pete, who came up to visit. Apparently, Lucas rolled over for the first time so pictures were being passed. Addison even cracked a smile when she saw the pictures and inevitable video Pete brought along as well.

 

“You know, you’re free at 11,” Derek said nonchalantly. He knew that if he pushed too hard, she might just push him away.

 

“And?” Addison pretended like she didn’t know what he was talking about as she worked through some paperwork.

 

“Addie,” Derek said softly. At this, she looked up at him.

 

“You’ll never forgive yourself if you don’t at least try,” Derek said, grabbing onto one of her hands and squeezing it tight.

 

Addison squeezed it back and sighed. She knew he was right. Later, she saw The Captain, Susan, and Bizzy at the private airport. She sat down next to Bizzy and asked if she complained to Wilson about her flight over. She didn’t, so Addison offered to do it for her. They didn’t say much but the sentiment was there. They talked about the flight but both could read between the lines. Addison wouldn’t be here if she didn’t care. And Bizzy wouldn’t be on the verge of tears if it didn’t mean anything. And for now, that was enough.

Chapter Text

Now that The Captain and Bizzy went back home, Derek and Addison went back to work. Addison focused on her work at the practice as Derek continued expanding St. Ambrose. Both internally and externally. It took some convincing but Derek got the board to put in the money to build out the hospital’s surgical wings. This way, they’d have the physical space to teach surgical residents. But the construction was just the first step. Derek knew that there was a lot of work left to be done.

 

The new proposed changes included a brand new burn center, which Mark appreciated, some additional ORs for more surgeries, and some lab areas for future interns and residents to practice. It was a lot of change and a lot of money, but Derek’s vision was starting to get clearer. And his confidence and conviction so far convinced everyone at St. Ambrose that he would succeed in making St. Ambrose into an even better hospital. It’d just take some time for it to fully come to fruition.

 

“This knockin’s drivin’ me crazy,” Charlotte said as she got some files out from the drawer of her desk. 

 

“Yeah, they’re gonna be here for another two weeks,” Derek sighed.

 

“This better be worth it, Shepherd,” Charlotte said before leaving to get back to Oceanside Wellness.

 

That’s what he was scared of. There was a lot on the line. His career, his reputation, and this entire hospital. He’d never done anything like this before, but it was something he was passionate about. All he wanted was to prove himself. And this was his ticket to the big leagues. He thought he could ask Richard for his advice but he was apparently too busy with this big merger with Mercy West coming up. 

 

“Yeah, I'll talk to you tomorrow,” Addison said on the phone as Derek hung up his jacket.

 

“Who was that?” Derek asked before leaning down to give his wife a quick kiss as she sat laid out on the couch.

 

“Callie,” Addison said.

 

“Did Richard tell you about this merger?” Addison asked.

 

“Yeah, he did. Why?” Derek asked. 

 

It was true. When Derek called Richard for his advice, Richard made his feelings very clear. He wanted Derek and Addison back in Seattle. Things weren’t perfect in LA but it was getting there. For a while, they sunk back into their previous patterns of pretending to be happy together. Or at least focusing on what made them happy when they were together and ignoring their problems. But they’d gotten past that now. And now, things felt pretty close to perfect for them. So, when Richard asked him if they could come back, Derek refused.

 

He wasn’t happy about it, but he understood. Sort of. Things with him and Adele weren’t great either as they were separated and had been for a while now. Eventually, it would lead to a divorce, which Richard didn’t want. But he also seemed unwilling to fight for her. When Derek told Addison this part of their conversation, Addie called Richard to convince him to call Adele and work things out. Even if Adele didn’t take him back, Addison convinced him that he needed to at least try. Richard took her advice and Adele, according to him, was still thinking about it. But it was a start.

 

With all of Seattle Grace’s staffing and money problems, Richard thought Mercy West was the answer. It seemed to be the only way to keep Seattle Grace afloat. But it also meant a lot of changes were coming.

 

“They’re laying off like half of the doctors,” Addison said.

 

Half ? Are you sure?” Derek asked stunned. He knew layoffs were coming but he didn’t think there’d be that many.

 

“Yeah, they just went through the first round of layoffs, and Callie’s girlfriend said that they fired three-quarters of one of the residency classes,” Addison explained.

 

“Richard told me about the merger and the layoffs, but three-quarters ?” Derek asked still stunned by the sheer amount of layoffs.

 

“Yeah. And you know, Callie’s looking for another job. I mean, she quit Seattle Grace because of Richard just for Mercy West to get bought out by Seattle Grace,” 

 

“Wow,” Derek sighed. He knew things were bad financially back in Seattle. But he didn’t realize it was that bad.

 

“So, what’s she gonna do?” Derek asked.

 

“Funny you should ask that,” Addison said.

 

“What? Funny how?” Derek caught onto Addison’s suspicious comment.

 

“Well ‘cause I told her she should come out here,” Addison added after a minute.

 

Derek’s ears perked up as he saw her smiling widely back at him. He couldn’t help but smile wider back. 

 

“What’d she say?” Derek couldn’t help but ask.

 

“She said she was looking at taking a job in Portland but since I was asking…,” Addison teased, letting Derek wait a little longer for the answer. Derek tilted his head closer waiting for her to finish her sentence.

 

“She’d strongly consider it,” Addison smiled.

 

“Have I told you how much I love you?” Derek teased as he walked closer to her. 

 

“Yeah?” Addison asked coyly.

 

Derek then took Addison in his arms and pulled her in for a passionate kiss before picking her up to take her upstairs. After they had their fun, they called for takeout and decided to have dinner in bed. Addison told him about her cases that day as Derek talked out his problems of trying to build out St. Ambrose and its reputation. It wasn’t an easy task, and they both knew that going into this. But Derek was determined to make it work. He saw real potential in St. Ambrose and the doctors he worked with were exceptional. Talking through his ideas and getting Addie’s input helped him figure out what he wanted to do. 

 

The next day, Derek came out of the scrub room after a craniotomy to find Addison waiting outside with two coffee cups in her hands.

 

“Hey,” Derek said giving her a quick kiss before taking one of the coffees out of her hand.

 

“What are you doing here?” Derek asked.

 

“Emergency c-section,” Addison replied as they both started walking arm-in-arm toward the nurse’s station.

 

“Plus, I have some good news for you,” Addison said suspiciously.

 

“What kind of good news?” Derek asked curiously as he went to fill in his patient’s charts.

 

“Callie called,” Addison said as she looked over his shoulder just as he finished filling out the chart.

 

“What’d she say?” Derek asked anxiously as he turned around to fully faced her.

 

“She’s in,” Addison smiled putting her arms around her neck.

 

Derek matched her smile and leaned in for a long, passionate kiss. They were like two teenagers making out in the hospital. It could’ve been anything. Something about the adoption, her family, the hospital. Anything. Derek was hoping it was something about the adoption, especially since they hadn’t gotten any news for months. They almost got a baby last time but the birth mother chose someone else. And it was heartbreaking. But it didn’t deter them from still wanting a baby. The news about Callie, however, was still good news. Plus, he knew it’d make Addison happy to have another friendly face around.

 

“You coulda at least gone into an on-call room or somethin’, you know?” Charlotte said catching the two kissing.

 

“It’s nice to see you too, Charlotte,” Addison said giggling.

 

“Plus, you’d be kissing me too if you knew what she just told me,” Derek joked.

 

“I might be kinky but I don’t need to know what you two do behind closed doors,” Charlotte joked laughing along.

 

“No, I mean, Addie got us an ortho attending,” Derek laughed.

 

“What do you mean?” Charlotte asked, now intrigued by what the neurosurgeon had to say.

 

“Our friend, Callie Torres, is coming to work here at St. Ambrose,” Addison filled her in.

 

“And she’s a great orthopedic surgeon,” Derek added.

 

“And in high demand,” Addison added.

 

“What do you mean by in high demand ?” Charlotte asked suspiciously. 

 

“She’s the one everyone called when they needed an ortho resident at Seattle Grace,” Derek explained.

 

“Alright,” Charlotte said impressed.

 

“So, now we have a new neuro, plastics, and ortho,” Charlotte gathered. 

 

“Yup,” Derek said, proud of the progress they were making.

 

They still had a long way to go in terms of great surgical attendings, but they were in a good place. They already had a few great attendings that Derek knew would take St. Ambrose to the next level. Other than just Derek, Mark, Charlotte, and now Callie, they had plenty of great ER/trauma doctors on staff as well as some other great attendings like general surgeon Dr. Allison Hernandez, trauma surgeon Dr. Joseph Amari, perinatologist and neonatologist Dr. Vanessa Hoyt, and many more. Callie would make the perfect addition.

After that, Charlotte’s pager started going off. With that, Derek and Addison followed her to the ER to check out what was going on. Addison didn’t officially work at St. Ambrose but she was always intrigued by the ER. And today of all days, it was a good thing she followed them because Charlotte needed an OB anyway. 

 

“It hurts,” The young female patient exclaimed, holding onto her pregnant belly.

 

“That’s because you’re in labor sweetheart,” Charlotte said gathering the information from the residents.

 

Apparently, this teenager was heading toward the hospital already. And she had a contraction that caused her to collapse right as she was getting closer to the doors. Again, Addison didn’t directly work for St. Ambrose but Oceanside Wellness still worked with the hospital on a regular basis. So, she didn’t mind lending a hand whenever she could.

 

“Montgomery, we could use your help,” Charlotte said gesturing for her to come over.

 

“Hi there, I’m Dr. Montgomery,” Addison said after she reached the patient on a gurney.

 

“I need an ultrasound, please,” Addison said referring to the residents around her.

 

“What’s your name, ‘hon?” Charlotte asked as Addison set up the ultrasound.

 

“Um…Riley,” the girl said, her hands clutching onto the sides of the gurney.

 

“Riley, do you have someone we can call?” Charlotte asked.

 

“No,” Riley said. This teenage girl was alone. No baby daddy, no parents. And clearly scared. Both Charlotte and Addison couldn’t help but sympathize with her.

 

“Alright, Riley, this is gonna be a little cold but we’re just gonna check on the baby,” Addison said gently. After checking the baby, they saw that Riley was in labor. However, it’d still be hours before delivery.

 

“Riley, we’re gonna get you into a room and you’re gonna have this baby, okay?” Addison said as everyone started wheeling her towards a private room.

 

“But I’m not…I can’t do this. I’m not ready,” Riley said.

 

“Yes, you can,” Addison reassured her.

 

“We’ve got you,” Addison added as they got into the hospital room.

 

After that, Addison called Dell to come down to help with the delivery. She’d gotten used to having him around and he was turning out to be a great midwife. And he loved getting to assist in more deliveries, and not just because of the hours. He learned a lot from Addison and while he had a thing for Naomi for a long time, even he had to admit that Addison’s cases were usually much more interesting. And he learned a lot more that way. 

 

“Riley, this is Dell, he’s just gonna take a look, alright?” Addison asked gently once Dell got to the room wearing a pair of blue scrubs. 

 

OBs usually wore pink ones but Dell asked if he could wear the same ones as the rest of the medical residents. Considering how helpful he was in getting the practice back into the green, Addison convinced Charlotte to let him wear them.

 

Riley still had some time before she could push, so Addison and Dell spent the day checking on her in intervals. She kept trying to insist she was fine and she even tried to leave St. Ambrose a few times. But she never got far. She was worried about how she’d pay for everything but Charlotte reassured her that it was taken care of. She got in touch with a social worker and they had a conversation that was enough to calm her. 

 

In between checking on her, Addison helped Dell study for his midwifery classes. Plus, he hadn’t told anyone yet, but Dell was applying to med school. And Addison happily wrote him a recommendation letter, one that she hadn’t given him yet. Mostly because his application wasn’t finished just yet. Plus, she wanted to surprise him because he had no idea she was writing him one. Dell had his sights on UCLA so that he could still live close by and he wouldn’t have to uproot his life with his daughter, Betsey. 

 

Speaking of Betsey, the rest of the practice finally met her a few months back when his regular sitter came down with the flu. To Addison’s (and later Derek’s) surprise, no one even knew he had a daughter. The rest of the doctors at the practice had worked with Dell for years and yet no one had any idea. He told everyone how his high school girlfriend, Heather, got pregnant when he was 17. Then, they tried to make it work, with a baby girl and school, but Heather’s addiction got the better of her. She OD’d when Betsey was only two.

 

After that, Dell applied to any and every job he could to support his daughter. Then, he found Oceanside Wellness. He wanted to get into the medical field anyway and the fact that he found Naomi attractive was a definite plus. And the job paid him well enough to only need one job as opposed to two. With a flexible schedule on top of that, Dell could work, get some midwifery hours in, and still see his daughter when he came home at the end of the night.

 

Later that afternoon, Addison and Dell’s patient, Riley, finally reached ten centimeters, meaning it was finally time for her to start pushing. About halfway through, Riley kept pushing as she was told but something was wrong.

 

“Addison,” Dell said gesturing to her to look at Riley’s progress.

 

“What? What’s wrong?” Riley asked panicking.

 

“Everything’s alright, your baby’s shoulder is just a little stuck so I’m gonna need to free his shoulder,” Addison said calmly. 

 

“He’s stuck?!” The woman exclaimed. 

 

“How are you gonna get him out? Do you have to like, yank him or something?” The girl asked clearly distraught.

 

“No, no, we’re not going to yank him out,” Addison said trying to keep her tone as calm and professional as possible. 

 

In all honesty, the question humored her. And disturbed her just slightly. But I guess silly questions like that were expected when trying to get a 16-year-old girl through labor.

 

“How are you gonna get him if he’s stuck?” Riley asked panting from exhaustion.

 

“I’m gonna push down hard on your belly while you push and it’ll free his shoulder,” Addison explained moving over to her side.

 

“Yeah, it’s called the wood screw maneuver,” Dell added. Addison couldn’t help but smile hearing Dell say the correct term. He really had been studying hard and putting the work in. 

 

“But he’ll be okay?” Riley asked. 

 

“Yes,” Addison confirmed.

 

She decided it wouldn’t be the best idea to tell her right now that it could crack or even break the baby’s clavicle. But this wasn’t Addison’s first case of doing the wood screw maneuver. It was, however, Dell’s first time. He’d seen it done in instructional videos and through textbook readings. But seeing and assisting in the real thing was different. 

 

“Alright, I’m gonna need you to really bear down and push for us, okay?” Addison coached her patient as she gestured for Dell to move over to catch the baby.

 

“Okay,” Their patient said as she proceeded to push as hard as she could.

 

Addison pushed down hard on their patient’s belly as the girl continued pushing. She screamed out in agony as both women pushed. After a few more, they heard the baby cry as Dell got him out.

 

“Is he okay?” The girl asked out of breath.

 

“He’s great,” Dell said smiling as he cut the umbilical cord and started cleaning up the baby. As he did, the baby’s cries started to subside.

 

“You did great, Riley,” Addison said as she helped Dell check on the baby.

 

“Is he okay?” Dell asked quietly. He didn’t want to worry Riley.

 

“He’s fine,” Addison said after checking the baby. His clavicle might be a bit cracked but he’d be fine. Babies heal fast.

 

With Addison spending her day at St. Ambrose for a change, Derek and Addison decided to go out for dinner tonight. It’d been a while since they had a proper date night out. There was this new sushi restaurant out on the marina that Addison mentioned seeing in the newspaper once so that’s where they went. As they were leaving the restaurant, Addison got a call from Callie.

 

“Hey, what’s up,” Addison answered the phone as Derek grabbed her coat hanging on her seat.

 

“Hey, you remember that girl, Arizona, that I told you about?” Callie asked.

 

“You mean, your girlfriend ?” Addison asked teasingly.

 

“Yes, my girlfriend,” Callie laughed back.

 

“She wants me to stay at Seattle Grace with her, but I don’t think I can. Not after what happened with Richard. And it’s like a bomb’s about to drop here,” Callie added referring to the upcoming Mercy West merger.

 

“Well, you know, Derek’s been looking for more surgeons to add to his list of attendings,” Addison teased.

 

“...Any chance he’s looking for a peds surgeon?” Callie asked almost jokingly. It’d be great for both of them to work in LA with Derek and Addison. But it was a lot to ask.

 

“I’m sure he’d love to bring on a great peds surgeon,” Addison said, making sure Derek heard her.

 

“Yes, a hundred percent yes,” Derek took the phone out of her hand. Addison just laughed in response happy to see how excited he was.

 

“Are you serious?” Callie asked, well aware it was Derek at the other end now. She didn’t think either of them would take her seriously.

 

“Yes,” Derek said.

 

“If you’re saying she’s good, I trust your judgment,” Derek continued.

 

“And we really need you and a great peds surgeon,” Derek added.

 

“She’s great. One of the best. She did her residency at John Hopkins and was doing her surgical fellowship here…,” Callie started listing her qualifications.

 

“I get it,” Derek stopped her chuckling.

 

“She sounds great. And we would love to have her here,” Derek said.

 

“Really?” Callie asked excitedly.

 

“Yes, just get your asses down here,” Derek joked. After that, Addison took her phone back.

 

“Oh my God, you’re the best!” Callie exclaimed

 

“I know,” Addison joked. Callie laughed along after realizing her friend took her phone back from her husband. But Derek was still close enough to hear the conversation in full.

 

“I don’t know how to thank you guys,” Callie said.

 

“Just say yes to a double date and you can consider us even,” Addison added as Derek hugged her tightly in excitement while she kept the phone up to her ear.

 

“You’ve got yourself a deal!” Callie said as she started happy dancing in her apartment.


“Alright, I’ll talk to you later,” Addison laughed before they said their goodbyes.

 

“You really are the best,” Derek said, pulling his wife closer to him.

 

Addison closed the gap between him and kissed him sweetly. After that, they left the restaurant and went home. Addison barely even got into the front door before Derek swept her up and carried her up to their bedroom. Everything was finally falling into place. 

 

Prospects of St. Ambrose being a more reputable hospital were really shaping up and it was really a team effort. And Derek and Addison were on the same page when it came to their desires to grow their family. They were still getting restless about the waiting game of the adoption process, but both believed they’d get their baby. They’d just have to wait a little bit longer to get everything they wanted.

Chapter Text

A week later, Callie and Arizona arrived in LA. Before they got there, Addison gave them her realtor’s number so they could find their own place. When they arrived at the airport, Addison met them at the airport. Derek would’ve joined them, but there was apparently a big car accident, so he had to stay at St. Ambrose instead.

 

“Callie!” Addison exclaimed when she saw her emerge from the crowd.

 

“Addison!” Callie matched her enthusiasm as she walked quicker to hug her.

 

“And you must be Arizona,” Addison said after they let go of their embrace. 

 

“Arizona Robbins. Nice to meet you,” Arizona said, shaking Addison’s hand.

 

“I can’t believe this is really happening,” Arizona couldn’t help but say.

 

“I know,” Callie said excitedly. 

 

“I’ve been wanting you guys to meet for like, forever,” Callie exaggerated.

 

“You know, she knew I was bi before I did?” Callie directed the question to Arizona as they started walking towards the exit.

 

“How?” Arizona asked giggling.

 

“She sounded like a 13-year-old with a crush when she talked about Erica,” Addison informed her, referring to Dr. Erica Hahn.

 

“It’s true,” Callie confirmed.

 

“What did you say about the vagina monologues again?” Callie asked, laughing.

 

“The what ?” Arizona laughed along.

 

“I asked if you were speaking the vagina monologues,” Addison giggled.

 

Eventually, the three of them made their way out of the airport. When they got in Addison’s car, Arizona gave her the address of her new apartment. After that, they’d go to Callie’s apartment. Before they left, they talked about if they should move in together. But at this point, they’d only been together for a few months. It felt too soon to live together. If they did, it’d be too much pressure. So, they decided they’d live separately. And if their relationship survived after a year of being together, they’d reevaluate.

 

“So, Callie said you went to Hopkins?” Addison asks as she pulls out of the parking lot.

 

“Yeah, I finished my residency there before I got to Seattle Grace,” Arizona confirmed.

 

“You know, Derek has a sister that’s going there. Or was. She just started her fellowship,” Addison said, thinking of Amy.

 

“Any chance you know Amy? Shepherd?” Addison asked.

 

“Do you mean Amelia?” Arizona asked.

 

“Amelia, right. She goes by Amelia now,” Addison said, making a mental note to make sure she’d remember.

 

“Yeah, I know her. She’s great. She was my intern for a while before I transferred to Seattle,” Arizona said.

 

“So, what do we need to know about LA?” Callie asked as Addison drove.

 

“The weather’s nicer,” Addison chuckled.

 

“Well, that was a given,” Arizona commented.

 

“Right, well I don’t know, it’s more…relaxed here,” Addison said, not knowing what else to say.

 

“You tellin’ me you’re Zen now?” Callie joked.

 

“Maybe a little bit,” Addison giggled.

 

Eventually, they made it to Arizona’s apartment. It was a nice quaint place, and the beach was close enough to walk to. She didn’t have the beach as the backyard like Addison, but she would have a pretty nice view of the sunset from her bedroom.

 

“I could definitely get used to this view,” Arizona observed the sun coming from the bedroom window.

 

“Yeah, this is gorgeous,” Callie commented.

 

After they explored Arizona’s new apartment for a bit and left her luggage in the bedroom, their next stop was Callie’s place. It was a few blocks away and was relatively similar. They toured the apartment, as they did before, and then Addison drove them to St. Ambrose to check out the hospital. 

 

Meanwhile, Derek was swamped at St. Ambrose. There’d been a big pile-up a few exits away and while he’d normally love a busy ER, he was playing administrator rather than surgeon today. And with the construction still ongoing, things were chaotic, to say the least. Plus, they had another neurosurgeon on call. With everything going on, Charlotte needed Derek’s help by delegating rather than operating.

 

“Please, he won’t stop crying,” Riley whined to the nurse at the nurse’s station as the baby in her arms cried and squirmed.

 

“I’m sorry. Will you hold on for a second?” The nurse was clearly busy with phone calls from people calling in to see if their loved ones were involved in the big accident.

 

Luckily, Derek caught sight of the young girl struggling with the baby. With things starting to settle down for now, he decided it’d be best to help the poor girl. She was young, alone, and didn’t seem to know what she was doing.

 

“Hi, can I help you with something?” Derek asked, gently placing a hand on the girl’s shoulder as the baby continued to cry.

 

“He won’t stop crying!” Riley said, clearly exasperated. 

 

“Here, why don’t you let me take a look?” Derek offered, holding his arms out. Riley happily handed over the baby.

 

“Hey there, kiddo,” Derek cooed at the baby, rocking him back and forth in his arms. As he did, the baby started to calm down a bit and rested his head on Derek’s shoulder, his face still wet with tears.

 

“What’s his name?” He directed his question at the girl.

 

“He doesn’t have one…” Riley said awkwardly.

 

“I’ve just been calling him, baby,” Riley admitted quietly.

 

“I don’t know what to do. He’s too little and I…I don’t think I can do this,” Riley felt tears coming but tried not to cry. 

 

“Hey, it’s okay,” Derek placed a hand softly on her shoulder again while balancing the baby with his other arm. 

 

“Have you thought about adoption?” Derek asked as the baby’s cries started to calm down.

 

“What? Like, when you pick a family from the PennySaver?” Riley asked.

 

“The what?” Derek asked. He clearly didn’t get the movie reference.

 

“The PennySaver. You know, like from Juno ?” Riley asked. 

 

“Oh. Uh…no,” Derek chuckled.

 

“In the real world, there are agencies that find parents who want to adopt babies,” Derek explained. 

 

“What if he ends up with a crappy family, though?” Riley asked.

 

“No, these agencies screen families so that babies will end up in nice, loving families to raise your baby,” Derek continued.

 

“In fact, my wife’s practice works with an adoption agency. I can get you in touch with them if you’d like,” Derek added. 

 

A few months prior, Dell convinced Addison (and Sam and Naomi) that it’d be a good idea to start working with an adoption agency. With the amount of money it’d bring to the practice, they couldn’t refute that it was a good idea. And they even had a mostly successful test case, minus a little hiccup after the baby was born.

 

“But for what it’s worth, I think you could be a great mother,” Derek added. 

 

He didn’t want her to think that he saw her as a failing mother. Because he didn’t. She was doing the best she could, but by the looks of it, whatever she was doing wasn’t working. And not just because of how young the girl was. Her hair was greasy, her clothes were filthy, and Derek could even see specks of filth on her face. 

 

It wasn’t blatantly obvious, but up close, he could tell she’d been living on the streets, at a homeless shelter, or both. And that was no place for a newborn baby. But he wasn’t about to point that out to a girl who clearly needed help. One that probably wasn’t homeless by choice.

 

“So, these agencies,” Riley started.

 

“Like, what exactly do they do?” Riley asked eagerly.

 

Derek then went on to describe how the adoption process worked. She continued asking questions that were admittedly a bit ridiculous. But she was a teenager who was clearly never counseled by a doctor beforehand about her options. After she finished asking her questions, Derek gave her a card for Oceanside Wellness, gave her the name of the adoption agency they worked with, and told her how the rest of the process would go. Or at least the parts he knew about. 

 

When Riley told him she didn’t have a phone to use, Derek offered the phone at the nurse’s station. He would’ve stayed with her longer, but things in the ER were starting to pick up again. The baby was calm now and half asleep by now, and Derek handed him over, knowing that things would eventually be okay for Riley in the end.

 

As Derek and Charlotte struggled to juggle their responsibilities at St. Ambrose, Addison, Callie, and Arizona finally arrived. And Derek and Charlotte were relieved, to say the least. They could use both an ortho and a peds surgeon. 

 

“Hey,” Addison caught her husband as he rushed around the busy ER. 

 

“Oh, hey,” Derek said, surprised. The ER was so busy he didn’t notice her and the other doctors come in. 

 

“Arizona Robbins, Derek Shepherd,” Addison gestured as she introduced the two.

 

“And you remember Callie, of course,” Addison added. 

 

“Hi, nice to meet you. Callie, good to see you,” Derek said, shaking both of their hands, respectively.

 

“Any chance you guys can start now?” Derek asked, his voice slightly out of breath. He’d been running around all day dealing with everyone in the ER, as well as checking in with the construction crew periodically. 

 

“Like now now?” Callie asked.

 

“Yeah, we could use your help,” Derek confirmed.

 

“There’s a kid who’s having trouble breathing in bed four over there,” Derek pointed.

 

“And a broken leg over in bed three,” Derek pointed again to a man laying down with a brace holding his leg in place, clearly still in pain. 

 

“Got it,” Arizona and Callie said simultaneously before heading over to their prospective ER beds.

 

“Anything I can help with?” Addison asked, gently putting a hand on his shoulder. He looked exhausted and out of breath.

 

“I don’t think we’ve gotten any pregnant patients yet,” Derek thought for a moment. It’d been a pretty hectic day already.

 

“No, I mean for you,” Addison rubbed part of Derek’s shoulder with her thumb. 

 

“I’m fine,” Derek waved her off, still thinking about what else had to be done to keep the ER in order.

 

“No, you’re not. You’re practically out of breath. You need to sit down for a minute and drink some water,” Addison insisted.

 

Then she grabbed hold of one of his hands before leading him to sit down. After he sat down, Addison got up to get him a cup of water.

 

“Drink. Breathe,” Addison instructed. Derek did as he was told.

 

“Thanks,” Derek said, his voice sounding more even now.

 

“I know it’s hectic today, but you need to take care of yourself too,” Addison said. Derek nodded before taking another sip of water.

 

“If not for you, then for me,” Addison jokes, making him crack a smile. 

 

“Deal?” Addison asked. 

 

“Deal,” Derek agreed. 

 

“Finish that before you get back to work,” Addison pointed to the half-filled cup of water before giving him a quick kiss. 

 

“I’ll see you later. And call me if you need an extra hand here,” Addison added before leaving.

 

“I love you,” Derek raised his voice as she walked away. She blew a kiss back before disappearing around the corner.

 

The busyness of the ER finally died down a couple of hours later, thankfully. Injured patients for the help they needed, the ORs were full, and while a big accident wasn’t something to celebrate, it did, however, make the board happy. 

 

And with all the work and money Derek was putting into building St. Ambrose’s reputation, as well as expanding the overall hospital, things were looking up. But despite the hectic day, Derek, per Addison’s advice, made sure to take short breaks to breathe and hydrate in between the chaos. 

 

“You know, when Addison told us about this hospital, we didn’t realize such a small place would be so busy,” Callie said, catching Derek in the hallway.

 

“Yeah, it comes in waves,” Derek said.

 

“Hey,” Arizona greeted them as she rounded the corner.

 

“Your residents are great. No wonder you believe in this place,” Arizona said after giving her girlfriend a quick kiss.

 

“Yeah, they are,” Callie agreed, also impressed by the St. Ambrose doctors.

 

“Thank you. We’re still a little short-staffed, but I appreciate you guys coming out here,” Derek said. 

 

“Of course,” Callie said.

 

“After everything Addison’s done for me, I’d do anything for her,” Callie added.

 

In Seattle, just like how Callie was Addison’s only friend, she was the same for Callie. Izzie made it hard for her, with her possessive behavior toward George, which also extended to the other interns. And it made it hard for her to make friends. Addison was the only one that didn’t let it phase her. And their case of a stillborn baby only brought them closer.

 

“Hey,” Mark caught up to them as he got out of the OR.

 

“You two must be the new transplants,” Mark referred to Callie and Arizona walking alongside Derek.

 

“Callie Torres, Arizona Robbins, Mark Sloan,” Derek gestured as he introduced the three.

 

“My pleasure,” Mark jokingly took a small bow.

 

“Oh, so you’re Mark,” Callie said. Addison told her about him. She knew better than to fall for his womanizing ways. 

 

“Watch out for him,” Derek joked before they went their separate ways.

 

After another two weeks, St. Ambrose hospital’s construction finally finished up. The construction guys ran into some plumbing problems, postponing the completion date by another week. But everyone was relieved that the noise and closed corridors were finally over. 

 

Callie and Arizona settled into their new lives nicely, as Derek’s plans for the surgical residency program started. He, Charlotte, and the board went through the process of recognizing the program with the Medical Accreditation Association as a legitimate program. Thankfully, some interested med students applied after they marketed the new program online. Paired with the impressive new doctors and building expansions, their new program was almost ready to start. 

 

When Derek came home at three in the morning yet again, Addison convinced Charlotte to give him a night off. He needed a break and, more importantly, some sleep, after months of working himself ragged. Plus, Addison missed having someone in bed next to her. And when Addison told him that last detail, Derek agreed it’d be nice to have a night off to be with his wife. 

 

Plus, he didn’t want to fall into the same pattern he did back in New York. Mark and Addison’s affair may have been why he left, but he knew that it didn’t just happen overnight. He’d been working nonstop in New York too. No wonder Addison got lonely. While he, Mark, and Addison were all on good terms now, he didn’t want to give them a reason to repeat that mistake. And he definitely didn’t want his wife to feel like he didn’t love her anymore. Which, admittedly, is how he made her feel in New York after years of being dismissive.

 

On Derek’s night off, he and Addison went out for dinner for a change at a nice restaurant and even asked Callie and Arizona on that double date they owed them. It’d been a while since he dressed up for dinner, since New York, actually. And back then, he dreaded it. But now, he was happy. Now, he looked forward to it. And when he saw Addison in a skin-tight, long-sleeved, black dress with a large slit in the back. It showed off her fit figure well, and she looked incredible. 

 

“Wow,” Derek said as Addison descended the stairs.

 

“Thanks,” Addison blushed as she finished putting on her earrings.

 

“You don’t look so bad yourself,” Addison added.

 

Derek wore a very light gray suit with a tucked white dress shirt and a loose black tie hanging around his neck. He shaved a little more tonight after letting his facial hair grow more over the past few weeks from sheer exhaustion. His dark hair had specks of gray hair in them, but his eyes were still a deep blue, matching the ocean in their backyard. 

 

After Addison finished messing with her earrings and putting on her designer shoes, she walked up to help adjust his tie. As she did, it surprised her to feel his arm wrap around her waist, pulling her closer until their lips touched. After letting the moment hang in the air for a few more minutes. Then, they both made their way out to the car and met Callie and Arizona at the restaurant, who also both looked beautiful, all dressed up. 

 

It was a nice, quiet night, and Derek finally felt fully relaxed for the first time in months. The conversation was light and fun. They all traded stories about their tiresome and ambitious residency days. Derek asked Arizona about Amelia and she raved about how great of an intern she was. She was smart, focused, and ambitiously fierce. And she clearly looked up to her brother as she focused on specializing in neuro. Callie and Addison unsurprisingly found common ground when talking about their childhoods. Addison’s trust fund was much larger than Callie’s, but their experiences with hired help and family friends had a familiar feel to them.

 

Derek and Arizona teased, and the whole night in its entirety was a nice relief from all the pressure that’d been weighing down on Derek’s shoulders over the past few months. The hospital was in great shape: the construction was over and the surgical residency program was about to start the next few weeks. 

 

When Derek and Addison came home, Derek swooped her up in his arms and carried her upstairs. It’d been a perfect evening. And making sure his wife knew how much he loved and appreciated her only made it better. However, Derek didn’t end up getting a full night’s worth of sleep like Addison and he both wanted. At almost two AM, the phone rang.

 

“Hello?” Addison answered the phone as Derek groaned, checking the clock.

 

“Excuse me? Yes, yeah, okay,” Addison sat up immediately. Derek was still half asleep, but feeling her jerk upward caught his attention. She too liked getting her sleep, so it had to be something important if she was getting up for it.


“We’ll be right there,” Addison said before hearing the other end hang up.

 

“You do see the time, don’t you?” Derek asked, his eyes still shut.

 

“Derek, get up. We have to go.” Addison gently pulled the blanket off him, which she knew he hated. But she also knew it was the best way to wake him up in a hurry.

 

“Why” Derek groaned, turning over to face her as he rubbed the sleep out of his eyes.

 

“That was Cheryl,” Addison said as she made her way to the closet.

 

Derek, much like Addison earlier, pulled himself up and started getting ready after giving himself a minute for everything to sink in. Cheryl was their social worker. It may be the middle of the night, but they might actually get their baby. Waking up in the middle of the night on his first night off in a long time would be well worth it if they could take a baby home by the end of it.

 

“What’d she say?” Derek asked, pulling a pair of jeans over the boxer pants he wore to sleep.

He didn’t want to get her hopes up, but she couldn’t help it. At this point, it’d been so long since they’d heard from Cheryl that they were both even more desperate to become parents now. If that was even possible. 

 

“She wants us to meet her at St. Ambrose,” Addison said.

 

After they both got dressed, they rushed over to the hospital. On the way, Derek asked every question he could think of. But Addison didn’t have any answers for her. All Cheryl said on the phone was that a birth mother chose them from a book of prospective parents and that the baby had already been born. She wanted to ask her more questions, but Cheryl was quick, efficient, and hung up immediately after confirming that she and Derek would meet her at the hospital.

 

“Cheryl,” Addison said after seeing her in the hallways of St. Ambrose.

 

“We got here as fast as we could,” Derek said.

 

“Mm-hmm. Traffic, I know,” Cheryl said as she began walking down the hallway, with Derek and Addison following closely behind.

 

Both Derek and Addison usually appreciated this no-nonsense attitude from Cheryl, especially since it made the overall process easier at times. But they both felt a little frazzled at the moment and would prefer a little more information than what she’d given them so far. 

 

“It’s just, we hadn’t heard from you in a while, you know, and we just assumed…,” Addison rambled. 

 

Both Derek and Addison were desperate for a baby, but playing the waiting game was torturous. And after a while, they didn’t know if they’d ever become parents.

 

“...Anyway, and uh, to get a call so late,” Addison kept rambling, but stopped when she felt Derek’s hand squeeze hers. When she looked over at him, he gave her a small smile.

 

“This won’t be the last time a baby wakes you up late at night,” Cheryl added, as they all kept walking.

 

“Mother delivered a baby a few weeks ago and won’t be able to keep him. Thinks you’re a good fit,” Cheryl said.

 

“Him?” Derek couldn’t help but blurt out. The baby, their baby, was a boy. He couldn’t help but think that they were about to meet their son.

 

“Mm-hmm,” Cheryl confirmed.

 

“Wait, she thinks we’re a good fit? Wait, us? Okay, we’re a good fit?” Addison asked anxiously. 

 

Derek squeezed her hand again to try to ease her a bit. He was just as nervous as she was, but Addison had a tendency to ramble, whereas Derek stewed internally. After over 12 years of marriage, it became a constant balancing act between the two.

 

“Birth mother went through the book of prospective parents, chose you, wants to see you,” Cheryl added as they finally reached the door to the birth mother’s room.

 

“Uh…okay,” Addison said as she began trying to fix her slightly messy hair. Derek couldn’t help but chuckle.

 

“You wanna comb your hair? Or do you want a baby?” Cheryl finally asked.

 

Addison and Derek looked back at Cheryl wide-eyed, signaling that they indeed wanted a baby. Cheryl opened the door to reveal Riley, Addison’s patient from weeks prior. And the girl Derek helped a few weeks ago.

 

“Riley?” Derek and Addison asked in unison. They both looked back at each other, shocked that they both knew the girl.

 

“How do you know her?” Derek asked.

 

“I…delivered her baby,” Addison revealed.

 

“What about you?” Addison asked curiously.

 

“I helped her get set up with the agency,” Derek said. They both laughed at the irony of it all.

 

“I couldn’t believe it when I saw your picture. I figured it must be like, meant to be or something, right?” Riley said.

 

Addison’s face broke out into a bigger smile than before as she squeezed Derek’s hand a little tighter this time. When she looked over at him, he saw his smile was just as big as hers.

 

“Do you wanna hold him?” Riley asked.

For some reason, Addison couldn’t say “yes” out loud, but she could tell her answer by the look on her face. Derek and Addison moved closer to Riley, who stood holding the baby. This baby was perfect. Addison couldn’t help but remember about his cracked clavicle at the moment, but she also knew it’d heal completely in a couple more weeks.

 

Then, Derek and Addison took turns holding the baby. Despite this baby being almost a month old, he still didn’t have a name. Now that this baby was going to be theirs, Derek kept pushing for the name Christopher. Addison wasn’t completely against the idea, but she wanted another option. She still wanted his name, his full name, to have some significant familial meaning. The Forbes Montgomery name had weight to it. One that she carried with an immense amount of pressure for her entire existence. 

 

But this baby would be a Shepherd. She wasn’t sure if she wanted him to tack on Forbes Montgomery as well because regardless of what this baby’s name would be, “Forbes Montgomery Shepherd” or even “Montgomery Shepherd” was a mouthful. But she survived with that mouthful of a last name, Forbes Montgomery, for a long time. And now she was technically a Forbes Montgomery Shepherd and had been for over 12 years. So if she could handle it, so could their son, she thought.

 

But she wanted his first name to be his own. Christopher, or even Charles, her father’s “real name”, could be his middle name. Or both if they wanted to give him the longest full name ever.

 

After letting the baby get some sleep in the incubator, they went back to talk arrangements with Cheryl and the birth mother. Addison wanted an open adoption, and after some back and forth with Derek, he finally agreed. 

 

“So, what happens now?” Derek and Addison entered the room as Riley and Cheryl talked.

 

“Well, it’s an open adoption, so it means you’ll have a role in the baby’s life,” Cheryl explained. 

 

Derek and Addison watched as Cheryl continued explaining the overall process. It surprised them to learn that Riley still knew next to nothing about adoption. Despite the fact that she was putting her baby up for adoption. 

 

Everything she did know was what Derek told her a few weeks ago. And she almost recited it verbatim the way he told him. So, for all he knew, she had no idea what she was talking about. She was so far out of her depth; it was unexpected. But then again, Addison sensed this girl was exceedingly unprepared when she delivered her baby.

 

“Wait, so I’m gonna get to see my baby grow up?” Riley asked.

 

“Well, open adoptions are negotiable. It’s just a matter of deciding what makes each of you comfortable,” Cheryl explained.

 

“What if I don’t know what makes me comfortable?” Riley asked.

 

“Like, what if me being in this kid’s life is just gonna screw him up?” Riley asked.

 

“It won’t,” Derek said. 

 

He didn’t know why he said it. He barely knew the girl. For all he knew, she could screw him up. But it felt like the right thing to say. And this girl didn’t seem like she’d purposefully do any harm. She was young and by the looks of it, without means. Did she even know where she was going after this? Neither Derek nor Addison knew the answer to this, but they were stunned that she was even able to put this baby up for adoption at all.

 

“How do you know? You barely know me,” Riley said back.

 

“You’re right, we don’t. But we know that you’re doing the best that you can for your baby,” Addison answered for Derek when he struggled to find the right words.

 

“So, what are we naming him?” Derek asked. He was still set on the name Christopher, but after Addison explained her reasoning, he agreed to be more open to the idea of a different name.

 

“We can’t just take no-name here home without a name,” Derek joked. Addison giggled back.

 

“What about Nathaniel ?” Addison asked, gesturing with her hands as if the name were appearing in front of them.

 

“Nathaniel,” Derek repeated the name.

 

“Nathan,” Derek looked curiously down at the baby still pondering on the name.

 

“Nate,” Derek said. 

 

The nickname was something that appealed to him more. Nathaniel felt more regal than it needed to be. But then again, he could tell Addison liked it. And he doubted anyone, other than maybe Bizzy and The Captain, would call him by his full name. It was like the perfect compromise. Nathaniel was the WASP-ier name, while his nickname, Nate, grounded him a bit more. 

 

“I like it,” Derek finally said.

 

“Really?” Addison’s eyes lit up. 

 

It’d been almost two years of trying to adopt a baby. And for most of that time, both Derek and Addison exchanged name ideas. None of them ever really felt right though. Addison was adamant that she’d know when the baby came. She wanted whatever name their baby would have to fit him or her. She didn’t want them to have their eyes set on a name only for it not to fit.

 

“Yeah,” Derek smiled back as he loosely put an arm around her waist.

 

“Nathaniel Christopher Montgomery Shepherd,” Derek said. 

 

Addison chuckled knowing that it wouldn’t be Derek if he didn’t at least try to sneak Christopher back in there. But she had to admit it sounded nice all together like that. Plus, the fact that it was also Derek’s middle name gave it that much more meaning.

 

“Nathaniel Christopher Montgomery Shepherd,” Addison repeated as they both leaned in for a sweet kiss.

 

After having some alone time with baby Nathaniel, they let Riley say her goodbyes in private. Although, they did so after informing Riley and Cheryl of his new name. As Derek and Addison stood in the hallway, excited to bring him home, they saw Mark with a teddy bear wearing a small baseball cap in one hand and a bouquet of flowers in the other. Derek texted Mark in the car as Addison drove, letting him know what was going on. 

 

After their relaxing dinner date, Derek checked in with Charlotte and she let him know there was a big fire in the valley. So, Derek assumed Mark would still be at St. Ambrose with whatever burn victims came in that night.

 

“Am I the best uncle or what?” Mark shouted down the hallway when Derek caught sight of him.

 

“What the hell is this?” Derek asked, laughing.

 

“The bear’s for the baby, the flowers are for you and Addie,” Mark explained as he handed Derek the gifts.

 

“Thanks, man,” Derek said, roping Mark in for a hug.

 

“So, how’s the kid?” Mark asked.

 

“He’s…perfect,” Derek couldn’t help but say.

 

“Other than the cracked clavicle,” Addison couldn’t help but add. Her nerves and excitement were still getting the better of her. Plus, this wasn’t a surprise to Derek because she told him earlier about the delivery when they had their alone time with baby Nathaniel.

 

“Is he alright?” Mark asked.

 

“Yeah, he’s fine. It was the only way to clear the birth canal,” Derek said. It sounded weird coming out of his mouth.

 

“Or so I’m told,” Derek added, leading them all to laugh along. 

 

Being married to Addison definitely came with its quirks. Saying things like birth canal like it was a normal thing was one of them. When they got back to the NICU where Riley held the baby, all three of them watched her say her parting words to baby Nate as Cheryl stood in the corner.

 

“You’re gonna have such a great life with these people,” Riley whispered.

 

“Just try not to cause too much trouble,” Riley added as Addison giggled at hearing this. 

 

Riley handed the baby to Addison’s waiting arms and when she did, she looked up to see not just Derek in the doorway, but Mark as well.

 

“Wow,” Riley said, looking at Mark. 

 

“It’s just a little gift from Uncle Mark,” Mark said proudly, thinking Riley was referring to the gifts he was holding.

 

“Uncle?” Riley couldn’t help but interrupt.

 

“Yeah, I’m Mark Sloan,” Mark held out a hand for her to shake. Something about her felt familiar, but he couldn’t explain why.

 

“My husband’s best friend,” Addison explained further.

 

“It’s really you,” Riley couldn’t help but say.

 

“What do you mean?” Mark asked, confused.

 

“Do you two know each other?” Addison asked.

 

“Don’t tell me you’re our baby’s father,” Derek joked.

 

“What? Ew no,” Riley blurted.

 

“Ouch,” Mark said, slightly insulted. Then again, this girl was clearly too young even for him. She was a teenager, and that was territory Mark would never try for. 

 

“I just mean…,” Riley stammered for a minute.

 

“My name’s not really Riley. Well, it is, it’s just…it’s my last name,” Riley started.

 

“My name’s actually Sloan Reilly…and uh, my mom’s Samantha Reilly, and um…I’m pretty sure you’re my dad,” Riley blurted out.

Chapter Text

A teenage daughter. It wasn’t impossible, but Mark was in his early 40s. This was supposed to be his golden womanizing years. But throwing a 16-year-old girl in the mix wasn’t going to help. Samantha Riley. He remembered her. One of his college girlfriends. Well, girlfriend was a strong word. They were friends with benefits, if even that. They were friendly and slept together a few times. It was unspoken, but they knew that whatever their “relationship” was, was purely physical.

 

Derek, Addison, and Mark looked back at the girl, stunned. Baby Nate, thankfully, was still asleep and by now, he was in the car seat Derek bought. Derek looked at Addison, not knowing what to do or what to say. Addison couldn’t help but let out a laugh. Of course, Mark had a teenage kid. It was kind of a miracle one hadn’t shown up beforehand. When he saw Addison laugh, Derek also started laughing. And it only made Sloan even more confused. 

 

“I’m sorry, it’s not you,” Addison said as their laughs subsided.

 

“It’s just…it’s not that surprising that Mark has a kid,” Addison explained further.

 

“Yeah, there might be a gaggle of Sloans,” Derek joked.

 

“This isn’t funny!” Mark barked back.

 

“It is a little,” Derek chuckled.

 

“So, what happens now?” Addison cleared her throat. Someone here had to be the adult. Mark was too angry and her husband found the situation a little too funny to do anything about it. At least at this moment.

 

“I don’t know…,” Sloan fiddled with her fingers now that she didn’t have a baby to distract her fidgeting hands.

 

“Not that I’m doubting your story, but paternity test,” Derek offered. He saw the effort his wife was trying to make. But the fact that neither Mark nor Sloan knew what they were going to do didn’t make it easy for Addie.

 

“I’ll grab the supplies,” Addison said after a minute of silence from both Mark and Sloan.

 

Addison did the test while Derek watched Mark and Sloan have a staring contest, of sorts. The baby, thankfully, was fast asleep in his car seat the whole time. Derek and Addison, silently to themselves, hoped baby Nate would always be this good of a sleeper.

 

“Okay, well, that’s it,” Addison said as she cleaned up the supplies.

 

“Now what?” Sloan asked.

 

“Now, we wait,” Addison said.

 

“For how long?” Sloan sounded a bit annoyed.

 

“Four to six weeks,” Derek answered.

 

“What do I do until then?” Sloan asked.

 

“Mark?” Addison looked over at Mark, who was still staring curiously at the girl.

 

“I need a minute.” Mark got up for a breather in the hallway.

 

After handing Addison the car seat with the sleeping baby, Derek followed him outside. When he got there, he found Mark pacing with his hands on his head. Derek thought to say something, but decided it’d be best to give him a minute to freak out.

 

“You alright?” Derek finally asked.

 

“I have a kid,” Mark said. Saying it out loud didn’t help him feel any more relaxed.

 

“Maybe,” Derek warned. They’d just gotten a paternity test done. They wouldn’t know for sure for another few weeks.

 

“No, I have a kid. I’m too old to have a kid,” Mark insisted.

 

“You’re not too old to have a kid,” Derek couldn’t help but chuckle.

 

“I don’t even know how old she is,” Mark admitted.

 

“She’s 16,” Derek informed him.

 

“And you don’t even know if she’s yours,” Derek pointed out.

 

“Even if she is, you didn’t know,” Derek added.

 

“I did know,” Mark said quieter, leaning against the hallway wall.

 

“I knew when her mom got pregnant. She told me,” Mark started. Derek looked back curiously. He found it strange that he had never told him.

 

“I gave her a couple of hundred bucks, and I left town, and I never saw her again. I figured she got an abortion. Hoped . But I did know,” Mark added.

 

Neither knew what else to say. Derek just nodded in agreement, signaling that he empathized with him. But even without the paternity test results, it was clear. Mark was Sloan’s father. There was no getting around it. But maybe this would be a good thing. 

 

Mark had always been the brother he’d never had. Now Mark really was part of the family in a weird way. And this teenager could be exactly what Mark needed to finally grow up. It’d be an adjustment, but he knew he’d be okay eventually. Not long afterward, Addison, baby Nate stirring in his car seat, walked out of the room with Sloan following closely behind. 

 

“So…now what?” Sloan asked. 

 

“Well, now we wait,” Addison said.

 

They all stood around awkwardly for another minute before Derek gestured for Addison to loop her arm around his. They gave both Mark and Sloan a nod before leaving to take their new baby home. Mark and Sloan stood around in the hallway awkwardly for a while longer. The only sounds between them were doctors shuffling around, working the night shift. They looked at each other curiously. Both knew internally that a paternity test wasn’t necessary. Instinctively, they could feel it.

 

“So, you got somewhere to stay?” Mark finally asked.

 

“Uh…yeah,” Sloan said. There was a shelter she could go to a few blocks from St. Ambrose, but she’d rather not. The one night she stayed at the hospital after the baby was born felt like paradise. And she severely missed having a clean bed to come home to.

 

“That doesn’t sound very convincing,” Mark couldn’t help but comment.

 

“Well, I do have a place to stay. It’s just…a shelter a few blocks from here,” Sloan explained shyly. She couldn’t help but think she was screwing up with her bio dad. They just met and she was already telling him she was homeless. And she’d already had a baby as a teenager, so she could only imagine what he thought of her.

 

“Why don’t you stay with me?' Mark offered. Part of him didn’t know why he offered. What did he know about taking care of a teenager? But it felt like the right thing to say.

 

“Really?” Sloan’s eyes lit up. A clean and warm bed was all she could think about.

 

“Yeah,” Mark said.

 

“But the results aren’t even back yet,” Sloan pointed out. Part of her wished she hadn’t said that. 

 

“I know,” Mark said, debating if he should say what he wanted to say next.

 

“But I believe you,” Mark said, deciding it was the right thing to say. 

 

“You do?” Sloan asked.

 

“Yeah, I do,” Mark said.

 

“And I don’t like the idea of you sleeping at some homeless shelter,” Mark couldn’t help but add.

 

“Well, it’s only until I get a record deal or something,” Sloan said somewhat jokingly. She did have her guitar and used it to make a little extra money from time to time. And she did want to go into music someday. But it probably wasn’t the best time to tell her new dad that.

 

“Then it’s settled,” Mark said, sounding more confident than he felt.

 

“So, what’s your house like?” Sloan asked. Mark picked up one of the two garbage bags she left on the floor, leaving Sloan with one large garbage bag and a guitar case. Before answering her question, he couldn’t help but chuckle. 

 

Sloan continued asking multiple questions all the way home from St. Ambrose. And Mark had a million questions to ask her but refrained. He didn’t know if he should ask about her living on the streets or what happened between her and her mom. Plus, Sloan didn’t really give him much time to ask anything. It was overwhelming, but in a good way. It’d been a long time since he introduced himself like this. And he admired Sloan’s constant curiosity.

 

When they got back to Mark’s place, he showed her around to where everything was, from the fridge in the kitchen to the guest room. When he showed her the guest bedroom, Sloan couldn’t help but let out a “wow”. She looked back at him excitedly, which made him smile. 

 

He couldn’t help but realize this girl must’ve felt lost for a long time before getting here. She may have given birth to a new baby and lived on the streets for who knew how long, but she was still a 16-year-old girl. She couldn’t help but drop her things near the door and flop onto the bed. Mark couldn’t help but laugh.

 

“And there’s a bathroom for you over here, with a shower and everything,” Mark said after giving her a minute to digest. He opened the bathroom door and pointed inward.

 

“Oh my God, I haven’t had a shower since forever,” Sloan said, propping herself up by her elbows.

 

“Well, you’re welcome to, if you want,” Mark said, hoping his tone came off sincere and not awkward.

 

“Thanks,” Sloan said. They stood around awkwardly for another minute before Mark said goodnight and went off to his own bedroom.

 

As for Derek and Addison, Addison carefully took the baby out of the car seat and into his new crib. Thankfully, Nate only stirred slightly when she did. Derek and Addison stared into the crib, astonished by their new addition. With one of Derek’s arms slipped around Addison’s waist, she leaned into him, resting her head against his chest.

 

“We have a baby in our crib,” Derek whispered. Addison giggled at his excitement.

 

“We have a baby in our crib,” Addison repeated, looking up just for Derek to lean in for a sweet kiss. 

 

After watching Nate sleep for a few more minutes, they eventually made it back to their bedroom. However, it was only a couple of hours later when Nate woke them up from his cries. Addison offered to take her turn first, letting her husband get some much-needed sleep after weeks of working himself senseless. Plus, she could get maternity leave now but with everything going on at St. Ambrose, she doubted Derek would take time off.

 

“Hi there, baby,” Addison said as she rocked Nate in her arms gently. After about 30 seconds, Nate’s cries quieted, and he looked up to see his Addison smiling at him.

 

“Let’s hope you’re always this well-behaved,” Addison whispered to the baby, who looked back at her, confused. 

 

She giggled and watched him look around a little while longer before smelling him to see if he needed his diaper changed. Thankfully, the diapers were in the closet and not still packed in the garage somewhere. After that, Addison took him downstairs to heat a bottle. 

 

Before they left last night, Addison grabbed some milk from the milk bank. After setting Nate into his car seat, she started warming up his milk. Addison made a mental note to open up the boxes of baby supplies and toys that she and Derek had lying around somewhere. Nate seemed perfectly content in his car seat, but she also knew he’d probably be more comfortable in a jumper. 

Eventually, Addison picked him back up and fed him his bottle. As she did, one of his little fingers grabbed at hers. She couldn’t help but smile and let out a quiet “aww” when he did. Actually, she couldn’t stop giggling. Like it was some kind of “pinch me” mechanism. It was hard to believe that this was really her life now. If someone told her she’d be here five years ago, she wouldn't believe them. 

 

As the milk got closer to emptying, Addison watched as Nate’s eyes started closing sleepily. With it, his grip loosened. When Addison was sure he was almost asleep, she gently pulled the bottle out of his mouth and put it on the kitchen counter. As she brought him closer to her chest to rock him, she heard Derek upstairs.

 

“Hey,” Derek said, sleepily leaning on the railing.

 

“Hey,” Addison looked up for a quick smile before turning her attention back to the sleeping baby in her arms.

 

“What time is it?” Addison whispered after a minute passed.

 

“5:28,” Derek glanced at the oven clock behind her.

 

“So, I guess he’s not as good of a sleeper as we thought,” Addison joked.

 

“It’ll pass,” Derek brushed off the lack of sleep they knew they were in for.

 

He walked closer to the pair, his eyes landing on the sleepy baby in her arms. They smiled at each other before Derek wrapped his arms around her waist from behind. It’d been almost two years, but they finally got their baby. They were prepared to bask in the moment as long as they could. And considering how peaceful Nate’s sleep was right now, they definitely had the time to. But eventually, they both walked back to the nursery to lay him down in his crib before heading back to their own bed to get whatever sleep they could before he woke up again.

 

Back at Mark’s place, Sloan woke up more relaxed than she’d felt in a long time. No uncomfortable pregnancy body, loud car horns, or crying baby to wake her. Just the sun peeking in through the curtain. The last time she felt this calm was when she lived with her mom. After getting kicked out, Sloan got used to sleeping on friends’ couches and lumpy mattresses in homeless shelters. 

 

“Morning,” Mark greeted her as she laid out on the guest bed.

 

“Morning,” Sloan said, cheerfully stretching out on the bed.

 

“Sleep well?” Mark chuckled.

 

“Yes,” Sloan smiled. There was something about her smile that felt familiar. Actually, everything about Sloan felt familiar to Mark.

 

“So, I don’t really have much food here,” Mark said awkwardly, opening and closing the fridge door. Fathers were supposed to have breakfast ready for their kids.

 

“It’s okay,” Sloan thought nothing of it. It was hard to be picky when all she’d had over the past few months was whatever there was at the soup kitchens. Or getting McDonald's with whatever money she got from performing on the street.

 

“I do have a pretty killer espresso machine, though. If you’re into that kind of thing,” Mark added.

 

“Actually, do teenagers even drink coffee?” Mark thought aloud. Were teenagers allowed to drink coffee? It dawned on him how unprepared he was to take care of a child.

 

“All the time,” Sloan laughed. It was nice to see him make an effort.

 

“Well, I guess I’ll make us some coffee then,” Mark smiled.

 

Mark left the room and Sloan took another shower, even though she had already took one less than 12 hours ago. She didn’t know how long she’d be staying and she planned on taking every opportunity she could. After she got dressed, she could smell the coffee aroma coming from downstairs. God, she missed fresh coffee.

 

“I didn’t know how you like it, so I have some cream and sugar if you’re into that stuff,” Mark pushed over the small carton of cream and sugar container. He liked his bone-dry cappuccinos, but he doubted a teenage girl would drink it that way, too.

 

“Thanks,” Sloan grabbed the cream and opened the sugar container. She was a typical teenager who liked her coffee with plenty of cream and sugar. Mark winced at the thought, but reminded himself that her taste could change in the future.

 

“So…,” Mark started, awkwardly.

 

“So…,” Sloan repeated him in the same manner. Except she couldn’t help but let out a small laugh after a bit.

 

“Your friends seemed nice,” Sloan said, referring to Derek and Addison.

 

“Yeah, they’re the best,” Mark smiled. This felt like a lighter conversation starter than asking about her mom, which is what he really wanted to know.

 

“What are they like?” Sloan leaned against the kitchen counter, listening intently.

 

“Well, they’re doctors. Like me,” Mark gestured to himself.

 

“I’ve known Derek forever. And then we met Addie in med school at Columbia,” Mark continued.

 

“Wow,” Sloan commented.

 

“You think they’ll make good parents?” Sloan couldn’t help but ask.

 

“Absolutely,” Mark said, without a doubt in his mind.

 

Sloan leaned closer, making it clear she wanted to know more.

 

“Derek has four sisters, and the Shepherds, they kinda became my family,” Mark said.

 

“What about your parents?” Sloan asked.

 

“Everett and Madeline weren’t really interested in being parents,” Mark tried to explain as well as he could. But the truth was, they were distant. More than that, they were borderline neglectful. But as he got older, he realized his parents just weren’t people who were ever interested in being parents. 

 

“And you know, when we went to med school, we met Addie and then we became a threesome,” Mark continued.

 

“Wait, you mean the three of you…?” Solan gestured her hands into a circle. She clearly thought the three of them were some kind of throuple.

 

“What? No!” Mark insisted. But he also couldn’t help but laugh over Sloan’s accusation.

 

“Addie and I, we kinda slept together,” Mark admitted.

 

“Then why are they still together?” Sloan asked.

 

“Because they love each other,” Mark said, simply.

 

“And what happened with me and Addie was a mistake. They were on the rocks for a while and it just sorta…happened,” Mark admitted.

 

“Not that that’s an excuse,” Mark quickly added.

 

They both took a moment to laugh before Mark asked Sloan what he really wanted to know. 

 

“What happened with your mom?” Mark asked nervously. 

 

He remembered her mother. They weren’t anything serious, but he still knew her as a generally kind person. He didn’t know her well, but she didn’t seem like the mean type. Though, even Mark knew that looks could be deceiving.

 

“She didn’t exactly love the fact that I got pregnant,” Sloan said, stirring her coffee and letting the spoon clink against the glass. Then Sloan told Mark everything.

 

When Sloan first suspected her pregnancy, she had her friend buy her a test. A friend with much more liberal parents. After peeing on the stick, she knew. She kept it from her mom until she knew she couldn’t anymore. Her mother wanted her to get an abortion, and she refused. Sloan knew she wasn’t ready to be a mother, but she also wasn’t willing to get an abortion. 

 

So, her mother dragged her to a clinic. When Sloan still wouldn’t do it, she kicked her out. One day when she came home from school, she found two boxes of her clothes on the doorstep. And when she tried to go inside, the doors wouldn’t open. Her mother changed the locks while she was gone. 

 

With nowhere else to go, Sloan stayed with a friend for a while. Once her pregnancy hit six months, her belly bump became more prominent. By then, her friend couldn’t hide it from her parents anymore. For a while, Sloan jumped around staying at friends’ couches until she’d exhausted all her options. 

 

She started staying at homeless shelters and busking on the street with an old guitar she brought along with her. With the little money she made from that, she bought food for herself and her growing fetus. And sometimes, there were some nice homeless people that gave her some food because they knew that as a pregnant teenager, she needed to be eating more to stay healthy.

 

Eventually, Sloan took the initiative to find her father. Years ago, her mother told her about Mark and how she got pregnant in college. She told her about how he was a womanizing med student who, after learning about her pregnancy, gave her money to have an abortion. If anything, she thought her mother would understand her current predicament. But no such luck. After researching online on a library computer, Sloan found Mark’s name listed under St. Ambrose’s list of doctors. Desperate to get off the streets, she saved enough money to bus her way to LA. 

 

Living on the streets really made Sloan grow up. But even so, she was still a clueless homeless teenager that gave her baby away. One that was trying to be responsible but knew her limits. She needed more, someone to rely on, someone to take care of her. That person used to be her mother. And now that their relationship was ruined, all she had left was her father. Even if she’d never met him before.

 

“Wow,” Mark commented.

 

“Yeah…so, here I am,” Sloan added before taking another sip from her coffee.

 

“So, what about school?” Mark asked after pausing for a minute.

 

“What about it?” Sloan asked.

 

“Did you drop out? Or…?” Mark asked. 

 

“I guess so,” Sloan shrugged. 

 

Mark thought to himself for a minute. Here was his 16-year-old daughter whom he never knew he had. She’d given birth to a baby, was homeless, and not in school. He didn’t think he’d ever want to be a father, but now he was one. Whether he liked it or not. And despite Sloan’s obvious ability to take care of herself, she deserved to have someone look out for her. Mark was terrified, but he knew he had to step up.

 

“What do you think about staying here?” Mark asked.

 

“Permanently,” Mark added after Sloan stayed quiet.

 

“Really” Sloan’s eyes lit up. 

 

“Yeah,” Mark said, feeling more on board with the idea after seeing Sloan’s excitement.

 

“That’d be awesome!” Sloan exclaimed before hugging Mark tightly.

Chapter Text

After Sloan agreed to stay, the guest bedroom became Sloan’s room. He got her a cell phone and went with her to shop for some new decor. After all, Mark’s very stark and plain bachelor pad wouldn’t be enough for a teenage daughter moving in. He made it very clear to Sloan that he’d enroll her back into school and hire a tutor so she could catch up on her schoolwork. 

 

Even though Mark wanted Sloan to do well in school, he didn’t want to put too much pressure on her. He’d never been the best student. He did well in high school, especially in the subjects that mattered. But it was only really thanks to his tutors and the Shepherd family’s influence. Otherwise, he has no doubt in his mind that he would’ve been a complete slacker when it came to academics. Beyond putting Sloan back into school, Mark had no idea how to take care of a teenage girl. But he was still going to try.

 

A few weeks passed, and things were going pretty smoothly. Sloan was going to a nice private school about 20 minutes away from St. Ambrose. She’d already made a few girlfriends and agreed to tutoring sessions after school at the house. But other than that, Mark didn’t know what else to do. Or rather, he didn’t think there needed to be any more discipline than that. After all, that was really the only thing Everett and Madeline enforced in their household. A good education.

 

Meanwhile, Derek and Charlotte were hard at work, making sure everything was ready for the new surgical interns. They’d be young, energetic, and excited. But most of them would also be incredibly green. For most of them, this would be their first experience working as a real doctor. There were a few transferring from other hospitals, and Derek even saw a few from Seattle Grace (or rather Seattle Grace Mercy West now). 

 

But Charlotte and Derek hoped this program would result in brilliant doctors someday. But that would only happen if they struck the perfect balance between an intern with great potential and capable attendings. By the end, they all wanted the program to be enough to convince these interns to stay at St. Ambrose instead of transferring elsewhere.

 

Derek and Charlotte needed to make sure that their physicians were more than capable of not only being great doctors, but also outstanding teachers. Luckily, Callie and Arizona had teaching experience. Not only that, but they were more than willing to help other surgeons who didn’t have as much experience in that area.

 

“You ready?” Charlotte asked. Today was the day: the first day of St. Ambrose’s new surgical residency program.

 

“Born ready,” Derek flashed his signature smile before they opened the double doors of one of their many new ORs.

 

Inside, a crowd of interns stood chatting and looking around the room in awe. When they entered the room, everyone turned to face them and quieted down.

 

“Good morning, everyone,” Derek greeted them all. Most of them gave him a quieter  “Good morning” back.

 

“Welcome to St. Ambrose,” Charlotte added.

 

Then the two went on with their scripted and rehearsed speech. They welcomed everyone to the hospital and thanked them for being part of St. Ambrose’s first surgical residency program. Everyone here was a part of making history. 

 

Every intern looked around at each other. They weren’t just their peers; they were also competitors. Charlotte talked about the history of St. Ambrose as an institution and how she built her reputation here as one of the youngest female chiefs in the country. Derek focused more on the aspirational and inspirational parts of their speech. They finished by saying that they were confident they all had the potential to be great doctors someday. And if St. Ambrose could have a part of their story, it honored them to be a part of their stories. 

 

Then, everyone got their assigned residents and Charlotte and Derek let them take the reins. Part of why Derek believed in this program was because of how great the doctors at St. Ambrose were. And that didn’t just include the attendings, but the residents too. After months of training, they were ready to take on the challenge. They all were. This was their chance to prove it. 

 

Later on, an intern group caught up with Derek and he walked them through a craniotomy he had that morning. It felt good to teach again. Especially since these students seemed genuinely interested and eager to learn. And he had to admit, they were better than the ones from Seattle Grace. They were still wide-eyed newbies, but they weren’t shy about asking questions. And Derek encouraged them to ask anything they wanted, even the dumb questions.

 

“Why, hello,” Mark walked by, eyeing the new interns. Specifically, the female ones.

 

“Dr. Mark Sloan, everyone, AKA our head of plastics, ” Derek introduced him to everyone.

 

Behave ,” Charlotte said as she walked by. Mark feigned innocence by pretending to look insulted. Even she knew his reputation by now.

 

“What she said,” Derek added when Mark looked at him.

 

“What do you mean by that?” A young female intern asked, raising her hand slightly before asking.

 

“Let’s just say he’s not boyfriend material, Dr.,” Derek stretched out the word as he didn’t know most of their names yet.

 

“Grey, Dr. Lexie Grey,” she answered for him.

 

Grey. It wasn’t an entirely unique name. Maybe it was a coincidence. All he ever knew about Meredith and her family was her mother, Dr. Ellis Grey. She never mentioned anything about any other family. Then again, maybe she wouldn’t after she found out he was married. And Addie showing up in Seattle didn’t exactly make her feel like she could share.

 

“Right, Grey,” Derek shifted his shoulders, clearly feeling uncomfortable.

 

“Let’s go check on our patient, shall we?” Derek shook it off and went back to work. 

 

He and Addison were in a good place now. The best place. New parents, a healthy and beautiful baby boy. A great job. He only took a few days off from work after they brought Nate home. And it was blissful. As much as he loved his job, he missed being home with Addie and Nate. Even more so since Addison said he smiled at her the other day while he was at work. But teaching again was a good compromise for now. Plus, he knew Addison was a great mother so far, and that he was doing everything he could to be a great father, too.

 

“Hey,” Addison peaked into St. Ambrose’s doctor’s lounge to see Callie, Arizona, Mark, and Derek all getting something to eat.

 

“Hey!” Callie got up immediately to rope her in for a hug from the side. Addison’s hands were full, with a car seat in one hand and Nate’s diaper bag in the other. Nate, meanwhile, seemed very focused on his linked-ring toy while sitting in his car seat.

 

“And hello there, cutie,” Callie cooed as Arizona and Mark moved closer to see the baby.

 

“What are you doing here?” Derek smiled, giving his wife a quick kiss as he let everyone else coo over the baby first.

 

“I just thought I’d check in to see how it’s going on the first day,” Addison said.

 

“Plus, I thought it’d be nice for you and Nate to get some more face time,” Addison added, smiling.

 

Derek kneeled to unbuckle Nate from his car seat before picking him up.

 

“Hey, buddy,” Derek said, before kissing the top of his head. However, Nate seemed more distracted because he dropped his toy.

 

“Oops, here you go,” Arizona picked up the toy before putting it back into his little hands.

 

Nate looked back at the toy curiously, gripping it as hard as he could, before leaning onto Derek’s chest. It’d only been just over three weeks, but Nate was getting used to both Derek and Addison taking care of him. And while Addison was around more, Derek always made sure to come home by bedtime so he could at least rock him to sleep. It wasn’t the same as getting to spend all day with him, but Nate’s bedtime routine became his favorite part of the day.

 

“Lookin’ good, kid,” Mark commented, shaking one of his legs like it was an arm.

 

Nate looked around curiously, amused by all the adults and his overall surroundings. When he saw Addison again, his lips curled upwards just slightly. Addison’s smile got bigger than it was before, and Derek matched her sentiment. Not only did he get to see him smile, but so did everyone else. Albeit, it was a small smile, but still. After a little more cooing with the baby and idle chitchat, most of the doctors went their separate ways. Derek decided it might be nice for them to show Nate his office, and Mark tagged along.

 

“So, how’s fatherhood?” Addison directed the question at Mark.

 

“Good,” Mark said.

 

“At least my kid’s not still in diapers,” Mark joked as he looked over at Nate, still in Derek’s arms.

 

“Where is Sloan anyway?” Addison asked, glancing at her watch. The time read 5:38.

 

“I don’t know,” Mark said nonchalantly.

 

“How do you not know ?” Derek asked.

 

“She’s probably just out with her friends,” Mark brushed off his question.

 

“Mark!” Addison exclaimed.

 

“What?” Mark asked, innocently.

 

“She’s a teenager. She could be anywhere,” Derek commented before they reached his office.

 

“We’ll both be home later. What’s the big deal?” Mark asked.

 

“Well, I don’t think I need to be the one to tell you she didn’t just have a baby out of nowhere,” Addison said.

 

“Well, what do you suggest I do?” Mark asked.

 

“You need to set some ground rules,” Addison said.

 

“I did!” Mark insisted.

 

“Yeah? Like what?” Addison asked, her hands on her hips now that she put Nate’s car seat down by Derek’s desk. 

 

“She needs to catch up on her schoolwork, get good grades, and eventually go to college,” Mark counted with his fingers as he talked.

 

“That’s it?” Derek asked after he didn’t say anything else.

 

“What else is there?” Mark asked.

 

“That’s all I needed to do with Everett and Madeline, and I turned out just fine,” Mark argued, sensing Derek and Addison’s judgy looks.

 

“You now have a teenage daughter you never knew about and technically a grandson,” Derek started bouncing Nate as he started getting a little fussy. 

 

Addison handed him the diaper bag when he started crying.

 

“Hey, it’s not my fault I didn’t know about her,” Mark argued back.

 

“Still,” Derek said, gently putting a squirmy Nate on his desk to change his diaper.

 

“Now, is that a Sloan or what?” Mark peeked over as Derek pulled off Nate’s dirty diaper.

 

“Well, it’s impressive. I’ll give you that,” Derek joked.

 

“You’re disgusting,” Addison directed her comment at Mark.

 

“And you’re not helping,” Addison told her husband. Derek mouthed a “sorry” before turning his attention back to Nate.

 

“So, what do you suggest I do?” Mark gave in. 

 

“Does she have a curfew?” Derek asked as he struggled to close the clean diaper. 

 

Nate stopped crying in between the diaper change and was now squirming by moving around his legs. Addison couldn’t help but giggle watching the two. Within the last week or so, Nate became much more mobile. It was nice to see Derek struggling with it for a change.

 

“A curfew? You’re kidding, right?” Mark chuckles. But it doesn’t last long when both Derek and Addison glare at him.

 

“Okay, so a curfew. Midnight sounds good, right?” Mark suggests.

 

Derek and Addison looked at each other and both took a deep breath. This was going to be harder than they thought. 

 

“Alright, Mark, here’s what you do,” Addison sighed before getting into everything Mark needed to do to give Sloan a little more structure in her life. 

 

Derek watched as his wife give Mark parenting advice. They were new parents themselves, but they had plenty of time before Nate became a teenager. Addison told Mark how he needed to give Sloan some structure. And while making sure she did well in school was admirable, it wasn’t enough. 

 

“She’ll need a curfew, but not midnight. And if she’s gonna be late, she has to call first,” Addison started.

 

“Yeah, ‘cause that worked out so well with Amy,” Derek commented, bouncing the baby as he cuddled in his arms. Addison glared back at him.

 

“So, what time should this curfew be at?” Mark asked.

 

“Nine o’clock on school nights. And maybe 11:00 on weekends. I don’t know. I’ll let you decide that one,” Addison thought out loud.

 

“Okay, that doesn’t sound too bad,” Mark commented.

 

“And chores,” Addison added.

 

“Chores? Really?” Mark asked.

 

“Oh, come on, we had chores growing up,” Derek pointed out. This was true. Mark helped sometimes when he came over. But only because it meant Derek could hang out sooner.

 

“Yeah, but I have a cleaning lady now,” Mark said.

 

“Well, the cleaning lady can still come. But maybe Sloan can at least keep her room clean and do the dishes,” Addison suggested. 

 

In all honesty, Derek and Addison also had a cleaning lady. Right now, with a new baby, Marissa was a Godsent. But Addison assumed they’d eventually adjust her schedule in the future when Nate got older.

 

“Okay, so good grades, a curfew, chores…anything else?” Mark counted them off on his fingers.

 

“I think that’s good for now,” Addison approved.

 

Mark looked at Derek, to which Addison rolled her eyes. He needed Derek’s approval, too. Just another facet of their friendship. Derek nodded, and Mark repeated the gesture before leaving the room. Then, it was just Derek, Addison, and Nate, who looked around in wonder.

 

“How about that tour now?” Derek asked the baby, who was now clean and no longer fussy. 

 

Addison smiled as she walked over to sit on Derek’s desk as he pointed out everything in his office. There wasn’t anything unusual in this room: a desk, some drawers, the window, the trash bin. But Derek found joy in showing Nate around the small office space. Especially since Nate also seemed amused. And the baby cooing sounds he made whenever Derek showed him something new made it very clear.

 

“So, how’s the program so far?” Addison asked.

 

“Good,” Derek said.

 

“Haven’t heard any big complaints yet, so that’s a good sign,” Derek added. Then, Nate yawned, which made both his parents giggle at how cute he was.

 

“Is it nap time now?” Derek asked him softly as he rested his head on his chest, his eyes blinking sleepily.

 

“I think that means it’s time to let your dad get back to work,” Addison whispered, picking up the car seat from the floor.

 

“Thank you for doing this. I really needed it,” Derek said after they strapped the baby into the car seat. It was true. Today had been a good day so far, but seeing his wife and son only made it better.

 

“Of course,” Addison said. Derek pulled her in after putting his arms around her waist as she put her arms around his neck.

 

“I’ll see you later,” Derek leaned down to kiss Nate on the forehead.

 

Then, Derek gave Addison another quick kiss and waved goodbye as they walked out of his office. After another minute, he went back out to check on his patient from that morning. The rest of the day went pretty well. Some interns shined more than others, but for the most part, Derek was pretty proud of how things were turning out. 

 

Derek spent most of his day teaching students during a surgery and helping Charlotte redirect lost interns when needed. But Addison and Nate’s visit gave him a nice and necessary break. He was exhausted, but excited to get back home to rock Nate to sleep. But he had to finish up some post-op notes for his patient first.

 

“Are you okay, Dr. Shepherd?” Lexie asked shyly as Derek stood near the nurse’s station.

 

“Yes, Dr. Grey. I’m fine,” Derek kept his response short.

 

“Are you sure?” Dr. Grey asked. She could tell something was bothering him. She just couldn’t figure out what it was. He’d practically been avoiding her all day and for the life of her, she couldn’t figure out why. But she was already talking to him. There was nothing to lose now.

 

“...Because I feel like you’re avoiding me or something. And I don’t know if I did something wrong, but whatever it is, I’m sorry,” Dr. Grey continued.

 

“No, you…you didn’t do anything wrong,” Now, Derek felt bad. He didn’t want her to feel neglected or disliked because of something that just existed in his head.

 

“You just…remind me of someone. Someone I don’t particularly like anymore,” Derek tried his best to articulate as well as he could.

 

“Oh. I’m sorry,” Lexie said awkwardly.

 

“I’m sorry, you’re fine. It’s just me. I’ll get over it,” Derek apologized.

 

“Is there something I can do to fix it? I could dye my hair or something if that would help,” Lexie joked, trying to lighten the mood. And it worked.

 

“No, you don’t have to do that,” Derek chuckled.

 

“It’s just…it’s stupid. My ex, she has the same last name as you,” Derek admitted.

 

“Oh. You didn’t date my sister Molly, did you?” Lexie asked.

 

“Cause if you did, I’d have to tell her husband, Eric,” Lexie joked.

 

“No, not Molly. Her name was Meredith,” Derek winced when she said her name. It still had a visceral effect on him. Even after all this time.

 

“Oh…She’s um…she’s my half-sister,” Lexie said awkwardly.

 

So, it wasn’t a coincidence.

 

“But if it makes you feel better, I don’t like her either,” Lexie added quickly. Derek looked back curiously.

 

“I started my internship at Seattle Grace to try to get to know her, but she just…shut me out. Didn’t even wanna try to be friends,” Lexie explained.

 

“And I thought it’d be nice to have more family after my mom died, but she wasn’t interested. And she was kinda the only reason I wanted to go to Seattle Grace. Then there was the merger with how messy that was and I just…needed a fresh start, so…I’m so sorry, I’m rambling,” Lexie apologized.

 

“I’m sorry, too,” Derek said.

 

So, having Meredith’s half-sister here wasn’t ideal. But he sought comfort in the fact that Lexie wasn’t a fan of her either. Plus, from what he’d heard from the other attendings, Lexie was a great student. He even heard she had a photographic memory, which would be a great asset as a doctor.

 

“You know what? It’s fine. We’re good, I’ll get over it,” Derek finally said after they stood awkwardly for another minute.

 

“Really?” Lexie hesitated to get too excited. She wasn’t sure if he was being genuine or just trying to be nice.

 

“Yes, really. We’re glad to have you here at St. Ambrose,” Derek finally said, putting a hand on her shoulder for reassurance before walking away. This was awkward, but he’d figure it out. And he couldn’t be more excited to tuck his boy in for bed that night.

 

Meanwhile, Mark recited the speech he’d give Sloan all on his drive home. When he got back, Sloan was nowhere to be found. When Mark checked his watch, it was already past ten o’clock. While waiting for Sloan, Mark paced, figuring out what he wanted to say. He’d never been a parent before, let alone disciplined anyone. And his parents weren’t exactly the best example to follow.

 

“Hey,” Sloan greeted as she entered the front door. It was almost 11 o’clock. 

 

“Where have you been?” Mark asked sternly.

 

“I was out with Brooke and Cassie,” Sloan said nonchalantly.

 

“It’s a school night,” Mark pointed out.

 

“So?” Sloan asked, not really paying attention as she put down her backpack on the floor and threw her jacket onto the couch.

 

“Hang those up,” Mark said, pointing towards the jacket and backpack and back at the hanger next to the front door.

 

“Okay…,” Sloan said, picking up her things to hang up.

 

“What’s up with you?” Sloan asked, very much aware of Mark’s difference in demeanor.

 

“It’s a school night. You should’ve been home and in bed already,” Mark said.

 

“Since when?” Sloan giggled. But she stopped when she looked to see how serious he looked. It was weird to see him like this compared to how easygoing he’d been up till this point.

 

“This is how it’s gonna go from now on. You will come home before nine o’clock on school nights, you’ll clean up after yourself, and you’ll study hard to get good grades,” Mark went on pacing. 

 

He knew he looked ridiculous because he felt ridiculous, too. But he was too focused on trying to be the disciplinarian to care that much at the moment.

 

“Understand?” Mark asked after Sloan didn’t say anything in response. She was practically frozen in place while sitting on the couch.

 

“Understood,” Sloan felt the need to match his tone. 

 

On the inside, she couldn’t help but find this all to be ridiculous. Mark wasn’t a necessarily stern person, at least not from what she’d seen over the past few weeks. She may not have known him for long yet, but she could tell that this was coming from someone else’s influence. 

 

“Okay, good,” Mark shook his head, trying to think to see if he missed anything.

 

“Oh, and you’ll need to get one of those tracking apps,” Mark thought out loud.

 

“What? No, you’re not tracking me,” Sloan stood up.

 

“I don’t know what’s going on with you, but this isn’t you,” Sloan gestured to his much-taller stature.

 

“No, but I need to know where you’re going and who you’re with,” Mark argued back, ignoring Sloan’s comment.

 

“Okay, but you don’t need to track my phone. You can just ask me,” Sloan admitted he had a point. But tracking her phone felt like too much of an invasion of privacy.

 

“Alright, that one might’ve been too much,” Mark admitted, scratching his head in thought.

 

“What’s going on with you anyway?” Sloan asked.

 

“Derek and Addie may have pointed out that I may not be doing as well as I thought I was as a father,” Mark said shyly.

 

“What are you talking about? You’re doing great!” Sloan insisted. Then again, she loved the amount of freedom she had now.

 

“Thank you, but they were right. I need to be more responsible. And I need to know where you’re going and who you’re with,” Mark said.

 

“Not because I’m trying to invade your privacy, just for safety reasons,” Mark added defensively.

 

“Okay, that sounds…acceptable,” Sloan thought out loud.

 

“Good, good,” Mark nodded his head.

 

“Is that all?” Sloan asked after a minute passed.

 

“For now, yes. Now, go up and get to bed,” Mark pointed toward the stairs.

 

“Okay. Goodnight,” Sloan got up from her seat awkwardly before going upstairs.

Chapter Text

That night, Derek got home and found Nate in his bouncer seat and a pacifier with a stuffed dog attached at the end, hanging from his mouth. Derek went straight for him to pick him up for a quick snuggle. Nate looked at him as he reached down for him and looked happy to see him. Addison, however, was loading the dishwasher as he walked in and turned around to see the sweet moment.

 

“Hey,” Addison smiled, leaning on the now-closed dishwasher.

 

“Hey,” Derek walked over with Nate still in his arms. When he got to Addison, he gave her a quick but sweet kiss hello.

 

“So, how was he today? Any big milestones?” Derek asked, bouncing Nate around. Nate cooed in response.

 

“No, no big milestones,” Addison said, chuckling.

 

“Well, at least he’s starting to get his smile down,” Derek looked at Nate, who was now resting his head on his chest.

 

“I think someone’s ready for bath time,” Addison said in his baby voice.

 

After Derek gave him a quick kiss on the forehead, he carried him up to start his bath time routine, with Addison following closely behind. As they washed him in the small bathtub they set up for him, Derek and Addison talked about how the rest of their days went. Addison talked about how talkative Nate was getting, and hearing him babble as they bathed him only proved her point. Derek wished he could’ve been there to hear it all, but hearing him make noises now as his lips marginally curved upward was a good compromise.

 

“So, there’s something I have to tell you,” Derek said as they dried Nate off with a small towel.

 

“Is everything okay?” Addison sensed the gravitas in his voice.

 

“Yeah, it’s fine. It’s just…,” Derek started. Addison grabbed a diaper, and they both put on Nate’s diaper as he kicked his legs around. It made it difficult for them to clean him, but his desire to move around more made them both laugh.

 

“Meredith’s sister is one of the new interns,” Derek revealed, sighing. Her name still nauseated him. But Addison, seeing how hard it was for him to say it, only proved how committed he was to her now. 

 

“Her sister ?” Addison asked.

 

“Well, her half-sister, apparently,” Derek corrected himself.

 

“Wow,” Addison didn’t know what else to say.

 

“Apparently they don’t get along. And with the Mercy West merger, she didn’t feel like staying in Seattle anymore,” Derek explained further. 

 

Addison nodded, signaling that she understood. Derek kept looking at her, waiting to see if she was going to say anything else. But she didn’t. She just went to pick up a squirming Nate and started walking downstairs to warm up his bottle.

 

“That’s it?” Derek asked, following her down the stairs.

 

“Is there more?” Addison asked as Nate played with Addison’s hair.

 

“No…but, I just…I thought you’d be more concerned or something,” Derek stammered. Addison’s non-reaction threw him off.

 

“What do you want me to say, Derek?” Addison asked. She didn’t mean for it to come out sounding so defensive.

 

“I…I don’t know,” Derek stumbled.

 

“I’m sorry, I didn’t mean for that to sound so…defensive,” Addison admitted as Nate tried to reach toward the cup on the kitchen counter. Addison readjusted him to rein him in. After that, Nate got fussier upon realizing that he couldn’t get the cup.

 

“Look, we’re good,” Addison said hurriedly as she tried to soothe the baby. 

 

It didn’t seem very convincing, as she was more distracted by the fussy baby, but she meant it. Derek got the bottle out of the microwave, now that it was warm, and put it in Nate’s mouth, which stopped him from crying. Addison giggled at how easy it was for Derek to calm him as he held onto the bottle to keep it from dropping in her free hand.

 

“Seriously,” Addison insisted after another minute passed.

 

“You’re really okay with this?” Derek asked hesitantly.

 

“Yes,” Addison nodded, moving closer to her husband to give him a kiss. 

 

This wasn’t an issue. She was Meredith’s sister, but she wasn’t Meredith. And their relationship was in a good place. The best place. They weren’t tiptoeing around their issues and they grew to trust each other again. Mark and Derek were best friends again, and she and Derek were more fulfilled professionally, too. And while running a new surgical residency program at St. Ambrose, running a medical practice from home, and taking care of their new baby exhausted them, they were also deliriously happy. Addison was determined not to let Lexie become an issue in their relationship. Especially since she didn’t think it was a big deal, anyway.

 

As Derek extended what was meant to be a sweet but quick kiss, Addison’s hand moved over to his cheek. Then they both heard Nate drop his bottle on the ground and babble. Addison’s hand had been holding onto the bottle for Nate, so him dropping the bottle was inevitable. They laughed, their lips still touching, before Derek kneeled to pick up the bottle. When he stood back up, Nate was flailing his arms around excitedly, his lips curved upwards into a small smile.

 

“Think you dropped this, buddy,” Derek said, putting the bottle back into Nate’s mouth. Nate’s hands wrapped around the bottle again as he went back to drinking his milk.

 

“But, nice grip so far,” Addison commented, giggling as she put her free hand back on the bottle for support.

 

Then, Derek followed Addison back upstairs, where they started his bedtime routine. Addison rocked him as Derek picked up an acoustic guitar sitting next to the closet. After Naomi brought up their song at the bar after Archer’s surgery, Derek brought his guitar out from storage to practice again. 

 

Addison remembered he used to play to destress when he felt burnt out in the earlier days of their marriage. At some point, the guitar just collected dust in their home office, so she finally put it in storage. But now, with Nate, they thought it’d be nice to expose him to music early on. And Derek playing the guitar and singing softly would encourage Nate to recognize his father’s voice, even though he wasn’t around as much as they’d like.

 

Derek usually sang something classic. The Beatles, Billy Joel, Queen, and even Michael Jackson this one time when he just wanted to get Nate to laugh. And it worked. But tonight, Derek strummed something Addison found familiar, but she couldn’t figure out what the song was at the moment. That is until he started singing the chorus. It was their song. The one he sang at their wedding. 

 

Addison wasn’t much of a singer, and other than her stint of playing the saxophone in high school, she wasn’t as musically inclined as her husband. She could still carry a tune, but not as well as Derek. He could hear something and figure out how to play it by ear relatively quickly. And while Addison could read music, she couldn’t read it nearly as fast as she used to. But she’d like to think she could still play a song or two if someone gave her a saxophone.

 

A few weeks later, Addison went back to work at Oceanside Wellness, and the chaos of running a new surgical residency program started to die down. They got a nanny for Nate and agreed to not take on more than they could handle at work. Sloan’s grades slowly got better, thanks to the tutor Mark got for her, and Mark adjusted to parenthood quite nicely. At Oceanside Wellness, Violet and Cooper went off to Costa Rica to take some time off. After about two weeks, Cooper came back, but Violet didn’t.

 

When Addison asked if she’d ever come back, Cooper’s response wasn’t very helpful. The honest truth was, he didn’t know if she was coming back. Apparently, Violet specifically asked to cut off all contact for a while. How long that would be, neither of them knew. Cooper’s now, if not temporary, zen mood also didn’t help. But Addison had to live with it. So, now Oceanside was without Naomi, Pete, and Violet. 

 

They’d already bought Naomi’s shares, but losing both Pete and now Violet could be detrimental to the practice. So, Addison held a meeting with everyone else. They needed at least one more doctor to stay afloat, financially speaking. But the idea of going through resumes felt exhausting. And this practice was special. They couldn’t just let anyone join Oceanside Wellness.

 

“What about Sheldon?” Charlotte offered. 

 

“What about him? He works downstairs,” Sam asked.

 

“Yeah, but he’s up here all the time,” Dell pointed out.

 

“He works for the enemy!” Cooper exclaimed. Sam pointed at him as if saying they were on the same page. But truth be told, he also started resenting Sheldon now that he and Charlotte were together. Or at least sleeping together.

 

“Wait, hold on,” Addison put a hand up.

 

“That’s not a bad idea,” Addison added.

 

“We can’t hire the enemy!” Sam exclaimed.

 

“You guys hired me,” Charlotte pointed out.

 

“Not by choice,” Sam muttered. Charlotte glared back. 

 

She knew he still didn’t like her, but she’d been a great addition to Oceanside so far. Her specialty was interesting and it brought in plenty of new patients. Charlotte knew she was the reason why Pacific Wellcare was even a thing, and why it was just downstairs. But she repented, paid her way into Oceanside, brought in extra business, and even paid for her now ex-boyfriend. 

 

Plus, she was still chief of staff at St. Ambrose. She referred most of their patients here. So, she knew she well made up for her mistakes. And she knew she wasn’t heartless. Despite what William White thought, and what Cooper thought, for that matter. So, she certainly wouldn’t waste her energy caring about what Sam thought of her.

 

“Charlotte’s right. And Sheldon’s a great doctor. And we need another great doctor that we all get along with,” Addison pointed out.

 

“Who said we all get along with him?” Cooper muttered. Charlotte glared at him too.

 

“Okay, that’s enough,” Addison scolded the both of them silently chewing each other out.

 

“Whether you guys like it or not, Sheldon is our best option. And I think we should offer him a job here,” Addison said.

 

“What about Violet?” Sam asked.

 

“We don’t even know if Violet’s coming back!” Dell pointed out. Earlier, Addison talked to him about this issue, so he was well aware of the situation with Violet.

 

“She could come back,” Sam offered.

 

“Look, the point is, we don’t know if she’s coming back. And we already lost Nai and Pete. We need another doctor to compete. Sheldon’s already taking over Violet’s cases, anyway. It won’t be that big of an adjustment,” Addison laid it all out.

 

“All in favor?” Addison asked.

 

They couldn’t help but realize she was right. One by one, they all raised their hands. Addison nodded and then left the room. Soon after, everyone followed her lead and went back to work. With Dell’s help, the paperwork didn’t take long to complete. And Sheldon was just downstairs, so Addison walked down to find him. When she got there, he was chatting with some of his colleagues in the main lobby.

 

“Sheldon,” Addison called for his attention as his colleagues dispersed. 

 

“Addison, what brings you down here?” Sheldon greeted her politely.

 

“Can we talk? Possibly in private?” Addison asked. 

 

Sheldon led her to his office, as he thought she might want some psychiatric help, as she also confided in him when Bizzy and the Captain showed up. She didn’t intend to talk to him about it all, but at the time, she was too damaged not to talk. Plus, they were practically strangers at the time, which made it easier for her to talk to him.

 

“So, what can I help you with?” Sheldon asked, pointing towards the chair in his office after closing his office door.

 

“Oh, I…I’m not here for me. Well, I am, just not for what you think,” Addison added as she stayed standing.

 

“Then what are you here for?” Sheldon asked, confused.

 

“An opportunity. For you,” Addison handed him the paperwork. It didn’t take long for Sheldon to realize it was an offer letter. 

 

“You do realize I work here,” Sheldon pointed out.

 

“Yes, of course I do,” Addison chuckled.

 

“But we think you could be doing more with us,” Addison said ominously.

 

We ? So, you all want me to work upstairs?” Sheldon asked. He couldn’t imagine Sam and Cooper wanting him to join the practice. Cooper caught him and Charlotte on the couch together, whereas Sam had a fierce loyalty to his own practice and hatred for practically all-things Pacific Wellcare.

 

“Yes, we . Sheldon, you’re a great psychiatrist, and I know, partly from experience, that you care about and fight for your patients just as much as we do upstairs. I know you already have a job here, but we would love to have you upstairs,” Addison responded.

 

“Wow, you must really want me then,” Sheldon chuckled. He never thought he’d hear Addison reference their previously private talks without any kind of prodding. 

 

“You know me well,” Addison indulged him.

 

“I should get back to work. But you know where to find me,” Addison added before leaving his office.

 

It took until the end of the day for Sheldon to ride the elevator up to Oceanside Wellness. When the doors opened, Dell greeted him and smiled. He knew it meant Sheldon was taking the job. And he was right. Sheldon went straight to Addison’s office and dropped off the now-signed offer letter. He also added that he turned in his two-weeks notice downstairs so he wouldn’t be able to start just yet. Addison smiled, got up from her chair, and shook his hand, welcoming him to Oceanside Wellness.

 

That night, just as Derek and Addison crept out of Nate’s nursery, the doorbell rang. And it woke Nate up from his previously peaceful slumber. They wouldn’t feel so frustrated if it hadn’t taken them almost twice as long to get him to sleep tonight. But it did. Derek went back to soothe a now-crying baby as Addison went downstairs to see who was at the front door. When she got there, she found Naomi.

 

“Nate just fell asleep,” Addison said as she opened the door. They could both hear the baby crying upstairs.

 

“I’m sorry, I just…how could you?” Naomi asked, clearly emotional.

 

“How could I what?” Addison asked. She was exhausted and didn’t realize what was really bothering Naomi. Or why she’d ring the doorbell right after they got Nate to fall asleep. Then again, Naomi only rang the bell when no one answered after she knocked.

 

“Sheldon! You just poach him and expect me not to care?” Naomi asked, letting herself in.

 

“I’m sorry, Nai, it wasn’t personal. We needed another doctor,” Addison explained, trying her hardest not to yawn as she closed the front door.

 

“You already have a psychiatrist!” Naomi pointed out.

 

“No, we don’t,” Addison said, putting a hand up to remind her to keep her voice down. Nate wasn’t crying anymore, but he was still awake. She could hear him babbling and cooing from downstairs.

 

“Violet’s gone. We don’t know if she’s ever coming back,” Addison added.

 

“What do you mean, she’s gone ?” Naomi asked, immediately intrigued.

 

“She didn’t come back from Costa Rica. And Cooper says he doesn’t know if he’s coming back,” Addison informed her.

 

“Wow,” Naomi plopped down on the couch.

 

“Yeah,” Addison sighed, plopping down next to her.

 

“Wow, Violet’s really not coming back,” Naomi said, letting it sink in.

 

“I really thought…I thought she’d get better,” Naomi added.

 

“Me too. I mean, that whole night was…a lot. For all of us. So, I get it, I just…,” Addison tried to form the words, but couldn’t figure out what she wanted to say.

 

“Yeah, me too,” Naomi agreed, even though Addison didn’t fully finish her thought.

 

“So…are we good?” Addison asked after a minute of leaning on each other’s shoulders.

 

“Yeah, we’re good,” Naomi said, solemnly.

 

“Nai?” Derek asked as he spotted her from the bottom of the staircase. Both girls turned to look at him. He held the baby, who was still awake.

 

“What are you doing here?” Derek chuckled as she got up and met him in the middle. Derek handed Nate over to Addison as he and Naomi had a quick hug. It’d been a while since he’d seen her. He’d been so busy working at St. Ambrose that his life really consisted mostly of being at St. Ambrose and at home.

 

“She wasn’t too happy about me taking Sheldon,” Addison informed him, readjusting Nate in her arms as he squirmed.

 

“But she isn’t anymore?” Derek took notice of how close they’d been on the couch.

 

“No, no, we’re good now,” Naomi chuckled.

 

“Sorry for waking you up,” Naomi said in her baby voice, taking a closer look at Nate.

 

“You remember Auntie Nai?” Addison cooed at the baby and he looked up at her. Seeing her smile made him smile.

 

“Look at that little smile!” Naomi cooed as she played with his feet.

 

“I guess that means I’ll get him a bottle,” Derek chuckled before giving his wife a quick kiss and heading towards the fridge.

 

“Thank you!” Addison called out, bouncing Nate up and down in her arms.

 

“How is the little guy, anyway?” Naomi asked. It’d been a while since she’d checked in.

 

“He’s good! He’d be better if he went back to sleep though,” Addison looked down at Nate, where he looked up at her innocently.

 

“And I can’t even be mad at you, huh?” Addison added. Nate giggled back.

 

“You’ve got your mom wrapped around your little finger, don’t you?” Noami directed the question toward Nate. He looked back at her in wonder. Clearly, he found all the baby talk amusing.

 

When Derek got back, Nate wrapped his hands around the bottle once he popped it into his mouth. After cooing with the baby for a little longer, Naomi said goodnight to Derek, Addison, and Nate, and went back home. It took another half hour, but Nate finally fell asleep. Once Derek and Addison got to their bedroom, they immediately went to bed, just exhausted from their day.

 

Two weeks passed and Sheldon came up to join everyone at Oceanside. Things were looking up financially, but Addison knew this wouldn’t be the end of it. Pacific Wellcare was still a formidable competitor, but for now, things were good. Stable. At St. Ambrose, things were still plenty busy, but the attendings were getting the hang of teaching. And it was going well enough for both Derek and Charlotte that they no longer had to hand-hold everyone through the process.

 

Eventually, Nate hit three months. With help from his nanny, Nate had a much more set sleeping and eating schedule. Derek was also happy that he could finally leave work a little earlier to spend more time with him. Addison’s work at Oceanside Wellness gave her a much more flexible schedule, but now Derek came home a little earlier in the evenings whenever he could. And when he did, they’d have a nice family dinner. Just the three of them. 

 

As for Sloan, she settled into her new life with Mark. It’d been three months since she gave birth to Nate, which prompted Addison to ask Mark if she ever wanted to visit him. Thus far, she hadn’t come to visit the baby. While she knew it must’ve been hard for Sloan to not only have a baby and give him away, but also adjust to a whole new life in LA. Sloan mostly kept her distance from Derek and Addison, but when her school had a half day, she found herself at St. Ambrose. She would’ve much rather gone out somewhere with her friends, but after she flunked her last algebra class, Mark grounded her until she could get her grades up. Her teacher suggested Sloan do some extra credit to catch up, and Mark agreed.

 

After a day or two of Sloan trying to study at home alone, she complained it was too quiet. She wanted to go to a cafe to do her homework. Something about having some ambient noise could be helpful, she suggested. But Mark saw right through Sloan. He knew that if he said yes, she’d just invite her friends to the coffee shop. And when she did, she wouldn’t get anything done. So, he told her to come to St. Ambrose. There was a cafeteria here, and this way, he could keep an eye on her between surgeries.

 

As Sloan studied in the cafeteria, Addison and Dr. Vanessa Hoyt, St. Ambrose’s neonatal attending, were discussing a case. They had a surrogate mother with triplets who was throwing blood clots. Vanessa suggested they put an umbrella in to prevent them, but Addison saw the danger in doing so. Instead, Addison wanted her patient to reduce the pregnancy to one baby. But the adopting parents refused, thus why Vanessa was now involved. And it didn’t help that Vanessa was also Sam’s new girlfriend. As they argued, Addison saw Sloan sitting alone, staring blankly at a wall. Clearly, her textbook wasn’t very interesting.

 

“Sloan?” Addison snapped her out of her distracted state.

 

“What? Huh?” Sloan blinked.

 

“Hi, Addison, you dad’s friend,” Addison reminded her.

 

“Right, I remember you. You had the affair with my dad, right?” Sloan asked, bluntly. Vanessa couldn’t help but clear her throat. She knew Addison and Derek, and that they were married. So, this was certainly surprising.

 

“Yeah, well, that was a long ago,” Addison said quickly, trying to skip past the awkward moment.

 

“Ahem…, Sloan, Dr. Vanessa Hoyt, Vanessa, this is Mark’s daughter,” Addison introduced the two.

 

“Sloan Sloan?” Vanessa thought out loud as she shook the girl’s hand.

 

“Sloan Riley. I grew up with my mom’s name,” Sloan explained.

 

“I see. It’s nice to meet you,” Vanessa found it odd that Mark had a daughter. After all, he had quite the reputation around the hospital.

 

Later that day, Addison and Vanessa’s patient agreed to put the umbrella in. The surrogate wanted to do everything they could to keep all three babies. Despite Addison’s competing recommendation. In surgery, they had their cardio attending, Dr. Aryan Singh, and Sam put in the umbrella. Dr. Bailey came to visit a few months prior and Sam got back into surgery again. But the last time he operated was during his residency, which he never finished. With St. Ambrose’s new surgical residency program, Sam fit right in as a resident. He was much older than everyone in the program, of course, but he’d at least finish his residency this way. Before the surgery, Addison caught Mark in the hallway.

 

“Hey!” Addison called out.

 

“Hey, Red,” Mark greeted her.

 

“You goin’ into surgery?” Mark asked, knowing that Addison only came to St. Ambrose for surgeries or to visit Derek. 

 

“You told Sloan about us?” Addison skipped past his question.

 

“We were bonding,” Mark defended himself.


“That is not how you bond with children !” Addison exclaimed. 

 

“I didn’t know that,” Mark shrugged it off before walking away. 

 

Addison sighed, but knew there was no point in arguing. Sloan knew about the affair, and now so did Vanessa. And it’d only be a matter of time before it spread to the rest of the hospital. After all, every hospital she’d ever worked at loved spreading gossip around. After that, Addison left to go scrub in for surgery.

 

The surgery went well, and the doctors got the umbrella in. However, it didn’t last long as Kayla, their patient, threw another clot. This time, under the umbrella, just as Addison warned. They went back into surgery, this time for Addison to reduce the pregnancy. But Kayla threw another clot in surgery and was deprived of oxygen for too long. She was still alive, but now she was in a coma. Derek did a neuro check and determined she probably wouldn’t wake up. And there wasn’t anything they could do.

 

Kayla’s husband, Eddie, got angry. And rightfully so. Addison knew the initial surgery was a bad idea, but the adoptive parents and Vanessa pushed for it, leaving her outnumbered. But now, it was too late. They were all devastated. Even though Addison was against it, she still wanted it to work. She still wanted Kayla to make it. 

 

“It’s not your fault, you know,” Addison told Vanessa when they had a moment alone.

 

“Yes, it is. But thank you for saying it isn’t,” Vanessa said appreciatively.

 

“You made a bad call. We all make bad calls. But you tried,” Addison added.

 

“Thank you,” Vanessa said before walking away around the corner.

 

Watching Kayla like that crushed Eddie. He was in hell and wanted to take her off the machines. And it made everyone uncomfortable. The parents were furious and hired their own lawyer. Eddie fought back and just wanted to give Kayla peace. But with three babies still in her body, they couldn’t just unplug her. And the judge they brought in agreed. But with how emotional Eddie was, the judge also decided to keep Eddie out of Kayla’s room until the babies became viable. 

 

Charlotte took pity on him. It was hard not to. He clearly was still so in love with his wife. But there were three babies to think about too. Barring Eddie out of Kayla’s room felt like too much, though. So Charlotte dismissed the nurse, unlocked her room door, and let Eddie get a minute alone with her. Charlotte had barely rounded the corner when she heard the alarms go off. He unplugged her. Charlotte knew it was a possibility, but she couldn’t stand watching Eddie stare from outside Kayla’s room. 

 

When the doctors all rushed into Kayla’s room, they were surprised to find Kayla breathing on her own. The doctors kept their hands off. Kayla, at this point, was a medical mystery. And possibly a medical miracle. But it was still too soon to tell. Derek did another neuro check and found there wasn’t any change. By all means, Kayla shouldn’t have been able to breathe on her own. Yet, she was.

 

Eddie, however, couldn’t let go of the idea of Kayla’s breathing as a miracle. He did his research and found Dr. Geraldine Ginsberg. She had an impeccable reputation. Eddie went off about how she woke up a coma patient after 17 years. But the fact that Dr. Ginsberg actually flew in to help surprised everyone. But the real surprise came after Dr. Ginsberg instructed her team to do repeat scans.

 

“Amy?” Addison asked when she saw Derek’s baby sister come into Kayla’s room.

 

“Hey, Addie,” Amelia turned around, happy she managed to keep her visit a surprise.

 

“It’s a long time no see,” Amelia said, smiling. The last time she saw Addison was at Christmas. And it was already August.

 

“You two know each other?” Dr. Ginsberg asked, a slight surprise in her voice.

 

“Yes, uh yes. I…I’m married to her brother,” Addison chuckled, roping Amelia in for a hug. It didn’t matter that Ginsberg was Amelia’s boss, or that they were in a professional setting. She missed her sister.

Chapter Text

“Oh my God!” Arizona shielded her eyes and turned away from the door. 

 

She’d just walked into an on-call room to hopefully get some rest after a long surgery. Instead, she found it occupied. And unsurprisingly, it was Mark in bed with someone.

 

“Robbins! Hey,” Mark chuckled awkwardly as he stumbled off the bed and got dressed. The girl under him, however, hid under the blankets.

 

“Lex, it’s fine. It’s just Robbins,” Mark didn’t think Lexie needed to hide.

 

“Lex? As in Lexie Grey ?” Arizona looked back. Lexie held a pillow with one hand to shield her face and wiggled around to get dressed under the blanket.

 

Meanwhile, Addison and Amelia walked through the halls. Amelia told her more about her fellowship with Dr. Ginsberg and how she’d been since the last time they’d seen each other. Then they talked about their patient, Kayla. They bumped into Sam and Vanessa as they walked, where Sam teasingly reminded Amelia of her nickname, “Hurricane Amelia”. 

 

When they turned the corner, they saw Mark sneak out of the call room, with Arizona standing across with her arms crossed. Mark just gave her his signature smile to try to convince her not to say anything. Or to at least go easy on him. Everyone knew Mark’s reputation by now. It wouldn’t hurt for people to find out that he slept with a resident. Maybe it’d hurt Lexie’s reputation, but it was just sex. Before Addison and Amelia could greet him, Lexie came out of the on-call room.

 

“She looks a little young, even for Mark. Is she even older than his daughter?” Amelia gossiped. Addison glared at first, but couldn’t help but break out into a giggle, sending both girls laughing.

 

“Who is she, anyway?” Amelia asked, as their giggling subsided.

 

“Dr. Lexie Grey,” Addison said disapprovingly.

 

“So…we hate her?” Amelia asked, sensing Addison’s tone.

 

“No, she’s…she’s great. I even heard she’s got a photographic memory,” Addison insisted.

 

“Well, that must be handy,” Amelia commented.

 

“She’s just…Meredith Grey’s little sister,” Addison said through her teeth.

 

“Who’s Meredith Grey ?” Amelia asked. She knew about Derek and the intern, but she never knew her name.

 

“The intern from Seattle,” Addison said, again through her teeth.

 

“Oh, the slutty intern ,” Amelia said, amused, as she used the nickname Nancy gave her.

 

“That’s not…well, yes,” Addison said awkwardly.

 

“But that’s not very nice,” Addison added.

 

They both watched as Lexie walked in the opposite direction awkwardly as Arizona entered the on-call room alone. Then, Mark turned around and saw the two girls watching him.

 

“Hi, Amy!” Mark greeted her enthusiastically.

 

“Mark!” Amelia exclaimed, giving him a big hug.

 

“You still look hot! Even as a grandpa,” Amelia commented jokingly.

 

“Haha, very funny. And you…uh, look a lot more grown-up than when I last saw you,” Mark laughed awkwardly. 

 

“You can say hot, you know. ‘Cause I am. I’m hot,” Amelia jokes. Addison nudged her from the side.

 

“No, I can’t. Because in my mind, you’re still Derek’s 12-year-old sister,” Mark laughed along. He had already slept with his best friend’s wife. He couldn’t sleep with his baby sister, too. 

 

“Well, that didn’t seem to stop you from sleeping with the resident,” Addison commented jokingly.

 

“But seriously, Amy is and always will be, off-limits,” Addison said sternly. 

 

“Don’t worry, I’ve learned my lesson,” Mark held his hands up in defense jokingly.

 

“So, what are you doing here, anyway?” Mark asked as they all went back to walking the halls.

 

“Amy’s here with Dr. Ginsberg on her fancy neuro fellowship,” Addison bragged for her. Amelia blushed as she nudged Addison gently with her elbow.

 

“Amelia,” Amelia corrected them.

 

“Derek’s the only one that calls me Amy these days,” Amelia added. Mark and Addison nodded.

 

“Does he even know you’re here?” Addison asked.

 

“What? And ruin the surprise?” Amelia joked.


Then, as they walked, they ran into Callie, who was holding baby Lucas.

 

“Hi, Lucas!” Addison greeted the baby in her baby voice. Mark also waved to him playfully.

 

“Wait, that’s not your kid, is it? ‘Cause if it is, he’s a little bigger than I thought he’d be,” Amelia commented.

 

“No, this is Pete’s son,” Mark said.

 

“Pete used to work with me at Oceanside Wellness before he moved downstairs to work with Naomi,” Addison added.

 

“Wait, is he the one whose baby mama…?” Amelia started. Addison filled her in before about everything that happened with Violet.

 

“Mm-hmm,” Callie answered for her.

 

“Wow,” Amelia commented.

 

“Callie Torres,” Callie introduced herself after realizing she hadn’t already.

 

“Amelia Shepherd,” Amelia introduced herself.

 

“Shepherd? As in…,” Callie looked towards Addison.

 

“Derek’s little sister? Yes,” Addison confirmed. 

 

Callie knew Derek had four sisters, as Addison told her before. But other than knowing he had four sisters and a mother that didn’t like Addison all that much, that was about the extent of what she knew about Derek’s family.

 

“So, if this isn’t your kid, where is my nephew, anyway?” Amelia asked Addison.

 

“Home with the nanny. You can meet him at dinner,” Addison smiled. 

 

The whole family got pictures of the three of them about a month after they adopted Nate via postcards and emails. But since every single one of Derek’s sisters was a doctor, none of them had the time to fly out to meet him yet. And Carolyn told Derek that Nate would have his own stocking hanging over the fireplace by the time they brought him for Christmas. And yes, she did insist they come back to the east coast for the holidays this year. As for Bizzy and The Captain, they sent a nice but expected bouquet of flowers to their house, with a note saying they expected to see them at the Montgomery estate for New Year’s.

 

“What are you doing with Lucas, anyway?” Addison asked, brushing some of Lucas’s hair to the side.

 

“Pete’s taking over for Nai while she’s gone, and he came here looking for you, actually,” Callie informed her. 

 

Over the last few months, Addison agreed to help babysit Lucas whenever Pete needed her to. Especially while Addison took time off for her maternity leave. Naomi had been dating the billionaire, William White, for a few months now and had just learned he had ALS. So, she jumped on a plane to Switzerland to be with him as he underwent treatment. When Addison was on maternity leave, Addison got to watch both Lucas and Nate, which gave them a good chance to bond. Even if Lucas was a good six months older than Nate. 

 

Plus, Addison liked to think that taking care of Lucas gave her a little more parenting practice, too. And while she and Derek didn’t talk about having more than one kid so far, it wasn’t out of the question. She loved Nate, but part of her also wanted a daughter, too. Just not yet.

 

“But you’ve got that coma case, so I told him I could take him,” Callie said.

 

“Speaking of which, I should get back before Ginsberg rips my head off,” Amelia joked before saying goodbye and getting back to work.

 

“I should probably go too,” Mark said before excusing himself too. He was just glad he’d dodged Addison scolding him for sleeping with Lexie.

 

“Oh, hey, since Amelia’s here, I thought we could do dinner. Think you and Arizona can join us?” Addison asked. It’d been a while since they all got together for dinner. Plus, she thought Callie and Arizona would make for good buffers between Derek and Amelia.

 

“Yeah, I think Arizona’s getting some sleep in right now, but we should be free for dinner,” Callie thought out loud. She caught Arizona as she came out of the scrub room, exhausted after a long day. And Callie was the one who told her she should find an on-call room to rest in.

 

“Great! My place around eight?” Addison asked, still amused by Lucas.

 

“Sounds good,” Callie confirmed.

 

“You sure you’ve got him?” Addison asked Callie, referring to the baby.

 

“Yeah, I’ve got him,” Callie bounced Lucas in her arms. Lucas giggled and waved around the small teddy bear in his hand.

 

“You’re gonna be a great mother someday,” Addison commented, laughing along.

 

“You really think so?” Callie asked.

 

“Absolutely,” Addison said.

 

Meanwhile, Amelia went back to work as Ginsberg’s fellow. She ran the tests on Kaya with the rest of the fellows. While she waited at the lab, she heard Derek around the corner. He and Charlotte were talking about a patient, one of his, who had a seizure and caused a car accident. But it turned out he had a giant tumor in his brain.

 

“He has a tumor. The accident wasn’t entirely his fault,” Derek said.

 

“Yeah, well, that doesn’t change the fact that he hit a slew of other cars,” Charlotte pointed out. 

 

“It’s up to the police now to figure out the rest,” Charlotte added.

 

“Hey, bro,” Amelia called out.

 

“Amy?” Derek looked confused. 

 

“Surprise!” Amelia jokingly gestured with her hands, as if she were on stage.

 

“You two know each other?” Charlotte asked.

 

“This is my sister, Amy,” Derek introduced her.

 

“Amelia,” Amelia corrected him.

 

“Charlotte King, chief of staff,” Charlotte said as she shook her hand.

 

“What are you doing here?” Derek chuckled.

 

“Ginsberg. I’m one of her fellows,” Amelia informed him.

 

“Oh yeah, I forgot about that,” Derek admitted.

 

“Gee, thanks,” Amelia said sarcastically. 

 

“Sorry, baby brain,” Derek joked.

 

“Oh yeah, how is the little guy?” Amelia asked.

 

“He’s good. He’d be better if he slept through the night,” Derek joked. Their nanny helped immensely in helping to set up a clear feeding and sleeping schedule. But Nate still wasn’t sleeping through the night.

 

“Results for Dr. Ginsberg?” the lab technician said, holding out some files toward Amelia.

 

“Oh, thank you,” Amelia said.

 

“I should get back to work, but I’ll see you at dinner,” Amelia said quickly, as she started walking away.

 

“Wait, what do you mean dinner?” Derek asked out, confused.

 

“Ask your wife!” Amelia called out while she read the lab results.

 

When she got back, Dr. Ginsberg reviewed the files. And she and the rest of the teaching fellows met in Kayla’s room to talk to Eddie. Ultimately, Dr. Ginsberg decided she wasn’t a viable candidate. But Amelia disagreed that there wasn’t anything they could do. And she said as much when Ginsberg came out of the room. And their ensuing argument happened in front of Eddie. Dr. Ginsberg definitely wasn’t happy about that. So, she fired her on the spot. And the worst part was Addison also saw her get fired.

 

Regardless, Amelia still wanted to fight for Kayla. She believed this surgery would work, even though Ginsberg clearly didn’t. As Addison pulled Amelia away from Eddie, Amelia argued about all the reasons why this surgery should happen. While Addison knew a little more about neurosurgery than most people, she still didn’t know enough to judge whether or not Amelia was right about this surgery. And it wasn’t just about trying to wake Kayla up from her coma. There were three fetuses growing in her too. Ones with parents desperate to keep them alive long enough for viability.

 

Instead of trying to fight back against her sister-in-law, Addison suggested they put it all aside for now. The sun started setting and there wasn’t anything left to do with Kayla’s case. At least not right now. So, after Addison made sure she didn’t have anything else left to do back at the practice, she took Amelia back to her place. Addison sent the nanny home and Amelia finally met her baby nephew.

 

“Nate, this is Auntie Amelia,” Addison introduced the two as she passed the baby over to 

 

“Thanks again, Gina,” Addison called out.

 

“Of course, Dr. Montgomery. I’ll see you tomorrow,” Gina said politely before leaving.

 

“Hello, there,” Amelia cooed with the baby in her arms. Nate looked back at her in wonder.

 

“I’m your Auntie Amelia. Just remember, I’m your favorite,” Amelia said. Addison laughed as she watched them bond.

 

Then, Addison called for some takeout. Eventually, Arizona, Derek, and Callie, who still had Lucas, arrived, and everyone had a nice dinner inside. Then, Pete showed up to pick up Lucas, and Addison and Derek put Nate down for bed. As they did, Callie and Amelia got to know each other as Arizona and Amelia caught up with each other. By now, everyone heard about Kayla and Dr. Ginsberg’s visit. As well as how and why Amelia got fired.

 

“I just flushed my career down the toilet, didn’t I?” Amelia finally said as they’d already exhausted the other introductory topics.

 

“You will get another fellowship,” Addison said as she and Derek came back out to the patio, with Derek holding the baby monitor in his hands.

 

“Not if Ginsberg has anything to do with it,” Amelia said.

 

“The worst part is that I’m right,” Amelia commented.

 

“Amy,” Derek sighed as he and Addison sat down at the table.

 

“Look, I get it. I’m just the little sister that screwed up again. But I’m right ,” Amelia said, knowing that that was exactly what Derek was thinking.

 

“That’s…not how he sees you, Ames,” Addison said. But not very convincingly. 

 

“Really Addie? You are gonna lie to me now?” Amelia asked. Addison retreated and sighed in response. And Derek didn’t say anything to contest this.

 

“The patient’s lying there like a vegetable and we have the chance to save her,” Amelia argued.

 

“A slim chance,” Arizona added.

 

“A chance is a chance!” Amelia insisted. 

 

“Did you even look at the scans?” Amelia directed her question at Derek.

 

“Honestly? No,” Derek admitted truthfully.

 

“Then your argument might as well be moot,” Amelia argued.

 

“I didn’t even say anything!” Derek defended himself.

 

“But if Ginsberg said no, there had to have been a reason,” Derek added. Amelia rolled her eyes.

 

“This is just new! This is a cutting-edge surgical procedure,” Amelia started before going off about a study from the University of Wisconsin. Even if he didn’t say it out loud, she impressed Derek.

 

“I’ve seen it. I mean, I can do it,” Amelia added. Derek looked back at her with an eyebrow raised.

 

“I’m just saying. I trained for it,” Amelia said in response to Derek’s judging looks.

 

“Yeah, but this woman also has three babies growing inside of her,” Callie pointed out.

 

“And Kayla has a husband and two children,” Amelia said in response. Everyone stayed silent for a minute. She had a point.

 

“Any chance you have the studies on you?” Derek finally asked. Addison smiled. It didn’t mean he’d agree with Amelia, but he was at least giving her a chance.

 

“Uh…I have a copy in my bag. I’ll go grab them,” Amelia said, suspicious of her brother, before going inside to grab the files.

 

“I knew you’d come around eventually,” Addison said. Derek grabbed her hand and brought it up closer to his mouth before kissing it sweetly.

 

“Here,” Amelia handed him the studies.

 

“And what kind of surgery are you proposing, exactly?” Derek asked as he read through the pages of results.

 

“Well, see, the C.S.F. studies don’t show a complete obstruction. Just a slowing of flow,” Amelia started.

 

“Mm-hmm,” Derek nodded.

 

“So, we could try passing a stent in the aqueduct to drain the fluid buildup. And then the brain stem activity should return as the pressure drops,” Amelia explained. She watched her brother closely, but couldn’t tell if he agreed with her. Addison, Callie, and Arizona watched him closely as well, waiting for his response.

 

“You might be right,” Derek admitted, putting the papers down.

 

“Wait, what?” Amelia didn’t expect to hear her brother agree with her. In fact, she thought it’d be just another excuse to call her crazy.

 

“It’s risky. And the procedure’s experimental, but I agree with you,” Derek added.

 

“Wait, hold up. There are three babies in this woman,” Arizona said.

 

“But they’re viable, aren’t they?” Callie asked.

 

“Barely,” Addison added. She felt for Eddie, but she knew this was risky. Too risky, in her opinion.

 

“Those babies aren’t ready to come out,” Arizona said.

 

“Maybe they won’t have to come out,” Callie suggested.

 

“With Kayla’s past of throwing clots, they might not survive the procedure otherwise,” Addison added.

 

“Well, then she’ll have the best neonatal and peds surgeons three babies could ask for,” Derek pointed out. It was true. Addison and Arizona were among the best in their fields. Amelia smiled at her brother coming to her defense.

 

“Thank you, but it’s still posing an unnecessary risk to those babies,” Arizona pointed out.

 

“Unnecessary? This surgery could wake Kayla up. Her husband and her kids could get her back,” Amelia argued.

 

“But if we wait a few more weeks, those babies will be in much better shape,” Addison said.

 

“Thank you,” Amelia thanked her brother for siding with her.

 

“Callie? What do you think?” Addison asked. Callie was the only one in all of this that wasn’t directly involved.

 

“I think…those babies should stay in as long as they can,” Callie said. Addison and Arizona nodded, smiling.

 

“But I don’t think Eddie’s gonna want to wait a few more weeks. I mean, he already unplugged her from the machine before,” Callie added.

 

Everyone nodded. This surgery was probably going to happen, even though Arizona and Addison were against it. And Addison knew that Vanessa wouldn’t like it either. Now, it was just up to Charlotte. And with Derek’s support, she’d probably agree to it. That night, Amelia stayed with Derek and Addison in their guest room. But she, much like Derek and Addison, woke up early around four AM when Nate didn’t sleep through the night. Again.

 

“Sorry, Ames,” Addison rocked a squirmy and still-crying Nate in her arms.

 

“Go back to bed,” Derek said sleepily before heading downstairs to warm up a bottle.

 

“I’m never having children,” Amelia commented before yawning and going back to the guest room.



When Amelia talked to Charlotte, Addison, Vanessa, Derek, and Arizona joined her. They all made it clear they were against it. But they were up against Amelia and Derek. And Amelia even got Dr. Singh’s support, as she needed a cardiovascular surgeon to monitor Kayla during the surgery.

 

“Eddie Lindy made a decision to save his wife. He asked me to do it, and I can do it,” Amelia argued.

 

“And you’re on board with this?” Charlotte looked at Derek.

 

“Yes,” Derek confirmed.

 

“Now, will you give me privileges here?” Amelia asked Charlotte.

 

“Yes. I’ll get you an OR for tomorrow,” Charlotte responded. 

 

Later, Vanessa brought in the adoptive parents as Amelia prepped Kayla for surgery. They pleaded with her not to go through with this surgery, but Amelia wouldn’t change her mind. She truly believed she was doing what was best for Kayla. And as for the triplets, she knew they’d be well taken care of with Addison and Arizona. When it came time for the surgery, she heard the door open and found Addison, Vanessa, Dr. Singh, Arizona, Sam, and Derek come in to scrub in. 

 

“What are you doing here?” Amelia directed her question at Derek.

 

“Why wouldn’t I be here?” Derek asked confused.

 

“This is my surgery,” Amelia insisted.

 

“It still is,” Derek said nonchalantly.

 

“Did Charlotte put you up to this? I can do this. Without you,” Amelia argued.

 

“I’m not your screwed-up little sister anymore,” Amelia grumbled.

 

“I never said -,” Derek started.

 

“Okay, that’s enough,” Addison scolded them both. The other doctors awkwardly kept to themselves and continued scrubbing their hands.

 

“Ames, Derek’s just here to support you,” Addison started.

 

“And Derek, you’re just here to assist,” Addison added. Neither said a thing as they dried off their hands.

 

“Understand?” Addison asked.

 

“Yes,” Derek and Amelia resigned in unison. Something about Addison scolding them always put Derek and Amelia in their place.

 

During the surgery, Amelia didn’t get far before Kayla threw another clot. Dr. Singh, with Sam’s assistance, worked to remove the clot together. But Addison and Vanessa knew the babies wouldn’t survive the procedure. They worked together to take the babies out. Eventually, they brought all three, with help from some assisting residents, to the NICU, where Arizona was on standby. But not until after a scare from one of the triplets not breathing for the first few minutes of her life.

 

After they left, Dr. Singh and Sam cleared the clots. But watching all the drama of Addison and Vanessa resuscitating one of the babies freaked her out. Her prior confidence waned as she finally felt the pressure to wake this woman up from her coma. While the logic of draining the fluid made sense, she knew just as much as any other neurosurgeon that the brain and how it was supposed to work didn’t always make sense. It’s what made the specialty interesting and exciting. But now was not the time for Amelia to freak out.

 

“You’re up, Dr. Shepherd,” Dr. Singh said as he saw Kayla’s vitals stabilizing.

 

“I almost killed her,” Amelia said, softly. Derek could tell how freaked she was now.

 

“And those babies…,” Amelia started.

 

“They’ve got Addison, Hoyt, and Robbins now,” Derek interrupted her. He knew those three were more than capable for the job. And he knew Amelia knew this too.

 

“What am I doing?” Amelia whispered, looking to Derek for advice.

 

“You’re operating,” Derek said, simply. He wanted to make sure Amelia felt calm. And the only way to do that was making sure she felt comfortable. Yelling at her right now wouldn’t help. Especially if it were coming from him. It’d just add to the pressure she already felt.

 

“You know what you’re doing, Amy,” Derek came up closer to stand beside her.

 

“Do I?” Amelia asked, her voice just barely above a whisper.

 

“Yes, you do. Now finish this surgery,” Derek instructed her calmly.

 

“What if she doesn’t wake up? What if this was all for nothing?” Amelia sounded like she was on the verge of tears.

 

“Then at least you’ll know you tried. And so will Eddie,” Derek said. He knew Amelia wasn’t doing this surgery to try to show off. She was doing it her patient, for her family.

 

Amelia nodded before getting back to work. After the surgery, Amelia, Derek, and Sam watched as Kayla lay in her hospital, with Eddie hovering over her. She was still unconscious. 

 

“It didn’t work,” Amelia said.

 

“You don’t know that,” Sam insisted. It hadn’t been long enough yet to know if it worked.

 

“The other patients were at least marginally responsive by now,” Amelia added.

 

“Maybe Addie was right. Maybe I took too long,” Amelia thought out loud.

 

“Just wait,” Derek interrupted her as he saw Eddie walk toward them.

 

“She’s in pain. Is that good or bad?” Eddie asked.

 

Amelia and Derek did a quick neuro check. Kayla was waking up. And when Amelia realized this, there were tears in her eyes. And she let them fall down her face when Eddie came closer to comfort his now-awake wife.

 

“Addie!” Amelia called out hen she saw her walking through the halls.

 

“How are the babies?” Amelia asked. Seeing Addison out here felt like a good sign. When Amelia saw her, it didn’t seem like she was sulking.

 

“They’re stable. For now,” Addison said, curtly.

 

“It worked! I was right,” Amelia said.

 

“No. No, you were not right,” Addison argued. 

 

“You forced me to take out those babies way too early,” Addison added.

 

“But they survived,” Amelia said. She knew it was a risky surgery, that Kayla wasn’t the only patient in the operating room. But so far, things were looking good.

 

“They survived. But don’t kid yourself. You got lucky in there,” Addison said sternly.

 

“You could be a great surgeon. But right now, you’re not half as good as you think you are. And I say that as a doctor with far more experience than you,” Addison added.

 

Amelia bit her inner lip. Maybe she did just get lucky in there. But as a silence hung in the air for a minute, Addison saw Derek standing at the other end of the hallway. He knew Addison wasn’t happy about the surgery. The babies were viable, but barely. And judging on what he saw in the OR, at least one of the baby’s lungs hadn’t fully developed. 

 

But for now, everything was good. And Addison knew that, too. More importantly, she knew Amelia hadn’t done this on a whim to try to impress her brother or anyone else for that matter. Amelia did this for all four of her patients. Taking the babies out early wasn’t ideal, but Amelia knew Addison would take good care of them. So would Vanessa and Arizona.

 

“But as…your sister-in-law, look at that,” Addison looked into Kayla’s room.

 

“She’s up, she’s awake. That’s a family, and you did that. Those kids have a mother, he’s got the woman he loves. So, celebrate that. ‘Cause it’s a miracle,” Addison added before walking back to check on the babies.

 

“You did good, Amy,” Derek said, as Amelia turned around to see him.

 

“Thanks,” Amelia said, as Derek put an arm around her as they walked away to get back to work.

 

Later that night, Derek, Addison, and Amelia had dinner before Derek and Addison went through their nighttime routine with Nate. While Nate loved hearing Derek play the guitar, he didn’t seem to want to go to sleep yet. After he finished his bottle, Addison rocked him to try to encourage him to fall asleep. But for the time being, it was useless. And Derek kept playing softly on his guitar, but again, it didn’t seem to help. After a couple more minutes, Amelia came up to check on them.

 

“I still can’t believe you guys have a baby,” Amelia commented, standing against the door frame.

 

“Yeah, we can’t either sometimes,” Derek chuckled. Nate babbled as Addison readjusted him in her arms.

 

“Come on, baby. Why aren’t you going to sleep?” Addison looked down at the baby, who just gave her a small smile back.

 

“I’d be mad at you if you weren’t so cute,” Addison cooed before kissing the top of Nate’s head.

 

“Maybe he just wants his favorite auntie,” Amelia joked, walking over to get a closer look at him.

 

“Knock yourself out,” Addison chuckled before handing him over. It’d been a long day, and it already exhausted her enough. 

 

At first, Nate looked back at her curiously. Amelia scrunched her nose and rubbed it against his gently as he lifted his small hand toward her face. Much like Addison had before, Amelia rocked Nate gently. Not long after that, Nate nuzzled his cheek on her shoulder. Derek resumed picking at the guitar as they watched Nate slowly get sleepier.

 

“Hey, you’re pretty good at that,” Addison said softly, moving closer to place a hand on Derek’s shoulder as they both watched Amelia.

 

“I knew I was your favorite,” Amelia whispered to Nate, whose blinks started lasting longer.

 

Derek and Addison smiled before leaving the room to give Amelia and Nate some privacy. Not that they needed it. But it felt nice to just be Derek and Addison. Even if it was just for a minute. They stood outside Nate’s nursery and Addison leaned into Derek’s embrace as he leaned against the wall. 

 

“I missed her,” Addison said, looking up at Derek.

 

“I did too,” Derek smiled before giving her what started as a short but sweet kiss. Addison immediately deepened the kiss, and they stood making out like teenagers for a few minutes.

 

“Ugh, get a room,” Amelia joked when she came out of Nate’s room.

 

“This whole house is our room,” Derek joked, chuckling.

 

“I didn’t need to know that,” Amelia commented. She couldn’t help but think that Derek’s joke meant they christened every room in this house. Addison rolled her eyes and let out a chuckle as well.

 

“Is he asleep?” Addison asked, just to be sure.

 

“Yup. Sleeping like a rock,” Amelia said proudly.

 

“Thank you,” Addison gently put a hand on her arm. Amelia smiled back.

 

“Thank you…for today. I know that wasn’t easy for you,” Amelia said, thinking back on their day.

 

“You’re family, Amelia. We’d do anything for you,” Addison said.

 

“I just wish I knew what I was gonna do now,” Amelia chuckled awkwardly.

 

“Stay with us,” Derek suggested. Addison smiled before leaning into Derek’s arms again.

 

“What?” Amelia asked, stunned her brother of all people would suggest she stay with them for longer than just a quick visit.

 

“Yeah,” Addison echoed his sentiment.

 

“What would I even do here? Babysit?” Amelia joked.

 

“Well, you would be a pretty great babysitter. Plus, we wouldn’t have to pay for the nanny anymore,” Derek joked. Addison playfully swatted his shoulder.

 

“We have an empty office,” Addison teased. Derek didn’t see this one coming. He just wanted to keep Amelia around to watch out for her. And he thought she could make a great addition to St. Ambrose. But Addison might need her more at Oceanside Wellness.

 

“Really?” Amelia asked excitedly.

 

“I’d have to ask everyone else, but I don’t see why not,” Addison said.

 

Amelia ran up to hug Addison like she was a little kid running up to their dad when they came home from work. She was fully aware this was what it must’ve looked like: her as Derek and Addison’s child. But at the moment, Amelia didn’t care. And neither did Derek or Addison, for that matter. 

 

Right now, things were looking up. She knew Ginsberg would make it nearly impossible for Amelia to find another fellowship. Working for Addison would be great. She really missed Addison, as well as Derek. And she was sure her mother would be happy that she’d have Derek to look out for her now.

Chapter Text

After Addison talked to the rest of the practice, Amelia became the newest doctor at Oceanside Wellness. Derek called their mother to fill her in on their new living arrangements. But he only did it after Amelia begged him to call for her. In exchange for a favor, to cash in sometime in the future, of course. 

 

About two months later, Amelia started to settle nicely at the Montgomery-Shepherd house. Nate still wasn’t sleeping through the night, but he was getting close. At almost six months old, he’d get to about four hours before inevitably waking up, crying for attention. And unfortunately, everyone else started getting used to it. It didn’t mean they didn’t want to get more sleep. Nate just didn’t seem interested in maintaining a strict sleep schedule. Despite their efforts.

 

As for Mark, he and Lexie maintained a casual relationship of sorts. It wasn’t anything more than sleeping together on a regular basis. They didn’t label it as anything; they didn’t feel the need to. Mark didn’t want it to be anything more than what it was at the moment. He had a teenage daughter; and a baby grandson. Technically. Even if he was more like Nate’s uncle at this point, because he was also their best friend’s son. 

 

In other words, it was complicated. He didn’t need a real relationship with some girl in her 20s. In fact, he didn’t need a real relationship right now. After seeing Lexie slip out of an on-call room with Mark, exiting shortly afterward for the third time that week, Addison finally had to confront him.

 

“Ahem,” Addison cleared her throat somewhat dramatically as she followed Mark around the corner.

 

“Hey, Red,” Mark said nonchalantly.

 

“Did you…need something?” Mark chuckled awkwardly when Addison kept following him without saying anything.

 

“What’s going on with you and the Grey girl?” Addison asked.

 

“What? You jealous already?” Mark joked as he got his patient notes from the nurse’s station. Addison glared back, but he could see the corner of her lips curl upward. Even if it was only a little.

 

“I’m serious, Mark!” Addison insisted.

 

“I don’t know. What does it matter?” Mark brushed her off. 

 

Truth be told, he was starting to like Lexie. And they’d gotten into the routine of having sex pretty regularly throughout the week. The last thing he wanted was for that to end.

 

“Because I think that’s the…20th time I’ve caught you and Lexie coming out of an on-call room?” Addison exaggerated. 

 

Mark rolled his eyes, knowing she hadn’t really caught them that many times. Even if her number wasn’t that far off from the truth.

 

“What does it even matter?” Mark asked, just trying to get Addison off his back at this point.

 

“I don’t know,” Addison shrugged. Why did she care so much?

 

“So, you are jealous,” Mark teased.

 

“No, I am not jealous,” Addison insisted. She wasn’t. Everything between her and Mark had gotten back to normal. He went back to being her husband’s best friend and one of her closest friends.

 

“So, you’re saying Derek’s been crabby because you guys have been going at it?” Mark joked. 

 

Over the past week or so, Derek had been in a crabby mood. It wasn’t work-related, so it had to be personal. When Mark joked the other day about him being sexually frustrated, Derek didn’t insist he was wrong. Actually, he didn’t say anything. He just walked away. So, he knew his suspicions about his best friend’s sex life weren’t completely wrong.

 

“Okay, I admit, we haven’t been…connecting lately,” Addison started. 

 

Mark chuckled at her choice of wording. Nate’s lack of sleeping anything more than four hours, on average, made it hard for either of his parents to get any sleep. Let alone have a sex life.

 

“But that’s beside the point,” Addison quickly added.

 

“Then what is the point?” Mark asked. He didn’t see the problem in sleeping with Lexie Grey.

 

“The point is…there seems to be something between you and Grey. More than just your normal one-night stand. And I just…want you to be happy,” Addison tried to explain. Mark raised an eyebrow at her.

 

“Okay, look. After everything with us and…,” Addison gestured with her hands, knowing she didn’t have to go into detail.

 

“I just…I want you to be happy, too. Derek and I are great, other than our lack of connecting recently,” Addison said this last part quieter. The last thing she needed was for the nurses to spread this gossip to the rest of the hospital.

 

“But I want you to be happy, too. I know that it wasn’t all your fault. And Derek knows it, too. I just…I want you to find someone, too. And be as happy as we are,” Addison explained further. 

 

It sounded and felt cheesy, but it didn’t make it any less true. She knew things could’ve gone drastically differently. Derek could’ve chosen the intern, or he could’ve blamed the entire affair on Mark. They could’ve never reconciled. The three of them. 

 

But Derek chose her. Again. And Derek did forgive not only her, but Mark, too. And now, they were the Three Musketeers, all over again. With the addition of Nate. She and Derek were deliriously happy, albeit exhausted, and perhaps a little sexually deprived. But happy. All she wanted was for Mark to find that, too. 

 

If that meant having meaningless sex with an intern that was way too young for him, fine. But she wanted to make sure that keeping that relationship where it was would truly make him happy. If there was a chance that a meaningful relationship with this girl would make him happier than he already was, Addison wanted Mark to take that chance.

 

“I’m fine, Addie. But thank you,” Mark finally said.

 

“I’m just saying, think about it,” Addison added before leaving to get back to work. 

 

… 

 

Later that night, Arizona got to Callie’s place after work. It’d been a long day and her ten-year-old patient asked her insistently about what it was like being with a girl. Apparently, he saw her and Callie kiss outside, near the nurse’s station. And his parents were somewhat religious, and Arizona wasn’t. So, to say that staying calm and informative throughout the entire day with him was an understatement. All she wanted was a quiet night with her girlfriend.

 

Unfortunately, she opened the door and immediately heard what she recognized as Teletubbies playing on the TV. She knew it meant there was a baby around; she just didn’t know if it was Lucas, Nate, or both. After putting her purse down, Arizona went over to the kitchen, where she found Callie heating up a bottle for Lucas, who was in the living room on a playmat with some toys.

 

“Hey! I didn’t hear you come in!” Callie said upon seeing her. She went over and gave her a sweet kiss.

 

“Yeah. So, how long’s Lucas gonna be here?” Arizona tried to keep her tone chipper. But honestly, she was a little annoyed. This was probably the fifth time she came over to find Lucas here.

 

“Uh…Pete said he should be here closer to seven,” Callie said. The microwave beeped, and Callie moved over to grab Lucas’s bottle.

 

“Great,” Arizona couldn’t hide her annoyance well.

 

“Is that…okay?” Callie asked cautiously. She didn’t know what the problem was. Or what it could be.

 

“Yeah. I just…wanted it to be us tonight,” Arizona sighed.

 

“Well, it will be after Pete gets here,” Callie explained.

 

“What’s with all the extra babysitting, anyway?” Arizona asked.

 

“What do you mean? I thought you loved kids,” Callie asked, confused.

 

“I do! But it doesn’t mean I wanna be around them all the time,” Arizona replied.

 

“You’re a pediatrician. Does this mean you don’t want kids?” Callie asked.

 

“No, of course not,” Arizona said as if it were obvious.

 

The conversation ended as Lucas threw a rattle toward the TV, and both adults heard the noise. Callie went over to scold him, his bottle in hand as Arizona sighed. Just one more hour and Pete would be here, she thought. Supposedly. As Lucas wailed, probably just wanting his dad, Callie was relieved her conversation with Arizona was stalled for now.

 

 

“Hey, Mark?” Lexie asked as they got dressed in the on-call room.

 

“Yeah?” Mark glanced back briefly as he slid his scrub top back on. They’d had their fun, but he had a surgery to prep for.

 

“What are we doing?” Lexie asked.

 

“Getting dressed?” Mark asked, confused. Did she want him to say something else?

 

“No, I don’t mean right now . I just meant, in general. What are we, Mark? I mean, it doesn’t seem like you want anyone else to know, which is fine. But I…I don’t know. Are we…anything? Or just…sleeping together for the fun of it?” Lexie stumbled over her words. 

 

She asked the question, but quite frankly, she found it hard to figure out how to word what she really wanted to know from the plastic surgeon. It’d be two months of suggestive looks across the hallway when they both had time to kill. For Mark, it was the time between surgeries as his interns took care of all the pre and post-op tasks. Lexie, however, found the time while waiting for lab results, when she knew she should’ve been studying instead.

 

“I don’t know. The second one. Yeah, definitely the second one,” Mark replied.

 

“So, I’m just a sex toy to you. Great!” Lexie said sarcastically.

 

“What do you want from me, Grey?” Mark asked.

 

“I don’t know. To be acknowledged or appreciated for more than my…sexual skills,” Lexie whispered the last part.

 

“What? You want to be rewarded with surgery? Because I don’t work like that, Grey,” Mark said almost angrily.

 

“No! I just…I need to know this is going somewhere. I want more than…whatever this is,” Lexie gestured to the bed sitting between them.

 

“I have a kid, Lexie. And a grandchild, technically,” Mark started.

 

“How do you technically have a grandchild? You either have one or you don’t,” Lexie interrupted him.

 

“It’s a long story,” Mark said dismissively. Lexie sighed and looked away briefly.

 

“I’m sorry, Lex. I’m having fun with you, I am. And maybe if I wasn’t a father and trying to be an adult, I might actually take you up on your offer and be more than… this ,” Mark drew circles with his hand in the air, mirroring Lexie’s previous gesture.

 

“Are you trying to make fun of me?” Lexie asked.

 

“No. I just…I can’t give you anything more than this right now,” Mark insisted. 

 

She was a nice girl, and part of him felt bad for potentially stringing her along. He didn’t mean to do it, she just didn’t seem to mind the casual nature of their quote-unquote relationship they had going so far. 

 

“Then I don’t think I can do this anymore,” Lexie said before going out the door. 

 

Mark sighed and took a deep breath before following suit. When he came out, Derek was outside just passing by. He looked down the hallway where Lexie had just turned the corner and chuckled.

 

“Again?” Derek asked jokingly.

 

“Not you too,” Mark said, thinking back on his conversation with Addison earlier. Derek looked back at him, confused.

 

“Your wife already scolded me, so don’t bother,” Mark joked.

 

They walked the halls together in the same direction Lexie went earlier. However, she went towards the lab to pick up her patient’s test results while the guys went toward the ER.

 

“What’d you do?” Sam asked, joining them in their walk.

 

“What are you doin’ here?” Derek asked. All men chuckled as they each took their turn half-hugging Sam.

 

“Poison,” Sam said bluntly.

 

“What? Like food poisoning or something?” Derek asked.

 

“Yeah, that LA restaurant scene fail you already?” Mark joked. Sam had been trying out different restaurants around the city. With Vanessa, who was schooling him in LA food history. As interesting as it all was for Sam, his stomach didn’t always agree with his tastebuds, unfortunately.

 

“No, I mean poison poison. I think my patient’s mother’s poisoning him,” Sam explained, chuckling at their remarks. 

 

“With real poison?” Mark asked. He and Derek were intrigued now.

 

“Yeah. There’s some kind of plant that, when mixed with alcohol, turns into poison. My patient’s an alcoholic. And apparently, so is his son,” Sam started.

 

“So, Grandma’s poisoning them?” Derek asked. He couldn’t fathom someone doing that to people they loved. Sam chuckled, nodding to confirm.

 

“Good luck,” Derek added.

 

“So, why’s Mark in trouble with Addie?” Sam changed the subject. Mark groaned. He had hoped he’d forgotten about that by now.

 

“Lexie,” Derek replied. He didn’t need to explain further. By now, even Sam knew about Mark and Lexie.

 

“Well, if it makes you all feel better, she broke it off so,” Mark informed them.

 

“Sorry bro,” Sam patted his shoulder.

 

“They’re not even officially together,” Derek pointed out.

 

“Really? I thought you guys were together,” Sam said, surprised.

 

“They were. Just not officially,” Derek added. Sam looked back and forth between the two men.

 

“Oh…I see,” Sam said as he finally caught on.

 

“I still can’t believe you got into another serious relationship instead of sleeping around. I could’ve been your wingman!” Mark said.

 

“You don’t want him as your wingman,” Derek commented, only half-joking.

 

“Hey!” Mark exclaimed.

 

“So, am I still sorry? Or…?” Sam joked, directing his question to Mark and his semi-breakup. Derek snickered along. Mark gave them a sarcastic smile back, but it didn’t take long before he went back to looking somber.

 

“You really like this girl, don’t you?” Sam said after seeing his face.

 

“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” Mark pretended not to care.

 

“Wow, who knew someone could actually steal Mark Sloan’s heart?” Callie commented as she walked up to them. She’d heard the second half of their conversation as she walked behind them.

 

“Is this about Grey?” Callie added, chasing him as he started walking away.

 

“Yup,” Derek confirmed. Mark glared back at him.

 

“Then get her back!” Callie exclaimed. Mark gave her a look.

 

“What? If you love her, go get her!” Callie doubled down on her remark.

 

“Who said I loved her? She’s just a good bang,” Mark said. As the words came out of his mouth, it disgusted him. He, as well as everyone around them, knew that there was more between them.

 

“You’re disgusting. But you know I’m right,” Callie added.

 

“I’m a father now. I can’t just date anyone ,” Mark said.

 

“So? You’re still human,” Callie pointed out.

 

“Now, hang on. I get that. Vanessa’s great, but I wouldn’t be with her if I thought Maya wouldn’t like her,” Sam cut in.

 

“You don’t think Sloan would like Lexie?” Callie asked. Mark looked at Derek.

 

“I can see why she’d be…apprehensive,” Derek answered for him. 

 

Sloan was Mark's priority now. He was a father now; he didn’t have time to date. Even if he did, he hadn’t been a father for long yet, but he knew a girlfriend would just pile on more change. Moving across the country, having a baby, giving up said baby, and moving in with a father she’d never met before was more than enough change. And they didn’t even get into the fact that Lexie was young. Too young. Lexie and Sloan were closer in age when compared to her and Mark. And that was bound to make things awkward.

 

 

“So, you just…never went back to the conversation?” Addison asked after Callie told her what happened. She refilled her glass of wine as Addison, Callie, and Naomi sat on the couch.

 

“No! I couldn’t! I mean, Lucas was being fussy, he didn’t have his nap earlier and I think he was just missing Pete and…but that’s beside the point,” Callie got distracted as her mind drifted to talking about Lucas.

 

“You have to tell her!” Addison exclaimed.

 

“I don’t wanna ruin it right now. I mean, things are great between us. Plus, she quit her job and moved here with me. I could…change my mind about kids,” Callie tried to rationalize.

 

“No, you can’t,” Naomi pointed out, refilling her own glass.

 

“I hate to break it to you, babe, but you spend all of your free time with three people: me, Arizona, and Lucas,” Addison added. 

 

After that, they heard something plastic hit the ground. Nate sat in his high chair closer to the kitchen counter as Derek prepped dinner. He’d been playing with a toy when he dropped it on the ground.

 

“I got it!” Derek called out. 

 

“And Nate and Derek,” Addison pointed out. They both broke out into giggles.

 

“Ugh, maybe you’re right,” Callie groaned dramatically.

 

“I am! And for the record, I’m always right,” Addison joked before taking a sip of her wine.

 

“She is,” Derek commented. Addison blushed.

 

“See?” Addison joked.

 

Callie laughed and nodded her head, knowing that her friends were right. She couldn’t pretend like she didn’t want kids. That she wasn’t desperate for a kid. Or kids. Taking care of other people’s kids was great, but she wanted one of her own. And she wanted Arizona to be the one that would share that desire and experience with her. She loved her, but she wanted a baby more. It didn’t have to happen now or anytime soon, but it’d have to be somewhere down the line. Otherwise, what was the point of staying together if they didn’t want the same things?

 

“What about you?” Callie turned their attention to Naomi.

 

“Fife’s in love with me,” Noami stated as she went over to grab the box of chocolates on the coffee table. Callie and Addison looked at each other, shocked.

 

“Really?” Addison asked.

 

“Mm-hmm,” Naomi nodded, chocolate still in her mouth.

 

“You’re sure?” Addison asked.

 

“Yeah. Because he told me so. He said I make him a better person,” Naomi started.

 

“Wait, isn’t Fife the researcher that works at the practice?” Callie asked.

 

“Mm-hmm,” Addison confirmed, nodding before taking a sip from her glass.

 

“Damn it,” Naomi said, grabbing another piece of chocolate from the box.

 

“Yeah…Geez, how do you turn down the guy in the wheelchair?” Addison said. Callie couldn’t help but giggle.

 

“What? Oh God, I don’t even notice the wheelchair anymore,” Naomi brushed it off.

 

“I mean, but who? Who does he think he is? How does he get off loving me? I mean, he is mean. He is mean and sarcastic, and he’s morally adrift. He’d steal my DNA and clone me if he could get away with it. He…he is everything I hate. No, he’s not…he’s not allowed to love me!” Naomi rambled. Callie and Addison looked at each other.

 

“Oh,” Addison commented, grabbing the chocolate box and offering it to Callie before getting a piece for herself.

 

“What?” Naomi asked, noticing their suspicious looks.

 

“You like him,” Addison said.

 

“No, I am dating William,” Naomi insisted.

 

“You like him a lot,” Callie added, giggling.

 

“Oh my God. I like him a lot,” Naomi said, realizing they were right.

 

“Yes,” Callie and Addison said simultaneously.

 

As the girls kept drinking their wine and eating their chocolate, the gossip continued. They talked about Mark and Lexie, which even Naomi knew about. Granted, she only knew because Addison told her, but still. The fact that it went on for over a month meant something. 

 

“You really think Mark is serious about this…Lexie girl?” Naomi asked, looking at Addison when she forgot her name. 

 

“I mean, he looked pretty upset today,” Callie commented.

 

“Then why’d he break it off?” Naomi asked. Mark wasn’t someone who usually gave up a good thing.

 

“Well, according to the nurses, she’s actually the one that broke it off. But that’s not the point. The point is, he doesn’t think Sloan will like her,” Callie said. Naomi shrugged and made a face, suggesting she understood why.

 

“Okay, well, in defense of my son’s baby mama,” Addison started. Callie and Naomi laughed in response.

 

“Sloan is a good kid. And she’s been through a lot of change lately, but I think she can handle it if Mark talks to her about it,” Addison added.

 

“Yeah, but will he?” Naomi asked. Callie pointed, agreeing with her.

 

“He will if I talk to him. Or Derek,” Addison replied, looking over at her husband. Derek looked up just as he was taking Nate out of his high chair.

 

“I think that’s a job for Mama,” Derek said, looking at Nate when he did. Naomi, Callie, and Addison put their glasses down on the farther side of the coffee table as Derek brought Nate to them.

 

“Hi, baby,” Addison cooed as Derek placed Nate in her arms. 

 

After that, they spent the next 20 minutes playing with the baby and encouraging his babbles. The three women continued their conversation, however. And by the end of the night, they all had a plan. Naomi would figure out which guy she liked more (though, Addison and Callie already suspected Fife would beat out William in that argument), Callie would talk to Arizona about how she wanted a baby (not today, but someday), and Addison would get through to Mark.

Chapter Text

The next day,  Addison had a patient emergency that required her at St. Ambrose. It didn’t happen too often, but at least she got to see her husband and sister-in-law when she did. However, this particular patient, or patients, rather, proved to be difficult. The mother gave birth to a baby with a large and protruding tumor on her abdomen, and the delivery was hard on the mother as well. They found some bleeders during the c-section, so Charlotte got some of the new surgical interns to assist.

 

Once the mother was stable, Addison wanted to operate on the baby. But the oncologist didn’t think it was the best idea. They argued behind closed doors, thankfully, but it was still up to the parents. The mother’s procedure had been hard on her body, so she was getting some rest, leaving the husband and father as the decision maker. He opted for the chemo that Dr. Rodriguez suggested. Addison still didn’t think it was the right course of action, but it was the father’s decision, not hers.

 

After the husband decided on chemo, she and Dr. Rodriguez walked out of the room. He went off to prepare the chemo treatments as Addison sat down on a gurney to rest. It’d been a long day, and she’d been on her feet for hours. As she sat there, she saw Lexie and some other interns approaching from the other side of the hallway.

 

“Dr. Grey,” Addison called out before Lexie and the rest disappeared around the corner.

 

“Dr. Montgomery. Addison Montgomery,” Addison introduced herself and held a hand out when she caught up to her. She realized they hadn’t officially met. Lexie was among one of the surgical residents that helped out in today’s c-section, but still.

 

“Right, of course. Dr. Montgomery,” Lexie shook her hand and nodded. However, she had no idea why Addison, or Dr. Montgomery, called for her attention. 

 

“I’ll catch up with you guys later,” Lexie added, looking back at her fellow interns. They all nodded and smiled before walking away.

 

“Thank you for your help today,” Addison started.

 

“Oh, of course. Thank you for letting us assist. It was great watching you operate,” Lexie said, in awe of the surgeon. 

 

She, as well as probably every other intern at St. Ambrose, knew of Addison. Not as Dr. Shepherd’s wife, but as a world-renowned surgeon. Double-board certified, one of the few surgeons in the world who could separate fetal blood, and an all-around marvel, in Lexie’s eyes. And rightfully so.

 

“So, I heard about you and Mark,” Addison said after a minute of silence.

 

“Oh…,” Lexie said awkwardly, her eyes started looking towards the floor.

 

“I just…I don’t mean to make things awkward. Mark’s one of my best friends, and you’re kind of the first girl in a long time to…,” Addison was at a loss for words. If only she thought of what to say before she opened her mouth.

 

“Look, you don’t have to…I don’t know, defend his honor or something. It’s fine,” Lexie said.

 

“No, it’s not…it’s not that. He cares about you, he just…needs a little push,” Addison said.

 

“He’s also trying to be more responsible. I don’t know if you’ve heard, but he has a teenage daughter. And he hasn’t been a father for long, and he’s just…trying not to screw up,” Addison laughed awkwardly.

 

“What do you mean he hasn’t been a father for long? Didn’t you just say she was a teenager?” Lexie asked, confused.

 

“It’s a long story,” Addison replied.

 

“Okay, well, regardless, it doesn’t mean he gets to treat me like crap,” Lexie adde. So much for trying to look professional in front of the surgeon.

 

“I’m sorry, that was…that was rude,” Lexie added quickly.

 

“No, it’s okay. I get it. And you’re right, you don’t deserve to be treated like crap ,” Addison started. Lexie couldn’t help but think that she still sounded elegant, even when she said the word “crap”. 

 

“Just…don’t give up on him yet,” Addison added before both of their pagers went off. It was the baby.

 

They both walked quickly back to the NICU to find Dr. Rodriguez there. The baby was having a hard time breathing. The three of them worked on her as Charlotte stood close by, watching as they got the baby’s breathing back to normal. Afterward, Addison pulled Charlotte aside and suggested they push harder to get the father to sign off on the baby’s surgery. But Charlotte repeated her earlier sentiment: it was his right to refuse the surgery. 

 

As frustrating as it was, there was nothing more they could do. Tomorrow, they’d start chemo treatments on this newborn baby. Or so they thought. The mother eventually woke up and asked if they’d done the surgery yet. When her husband told her about chemo, she refused. She wanted their baby to get the surgery, and to get that tumor removed as soon as possible. After some more arguing, the father finally agreed, giving Addison and her surgical team the green light.

 

Later that night, Amelia came home to Nate and the nanny. It’d been a particularly long night at the hospital for Derek and Addison. Derek’s patient also needed his full attention, keeping him at St. Ambrose for hours. By the time they got home, it was already almost four AM. 

 

“Well, at least we’ll get like two hours tonight,” Derek joked, looking down at his watch playfully as they both got out of the car. 

 

Since Derek and Addison had to stay at the hospital longer that night, Addison gave Amelia her car keys so she could go home first. By now, Amelia got the hang of how things worked here. She and Addison’s schedules were normally more routine compared to Derek’s. But he still called home before Nate’s bedtime so the baby could at least hear his voice before he went down for the night. 

 

Since both Derek and Addison were stuck at the hospital that night, they both called together right after dinner. By then, Amelia had let Gina go home for the night. So she put Derek and Addison on speakerphone as Nate babbled back. He still didn’t say his first words, but at least he was trying. As doctors, they knew Nate was just learning how to make sounds with his mouth, trying to imitate the people around him. He just didn’t know what any of it meant yet.

 

“I love him so much. But right now, I’d love him that much more if he slept through the night,” Addison giggled as she and Derek walked up to the front door with their arms linked together.

 

“He’s just…on his own timeline,” Derek smiled as he stopped Addison as they reached their front door. 

 

Before Addison could reach for her keys, Derek pulled her in for a sweet, romantic kiss. With Nate’s finicky sleep schedule and Amelia living with them, it didn’t leave much time for romance between the married couple. So, they knew it’d be a while before they had another moment alone. And God, did they both miss each other. About two hours later, Nate woke up, his cries blaring through the baby monitor. 

 

“Right on schedule too,” Addison joked sleepily while pointing out the time on the clock. 

 

The time read 5:52 AM. Derek smiled, but his eyes were still closed. He didn’t need to check the time to know what the time was. Nate couldn’t sleep through the night, but at least his sleep schedule was at least consistent. Addison slipped out of bed, with her husband’s hand sliding across her torso as she did. When she got to Nate’s room, she found Amelia rocking Nate back and forth in her arms. And she noticed how comfortable he looked, resting his head on her chest.

 

“Hey,” Addison leaned against the door frame.

 

“Hey. Look who it is, Nate. It’s Mama,” Amelia said, looking down at Nate. He looked over at his mom, but snuggled closer in Amelia’s arms. Addison playfully waved back at him.

 

“You’re pretty good with him, you know?” Addison asked, admiring how close her sister-in-law and son had gotten over the past few weeks.

 

“Thanks,” Amelia's smile beamed. 

 

The rest of her family just saw her as the fun Aunt Amelia when it came to her other nieces and nephews. So, it was nice that she’d been doing pretty well taking care of her baby nephew on her own and that someone saw how hard she was trying. And she wasn’t surprised that it was Addison who pointed this out, being that she always saw her as someone that was more of a sister than her biological sisters.

 

“You’ve done enough tonight, Amelia. Why don’t you go back to bed?” Addison asked, yawning after she spoke.

 

“No, no, no, I got it,” Amelia insisted. 

 

It may be early, but she crashed pretty early last night. About two hours after putting Nate down for the night. And she knew Derek and Addison got in pretty late. Plus, she had to admit she liked getting some alone time with Nate. Other than his lack of sleeping anything more than four hours at a time, he was a pretty easy baby so far.

 

“Are you sure?” Addison asked.

 

“Yeah! Actually, I think it’d be nice to watch the sun come up,” Amelia looked out the window. 

 

It was still dark outside, but she knew the sun would be up in another 30 minutes or so. And with the view they had of the beach outside, she knew it’d be a great sight to see. For her and for the baby. Not everyone could say they could watch the sunrise over the water from their backyard. So, Amelia figured she might as well take advantage of that fact.

 

“Are you sure?” Addison asked again, just to be sure.

 

“Yes! Go! Go back to bed. I’ve got him,” Amelia insisted. Addison smiled, loving the fact that Amelia wanted to spend more time with Nate.

 

“Mama’s gonna go back to bed now. But I’ll see you later, baby,” Addison said sweetly before giving Nate a few quick kisses on his forehead. Nate babbled senselessly in response, causing both women to giggle.

 

“Get some sleep,” Amelia said.

 

“Oh, just bring a bottle and a toy for him to play with while you’re out there,” Addison added. 

 

While watching the sun rise sounded like a good idea, she knew Nate could get fussy after a while. And she just wanted to make sure Amelia would have everything she needed before going out there on her own with the baby.

 

“I got it. Now go! Get outta here,” Amelia insisted, shooing her sister-in-law out of the room. 

 

Addison gave Nate one last little wave before leaving the room, sliding back into bed next to her sleeping husband. Amelia swayed Nate in her arms for a little longer before grabbing a rattle for Nate to play with. Then she made her way downstairs, grabbing a bottle out of the fridge to heat up. Nate, as someone who took a little longer before perking up, stayed close to his favorite aunt, and just snuggled in Amelia’s arms.

 

Then Amelia stuck the bottle in Nate’s mouth and headed outside to the backyard. She sat on one of the lounge chairs and placed Nate in her lap. It was still dark out, but she left the porch lights on and she could see the water glisten. The waves crashing on the sand were all she could see clearly when looking out into the ocean.

 

Plus, it was just so peaceful out there. After a couple of minutes, Nate turned around and tried to climb into Amelia’s arms while the bottle hung from his mouth. He wanted to be held.

 

“Alright kid,” Amelia said, picking him up so he could go back to snuggle closer to her chest.

 

They sat there in silence, the only sound around them being the waves crashing against each other. After 20 minutes passed, the sun started to rise. Amelia pointed it out to Nate, who looked on in awe. He’d never seen the sun come up before, and Amelia basked in the beautiful view. 

 

As the sun continued rising, Amelia eventually sat Nate back down, as he seemed to be want to get down. After he did, he went for his rattle, shaking it playfully. With the sun illuminating the sky, the sound of the waves crashing, and a happy little boy sitting with her, Amelia couldn’t help but think that things couldn’t get better. 

 

After sitting outside for a while longer, Amelia decided it’d be nice to grab a latte at the cafe a few blocks away. And with it being so nice outside, she also decided it’d be nice to walk there. So, she grabbed a diaper bag, a bottle from the fridge, and Nate’s stroller from the closet and sent a quick text to Derek, letting her know of their plans. When she got there, there was already a long line. Everyone was already grabbing coffee on their way to work. 

 

“He’s so cute!” A woman sitting at a nearby table exclaimed as Amelia stood in line. Nate smiled back, holding onto his rattle while sitting in the stroller.

 

“You look just like your Mama, don’t you?” The woman continued, waving playfully at the baby.

 

Amelia thought to say something, but decided against it. The woman seemed nice enough, and there wasn’t really a need to correct her. 

 

“Thanks,” Amelia said, chuckling.

 

Once she got to the front of the line, Amelia got coffee for both Derek and Addison and even found a squeezable baby food packet for Nate. Thankfully, he didn’t seem completely repulsed by the avocado, peach, pineapple, and kale combo she got for him. Leave it to Los Angeles to find a way to fit kale into everything, Amelia thought. Even baby food.

 

Meanwhile, Derek woke up about five minutes after Amelia left. When he looked at the clock, he realized Amelia had let him and Addison sleep in quite a bit. As he got up, he unplugged his phone, which was sitting on the bedside table. When he did, Derek could feel the bed move as Addison slowly woke up.

 

“What is it?” Addison asked after hearing Derek chuckle.

 

“Amy took Nate on a walk to get coffee,” Derek smiled as he put his phone back on the table and laid back down beside Addison.

 

“That’s nice,” Addison yawned and finally opened her eyes to see Derek smiling back at her.

 

“What?” Addison asked suspiciously when Derek playfully raised an eyebrow. Derek leaned in and kissed her, wrapping an arm around her waist.

 

“Mmm,” Addison only murmured back, only deepening the kiss as Derek went to unbutton her pajama top.

 

“Are we really doing this?” Addison asked after Derek shifted over to get on top of her.

 

“God, I hope so,” Derek chuckled as he started trailing kisses down her collarbone.

 

About 30 minutes later, Amelia got back and gave Nate a quick diaper change after putting down the coffee. It was already almost eight o’clock, and she thought Derek and Addison would be down by now. But then again, they probably hadn’t had a full night of sleep since they brought Nate home from the hospital. 

 

“Hey, guys!” Amelia said cheerfully as she opened their bedroom door. But she immediately closed it when she saw Derek and Addison in bed together.

 

“Amy!” Derek exclaimed, trying to hide his face behind Addison’s. 

 

“I think I’m traumatized for life now,” Amelia commented, the baby in her arms, still oblivious to what happened.

 

“You’re the one that came in without knocking!” Derek called out, chuckling. Actually, both Derek and Addison were laughing.

 

“This isn’t funny! I know you’re married and everything, but you do realize this was the last thing I ever wanted to see,” Amelia commented. She could still hear Derek and Addison trying to muffle their laughter behind the door.

 

“We’re married! Married people have sex. Or at least, happily married people,” Addison giggled.

 

“This is worse than catching you and Mark,” Amelia started. Derek’s laughter subsided, looking curiously at Addison. She bit her lip, knowing she’d have to give him a full explanation later.

 

“Just so you know, you should never have to see your Mama and Dada do that,” Amelia said to Nate, who was in her arms. Nate looked back curiously.

 

“Mama?” Nate babbled. 

 

Amelia’s mouth gaped open. Both Derek and Addison heard it from inside, too. Derek’s eyes widened as he looked back at his wife, who was still under him. And Addison put a hand over her mouth excitedly.

 

“Was that Nate?” Derek asked, Amelia’s previous comment now forgotten.

 

“Mm-hmm,” Amelia confirmed, still stunned. Nate, however, looked back at her, oblivious as to why Amelia looked so surprised.

 

Derek and Addison rushed to grab their clothes, wherever they were. Derek’s were scattered near the foot of the bed, while Addison’s striped pajama shirt and underwear had fallen to the floor. They opened the door and saw Nate’s face light up when he saw them.

 

“Hi, baby! Did you just say, Mama?” Addison asked as Amelia gave him over to her. Nate continued babbling as he snuggled his head closer to his mom’s chest.

 

“Yes, you did, didn’t you?” Derek cooed, chuckling as he gently held one of his small hands with a finger. 

 

Nate wasn’t even officially six months yet. Not for another week. But he was already saying his first word. All the babbling he’d done before didn’t really count. And even though he did say “Mama”, all three doctors knew Nate also had no idea what it meant. He just knew everyone around him was saying it. This was just him repeating what he’d heard. 

 

“Wonder how long it’s gonna take for him to say it again,” Amelia chuckled.

 

“Thank you,” Addison said sarcastically, giving Amelia a look.

 

“That’s Mama,” Derek cooed at Nate, pointing Addison out in hopes of getting Nate to say it again.

 

“Mama?” Nate said the word again.

 

“That’s right!” Addison exclaimed as they all cheered, excited looks across all their faces. 

 

 

Not too long later, everyone went to work and said goodbye to Nate. He didn’t say Mama every time they asked him to, but he complied sometimes. And every time he did, they all got excited. At the office, Addison raved about Nate’s big milestone, and Derek did the same at St. Ambrose. Later in the day, Naomi came upstairs to Addison’s office, where she was doing some paperwork between patients.

 

“Hey Nai,” Addison said excitedly. She wanted her best friend to know her news about Nate. Naomi plopped down on the couch, sighing.

 

“I have news, but it looks like you should go first,” Addison started, concerned for her friend.

 

“I kissed Fife,” Naomi said.. She was completely oblivious to Addison’s excitement.

 

“What about William?” Addison asked, raising an eyebrow. She could wait to tell her news. This was definitely something she needed Naomi to elaborate on before she could have her turn.

 

“Oh, he’s in Munich or something like that,” Naomi brushed it off and walked over to her, and went for the drawers behind her desk. Addison couldn’t help but laugh.

 

“What are you doing?” Addison asked, turning around in her chair. Naomi opened a drawer and pulled out a chocolate box.

 

“How..?” Addison started.

 

“Are you really that surprised I hid a box of chocolate in here?” Naomi asked. 

 

Addison tilted her head to the side and nodded. She was right; it shouldn’t surprise her at this point. As Naomi leaned against the drawers behind her, she stuffed a chocolate candy into her mouth and already went to grab another one. 

 

“You’ve got a problem,” Addison commented, taking the box out of her hands and placing it on her desk.

 

“Yeah, what’s new?” Naomi asked sarcastically. Addison giggled.

 

“I’m a terrible person,” Naomi said, her mouth still full of chocolate. Addison giggled.

 

“Anyway, what’s your news?” Naomi asked, swallowing before grabbing another piece of chocolate out of the box. 

 

“Nate said his first word,” Addison said excitedly.

 

“What?” Naomi asked, her mouth still full of chocolate.

 

“He said Mama this morning,” Addison was practically squealing.

 

“Oh my God! Addie!” Naomi exclaimed, hugging her friend.

 

“I can’t believe you let me go first,” Naomi said jokingly. 

 

“He just said it . I still can’t believe it,” Addison said happily. 

 

“Yeah, I remember when Maya said her first word,” Naomi reminisced.

 

“She just said it like it was nothing,” Naomi added.

 

“That’s what Nate did too!” Addison exclaimed.

 

As the girls giggled, Charlotte walked past outside and saw the two in Addison’s office.

 

“Hey, I heard you wanted to see me for somethin’?” Charlotte asked, still standing underneath the door frame.

 

“Uh..no, I don’t think so,” Addison thought out loud.

 

“No, not you. You ,” Charlotte pointed at Naomi. Addison eyed Naomi curiously.

 

Naomi came up earlier that day to talk to Sheldon. He’d admittedly become a confidant for her, and after her kiss with Fife, she wanted more. But she didn’t even know where to begin when it came to sleeping with him. So, Sheldon told her to ask Charlotte. But Naomi wasn’t sure. She took Charlotte’s job. Why would she help her? But it looks like Sheldon got to her, anyway.

 

“Right, um, I wanted to ask you for a um…patient consult,” Naomi stuttered as she straightened her posture. Addison kept glaring at her, knowing she was lying. She didn’t know why or what it was about, but she knew her friend was lying.

 

“Why don’t we take this into our office, then?” Charlotte asked. Naomi nodded and followed Charlotte out to her office and Addison made a mental note to remember to ask her about it later.

 

… 

 

“Hey. You have a minute?” Callie caught Arizona as she exited the scrub room.

 

“Um…yeah, I think I have a minute,” Arizona replied. Her bubbly smile made Callie weak in the knees. She didn’t know what Arizona would say, but she knew it could make or break their relationship.

 

“So, the other day, when you said you didn’t want kids…did you mean you never wanted kids?” Callie asked shyly.

 

“Yeah,” Arizona nodded simply. 

 

“Like, not even a little bit? Not even one?” Callie asked.

 

“Nope,” Arizona, again, kept her answer short.

 

“Would you ever consider having one?” Callie asked. Arizona looked at her curiously.

 

“With me?” Callie asked.

 

“You want us to have a baby?” Arizona asked. Her expression made it hard for Callie to read her. She was always so bubbly, she couldn’t tell if she was scaring her off by mentioning a baby.

 

“No! Well, yes. Not right now, obviously. But eventually maybe,” Callie stammered. She wanted a baby someday , but there was no rush for one yet.

 

“Oh,” Arizona said awkwardly. They stood across from each other as a minute passed.

 

“Is there anything…you want to say?” Callie asked.

 

“What do you want me to say, Callie?” Arizona exclaimed, overwhelmed.

 

“I don’t know. Maybe I just wanna hear you say you love me! Or that you at least would consider having babies or a baby because I want one?” Callie asked. 

 

She hated the fact that Arizona didn’t say anything, or that she didn’t feel the need to say anything. Here she was, pouring her heart out and being honest about how she felt, and Arizona wasn’t responding. And it was infuriating. All Callie wanted was for Arizona to consider the thought of having kids together in the future.

 

“Callie, I love you,” Arizona started. Callie scoffed. She was only saying this now because she said something.

 

“But I don’t want kids. Kids are great, but do you know how much responsibility and worry goes into raising a kid? Because I do. I deal with their parents every day and they are crazy ,” Arizona continued.

 

“Yes, they’re cute. But you know what isn’t cute? Poopy diapers, constant crying, less alone time,” Arizona started listing out cons after Callie looked at her like she was crazy. 

 

“You really don’t want a baby?” Callie asked. Though, based on her tone, it sounded more like a statement. Like she needed confirmation because she still couldn’t believe what she was hearing.

 

“Yes,” Arizona confirmed. 

 

People rushed through the hospital; an emergency in the ER was apparent. But the two women stood across from each other in the hallway. If it weren’t for all the commotion in the hospital, it’d be dead silent. Arizona stared at her shoes and made a mental note to get some new sneakers, as these were starting to get too worn out. Callie took a deep breath before saying what she knew she needed to say.

 

“I don’t think I can do this anymore,” Callie finally said.

 

Arizona nodded, swallowing hard. She still stared at the floor and could feel the tears coming. Callie, however, didn’t make as much of an effort to hide her feelings. She wiped a tear and put a hand over her nose and mouth before walking away. It was one thing for Arizona to see her cry; it was another to watch her bawl.

 

 

“Oh hi,” Lexie said awkwardly when Sloan answered Mark’s door.

 

“Hi…,” Sloan said slowly.

 

“I’m Lexie. I work with your dad at St. Ambrose,” Lexie explained quickly. The last thing she wanted was to creep her out.

 

“Yeah, I know. I’ve seen you around,” Sloan said.

 

“Right…Is your dad here?” Lexie asked.

 

“Uh…no, he went to get pizza,” Sloan explained. Lexie nodded, and the two stood there awkwardly at the front door for another minute.

 

“Did you…want me to tell him something?” Sloan asked.

 

“You know what? I think…I think I’ll just wait to see him at work tomorrow,” Lexie said quickly, before scurrying down the stairs and into her car.

 

“Weirdo,” Sloan commented before closing the door.

 

When Mark got home, he had a large pepperoni pizza, salad, and some groceries in hand. Sloan grabbed the pizza box as he walked in. As Mark put away the rest of the groceries, Sloan placed the pizza box on the dining table and grabbed some plates and forks. 

 

“So, your friend stopped by,” Sloan teased as they finally sat down to eat.

 

“What friend ?” Mark asked, serving Sloan some salad on her plate.

 

“Um…the one you’ve been sleeping with?” Sloan snickered. Mark’s face looked frozen in place, shocked that Sloan knew anything about his sex life.

 

“Oh, come on, you can’t be that surprised,” Sloan laughed as she grabbed a piece of pizza.

 

“How do you…?” Mark couldn’t even fully form a sentence at this point.

 

Everyone knows about you and the intern,” Sloan brushed it off. Mark glared, knowing there was more to the story.

 

“Especially the nurses,” Sloan added, giggling. Mark nodded and chuckled; the nurses knew everything. Regardless of what hospital he worked at.

 

“What uh…what’d she say?” Mark asked, trying to sound casual.

 

“I don’t know, she just asked if you were home and when I told her you weren’t, she said she’d see you at work tomorrow,” Sloan brushed off the awkward encounter.

 

“Oh,” Mark nodded as he and Sloan continued eating dinner.

 

“How do you feel? About…all that?” Mark took a sip of water as his throat felt dry.

 

“I mean, we’re Sloans,” Sloan started, her voice slightly muffled by the food still inside her mouth. Mark couldn’t help but smile at the comment as he handed her a napkin.

 

“It’s not like I expect you to be celibate or something just because you have a kid,” Sloan continued.

 

“What’d you think of her?” Mark asked. 

 

Sloan’s laid-back attitude about the whole situation made it easier to ask her. It didn’t seem like she cared all that much about the fact that Mark was dating. If you could even call it that. But he didn’t want to assume. She was a teenager; she had to have an opinion.

 

“She’s kinda weird,” Sloan said honestly. Mark didn’t know how the exchange between Sloan and Lexie went. He couldn’t even picture it, in all honesty. 

 

“But she seemed nice, I guess,” Sloan added.

 

“So…are you okay with…all of this?” Mark asked hesitantly.

 

“Yeah. Did you think I wouldn’t be?” Sloan asked. She didn’t see Mark dating as an issue, as long as she wasn’t a monster or anything. And based on the brief conversation, she seemed too innocent to be evil.

 

“I don’t know…,” Mark said awkwardly.

 

“I just don’t want you to have to go through any more pain or change, you know?” Mark added.

 

“Dad, I’m fine! I swear!” Sloan insisted, laughing at the fact that Mark worried about her this much. 

 

A few months ago, she would’ve never predicted Mark would be such an attentive father, but he was. And it was a great surprise. Sloan looked over at Mark to see the look on his face. At first, he was looking down as he moved around the salad on his plate. But then it hit him. She called him Dad . She’d never done that before. He’d always been Mark or dude

 

Mark smiled, without even looking up at Sloan. He noticed, but he didn’t want to say it out loud. But from the smile on his face, Sloan could tell that he was more than okay with her calling her Dad from now on. She smiled after watching him and went back to eating her dinner alongside him.

 

… 



The next day, Mark found Lexie getting some results from the lab. After getting a bit of a pep talk from an excited Derek, he took a deep breath before heading toward her. When Lexie didn’t notice Mark standing behind her as she read the results, Mark cleared his throat.

 

“Hi,” Mark smirked. 

 

“Oh! Hi. Dr. Sloan,” Lexie said, startled. Truthfully, she didn’t see or hear him come up from behind her. She was too focused on her work to notice. Today, she was one of Derek’s intern and the neuro case they were working on was fascinating.

 

“So, I heard you met Sloan,” Mark commented. Lexie looked back, confused. Initially, he didn’t realize she never got Sloan’s name.

 

“My daughter,” Mark clarified, clearing his throat.

 

“Oh. Yes, I…I did. I’m sorry, I came there looking for you,” Lexie said quickly.

 

“No, it’s okay. I’m glad you did,” Mark smiled at how flustered Lexie seemed. 

 

“You are?” Lexie asked hesitantly.

 

“Yeah. I was wondering if you’d like to go out to dinner sometime,” Mark added. When talking to Derek earlier, he suggested he start slow with Lexie. Even though they had already seen each other naked. But dating her would be different from just sleeping with her.

 

“I’d…love to,” Lexie laughed nervously.

 

“Great. I should be done here around eight tonight. Think you can make that?” Mark looked up from his watch to look at her.

 

“I think so,” Lexie said optimistically.

 

“Great. I’ll see you later?” Mark asked, smiling.

 

“Yes. I’ll see you later,” Lexie blushed before they both went their separate ways.

 

Once Mark rounded the corner, he found his best friend waiting for him.

 

“See? That wasn’t so hard, was it?” Derek asked, jokingly.