Notes: This is a fanfiction based on characters from the TV shows, Grey’s Anatomy, and Private Practice. This rewrites parts of the second season finale of Grey’s Anatomy. But this fanfiction tells an alternate story of what happens after Derek and Meredith have sex in the exam room at Seattle Grace hospital. Instead, it asks the question: What if Derek and Addison didn’t end things after Derek cheated on her with Meredith? What if they decided to give their relationship one more shot? This story and chapter were originally posted on Archive of Our Own on November 30th, 2021. This has been edited to include headings and images.
Start Again: Chapter 1
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.
Derek Stays Back a Minute
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.
Derek Leaves Addison at the Prom
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.
A Long Night of Surgeries
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.
Derek Comes Home
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?
Addison Fights Back Tears
“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.
Addison was Right
“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.
Addison Suggests a Change
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.
A “Fresh Start”
“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.
Sam and Naomi’s Practice
“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.
Addison and Derek Make a Decision
“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.
In this AU, Derek already knows that Addison and Mark were more than just a one-night stand (even though I know that Derek doesn’t find out about this until season three of Grey’s Anatomy). Hopefully, you’ll catch the Grey’s Anatomy and Private Practice references I sprinkled throughout the story. Fic titled inspired by the song, “Start Again (feat. Logic)” by OneRepublic.
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