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 December 6th. This is chapter two so it is necessary to read the first chapter before moving on. This has been edited to include headings and images.
I know I usually add this part at the end, but this is necessary to know before starting this chapter. In this AU, Addison and Callie are already friends. I know they don’t work together until season three, but I wanted her to have someone she could confide to. Plus, it gave me a chance to rewrite the panties on the bulletin board scene. I feel like all the interns were unfairly mean to Callie and Addison (in the early seasons). Coupled with the fact that Addison’s pretty alienated at Seattle Grace, I wanted her to have at least one friend.
I also thought about putting Meredith on Addison’s service in this chapter but decided against it. Instead, I put her on Derek’s. I also initially forgot that she still had Alex assigned to her service at this point. I know this is an AU so I could’ve just changed that detail. But I did have an idea on how to conclude Addison and Alex’s professional relationship. Also, in this AU, Derek’s been working at Seattle Grace a little longer. Not a lot longer, but just long enough for Richard to add Derek to the surgical program. That way, he could entice students to pick Seattle Grace over other programs. Anyways, enjoy!
Start Again: Chapter 2
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.
Derek Talks to Richard
“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. What they had was real, even if they weren’t always super affectionate, at least not when they were working. 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.
Richard Accepts Their Resignations
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.
Derek and Addison Keep Working
Even though Derek handed in their two-week notice, they still had, well, two weeks left of work. Neither of them was 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.
The Infamous Panties on the Board
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.
Cristina Gives up her Friend
“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.
Meredith Gets Stuck on Derek’s Service
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.
Derek Fills Meredith In
“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.
Addison Works with Alex
“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 she 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.
Addison Notices Derek’s Behavior Towards Meredith
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. 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 regretted 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.
Even though the possibility of having Meredith be put on his service seemed like a punishment, she thought maybe he deserved it. Despite the fact that she forgave him. 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.
Addison Talks to Alex
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 was always relatively nice to 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 always got too invested. And perhaps that’s 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, despite his confusion. 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.
Alex Thanks Addison
“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 sent him off to run her labs.
The Interns Gossip
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.
The Interns Ponder The Future of Seattle Grace
“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 was the draw of getting to learn from brilliant surgeons like Preston Burke and Derek Shepherd. Addison wasn’t 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.