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, 2021. This is chapter three so it is necessary to read the second chapter before moving on. This has been edited to include headings and images.
Start Again: Chapter 3
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.
Addison Promises She’ll Let Derek Drive
“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. 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.
Derek Asks About the Car
“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.
Derek and Addison Stop for Gas
Hours went by and they finally made their first stop for gas and a bathroom break. After driving 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.
Derek Thinks About Mark and Addison
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.
Addison Buys Some Snacks
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 that she realized how much she wanted Derek back.
“Find anything good?” Derek asked as he finished 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.
Derek Kisses Addison
“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 turn 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.
Derek and Addison’s Past
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.
How Derek and Addison’s Marriage Fell Apart
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.
The Difference Between the Shepherds and Forbes Montgomerys
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 she 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 used to be so hard?
Derek and Addison Stop For Food
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.
Addison Teases Derek
“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.
This chapter was really just letting Derek and Addison breathe a little after all the drama and getting them back to being Addison and Derek again. And a lot of just thoughts from both of them about everything. Plus, I really loved Addison’s Porsche that she drove when she left Grey’s Anatomy, and hopefully, Private Practice fans will appreciate the bacon cheeseburger reference (even though it was a Jaddison thing on the show, but whatever). Anyway, hope you enjoyed reading this chapter and I’ll update it with another chapter soon!