Notes: This is a fanfiction based on characters from the TV shows, Grey’s Anatomy, and Private Practice. This is the story of Derek, Addison, and Mark in med school. In it, other characters will pop up like Sam and Naomi from Private Practice as well as Weiss and Savvy, who were in an episode of Grey’s Anatomy (2×08). I’d also like to add that I know virtually nothing about medicine or med school. So I won’t be adding too much medical jargon. Just know that there will probably be mistakes there moving forward. This story and chapter were originally posted on Archive of Our Own on July 16th, 2022. To better understand this chapter, it’d be best to read the second chapter before reading this. This has been edited to include headings and images.
August: Chapter 3
After the first few days, things went by pretty smoothly. Women swooned over Mark, as per usual, and even Derek got some attention. Mark was the obvious womanizer with a heart of gold, while Derek was like the epitome of the boy next door. Neither of them minded the attention, but Mark definitely milked it. Derek, however, liked the attention, but was much more humble and blushed whenever girls fawned over him. And that only made them want him more.
But as flattered as he was, Derek wasn’t looking for a relationship. Plus, he realized that Nancy was right: he’s never been single. Not for long, anyway. He’d only just broken up with Jules two months ago. But Columbia would be his fresh start. He was here for one thing and one thing only: to become a surgeon. A great surgeon. And he wasn’t going to let some girl get in the way of that.
As for Addison, things were going pretty well for her too. Her classes were a bore, but it was only the first few days so it was to be expected. Homework consisted of just chapter readings, but Addison already finished reading the first few chapters in each of her textbooks. Blame it on the overachiever in her. But after meeting Mia, she realized she seriously needed to get a social life back. She’d always been a studious kid, which her family always appreciated, but her social skills were…subpar, as Bizzy would put it. It didn’t help that she also had braces in high school and played the saxophone in the school band.
Addison’s Social Life
You’d think that looking at her parents and even her brother Archer, her social skills would be incomparable. But instead, it was more like she was the black sheep of the family. She still grew up with plenty of friends (at least according to her standards) and was perfectly nice at all of Bizzy’s social events. But they weren’t real. If anything, she was just great at imitating her parents and making fake niceties in the all too familiar WASP-y ways.
So as awkward as her morning had started, Mia was just the beginning. Then there was Naomi, who seemed really nice and she introduced her to some more girlfriends, Erin and Stacey. She even tried harder to become friends with her roommate, Laurel. Things felt like they were turning around for the better and it only made Addison more excited for things to come. This was just the beginning, and she knew by the end of it, she’d be a brilliant surgeon.
Mark and Addison
After a few weeks, things continued going smoothly. Mark continued to flirt with Addison whenever he saw her and she continued pretending like it didn’t phase her. But it wasn’t all a lie. She knew who he was. Or at least the kind of guy he was. And again, she was not going to be one of those girls. He asked her out twice, but she turned him down both times. He was cute, she’d admit that, but she definitely didn’t think he was boyfriend material.
Erin even made some quippy comments about how a real college experience isn’t complete until you have a one-night stand with one of those guys. And while the prospect of having a fully rounded college experience was appealing, Addison still didn’t want to be one of those girls. And she was determined to never be one. The last thing she needed was to sleep with Mark, or someone like Mark, just for him to string her along and sleep with other girls. She was not, repeat not, going to subject herself to being that girl.
Switching Lab Partners
Then, it finally became time to put what they learned into action. Kind of. After three weeks, Dr. Mason decided it was time for them to start cutting cadavers. However, he decided it was a good idea not to tell them when it would happen. So when it did, some students were immediately disgusted to find every lab station complete with a cadaver and surgical tools on a tray beside them. But in their defense, they weren’t warned beforehand that there’d just be a room full of dead bodies when they came in. So it’d be a little alarming if they weren’t at least shocked. However, some students, namely ones that would probably make great doctors someday, were excited to see it.
Before everyone started gathering towards their lab stations, or at least the ones they’d sat at for the past couple of weeks, Dr. Mason stopped them.
“Hold on everyone. Don’t sit just yet,” He said loudly. Everyone stopped in their tracks to look back at him, confused at why he wasn’t allowing them to go to their stations.
“New lab partners,” Dr. Mason said as he started taping pages to the whiteboard. Then came the gathering of all the students to see who their new assigned lab partners were. After that first day, Addison started sitting with Naomi. After all, no one said that their seats from the first day were set in stone. But after checking the list, she was bummed to see that Naomi’s name wasn’t listed directly under hers.
Naomi Crushes on Sam
“Guess we’re not lab partners anymore,” Addison said slightly defeated.
“Well, it’s okay,” Naomi said trying to sound positive. Though not very convincingly.
“Who’d you get?” Addison asked.
“Ummm….Sam Bennett,” Naomi said squinting at the list. “What about you?”
“Derek Shepherd,” Addison said disappointed. She had no idea who he was but she still preferred to be paired with her new friend.
“Well, at least Sam’s nice,” Addison said nonchalantly. Although, she didn’t actually know that for sure. She knew he seemed nice but he also didn’t say much.
“Yeah, and cute,” Naomi whispered to her friend. And it only made Addison giggle slightly. Even though Sam had only said a couple of words over the last few weeks, the girls had gossiped about him. Not in a bad way but Naomi clearly had a crush on him regardless. He was quiet and good-looking under those thick-framed glasses but Addison still didn’t see what Naomi saw in him.
“Well, you have fun with that. Now I’ve just gotta figure out who the hell Derek Shepherd is,” Addison joked.
Meanwhile, Derek and Mark walked into class much later than most of their classmates. They weren’t late for class, they just didn’t show up almost ten minutes early like half of the class. Plus, Mark was busy getting some law student’s number while Derek rolled his eyes. By the time they got there, everyone was walking around trying to find their lab partner. Then, they saw the cadavers and smiled at each other. They were finally going to start cutting.
Mark and Derek Arrive at Class
“What’s goin’ on?” Mark pulled aside Sam, who had Naomi by his side.
“We got new lab partners,” Naomi answered for him, motioning to the whiteboard with the lists of names. She’d heard of Mark but had no idea that Derek was the guy standing next to him.
“Why?” Derek asked. He didn’t really see much of a reason for them to start working with someone new.
“I don’t know,” Sam said sheepishly. “Guess Dr. Mason just wanted to give us new lab partners,”
Both guys sighed and took a look at the whiteboard. Mark got assigned to some other student named Anna and immediately started calling her name. When a girl looked up, she mouthed Mark’s name to make sure they were, indeed, lab partners, and then the two of them headed to an empty station.
Then, that just left Derek looking around aimlessly. By then, Addison already sat down at a station with a cadaver just hoping that this Derek Shepherd would show up eventually. After she asked a number of students (granted ones that she’d already met briefly), it didn’t seem like anyone really knew who he was. But only because she was asking the wrong people.
After some time, Derek looked at the list again, making sure he got the name right. Everyone started shuffling over to an empty station and there were only a few people left walking around aimlessly looking for their partners. Finally, Derek gave in.
Derek and Addison Finally Meet
“Addison?” Derek called out rather sheepishly. Addison looked up and held her hand up in the air to signal to him.
And when he finally saw her, his heart must’ve skipped a beat. It felt crazy, and if he said it out loud, it’d sound crazier but he knew he was meant to meet her. Addison. It was a beautiful name. One he’d never heard of before. He couldn’t remember her last name, or rather, he didn’t bother to read the whole name but this was destiny. He could feel it.
When Derek finally walked over, he gave Addison his signature smile and he could swear he saw her blush. This wasn’t just in his head and he knew. He could feel it. And he knew she could feel it too.
“Hi, I’m Derek,” he said, smiling.
“Addison,” she said simply, brushing a stray strand of her red hair behind her ear as she blushed just slightly. His hair was pushed back and slightly curly at the ends. And she swore she saw his eyes twinkle when she looked up at him. They were blue, a deep blue that anyone could get lost in. And she was indeed getting lost in it.
Not long afterward, everyone had taken their seats and Dr. Mason officially started class by giving them instructions on what he wanted them to do. And Addison immediately went into study mode. Derek was also paying attention to the class but his mind couldn’t help but wander back to Addison. He almost forgot there was a cadaver laying in front of them. Throughout the class, he glanced her way a few times and hoped she didn’t notice. But she did, and she found it sweet and flattering.
Naomi Catches Up with Addison
When it was finally time to start cutting into the body, Addison took the reigns and started first. Derek watched as she did and found it impressive how precise her cuts were and how steady her hands were. When Dr. Mason had them switch, Addison watched him cut and was equally impressed.
As the class continued, they stole glances from each other throughout, their smiles widening whenever they caught the other looking. Afterward, they went their separate ways. But not until after they shot another glance at each other. It was like the energy in the room changed when Derek and Addison’s eyes met. And Naomi definitely noticed.
“So, what was that?” Naomi asked after they walked out of class, well out of earshot of Derek, who left in the opposite direction.
“What was what?” Addison blushed, knowing full well what she meant.
“So, Derek Shepherd,” Naomi giggled. “He seems nice,”
“Yeah, I think so too,” Addison couldn’t help but divulge at least some of her thoughts to the closest friend she’d made here thus far.
“So, what are you going to do about it?” Naomi asked, cheekily. The two had gotten particularly close after the last few weeks and Addison confided in her about her social awkwardness. And she knew Addison was trying harder to just go for it, socially.
“I don’t know yet,” Addison admitted, honestly.
Derek Talks About Addison
Mark yammered on about how he already made plans with his new lab partner, Anna, to meet up for drinks later that night. But Derek wasn’t listening. Not really, anyway. They’d been friends long enough that Mark already getting a date with his new lab partner didn’t surprise him in the slightest. But right now, Derek only had one thing on his mind. Addison Montgomery. She was beautiful. Even her name sounded beautiful.
“I think I’m gonna ask her out,” Derek announced, interrupting Mark as he talked about his new lab partner.
To be honest, Derek was glad he didn’t hear everything he was saying as the parts he did hear had something about how great her body looked.
“Who?” Mark asked clueless to what happened between Derek and Addison that day.
“Addison,” Derek said.
Saying her name again felt like a dream. Most of his and Addison’s conversations consisted of the cadaver and the curriculum. He doesn’t even remember what he said to her. If it came out sounding smart and impressive or if he was a babbling idiot. He couldn’t remember exactly what she said either but it felt magical. Everything sounded ethereal and he remembers thinking she wasn’t just beautiful, but smart too.
Mark Wishes Him Luck
It’d been their first attempt at operating and from what he saw from other students, it was messy and crooked. And even he had to admit he wasn’t as good as he wanted it to be. It was their first time but part of him wanted to be a natural. He wasn’t nearly as bad as some other students he glanced at but still. When he saw Addison take her turn, she was a natural. The kind he wished he could be.
“Oh, you mean Red?” Mark asked, well-aware of who Addison was as well.
“Is that the best you could come up with?” Derek chuckled.
“Well, what would you call her?” Mark asked laughing along.
“Addison,” Derek said simply.
“Lame,” Mark joked.
Derek didn’t see the need to call her anything else. Her name was beautiful enough. And while “Red” may be endearing, it definitely didn’t earn any points creatively. Maybe it’d be cute to give her a nickname, but part of him felt like this may have been the first time he’d heard this name. For now, Addison in itself was good enough. More than enough, really.
“Well, good luck. ‘Cause I’ve gotten nothing from that girl so far,” Mark added.
“Wait, what do you mean?” Derek asked confused.
“I already tried, bro,” Mark admitted sheepishly as he referred to when he tried asking her out before.
“But you go on ahead,” Mark added after realizing the impact his words had on him.
Derek Gets Jealous
It was at this moment that Derek realized Mark saw her first. He probably got to know her a little more, too. For all he knew, Addison liked Mark, despite her saying no when he asked her out. And why wouldn’t she? He was Mark. Everyone liked him. Especially girls. But as much as he wished he met her first, he couldn’t help but still want her anyway.
Addison was different, or at least it felt that way. They’d just met, so he couldn’t really say he knew her yet. But something about meeting her felt like fate. Like they were destined to meet. And he was well aware that it was way too soon to think this was anything but meeting a cute girl. No, a beautiful girl. But Derek couldn’t help but feel like he was already falling in love. And he realized how crazy that was and how crazy it sounded. But he justified his already-strong feelings for her by reminding himself he was young. And a romantic. A hopeless one at that.
Regardless of it all, Derek decided he was going to ask Addison out. He just needed a plan. Or at least wanted one. Derek was the prepared type. He wanted to seem confident and suave. The kind of attitude Mark was known for. And he knew how that sounded. But Mark was someone who could get girls like it was nothing. He didn’t want to seem as nervous or as awkward as he felt. So his plan of trying to emulate his best friend felt like the right move for now.
Derek Figures Out What to Say
It took Derek almost a week to figure out what he wanted to say to her. He saw her one more time beforehand as their gross anatomy class happened three times a week. She smiled at him and he blushed back. And he swore he saw her do it too. They didn’t say much to each other, just things about their assignment and the cadaver they worked on. Talking to her was easy, or at least it was at the moment. But Derek knew asking her out wouldn’t be the easiest thing for him. Asking any girl out wasn’t something he was all that skilled at, in all honesty.
Next week, when Derek saw Addison again, he tried to converse casually with her during class but he was nervous. Visibly nervous. His palms were sweaty and his hands were shaky. In other words, the exact opposite of what you want to be when carving into a cadaver.
When Addison took his hand to help guide it in a straighter line, he relaxed ever so slightly. She must think I’m an imbecile, Derek thought. Addison, however, thought he was cute. And she couldn’t help but wonder if his nerves were because of her. After class, Derek caught Addison on her way out.
Derek and Addison Go Out for Coffee
“Addison,” Her name slipped out of Derek’s mouth.
“Yeah?” Addison asked smiling when she turned to face him.
“Hi,” Derek said chuckling as he blushed back.
“Hi,” Addison giggled as she batted her eyes.
“Um…do you like coffee?” Derek stumbled over his words. This was not how he wanted things to go.
He had a plan. Asking sheepishly if she liked coffee wasn’t part of it. When he saw her come into class, he saw her trash a to-go coffee cup near the door. He already knew she liked coffee, or he at least knew she drank it.
“Uh…yeah, I…love coffee,” Addison said giggling at how nervous he was.
“Do you wanna grab a cup before your next class?” Derek asked. He tried to sound a little more confident than he felt.
“I’d love to,” Addison smiled as they both walked side by side to the coffee cart located around the corner.
As they grabbed coffee, they talked about class and about what kind of doctor they wanted to be. They were both in the surgical program so wanting to be a surgeon was a given.
“So, what kind of surgeon do you want to be?” Addison asked after they ordered.
“A neurosurgeon,” Derek said as he paid for their drinks. But only after he waved Addison’s hand away when she reached into her bag for her wallet.
Derek Talks About His Interest in Neuro
“What about you?” Derek asked, looking her in the eyes now.
“I don’t know for sure. Either peds or neonatal,” Addison answered honestly.
“So, I can assume you like kids?” Derek asked, chuckling.
“Oh, thank you,” Addison said as Derek handed her drink over.
“And yes I do,” Addison answered his question as they started walking with their coffee cups in hand.
“I don’t think I’ve met anyone who wanted to go into neonatal,” Derek said curiously.
“Yeah, it’s not super common but I like a challenge,” Addison said thinking about it.
“Neuro’s not a challenge to you?” Derek joked.
“I’m sure it is,” Addison said giggling.
“I don’t know, I just like the idea of imagining what kind of life a baby’s gonna have after it gets to go home,” Addison said.
“I know it probably sounds silly,” Addison added quickly.
“No, it doesn’t,” Derek insisted as he took a sip of his coffee.
“It’s nice,” Derek said.
“So, why the interest in brains?” Addison asked.
“The brain’s fascinating,” Derek started.
“And there’s still so much we don’t know. And I want to know more,” Derek said giving the same answer he did in his college interview.
Addison Sees Right Through Derek
“You know what that sounds like?” Addison asked.
“What?” Derek asked.
“Like one of those BS college application answers,” Addison joked. She could see right through his BS answer and the fact that she did, made him laugh.
“Fine,” Derek resigned.
“I used to play hockey when I was in high school,” Derek started as they walked farther away from the coffee cart.
“Really? You don’t seem like the hockey type,” Addison observed, taking a sip out of her cup.
“What exactly is the hockey type?” Derek asked chuckling.
“You know, the meathead jocks?” Addison giggled.
“Yeah, well, I only joined ‘cause of Mark,” Derek admitted.
“You see, that makes more sense,” Addison smiled.
She barely knew Mark but she could already tell that hockey better fit Mark than Derek. And she could tell they were best friends because they were always together.
“There was this game…,” Derek struggled to find the words at first after a slight pause in the conversation.
The last thing Addison probably wanted to hear was him explaining exactly how the game worked just to explain this incident.
“I smashed my friend’s face against the glass. It’s just part of the game,” Derek added the last bit quickly.
“But the glass shattered and…my friend didn’t wake up,” Derek said softly.
“Oh, I’m sorry,” Addison said sympathetically as she instinctively placed a hand on his shoulder gently.
“He’s still alive, he just isn’t…mobile,” Derek settled on using the more clinical term.
“He just never woke up. And I don’t know, I guess I just wanna help someone like him wake up someday,” Derek said honestly.
“I think that’s sweet. That you want to make up for it,” Addison said softly.
He didn’t expect to reveal so much. While his first answer to Addison’s question was indeed something similar to what he’d say in a college or job interview, no one really questioned it before. But Addison did. She could tell there was more to the story. He’d never told that story about Michael before. The only people who really knew were his family, Mark, and Michael’s family.
It wasn’t something Derek planned on telling people. He could’ve made something up. Sure, Addison could’ve seen through his lies. But he didn’t have to tell her about Michael. But something about her made him want to open up. To tell her anything and everything she wanted to hear.
I’m sorry I kinda gave up on this fic (I last updated this fanfiction back in November). It’s back but I still don’t know what I’m doing with it. But I swear every time I mention it anywhere on Twitter, someone always comes out asking me to send them the link so here I am. Drop your ideas in the comments/reviews or tweet me @mzsnguyenthai if you have any ideas for where this should go lol.
I have one other idea that I want to work in there thanks to my bestie, Stephanie, so I at least have that going for me. If you want me to continue this story, let me know and I’ll see what I can do. And if you give me an idea I like, I’ll write it and give you credit in one of these author notes because I don’t have any long-term plans for this fic lol.