I was assigned this picture:
Title: The Rain of Insects
Fandom: Grey's Anatomy
Disclaimer: Not mine.
Summary: What to say of hope, I wonder.
Notes: Vague spoilers through 2.19
Addison never recognizes the room when she wakes up.
It's the smell of Derek, first, and sunlight filtering through her eyelashes. Some ungodly bird shrieking outside, and a bite of cold against her naked shoulders.
She opens her eyes and panics for a full seven and a half seconds.
Then Derek grumbles in his sleep, and his foot brushes against her ankle. The sheets are flannel instead of Egyptian cotton, and another bird joins in the chorus.
She remembers everything then, and flips a mental coin.
Tails, she gets up and makes an omelet. Heads, she burrows back into bed, slides an arm around Derek's waist.
She turns her head, traces his profile with her gaze.
Four times out of five, she comes up tails.
If neither of them has an especially early surgery, they carpool to the hospital. The drive isn't long, but it's scenic. He turns the radio to jazz, and she switches to NPR. He mock scowls at her, but leaves it be until the program breaks.
Sometimes, if there's a spare minute, they pull over to the side of the road. They grab their coffees and lean against the car.
She smiles at the press of his arm against hers, and the sun crests over the trees.
At the hospital, everything breaks down again.
Everything that went with wrong started with work, with banter and conflict and camaraderie.
Most of the time, she manages to breeze past it. This is a new place, and she's breaking new ground. She's working with people she respects, including Derek.
She can list every single one of his faults, alphabetically, chronologically, and cardinally. His skills as a surgeon, however, have never been part of the list, not even a penciled note in the margins.
And sometimes it's a relief to work with him. She can debate treatments, methods, and ethics with the other surgeons. She can criticize, argue, and concur to her heart's content.
After a surgery goes wrong or right, however, she can slip her hand into Derek's. Squeeze tight, and not look him in the eye. She doesn't need to, because he squeezes back, and they're on the same page.
In moments like those, they're married again.
But only in those moments.
Inevitably, there's an interruption. Somebody interjects, or a pager goes off. Derek releases her hand, or she pulls away.
Hours later, she'll remember and regret. And she worries that he never does.
She misses Mark in waves, sharp bursts of nostalgia she can't tamp or control.
When she hears somebody order a coffee, sweet and black. When she passes over the lobby and hears the echo of a low laugh. When her hand accidentally brushes against the green sweater at the bottom of her suitcase. The last suitcase, the one she's afraid to unpack.
She doesn't talk about it. She just shuts her eyes and rides out her longing.
If Derek ever notices, he never asks why. Even if he did, she's not sure she would tell him.
Derek is absent, and Derek is passive. Derek is smug, and Derek is angry.
There are days when she remembers these things, all at once, a tumble of disappointment.
They have lunch together, and he leaves while she has three bites left.
He doesn't congratulate her after a successful surgery, though he tells her he's sorry when another goes wrong. She has to reach out, clasp his hand. He doesn't pull away, then.
They have dinner together. He doesn't like the restaurant she chooses. When she asks him why, he just shakes his head and smiles. Pushes his plate away, and picks up the check.
Derek never tells her why he decided to stay.
They have sex two or three times a week.
It isn't affectionate enough to be called making love. It isn't urgent enough to be called fucking.
They know exactly how to touch each other, and it is affectionate and it is comfortable.
She wonders if he ever really looks at her, but she tries not to keep track.
Instead, she closes her eyes and pretends she's happy.
Addison has a truly horrible day, filled with trumped-up malpractice threats and overbearing mothers and interns getting in the way everywhere.
Derek has a late surgery, so she swings by the grocery store on her own. She buys a carton of strawberries and a pint of Häagen-Dazs.
At home, she changes into pajamas and fuzzy slippers and pops Notorious into the DVD player. It's still warm outside, so she leaves a window open and hopes the mosquitoes won't squeeze through the mesh.
She swirls the strawberries into the ice cream, and spends the next forty-five minutes hating everything and everybody west of the Mississippi.
Derek gets home as the evening cools, and she's already stashed the ice cream in the fridge. There's a dish full of forlorn strawberry stems by her feet, and it's an effort to smile.
For a long minute, he gazes at her, and she shifts under the scrutiny. "What?" she finally blurts, putting the movie on pause.
"Nothing," he says, shaking his head. He drops his briefcase by the bed, leans over her and takes her face in his hands.
He kisses her, a slow caress that shivers down her spine. When he pulls back, she tries not to flinch.
"Hey," she murmurs.
He smiles. "Hey." Then he straightens, shedding his jacket and shoes. "Bad day?"
"There are days when becoming a spy seems like an attractive career choice," she confesses.
Derek grabs her empty plate and disappears for a moment. He returns with two beers, uncapped, and hands one to her.
He clambers into bed, and they toast, bottles clinking together. "We should see a movie tomorrow night," he says.
"Okay," she replies. "Anything in particular?"
"Something stupid." He takes the remote control from her, presses play. "Something with gratuitous explosions."
Addison smiles. "Sounds like a plan."
She leans her head against his shoulder, and they watch the rest of the movie.
A/N: Title and summary adapted from Sean Thomas Dougherty's Tiny Griefs. Link courtesy of breathe_poetry.
Linked on picfor1000.