A Little Bit Mad

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grey's anatomy fanfiction, mark/addison - the trees keep growing.
gen: book and glasses.
recycledstars wrote in alittlebitmad
the trees keep growing
Author's Notes: I'm really sorry about this. It will probably not help you emotionally at all. Also spoilers for 9.01. Also soundtrack.

She empties her stomach into the trash when she hears the news, but she doesn’t cry.

They haven’t talked in over a year but still, she calls. His phone rings and rings and she nearly hangs up, nearly throws her cell across the room before burying her head in her pillow and trying to forget. She’s been holding it together since she heard, for the baby. This is not the time to fall apart; her life is in such precarious balance as it is.

But when he answers, when she hears his voice and hears the tears in it, she splits along the cracks.

“I knew you’d call,” is all he says.

She swallows. “The only person who loved him more than I did was you.”

He stays on the line while she cries.

She goes to the funeral alone. Jake drops her at the airport. She kisses Henry’s forehead and then his cheek, tells him that she’ll call. She watches him drive away before she turns off her cell.

Derek is waiting at Sea-Tac.

She can rest her head on his shoulder comfortably; she’s wearing flat shoes.

They stand like that for a long time, oblivious to all around them. It’s loud and busy but amidst strangers they can pause; they understand each other, understand the comfort in being alone together.

They both speak at the service. While they’re waiting, her hand rests on her stomach and she fights the urge to be sick again. Derek reaches over and takes it, squeezes her fingers. It helps and it doesn’t help in equal measure.

She doesn’t say what she wants to say. She wants to say he is my greatest regret. She wants to say I hate him for dying, I hate him because we missed all our chances and nobody has ever known the truth of me like he did. He saw me right from the start, exactly as I was, as I am. She wants to say he did this thing with his tongue that made me want to climb out of my own body because it was like hell on earth it was so good. Mindblowing fuck doesn’t even begin to do it justice. I still get wet at the memory.

She says none of it, spews out some bullshit about him being a good man – which he wasn’t a lot of the time – and somehow manages not to cry right up until Derek’s voice breaks halfway through saying Mark was his oldest and dearest friend.

Ashes to ashes, dust to dust, ‘til death do us part, it’s always felt the same to her. The dirt is wet under her fingernails, clinging to the lines on her palms. She throws it into the open grave and she can barely stand it.

Nobody has ever loved her quite as well as him; nobody ever will.

The wake is at Joe’s. She finds Derek in the corner and sets the bottle of scotch down on the table a little more forcefully than she should. He moves further into the wall and she slumps beside him, pours them both a glass.

“He wanted to be cremated,” she says. “He fucking hated the idea of rotting in the ground.”

“It’s what his mother wanted.” Derek tilts his head and his glass towards the ceiling and gulps down the amber liquid like it’s medicine. Maybe it is. They need the anaesthetic.

“He fucking hated his mother too.”

She knows she’s drunk because she hardly ever curses unless she is.

Derek laughs. “He did.”

They toast to that and she looks for answers in the bottom of her glass.

“I have to tell you something,” he says. “Something you might not want to know.”

She steels herself with another shot. “Why wouldn’t I want to know it?”

“I committed a felony.”

Addison snorts. “What? You? Did you park next to a fire hydrant?”

“Shut up Addie.” He nudges into her shoulder. “I’m serious. It wasn’t him.”


“In the casket. I switched the ID tags in the morgue.”

Somehow it’s funny. She laughs; he doesn’t.

“You’re serious.”

“Mark would say dead serious right now, but I won’t.”

She wants to laugh again, but she knows she’ll cry at the same time. “So what are you saying?”

“I’m saying I pick up the ashes in the morning.”


“You know the first time we went to New York we were 12-years-old and my mom was dragging us around to all the tourist traps – it was a family vacation – and we were wreaking havoc everywhere we went, touching everything in the museums and running off at any opportunity.” The smile catches at the edges of his mouth even though he sounds sad as he tells the story. “But I remember walking across the Brooklyn Bridge and we had run ahead and Mark climbed up onto the railing a little and it was windy and he screamed and then he turned to me and said sometimes I think it’d be nice to just blow away.” Derek pauses. “I’ve never forgotten that. He was always like that: just when you thought he was as shallow as a shower with the emotional depth of a teaspoon he’d say something that would stick with you.”

She can only nod. “I loved that.”

Derek swallows, still looks a little pained by their history. “You loved a lot of things about him.”

She reaches out and picks at the Glenfiddich label. “I wish I had seen that, at the time.”

“Me too.”

It’s not a silence because the bar is loud around them, but it is a lull. He changes the subject before they can really slip into the old self-pity at the mess made by all three of them and their inability to love each other in the right ways.

“Anyway. I’m going to take him back to New York, back to that spot on the bridge.”

“I’m coming with you.”

It’s all she says and then they have run out of words.

They drive with the box in the middle of the backseat.

She glances back at it every so often, feeling the absence of him more acutely at the memories of all the miles the three of them travelled, just like this. Derek driving, her feet on the dash, her choice of radio station driving Mark crazy, him leaning through the gap between the seats to tease: driving to Vermont in the winter and the Hamptons in the summer and back-and-forth from Connecticut during medical school. It all blurs together and upsets her stomach until finally, she makes Derek pull over in Spokane.

Mist from the falls settles on her hot cheeks. She breathes it in and the grip of grief relaxes.

The next day, Addison turns up the radio and sings along, off-key. It helps to fill the silences Mark has left.

She sends Jake an e-mail from an internet café in North Dakota: I have to take care of some things. I’ll be back in two weeks Don’t worry, I’m safe and sound.

Derek takes her hand in Minneapolis, as they stare out at the Mississippi. It’s late and the river is no more than a black ribbon in the dark, cutting the city in two. Neither of them can sleep though, so they walk until they’re exhausted and on the way back to the hotel, he laces his fingers through hers.

It’s startling but familiar and she clings to the gesture, wishing she was twenty-two again, with Mark alive and Derek a constant and both of them as in love with her as she was with them.

At the time she was convinced her life was not simple. She wishes she had known that it was.

They almost fuck in Chicago. Alcohol isn’t to blame as much as nostalgia. Derek isn’t a cheater though, and she doesn’t want to make him one, so she lets him get as far as pulling off her shirt before she stops kissing him, rolls over and stares at the ceiling spinning.

“Shit,” he says.

“I’m not going to sleep with you.” She tries to chide but it sounds more like a promise, like: don’t worry, you’re not like me, not like Mark, and I won’t let you be.

“I’m not going to sleep with you,” he echoes.

“She never has to know Derek.” Addison shifts, faces him, traces his shoulder with her fingers in the low light. “It’ll only hurt, and she doesn’t deserve it.”

“Is that why you never told me you were sleeping with him?”

She doesn’t bother with the old line, about the time he caught them being the first and only time. “Yes. I never wanted to hurt you Derek.”

“How long?”

“No. It doesn’t matter now anyway. Let me spare you that.”

“A year? Two?”

“On and off since we met. It was … we were fucked up Derek. Self-destructive and self-loathing to an almost pathological degree was what he used to say. So we did it to ourselves.”

“What about what you did to me?”

He gets up off the bed and paces back and forward from the window while she considers her response.

“I loved you.” Addison sits up, runs her toe in an abstract pattern against the hotel carpet. “I still love you. But I was unhappy with you, you were unhappy with me. Not that it’s an excuse, but.” She shrugs. “It is what it is.”

“Have you ever been faithful?”

He’s looking out the window as he says it, and it stings more than it should.

She swallows. “Mark and I were alike that way.”

“No.” Somehow, she manages to look him in the eye as he imparts the one truth that she can’t take: “Mark was, to you, in Seattle, at least for a while. He told me that he lied to you so you could leave without feeling obligated to stay.”

She cries in a way she hasn’t in years and Derek atones for a lot of his sins when he curls up behind her on the mattress and holds her, in spite of everything.

Ohio is resplendent with fall and she realises how much she has missed the seasons living in LA. It’s cold – she’s so used to Southern California – but she walks anyway, needs the time away from Derek to clear her head.

Her hands find the bottom of her coat pockets as the sun sets. She watches it catch the red and gold of the leaves.

It’s a delicate moment, one Mark Sloan would notice but pretend not to have noticed. She finds herself filled with fondness where her frustration used to be; it used to annoy her that he appreciated things others didn’t see and kept them as secrets for himself. It used to annoy her that he was gruff when he meant to be gentle, that he loved her more than he would ever express, even when the hint of it she always felt ceased to be enough.

She thinks maybe she understands the way he loved her now. Before she always wanted him to change, just a little, but he had never demanded that of her; he had loved her so selflessly and wholly. Derek’s admission in Minneapolis was the final proof.

For her, autumn in Ohio is the end of denial: she loved, loves, him the same way.

She wonders if she will ever be able to forgive herself for not realising soon enough to show it.

They reach New York after the sunset, but before the night proper. The hotel is a few blocks from the brownstone, so they wander down their old street and eat at the little Italian hole-in-the-wall on the corner which is just as she remembers.

When they get out of the cab on the Manhattan side of the bridge, she pauses with the box in her hand. Derek stops and looks back at her with his hands in his pockets, but he doesn’t ask the question. She thinks he knows her too well, well enough to sense she’s about to explain herself.

She holds the box out toward him. “You can go alone, if you need to.”

He shakes his head. “No.”

The corners of the box dig in through her sweater; she clutches it back to her chest too tightly.

He says it quietly, after closing the distance between them. “I’m glad you’re here. It’s what he would have wanted.”

That’s when the tears start. She lets them fall, lets them blur the city lights, fumbles a little as Derek leads them to the spot.

When they reach it, he takes the box from her hands and she wipes her eyes.

“God you could be a son of a bitch,” he murmurs, taking the plastic bag from inside the box and opening it. “But I loved you.”

“And I loved you,” she adds.

Addison wraps her arms around her waist and Derek empties the bag.

She can only see the ashes for the briefest moment before the dark and the wind catch them. It’s not long enough to say goodbye. The second syllable is still on her lips when Derek turns to her.

They collapse into each other.

She has never been hugged so fiercely. They both cling until Derek stops shaking.

Addison is still crying, but she’s also smiling. She steps back and turns to the railing, hooks her toes over the bottom rung and leans over.

“What did he scream?”


“When he was twelve, what did he scream?”

“Nothing. It was just noise.”

She takes a deep breath and yells as loudly as she can.

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Oh my God, this is actually brilliant, and my heart is actually broken... I'm don't think I'm ever going to get over this :(

I hate you.

I love you.


Fuck feelings, let's get drunk. I wasn't kidding when I said the fandom needs to hold a wake.

This is painfully beautiful and I just want to curl up and cry. You (the plural, general "you") can't talk about Mark without talking about Derek and Addison and no matter what his family turned into and what his relationships were, it's always the three of them at the end. There's too much history there for anyone but Derek and Addison to go on this road trip and let his ashes float away over the bridge. </p>

I love that this is exploding with feelings without drowning in them, and that Derek switched the body so Mark could have what he wanted instead of his mother's choices (because family does swoop in at times like these to becomes massively inconvenient). I love that they almost slept together, but didn't (because if they did, it would cheapen this thing they're doing for their friend), and that Addison screams for Mark because he can't anymore.

Basically you are perfect, the end.

Oh. And the fire hydrant. A+

This is stunning and incredibly sad. I really wished Addison would have come back on the show just for the end. So, it's nice to read this, even after all this time.

Probably one of the saddest fanfictions I've read, but surely in the top ten list of my favorites.

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