A/N: written for the Halloween challenge on Grey's Haven.
You haven't talked to Mark Sloan in a few weeks. You had a good time at Joe's on the evening he asked you to recite the Periodic Table. But after that there were just a couple of bland conversations and then he seemed to pull away. He got busy with surgeries that he didn't ask you to scrub in on; he stopped teasing you; he stopped giving you advice; and he didn't ask you to reel off any more scientific facts. Once or twice, you thought you caught him looking at you, but you couldn't really be sure. You couldn't really be sure of anything. After all, you'd thought George might love you and today you found out, in no uncertain terms, that he doesn't.
Halloween always seems to suck for you at Seattle Grace. Last year Cristina Yang made you dress up as an idiot; this year you turned into one for real.
George wasn't cruel or mean or anything bad. He was just oblivious. Izzie had muffins and you brought him one, and a cup of coffee with cream and sugar, exactly how he likes it, and you said "Happy Halloween," then added "Yay!" and smiled. And then you blurted out, "I adore you." George thought you were joking and said, "Well, I adore you too, Lexie. You're one of my best friends. You know that!" But you couldn't let all the waiting and uncertainty go on, so you repeated yourself: "I adore you," and added a whispered, "I'm in love with you," too late to take it back as you watched his smile fade in dismay. He made a lot of excuses and shuffled around and coughed and said again how much he liked you. But the damage was done. You'd lost your potential lover and you'd embarrassed your friend.
Suddenly it hits you that you're all alone.
Then you see Mark, through the window of one of the offices, drinking coffee and talking to Derek. And you stand and stare, stupidly, and wish he would come out and talk to you. Because, other than George, he is — at least, he was — the closest thing you have to a friend.
You stare so long and so hard that, eventually, his attention is drawn to you and he raises an eyebrow. But you can't stop staring; you're willing him to come out and say something. Even if it's only that you're pathetic.
He carries on talking to Derek, but he has half an eye on you. You can tell. And finally he comes out and walks towards you and stops, slightly too far inside your personal space, but you don't flinch or move back, you just look up at him.
"Grey," he says. "Doe-eyed wasn't enough for you, huh? You had to go for the full deer in headlights effect."
You swallow. "I told George. I told him, again, that I like him. That I adore him, in fact. I told him straight out and he told me he doesn't feel the same way."
For a second, his silver-blue eyes soften, but then the moment's lost. "Why are you telling me?"
You lick your lips nervously. There are obvious answers. After all, it was Mark who advised you to tell George in the first place. But none of them are true. "I don't have anyone else to tell," you say candidly. "And it's Halloween and my mom always made a really big deal out of Halloween and, well, she died. And I don't have anyone else to tell."
Mark stares at you, his eyes searching your face. Then he gives the ghost of a smirk.
"Trick or treat?" he asks.
"Trick or treat?" he repeats irritably. "It's a simple enough question, Grey. "
You shrug. "Trick, I guess." You're forlorn. The definition of the word. "That's about what I expect from life today."
Mark sniffs and raises an eyebrow. "Wrong answer."
"Excuse me?" you say again.
"'Trick' is the wrong answer. What's the matter? Photographic memory on the fritz?"
You stare at him without comprehension and he sighs. "You're supposed to say 'treat,'" he prompts you. "I'm offering you a treat."
You shake your head. "That's not how it goes," you correct him. "If you say 'trick or treat' then I get to decide if it's 'treat' and, if it is, it's me that gives it to you, not the other way around. If it's trick, though—"
"Shut up, Grey! I'm trying to be nice here."
"Oh," you say. "Sorry." You wait for what's coming next.
"They have this pumpkin carving thing going on in the lobby of my hotel." He glances down. "You could come back with me and grab a bite to eat and," he shrugs, "look at pumpkin carvings."
"If you say so," he says dryly.
"Why?" you ask.
His eyes meet yours again. "Because I don't have anyone else to show the damn pumpkin carving thing to."
You nod cautiously. "You're not trying to seduce me?"
Mark laughs out loud. "Seduce you? What am I? The villain from a silent movie?"
"You're you. And you've been avoiding me for weeks and—"
"I'm not trying to seduce you," he says quietly, even a little sadly.
You bite your upper lip. "Okay," you say, then take a huge breath. "You could though, if you wanted to. That would be okay. Nice even."
A slow smile spreads across his face. "Yeah?" he asks. "Nice?"
You nod, shyly this time.
"Guess it worked then," he says.
"The trick," he smirks.
You inhale sharply, instantly hurt. Ten seconds ago, you discovered that you had feelings for Mark Sloan. It took you all of ten seconds to tell yet another man who doesn't return your feelings that you like him. But George was oblivious; whereas he tricked you. He's even proud of it.
"I always thought people were wrong about you. But it's all true. You're . . . you're . . ."
"Relax," he says. "I was kidding." Now he seems almost nervous. "I like you, Grey . . . Lexie. But you're optimistic and fresh and you don't need someone like me. So I didn't want to say anything. I didn't want to tell you I liked you, unless you said something first." He swallows. "And you did."
"I like you too," you say and you both smile.
"So what'll it be? Trick or treat?"
You're on the point of arguing again that this is not how it works, but then you realize what he means.
You close the gap between your bodies and look up into his eyes.
"Treat," you say quietly. "Please."
"Good choice," he says and leans in and kisses you on the lips. It's soft and even a little, surprisingly reticent, but there's something else there. Something that sets your heart racing.
Maybe Halloween at Seattle Grace doesn't suck after all.