Well, it is here: the end. I am not one hundred percent happy with this epilogue, but I suspect that it is because I do not want this story to end. I have loved writing every line, but more than that, much more than that, I have loved sharing this with you all. I have had so many wonderful responses and emails and reviews that I hardly know where to begin to thank everyone who made this possible. I want to most importantly thank Lattelady who was kind enough to beta all the medical material in this fanfic. So all those times I sounded smart? Yeah, that wasn't me, that was her. She rocks; I am so not worthy.
I also want to thank my regular reviewers, especially Haydee and Drew. You guys were all awesome, and I savored every review. It is funny to watch the show and see such a different story than the one I have in my head, and yet there are similarities as well. There is just something about Mark and Lexie, and I have a feeling that my writing for them is not done. Perhaps I will have more to say at a later date; I might go back and do a couple more one-shots set in or after this story. Who knows?
Anyway, thank you all for reading. You kept this going.
And for the last time... enjoy!
New York was beautiful in the springtime. Mark had always thought so, but he had never truly appreciated it until he lived across the country in Seattle. Now, being back in the city that he loved, Mark felt nostalgic for all the things that he had missed. The Met, Yankee Stadium (he was still bitter that it was gone), his favorite Italian restaurant on Fifth, and the façade of his brownstone on Seventy-fifth and Lexington.
But as he sat in the little café near his old home, Mark wondered when Manhattan had become so small. Seattle, with its encroaching forests and curving bays, never felt this small.
"Do you need change?"
Mark looked up at the cute waitress who had brought his leftovers back to the table. He smiled to himself as he thought about what a difference a two years can make. "No, the rest is for you," Mark said, handing her the check and her tip.
"Mark? Is that you, Sloan?"
Mark turned to see Devon Cartwright, a fellow surgeon who Mark had worked with in New York, standing before him.
He stood, holding out his hand. "Devon! It is good to see you!"
"What the hell are you doing here, man?" Devon said, clasping Mark on the back. "I thought you were still living in Seattle."
"I am," Mark said. "But I came back for the week. I had to take care of some things with the house, and I wanted to visit."
Devon shook his head. "So you are still stuck in Seattle, then?"
"Yep," Mark said with a smile.
"Don't you just hate it?" Devon asked.
"It grows on you," Mark replied. "In fact, I—"
"How's Shepherd?" Devon cut in. "I heard he and Addison called it quits."
"Yeah, a two and a half years ago," Mark said.
Devon smiled at him. "Too bad, huh?"
"Actually," Mark said, "Derek is very happy now. He is married to a wonderful woman, Meredith Grey. Ellis Grey's daughter, you know. And they just had a son, Nate, about nine months ago."
"Good for him," Devon said. "Shepherd did always like domesticity, didn't he? Figures he would be married a second time before you or I had our first marriage, eh Sloan?"
Mark laughed. "Actually, I got married before Derek did."
Devon looked at him in shock.
"You're kidding, right?" Devon asked.
Mark shook his head and held up his left hand. "It will be two years in four months."
Devon's face was still in surprise.
"And here she is now," Mark said, watching as Lexie came from the back of the restaurant holding their daughter in her arms.
Lexie smiled at Mark as she walked back over to their table. When she reached him, he took their daughter and settled her against his chest, and smiled at Lexie in greeting.
"Devon, this is my wife Lexie and our daughter Mia."
Lexie smiled at him as Mark told her how they had worked together when he had lived here before. "It's nice to meet you," Lexie said.
"So…how long will you be here?" Devon asked.
"We leave tomorrow," Lexie responded. "I am still a resident, so I can only take so much time off from work."
"Oh, you're a surgical resident?" Devon inquired.
"Yes," Lexie said. "I am halfway through my second year. I, of course, had to take some time off when Mia was born."
Lexie looked affectionately at her daughter who was now sleeping against Mark's chest. It seemed like just yesterday when she had found out that she was pregnant. She had been married to Mark for two months when she had started feeling funny. Lexie was too much of a doctor to not recognize the signs, and a test had quickly confirmed what she had already known. The real question then had been how to tell Mark. Lexie had wanted to make it dramatic and exciting, but in the end it had been neither of those things.
Lexie stood in the hall as she heard the key unlocking the door. She was wringing her hands, anticipation and happiness filling her.
"Hi," Mark said, looking at her strangely as he opened the door.
"Hi," Lexie replied, a smiled covering half of her face.
"What are you doing in the hallway?"
"Waiting for you," Lexie replied.
A smirk had grown on Mark's face. "You should have paged me, I would have come home faster."
"What do you mean?"
Mark pulled her into his arms and kissed her.
"Oh," Lexie had said as she pulled away. "Before we get to that, there is something I have to tell you."
"What?" Mark asked as he began to kiss her neck.
"Remember how we said we were going to wait to have kids?"
"Well, that plan is kinda shot to hell now."
"What do you mean?" Mark asked, nipping the curve of her shoulder.
"I mean, I'm pregnant."
Mark had paused mid-kiss, his lips frozen on her skin.
"Say something, please."
He hadn't moved at first, but then he had pressed his forehead into the curve of her neck and squeezed his arms more tightly around his wife. "Thank you," he whispered hoarsely.
Lexie had smiled, knowing all would be well.
He had been amazing all through her pregnancy, but the really shocking part was once Mia had been born. He took to fatherhood much the way he took to surgery and marriage. Mark was a natural dad.
He turned to Lexie now, smiling as he rubbed Mia's back as she slept. "Ready for FAO Schwartz?"
"I don't know," Lexie said. "I think she is worn out. Too much stimuli. Did they call? Did they make an offer?"
"Did who make an offer?" Devon asked, jumping into their conversation.
"Just this couple who is going to buy our brownstone," Mark replied. He then turned to Lexie, "Yes, they did. And I took it."
"Good," Lexie said with a smile. Mia began to fuss then, but Mark quieted her easily with gently murmuring to her.
"I am going to go get the stroller," Lexie said.
Mark nodded to her.
As she walked away, Devon asked, "So that's it?"
Mark looked at him oddly. "What do you mean?"
"I mean, you're done with New York. Seattle is where you are staying."
"Just like that?"
"Just like that," Mark said.
"I remember when you thought nothing existed outside of Manhattan. When you thought the rest of the country was jealous because they didn't get to live here."
"Things have changed," Mark said to his former friend. "I have changed."
Devon nodded, a small smile playing around the corners of his mouth. "Yeah, you have."
There was silence, but then Devon asked, "You don't miss it?"
Mark knew he was not talking about New York. He smiled, and kissed the top of his daughter's head. "Not even for a moment."
Later that night, Lexie and Mark spent their last night in his New York home. Once his nostalgia had abated, he began to feel eager to pack everything up. Mark supposed it would be natural for him to feel some regret about leaving this place for the last time, but he didn't. Perhaps it was because he had never spent much time here except for sleeping and sex, or perhaps it was because this place had never felt like a home, or perhaps it was because he was never happy here, but for whatever reason Mark was happy to leave it behind. Earlier in the day, when they had been packing the last of his belongings, Lexie had been saving much more than he had. Everything Mark came across seemed silly or rather meaningless to the way his life was now. Who really needed souvenir shot glasses with inscriptions like "Spring Break '92"? He just wanted to get home to their comfy penthouse, which was oxymoronic, he knew.
"You could have at least pretended to like the show," Lexie said, as they walked into the bedroom after having sent the babysitter home. They had just returned from seeing the sequel to Phantom of the Opera on Broadway.
"Why?" Mark asked, taking of his jacket and tossing it on an ugly leather chair which he did not remember ever liking.
"Because Carolyn tried hard to please us by giving us those tickets."
"At ease, soldier," Mark said. "Should Mom ask, I will tell her it was fine, despite its lurches towards the ridiculous."
"Thank you," Lexie said. "But you have bad taste. I thought it was good."
"Nothing like the original," Mark muttered as he unbuttoned his shirt.
Lexie turned around with a smile on her face. "So let me get this straight. You didn't object to the play, but rather the fact that it messed around with the original. Mark Sloan, you are a Phantom fan."
"What?" Mark said, trying to be casual. "Of course I am not. Phantom is for girls."
"Admit it," Lexie said, crossing the room to wrap her arms around his neck. "You are a musical lover."
"I'll never admit it," Mark said with a smile, looking down into his wife's face. He gently brushed her brown hair away from her cheeks. Once he would have mocked anyone who thought life with one person was something to treasure. But now he knew different. Just being with her and talking about meaningless nonsense was his favorite part of their relationship, of their marriage. It was moments like this that Mark felt so small, and his love so big. "I love you, Lexie," he whispered.
A smile curved her lips. "Do you? I never would have guessed."
"Smartass," He muttered with a smile. He ducked his head down to kiss her when he heard Mia begin to cry. "Hold that thought."
Mark padded down the hall to the gym, which had been made into a makeshift nursery for their visit.
Coming into the room, Mark saw Mia standing in her crib, her face red and wet from crying. "Hey, angel," He said, pulling her into his arms. "What's wrong?"
Mia blubbered for a bit, and then sighed contentedly as her father rocked her.
"I bet you missed us tonight, didn't you?" Mark whispered. "I missed you too. I would have much rather been here with you than at a stupid play, but I would do anything for your mommy. You'll understand someday angel, when some man is trying to win your heart." Mark silently promised himself that she wouldn't date until she was thirty. "If a man is not willing to do what you want for one evening, then you are too good for him," Mark continued. "Of course, your mommy doesn't know that I would do what she wanted every night if she asked."
Mia's eyelids fluttered closed, and Mark gently kissed her forehead, savoring her baby smell. He then said, "One day, I'll tell you the story of how your mommy made me a better man, carefully edited, of course."
He settled her back into the crib, and gently patted her back. "I love you, angel."
When he came back into the master bedroom, Lexie was lying on the bed with her eyes closed. Mark sighed, but then smiled as he watched her sleep. She still curled up on her side, tucking her hands beneath her face like a young girl. Two years of marriage and a baby had not diminished her beauty nor made her look older, not to him. Mark would swear that she was more beautiful now than she had been when he met her. Derek had said the same thing about him, which was odd...and creepy. Something about how marriage made him look years younger. Mark had made some smartass remark when he had said that.
As if she could feel him watching her, Lexie's eyes fluttered open and a small smile lit her face.
Mark felt his stomach clench in desire and anticipation for the only woman who he had never been able to get out of his heart. The only woman he had ever wanted to keep there.
"Come lie with me," she murmured.
He did just that, curling up behind her and spooning against her body.
Mark dimly remembered once considering Lexie an impossible dream, and he had been right.
She was impossible to forget, impossible to leave, and impossible to regret.
And every moment he had spent with her had been like a dream.
He supposed most people didn't get a happy ending to their fairytale, but Mark had already received his.
He had Lexie, his daughter, and the promise of many years to come.
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