Disclaimer: I don't own anything except for a crazy mind. Lyrics used from 'Tangled Up In You' by Staind.
A/N: This is it! Oh wow, I'm scared. This was extremely hard for me to write but here we are. I'm sorry if this isn't what people expected, but this is what I had planned since the start. I've added an additional A/N at the end that discusses a lot more things but for now, here is the epilogue of Tangled up in You! Anyway, read, enjoy, and as always, let me know what you think! (:
How long has it been
Since this storyline began
And I hope it never ends
And goes like this forever
It seemed to be an endless journey to Meredith's house, the roads stretching out before them for what felt like eternity. The drive had been filled with silence, with the exception of Lexie's tiny sniffles. The tears had not stopped since she had entered the car, her silent tears flowing down her face, staining her beautiful face perfectly.
Mark had tried everything to help her but he knew there was nothing more he could do. He would have to just stand there, in the background, and allow her to feel the pain, let it seep through her into her core until eventually it subsides. There was nothing that would stop her from hurting. It didn't matter how much he wanted to save her, all he could do now was hope she found salvation in the note Thatcher left her.
As Mark turned off the engine, he stared at the sight of Meredith's large house and felt his stomach churn at the awaiting sorrow. Slowly, he turned to face Lexie. His heart broke at the sight of the tears that glistened and curved over her delicate cheek. "Lexie," he whispered as he gently placed his hand on her knee. "You can do this."
Lexie tried to smile as she turned to face Mark. Her bottom lip trembled as she whispered, "I know." Her breath fell out of her parted mouth as she stared at Meredith's front door. "It's just…hard."
Mark nodded before taking her cold hand in his. "You don't have to do this alone."
Lexie nodded and swallowed the lump forming in her throat. Slipping away from him, she left the warmth of the car to feel the sudden chill of the cool air. She swiped at her eyes in a poor attempt to rid herself of the evidence of her anguish. Dusting off her clothes, Lexie turned to see Mark, his hand outstretched to her. She smiled softly at him and intertwined her fingers with his. Together, their steps matching, they walked up to Meredith's door and Mark gently knocked.
Soon enough, they were greeted by the sight of Derek.
His eyes instantly fell onto Lexie. His expression visibly softened when he saw the redness of her eyes, the watery, darkened irises that looked back at him. "Hey guys," he said, his voice low. "Come on in."
When Lexie brushed past him, Derek placed a hand on her shoulder. She looked up and tried to smile. "I'm so sorry, Lexie," Derek said and Lexie nodded in response, unable to form words.
Meredith's cracked voice caused Lexie to look to the side and see Meredith standing in front of the couch. Lexie's eyes softened immediately when she saw the tears trailing down her sister's face. Instantly, her hand slipped out of Mark's and Lexie rushed over to Meredith, their bodies colliding in a mutual pain as Lexie's arms encased her older sister.
"Oh God," Lexie choked out as Meredith's arms slowly wrapped around Lexie's waist.
Through her own tears, Meredith managed to force out her words. "Hey…It's okay. Ssh, stop crying."
"He's gone," Lexie whispered, her voice shaking under the pressure of her grief. With her face against Meredith's neck, Lexie felt her heart clench and twist and the only comfort she had now was the heat radiating from her once lost sister.
"I know he is, Lexie," Meredith whispered as she squeezed her eyes close. "I know he is."
They stood like that, crying in each other's arms, for what seemed like forever. Then, at the same time, the women pulled away and Meredith carefully reached out to wipe away the remaining tears that tarnished Lexie's face. She tried to smile, her thin upper lip curving only just, before falling back into place. She wondered briefly if they would ever be able to smile again.
"It's okay now, Lexie," Meredith said, trying to keep her voice steady. "He's gone but he's safe now. You're safe now."
"I-I know…But–" Lexie breaks off, trying to keep herself from letting out a sob. "He was still our dad, Meredith."
The sound of Lexie's broken voice made Meredith's heart tighten painfully. "I know he was," Meredith said as she soothingly ran her hand over Lexie's hair. "But he's gone now and there's nothing we can do. He…He did what he wanted to do. All we have to do is be strong now, okay?"
Lexie nodded but at the same time whispered, "I don't want to be."
Meredith sighed and pulled Lexie to her for a hug. "I know. But we have to. There's nothing we can do now, Lexie. He's gone."
As Meredith comforted her little sister, Derek tore his eyes away from his girlfriend. She had grown so much over the last couple of months and as he watched the scene before him, Derek couldn't help the pride that welled up inside of him. Although it pained him to see Meredith cry, it felt good to see her comfort her sister. It was the way things should be.
Derek looked at Mark, noticing for the first time the moisture in his friend's eyes. "You okay?" He murmured before turning away to look at the two sisters.
Mark nodded curtly. "I'm fine," he replied, his eyes fixed on Lexie. "I just…She was so upset, Derek. It was if I had taken the world away from her. It was as if I had broken her."
"You didn't do it," Derek replied softly as he watched Meredith stroke Lexie's hair. "You delivered the news, but you didn't cause the heart break. That was Thatcher. He's the only person to blame here, Mark. You weren't the cause."
"I know…I know that, but it doesn't feel that way."
Derek briefly glanced at Mark before looking away. "You can't blame yourself. You were strong for Lexie. You told her the truth and you were there to comfort her. You brought her here so she could be comforted by her sister. You did good, Mark. You didn't cause her pain. Believe that."
Mark nodded slowly as he watched Lexie wipe her eyes dry and turn to look over Meredith's shoulder at him. She was staring at him and he tried to smile at her, but it didn't work as well as he wanted it to. Lexie smiled back at him, and this time, it was a whisper of an actual smile.
Although he could see the pain residing behind her smile, it was still a small, gentle smile. It was a smile that told him she had accepted the truth. She had accepted the truth and she was willing to move on.
She was going to move on with him.
They had been sitting on Mark's bed for over an hour now. It hadn't taken them long to arrive back at the Archfield with the note in hand. Once in the hotel room, Lexie had immediately gone to sit on Mark's bed, the note folded in her hand.
She had been staring at it for an hour, not yet ready to open it.
Lexie stared at the bright white paper. It was lined and during her time staring at it, Lexie had counted that there were eight blue lines before the fold. She estimated that each line was two centimeters apart. There was more than one piece of paper; there was a silver staple in the corner. She could see the groove of the letters against the paper. She guessed he had written in biro. Black.
Mark glanced at Lexie again and then back at the paper. He had been sat next to her patiently waiting for her to open the letter but she still wasn't ready. Mark considered saying something, anything to help her, but he couldn't find the right words.
That was why he was glad when Lexie began talking.
"What if it's just him blaming me?" Lexie asked in a hushed voice. "What if it's just pages of him blaming me for what he did, of why he had to do what he did? If…If I was different then maybe he wouldn't have…I don't want him to blame me because it's not my fault." Her eyes filled with quiet determination as they hardened and she whispered, "There is nothing wrong me. There's nothing wrong with me because I tried to be better, I tried to avoid it, I was nice, I've-I've always been nice, especially to him and, and…I don't want him to blame me…"
Mark opened his mouth to say something but he couldn't form the words.
Lexie turned suddenly to look up at Mark, her words coming out faster. "What if I pushed him? What if I'm the reason he couldn't take it anymore? He didn't want to be here because of me, because I-I wasn't good enough, I-I reminded him of her too much, and, and it wasn't my mother he saw in my eyes, it-it was Ellis, and how could he blame me for that?" Lexie shook her head as she gripped the paper tighter. "I shouldn't have been the cause of his anger. It wasn't my fault, but, but I wouldn't be able to live with myself if I caused him to…"
"Lexie, no," Mark cut in finally, his voice firm. "That's not it. This isn't your fault."
Her eyes were wide and shiny as she stared at him, her forehead creased and her bottom lip trembling slightly as she whispered, "But what if it is?"
Mark felt his breath catch in his throat as he watched her turn away and sigh before she looked down at the paper again. Before he had a chance to speak, Lexie carefully unfolded the paper and began to read.
I'm sorry. I know it doesn't matter to you now what I say, but I want you to know that I am sorry. I know nothing I can say will ever make you forgive me. But I need to do this.
I'll never forgive myself. I love you. I love you so much. You're my princess. And I'm sorry. Please, hate me forever; never forgive me, because I know I don't deserve it. I don't deserve you. I never deserved you.
I will never speak to you again; I will never come near you again. You have my word, Lexie. I will never harm you again. I'm gone. I know it can't mean much but you have my word. You deserve so much more in life. You deserve the best because you are the best. You don't need me. No-one needs me.
With her head bowed, Lexie felt the tears roll down her face, all the emotions seeping out of her and landing on the crumbled paper. This really was it. This was his end, and her new beginning.
I'm sorry. I'm sorry. I'm sorry. I'm sorry. I love you.
I won't hurt you anymore. I won't ever hurt you. I'm so sorry, princess. I'm so sorry.
When you were little, you used to ask me to check if there were monsters under your bed. I would check under your bed, in your closet, and would make sure to turn on your night light. I've become the monster under your bed. I'm the one you're scared of, I'm the one that lurked in the dark and I'm sorry for that. I could say it a million times but I know it doesn't matter to you, I know that. Nothing I can say will ever make you forgive me. I'll never forgive myself. I was meant to protect you from the monsters, the demons, the evils of this world. But now, I am those evils, I am the sins and I wish I didn't have to turn into that man to realize I need help. I need help and I know this now. I don't want to be like this. I'm sorry I didn't realize it earlier.
I will never hurt you again. I promise. I will never come near you again. The monster is dead.
I hope one day you find it in your heart to realize that I never meant to hurt you. I never realized that I was causing you such pain. I don't remember ever hurting you. My mind blanks it out and I know I sound pathetic, and you can hate me for this, I want you to hate me for this, but my princess, if I knew I was hurting you, I wouldn't do it. God, I would never want to hurt you. You're perfect. You're more than perfect.
A sob escaped her lips and through the haze, Lexie felt Mark place his hand on hers, his body stiff next to her.
Every second I wish I hadn't laid a hand on you. I wish we could return to the past. I wish I could take it back. I wish I could take everything back. I would be a better father to you, to Meredith, to Molly. I would be there for all of you, the way things should have been. I know I can't change. I know I'm useless. I'm pathetic. I'm worthless. I'm disgusting. Not you, never you. You're a princess. You're perfect. You're so perfect and I love you. The moment you were born I knew you were perfect and that I would love you forever and it would never stop. These feelings for you have never stopped, Lexie. I will always love you. I love you so much and I don't know why I ever forgot that.
I love you. You deserve better than me. I hope you can find happiness one day.
That man of yours. I hope he treats you better than I ever did. It won't be hard. He's a hero. He's more of a man than I will ever be. I hope he makes you happy. I hope to God he loves you. How could he not? You're amazing, princess. Let him in. He'll look after you. He's a good man. Understanding. Trust him. Don't let him go.
You'll get over this, Lexie. I know it seems like you won't but you will. I'm sorry if I've ruined your life, but please, move on. Don't let me hold you back. You're in control now. You are the controller of your life, Lexie. I know I have no right to tell you what to do, but you need to continue to fight. You were always stronger than I was. I always knew it; I just never wanted to admit it.
You're so much stronger than I am.
A throaty laugh escaped her lips and she looked up to Mark. Her lips shook as she choked out, "He sounds like…It's like how he used to be."
Her words may not have made sense to Mark, but glancing back at the paper, Lexie knew that these words were coming from her father, Thatcher, the man he once used to be. In these words, Lexie saw the father that had once comforted her when she was afraid, the father that had helped her ride her first bike and looked after her when she came home crying after her first break up. These words were real, and maybe no-one else would believe Thatcher truly meant what he said, but to Lexie, these words were real.
This was real.
You will move on, and you will forget about me, and that man of yours can help if you let him. He'll look after you. You can't give up. Trust him. Trust him to look after you. Don't let this hurt you anymore than it already has. Use this as a push, a force to make yourself better.
You're the bigger person, Lexie, and you always will be.
I'm a coward.
I'll never come near you again. You don't have to worry about me. You will never have to be scared again. No-one will ever hurt you again. I'm gone.
The monster is dead.
Cut the strings that tie you to me, Lexie.
Untangle yourself. Please.
I'm sorry, for everything, princess.
I'm sorry. I'm sorry. I'm sorry. I'm sorry.
Let me go. You're worth so much more. You're better than me, Lexie. I'm sorry, princess. I never wanted this to happen. I'm better now. I'll be better now.
Untangle yourself, Lexie.
I'm sorry, princess.
Here I am still tangled up in you
I'm still tangled up in you
Still tangled up in you…
A/N: And that's it guys! I really hope this is okay. I wasn't sure about the ending but I've had that done since the start, it's one of the first things I wrote for this story so…Eek. I can't believe this is it! Finally done! I've never completed a story before! :D
I don't want to go on and on, but I'd like to say a huge thank you to everyone who has ever read, reviewed and continuously followed this story. I would like to say thanks a bunch to everyone for sticking up for me whenever I received a bashing for this story. Thanks to those of you who've stuck with me from the start, you know who you are and I am so grateful to you guys (:
I know, given the way I've ended this, there is room for a sequel, or a one-shot continual, and I'll say it now, I have considered it, but honestly, I'm not sure. I like it how it is. But…You never know, I'd appreciate opinions on the idea (:
Anyway, you know the drill. For the last time, let me know what you think, please! (: