A/N This is a story line I've been interested in since it first appeared. It's difficult content and I hope I handled it well. It's one of the few things I've actually posted with a certain level of satisfaction that I've accomplished what I set out to achieve. There is a Mark/Lexie twist to it all but it's mainly focused on the father daughter dynamic between Lexie and Thatcher. Anyway enjoy and as always tell me what you think :)

That You Know

You know it's unforgivable. You know it'll probably result in the kind of bad karma that'll turn you into a rock in the next life. You know and yet… The thought still crosses your mind.

It's one am. You're describing in vivid detail the bowel movements of post OP patient 13. The coffee cup sitting on the bench beside your mountain of paper work is empty and has been for a while. Your hair is falling out of the perfect pony tail you pulled it into at five this… no, yesterday morning. Your favourite blue sweater is sticking to your back underneath your scrubs and the nurse five feet from you is wrinkling her nose at the smell of sweat.

And for a moment… Just for a moment, you resent that you spent all of last night listening to his drunken ramblings.

The thought leads to many other thoughts as it usually does. The most worrying one of all though, is the one where he accidentally runs his car into a tree on a trip to the liquor store.

You know you're an awful person. You know yet you can imagine it all playing out. Your pager would go off and you'd run to the ER totally oblivious. You'd pull on your yellow coat and say 'What have we got?' in your best demanding doctor voice and then you'd see his face almost totally obscured by blood and bruises. You'd step back in shock and listen as other doctors fought to save his life. The blood loss would be too great, his heart would give out… He'd code.

He'd die.

The relief that you feel at the thought is outrageous. You try and keep yourself in check but then you yawn and think of how peaceful it would be not to go home to it every night. To have his mundane shoutings and ramblings reduced to nothing but cars driving past and crickets.

You take a deep sigh and shift your weight from your left leg to your right. You try and make yourself concentrate on the paper work in front of you.

But the thought has entered your mind. And because for every action there is an equal and opposing reaction you're remembering all the good things he did before. The Harvard induced pride. The Christmases. The way he looked at your mother.

The guilt sends a tear down your cheek.

George is whining, and you know you shouldn't be annoyed at him for it. It is a crappy apartment or crapartment. It's not warm, the plumbing is nothing if not unreliable and the cockroach count has reached forty six. He has every right not to like it and to wish he was somewhere else. You know…

But you don't care. You want to hit him on the head for being ungrateful. He lost his Father? You lost your Mother. He failed his intern exam? You're not going to pass yours at this rate. He wants to be with his friends and he can't? You don't have any. He lost his wife and his one time shag? Well… You slept with Alex, which pretty much eclipses any other kind of self hatred inducing action you can think of.

You know you shouldn't be doing the 'crappy life' comparison because there is no medal or satisfaction for winning. But when you moved out of your home… Your home, your Father called you a selfish bitch and told you never to come back again.

It shouldn't hurt. You should be used to it. At least he doesn't hit. At least he hasn't tried to kill you. At least it's only verbal.

It still hurts. You looked after him for months. You gave up your sanity for his welfare and when you couldn't take it anymore you moved out with the promise of lots of visits. All you got is 'selfish bitch' and 'don't come back.'

It hurts. And George is pissed because he doesn't have heating.

You'd like to show him what pissed really feels like.

You know you're blaming the wrong person. What Molly is doing is within every parameter of fair. If you had a small child and a loving husband you wouldn't be jumping up and down with enthusiasm at the thought of spending thanks giving with a drunk either.

But the blame still comes and it's aimed at everybody but him. The conversation is still bouncing around your head and it makes you clench your fists.

"Everybody grieves differently Lex."

"Give him time. He will get over it. He's a good man."

"I can't put a baby in danger like that sis. It's irresponsible. When Dad… Gets a bit better we'll visit."

"Why don't you come up here for a few days? It probably wouldn't make a difference anyway – he'll be too drunk to know the difference."

You want to ring her back up and tell her that some people, strong people grieve without the help of alcohol. That even if he does get over it with time you'll still have the scars. That by the time he gets better your niece will be sixty. That if you don't spend thanks giving with him it'll result in another month's worth of abusive slurs about how selfish you are.

You know Meredith has every right to be blissfully ignorant of the whole situation and you know you have no right to wish you were the one who was abandoned so you could be ignorant too.

But you're angry at her, and sometimes you wish your mother had had an affair and kicked him out of the house.

You shouldn't blame your mother for being dead but sometimes when you're really angry and you've been yelled at for long enough you do. You honestly wonder why she bothered to go the hospital for hiccups. For Meredith of course which brings about another bout of hatred and blame laced with envy directed at her.

You should be angry at him and you can't quite figure out why you aren't. When he shouts nasty words at you it's hurt you feel, not blame or anger. That's distributed to everybody else in a five mile radius.

And while you know it's not fair… You can't help it. You don't have an excuse or an explanation. But you're not apologizing to anyone for that because there's nobody else to do what you do.

When you stepped through the hospital doors this morning you had no hope. That's what alcoholism does to people. It drains their hope and leaves dredges of despair. You'd been drained dry. There weren't even dredges; there was just nothingness from a full night of crying.

You have no idea what you were doing when you started that cutting club. None. It makes no sense. You've considered that maybe you just switched your brain off to get a bit of peace from the perpetual torrent of grief. Perhaps the adrenaline of rule breaking cut off the part of your brain that mourns your parents.

But that's not really important because when you lose hope you lose the fear of failure.

You had no hope. No home. No family. No real friends. You have a baby sister with her own family to worry about, a big sister who doesn't want to know you, a father who still hasn't forgiven you for moving out despite your constant visits and a room mate you're in love with who doesn't acknowledge your existence.

What gets you is that you shouldn't be the one apologizing. You find yourself inwardly apologizing to everybody and outwardly apologizing to your father when really everyone should be on their knees around you begging for forgiveness.

For some reason, it's your fault that your father drinks too much. He said so. You left him alone after your Mother's death and what else was he supposed to do other than down fifty thousand galleons of scotch?

But then Mark made a woman talk.

And now you're lying in his hotel bed with his arm draped across your chest and his soft snoring in your ear wondering how exactly you got from no hope to this; whatever this is.

You consider maybe you're having another adrenaline rush and your brain has switched off again.

But you think for the first time in months someone has showed you a ray of light. At first you didn't see it; disregarding all the small talk, niceness and bantering. But when that woman spoke… It was like coming up for fresh air.

And despite the fact it's Mark Sloan and he's probably the biggest man whore on the planet sans a few movie stars here and there, you're letting yourself feel hope again. You know it's dangerous. You know courtesy of the last year that hope is about the most dangerous thing a person can have.

But it's there and with each breath it grows a hundred fold in intensity.

You don't want to be weak. You know no good will come from lying on the floor crying like this but you can't help it.

The tiles are cold on your legs and you try and shift the towel down a bit to cover them. You were only out of the shower when you got the call.

A cry rips through your lungs and pierces the quiet of the apartment. You feel like your head is about to explode from the pressure but you can't stop. Each cry sears your throat and you feel like your nose is going to be clogged for a year but you can't stem it.

The worst thing about crying like this you realize, is that you feel like you're never going to stop. And it's so awful that the mere suggestion that you'll never stop makes you cry that much harder.

You're not actually really sure why you're crying. You know you should have a reason for giving yourself a potential stroke. Sometimes you'll catch your breath and something little that happened years ago will flutter back into your mind and before you can even blink you're crying again.

You think it's unfair that while one thing is going so well in your life and giving you so much joy, another is still falling apart in your hands. You've been trying for so long to bring the two halves of your life together - the Mark half and the Father half – because you're convinced that somehow the two extremes will mix and produce a mellow stable existence. You know that's nuts but that's what you've been trying to do.

Your apartment, though expensive, well furnished and very private, is not actually isolated and you're sure someone's going to call the police if you keep crying like this. You try and stop yourself but then you remember that your mother is dead and your father is alone and sad and you keep gushing sobs.

He was drunk when he rang of course. You're not entirely sure how he got your number – maybe he talked to Molly? – But he had it somehow and he rang.

"Dad? Are you alright?"

"Lexie." He chokes on your name, his sobbing loud and disturbing over the line. There's slowness to the way he says it that eludes his drunkenness, "Your Mother… Your Mother…"

The pain in his voice as he repeats those two words makes your eyes water. You know he's drunk but that's irrelevant. He's hurting. He's hurting too.

"Forgive me."

It's soft and slurred. It's the words of a drunk. It's something that will be completely forgotten in two hours and eclipsed by anger. All this you know yet you clasp your hand to your mouth and try to stop the tears. They're words you've wanted to hear for so long your heart literally aches in your chest. It doesn't matter that he's drunk or that he probably doesn't know what he's saying.

He's saying it. And it's likely to be the most you ever get.

"I forgive you." You reply tears spilling out of your closed lids. You hang up before he says anything else and for a moment you're scared he's going to ring back and chastise you for hanging up so suddenly.

He doesn't.

After a while you're not completely sure you can feel any part of your body anymore. Your head's still pounding unbearably though and you can feel how hot your face is from all the crying. You want to stand up and lean against the sink so you can wash your face but that would mean you're over it which another cry assures you you're not.

You hardly notice when a pair of hands grasp your shoulders and pull you into an upright position. All you know is one minute you're on the ground crying and the next you're sitting on the sink. The towel is still on the floor but you're so numb the winter air circulating in the bathroom doesn't have an effect.

You hiccup slightly as Mark smoothes your forehead with a cool washer. You try hard to control your breathing but little breaths and gasps spill out erratically as they try to find a familiar rhythm.

You don't know how long it takes for him to cool you down but when he does he pulls a t-shirt over your head and puts you to bed. You don't really pay attention when he forces two aspirin into your mouth to soothe the pounding head ache brought about by the crying but it doesn't take long for sleep to take hold after that.

When it happens you're surprised by how in control your emotions are. Suffering from what feels like bipolar for so long has actually built up your tolerance for this kind of thing.

Part of you wishes it was different. Part of you wishes he'd been stronger or whatever it is that makes people deal with grief without unraveling their lives. You want longer with your Dad, your Dad and not the stranger he became when your Mother died.

Another part is peaceful and not because you no longer have to try and help him. You know wherever he is he's with your Mother and that was the only effective medicine for him. You know he's happy now and not mourning.

Sometimes the guilt hits you like an electric shock. Did you will it to happen? Is it your fault?

"Did I make this happen? Am I a bad person for wanting it to happen earlier?"

"No." Mark answers kissing the top of your head, "You're human. You can't stop yourself from wanting something like that for someone who hurt you like he did. And you can't make someone die."

"Do you think he knew I wanted him to die sometimes?"

"I think he wanted to die so badly himself that it wouldn't have hurt him if he did know."

"He was the best Dad in the world."

Mark doesn't say anything and you know it's only because he thinks it's the grief talking. Inwardly you can see his argument.

But the thing is; what your Father became when your Mother died was a stranger. A stranger you were obliged to care for out of loyalty and instinct and not love. He wasn't your Father after your Mother died. He was a beating heart and a working nervous system but there was nothing else there. When your Mother died he died.

That's why this isn't a tornado of confusion for you. You've already done this. You've already experienced the loss of your Father. You've already grieved for this.

He was the best Dad in the world. He just died when your Mother did.

And that, you do know.

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