Wow. This sure took a hell of an effort to finish. But, yep, it's done. Finally. Not really much to say right now... I'm tired and it's been a long day, and I've been working on the last two paragraphs for about two weeks now, so I'm kind of sick of this fic at the moment. :-) Just, um, read it, and review if you're so inclined. Your comments/criticisms/compliments/assorted other ‘c' words really do mean a lot to me! Thanks, and enjoy!

Disclaimer: It's been a fun ride, guys. Mr. Larson can have the boys (and girl!) back now. Until my next fic, anyway. ::grins::

Through My Blood

By Alison

Chapter 11: Now That I See What I've Become

“Now I've seen some pretty unlikely pairs, but I don't think I ever would've guessed this one.”

Reluctantly I pulled my lips away from Mark's to turn in the direction of the voice.

Several feet from our bench stood a smug-looking Benny, clutching Mimi's hand possessively. Mimi's face conveyed a blend of surprise, jealousy, and anger covered rather unsuccessfully by a forced expression of nonchalance.

“Well, you never were the brightest crayon in the box, now were you?” I retorted sourly.

Mark placed a firm hand on my forearm. “Be nice, Roger.”

Benny grinned, thrilled as all hell to witness Mark ordering me around. “I bet I know which one of you weas the pants in this relationship,” he chuckled, “and they aren't plaid...”

“What the hell do you want?” I asked, jumping up and taking a step toward our ex-roommate. Fuck all that “he made amends so you shouldn't hate him anymore” bullshit. We were never friends to begin with, and as long as he remained an asshole, that situation wasn't going to change.

“What, can't a guy take a walk with his girlfriend--” he put way too much emphasis on that word for my liking -- “without being suspected of some ulterior motive?”

“So I take it you told Muffy--”

“Alison,” chimed Benny and Mark. Whose fucking side was he on, anyway?

“--who you're out with?”

A scarlet flush crept up on Benny's cheeks. “At least I didn't dump my girlfriend to hop the fence into bed with my roommate.”

Before I could speak, Mimi smacked Benny's arm and piped in, “Would you just cut it out?”

Meanwhile, Mark tugged on my hand. “Maybe we should go home.”

”Wait. Roger and I need to talk.”

Talk? What on earth did Mimi and I need to talk about? Her tone didn't exactly suggest it was something pleasant. I sighed.

Mark and Benny exchanged glances then walked toward the basketball courts together. I watched helplessly as they retreated until Mimi's voice disrupted my thoughts.

“You have some nerve, you know?” she hissed through gritted teeth.


“Sitting here in front of everybody, making out with Mark, when we just broke up yesterday! Don't waste any time, do you?”

My jay dropped in disbelief. “You told me to go for it with him! You gave me your blessing!”

“And you believed me?” She looked as shocked as I felt. “I was saying that to be nice, Roger. For God's sake, you'd just tried to kill yourself, I wasn't about to start a huge fight with you!”

“Give me a break, you obviously don't care too much -- you ran off with Benny again, anyway.”

“He takes care of me! You sure as hell never did.”

I realized with a pang of guilt that she was right. But how could I take care of her, when I couldn't even take care of myself? That's why I needed Mark; he took care of me.

No, you need Mark because you love him. Because he makes you strong, so you can take care of each other.

I looked up into Mimi's eyes. “I know,” I said softly. “I'm sorry.”

She didn't seem to be expecting that. Hell, I hadn't really expected it from myself, either. More screaming, maybe, but not an apology. It wasn't my way.

Until now, I guess.

“I just...” she sighed, shaking her head in confusion. “It hurts, seeing you with him. I didn't think it would; I thought I'd be fine... but I'm not.”

She hugged her arms tightly around her stomach, angling her head downward in the hope that I wouldn't see the sadness or vulnerability in her eyes. I did.

Taking a step forward, I began to open my arms but at the last moment, pulled away again. I hated to see Mimi in pain and not be able to do anything about it. I ran a hand through my hair, sighing frustratedly. You should've known when you broke up that it wouldn't be that simple.

“It's hard for me too,” I mumbled.

“Hard? For you? But you've got Mark, and isn't that all you wanted to begin with?”

“That doesn't mean I don't still care about you! You should know... you're with Benny but that doesn't stop you from caring about me, does it?”

She twisted a lock of dark brown hair around her fingers. After a long pause, she finally replied. “What does it mean?”

I closed my eyes and let out a sigh. “I don't know. I love him, Mimi. I really do. And I've put him -- and myself -- through enough hell, that we deserve to be happy now.”

“I want you guys to be happy,” she said softly. “I keep reminding myself this is the best thing for all of us. I just... I need some time, you know? To adjust to everything. We were together what, two and a half years? Being apart's gonna take some getting used to.”

“I hear you on that one.”

A small smile began to appear on Mimi's lips. “Oh yeah, you really got the shit end of this deal -- an adoring, cuter-than-pie boyfriend. You poor thing.”

“Hey, what about that stud Benny?” I shot back with a grin to match hers. “I hear he's a real catch. Would've snagged him myself if he wasn't so hung up on you all the time.”

She smacked me playfully, her mouth open in shock. “You've gone too far, Mr. Davis.”

“What are you gonna do, punish me? I'm into handcuffs, you know.”

“I'll be sure to tell Mark about that one.”

“Would you please? And leather, while you're at it.”

“Somehow,” she snickered, “I just don't see Mark as a leather person.”

“That's okay, it wouldn't stay on him long anyway.”

Mimi shoved me again. “I really didn't need to hear that...”

“I'm so sorry.”

“You are not.”

“Yeah, I guess you're right.” I glanced over her shoulder. “Speaking of Leatherboy and Studmuffin. Looks like they're ready to be allowed back into our conversation. What do you say?”

Still shaking her head at me, Mimi turned around. Mark and Benny were loitering about thirty feet away, trying to pretend they weren't watching us. I gestured them with a wave; they nearly tripped over each other in their hurry. Mark took a place at my side while Benny promptly ensconced Mimi in his embrace. From the corner of my eye I caught Mark sending him a scolding glance. Benny's grip loosened slightly.

“Is everything worked out now?” Mark inquired. We answered him with a round of nods. “Great.” He smiled in relief.

Impulsively, Mimi stepped away from Benny and wrapped her lithe arms around Mark's shoulders. “You take care of him, okay?” He nodded, looking a little surprised by the sudden gesture, but pleased nonetheless. “And keep an eye on him. He needs it.” She held him a moment longer, then whispered something before kissing his cheek and pulling away.

Mark's eyes widened and I saw him struggle to swallow. “Um, Roger?” he said in a tiny voice. “I don't really own any leather...”

“You little brat!”

Before I could get to her, Mimi hid behind Benny, giggling. “At least I didn't tell him about the hand--”

“Well, as much as I'd love to stay and hear about Roger's secret fetishes,” Benny interrupted loudly, ”we should really be going.”

I could have kissed him for that. You know, if the thought of our lips touching wasn't so revolting.

“Some other time maybe,” Mimi said with a wink.

“We'll see.” I returned her wink with a grin. Maybe things wouldn't be so difficult between us after all.

While Mimi exchanged hugs with Mark, I gave our ex-roommate a neutral nod. Then, with a shrug, I offered him my hand and we shook. Hell, if he was gonna be Mimi's boyfriend, the least I could do was be civil toward him. As long as he treated her right.

Finally the couple finished their good-byes and walked away toward St. Mark's Place. Meanwhile, my filmmaker turned to me with a smile. “So.”


“How does heading home sound?”

“It sounds great to me.”

“Me too.” He tilted his head upward and placed a gentle kiss on my lips. A slight hesitation hung in the air before he took one of my hands in his own, twining our fingers together. I stared down at them for a second or two. A perfect fit.

As we started down the sidewalk, I decided Mark had been right when he told me, a few days ago, that not everything lasts forever. And maybe this wouldn't either. But I wasn't scared anymore. I had Mark, and I had this moment... and I had myself.

I didn't need anything else.

- - - - -

Voila! Love it? Hate it? Let me know, by clicking the handy little review box. :-) Thanks! -- Ali