Here comes another multi-chaptered story! This is an idea I've had for a while now that never managed to make its way from my brain to my keyboard. It got its second wind recently and I decided to pursue it once again. Just a few notes: this story will contain angst that isn't hinted at in this opening chapter. I promise, the storyline will pick up very soon. Also, this takes recent spoilers concerning George's character and throws them into disregard, because he's central to this story's plot. Dammit, if the show isn't going to give him something to do, then I will! This chapter picks up the morning after 5.19.

Disclaimer: Grey's Anatomy is the property of Shonda Rhimes and ABC. This writing is for entertainment purposes only and is not for profit.

Two and a half bites into a bowl of Corn Pops and milk, Lexie Grey stopped chewing and put down her spoon. She made a face at herself, clueless as to what caused her to just do that. It was a feeling in her stomach, not nausea or cramps, a sudden coldness in her core that spread all the way to her fingertips and toes. It gripped and squeezed her chest for an instant before dissipating into nothing.

Biting her lip uneasily, Lexie tried to ignore it and started to swallow. She almost didn't finish, and the cereal caught for moment somewhere between her mouth and her stomach; she realized the answer. She knew what the sensation was. It wasn't the first time it had come over her. It was a strange mixture of trepidation, ignorance, and excitement, like a distant relative to homesickness. It was the feeling in a person's bones when a storm was about to hit.

Crossing her legs beneath her in the chair, she glanced around the room. Nothing was different. The fancy wallpaper and carpet of Mark's Archfield room were the same as they always were. Cereal and milk tasted the same as it always had. From behind the blinds, she could see that it was a typical gray Seattle morning. But there was just this something…

She didn't know how, she didn't know when. But something big was coming, some kind of fundamental change in existence. An earth-shattering chain of events would be set off very soon. From the feeling, she couldn't tell what the outcome it would be. She had no trend to go off of. She recognized it as being the one that had filled her the day before her mother died. But, it was also present before she found out she was accepted into Harvard, and just minutes before Molly announced she was pregnant.

Either way, life was about in for a major shake-up. In that moment, Lexie wasn't quite so sure she could handle much more change, no matter how good or bad. She scooped another spoonful into her mouth, not tasting the sugary morsels as she chewed absentmindedly. As if her life hadn't taken enough unexpected turns in the past year.

Obviously, the biggest was her mother dying. Changing her plans for going through her residency at Mass General and moving to Seattle was the second. Number three, dad becomes alcoholic. She met the half-sister of whose existence Lexie was only vaguely aware, and she ended up hating her Lexie principle alone. That eventually changed too as they reached an impasse during the latter half of the year. Internship itself was like being tossed into a tank of hungry sharks, and even her photographic memory couldn't carry her through anymore.

Said the real world to Lexie Grey, "Greetings, and hope you're enjoying having your life slowly decimated!"

The guys sucked too. Lexie hadn't had much (any) luck with the men of Seattle Grace Hospital. She sometimes forgot that she had once hit on her half-sister's boyfriend. Granted, they were almost broken up at the time, but it was the principle of the thing. Strike one. Then, Alex Karev decided to sleep with her, get her hopes way up, and then drop her like a hot potato for another woman who had apparently been there longer than she had. Strike two. Her eventual crush on George O'Malley was a complete failure, resulting in nothing but a broken heart and an awkwardly strained friendship. Strike three, she should have been out.

But, somehow, she wasn't. Fate had another curve to throw at her, and his name was Mark Sloan.

He had a notorious reputation about him that came from long before she arrived at Seattle Grace. He was the manwhore, the womanizer, the one not to be trusted. When she found out that he was interested in her, possibly out to make a conquest, she figured she might as well go for it. What was another mistake at that point? A single drop in a flood. So, with knowledge of the possible consequences but not particularly caring about them at that point, she took a chance and went to him.

What she found amazed her.

Of course, the sex was phenomenal. She never doubted it would be. He kept her coming back for more. And the more she discovered about him, the more attached to him she became. He wasn't the man she expected him to be, not rude or uncaring. When he would smile at her like she was the most important thing in the world and hold her when they were through, she couldn't fathom how the nurses once began a coalition against him. He wasn't a bad man at all.

In fact, he was the best thing to happen to her during those hard months. She might have even been falling for him.

And, with that, Lexie heard the door unlock and open. The best thing stepped through, returning from the Archfield gym, glistening with a small amount of sweat. He worked out every morning before work, so she was used to waking up without him there. On days when they were off and the weather was nice, they would go running together. Mark couldn't stand going through a day without an hour of exercise or running two miles. He also insisted on taking the stairs back up to the room, even when Lexie would whine and beg that they take the elevator. Once, she was so exhausted that she only made it halfway up the stairwell before Mark had to carry her the rest of the way. He made fun of her for a long time after that one.

Still, even in his sweaty exercise clothes, he looked incredible. Much better than her, in any case: still in her pajamas with bed head and milk probably dribbling down her chin. He looked at her with those beautiful blue eyes and she felt her arms go limp for an instant.

"Hey," he said nonchalantly, holding one arm behind his back and closing the door with the other.

"Good morning," she replied, smiling sleepily, thoughts of the impending change all but pushed from her mind as he approached her. She took another bite of cereal.

"Derek proposed to Meredith last night," he reported, smirking as he sat across from her, and she almost inhaled the Corn Pops that she was in the process of chewing.

"Really?!" she asked excitedly, muffled because of her full mouth. She tried to swallow as quickly as possible. "He did? Where? How did he do it? Did- did she say yes?" she spouted frantically, heartbeat increasing due to the exhilarating idea and thankfulness because she wouldn't have to bear the burden of that secret anymore. There was also a bit of relief too. This was probably where that feeling came from. A wedding was a big change.

Mark laughed at her grin and overdramatic reaction, something he had found to be quite endearing from the beginning, something totally different than he'd been attracted to before. "Get this," he started, gesturing toward her with a single hand, keeping the other hidden. If she hadn't been so thrilled by the news, she might have noticed this. "He decorated an elevator with a bunch of old scans, thank you cards, articles, and stuff like that. All of them had to do with surgeries he and Meredith performed together. Christ, he even had the CT from the first surgery she scrubbed in on with him." Mark laughed once, clear and genuinely amused, tossing his head back in the air. "And he thought my plan was over the top."

Lexie sighed dreamily. "That is so romantic," she said. Mark rolled his eyes.

"But she did say yes," he continued. "So, hopefully, there's going to be a wedding." Lexie clapped her hands together eagerly.

"Oh, I love weddings!" she exclaimed, already turning starry-eyed picturing white dresses and champagne bottles. She shook her head and focused on Mark again, another thought striking her. "Did Derek talk to you about it?" she asked cautiously. She knew that things between Mark and Derek still weren't back to normal after the whole fistfight. It was a shame, really. He claimed that she was worth the fight, but she wasn't convinced that was true.

Mark looked away from her, scratching absently at the back of his neck. "Well, no," he answered honestly. "But I'm sure he will." He nodded briskly, trying to convince both her and, subconsciously, himself. "I'll be his best man again."

"You really need to talk to him," Lexie advised him after a moment, raising her eyebrows in concern. "I hate to see the two of you on the outs. You love each other in the most platonic way possible. Have you tried apologizing?"

"No," he replied curtly, looking down at the tabletop. After a second, he looked back up at her, face cheerful once again. He had the ability to do that, and it astonished her sometimes. "Anyways, since, with any luck, there will be a wedding and I'll no doubt be at least invited, I have a promise to keep." He grinned and stood, walking over to her chair. He grabbed her hand and pulled her to her feet, placing his free hand on her shoulder.

"Promise?" she asked, laughing and raising an eyebrow.

"Yes, a promise." He cleared his throat dramatically in a cheesy display. "Lexie Grey," he began, leaning in and touching his forehead to hers, "will you be my date to the wedding?" From behind his back, he produced a single orchid and pressed it into Lexie's hand.

Heart skipping more than a few beats, she gripped the flower and stared at it for a few seconds. Then, smiling brightly, she looped her arms around his neck. "Yes," she replied. "As if you even had to ask." Laughing, he kissed her lips, not caring that she had half-cottonmouth and half-cereal breath.

"I figured you'd like it," he said with a cocky smirk. Lexie melted under his intense gaze. She couldn't lie, she really did like it. No matter how contrived or schmaltzy it was. This was so many things that she didn't think he would be, another part of his unexpected side. She giggled as he kissed her again.

"You know what?"

"What?"

Her eyes narrowed as a smile crinkled at their corners. "I think Derek might have some competition in the romance department someday." Mark's eyes brightened for an instant at the compliment before his expression returned to its trademark arrogant state. This time, she was the one to stand on her tiptoes and lay one on him, bold and open-mouthed.

"I need to take a shower," he mumbled as their lips parted. He gazed into her eyes, heavy and deep. "Are you coming?"

Lexie didn't need to be asked twice. Abandoning her breakfast, she willingly went along as Mark took her by the hand and led her to the bathroom. Smirking over his shoulder at her, he turned on the hot water and pulled her shirt over her head before she could blink.

They stepped behind the curtain and he pressed her against the wall, hips squared against the one another's as the water cascaded over their bodies. Lexie giggled as his lips went for her neck.

But it stopped short as that feeling came over her once again. In some way she knew it wasn't hinting at the wedding. No, it was telling her about something else.

Pushing it from her mind once again, she focused on the matter at hand as Mark's palms moved across her breasts. She moaned lightly and buried her head in the crook of his neck.

Whatever it was, it would reveal itself in time. For then, everything was just fine.