Title: Secrets and Lies

Author: S.N. Brown

Pairing: Mark/Lexie

Summary: It was then that he accepted three facts: first, that Lexie Grey wasn't all that meets the eyes. Second, that she had gone through something that had given her a kid. Third: he didn't care. He wanted her-kid and all-more than he was willing to admit. AU.

Author's Notes: This is a loosely canon-based AU….think up to the end of season 5. No such thing as Sloan Sloan (thank God!) and that whole mess that's been going on with that. It's also altered a few past facts, so just keep that in mind. Reviews are nice; chapter two will hopefully be up soon!

One: Lies

"I have to go."

Mark Sloan was used to hearing those four words, but he was also used to breaking through those words. He leaned in to capture Lexie's lips again, lightly biting her lower lip, his hands wrapping through the silky brown strands of her hair. He felt her hands run up from his waist to his chest, and he grinned as the tiny hands curled around his shirt. Mission accomplished.

But her mouth pulled away, and Lexie shook her head, giving him a small smile. "I have to go now," she whispered again, with more conviction this time, and he groaned as she stood from the couch, grabbing her coat.

"Lexie-"

"I have to go, Mark." Her voice was firm, and she sighed when he gave her the look as she buttoned up her coat. It was thin, nearly threadbare, and he wondered if she just really liked it so much that she didn't get a new jacket. He grabbed her wrist as she walked past him, stopping her movements. "Mark-"

"Give me a minute, and I'll drive you back to your place." If it kept her warm, he would do anything.

"It's okay, Mark, I can walk."

"Or I can drive you," he answered, standing, sparing a glance to the table in the kitchen, covered with take-out Italian and dvd boxes from blockbuster-his version of dinner and a movie. Since he had decided to go to Denver, since he had taken the dive, since had decided that a relationship with Lexie was something worth pursuing…it was dinner and a movie, it was dates to a theatre to see some play she wanted to see or surprising her with tiny gifts that would make her light up like a child on Christmas. He was willing to do it all because at the end of the day, having someone to kiss and hold and sleep with…that was worth it.

"Mark, I'll be fine."

"That jacket has a hole in the arm; it's almost twenty degrees out there. Nice warm car-" he raised one hand, "or the cold-" he raised the other, weighing them before dropping the hand for cold and raising the one for the car-" which should you choose?"

"It's not that cold out there," she tried to argue, and he stood, shaking his head as he leaned in to give her a brief kiss. "No! None of that!" she said with a laugh, looking into those blue eyes that made her knees turn to goo. "Mark-"

"C'mon, Lex…" he murmured, pressing his lips into her neck, biting lightly.

"Okay, okay, but you aren't allowed to judge, and you definitely aren't allowed to come in. You got that, Mark? No. coming. In."

"I agree," he whispered, pulling her to him for one last long, languid kiss, feeling her arms wrap around his shoulders, feeling her body press into his. "God, you are-"

"Hurry up, Mark, or I might be tempted to leave without you," she teased, pulling away with her usual smile. She hoped that he couldn't tell that she was nervous, anxious under the smile. He didn't need to see her place, see…

She had to be careful.

She jumped when a warm hand pressed against her shoulder, turning to look at him, smiling when he did. "You ready?"

One last chance to back out. One last chance… "Let's go."

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"You live here?" he said, looking out the windshield to the five-story building on one of the rougher sides of town. At her look, he backtracked. "It's…nice."

"No, it isn't, but it's what I can afford on an intern's salary," she said quietly, quickly, undoing her seatbelt. "I'll see you later."

He parked the car, turning it off, and she looked at him. "What are you doing?"

"Walking you to the door," he answered, getting out, and soon he was opening her door, offering her a hand. "Shall we, my love?"

My love. She smiled, letting him take her hand, leading her onto the sidewalk. "I'm on the third floor," she mumbled as he opened the door to the building, trying not to notice how he looked at the peeling paint. "It's a good place, I promise."

"I highly doubt that, but go ahead, show me."

Go ahead, show me? Surely he wasn't expecting…

"The stairs are this way," she whispered, swallowing her concern and leading him to the staircase. She felt his hand on her waist as they made their way up the steps, felt its burn as they neared closer and closer to her apartment. When they reached the third floor landing, she led him down the left hall, to the end, number 321. "So, this is me."

He nodded, leaning in to kiss her. "Why don't you let me in?" he murmured into her ear, pressing a kiss onto her neck. "Just for a minute."

"Mark, I need to go," she tried to mumble, letting out a soft groan when his teeth gently bit her earlobe. "Mark."

She froze as she heard the lock unclick, felt the doorknob turning. She closed her eyes in panic as she felt the door open.

"Mama?"

Mark pulled away from Lexie, eyes widening as he turned from her to the child standing in the doorway who was ignoring him in favor of his mother. His small hand reached out to grip her jacket, pulling on it a little. "Mama, you're home."

She turned from Mark to the boy, offering him one of her wide smiles. "Yes, baby, I am." She pulled him up, his small arms wrapping around her neck, and the only thing Mark could think about, past the questions about who he was or what was going on, was the fact that the boy's weight must hurt with her slight frame.

Suddenly, deep brown eyes were on him. "Who's that, Mama?"

"That's Mark, honey. What are you doing out of bed? Where is Ms. Dawson?"

"Who's Mark?"

Lexie gave Mark a glance, taking in his defensive stance, his massive eyes, the way his hands clinched in fists, and gulped. "He's a friend, honey. Go on and get ready for bed, okay? I'll come tuck you in and read you a book in a minute."

He jumped from her arms, and Mark could hear the pitter-patter of small feet on the floors.

"Were you going to tell me?"

She rolled her eyes, tears trekking down her cheeks. "Yes, Mark, I was, I promise."

"You should have told me," he whispered, his voice harsh and tense. "You should have…" he stopped, shaking his head. "You lied to me! You wanted us, this, and I went to Denver, and I took a leap, a chance, and you lied to me!" He wanted to yell it at her, but he didn't. Even with his anger, he was well aware of the child inside the apartment.

"I didn't want to," she murmured, reaching out a hand to touch him, jerking it back when he flinched. "Please, Mark-"

"You have a kid."

"His name is Camden-Cam. He's six. He's all I have, and I'm all he has."

"You have a kid." He took a step back, and she took one towards him, a cry erupting when he took another step back.

"Mark-"

"Holy, shit, Lexie."

"Mark-"

He held up a hand, and she stopped talking, biting her lip. "I need…I need a minute," he said finally, and she nodded.

"I'll be inside; come in if you want. I guess we'll have our answer then."

He hadn't ever seen her like that, so hard and distant. Lexie was always happy, even when she was down, and to see her so defeated tugged at his heart strings. At the same time, he was amazed by her. She had stood up to him, hadn't let him barrel over her. She had given him an ultimatum, for goodness sakes.

She had a kid.

It hurt to try to wrap his head around that one. His sweet, innocent Lexie…had a kid. And the kid was six, which mean she was…seventeen when she had him? At most eighteen? And from what he could tell, she had told nobody, or else Meredith and the other interns were incredibly good liars.

She had a kid.

In his mind, he could see those wide brown eyes and the dark brown hair of the little boy as he stared at Mark over Lexie's shoulder. He could see the boy's thin frame, how he shivered ever-so-slightly in the cold apartment. He could see how Lexie loved the child, how she clung to him in their embrace, how she focused her attention solely on him, even with Mark standing wide-eyed beside them.

She had a kid.

As if caught in the memory, his attention focused on the little boy's face when Mark was introduced. It was…hopeful. The boy was hopeful.

Oh, God.

It was then that he accepted three facts: first, that Lexie Grey wasn't all that meets the eyes. Second, that she had gone through something that had given her a kid. Third: he didn't care. He wanted her-kid and all-more than he was willing to admit.

-----------

Lexie sat on the couch, back rigid, watching the second's hand on the clock move. One second, two, three, four…she kept her eyes on the clock for a few more seconds before glaring hard at the open door. Was he still even out there? she wondered, feeling the pain grow in her heart. She wanted this to work; she wanted her and Mark to work.

She saw the closed white door in her peripheral, her son, and her heart ached even more. Cam was-Cam was everything she loved. He was the good in the world.

He was also her deepest, darkest secret.

She hadn't meant for this-for him-to remain a secret, but somehow, it never came out. Never in her conversations with her peers, certainly not with Meredith, and Mark would have run away if the first thing she told him was "I have a kid." So her son had remained a secret, a deep, dark secret that she couldn't share with anyone.

She wrapped the blanket from the back of her garage-sell find couch onto her shoulders, realizing she should probably turn on the heat. She stood, heading towards the thermostat, quickly flicking it on, deciding that she did have enough money in the bank to run it more frequently, especially with the sniffles Camden had been picking up at school.

She jumped when she turned around; Mark was standing in the doorway. "You scared me," she murmured, head down, looking at the worn laminate flooring. "Have you decided?"

"I want you. I love you." She was standing near him now, nearly in front of him, and he reached out his hand, twisting it in her hair and pulling her towards him, kissing her softly, only once, before he pulled away. "I love you, but I can't trust you, Lexie. You lied to me-about something huge-and now I can't trust you. I'm sorry, I really am, but there's nothing without trust-you taught me that."

He left her standing alone in the room, tears falling, catching on her blanket, splattering on the ground, and though he could hear the body-encompassing sobs, he didn't stop.

Even though his heart was screaming for to go back to her, forgive her, wipe away the tears and make her better. But he couldn't.

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Camden Grey was only six, but he was smart for his age. He knew his mama was a doctor, and that, according to his best friend Evan, meant that she was wicked smart. He knew that it also meant that she saved peoples' lives over and over and over. He knew that even though she didn't act like it in front of him, she was always tired, and he knew part of that was because of him. That made him frown and pause his once-eager coloring. "Something wrong, munchkin?"

He grinned up at his mother, shaking his head. She had been home the past three days, and he wondered absently if that man in the hallway-Mark-had anything to do with it. "Mama?" he whispered, and she turned back to him from the kitchen, where she was doing the dishes.

"Yes, sweetie?"

"Why aren't you at work? You're always at work."

"Mommy had some days off," she answered simply, finishing the dishes and wiping her hands clean.

"What happened to Mark?" he asked softly, and she stopped all movement, not turning to her son, but staring out the one window that was in the kitchen. It wasn't a pretty view; one of the crumbling building next door, but she looked out the window often. "You said he was a friend. Shouldn't a friend come over?"

She smiled, but didn't answer. "Mama, did you fight?"

"Of course not, Cam. I'm fine. Why don't you finish coloring?"

She still didn't smile; that was wrong. She didn't smile and she didn't laugh anymore. She ate their special desert, and she watched sad, sappy movies. She wasn't his happy, vibrant mother anymore; she was a shell of that person.

It made him sad.

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Mark Sloan didn't go crawling back to many things, but he was standing in front of Lexie Grey's crummy apartment door, hand extended, ready to knock. He couldn't leave her; he could just cut her from his life. There was a hole in his heart, a hole only she could feel, even if it meant other factors coming into his life.

He knocked.

For a moment, no one answered. He couldn't hear anyone inside the apartment, and he gave actual consideration to breaking down the door when he heard the lock slip from its place and he was faced with the red, puffy face of a crying Lexie. "What do you want?" she managed to say, without stumbling over words and letting her sobs out. "Mark?"

"You haven't been at work for three days," he stated matter-of-factly, pushing lightly on the door, moving inside without her permission, looking at the pizza boxes and ice cream pints littering the coffee table. "I wanted to talk to you and you haven't been around."

"What did you want me to do, Mark? I don't-"

He leaned forward and kissed her, fingers intertwining in her beautiful, silky hair. "I'm sorry," he whispered as he pulled away, leaning his forehead against hers'. "I can do this. I want to do this. I love you. I trust you."

"You've made me miserable," he heard her say, felt her pulling away. "You…you left me here, by myself. You-"

"I'm sorry. I had to….you have a kid, Lex. A living, breathing, little child that you've told no one about. I was trying to-I had to cope. I had to adapt. But…I'm there. I'm there because I love you, and there's this space deep inside where you-where you belong. I need you."

"And what about Camden?"

"I think…I think I could be a good father. If…if someone gave me the chance," he answered, unsure, and gave her that half smile that made her heart dance. "I can…I want to try, okay?"

"Really?" She said it so soft, as if someone else had told her that, had broken that promise. "Because…he's not something you can abandon when it gets tough. He's…"

"I can handle it, Lex. I want to handle it," he promised, leaning in to kiss her again, feeling her hands grip his wrists, holding his hands in place at her hips. He tightened that hold, his kiss turning possessive, and he felt her smile. Her mouth opened beneath his, and soon he found them on the couch, making out like a couple of teenagers, the soft giggling breath as Lexie pulled away from him, out of breath, and his wicked smirk as he place soft nuzzles, nips, and kisses down her throat.

"Mama." The single word had bodies falling, hands grapping, and Lexie let out a squeak as she looked over the edge of the couch. "Mama, I heard noises."

She struggled out of Mark's grip, fixing her clothes as she kneeled in front of her son. "Everything's okay, love. It's just my friend, Mark. You remember him, right?"

"He made you cry," her son pointed out, glaring at where Mark was waving from the couch. "I hate him."

Mark's hand dropped, his face fell, and Lexie braced herself for the worst. "I'm sorry I made your mom cry," she heard him whisper, felt him kneeling beside her, his hand rubbing her back. "I'll try my hardest not to do that again."

"Mama says it's not nice to make people cry," the boy said matter-of-factly, and Mark nodded.

"You're right, Camden. It's not nice, and I'm sorry. I didn't want to make her cry. Can you forgive me?"

It was almost comical watching the doctor look emphatically at the young boy, who looked between his mom and her 'friend' and, finally, nodded. "Okay, but just this once. Do it again and you'll pay." Mark laughed, glancing to his girlfriend, then back at her son. "And call me Cam-friends call me Cam."

Lexie had never seen Mark's smile so big, and she thought that light in his eyes-that could possibly be love.