Title: Three Words and a Bottle of Vodka
Rating: T for language
Show: Dead Like Me
Pairing: Mason/George

Spoilers: Up to and including everything. I consider this AU to the movie, since I'd like to pretend that didn't happen. Rube has left, but I don't picture his departure as taking place the way it did in the movie.

Notes/Comments: Mason and George were so adorable together from the very first episode.

I just discovered DLM. I don't know if anyone is actually going to read this, since the fandom seems dead, but there are far too few DLM fics and too few George/Mason. So this is my contribution. Also, I had to get the idea out of my head. Hopefully someone will read it and enjoy it. Feedback is appreciated.

Vodka is the alcohol of choice because of the lyrics to Beautiful Trash by Lanu, which I firmly believe could a Mason and/or George/Mason theme song.

Side Note: I adore Mason. Such a great character! So wonderfully comedic and tragic. Callum Blue does the most outstanding physical comedy. I'm not even an actor, and I can't help but think how fun that character must have been to play. - And I certainly don't mind looking at him neither.


"I love you, George."

Pulling my eyes away from the late-night cartoons flickering across the TV screen, I glance to my left toward Mason. He's propped against the sofa arm, facing me with his right hand draped over the back of the couch and one leg tucked beneath himself.

I wonder what's brought on this sudden expression of sentiment. It can't be the cartoons. There's nothing emotionally provoking about crudely drawn, redneck squids. It's not the alcohol. For me, this might count as the start of a bender, but for Mason, this is like a normal person indulging in a few glasses of champagne at a cocktail party. Then again, knowing Mason, he probably downed something stronger while I wasn't looking.

Whatever the reason he's decided to get sappy, I wish he waited for commercials.

"You know that, right?" he continues as he hands me a freshly refilled glass.

I grab my glass and roll my head to the side to see him staring intently at me.

"Yeah," I mutter. "You've said that before."

I return my attention to the cartoon and take a sip of my vodka and cranberry. This one tastes sweeter than the last. Either Mason is mixing them weaker, or I'm getting drunker. I examine the drink under the light of the television screen. It's more clear than red. Yep, I was getting drunker.

"Come on, now," Mason demands as he nudges my shoulder. "Don't be like that."

"Like what?" I take a gulp, draining half my glass, my fourth - or was it fifth - of the night. "I'm not being like anything."

He moves forward so quickly that I jump. His face hovers inches from mine, and his breath smells like cinnamon. I can't help but wonder, is he holding out on me? Has he got a stash of Schnapps? Candy maybe? It would be just like Mason to hog it all for himself.

I don't have much time to ruminate, because he interrupts suspicions. His tone strikes me as slightly confrontational. "Like you think I'm a drunk, fuck-up, and I don't know what I'm saying."

I shrug. I hadn't meant to convey that message, but I have to admit, Mason brings up a solid point.

"Geoooorgie," he drawls out. His voice raises to a whine as he grabs my arm with both hands. "Tell me you know I mean it."

His lips form a pout, and he gazes at me with large, sad eyes. He looks like somebody just reaped his kitten. Luckily for all pets of the world, Mason has never had any inkling to attempt to care for one.

He continues gazing at me with that over-exaggerated pout, and I give in.

"I know you mean it."

I intend the words to sound reassuring. I don't mean them to come out missing all inflection, but I as I hear them exit my mouth, I know I've failed.

"Not like that," Mason insists.

This conversation has already cut too far into my cartoon watching.

"Not like what?"

"Say it right," he pleads.

Holy hell, Mason, how much did you drink? I think you've reverted into a five year old.

So much for my escape into cartoon land. I try my best not to sigh, but one escapes anyway as I shift to face him, propping my left arm against the back of the sofa.

"Are you all right? You didn't take too much of something again did you?"

He tilts his head, and his mouth does something that reminds me of a duck. He ruffles my hair as he grins. "Just say you know I love you."

"Ugh..." My head drops onto my arm. "Can we not do this now? It's been a really long day."

"All the more reason to say it, love," he insists.

I shake my head. "I'm really not in the mood for whatever you're doing. After that long and tearful - did I mention *long* - goodbye party..."

I forget how I intend to finish that thought when Mason rests his fingerless glove clad hand on my shoulder. He scoots closer, closing any remaining space between us and once again filling my personal space with the smell of cinnamon.

"George. Georgie. Georgia, darling. You're not listening." He over enunciates as he finishes, "You have to say it."

Maybe I'd better cut back on the drinks, because suddenly, the air seems thin, and I have a funny feeling in my stomach. I'd also forgotten what it is he wants me to say.

"Mason, what the hell are you going on about?"

I push him back, and it's easier to breathe again.

"You're gonna miss her."

Now, I know exactly what he means, but I'm not in the mood to discuss it. I shake my head and try to return to the comfort of my cartoons.

I feel his fingers lightly twirling my hair. I swat his hand, but it immediately returns. I turn my head to find him wearing a serious, thoughtful expression. Rare, but not unheard of for Mason.

"George, you wouldn't be here gettin' shit faced with me if this wasn't hard on you. Delores is the closest thing you have to a mum. She got promoted. She's movin' away, and it's like you lost your family all over again."

He begins stroking my hair. Despite my best efforts to remain impervious to this emotional excursion Mason has decided to embark upon, I have to admit it feels kind of comforting.

He shrugs and continues, "We might not amount ta much, but we're still your family. You've got us." He offers a smile as he shakes my leg. "You got me.

A less stubborn person might have turned to mush at this sappy expression of sentiment, but I refuse to let Mason rob me of my mope that easily.

I cross my arms and mutter, "Until you move on like Rube."

"Exactly," Mason counters with an enthusiastic grin. He just won't back down. "And that won't be for a bloody long time. 'Til then, you got me for as long as you can put up with me."

"Thanks," I reply, dead-pan as ever.

As well-meaning as Mason often is, a petty - not to mention drunk, high, and irresponsible - thief isn't exactly the jackpot in the friendship lottery.

"Come on, now. Don't be like that," he insists with a pat on my leg. "I could be on the town right now gettin' properly pissed. 'Stead, I'm here with you stayin' sober." I raise my eyebrows, and he amends, "Relatively speaking, of course."

There's a moment of silence, then he squeezes my knee.

"Sober or not, I'm here 'cause I love you, darling."

He kisses the top of my head, and my mouth can't help but curve into a lopsided smile.

"Thanks," I reply but there's still a lingering trace of bitterness in my voice.

"I mean it, George."

For Mason's sake, I make the effort to drag myself out of my wallow. "I know you do."

"Nope." He shakes his head. "You're not gettin' off that easy. Gotta say the whole thing."

I tilt my head and cast an incredulous glare at him.

"Come on," Mason prompts. "Say it."

He pauses and gestures toward me as though he expects me to speak on command. What am I, a dog?

When I don't respond, he tries again, moving his hands like some sort of bouncing sing-a-long ball to illustrate each word. "I. Know. You. Love. Me."

I continue my silent glare, so he reaches up and uses his fingers to move my lips as he changes his voice to mimic me.

"I know you love me, Mason," he says in a terrible impression of me. I deepen my glare, so he adds, "And you're the sexiest man I've ever laid eyes on. Care to shag?"

His speech returns to normal as he responds, "Thank you, Georgia. That's very flattering. You're not so bad yourself, but I don't think a shag would be appropriate right now."

He continues in what's supposed to pass for my voice. I remain outwardly annoyed but secretly amused. "Please, Mason. You're dead sexy," he says.

"Well," he responds as himself. "It's not every day you can say that literally, is it?" He shrugs. "All right. If you insist..."

Before he can put more words into my mouth, I swat his hand away.

"I know you love me, Mason." He's wearing a grin I find it impossible not to mirror. "I love you, too," I add.

"Music to my ears, Georgie!" he exclaims.

He purses his lips and glances away as an uncertain expression comes over his face. Wearing just a hint of a smile, he looks back at me. There's something strangely familiar about the mixture of sadness and joy, loneliness and hope in his eyes. As I think back to when I've seen that look before, he leans forward, and I realize he's going to kiss me.

The strange feeling in my stomach returns, and it has nothing to do with the alcohol. Okay, maybe it does. If I were sober, would the thought of kissing Mason - fuck-up Mason - give me the tingly, electric, butterflies sensation?

Logically? No. There was no electricity the first time he kissed me and said he loved me. Then again, I wouldn't blame my emotions for getting thrown off by the odd and confusing nature of the experience. Not to mention the timing. Hadn't I just kicked some guy's ass or something?

Mason's lips touch mine, softly, and just for an instant. I feel a rush of warmth travel up my body and stop at my cheeks. Then his lips are gone, and he's looking at me with a sheepish expression. Before I have a chance to react, he wraps his arms around me. I catch myself impulsively stiffen. I'm not exactly the touchy-feely, snuggly type, but I take a breath and relax into Mason's grasp. He pulls me with him as he leans back. I rest my head on his chest, and I realize this feels nice. *He* feels nice.

My own words replay in my head. Three words. Technically four if you count the word "too", but why quibble about it? Three words. The most difficult combination of words in the English language.

According to one Victorian poet, if you take away love, earth is a tomb. What if you're a grim reaper, and earth literally is your tomb? Is love the same as it was when you were alive?

I wouldn't know. I never had the chance to fall in love before I died. I never said those three words to a man who wasn't related to me. This was the first, and I had meant each word. I loved Mason. He loved me. Undead or not, right now, that felt like enough.

Not that Mason really counted as a man. I don't love him like that.

Still, it really was nice to be loved.

Then Mason's arms tighten around me, and I feel another rush of warmth. I have to wonder, just exactly how do I love Mason? And how does he love me?

I push myself up until I'm looking down at him. He meets my eyes. He smiles, and the tingling is back again, radiating to my fingers and toes. My hair falls into his face. He reaches up and brushes it behind my ear.

I bite my lip, wondering what those three words mean for us. My eyes dart to Mason's lips. Well, there is one simple way to find out.

Mason's expression shifts into a question. Somehow, I must have given away my thoughts, because surprise flashes across his face. Then, his eyes settle into something deep, yet mischievous, something that embodies the impure thoughts in my head.

An instant later, we're kissing.

It's not one of those easily misinterpreted, little pecks. This is full-contact, knock-down-drag-out, "I want to rip your fucking clothes off" making out.

I want him. I want him naked. Now. I want Mason. I want to fuck him, and I love him. Shit. Does that mean I'm in love with Mason?

Fuck if that matters right now. Not when there are clothes that urgently need removing. I grab for the hem of Mason's shirt and start pulling.

Then, he's laughing. He's fucking laughing. His lips are still on mine, and he's laughing. Hell, he bursts into a near giggle.

I pull back, frown and stare in horrified silence.

He regains his composure enough to sputter though the giggles. "That was fucking brilliant."

"What!"

"You almost got me." He laughs as he rubs his hands through his hair. "Acting like you want ta shag or somethin'! Get me down to my skivvies and record it all for a laugh." He shakes his head as he touches the tip of his finger to my nose. "Hilarious! But you're not the first ta pull that one on me, Georgie girl."

I grit my teeth and fold my arms over my chest. Why would that be funny? What the fuck kind of women does Mason hang out with? Nevermind. I don't want to know.

Flopping against the back of the sofa, I hope my face hasn't turned a deep shade of red. I swear to God, if I'm blushing, I'm going to slap that grin right off his face.

"Yeah," I mutter as I try to bring my pulse back to normal. "I'm a laugh riot."

His smile fades. "What's wrong?" He tickles me in the ribs. "Why ain't you laughin'?"

"I'm laughing on the inside."

His nose wrinkles up as he seems to study me. "Like bloody hell you are."

I shake my head and focus intently on the TV. It's playing one of those commercials for some prescription drug with side effects worse than the disease it's supposedly treats.

After several seconds of silence, Mason gasps. "Were you for real? Georgie, do you want ta shag me?"

"Shut the fuck up, Mason," I growl at him.

"Shit! You do." He glances at the TV, and his mouth drops open. He closes it and turns back to me. "You did! You wanted to shag for real."

I tighten my arms across my chest, wishing I could disappear into the sofa.

He shifts to face forward on the sofa. His elbows are on his knees and his head is in his hands.

I'm grateful that he's stopped looking at me.

"Bloody fucking hell!"

My muscles tense at his sudden outburst.

His hands ball into fists, and he rapidly pounds them against his legs as he stomps the floor. "Fucking fuck!"

I retrieve the vodka bottle from the coffee table. I take a long, esophagus-burning swig, hoping to forget my humiliation through booze and the mindless humor of adult cartoons. I stuff the bottle into the couch cushion next to me, and without warning, Mason's mouth is on mine.

I push him back.

"Jesus Christ, Mason! What are you doing!"

"Kissing."

"Well, quit."

"But I want to shag, love. I do. I *really* do. Let's forget about that little laughing bit and get back to it, huh, Georgie?"

"Ugh," I groan with an eye roll for emphasis. How romantic. You want to get laid. Gee, Mason, sweep my off my feet, why don't you?

His voice raises in pitch, and he sounds hurt. "No more kissing then? No shagging?"

His bottom lip juts out and quivers as he gets huge puppy dog eyes. Yeah, Mason, like a guilt trip is going to work.

"I'm over it," I respond truthfully. "Let's just watch cartoons and forget about that embarrassing incident."

"Nooo," he squeaks as his head falls into my lap. "I'm sorry. I didn't mean ta laugh. I thought you was fuckin' with me."

I raise my hands and watch the back of his head, unsure exactly how to respond. He makes a high pitched whining noise, so I pat his hair. "It's... it's okay."

It's pretty awkward.

"No, it's not," Mason cries. "I blew it. I had my chance. It took this long, and I blew it. What are the odds I'll get another one?" He sits up and looks me in the eyes. He looks like he's almost on the verge of tears. "Really, George, what are the odds?"

"Uhh..." I stammer and swallow hard. "Wow. I didn't think you were this hard up. Are you really that desperate to get laid?"

He grits his teeth and glares at me. "Why do you assume the worst about me? This isn't about fucking, George."

He's gone from pitiful to aggravating.

"Then what the fuck is this about, Mason!"

He grabs my hands and squeezes. "You. You're too fucking good for me." He stands up, paces a few steps and stops. He has some sort of hissy fit in the middle of my living room. "Fuuuuck!"

After his outburst, he takes a deep breath and stares at the ceiling. "I really am a fuck-up, aren't I?"

"Mason, don't you think you're over reacting?"

"Over reacting?" He spins to glare at me. "Eight years. You try being in love with someone for eight years and fuck up your one chance. Then tell me I'm over reacting."

I must be hearing things. Did Mason just say he's in love with me? For eight years? Eight years? In love with me? Who does he think he's kidding?

"I think you're confusing me with Daisy."

"Fuck Daisy!"

"Yeah, you've been trying to," I mutter.

"Will you ever to let me live that down?"

I offer an exaggerated shrug. "You were still trying to nail her today."

"Can we leave Daisy out of this?"

"That's kind of hard where you're involved," I reply before I start to wonder why I'm still having this conversation. Why should I care if Mason is in love with Daisy? It's not like I'm in love with Mason.

Oh, yeah. There's that.

I grab the vodka and take another gulp.

He sighs and slides onto the sofa next to me. "You know what, yes, I *was* in love with Daisy." He gets quieter and filled with melancholy. "But it is not impossible to be in love with two women at the same time." A deep frown comes over his face before he puts on a smile, which doesn't reach his eyes. "Specifically when neither loves you back."

My heart breaks a little at the sound of his voice. I know I should give him a hug or say something reassuring to cheer him up. Any other girl probably would have. I just wonder how much of that was bullshit.

"So that's why you're still trying to sleep with her," I mutter under my breath.

When he finally speaks, he sounds defeated. "Old habits die hard, Georgie. Didn't anyone ever tell you that?"

Why do I have to be such a bitch sometimes?

Exhausted by the conversation, I fall sideways onto the opposite side of the couch.

"Don't worry," I respond evenly. I pull my feet up, roll onto my back, and stare at the darkened ceiling. "Shit, maybe if I keep drinking I'll get horny enough to go through with the mistake tonight."

I lift my head and bring the vodka bottle to my lips. I drag the back of my hand across cheek, wiping away the alcohol that has spilled there.

"Mistake?" Mason asks. "What do you mean, mistake?"

"Since when isn't getting hammered and trying to have a meaningless, one-time fuck with your friend a mistake?"

"Meaningless?" I can't see him, but he sounds utterly dejected. "A meaningless one time fuck?" His voice takes on a hint of anger. "That's what you had in mind?"

"Well..." What was I supposed to say? Saying yes somehow seemed mean, and I'm not that much of a bitch. It was also a lie. Saying no could lead to my utter mortification and who knows what else. Maybe I should remain non-committal. "I don't know," I mumble. "What did *you* have in mind?"

I lift my head so I can see Mason to gauge his response.

He shrugs. "Hardly important now, is it?"

"It..." I hesitate finishing my thought. I look at my hands as they fumble with the nearly-empty bottle of alcohol. "It might be."

I risk a glance at Mason. His eyes twinkle for an instant with hope. "Really?"

I shrug.

"'Cause, my sweet Georgia," Mason says as he leans toward me. "What I had in mind was something a little more..."

I prop myself up on my elbows, waiting for the next word.

Hovering above me, he finishes in a whisper, "Recurring."

I push myself up a bit further, inching toward him. His lips curl upward on one side, and his eyes shine with that cheerful, Mason sparkle.

"Really?" I ask. Biting my lip, I notice something more in the way Mason is looking at me. Not something new, just something I've never noticed before. I realize it's been there for a long time. Maybe I just didn't want to see it before. Huh. Mason isn't full of shit after all. He really is in love with me as much as I am with him.

He grins. His eyebrows dart up. "And meaningful," he adds.

I smile. "I think I could go for that."

Then he kisses me.

It doesn't matter whether being in love feels different when you're alive, because it can't get any better than this.