Title: Each The Other Man
Author: HalfshellVenus
Characters: Mark North, John Luther (Gen)
Rating: K+
Summary: John loved Zoe first and Mark loved her last, and only the two of them really knew what the other had lost.
Author's Notes: A Yuletide Madness offering for nightcamedown.
Also for writers_choice ("Faith"). Spoilers for early Season 2.


After losing Zoe, the last thing Mark North expected was that he and John Luther would become something not entirely unlike friends.

He'd hated John when they'd first met. The man was volatile and clearly dangerous. Mark had never quite been convinced that John's temper hadn't spilled over into violence against Zoe, no matter how often she'd denied it. She'd still been so enthralled with the man that she'd have said anything to protect him, Mark was certain.

He knew now just how wrong he'd been. The price of his distrust was that he and John had both lost the woman they'd loved.

God, how he missed her still...

He couldn't stay in the house after Zoe had been killed there. He'd found a dim little flat to match the darkness in his heart, and really, it was no more than he deserved. He stayed there most of the time he wasn't working, waiting for retribution or serenity to find him. By now, he didn't much care which of those it might be.

Sometimes, he and John met up for tea. John was always the one to ask, but Mark rarely refused. Perhaps both were operating out of a sense of duty, or perhaps it was simply that each them truly knew the depth of the other's suffering. John had loved Zoe first and Mark had loved her last, and her absence was a shadow that would always fill the farthest edges of the largest room.

Mark used to wonder what Zoe saw in John. The man was handsome, no question, and fiercely intelligent, but so dreadfully serious. She'd said John had been different before the shooting, but Mark hadn't known him then. Now there were times he and John sat and sipped their tea, exchanging a mere handful of words, and Mark found himself thinking that the brooding pair of them were more alike these days than not.

For reasons that would never make sense, Mark found he trusted John now, even in the strangest of situations. There was that odd girl John had brought him a few weeks ago, the one with the defiant mouth and the docile eyes. Mark's job had been to keep her tied to a chair and watch over her while John had gone out to fix whatever mess she'd gotten herself into.

That girl, Jenny, must have been one of John Luther's 'strays.' Zoe had once mentioned something to the effect, but John showing up with the girl was the first time Mark had seen it for himself.

Jenny had quieted down by the time John came back for her, no longer trying to run from him but clinging to him instead, as if she were waiting for him to save her.

John seemed to expect it, even welcome it. Mark knew him well enough now that he wasn't surprised.

Perhaps that sort of rescue was what all of them were waiting for, whether they even knew it.

There were times Mark thought that might honestly apply to John Luther more than anyone.

- fin -