I know it's been forever and I'm sorry that it took me so long especially since I knew that this would probably be the last chapter. Yes, this is the final installment. But I'm sure you understand that the last weeks, especially the last one, were excruciating and my shipper heart is still bleeding. So I hope you'll enjoy this happy end for Mark and Lexie. The happy end they would have deserved to have on the show too.

Chapter 9: Together forever

Lexie's first impulse was to yell at him, to grab him by his shoulders and shake the nonsense out of him. But she'd heard the desperation in his voice, had seen it on his face. To make him understand what she felt, she needed to take another approach.

Slowly she walked towards him and lifted her hand, slipping it around his jaw to pull his head gently around so that he had to face her. She could see the utter devastation in his eyes and she felt a sharp pain stabbing her heart. Standing up on her tiptoes she pressed her lips against his for a few seconds before she lowered herself back on her heels, her eyes searching his, her hands still cradling his cheeks as she whispered so that her voice was just barely audible over the sound of the waves.

"I love you, Mark Sloan." Lexie's voice dropped even lower and Mark had to strain his ears to understand what she said next. "Don't you dare try to push me away. I'm not going anywhere. You were there for me when I needed you most. Even if I wouldn't love you as much as I do, I owe you. But I love you. I'm deeply in love with you. I'm not turning my back on you because there is a bump in the road. I didn't expect that we live happily ever after without any disruptions. Life doesn't work that way. We both know that. I'm not saying that it's going to be easy. But she is your child, Mark. She is a part of you. She is half you. We are going to make this work. I waited my whole life for someone like you and I'm not willing to let you go. Ever."

"You are staying?" Mark choked out, a tear slipping down his cheek.

"Of course I'm staying." Lexie replied softly, her fingers wiping the tear away gingerly.

"But ..." Mark started to speak, but Lexie shook her head, stopping him before he could say anything more.

"How often do I have to say it?" She said exasperatedly, her voice full of determination as she pronounced every word with great emphasis. "I … LOVE … YOU."

Lexie pulled his head down, sealing his lips with hers, sweeping her tongue into his mouth, kissing him passionately before she released his lips and whispered only inches from his face. "I love you. For better or for worse. In sickness and in health. In good times and in bad."

"Did you just recite the wedding vows to me?" Mark asked slightly baffled, a small smile appearing on his face.

"I did." Lexie replied, smiling back at him.

"You want to marry me?" Mark leaned back, his eyes full of astonishment.

Lexie took a few seconds to think about it before a huge smile split up her face.

"Yes, I do want to marry you. But not right away. Let's just take one step at a time. Okay?" Mark only nodded, unable to say anything and Lexie looked deep into his eyes, continuing playfully. "And of course I want a proper proposal. With flowers and everything else. Especially you on one knee in front of me with a ring in your hand that will take my breath away."

"I think I can manage that." Mark shot her a crooked smile.

"I count on it. But you'd better prepare yourself." Lexie stated ominously.

"For what?"

"For a full house."

"A full house?" Mark furrowed his brows in confusion.

"Yes, a house full of mini Sloans."

"You mean kids?" Mark's jaw dropped down in surprise. "With me?"

"Stop sounding so surprised." Lexie replied harshly, putting her finger under his chin, pulling it up to shut his mouth. "Of course I want to have kids with you. At least three. We don't want to waste your gene potential, do we?"

"I love you, Alexandra Grey." Mark said hoarsely, threading his fingers into her hair. "I don't know if I deserve someone like you but I will be forever grateful that I almost ran you over. It was the best thing that ever happened to me."

"No, I will be forever grateful that you picked me up from the street. I can't imagine a life without you, Mark."

Mark pulled her into his embrace, wrapping his arms tightly around her while they both stared into the darkness of the ocean. Lexie pressed her ear against his chest, smiling when she heard his heart thumping its steady rhythm. She had found the love of her life and she would not let him go.


19 years later

Lexie was standing on the patio, watching her husband and their three kids running around on the lawn, setting the table for the arrival of their daughter, Kate, who would come home from college today. They'd fired up the barbecue grill and the air was buzzing with excitement.

Suddenly an arm slipped around her waist and Lexie turned her head, smiling at the young woman she considered one of her own as much as the three on the lawn.

"You are early. Welcome back." Lexie said, hugging her tightly before she released her out of her embrace and they both turned around to look at the four people who were still busy arranging everything, oblivious to Kate's arrival.

"I don't think I ever thanked you." Kate said out of the blue.

"For what?" Lexie asked curiously.

"For staying." Kate said plainly, turning her head towards the woman she always considered her mother even though she wasn't her biological one.

"I never regretted it." Lexie replied softly.

"He wouldn't have been the same, you know." Kate looked at her father, a smile appearing on her face. "He would have loved me no matter what. I know that. But if he had to live his life without you … he just wouldn't have been the same."

"I never thought that it's that obvious."

"That he loves you more than anything? Yes, you only have to watch you two. It's in the small gestures. A stroke over your shoulder here, a smile there. I could have grown up without knowing that a love like this exits. So thank you. Thank you for loving me."

"Why shouldn't I?" Lexie asked surprised. "You are my daughter. You might not have half of my genes like those three." Lexie pointed to the commotion around the barbecue grill. "But you are still my daughter."

"But I look so much like my biological mother." Kate said slowly.

"I'm not gonna lie. It was difficult. Especially at the beginning when you resented me completely. But you have so much of your father in you. At first I loved you because you are a part of him, but when you developed your own personality I loved you for yourself. You are a wonderful woman, Kate."

"Because of my wonderful parents." Kate said softly, tears welling up in her eyes. But before she could start crying, Paul spotted her and walked over to them quickly. With his fourteen years his body was still all lanky but you could already see the first signs of the man he would become and the Sloan genes couldn't be denied. Paul was the one who has inherited the most from Mark appearance-wise.

"Hey, big sis. How was college?" He leaned down and hugged her, planting a kiss squarely on her lips, making her giggle.

"Good but exhausting. I'm glad to be home."

"Kate, you are here!" Leslie shouted and ran over the lawn, crushing into her sister, knocking the breath out of her. With her eleven years she was always complaining that she was too big for a girl, clearly due to the Sloan genes, and that the boys were always making fun of her. But her hair and eyes were all Lexie, promising that she would grow up to be a beautiful woman.

"We've missed you, Katie."

Kate looked up into the eyes of her oldest brother, the only one who called her Katie. She didn't even know when it started but the whole family respected that it was David's name for her without using it themselves. David had the blue eyes of his father, combined with the almost black hair of his mother and with his seventeen years he looked already extremely handsome. He would leave some broken hearts in his wake in the future.

"I missed you, too. All of you."

"I sure hope so." Her father's voice got carried over the lawn as he walked towards her, his blue eyes shining with love and joy to see her and Kate rushed into his arms, burying her face in his chest.

"Hey, Dad." She murmured, tears pricking the back of her eyes again. She didn't even realize how much she missed her whole family until she was enveloped by the arms of her father.

"Hey, kiddo." Mark whispered, pressing a kiss on her forehead. "I'm glad to have you back for a few weeks."

Kate stayed in his embrace for a few more seconds before Leslie tugged at the hem of her shirt. "Come look, Kate. I've set the table all by myself."

"Liar." Paul teased her, pulling gently at one of her pigtails.

"Almost all by myself. Come on, Kate." Leslie pulled Kate towards the table and she threw an apologetic glance back to her parents mouthing silently 'Talk to you later' before she followed her little sister, accompanied by her brothers who started to bicker about who was better at the grill.

Lexie leaned against the railing, smiling happily as she watched their children. As Mark wrapped his arms around her from behind she put her hands over his, laying her head back on his shoulder.

"We did well, didn't we?" Mark said softly, brushing his lips over her cheek.

"We did amazing." Lexie replied, turning her head to press her lips on his.

"I love you, Lex." Mark whispered over her lips, their children forgotten at the moment as he looked down at his wife. "Thank you for sharing your life with me."

"I can't imagine it any other way. I love you too, Mark." Her lips parted slightly as Mark's tongue swept into her mouth, her hand trailing to the base of his neck, pulling him further down to her as they lost themselves into the kiss.

Both were oblivious of their children standing against the table looking at them with big smiles on their faces. Still after almost eighteen years of marriage the love between them was as strong as ever and as Kate, Paul, David and Leslie were watching their parents they were all hoping that one day they would also find their respective others, the one person who would complete them. Like their parents had found each other.

The end

Thank you to everyone for reading and a special thank you to all my reviewers. Your reviews always brighten my day. So click the button below one last time for this story and tell me if this happy end was satisfying.