Author's Note: Wow, anons, this is awesome. I'm getting readers from France and Germany and Sweden… Hi, world! I'm just from the USA *sigh* Nice to know there are so many people out there who love Mark and Lexie!
To zizis: I'm really glad you liked the last chapter! I was hoping you would :)
Thank you all for your reviews on the last chapter. Please enjoy this one as well:
Meredith Grey cannot remember the last time she was this happy or this excited. She's practically skipping down the now-familiar halls of this foreign hospital, a cup of coffee in one hand and a paper bag with a poppy seed bagel in the other. She almost starts whistling, but she stops herself before she goes this far. Even shiny, happy Meredith Grey has limits.
But not many.
It's seven AM. Visitors aren't allowed for another two hours, but Meredith simply couldn't wait. She waited for Derek to wake up, spent a couple minutes with him before he fell back to sleep, and then went out and bought breakfast. She checked on Arizona, and found her asleep, holding Callie's hand. She was assured by a nearby nurse that the blonde would make a full recovery. Derek still wasn't awake when she returned, but she'd left him a bagel anyway before she went in search of her little sister. They were all stuck in the hospital, sure, but that didn't mean they didn't deserve real breakfasts.
And real coffee, too. Meredith smiles, shifting the cup and bag to the same hand as she approached the door. Hospitals notoriously have bad coffee, but this one seems to have the worst. Hers had tasted like mud earlier this morning, and she immediately dumped the cup after half a sip. She didn't want to make Lexie suffer that. The girl needed real coffee, and, Meredith decided on the way, a real breakfast, too.
She'd have to face Mark at some point, and though some might argue that would be better to do on an empty stomach, Meredith Grey knows better. Lexie needs her strength. For him, and for everything else. She frowns, remembering her conversation about the two she'd had yesterday with her husband. And Mark needs some balls, she adds silently.
She reaches for the doorknob, sighing in quiet exasperation. Honestly, she thinks to herself, how hard is it to say "I love you?" She shakes her head as she peeks through the door's small window. She's just about to wrench open the door, but what she sees through that small plate-glass window stops her in her tracks. She stands, rooted to the spot, for half a minute, before turning around and hurrying back the way she'd come.
Derek Shepherd jolts away it the sound of a slamming door. He blinks blearily, letting the exam room that surrounds him quickly come into focus. He grimaces at his busted ankle for a second before catching sight of the woman in the doorway. A smile immediately spreads over his face at the sight of her.
"Hey, Mer." He takes note of the bag and drink in her hand. "You brought me breakfast?" He wonders, smiling at her kindness.
"Breakfast alter," she replies, not bothering to point out that she'd left a bagel for him on the side counter. It would only slow him down. "You have to come see this!"
"I just woke up," Derek protests. "I'm not going anywhere. Give me my breakfast and then I'll—"
"He'll be gone by then!"
Derek frowns. "Who'll be gone by then?"
Meredith doesn't reply, but simply grabs the crutches leaning against the wall and handing them to him.
"Okay," Derek groans, exhaling in tired relief when they finally came to a stop fifteen minutes later. "Why are we here?"
"This is Lexie's room."
"Great," Derek yawns. "She's good, isn't she? Her leg's on the mend?"
Meredith gestures to the small window in the center of the door. "See for yourself."
Derek props himself up on his crutches, peering through the doorway. He showed so little recognition at first that Meredith was sure Mark had left and Derek had missed it. But when her husband turned back to face her, she saw that that wasn't true. "What did this happen?" He wonders, his voice sharp with surprise.
Meredith simply shakes her head. "I have no idea." She frowns. "I told you to talk to him; that's what you did, right?"
Derek's eyebrows draw together. "No, that's not what I did. We barely spoke yesterday; he didn't even bring up Lexie."
"But they're…" Meredith pauses, checking through the window. No, Mark was still there. "They're in bed together!"
"And we should leave them be," Derek instructs, adjusting his grip on his crutches. "They deserve time to themselves after all this."
Meredith turns to her husband, arching her eyebrows. "To do what?"
He rolls his eyes, sighing. "Mer, you can't seriously think they're going to—"
"If anyone could find a way to get around a heel-to-hip cast to get the job done, it would be Mark and Lexie," Meredith replies matter-of-factly.
"In a hospital?" Derek presses, skepticism and outrage ringing clear in his tone.
Meredith stares at him as if he were an idiot. "Have you been to Seattle Grace, Derek?"
"Oh," he mumbles. He chuckles a second later, meeting her eyes with a sly glint in his. "Right." He looks back through the window a moment later, catching sight of Mark and Lexie just as they begin slowly coming back to consciousness. A smile pulls up the corners of his mouth absentmindedly as he watches the couple wake up to each other for the first time in years.
"It's sweet," Meredith murmurs, watching Mark's hand trace the outline of Lexie's cheek before he leans in to kiss her lips slowly. Lexie's smiling widely when he pulls back, and she doesn't hesitate to lean forward and nuzzle her nose against his in a loving reply. "Seeing them like this, seeing them together after everything. I think it's sweet." Derek nods, similarly mesmerized by the couple's private displays of deep affection.
"Should we go in?" He wonders a moment later, looking to his wife. "Now that they're awake?"
Meredith shakes her head. "No," she replies slowly, still fixated on the pair. She meets her husband's gaze a few seconds later. "You were right before," she smiles, stepping away, "they deserve some time alone."
"Will you say it again?"
Mark smiles, bending his head forward to touch his forehead against hers again, and whispers the words. "I told when you were unconscious," he informs her quietly, never meeting her eyes. "I told you, but it was too late. I'd waited too long."
"No." Her voice is surprisingly strong; so much so that he looks back. "You weren't too late," she replies, looking into his eyes. "You could…" She lifts a hand to frame the side of his face. "You could never be too late."
You could've died. Then I would've been too late. He bites his tongue to hold back the first response that jumps to his lips. Instead, he changes the subject. "Did you mean what you said last night?" He wonders. "About… About us, once you're healed?" His eyes are closed now, his forehead pressed solidly against hers. She smiles, letting her eyes roam over his face uninterrupted.
"Yes," she whispers, scooting closer to him. She moves her hand to the side of his neck, letting her fingertips burrow their way into the short hairs on the back of his neck. "I meant everything I said, Mark." He opens his eyes slowly, and they immediately lock with hers. "What about you?" She wonders softly, her fingers stroking his skin.
"Did I mean what I said or do I share your plans?" He wonders. She doesn't reply. Mark takes a slow breath, as if weighing his choices. "Well," he begins quietly, "the answer is yes to both, regardless of which you wanted to hear." He swallows, blinking at her. "But can I just ask… Why?"
"Why?" Lexie repeats, her brain still frazzled and her heart still hammering from his affirmative answer. "Why what?"
"Why all this talk about marriage?" He asks. He's surprised he doesn't stumble over the word. "Why now, after you've said you don't want to lay down your future during residency—"
"My residency's almost over," Lexie interrupts. "It…" She sighs, glancing down at her bandaged leg. "Well, it would have been over in under a year, but I'm sure this thing'll set me back…"
"Your residency coming to an end isn't what made you suddenly think of marrying me."
Lexie tries and fails to hide a smile at his words. "No, you're right," she agrees. Her smile widens. "It was that pilot, actually. Roy." She closes her eyes for a second, remembering. You and Mark will have a lifetime to tell each other how much you love one another. Once we get you out, I promise you'll have that, all that and more. "I thought I was going to die," she whispers. "And I had—so many regrets. But what I regretted the most…" She opens her eyes slowly, swallowing her fear. "What I regretted the most," she repeats in a hush, "what I thought about as the plane fell out of the sky…was not fixing things with you. Not telling you I loved you, not being together again, and not… Not marrying you." She pauses to take a breath, and though Mark wants to interject, he can't find the words to say what he feels. "I didn't think about it until you were gone and they wanted to move the plane off me," she continues quietly. She feels his body tense beside hers at the mention, but again, he doesn't speak. "And I—I just wanted to see you," she whispers. "I wanted to see you, one last time. If I was going to die, I wanted to have you next to me, at least."
Mark doesn't speak for a very long time. And just when Lexie's about to take back what she said—thinking she put him off or scared him away—he shakes his head. He laughs. And a smile spreads over his face.
"God damn that man," Mark mutters, shaking his head in quiet amusement tinged with disbelief. "I'll never be out of his debt."
Lexie smiles, relieved at his reply and rather in awe of how well he's taking things. "Get his number and we'll invite him to the wedding," she suggests.
"I'll have to make him the best man at the rate he's going."
Lexie doesn't bat an eyebrow. "So make him the best man. I'm sure Derek won't mind."
A mischievous smile curves up the sides of Mark's mouth. "I'll think about it."
"Good," Lexie smiles. She tips her chin forward, sparing a moment for a soft kiss. She sighs softly as she pulls back, her eyes closing tiredly.
"Go back to sleep," Mark instructs quietly. "It's still early."
Lexie nods, shifting in the bed to get more comfortable. Yesterday had taken an immense toll on her body—both mentally and physically—and Mark's late-night visit hadn't helped the healing process much. She guesses she probably got less than seven hours of sleep last night—which usually wouldn't be much of a problem, but after the last twenty-four hours she's had…
"You'll be here when I wake up?" She mumbles, squeezing her eyes shut and pressing her face against his upper arm to use as a surrogate pillow.
She feels a light pressure on the crown of her head, and she reaches up a hand before he can pull back. She threads her fingers through the hairs on the back of his neck, smiling faintly as he presses another kiss to her hair. "Sorry," he apologizes into her dark locks, "I didn't mean to press the issue to quickly…"
She shakes her head, yawning against him. "No," she replies. "It was stupid of me to spring that on you and then think that we wouldn't talk about it for the next three to six months." Her eyes snap open, and all of a sudden, she's propped up in bed, staring him right in the eye. "But we will wait until then to have the ceremony," she informs him. Her eyes are dark and serious, and her tone leaves no room for interpretation. "I will not go down the aisle in crutches." Or, god forbid, a wheelchair.
"Oh, Lex…" Mark smirks, reaching out and cupping her cheek. "You make it seem like I'd actually want to marry a gimp."
He grins as her mouth twists, laughing as he lifts an arm to block her returning punch. "Think of it this way," he calls over her half-affectionate insults. "Now you've got a goal."
"I didn't realize I needed nuptials in my future to make walking a goal," Lexie notes dryly.
Mark smiles, bending forward to kiss her briefly. "You wanna walk on your wedding day or what?"
Lexie can't help but smile back at his question and the bright future it paints. Just yesterday, her future was dark. Just yesterday, her future consisted of mere hours, not days. And certainly not years. A moment later, she settles back down into bed beside him, snuggling in close. "Yeah," she whispers, reaching out and twining her fingers with his. "I do."
He grins. "So get to work."
She smiles back, squeezing his hand. "I will. Once I sleep."
He pulls her close. "Sleep, then. I'll keep away the nurses for as long as I can."
She smiles to herself before whispering, "I love you."
"I love you too, Lex."
Author's Note: So that last scene came out a lot longer than expected. I was going to cut it off right after that last MerDer scene, but then I just kept writing. Hopefully you guys liked it :)
This was the final chapter. Thank you all so much for reading, alerting, favorting, and commenting. Your support meant, and continues to mean, so much to me.
PS: I think I should inform you guys that I'm thinking about moving into a new universe. I'm very excited about this but also very nervous, seeing as this world is something I've never done before. I wish I could post a link on this page, but annoyingly, FFN does not allow that. But if you delete the spaces and go to fais2688. livejournal . com, you will find a one-shot called "A Walk on the Wild Side" beneath the first post. It should give you a pretty good taste of what I'm talking about (though very far into the future). You don't need a LiveJournal account to access the story or comment on it.
I'd love to hear what you guys think of the fic, and of the universe, especially if you're interested in having me pursue something along those lines. (Also, do you think I should post the one-shot and the story-if I ever get around to writing enough of it-to FFN as well, or just keep it on LJ?)
Thank you for reading and please leave me a review! (Or two.)