Author's Note: And here it is, the final chapter. The rating has been shifted back up to M accordingly. Enjoy!
Lexie looked up from her position on the cold, hard dirt to see the sun shining bright straight above her. "Ow!" she exclaimed. Her back was killing her for some inexplicable reason, and there was some sort of a bug crawling along the side of her thigh. Birds chirped a merry song somewhere above her. "What -" And then she tried to stand on her legs, wobbling as she did so - balance was a different concept again. She brushed at the dirt on her pants, watching as it showered off in a spectacular array. Looking around, however, there was no sign of anyone else around her. She called out in a frail, almost frantic voice, "Mark? Mark, where are you?" If something had happened to him - and he was still on the other side of the mirrors, stuck in the horrific limbo where she had been held captive for so long herself - she would never forgive herself, even if it took her a thousand lifetimes.
"Right here," he said, his voice coming from the other side of the well. He stood up, and Lexie ran over to him. "I'm right here," he murmured. "I didn't leave you, my Lexie. Nothing happened to me." He wrapped his arms around her neck and kissed the tip of her nose, followed by moving his lips over hers and kissing her with soft and tender precision. "We're safe now. No one - or nothing - can ever harm us again. I promise you that."
She nodded, burying her face in his shoulder and sniffling. "I was scared - I was afraid that something had happened - and that I'd have to go back into my own personal hell to save you like you saved me."
"No, no," he said, scattering small kisses onto the crown of her head, "you don't have to do that. We're going home, and you don't have to worry anymore."
Izzie rose from where she had landed in a pile of leaves, and George stumbled over from somewhere near the house's foundation. The foursome turned to look at each other, and then Izzie looked down at the knapsack. "Uh, Mark?" she asked. "Did we - what happened to the car keys? They weren't in here when we - there's only the hairbrush and -"
"Fuck. I put them in my pocket when we came out here in the first place," he said, digging through his pockets and turning them inside-out. Nothing. "But I don't remember feeling them after that at all."
Lexie dropped to the ground and started sifting through leaves; a minute or two later, George joined her, and then, in short order, all four of them were crawling around on the forest floor. "Where were you?" she asked.
"Right around where you are searching," he said, "but I guess we get thrown around so much by the process that they could be just about anywhere, if they're even here and not somewhere in the vortex of time and space."
She nodded and scattered leaves with the palm of her hand. It was going to be like searching for a needle in a haystack, except it was keys in a forest. Right around now was when she wished that she had a large magnet to poke at things.
The search went on for some time, before George held his hand aloft in the air. Dangling from his index finger was a set of keys on a key ring. "Is this it?" he asked. "Or do I need to keep looking?"
Mark looked up from where he was looking. "Yes!" he exclaimed with a sense of relief. "That's it!"
At Mark's acknowledgment of the finding, Izzie crawled over toward George and grabbed him in an ecstatic hug. "My hero!" she said. "Let's go. Now. I'm tired of being out here."
"So am I," Lexie said, as they began the walk back to Mark's car. "Like you wouldn't even begin to believe." And George could only just nod in muted acknowledgment. What Lexie was feeling, he could feel to an amplified degree. At last, he was going home, though not to his own. As well, he would not be alone this time, or perhaps, ever again.
An hour or two later, Mark pulled up outside his apartment and stopped the car, allowing for the four to get out. They stood around outside the car and gave each other anxious smiles as they dug their hands along their sides. "This is where we part ways," George said, looking over at Izzie with his eyes gleaming. "I guess?"
Izzie pointed to her car a few spaces over. "Well, my car's right there, so once Mark goes into his place -"
"I actually locked your keys in the glove compartment," he said. "So, they're right there for whenever you want to take them."
She took the keys from inside his car and clasped them inside her hand. The four continued to stand around. Lexie scuffed the heel of her shoe against the pavement, and George hummed the first few bars to a somewhat familiar song. Izzie tapped her foot on the tire of Mark's car and, at the same time, rubbed her hands together. Mark began twiddling his thumbs. And then he looked down at what he was doing. "I'm actually fucking twiddling my thumbs. What the hell am I doing?" he asked. When he got no reply, he said, "So, uh, it's getting close to dinnertime," he said, "and I kind of wanted to do something with Lexie soon? Maybe get some takeout or something, and, uh, I think you two probably want to be doing something about dinner here soon too?"
Izzie nodded. "Yeah. That sounds good. So, uh -" she said, turning to Mark and Lexie, "I guess this is goodbye?"
"For good?" Lexie asked, looking at George. It would be difficult to say goodbye forever to someone with whom she had shared such a profound experience. There probably was not a support group anywhere for Former Dead People of America, let alone the possibility that she would ever meet anyone else in her new lifetime who had similar experiences to hers. Maybe she could check out the near death experiences groups. That could work, with a little fudging here and there.
"There's not much holding me to Seattle anymore, and there's even less now that George is back in my life like this," Izzie said, smiling over at George, "but, you know, we'll see. No promises. George and I have a lot of talking and deliberating to do about this. We'll let you know if we decide to move to Poughkeepsie and start a bakery."
"I think this merits you a place on the Christmas card list for the rest of your life, at the very least. Mark and I can keep you two updated on our lives, and you two can keep us updated on yours, and -" Lexie cut off her ramble there. No need to scare off the nice woman who saved her life. "So, uh, goodbye, you two." She embraced both Izzie and George, and they returned the embrace. "Drive safely, have a good life, and if you two ever either have a daughter or adopt one, Alexandra is a perfectly lovely name." She laughed. "Only kidding on the last part, of course. Unless you want to. Then feel free."
Izzie joined in the laughter and walked over to Mark. "It's been fun," she said, extending her hand for a handshake, before he pulled her into an affectionate hug. "All those freaked out phone calls and hours researching and traveling and - let's not do this again any time soon, okay?"
"I don't plan on it," Mark said. "I only had one person I wanted to get back from the dead, and she's right here."
"Same," she replied, gesturing to George. "Once is enough for me."
George and Mark shook hands - "it's been good" - but most everything that needed to be said had already been said, and there was no need to reiterate what had only just been said. It was time to move onward and upward. Izzie and George got inside her car and waved forlornly to the couple standing outside as the engine started up.
"So, which foreign cuisine would you like to have delivered to our doorstep tonight?" Mark asked as George and Izzie sped away into the distance. "I have menus for, uh, just about every one you can think of. And maybe even some that you can't."
"Thai sounds amazing," Lexie said. "Do you have a menu for it?"
"Tonight is all about you, Lexie," he replied, guiding her toward his place, "so if you want Thai food for dinner, I swear, I'd take you to Bangkok if I could. See how the natives do it. In lieu of that, I have two or three Thai menus we can choose from."
"Maybe you can take me to Bangkok eventually," she said, winking at him, "but for tonight, I think I just want to stay in and enjoy you and your company."
Mark threw the takeout box from the Thai restaurant around the corner against the wall and smiled as it ricocheted and landed right side up in the middle of his rug. "How did it feel to eat real food again?" he asked, swallowing a bite of the por pia tod and grinning. "As opposed to - do ghosts even need to eat? What would ghosts eat?"
She laughed and took another spoonful of pad preow wan from the dish in front of them. "No, not really. Did you ever wonder why some dead people like to haunt restaurants?"
"No? I thought it was because they died there or had some unfinished business or whatever reason anyone has for deciding to haunt the everliving fuck out of another person."
"It's because," she said, eating a bite before setting down her spoon and facing him, "when you have an eternity to just kind of do whatever it is that you want to do whenever you feel like it, you tend toward doing what you miss most from life. Athletes and sports nuts haunt stadiums. People who like food, or chefs, haunt restaurants. Things like that. They can't eat the food themselves, but they can live vicariously through the people who do. Or, you know, some torment the diners by throwing their spaghetti and meatballs against the wall, but whatever gets you through time."
"And you? You were a surgeon. I mean, you told me that you hated seeing all the trapped souls at Seattle Grace-Mercy West, but I would think that you'd miss being a doctor, and could find some out of the way operating room to make your little haunted home. You did a lot of good with your life. Think of how many lives you've saved over the years."
"I missed you more, though, than I missed being a doctor," she stated, burying her spoon inside the pad preow wan and frowning. "I never wanted to leave your side, but I didn't want you to think you had a creepy stalker that, oh, it just so happened that you couldn't see. So I spent quite a bit of time with George too."
"I hope you didn't fall in love with him. All that time you spent with him, alone -" He did not think that Lexie would have gone back to him with such ease and willingness if she was in a passionate, torrid love affair with George, but he had to make sure. Just in case. Besides, was there not likely some policy about what happened in the afterlife stayed there? He was not sure if being a ghost operated something like an impromptu trip to Las Vegas would.
"I only have eyes for you," she said. "No one else. We're meant to be, remember? Soulmates, Mark. Soulmates. And even if I wanted George, which I'll repeat, I do not - he's head over heels in love with Izzie. I love you, Mark, no one else." She stood up and looked down at Mark still sitting on the couch. "I think I'm going to go take a shower," she continued, "so, uh, whenever you're done eating -" She lifted her shirt above her head and gave him a coy smile as it dropped to the floor. "That's where I'll be."
"Is that an invitation?" he asked. His breathing was shallow and deep. The thought of Lexie in the shower - his shower - rediscovering the joys of American plumbing prowess and the simple splendor of taking a shower was almost too much to bear, but he was managing to keep his libido in check. For now. There would be no guarantees if she made him hold out.
"It's whatever you want it to be," she said, kicking her shirt over into the corner and out of the way of foot traffic. It was almost too easy for her to rile him up like this, to make him a little crazy for her. But she was enjoying every second of it. That was what he got for his random and unnecessary jealousy over George. "Me? I'm just taking a shower. I haven't had one in such a long time, after all. But you? You can do whatever it is you want to do, and I'm not going to be the one to stop you."
As she swished and pranced out of the room, flipping her hair back over one shoulder as she did so, Mark put his spoon down. The jasmine rice could grow cold for all he cared; the spring rolls could go into summer or autumn, and what he was wanting was not something that came in a delivery box. He was going after Lexie, and nothing could stop him now.
When she had been alive before, she knew one simple truth in life: there was not much that felt better than the feeling of a first shower after a long time without one - that was legal or easily attainable, at least. And she had gone far, far too long without one, so as the first drops of water fell from the shower head, it felt like heaven on Earth. "Oh, my God!" she exclaimed, running the bar of soap from the soap dish over her body, allowing the dirt to stream off her body in a torrent of soapy water. Never again would she go this long without showering. She made a mental note to take a bubble bath sometime in the near future. Soak in the bubbles and feel warm and comfortable to her heart's content.
A squeaking noise came from the bathroom tile, and she peered through the frosted glass of the shower door. Outside the door stood a figure of a man in silhouette. "Is this a private shower, or can anyone join?" Mark asked, running his fingers along the pane of glass.
"It's private," she said, pirouetting her body so that she faced the door, "but private doesn't have to mean alone, if we don't want it to. Something private," she continued, tracing the path that Mark's fingers had etched, "can be shared between two people after all, such as ourselves."
"Is that a yes?"
"It's always been a yes as far as I'm concerned."
Whatever clothes he had been wearing were shed in quick order as he sprung the door open and almost leaped into the shower. Lexie giggled as he grabbed her by the waist and pinned her up against the cool, tile wall. "You have no idea," he said, "how long I've wanted to do this to you." And then he opened his mouth against hers and kissed her, long and slow, feeling the warmth of her mouth pressed up against his. When they broke apart, it was only to rest their foreheads against each other's and smile at each other. "It was just as good as I remembered," he said. "Better, maybe, because - because I never thought I'd get to feel it again, and then, I did -"
"Shh," she whispered, her voice only just audible above the sound of the water pouring from the shower. "Don't worry. Nothing's going to happen to me again. We're here." She coursed her hands over the planes of his body, feeling every dip and scar with pronounced precision. "Is there anything else you've wanted to do to me? All those months alone, you had to come up with a few ideas -"
"It's going to take a lifetime to do all of them." His eyes grew dark with lust, and he nipped a small kiss at the base of her throat as his fingers danced along her thigh. "Where do you want to start?"
"What do you think would work best, for where we are now?" Coyness was a practiced virtue of hers, and she knew it worked so well on Mark. And it was working, she could tell, because his pupils were becoming more and more dilated as she went along with the charade. "I mean, I could help you, or you could help me, or we could -"
"This." He replaced his fingers with the tip of his cock, before pushing inside her in two solid strokes. For their first time back together, foreplay was overrated. "Lexie. Look at me, Lexie," he said, stroking her chin with his index finger.
Having him inside her felt so good. It felt - right, like everything made sense in the world again now that Mark was bucking his hips upward to propel further into her, his free hand running everywhere it could reach as the other hand held her against the wall. If one of them slipped, the whole thing would tumble to pieces. That, and they would probably have to go to the emergency room for a broken bone or a concussion, and that would be a fantastic way to reveal to everyone that she was not dead anymore. She rolled her hips downward and met him somewhere in the middle, reveling in the feeling.
His hand teased at her nipple, his fingers plucking at it, and then - she heard voices from outside the bathroom. "Shit!" she said, suspended there in her position. "Mark? Did you have company coming over and you didn't tell me?"
He froze mid-thrust and looked down at her, a note of franticness slipping through his lust-filled exterior. "I think it's Callie and Arizona. Probably checking on me since they haven't heard from me in a few days, and they want to make sure my corpse is not decomposing into the couch cushions, or that I'm not the victim of some sort of surgical abduction ring. At least, it better be them. If it's not -"
"Are you going to go out and talk to them? You can just tell them that you're okay, not decomposing or fighting for your head or hands, and then you can come back in here," she said, preening a bit and fluffing her hair as she spoke, "and continue what you're doing to me."
The door to the bathroom opened just then. "Mark?" Callie's voice called out. "Are you - sorry. Didn't realize you were in the shower - oh. Oh. Sorry, Mark. Sorry, Lexie." The words had just left her mouth before she realized what it was she had said. "Lexie? Or is that the doppelganger of Lexie? I knew you missed her, Mark, but you didn't have to have sex in the shower with her twin!"
"Callie?" Lexie asked, slipping off Mark and kissing his shoulder blade. "It's me. Me, me. Not my twin, not my doppelganger, but the real and true Lexie."
"We all watched you die out there. There's no way you lived through that. No way," Arizona said, piping into the conversation. She looked down at her leg; the prosthetic shin poked out from under her pants, proving once and for all that the plane crash was not just some bad dream that they were all waking up from at the same time.
"Let's go out into the living room," Mark said. "I think the four of us need to have a talk. Clear a few things up regarding what has come about tonight."
Lexie wore an old shirt of Mark's, and Mark had thrown back on the pants he had been wearing, and the two of them looked mildly presentable to guests as they sat on the couch together, the remainder of their Thai feast discarded into the garbage bin. His arm draped over her neck, holding her close to him. "Where do you want me to start?" he asked.
"That's actually Lexie, right? You didn't somehow manage to perfect perfect artificial intelligence in a perfectly human-like robotic body, did you?" Callie asked, giving Lexie a suspicious look as she glanced over at her.
"It's me. You can pinch me if you want. I'm not metallic at all. Just skin, bone, muscle, DNA, water, oxygen, carbon -" Lexie said with a grin. "You know, like you or Arizona."
"She sounds just like Lexie."
"That's because it is Lexie."
"How did - what happened?" Arizona asked. "How did she come back? Did you do some weird ritual to raise her from the dead?"
"Kind of," Mark said. "But it was not really a ritual, I'd say. More of an adventure?"
Lexie cleared her throat. "Basically, I was haunting Mark, and he wasn't supposed to see me, except, oops, he apparently could. Which is like, earth-shatteringly bad for us dead people. And then he teams up with Izzie - because Izzie's still in love with George -"
Callie's face blanched at the mention of the possibility of Izzie and George being together, and Arizona clasped their hands together tightly. "Shhh, Calliope," she said, whispering to her in a soft, soothing voice, "it's nothing to worry about. It's not going to affect you."
"But my marriage - to George - she - ruined -"
"But you have me now. Don't worry about Izzie. Izzie needs to do Izzie, and you need to do me. That's all there is to it."
Callie relaxed into Arizona and nodded, letting out a slow exhale of breath. "Alright. I'm okay now. I'm okay. I promise. Sorry. Continue."
"- And, so, the two of them managed to find the way that people can transport between this life and the afterlife, and crossed over. And, long story short, the four of us met up and made it back here and George and Izzie went back to Izzie's place, and that's basically it."
"So you're back for good? Are you coming back to work?"
Lexie laughed. "Back for good, yes, but I think it might be a little difficult to explain my newfound reincarnation to Owen. 'Yep, so, by the way, I'm not dead anymore, and can I have my job back, please?'"
"What do you plan to do, then?"
"I just got back from being dead for about four months! My plans involve spending time with Mark tonight and sleeping later. Anything else for the future is still up in the air." She grinned, recalling a conversation she had once had with George. "Maybe I'll go to Tahiti and take Mark with me. I hear it's nice this time of year." Callie and Arizona traded knowing smirks, and Mark clasped Lexie closer to him. That was more like it.
As they said goodbye to Callie and Arizona a short while later, Lexie amended her earlier mental note: she would not be taking her desired bubble bath alone. Mark would be right there with her, throwing bubbles in her face and rubbing up against her, smoothing soap over the contours of her back and spine. She did not think that he would turn down an invitation like that, and she smiled a mischievous little smile. Maybe later. She needed to make a trip to Bath and Body Works anyway and buy some bubble bath for this little bubbly expedition she had planned.
In two different parts of the Seattle area that night, two couples laid in bed together, basking in each other's company and warmth. "What are you looking forward to most about tomorrow?" Mark asked Lexie as she lay on his chest, combing his fingers through her hair as it splayed in a fan shape over his torso. He breathed in the scent of his shampoo and soap on her body. It was real. If nothing else, what they had done in the shower - and in the hallway, and in his bed - proved to him over and over again that Lexie was indeed as real as anything could have ever been, and that their love that they shared was still as intact as it ever was. The fact that Callie and Arizona had stopped by and seen Lexie was a bonus. He was not going crazy after all, or on some sort of drug side effect; if he was going crazy, then so were two other highly-renowned, practicing surgeons, and then all of Seattle was more or less screwed. Especially if they happened to be a child or in dire need of orthopedic care.
"Sleeping in late, eating a really good bagel and drinking cups and cups of coffee, seeing the sun set and then rise again the next day, reading a good book that came out recently - or perhaps re-reading an old favorite, wearing clothes again, doing the Sunday crossword in my pajamas -" she tapped out each response with the tip of her index finger on the flat plane of his chest as she said them, "- and waking up safe and in your arms. Simple things like that are the things I've missed the most."
"I don't think anyone said anything about wearing clothes," Mark replied, leaning over and skimming his lips along the top of her hairline, sighing with a sense of contented bliss. This was what he wanted, after all. Bagels and coffee and Lexie in his arms every morning and night. Anything else was icing on the cake.
"I think we can find a way to negotiate on that," she said, winking as she slid her hands down his sides, gliding her fingertips over his hipbone. "I can put them on, and you can take them off. And maybe we can go somewhere, when we go to replace my wardrobe, and I can - you know, put on a show for you then?"
"Deal. You had me before that last part, but deal. Definitely a deal. Not sending this one back to the banker for a chance at a better offer."
They were silent for a moment, curled into each other's touch and embrace. "Mark?" she asked, tilting her head so that she could face him. "Did you mean - when I was laying there, you know - those things about marrying me? And - and having kids together?"
"I meant every word I said, and even those that I didn't say, I still meant them too. What made you - why do you ask?"
"Because you haven't mentioned any of it once since we've been back together - and I thought that maybe you had forgotten? Or -" her face grew downcast as she continued to speak, "that maybe you hadn't meant all of it as you said it?"
"Oh, Lexie," he said, wrapping one of his arms around her waist and pulled her closer to him. With the motion, her skin was almost melded together with his, given their newly-tightened proximity. "I could never forget what I told you that day. When you - when you're in a situation like we were - there's absolutely no reason to lie. When you think that you're -" he paused, burying his face into her hair to hide the tears that threatened to come. It was still difficult for him to think about that fateful day, even now. "When you know that you're likely talking to the person you love more than life itself for the very last time, you want to tell them everything. Leave nothing out. All the cards are out on the table and the house wins every goddamn time. I didn't want you to spend the rest of eternity wondering and thinking that I didn't love you or that we weren't meant to be together. That's absolutely false, and you know it now, if you didn't then."
"So, then, why -"
He cut her off at the pass. "Patience, my dear," he said, his eyes dancing and twinkling with amusement. "All good things come to those who wait. I didn't want to overwhelm you with coming back and then immediately throwing a marriage proposal on your lap - besides, a guy's got to plan for things like that. Make it something you'd never forget."
"You wouldn't have overwhelmed me," she said in protest, but she could not help but feel a smile tug across her face. "And I could never -"
"Let's take it one day at a time. Bagels and sunsets tomorrow, engagement in the near-ish future," he said. Waiting sounded miserable to him, but he did not expect Lexie to make the jump from supernatural being to his wife in almost no time at all.
She scooted up to be on eye-level with him. Caressing his jawline, she whispered in a hot, shallow breath against his cheek, "taking it one day at a time sounds like an absolutely terrible idea. We don't know what tomorrow will bring." She pressed her lips to his; her tongue darted out from between her lips and glided along the contours of his lower lip, tracing the line between where lip ended and chin began. When he parted his lips, she slipped her tongue inside his mouth, and he did the same with her. Their lips meshed together, slow and languid, without a care in the world.
They shifted apart by gradual steps, before separating their lips and ending the kiss, and Mark leaned his forehead against Lexie's. The angle allowed for a better perspective on staring straight into her eyes, and he pushed a lock of loose hair back behind her ear. "Hey there," he whispered. Without trying to, he was using his most seductive, husky whisper - the things having Lexie back in his life did for him.
"Hey," she said, echoing his words and matching the tone.
"You have a point," he said. "Let's talk about it in the morning. We're both exhausted."
"Okay." She yawned and stretched her arms out above her head, almost as if to prove his point.
"Tomorrow, if your coffee cup comes with a diamond ring attached to the rim, it's not because the barista at the coffee place fell completely madly in love with you and wants to whisk you off to Vegas to get married by Elvis or a space alien or something, okay?"
"I'm just telling you. Don't say yes to the barista if that happens. Say yes to me."
She laughed and shoved playfully at his chest. "I wouldn't say yes to anyone but you, Mark, you don't have to worry at all about that. And I will say yes, whenever it is that you ask me. Yes. Yes. Yes. A thousand times, yes." She hid a grin along the top of his arm. "I'm just telling you."
"You don't know how happy you've made me, Lexie," he said, "every day of my life."
They did not know yet what any of their tomorrows would bring, but they were more than willing to find out - together, this time, working in tandem instead of flying solo.
"I'll take the couch tonight," George said, looking through the linen closet. "I mean, I don't want to inconvenience you at all, so - I'll take the couch. Do you have any spare pillows I can use?"
She looked over from where she sat on the couch. "You don't have to do that," she said. "You can sleep in my bed tonight, if you want. It's more comfortable than this lumpy old thing, anyway."
"I didn't think you'd want me in your bed."
"Would you rather sleep on the lumpy couch I bought at Goodwill, or would you rather sleep in my nice, soft bed? I don't care. It's not like we haven't shared a bed or slept together before," she said. "Besides, I - I don't really want to be alone anymore," she continued, dropping her voice to a sad whisper. "It's been so long - too long, even - since I've been able to let someone into my life like this, like you are now. I just want to feel as though you want to have me there with you."
"I do. Of course I do," he said. "I want you, Izzie. I want to love you, and feel you, and hold you, and be with you. Always."
They made their way into her bedroom and sat on the side of her bed, their legs swinging against the side of the mattress. "So," she said, "I'm not sure what I have that you can wear for tonight, but if you can find something, feel more than free to wear it."
A short time later, they both laid in bed, George wearing a t-shirt that Izzie had found in the back of her closet - it had always been too large for her, but it fit George just right - and Izzie in her pajamas. They held each other close and looked into each other's eyes. "What do you want to do tonight?" Izzie asked, running her finger along the collar of George's shirt. "Sleep?"
"Or we could -" he slid his hand down to cup the curvature of her ass, "Yeah. No. Sleep sounds like a good idea. Very astute idea, Izzie. Let's go with that."
"Are you wanting to have sex with me?" She leaned backward into the brush of his hand.
"Izzie, I think most people who are attracted to women would want to have sex with you on a given day, but - yes." He buried his head into the pillow and let out a muffled groan. What he had said was intended to be a compliment, but to him, it came across as backhanded and maybe even a little harsh or mean-spirited. "Now you probably wouldn't want to, even if you had before."
She fumbled with the buttons on the front of her pajamas, unbuttoning each button without much in the way of fine dexterity. "Does this answer your question?" she asked, pushing the shirt backwards on her arms to reveal her bare chest. "I love you, George. I regret that I never got to tell you that before. And I - I want to make this work between us."
"I love you too," he said, kissing a line of sloppy kisses from her jaw, down her neck, and ending just above her breasts. "I'll never get tired of hearing that from you. Or saying it to you."
"Me too," she said, guiding her hand downward to brush her fingers against his cloth-covered groin.
"Izzie," he whispered in an exhale of breath, "are you really sure that you want to do this now? We can wait, if you want." Memories of how their relationship had gone in the past flashed by him in a panic-stricken haze. Tragic was the word that stuck out to him from their descriptions of what had gone on. He did not want this miraculous second chance that they had to be described as tragic. A million other more preferable adjectives came to mind: fantastic, mind-blowing, legendary, wonderful, to name but a few.
"Are you scared?"
"Scared that we'll repeat the past, yeah."
She scooted her pajama pants and panties down her legs and kicked them off to land under the sheets somewhere, before guiding his shirt over his head and down to the floor somewhere. He took hold of his boxers and pushed them down, and they were both fully unclothed but still covered in their totality by her blanket over them. "This is not the past," she said, fumbling with her legs a little as she positioned herself in close proximity to his cock. If he would just move to be positioned between her legs, they would be having sex - no, making love was more the right term for what they would be doing. It was never just about having sex when it came to George. There were also all the emotions that came part and parcel with it.
When he hesitated, she looked over at him. "Are you sure?" she asked. "Because you look like you're debating whether you would rather have pastrami on rye or turkey on wheat for lunch tomorrow."
He shook his head back and forth in disagreement. He then picked up the line of smudged kisses where it had stopped, descending further and further down her torso until he turned around at her waist and came back up, ending with a sloppy kiss planted on her lips. "Yeah. I'm sure. More than."
She took his cock in her hands and rolled it gently back and forth. His head lolled back as she did so, and he groaned her name almost instantly, "Izzie. If you want me to last at all," he said, "let's - let's -" And then, she guided it inside her, and they were moving back and forth in a subtle rhythm, trying to match each other's motion. Izzie looked up at George with a wide, easy grin on her face and love in her eyes, and George matched her expression in return. They rocked back and forth, fumbling with where hands and feet should go, attempting to figure out how to mesh into one single, fluid, synchronized motion. The mattress squeaked under their weight and action, surrendering as two voices called out each other's names.
"Oh, George!" she moaned, holding onto him for dear life as she saw sparks fly in front of her eyes and color the world around her.
"I-Izzie!" He held out her name as he orgasmed, his fingers running along the underside of her breast.
The sex they had had was not tragic. It was not perfect, either, but it was not tragic of all things, and that was the most they could have asked for out of one time. There would be more times in the future, times wherein they could work to improve on it and sink into the rhythms of more experienced lovers. This time, they knew how much emotion played a part in what they were doing, though, and this time, there was more at risk: to lose now would be to lose everything they had worked so hard to gain.
"Remember how we always said that our timing sucked?" Izzie said, after they had shifted apart. She nuzzled her head into George's shoulder and looked up at him. From this angle, he looked so peaceful and angelic, with that serene smile seemingly imprinted on his face. She could look at him this way forever. "And that we could try being us again - maybe someday?"
"Yeah, so? I remember that."
"This. This is our promised someday. It took us a while to get here, and it was a hell of a lot more complicated than by all rights it ever should have been to get to this point, but this is it. Our someday."
He leant over to kiss the top of her head and brush his nose down her hair. "Oh, is it, now?"
"I told you before, George. I don't break my promises. We were going to get it, one way or another. We all were."
Author's Notes: Thanks to my artist, red_b_rackham, for all of the lovely art you made for this and for helping me with remembering some specifics on Grey's canon that played a major role in this story. You rock!
As well, thanks go to my best friend/cheerleader/beta, C. Despite the fact that the angst factor on this fic was through the roof and therefore it was SO not your thing, you listened to me patiently and helped me work out so many of the kinks with this story. There is literally no way this story would be anything more than a couple thousand words on my computer without your guidance and cheerleading. You're amazing, sweetie.
And thanks to the readers. Whether you reviewed, favorited/alerted, or just read, thank you so much, and I hope you all enjoyed it. I appreciate it more than you know. I don't think there will be a sequel, especially not anytime remotely soon, but as Izzie would say, maybe someday, right? ;)