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[ what happens after ]

by kHo

Mark finally makes it home, smashed out of his mind with a bruise on his cheek and his knuckles bleeding, at two o´clock in the morning. Derek is standing on his porch blinking at his door.

“I came here,’ Derek says without turning around.

“I see that,’ Mark says, scrubbing a hand over his face as he goes to stand behind him.

“I left my wife. Caught her cheating on me. I couldn´t…’ He turns finally and looks at Mark. “I couldn´t kick her out. It was raining.’

Mark looks away. “So you came here.’

“I came here,’ Derek says, voice flat, emotionless. His hand drifts out listlessly as he speaks, like he´s looking for something to grab onto but can´t find it. “This is where I come when this happens. You´re who I come to.’

Mark leans against the wall and tries to blink away the pounding in his head. “Derek.’

“You´re who I come to, that´s how it goes,’ Derek says, and his face is screwed up in some combination of hurt and betrayal and confusion, and Mark just wants to fall to his knees and beg his forgiveness. He won´t do it though. He´s not that guy. “My wife cheats on me and I come to my best friend and he tells me it´ll be okay. That´s what best friend means.’

Mark sighs and bangs his head back against the wall because he doesn´t know what else to do. “You can come here, Derek. I´m still your--’

“No,’ Derek says, and there´s the anger. There´s the anger that he didn´t let out when he´d walked in on Mark and Addison. The anger that Mark had seen boiling under the surface, under the shock and the utter disbelief. “No, you´re not.’


“You don´t fuck your best friend´s wife,’ Derek says, stepping closer, so angry he´s vibrating. “You don´t. That´s definitely not something a best friend does.’

Mark closes his eyes because he can´t look at Derek and see this anymore. “Then why are you here?’

“What happened to you,’ Derek asks, and then Mark feels a hand on his cheek, a thumb brushing over his lip. “You´re bleeding.’

“Best friend walked in on me fucking his wife,’ Mark says without opening his eyes. “He didn´t kick my ass, so I figured I´d take care of it for him.’

Derek´s laugh is small and bitter. “Bar fight. You went out and got drunk and picked a fight.’

“Wasn´t hard. Smash a few glasses, throw the first punch.’ Mark shrugs, finally opening his eyes. “I don´t suppose you´ll accept it if I say I´m sorry, will you?’

Derek´s hand drops away and he shakes his head. “No.’

Mark nods and straightens up. He can already feel the bruises he´s going to have tomorrow, the way his body is going to ache. “Why are you here?’

“I honestly don´t know,’ Derek says, smiling softly and looking at the house. “I just. I came here. I got in my car and I came here.’

“To kick my ass?’

Derek laughs. “No, you took care of that for me, remember?’

Mark rubs his hand over his face again and digs out the keys from his pocket, staring down at the glinting metal in the moonlight. “You can stay here if you want. You can always stay here. I´ll go. I´ll--’

“I came here because this is where I come,’ Derek says, blinking past a tear, and Mark hadn´t even realized Derek was crying until he saw that. “This is where I come.’

Mark sighs. “Derek.’

“And you took that away from me,’ Derek says, turning to look at him. “You took my wife and you took my place to come, and now I have nothing.’

Mark leans back against the wall again, studying Derek´s face. He´s never seen Derek look like this before, so lost. Not angry, not even sad, just… lost. “Come on, come inside with me, Derek.’

“I don´t have anything left,’ Derek says, staring at Mark´s front door. “I was at the hospital. I… I saved a girl´s life. A five year old girl´s life. I was late because I was saving someone´s life, and I come home to find you fucking my… and now I have nothing left. It´s just all gone.’

“Derek we can get past this. We can, you just have to come inside.’

Derek laughs, loud and hollow and it sends a shiver down Mark´s spine. “Why does everyone keep saying that? We can get past this. Don´t go. If you go, we won´t get past this. We can get past this.’ He turns to look at Mark, shaking his head. “We can´t get past this, Mark. You were my brother and you fucked my wife.’

Mark nods. “I know. I know, Derek, and I know me saying I´m sorry right now doesn´t mean anything, but if you just stay… if you come inside, in the morning it´ll--’

“What? In the morning it won´t look so bad,’ Derek asks, his voice raising. “One day we´ll laugh about this? In the morning I´ll go, oh, ya know, well it´s not so bad. It´s actually kind of funny. Hey, Mark, remember that time you fucked my wife? Oh right! It was yesterday! Ha ha!’

“No,’ Mark says, shaking his head. “No, it´s not funny, I didn´t mean that. I didn´t mean that a good night´s sleep will fix it. I meant that, in the morning we can talk. In the morning when I´m sober and you´re less shocked, maybe I can explain it to you, maybe I can--’

“Explain it to me,’ Derek asks, backing up when Mark reaches for his hand. “What, give me a blow by blow? Tell me how you seduced my wife? How she seduced you? I don´t want details, Mark. I don´t even want to look at you, you make me sick!’

“Then whey the fuck are you here,’ Mark yells back, throwing his arms out. “Why did you come here?!’

“Because when I feel like this, this is where I come,’ Derek yells, stepping forward and jabbing a finger into Mark´s chest. “When I feel like this, when I feel like someone ripped out my gut and my heart and stomped all over it in nine-inch stiletto heels, you are who I come to!’

“Okay,’ Mark says, grabbing Derek´s shoulders firmly in his hands. “Okay then, come inside. I´m still your brother, I´m still your best friend. I fucked up, but we can fix this. We can--’

“There is no we,’ Derek shouts, a vein in his forehead sticking out. “God! What don´t you get?! You´re not my brother, you´re not my best friend, you´re the guy who stabbed me in the back! The guy that I thought would never, ever, hurt me, and you stabbed me in the back! There is no us, there is no we!’

Mark feels like his heart is being ripped away as Derek starts stumbling down the steps to the sidewalk. He leans forward against the podium and watches him walking towards his car, parked crooked and illegally in the street. “Derek!’

“Fuck you, Mark,’ Derek calls, jamming his keys into door of his car, twisting them savagely. “I don´t ever, ever, want to speak to you again.’

Mark watches as Derek turns on the car and squeals out of there fast enough to make black marks on the pavement.

“I´m sorry,’ Mark whispers to the ass end of Derek´s car, and then he turns, unlocks his door, and goes inside.

All feedback much appreciated!
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