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[ in that moment ]
The pain of the memories of him and Addison being happy, and in love, and then not are dwarfed by the pain of the memories of him and Mark. Playing in the playground, doing homework together. Derek´s first big crushing breakup. Mark´s first love. Derek´s prom disaster. Mark´s pregnancy scare.
There´s a saying and it goes something like this: lovers come and go but friends are forever. Except when they´re the reason that the lovers go.
And this was worse. This was Derek´s wife.
But there´s a moment in that hall when none of that matters. The past is shit and the present is all there is and Derek needs him. He needs Mark like he hasn´t since he was sixteen and Julia dumped him for the football jock. Because Derek was always the one falling apart and Mark was always the one picking up the pieces in his big meaty paws and putting them back together with porn and beer and jokes that fall flat.
He knows Mark´s there before he even hears the footsteps in the hall. Knows that´s Mark´s legs underneath those scrubs, that´s his arm coming down as Mark bends to sit.
The overwhelming relief. The way inside his head Derek thinks now I can fall apart. It´s okay to fall apart now. Mark will put it back together.
And it pisses him off. It pisses him off then and it´ll piss him off later even more that Mark still means this much to him. That all Mark has to do is be there for Derek to feel like maybe he can breath again.
All he wants to do is lean into him. Feel Mark´s arm go around his shoulder and listen to Mark try to say the right things and fail, miserably. For Mark to open his mouth and have nothing come out because he knows, still, even now, that all Derek wants is for him to just sit there, just be there.
He´s not there yet though. There´s still all that anger and hurt and betrayal sitting right there in his gut. Anger that gets stronger even as he feels relief because he wants to be there, so bad, to be able to give in, but he can´t. Not yet.
And it´s the first time he´s thought that since he walked in on them. It´s the first time he´s thought not yet, because that means maybe one day. That means he´s not there now, but one day he might be.
But it´s too much to deal with because Meredith might be dead, she might be dead or worse. She might have brain damage. Meredith might never be Meredith again, and he doesn´t know how to deal with that.
So Mark sits there next to him, the ghost of his hand on Derek´s arm still warm, and Derek lets him.
It´s not enough, but it´s enough for now.