Summary: Addison challenges Mark to sixty days of celibacy. Seriously, who are they trying to kid?
Fandom: Grey’s Anatomy
Spoilers and/or Warnings: (if applicable) Uncouth language, ribaldry
Original Story: Sixty Days is a Long Time, by bessemerprocess
Mark’s been working at Seattle Grace for a couple of months now, so he feels he’s done enough observation to categorically state that most of his coworkers are a little bit crazy. That’s not a value judgment on his part – he sold off a thriving and lucrative private practice to come teach idiot interns because he missed his best (only) friend, which has got to be considered crazy by at least some people.
When Addie makes her little bet (she’s definitely been spending too much time with interns... and, okay, probably Derek too), Mark starts a countdown in his head. It’s not until a couple of weeks later that he realizes it’s also a count up from the exact starting point that all of his coworkers went completely insane.
“I need you to come over to Meredith’s house,” Derek says on Day-Fifty-Seven-shading-into-Day-Fifty-S
Derek’s voice is shaking, so Mark bites back his first couple of responses (Are you high? Do you know what time it is? What the hell are you even talking about? and an entirely inappropriate teenaged-girl Omg you called me! that he will never, ever admit to) and just says “Okay, give me directions.”
He arrives to find Derek sitting on the floor of Meredith’s bathroom, clothes rumpled and hair sticking up in all directions, surrounded by cardboard boxes and what appears to be the contents of Meredith’s bathroom cabinets.
“Meredith stopped swimming and let herself sink when she went into the bay because she didn’t want to fight for life anymore,” Derek says dully. “She says she feels better now, but...” he gestures disconsolately at the floor. “I thought it would be good if I tidied up a little.”
“Okay,” Mark says, using his special talking-to-mentally-altered-people voice, “so you’re trying to get rid of all the dangerous stuff. I can help with that, that’s okay...” He trails off because oh my god, Derek confiscated a box of tampons? What is that, a choking hazard? And does Derek really, in his heart of manly hearts, want to take away Meredith’s razor, even if she is suicidal? “How about you sit there for a minute and clear your head, and I’ll start sorting?”
An hour later, Derek’s curled up asleep on the bathmat and Mark’s mostly finished dealing with the mess. He leaves Derek where he is (best friend or not, it’s four in the fucking morning on his fucking night off) and goes and crashes on somebody’s bed across the hall.
Of course, a week later Meredith isn’t talking to Derek any more. Mark’s not sure if it was Derek’s pathological hovering that did it or Meredith’s dark twisty insides (Cristina Yang’s phrase, not his, diligently reported to him by Derek), but whatever the cause the end result is Derek at his kitchen table at (of course) four in the morning, getting drunk on Mark’s really good whiskey while Mark tries to look attentive and like best friend material and above all to not fall asleep in the middle of Derek’s extremely important and heartfelt recitation of all the reasons he’s worried about Meredith.
Eventually Derek winds down, head on the table, mumbling something about how he used to like ferry boats, and Mark hauls him off to bed.
“You’re giving me your bed?” Derek says, sounding touched, as he leans sloppily against Mark.
“Yeah. It’s because I love you just that much.” Mark gives it a sarcastic twist, but Derek’s not listening. He dumps his best friend on the bed, on top of the covers (he absolutely refuses to tuck Derek in, he has some dignity left) and spends the rest of the night on the couch, polishing off the whiskey.
The thing about Mark and Derek and Addison is that it’s a love triangle. Not a love triangle like most people mean, with two guys in love with the same girl or two girls in love with the same guy or whatever – those are really more love angles when you get down to it.
But him and Derek and Addison – yeah. That goes both ways in all three directions, thanks to the sleep deprivation of med school.
He and Derek were there first, as friends and then friends-with-benefits and he does love Derek, if you’re going to get all Lifetime about it. He doesn’t really care if it’s buddies or fuck buddies – he’ll take it if he can get it because Derek is really pretty fucking amazing in bed, pun completely intended - but if it comes down to it he can scratch the itch in other ways (thank you, Addison). Friendship, for him, is a lot rarer, and a lot more valuable.
Then Addison came along and God, who wouldn’t love Addie? Mark was all for a threesome if he hadn’t thought it would have messed everything up... although as it turned out that might have actually been the way to go, because the truth is no matter how much he liked Addison and how much she liked him back, when they slept together they were both mostly just missing Derek. And yeah, there was probably a bit of wanting to punish him, as well, for choosing medicine and his patients over them. They’ve both got a bit of the dark and twisty thing going on too, it would seem.
If it can’t be the three of them any more, he’s willing to take whichever one of them will have him, because the truth of the matter when you really get right down to it is that they’re the best (only) friends he’s ever had, especially now that most of Derek’s family isn’t speaking to him any more.
By the time Meredith calls a meeting of the Dirty Mistress’ Club, Mark’s feeling just self-loathing and self-destructive enough to go. They spend the night at Joe’s with several bottles of tequila for company while Meredith fills him in on hospital gossip. George isn’t talking to Izzy, Izzy’s baking for comfort again (which she apparently also did after Denny died) and has made fifty-four muffins in the last six days, which in turn has led to the discovery of Alex’s unexpected coconut allergy. Alex spent the whole night alternately puking and making Izzy cry, so now no-one’s talking to him either. Also, Addison told Bailey that Meredith tried to drown on purpose and now Meredith is convinced she’s being followed by an assortment of psych nurses.
Halfway through Mark has to start making diagrams to keep up, and an hour and a bottle of tequila later, the Dirty Mistress’ Revised Relationship Flowchart of McDoom, Seriously (named some time around the bottom of Bottle Two, when it seemed like a good idea) has expanded to fill three napkins and part of Mark’s shirt and Mark’s thisclose to hauling Meredith into the bathrooms or the back alley or something for a Dirty Mistress’ Consoling and Healing McSex Session, Seriously. He actually has his hand on Meredith’s arm and is starting to drag her to her feet when he catches sight of a redhead at the bar.
It’s not Addison, of course, but the night abruptly loses its fun anyway. Mark pours Meredith into a cab and sends her home for some Hangover Muffins and is totally intending to go home himself and sulk. He's therefore very surprised to regain consciousness the next morning, monstrously hungover, on Addie’s kitchen floor.
Addison is not very amused, not even when Mark tells her he’s dutifully turned down sex with Meredith and with a redheaded nurse named Olivia who he’s certain would be quite frisky (he decides to leave out all the flirting he’s been doing with the ladies in Accounting – really, he’s just keeping his options open because if this deal falls though he’s going to need some therapeutic sexual encounters to aid him in his recovery).
“But I was impaired!” Mark protests. “My judgment was impaired and I still kept up my side of the bargain! That’s got to count for double days at least.”
“I would be more impressed by that if you weren’t keeping up your side of the bargain by vomiting all over my front step and passing out cold on my kitchen floor at three in the morning,” Addie says frostily.
Mark winces. He’s pretty sure she isn’t exaggerating about the vomit.
“Also, your cell phone has been ringing constantly for the last two hours. The next time you go get drunk, put it on vibrate first!”
Mark’s actually too hungover to make any vibrator jokes, but he resolves to think of some good ones when his head has stopped trying to fall off.
The phone calls all turn out to be from Derek, who is panicking because Meredith never showed up for work. Mark gets him almost all the way calmed down by explaining the tequila and the inevitable hangover, and then blows it all by saying “Although if her hangover’s as bad as mine, she probably wishes she were dead.”
Derek makes a panicky whimpering noise and hangs up, probably to run straight over to Meredith’s house and hover pathetically. Mark considers, for a moment, calling back to try and talk Derek down, and then he decides that he feels disgusting and really can’t bring himself to care about Derek And Meredith’s Epic Romance.
He goes home and goes to sleep.
He only gets a few hours of shuteye and then he’s woken up by Derek, who lets himself in and then stands awkwardly in the hallway and says, “Meredith kicked me out. Can I stay here tonight?”
Mark blinks at him for a moment, trying to wake up enough to process. “Why can’t you stay in your trailer?”
Derek looks even more awkward, if such a thing were possible. “Will you come with me?”
Mark gives in. He hates that damn trailer, plus he likes that Derek came to him and not Addison or someone completely random, like Burke.
Besides - it’s what best friends do.
“All right. You can take the couch.”
Derek only sleeps over that one night, but he starts talking to Mark more at the hospital and even hanging out with him after work. Mark spends half his time happy and the other half wondering when he turned into a thirteen-year-old girl, but in the end he decides to just stop thinking and enjoy it. Even when Derek spends their entire lunch break filling him in on all the hospital gossip (Derek and Meredith still aren’t speaking, but George and Izzy have made up because Addison told Callie that Alex said all Izzy’s issues were really about Denny and not about Callie at all, and that apparently fixed everything, but then Cristina and Burke got into such a knock-down drag-out brawl outside the OR it had to be broken up by Bailey and Derek suspects the wedding is off), Mark feels weirdly... content. Spending time with Derek makes it easier to ignore the legion of hot nurses that seem to have descended onto the hospital like a plague since Addie instituted her sixty days of celibacy.
Thirty days left, and he feels like he’s golden. At twenty he stops waiting for it all to fall apart spectacularly and starts to relax. This turns out to be a mistake, of course, but then he really should have known better anyway, because on day twenty he comes home from the hospital to find Derek in the kitchen holding on to a bottle of crappy vodka like he’s expecting someone to take it away from him.
“Jesus, what happened?”
Derek gives him a defiant look. “Cristina and Burke have called off the wedding, George and Callie are having doubts about their marriage, and Meredith still isn’t speaking to me.”
And okay, that’s a depressing commentary on romance and commitment, but nothing Mark hasn’t already been told about or figured out on his own. He goes over and leans against the kitchen counter next to Derek and waits for him to fill the silence.
Sure enough, Derek sighs, takes a swig of vodka, and says, “I walked in on Meredith and some guy having sex in the on-call room.”
Which unfortunately still isn’t news to Mark – he’s seen enough to know Meredith’s been having sex with several inappropriate men since she stopped talking to Derek – but he was kind of hoping Derek wouldn’t figure it out.
Derek takes another swig of vodka, slams the bottle down on the counter, and kisses Mark right on the mouth.
Mark freezes for a moment, because Derek is drunk, still in love with Meredith, and Mark’s sixteen days away from sex with Addison, and then he thinks Fuck it and kisses Derek back.
It’s definitely not the best sex they’ve ever had – Derek’s stumbling over his own feet and reeks of cheap alcohol, and Mark’s been sex deprived for nearly forty-four days – but it feels comfortable and familiar and fantastic anyway. Derek passes out almost immediately afterwards but somehow manages to steal most of blankets and Mark’s feeling kind of hungry and doesn’t care enough to do anything about it, so he just sort of drapes himself over Derek and falls asleep.
It’s just like the best parts of college, at least until Derek rolls over the next morning, says blearily “What are you doing in my bed? Are you drunk?” and then pukes all over everything. But even that is pretty familiar, and Mark honestly doesn’t care about it. Life for the moment is good, and he’s decided to enjoy it while it lasts, so he makes Derek clean up the bed, waits until he’s brushed his teeth, and then makes out with him against the bathroom sink, which takes care of all the morning-after awkwardness pretty well if Mark does say so himself.
Derek seems to agree, because he comes over the next night without being asked, and the next, and in about a week he’s got a toothbrush in Mark’s bathroom and Mark’s got so many endorphins running through his system he doesn’t even think of Addie’s sixty days until a few days before the deadline, when he promptly feels like a total asshole.
He has no idea what he’s going to say to Addie. Obviously he’s failed pretty spectacularly with his end of their agreement, but he really doesn’t want to tell Addison he’s been cheating on her with her ex-husband. It’s too much like something out of a bad soap opera.
He takes to avoiding Addie at the hospital. He’s terrified that if he runs into her she will mention the deal and he’ll have to say something back, or maybe she’ll come up to him angry and hurt because Derek’s inadvertently spilled the beans.
In the course of avoiding Addison, of course, he winds up running into the Chief, who wants to tell him personally that he’s decided not to resign. Before Mark can really get over how his day has now been completely ruined by a totally unexpected source, he’s distracted by Addie laughing hysterically down the hall by the janitor’s closet. In the mood for something funny and convinced that his day can’t possibly get worse, Mark goes off to investigate.
He arrives at about the same time as Alex Karev, and the two of them do an almost identical up-and-down once they see what Addie’s laughing at inside the closet. It is, very unexpectedly, Meredith and Izzy Stevens, mussed and embarrassed and still pretty much naked, although they’re getting dressed with impressive speed.
Mark takes a moment to really enjoy the spectacle.
“Meredith!” Derek says behind him in a shocked tone, and then bolts. Addison and Mark reach for him at the exact same time, somebody trips, and the next thing he knows he’s on the ground and (completely accidentally!) groping them both.
From his semi-upside-down position, he can see the Chief and Bailey staring at them from down the hall. Bailey has her ‘I can’t believe these people are in charge’ expression on, while the Chief merely looks pained. Mark thinks, for the second time in two weeks, Fuck it and takes the opportunity to leer at Addison, who is halfway on top of him, and say “You just couldn’t wait to get me flat on my back, could you?”
Karev takes a half step forward, and the expression on his face is so clearly ‘Get your hands off my woman’ that Mark’s actually taken aback. He looks at Addison, who is in turn looking at the secure grip Mark has on Derek’s ass, and both of them blurt out “The deal’s off, sorry.”
Mark sits up and he and Derek watch as Addison slinks off with Karev, and Meredith and Izzy break cover from the closet and take off in separate directions as fast as possible. Mark sneaks a glance over at Derek, who looks completely stunned. After a moment he turns back to Mark. He doesn’t say anything, and Mark’s starting to feel a little worried, and then suddenly Derek bursts out laughing.
“This is insane, even by Seattle Grace standards!”
Mark has to agree. He peels Derek, still giggling uncontrollably, off the floor, and gives the closet a speculative glance.
“Wanna make out?”
“Okay,” says Derek. “Fuck it, why not?”
Mark decides he’s definitely gotten the best part of the deal, and promptly hauls Derek into the closet.