So, this started out a short prompt fill for octaviashieldmaiden on tumblr using the phrase "Everything's going to be fine." Then it kind of escalated and 5000 words later, this is the result...
I refuse to apologise though, because I think we Kabby fans are going to need all the happy fic we can get in the next few weeks. So, enjoy ;)
This is dedicated to everyone who loves this ship and the two stubborn idiots involved; I love you guys...
Don't hesitate to let me know what you think :)
"Everything's going to be fine Abby, don't worry…"
The sigh that accompanies the words doesn't actually give her the utmost confidence however, and Abby merely raises an eyebrow at the man beside her to reflect this train of thought. Marcus mirrors the gesture on his own face before continuing.
"You honestly don't trust that I'll be able to teach you this properly?" He waves vaguely towards the rudimentary range in front of them, the quiet echoes of the forest the only other sounds the two of them can hear.
"Oh, I trust you implicitly Marcus," Abby replies, leaning slightly on the tree to her left as she takes in him and the surrounding area. "I just don't understand why you feel I need to know how to shoot a gun; I just don't think it's necessary for…"
She trails off when she sees the stern look on his face, and she watches as he turns towards her, arms folded across his chest. His rifle is slung over his shoulder and Abby glances at it quickly, before returning her focus to his face.
He sighs again, and Abby wonders how long he's had this melodramatic streak in relation to her - probably longer than she realizes…
"It's necessary Abby," he starts, suddenly running a hand through his hair, an air of frustration in his voice, "because the next time you are confronted by Grounders I may not be in the position to save your life. "If, however, you are able to shoot a handgun or a rifle, then… well, I'd just feel a lot better in regards to your personal safety."
She knows he cares and that this is his roundabout way of saying "I want you to be safe if I can't protect you" but she's a healer not a soldier. The thought of actually using a weapon against another person slightly horrifies her; it goes against every instinct she has - she's not like him, can't compartmentalize when faced with the taking of a life. Still, she knows deep down that he's right; she'd only survived the Grounder attack last week because he'd been close enough to hear her scream. She dreads to think what would have happened if he hadn't emerged from the tree line, gun raised and ready to fire, like some kind of ancient movie hero.
Abby shakes her head to rid herself of the worrying thoughts and looks up at him with a new determination.
"Ok," she finally says, turning to face the makeshift shooting range he's set up. "I'll let you teach me."
"You'll let me? Abby, there wasn't really an option here…" he replies under his breath before he moves to stand closer to her again.
She ignores his comment and instead chooses to focus on the area in front of her. They're in a quieter part of the forest, still within the boundaries of the camp, but far enough away that their lesson won't completely disturb everyone else; most of the survivors are still jittery at the sound of gunfire.
"So, what's first?" She asks, impatient. She wants to get this over with as soon as possible.
He smiles, swings the rifle back from over his shoulder and takes it off. Abby watches as he takes out the ammunition clip and puts the safety on before handing it over slowly, the barrel pointed away her. She takes it warily, fully aware of how dangerous this weapon can be. This gun has already taken lives, has saved lives in fact. It has a history, bloody though it is, and she reminds herself not to take its power lightly. It's heavy in her hands and Abby realizes that she expected it to be light, to be almost weightless; a toy…
"First lesson," Marcus says calmly, arms folding over his chest as soon as she takes the gun from his hands, "holding the gun."
Abby rolls her eyes at him, because of course he's going to treat this like guard training and follow every tiny aspect of the process; it's pretty much Marcus' M.O. in relation to anything military. She plays along, knowing that if she doesn't they'll probably end up in another argument.
"It's something like this, right?" She asks, holding the gun up and resting the butt of the gun against her shoulder in an imitation of the position she's seen him use dozens of times. The fingers of her left hand curl around the grip near the barrel while the ones on her right hold the second grip further down the weapon. Her index finger automatically comes to rest on the trigger. It feels uncomfortable.
She holds the position, mainly because she knows that Marcus will be analyzing everything, taking his time to ensure her technique is correct. A few seconds pass while he looks her over, then she feels him move slightly to her right.
"You're almost spot on," he finally says, and Abby feels a rush of something akin to pride. "Apart from this…" he continues, and suddenly she feels his warm hand across the back of her own, fingers reaching round to uncurl her left hand from the fore-grip.
"Your fingers are too high," he explains, as he carefully maneuvers her fingers, altering the grip she has ever so slightly. "If you keep them there and fire the gun you could end up with burns."
She looks at him quizzically. He shrugs and gestures towards the barrel.
"They're old weapons; the barrels tend to get hot quickly. If your fingers are too high on the grip and rest directly underneath the barrel, they'll be in contact with the hot metal. Hence, burns. It's not an uncommon injury in trainee guards if I'm honest; usually it takes a couple of painful lessons before they remember."
He smiles almost weakly, and Abby isn't sure whether his instructions to move her fingers straight away were because he thought she was better than trainee guards, or if he thought her incapable of learning a lesson if she needed to. Regardless, she nods and flexes the fingers of her right hand slightly, getting them used to the new and unfamiliar position.
"Now," Marcus suddenly mutters next to her ear, and Abby almost jumps at his proximity. He's moved slightly so he's standing behind her and leaning down to talk to her, his chin almost resting on the shoulder where the gun is pressed. "This is the sight," he says, moving his right arm round and tapping a piece of metal on the top of the gun. "It's used to help you aim at a target."
"Ok," Abby replies, and shifts the gun slightly to she can see straight down the circular piece of metal. She notices that there is a faint line that runs through it, a line that continues down the barrel.
"Try not to squint," Marcus comments, his voice close, his breath fluttering against the skin of her neck. Abby studiously ignores the shiver that runs down her spine at his tone. "If you squint you're less likely to be accurate when you take the shot."
She nods in understanding and tries to follow his instructions. He doesn't move away though, and she suddenly finds it difficult to breath. This whole thing is really turning out to be a bad idea…
"Good," he says quietly as he watches her shift her position slightly, and then he seems to take a tiny step closer. "Now we just need to work on your stance. Keep the gun up and I'll help you move; your hips are in the wrong place."
"My hips?" she questions, raising an eyebrow. He eyes her warily, his gaze drifting down her body slowly then back up again.
"Yes," he replies simply after he finishes his appraisal, and it's all the answer she receives before he moves out of her sight. She turns her head to find him, but he just mumbles a husky "turn around" and Abby follows his instruction straight away. She closes her eyes briefly as she senses him move closer behind her, feels the hard plane of his chest hit her back as she sways slightly.
Neither of them moves for several seconds, and Abby can feel his breath tickle her neck, the heat as he exhales causing her to take a shaky breath of her own. Marcus must notice her reaction before the next thing she hears is a slight gasp from him, but he covers it quickly with a cough.
Then, after more drawn out and tension filled seconds, she feels his hands skim down her sides to rest on her hips. The heat of his skin seeps through her shirt and Abby feels goose bumps trail up her arm despite the muggy heat of the forest. Marcus spreads his fingers out over the fabric of her shirt and she feels them flex slightly, as if the contact with her body has caused a subconscious impulse in the usually stoic man behind her.
She tenses reflexively, unused to feeling him this close; all too aware in that moment of the effect he seems to be having on her… when did they go from enemies to friends to this?
"Now Abby," he chuckles in her ear, hands still on her hips, his grip tightening ever so slightly, "you need to relax."
"I am relaxed," she replies quickly, trying to ignore the flush that spreads across her cheeks. She can still feel his chest against her back, the touch increasing every time he takes a breath. It's incredibly distracting. She wonders if she's having the same effect on him…
"Liar," he mutters darkly, and she distinctly feels him release a breath across her ear. She jumps back on reflex and hits him square in the chest with her body. His hands remain steadfast on her hips though, the strength of his grip enough to ensure she doesn't move too far.
"You see," he continues, voice low in her ear, thumbs rubbing against her shirt, "you're too tense; you have to relax, let the gun become almost an extension of yourself, to become a part of you."
"Marcus, that sounds completely idiotic, even from you," she comments without thinking, and suddenly, in the space of a second, she's backed against the nearby tree, the gun on the floor at their feet, released from her grip in the shock of his actions. Marcus has spun her around using the hands at her hips and, before Abby can react, he's looming over her, face inches from her own. His hands have moved to take up a position by her head, thumbs tapping against the bark in a rhythm that seems deliberate; a calming method for him almost.
"If you're not going to take this seriously Abby," he growls, voice low and rough as it reaches her ears, "then tell me now and we can forget the whole thing. I'm not wasting my time if you're going to mock me."
Abby feels enclosed in his embrace, trapped but not in danger. The position is intimate as they stand there, suddenly silent, in the dense forest. Everything shifts in that one moment, and Abby finds that she's terrified of the implications. She can't really process what he's saying, her focus on the slight stubble on his chin and the look of anger and frustration in his eyes.
"I'm not mocking you," she mutters eventually, her voice having returned after a few calming breaths.
"Then prove it," he answers abruptly in return, and Abby watches as his eyes scan her face and then suddenly drop to her mouth. Abby sucks in a shaky breath, hopes that he doesn't hear it. He doesn't appear to, his focus still on her slightly parted lips.
"I will," she whispers, voice quiet as his eyes snap back to hers. Marcus leans forward slightly and Abby thinks, just for one second, that he intends to kiss her. They remain silent for another few seconds before Marcus seems to snap out of his reverie and moves back slightly. His hands come off the tree and fall to his side. Abby immediately misses the closeness of his presence. She almost hates herself for it…
"Good," Marcus finally says, shaking his head and taking a full step back. He bends down and picks the rifle back up, checking it over quickly before handing it back to her. "Where were we?"
Abby sighs, releasing the breath she hadn't realized she was holding. Clearly the moment has gone and they're back to the lesson; she isn't sure whether she's disappointed or relieved. She thinks it's a combination of the two.
"You were telling me I needed to relax, that my stance was wrong." She ignores the flutter in her chest, refuses to acknowledge whatever this is right now…
Abby sighs and moves the gun swiftly back up to a firing position before he can reply - her stance as close to her previous one as before. Abby wonders if he'll put his hands on her again or if he'll just direct her. She's feeling conflicted; aches for his touch but wants to maintain the distance out of fear and the unknown.
He does touch her again, fingers tracing back over her shirt, but his touch seems hesitant this time, as if he isn't sure what's happening himself. Abby forces herself to relax, to let him guide her hips and body into a correct stance. She feels the tension leave her shoulders as she takes a deep calming breath, only for it to be replaced by a pull low in her stomach as Marcus moves her hips and presses into her back in order to adjust her arms. Honestly, at this rate, all this unnecessary touching is going to drive her insane…
She can feel his chest against her shoulder blades, their height difference enough to ensure that, while he doesn't tower over her, he's tall enough to make her feel safe. When he's satisfied that she's got the correct stance and understands the best position for her arms, he moves from behind her to her right and slightly facing her.
"There'll be a small amount of recoil when you shoot it," he explains, lifting one hand to the top of the gun to point it towards the ground, and raising the other to place gently against an area just below Abby's right collarbone where the butt of the gun had previously rested. His fingers feel hot through her shirt, but Abby ignores it. "It'll be like a kick," he continues, fingers tapping ever so slightly over the fabric of her top. "Right about here…"
"Right," she says, not entirely taking the information in, her focus now solely on the feel of his fingers tapping against her shirt. Something has shifted in the last few minutes, and Abby wonders what's going to happen between them; is now the moment that they're going to face whatever's been between them the last few months. Abby contemplates what being in a relationship with Marcus Kane would actually be like; would he be commanding like in the way he rules and receives respect from the survivors? Or would he be gentle, thoughtful; like he was when he rescued her following the Exodus disaster. Abby closes her eyes and remembers the touch of his fingers through her shirt, wonders what his touch would be like on her bare skin instead…
Her runaway thoughts are enough of a distraction to cause Marcus to notice, but he doesn't comment. Maybe he's just as wary of whatever this is as she.
"You have to lean into it," he says next, and Abby nods in understanding, shaking her head to rid herself of the confusing thoughts and refocusing her attention on the task at hand.
"Here," he says, taking a step back and signaling her to pass him the weapon. Abby does so and she watches as he replaces the ammunition clip and flicks the safety off in a series of smooth and well-practiced motions.
She takes a quick step to the side and leans against the tree as he takes up a shooting position. He seems comfortable with the weapon, at ease with the power he holds in his hands. She suddenly understands why, as she watches him focus down the sight towards the makeshift target; this was his gun, and he wields it with as much confidence as she wields a scalpel. Defense was his forte; the gun, like he'd tried to get her to understand earlier, a part of him. His whole demeanor seems to change as he moves the gun in his hands; it causes the flutter to return to Abby stomach as she takes in the complete picture of the man in front of her…
"You need to focus on the target," he says, bringing her attention back to what they're doing. He's ready to shoot, and he raises his head slightly to indicate that she should follow his line of sight. "The best place to aim is the torso. It's the largest part of the body and therefore the easiest to hit."
Abby nods and watches Marcus take a breath and fires the gun at the target. The gunshot is loud and she flinches as the noise echoes in the forest around them. A few birds fly out of the trees to her left in fright. She glances at Marcus for a moment then shifts her attention to the crude target further down the range. There is a dark hole in the middle of the chest; a direct hit.
"Impressive," she says, smiling at him. Abby realizes that she means it.
He shrugs slightly at her and returns her soft smile. He acts like it isn't a big deal; she figures for him it probably isn't.
"I try," is all he says in reply. His tone isn't arrogant, just self-assured; he knows he's good at this, that he's the best soldier the camp has. There'd been a reason he was Head of Security back on the Ark. Abby suddenly comprehends that she has never really respected the ability of the man before her; had always treated him as a bully with a weapon rather than the exemplary soldier that he is.
Marcus flicks the safety back on almost casually and passes her the gun back, encouraging her to get into a shooting stance. Abby focuses on getting herself in the right position and smiles when Marcus moves away and stands calmly at her side.
"Great work Abby; I knew you'd pick this up quickly."
She isn't sure how to feel about his confidence in her new found talent for handling weaponry, because it's still a gun, still a deadly weapon, and Marcus is essentially teaching her how to kill someone. But she can't help that rush of pride from flowing through her again. Her mixed feelings on the subject must show on her face because Marcus is suddenly next to her again.
"Everything's going to be fine," he says. "Don't think of it as a person."
"That's a bit difficult when it's shaped like a person," she replies darkly, rolling her eyes at him.
"Imagine it as one of your training dummies from your lab on the Ark," he answers, arms now folded across his chest.
"Still human shaped Marcus," Abby reminds him, letting out a sigh of frustration. The conflict builds up in her again; she shouldn't be learning how to do this…
"It'll be fine, trust me."
"Yes, you keep saying that." She tries not to put too much of her frustration into her words, but judging by the look on his face she isn't exactly successful.
Instead of anger, however, Marcus merely shrugs half-heartedly.
"I thought it would be helpful, reassuring…"
She turns and scowls at him, the gesture not quite reaching her eyes.
"Well it isn't."
He raises his hands in mock surrender and takes a small step back, finally giving her some space to breathe properly. This is important she reminds herself; if she doesn't learn to do this then she could get hurt, or someone else could get hurt – Marcus could get hurt. It's a necessary evil, a skill she needs to survive on earth. Abby decides she'll analyze the required shift in her morality later on; now she has to concentrate.
She takes another calming breath and focuses her attention down the sight, aims at the target he's set up a few feet away. It's still a crude outline of a person but the intention is there; hit the man, not the tree, hit the man, not the tree…
After several agonizing seconds she pulls the trigger more forcefully than she probably should, and Abby jumps at both the noise from the gun and the immediate pain she feels as the gun recoils, the butt of the weapon impacting her shoulder with more force than she was anticipating. Marcus is there immediately when he hears her gasp of pain, his hands moving to take the weapon from her hands to make it safe. Abby doesn't even register if her shot even hit the tree.
Marcus slings the gun over his shoulder as he moves his hands to her shoulders, checking her over.
"Are you ok?"
Abby nods, offering him a half smile while rubbing her painful shoulder.
"Yeah, I'm fine. That recoil's a bitch though."
"I did warn you," he comments, rolling his eyes as she scowls at him again. "And I seem to recall telling you to lean into it."
He moves to stand behind her once more and he encourages her to lift the gun again. It's becoming second nature her now, the stance, the sight, the feel of the weapon. Maybe she could get used to this after all. She tries not to let the thought worry her.
"Now," Marcus says from behind her, his voice quiet, calm, reassuring, "I've put the safety back on because I want you to practice pulling the trigger."
"Oh now come on Marcus," she says, frustrated, "it can't be that difficult…"
"Says the woman who's currently nursing a sore shoulder," he admonishes softly. "You didn't squeeze the trigger Abby, you pulled it without thinking through the process. As a result you weren't prepared for the kick back."
His arms suddenly wrap around her before she has a chance to respond, and his left hand comes to rest on hers. His right does the same and Abby feels like she's been caught in a strange backwards hug – it's nice, and completely distracting. Marcus' right index finger stretches out over her own, and Abby sighs as she feels skin on skin again. This shouldn't be affecting her like this; he shouldn't be affecting her like this. Clearly he's doing this on purpose; she's pretty sure he didn't wrap his arms around all the men he's trained over the years…
"Now," he whispers in her ear, his finger still rubbing slightly over her own. Abby isn't sure he's aware of his own actions. "You need to squeeze the trigger gently, a light touch, not forced. You almost need to stroke it…"
"Ok," she replies quietly, but she doesn't move, doesn't dare. His words cause her to suddenly imagine him stroking her, his fingers tracing lines across her body and she takes a sharp breath at the pure want that rushes through her.
Marcus, however, seems unaware of her wandering thoughts and apparently mistakes her distraction for hesitation.
"Here, I'll help you," he finally says, and suddenly she can feel his finger pressing lightly over her own, forcing the trigger to depress lightly. There's no noise – the safety's still on after all – but she feels the 'click' of the trigger hitting it's mark within the gun. It's the only sound she can focus on that isn't Marcus' breathing in her ear.
"Again." His voice is nothing more than a whisper, but Abby feels the telltale flutter in her stomach again; what the hell is he doing to her?
She squeezes the trigger without hesitation then, fingers moving under his own as if to prove a point to the man that presses against her back.
He asks her to repeat the movement twice more before he's seemingly satisfied, and he removes his arms from around her. Abby notices, however, that he doesn't step back straight away. She watches as he flicks the safety off and they both wait, the gun seemingly forgotten. She leans back into him, almost desperate to feel him against her; it's all escalated so quickly, but she can't bring herself to care…
"Abby," he whispers again, and she has a feeling of de ja vu as his breath ghosts against her neck.
"You can't lean on me when you fire," he says, and his words shake her from her thoughts.
She moves forward slightly then, away from him. Marcus seems to take the hint and steps back too, much to Abby's relief. She takes another deep breath and aims, trying to remember all his warnings and instructions and then waits, breathes… fires.
The gunshot is as loud as the one before it, but Abby finds she doesn't flinch as much this time round. The bullet hits the target with a loud crack and she feels adrenaline rush through her when she realizes she's hit her mark.
"I did it!" she exclaims happily, her previous concerns about shooting such a powerful weapon forgotten. She spins and smiles broadly up at Marcus, who is a few feet behind her, arms folded across his chest again. He smiles down at her, ears gleaming in appreciation.
"Congratulations Abby," he chuckles, gesturing towards the tree, "you successfully shot your enemy's left elbow; the Grounders shall be running to the hills telling tales of your prowess and…"
He stops when she steps forward and shoves him in the chest lightly, and he moves to grip her wrists in an instant, holding her still, eyes black and focused entirely on her. It's a heady experience, Abby recognizes, and she wonders if she's in over her head.
Marcus backs her slowly towards the tree again and Abby almost buzzes in anticipation; the lesson temporarily forgotten and the focus now entirely on them and the tension that seems to fill their every interaction. Her back hits the rough bark of the tree and Marcus immediately lets go of her wrists, smirking down at her, eyebrow raised in what she assumes is a challenge.
She doesn't move however, doesn't make a comment, despite her desperation to break the tension. Whatever this is, she's unsure which of them needs to make the final move; she thinks it should be him, but Abby isn't entirely sure. Marcus moves then, leans towards her and ghosts his fingers over the gun that is draped haphazardly over her shoulder. He flicks the safety on again and moves his hand to grip the strap of the gun, fingers running it slowly down her arm. He doesn't break eye contact as he takes the gun from her and drops it carefully at their feet; out of sight, out of mind, she figures.
In the next second he's leaning in again and Abby watches his gaze fall to her lips once more. A delayed adrenaline rush sweeps through her and she's not entirely sure how she should feel. Abby knows, however, exactly what she wants.
"Marcus," she whispers, running her hand up his arm to rest at his elbow, drawing his attention back to her. His breath has quickened, matching her own and his eyes are dark. She's suddenly glad to realize that she's not the only one affected by this.
"Marcus," she says again when he doesn't reply, and this time she sees him swallow, Adam's apple bobbing in his throat almost in slow motion. He seems to take an eternity to answer her, and even then, no words come from his lips.
"Mmm?" he hums in reply, eyes still focused solely on her.
"I really think you should kiss me right now…" Her voice is low, seductive and Abby knows it. So does Marcus, judging by the look that flashes across his face. She resists the urge to hit him as he raises an eyebrow at her again.
"Seducing the teacher Abby? I'm sure there are rules against that…"
"Oh shut up Marcus," she whispers, running her fingers up and down his arm, the tips tracing patterns on the soft leather of his jacket. "What the hell do you call what you've been doing for the last half an hour?"
"Me?! I've maintained nothing but a professional outlook on the situation…" The smug look on his face is enough to make her laugh and Abby has no hesitation in moving her hands up to his hair, fingers resting softly on the back of his head.
"Bullshit," she whispers as she gives up all pretenses of being offended and pulls him down for a kiss.
He reacts as soon as his lips touch hers and Abby finds herself pressed into the bark of the tree as he deepens the kiss almost immediately. Her hands drop to her side while his own come to rest on her hips, echoing their position from earlier.
The next couple of minutes pass slowly, with neither of them dominating the embraces between them, but both determined to draw out whatever emotions they're now exploring. Abby suddenly feels the effect she is apparently having on him, revels in it and she smiles wickedly under his lips as she presses against him. Her actions cause him to moan, deep and husky in her ear and his grip tightens slightly on her hips in response.
"Abby," he practically growls at her, moving his head to kiss his way down her throat, "play fair…"
"Be honest Marcus," she mutters then, nipping slightly on his earlobe, "this was your intention all along."
He chuckles in her ear, and shifts again, head coming up to allow him to kiss her deeply. This time it's his turn to draw a moan from her throat as his fingers slide under her top and rest on her waist. Abby shivers as he rubs her skin gently.
"Not initially," he confides as he pulls back slightly and smiles down at her, "but then you were holding the gun and had this look about you and I just couldn't seem to help myself…"
"I'm concerned that you have a weapons fetish Marcus," she says good-naturedly, as if seeing him holding the same weapon hadn't had a similar effect on her.
"Only in relation to you Abby," he chuckles, pushing her back against the tree once more. She feels his hardness again and groans, hand moving instinctively to pull him nearer; suddenly he's not close enough, and she wonders if this was inevitable from the start.
"Y'know," she mutters as his fingers move to lift her shirt from her body, "I'm thinking that I've not quite got the hang of this shooting thing; I may need more help…"
"Oh yes," he agrees, voice low and gruff in her ear, breath hot against her cheek, "I think lots of private lessons are required – every afternoon in fact; maybe even mornings and evenings too..."
She laughs then, and pulls him down for another kiss. This time it's not as heated, and it seems that something has shifted once more. Abby finds that she doesn't mind in the slightest.
Marcus suddenly lifts her up against the tree and encourages her to wrap her legs around his waist. Abby reflects, as she moves her arms around his shoulders to support herself, that she isn't really sure what a relationship with him will be like. She is, however, incredibly eager to find out…