Author's Note: This is written for untapdtreasure on tumblr who prompted me for a Soul Bond AU months ago. It all started off well, then I got stuck somewhere in the middle and it's taken until the last week or so for the final spark of inspiration to hit.
(Also, a huge shout-out to thebloodwhisperer who put up with my rambling about this and was kind enough to look over it a couple of times and have her feelings destroyed...)

Pairings: Jake/Abby, Marcus/Abby
Warnings: self-harm, mental infidelity (is that a thing?), angst, smut.

Don't hesitate to let me know what you think; feedback is always welcome :)

I hope you enjoy...


"your love is not just written in the stars,
it is woven into the fabric of the heavens, the essence of the cosmos." - soulmate is too weak a word for him, Amrite C.

The first time she hears about the bond is in school. She's 8 years old, staring wistfully out of the window while her History teacher continues to waffle on about Earth, about the traditions that they left behind with the war and the creation of the Ark.

"It was said to be a miracle," Mrs Hemmings utters, nose poking out from the thick textbook she holds in her hands as she wanders around the classroom. Abigail turns her attention back to her teacher, her ears picking out the word'miracle' and clinging to it; she's always been a bit of a dreamer, had listened to ancient mythology with a determined passion as a younger child. She waits, holds her breath, eager to hear about the ways of the Earth before it was destroyed by foolish men.

"The bond was said to be the twinning of two lost souls, mates destined to be are many infamous reported cases throughout the ages; Queen Victoria and her husband Albert of England, Cleopatra and Mark Antony, Pierre and Marie Curie. But what are more famous are the stories of everyday people, those of the general population who were brought together through fate and who stayed together because they became bonded. Each couple had matching marks on their bodies, a sign of their bond, a warning to others to stay away once the bond had been completed."

Abigail looks around the other children in classroom, and notes that everyone else looks just as enthralled in the tale as she is.

"Each bonded couple said they found each other almost by accident, that a random series of events led them to discover one another and to bond with them for the remainder of their lives. Bonded couples never parted, remained together while they lived and mourned deeply and as passionately as they had loved when one half of the couple died."

Abigail closes her eyes, imagines what it would be like to be entwined with someone like that, to be the other half of someone's soul, two parts of a whole. What would it be like to lose half of your very soul when your bondmate died?

She realizes, belatedly, that Mrs Hemmings has been continuing her talk and she's probably missed some vital information about the bond while she's been trapped in her own imagination. Abigail refocuses her attention on her teacher and catches the tail end of the older woman's explanation.

"…unfortunately, with the war on Earth and the relocation of so few people to the Ark, there have been no reported bondings for almost 70 years. Many suspect that the tradition has died out, never to be seen again…"

Abigail immediately finds herself deflating slightly, her enthusiasm for meeting the one and to somehow become bonded dashed in the space of a single sentence. Her gaze returns to the window as she focuses on the stars outside. She puts all thoughts of bonding and soul mates to the back of her mind.

Xx~xX

11 years later

She meets Marcus Kane on a Wednesday in the middle of July. At the time the day doesn't seem significant at all, but oh, how every detail of their initial meeting will stick in her mind for years to come.

It's Jake's idea to introduce them. He and Marcus have been friends for a couple of years, their study rotas coinciding enough that the two of them spend 90% of their time together poring over their respective engineering and history textbooks in the Ark library together. She and Jake have been dating for months now, and Abby loves the man who holds her hand with everything that she has. She doesn't doubt her love for Jake, never has. But when she sets eyes on Marcus Kane she's feels a shift, a nagging irritation in the back of her mind. Abby plays it off as nerves; she's always been slightly wary around new people and meeting one of Jake's closest friends is a big deal in the grand scheme of things.

He's tall, she notes as her eyes appraise him while Jake guides her into the mess hall. He's almost as tall as her boyfriend but there's something about his demeanor that makes him seem more confident than the man at her side. His attitude seems cocky, the way he's leaning back against the wall, arms crossed over his chest looks just too lazy, too practiced, like he knows he's smart and handsome and has no qualms about using his supposed charms to get what he wants. Abby is immediately wary of his causal arrogance, but decides that she shouldn't judge a book by its cover. She quickly realizes she should probably be properly introduced to the man before beginning to cast unjustified aspersions on his character.

"Abby," Jake says, arm stretched around her waist, fingers tapping against her hip in a random yet comforting rhythm. "This is Marcus Kane, the man unfortunate enough to be one of my good friends."

"Hi," Abby mutters as she smiles at Kane and steps away from Jake momentarily. Her hand comes out ready to shake the other mans as he stands up straighter and moves towards her. The difference in height between them is immediately apparent and Abby has to crane her neck a little to look him fully in the eye, just like she has to do with Jake.

"Hey," Kane utters quietly as a greeting, hand reaching out carefully, fingers clasping hers gently. His skin is warm against hers, almost burning and then…

Everything changes in that one instant…

It feels like a lightning strike, right across her palm and through her arm and a tingling sensation rushes up and down her body, from her toes to the top of her head and everywhere in between.

Abby gasps, breath caught in her chest. Jake doesn't catch the sound but Kane does, his confused look matching hers as her eyes widen at the sensation.

Neither of them acknowledge anything vocally, but Abby releases his hand as if she's been burned, her fingers leaving his in an instant.

As soon as her skin leaves his the tingles stop, but Abby can't help but shake her hand slightly, as if relieving a case of pins and needles. The motion earns a look from Jake, although her eyes don't leave Kane's. The man's eyes are dark, wary, hesitation flashing across his features as he studies her. Abby makes a point to try and ignore the way his fingers seem to flex instinctively towards her.

"What's wrong honey?" Jake suddenly asks somewhere in the distance, his voice, she thinks, full of concern. His arm wraps protectively around her waist again and Abby leans into his touch. The gesture from Jake is meant to be a comfort, but now it feels strange, almost awkward; there's no tingle in Jake's touch, no spark or weird sensations. But she loves him and nothing can distract her from that.

Abby can hardly hear Jake as he talks to her though; his voice is muffled and distant, as if she's six feet underwater. She struggles to understand Jake's words, her focus now solely on the man who still stands opposite her, the same man who still seems to be staring at her with the same intent.

Abby's ears pound with every beat of her heart, every breath that she takes. She thinks, if she listens hard enough, she might be able to hear Kane's too…

It takes her a couple of seconds, and a nudge to her shoulder, to eventually acknowledge Jake's repeated question relating to her health. Her eyes finally snap from Kane's and shift instead to her boyfriend. She can still feel Kane's eyes focused on her; it's not as unnerving as it should be.

"Oh, uh, nothing's wrong," she replies softly, voice strained but hopefully reassuring to the man beside her; she hopes Jake doesn't notice her shortness of breath, her distraction. "I just got a static shock from Marcus, that's all…"

Jake narrows his eyes at the two of them, clearly unused to either of them being this quiet in his presence. His hesitation lasts for mere seconds though, his playful nature winning out over his curiosity. Abby clings to him like a life raft, desperate to stay afloat in the uncharted territory she now finds herself. If her nails dig too hard into his forearm in fear he doesn't comment.

"Well, didn't I tell you there'd be sparks between you guys?" Jake jests, laughter seeping into his voice as he speaks. He squeezes Abby gently as he talks, before shifting slightly to slap Marcus good-naturedly on the back.

The other man remains silent, but he does smile slightly, a shy gesture, with just the edge of his mouth lifting upwards as he ducks his head a fraction in response to Jake's statement; Abby feels a lurch in her stomach at the sight, a pull, a deep-seated flash of arousal…

She knows then, in that very instant, that nothing will ever be the same.

When she and Jake leave a short time later, Abby realizes that Marcus had never said another word…

Xx~xX

It isn't until later that evening that she notices anything has changed. She's brushing her hair before bed, attempting to get the knots out after another stressful afternoon of studying in the medical bay. As she pulls her hair up in a bid to place it in a loose ponytail she spots something out of the ordinary in the bathroom mirror, her eyes catching the slightly darkened skin. Abby drops the hairbrush in shock, the noise of it clattering against the metal floor deafening in the silence of the tiny room. She ignores the discarded brush; it's now the least of her worries.

She's always had the birthmark on inside of her wrist, had always ignored it for the most part; it's been a part of her for as long as she can remember, has never been painful. Now though, well, now it tingles and itches as if she's scratched it and taken a layer of skin off. But Abby knows she hasn't, knows that she hasn't felt any sensation in her wrist, her arm, today apart from…

Apart from when she shook Marcus Kane's hand…

Her breath sticks in her chest as she realizes the implication, as she understands that maybe, maybe, her introduction to Kane had deeper implications than even she understood at the time. The spark of electricity, the tingle of feelings that had crept up her spine as her skin had touched his. She studies the mark intently, peering at it in a mixture of fascination and horror. Abby ghosts her fingers over the mark, shivers at the tingles that rush through it as she touches it. The mark has become darker over the course of several hours, a deeper red now coloring her wrist. It's probably not enough of a change for anyone else to notice, but she does.

A memory creeps into her brain, edges its way through the cacophony of thoughts and confusion that's currently clouding her mind…bonding, soul bonding, you are bonded…

"Abby?"

Jake's voice drifts into the bathroom. She senses his concern immediately and curses to herself at her distraction. She shakes her head to try and dispel the last of her wandering thoughts and quickly moves to pick up the long forgotten brush off the floor.

"Honey? Are you okay in there?" His voice is quiet, calm, unsuspecting.

"I'm fine," Abby manages to reply, her own voice surprisingly timid. She coughs slightly and tries again. "It's okay, I just dropped the brush."And apparently became soul bonded to your best friend.

She rubs her fingers over the mark just once more then rushes out of the bathroom and into the arms of Jake, seeking solace and peace. Abby kisses him deeply when she reaches him, smiles into his lips and presses closer when he pulls her over his body on top of the cool sheets. All thoughts of Marcus Kane quickly disappear…

Xx~xX

Abby researches, because she feels that's all she can do; she needs to know more, needs to allay the fears and confusion that niggles in her brain. She leaves Jake behind at their quarters, ignores his confused questions and heads over to the library to dig into the archives.

It takes her 20 minutes to amass all the books and information she can about soul bonding. Abby ignores the old romance novels, the books that almost mock the tradition and the myth of the bond. Instead she reads history books, old newspaper articles, scientific research papers; anything that will reveal the cause of the bond, will reveal just what the hell has happened to her.

She's halfway through a report written in the late 21st century about long distance bonds when she hears determined footsteps echo behind her. Abby freezes, closes her eyes, breathes slowly as a wave of panic rushes over; the flash of electricity from yesterday returns with a vengeance and hits her. Hard.

"You won't find anything useful in there," comes a soft voice from behind her. Abby freezes, not because of the words but because she knows, instinctively, who it is before she's even turned around. The tingle that creeps up her spine at his presence tells her everything she needs to know, confirms her worst fears.

She steels herself to meet his gaze and spins round in the old creaky chair. Her eyes immediately snaps to his and the lurch in her stomach occurs once more.

"How would you know?" She replies accusingly. Abby doesn't intend to sound so aggressive, but she's frustrated by this whole thing, just wants to go back to how her life was the previous morning with her perfect boyfriend and her perfect dreams of marriage and children. Abby longs for the time when she had no idea who Marcus Kane was.

"Because I looked through all of this yesterday afternoon," is all Kane says, shrugging. It's a simple gesture, relatively harmless in the grand scheme of things, but it cements some kind of hatred for him in Abby's confused and overwrought mind. She suddenly loathes the sight of him, wishes she could get away and escape back to her quarters, back to Jake.

"Well, good for you," Abby snaps, voice harsh. Kane doesn't react though, merely sits quietly on the edge of her desk and watches her. Abby senses he was expecting some hostility from her and the fact that he seems nonplussed about her outburst only serves to add to her frustration.

The shy smile from the previous day reappears then and Abby struggles to ignore it, mentally stamps down on the flutter of sensation that rushes up her spine at the sight of it. Kane runs his hand through his hair and rubs the back of his neck before he gestures towards the pile of books and information pads that lie scattered across the desk in front of her.

"It doesn't mean anything you know."

She stares at him then, because she knows that if he'd studied everything the previous day he'd realize that this means everything.

"How can you say that?!" She accuses, voice become loud enough to draw the attention of a couple of other people in the library. Abby ignores their curious gazes and glares at the man before her.

"I can say it because it's true," he states simply, as if it's the most obvious thing in the world. His face is impassive, emotionless, but Abby wonders if he's feeling the pull just as much as she. "You're in a relationship with Jake and I've got no intention of breaking the two of you up; I don't even know you. I'm not sabotaging my best friend's relationship based on some ridiculous ancient Earth tradition."

"But we're the first… no one's seen this," she waves between the two of them vaguely, "for nearly 100 years. This is big Kane." Her voice is imploring, and she has no idea why she is this desperate for him to acknowledge the bond between them; it's not as if it's something she wants after all.

"This is nothing Abby," Kane states in reply and shakes his head at her, dismissing her implication that this warrants more than an afternoon of study in the library. "Just forget about it."

He stands then, seemingly dismissing her and the idea that they're bonded. Abby glares at him again, all the while ignoring the tingle in her wrist at his proximity. He doesn't say anything else, merely turns around and walks away. Abby sighs in relief as the tingles in her body fade.

She turns back to the books in front of her, but gives up trying to find any more information. Instead, she shakes her head and decides to head back the safety and sanctity of Jake.

Xx~xX

She tries to forget about it like he had suggested, tries to ignore the tingle that rushes through her whenever Marcus Kane is nearby. Eventually, after a few frustrating months, it becomes background noise, nothing more than a slight nuisance. At least, that's what Abby manages to tell herself.

In reality, it festers like an itch, an annoyance under her skin that she can't scratch. It manifests at her wrist, at her mark, and eventually she takes to wearing a bracelet to cover it, to distract her from the sign of her permanent bond to one of the most irritating men she's ever met. The constant thrum of arousal, the involuntary shivers, well, she just plays them off as nothing, unwanted consequences of an unwanted bond. It's like Kane said to her months ago:"it doesn't mean anything…"

But it does mean something, because there are times, horrible times, when she's with Jake, when he's deep inside her, making love to her like a loving boyfriend should, when her mind recalls someone else, a man with dark hair and darker eyes. Abby hates the way Jake is so easily replaced on occasion, how the bond, the secret bond she has with Kane, manipulates her emotions. She hates herself for the constant pulls to Kane, but day by day, minute by minute, she works through the awkwardness and the constant pull towards the other man and eventually blocks him out.

It takes most of her concentration on the bad days, but on the good ones Kane barely crosses her thoughts at all…

Xx~xX

Years pass, and she spends a majority of them ignoring the telltale feelings that spread through her every time he enters a room. She treats it instead as an early warning system, a way to avoid him. Still, it doesn't always work and there are times when Abby consciously lingers in a room when he enters, just to feel the the pleasant rush of arousal that sweeps through her as the bond recognizes it's mate. Abby hates herself for the way she can still feel drawn to him after all this time; despite her marriage to Jake, despite the birth of her daughter. It's on those days where she hides in medical during the long working hours and refuses to meet her husband's eye over dinner.

Xx~xX

She and Kane are promoted to the Council of the Ark in the same set of elections and amidst the celebrations she realizes that their positions will now mean that they will have to spend more and more time together. Regardless, Abby carries on as she has since all this started, ignores it in the same way that Kane appears to. Nearly nine years have passed and neither of them have ever mentioned the bond again. She'd researched it every so often, her curiosity winning out over sensibilities on the odd occasion. Abby frequently wonders what happens to couples that refuse the bond, what happens to the ones that ignore the pull, but she's never found any reported cases; she and Marcus Kane are the first.

They both seem to be managing it well, neither of them breaking their cool facades in public, so she rarely gives it another thought. Instead, she continues to play it off as nothing, pushes Kane away, forces herself to turn her occasional frustration over their bond onto him, as if it is his fault that fate had decided to weave their lives, their souls, together intrinsically.

Xx~xX

"Abby, wait!"

Kane's voices drifts through the corridor outside engineering, echoing softly off the barren metal but she ignores him. She can't see him now, can't see anyone now. Clarke is asleep back in their quarters, granted a single night with her mother before she's taken to the Skybox the next morning; at least Jaha had some an ounce of mercy for that.

She sits quietly at Jake's desk, plays idly with his tools as they sit haphazardly on the table. She runs her fingers gently over the papers that lie discarded on the table; unfinished charts and safety checks grace the pages and Abby rests her hands on her top of them, as if the movement will somehow allow her to feel a trace of her now dead husband. She closes her eyes and feels the first, solitary tear fall down her cheek.

Abby senses Kane enter behind her, but she doesn't turn to face him. She knows why he's there, that he feels guilty about his role in Jake's death. Still, it doesn't matter. The familiar feelings that accompany him whenever he's close begin to make their presence known but Abby clamps down on them and refuses to acknowledge them with more determination than she ever has before. The bond can attempt to manipulate her every other day of her miserable life but she has just lost Jake and why should she listen to fate when the love of her life drifts into the dark eternity of space.

"I'm sorry," Kane whispers, reaching out for her slowly as his voice carries to her ear. His tone sounds full of remorse but Abby can't believe it - this is the same man who just let her husband die. Abby attempts to pull her hand away, to create as much space between them as she can; she hates him, loathes him with everything she has and Abby knows she's this close to breaking down completely.

His fingers grasp her right hand however, wrapping softly around her wrist. Abby gasps as the tips of his fingers ghost over her mark and her eyes snap to his. The electricity sparks between them, the same sensation from their first meeting hitting them now just as strongly as it did back then. The pull returns full force and Abby forgets for a single instant that Jake had been floated earlier that day, that Marcus Kane had been responsible for charging her husband with his crimes, that the man that is causing her stomach to lurch with arousal is the same man who sentenced her husband to death. But then her most recent memories return as Abby stamps down on the unwanted feels and instead decides to focus on how much she despises the man who is still clutching her hand.

The strength of her hatred must pass through the bond somehow because Kane shifts immediately, drops her arm instantly, as if realizing justwhathe's done. He stands then, and Abby breathes a sigh of relief as he storms angrily out of engineering without another word.

Abby turns around again and picks up a small screwdriver and tries to ignore the tears that creep down her cheeks.

Xx~xX

Jake's death haunts her for months. Nightmares plague Abby's sleep, terrors involving both Jake and Clarke being forced out of the airlock, of Jaha laughing at her tears, of Kane looking at her with pitying eyes as he presses the button to spend her husband to his death.

The pull is stronger now, as if Jake's demise had been the final obstacle for the bond, that Jake's death had allowed fate to remind Abby that according to ancient traditions, according to fate itself, she belongs to another. She still steadfastly ignores it though, because she knows there will never be another like Jake, that Marcus Kane will never be deserving of her love, despite the bond that they share.

She ignores the bond, ignores Kane, just focuses on surviving.

One night, following a horrific dream where it is she who pushes the button to kill Jake, Abby sits up in her bed, sweat running down her neck and her lungs struggling to take in the air she needs to breathe. She doesn't look at the other side of the bed, the empty side, doesn't acknowledge that Jake isn't there, that he'll never be there again.

Instead, she suddenly scratches at the mark on her wrist in fury and frustration, digs her nails into the deep red skin, doesn't stop until it bleeds. Abby watches the blood drip onto the sheets, follows the trails of crimson as they weave their way across her skin before falling like tears onto the pale cotton that's wrapped around her legs. She hates the fact that her life has come to this, that the bond refuses to leave her alone long enough to mourn, to grieve. Abby hates Marcus Kane more in that moment than she has at any point in the previous 20 years of their acquaintance.

The sobs wrench from her throat and soon salty tears join the drips of blood that mar the sheets that surround her. Abby struggles to control herself, and it takes what seems like an eternity for her to calm down enough to wipe the moisture from her eyes and recover enough of her sanity to understand what it is she's done.

Eventually Abby snaps out of her dazed state and rushes to the bathroom to clean herself up. The wound at her wrist has stopped bleeding, the mark now covered in patchy sections of dried blood, crusty areas that serve as an ugly reminder of the bond she does not want with the man she does not love. The cold water burns her skin as she runs the tap over the wound and Abby winces at the pain, but delights in it at the same time. If she concentrates on the pain she can ignore the pull of the bond. Abby wraps her wrist carefully in a smooth white bandage, changes her sheets for some fresh bedding and attempts to sleep. She succeeds eventually and is relieved when she wakes that the nightmares had failed to plague her again.

She feels Kane's eyes on her as soon as she steps into the control room early the next morning. There's a look of concern in his eyes, but his face remains as impassive as usual. Abby sees him glance down at her wrist, even though the bandage is covered by her long sleeved shirt. She wonders if he knows what she's done, and decides he probably does. She can't bring herself to care though, and so studiously ignores him for the rest of the day. Even so, Abby still feels his gaze linger on her whenever she passes.

Xx~xX

Eventually the nightmares give way to dreams. The first few nights Abby rests peacefully, happy to be free from the tormenting images that have haunted her sleep for weeks on end. It isn't long, however, until her subconscious bends it's will in other ways while she resides in the land of nod.

Since the nightmares have ended she's been hyper-aware of the bond, of the continuing link between herself and Kane. It's been growing stronger since Jake's death, but she's been able to ignore it for the most part, compartmentalize with as much efficiency in her waking hours as she always has. But at night her subconscious rules over all, her sleeping state vulnerable once more to the easy manipulations of the soul bond.

Images play through her dreams, of lust, of passion, of Kane. He plays such an integral part in her dreams that she sometimes forgets they aren't real when she wakes. He kisses her, touches her, loves her in every feasible way. Her dreams play out in graphic detail. Kane fucks her against the mattress in her room, in the middle of the mess hall, in her office in medical. He kisses her passionately in the corridors and whispers sweet nothings to her in the quiet of her bedroom.

She wakes up most nights frustrated and confused, her nightwear sticking to her back from the sheen of sweat that covers her skin and her thighs sticky with the evidence of her arousal.

Her fingers often drift over her breasts, her hips or toy with the waistband of her pants. But they never reach the place where they're needed most, never touch her clit or slip inside her to relieve the tension, the ache, that she feels every time she wakes. Abby is determined to deny the bond the satisfaction, won't allow herself to admit that the connection she has with Kane is growing stronger by the day.

If she notices the same look of frustration on Marcus' face after a particularly vivid dream she refuses to acknowledge it.

The dreams fade eventually, become more and more infrequent, but Abby never forgets the touch of the man in her thoughts who is so distant in reality.

Xx~xX

She tries to track him down after the death of his mother. Abby doesn't know why, but she suspects the bond between them alerts her to the pain he's feeling; there's been a dull prickling in her wrist since he walked away from her earlier. There's a sorrow that's settled in her chest and the low thrum of awareness that usually sparks whenever he's in proximity is now more of an irritating sensation, as if the distance between them is too far and the bond is attempting to rectify it. She wonders if this is what he'd felt like in the aftermath of Jake's death; the desperation to comfort, the insistent urge to seek out the other when they knew they were in pain. It's times like this that she hates the bond more than ever; she's not sure whether the empathy she feels for Marcus now is her own or is merely the bond attempting to manipulate her emotions.

He's in his office when she eventually finds him. Abby hasn't been here often, and rarely alone. Still, Marcus needs someone to check on him, and she's the best candidate right now.

"Marcus?" She whispers softly, breaking the silence of the room. He's quiet and not moving, but at the sound of her voice he turns and looks at her.

Abby pauses, studying him for a brief moment. She's never seen him looking this vulnerable and the sight worries her. He's despondent, quiet. Abby hates it.

"Please," Marcus whispers suddenly, a pitiful look on his face. He's looks like he has no idea what he's asking for; a grieving child lost in the body of a stoic man. It's only been a couple of hours since the bombing, since Abby couldn't do anything for his mother and she knows she needs to act to help Marcus keep his sanity while he mourns.

She reaches out a hand and rests it lightly on his forearm, squeezing it gently in reassurance. He's now leaning back against his desk and the way he holds himself brings him level with her. Abby's so used to him towering over her that it takes her a couple of seconds of contemplation to process the fact he's now several inches shorter.

She steps forward then, decision made. Her hands reach around his back and she steps even closer pulling him into a hug. Marcus' cheek rests against her own as his arms cautiously come around her, copying her position. Abby holds her breath as she feels Marcus suck in a deep, shuddering pull of air and, after a couple of seconds, exhales. The feeling of his warm breath fluttering against her cheek causes her to shiver and goosebumps rise across her exposed skin.

Abby isn't sure whether to feel awkward or relieved at the position they now find themselves in. This is the closest they've ever been, but she suddenly feels the safest she has for an age. She holds him protectively, pulls him closer in a bid to offer him some semblance of comfort.This is what she should have taken from him after Jake's death, this solace, the feeling of safety and comfort. Abby realizes she missed the opportunity to use and abuse the bond to ease the pain she had been feeling in the aftermath of Jake's death and Clarke's arrest. She suddenly feels bitter that he's able to take this from her now, but she'd refused him all those months ago.

His nose nudges her slightly, digs into the soft skin of her cheek. Abby sighs, feels the bond pull at her, begging her to comfort the man that she holds in her arms.

Later she'll wonder how it took them so long.

His lips drift over hers and press gently against her own. There's barely any contact, but as soon as his lips touch hers the bond suddenly awakens. It's as if everything changes in that single moment, that single touch.

Within a few frantic seconds Marcus has her backed against the door of his office, his lips fused with hers. Abby moans under the embrace, her hands reaching for his jacket in a bid to pull him closer. The dull thrum of arousal brightens, sending a shiver down Abby's spine as the bond intensifies as the two halves of one soul finally, finally, give into the underlying tension that has hung above them for years.

There is a sense of relief as Marcus pushes her against the door, as his fingers dig into her hips. Abby knows she'll be bruised in the morning, that the impression of his fingertips will leave a possessive mark seared onto her skin. At that precise moment, however, she can't bring herself to care; everything about this feels so right.

Still, something niggles at her subconscious, even as Marcus' hands slide under her shirt to rest on her exposed waist. The feel of his bare skin against hers sparks a deeper reaction, a more obvious punch of arousal and Abby moans and pulls Marcus tighter against her body. All she wants is to feel him inside her, to complete the bonding process that they've been denying for so long. Why have they waited so long?

Again, doubt presses into her mind as he nips at her ear, wrenching another moan from her throat. Why was she here? There was a reason she came to see… his mother…

"Marcus!" Abby moans in frustration, realizing that now is not the time for this, he should be grieving not attempting to fuck her against his office door. She hates the bond itself now, for manipulating her, for manipulating them both. Clearly moments of emotional distress made them more vulnerable to each other, to the lure of the bond. It was something she'd need to think about carefully in the future.

Marcus moans in her ear, but his hands stop for an instant and he pulls back. His eyes are hooded, pupils wide in arousal. Abby figures the same expression is on her face, and immediately tries not to think about it.

"We need to stop," Abby mutters, leaning her head on his chest before pushing him away. He seems to understand and doesn't protest, just moves back and leans heavily on his desk. His breathing is as rapid as her own and Abby closes her eyes to focus on getting her heart rate under control.

"I'm sorry," Marcus eventually mutters, his voice breaking as he talks. Abby thinks that the reality of the situation has finally kicked in; he's just lost his mother and kissed her like, well, like her soul mate. "I don't know what came over me."

"Well, clearly we both know that's a lie," Abby mutters under her breath, loud enough for him to hear. It isn't meant to be an insult, merely a warning; they need to be more careful in the future. Neither of them want to be bonded to the other; there's too much history, too much bad blood between them for that.

"Yeah," he answers quietly, "I guess we do."

They both fall into an uncomfortable silence. Abby focuses on the bookshelf above his desk, taking in the range of history books and military titles that can be read across the spines. She doesn't know what Marcus is looking at, but she senses his eyes glancing over to her every so often. Minutes pass achingly slowly before she dares to speak again.

"Are you going to be okay?"

He shrugs and looks up at her, clearly unsure of how to answer her. Abby thinks it's a ridiculous question; of course he's not going to be okay, he's just lost his mother in a terrorist bombing. He doesn't seem to take offense to the question though, just remains silent and contemplative.

"I'll be fine," he answers eventually, his voice stronger than it was before, as if he's taken some strength from the silence that had stretched out between them. "I just… I just need to find out who did this, who killed her and the others. I need…"

"I understand."

And she does, honestly. Catching the criminals is what he does, and he's damn good at it. If there's anyone who can discover who was behind the attack it's Marcus Kane.

"You should start packing up the Exodus ship," he says suddenly, as if the thought had just occurred to him, "Get the medical supplies sorted and the like."

Abby nods in agreement and it seems like the passion from minutes ago is forgotten, a moment of madness on a day full of terror and anger. She won't hold it against him and she's sure he'll be the same. The awkward tension between them will remain as it has since they met, the bond will remain subdued and they will both survive. It is who they are.

Xx~xX

Abby remembers the explosion, the noise, the heat. Apart from that she remembers little else.

Her head hurts when she eventually regains consciousness, but above all else she feels a pull, a lurch in her stomach that's on the verge of painful. Her wrist tingles, itches, nags at her to pay it some attention. Abby realizes in an instant, her head still foggy and vision blurred, that the bond is calling to her, warning her; Marcus is in trouble. She knows she can't help him though, knows that she's trapped within the confines of the service bay with the other people who decided to jump ship at the last minute. She hurts and her chest aches as she continues to drift in and out on consciousness.

Each time she wakes the bond, and its constant pull, feels stronger, as if telling her that he's still alive out there. The metal wall behind her creaks every so often, like a strange rhythmic lullaby; Abby leans her head against the cool surface and shuts her eyes. The pull of the bond fades slightly and finally allows her to rest. Her last thoughts are of Marcus, of dying in this sweltering metal room, of leaving him alone to face the feel of the bond alone for the rest of his life.

There's a rumbling in the distance, a steady beat of someone attempting to enter a forbidden part of the Ark. The noise wakes her, pulls her from the deep, uncomfortable sleep she's been sinking in and out of. The service bay is dark and Abby can hear the soft moans of her fellow survivors. She's a doctor, should be moving to try and save them, check if they're injured, but she can't. Abby feels exhausted, eyes heavy and breathing shallow, and the low pulse of the bond is more urgent now, as if informing her that somewhere, somehow, Marcus is nearby. But even the knowledge that he's alive can't stir her from the fallen and broken state she's in and Abby feels another wave of fatigue rush through her. She rests her head back on the cool metal wall once more and relishes in the relief it brings.

Suddenly, there are comforting hands on her shoulders and she's being roused from another instance of unconsciousness. All she can hear is his voice as it pulls her from the blackness and the comforting silence. Now though, the bond seems to rejoice, sending a wave of pleasure through her veins as Marcus reunites with her, comforts her, protects her.

"I've got you," he murmurs into her ear, lips pressed against her hair. "I've got you."

She knows, deep down, that he really does…

"How did you know it was me?" she asks days later, as they're making final preparations for the trip down to Earth. She's packing the final medical supplies into her bag, while Marcus zips up his own holdall and adjusts the straps. The stark white bandage around his hand stands out against the dark material of his familiar jacket. "In the service bay," Abby continues, when she realizes Marcus is pointedly ignoring her question, "how did you know I was still alive?"

Marcus pauses then, the bag half slung over his back and a startled look in his eyes. He takes his time before he answers, clearly seeking the right words. It seems like a lifetime before he speaks.

"The bond," he replies simply, gazing at her quickly before his attention shifts back to his bag. "It led me to you, somehow told me you were still alive in there. Told me not to give up hope."

Abby doesn't know what to say to that, so she nods and grabs her own bag instead. She doesn't mention that the bond had done the same for her.

Xx~xX

There's a subtle shift between them as they reach the ground together, as if her miraculous escape from the Exodus disaster and his moment of self-sacrifice had jolted something awake between them.

Abby remembers how his arm wrapping around her shoulder in the service bay had dragged her back to some semblance of sanity and comfort.

She remembers how the spark had reached through her again as she'd grabbed his hand in the drop ship.

She begins to remember every moment that Marcus Kane has had an impact on her life, the instances where he has woven himself into her every day life, as easily and as quietly as the bond between them wishes. Abby wonders if this is somehow part of the plan, a way for the bond to reinforce the need for each other that the two of them share. She instantly dismisses the notion, instead choosing to favor the idea that, since the losses of Jake and Vera, Marcus Kane is the closest thing to a friend that she has.

They work through the building of Camp Jaha together, take the time to at least attempt to lead together. Marcus mainly keeps to himself when he doesn't require her, or when he's not running training camps. He frequently sends himself out on patrols, much to her chagrin; until she realizes that it's not her place to tell him what to do.

The pull remains ever present, but Abby treats it as she always has; background noise, insignificant, just one of those things. She doesn't mention it and neither does Marcus; everything is the same as it's always been.

It's a Wednesday, in July, when all hell breaks loose. It isn't until years later that Abby understands the irony of the date.

Xx~xX

Four soldiers are killed and another two wounded in an early morning patrol. One of the survivors confirms it was Reapers, but Abby's focus is on the man currently being lifted onto the operating table by Jackson and Sinclair, deep lacerations across his chest and an arrow firmly lodged in his shoulder, right under his collar bone.

Marcus is injured, badly. Worse than that, Abby realizes as she cuts away his shirt to reveal the full extent of his wounds; Marcus Kane isdying.

His blood seeps through all the bandages that she presses against the deep cuts that mar his skin, and the area around the arrow is red and ugly; she worries about infection, about him bleeding out- about losing him…

She sets to work, because it's all she can do, focuses on treating him like every other emergency patient that ends up on the operating table in front of her - concentrate on the most serious injuries, complete a checklist for treatment, keep them alive…

But this is different; so so different. The bond pulses deep in her wrist, a constant reminder that it's her bondmate that lies on the makeshift table before her, that the man whose blood covers her hands and her arms and her clothes is the one person she should be determined to keep safe.

She presses her hand to the skin above Marcus' heart and almost crumbles to her knees when she discovers that his heartbeat is perfectly in sync with the beat in her wrist. Abby takes in a long breath, tries to steady herself and ignores the concerned look that Jackson throws her way.

She has the sudden, horrifying thought that if Marcus dies it will be her fault. Abby knows she can't let that happen; not now, not ever; not after everything.

He almost dies on the operating table before they even really begin and Abby struggles to make it through the rest of his surgery; Marcus' blood pressure drops and his heart rate slows so much that his pulse is barely there. She doesn't need to look at the machinery surrounding her to confirm this; the pulse in her wrist grows fainter and fainter with each passing second and it doesn't take her long to realize that the bond is fighting; fighting to show her that Marcus is slipping away and she needs to do something.

The bond is fighting for Marcus and so Abby does too, her focus on nothing but making sure he survives this long enough for her to tell him that he's an idiot and she just needs him to be safe…

Jackson watches her carefully, hovers close by in support, but doesn't comment on her determination and her refusal to take a break and let him take over for a few minutes.

Abby feels the tug of the bond pull at her the longer the surgery continues and it's the first time since this started all those years ago that she understands just how deep their bond actually is. Marcus isn't dead, but he's slipping away and Abby feels herself breaking down at the prospect of losing him before they've even begun. For God's sake, they haven't even bonded properly and she knows that if he dies now she'll be destroyed; if the ritual was complete there would be no hope for her.

She slows the bleeding eventually, stitches the wounds in his chest. The arrow is easy to remove in comparison, and soon Marcus, despite everything, appears to stabilize. Abby monitors his heart rate through the beat in her wrist and confirms it in the technology that surrounds her. It's only after what seems like hours, when he's breathing on his own and his pulse beats stronger through her body, that Abby relaxes and allows Jackson to lead her away to recover. It's still touch and go, but she knows that she's tried her best to keep him safe and alive. He'd appreciate that, she thinks, he'd understand why…

Xx~xX

He survives. Just.

Abby keeps an eye on Marcus throughout his recovery, ensures that he regains the strength in his shoulder and that the wounds on his chest heal with minimal scarring. Each day she visits him in his quarters to change the dressings only highlight the fact that she almost lost him. She never mentions just how terrified she had been as he'd lain on her operating table, nor does she reveal how relieved she had felt when she realized he was going to make it.

The experience must have frightened him too, because he seeks her out more often in the weeks following the attack. She's still not cleared him for patrols, but Marcus doesn't seem to mind. Instead he spends the time discussing the latest improvements to the camp and the next steps towards peace with the grounders. His near death experience draws them closer than they've ever been before.

The bond delights in it, revels in the nearness of him, sends an involuntary shiver through Abby's body every time she spots him talking to a member of the camp and hits her with a fresh wave of arousal whenever their eyes meet over the council table.

It's a heady feeling and Abby wonders if it could have always been like this…

Xx~xX

Abby rubs absently at her wrist, fingers tapping idly over the mark on her skin. It's become a comfort for her in recent weeks, knowing that Marcus survived the initial attack on Mount Weather, that he's still there to support her. The bond thrums with each touch to the mark and Abby notices absently that Marcus occasionally glances in her direction as she touches the soft and sensitive skin. Lexa's voice from next to her breaks Abby from her thoughts and she shifts slightly to look at the younger woman.

"You are bonded," Lexa comments, eyes wary and her expression lacking it's usual determined glare.

Abby pauses as she reaches for her canteen and instead chooses to focus on the flames that flicker within touching distance. Her eyes shift towards Lexa momentarily and Abby notes that the Grounder commander is watching her with a quizzical look, as if she's wondering why Abby is avoiding replying to her statement.

She sighs and takes a drink from her canteen to calm her nerves.

"It's not as simple as that," she offers by way of explanation and resists the urge to glance over again at the man in question. If Lexa suspects anything the young leader doesn't mention it, just lets Abby dwell in her own muddled thoughts until she's ready to talk again.

"It's complicated," Abby tries again, and suddenly she can't help herself. Her gaze lands on Marcus again, who's deep in discussion with Octavia, Lincoln and Nyko.

"Why?" Lexa asks, and Abby senses that she's genuinely curious as to why she and Marcus are bonded but not bonded.

"There's… there's a lot of bad blood between Marcus and I. We've ignored the bond for so long that it's just part of who we are but it's not like that for us."

"But he is your keryon," Lexa states, turning her blade over in her hands idly, the reflection of the flames flickering in the dark silence of the night. The Grounder commander smiles slightly at Abby's perplexed look upon hearing the unfamiliar word. "Your soul. Marcus is your soul."

Abby closes her eyes at the phrase. No one has ever said it out loud to her like that; no one has ever known about the bond that exists between them.

"He is," she replies quietly, accepting the truth for what it is. "He is, but he's not; like I said, it's complicated."

Lexa glances at her again, brows furrowed and a quizzical look crossing her face.

"You are lucky," the younger woman eventually says, gesturing towards Marcus with the tip of her blade. "There are few cases of the keryon-tae in our history. You and Marcus; separate you are strong, but together…"

Lexa pauses, as if trying to find the right way to say something that is incredibly important, something that will prove more significant than anything she has revealed to Abby in their previous conversations.

"Our strongest leaders, our best commanders, they have been the ones fortunate enough to find their keryon, their soul," she eventually says, and Abby shuffles uncomfortably, struggling to accept the implication that she could be a great commander.

Lexa pauses again, and watches Abby carefully before she continues.

"Do not wait too long to cement your bond with him Abby," Lexa warns, her voice quiet, barely audible over the crackling of the nearby fire. "There will come a time when you have to choose to accept, finally, what the two of you share, or face separation, even death. One will strengthen you, create the strongest alliance your people have seen for centuries. The other…" the commander looks at her, a grave expression on her face, "the other will destroy you…"

Abby says nothing in reply, just watches as the flames before her flicker in and out of existence.

Xx~xX

In the end, after everything they've been though, it's a simple disagreement over nothing that sparks the final, most desperate confrontation between them.

Xx~xX

"No!"

His voice is laced with anger, as is fitting for the last few interactions they've had, since he'd up and decided to attempt a one-man extraction from Mount Weather. He's been avoiding her for days and the bond has let her know about it; the deep pulse that she figures is dissatisfaction at the distance between them has been plaguing her since he exiled himself from her presence. She thinks that it's a miracle that she's managed to get him into her quarters for this discussion at all…

"What do you mean no?! You'll be killed!" She's angry, oh so angry, and the bond ripples and prickles at her mark. She ignores it and focuses on trying to get the man in front of her to see sense. The mission is necessary, she knows that, but Marcus' refusal to take a support team is basically confirming it's a suicide mission for him.

"And what if I am? It needs to be done Abby and you know it. You're Chancellor now, you don't need me to rule the camp. I'm leaving it in good hands."

He just doesn't understand Abby quickly realizes; he's doing this because of his own self-sacrificial nature. He's not thinking of the bigger picture. The bond pulses then, deep and low in her stomach and her wrist flashes with a brief searing pain. It's a warning, a panicked reaction from their connection to the knowledge that Marcus is going to die and leave her alone. Abby's nearly lost him so many times; there's no way she's losing him for good.

Her hand trembles as she reaches out for him, fingers outstretched as the tips gently touch his jacket. His eyes focus on her and he's glowering at her, the anger of his mood spreading across his features at he watches her.

Abby half expects him to pull away from her touch, to recoil in anger or fear or both. But he remains steadfast, arms pinned to his side, immobile and refusing to move. She tugs at his arm and she feels the moment he relaxes. Abby pulls his arm up higher using her grip on his sleeve and, as soon as she's able, links her fingers with his. She squeezes his hand to get his attention and let's out a frustrated sigh when he refuses to meet her eye. Instead, his face suddenly looks sullen, almost pained.

Abby knows that he's being stubborn, that he sees no other way around this. But she needs him to understand…

"Please Marcus," she whispers then, pleads with him as she squeezes his fingers once more, "don't leave me."

Marcus finally makes eye contact with her, his gaze holding hers with determination. His eyes look resentful, like he is bitter about the way she has addressed him, pleaded with him.

His eyes soften as he takes in her stance however. She's not cowering by any stretch of the imagination, but Abby feels like all hope is gone, that he's going to get himself killed and leave the other part of his soul behind without any consideration of the consequences. Her shoulders drop, face turns down and her chin rests against her chest. Abby is defeated, broken, and she realizes the exact moment he comprehends this.

Marcus reaches out then, mimicking her movement from moments ago. His fingers lightly grasp her right wrist and turns it over carefully. He traces a path from the inside of her elbow to her wrist, fingers looping across her skin; Abby thinks he writes his name but she can't be sure. She closes her eyes at the feel of him touching her with such intimacy, such care. It's new, welcome, overwhelming. He reaches the spot next to her mark and he pauses, fingers lingering on her wrist. Abby feels him tap a rhythm against her skin. She knows it's a completely random pattern but she tries to memorize it just the same. Then, after a few more seconds, his fingers finally, finally, brush over the mark.

Her reaction is instantaneous. Abby's eyes spring open and lock with Marcus' as the pulse of the bond hits her and sends a wave of something through her body. The sensation is overpowering and Abby's knees buckle slightly from the flood of emotion that suddenly threatens to drown her; she wonders if the bond is giving her access to Marcus' feelings too, as if it's decided it's had enough over the two of them wandering so close to the line that it's planned a final offensive, a last ditch attempt from the ancient tradition to get them to admit that they are bonded, eternally linked, meant for each other…

Marcus catches her as she slips, his strong arms supporting her as they have done in the past. His hands lift her carefully and set her right, his left hand sweeping a loose trail of hair back over her ear.

"I'm sorry," he mumbles as the tips of his fingers, calloused and rough, continue to trace idle patterns against the raised skin on her wrist. A deep throb of arousal hits her then, sends a wave of pleasure down her spine to her center. She wants him, Abby realizes. No, not wants - needs.

She doesn't answer his statement, ignores it completely in fact. Instead, she reaches her hands into his hair, grips the dark mass with enough force to pull his head down to her level. Marcus looks at her with inquisitive eyes at first, but the look soon changes to something deeper, more basic, instinctive.

They meet each other halfway for a kiss.

Xx~xX

It's as frantic as before, when their lips had met that first time so many months ago. Abby knows instantly that this is different though, that the subtle shift between them hasn't been that subtle after all, that the two of them have just been circling each other and getting closer and closer with each pass that they make. It all seems obvious to her now but then they always said that hindsight was a wonderful thing…

Marcus' lips are warm and soft and Abby leans into his embrace, dragging her hands down from his head to hold onto his arms; half to keep him in place and half to make sure she's able to keep herself upright. His fingers slip from her wrists to hold onto her hips and Abby feels the warmth of his skin seep through the shirt that's she's wearing.

Marcus pulls away slightly and rests his forehead against hers. Abby senses nothing but him, their shared breathing, the rapid pulse in her wrist; the bond must be sharing his heartbeat with her again. It's a rush, overwhelming; she wonders if he can feel it too.

She pulls his shirt over his head, desperate for his touch, desperate to touch him. Her hands trail over his chest, palm resting over his heart for a moment before her hands give into the urge to move again. Abby closes her eyes as she ghosts her fingers down his skin, tracing patterns across his ribs. There are scars across his chest, faint now, but still there, a reminder of what she almost lost.

It's not the old scars that catch her attention though. No, it's the small mark that lies on his hip that tugs at her, that causes her eyes to lock onto his. She hasn't seen this before. Well, she has, but not on him. It's a perfect match to the mark that rests at her wrist, the pattern twisting and as deep in shade as hers.

"It's been like that since the day we met," Marcus whispers against her neck as her fingers trace over the mark. Marcus sucks in a breath and Abby smiles as he slowly exhales. "I knew then, figured it out. It's tingles whenever you're close to me, like a greeting…"

He leans down again, kisses her, pulls her closer.

"Mine too," Abby replies once his lips leave hers.

"I fought it. Every day. I thought I could ignore it, ignore you, but I couldn't…" Marcus' voice is full of regret and Abby's heart lurches at the sound.

"We've been so stupid," she suddenly whispers, voice quiet but the statement so loud in the silence of her room. "Why did we wait so long for this?"

Marcus appears to have no answer to her desperate sounding question.

"It doesn't mattered that we waited," he mutters, voice low and husky, eyes closed and he breathes in, pauses, breathes out slowly in an obvious bid to calm himself, "what matters is that we're here now. And I know I can't imagine being anywhere else, being with anyone else…"

She kisses him for that, softly, sweetly, but then deepens the kisses seconds later. She's impatient, driven by the bond, by instinct; Marcus is hers - her bondmate, her soul, her keryon. The language doesn't matter; the sentiment, the message, it remains the same - he is hers.

Abby takes a small step back, increasingly aware of Marcus' predatory gaze. It doesn't frighten her though, merely heightens the pull she feels towards him, punctuates the deep arousal that she feels throughout her body as his eyes lock with hers. He watches her like a hawk as she lifts her own shirt over her head and throws it somewhere to her left. He doesn't have time to react to the action though, because she steps forward again and takes his hand in hers.

She carefully, slowly, lifts his fingers to her chest, places them over her heart, mirrors the action with her other hand. Marcus sighs and the two of them close their eyes at the shared sensation, their heart beats, their pulses, their lives, they're beating as one; the beats match and synchronize like the oldest rhythm in the universe.

They stay like that for what seems like an eternity until Abby finally opens her eyes and leans up to kiss him again. She reluctantly drops his hand and watches as Marcus takes another deep, shuddering breath and looks down at her.

"What are you doing to me?" he asks, surprise spreading across his features as he sweeps a shaking hand through his hair. "What is this?"

She pauses, smiles almost shyly up at him. Her fingers toy with the waistband of his pants, drifting between the soft fabric and the dark mark that matches her own. He shudders again at her gentle touch and Abby relishes the feeling of power she suddenly wields over him.

"This is us Marcus," she whispers, "this is us finally doing what we should have done months, if not years ago. The bond… the bond's been getting stronger; haven't you felt it?"

"Of course I have," he states, frustration crossing his features suddenly as he looks down at her, "why do you think I've been avoiding you? I couldn't risk… we've never…"

He can't complete the sentence, but he doesn't need to; Abby understands him regardless.

"Well, maybe it's about time we did…" she says simply before leaning up and capturing his lips with her own, deepening the kiss as his mouth immediately opens under hers.

She links their fingers again and pulls him towards her bed. It's only a short distance away, but it seems that now they have accepted the connection between them they cannot bear to lose touch and they stop frequently to exchange kisses and just feel.

They rush to remove their clothing, and soon Marcus is pushing her down gently on the bed. Abby closes her eyes at the feel of the softness of the blanket below her and the hardness of Marcus above. All the while the bond pulses deep within her body, as if it knows, somehow, that the two of them are finally ready to embrace it, to accept the importance of their connection to each other.

Abby sighs as Marcus traces patterns across her skin, kisses every piece of her that he can; he covers her throat, her breasts, her stomach with loving touches, peppers kisses across her thighs and guides his tongue over her center with a delicate ease she never would have suspected from him.

It's mere minutes before she comes, hard, her fingers in his hair and his mouth against her skin. The bond pulses and her vision seems to glow behind her closed eyelids. Marcus kisses his way back up her body, takes a moment to press his lips to her mark once more. At the touch the aftershocks hit Abby anew and she clutches him tightly in desperation for more.

She hears soft laughter coming from him, but it's not directed at her, but rather at the two of them, at their situation; they could have been doing this for months if their own stubborn pride hadn't prevented them from embracing what was right in front of them.

He leans over her, finally, and rests his head on her shoulder. His breath tickles and Abby can't hold back a chuckle. Marcus' lips press against her throat over her racing pulse point and he smiles against her skin at the sound of her laughter. He trails kisses across her throat, nips at her ever so often before capturing her lips and kissing her deeply. The mark at her wrist tingles again, and Marcus seems to notice the slight wiggle of her fingers at the pleasant sensation. He moves then, hands shifting to take her own. Marcus interlinks their fingers and sits up a little to support himself as he readjusts their positions. He places Abby's hands up by her head, and, fingers still linked with hers, leans down and kisses her again.

He is hot and hard against her and her skin crackles with excitement and adrenaline as she bares her neck to him. Marcus rakes his teeth along her throat, wrenching a moan from her as he pushes himself fully against her.

She'd loved Jake, had loved doing this with him, but it had never felt like this.

"Now Marcus," Abby moans in his ear, lifting her hips off the bed to grind against him as she nips at his ear, "it has to be now. Please."

And then he's pushing inside her, fingers squeezing hers as he inches himself forward. Abby's surprised at his restraint and immediately clenches around him as she feels Marcus filling her. Long, slow, agonizing seconds pass as he enters her and then he's kissing her with as much passion as he ever has. Abby returns the kiss and moans into Marcus' mouth as he slowly, teasingly, begins to move.

Each thrust seems slow and calculated, each movement accompanied by a kiss, a touch, a bite to every piece of skin he can touch.

This wasn't just sex, Abby realizes as Marcus thrusts deeply into her, he wasn't fucking her, or making love; he was claiming her, and she him, as her fingers dig into his shoulders. A prickle of pain flashes through her wrist at the gasp her actions elicits from him and she knows she's branded him, dug half-moon patterns into his back with her nails.

Marcus' teeth sink lightly into the soft skin at her throat and the sensation causes her to lift her hips up to meet his with more force, more urgency, than before.

The bond thrums delightfully across her body, and Abby closes her eyes at the feel over it; this, this, is what the two of them have been denying themselves since that very first moment they met.

"I love you," she finds herself whispering to him as Marcus pushes into her again and again, slowly, tortuously, and the words cause him to suddenly stop. He's deep inside her and sweat beads on his forehead as he peers down at her. Abby clenches round him again in a bid to get him to move but he shakes his head slightly. Marcus glances down at their still linked hands and unwraps his fingers of his left from her right. Abby looks up at him in confusion, breath stuck in her chest. Everything becomes clear in the next instant as he lifts her right wrist to his lips and places a soft kiss to the mark that adorns the skin.

"I love you too," he exhales, lips millimeters from her mark and breath hot against her skin. The bond flashes again, arousal pools in her stomach and beyond and Abby feels herself drift even closer to release.

He leans down and presses a soft kiss against her lips before he starts moving again, and Abby thinks that he somehow manages to pushes himself deeper, as if he's trying to climb inside her, become part of her and physically combine himself with the very part of her soul that will be eternally bound with his.

He keeps their fingers linked as they push and pull together. Abby clenches around him with every thrust, smiles at Marcus' shuddering breath every time he feels her around him. Together the two of them willingly embrace the bond, accept it, fall into it's welcoming arms with every kiss and touch that they share.

Abby feels herself reaching her peak, digs harder into Marcus' back, begs him for more and harder and now and she topples over that edge with a desperate cry of his name and shudder of pleasure that fills her body and soul completely. She clings to him as she trembles afterwards. Abby feels Marcus' rhythm within her quicken as her climax triggers his own, her pleasure flooding from her, through the bond and into his body; shared, entwined, connected. Always. Forever.

Marcus kisses her as he pulses within her in release, her name a caress against her skin as his lips leave hers to trail a path across her throat.

She misses the feel of him as he pulls out and away, but the bond, completed, reinforced and stronger than before, seems to sense her feeling of loss and sends a wave of something through their connection to ease her mind as their breathing slows in the cool air of her room.

Xx~xX

Marcus doesn't move far from her as they recover, and moans softly in her ear in protest as she quickly leaves the bed for the bathroom. She returns minutes later to discover he's cleaned up too and she happily climbs under the blanket that he holds out. Abby takes comfort in his touch as he presses a kiss to her forehead as she lies down beside him.

"I love you," he mutters again, as if it's a secret as old as time. Abby thinks she'll never get tired of hearing those three words from him, hopes that he feels the same way in return.

"I love you," Abby replies and smiles as the shy smile makes it's reappearance at her words. She leans into his touch as he rolls over and pulls her to him. His body is hard and comforting at her side and she turns over slightly to face him. Abby places a soft kiss on his lips and moves his sweat-drenched hair from his brow before tracing her fingertips across the soft skin of his face, over the slight stubble at his jaw, over his lips. His gaze is piercing again, but not in anger, or lust or even love. Instead Marcus looks surprised, like he can't believe that the two of them have reached this point after so many arguments, so many obstacles, so many trials that threatened to pull them apart.

Her hands drift slyly down to his waist, ghosting over the familiar mark that resides there. It's faded slightly since they'd fallen onto their backs in exhaustion, as has hers, and Abby figures it's because the two of them no longer need the constant reminder that their souls are bound for eternity.

Marcus flinches instinctively at the touch of her fingertips skimming over his sensitive skin, but she soon realizes it's because he's ticklish, not because he's developed an aversion to the feel of her fingers on his skin in the last 5 minutes. She's known him for 20 years but has really only just met him…

The bond is content, she thinks, resting and still for the first time since that fateful Wednesday in July all those years ago.

The two of them seem to sense their mutual exhaustion at the same time and they hastily arrange themselves so they can get a comfortable night's sleep. Marcus spoons behind her, places a lingering kiss on her neck and Abby feels another shiver rush through her and a wave of arousal pulse quickly. She closes her eyes at the sensation of it and focuses on the way his body surrounds her and makes her feel secure, protected…loved. Marcus' breath evens out as he falls asleep, his arm wrapped around her and his fingers resting lightly over her wrist, over her mark; an act of subconscious possession...

Abby snuggles closer to the warm body behind her, links their fingers more securely and wraps Marcus' arm tighter around her waist; now that they've fully bonded she's reluctant to let him go.

She remembers what Lexa told her months ago, the words a quiet whisper in her mind as she begins to drift off into unconsciousness herself; "You and Marcus; separate you are strong, but together…"

Unstoppable, Abby thinks, Marcus' steady heart beat echoing in her ear, together we'll be unstoppable...