Disclaimer: I don't own anything from the movie The Martian and I'm not making any money from this fic
Summary: Beck feels guilty.
Warning(s): Spanking; spoilers for the movie; AU; some references to violence; sexual scenes
Pairing: Mark Watney/Chris Beck - slash (assume established relationship)
While the other three members of the crew gathered around Mark, Chris stood off to one side. His official reasoning behind that was that he didn't want to crowd Mark... and he wanted to get out of his EVA suit before doing anything.
But the real reason was much more complicated than that.
Chris remembered, with shame, how he'd been the one to pronounce Mark dead... that it had been on his recommendation that they leave him... not even try to look for him. And even though he'd been relieved to learn that Mark was still alive, the guilt had been (and still was) crippling.
Chris glanced at Lewis as she spoke and indicated Mark with a jerk of her head. Chris nodded and quickly stripped his EVA suit off, handing it off to one of the others to take for him before he grasped Mark's arm. "You need to be checked out."
"I think I need a shower first." Even though his voice was distorted by the helmet, there was a hint of amusement in Mark's voice. "Didn't manage to get a shower in thirty days... I could do with a shave, too."
"Sure. But after the shower..." Chris resisted the urge to run his fingers down Mark's suit so he could grasp his hand. He had no idea what the rest of them had picked up on about the relationship between the two men... but even before coming on this mission, they'd agreed that NASA probably wouldn't be too thrilled about any personal relationships between the team mates. Not when there was the potential for it to interfere with their work.
The rest of the team dispersed, with various promises to find some food that wasn't potatoes. Chris wasn't sure how he felt to be left alone with Mark, but he moved quickly towards the small shower cubicles, wanting to get his... whatever Mark was now to him... treated as fast as possible.
"You're awfully quiet, Doc." Mark raised his free hand so that he could lift the helmet from his head, wrinkling his nose. "I'm not sure how you can stand so close, to be honest. I know I stink, so don't worry about offending me."
Chris ignored Mark's comments. As much as the other man did stink, the discomfort from that was mild compared to being this close to him again... after believing he'd been dead for so long. "I'm going to come into the room with you, so I can check for any wounds that need to be cleaned out. And then we'll go into the medical area." At least that was still intact, even if most of the other places weren't.
"You sure you don't want to come in for another reason?" Mark gave Chris a quick grin.
Choosing not to pay attention to that question, Chris guided Mark into the shower area... which was really only a small room with an overhead shower and toiletries shelved along the back wall. Standing inside the room would mean that Chris got wet as well... but he didn't care about that.
Getting Mark out of the EVA suit didn't take that long and seconds later, Mark stood naked in front of Chris, who had to force himself to focus on the task at hand... and not on his very real attraction to the man before him.
The first thing Chris knew he had to check was where Mark had been impaled. He could see a scar there... the skin was puckered, but there was no sign of infection; and a gentle probing of the area didn't garner any wincing. Chris did frown as he spotted how thin Mark was, his ribs more pronounced than they ever had been. "I think the rest of us are going to be on half rations for a while... I want you eating double."
"I've been surviving on less than that for close to a year."
"And you're not going to any longer." Chris carefully inspected every available inch of Mark's body, finding cuts and bruises... but nothing he thought he'd need anything more than the basics to treat. Finally satisfied, he took a step back, but couldn't quite meet Mark's eyes. "Apart from being so thin, you're showing signs of vitamin deficiencies. They'd be corrected with fruit and vegetables normally, but since we don't have any perishables on board, I'm going to prescribe a course of supplements."
"Hey..." Mark reached out, his hand grazing Chris' cheek. "You know, it wasn't your fault... it wasn't any of your faults. I thought I was dead for a while, even," he tried to joke.
Chris stepped back instead of leaning into the touch... like he wanted. "I was the one who advised the others to leave you."
"You thought I was dead."
"That doesn't matter. I shouldn't have given up on you. I shouldn't have told the others to leave. We could have waited the storm out... like you wanted to." Chris forced himself to look at Mark's face, seeing the effects his long stay on Mars had wrought on him. "I was going to come after you," he added, wanting Mark to understand that... to know that Lewis hadn't taken on the job because he refused to.
"Hey, you don't have to tell me how stubborn she is." Mark smiled and took a step towards Chris, his eyes soft. "This wasn't your fault," he reiterated.
Suddenly worried that Mark would try to pull him in close... to make him feel better... when Chris knew he deserved to be berated for his actions at best made him panic. "I... I'm going to get the first aid kit. You should take a shower. Wash what you can get to. I'll be back... I'll treat the cuts I saw."
"Join me?" Mark suggested, slanting his head towards the shower head.
"I... I can't." Chris would have been embarrassed by the way he fled so quickly, if he wasn't crippled by his feelings of guilt. Closing the door softly, he hurried fast to the medical area to get his supplies.
Lewis was there already, waiting for him. "How is he?"
"For someone stuck on Mars for so long? It's a miracle he's still alive." Chris shook his head as he opened the cupboards, taking out ointment and bandages, as well as vitamin supplements. "How's the ship?"
"It'll get us back to Earth on time, according to Martinez."
Chris nodded. "That's good, at least." He gathered up his things, pausing to look at Lewis. "We're going to have to go onto half rations, so he can eat enough to get to a normal, healthy weight."
"We've already discussed that," Lewis said. "I know you'll be taking care of him... if you need anything, all you need to do is come find one of us. We all want him to get better."
Lewis looked like she might add something. Instead, she nodded and left the room.
Taking a deep breath, Chris returned to the shower room. He knocked lightly on the door to announce his presence and then walked inside.
Mark had wrapped a towel around his waist and Chris' eyes were drawn to his bare chest as Mark approached him. Distracted by the other man's appearance, Chris didn't manage to step back before the other man's arms snaked around his waist, drawing him tight against his chest.
Before Chris could voice any kind of protest, Mark kissed him. Taken aback, Chris nevertheless felt himself responding, allowing Mark to draw him closer as he felt a hand slide up under his shirt. Mark wasn't completely dry, but Chris couldn't bring himself to care about the discomfort... not when the kiss was deepened and he was in the arms of the man he'd thought he'd lost and...
And it had been his fault.
Chris began trying to pull away as the guilt intruded. He wanted to run and hide, but he couldn't abandon Mark when he was still needed. He didn't understand why Mark wanted to do this... but he couldn't shake the thought that this was some kind of survivor's euphoria.
Instead of allowing him to pull away, Mark pulled back, causing Chris to stumble. If Mark's arms hadn't been around him, Chris probably would have fallen. As it was, he felt the other man's hand leave his bare back... instead landing hard on his butt.
Chris couldn't stop his mouth from falling open in shock. The sting was quick and sharp; the swat had landed with more strength than Mark should have had. The second one was less of a surprise and Chris held still, not sure he wanted to pull away and risk Mark hurting himself.
Mark's lips grazed Chris' neck and he slumped against the other man, still holding tight to the medical items he'd brought. "I need to treat your cuts and bruises."
"Okay. We'll continue after that." Mark spoke against Chris' neck, his breath tickling his skin.
Chris squirmed. There wasn't much of a sting now, but the note in Mark's voice promised it was going to get worse. And yet... Chris couldn't bring himself to care. The guilt threatened to cripple him and right or not, he thought he probably did deserve to be punished for giving up on Mark so quickly.
Mark kissed Chris' neck again, then planted another one on his lips before he took a step back, allowing his towel to fall.
Chris forced himself to treat Mark's cuts and not touch him the way he wanted to. Even so, he couldn't help his dry mouth when his hands travelled along lines of Mark's body he knew as well as his own. When he treated a cut on Mark's hip, he couldn't help but trace along the join with a fingertip. Mark's body jerked under his touch and Chris realised that the other man still responded to him... just like he himself was still responding to Mark.
As soon as the last cut was treated, Chris stood and found himself wrapped in a warm, tight embrace once more. He clenched his eyes tightly shut and wrapped his own arms around Mark's waist, pressing a kiss to the other man's jaw. "I'm so sorry we left you," he whispered. "I'm so glad you're still alive."
Mark didn't say anything, but his fingers tangled in Chris' hair as he brought him in for another firm kiss, nipping lightly at his lips.
Chris opened his eyes as he felt himself released... but it was only so that Mark could dress in the clothes Chris had brought him. Finished, Mark wrapped his arms around Chris once more, pecking him on the lips. "Come to my room?" he whispered between kisses.
Each touch of their lips went straight down his body to between his legs. Unable to do anything else, Chris nodded and felt Mark's hand settle on his back, gently guiding him out of the shower area.
The walk to Mark's room was made in silence. Chris was half-afraid they'd meet one of the others, but they reached the room without incident. As they stepped inside the small space, Mark's hand traced a line down Chris' spine, pushing the door closed. "Do you still feel guilty?" he asked softly.
Chris nodded, not trusting himself to speak.
Mark stepped over to the mattress and took a seat, drawing Chris round so he could gently pull him across his lap.
Although he didn't want to put any more strain on Mark, Chris found himself bending over. He shifted his position... then let out a quiet groan when he felt Mark's fingers in the waistband of his pants, pulling them down along with his underwear.
This wasn't the first time Chris had been in this position, but it was the first time since leaving Earth. He felt Mark pat his back... and then the first swat landed, hard, right in the centre of his backside.
Chris jerked, feeling his eyes beginning to water. A second and third swat landed, hard enough to draw gasps from him. He hadn't allowed himself to cry after they left Mars, instead throwing himself into his work so that he didn't have to think about his grief and how much he ached without the man he'd been in a relationship with... been in love with... since before they started on this mission.
Now, each hard smack pushed him closer to the edge. It didn't matter that Mark was here; that he wasn't dead. The guilt of leaving him was crippling... so much so that Chris was convinced he didn't deserve this; that he didn't deserve to be with Mark. No matter how hard the other man's hand was... the pain from the swats didn't even touch the pain that was in his heart.
Mark began speaking softly, his hand covering every possible inch of Chris' backside in stinging swats. "I never blamed any of you. Even if you had stayed, there was no guarantee you would have all survived. You thought I was gone and so you did what you could to save everyone else. It wasn't your fault. And the moment you all found out I was still alive, I know none of you thought leaving me there was an option."
Chris choked back a sob, trying hard not to listen to Mark. He wanted... he needed... to be told he'd been wrong. He didn't want Mark to forgive him, because he wasn't sure he could forgive himself. He'd let the man he loved down and he didn't think there was anything he could do to make up for that.
As if he could tell Chris was getting caught in his own head, Chris felt Mark shift him forward. More swats landed, this time targeting his sit spots and the tops of his thighs. Unable to hold back the next sob, Chris heard the wet sound as his breath came out in pants. He'd expected Mark to withdraw from him... to pull away... to hate him.
Except... he should have known better. Because Mark wasn't like that. And Chris knew he could believe that. Even if they still had to hide their relationship, at least until they got back to Earth, Mark had more than demonstrated he still had feelings for Chris... that he didn'tblame him.
Chris could feel the tears running down his cheeks, though he wasn't sure when the tears had started. His backside was very sore... but he felt Mark's arm around his waist and knew he wasn't being left alone. And that helped with the storm of emotions that had been swirling around inside for well over a year.
It wasn't a conscious decision to surrender, but Chris felt it when the fight left him. He went limp over Mark's lap, crying hard. He was dimly aware that the spanking had stopped and Mark was trying to lift him up.
Chris carefully slid off Mark's lap and wrapped his arms around the other man's waist, pressing in close to him. "I'm so sorry I left you... but I'm even more glad I have you back," he whispered, voice muffled because he wanted to be as close to Mark as he could get.
"Come here." Mark tugged Chris up so that he could settle on the mattress beside him. Reaching out, he gently swiped the tears from Chris' cheeks and then kissed him firmly. "I'm here. I'm not going anywhere. I love you."
Chris went still at the words. He knew how Mark felt, but the other man had never voiced it; not until now. Mindful of the fact that Mark was still weak, Chris threw his arms around his love and pressed as close as he could possibly get, kissing Mark with all of the passion he could muster. "I love you too," he whispered.