Disclaimer: I don't own The 100. Everything belongs to whoever owns them, my wishful thinking aside.
Authors Note #1: a tumblr anon asked for "Kabby" and "broken wings" in a drabble game. This got a bit bigger than a drabble on me. – Set in early season three, after Abby and Marcus go to Polis and Marcus gets the brand but before any of the Pike stuff, so imagine there was a couple weeks in between or something for the sake of timing. Oh yeah, and the Ice Nation is being a big bag of dicks, as per usual.
Warnings: canon typical violence, wing!fic, broken bones/injury, romance, canon typical violence, emotional and physical hurt/comfort.
The leafy-wet of towering ferns slapped across her face as they ran. Dodging and shuddering through near misses as half a dozen arrows whisked through the dirt at their feet. Falling just shy of their boots but gaining every second as they tumbled through the thick underbrush. Fingers half crushed in Marcus' hand as they ran together.
Her lungs burned, hair stringed with sweat and blurry over her eyes – stinging. Panic building high in her throat as one of the Grounders chasing them let go of a piercing whoop, making her next few steps unsteady as she tried to turn and look. Panicking as the voices rebounded – close and all around them.
They'd gotten separated from the rest of their party. Scattering when the first volley had rained through the trees in the middle of their surveying mission. Examining an open bench of land ten miles from Arkadia that could potentially serve as a place to grow surplus crops. They hadn't even known who or what had been hunting them until Marcus had recognized the markings on one of the warrior's arrows.
The Ice Nation.
She stumbled when a throwing knife with a white leather tail buried itself deep in the bark of the tree she'd just pushed off from. Enough to send her pitching forward with a startled cry. Heartbeat reverberating in her ears as she tripped over a jut of mossy rock. She was still bracing for it when Marcus caught her. Hands clammy-strong around her elbows as he lifted her up, keeping her close as they ducked around a sheer outcropping of rock. Pulling her down on her haunches on the far side before they collapsed together. One hand flat on her belly as he kept them there, plastered to the rock - hiding.
"Why don't you shoot them?" she whispered, trying to catch her breath. Not sure she wanted to know the answer when his face lined itself grim in the shade of the rocky mound. Wondering why they were just sitting there when-
"I'm out," he answered flatly – deadly calm. Fist clenched around the barrel of the gun with silent violence. "Besides, look over there."
His breath was warm and red-stale as she leaned into the curve of him, peering through the trees. Flinching when an arrow screamed through the air above the mound, closely followed by a second and then a third that pinged across the rock above their heads. Dusting them with rock-chips.
"See that?" he murmured, pointing at a spot only a few meters away where the trail narrowed, then - oh – dropped. "This path ends on a cliff with a sheer drop. They've been herding us since we scattered. I didn't realize it until it was too late, there's no other way out then back the way we came. There is a sheer drop on either side of us. We are on a mountain ridge below the farming site. Right now the only thing keeping them back is that they think we still have ammunition."
Behind them, like they knew, the warriors whooped again. Textured and violently loud as the echoes chased each other through the humid air. She watched Marcus triple check the empty cartridges, slapping his pockets and unzipping her pack before expelling a long gust of air from his nose. Expression closed off – different and unfamiliar – like he was steadying himself for something that had the worst kind of history.
She waited for the 'but'.
For the plan b or the long shot.
But Marcus didn't say anything.
Hell, he wasn't even looking at her.
He was right beside her, but his eyes were a hundred miles away – distant.
And the awful truth was, he didn't have to.
She already knew.
They were trapped.
Her stomach clenched, swooping right down in the pit of her belly like sick-up as her lower lip caught between her teeth. Boots grating through the rocky-shale as the sudden lack of arrows only made her that much more paranoid. Wondering where the hell they were and why they'd stopped and if they were already poised on the edge of the rocks above them, just waiting for them to-
"Do you trust me?" Marcus murmured suddenly – urgently.
"Yes," she breathed, almost cutting him off before he could finish. Finding her hand curled tight around his forearm without her consent. Her reply was instant. A given. Not so much surprising her than affirming that quiet little something that had been brewing between them for a long time. Maybe ever since the Ark.
The gun clattered to the ground, making her look up, startled. Eyes widening when he shrugged out of his jacket and handed it to her. Clinging to the familiar scent of him as she clutched it against her chest. Feeling the seams and grooves sink into the soft of her palms as his hand came up. Gentling across the curve of her shoulder before brushing his thumb, warm and significant across the arch of her cheek. Making a memory. Or maybe just drowning in what ifs as the moment threatened to choke them in the backwash of their own regrets.
"What are you do-"
But he just shook his head, taking her hand and pulling her to her feet. Feeling the wind scream up from the exposed cliff as the smell of open water and growing things wisped through the air like a last stand.
He caught her eye just before his shoulders set – squaring themselves in a way she'd never seen on him before as the afternoon light glinted through the trees. Sliding shadows down the slope of his shoulder as he stood above her. Eyes pleading something - wanting something. Something she didn't recognize but was on the tip of her tongue to ask before he spoke again.
"Don't be afraid."
She was about to ask him why. To murmur something about them having been in worse situations before. Something cheeky and smart to make him smile like he'd been allowing himself to lately. Freely and without self-censure. Anything to break the suffocating mood. But then, in that fractured little beat that existed between one breath and the next, her entire understanding of the world and her place in it fell away.
Even if she had a hundred years she wouldn't know how to describe it. One moment he was standing there, the muscles in his back rippling through the stretched-thin of his shirt. The next the skin had cleaved somehow. Swirling the air around them as raven-black wings exploded from his back, tearing through the fabric as the powerful things extended outwards. Never-ending and towering but soft to the touch when the tips grazed her cheek. Glossy-dry and shimmering in the filtered afternoon light.
That was all she had. Everything else was nonsensical and complicated. Not sure what her reaction should be as uncertainty and awe bullied each other for first place.
But his face- god.
It was exactly the same as it always was.
Guilty and stripped bare.
Looking perhaps more uncertain - more afraid - than she was.
Like there was more at stake here than their immediate death or even-
Her breath caught in her throat as the wings – his wings – flared above them. Arcing high and protective as the salt and pepper plumage, beautiful feathers the length of her forearm, curled protectively around her. Quivering in place as he stretched with them. Sighing like it had been a long time coming before he found her again.
She looked up, fingers itching to touch. Watching second hand through the static of her better judgement as his mouth opened – gaping appealingly like he was about to say something before he jerked up. Head cocking as a startled cry rose up from the warriors chasing them. Clearly catching sight of them as Marcus' wings hunched to their full height. Something about them suddenly looked menacing, like a massive bird of prey preparing to strike.
"Whatever happens, I won't let you fall," he told her, extending his hand the same moment he turned his back on the warriors creeping through the trees all around them. Weapons raised and shouting unfamiliar words in Trigedasleng as they started to close in. Eyes wide and milling with indecision. Giving her just enough time to understand what happened next.
"I know," she replied, taking his hand and squeezing it in return. Pulse alive with the understanding that in spite of everything, the words were more a stand in for "I love you" than anything else. It was something she hadn't felt in a long time and in all honesty, after Jake, never thought she'd feel again.
But then again, Marcus always did have a way of surprising her.
The only thing left after that was three paces to the edge and the open air.
A/N: Thank you for reading, please let me know what you think. – There will be one more chapter, please stay tuned.