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: "teaching each other how to swim (in non-creature infested waters) because there are no pools in space and marcus gets nervous and clings to her because lil puppy and also her boobs might act as a flotation device! he suspects!" – Well, unfortunately my brain took this in a completely different direction, I took the water part and the Marcus part and romped with it, hope you like anyway, anon!
Warnings: masturbation, nudity, sexual content, adult language, inappropriate use of a hot spring, pre-relationship, set early season three.
Being fully submerged in water was a foreign concept. Alluring.Coveted. And perhaps even a bit frightening after a life spent almost entirely in space. But the truth was, ever since that very first moment, when he'd ignored the bruises and cuts and climbed up the hatch and into the open air, he'd spent a good deal of time staring out at that lake and wondering.
So, when Indra told him about a secluded hot spring not far from the Grounder's current camp - safe for 'private bathing' as she put it – he'd filed it away for future reference. Promising himself that he'd wait until things had slowed down and they'd gotten through their first winter. Some point in the distant future where he could justify the indulgence in good faith and not feel guilty.
So, with his track record, possibly never.
Still, he'd made his peace with that reality a long time ago.
People like him didn't get that kind of freedom – physical or emotional – very often.
And they probably deserved it the least, if he was being completely honest with himself.
He'd always been fascinated by the water. On the Ark he'd listened to audio recordings of the ocean for hours as a child. After his father had been floated, it'd been the only way he could fall asleep without waking up in the middle of the night screaming. He'd eventually grown out of it. But the longing had never quite left him.
It was such a simple thing.
Wanting to experience being surrounded in water.
But living in space had made it impossible all the same.
It wasn't until he was heading back to Arcadia after a meeting at the Grounder village that he had the chance to change that.
He heard it before he saw it. Breathing in the humid hush of earth-warm water and the distinct tang of sulfur that rose up behind the last rocky shelf that hid the oasis from view. It took some maneuvering, but eventually he navigated his way down. Palms chalky with rock dust - dotted with raw, hair-line scratches from where he'd held on just a bit too hard.
The first look was just like that moment on top of the station after the crash. Seeing the depth of it as he breathed it in. Trying to find some point of reference to frame the experience as the mineral rich warmth curled steam across the tepid water. But of course, he came up empty.
It was beautiful.
He smiled, rare and honest in the surrounding privacy.
It wasn't quite the ocean.
But for the moment, it was his.
It was a small inset pond hewn right into the mountain rock, topped up by an underground spring and warmed the same way. He examined the area with interest, peeling off a layer of moss on the interior wall when he caught a spit of color hidden amongst the faded rubble. Part of what looked like red and yellow paint was still flecked on the most protected side.
It spoke of two worlds caught in a devolving loop of hybridization, with moss and low laying shrubs growing through the cracks in the metal slating, coating his pant legs with dew as long grass and wild flowers found their way through the cracks in the brick and concrete.
He inspected the mossy rungs and long rusted screws buried deep in the rock as he eased himself down a ruined staircase. Wondering if this little clave had been part of a larger pool of water that their ancestors had maintained for people to visit.
Perhaps part of one of the few National Parks that had existed before the war?
He made his way down gingerly until he was at the bottom. Balancing on a precarious, crumbling ledge. So close to the water he could almost reach down and touch it. He looked around, nose twitching. Deciding things looked safe enough as he ducked out of the strap of his gun and set it aside before doing the same with his pack. Sinking down on his haunches as he skimmed the surface with the crook of his knuckles.
It was warm.
Just like Indra had promised.
He shrugged out of his jacket. Muted excitement riding high in his chest as he fumbled with the button of his pants and let them pool around his ankles. Kicking out of the cuffs and toeing off his socks as the sun-warmed heat of the mountain rock made him shift from foot to foot. Feeling it radiating through him as the humid air kissed the dip of his collarbone, chilling the sweat that had collected there. He let his shirt follow the rest of his clothes. Surveying the area one last time and making sure he was alone.
He was really going to go this.
He hesitated a moment before he raised his eyebrow – not above calling himself out considering everything that'd happened in order to get him here. Inches away from the only thing he'd ever really dreamed about when it came to the ground. He huffed a laugh into the quiet before stripping off his underwear as well. Standing naked as the sun beat down on his skin – all of him – for the first time in his entire life. He closed his eyes, hands spread. Feeling the wind and the warmth pass through them. It was incredibly freeing. Elemental and interconnected despite the strong, underlying fear that any minute he was going to be caught with his pants-
He rose to the challenge of the last half step. Expelling a shaky puff of air as the water swirled ankle deep. Toes twitching experimentally underwater as he maintained a death grip on the broken off iron railing drilled into the rocky shale above his head.
He didn't know how to swim.
He knew the theory behind it, but that didn't make the intimidation any less present.
Still, childish delight made his smile stretch. Trying to memorize every second of it as the pale of his skin shone - beacon-visible - through the water as he eased himself down a step, then another.
It seemed to take half an age before he was settled in, waist deep. Splashing a bit as he tried to get used to the soft, swirling currents. Relieved it wasn't as deep as he'd feared as his feet curled around the rocky bottom. Flinching away from the slick of algae and broken tiles with a grimace. Deciding that he didn't like the sensation of anything that- squished between his toes at all.
He walked the length of the hot spring, exploring the nooks and crannies. Skimming his fingers across the water's surface before leaning back against the rocks and kicking out with his legs. Categorizing every new sensation as it came and filing it away where he kept all his precious things. Moments to be re-examined over and over during less savory times.
Memories that could turn a beggar's banquet into a feast.
It took a while to figure out the logistics, especially given the narrow space and his lack of experience, but eventually he found a gentle slope where he was able to bend his knees. Holding onto a ruined bit of railing still clinging to the side of the pool that seemed to be the most damaged. Slowly working his way up to floating as he used his free hand like a paddle. Working himself up to it as he slowly straightened his legs until he was star fished across the surface. Buoyant and weightless.
The laugh that escaped him was all joy and wonder.
He was floating!
He looked up at the sky as the water lapped across his chest, searching for a comparison. He'd read almost everything regarding large bodies of water growing up on the Ark, and the one phrase that was repeated was that it was like being 'in the womb.' His eyes eased closed in spite of himself, squinting a bit as the heat from the sun sunk deep into his bones.
For his part, he couldn't even pretend to know what being in the womb felt like.
But he did feel weightless.
It was like, liquid space or anti-gravity.
It was the definition of freedom despite being surrounded on all sides.
It was everything he'd dreamed and more.
Eventually he paddled over to a bench built into the rock. Its edges worn smooth by time and a hundred thousand- maybe even million bodies that had sat exactly where he was over the centuries. He let his thoughts wander as he leaned back, the hot water easing muscles he didn't know were tense or aching until the warmth seeped into his blood and stayed there.
God it felt so good.
He wasn't caught entirely off guard when his cock stirred.
Given the circumstances and how long it had been since-
He blinked slowly, letting the water hide the slow drift of his hand as it came down to curl around his shaft. Cupping his balls and tugging lazily – gently - as a soft groan issued from the depths of his throat.
Christ, it really had been a long time.
His eyes fluttered shut without his consent. Opening every so often to make sure he was still alone. Lids sunk low and sleepy with pleasure. His thumb brushed over the ridge of his crown, tracing the flare before resting in the dip, able to feel the difference in texture, even underwater, as pre-cum welled up from the tip.
Behind closed lids the half-dark of his thoughts put a face to it - a name. Conjuring up a picture of her, just how he left her, overhauling the infirmary with Jackson. Her hair had been down, waves too premature to be called curls teasing the ends as she scrolled through a data pad.
A muted part of him balked.
Whispering that it wasn't appropriate.
That it wasn't right.
And it wasn't, of course.
Abby was more than that, both to him and in general, and yet-
His hand kept stroking, guilty but unhurried. For once completely at his leisure. Nothing like the usual quick relief in the morning that got him past the worst of it – pent up arousal and stress becoming one twisted, hungry entity - so he could move on to other things. This was fully and entirely for him and he wanted to make it last.
He couldn't help it when his hips hiked up, chasing the liquid-friction as the fingers of his free hand spidered out across the rocky shelf. Panting now as he imagined Abby catching sight of him, leaning up against the door of the infirmary. Dismissing Jackson before beckoning him forward under the guise of treating some minor injury – a headache maybe.
The orientation changed and suddenly he was on his back on a gurney-bed, Abby moving above him. Taking him in clean, even strokes as she crushed her lip between her teeth. Fighting to stay quiet. Hips rocking. She tightened around him with a breathy smirk when his hips shot up, wanting her faster – harder. Cock throbbing inside her as the slick sound of her aired out in the recycled warmth.
He imagined the answering burn in his abdomen when he caught her around the waist and staggered upright. Turning her around and pinning her up against the wall as he pressed an open mouthed kiss into the back of her neck. Exciting the tiny hairs as he slid back into her. The angle turning her almost painfully tight as she hung there, fingers scrabbling for purchase across the smooth metal walls as his name left her lips in a whimper.
Oh. Yes. Oh- Jesus Christ that was-
He shot into the water, thickening the surrounding space with a spurt of opaque-cream. Toes curling as he hunched forward, chasing the last of it as his hand lost its rhythm. Growing clumsy as the evidence swirled away – lost in the water before he could fully register what'd happened.
He collapsed back against the rocks, chin tipping into his chest as a satisfied yawn threatened to make tracks. Watching his toes waver lazily through the murky-clear as the pads of his fingers started to wrinkle and prune.
Suffice it to say, it went without saying that he'd needed that.
The water lapped unconcernedly against his chest.
Hazing back to burbling stillness as the ripples disappeared as he watched.
For a long, impossible moment, his mind was wonderfully blank.
He sighed, thinking about the mountain of reports waiting on his desk.
He should probably be getting back.
He pursed his lips as he eyed the long climb back to the crevasse where the deer-trail path was waiting to the hap-hazard pile of clothes on the opposite end the pool. Getting up had never looked so unappealing.
He sunk down another few inches until the water licked at the underside of his chin, kicking out lazily as the world grew soft around the edges. Thinking about Abby and whatever they were working their way up to – because it was something – despite the crushing weight of their responsibilities.
He'd always been a practical person. And keeping with that theme, his dreams and desires were usually attainable - or at the very least possible. So, honestly, you didn't have to think very hard about what that meant when he considered it was Abby and no one else that was haunting the backdrop of his thoughts these days.
He smiled small as the water lapped across the seam of his lips. Letting himself have the moment in full as somewhere in the distance, a hawk let go of a searching scream.
Just a few more minutes couldn't hurt.
It was true, all good things had to come to an end. But lucky for him, he had good thing waiting for him back home as well. And honestly, no matter what they were or where they stood on any given day, he wouldn't trade her for all the water in the ocean.
A/N: Thank you for reading, please let me know what you think. – This story is now complete.
"Ataraxia" is a rare word meaning: "a calmness of peace of mind; emotional tranquility.