NOTES: Motivated by fans of other shows who've done this sort of thing, I've decided to do a series of little tags/missing scenes with Diana/Marco leanings for each episode. Some are light; some are dark. Some are from Diana's POV, others from Marco's. I'd like to think all of them fall within the realms of possibility. I'll be posting one a day, leading up to the start of season 3 in the US. This one was inspired by the umbrella scene; I know I'm not the only one who has looked back on it with fondness.

SPOILERS: through Wake Up Call

DISCLAIMER: The 4400 and all things associated with it belong to other people.


TWELVE STEPS

STEP 1: POTENTIAL

It was was a stormy morning and her turn to buy coffee, so his arriving before her was to be expected, not that he minded waiting.

Leaning against his fender, he smiled as she pulled her rain-slicked sedan smoothly into the spot next to him. Levering himself up, he opened her door.

"Hey, Marco." Offering him a quick grin, she reached for her briefcase and a little, recycled cardboard carrying case from the local cafe.

"'Morning, Diana." Although it had been nearly a year since she'd insisted on his using it, he still relished addressing her by her first name. Taking the proffered coffee cup case, he resisted the urge to offer her his hand as she rose from her seat. His mother had trained him to do so, but Marco was fairly certain his coworker wouldn't appreciate the gesture. Diana was nothing if not independent.

"I forgot to ask you something yesterday." She also had a tendency to be direct, which he found charming. Sadly, it was the reason he was so uncertain as to whether or not she had any romantic interest in him, though he wasn't about to stop seeking some.

"Shoot." After he passed her cup over, he took his own and folded the case into his pocket for later recycling.

In the middle of his first sip, she asked, "What are you doing for lunch?"

Naturally, he choked.

"You okay?" She gave him a look that was a combination of concern and amusement.

It was the amusement that made him briefly wonder if she'd intentionally timed her question for just such an effect. "Just...swallowed wrong."

Her gaze suggested she wasn't so sure about that, but she didn't comment on it as they made their way from the garage to the basement elevator. "Well, Tom and I are going back to Abendson, and I thought you should come along to take a look at that tower." She didn't elaborate as to why Abendson nor what tower, an expression of her certainty that he was aware of the details of her case.

Marco cleared his throat of the last of his inhaled coffee. "Got it. So does that mean I should grab lunch early?"

"Yeah. Wait 'til you see this thing, Marco." Full of enthusiasm, she pressed her thumb against the elevator's security pad with vigorous tap. "It's amazing, and it really seems like it's...something."

"I look forward to seeing it. Meet you down here around...?"

The doors opened with a ding. "Let's say ten to twelve."

"I'll be here." He had to work to not grin like an idiot.

The doors closed between them, and he practically skipped down the hall to the Theory Room. A road trip with Diana! Despite the weather, he was sure it was going to be a good day.

Usually the first to arrive, Marco was surprised to find the door was already open.

"Marco." Brady's disembodied voice floated across the room in greeting. Despite being hidden from view by his computer screen, Brady didn't have to look to know who was there so early.

"Brady." Setting down his coffee, Marco was surfing the internet before he was fully seated. With a few clicks of his mouse, he learned the weather around the hospital was supposed to be drizzly all day.

"Hey, Brady."

"Yeah?" A gaunt, bespectacled face poked around the side of a monitor.

"You still have that umbrella in your trunk?"

"Yeah. Why?"

"Mind if I borrow it?"

"Did yours break?"

"No."

"So why do you want to borrow mine?" His coworker's gaze grew suspicious.

There was no point hiding the truth; the others would find out eventually. "I'm going to Abendson with Diana and Tom."

The wicked gleam in Brady's eyes told him his friend had figured out his motives--they often dried their umbrellas in the hall, and Marco's was a collapsible only suitable for a single person. Despite thinking him a fool for setting his sites on what the others generally considered unattainable heights, Brady didn't begrudge his fellow geek for trying. Nodding, the older man fished out his car keys and tossed them to Marco. "It's on the left side. You might want to air it out."

"Thanks, Brady."

"Sure thing. Just tell us what it's like when you get back."

Unsure if Brady was referring to the tower or sharing an umbrella with Diana, Marco took off for the garage. Even when an agent coming down the hall gave him a weird look, he couldn't hide his big, happy smile.