Spoilers: For S2 "Lockdown".
A/N: Thanks to Fanwoman for the betareading.
As he closed his eyes, the din of the gym – voices shouting out, demanding to know what was happening - was drowned out by sound of her labored breathing and the rabid thumping his heart made in response.
When his lips met hers, he felt like everything in the world was falling away, a relief from the constant tension of the mental thrum, causing his internal rage and frustration to dissipate.
All at once, she was his whole world. Every sense was caught up in the exploration of her; the warmth of the nape of her neck, fingers teasing across her skin; the feel of the soft fabric as his hand brushed past the small of her back and across the smooth leather of her holster; the tension of the material as he teased her blouse from the waist of her skirt to reach an expanse of hot skin.
The unexpected small moan escaping from her mouth because of his actions fuelled him on, and then his hands were grasping her more fervently, as he pushed them both against the wall, one clasping her waist, pulling her to him; the other entangled in the thick dark curls of her hair, working at the clasp to let it fall loose around her face. Inhaling the sweet smell of her hair was like savoring the aroma of a fine wine, for it was rare he was close enough to catch the subtle scent of it.
With amusement, he recognised the lingering taste of the really good coffee from the café up the street on her lips, and he smiled a bit against the kiss, knowing she hadn't ignored his recommendation. That flourishing thought increased the pleasure, because it meant she'd thought of him today, before all the trouble, before she'd needed his help.
And then he opened his eyes abruptly, seeing the shock evident in Diana's, and the dream - the illusion of getting what he'd wanted – crashed and fell to pieces. What had he done? She'd trusted him, yet he'd consciously lured her closer, betraying that precious bond for a brief quelling of his lust. He could argue he wasn't himself - and maybe she'd accept it - but nothing could undo the fact he'd broken her faith in him. Worse, he knew, deep down, every feeling, every action was of his own making, genuine expressions of his inner self. Perhaps none of it had been how he'd wanted to present himself, or behave, but everything he'd done he'd wanted to do. Some part of him even believed he was right to have done it, and it sickened him to know that attitude lurked inside, however deeply it was usually buried.
She might forgive him on the surface of it, but would he forgive himself if it had, in any way, damaged their friendship, let alone the chance at a relationship? It wasn't only about Diana, either, Maia had indirectly born witness to what he'd done. She was young but not so young she couldn't understand what issues it could cause, that he'd taken advantage of her mother.
He was breathless, trying to avoid eye contact, though they were - for some reason lost to him and better analysed later - still pressed against each other. He felt Diana's head jerk up suddenly. Focusing on her face, he saw a look of sheer panic there before everything was turned upside down in a barrage of confusing events. Diana cried out "No! Stop!" and then he found himself abruptly tackled by her, both of them landing painfully on their sides. Looking up from his position on the floor he watched as a metal bar, minus the usual barbells, clanged with a vicious resonance on the concrete as it met the wall, coming round from a trajectory of about where he'd been standing seconds ago.
Lying on the floor, Marco was conscious that Diana was tantalizingly close once more. He found himself shamefully unable to focus on anything other than her, and his eyes were drawn to hers as she looked down at him, more than a little breathless, having had the wind knocked out of her lungs from landing on top of him. Briefly, he searched them for any sign that she might despise him for his unwilling actions but could find no resentment. For once, he found her unreadable, a look passing across her face that he couldn't begin to categorize, and he wasn't sure if he should fear what it meant. He didn't, however, have much longer to think upon this when Diana's attention was, yet again, drawn away from him.
The nurse was standing above them both, now brandishing another piece of gym equipment, this time hesitantly. He couldn't really blame her for an overzealous amount of concern, not when Diana had been ready to shoot the other crazed people they'd come across... though it seemed Diana wasn't willing to drop the issue so readily in his case.
"What were you doing? You could have killed him!" she exclaimed incredulously as she stood up and dusted herself off.
"I...I thought he might...That he was hurting you, forcing you..."
To that open statement, phrased like an enquiry, Diana did not make any attempt to answer, and he desperately wished she had been facing him when it had come up so he could gage her reaction.
"Well, it's over now. There's no need for that. Enough people have been hurt. Maybe you can make use of your training now." she responded, sounding both vaguely angry with the woman and regretful. It was hard to tell if it was simply displeasure at the nurse's too late response to danger and regret over all she'd had to do herself in the name of defence, or if it might be due to the interruption...
Over as it was, he chided himself for caring about such a selfish thing, considering how close it had come to the nurse's fear being a reality. Even with Diana's lack of resistance, who could say he'd have stopped if she had shown any.
He shuddered to think about it, but found himself almost literally pulled out of that dark mental mire when he meekly accepted Diana's hand to get him standing up. Embarrassingly, he immediately swayed on his feet, and it was only with help - her arm around his torso, pulling him towards her to take some of his unbalanced weight, and the same from the nameless nurse – that he managed to walk back into the gym in order to get settled in and comfortable, presumably to wait for medical attention, since there were others in the building who were far worse off than himself.
Unfortunately, the most comfortable place to rest was on a pile of gym mats, within earshot of his boss. She glanced across at him, raising an eyebrow at the extra dishevelment he'd somehow managed during the last few minutes, and he puzzled at how, exactly, he'd managed to end up with several shirt buttons undone.
Nina dryly delivered the sarcastic comment of "I didn't see that coming" to the room in general, which prompted the rather peeved nurse to spout off her own, slightly bitter, reflection of the predicament she'd found them in.
"I didn't see either of them resisting." she said whilst moving to check on Nina's injury, shooting him a dirty look and then glancing deliberately at Diana for a second, who was walking single-mindedly towards him with something clutched in her hands.
He closed his eyes and resisted the urge to groan out loud. Was there any chance he'd live this down, let alone work out the ramifications with Diana, given that half the staff would latch onto any gossip available? He severely doubted Miss Try-to-save-the-day-half-a-minute-too-late was going to keep mum about it. Brady and P.J. would probably bring it up as much as possible, once they caught up with the scuttlebutt, especially considering it would nicely deflect their own fisticuffs in the theory room and give them something to rally around. There was sure to be a nudge, nudge, wink, wink apology in there as well, for solving the counter-signal a little too soon. What made him cringe was the fact all of them would completely miss the point. What had happened might have made his heard race, his soul sing even, at the time, but it wasn't an experience to cherish – it was the blundered beginning of a relationship instead of a happy ending.
Nevertheless, as he slipped into a semi conscious state, he felt a hand on his shoulder nudging him awake, and he looked up to see Diana staring at him, with concern etched on her face as she looked over his head wound.
"You should try and stay awake; you might have a concussion."
"You know, that's not really a very good excuse for what I did -" he started to say.
"Though it probably won't be as bad as Tom's, or Ma...Dr. Hudson's," she joked weakly.
"I should've...I shouldn't...I wanted -" He tried to articulate his thoughts but found it inordinately harder, now the adrenaline had worn off. His head just felt fuzzy, but it hardly mattered, since Diana seemed determined not to let him finish.
"Here, I brought you your glasses." She spoke quietly as she bent down in order to put them on him, fingers flitting over the sides of his face as she pushed them back, into place. "I figured they might make your head hurt less, things being in focus."
He tried to formulate a reply as his brain zoned in on the feel of her deliberate and lingering touch, but he was cut off again, this time by a despairing cry from the other side of the room. Maia had apparently gained enough lucidity, despite her fever, to realise what was happening.
"Mommy! Mommy, are you okay?!"
Unsurprisingly, Diana pulled away from him, the tender contact lost, and all he could feel was the throb of his head returning. The glasses didn't, in fact, improve the pain. Marco closed his eyes, trying to block out not only that discomfort but the reality of what he'd done and the sinking feeling at the implications of the whole situation – a terrorist attack on NTAC, 4400s dead, who knew how many injured, and Maia sick.
Part of him still wanted to fight, this time to stay conscious and be of some help, perhaps, and make up for the distress he'd caused, but his exhausted body overwhelmingly yearned to fall into an ignorant, blissful state and come around when things might have improved. That was a wish easily fulfilled, one he hoped would not come with dire costs or consequences.