Disclaimer: The 4400 and all its characters are not mine. I just like to dabble with them every once in a while.
Spoilers: Mid to late season three.
A/N: This is a response to the Marco/Diana Month of Love over at LJ.
Have you ever had one of those weak moments where you did something self destructive? Something that you know you shouldn't have done, but you did anyways because you just couldn't help yourself?
Diana had known from the start that going to their bar for a drink after work had been a mistake. Her and Tom were in the middle a particularly grueling case; one involving a group of teenage 4400's terrorizing an elementary school district in downtown Seattle.
Every time she saw one of the pre-adolescent victims unconscious and in the hospital, tucked between over-starched sheets, IV's and heart monitors hooked up to pale and battered little bodies, all she could see was Maia laying there in their place.
It terrified her.
She'd seen a lot of things since staring her job at NTAC, more than anyone should ever have to bear witness to, but since becoming a mother cases involving children had put quite a strain on her emotionally. And, unfortunately for her, Marco was the only person that she'd ever felt comfortable enough to share that fear with.
So that's how she found herself sitting on a barstool that she'd once called her own, staring into her third mug of beer as she blocked out one of the more horrid 80's songs that was blaring from the old jukebox in the corner. Hoping against her better judgment that he would show up, and she could use his shoulder to lean on as she drowned her sorrows.
It was greedy of her, she knew that, after everything that had happened between them. He didn't deserve her toying with him this way, but she needed something familiar and comforting right now. And he was the only thing that she could think of as she drove home that evening.
The door behind her swung open for what was probably the fortieth time since she'd been there and a cold December breeze barreled past her, leaving a trail of goosebumps along her skin.
Someone sat down beside her and gestured to the bartender for a drink. She didn't bother looking. She knew who it was.
Diana chuckled to herself. "You could say that."
Marco picked up his beer as soon as it was set in front of him and took a generous swig, trying to keep his voice from acquiring a bitter tone. "Haven't seen you in here for quite a while."
Her eyes slipped shut momentarily, body swooning as the smell of his cologne wafted across the small space between them and invaded her senses. She must have been drunker than she thought because answering him was the furthest thing on her mind. How she'd missed this; him. Sharing his company, his space, feeling the heat from his body radiating toward her, penetrating her skin until she warmed.
No. She can't be thinking about that. She broke up with him. She doesn't have the right.
Rolling her head back and forth, relieving the tension that had been mounting in her neck all day, she sighed. "Haven't had a reason to."
He seemed to mull over that for a minute, brow knitting in confusion. "So, you have a reason now?"
She should have seen that one coming.
Frowning into her drink, she tipped the glass all the way back and downed the rest of the golden liquid, before slamming it back onto the bar. Her body buzzed pleasantly, a gentle warmth enveloping her from the stomach outward, and she was thankful that her mind was finally clouding over. It was going to make this so much easier.
"How do you only sort of have a reason, Diana?"
"Well," she slurred, "it starts out when your partner runs off and almost gets himself shot, again. And then, it continues when our only case in weeks results in dozens of innocent children almost dying. Dropping like flies on the playground, in classrooms, on busses…"
Pulling a bowl of pretzels toward herself, she began carefully studying them before fishing one out and nibbling on it. "I had to interview every single parent." She whispered. "They were all so afraid. Each one of them. And all I could think was… All I could think-"
"What if it had been Maia?"
Diana's gaze swung toward him, taking him in visually for the first time since he'd arrived, and nodded. He always understood her when nobody else did.
She could feel her bottom lip quivering against her will, throat constricting as her eyes began to well with moisture. Now she remembers why she hates getting plastered. Her emotions always had a tendency to fluctuate from one extreme to the other in ten seconds flat, without fail.
She was not going to cry. She wouldn't allow herself.
Yet, there she was. Her body had betrayed her, tears silently falling down her reddened cheeks and onto the booze-soaked bar. She had never felt so humiliated in her life.
Then she was being enveloped into a warm embrace, long arms wrapping tenderly around her body, her head tucked under Marco's chin as she sobbed into his chest, and for a few minutes it wasn't so bad. It was cathartic, to just let everything go. Sinking into him like nothing had changed. A simple touch and all of her problems melted away.
She could feel his hands rubbing comforting circles into her back as he placed a tender, barely there, kiss onto the crown of her head. Just that alone made her cry a bit harder, nuzzling deeper into his shirt, trying to forget what a great man she had lost.
But who said she had lost him? He was here, wasn't he? Here when she needed him the most and didn't pass judgment on her for it, even though she would have if she were in his shoes.
He was the same old Marco. A good person, with no catches, or extra fine print at the bottom. And that's what she'd loved about him from the day they'd met.
His caresses began to slow, as did her tears, and for the first time she noticed that he'd been mumbling reassurances in her ear. Telling her that everything would be alright, that Maia was safe, and that she didn't have anything to worry about.
If only she could believe him.
Diana leaned back, her eyes fluttering open when she felt his thumbs wipe away salty tracks and smeared mascara left over from the small monsoon that had recently flowed through. He was looking at her as if she were fragile, about to break. And truth be told, about an hour ago, hell even five minutes ago, she had been. But now?
Her lips curved, just in the corners, letting him know that she'd be okay. That she was grateful for what he'd done. And she truly was. If he hadn't shown up, she would have held everything in, repressed it. She knew what doing that could do to a person, after Maia had been abducted and taken away from her not too long ago, and she never wanted that to happen again.
The motion in Marco's fingers had stopped, but his palms remained cupping her face. Skin soft and solid, supporting her, trapping her, savoring her.
Her stomach flipped, unsure of whether or not it was his touch or the liquor that had caused it, but somehow she found herself not caring which it was.
Diana's grip tightened on his jacket, inching him closer until his breath puffed dangerously across her chin. She was drowning in him. Body pulsing and flush against his. Hips, chest, and knees curved perfectly together. Everything around her seemed to blur and twist together, and the only thing left in focus was him.
His eyes were wide, questioning her. Asking her what she was doing, what they were doing. But honestly, she didn't want to think anymore.
Her gaze wandered down to his lips, lingering, longing, wanting, and she didn't spare any time on taking them. She bridged the gap between them, head tilting forward the last few inches until their mouths brushed. Sweet, soft, touches. Like the ones that she remembered them sharing on windy summer days as they spent all afternoon strolling through the park.
She wanted more. Her tongue swept greedily along his bottom lip, nibbling and nipping, parting his willing mouth as she explored the familiar taste she found there.
She'd missed this so much.
He was gentle and assertive at the same time, taking from her and giving as much as he got in return. It felt like every nerve in her body was attuned to his. Passion and lust, and need smothering them both.
Why hadn't she done this sooner?
And then it hit her. Like a cartoon piano falling from the sky, or the sting of a cold shower after an erotic dream.
"Oh, God!" She gasped, breaking their kiss. "I can't do this."
"Di, what's wrong?" Marco pleaded, perplexed and unwilling to let her go again.
Stumbling away from him, she steadied herself against the bar, looking at the ground. "I just- I can't…"
He huffed, slumping back onto his stool. "Can I ask why? I at least deserve that."
Diana hastily slid her coat on and peered guiltily toward him, her lips still tingling, suddenly very sober. "There's someone else."
Marco nodded, and turned back to his beer, defeated.
She'd only seen that look one other time, and it had broken her heart then too. Why did she have to hurt him so many times? Why did she let herself hurt him so many times?
With one last glance, Diana turned and walked out of the pub, a lingering tear freezing as it slipped from the corner of her eye. What had she done?
The wind tore through the nearly empty parking lot, making her sway treacherously on her heels in her already inebriated state. Guilt quickly set in when she realized what she had to do. She had no other choice. There was no way she'd be able to drive home in this condition.
After palming her pockets for her cell phone, she flipped it open and grudgingly pressed speed dial- waiting patiently as it rang.
"Ben, hey, it's me…"