Title: Taking Chances
Author: The Scientist Wrangler
Disclaimer: I don't own Gears, or the Gears novels. The gods at Epic Games and Karen Traviss are the proud creators.
Warnings: Possible swearing. That's all really. Though this is my first Gears fic, so be kind please. PLEASE critique it. I want to know that I did the series justice. If I didn't then I want to know what I could do better for the next fic.
Series: Gears of War (Takes place between Jacinto's Remnant and Anvil Gate)
Summary: She made the first move, and the ball is in his court, but he still has yet to make a move. Let alone even say anything. Anya can't help but wonder, how did she end up falling for such a complicated man? ENJOY!
It's ironic, really, that it took losing one of mankind's final remaining cities… for her to get a chance to really get a moment with him. Sure they occasionally exchanged a few words over the radio…but that didn't really count. The last time she'd sat down and talked with that man… was before he got court-martialed.
Even before he was locked away, he'd been a man of few words. Now, it almost as if he didn't speak unless it was required let alone necessary. It made her wonder, just what he'd been through in that prison cell. Not that she would ever ask him, and not like he would ever tell her. It was the metaphorical Lambent in their relationship, and neither one of them was willing to make the first move.
All of her female acquaintances had thought that she was insane for holding out as long as she had. Beating around the bush for as long as they were, wasn't the foundation for a healthy relationship. Except, the way Sera was…there was no such thing as a 'healthy relationship'. No one had the time to be dating when there was a possibility of you romantic candlelit dinner being interrupted by grubs.
Anya let out a sigh of exasperation, she couldn't give the man up even if she wanted to. Sixteen years of time spent between them both, four of which she hadn't even known if he was alive or dead. Inmates weren't known for having very long lives in the prison. Most were already in the onset of rigor mortis when they finally 'leave' their hell. When she finally got to see him again, it had taken all of her military discipline to force her estrogen from closing that distance. Just so she could reassure herself that he most definitely was real.
She'd followed after him, watching through the eyes of Jack. Watching over, being a guide to his movements, keeping him as safe she could in such a hostile environment. All of this from a distance, she already had to put up with the emotional and yet somehow the physical was even worse. Her faith in his sharp mind as well as his strength was the only thing that kept her fear in check.
All too soon people caught onto her favoritism for Delta Squad. Hoffman hadn't been pleased with it, he'd always scowl whenever she'd give him updates on the teams progress. Only once did he warn her, to take care of herself. Anya knew what he really meant, and his disapproval was irritating. She would never understand just why he held just anger towards Marcus.
Now, here she was, staring out at the seemingly unending ocean, wondering about bygone days. The difference was, that her past affected her present predicament. Now she had her wish granted, the distance was no longer an issue. Hell for all she knew, he could have been watching her from a window inside the base. Which led to the question, why the hell wasn't she in there with him?
Simple, the man was more closed-off and distant then an uninterested woman. Half the time she couldn't tell what was the right move to make, let alone the right thing to say. Most girls would say 'Just go for it already! He'll reciprocate if you make the first move'! Unfortunately, if she did that, Marcus would most likely close her out even more. Anya leaned against the balcony railing, how did she end up falling for such a complicated individual? It hadn't always been this difficult.
Sure he'd always been harder to read then most men, but before E Day… she could recall at least once when he'd almost smiled. Maybe Carlos had been the first layer of concrete that had concealed his emotional state. Each new painful event just made him seal himself further away. She couldn't help but wonder when the last time he'd felt happy was.
Marcus knew how she felt about him, that much was certain. She'd been upfront that day when Hoffman had first met up with Michaelson. The topic hadn't been raised again since then. The ball was in his court, she had done all she could. If he wanted to get things moving, then he had to do something about. Though, Anya was beginning to wonder if he ever would. It had been quite awhile since the COG had finally started to settle in Vectes.
There had been a very brief instant when she'd be so certain that he was going to at long last make a move. To which it fizzled when Baird snapped that Hoffman wanted to see them about something involving a shift in scheduled rounds. Thankfully Bernie had given the poor blonde an earful later about interrupting such a critical moment. Although Marcus was oblivious, it was apparent that both Dom and Cole were also annoyed with Baird.
A small chuckle escaped her, it was funny that everyone was also as frustrated with the leader of Delta Squad. It was good to know that she wasn't the only one suffering with the agonizing wait.
"What's so funny?" an all too familiar voice rumbled from behind her. She couldn't help but inhale sharply in surprise. Think of the devil! Marcus just stood there with his arms cross his chest, a single brow raised in curiosity. Anya blinked a few times before her brain computed what he'd said. Shaking her head with a small smile, before turning back to stare out at the night sky.
"Nothing. Just remembering some things. That's all." It wasn't a lie. That was precisely what she'd been doing. He moved to stand beside her, and she took a quick glance from her peripheral. His muscles were tense, as if he was uncertain what to do or say. Anya couldn't help but wonder if his broad shoulders ever tired of the burden he seemed to constantly carried. She decided to take initiative, otherwise the whole situation would end up dead in the water.
"How long do think this'll last?" she asked, her voice was low and hesitant. His dark brows drew together, and after a long tense moment Marcus spoke,
"What?" The single word, and she had to fight the temptation to sigh again. Instead Anya decided that maybe it wasn't the right time after all. If he was going to play oblivious then she'd let him continue doing exactly that. She quickly changed what her answer was. Tucking a loose strand of her hair behind her ear, before softly responding,
"This peace. Sure the Stranded are difficult to deal with, but they're no where near as bad as the Locust. So if you think about it. This is the easiest we've had it in a long time." She paused before closing her eyes to enjoy the sea breeze.
"It makes me wonder just how long it can last." When Anya's lashes lifted once more, she realized that he was watching her. There was something about the way Marcus seemed to be contemplating her very existence, that made her heart start to beat faster. This was why she was so captivated by this man beside her. Even though there were periods of famine, when he finally did deliver…it was so honest and breathtaking.
She noticed a very slight twitch of his fingers, almost as though he was sorely tempted to do something. But what? This time it was up to him, and good god did she pray that the man would finally make a damned move. If he were a lesser man, she would have been suspicious that this was all some sort of sadistic foreplay.
Except she could tell that this was difficult for him, too many years of keeping up emotional shields. Finding it impossible to bare himself completely to another person. His parents had done a hell of a number on him, she didn't want to begin to think of how he would have been if not for the Santiago's.
Anya gave him a small tentative smile, his eyes were dark and utterly unfathomable. She didn't know what was going through his mind, and the quiet seemed to be getting thicker every second. When she finally opened her mouth to say something, anything to break the silence…he cut her off with a shake of his head. When he spoke, his rough voice was low and almost awkward. As though he was uncertain and irritated all at the same time.,
"I'm not…good with these sort of things." Any other woman might have laughed at that understatement. Anya knew better, he was being honest and trying to take that first step. This was difficult for him, and she appreciated it all the more. Unsure whether or not it was a good idea to reach out and touch his taunt arm reassuringly.
She nodded to show that she understood, poor Marcus looked as though he was a too tight violin string. He let out a long audible breath, those immense shoulders relaxed slightly. Which was a huge relief for her. Hesitantly she finally spoke once more, her voice was soft and empathetic,
"I know that, Marcus…It's fine…I can wait." How ironic, usually it was the guy that would say that. She was startled by the reaction her choice of words had provoked. He seemed almost pensive, but those deep black shimmered with some indefinable emotion just beneath the surface. Like some sort of fish out of her reach.
Anya found her body sensitive to the distance that seemed to have closed at some point. Overwhelmed, she had to look away from his face, or else she felt as though she would have been swallowed whole. Her body tensed, and her blue eyes widened in shock. When he gently lifted the bottom of her chin with a single hand, so that she met his eyes once more.
"A smart guy made a point, that if I don't step up… I'm going to end up with a lot of regrets." She couldn't help but chuckle at that, humor shone on her face,
"Let me guess…Dom?" He made a noncommittal sound in response. Anya smiled warmly, up at him. Before she could say anything else, the ground seemed to have disappeared under her feet. Oh, no, wait…no… the floor was still there. He'd just kissed her. The Lieutenants eyes widened briefly before fluttering closed. How could such a powerfully devastating man…be so damned gentle?
When his free arm wrapped around her waist, the other cupped her cheek. The touch was so soft, it was almost like he was scared he'd hurt her. It made her heart overflow with love for the man that she was clinging to. If only Dom had said something fifteen years ago!
When they finally broke apart he rested his forehead against hers, and she let out a long shaky sigh of contentment. This was what she'd been waiting all this time for, and it was perfect. The butterflies were still fluttering around in her head when she spoke,
"You're the most important person in my life. Don't forget that. Alright?" She heard him let out a small grunt, and knew that was his agreement. Anya hugged him, and she was so glad that nothing had interrupted this much needed moment. She poked him playfully on the chest,
"Don't even think of trying to back out now. You've kept me waiting a long time." For a brief instant…she thought she saw him actually smile but that wasn't possible! He held her close and she felt his chest rumble as he spoke in a hushed voice,
"Thank fucking GOD!" Baird barked, Cole cheered loudly, Bernie was grinning from ear to ear, Dom smiled as they watched from a window two floors up. Ordinarily they'd have minded their own business, but those two had kept them waiting way too long! They deserved to get to see the moment when they finally got to together.
Bernie was talking about getting some of Dizzy's moonshine to celebrate. Meanwhile Cole was guffawing while Baird was ranting about how irritating the tension had been between the two. While the three started to head out to drink to the new couple, Dom remained for a bit longer.
He was glad that the stubborn guy had listened to what he'd told him. His hand unconsciously went to touch the pendant around his neck. Marcus deserved to be happy, hell so did Anya!
"Dom! You coming or what?" Baird called as the others waited at the door. He took one last second before nodding and following after his team mates. Cole slung his arm over the blondes shoulders, grinning from ear to ear.
"Time to go celebrate!" Bernie smiled fondly before nodding at Dom as a silent, 'you did good'. Marcus was probably going to look for them as soon as he parted ways with the cute Lieutenant. When he found them drinking to his newfound relationship, he'd frown and do the equivalent of a blush for the stoic man.
Baird would tease Marcus relentlessly, Bernie would become even more motherly, and Cole would be his typical loud happy self. As they entered the mess hall, Dom knew that no matter what happened, he would be there to support his two friends. That was all that mattered in the end.
I hope you all enjoyed this! Like I said before, please let me know how I did! I want to know what I could do better with the characters. So that I can do this amazing series justice.