AN: Had this idea a while back, wrote it a while back, then re-discovered it in the depths of my Computer, having re-wrote it I present it before you now for your reading, and hopefully enjoyment. Before you read though you might feel that Marcus is a little out of character but I really feel that by this stage that those infamous emotional walls are getting a little fragile, and with the right person he could just open up a little :)
Let me know what you think if you like it, especially with the characters and such and especially with my writing, sometimes it tends to read awkwardly :)
Disclaimer: Gears of War and its characters belong to Epic Games and Epic Games studios
Anya lost her balance slightly as the Raven's Nest Carrier Sovereign teetered to one side, the brisk waves of the ocean crashing against its hull as the ship made its journey through the icy water. Grabbing a metal shelf beside her, Anya managed to stabilise herself as the ship righted itself again, tentatively releasing her grip on the cool metal she went back to her original intensions. Before the interruption Anya had been about to make coffee, the small storage room she was stood in doubling up as a miniature kitchen, strategically balanced boxes providing the work surfaces and the water heater in one corner providing an excellent source of hot water. Fiddling with the buttons and dials on the heater she finally managed to get the thing working and allowed herself a small smile that something was actually going well for a change.
Whilst the water was being heated to the desired temperature, two cups were removed from a nearby box and Anya prepared them with coffee grounds, thinking about it she suspected that the grounds were pretty old but she didn't mind and neither would the two people the drinks were destined for. With nothing else to do but wait for the water, Anya found that her mind started to wander a little just like everyone else's when there was a moment of quiet. Remembering the events that had only occurred an hour ago she made a little grimace before sighing quietly to herself.
"...Marcus." She breathed under her breath as she leant against a stack of crates.
"Anya, get Delta up here..." Hoffman growled behind her as he paced back and forth.
Obeying Anya hailed Delta on the radio, more specifically Marcus who assured her they would be there in a few minutes.
Just as he had said, Marcus walked into command closely followed by the rest of his squad, he gave her a quick glance before he turned his attention to the old Colonel who was now leaning with his palms down against a desk, some paperwork sprawled across the wooden surface.
"We've had news..." Hoffman said with displeasure, clearly whatever the news was, he wasn't happy with it.
Anya had meanwhile gotten up and was about to leave the room, she had some errands to run and she could sense the tension in the room, however she was stopped by the Colonel.
"I want you to hear this too."
Once again obeying Anya remained in the room and waited for the news to be shared with the rest of them, though she noticed how Hoffman glanced at Marcus, it was enough to make her start worrying, not that she really needed an excuse to worry when it came to Marcus.
"Word has it...that Adam Fenix is alive..." There was silence as Hoffman let the news sink in.
Without much thought she turned to Marcus to see his eyes blink rapidly and the muscles of his jaw tighten, but he said nothing. Anya wondered not for the first time, what was he thinking behind that carefully masked face?
Hoffman continued "He is being held captive by the locust Queen as far as we know, and you will be tasked to retrieve him...I'll give you more details tomorrow, but I felt it was important that you should all know now..."
Marcus still said nothing, and without so much as a gesture or indication, he had left closing the door quietly behind him to leave the rest of his squad, herself and Hoffman standing in silence.
Steam bellowed out from the water heater and snapped her out of her memories, shaking her head slightly to clear her mind Anya carefully poured hot water into each of the cups, stirring them and dissolving the contents. Getting a steady grip on both cups she took them both and made her way out of the 'thrown together' Kitchen and wandered along the corridor that would lead her to the deck of the ship, silently praying that it wouldn't rock too much while she was carrying hot liquids. Finally she reached the deck and managed to push the door open by walking into it backwards, the first thing that struck her was the smell of the ocean as she walked along the deck, her eyes seeing her target as she caught sight of two silhouetted figures sat on a bench facing the open water.
Walking up to them quietly, she stopped as one of them peered around having sensed her approach; Dominic Santiago stood up and made his way over to her, his seated companion unmoving the whole while.
"How is he?" Anya asked quietly her eyes focused mostly on the back of the other man in the chair.
Dom shook his head "No change...He won't talk, I keep trying but I can't get anything out of him"
Anya nodded slowly "Um...I brought you both coffee..."
He gave her a smile "Nah...I'm fine, why don't you take it and go sit with him for a while?"
Anya shuffled nervously "Dom...If he won't talk to you, he isn't going to talk to me..."
Dom shook his head again and gave her another smile "He might surprise you"
She sighed heavily "I don't know about that"
She felt Dom's hand on her shoulder "He'll open up to you sometime...I'm sure of it"
"I hope so, it's just..." She sighed "I hate seeing him like this"
Looking back towards the bench she frowned and continued "It sounds stupid...but I just want to hug him and tell him everything will be okay, but I know it's not as simple as that...I just wish it was..."
"Not stupid at all, Anya...and it is that simple, if you want it to be...go and talk to him...or just sit with him, he'll appreciate it"
Anya nodded and gifted Dom with a smile "Thanks Dom"
"Anytime...now I'm off to get some shut eye...tomorrow is going to be very trying"
Then Dom left, closing the door to the deck and leaving her and Marcus alone, taking a deep breath Anya walked over to where Marcus was still sitting and unmoving.
Taking a seat gingerly beside him, she extended her arm and held out one of the cups of coffee to him.
"I brought you a coffee...thought you might like something hot to drink..." She offered
Marcus didn't move, but she persevered "Marcus...Come on...it will make you feel better"
He turned slowly, looked at her, then at the cup in her hand, then back at her again before he finally took it from her grasp and grunted a thank you. For a little while Anya just sat beside him, watching the ocean as it angrily crashed against the hull, with each impact the smell of the ocean assaulting her senses, Anya found it calming and relaxing just to watch the waves as they tossed and turned across the surface of the water. Glancing at Marcus she decided she wanted to say something to him, wanted to find out if he was okay, but the words got muddled up somewhere on their way out, and she ended up saying something completely different to what she had been planning.
"I'm sorry Marcus" She said berating herself inwardly for not just asking if he was okay.
Marcus slowly lifted his cup to his mouth and took a gulp full of the hot liquid, she was right; it did make him feel better if only a little, but it was going to take more than a cup of coffee to help the way he felt right now.
"What are you sorry for?" He questioned, his voice low as if it took too much energy for him to use his voice at its usual pitch.
"I...I don't know Marcus...I just don't know what to say..." She looked at him apologetically but he didn't turn to look at her, just kept his eyes on the water, their icy blue colour contrasting with the twilight of the night, it was enough to make her heart stop for a beautiful moment.
Although she treasured every moment with him her heart sank a little as she returned her vision to the horizon, it was hurting her seeing him like this, it wasn't just for the fact that he was hurt, she knew he was. What broke her heart more than anything was that he was hurting and he was determined to hurt alone, determined to seek no relief from another person no matter how desperate they were to comfort him.
Sighing she made to stand up, she was pretty certain from the vibes she was getting from him that he wanted to be alone, his silence was more definite than normal and she knew he wouldn't allow her to comfort him. Getting up she was about to turn and leave when she felt something brush against her, looking down she saw to her surprise that Marcus had taken her hand; he was looking at her his expression oddly softer than she was accustomed to, it startled her for just a moment.
"Please...stay..." He mumbled quietly, never taking his eyes from hers.
Slowly she lowered herself back onto the bench sitting slightly closer to him than she had before, her confidence fed by his sudden contact; their coffees were left abandoned as they sat together in silence.
"You can talk to me Marcus...I want you to know that..." Anya reassured him.
He nodded slowly, so slow that she wasn't sure it could even be classed as a nod.
"I know..." He said quietly as he leaned back the bench creaking slightly from the change in posture.
Anya leant back with him feeling that it was okay to relax a little now that he had, though she noticed that he hadn't let go of her hand yet but she didn't mind, in fact she adjusted her hand enabling her thumb to move over the back of his in a small gesture of comfort, she just couldn't help herself. Marcus seemed to have silenced again and was simply sat beside her still fixated by the ocean, but his hand twitched every now and then in her grasp as if he was nervous at the contact, though each time her thumb moved over his skin he seemed to ease if only slightly.
"...Anya?" He asked at last.
"Yes?" She replied, pleased that he seemed ready to talk finally.
"...How am I supposed to feel?"
The question took her by surprise, not just because it seemed unlike him to ask such a question "What do you mean?"
He sighed heavily before he turned to face her, anguish and conflict clearly readable in his usually un-expressive features; the revelation of his Father's survival had struck him hard and it seemed his emotional barriers were still reeling and allowing a little drizzle of his inner emotions to leak out. It pleased but frightened her, she'd dreamed of the day he might start to open up emotionally and now it seemed the moment had come, she was scared he would just retract back again and shut her out at the first wrong word.
"I mean...shit I don't know what I mean..." He dragged his other hand over his face "How would you feel...if it was your mother?"
Anya sat and thought on that for a few moments wondering exactly how she would feel in the same position, though her circumstances would be a little different.
"It's hard to say..." She paused in thought "I'd be happy that she was alive and worried that she's being held by the locusts" She frowned "...But Marcus, it isn't that simple...you and your Dad..." She cut herself off as she felt Marcus's grip tighten around her hand, though not painfully and he spoke though slowly as if every word struggled to find freedom.
"I've thought that all these years he was dead...that I'd failed to save him; that I couldn't even save my own father the same way I couldn't save my best friend...and now...to find out he's alive, that I spent four years..." He trailed off not wanting to proceed further; he'd already said a lot more than he had wanted to.
Marcus turned away from her annoyed with himself for letting so much out, but it was getting harder for him to keep it in, to keep it hidden, the world was going to hell around him and so many people had and were dying, he wasn't sure how long he could bear it anymore. Though this with his father...he'd spent the last six years from his sentence to now thinking he'd failed, beating himself up internally at his lack of ability to save the people that really mattered to him, and to find that his Father had been alive all this time, it just pulled up all the issues he thought he'd finally sealed away. Suddenly he felt something cool and soft against his face, Anya had cupped his scarred cheek with her free hand and was gently encouraging him to turn back to face her. He closed his eyes slowly, breathing deeply as he savoured the coolness of her skin as it spread across his face; finally he tilted his head so that he could face her the way she wanted him to.
"Don't talk like that...you and Delta are a big part of why we even have a piece of humanity left to save"
He looked at her carefully, still aware of her thumb tracing the back of his hand, he felt oddly soothed by her, even when she was just sat next to him she had a strange effect on him that he couldn't explain, enough to make him say things he wanted to keep inside, enough to make his defences falter when he was with her. As much as he tried to keep her at arm's length, too afraid of open affection...he knew he needed her right now more than anything, because his emotional walls weren't going to hold for much longer, and he couldn't bring himself to talk to Dom about what was going on in his head, Dom had too many of his own problems to have to deal with his too.
"But...Anya..." He tried to say, though she shook her head, tracing his deep pitted scar with her fingertips, anything to calm and reassure him.
"The fact is Marcus...he's alive, and we have to go and get him...the past isn't what's important here"
Anya's fingers reached the end of his scar and she replaced her whole hand to his cheek, smiling softly as he tilted his face slightly to rest more against her palm.
"You didn't fail before, I know it feels that way...but those things were out of your control" She knew how it felt as much as he did, after all she had sat powerless as her Mother died, with her unable to do anything to prevent the events unfolding.
She continued less confident now "Though I think you paid plenty for them in prison..." She looked away from him at the mention of that, she knew he wouldn't like hearing it and she hated saying it, but it was the truth, and the truth needed saying, he had to stop beating himself up because he'd already been punished more than enough in her eyes.
Sighing, Marcus closed his eyes for a few moments thinking about everything she had said, when he opened them again he saw how nervous Anya seemed, her eyes revealed it to him more than anything, an emotion stirring deep within them.
"Marcus?" She whispered in reply as his icy blue eyes held her gaze in the cool night, something had changed, but she wasn't sure what it was yet and it made her feel suddenly shy.
"Thanks" He even gave her a small smile, a smile that broadened when he saw she couldn't help but smile back at him.
"Anytime Marcus...I'm here for you, when you need me..." She looked away knowing that her time would soon be up, that the conversation would end and they'd be back to normal, Marcus's barriers safely restored and her reluctantly shut behind them.
"I always need you..." Marcus said quietly hardly daring to breathe as the words just fell out of his mouth before he could stop them, but it was the truth, ever since he'd first met her she was always there for him, in his ear on missions or as his friend when they were off duty.
Anya noticeably faltered at his words, but she jumped at the opportunity to keep this moment going as long as possible "I wish you would show me...half the time I don't know whether or not you even want me near you"
Marcus twisted a little on the bench so that he was facing her a little more, Anya's hand had left his face a few minutes ago but he took it back and pulled her a little closer, so tired of holding her at a distance. Slowly she started to give in and she moved closer to him, her hand resting against his chest as a subtle hint of affection, a gesture she couldn't normally succumb to when they were in public.
"I do Anya...I just...I don't..." He sighed "Shit...I don't know..." he said frustrated
Anya tried to keep her attention on his eyes, a usually easy task but the closeness of their faces kept distracting her, she'd only have to lean forward a little.
"You don't have to hold a front with me..." her voice was barely audible but she knew he would hear her words, it was time he realised he didn't have to pretend with her, didn't have to be the strong withstanding soldier who took on and dealt with everything.
Marcus seemed to be struck by her words and he was clearly thinking about what she had said, after a small delay he answered her "I can't hold it up much longer..."
"Then let it go...I'm here for you, I always have... and will be"
He didn't speak anymore, he couldn't think of anything that could express how he felt right at that moment in time, maybe he'd do what she had said, maybe he'd just let it go. Leaning forward with nervous hesitation, Marcus closed a little of the distance between them and closed his eyes as he touched his lips to hers softly.
The moment was perfect as the world drew to a standstill around them, they'd only kissed for the briefest of moments but it had felt like an eternity to both of them. Marcus withdrew from her rather suddenly as if he had surprised himself, suddenly uncomfortable with their close proximity he turned away from her. He felt the disconnection from her and felt vulnerable, these emotions were the ones he found hard to understand and as much as he wanted to be with her, something was holding him back.
An uncomfortable silence fell between them with the only sound being provided by the sea as it lapped at the sides of the Raven's Nest carrier, every now and then a powerful wave joining the medley of music that nature provided. Anya didn't know what to do, for a wonderful breathless moment he had been hers like she had always dreamed, but then just as quickly as he had given in he had thrown his shields up and left her again, and it hurt.
She watched on as Marcus stood up clearly with the intention of leaving and it seemed he wasn't going to talk anymore either. As he turned and was about to walk away, Anya stood up quickly a decision being made somewhere inside her, she wasn't going to let him leave like this, she was going to find out how he felt once and for all, it didn't matter anymore if he didn't want her, she just had to find out for sure.
"Marcus..." She called his name louder than she had anticipated, but she didn't care, she wanted him back.
He stopped but didn't turn around "Anya...I...I can't do this..."
She walked up behind him and touched her hand to his shoulder, though she didn't force him he turned around to face her, his eyes soft and full of something she didn't recognise.
"W-why?" She questioned her voice breaking a little "Please...I need to know".
Slowly Marcus let his fingers trace her angled jaw as he focused on her eyes, those green eyes that mimicked the colour of the ocean around them but with more beauty than he could ever find in the restless water.
"I...don't know, Anya...I just...I want to" the words stumbled from his mouth clumsily.
"Then why don't you?" Anya asked desperate for some explanation as to why he couldn't be with her, was it something she did or didn't do? Was there something she could say to make him understand that she couldn't be without him, that she only felt safe when she was with him, that the world scared her more than anything and she needed him with her?
Marcus frowned heavily in thought, his hand working its way through her short cropped hair making him wonder just why he couldn't be with her. What was holding him back? Maybe it was the fear of losing her, he couldn't bear to go through what happened with Carlos again, but maybe it was his Father and his upbringing, the upbringing that had hardwired him to keep his inner emotions to himself even at a young age. Would she understand? He guessed she probably already did, but maybe he should try to explain, or maybe he should just give in like he wanted to and hope she'd be ready to catch him.
"I..." he stopped suddenly and sighed before he leant down rather quickly and pressed his lips against hers desperate for her at first before he relaxed, wrapping his arms around her and pulling her deeper against his body.
Anya had only managed to let out a small gasp before her breath was completely taken from her as Marcus kissed her, she could feel every denied touch and every stolen glance pouring out of him like a cascade of emotion that stopped her heart and swelled it with so much love that she thought it would explode in her chest. Putting her arm around his neck she drew closer to him, her fingers finding the rough and weathered fabric of his bandanna as she held his face close to hers, her other hand had gotten trapped between them and lay against his chest his heart pounding against her palm, it made her feel undeniably close to him.
After a long while both of them withdrew from each other, Anya leaning her head against his chest as she hugged him tightly wanting to give him all the comfort and reassurance she had to offer. While she hugged him she remembered her earlier conversation with Dom.
"It sounds stupid...but I just want to hug him and tell him everything will be okay, but I know it's not as simple as that...I just wish it was..."
"Not stupid at all, Anya...and it is that simple, if you want it to be...go and talk to him...or just sit with him, he'll appreciate it"
Maybe it really was that simple.
"Everything is going to be okay, Marcus...I promise" She whispered.
Marcus said something inaudible but she heard the deep rumbling of it in his chest making her smile a little before she continued.
"It will seem better in the morning once you know more about what's going on, and we can work out what the plan is to bring him back."
She felt Marcus hold her a little tighter "I know...can we just...stay here for a while?"
That made her smile a little more and she looked up at him warmly; her arms wrapped around him tightly like his were around her. "Sure we can..."
There was another rumble from him and she rested her head back against his chest, wondering herself how they were going to bring Adam Fenix back to humanity, but then she realised she could worry about that tomorrow, right now she just wanted to make the most of being with Marcus and make sure he was okay for now. Anya knew she wouldn't be able to fix him no matter how much time she had, but she knew she could at least soothe him and that was enough for her.
Taking a deep breath of the salty air, Marcus nuzzled Anya a little as he cuddled her, tomorrow he would be back to normal for the most part, but he had decided to himself that Anya could stay with him behind his emotional walls. The fact was he realised that she made him feel safe, a strange notion but it was true, and he was so tired of fighting physically and mentally, he just wanted to savour the calm that the woman in his arms provided him. Tomorrow he'd work out how to rescue his Father, but for now it didn't matter.
There we are, I really can't seem to stop writing about these two, they are just too cute...though having said that I may (emphasis on 'may') write a Dom/Maria piece...how's that sound?
Thanks for reading :)