Rating: K+ or Mild T?
Spoilers: Set late S2, but only specific episode spoilers are for "Wake Up Call"
Summary: It used to be simple, it could still be, but it really is all up to her. Diana/Marco.
A/N: Betaread by Fanwoman. Also this story works on the fanon idea that Marco babysits Maia often, occasionally warranting an overnight stay because of it, until Diana returns.
She doesn't mean to look, but when she catches a glimpse of his stomach as he pulls off his sweater, she doesn't glance away immediately. She tells herself it means nothing, the same as how his unassuming smiles making her feel good doesn't really mean anything. She likes to think the way he just looks at her, with the not particularly hidden adoration, and the fact he does whatever he can to help her, asking nothing in return, all that doesn't affect her, either. He is simply hoping, dreaming for more but never pushing it further, not under usual circumstances. And that's how she has liked it for a long time.
But perhaps he should push it. She has known there's something there for over a year but wants to ignore it for simplicity’s sake. The problem is that it’s rapidly becoming more complicated in her mind, to come home and find him there. It's not quite so simple when she sees him here on mornings when she gets back late. His face sometimes looks distinctly concerned as he answers the door, pre-empting her keys in the lock. It’s as if he's worried she's not going to return and wants to make sure, to know as soon as possible that she's okay.
The one thing he doesn't know is where this is going, if it's going anywhere at all. Even she doesn't know for certain. She thought she used to, back when it was definitely simple. He was a nice guy, friendly, if also rather prone to flirting with her when she'd visit the theory room. Now, he's something more than just a friend, and she finds it hard to separate out his presence in her personal life. She actually thinks of him and how things will affect him – only slightly though. He’s worked his way into little, everyday decisions, like what food she buys. She knows he likes to cook properly, unlike her with such meagre culinary skills, so she shops accordingly.
More recently, she's wondered about the consequences of dating for them, dating others that is. The scenario is less familiar to her after so long alone, but factoring in Maia is difficult enough without wondering how it will affect him if she brings any man back here – or spends the night at someone else’s place. He can't not be affected by either decision, and somehow, it would seem nearly malicious to inflict it upon him, to have him babysitting just to allow for her to go out and have fun with someone else. Sure, he'd say he'd be happy to look after Maia, anyway, and give the general impression that he's happy as long as she and Maia are – but that's where it gets complicated. She knows, however well intentioned he may be, however patient, it would get to him if she were to do that. That she thinks of him so much in relation to this issue would suggest that she has plenty of doubts about dating anyone else now.
But she does have a choice. She can date and get another babysitter – effectively cut him out, for the sake of all of them – or continue on, working out what's happening here. It's almost to the point where exploring the idea of her and Marco is vastly simpler than anything else. He loves Maia already, and he seems to nearly live here, given how often he babysits and helps them both out. Plus, she knows he's still interested in her, even after all this time. But none of that is good enough reasoning for why she should want him, here, in her life. And currently, she's still resisting the fact that she likes him, other than in a passing way. It needs to be something more than occasionally looking when she shouldn't.
She carries on making breakfast, trying to follow Marco's recipe, only to find she's doing it wrong when he comes back to the kitchen.
“No, you need more rosemary than that. Not much, but just a little more. Here, let me show you...”
She watches, amused, as he concentrates on tipping the tiniest amount possible over the edge of the container, and succeeding where she's sure she'd fail. Practice makes perfect, but she hasn't ever found enough time to experiment with cooking adequately.
She notices he doesn't even realise how close he's standing to her, and she can't help but focus on his features, taking time to study him. He really is quite cute. It's not the first time she's thought that, but there's an extra level to it, with his hair still wet from showering not too long ago, before she'd returned – though she has to stop her thoughts from wandering along the dangerous track of that particular train of thought.
Then he turns to her, confused to find her watching him so closely; he's still all about the cooking.
“Did you add any pepper yet?”
“Oh. No, not yet,” she says with an apologetic smile.
Another instruction she hadn't quite gotten to. She reaches toward to the pepper grinder – Marco instinctively doing the same. There's a moment of panic as she realises her hand is on top of his, and he's looking at her, eyes piercing into her with an unmistakable passion from behind those frames. “Is his heart beating as fast as mine?” she wonders.
Yet she removes her hand quickly after that, and, unusually for her, makes idle chatter to fill the silence, suddenly paying an anomalous amount of attention to the recipe. When she glances up, he's smiling at her in that way he often does, and she concedes that maybe there is something there, something that's more than passing, that keeps on happening. What's disconcerting to her is she's in total control of the situation, but strangely enough, not in control of herself at all – not judging by how her heart raced at the briefest, unexpected contact. It's an odd dichotomy - her choices are simple, but the decision is complex. The question is, what does she want it to mean? The key is that she is in control of when, where, how - even if she can't pretend she doesn't feel something.
But she's not going to decide anything today. She's going to finish this experiment in cooking, before she delves into any other ones, and get some well deserved sleep after satisfying her stomach…that is if she can sleep, knowing he's so close by, watching over them, waiting very specifically for her say what she wants from him. Be it simple or complicated, she knows he's all hers. Maybe he won't always be if she doesn't do anything, but for the time being, it's a pleasant thing to know, especially drifting off into sleep. He may not be in her diary, but, if he asked, she might reveal he's occasionally been in her dreams - and today might make it one occasion more.