Spoilers: All of Season 2.
Warning: Implied adult situations
Summary: A dark one-shot involving established Diana/Marco and sort of Tom/Diana. They want to make NTAC suffer, every single person involved, but there are a few people at the top of the list, marked for revenge first.
A/N: Betaread by Fanwoman.
She hears the key in the lock, the door opening slowly and stumbling sounds as if he's got his hands full. He's probably been shopping; he often does on Thursdays, since the indoor market is open late. There's a thump as he puts the bags down on the counter. Other noises indicate he's packing it all away carefully. It's about six, and she's dearly hoping he starts cooking rather than come looking for her. She glances down at Tom and wonders how he's taking this, because it's her worst nightmare come true. His eyes seem passive - not giving away his true emotions.
But Marco is curious. He calls out, and when he gets no answer, he checks the apartment, even Maia's bedroom, though he knows full well she's visiting Carrie tonight. This night was supposed to be for the two of them, a cosy candlelit dinner, with the only distraction being one another. It was going to be the night she asked Marco to stay over.
They know that; they think it's amusing to do this to her, to Tom, to him... They realise exactly what they're doing, what they might be destroying. And they're thrilled to cause so much pain and suffering, or at least she is. Diana can feel everything she does, not just physically but emotionally. It excites Maria Cescon and her new husband - also a 4400 - to punish them like this. It's another terrorist attack, planned out in detail, but it's far more cruel and unusual than the last three. They've made this personal, a sick and twisted combination of their two powers.
By the looks of him, Tom is set to accept the slightest suggestion from anyone right now, his own will obliterated, and she isn't in control of herself, either. Maria's hijacked her body, bending it to her will, sharing with her why she is doing this, her thoughts like whispers in her ear.
Not long after the 4400 had been released from quarantine, they had visited Maria to investigate strange goings on in her hometown. The case had put Maria in jail for fraud. They hadn't been able to work out how she was committing the crimes and making it simply a matter of jail time and a fine. But that’d been enough to cripple the woman's life, though it had been entirely justified. She remembers the frustration of not knowing what Maria had been up to exactly, how she’d been doing it. They’d been unable to prove it was 4400 related, so they couldn't retain her because of it. Now she walks free, having chosen to come play with them – or, more accurately, Tom at the moment.
She knew Maria had had a thing for Tom back then, and the fact Maria has just remarried didn't put her off this opportunity. Maybe Maria didn't think of it as cheating when she was using Diana's body, or it could be revenge, pure and simple. They'd both ruined her life in Maria’s eyes, and she wants to ruin theirs – wants to screw NTAC and all its agents over any way possible. That seems to include Marco just as much as anyone else. Diana can talk back to Maria in her mind through the connection they have, but no amount of reasoning works. Even Maia and Alana mean little to her; any hurt to them is just collateral damage. Besides which, the woman considers them collaborators in this war; Maria doesn't reserve pity for any 4400 that isn't directly on her righteous side.
She counts down the sound of the doors opening and closing, knowing he's only got two places left to look - then just the one. He knocks lightly, asking if she's in here, if he can come in. She wants him to just go away, run far away from this sight, but Maria speaks for her. Her voice is twisted into an alien response, far from what she'd concentrated on. She simply can't effect any change over Maria's control, and what she hears is her own voice telling him cheerfully he's welcome to come right in.
She wants to close her eyes and forget this all, but Maria turns her to look at the doorway, a strain against her position straddling Tom. Marco comes bumbling in, a smile on his face and the beginnings a response on his lips. The smile is quickly dropped along with whatever he was going to say. He stands about two feet away from her, silently taking in the scene in front of him. He doesn't say a single word; he just stands there. It looks like he's shaking, but she can't tell if it's from anger or sheer shock. Maria makes her smile devilishly and ask, “What's for dinner?”
He stares back at her for a few seconds, before snapping his attention to Tom and demanding he get out. The state of mind Tom's in, he does it without thought, pushing her off him and rapidly moving towards the door, obeying Marco with no thought of anything else, even clothes - not that Maria is going to let him leave just yet.
“Tom, get back here,” she demands.
This only makes Marco more insistent that Tom go, an anger definitely seething under his words now. But Maria doesn't care; she wants to play with them all that bit longer, and simply orders Tom not to leave, again. She doesn't even see what it's doing to Tom. He's highly suggestive, but the conflicting suggestions are confusing him – give it a few more, or just a bit of time, and he might start to wake up from his daze. It seems to be Marco's shout that does it. She's never heard him yell before; she wishes she never had to. He looks on the verge of tears as he tries to handle it all. But he doesn't cry. He glares at her accusingly, and yet he still isn't walking away, isn't giving up, no matter how much easier that would be.
Tom stumbles around and picks up his clothes, haphazardly dressing himself, quite obviously not under the influence, slowly coming out from the stunt they’ve pulled on him. Maria is confused. She tries to order Tom about, but it's no longer working. Maria paces, glances between them, not sure what to do. The panic must show, and Marco seems to see that something isn't right, something more than just what appeared to be wrong.
And as suddenly as she had arrived, Maria leaves, Diana dropping to the floor at the change from lack of control to total self-possession, only just managing to steady herself before she hits the floorboards. She's like a puppet whose strings are severed; her body almost foreign to her, its limbs limp, feeling numb. But she stills yelps in pain at the impact, enough direct sensation to overwhelm after being so detached. In a heartbeat, Marco is there by her side. She looks into his eyes, expecting to see hurt, anger or some other heated emotion as a result of what he’s just witnessed, but none of it’s there. He's calm, as always, her fall apparently bringing him back to his norm. He must be concerned because he's asking her what's going on, who did this to her... Tom answers him, regaining his wits quite rapidly.
“Maria Cescon, #2319. Frank Bernard, #0288. I'm betting they're in the area; they probably didn't think they'd get caught.”
He stops there, perhaps because the only way they could hope to not get caught would be if they disposed of all the evidence of their meddling. Maria probably hoped Marco would get into a fight with her over it, then the neighbours would hear. Add three dead bodies in a bedroom to the equation, and a double murder suicide would look plausible. She shudders at the thought and hopes it doesn't occur to Marco; that's all she needs, to make it worse than it already is.
Tom leaves to call for backup and start the search, as well as arrange medical assistance for them both. But Marco stays. He fetches her a blanket and wraps it tightly around her body, his arms embracing her, too. She doesn't know how he can sit there and pretend everything is fine after what's happened, though she suspects it's because he believes in her. He hadn’t wanted to believe that was her, and now he’s been proven right – it's not exactly a reset button, but maybe he sees it differently. They're both alive; it could have been a lot more damaging. Comparatively, everything turned out fine.
She looks to him once again. He’s still watching her with concern, but the adoration in his gaze is beginning to shine through. Her guilt starts to melt away. He knows it wasn't her; she just needs him to help her convince herself. He guides her towards the sofa in the living room – it's not an ideal place but right now almost anywhere is good, apart from that bed – and bundles her up when she can't manage to move her legs properly due to the after-effects of her possession.
She leans into him as he cuddles her close, and she wonders what she did to deserve him. He's already forgiven her. The fact it wasn't her doesn't seem like a good enough reason for all the hurt to slip away like that, without consequence – but he's willing; he wants it to be that simple. It wasn't her.
She wishes the job she has would let life be simple, but more and more, it's become complicated, the potential for loss growing day by day. However, he's still here for her, exactly as he promised. She realises he's not going anywhere, not if he has a choice, and she prays she doesn't get her choices taken away from her again, like she had today. To see him hurt like that, even if it's proven to be in passing, makes her feel sick to her stomach.
“I don't want to hurt you, Marco,” she whispers to him, sounding like a plea.
He hushes her, stroking her hair comfortingly, “And you won't; I won't let you. I've never let you drive me away, no matter what you’ve said or done. I know this wasn't you; it shouldn't affect us.”
‘It shouldn't, but it could,’ she can't help but think, except she's the only one of them holding onto it, trying to find the problem. As soon as she realises that, she lets go of the issues, lets herself cling to him instead. She closes her eyes, trying to forget like she wishes she could. Maybe in his arms she can.