Spoilers: For S2 “Lockdown”.
Summary: Lockdown AU. Diana/Marco. He was so glad she was halfway across the building, he needed that distance as greatly as the rest of him wanted so desperately for it to not exist.
A/N: Thanks to Fanwoman for the betareading.
When he came to, his head hurt badly, and he felt nauseous. Quite likely, half the reason for that was the noise he could hear over the intercom - an unpalatable screeching that grated, setting him on edge even more than before. It was only compounded by the loss of his glasses. He found it hard to focus, but one thought stuck out in his mind, that he'd been trying to help Diana. Further noises from the gym caught his attention. He could just about make out Diana warning Tom about something, a desperate tone to her voice for the second time today. Whatever was going on, it wasn't good.
As he pushed himself up, using the wall as leverage, he heard a scuffle and the telltale thud of a body hitting the ground. Fear flooded his system at the same time as pain from his ankle shot up his leg, and the combination of emotion and adrenaline spurred his need to get up and in there, to make sure Diana was alright. His ankle was throbbing almost as much his head, but he ignored it, only to stumble as he neared the entrance to the gym. He ended up tripping over debris in the hall and had to brace himself with his right hand, cutting it on the shattered remains of a wooden vaulting horse. Unable to prevent it, he cried out as pain flourished in yet another part of his body. Without glancing up, he could sense all eyes were on him.
In that moment when he looked up to see the occupants of the room, he registered Hudson on his knees in front of Diana and an apparently unconscious Tom on the floor to the other side – at least he hoped that was so, it was hard to tell how Tom was from his position. Alerted by the sound, the doctor had, like everyone else, turned to look what had created the scene. It was a small distraction, but Diana was faster to refocus than Hudson. She used that split second to strike out, pistol whipping him as Marco presumed she had done to Tom. Hudson slumped to floor while Diana stood there over him, panting slightly, sweaty from the fighting she'd endured.
It was then, watching her, that he knew he was in trouble. His already failing common sense took a plunge as he stepped forward, obeying the deeper part of him that wanted only to be closer to her. Maybe he hadn't done what he'd promised to, but that didn't mean he was undeserving of her attention. It wasn't his fault he'd been kidnapped by dumb commandos, and regardless of why he wasn't in the theory room working on stopping the signal, it was only natural he'd come to find her. Didn't just about everything in his life centre on her? His spinning thoughts scattered as she exclaimed, “Marco, are you okay? You're bleeding.”
He raised a hand to the side of his head, wincing as it met a tender spot. Drawing it back, he noted with an odd detachment that there was, indeed, a good deal of blood on it. Looking down, there was more on his shirt. It was one of his favourite shirts, one he'd picked out to get himself noticed, but he hadn't even spotted the bright red splashes that contrasted with the green pattern. He wasn't sure he cared either – to him it was all hazy, vague, unimportant - but it was clear she did. Her lips parted like she meant to say something more but wasn't sure what, her expression showing both wariness and concern. The thought of the latter made his heart pound faster and brought a weak smile to his lips despite the pain in his temple.
“I'm not feeling that good. I think I need some help here...” he slurred, feeling like he was betraying her as he said the words. He should have been telling her to stay away from him, but he couldn't utter a warning to save his life. A small part of him knew she'd been ready to shoot Hudson, and probably Tom, too. That was exactly what the future might hold in store for him if he couldn't find the strength inside to warn her.
“Marco, who's working on fixing this? Please tell me someone is.”
“The guys might be. That noise you can hear? That's their doing. Or they might have given up with that. Could be punching each others lights out by now. Hard to tell,” he said, with a resigned shrug that was inexplicably casual for the possibly dire situation.
“But you can fix it, can't you? If we get you patched up, you could stop this.”
“Probably could. I'm sure that's true.”
In the distance, a blurred person tried to stand up but failed, grunting as pain hit them from their attempt. Upon speaking, he could identify them as Nina. “Skouris! This isn't over yet. Don't forget that.” She was all but ordering Diana to stay away from him, yet he could tell by the look on Diana's face that she was tempted to defy reason and come closer anyway. She settled for talking more, instead, holding her position between him and the rest of the people in the gym.
“Just tell me what I need to do, Marco. You're in no condition, but I can manage if you can talk me through it.”
He wanted to tell her how, but the truth was he could barely think about what was necessary. There was no hope for that plan. It was now up to Brady and Archie. Either they came through, or they were royally screwed, because he could already feel himself falling apart. His resolve was faltering. He knew what he should say, but he found words coming out his mouth that said the opposite of what was right, what was rational.
“No can do. You're a virologist, not a physicist. This is way outside of your field. You need me.”
She hesitated, apparently taken aback by his tone, or perhaps it was his indifference to his injury. Either way, her hesitation almost amused him, except that he knew she was right to feel that way. He wasn't himself. He wasn't overtly dangerous, but his intentions were far from pure. She'd been ready to kill the other two, if necessary, but here she was, seemingly scared of him, at least a little, enough to warrant the caution she was showing. His mind offered the possibility that perhaps it was because she couldn't bear to hurt him. His heart skipped a beat at that thought, and he lost his focus on what was truly important, to resist how he felt, just for a while longer. Instead of the warning he'd tried to piece together mentally, his voice came out smooth and reassuring, designed to assuage her doubts.
“Come on, you know you can kick my ass. In this condition, I’m not exactly a serious threat, and you could beat me single-handedly any day as it is.”
She glanced down at Tom and Hudson, satisfied they were going nowhere, and finally took one precious step towards him. He didn't want to feel thrilled, but he could already feel the affect it had on him, his heart racing as he realised he'd gotten through to her. She trusted him. She shouldn't, but she did. Another step, and his guilt started to fade in the face of the looming prospect of being near her, of getting what he'd always wished for. He became less and less aware of everything else in the room as she approached, not registering Nina's comments except that they were disapproving. Diana's wide eyes were fixed on him, making him extra conscious of her attention and that she was giving herself over to him with each pace forward.
Finally, she was close enough to reach out and touch. His head hurt. It took all he had to focus on her as she looked at him, concerned, so much so, he couldn't retain the control he'd been maintaining all through this fiasco. He had scant willpower left, and he used what little he had to whisper, “Don't.”
She paused, surprised at this, but his meagre attempt wasn't enough to convey the need for her to go back. As she reached out a hand to examine his head wound, he made his move, eliciting gasps from their watchers. Some part of him was aware of Nina's voice, raised in anger, as she shouted, "Pacella, what the hell are you doing!” but the meaning didn't fully register. He was only focused on one thing – Diana. His strong arms encircled her, holding her tight. Then he pivoted with ease, swinging her into the corridor with him and out of sight.