chapter eleven: it’s just a spark, but it’s enough
part twelve of sudden desire
word count: 1.5k
warnings: mentions of pregnancy, mentions of illness, vague references to sex, not really much else honestly?
pairing: marcus pike x original female character (coraline meyer)
author’s note: 😎
Robert Meyer's diagnosis isn't as bad as they'd first thought. There's still nothing that they can do - save for some new medication and a hundred different doctor's appointments - but, at the very least, he'd be out of hospital soon and back to his usual self in a few days.
Coraline has been on edge the entire week; she can feel the worry tugging at her heart at every waking hour, even when she thinks she's distracted herself just long enough to think about something else for a little while. She knows full-well that distractions aren't the healthiest way to cope - Marcus has tried to speak to her about it, but she usually tries her best to avoid the subject, asking about his day, instead, and what film he wants to watch that night - but she's sure that, if she thinks about it for too long, she won't be able to stop. And the darkness will creep in, again.
They'd visited her father every single day since he'd been admitted. Sitting by his bedside, talking about nothing and everything, but avoiding the heaviest of subjects that lingers in the air between them. He'd told her, once, that he approved. Didn't entirely agree, but at least approved. She's sure she almost cried, and she looked utterly ridiculous in the way her mouth twisted and pursed as she bit back the tears.
The relief she'd felt when he'd told her that was wonderful.
Since then, her and Marcus have been trying again.
It all seems lighter, now. There's no unspoken tension or hesitation between them, tension and hesitation they hadn't even noticed between them before her parent's visit. Now, his hands on her hips, the gentle brush of his thumbs over her skin, and his lips against hers, they feel familiar and intentional. And, somehow, normal, now. In ways it hadn't felt before.
Each brush of his lips against her neck feels like that of a lover, not a friend.
But they're just that. Just friends.
Waking in each other's arms brings so much comfort that they seem to forget every single sadness that plagues them when they move.
They keep each other - and their feelings - at arms length. No one has to know.
If, Marcus supposes, Coraline even feels anything at all.
They sink into a routine, again. Something more comfortable.
Coraline goes to work early, sits in a makeup chair, and films her scenes each day. Marcus goes to work at the same time, sits at his desk and follows each and every lead with meticulous precision. They both do what they do best. Then, they visit Coraline's father - Marcus' hands there to comfort her, if she needs him - and then they eat their takeout, watch a movie, laugh and joke and grin. They spend the night together. As friends. Some might say it's a rut, a boring and mindless routine that never differs. But, if it means they get to see each other, they just don't care. Their pattern has barely deviated for weeks but she wouldn't have it any other way.
Marcus knows there's danger in it all, in doing what they're doing when he's already admitted to himself how he feels about her. But there's nothing there for him, not like that; he'd do this for her, if that's what she wants. No ulterior motives, just her happiness. He'd do it for her if it meant giving her everything.
That morning, the sun seems bright and dazzling. It cuts through the gap in her drawn curtains, the gentle light golden behind the soft, gauzy material. It bathes her in a pool of sunlight. If he didn't know any better, he'd swear that she is the sun.
Marcus pulls himself from Coraline's sheets that morning with so much reluctance weighing down his limbs that it feels as if he's underwater. She's tucked up between the bed sheets, looking so content and as comfortable as ever. He does nothing but kiss her temple before he finally pulls himself from the tangle of wonder and sunshine. She sighs and stretches her arm out a little, fingers splaying over the absent space where he'd once laid, and buries her head into the soft pillow but doesn't wake. She's been exhausted lately, and who is he to deprive her of rest?
She only wakes ten minutes before he has to leave. There's coffee still warm in the pot and she accepts it gratefully when he offers, in her favourite mug, of course. She's taken to drinking less just in case, worried of the horror stories of caffeine and pregnancy. Her smile is bright, as always, but there's something about the way her eyes sparkle that seems different. She watches him with soft green eyes after she fills her coffee with creamer and that ridiculous syrup she insists on buying every time she goes grocery shopping.
She's a vision in his t-shirt, too big for her and hanging from her shoulders, and he doesn't ever want a morning without her there, watching him like he's her favourite movie.
(It's Melancholia. She has at least three different copies, and one sits beside her television set at all times.)
The notion of ever leaving her makes his heart ache. He's no good at goodbyes.
"What time will you be home tonight?"
By home, she means her apartment. Not his.
She avoids his gaze while she asks. He thinks he sees her blush, cheeks flushing a gentle pink, but she ducks her head away too quickly for him to see.
"Usual time, why?" There's a granola bar half hanging out of his mouth as he ties his tie.
She shakes her head and waves a hand of dismissal, especially at the slightly concerned and confused furrow of his brow. "No reason, don't worry about it," she insists and sends him on his way with a kiss on his cheek and a brilliant smile.
The weight of anticipation always weighs too heavy on her chest. Good or bad, it lingers, and it's as if it's choking the life out of her. She's glad she doesn't have to work today, glad that no one gets to see the extent of her restlessness, and surely her inability to concentrate on anything but the face her mind is racing at a mile a minute, with no signs of slowing down. Or, at least, no one but the delivery guy who'd told her to enjoy her food, when she'd fired a 'you too' right back at him.
She's practically gripping the edge of the countertop when Marcus returns from work. It probably looks like she hasn't moved, still sat there upon the same barstool as she sat upon that morning. She only lacks his shirt, switching it for her own jeans and a sweater, and the mug of coffee she was still drinking when he left. She taps her nails against the wood as she hears the familiar sound of the lock turning and his key dropping into the bowl by the front door. Coraline hears Marcus groan low in his throat as he rolls his shoulders and sigh when he hangs up his jacket.
He calls out her name when he can't see her sitting on the couch and she pops her head up to etch the most convincing smile she can muster upon her face. "Hi."
Marcus is still rubbing his thumb over the back of his neck, lolling his head from side to side to lessen the pressure and tension that has built up in his muscles. "You won't believe the day I've had." The tension is even palpable in his voice. "That big lead we had? False tip," he grumbles as he tugs on the knot of his tie to loosen it. She rarely sees him even slightly upset or angry, not at anything. And he loves his job more than he lets on; it's there in his face when he talks about each case he's working on. "So, we're back to nothing." Marcus sighs and moves to stand next to Coraline.
He smiles at her, but it drops almost immediately. "What's wrong?" She blinks up at him with wide eyes. "Cora-" His voice is low and he takes her face in his hands. She can't look away when he does that, not that she would ever want to.
"I'm pregnant." When she speaks, it feels like she's in space. The words that leave her lips don't seem like her own. They seem false, almost, but in the most perfect of ways. Like it can't possibly be her reality.
"You- you- what?" His eyes are as wide as saucers. His mouth falls open and then closes again, falls open, then closes again. "Seriously?" His words come out in a breath. "You're-"
"Seriously." She thinks she's grinning, but the world seems nothing but a clouded haze that seems like a dream. She feels like she's in a dream, a world that isn't real.
"We're gonna have a baby?" Marcus' voice is quiet. It's as if he's telling her a secret, something for just their ears to hear. Perhaps it is, for now.
"Yes- yes-" Coraline is breathless. we're going to have a baby."
"Oh my God- oh my god- Cora!"
He kisses her. It's brief and gentle. He kisses her again. A little more insistent, this time.
"A little bit of good in this darkness, huh?"
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Live For Me
Bucky Barnes x Shapeshifter OFC
Word Count: 1343
Warnings: Suicide, Endgame Compliant, The Winter Soldier, Panic Attacks, Sad Bucky, Self-Destructive Bucky, Bucky chokes Dany and not in a fun way
Tags: Angst, No Happy Ending
Summary: Steve has left Bucky for Peggy. Dany tries to convince Bucky he doesn’t have to let this break him, but he’s determined to shatter.
A/N: This is based on my OC, Dany Thornberry. She is in love with Bucky but he doesn’t return her affections. I have a RP account on twitter if you’d like to learn more about her. The handle is @/angel_Iike_you (the L in like is an I).
Steve was gone.
He had gone back.
When presented with the choice between staying with Bucky in the present and living with Peggy in the past- he chose her. He chose a woman he barely knew over his best friend.
It broke him.
Bucky didn’t leave his room for three weeks.
Dany tried to check on him. Short of busting down his door- there was nothing she could do. Nothing he’d let her do. She left thermoses of soup outside his door and returned the next day to find them still full. She kept leaving them.
Three weeks and two days after Steve left Bucky came out of his room. He didn’t speak to anyone. He only trained.
Hours upon hours spent in the tower gym. Working his muscles until he collapsed. When his arm gave out and he could barely stand- he’d shoot. When he ran out of ammo he returned to the punching bags and the weights. On and on it went.
Dany visited him there. At first she spoke to him about how proud she was that he was doing something. He never spoke. Not once. Her words of encouragement turned into sobbing pleas of Speak to me. Please, say something.
But he was silent. His heart had left him and returned to the 40’s. To the decade that stole him away in the first place.
So she went to her last resort.
Dany tried to block his path and was promptly shoved out of the way. She stumbled a few feet but managed to not fall on her ass. She gripped his arm and turned him to face her.
“Bucky, please.” She was answered not with words but with a cold hand on her throat. Her pleading eyes were met with dark unforgiving blue ones. She gasped and clawed at his metal hand. He gave her a final squeeze and dropped her. Dany fell to the ground and gasped for the sweet oxygen filling her deprived lungs. Still, she crawled for him. Bruised and crying, she was on her knees for him. This confused him. He had hurt her. She should be running away not crawling in complete submission towards him. He found he didn’t care. Bucky knew he had loved the woman before him at some point, but he couldn’t muster a single feeling or thought other than “He’s gone. He left. He left me.” So Bucky left her there. Crying, bruised, and broken, he left her.
- - - Three Weeks Later - - -
Two short knocks on hollow wood echoed through Bucky’s bedroom. He had returned to his floor for sleeping purposes. His bed was too cold. Too empty. He laid on a blanket, a black duffel bag next to him.
“Bucky, I know you’re in there.” Silence.
“Bucky- please. I need to know you’re okay.”
‘Okay?’ He thought. ‘My okay left in a space suit six weeks ago.’
“That’s it. Open up or I’m breaking the fucking door down.” He sighed. A broken door meant noise. Loud noise. He didn’t much feel like a panic attack right now. Bucky stood and walked to the door on easy feet, opening it to reveal Dany.
She looked a mess. He may have been heartbroken and utterly wrecked internally, but he was still showering. Her hair was knotted and her cheeks puffy. Her eyes were red and her hands shaky. But when she saw him, alive and conscious, she smiled.
“Hey, sugarplum.” Her voice was raw from crying. Bucky tensed at the name. It was familiar. Familiarity is weakness.
“What do you want?” The first words he’d spoken since Steve left. His voice was raw like hers but from lack of use rather than sobbing. Crying was for the weak.
Her face brightened. His words were harsh but they were words. He was speaking. She was foolish to believe he was healing.
“I wanted to make sure you’re…” Her gaze fell behind him. First to the blanket on the floor, next to the duffel bag beside it. Her breath hitched.
“You’re leaving.” Her body straightened. She was a spy. She was an Avenger. He was a possible ally. Possible threat.
“Where?” Was her only question.
“Russia.” No point in lying. All she’d have to do to find out was ask Friday who he’d been in contact with to get him a private flight. Her eyes widened in fear.
“Bucky- you wouldn’t.” Her voice was dangerously close to breaking.
“I am. There’s nothing left for me here.” Bucky realized he could see her heart breaking. Shattering. He didn’t care.
“So because he’s gone you’re going back to them? Back to him?” Her hands clenched and unclenched at her sides.
“What do you want from me, Dany?” Bucky’s voice was monotone. Flat. There was no trace of love or sadness or even anger. This - she - was simply a nuisance. Preventing him from accomplishing his mission.
“What do I want from you? You-” She took in a shaky breath, her shoulders heaving. “I gave you everything! I gave you every piece of me! What do I want from you? I want you to choose me! I want you to live for me!.” She didn’t know when she started hitting his chest but she was. Her fists pounded on the hard muscle there. Dany let out a broken sob and looked up at him. At the blue eyes she had drowned in so many times. At the forehead she had kissed and the nose she had set when he broke it. She brought a hand to his jaw and brought his face down to hers, pressing her forehead against his.
He said nothing. Only waited for her to release him. When she did, he pulled back and closed the door in her face.
She checked with Friday in the morning.
“Sergeant Barnes left at three AM this morning, Ms. Thornberry.”
He was gone.
- - - Six Months Later - - -
Dany clicked on the TV and listened to the newscaster drone on and on about some politician’s shady dealings. She tuned it out. Nothing reached her brain anymore. Everything was stopped in the cotton of her ears. She was filling out paperwork from her latest mission. It had been violent. She had nearly lost her arm.
After a few minutes a musical tone played from the TV followed by a dramatic voice.
“Breaking News out of Budapest - the Winter Soldier has been spotted fleeing the scene of Hungarian President Nagy’s assassination.” The woman droned on but Dany’s eyes were glued to the screen. That was Bucky - her Bucky - in black leather with a red star painted on his arm. Bucky had killed a man in cold blood.
‘No.’ She thought. ‘Not Bucky.’
But as the camera zoomed in on a man with a mask covering his mouth - as Dany saw the cold blue of the eyes that used to be so full of life - of love - she knew.
Bucky Barnes was dead.
- - - Six Months Later - - -
The Soldat sat in a hotel lobby. His latest master had a meeting and he was told to sit and wait - like a good dog. He did. He was always obedient. Ever since the man with blonde hair and deep blue eyes had left. The TV in the corner blared a story about lost puppies. His acute hearing made the volume insufferable. A loud musical tone almost made him wince- almost. A man behind a news desk began speaking in Romanian, his voice echoing around the tiled room from the speakers in the television.
“Breaking News from New York City. The Avenger commonly known as “Changeling” has died. She was found in an apartment in Harlem. Cause of death has yet to be released but insider information describes a possible suicide.” The rest of the man’s words fade out as the Soldat watched the television. Pictures flashed across the screen of a beautiful woman with mahogany hair. She had a bright smile and hazel eyes. A flicker of a memory danced through his brain. Dany. Dany is dead. He thought for a long moment. Long after the images had left the screen and after his master had called him back to their home base, he thought about the girl with the pretty smile and the hazel eyes.
And he felt nothing.