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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