Rating: M Summary: They’re in the middle of a war, of their world simultaneously threading together and falling apart, and Lorna and Marcos are both losing sleep. (AN at the end)
She doesn’t remember dreaming before, at least not like this.
The nightly visions are constant, overwhelming. At first the dreams are vague, pastel lights and soft faded hues of a world just out of reach, beckoning with hidden warmth from some safer place beyond the reality they live in. But all too quickly the promise of warmth fades, and as weeks pass, as swell of her stomach grows along with the unborn child, the dreams become nightmares devoid of light.
The images are never the same, they shift and change, various views of haunted memories and future fears. Faceless enemies stare at her through prison bars, she looks down and sees blood pooling between her legs. In a dark room, unseeing, blind, she can feel the collar around her neck as the electrical pulse causes her to cry out in pain. In her own bed, Marcos lies peacefully, as if he were sleeping, a knife buried deep and bloody in his chest. A baby wails somewhere in the distance, inconsolable, until she realizes the screams aren’t a child, but her.
Panic is pendulum. It’s only when it begins to spin out of control that she finally wakes up.
Lorna sits up in bed, gasping for air, clutching her stomach. Her hair is damp with sweat, her cheeks wet with tears as she takes a deep breath, shivering against the cool night air.
“Lorna?” Marcos pulls himself up beside her, soft eyes concerned, frowning. He reaches for her, and she immediately melts into the safety of his embrace, still struggling to breathe. He presses his lips to her forehead, murmuring into her hair as she burrows against his chest. “Did it happen again?”
Lorna nods, focusing on Marcos, how warm he is, his bare skin pressed against hers, his ever present heat chasing the cold from her bones and her thoughts. He is real, alive, breathing, unlike the dead man in her nightmares. Marcos whispers unintelligible nothings to her as he wipes away her tears with his thumbs, framing her face, tilting it back ever so slightly to place a tender kiss on her lips.
“I really think you need to talk to Sonia about this,” His hands fall to the now visible rise of her stomach. “This is the third week in a row, you can’t function like this Lorna. You’re not sleeping, it can’t be good for either of you.”
“Tomorrow,” Lorna promises, resting her head against his shoulder, “I’ll talk to Sonia tomorrow. I just need you right now, please.”
Marcos gently leans them back into the pillows, letting Lorna nestle against him. She instinctively tangles her legs through his, the only thing stopping her from getting closer is the baby nestled between them. She just started showing at six months, baggy clothes no longer able to hide the secret she’s been carrying. She can feel the butterfly kicks just below the surface of her skin, their child as restless as its mother. When the kicks don’t stop, Lorna grabs Marcos hands, and brings them to rest against her stomach.
His immediate reaction is to grin, eyes bright as he looks up at her with boyish glee, and she wonders, as she often does, how she managed to get so lucky.
“Shh,” Marcos coaxes, “let your mother sleep.”
In the darkness, the gentle glow of the aurora borealis emerges briefly, and the child falls still as it disappears again.
“She likes the sound of your voice,” Lorna closes her eyes, a new wave of exhaustion sweeping over her, “she’s calmer when you’re close.”
“You’re so sure it’s a girl?” Marcos threads his fingers through her own, palm to palm, placing a kiss on each knuckle.
“I am,” Lorna can sense it, in the way the baby moves, how it feels, the current of energy belonging to the child just as strong and palpable as her own, “our little girl, Aurora.”
Marcos grins again, he squeezes Lorna’s hands tighter, and a soft, golden light emanates from between their tangled fingers. He holds their hands perfectly centered between them, and the streams of light hit the wall above their bed. The piece of art there, the metal sheet cast with waves of of green and violet and blue, shimmers and brings another aurora to life.
“Do you remember when I made you that painting?” Marcos asks, watching the light filter through the darkness in streams, letting loose of one hand, pulling the other to his chest to hold hers there above his heart. Lorna presses closer, eyes fluttering open again.
“I do,” she replies, grinning sheepishly, “it was before you left for El Paso for the last time. We’d argued earlier that day because I didn’t want you to go.”
“Hm, I don’t remember the argument,” Marcos grins back, “I do remember you tearing me out of my clothes though, so you must’ve not been too angry with me.”
“You do make me angry sometimes,” her fingers wriggle, entrapped in his, causing the light to flutter, “but I never love you any less for it, only more. Always more.”
She remembers the day in question clearly. She’d made an unnecessary scene in front of the entirety of HQ by arguing that they did not need him for the mission. The risks were too high and he was too important for them to lose, but the real truth then, and now, is that she had been terrified of losing him. Later, at Marcos’ request, she’d returned to their room to find him sitting on their bed below the newly hung sculpture. It was a flat sheet of scrap metal he’d melted down and reformed himself, adding the metallic dyes for the color, creating the raised waves against a dark backdrop, just like a real aurora borealis against the night sky—breathtaking and beautiful.
“So you always have something to remember me by.”
Lorna was much less angry after that, as Marcos correctly remembers.
She gently pulls her hand from Marcos’, and he lets the light diminish. Carefully she reaches to trace the lines of his face, her fingers trailing along his jaw. He turns into her touch, humming in contentment.
“Do you want to talk about it?“ He asks quietly. “The nightmares?”
She shakes her head. She refuses to speak the horrible things she’s seen into reality, into the universe, where they could somehow gain traction and manifest themselves into the world she’s already fighting so hard to protect. If she thinks about it for too long, fear sinks it’s claws into her. If she can’t protect herself from her own thoughts, how is she supposed to protect everyone else?
“It’s ok to ask for help,” Marcos reaches forward, brushing her lips with his fingertips, “a very wise, stubborn, impossible woman once told me that.”
Lorna kicks him under the covers, but she burrows closer, pressing her face against the curve of his neck with a deep breath, smiling against his skin.
“You’re the only help I need.”
What she really means to say is Marcos is the only help she’ll accept.
“What you need to do is talk to Sonia,” Marcos corrects, pleading with his eyes, “or maybe Caitlin, just something to help you sleep, Lorna, that’s it. You’re exhausted, you look exhausted babe. You can’t take care of everyone if you don’t take care of yourself.”
Lorna sighs, closing her eyes again, not willing to admit it aloud, but knowing full well that Marcos is right. In the last few weeks the lack of sleep has made her moods more volatile than usual, her outbursts more frequent. Even John had pulled her aside once last week to cool her off, and she can count the number of times she’s burst into tears in front of Marcos on one hand, which is more than she’s cried in her entire life.
She wonders at the reversal of their roles, thinking back to a time when Marcos had been the one waking up in the middle of the night, thrashing in bed from whatever demons terrorized him. Those days feel as if they were a lifetime away, in another world entirely, and yet here they are again in the same place.
“Lorna, please—” Marcos smooths the hair around her face, his thumb brushing her cheek “—if you won’t do it for you, do it for me.”
She bites her lip, wanting to argue, to give him an excuse, to pretend that she’s fine. When she meets his eyes she knows she can’t—so she relents.
“I will, ok?”
This time Marcos is the one who sighs, a sigh of relief. He manages to wrap his arms around her, pulling her to his chest. Lorna can hear the sound of his heartbeat, steady and strong, can feel the warmth of his skin and the fire hidden somewhere beneath it under her fingertips.
There aren’t very many places in the world where she ever feels safe, but here with him will always be one of them.
Lorna, unable to resist temptation, sneaks her hands up to his face, holding it in place before kissing him firmly. Marcos humors her, returning the kiss, his hands riding lower on her back as she rocks her hips forward. He chuckles at her insistence, kissing her on the lips once, then her jaw, then her neck, worrying the sensitive skin there until the soft sound of pleasure he knows so well thrums in her throat. However, much to Lorna’s disappointment, he stops before she can convince him to do anything else.
“You need to sleep,” Marcos tries to beg with reason, despite the fact that they both know she’s never been very reasonable, “this isn’t sleeping.”
“I know I need sleep,” Lorna’s hands reach low between them, “but I want you.”
If she’s honest, she wants him all the time now. It’s the one upside to pregnancy, constant morning sickness and mood swings aside. It’s not that she didn’t before, but the want has changed, the intensity of the need greater than it’s ever been before. She can never have him close enough.
Marcos is well aware that by arguing with her, he’ll likely do more harm than good, a trap she often places and is guilty of using to get her way. She threatens such devices now, not with words, but with smoldering eyes and commanding touch. She kisses him again, gently at first, then with determination, her hands stroking him as he groans against her mouth in frustration.
“Stubborn, impossible woman,” Marcos mutters, and Lorna laughs, kissing him squarely again for good measure.
The battle over, he carefully untangles their legs and pushes back the covers. He rolls over her, his arms are braced on either side of her head. Lorna stretches out underneath him, back into the pillows, her hips framed by his knees as he hovers above. He doesn’t do anything at first, watching her with unabashed wonder, a special reverence he reserves only for her, his eyes warm and bright with too many emotions to name them all. Lorna reaches up and touches his face, trying to smooth away the constant worry lines, and the way his brow furrows just so.
“I love you.”
Those three words have been exchanged between them more times than she can count, but it’s never the same. Each time the declaration grows in strength, in meaning, and over time it’s evolved into something more than just three words. It’s not the heart or lungs in her chest, or the blood running through her veins, that allows her to live. It’s his love for her that gives her a reason to be, that speaks her existence into truth. His love for her is terrifying—terrifying because it’s all encompassing, terrifying in that it surpasses the notion of space or time, eternal and endless. Terrifying in that without out it, without him, she would be lost.
Marcos parts her legs with his, his mouth capturing her lips first, then claiming her neck, and each line of her collarbone, before trailing slowly between each breast. He moves lower, pausing at the rise of her stomach, placing a kiss against the ivory skin before whispering something to the child inside it. He disappears between her legs, his mouth as warm as his hands against her skin. Lorna arcs into his touch as his fingers slide into place, her hands in his hair, her eyes closed, a silvery gasp of pleasure falling from her lips. Around them the glow of aurora lights start to grow in the darkness.
Afterward, Lorna sleeps. She is still, heavy as she drapes across Marcos, tangled fitfully in his arms. He can feel the rise and fall of her ribcage as she breathes, the strength of her heartbeat, solid and steady against his own. He can feel the occasional kick of the unborn baby cradled between them, and Marcos presses a gentle kiss to the top of Lorna’s head, his heart swelling.
Marcos wonders if it were possible to love someone so much that your heart could burst, or break. The tightness in his chest, the wave of emotion that threatens to suffocate him as he watches the most incredible woman he’s ever known, feels as if his heart might be doing just that.
He doesn’t pray often, but he prays constantly that he can keep them safe, he begs the powers that be to grant him that one thing if they give him nothing else. He isn’t plagued by nightmares like he used to be, but the constant worry he carries weighs on him, the ever present fear that he won’t be enough—enough to protect Lorna, to protect their unborn child—keeps him awake at night. The real nightmare is one that he lives and breathes everyday; that he could lose them.
It’s not for a while later, until the sun starts to break in the sky outside their boarded up window, until he’s certain that Lorna won’t wake up, that his mind gives him rest.
AN: This was supposed to be something not super heavy, but it ended up being that way anyways, oops. I need to write more prequel fic because I bet the roles are reversed and Marcos is probably the one who struggled with nightmares, and I think he basically mentioned he still does in the last episode. I am also curious to see if we see more mood swings from Lorna, and how it affects her powers, et cetera, as the pregnancy progresses. Anyways, here’s some angsty/fluffy future fic for your liking. I haven’t written this much in ages, they are both such muses and I love it. If you have any fic ideas, feel free to shoot me prompts. Musical inspiration from my Eclaris playlist for this fic in particular: Help You Breathe by Oliver Tank, and Next to You by Of Rust & Bone.
Hey, i used to be ntasharomanvs and i changed my URL after the punisher premiere. can you update my link on the members page please and thank you! <3
Thank you for letting me know, it’s all changed! [And if anyone else would like to be added to the members page (a quick easy place to find people who ship karen and frank), please just let me know and I’ll pop you on :)))]
Alright, look… How about I get off early tonight and I buy us a bunch of candy and we can sit around and get fat and we can watch a scary movie together? How’s that for a compromise? C-compromise? C-O-M-promise. Compromise. How about that’s your word for the day, yeah? It’s something that’s kinda in-between. It’s like halfway happy. By 5-1-5? 5:15. Yeah, sure.
El’s so grateful Mike insisted on giving her a ride to school on his bike because it gives her a chance to review all the advice she’s gotten from the party over the last couple weeks
But a lot of their suggestions conflict (Lucas: “If you don’t know the answer when a teacher asks a question, don’t make eye contact with them or they’ll call on you” Dustin: “No way, you want to look the son of a bitch right in the eye to let them know you’re not afraid. Then, they’ll call on someone else. It’s a power move.” Max: “No, don’t listen to them, just pretend to be really engrossed in taking notes.”)
She gets her class schedule and it’s still a little surreal to see her name (Hopper, Jane) written down
She can’t believe how many people are at school and it’s a little overwhelming until she grabs Mike’s hand squeezes
He squeezes back right away and doesn’t let go as the walk to their first class
The class is English, which Eleven loves instantly (the teacher keeps talking about all these cool books they’re going to read—apparently one is about grapes and El can’t believe someone wrote a whole book on her favorite fruit)
She writes down everything the teacher says and fills up three pages in her notebook (although she wonders if she wasn’t supposed to because Mike didn’t take out a notebook at all and he keeps looking at her funny)
She has to part from Mike for math class, but Will sits in front of her and keeps passing her funny drawings and notes so the class goes by fast
After the bell for lunch rings, they exit the classroom and Mike runs up to them, panting, and starts asking El a million questions about how math class went
Eleven’s favorite part of the day is definitely lunch because she gets to sit with all of her friends and listen to them joke and argue and laugh
Everything goes smoothly from there until the last class of the day when the teacher asks them to pair up with someone they don’t know and then introduce their partner to the class
Eleven panics for a second, but Mike immediately turns to her, sticks out his hand, and says, “hi, my name’s Mike, short for Michael”
When the final bell rings, Eleven can’t believe after two years of begging Hopper she finally got what she had been asking for: a day of being a normal kid