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On Vauxhall bridge, Tim slipped his hand into Martin’s and put their joined hands into Martin’s coat pocket, leaning into his side. Jon lit a cigarette and watched the clouds turn dusky pink and grey.

On the 88, Tim headed straight to the back of the top deck like the overgrown teenager he was, all three of them sitting in the back row. Martin’s knee brushed against Jon’s leg. Jon watched Vauxhall turn to Stockwell turn to Clapham and wondered where in that mass of newsagents and chicken shops and Portugese restaurants Martin made his home.

On the walk past the Common Tim imitated one of their statement-givers, a rather strident woman who had ended half of her sentences with you know what I mean, though, right? and talked with her hands fluttering around her face, into her hair, tugging at her earrings. Martin made a few soft, chiding noises, sympathetic to a fault. Jon watched Tim’s hands, and wondered, and waited.

The armchair felt like the natural place to go when they got back to Tim’s. Martin took his coat from him, steady and reassuring, and Jon realised that it had been a week since he’d heard him do much in the way of stammering. Was that all it took to settle him at work, a confrontation and an interrogation? Had things changed so dramatically? Tim was antsy again, shifting from foot to foot, and Martin’s hand on his shoulder failed to steady him at all. He bounced up onto the balls of his feet and down again, stretching his arms over his head, far too much energy simmering under his skin. Jon toed off his shoes and brought his knees up to his chest, watching Martin hang up the coats.

“Right. Cup of tea, Jon?” Martin asked brightly, and Tim snorted a bit, flinging himself down on the sofa, stretched out on his back.

“I’ve got things other than tea, too. Can have a beer, if you like. I think I’ve got some rum and some coke somewhere,” he offered, and Jon shook his head.

“No, ah- tea’s fine. Thanks. Probably best to be sober,” he replied, and didn’t think too hard about how Martin’s approving nod as he left made his stomach drop like vertigo, giddy and terrifying. Tim turned his head to grin at Jon, foot still bouncing where it rested on the arm of the sofa, arms folded behind his head.

“Alright there?” It sounded casual enough but Jon had spent enough time being corralled into eating lunch this week to recognise the underlying concern, there, a genuine line of inquiry. He nodded, taking off his glasses to clean them on his shirt.

“I think so, yes. Just- curious. Nervous, perhaps. All that bouncing of yours isn’t helping.”

“Sorry,” Tim replied, sounding entirely unrepentant, “I can’t help it, honestly. I’m excited.”

“Mm. For whatever Martin’s going to do to you? Or the fact that I’ll be watching?” Jon asked, unsure quite where he’d dredged up the boldness for that from, but not regretting the question once he’d asked it because Tim looked delighted.

“Both. S’like - waiting in the wings before going onstage, or the night before a competition. Bit of adrenaline.”

“I suppose it is a show, of sorts.”

“Right. And I want to put on a good show for you.” Tim’s face was so open. Jon watched him and wondered where he found the courage to be so earnest about this, putting on a show for him, not just with him there. It felt distractingly intimate. Jon opened his mouth and then closed it again, giving a little shrug and putting his glasses back on, blinking at Tim now in focus, his pretty face all sharp-edged again. It was a relief when Martin came back with tea, another warm mug to anchor himself with, someone else to take control of the room.

God. Martin taking control of anything. It would have been unthinkable a week ago and yet here he was, waiting for Tim to swing his legs up a bit so he could settle down on the sofa, one hand curled over Tim’s ankle, comforting, possessive.

“So, are we- doing this down here?” Jon asked, glancing to the window despite himself. Tim laughed, bright and sudden, and Jon felt his cheeks prickling with heat.

“We can move to the bedroom if you’d be more comfortable,” Martin offers, “but down here will be a better view for you. Which would you rather?”

“I don’t, um- here’s fine.”

“Okay.” Martin smiled. “And you’re comfortable with everything that we’ve discussed?”

“Yes, I think so. I meant to ask, do we have, um- I know that there are words, sometimes, for this sort of thing.”

“You’ve been doing some reading?” It could have been so judgemental, scornful even, but Martin sounded warm and pleased and affectionate. “For the purposes of tonight I think stop and wait will do. We won’t be doing anything too fancy. And if Tim’s cheeky enough that he needs something to quiet him down, we’ll do fingersnaps. I will say that those words go for you too, Jon - if anything gets too much, if you want to stop, if you just need a moment or want to discuss something else or anything changes, just speak up. You’re as much a part of this as any of us.”

And there it was. As much a part as any of them. Jon took a sip of tea and felt it warm him right through to the bones.

“That’s sorted, then,” Tim shifted his socked feet in Martin’s lap, wriggling a bit, obviously impatient. “Shall we get on?”

“When everyone’s ready,” Martin agreed calmly. “We’ve got all night. Let Jon drink his tea in peace.”

“We can start,” Jon shrugged. “I don’t mind. I think- I think if we don’t Tim might squirm his way out of his skin and none of us want that.”

“He’ll wait,” Martin smiled, and Jon watched the words settle like a weight on Tim, making his eyes slip half-lidded, all of his fidgeting stilled for just a moment. “But if you’re sure.” He gave Tim’s ankle another little squeeze, nudging his feet gently off his lap. “Go and get undressed, please.”

“Sir, yes, sir!” Tim clearly didn’t need telling twice, bouncing upright. “Want me to bring anything down?”

“Mmhm. I think you might as well bring the bag, we can do a bit of an inventory.”

That was for his benefit, Jon was sure of it. He’d made his lack of experience quite clear and, yes, whilst he’d spent the week reading up on some of the basics (late nights in the Archives, pushing aside statements in favour of the basic tenets of BDSM, an onslaught of unfamiliar terminology) he’d said he wanted to learn more. This might as well be a learning opportunity as much as anything else, even if the anything else was vast and terrifying and fascinating on its own.

Tim disappeared and Jon could hear his eager footsteps on the stairs, could imagine him halfway through tugging off his shirt by the time he reached the bedroom door. He focused on his breathing - in and out - and looked back at Martin.

“Still okay?” Martin asked him gently.

“Fine. I’m fine, I’m hardly going to be doing anything strenuous. Just watching.”

“Mm. I don’t think there’s any just about watching, really. And you know you don’t have to stay there silent, you can interject, ask questions, get involved - whatever you want. Both of us want you here.”

“I know. You’ve both made that clear.”

“Good. I hope so.” Martin’s gaze was steady and sure. Jon watched his shoulders move as he breathed and matched his own breathing to it, struck with the absurd urge to look away. He got his opportunity when Tim returned, unabashedly naked, dropping what looked like a sports bag on the ground. He was already half-hard, and he grinned when he caught Jon’s eye, dropping him a wink.

“Like what you see, boss?”

“I don’t think you need me to stroke your ego, Tim,” Jon replied. “You already know what you look like.”

“Tell me anyway.”

“That’s enough out of you for a moment,” Martin interjected, but he sounded soft and fond, standing up to move the coffee table well out of the way. It left an arena, of sorts, a little performance area between the sofa and the armchair and the window, and Tim - obviously - stepped straight to the centre, watching Martin unzip the sports bag and place a few obvious items - lube, condoms - to the side before making his way behind Tim, just smoothing his hands down his arms. “Hush, now. Are you going to be good for us, Tim?”

Us. Jon felt his breath catch in his throat. Tim tipped his head back, shivering when Martin pressed a kiss to his neck.

“Could do,” he breathed, and Martin chuckled.

“Oh, I see. Or are you going to show off now that we have company?”

“Could do that too,” Tim agreed, and Martin gave a little hum.

“Well, thank you for your honesty. Let’s see if we can’t preempt that a little bit.” He pulled a strip of cloth out of the bag - a blindfold - and reached to tie it carefully around Tim’s eyes. “There. Not too tight? Can you see?”

“No and no,” Tim replied, voice gone a little shaky with excitement, and Martin pressed another kiss to his shoulder.

“Good. You can wear that for a little while until you’re settled.”

“Why?” Jon cut in, unable to help the question, and his voice sounded rough even to his own ears. Tim’s head snapped towards him even blindfolded but Martin didn’t miss a beat, curling his hand around Tim’s hip and giving a squeeze.

“Because Tim likes to show off. And if he knows that there’s somebody to show off too, he’ll push his luck. This will make him think less about who’s here, let him focus a bit more on being good for us.”

Jon nodded, wondering how Tim felt about being spoken about like he wasn’t here. Judging by the blissful expression on his face he didn’t mind it much. He was still fidgeting a bit, shifting his weight, bare toes curled against the carpet. “Alright. And what happens when he pushes his luck?”

Tim laughed at that, pressing his lips together to catch it halfway when Martin gave his hip a pinch. “Good question. Tim, why don’t you tell Jon what happens?”

“Depends. Sometimes Martin will just make me wait, put me down on my knees until I’m ready to be good. Sometimes, he’ll use some of the other things in that bag. There’s a flogger in there, a crop. Sometimes he’ll make me wait to come, or not let me at all.”

“I see,” Jon said quietly. It felt good, picking this apart, analysing the pieces to see what made it work, it was sufficiently cerebral to stop him spiralling into some sort of panic about this entire situation. “Do you like those things?”

“Sometimes.” Tim grinned. “It’s all in the context, boss.”

“Is that why you’re so cheeky all the time?” Martin teased, settling his hands on Tim’s shoulders to walk him back a little, pressing down until he went down to his knees with an audible sigh of relief, settling himself comfortably and then straightening his spine, shoulders back, hands clasped loosely. The same position Jon had seen him in through the window. He swallowed, mouth gone dry, scanning the long lines of Tim’s body. Was that position just something that was expected? Had it been practiced, trained into him? The image of Martin sitting in front of Tim, correcting his posture, was sudden and startling. As it was Martin just looked achingly tender now that Tim was blindfolded, running a gentle hand through his hair. “That’s lovely. Stay nice and quiet for me for a few minutes, now, hm?” he murmured, turning back to Jon with a smile. “Right. Let’s see what we’ve got.”

We again. Jon didn’t think that he could have felt like a passive onlooker if he tried, and now that he’d voiced one question it was easier to articulate others, watching Martin draw the aforementioned crop out of the bag, a gag, a little box full of toys, a pair of suede-lined cuffs.

“Those look soft,” Jon remarked and Martin nodded, handing them out towards him.

“They are. Would you like to feel?”

“I- yeah. Yes.” Jon took them, brushing his thumb one way up the suede and then the other, imagining what they might feel like against Tim’s wrists. Against his wrists. “This isn’t what I expected,” he confessed, still holding onto the cuffs, watching Tim silent and still kneeling next to the sofa. He was breathing shallowly and Jon could see that his cheeks were flushed. Even now, not doing anything, this was exciting for him.

“Which part?”

“It’s so- I don’t know. Steady.” Reading about this had felt a bit like being plunged into deep water, the interplay of pleasure and submission and pain, all the formalities and observations, well-established rituals and personal preferences. This felt like being led into warm shallows, safe and easy, tides lapping around his ankles. Martin just nodded.

“There’s nothing wrong with a slow start. This is stress-relief, remember. I could pin him to the wall and work him up past the point of speaking in a few minutes, but this is more effective for both of us.” Tim shifted a little where he knelt, lips parting minutely like he might say something before clearly thinking better of it. “Anyway,” Martin added a moment later, “I like looking at him like this.”

“Yes. I can understand that.” Tim shivered, cock twitching a little against his thigh. Still listening, certainly, and Jon considered elaborating. Tim looked gorgeous like this, cast in half-light with only the one lamp on, stark shadows and bright spots over his skin. It highlighted some of the scars, little sun-spots on his arms, his chest, his neck. Jon wanted to touch them, to feel the contrast between smooth skin and scar tissue. He wanted to see what might happen if he said any of that, how Tim might react to it. He wanted. “What are you going to use tonight?”

“Those, for a start,” Martin nodded to the cuffs, “and this,” he held up a curved vibrator. “Possibly-” he indicated the crop with a smile. “Is there anything you’d like to see?”

“Oh,” Jon blinked down at the bag. “Any of it, really.” He put the cuffs in his lap and reached forwards, wrapping his fingers around the slim handle of the crop, rubbing his thumb against the leather. “Whatever you think best to-” he broke off, shrugging, and Martin laughed.

“To take him apart?”


“Alright.” Martin gestured to the cuffs, eyebrows raised. “Would you like to put those on him?”

Jon hesitated, not sure how he felt about being so overtly a part of this. Wrapping his fingers around Tim’s wrists, feeling the warmth of them, close enough behind him to touch, to press his lips to his neck the way Martin had done. Tim was tense, utterly still, apparently holding his breath as he listened for the answer. “I- would that be alright?”

“I think so. Tim? Would you like Jon to cuff you?”

God, yes,” the answer exploded from Tim in a rush of breath. Jon nodded slowly and Martin stood, crossing the room to settle a hand against Tim’s shoulder, waiting for Jon to follow. He did, setting the crop down and holding the cuffs in both hands like a sacrifice, some sort of offering, crouching next to Tim and watching him move his head to follow the sound of movement. He was close enough to hear him breathing, a little unsteady, hitching as Jon undid the clasp on the cuffs to open them up.

“Where?” he asked Martin quietly and Martin crouched as well, positioning Tim’s hands at the small of his back and holding them there while Jon settled the soft cuffs around them, dark skin against pale suede, pulling them closed and watching the muscles in Tim’s shoulders flex a bit as he tested the give. “Not too tight?”

“No. S’perfect,” Tim replied immediately. His hands were curled into loose fists and Jon couldn’t stop himself from reaching out, placing the tips of his fingers against Tim’s, unhooking his hands. Tim drew in a sharp breath but clamped his fingers back down before Jon could retreat, keeping his hands there, trapped, holding on. Jon froze, eyes slipping over to Martin, and Martin just watched them as Jon relaxed slowly, letting his fingers curl a little to give Tim’s hands a squeeze. “Christ, Jon,” Tim whispered, and Jon swallowed thickly, mouth gone abruptly dry. How long had it been since he’d touched somebody with any intent? Was this allowed? Was this alright?

“What do you want, Tim?” Martin asked, and Tim’s head fell back a bit, turning in Martin’s direction.

“Touch me?” he asked, and Martin laughed.

“Yes, sweetheart. How?”

“Anything,” another quick reply, and Jon ached with how fond Martin looked, the way he reached out to slide his fingers over Tim’s jaw, his cheek, brushing against the edges of the blindfold. “Anything you want.” Martin’s thumb lingered over Tim’s lower lip and Tim kissed it, parting his lips when Martin pressed down a little, catching it between his teeth.

“You’ll have to be more specific than that,” Martin replied, and Jon could hear the sigh building in Tim’s chest before he let it out.

“What does Jon want?” he asked, Martin dropping his hand so that Tim could speak clearly, and Jon held onto Tim’s hands like an anchor, like a buoy in the sea, like if he let go he might be cast adrift.

“I want to see you,” he replied quietly, felt more confident about it once it was voiced. He wanted to see him. “I want you to tell me how you’re feeling, what you want. I want to hear what you want Martin to do to you.”

“Kiss me?” Tim asked, quieter still, and Martin gave a little hum.

“Which one of us?”

“I- either. Both. Kiss me.”

Jon looked at Martin and Martin gave a little shrug, nodding towards Tim as if to say if you like, and Jon had to think for a moment. Did he want that? He wasn’t a stranger to kissing, obviously, had some very fond memories of lazy evenings with Georgie, curled close in the darkness, trading slow kisses. It was warm and comforting and familiar and God, nothing felt familiar about this, but a kiss- yes. Alright. He could manage a kiss.

“I’ll have to let go of your hands,” he remarked, somehow managing a dry tone, and whilst he did let go of Tim’s hands so he could move around him and crouch down in front of him he kept close, skimming his fingertips over Tim’s arm, his shoulder, his collarbone, feeling Tim tremble with the effort to stay still, not to lean in and chase the touch. “Are you sure?”

“Yeah,” Tim nodded, “God, Jon, I’ve wanted- ever since sodding research I’ve- yeah. I’m sure.”

“Alright then.” It felt peculiar to be crouched like this, fully-clothed, with Tim naked and cuffed and blindfolded and turning his head towards the sound of his voice, a plant turning to seek the sun. “You’re different like this,” Jon sighed. “Quiet, I mean. Docile.”

Docile?” Tim laughed, and there was that bright grin of his, absolutely infectious. “If I’m being too well-behaved you just say the word, boss, I’ll make things a bit more interesting.”

“Don’t you dare,” Jon huffed, and Tim did lean closer, then, tilting his head into Jon’s hand when he slid it into his hair. He opened his mouth like he was going to say something else so Jon leaned in before he could get the chance, pressing his lips to Tim’s, swallowing the startled sound he made before he kissed back. It was- nice. Warm. Tim felt so pliant against him, kissing him like he could spend hours doing it - and knowing Tim, he probably could. He sighed when Jon drew back, nuzzling into the palm of his hand and out of everything that was what felt most vulnerable, Jon caught frozen with Tim’s lips on the heel of his hand, the inside of his wrist.

“Alright?” Martin asked softly from behind Tim and Jon nodded, words thoroughly stolen away, pulling away despite Tim’s whine of disappointment and perching himself on the sofa instead. “Alright,” Martin repeated, leaning in to steal a kiss from Tim as well and placing his hands on his shoulders, coaxing him to stand. “There we are- Jon, would you pass me that, please?” He nodded towards the crop and Jon reached over to retrieve it, handing it to Martin who smiled at him cheerfully, like he’d asked for nothing more exciting than a pen. “Thank you.”

He ran the crop gently up Tim’s thigh and Jon could see him tense, held absolutely still. Martin gave a little hum of what sounded like satisfaction, his other hand on Tim’s shoulder as he guided him over to the armchair, settled him on his knees, bent forwards with his cheek against the cushion. “Knees a little further apart for me?” he asked, giving the inside of Tim’s thighs a little tap with the crop, and Tim obeyed with a little groan, back arched, utterly exposed. It was- vulnerable. Intimate. Jon curled and uncurled his hands against his trousers, waiting until he was sure his voice would be steady before he spoke again.

“He’s pushed his luck, then?”

Martin laughed, shaking his head even as he delivered a swift tap to the curve of Tim’s arse that had him sucking in a breath. “Not tonight he hasn’t. We’ve a few grievances stored up, mind,” he said warmly, rubbing the leather of the crop over the mark he’d left behind. “But sometimes Tim likes to be hurt. Don’t you, sweetheart?”

“Mmhm,” Tim hummed, arching his back a little more. “Yeah. Fuck, Martin-”

“Shh. I want you to count for me,” Martin bent to settle his hand against the nape of Tim’s neck, curling soft, squeezing for a second before he pulled away and gave Tim a considering look. He was holding himself steady, knees against the carpet, exposed and vulnerable, hands curled into fists against his spine. “Sometimes,” Martin murmured, trailing the crop over Tim’s side, down his arm, “Tim works himself up a bit. This helps to relax him.”

“He seems pretty relaxed to me.”

“He is,” Martin laughed, “but it’s also a lovely show. And you’ll see what he’s like when we’re finished.”

“How-” Jon cleared his throat, tried again. He couldn’t drag his eyes away from the crop, from how Tim’s hips were shifting minutely, like if he had anything underneath him he’d be rubbing against it the way he had over the arm of the sofa. “How many will you give him?”

“Enough,” Martin replied simply, paused and drew away to give Jon a considering look. For the first time, he didn’t look entirely sure of himself. “You can, um- I mean, feel free to- if you want to touch. Tim, I mean, or- o-or yourself. You can.”

“Oh.” Jon looked away. He could. Christ, he was certainly interested, and now that he was paying attention to anything other than the scene in front of him he could feel himself aching. “Perhaps,” he settled on. Martin nodded and let it drop, turning back to Tim.

“Count for me, sweetheart,” he reminded him, and the next tap sounded sharper, a whip of air and the blunt impact, Tim’s sharp intake of breath, exhaling on a moan.

“Mmph. One,” he breathed. Martin painted marks over Tim’s arse, his thighs, and with each one his voice got less steady, the movement of his hips more pronounced, and Jon watched with wide eyes as he squirmed against the crop. He couldn’t tell whether Tim was squirming away or towards it - he wondered if Tim really knew. His knees had slid further apart and Jon shivered as he watched Martin slide the crop between them, stroking over Tim’s cock, saw Tim press his hips down firmly against what must have been a tease and a threat all at once.

“How many is that?” Martin prompted with another swift hit to Tim’s left thigh, and Tim muffled what sounded like a sob in the cushion of the armchair, laughing breathlessly when Martin lifted the crop to tap it oh-so-gently against his cheek instead. “Tim?”

“S’twenty,” he mumbled, “God, Martin, touch me, I want-”

“I think you can ask a bit more nicely than that, sweetheart,” Martin teased, crouching to run his palm over Tim’s arse, examining the marks he’d left behind and nodding, apparently satisfied. He looked up at Tim and then smacked his backside, hard, Tim yelping into the cushion. “No? Not yet?”

Please,” Tim gasped, and Martin gave him another firm smack before he pulled back, reaching for the lube. The snap of the cap was loud and Jon pressed his palms down hard against his thighs, curling his fingers for the blunt pressure of his nails. Tim looked wrecked. Jon could see his back moving as he panted, catching his breath, and as he watched he saw something catch the light in the shadow underneath Tim’s body, what had to be him- God, dripping onto the carpet, it should have been revolting, it was, and still he wanted to reach out and touch him.

Martin looked as close to smug as Jon had ever seen him, slicking up his fingers carefully and then settling to his knees next to Tim, one hand against his spine, the other pressing a finger into him.

“How are you feeling?” Martin asked, and Tim turned his head, still seeking out Martin’s voice. His cheeks were flushed dark against the blindfold and Jon could see his thighs tensing, relaxing, the way he was pressing back into Martin’s touch.

“Good, so good, I’m- mmph, don’t tease me, please, please Martin.”

“You always ask me that,” Martin gave a rueful little sigh, grinning over his shoulder at Jon conspiratorially, like it was an inside joke between the two of them, “and yet you beg so beautifully when I do it. You’re being so good for me.” He added another finger, crooked them in a way that had Tim whimpering, biting down hard on his lower lip as if that would do anything to muffle the sounds he was making. “How about you, Jon?”

Jon jumped at the sound of his name and nodded, eyes still fixed on Tim, the way Martin’s fingers disappeared into him. “I’m- yes, I’m alright,” he almost whispered it, reverent, afraid to break whatever this little moment between Tim and Martin was. It occurred to him that Martin was still fully-clothed as well, as yet untouched, and Jon wondered if that was for his benefit. “You know you can, um- too. It’s not just Tim I’m watching,” he said slowly, awkwardly, and Martin turned an absurdly affectionate smile onto him.

“I know,” he said gently. “Thank you. Don’t worry, I’ll fuck Tim in good time, provided you’re sure you’re comfortable seeing that.”

“All of it. Anything. I- you two look so good together,” Jon sighed. “Would you...I mean, I’d like to see Tim’s face.”

“Who wouldn’t,” Martin teased, curling his free hand around the cuffs to guide Tim up onto his knees again, two fingers still buried inside him. “Of course, just a moment. Eyes closed, Tim,” he tugged the blindfold off and Jon watched Tim’s closed eyes screw up at the sudden light, watched him open them slowly and blink, dazed, as Martin withdrew his fingers and turned him around until he was kneeling facing Jon, looking hazy and flushed and altogether a little undone.

“Oh, hey, boss,” Tim mumbled, giving him a crooked grin. “Fancy seeing you here.”

“Where else would I be?” Jon muttered, and Tim snorted.

“Still so prickly. C’mere and kiss me.”

“Tim-” Martin rolled his eyes. “Honestly, and you were being so good. If you can’t stay quiet on your own I’ll have to gag you.”

“Bet you’ve got something lovely to gag me on, eh, Martin?” Tim wriggled his eyebrows and Martin gave him an unimpressed look, sighing as he reached back to the bag, fingers hovering over the contents before he settled on a toy that was small but curved, looking like it was designed for - at Jon’s best guess - prostate massage. Martin slicked it up with a few practiced little twists of his wrist, sliding his hand around to splay across Tim’s chest and tugging him back into a gentle arch, holding him steady as he pressed the toy into him.

“If you want something, Tim,” he sighed, and Jon could hear the muffled buzzing as he flicked the toy on, see the way Tim’s eyes snapped wide and then squeezed tightly shut. It was instant, electric, and Tim let out a little cry as Martin wrapped a hand firmly around him, gave him a few long strokes, “then you can ask for it nicely.”

“Nnngh- fuck, oh my God, Martin-” Tim gasped, shuddering as Martin moved to kneel behind him properly, one arm pulling him flush to his chest and holding him there while he stroked him in earnest, pressing his lips against his neck and then grinning - outright grinning at Jon before he sank his teeth into the soft skin there, sucking until Tim went boneless and lax against his chest. That was absolutely going to leave a mark.

“Might not be up to the dress code come Monday, I’m afraid,” Martin remarked, “but I don’t think Jon’ll mind, will you?”

Jon shook his head mutely, listening to Tim’s moans ramp up a pitch, increasingly ragged as he tried to buck his hips forward into Martin’s touch.

“Fffffuck, Martin, m’gonna- God, let me-”

“You’re going to come?” Martin inquired lightly, like they were discussing the bloody weather, and Tim gave a frantic nod, drawn taut and tense like a bowstring for one more second before Martin let go of him, both hands steady on his shoulders so he didn’t crumple. “No, I don’t think so,” he said over Tim’s cry of disappointment. “Not if you can't be polite about it.”

Tim whined low in his chest, eyes still screwed shut as he heaved a few deep breaths in and out, toes curled tightly. The toy was still buzzing in him and Jon could see the tension held in Tim’s shoulders, his neck. “Please,” Tim breathed, and Martin just shook his head.

“Not yet, Tim. Settle down.”

Settle down. Christ. Jon pressed the heel of his hand between his legs, unable to help himself, the momentary pressure taking a brief edge off of his arousal as he watched Tim claw himself back from the edge. He looked up to meet Martin’s eyes, just a thin ring of brown around the pupil. He was flushed underneath his freckles, and whilst Jon didn’t know how he was still half so composed, how he could resist Tim asking him to come like that, it was almost a relief to know that he wasn’t entirely unaffected.

“I think half the reason he’s so cheeky is because he likes having something in his mouth to quiet him down,” Martin said eventually, almost nonchalant about it as he pressed two fingers to Tim’s lips, watched him open his mouth and suck on them without hesitation, eyes still screwed shut.

Was that an offer? Jon dropped his eyes to Tim’s lips, looked back up, allowed himself to consider what it would be like to have those lips stretched around him, the sounds that Tim might make. He could say no, of course. He could just touch himself, try to take the edge off this himself, slump back against the sofa and watch the show play out, or he could- God. Take part. More so than he had already, mind. It was hardly as if he’d arrived intending to touch Tim, to kiss him, and yet-

He found himself nodding. Martin withdrew his fingers from Tim’s mouth, kissed his neck again. “Eyes open for me, Tim,” he coaxed gently and Tim obeyed, though Jon wasn’t sure how clearly he was seeing anything. “Would you like to show Jon how good you can be?”

“I- God. Really?” Tim breathed, and for a moment Jon thought that was scornful, was about to demur and back away. Then Tim looked at him properly and he looked starstruck, adoring, staring at Jon like he wasn’t sure he was allowed. That made two of them, then. “Fuck, yes. Please.”

“I’ll have to undo these,” Martin said, reaching for the cuffs around Tim’s wrists, “I’m sure it goes without saying, love, but if you touch yourself, I’ll-”

“I know, I know, you’ll edge me until I actually lose my mind,” Tim cut in impatiently and Martin gave him an exasperated little sigh, planting two sharp smacks against his arse that made Tim clench around the toy, crying out.

“If you’d rather just wait until you’re feeling more polite,” he said casually, letting it hang threateningly in the air until Tim shook his head, still grinning.

“Nonono, I’m- mmph, I’m sorry. I’ll be good,” he promised, and Martin gave a disbelieving scoff but uncuffed his wrists, rubbing them gently for a moment before releasing them. He slipped the toy out of him and Tim groaned, clenching around nothing, subsiding into grumbles when Martin pressed a kiss to the nape of his neck.

“Shh. You need to focus. Go on.” He watched as Tim shuffled over to Jon, settling himself between his legs, reaching up with shaky hands to touch his knees.

“You sure, boss?” Tim asked gently. Jon nodded mutely, reached out to slip his hands into Tim’s hair.

“I’m sure. You’re so gorgeous like this,” he said softly, watched Tim’s expression slip into something warm and open, waited for that moment to tangle his hands against his hair and pull. Tim arched, groaning low in his throat, squeezing his eyes shut, and Jon saw his cock twitch. Martin glanced up from where he seemed to be cleaning the massager, an amused look in his eyes.

“Oh, hello. You’ve been paying attention,” he teased, and Jon shrugged, leaning in to press his lips to Tim’s forehead and just centre himself for a moment.

Fuck,” Tim breathed, breath hot against his jaw. “Jon, let me suck you off, please, I want to-”

“Yes, yes,” Jon kissed him just to shut him up for a second, fumbling with his trousers with sudden urgency, unzipping and unbuttoning and swallowing down a groan when he finally got his hand around himself. Christ. He felt Tim’s hands on his, pulled away from the kiss to see that quick flash of Tim’s grin before he tugged impatiently at his underwear, freeing him and leaning in to close his mouth around him and- God.

Jon fell back against the sofa cushions, one hand in Tim’s hair as Tim apparently set to driving him mad with swirls of his tongue and moans against his skin. He was eager, wasting no time in taking him down to the root, nuzzling against his stomach and Jon was almost insulted that it was apparently that easy for him until he saw Tim’s eyes watering, felt him groan in his chest, the vibrations travelling all the way up and settling in his spine. Martin settled behind Tim, slipping two fingers back into him almost absently, eyes on Jon and he- no, he couldn’t summon anything witty to say for this. He was breathless with it, holding onto Tim’s hair and arching underneath him.

How long had it been since something like this had happened? Not for quite some time, a few fumbles after university, drunk and alone in a new city far from Oxford, far from Bournemouth, seeking out a connection. It felt good, satisfying, but he didn’t reach for it like cigarettes or coffee or anything else that he marked the hours by. Then again, Tim was suckling on the head of his cock and swirling his tongue down the length of him and perhaps Jon could see his way clear to indulging a bit more frequently if it was going to be this urgent, this absolutely all-consuming.

Christ, Tim,” he whispered, still holding his breath, biting back his groans for fear that he might break whatever fantasy he’d wandered into. He hadn’t expected this, he hadn’t set out to follow Tim home for this but now that he was here, now that it was happening, he couldn’t stop himself from wanting to touch Tim’s hair, his ribs, to see him come. “You- nnngh-” he gave up on talking, pressed his lips together and watched Martin add a third finger, Tim’s grip almost too-tight against his thighs, white knuckled as he held himself steady. Was Martin going to fuck him like this, a living bridge between the two of them? Martin was apparently considering the same question, looking up at Jon with an expression of polite inquiry, and it was so incongruous that Jon laughed, running a hand over his face.

“Don’t - ah - d-don’t look at me like that, just- whatever you want, Martin,” he stammered, and Martin blushed, apparently embarrassed, glancing away quickly even as he gave his fingers a little twist that made Tim whimper.

“I’d like to kiss you,” he replied, almost hesitantly, and Jon was nodding before he’d even finished the sentence.

“Yes, yes, come here, then-” and it should have been absurd, really, should have been embarrassing because Tim was Tim, wasn’t he, gorgeous and flirty and cheeky and there were probably very few people in the Institute who hadn’t thought about kissing Tim at one point or another, but Martin - Jon didn’t know what to think about Martin. Martin who’d fussed over him even when he was met with nothing but naked suspicion, who’d sat him down and made him tea and talked him gently through a spiral of paranoia and even now looked at him like he would quite understand if Jon said no, like he expected it. Jon wasn’t used to feeling so utterly affectionate. He’d question that later.

He sat up a bit and leaned in, Martin rising to meet him with three fingers still crooked inside Tim, Tim’s mouth still on him and Jon’s hand in his hair. The whole thing was frantic and urgent and heated but Martin’s kiss was tender and lingering, like he was savouring Jon, making the very most of this moment. His lips were soft. When Jon pulled away Martin looked starry-eyed, reverent, and he mumbled something that Jon couldn’t quite hear.

“I - s-sorry, what?” he asked, more than a little distracted by the way that Tim was swallowing around him, just showing off now apparently, and Martin blushed crimson, looked away.

“Oh! I, um - jesteś taki piękny - never mind, Jon. Just thinking out loud,” he replied, too cheerful, and Jon was about to press the matter further when Martin did something that made Tim moan, and the vibrations of that were almost more than Jon could handle, had him slumping back against the sofa again. “Alright. I- Jesus,” Martin laughed, shaking his head. “You two are much too distracting, you know that? Be with you in a moment, Tim.”

He pulled back, wasting no time in shrugging off his shirt, undoing his trousers, all pale, freckled skin, flushed right down to his chest. Tim pulled his mouth off Jon, hands flat against his hips, looking up at him with reddened lips and faintly watering eyes. Jon lifted a hand to stroke his cheek gently, one eyebrow raised.

“What? Something to say?”

“Ha! I couldn’t- mm, couldn’t say anything if I wanted to, not ‘nough brain power left, try again later,” Tim mumbled, mouthing kisses across Jon’s hip. “Martin?”

“Yes, sweetheart?” Martin, naked now, settled himself back behind Tim with his hands against his hips, just rubbing little circles with his thumbs. “Something you’d like?”

“Fuck me,” Tim whispered, “please, Martin, please fuck me. I want you to make me come.”

“Well, now,” Martin was back to sounding smug again, “that’s much better. Not ‘til I say - and certainly not until after Jon.” He leaned over to press his lips to Tim’s shoulderblade, reaching for a condom and slicking himself up with a few firm strokes. It occurred to Jon that this was the first he’d been touched at all, and it was surprisingly compelling to watch Martin shiver, biting his lower lip at that first bit of friction.

He lined himself up with Tim, both hands back against his hips, watching as Tim opened his mouth and dragged his tongue up the length of Jon before taking him in again, sucking and bobbing his head in a way that had Jon groaning, eyes closed and face turned up to the ceiling, holding onto Tim’s hair like he might drift away otherwise. Martin pressed in slowly and Tim moaned into Jon’s skin, sounding thoroughly desperate even with his mouth full, arching as Martin set to moving, brisk, firm thrusts.

He didn’t seem to be teasing now, his grip white-knuckled against Tim’s hips in a way that was almost certainly going to leave bruises, and Tim sounded ecstatic, no longer bothering to moderate anything, panting every time he drew away to catch his breath, curling his hand around the base of Jon’s cock and swallowing him down. He wasn't touching himself and Jon caught Martin’s eye, unable to resist a few final questions now he was here, even if he barely had the coherence required to voice them properly.

“Could he- God, Tim - c-could he come like that?”

Martin lifted one shoulder in a little shrug, slowed himself down to answer, deep grinds of his hips that made Tim shudder against him. “He hasn’t before, but - mm, Tim? What d’you think?”

Tim shook his head and pulled away to rest his cheek on Jon’s thigh. “No, no, I- I can’t, I- hnng, please touch me, please,”

“When you’ve made Jon come,” Martin replied softly, soothingly, though his own voice was tight with exertion, motion gone a little jerky as he gave Tim’s arse another little slap, apparently to encourage him to get back to the job at hand, which - yes, yep, that was fine by him. Jon wasn’t going to last much longer at this rate anyway, not with Tim apparently using any and every trick in what must have been a considerable roster to send sparks up his spine and under his skin, to draw everything in him tight and taut and ready until he was gasping, helpless little noises caught in his throat.

“Fuck, I- I’m going-” he breathed and Tim just groaned encouragement around him. In the midst of it all Jon found Martin’s eyes and Martin blinked at him, momentarily startled into stillness. Jon watched the motion of his throat as he swallowed and then forced himself to speak.

“I- God, Jon, yeah. Go on,” he whispered, like he wasn’t sure what he was supposed to be saying, but that was alright, that was enough. Jon arched, one hand clenched in Tim’s hair, pulling, spiralling downwards, upwards, shaking utterly apart. He heard Martin let out a shaky breath and though his eyes were closed he could hear Tim’s moans picking up pace, hear the slap of skin on skin as Martin fucked Tim in earnest, thrusting into him fast and deep until he stilled, trembling, draped over Tim’s back and biting down on his shoulder to muffle whatever he might have said.

Tim’s breath was rattling out of him like he’d run a marathon and Jon forced his eyes open to see Martin wrap his arm around him again, pull him upright, pressing feverish kisses to his neck. “There we are, sweetheart, God, so good for us,” he whispered, and the us made Jon’s heart flip-flop impossibly between his ribs, battering at them like it might break out. He watched wide-eyed as Martin set to stroking Tim again, Tim’s begging reaching an utterly desperate peak until it was just pleasepleaseplease and Martin nodded, hushing him.

“Yes, sweetheart, go on, you’ve been so good, come for us,” he urged softly. Tim cried out, crumpling against Martin’s chest a little as he shuddered and spilled against his hand, chest heaving. Jon couldn’t blame him. He felt exerted himself, felt drained, like he might curl up and sleep and never wake up. For a moment, there was just the sound of panting in the room. Jon let his eyes slip closed. He could hear movement around him - the warm rasp of skin on skin,, footsteps out of the room and then back in, a few hushed murmurs. When he opened his eyes again it was to Martin’s hand against his cheek, feather-light.

“Oh! You’re awake. Hi,” he said softly and Jon nodded, shoving his glasses up to rub at his eyes.

“Yes, I’m- yes. God. That was…” He trailed off, shaking his head a bit, and Martin smiled.

“Alright, though?”

Jon nodded again, not confident in his ability to put words to any of this, looking up at the tender expression on Martin’s face, the way his fingertips hovered just above his skin like he wasn’t sure if he was still allowed to touch. Jon sighed and blinked around the room, noticed that Martin seemed to be wearing pyjama bottoms now, that Tim was nowhere to be seen. “Oh. Where’s-”

“He’ll be back in a second, he’s just getting some water and putting everything away,” Martin replied, settling on the sofa next to Jon and glancing away tactfully while Jon pulled himself back together, trousers re-zipped and buttoned. “I- I’m sorry if I overstepped, asking for a kiss, that was-”

“Shut up, Martin,” Jon sighed, exasperated, snorting at the startled look on Martin’s face. “Look, just-” he leaned in again, pressed a firm kiss to his lips, felt Martin tense and relax all at once, a warm arm sliding around his waist. That was nice. God, he had missed kissing. “This is good,” he said when he pulled away, let himself lean into Martin’s chest, soft and stable and secure, felt the sharp little intake of breath and how Martin let it out slow and steady before he hugged him close.

“I don’t want to intrude,” he added a moment later, worried about giving the wrong impression, and he’d have looked up to make his point a little more clearly except Martin was threading his fingers gently through his hair and Jon wasn’t so sure he had the muscular control needed to hold his neck up like that. “I mean, I’m hardly inviting myself into whatever you have with Tim, but I-”

“We both like you,” Martin said firmly, almost blurted it out before coughing and moderating his tone, “we, um - w-we’ve discussed it. Not with a view to proposing anything, but on the offchance that you were interested, we- well at a minimum, if you ever wanted this to happen again?”

“I could- yes. I could do that,” Jon mumbled into Martin’s chest.

“We’ll talk again in the morning when you’re a bit less sleepy,” Martin added, amused, and Jon rolled his eyes.

Sleepy,” he mimicked. “Piss off.”

“Yeah, you tell him, boss.” Jon huffed as he felt the sofa dip with what was obviously Tim flinging himself down behind him, stealing a kiss from Martin and then wrapping his arms around them both, breath smelling like mint when he ducked in to kiss Jon’s cheek too. “Sticking around for the night? I’ve got some spare pyjamas.”

“Oh. I, um - I assumed I’d be on-”

“Yeah, you would have been on the sofa, but then I sucked your dick,” Tim replied brightly. “So you’re coming to bed. If you want, I mean. I’d recommend it, Martin is a truly world-class cuddler.”

“Thanks for that ringing endorsement,” Martin muttered, and Jon could hear the eye-roll in his voice. “S’another thing about Tim, he’s all lovely and soft in the afterglow, but that only lasts about thirty seconds before he’s off again.”

“Such a trial for you, I’m sure,” Tim sighed dramatically, “having someone all energetic to do the clean-up, how you suffer.”

“Should’ve hit him a bit harder,” Jon said dryly and Tim grinned, sliding his arms around Jon’s waist from behind and kissing his neck until he squirmed.

“Yeah, well, feel free to give it a go yourself next time. On either end of things, I mean.”

Next time. Hm. Jon glanced up at Martin, squirmed a bit to see Tim’s beaming face, thought back to being pressed against the window in the cold, afraid, alone. He was still afraid. But not of this, of them. That felt like it mattered.

“Maybe,” he said softly. “Maybe. First, bed.”

“Jonathan Sims wilfully advocating for sleep, what is the world coming to?” Tim teased, standing up and extending a hand to Jon to help him up, pulling him against his chest with one strong arm and pressing a kiss to the top of his head. “Must be the end of the world, eh?”

“You’re exhausting,” Jon replied flatly, let Martin guide them both upstairs with a hand at the small of his back, let Tim give him spare pyjamas to wriggle into, let the two of them bracket him under the duvet, Tim trailing gentle fingers down his spine.

“Martin?” Jon asked quietly, heard Martin shift in the darkness to curl a hand around his hip and kiss the nape of his neck.


“What was it you said, earlier?”

Martin made a reluctant sound behind him and nuzzled into his neck. “I’ll tell you in the morning, serduszko.”

“Uh-oh. You’ve dragged the Polish out of him, now you’re never allowed to leave,” Tim drawled, and Jon heard him yelp when Martin leaned across to poke him in the ribs, felt him squirm away. “No! We agreed that tickling was cruel and unusual punishment!”

“Well, you’re a cruel and unusual man,” Jon said reasonably, grinning at Tim’s little squawk of outrage and Martin’s surprised laughter, the way Tim chose to take his recompense in kisses and - yes. In the morning. The morning seemed like a good place to start.