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Once Upon a Time in Virginia

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His father, of all people, drops him off at the gate.

The initial offer came as a surprise, an entire summer's worth of protest and disappointment vanishing in the blink of an eye, replaced by subtle pride and Martin still isn't sure he didn't imagine the entire thing.

The drive was made in silence, wordless except for Martin's occasional grumbling that he was quite capable of taking a bus. His father's answer was cold indifference, leaving Martin to question both of their sanity.

Call your mother, he said upon dropping Martin off, waiting only for Martin to step out of the car before taking off, disappearing around a corner and all Martin could do was watch.

He's still watching. Staring at an empty street and wondering exactly what led him to this place.

The thought lingers only a moment, replaced by the knowledge of where he is and it seems strange to be here. Strange to think of how long he spent wanting, needing to be here; an entire summer and now that he's here the sensation is gone. Replaced by determination and a dull, stomach twisting nervousness that Martin pushes to the back of his head.

His coat is travel-worn, stained with a summer's worth of dirt, making him look more like a vagabond than a new recruit. He wears it like a badge of honour, though, the last traces of his youth visible in each scratch in the leather. Today he becomes an adult. Today he sets out on a path he's been working toward since college.

Shouldering his duffel bag, Martin nods to himself before setting out, walking up the long, winding driveway that leads to the front doors of the Academy. Trees line either side, their leaves already tinged in shades of orange and red. Fall had come early to Virginia, filling the air with the sickly-sweet scent of sumac and decay.

Only a few people move about the grounds, those that do clearly knowing their final destination, hurrying with a sense of purpose that leaves Martin overwhelmed. He feels like an outsider. He imagines that's how those that glance in his direction see him too; a well educated frat boy gaping in wonder because he finally made it. Some even go so far as to openly sneer, likely expecting failure, likely basing that assumption on the car that dropped him off.

He should have taken a bus.

~*~

His room is stark, reminding him of his time at boarding school, without the luxury of cotton sheets. The ones neatly turned down on the bed are obviously polyester, faded a dull grey with time and use. They hold the scent of bleach, though, obviously clean and, besides, Martin's slept on worse.

A clean line runs down the centre of the room, dividing it neatly in half, each side an exact mirror of the other. Two beds are pushed against either wall, two end tables complete with lamps and alarm clocks resting at their sides. Two pine chests sit at the foot of either bed with two desks filling the remaining space, those complete with horrid yellow chairs that Martin's certain pre-date even his father's time.

It's a functional room, one he doesn't expect to see the inside of very often. Training is hard, or so he's heard, demanding constant attention. When he isn't in a classroom learning tactics and procedure, he'll be out on the range learning to fire an arsenal of weapons, or running obstacle courses that are designed to break even the strongest man.

Martin can hardly wait to begin.

His father once told him that he was too soft to join the Bureau. That he was better suited to a life in politics; quick mind and soft stomach making him ideal for the back-door dealings that plagued Washington. He tried to ignore the comment, but found himself running the very next day, swimming a few days later and within six months he had an application in to the Academy.

He told himself that it had nothing to do with his father or a need to prove himself.

A clatter in the hall outside his door breaks Martin from his thoughts, his heart racing as he pictures his father on the other side, coming to drag Martin home, perhaps lock him in his room until he sees reason. His father still hasn't gotten around to recognizing the fact that Martin is no longer a child.

Drawing a breath, he stills his face to impassiveness, watching the door swing open, his father forgotten as Martin gets his first look at his new roommate.

Slightly taller than Martin, with skin the colour of bronze, eyes dark and determined, mouth turned up into the barest hint of a smile, the guy standing before him is quite possibly the most attractive man Martin's ever seen. He's wearing jeans, tight jeans that hug his hips and flow down over long legs.

Martin swallows hard and briefly reconsiders his desire to join the Bureau. Surely his father won't object to Martin changing his mind.

To date, Martin's indiscretions have been few and far between, the last having ended the summer after his junior year. Replaced by a promise of never again and a string of half relationships with women of his mother's choosing. This is the second time Martin's found himself wanting to break that promise.

"You know, that staring thing's going to get old fast," his new roommate says, already claiming one of the beds, tossing his bag onto the floor before jumping onto the mattress, the springs creaking noisily.

"I'm not staring," Martin replies rather defensively, but he glances down, releasing a shaking breath before finding the strength to look back up.

"Right. I'm Danny, by the way," and there's something almost arrogant about the way he says it.

Like he's daring Martin to question his presence, or maybe expecting Martin to reject him out of hand. He has the look of someone used to disappointment.

"Martin," Martin answers, realizing he's still standing in place, the strap from his duffel bag digging painfully into his shoulder.

Placing it carefully on the ground, he lets his eyes wander over what has, by default, become his side of the room. It's not necessarily the side he would have chosen --had he been given the choice-- but he's closer to the door, which will make slipping out in the mornings without disturbing Danny easier. Martin's come to enjoy his morning swim too much to give it up for fear of rooming with a light sleeper.

Danny's still watching him, eyes following Martin as Martin walks the space between his bed and desk in an effort to memorize the layout. He doesn't seem like the type to join the FBI, his clothes too casual, his body language too relaxed. Martin's not certain he wants to spend the next sixteen weeks living the man.

It's certainly going to make Martin's time here infinitely more difficult.

"So what's your story?" Danny asks, still watching with curious eyes and Martin sinks down onto his bed before answering.

"What do you mean? I don't have a story," Martin answers, wondering just what information Danny's digging for, having no intention on giving him anything.

"Great, this should be boring," Danny says, rolling his eyes and leaning back, white t-shirt riding up to expose the tanned expanse of his stomach.

Martin thinks seriously about finding an excuse to leave. Surely there's something for new recruits to do the day before orientation.

~*~

As it turns out, there is a pre-orientation event planned, although Martin's not entirely sure planned is the right word --he's fairly certain this isn't the Academy's doing. It's more like a gathering, a central meeting place the new students have gravitated towards. Martin's still not sure how; he stumbled across the dining hall purely by accident while trying to find the gymnasium where he was told he could pick up his uniform.

Still, it's a chance to meet some of the people he's going to spend the next few months working with, so Martin heads inside, silently assessing each face that comes into view. The girl by door, she won't last two weeks. The tall guy by the kitchen, he'll finish top of his class. The girl crossing to the other side of the room, she might just topple the tall guy.

There are dozens of students, watching one another, half the faces he sees carrying trepidation, the other half open suspicion. Competition, to a certain degree, is encouraged here.

There's a midway point, his father told him before they began their silent road trip. You're part of a team there, Martin, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't do everything in your power to succeed where your classmates fail.

Cold words, fitting for a man like Victor Fitzgerald and Martin once again finds himself vowing not to end up like his father.

"Can you believe this place?" a voice asks beside him, startling Martin from his thoughts and Martin's not surprised when he turns to find Danny standing at his side.

"It can be a little overwhelming, if you're not used to it," Martin answers, something his father might say and Martin cringes before he can stop himself.

Danny doesn't respond, instead looking at Martin with newfound interest, like Martin's a puzzle he's determined to figure out and Martin coughs to displace the suddenly awkward silence.

"Sorry… I didn't mean…" he tries, giving up the second the broken sentence leaves his mouth, because he did mean, and what's worse, he doesn't really want to apologize.

"It's cool," Danny says, shrugging, turning to take in the room.

Martin can almost read the thoughts going through Danny's head. He's measuring their fellow classmates as surely as Martin did, discounting those he knows aren't a threat, memorizing those that might me.

 

Martin thinks he might actually find himself liking Danny. It's certainly a better alternative than lusting over him.

But he's not going there, because he still has his promise. Still has his future ahead of him and that kind of thing could ruin him here. Ruin him for life so Martin puts it out of his head.

"You know, I wouldn't have pegged you for a guy to show up at the first social function of the year," Danny comments, still scanning the crowd, nodding to a few select individuals he deems worthy.

"Exactly what kind of guy did you peg me as?" Martin asks, realizing Danny's been weighing him from the moment he showed up and found Martin standing frozen in the centre of their room.

First impressions have never been his strong suit.

"You seem cautious. The kind of guy who gets a feel for a situation before jumping into it, that's all," Danny answers, finishing his perusal of the room and the students, turning back to face Martin, an innocent smile ghosting across his lips.

Part of Martin wants to tell Danny he's wrong. That he doesn't know anything about Martin and shouldn't make assumptions. That Martin's a very social person, thank you very much, and that he does this sort of thing all the time. Except, of course, it's a lie and for some reason that Martin has no intention of questioning, he doesn't want to lie to Danny.

"I was looking for the gym, actually," Martin answers somewhat sheepishly, wishing he could take back the tone the second the words leave his mouth.

"Me too," Danny says with a grin, nodding like he's decided something, but for the life of him, Martin can't figure out what.

He doesn't get the chance to either, Danny already heading for the door, glancing back over his shoulder and motioning for Martin to follow. And Martin does, without question, leaving behind what is probably going to be his only chance to figure out where he stands in relation to the rest of the class.

Strangely, following Danny into the hall, it no longer really seems all that important.

Chapter Text

He's not the first to arrive. Not by a long shot, the auditorium already filled to half capacity by the time he walks through the doors and Martin sinks into the first available seat he finds. It puts him midway up the tier, five seats in from the aisle. Not an ideal location, but he doubts his location matters.

His hair's still damp from his morning shower, the clothes he'll spend the next four months wearing stiff against his skin. He doesn't mind the uniform, though; he wore worse during his time at Blue Ridge. At least here he's afforded the comfort of khakis and, despite the awkwardness of the starched collar on his button down blue shirt, he doesn't have to wear a tie.

He hasn't seen Danny since he slipped out that morning to go running, his plans for a swim pushed aside upon realizing he had no idea where the pool was located. He could have spent hours searching the compound for it, but time is somewhat of a precious commodity here.

As it was, orientation began at seven, forcing him to rise at quarter past five just to fit in his run, shower, dress and make it in time. When he left this morning, Danny was still unconscious, sprawled across his bed, sheets impossibly tangled, all but falling off the bed and Martin had seen enough to know Danny slept only in boxers.

The sight had certainly encouraged his run.

Then again, it had also made him reconsider leaving the room.

They passed the night hunting down uniforms, unpacking and filling out forms, the occasional bit of polite conversation filling the otherwise silence. The only time they left their room was to head back to the dining hall, for the dinner this time, a meal that reminded Martin more of military rations than actual food.

They met a few of their classmates, actually engaging in conversation, however guarded. Danny managed to charm all of them. Martin, on the other hand, spent most of the meal watching, feeling strangely out of place despite being used to awkward silence. The situation was only made worse when Danny noticed, automatically shifting his attention to include Martin in the conversation.

Pity's the last thing Martin wants from Danny.

It's not until the thought surfaces that Martin realizes he's looking for Danny, scanning the crowd streaming in through the door for Danny's face and he forces himself to stop. He doesn't care where Danny is or if they end up sitting anywhere near each other. Just because they're roommates, doesn't automatically make them friends.

He spots him anyway, sitting in almost the exact seat Martin's chosen, but three tiers down. It takes all of Martin's willpower not to call out. He doesn't, but only because the crowd's gone silent, all eyes focused on the front of the room and the grim looking man about to address them.

It's enough to distract Martin from thoughts of Danny. It's even enough to make him forget about the sight of Danny spread across his bed, knee bent to reveal his inner thigh and Martin barely managed to suppress a whimper before tying his shoes and bolting out the door.

The man at the front of the room --his name missed during Martin's brief flash back and Martin's fairly certain it's a bad sign that his concentration's already drifting-- is already halfway through his speech, telling the room how lucky they are to be here, that they're joining the elite of the elite and with that comes grave responsibility.

Martin's heard the same speech from his father on numerous occasions.

Most of what the man's saying Martin's heard before. In greater detail than he knows he'll ever get today. He even has an idea of how this is supposed to work. They'll likely be here for hours, sitting through endless minutes of praise for Bureau. Endless more minutes of praise for the Academy. Then praise for the country and finally praise for the men and women already doing the job those in the room are hoping to take on.

It's not that it's not due --not in the least-- but it was practically a bedtime story in Martin's house. He can remember, once, his father lecturing him for two hours on the virtues of the FBI and why Martin would never measure up to that standard. Martin chalked the entire thing up to the half finished whiskey in his father's hand, his third of the night.

Not that Victor Fitzgerald drank often, oh no, that would have created scandal and scandal wasn't a distinct no-no in the Fitzgerald house. But sometimes, when work kept him away for weeks at a time, he'd come home at the end of it and drink until the honesty just poured out of him.

Oddly, it was the only time Martin ever really understood his father.

There are new people at the front of the room, instructors, Martin figures, each watching with impassive eyes while a woman in the corner reads off names. It sounds like a roll call, but Martin knows better --he was expecting this too.

With well over five hundred new agents in the room, the logistics of teaching them as a group is all but impossible. They'll be broken into smaller groups, each remaining together from start to finish and his father still speaks fondly of the members of his class.

Martin stands at the sound of his own name, acknowledging his presence and allowing his future instructor to take note of him. Later, he'll have a chance to meet the other members of his class, but for now Martin merely watches as people stand and sit, putting faces to names because he knows he'll have to memorize them sooner or later.

It comes as somewhat of a surprise when Danny stands and it strikes Martin that this is the first time he's heard Danny's last name. Danny certainly doesn't look like a Taylor and Martin finds himself wondering about that.

He can't decide whether he's happy about sharing a class with Danny, but when Danny turns around and makes eye contact, grinning over his shoulder, Martin finds himself smiling back. Besides, it can't be that bad. At least this way he can find something about Danny he doesn't like and maybe that will keep him from tenting his sheets on a nightly basis.

~*~

There's a sense of anticipation in the air. Eager excitement as people file outside, breaking off to form into the groups they were assigned to. Brief introductions and the occasional handshake fill Martin's vision. He shakes a few hands himself before the instructor finally finds them, the hour well past ten.

"Special Agent Darren Jackson. We're going to start with a tour. Keep up or get left behind," he tells the group, turning in a seemingly random direction before jogging off.

The group hesitates for a half a heartbeat before taking off, almost sprinting to catch up before slowing down to a steady jog. Martin instantly regrets his earlier run.

Quantico is huge. Bigger than he expected, despite his father's stories. They start by circling the auditorium, getting a feel for the layout of the grounds. Gunfire echoes in the distance, a constant noise that Martin stopped flinching at yesterday. The other groups are doing pretty much the same thing, running in different directions and the sight is enough to make Martin want to laugh.

He doesn't, not wanting to spare the energy for such a thing. Instead he concentrates on placing each foot, levelling his breathing the way he trained himself to do and concentrating on keeping his pulse even.

Agent Jackson keeps a constant pace, shouting out landmarks and points of interest as though the group behind him were tourists rather than potential agents. Martin pays close attention, hoping that maybe he'll discover the location of his much sought after pool.

The group slows to a walk as they enter one of the buildings, streaming in through the doors in single file, but as soon as they're all inside, Jackson has them running again. The entire compound is practically a maze, connected by glass hallways that run between buildings. Martin's hopelessly turned around by the time they pass through the quad.

"I hear they started last year's class out on the Marine course," Danny says, appearing at Martin's side and Martin grimaces. He's heard the horror stories.

"I guess we should be thankful, then," he answers, his legs already burning and Martin once again curses himself for not expecting this. If he had, he never would have left his room, half naked Danny or no half naked Danny.

"You left early this morning," Danny comments and Martin blanches before realizing that, no, Danny can't read his mind.

Scary thought, that, one Martin doesn't ever want to think about again. Danny would likely kill him if he knew.

"I went running," Martin replies, breath coming in laboured gasps now and Danny chuckles, shaking his head like Martin's the dumbest person he knows.

Martin's not entirely sure Danny's wrong.

~*~

Five miles, by Martin's calculation and he's been running long enough to know. Adding that to the two he ran before breakfast and Martin's pretty sure he's never going to walk again. His legs feel like jello, wobbling and shaking and it takes pretty much all his concentration to get through the doors of the dining hall before he collapses into a chair.

Danny doesn't look much better, face red and damp, shirt clinging to pretty much everywhere and Martin swallows before tearing his gaze away. Danny sinks into the chair next to his with a sigh, stretching his legs out under the table, eyes falling shut as he tilts his head back.

Under the table, Martin's fingers twitch.

"You'd think they'd at least have let us shower," Danny groans, reaching up to wipe sweat off his brow before shifting forward, placing his elbows on the table so that he can lean on his hands.

"I don't think that's part of the program," Martin replies with a laugh, glancing over at the line already curling halfway around the room. He's not entirely sure he's hungry enough to suffer standing in it.

"Come on, I'm starved," Danny says, patting his stomach and Martin reconsiders that whole mind reading thing.

Stranger things have happened, after all, and Martin's luck has never been good.

It takes effort to stand, every muscle in Martin's body screaming protest as he follows Danny across the hall. It's only slightly comforting to know that pretty much everyone else is in the same condition.

Standing still is easier, even when he's forced to shuffle forward a few feet as the line moves. His breathing is slowly returning to normal, giving Martin hope that he might just live through their first lecture. He's not sure who scheduled a lecture right after lunch, especially a three hour lecture, but so long as it involves sitting, Martin's pretty sure he's going to enjoy it.

He turns to mention the thought to Danny and finds himself staring at Danny's back instead. He's chatting with someone ahead of them in the line, a guy Martin doesn't recognize and an irrational surge of… jealousy, possessiveness, something he can't quite name flickers in the back of his head. He pushes it down just as fast, telling himself that he doesn't have rights to Danny and, besides, they're both supposed to be meeting people.

Making contacts and networking for down the line, because you never really know where anyone's going to end up and for all Martin knows the guy Danny's talking to could end up the new Deputy Director.

It's a sobering thought, enough that Martin turns, striking up a conversation with the two girls directly behind them.

They're nice enough, more than willing to agree with Martin's assessment that the Academy might kill them before they graduate. He even gets a few laughs, a couple of alarmingly friendly smiles and when Martin glances back in Danny's direction, Danny's watching him.

He doesn't look pleased.

In fact, he looks downright pissed off and Martin struggles to figure out exactly what he's done wrong. The girls are still talking, flirting, unless Martin's missed his guess, but Martin's not paying attention. He's too busy staring at Danny, watching Danny watch him and it's not until someone tugs his arm that he realizes the line has moved.

He swallows somewhat nervously, offering a hasty apology over his shoulder --the girls, who no longer seem interested, instead looking at Martin like he's clearly insane-- before moving forward, Danny shaking his head before following Martin until they once again reach the back of the line.

"Better luck next time," Danny comments, offering Martin a friendly pat on the back, looking more smug than sympathetic and Martin doesn't bother asking him what he means.

Chapter Text

Martin has newfound respect for his father.

The sentiment comes with the end of the week, showing up during the first few hours of downtime he's had since orientation. The days, until now, have easily lasted twelve hours a piece, beginning at sunrise and ending well after sunset.

Martin's never been so thoroughly exhausted in his life. He's even starting to think that maybe his father was right; maybe Martin's not cut out for this and that stings worse than the constant pain that plagues his body.

It's not just physically exhausting. The lectures here are twice as hard as any of the classes he took at Dartmouth. A constant inflow of information that he's been forced to absorb, memorize and regurgitate come the next lesson. Twice now they've been given pop quizzes.

When he's not sitting in a classroom, listening to the endless droning on topics ranging from law to crime statistics, he's pushing his body to near collapse: running, swimming, hiking; pretty much ever conceivable form of physical endurance training that exists, and that's in between the time they spend on the range. Martin's shoulder is still bruised from the kickback of his first experience with a sniper rifle.

He's so sore and drained he can't even relax, despite the fact that, for once, they have the hours after dinner to themselves. Martin's half tempted to crawl into his bed and not come out until morning. Maybe not even then.

He doesn't know where Danny is. Likely studying somewhere --something that shocked Martin because Danny doesn't exactly strike him as the type to have his nose in a book. He seems determined, though, like he's going to do this better than anyone ever has. Martin half suspects Danny's trying to prove a point. To whom, Martin doesn't know.

In truth, he doesn't know much about Danny. He asked about Danny's last name the first night, but Danny merely shrugged, saying something about Martin not looking like a Fitzgerald either before changing the topic.

There are other strange things that Martin can't figure out. Like the fact that Danny still hasn't entirely unpacked. He seems ready to take off at a moment's notice, like he's not used to staying in one place for long. Sometimes Martin speculates that Danny's an army brat, but even that doesn't seem right.

Right on cue, because Danny's eerily good at things like that, the door opens and in Danny comes, arms laden with books --procedure texts of all things and Martin cringes as he watches Danny dump them on his desk.

"You know, they give us free time for a reason," Martin says, continuing to watch Danny as Danny crosses the room and falls onto his bed.

"Yeah, so we can keep up. Not everyone had the benefit of growing up with an agent for a father," Danny answers, tone slightly bitter and Martin cringes a second time.

It's not that he lied to Danny, just that he didn't elaborate. Hell, he didn't want to talk about his father period, but Martin's mother called and that led to Danny asking and Martin had to tell him something.

So he told Danny that his father worked for the Bureau --completely true and it's not his fault Danny assumed that meant his father was just an agent. And okay, he shouldn't have let Danny believe it, but Danny's reaction was bad enough and Martin wasn't about to make it worse by telling Danny that his father was, in fact, the Deputy Director.

Martin's still not sure how Danny would take that news. Very likely he'd request a room transfer.

"Let it go," Martin finally says, tone pleading and Danny seems to sense his mood.

He holds his hands up in mock surrender, nodding like the matter is easily dropped. Martin's not entirely sure that's possible, but he accepts it anyway, letting himself fall back onto the bed, stretching against the urge to fall instantly to sleep.

"We should do something," Danny suggests, instantly at ease, like he wasn't just giving Martin a hard time over his father's position.

"Something like sleep?" Martin asks, fighting a yawn and failing miserably.

"Wow, you really are no fun," Danny responds, but he doesn't make a move to get off the bed.

Martin hears him shift, his breathing already beginning to slow down, becoming deep and even. Martin half smiles before closing his own eyes, unconcerned that he hasn't bothered changing, let alone climbed beneath the covers.

~*~

When he squints, he can just make out the fog in his breath.

It's not cold, per se, but colder than it should be; he can't even remember the last time it was this cold this early. It's better than warm, he supposes, trying to imagine what it would be like to run around in sticky summer heat.

He feels rested, though. He even slept well, despite lying half off the bed, his clothes still fully intact. He woke to find Danny in pretty much the same position, arm thrown over his eyes, legs dangling off the bed, stomach exposed. He looked… cute. Peaceful. Calm. Things that, until that moment, Martin hadn't associated with Danny.

Martin distracts himself from the thought by nodding to a couple of the guys from his class. He's made a few friends, not nearly as many as Danny, but enough to suit Martin's needs. He doesn't see them often, except for the twelve hours they spend together every day. He sees Danny more, spending pretty much every waking hour with the other man and Martin's surprised they haven't begun to grate on each other's nerves yet.

It hasn't happen, though, surprisingly, and despite Martin's best efforts to find a flaw in Danny, he hasn't. In fact, even Danny's odd neuroses, like his need to spend countless minutes perfecting his hair and have it still look like he just rolled out of bed, Martin finds endearing.

And okay, not endearing, because he's doing very well with the whole not thinking about Danny in those kinds of terms. Danny's just one of the guys. His buddy. Someone he lives with and works with and whispers with when the lights are out. That's it, nothing more and, besides, Martin quit men years ago.

It's easy to remember that when Danny's not around, so Martin's almost giddy when he glances up and notices John heading his way.

"Just once I'd like to be able to sleep in," John comments upon reaching Martin's side, already jogging on the spot and Martin laughs at the comment.

He nods because it's true and he's starting to think he'll never spend another morning in bed.

He likes John. John reminds him of an older brother, someone wiser who's seen more of the world. It helps that John's taken on the role of second --directly beneath Special Agent Jackson-- and as a result he's become overly protective of the team.

Martin suspects that has something to do with John being a father. He has an eight year old home and yet here he is, training for a career that's not exactly conducive to family life.

Martin's thought about asking the whys, but despite John's nurturing nature, he's a guarded man, keeping mostly to himself except where matters of training are concerned. Then he's right in the thick of it, careful eye watching everything and Martin's more afraid of disappointing John than he is Agent Jackson. Maybe even more afraid of disappointing John than he is his father.

"Sleeping in would be nice. And real food," Martin replies, earning a fully belly laugh and a clap on the shoulder.

"I'll eat my wife's cooking without comment when this is over," John responds, still laughing as he walks away, checking in with each member in the class like he does every morning.

Even Danny's taken to John like he's the next best thing to a father.

Danny appears almost as though summoned, ignoring the waves of pretty much everyone in the class as he picks his way to Martin's side. He stops then, stretching his neck to either side like he does every morning before a run.

"Next time, wake me up and put me in bed," he says, cringing slightly and the sudden image of tucking Danny into bed flashes before Martin's eyes.

It's enough to start him blushing, heat and redness creeping up his neck and Martin curses his body for its reaction.

"Yeah, well, I didn't fare any better myself," Martin answers, voice hoarse and he's forced to clear his throat twice before getting the words out.

"What, no pyjamas last night? Why Fitzie, that's damn near indecent," Danny mocks, laughing at his own joke, but before Martin can comment, the class is moving, stringing out to begin their ten laps around the track.

Running is almost enough to distract him from the lingering sound of Danny's laughter.

~*~

He wants to stay here forever. Just him and the heat of the water, steam clouding his vision, pressure soothing his aching muscles.

It's almost sad that a morning shower has become a rare treat. Most days he showers at night because it's the only time he can fit it in. Today, though, they have exactly half an hour before the start of their lecture and that's more than enough time to wash away the morning's run.

The sound of bare feet on wet concrete draws Martin from the moment, reminding him that he's not alone. It's not that he's shy --he did, after all, attend an all boys' boarding school-- but Martin instantly finds himself self conscious, not wanting to be the object of anyone's scrutiny.

He uses rinsing as an excuse to turn and face the wall, letting the spray from the shower's head beat against his face. Even that feels good, instantly relaxing him, so much so that even the distant sound of Danny's voice can't penetrate the safe haven of Martin's shower.

He very purposely hasn't glanced in Danny's direction. He knows Danny's there, three showers down on his left, but Martin's gotten pretty good at looking anywhere but at Danny. This isn't the first time they've showered in the same room together, and it certainly isn't going to be the last, so Martin's trying very hard to get into the habit of ignoring Danny's presence. Truth be told, he's rather proud of how well he's done so far.

He's not even certain Danny would care, because Danny seems to live for attention, whatever the form. But there's a big difference between glancing at someone and ogling them. Martin has no doubt he'd end up doing the latter.

Not looking is a far better solution.

Still, he's curious; twice now he's gotten lost in imagining it and so far no one's questioned the occasional erection he ends up with while showering. He'd be embarrassed if he knew he was the only one, but he's not and just because he can't look at Danny, doesn't mean he doesn't let his gaze wander elsewhere.

It's something he rather enjoys doing, because none of his other classmates do anything for him. They're just bodies and looking at them, not feeling anything, Martin can pretend Danny's just an anomaly. Pretend that he really is over his phase with men and that almost makes him feel better.

Almost.

But not quite, because as soon as he thinks it, Danny's voice will drift into his focus --laughing at something John's said and Danny's the only person Martin knows who can make a laugh sound sensual.

Martin abruptly shuts off the shower and reaches for his towel. There's likely still shampoo in his hair, but he doesn't care, the need to leave outweighing his need to rinse and by the time Martin makes it back to his locker, his cock is once again comfortably soft.

"That was quick."

And damn it, Danny's not supposed to follow him. He's supposed to finish showering and engage in naked camaraderie, give Martin time to dress before showing up wearing only a towel and Martin buries his face in his locker before answering.

"I don't want to be late," he says rather lamely, feeling himself flush and given that he's also wearing only a towel, he's fairly certain Danny notices.

"I see," Danny replies and he sounds amused. Martin can't help but wonder at the meaning behind his statement.

Voices save Martin from having to stammer through another excuse, the rest of the class slowly drifting to their lockers, dressing with urgency and that seems to remind Danny of how late the hour's getting.

He moves to his own locker, thankfully the next row over and Martin releases a breath before reaching for his shirt.

Chapter Text

He's trying to pay attention. Trying and failing because law's never been his favourite subject. It's too much like history; boring facts and references to names he knows he'll never be able to remember.

It's probably why he avoided taking a law class in college, substituting a political science course for the elective and Martin never thought he'd miss his old curriculum. It's almost funny, when he thinks about it, because he's fairly certain most of the people in his class would find his old courses just as dull as Martin's finding this. Not many people enjoy accounting, or business, or even the odd economics course he took. Martin did, though, because it was logical; based on theory and principle and there are entirely too many shades of grey in law for Martin to take to it.

He knows it's necessary, though; eventually he's going to be called upon to present evidence in a court of law and if he's not familiar with the procedure he'll end up with a black mark in his file. There's a difference, though, between presenting fact and learning what case set precedence for what law.

The latter is infinitely more boring, for example.

Martin does his best to stifle a yawn, not quite succeeding, but fortunately the course instructor doesn't notice. He's too busy noticing Danny, nodding at Danny's answer and, so far, Danny's done most of the talking. Obviously Danny's a lot better at the whole law thing than Martin is. In fact, if Martin didn't know better --which doesn't exactly mean much because Martin doesn't know period-- he'd swear Danny was a lawyer.

Martin makes a mental note to ask the next time Danny's feeling generous.

Not that that will ever happen, because Danny's just about the most closed off person Martin's ever met. It's not that he's not willing to talk, but rather, that he's not willing to talk about himself. Any time the subject comes up, Danny changes the topic, steering Martin away from it until Martin forgets he's even asked.

He still doesn't know how Danny does it.

He's so caught up in trying to figure it out that he doesn't realize he's staring, watching Danny from across the room like there aren't a dozen students sitting in between them. Granted, everyone else is watching Danny too, listening to Danny with rapt attention and, yeah, Danny's definitely done this before.

It's almost like finding a piece of a puzzle that fits and Martin's so elated by the revelation that he almost misses the night's assignment. A case study, of course, because running them all day and halfway through the night isn't good enough; no, they get homework on top of that and Martin's already standing before the instructor officially dismisses the class.

It earns him a frown, but a second later everyone else is standing too, already filing out of the room so Martin ignores it. Danny catches up with him by the doors, looking completely pleased with himself --pleased with the course too and Martin's starting to think Danny might be a little crazy.

"Martin," he says upon reaching Martin's shoulder, like Martin wasn't standing there waiting and Danny thought Martin might actually leave without him.

"Yeah?" he asks, following Danny into the hall, their steps almost mirrored as they fall in behind the rest of the class.

"We should hook up," Danny says, not slowing his steps and Martin blinks before realizing he's stopped walking.

A moment later Danny realizes it too, turning around to offer Martin a questioning glance and Martin says the first thing that comes to mind.

"What?"

He knows how he must sound; incredulous because there is no way in hell Danny just suggested what Martin thinks he suggested.

"The case, Martin. We're supposed to work in teams of two," Danny explains, tilting his head to examine Martin, the beginnings of a smirk tugging at the corner of his mouth. "What did you think I meant?" he asks.

And there's a loaded question if Martin's ever heard one. A question he doesn't have an answer for because Martin's pretty sure the truth will only make things worse.

"I… nothing. I mean, yeah, okay," Martin finally answers, stuttering and Danny offers him a grin before nodding in the direction of the class, urging Martin to hurry.

Martin waits for Danny to turn around before releasing a shaking breath.

~*~

The scent of gunpowder pretty much overwhelms everything else in the room.

It's different on the outdoor ranges, because the wind carries most of it away. Indoors, though, the scent lingers, clinging to everything until Martin's eyes actual start to water.

It certainly makes seeing the target more difficult.

He imagines that's the point; training them to be able to work under any given situation and Martin blinks before stepping into his booth. It's almost nice to be able to do this directly following a lecture. It takes a different kind of concentration and Martin rather enjoys getting lost in the focus after spending the better part of three hours listening to the monotone voice of his law instructor.

Inside the classroom, they're arranged alphabetically, their seats never changing so he ends up sitting clear on the other side of the room from Danny. Here it's pretty much first come first serve, so Danny's right next to him, so close that Martin can glance to his right and see Danny's target. Danny rarely misses his mark.

Martin's just as good, he knows, his father having taken him to several ranges over the course of his youth. Martin's still not entirely sure why, except that he thinks maybe his father knew Martin would follow in his footsteps. Maybe he anticipated failing to convince Martin to take another path and hence wanted to give Martin whatever advantage he could.

Not that Martin appreciated the training, because his father was just as strict inside a range as he was everywhere else, always telling Martin he wasn't quite good enough, that his shots were off centre by x number of inches: not good enough for the Bureau and maybe that was the point of those excursions.

But Martin learnt, absorbing each visit until, more times than not, he hit centre mass, a shot that would earn him a high rank on the range.

His goggles are already beginning to steam, something they do every time he shoots indoors --another distraction meant to hone his concentration skills. Ignoring the condensation forming on the inside of the lenses is easy enough; a small trick of concentrating beyond his line of sight, target filling his vision and Martin braces himself against the shot.

Beside him, Danny does the same, twin shots hitting twin marks and Martin's struck with an inexplicable sense of pride. It's not for himself, but rather Danny and the thought is somewhat alarming.

In truth, he's been finding himself increasingly uneasy with his growing obsession --although, technically, it's not so much an obsession as it is awareness. Like he's taken to watching Danny, measuring Danny and finding himself happy when Danny does something well. If he didn't know any better, he'd swear it was the beginnings of a crush.

But it's not a crush, because Martin doesn't do crushes. At least, not with men; certainly not men he spends the majority of his time with and, for the first time in Martin's life, he wishes he could force himself to feel attraction for one of the many women in his class.

Some are pretty, true, but for the most part they're just classmates, potential rivals and potential friends and Martin can't seem to think of them in any other light. He's tried, numerous times, but every time he pictures it he finds himself feeling awkward, the thought unnatural and Martin's starting to think he needs to have his head examined.

He tells himself it's not because he's gay --because that's not an option and never has been. Tells himself it's just that he wants to focus on getting through the training and the last thing he needs is a distraction. Besides, he's young; has his entire life ahead of him so it's not like he needs to meet someone right now. That can wait until after he's earned the right to call himself a special agent. After he's established his career.

The sudden forward motion of Martin's target reminds him that he's pushed the button on his left and Martin lowers his gun, waiting for the target to come to a shuddering halt. Several of his shots are outside the centre circle, telling him the last few he got off weren't steady. Distraction, he knows and Martin mentally chastises himself for letting his mind drift.

It's a problem that's been occurring with increasing frequency in the last few days.

~*~

Martin's still winded from their nightly run by the time he gets back to the dorm. Danny's a step behind him, already talking about the case, theorizing and coming up with potential solutions and Martin's instantly glad Danny suggested they work together.

He sits on the bed and pulls off his shoes, feet throbbing from that last mile and were it up to Martin, he would have called it quits at the third mile. Danny seems no worse for wear, energy rolling off of him and Martin's not sure how he does it. Adrenalin, Martin imagines, but it doesn't stop him from wishing Danny would show exhaustion like most normal people do.

"…the Supreme Court touched on a case similar to this…"

The rest of what Danny's saying washes over Martin in a blur of sound. Once again he finds himself wondering exactly how it is Danny knows so much about law. Before he can stop himself, he's asking.

"You went to law school, didn't you?" he asks, Danny's speech trailing off and he frowns at Martin.

Scowls, actually, but whether he's pissed at Martin for interrupting him or just upset Martin's figured out something about his past, Martin can't tell.

"Yeah," he finally answers, seeming strangely defensive and Martin offers a soft smile to try and break the tension.

It seems to work, Danny instantly relaxing and he laughs before sinking onto his bed, tucking his feet under his legs to sit cross-legged, facing Martin.

"NYU. I never got around to writing the bar, though," Danny explains, the first thing he's ever shared concerning his past and Martin grins.

"Accounting, at Dartmouth," Martin tells him, earning a chuckle and a shake of Danny's head.

"Accounting? Actually, I can picture you as an accountant," Danny answers, still laughing and Martin can't decide whether he's offended.

He sides on not, because Danny's laughter holds warmth and, besides, this is the first time they've actually talked this openly, so the last thing Martin wants to do is ruin it by getting defensive.

"I'm good with numbers," Martin says by way of explanation, blushing slightly.

Danny's laughter trails off to a smile, one that touches his eyes and Martin's breath catches in his throat.

And this is bad, really bad because now Martin's gazing, enjoying this side of Danny entirely too much and Martin forces himself to glance away before Danny notices.

"So, why the FBI?" he asks, changing the topic because it's pretty much the only thing he can think to do.

Danny shrugs, obviously not willing to share that particular piece of information. Martin's disappointed, but tells himself that he can't expect miracles over night. Besides, he wasn't expecting this much, so if Danny wants to keep his reasons to himself, Martin's not going to argue.

"I guess we should get to work on that case," Martin eventually says, changing the topic yet again and the relief in Danny's eyes is almost enough to make Martin want to push.

He doesn't, instead pulling out his text, setting it on top of his knees and turning to their assignment. Across the room, Danny does the same, already focused on the task at hand and Martin can't decide how he feels about that.

Chapter Text

Martin hits the wall with grunt, brick tearing into his shirt, scraping his shoulder. The pain is distant, though, a minor annoyance like the pulsing beat of his heart or the raggedness of his breath.

Motioning to Karen on his right, Martin slips around a corner, putting the building between him and the bank across the street. It brings him alongside Danny's team and Martin nods before shifting forward, sinking down to crawl across the street until he's behind the relative safety of a car.

Nothing moves.

Karen shifts beside him, making room for Mike as Mike finishes his crossing. It leaves only Derek, a man entirely too timid for this line of work and Martin silent curses upon finding the man still frozen against the mouth of the alley.

Short, puncturing gestures set him moving, dashing out from cover and sprinting the distance to Martin and the car. Shots echo in the air.

Martin's only mildly relieved when Derek makes it untouched. The man is slowing his team down and Martin wants to finish this on top.

Most of the time, he tries to curb his competitive nature, but years of his father's conditioning make the task difficult and, more often than not, Martin finds himself seeking advantage. Derek is clearly a disadvantage. Martin glares at him as Derek shifts against the car, rocking it slightly and giving away their position.

This is the first time they've been allowed to work through a simulation in Hogan's Alley. The first of many, Martin hopes, knowing in all likelihood they'll be back every few days. Today it's a bank robbery, complete with hostage taking.

This is the one thing his father never mentioned --Hogan's Alley not existing during his father's time-- but Martin's heard enough stories to know what to expect. The entire place, a virtual town inhabited entirely by agents and actors, is used to run every possible real life scenario the Academy can come up with. A hostage taking today could easily turn into a surveillance mission tomorrow, a shoot out with armed gang members the day after.

Despite knowing it's fake, it feels real, Martin's body wired and twitching, pulse racing and adrenalin rushing through his bloodstream. This is why he decided to join the Bureau.

"I want us in the alley beside the post office," Martin says to his team and it's a mark of how well he's done so far that he's been entrusted to head up the team of four.

Danny's running his own team, as is John and several other classmates Martin doesn't really know all that well.

"We're going to do this nice and easy. Karen, I want you to provide cover. Derek, stay close," Martin orders, shifting in his crouch to move around to the rear of the car.

The post office is only twenty or so paces away, but without cover, it seems like miles. They aren't using live rounds, of course, but vests with sensors will tell anyone if they've taken a wound. It's an automatic disqualification for any agent shot in the simulation. A mark on Martin's record if he gets any of his team members killed. He has no intention of doing either.

Rocking on the balls of his heels, Martin makes eye contact with Derek, silently telling him to get ready. Derek nods, newfound determination flashing in his eyes and Martin hopes it's enough.

Slowly counting down from three, Martin's moving before the last digit finishes passing his lips. The run is quick, but awkward given that he's trying to stay as low to the ground as possible. Once again he finds himself hitting a wall, a resounding thud masking the slight groan that passes his lips.

Derek's at his side a moment later, panting, sweat beading on his forehead. The sensor on his vest remains dormant and Martin grins before shifting to lean against the corner, moving away from Derek, making room for Mike to slide easily into the space between them.

It leaves only Karen and, by this point, the would-be robbers have noticed Martin's movement. It's hard to make anything out in the mock bank, the shades are drawn and only the slight flickering of shadows tells Martin there's new activity.

Still, he motions for Karen to join them, peering around the corner once to reassess the situation. He's still trying to squint his way through the blinds when Karen's vest rings out in alarm, the string of lights around her heart flashing angry red and Martin curses softly to himself.

He should have told her to remain where she was.

She's disqualified from this simulation now, meaning she'll have to work twice as hard as everyone else just to make it through the semester. Martin has a mark against him now, but worse than that, he won't be entrusted to lead another team anytime in the near future.

There's nothing he can do about it now, though, except to wait out the end of the simulation. Karen's already taken her place on the ground, sprawling out on the street like they were instructed to do. Real life situations often involve real life bodies, after all.

~*~

"Sir, I ordered her to move," Martin tries again, the fourth time in as many minutes but Agent Jackson's still ignoring him.

He's too busy reprimanding Karen, asking her why she didn't move with the rest of the team. Karen takes the entire thing without saying a word, never once mentioning that Martin had ordered her to provide cover --something Martin himself has tried to explain several times now.

Part of the problem is that no one, save Martin and Karen, saw Martin give the order for her to leave the safety of the car. No one, but Martin's starting to suspect it's more than that.

He doesn't want to think that this has something to do with his father, but to think otherwise would be naïve. He knows, just as he's certain Agent Jackson knows, that his father's more than capable of stepping in to solve any potential problems with Martin's training.

Victor Fitzgerald, after all, expects his son to graduate with top honours. That's not going to happen if Agent Jackson lets Martin take the fall for Karen's 'death'.

"Dismissed," Agent Jackson barks, waving off Martin's fifth attempt at protest before turning away, leaving Martin to glare at his retreating backside.

"Bastard," Karen mumbles as soon as Agent Jackson's out of hearing range, but her tone sounds shaken, her eyes already beginning to water and Martin's guilt increases tenfold.

"Look, I'm sorry. I don't know why he wouldn't…"

"Don't worry about it," she interrupts, shaking her head slightly before walking away, following in Agent Jackson's footsteps to join the rest of the class.

There's nothing left for Martin to do but watch her go.

~*~

He's spent the better part of the day replaying the events at Hogan's Alley over and over again in his mind. He can see it so clearly now; everything he should have done and everything he shouldn't have done and Martin hates that things played out the way they did.

He knew something was wrong when Karen didn't show up for the evening meal. It was confirmed an hour later, the rest of the class stretching before their evening run and Martin had twisted, trying to shake some the residual tension out of his shoulder and there she was. Wearing street clothes, duffel bag thrown over her shoulder, heading toward the gates and Martin knew she was leaving because of him.

Because of the injustice of the entire situation and Martin knows where the blame lies for that. Not his father, because his father's merely a figure, a puppet master pulling strings off stage. No, the blame lies with Martin, because it was Martin's job to keep his team safe. Martin's job to not get Karen shot and because he had, she was leaving. Dropping out because she'd ended up responsible for Martin's actions.

"You just going to sit there brooding all night?" Danny asks from across the room, drawing Martin from the memory and Martin wants to tell him to mind his own business.

It seems fitting, given how often Danny's silently implied the same to him.

"I'm not brooding," Martin answers, shaking his head and trying to focus on the paper on front of him.

It's not working, the words still blurring every time he tries to read it.

"So you screwed up. So someone else bailed because of it. It happens, Martin," Danny replies, tone almost sympathetic but that's not what draws Martin's attention.

Danny knows.

Danny saw and Danny didn't say anything and if he'd come forward all of this could have been avoided.

"You saw?" Martin asks anyway, needing confirmation.

"Saw you order her out from behind the car? Yeah," Danny answers, watching Martin now, waiting for a reaction that Martin's too lost to give.

"Why… why didn't you say something?" he asks after a moment, frowning slightly because pretty much the entire class heard him pleading his case and no one stepped forward to confirm his side of the story.

"It wasn't my place. Besides, she screwed up too. She wasn't low enough and she hesitated. That's what got her shot," Danny explains, shrugging, like the explanation should have been obvious and he's not sure why Martin didn't see it.

It's all Martin can do not to get up, cross the room and strangle Danny on the spot.

"It was my fault. I shouldn't have told her to cover us. And I shouldn't have ordered her out," Martin says instead, resignation drooping his shoulders as newfound guilt surges in his chest.

Danny looks at him like he's crazy. Like Martin's not making any sense and Martin almost wants to laugh at the expression on Danny's face.

"If that's true, why weren't you reprimanded?" Danny asks, the question meant to be a point and Martin's earlier lie flashes through his memory.

And this isn't how Martin wanted to tell Danny about his dad. Not now, after all this time. Maybe not ever and Martin hangs his head before answering.

"Because of my dad," he says, tone defeated and when he glances up, Danny merely looks puzzled.

"Your dad? What, just because he's an agent doesn't mean you're going to get preferential treatment," Danny replies with a laugh, shaking his head like he thinks the entire notion is ridiculous.

Martin knows better, though. It's not ridiculous, in fact, that's how things have always worked in the Bureau; take care of your own practically a motto.

"My dad's not just an agent, Danny," Martin begins and he has Danny's attention now. "He's the Deputy Director," he finishes, releasing a breath because it's out there and now there's nothing left to do but wait for Danny's reaction.

And wait, apparently, because Danny's still staring at him. A thousand emotions flicker across his face; surprise, shock, disbelief, suspicion and about a dozen more Martin can't name. Still, he doesn't say anything.

"Danny… I…" Martin trails off because, what can he say?

What possible words can he find to make this better? To make this right? They don't exist, simply put, and Martin braces himself for the scorn and accusation he knows are coming.

"Huh. That explains a lot, actually," Danny finally answers, still staring like he's not quite sure Martin's real.

"That's it? It explains a lot?" Martin all but shouts, because this isn't how Danny's supposed to react.

Danny's supposed to hate him and blame him and judge him and do everything else that every other person Martin's known has done before. He's certainly not supposed to sit there staring, looking at Martin like Martin's something new and puzzling and the entire thing is so frustrating Martin could scream.

"Who your father is doesn't make who you are," Danny says after a moment, his eyes clouding and, for a moment, Martin's certain Danny's not talking about Martin's current situation.

It's gone as soon as it came, replaced by a smile that seems more forced than anything. It's there, though, accepting and Martin lets himself get lost in it, not caring that Danny might notice. In fact, he wants Danny to notice. Wants things that probably would have terrified him yesterday, but things are different now.

Danny knows and he doesn't seem to care.

Chapter Text

The room's filled with the haze of blue smoke, flickering light and the pulsing sound of music.

Martin's own personal version of hell.

It's not that he's having a bad time, per se --the beat is kind of catchy and it's nice to be able to celebrate the quarter mark in the company of others-- it's just that this really isn't his scene and Martin's not entirely sure what to do with himself.

He's been to parties before. Several, in fact, but most of those were passed in awkward silence, Martin feeling completely out of place and he never ended up staying long. This is the first party he's been to in years.

It's louder than he remembers; the shouts and cheering of his classmates overwhelmed only by the music. Several people are dancing, others hiding in corners, carefully concealed flasks coming out to wet drinks.

Martin almost envies their boldness.

It's not for him, though; he's stone cold sober, avoiding anyone looking more than a little tipsy. Alcohol is strictly forbidden, after all, and besides, they still have their morning run and Martin won't envy anyone forced to make it hung over.

The thought almost makes him laugh, a smile tugging at the corners of his mouth and maybe this isn't so bad. In fact, it's probably the only chance he's going to have to get to know his classmates in this kind of setting and, really, what a person does in their spare time tends to say a lot about them.

It's not until he's halfway through his second sweep of the room that Martin realizes he's looking for Danny.

It's only been a week since he told Danny about his father and, with the exception of a few carefully placed barbs, Danny hasn't once held it against him. In fact, if anything, they've only grown closer. Well, as close as two people can get without really sharing anything about their pasts.

Martin's tried, several times in fact, to get Danny to open up, but Danny's apparently an expert at diversion and every time Martin comes close to unearthing something new, Danny has him off on another topic --himself usually and Martin can't remember the last time he's been this open with anyone.

The drink in his hand --coke that Martin very carefully poured himself-- is beginning to become slick with condensation. The air is sticky, hot from the press of so many bodies. He can feel sweat already beading on the back of his neck, trickling down his spine, causing his shirt to cling rather uncomfortably.

A girl Martin doesn't recognize, face flushed red from dance and booze, smiles at him, crooking a finger and beckoning him to the dance floor. Martin offers an apologetic smile, shaking his head before pushing his way deeper into the crowd.

A hurdle party, someone called it, and from the looks of it nearly every person in the entire graduating class is here. Martin recognizes maybe a handful of people, none of them Danny and Martin's still half expecting to find Danny the centre of attention in one of the many clusters of students.

He doesn't, each group discounted almost as soon as Martin glances in their direction. Sweat has begun to form everywhere now, leaving Martin sticky and damp and by the time he completes his circle and makes it back to the front of the room, his shirt's practically soaked through.

It's chance, more than anything, that allows him to spot Danny. In truth, he was looking for the door, wanting nothing more than to step outside into the chilling October air and catch his breath. Danny's standing just inside the front hall, leaning against a wall, watching the entire party like he can't decide whether he wants to stay or leave.

Setting his drink on the nearest table, Martin starts across the room, smiling brightly when Danny glances up, not missing the relief that flashes in Danny's eyes.

"Hey," Martin has to shout over the music, leaning close so that the words don't have far to carry.

He regrets the decision almost instantly, the scent of Danny's aftershave overwhelming at this distance and Martin has to fight not to close his eyes and inhale.

"Hey," Danny echoes, smiling now, but his expression is a cross between exhaustion and something Martin swears is terror.

Martin's not entirely certain he wants to know what could possibly make Danny afraid.

"How long have you been here?" Martin asks, voice louder this time, enough to compensate for the step back he took a moment before.

"Half an hour," Danny answers, seeming startled by his words, like he hadn't planned on telling Martin the truth.

He recovers almost instantly, guarded expression back in place and Martin resigns himself to the fact that he's not going to get much more out of Danny tonight.

"Any good?" Danny asks, interrupting Martin's thoughts, peering over Martin's shoulder to scan the crowd.

Drunken cheers surge louder than the music, the entire crowd erupting in joyous celebration before falling back into relative silence, the music once again becoming the only distinguishable sound. Fear flickers in Danny's eyes for a second time.

"Not really," Martin answers, somewhat truthfully.

He was having an okay time. Not a great time, but considering his past experiences, this is one of the better parties he's been too. Still, it's obvious, just from that brief flash of uncertainty in his eyes, that Danny doesn't want to be here. In fact, Martin's fairly certain Danny would rather be anywhere but here.

"You want to get out of here?" he asks, catching Danny's doubtful expression before continuing. "This really isn't my scene," he explains and Danny looks almost… thankful.

Martin tries not to question the expression.

"Yeah," Danny agrees, nodding, already heading toward the door and Martin follows on his heels, breathing deep as soon as the door swings shut behind them.

The fresh air feels nice, cold and chilling and goosebumps replace the damp of Martin's skin. Outside, the silence is almost deafening compared to the noise they left behind. Martin's acutely aware of it and suddenly realizes that he has no idea what to say or even what they're supposed to do with the rest of the night.

Danny makes the decision for him, already heading in the direction of the dorms, his steps slower than usual, almost leisurely and Martin doesn't hesitate before falling in at his side.

"It's going to snow soon," Danny says as soon as Martin's caught up, eyes fixed on the ground in front of his feet.

"Yeah, probably," Martin agrees, suddenly wishing he'd thought to bring a jacket.

Danny's wearing his, a dark leather Martin's never seen before and Martin can't help but think it looks good on him. The thought's enough to start him laughing, chuckling softly under his breath and Danny glances over, brow furrowing as he takes in Martin's almost silent amusement.

"Sorry, I just… I don't know; I guess I just had you pegged as a party kind of guy," Martin explains, shrugging like it doesn't really matter either way.

In truth, he's rather glad Danny's not.

"Nah, not really my thing," Danny answers, shrug mirroring Martin's and Martin grins at him.

He wants to tell Danny that he's glad, that he likes that they have that in common, but the reason behind the thought frightens him, reminding him of all the crushes he's had over the years. None of them panned out, each and every one ending in disaster, leaving Martin feeling used and dirty. After a while, he'd learnt to only look for sex. Later still, he'd given up on that too.

"What about you?" Danny asks, shaking his head the second the words leave his mouth. "I mean, you don't strike me as a party kind of guy, but you looked like you were having an okay time," he clarifies.

"You were watching me?" Martin asks before he can stop himself, grin spreading across his face and the second Martin realizes it's there he forces a more neutral expression.

If Danny notices, he doesn't say anything. He doesn't answer Martin's question either, shrugging like it's not important and, for a moment, Martin's lost for words. He finds them just as fast, Danny's earlier question still unanswered.

"I guess I'm just not very good at the whole socializing thing. Most of my experiences with parties didn't end well," Martin answers, the truth, because he's discovered truth goes a long way with Danny.

Apparently it has here too, because Danny glances over, nodding to himself before smiling, like Martin's just handed him something precious and Martin suddenly wants to tell Danny everything.

About the men and a lifetime spent questioning his sexuality. About his father and his life before this place. About his constant need to prove himself that often contradicts with his need to rebel against his family. Conflicting things, things Martin's sure would likely scare Danny off so instead he remains silent.

"I quit drinking eighteen months ago," Danny says suddenly, eyes still fixed on the path in front of his feet and Martin's not sure if Danny even meant for him to hear.

He did, though, quite clearly and suddenly Danny's discomfort makes a lot more sense. Suddenly a lot of things about Danny make sense.

Martin doesn't respond to the statement. In part he doesn't know what to say to that kind of admission, but at the same time he's fairly certain Danny's not expecting a response. He's still staring at the ground, shoulders a little less tense than they were before and Martin lets the silence fill the space between them.

~*~

Later, he'll probably look back and find the entire thing ridiculous. And it is, a little, but despite that he's having a far better time than he had at the party.

He's still cold, freezing in fact, but heading inside is the last thing he wants to do. Not when Danny's sitting next to him, head turned back to stare up at the cloudless night sky, eyes alight with something Martin's never seen before.

He thinks it might be happiness, genuine happiness and Martin laughs as Danny finishes telling a story about his college roommate. It's the third story he's told so far this evening, none of them particularly revealing, but all them coming together to tell Martin more about Danny than he ever expected to know.

He's shared a few stories himself, about school and the summer he spent trying to hitchhike across the country. He left out the part about having just read Kerouac and wanting to experience beatnik life for himself, but admitted to giving up the first night, using his father's credit card to rent a car and drive instead. The experience wasn't the same, but it had still been one of the best summers of Martin's life.

Danny's gone silent again, something he's taken to doing in between stories. He seems comfortable, though, but also, slightly taken aback, like he's never actually spent a night reminiscing with a stranger.

Martin thinks that, maybe, Danny might actually be starting to think of him as a friend.

"You must be freezing," Danny says, seemingly out of the blue and Martin wills himself to stop shivering.

"I'm okay," he answers, teeth immediately beginning to chatter, giving away the lie and Danny laughs.

"We should probably call it a night, anyway. I doubt Agent Jackson's going to be too forgiving just because half the class was out celebrating tonight," Danny replies, pushing himself off the small outcrop of wall they've been sitting on, landing on the pavement beneath with a dull thud and Martin hesitates for only a moment before joining him.

The walk back to their dorm is made in silence, the only sound the shuffling of their feet and the occasional creaking of Danny's jacket. Inside, the sudden warmth makes Martin itch, his skin prickling as his body adjusts to the change in temperature.

There are a few people still milling about, some Martin recognizes from the party and most of them nod, assuming Danny and Martin are just getting back themselves. Martin returns their nods, following Danny into the back stairwell, up three flights of stairs and down the hall to their room.

Danny still hasn't said anything, wordlessly unlocking the door, pushing his way inside, crossing the room to sink onto his bed, the lights untouched and Martin fumbles his way in the dark.

The room is colder than the halls outside, but it's still warmer than it was outside. Warm enough that Martin sheds his clothes, climbing beneath the covers without bothering to pull out a fresh pair of pyjamas. Sleep is fast approaching when Danny shifts, speaking in a whisper that Martin has to strain to hear.

"Martin?" he questions, somewhat hesitantly, like he's not sure Martin's actually awake.

"Yeah?" Martin responds, turning onto his side and he can just make out something Danny shaped across the darkness of the room.

"Thanks," Danny says after a moment, shifting again, turning away and Martin nods his response, knowing Danny can't see him.

Chapter Text

He's vaguely aware that, outside, it's raining.

There are no windows, so he can't be certain, but it feels like it is raining. The air is too damp for it not to be, the lights too dim. When he concentrates, he can almost hear it rattling against the steel rafters above his head, the sound seeming to echo throughout the mostly vacant space of the gymnasium.

He tries not to let the imagined sound distract him, instead focusing his energy on the man in front of him, waiting for some slip, some minor detail that might give away the man's intentions. Letting himself be distracted by the perceived rain could mean missing it, and Martin's doing too well to be taken down now.

Throughout the period of his life that he likes to refer to as 'the boarding school years', Martin spent the majority of his free time participating in competitive sports.

It wasn't so much that he enjoyed them, or even that he was particularly good at them, but rather that he'd been expected to partake in them --both the school's administration and his father frowning at the idea of Martin not pursuing athletic interests.

And since, at the time, the only other alternative was sitting in his dorm room and reviewing the day's material until he could recite it in his sleep, Martin had to admit that joining teams to appease both his father and school seemed like a pretty good option.

So in the end, he joined several, mostly so that no one could ever say he wasn't trying. In the mornings, he swam with the swim team. In the evenings, he ran with the track team. During his fourth form, he even took up wrestling.

The last wasn't something he ever expected to find himself doing, but there was something strangely appealing about the concept of rolling around on the ground with his fellow classmates. Looking back now, Martin realizes that it was simply a way to explore the growing confusion that had become his sexuality. It hadn't hurt that most of the wrestling team consisted of cute, athletic boys wearing somewhat tight fitting uniforms.

It also hadn't hurt that he was good at it. Better than he was at swimming. Better than he was at track. On a good day, he was even better at it than he was academics, and academics have always been Martin's strong point.

His coach used to praise him for being able to read his opponents so well. For knowing how to interpret body language and use it to his advantage, a trait that Martin's fairly certain he inherited from his father.

It doesn't come as a surprise, then, that Martin's good at hand to hand combat too. That, so far, he's managed to beat everyone who's come against him, pinning each to the mat in turn before stepping aside to let another classmate try their hand.

Even Agent Jackson seems impressed and Martin was under the assumption that nothing could impress the man.

His current opponent --Matt, who Martin's never really liked-- circles wide, faking left before moving right and Martin almost laughs at how obvious the move is. He sidesteps it easily, spinning and using the other man's momentum to throw him to the ground.

Matt's the fourth person Martin's managed to beat, overconfident, like the others, assuming his size advantage might actually count here; that taking Martin down was all a matter of course and Martin's surprised he didn't learn watching the first three.

They practically screamed their intentions, their eyes giving them away long before they started moving. It was enough to give Martin the advantage, anyway, and down they went, sprawled out on the mat in the space of seconds with the rest of the class watching and why they keep repeating each others' mistakes, Martin doesn't know.

Matt's still struggling beneath him, trying to buck Martin off without causing Martin to break his arm and Martin wants to tell him not to bother. There's a reason agents use this move to subdue prisoners. Agent Jackson saves him the trouble, finishing his slow count before gesturing Martin's win, Martin instantly easing off.

"Taylor," Jackson barks as soon as Matt's on his feet and Martin should have known it would come to Danny --lately everything seems to come back to Danny.

It almost makes him wish he'd let Matt win their match.

Danny's watching him, expression almost amused as he assumes his place on the mat, eyes flashing with something Martin can't read. He thinks it might be determination, perhaps a hint of respect, but Martin's never been very good at reading Danny, so he can't say for sure.

It's strange, when he thinks about it, because he should be able to read Danny. They've been living together, sharing the same space, spending practically every minute of their time together for weeks now and, yet, reading Danny is like reading Braille, the subtleties and intricacies of the language too detailed for Martin to fully grasp.

Danny's circling him now, moving with the same fluid grace that Martin imagines accompanies Danny everywhere. The same grace that he thinks might carry over into a bed and Martin hates that he's imagined it --hates that the thought is practically reoccurring these days and it suddenly occurs to Martin that, any minute now, he's going to be touching Danny.

Any minute now he's going to be pressed against Danny, feeling the heat of Danny's skin and the dampness of Danny's sweat and Martin steps back. It's quite possibly the stupidest move he's ever made, because as soon as Danny sees it he's moving. Closing the distance between them and before Martin can get out a grunt, his back hits the mat, knocking the air out of his lungs and when Martin can finally focus again, Danny's staring at him.

Smirking, looking entirely too pleased with the situation and Martin can't bring himself to look away. Can't bring himself to do anything but stare, only dimly aware that his cock is suddenly hard and straining against the confines of his jock strap.

Danny's expression shifts, confident superiority replaced by worry and concern Martin still can't find the will to say anything.

"Martin?" Danny asks, not moving, though, because Agent Jackson's still counting and letting up now would mean having to do this all over again.

Martin's not sure he could handle that. Hell, he can barely handle this, his lungs protesting each breath. He can't even tell if his sudden breathlessness is a direct result of the fall, or if it has something to do with Danny's presence. Something to do with Danny's heat and Danny's skin and the fact that Danny's knee is pushed against Martin's hip, his hand pressing into Martin's shoulder and Martin tells himself to stop counting all the places they're touching.

"Martin? Are you okay?" Danny asks again, sounding alarmed this time. Jackson finishes his count and Danny eases off, shifting back before offering a hand, looking almost terrified at the prospect of having somehow hurt Martin.

If Martin weren't so worried about the current lack of oxygen, he might consider laughing.

"Yeah. Just got the wind knocked out of me," Martin manages, the words coming out in laboured grunts and Martin ignores Danny's hand, pushing himself up onto his elbows before rolling away, hoping the slight bulge in his shorts escapes notice.

He doesn't look back, instead rejoining the crowd, finding a place in the outer ring as John steps up to the mat, grin almost sadistic and Martin turns in time to watch Danny's concern shift to concentration.

~*~

He's not avoiding Danny.

He's told himself the exact same thing three times now, but he still doesn't quite believe it. He's not even sure why he's worried, because Danny didn't notice his reaction and, besides, it's not like Martin's planning on doing anything about it.

And okay, technically, he can't pretend anymore than he's not attracted to Danny, because he is –-hell, he practically has a full blown crush at this point. That, however, is beside the point, because Martin's going to graduate from the Academy and take on an assignment and meet a nice girl and settle down and get married and maybe even have some kids. Nowhere in that plan is there room for Danny.

The entire situation probably wouldn't be so bad if he didn't genuinely like Danny. If Danny was just a pretty face that Martin could appreciate from afar. Hell, he might even consider sleeping with Danny if it weren't for the fact that he's starting to consider Danny a friend.

If it weren't for the fact that Martin's fairly sure Danny can say the same.

Sometimes Martin thinks he's the only friend Danny's ever had. He knows it's ridiculous, probably even egotistical, but sometimes Danny will look at him like he's surprised Martin cares. Like he's not used to having someone to talk to or someone to share with or even someone to watch his back.

If it weren't for that, Martin might even go out of his way to cut off all ties with Danny. He wants to, sometimes, because he's fairly certain that's the only way he's ever going to stop thinking about Danny. Stop obsessing over Danny and wanting Danny and dreaming about Danny and sneaking into the bathroom in the middle of the night to jerk off while fantasizing about Danny.

It's the closest he's ever come to breaking his promise. The closest he's willing to let himself come and sometimes Martin thinks life would be infinitely easier if he wasn't a Fitzgerald.

It's still raining outside, but the library has windows so this time Martin knows it's not just imagined. He's taken to watching it, staring past the water streaked window and willing himself to stop thinking about Danny.

He brought work with him, texts covering the table he's sitting at. He hasn't touched any of it, though, despite having yet another assignment due in the morning.

"You're ridiculous, you know that, right?"

And of course Danny's found him. Martin swears Danny's somehow managed to plant a tracking device on Martin's person, because really, there is no other explanation.

He's tempted to ignore Danny, but he's tried that in the past and it never seems to work. Besides, Danny's still a friend and it's really not his fault Martin can't stop obsessing over him.

"Care to explain?" Martin asks, forcing himself to glance up and meet Danny's gaze, his expression becoming somewhat challenging.

"You're just going to avoid me? Why, because I beat you? Jesus, Martin, I know you can be a little competitive, but don't you think that's taking it a little too far?" Danny practically demands, looking genuinely angry and Martin flinches before he can stop himself.

Danny doesn't seem to notice. He doesn't wait for an invitation to join Martin at the table, instead sinking into the chair directly across from Martin like he owns it. Martin finds himself marginally glad that Danny didn't choose to sit on the table itself, something he's seen Danny do on more than one occasion and Martin doesn't think he could handle not having something between them.

"That's not…" Martin begins, trailing off because it's not like he can tell Danny the truth. He has a feeling I'm avoiding you because I want you won't go over well.

"Then what?" Danny asks, leaning across the table, using one of the many interrogation techniques they've learnt and obviously Danny's been practising because it's working.

At least, Martin feels intimidated, although he suspects that has more to do with Danny in general than anything Danny's doing.

"Forget it, you're right. I don't like to lose," Martin finally answers, deciding on lying because it seems the easiest way to get out of a conversation Martin would rather not have.

"I'll say," Danny snorts, but he's grinning again, like Martin's just conceded defeat and Martin avoids pointing out that Danny can be rather competitive himself.

Quite the pair they'd make, Martin thinks, laughing softly until he realizes the implications behind the thought.

His laughter's replaced by movement and Martin stands, hastily shoving books into his backpack. "It's late, we should probably call it a night," he says, eyes fixed on the task at hand because he knows if he glances up Danny will see everything he's not saying.

Danny doesn't answer, but he stands too and when Martin does look up, he's smiling, like the matter is resolved and Martin can't decide if the sudden loss of tension is relief or something else entirely.

He tells himself it's the former, because this is what he wants --Danny's friendship and the easy camaraderie that has existed between them until now. Something he's willing to do anything, even lie to Danny and himself, just to have. Besides, it really is Martin's problem and one of the benefits of being a Fitzgerald is that he's exceptionally good at denying his problems.

 

His father, after all, trained him well.

Danny waits until Martin starts moving before falling into step at his side, grin lingering and Martin's half tempted to blow Danny off and head back to the table alone. He knows he'll never get away with it, though, so instead he concentrates on walking, staring at the top of his shoes just to avoid glancing in Danny's direction.

They're halfway to the door when Danny's hand lands on his shoulder, lingering slightly too long for Martin not to notice and it takes all Martin's concentration to keep moving.

"I'll tell you what," Danny says suddenly, the warmth from his hand creeping its way down Martin's spine and Martin swallows. "Next time, I'll let you win," he finishes, laughing softly to himself and Martin's too busy thinking about next time to call Danny on the insult.

Chapter Text

This isn't the first time he's been forced to wear a tux.

They were, after all, practically standard dress in his parent's house. He's exaggerating, of course, but at the time, being forced to wear one for the countless parties and dinner events that his mother's always been fond of, they certainly felt like standard dress.

He was fitted for his first tuxedo at five, which he suspects is why he hates them to this day.

Except, this is the first time he's seen Danny in a tux and Martin's starting to think he might just be able to develop an appreciation for them after all.

Danny certainly wears one well.

"I feel like a waiter," Danny says, scowling at his reflection in the mirror and Martin has to bite his tongue to keep from correcting him.

Danny looks nothing like a waiter. Dashing is the first thing that comes to mind and Martin blushes as soon as the thought surfaces. Martin doesn't use words like dashing. Certainly not in conjuncture with Danny, or any other man for that matter.

"You look fine," he settles on, neutral because neutral he can handle.

"I just don't understand why they're forcing us to wear these getups," Danny answers, still fixing the bow tie around his neck, growling in frustration when it refuses to straighten.

Martin doesn't answer. In truth, he's not entirely sure why the Academy insists on these formal dinners either. Granted there are only three scheduled, so it's not like they'll have to do this often. Still, the thought of spending even three evenings listening to countless speeches and eating questionable food is more than enough of a reason to make Martin dread them.

They're only made worse by being black tie, rather than just jacket and tie. Martin's fairly comfortable in ties. Cummerbunds, on the other hand, look ridiculous on him.

"Are you done primping?" Danny asks suddenly, like Martin was the one scrutinizing his appearance only moments before and Martin tries to recall exactly when Danny moved from his place by the mirror to his current place by the door.

Martin's half tempted to ask, maybe even comment on Danny's barb, but when he glances over, Danny's grinning, smile more than just a little teasing, so instead Martin finds himself laughing. Chuckling under his breath and shaking his head, earning an even broader grin from Danny before Martin starts forward, nodding for Danny to lead the way.

The air is decidedly cold --no longer just chilly-- when they finally make it outside, Martin's breath leaving icy trails in its wake. His tuxedo's wool, though, retaining heat and Martin's more than willing to take the one advantage being forced to wear the offending garment offers.

The walk to the dining hall is made in relative silence, Danny still fiddling with his tie, occasionally tugging on his jacket like he's never worn a tux before and isn't used to the fitted cut.

Martin suspects that's probably the case, actually, because from what little he knows of Danny's childhood, he's fairly certain the foster homes he lived in didn't require formal dress for any occasion.

It's the latest revelation Danny's shared with him, quietly mentioning his time in the foster system like the information was irrelevant. He'd seemed nervous, though, like he was honestly worried about what Martin would do with it. In the end, it had led to a discussion on their perspective families, the two of them spending half the night whisper across the darkness, Danny telling stories about foster life, Martin telling stories about Fitzgerald life.

There are still a dozen things --although Martin suspects that number's actually a lot higher-- that he doesn't know about Danny. Little things, like why Danny spent the bulk of his life in foster care and how Danny got from there to here. Granted, there are things Danny doesn't know about Martin either, so Martin thinks it might be a fair trade. Besides, it means never running out of things to talk about, each awkward moment of silence replaced by something new and Martin sort of likes the fact that he's still getting to know Danny.

The thought should probably frighten him, because it's not like they're dating. It feels that way, sometimes, but Martin hasn't dated enough to know for sure. He's shared more with Danny than he has with any of his other friends, though.

"Would you look at this place?" Danny says beside him, the first thing he's said in what seems like hours and Martin only just realizes that they've arrived.

The dining hall looks nothing like it usually does. There are table cloths, for one thing, fine china, for another. It reminds him of several of the diplomatic functions he attended with his father when his father finally decided he was old enough to start networking.

He hated those events. Hated being introduced as Victor Fitzgerald's son. Hated listening to his father praise his accomplishments like Martin was a prize horse. He's still surprised his father didn't pull back his lips and let his bureaucratic friends inspect Martin's teeth.

"Martin, are you coming?" Danny asks, distracting Martin from the memory and Martin shakes his head before starting forward.

Their class occupies four tables, near the middle of the room, on the right hand side and, thankfully, the seating isn't assigned. He was half expecting it would be, likely meaning he'd be forced to sit through the entire ordeal with no one to talk to.

He'd probably get stuck at Matt's table and Matt's still a little sore about losing to Martin the week before.

It's a relief, then, to slide into a chair at Danny's right, none of the tables other occupants Matt or any of his friends and Martin smiles at Danny's choice of tables.

~*~

This is officially what's going to kill him.

Not the classes or the endless runs or the obstacle courses or even the permanent exhaustion that he's come to expect on a daily basis. This. Sitting through this meal, listening to practically every instructor the Academy has give a speech on one topic or another and Martin suspects this is just another form of training.

It wouldn't be half as bad if they could talk, but aside from the occasional whisper --and Martin's still not thinking about the fact that every time Danny wants his attention, he leans over and whispers directly into Martin's ear-- they've been expected to sit quietly, their attention on the front of the room.

The only exception was the meal, but even that wasn't worth the momentary break from the speeches, the food no better than it usually is and Martin still can't decide if his meal was actually chicken.

Clapping draws him from his thoughts, the sound echoing around him and Martin reluctantly brings his hands together. He has no idea what he's clapping for, except maybe that the speech is over and, actually, that is a pretty good reason to clap.

Restless murmurs replace the sound of applause and Martin blinks as he realizes it's over. He breathes a sigh of relief, the entire table doing pretty much the same thing and Martin stifles a yawn before pushing back his chair, stretching out two hours worth of kinks.

"Congratulations," Agent Jackson shouts over the noise, his words taking in the entire class and Martin knows he's not the only one with a puzzled expression on his face.

He's also sure he's not the only one dreading whatever it is Agent Jackson's about to say.

"You've got twenty minutes to report to Hogan's Alley. Unfortunately, that means you won't have time to change," Jackson says once he's sure he has everyone's attention, grinning like giving the order just made his night and Martin hears several people curse around him.

They'd been warned about this. That, eventually, the Academy would want to test their ability to work without sleep. It's all part of the training, of course, but Martin's heard the complaints from other classes, so he knows this isn't exactly going to be an enjoyable experience.

~*~

He can't even remember what they're supposed to be watching. The apartment complex, he thinks --although it could also be the movie theatre and Martin's half tempted to slap himself just to stay awake.

At the very least they could have been given coffee. He knows this is supposed to simulate real life, but if this really was a stake out, they'd have coffee. Maybe something to eat, too, because it's been five hours since they left the dining hall and Martin's starving.

His stomach grumbles somewhat embarrassingly as if to emphasize the point and Martin takes comfort in the fact that hunger's pretty much the only thing keeping him from falling asleep right now.

Danny looks pretty close himself, sprawled out in the passenger seat, jacket open, tie and cummerbund long since tossed into the back seat. He looks dishevelled, like they've been out all night partying rather than sitting here, watching the darkness and waiting.

It's a good look on him and Martin's fairly certain the fact that he's noticed is a sign that he needs sleep. Hell, he's gotten to the point now where he's forgotten all about his no staring rule, spending as much, if not more, time staring at Danny as he does staring out the front windshield.

He's still surprised Agent Jackson paired them together. Even more surprised by Jackson's comments that they worked well together. Made a good team. It's not so much that Martin didn't know that, but it surprised him to learn that other people had noticed. That their instructor noticed and Martin can't help but worry about what else he's noticed.

"Is it morning yet?" Danny asks, sounding somewhat muffled and Martin smirks at the sight of half conscious Danny.

"No," he answers.

He likes that Danny's not fully awake, it means he can look and admire without Danny noticing and Martin's starting to like looking. He's fairly certain that's exhaustion talking, but watching Danny fight against sleep is certainly more interesting than watching the dark, deserted building they're supposed to be watching.

"You know," Danny begins, suddenly seeming alert, sitting up straight and shaking his head like the action can jolt him awake. "I pulled countless all-nighters in law school, but this… God, Martin, this is so fucking boring. Please tell me it's not going to be like this," he finishes, turning to face Martin, eyes pleading, expression almost hysterical and Martin knows that's exhaustion. Danny's never hysterical.

"It's not going to be like this," Martin says automatically, partly because Danny needs to hear it, but also because he's slightly afraid Danny might be right.

"Good. Good," Danny responds, nodding like he never thought otherwise and Martin can't suppress the slight giggle that passes his lips.

It would probably embarrass him if Danny didn't join him a moment later, laughter filling the otherwise silence of the car and Martin's fairly certain doing this in the real world would end up getting them killed.

Still, he doesn't stop, feeling good for the first time in hours, like maybe being forced to spend the entire night sitting in a car isn't so bad after all.

Danny's stops laughing first, expression becoming serious and Martin's breath catches in the back of his throat. Danny seems to be weighing him, watching Martin like he does just before sharing some new detail about his life and Martin smiles encouragement. Danny's question, then, takes him by surprise.

"So why'd you decide to join the Bureau?" he asks, the same question Martin once asked him and, for a moment, Martin's tempted to lie.

He doesn't and it's the first time he's ever been honest about his reason, even with himself.

"My father told me I couldn't," he answers, shrugging against the slight embarrassment that accompanies the words.

He's expecting Danny to make fun, maybe even laugh, but instead Danny smiles, nodding like he'd expected as much and for some reason Martin doesn't think he'd be surprised if Danny had.

"What about you?" Martin asks a moment later, not really expecting an answer.

Once again Danny shrugs, seeming torn between answering and keeping his reasons to himself. Martin immediately regrets asking and before he can stop himself, he's offering Danny an out.

"Wait, let me guess: guns and girls, right?" he says, chuckling softly and Danny laughs.

Shakes his head like Martin has no clue what he's talking about.

"I like the guns," he says after a moment, tone serious again and Martin can't find words to respond.

He has no idea what to make of the comment --no idea what it's supposed to mean or how he's supposed to take it and before he can decide, there's a knock on his window.

It's John, pointing to his watch and Martin never thought he'd actually be disappointed at being relieved.

Chapter Text

He's long since found his second wind. In fact, he suspects it won't be long now before he loses it and then things should get interesting.

Once, during college, he stayed awake for five straight days, just to see if he could. By the end of the fourth day he was hallucinating with some frequency. Halfway through the middle of the fifth, he collapsed, waking up sixteen hours later with no memories past the second day and half eaten turkey sandwich on his pillow.

It was the first, and last, time Martin let himself go without sleep.

Except now, because they were given a free day today, the Academy intending for them to sleep off a night spent awake and sitting in Hogan's Alley. Everyone else is sleeping --Danny was out cold when Martin finally gave up tossing and turning and left-- but for the life of him, he can't seem to relax long enough to sleep.

He wants to. He's so exhausted it's actually starting to make him crazy. At least, he feels crazy. Feels like he wants to laugh and cry simultaneous, because sleeping should be a simple matter. It's not, though; not when he's too busy analysing and obsessing over Danny's words and Martin hates that he can't just let it go.

He hits the far wall with more force than he intended, palms coming up to stop himself and it's quite possibly the sloppiest turn he's ever made. He recovers soon enough, strokes cutting through the water and he finishes the tail end of his sixth lap.

Fourteen to go.

He knows he could stop at any point in time, but he's grown used to swimming twenty laps. It's a familiar routine; distracting and Martin's willing to spend the entire day swimming laps if it means not having to think about Danny.

Not having to think about Danny's comment.

And it could have meant anything. Danny could just really like guns more than he does girls. Or hell, Danny could have a wife or a girlfriend that Martin doesn't know about tucked away somewhere and then of course he wouldn't be joining the Bureau for the girls.

Except Martin's fairly certain that's not the case --or at least he seriously hopes that's not the case because the very thought constricts his lungs and, right now, Martin needs all the oxygen he can get.

So it really only comes down to Danny liking men and maybe Martin hasn't been as subtle as he assumed he was being after all. Maybe Danny picked up on it right away and this is his way of letting Martin know that he's interested.

That he knows Martin's interested.

Except Martin's not. He can't be, because that would mean going back on his promise, returning to the days of men and dark corners and hidden secrets and Martin hated that period of his life.

Part of him thinks things with Danny might be different, though, because Danny's different and there are days when Martin swears they have a real connection. Days when Martin's certain it's not just lust or blind attraction, but something more and, sometimes, he even sees himself in a relationship with Danny.

A real relationship, with dinners and movies and all the other things he's always wanted but could never have and Martin hits the far wall with a grunt.

So much for not thinking about Danny.

Then, of course, there's the part of him that thinks he might have imagined the entire thing. They had, after all, just spent the last eight hours sitting in a car, not having slept, so for all Martin knows he hallucinated the entire thing --it certainly wouldn't be the first time.

He can almost imagine bringing the topic up with Danny. Asking Danny if he said what Martin thought he said and meant what Martin thought he meant and Danny would probably laugh. Or kick his ass. Martin's not sure which would be worse.

This time his turn is clean, Martin disappearing under the water, using the wall to propel him forward, into the tail of his seventh lap and by the time Martin surfaces he's managed to convince himself the entire conversation was a dream.

Convince himself that he'd actually fallen asleep and dreamt the entire thing. It would certainly explain why Danny hadn't said anything. Why Danny remained silent on the trek back to their dorm. Why Danny didn't bothered saying goodnight before falling into bed, hated tuxedo forgotten and when Martin left this morning, Danny was still wearing his shoes.

It's a good explanation, one that Martin rather likes because it means not having to worry about what he's going to do or what he's going to say and Martin turns his head to breathe.

The movement brings the front of the room into his peripheral vision and Martin's so surprised by Danny's sudden presence that he forgets to brace for the wall.

He hits it hard, slipping down and the curse that wants to pass by his lips is replaced by coughing as Martin inhales more water than he suspects is good for him. It leads to more coughing --violent coughing and Martin's dimly aware of the fact that he's sinking.

Falling toward the bottom of the pool, limbs practically flailing and despite having spent the majority of his life in the water, Martin can't remember what he's supposed to do. How he's supposed to correct and get to the surface and Martin's dimly aware of the fact that he's panicking.

The entire situation is almost amusing and he'd probably laugh if he weren't so terrified.

He dimly registers hands, the feel of someone pulling him out, dragging him over the lip of the pool and Martin's too busy coughing to recognize that that person is Danny.

He should have known, though, because he's had the pool to himself all morning, so it's not like there's anyone else here. Still, it doesn't connect, because Danny shouldn't be here --Danny should be sleeping, not watching Martin swim laps and Martin struggles not to choke on the water spilling out of his mouth.

He tries not to imagine Danny being forced to give him mouth to mouth because the last thing Martin needs right now is an erection.

"You should have let me drown," he manages between coughs, hoping the words will convince Danny he's fine.

They come out broken, though, half choked and when Martin's finally able to focus, he realizes Danny's glaring at him.

Staring at Martin like Martin's just done something stupid and Martin can't remember the last time he's seen Danny this pissed off.

Given any other situation, he'd probably be worried.

"Yeah, because that would make my life so much easier," Danny replies, shaking his head like Martin's trying his patience and Martin frowns at the comment.

And it's just like Danny to drop another cryptic remark while Martin's busy trying not to die. Martin's starting to think that's all Danny is; cryptic comments and innuendos that don't make sense and Martin contemplates returning Danny's glare.

The best he gets out is a scowl, but it's lessened by the fact that Martin's still coughing.

It's only then that he notices that he's sprawled out next to the pool, soaking wet, wearing only a Speedo with Danny kneeling above him. Danny's fully clothed, but both his shirt and his pants are soaked through --Martin's fault entirely and Danny really should have let him drown. His expression is a cross between annoyance and concern and it's the second one that stills Martin's tongue.

There are dozen things he wants to ask. Like what Danny's doing here. Why he was watching Martin swim. What he meant by the comment --both today's and last night's because Martin's certain they both mean something.

He doesn't, though, mostly because speaking still hurts and even if it didn't Martin's not entirely sure how to put any of that into words.

Besides, he's too busy staring at Danny. Staring at Danny while Danny stares at him and to anyone outside looking in, they probably look ridiculous. It doesn't help that Danny's practically close enough to kiss, hands wrapped around Martin's shoulders, fingers digging into flesh and anyone watching would probably think the worst.

Martin's not entirely certain they would be wrong.

~*~

Martin's acutely aware of the fact that his hair's still damp.

It's a stupid thing to fixate on, he knows, but for some reason it seems important somehow, like it should have dried sometime between leaving the pool and making it back to their dorm.

Danny's hair is dry, although Martin can't remember if it was wet to begin with, so that probably doesn't mean much. His clothes, on the other hand, are still damp, clinging like a second skin and Martin's only dimly aware of the fact that he's watching Danny change.

Watching Danny's shirt hit the floor, revealing golden skin that Martin's only ever seen in the shower or when the covers slide down while Danny's sleeping. His pants follow a minute behind, pooling around his ankles before he kicks them aside, leaving him in nothing but a tight pair of grey boxer-briefs.

"So, did it work," Danny asks, opening the chest at the foot of his bed to rummage around for new clothes and Martin wonders if he's supposed to turn around and offer Danny privacy.

He hasn't said anything, though, and it's obvious Danny's more than well aware of the fact that Martin's watching him. Martin doesn't think he cares. Either that or he likes the attention.

"What?" Martin asks, suddenly registering Danny's question.

"I asked if it worked," Danny repeats, pulling out a pair of sweat pants and a t-shirt, both bearing the Academy logo and Martin frowns.

"Did what work?" he questions, watching Danny's head disappear behind the fabric of his shirt, using Danny's momentary blindness to run his eyes over the length of Danny's body.

"Swimming, Martin. You obviously went for a reason. Did it work?" Danny asks, seeming almost frustrated, like Martin's the most oblivious person he's every met and he's not sure why he bothers.

Martin would almost be insulted if he weren't so busy memorizing the sight of mostly naked Danny.

"Oh. No, not really," Martin finally responds, forcing himself to glance back up, just in time for Danny's head to reappear.

And it didn't, because it's now well past noon and Martin still hasn't slept. He's fairly certain he won't, either, at least, not until later, when his body finally shuts down and forces him to.

Right now, though, he doesn't need to; his body hyper aware, mind racing as he tries to figure out exactly why Danny was watching him swim and why Danny's unconcerned with Martin's current ogling and a dozen other things he doesn't even have words for.

Danny's dressed now, sitting cross-legged on his bed, watching Martin with the same weighing eyes Martin saw last night and Martin swallows against the urge to ask if their conversation really happened.

Part of him wants to know, but part of him is terrified it didn't --terrified it did too, so not asking seems like the best solution. For a moment, he thinks Danny's going to bring it up, but then Danny shakes his head, looking away and Martin's left feeling strangely disappointed.

He tries to tell himself that he's not, that he doesn't want Danny to push the issue. That he doesn't want to push the issue, but when Danny shifts, lying back on his bed, arms crossing over his chest, Martin's disappointment increases tenfold.

"I'll say this much," Danny says out loud, although Martin suspects he's talking more to himself than he is Martin. "You sure do know how to confuse a guy."

Nothing else, just another comment in a series of comments that, if Martin's honest with himself, mean exactly what Martin thinks they mean and then Danny's turning around, leaving Martin to stare at his back.

Martin resists the urge to tell Danny that he's not the only one.

Chapter Text

He hates the wall.

It's easily the most trying thing he's ever done. Not because he can't make it over --although it usually takes him several tries-- but because every time he does make it over, he destroys yet another uniform and he's getting a little sick of having to request a new pair of pants.

He's still not sure what he's doing wrong, because he's doing the exact same thing everyone else is doing and no one else walks away with torn clothes. He thinks maybe it's his left leg, dragging a little between the wires and once again the sound of fabric ripping fills the air. Martin curses before untangling his khakis and dropping over the other side.

There's no time to worry about the damage now, half the course still left and Martin drops to his belly. He hates this part too, actually, because he almost always ends up with a mouthful of mud and how the Marines do this on a daily basis, he doesn't know.

Martin's suddenly thankful his father didn't decide to ship him off to boot camp instead of boarding school.

Not that boarding school was altogether pleasant, but at least he was never forced to crawl around in the mud at six-thirty in the morning. Martin's only marginally glad that he actually managed to sleep last night, otherwise he's pretty sure he would have collapsed at the first obstacle.

Not that sleep came easily; most of the day spent staring up at the ceiling, torn between confronting Danny and letting Danny make whatever point he was trying to make by ignoring Martin. Eventually, though, he drifted off, sleep relatively unbroken, despite several relatively vivid dreams.

When he woke, sometime in the middle of the night, Danny was gone, his bed made and the clothes he'd left pooled on the floor that morning were spread out across the bed to finish drying.

Martin ended up spending the bulk of the morning alternating between working on yet another case study and contemplating hunting Danny down. In the end, he barely managed to finish the case before his alarm rang, letting him know he had less than an hour to shower and dress before they were expected on the US Marine Corps' leadership reaction course.

The Academy always seems to like to schedule that adventure first thing in the morning.

Pushing himself up out of the mud, Martin has just enough time to spit before surging forward, across the rope bridge that's strung out between two poles, murky water the only thing to catch those that fall.

He's seen Danny several times since arriving, but either Danny's still ignoring him, or he hasn't spotted Martin. Martin doubts the latter, though, because several times now he swears he's caught Danny watching him.

Staring at him, expression unreadable, but if Martin had to guess, he'd say it was resolve, like Danny's finally decided something and Martin has a feeling he's not going to like whatever it is Danny's decided.

More mud, this time complete with barbed wire, finishes off the course. Martin picks his way through the small clearing, twice catching his arm, tiny red marks appearing against his skin, blood pearling in the wounds. Martin ignores the slight stinging as he stumbles to join those who have already completed the course.

Agent Jackson's watching from a distance, looking less than pleased at having had to give them a free day. Knowing him, he'll likely have them running their five miles as soon as the rest of the class clears the course. They probably won't be given time to change before their first class either.

Typical, Martin thinks, knowing the day's only going to get worse from this point forward.

~*~

If Martin didn't know any better, he'd swear Danny was stalking him.

It seems that way, anyway, because every time Martin turns around, there he is, watching, slight smirk ghosting across his lips and Martin's taken to glancing over his shoulder whenever Danny's not in his line of sight.

They still haven't spoken, Danny only once acknowledging his presence, nodding across the classroom like he does every day and Martin's starting to get a little paranoid.

It's ridiculous, when he thinks about it, because this is still Danny and it's not like that much has changed. And okay, technically that's not true. A lot has changed, like Danny knowing and expressing interest and Martin's long since moved past the point where he can feign confusion.

He still wants to, though, because it's easier that way, but Danny couldn't have been more obvious if he'd actually come out and said the words, so it's not like Martin still has the option. It doesn't help the situation, though, because it means Martin's left with a choice --a choice he swore he'd never make again and Martin hates that Danny's left this to him.

The worst part is he knows if he left it alone, refrained from bringing it up, Danny would just go along with it. Sure, there would be tension and awkwardness, but eventually those would fade and Martin's fairly sure Danny wouldn't hold it against him.

Except Danny's watching him again, like he has been all day, knowing smirk still in place and Martin swears he's planning something. Either that or he really has decided something. Either way, Martin's starting to get a little worried.

He puts it out of his head, tearing his eyes away, using stretching as an excuse to stare at the ground.

They've been moving all day, Agent Jackson only letting up long enough for them to eat and shower. The showering part surprised Martin, because he expected to have to spend the entire day itching with caked on mud. Still, Agent Jackson waited until after they finished their shift on the outdoor range before relenting.

The mud's been replaced by sweat now, despite the fact that there was frost on the ground this morning. It's a strange sensation, sweat trickling down his back, beading on his forehead and yet Martin's skin is covered in goosebumps, the tip of his nose lacking feeling.

Martin brings a hand up to rub it, cupping the hand and blowing hot air into his palm in an effort to regain circulation. It doesn't help, but keeping warm is the last thing on Martin's mind when the class sets out.

He's only mildly thankful Jackson waited until now to lead them on their run. He's exhausted again, but it's better than it would have been had they gone this morning.

Not that Martin's ever been a fan of running in the dark. Particularly not when they're running a path that twists through the woods, the ground uneven and it takes all of Martin's concentration to avoid twisting an ankle.

It's not all bad, though, the rest of the class forced to concentrate too and that means, for once, Danny's not watching him. Martin's not entirely sure he could handle Danny's scrutiny on top of running right now.

The ground crunches beneath his feet, Martin's breath coming out in plumes of white mist. Light from the surrounding buildings reflects off the low lying clouds, giving the sky a pinkish tinge and Martin blinks as a snowflake lands on his nose.

More drift down to join the one melting against his skin, a light flurry to mark the season's first snowfall.

"I told you," Danny says beside him, appearing seemingly out of nowhere and Martin stumbles, barely keeping himself from falling flat on his face.

He feels himself flush, embarrassment surging in his chest as he renews his concentration, focusing on putting each foot forward before answering.

"Told me what?" he asks, more curious as to why Danny's suddenly talking to him than he is the statement.

"That it would snow soon," Danny answers, like it was obvious and Martin flashes back to that night after the hurdle party.

He remembers Danny's comment then. Remembers the way Danny looked at him and opened up to him and Martin instantly regrets letting this get so out of hand.

Because he likes Danny --a lot more than he probably should, actually-- and the last thing he wants is for Danny to continue ignoring him. Even if that means actually acknowledging whatever it is that's happening between them.

"So a lawyer and a meteorologist, I'm impressed," Martin replies, tone light and teasing and Martin's only half surprised at how natural slipping back into their routine feels.

It's almost as though the last few days didn't happen.

"I'm a man of many talents," Danny answers and this time Martin doesn't miss the innuendo hidden within the words.

It's enough to cause him to stumble a second time, once again barely catching himself and Danny laughs softly, like he's just scored a point and Martin tries to figure out exactly when this became a game.

~*~

He aches, everywhere.

All he really wants to do is crawl into bed, sleep the entire night away and maybe half the next day as well. He has a feeling that's not an option, though, because Danny's watching him again, eyes weighing and Martin has a feeling they're going to talk.

He's dreading the conversation, almost as much as he's dreading being alone with Danny for the first time all day.

And maybe he can just make a beeline for the bed, crawl beneath the covers and feign sleep and Danny will let it slide. He doubts it, but it's worth trying so Martin quickly locks the door behind him.

The option to flee to the safety of his bed vanishes, Martin turning away from the door only to come face to face with Danny. Danny's close enough to reach out and touch, leaning into Martin's space like he knows exactly what Martin was planning and has no intention of letting Martin get away that easily.

Martin shifts to the left, Danny stepping with him, arching an eyebrow as if daring Martin to try to get past him. Martin chooses right this time, Danny mirroring the movement and Martin gives up.

"Um… Danny…" he tries, wincing at the panic in his voice.

"Yes, Martin?" Danny asks, stepping closer, watching Martin like Martin requires his full attention.

Martin finds himself taking a step back, another until he's flush against the door, Danny blocking all lines of escape and this isn't happening.

"What…" he tries, but Danny cuts him off with a look.

"See, the thing is, I'm kind of tired of waiting for you to figure things out," Danny says, quite seriously, but a flash of uncertainty in his eyes gives away his nervousness.

It also steals Martin's breath, chest constricting as the pieces come together and when Danny steps forward somewhat hesitantly, Martin closes his eyes.

Danny seems to take the gesture as permission, closing the distance between them, hands landing on Martin's hips and before Martin can get out a groan, Danny's kissing him.

There's nothing gentle about it; Danny's lips pressing hard enough to bruise, his tongue forcing its way into Martin's mouth and all Martin can do is curl his fingers around Danny's shoulders and cling for dear life.

It certainly feels that way, anyway, because he can't breathe --can't think and can't move and can't do anything except for kiss Danny back like his life depends on it.

Danny's settled against him now, hips rocking in slow circles, hands clenching Martin's hips so tight that it would take all of Martin's remaining energy to break free. He doesn't try, though; doesn't really want to and that should probably frighten him.

It doesn't, though, because Martin's still stuck on the fact that Danny's kissing him, claiming him in this way Martin's never experienced before and when Danny finally breaks away, Martin's left gasping for air.

He knows he's probably flushed all over, skin hot and prickling, lips swollen and damp. He doesn't care, though, because Danny's watching him, eyes glazed, pupils dilated and Martin's never wanted anything as much as he wants Danny, his rule be damned.

Chapter Text

Later, he won't be able to recall how they got from the door to the bed.

There was a lot of stumbling, he remembers; a lot of pushing on Danny's part, but by the time Martin registered that they were moving, his knees had already hit the back of the mattress, sending him sprawling onto his back, Danny following a moment later and Martin's only thought had been that there was something significant about Danny choosing Martin's bed.

The thought vanished almost as soon as it came, dissipating beneath the feel of Danny's heat, the fire of Danny's skin and the sudden alarming awareness of what they were doing.

What they're still doing, because Danny's somehow managed to settle between Martin's legs, hips driving slow circles that leave Martin gasping for breath.

Martin barely registers the breathlessness before Danny's kissing him again; tongue instantly invading Martin's mouth, teeth scraping together and it takes all of Martin's willpower not to whimper under the assault.

And this feels just like college again. Like the first time he spent an evening making out --with his roommate of all people-- in a bed just like the one beneath him, moments before losing his virginity. His hands are shaking, palms sweaty and he's starting to get light headed for lack of oxygen. It's too much and not nearly enough and when Danny presses harder, hips pinning Martin to the bed, Martin groans against Danny's mouth and tries to buck.

Tries and fails because Danny's grinding now, cocks sliding together through the confines of their clothes and clothes… too many clothes.

He must have said that last part out loud, because Danny chuckles, the sound vibrating everywhere and when he finally pulls back, lips red and wet with Martin's spit, he looks… amused.

"Should have known you'd be pushy," he says, still laughing and Martin thinks he might have just growled.

He can't be certain, though, because he can't actually hear anything over the blood rushing in his ears, even the sound of Danny's voice becoming nothing more than muted background noise.

That's okay, though, because he doesn't need to hear; doesn't need to speak either because Danny's leaning back, sliding his shirt over his head, revealing all that skin that Martin spent the better part of the night fantasizing about and yesterday's examination is nothing compared to be able to see and touch.

He runs his hands up over Danny's shoulders, down Danny's chest, flattening his palms against Danny's nipples and Danny lets out the closest thing Martin's ever heard to a purr.

The sound reminds him of what he's doing, what they're doing and Martin feels himself flush. Feels the beginnings of awkwardness and embarrassment because Danny obviously knows what he's doing and Martin's only ever done this a handful of times.

Not that Danny seems to care; already reaching for Martin's shirt, tugging until Martin takes the hint and sits up far enough for Danny to get it over his head.

And then Danny's touching, fingers trailing over flesh, mouth following a moment later, tongue darting out to taste and Martin can't remember the last time he actually came in his pants, but if Danny doesn't stop soon, he has a feeling he's going to.

Once again Danny's taken to reading his mind, pulling back almost as soon as Martin thinks it, shifting down to the foot of the bed to work on Martin's shoes and Martin hears himself sigh in relief.

It's pretty much the only thing he's capable of doing, actually, because moving is out of the question. Even breathing is a little dangerous right now and Martin can suddenly no longer recall why he ever made that rule. It was stupid, the very idea of giving this up idiotic and by the time Martin's shoes hit the floor, Martin's more or less got his body back under control.

It's a good thing, too, because Danny slides of the bed, standing and staring at Martin while he toes off his own shoes, pausing once to let his eyes drift over the expanse of Martin's chest before reaching for his pants.

Martin swallows against the sudden lack of moisture in his mouth, eyes locked on Danny's fingers, watching Danny slowly undress, unconcerned with Martin's blatant examination and as soon as Martin realizes what he's doing, he feels himself flush all over again.

Danny notices, and smirks, obviously pleased with the reaction and Martin gets out half an apology before Danny's climbing back onto the bed, reaching for Martin's pants, sliding them down, leaving them both clad only in boxers and even that's too much.

Too many barriers and Martin wants skin to skin. Wants to feel the heat of Danny's cock sliding against his own and the wire of Danny's pubic hair tangled in his own. Wants things that would have sent him running from the room just a day ago, but thinking it and having it are two entirely different things, Martin's discovered, and the fact that Danny's actually in his bed is more than enough reason to give in to this thing happening between them.

Martin's expecting Danny to settle back against him, resume the grinding he was doing only moments before. Maybe even more kissing because Martin was rather enjoying the kissing. Danny doesn't, though, instead hovering over Martin, watching Martin like he's trying to read a particularly difficult passage of text and Martin shifts against the sheets, feeling the coarse fabric scratch against his back.

Danny nods, seemingly to himself before reaching for Martin's boxers, pulling them down, sliding them off and tossing them carelessly onto the floor before letting his eyes drift over Martin's naked form.

He smiles then, making eye contact and Martin's forced to close his eyes against the want he sees reflected in Danny's eyes. He imagines the same desire is evident in his own, but it's too much right now --too intense and Martin's still just catching up with the situation.

"Turn over," Danny says, tone calm and purposeful and Martin's eyes fly open.

He knows how he must look --like a deer caught in the headlights but Danny merely grins.

It's enough to set Martin moving, shifting slowly before turning over, pressing his now aching cock into the mattress and willing himself not to start humping the bed.

Danny's hand distracts him from the task, Martin bucking forward as Danny runs his fingers from the tops of Martin's shoulders down to the base of his spine. Back up again, this time slower, like he's memorizing Martin, marking him and categorizing him and Martin pushes his hips up and back.

Danny laughs at that, soft and warm and entirely too erotic for words and Martin groans at the sound. It earns another laugh, this one lower, slightly less controlled and pride surges in Martin's chest with the knowledge that he's affecting Danny just as much as Danny's affecting him.

"God, so beautiful," Danny half whispers and Martin doesn't think he was meant to hear.

Doesn't think Danny even realizes he said anything, because a moment later he's leaning forward, tongue sliding along the edge of Martin's shoulder blade, moving across his back until he reaches Martin's spine.

Trailing down and Martin knows exactly what Danny's planning.

He's only done this once before, but it was enough to know that he'd do it again gladly. The fact that it's Danny only makes it that much better and Martin's forced to reach between his legs and wrap his hand around the base of his cock, squeezing hard to keep from coming too soon.

It helps, a little, but he's still dangerously close to the edge, right on the verge and when Danny's tongue slides between Martin's cheeks, Martin arches into the sensation and screams something that might be a prayer.

Danny chuckles at that, the sound travelling straight to Martin's core, but before he has a chance to be embarrassed by how out of control he feels, Danny's tongue slides in and Martin's brain shuts down.

All he can focus on is the wet heat invading his body, the feeling of Danny stretching him open, tongue stabbing in time with Martin's pants and Martin's only dimly aware of the fact that he's babbling.

Saying things like more and God and please and he'd probably be mortified if he could think past Danny and heat and tongue and oh-god-so-good.

Still, he bites down on the pillow beneath his head to still the flow of words, hands clenching at the sheets, twisting them and clenching them until he's certain, when he does let go, he'll have left behind a mess of wrinkles.

Not that it matters, because Danny's tongue is still moving inside him, one of Danny's hands holding him firmly in place, the other spreading Martin wide, leaving him feeling open and vulnerable and wanting in ways he can't find words for.

He can't remember the last time he so desperately wanted someone to fuck him.

To move inside him until he was blind with pleasure.

He's fairly certain that makes him at least a little gay, but he'll take the label if it means Danny never stopping. Ever.

Danny does stop, though, pulling back and Martin whimpers. Thinks about ordering Danny to continue, but a second later Danny's hand shifts, thumb pressing against Martin's opening and Martin cries out as Danny pushes the digit inside.

And this is better. Better in ways that make Martin want to scream and writhe and twist until Danny's entire hand is buried inside. And he's never been into fisting --never tried it either but the very thought frightens him in ways he can't explain-- but right now he wouldn't care if Danny did try, because it's Danny and for reasons Martin's no longer capable of analysing, he can't seem to get enough of Danny.

"Oh, fuck… please," he hears himself beg.

That, at the very least, should worry him, because Martin's never begged for anything in his life. Certainly not sex, but now, more than anything, he needs Danny inside him.

"Fuck… I… I don't have any condoms, Martin," Danny says behind him, sounding lost and needy and so completely out of control that Martin almost comes at the sound.

"You tested clean before getting in, right?" Martin asks, the words coming out in laboured pants and it's a sign of how far he's gone that he's willing to let Danny fuck him bareback.

"Yeah. Oh God, hold on," Danny says, hand disappearing and Martin groans against the loss.

The bed shifts and Danny's moving, leaving and Martin forces himself up onto his elbows, glancing over his shoulder to watch Danny tear through his chest like the situation is life or death.

Martin suspects it might be, Danny's cock hard and straining against his boxers, precome wetting the front. His eyes are wild, completely black and Danny lets out a sigh of relief upon finding what he's looking for.

He holds up a small bottle of lube before moving back to the bed, taking a moment to shed his boxers before climbing back in, settling next to Martin and question flickers in his eyes, are you sure? obvious even without speaking the words.

Martin nods, suddenly nervous, but Danny's still watching him, taking Martin in like he's been waiting for this forever and Martin finds himself wondering exactly how long Danny's wanted this.

How long they could have been doing this, if it weren't for Martin and his stupid, now defunct rule.

"How…" Martin begins, uncertain how to ask because it's not like he's ever done this with Danny before.

"On your back," Danny answers, grabbing one of the pillows from behind Martin's head, sliding it beneath Martin's hips as Martin settles into the mattress.

For a moment, Martin swears Danny's just as nervous as he is. It's almost enough to make Martin relax, a slight smile settling onto his face and as soon as Danny sees it, he returns it.

It seems to be what he was waiting for, anyway, because as soon as he sees it, he's moving. Carefully, like the moment is somehow precious and Danny's afraid of ruining it, he settles between Martin's thighs, letting his fingers brush along the insides of Martin's legs.

"It's been a while," he says when Martin reaches for the lube, looking almost apologetic and Martin's heart jumps at the confession.

Martin nods, focusing his energy on wetting his fingertips to keep from telling Danny exactly how long it's been for him. His hand's shaking when he finally sets aside the lube, trembling fingers giving away his nervousness as he reaches for Danny and slides the slick digits around Danny's tip.

Danny groans at the first contact, his head falling back, exposing the long line of his neck and Martin releases a breath, body practically humming in anticipation. He wipes his hands on the sheets, unconcerned with how he's going to explain needing a new set before laundry day.

By the time his hands are clean, Danny's watching him again, expression dark and Martin swallows before tilting his hips, letting his legs fall open and he swears Danny whimpers before inching forward.

Danny braces himself on Martin's thighs, pushing Martin's knees to his chest before pressing against Martin's opening, pausing to make eye contact and waiting for Martin's nod before pushing inside.

The first stretch is met with pain, the pain fading a moment later, replaced by a sense of completion that, until now, Martin hadn't realized how much he'd missed. He can feel Danny everywhere. Feel Danny slowly pushing his way inside. Feel the slight trembling of Danny's legs. Feel the dampness of his palms against Martin's thighs.

The sensation is overwhelming, Martin's entire body flushing until he's half afraid he might actually burst into flames. It's almost amusing, when he thinks about it, the thought of spontaneously combusting, but his laughter comes out as a groan when Danny pushes all the way inside, burying himself to the hilt and sparks flash behind Martin's eyelids.

It's only then that he realizes he's closed his eyes. He opens them a moment later, taking in the sight of Danny frozen above him. Danny's eyes are squeezed shut, bottom lip trapped between his teeth and Martin knows Danny's trying to last.

Trying to draw this out for as long as he can and Martin would probably appreciate the effort if he didn't need Danny to move.

He says it too, move coming out like a command and Danny's eyes fly open. He seems shocked, but the expression vanishes just as quick, replaced by determination and Danny pulls back, sliding almost all the way out before pushing right back in.

Martin curses and tries not to pass out.

It's not easy, his entire body tense, shaking with effort and when Danny pulls back a second time, slamming forward hard enough to shift the bed, Martin arches back and comes.

He'd probably be embarrassed by how quick his orgasm overtook him, but he can't seem to process past the fact that Danny's still inside him, holding perfectly still while he waits for Martin to ride out his wave.

The second Martin relaxes, though, he's moving again, thrusts quicker this time, sweat beading on his forehead, falling down to splatter against Martin's chest and Danny fucks him, harder than Martin's ever been fucked before and Martin's fairly certain he won't be able to walk come morning.

Not that it matters, because a second later Danny stills, entire body arching back, arms shaking as his own orgasm overtakes him.

It's quite possibly the hottest thing Martin's ever seen, the image of Danny's head thrown back, eyes closed, lip trembling as he comes almost enough to make Martin wish they could start all over again.

The thought lasts only a moment and then Danny's falling, collapsing against Martin and groaning something that sounds suspiciously like Martin's name. It brings Martin back to the moment, the knowledge of what they've done hitting him hard, but before Martin can contemplate it, Danny's pulling out, leaving Martin feeling hollow and empty and he knows once will never be enough.

He can already feel Danny's come leaking out of him, staining the sheets and they likely both need showers. Not now, though, because Danny shifts, stretching out on his back at Martin's side and Martin knows neither of them will find the energy to move anytime soon.

Chapter Text

It's still dark when he wakes.

He can tell it's early morning rather than the middle of the night, though; it's too quiet to be anything else and Martin shifts before realizing he's not alone.

They didn't make it under the covers --which is probably a good thing, because the sheets are destroyed beyond recognition-- but Danny's heat is more than enough to warm the bed. More than enough to leave Martin feeling flushed and overheated, anyway.

Danny's curled on his side, arm draped across Martin's chest, face buried in Martin's neck and when Martin shifts a second time, Danny groans and presses that much closer.

The sound seems to vibrate, Martin feeling it rather than hearing it and his cock instantly reacts, stiffening against his belly, the beginning of an erection reminding him of the night and everything he let Danny do to him.

He can still feel Danny inside him. Still feel Danny moving against him and Danny wrapped around him and the wet heat of Danny's tongue. It's almost enough to make him want to wake Danny up, pick up where they left off last night until they're both spent and panting and Martin's forced to throw away his sheets rather than wash them.

He doesn't, instead shifting again, this time to slide out from beneath Danny's weight, ignoring Danny's sleep whimpered protest before slipping out of the bed.

And standing, standing is difficult. His entire body aches, pain and numbness combining together until his legs actually tremble and Martin's forced to bite his lip just to keep from groaning. It takes effort to move, but Martin does it anyway, crossing across the room to retrieve his boxers from where they landed by the door.

The rest of his clothes are strewn across the room, his shirt on the floor next to his bed, his pants hanging off the pine chest at the bottom of Danny's bed. He slips into them quietly, watching Danny out of the corner of his eye, but aside from a few muffled words that Martin can't quite make out, Danny remains asleep.

He knows this is probably a bad idea. That leaving will likely bring back all the problems that last night was supposed to solve. He can't handle this, though; can't think and can't process and all Martin really wants is a shower. A chance to wash away their night together, to put all of this into perspective and before Martin can stop himself, he's slipping out the door.

Padding silently down the hall, the floor cold beneath his bare feet and by the time Martin registers the fact that he's not wearing shoes the bathroom door has already closed behind him. Ignoring the chill of the floor, Martin heads deeper into the room, checking the stalls, despite the early hour and the knowledge that he's likely the only person awake, before heading in the direction of the showers.

He takes his time stripping, carefully folding his clothes and placing them on the long wooden bench that lines the far wall before selecting one of the stalls that still has a curtain. Stepping inside, he turns the water on as hot as it'll go, waiting until the space is filled with steam before stepping under the spray.

His entire body is covered in bruises, come and sweat; all evidence of something he swore he'd never do again and Martin lets the water bead against his skin. He neglected to bring soap, or shampoo, or even a cloth to scrub away the worst of it, but it hardly matters, the water hot enough to wash away most of it; hot enough to stain his skin in shades of dark pink, the colour reminding him of every morning after he's ever experienced.

It flushes even darker at the thought, because every morning after he's ever experience has, until now, included an empty bed and Martin knows this is different. Knows he could go back to his room, crawl back into bed and eventually wake to Danny and more sex and things Martin's never let himself want before now.

It's still too much to process, though, so Martin takes his time rinsing off before finally forcing himself to shut off the water. The room's chill hits him as he pushes aside the curtain, causing Martin to shiver and this time he does hurry, sliding into his clothes wet, a towel among the things he neglected to bring and obviously Danny has destroyed his higher brain functions.

He's not even sure why he's so freaked out, because he was there last night, right in the moment and it's not like he didn't want what happened between them. Hell, he begged for it, practically pleaded, so it's not like Martin can pretend he didn't want it.

He certainly can't pretend he didn't enjoy it, because he did, more than he probably should have and, what's worse, he wants to do it again. With some frequency, because Danny's… well, Danny and Martin's never met anyone who's made him this crazy.

And he is crazy; crazy if he's actually considering getting into a relationship with Danny because he knows it'll be messy. Messy and dangerous and it'll likely end in disaster, but even that's not enough to keep him from wanting.

He hasn't been gone long --half and hour, at most-- but when he finally makes it back into the room, his bed is empty, Danny gone and Martin finds himself standing in the doorway, staring at the vacant room and wondering exactly what he's supposed to do now.

~*~

Apparently, sitting is only slightly more difficult than standing was this morning. He was expecting it to be worse for some reason and Martin shifts for what feels like the third time before finding a relatively comfortable position.

It leaves him half in the chair, his knees brushing the backs of the seats in the tier in front of him and Martin curses his lanky form.

People are still filing in through the door, making their way to their assigned seats and Martin once again finds himself looking for Danny. He spent the better part of the morning doing the exact same thing, alternating between wishing he'd never left the room and telling himself that he was better off without Danny.

So far he hasn't managed to convince himself. Hasn't managed to stop searching each face that comes through the door either and, so far, none of them are Danny.

He wasn't around for breakfast, or their morning run --which nearly killed Martin and he's still not sure how he managed to make it through that ordeal without collapsing-- and Martin's starting to get a little worried. And okay, a lot worried, because Martin's fairly certain Danny's not the kind of guy to just take off, even if he does think Martin rejected him.

Except Martin still doesn't really know anything about Danny, not really, anyway, so maybe he is that kind of guy. For all Martin knows Danny's transferred to another class and the next time he sees Danny they'll be graduating, moving on with their careers and then they'll never see each other again and Martin curses himself for screwing things up.

He hates that this is his fault. And it is. His fault for leaving and his fault for needing time to process and his fault for not being able to let this thing between them happen.

He wanted too --wants to still but Danny's lack of presence is making that extremely difficult-- but he's spent his entire life fighting against who he is. Pretending to be someone else and he thought Danny understood that. Obviously not and Martin shifts again, wincing this time before forcing himself to ignore the discomfort.

It doesn't help, the reminder still there and Martin's half a heartbeat away from getting up and walking out of the class when Danny walks through the door. He crosses the room without glancing in Martin's direction, expression blank and Martin has to fight not to run down the stairs and intercept him.

He doesn't, mostly because this isn't the place for the conversation he knows they need to have --a conversation that Martin's sure will involve more begging on his part-- but also because Danny still hasn't glanced over and Martin's fairly sure he's no longer the only one screwing things up.

The thought fills him with smugness, a Fitzgerald trait, he knows, but Martin doesn't care. Besides, it's not like Danny had to leave. He could have waited for Martin to come back --which Martin did-- and then Martin wouldn't be sitting here, shifting on his chair, wondering if Danny's ever going to speak to him again.

And maybe Danny didn't leave because Martin wasn't there. Maybe he used the opportunity to skip out, wanting to avoid morning after awkwardness and, if that's the case, Danny's the asshole and Martin can stop beating himself up over something that's obviously Danny's problem.

Biting his bottom lip to keep from groaning in frustration, Martin settles back in his chair, resigning himself to the knowledge that he'll likely spend the majority of what is sure to be the longest class of his life staring at the back of Danny's head.

 

~*~

The night's discomfort has long since been replaced by the pain of a day spent running in circles. Agent Jackson pushed them hard, running them pretty much from the entire day, their only physical break replaced by the mental exhaustion of sitting in class.

He can't remember the last time he felt this worn out. He knows part of it is the lack of sleep he got the night before. There were a few hours, but every time Martin drifted off, Danny would wake him up --to talk or kiss or make out or have sex and Martin can't remember the last time he managed four consecutive orgasms.

That, combined with waking entirely too early and not being able to fall back asleep after his shower, made the day seem even longer than it should have and Martin's dangerously close to falling over.

He still doesn't know why Danny skipped out on him this morning. Doesn't know if Danny has any intention of ever speaking to him again. He tried, several times in fact, to corner Danny and find out. He even resigned himself to apologizing, if necessary, but Danny continued to avoid him, turning away whenever he saw Martin coming and, eventually, Martin was left with little choice by to give up.

It's well past eleven by the time Martin makes it back to their room. He opens the door to darkness, the room empty and Martin frowns at Danny's made bed. His own bed is still in shambles, the sheets stripped, lying on the floor in a ball, Martin's mental note to ask for a new set forgotten in the haste of the day.

It's too late now, the hour entirely too late and Martin can't decide if he means the bed, or Danny. If he's honest with himself, it's probably both, because he saw Danny leaving the outdoor range, so unless Danny's taking his time, he should be here.

It occurs to him then that maybe Danny really did ask for a transfer. That maybe Danny's the one regretting what happened between them. It's almost par for the course, as far as Martin's life is concerned, and Martin shakes his head, pushing the thought aside before crossing over to Danny's bed, his sheets clean and Martin's not going to stand around mourning the loss of something that never really began when he could be catching up on sleep.

Chapter Text

For the first time in longer than Martin can remember, the complex is void of the sound of gunfire.

He knows it's likely too early for anyone to be using the range, but the absence of noise still seems surreal, the silence out of place and Martin finds himself missing the constant roar of shotgun blasts.

He'd fallen asleep to them, the distant rumbling distracting him from the empty room and, without them, Martin's certain he would have spent half the night staring up at the ceiling above Danny's bed.

He has no idea where Danny slept, the room still empty when Martin woke this morning and only the presence of Danny's belongings told Martin Danny hadn't moved out.

Not that that necessarily means anything, because Danny doesn't own much --some clothes, a few books, a picture that Martin's never really gotten a good look at that he keeps tucked in his bedside drawer. Things that are easily replaced, anyway, except maybe the picture, but Martin didn't check to see if it was still there.

It bothers him more than he'd like to admit, the thought of Danny never coming back, because while this isn't the first time someone's used him for sex, Martin was sure Danny was different.

Sure Danny was serious, that Danny genuinely liked him and Martin hates that he's still hoping this is all some big misunderstanding. And maybe it is, except that Martin's been through this before --hell, it's one of the reasons he didn't want to get involved with Danny in the first place-- so he knows better than to get his hopes up.

The morning is still silent, the only noise the slight chattering of his teeth and the crunching of frozen grass beneath his boots. The ground is white with frost, the air brittle and Martin wishes he'd thought to bring a warmer coat.

They were issued two, after all; one for winter and one for fall, both dark blue, Quantico written across the back and right breast in thick yellow letters. It's only mid October, which is why Martin decided on the lighter of the two, but it feels more like December, the mercury likely sitting well below thirty and Martin shivers before picking up the pace.

The quick pace brings him to the garage a full twenty minutes before he's supposed to be there, the building dark and the silence deafening. He hesitates for only a moment before heading inside, the heat of the room welcoming and Martin squints against the low light before crossing the room to join the few students that have arrived before him.

John's among them, which doesn't really surprise Martin because he imagines having an eight year old at home forces him to wake early every day. John even looks awake, like he doesn't mind the fact that the sun hasn't quite finished its climb above the horizon and Martin shakes his head before making his way to John's side.

"What the hell happened to you?" John asks the second he spots Martin, looking somewhat alarmed and Martin frowns before answering.

"Nothing, why?" Martin questions, taking a step back to avoid the hand he knows is about to settle on his forehead.

Sometimes John takes the father thing just a little too far.

"You look like someone just ripped your heart out," John answers, pausing the second the words leave his lips, a sympathetic smile appearing in their place.

For a moment, Martin's too shocked to do anything but stare. Stare and blink because there's no way in hell John knows what's going on. And okay, he's a cool guy, so he probably wouldn't care, but that doesn't mean Martin wants him to know.

"I don't know what you're talking about," Martin lies once he's capable, but he can tell John doesn't believe him.

Fortunately, John doesn't push, instead nodding like it doesn't matter, like he knows what Martin's doing and why he's doing it and that it's not his place to press.

Martin doesn't bother thanking him before glancing away.

He knows doing so will only confirm John's suspicion, but it doesn't matter, because as soon as Martin turns, Danny fills his sight.

Not just Danny. Danny with Matt, the two of them entering the room, talking softly, Danny laughing at something Matt says and Martin suddenly knows exactly where Danny spent the night. He can even imagine what Danny spent the night doing and Martin's stomach lurches at the thought.

And maybe this is who Danny is. Maybe Martin was nothing more than a conquest, someone Danny already managed to score with and now he's moved on to something better and Martin's forced to swallow against the tightness in his throat.

It's worse than anything he's let himself imagine so far. Because, until now, he honestly thought that maybe Danny was just mad about Martin leaving. That maybe Martin could apologize and they could put this behind them and move forward and it's not until Matt glances over that Martin realizes he's staring.

Scowling, because Danny is his damn it, not Matt's and of all the people Danny could choose, it just had to be him.

It's really quite fitting, actually, and when Matt leans over to whisper something in Danny's ear, Martin has to fight not to leap forward and strangle the asshole in front of the entire class.

Apparently, it's not necessary, though, because as soon as Matt speaks, Danny steps back, eyes flashing somewhat dangerously and before Martin can blink, Matt's staggering back, reeling from Danny's blow and there's a trickle of blood on his lip where Danny's fist connected.

Everything seems to happen in slow motion after that, Matt wiping away the blood, staring at his red tinged fingers like he doesn't actually believe what he's seeing. Only the tensing of his shoulders gives him away, Danny obviously too angry to see it and Martin doesn't have a chance to get out a warning before Matt leaps forward.

Martin's not even aware of moving, the sudden violence the only thing registering in his mind. People are shouting, panicked voices filling the air and by the time Martin makes it to Danny's side, someone's managed to pull them apart.

Matt's still struggling, staring at Danny like he's thinking about killing him. Danny, on the other hand, seems strangely calm, the tense press of his lips the only thing giving away his anger.

~*~

Twelve paces.

Twelve paces from the head of his bed to the door and Martin wonders if it's pathetic that he's counted. Several times now, because there really isn't anything better to do and Danny should be back by now.

It's the first time he's been certain Danny would even come back, because he saw the look Danny gave him when Agent Jackson all but dragged him and Matt away. It spoke of promise, of expectation and Martin doesn't even care that he's missing lunch to pace the length of their room.

He's about to give up, head down to the main offices and find Danny. He's even gone so far as to imagine it, seeing himself walking in and demanding they release Danny because don't they know who Martin's father is? The fact that he's considered calling his father tells him how far gone he is.

He doesn't get the chance, though, the door swinging open and in walks Danny. His eye is slightly bruised, half swollen shut and Martin doesn't think before crossing the room to stand in his path.

"What the hell was that?" he asks before he can stop himself.

"I'm fine, thanks. You?" Danny asks, pushing past Martin, crossing over to his bed and he frowns at finding it unmade before perching on the edge of it.

"Danny…"

"I have a mark in my file, but they're not going to kick me out," Danny interrupts, lightly running his index finger over what Martin's sure will be a dark circle in the morning, wincing as the digit makes contact.

There are about a thousand things Martin wants to ask. A thousand questions forming on his tongue, but in the end, Martin settles on one.

"Why?" he asks, still standing in the middle of the room, torn between remaining where he is and crossing over to kneel at Danny's side.

"Martin…" Danny says, tone a cross between pleading and warning.

"I just…"

"He called you a fag, okay?" Danny finally answers, pushing himself off the bed and now he's pacing.

Walking the length of the room and Danny's legs must be longer than Martin's because he can do it in eleven.

He's seen Danny angry before. Seen Danny hurt and seen Danny lost, but this is different. This is frustration, combined with hostility and for the first time in all the time he's known Danny, Martin finds himself wary.

Uncertain what to do because Martin can see the tension in Danny's shoulders. He can practically feel the energy rolling off Danny in waves and Martin has no idea what Danny might do if Martin gets in his way.

"I…" Danny begins, pausing, the words trailing off and the tension fades to something Martin thinks might be misery, Danny looking more lost than Martin can ever remember seeing him and it's enough to start Martin moving.

Across the room and Danny glances up when Martin reaches him, hurt bleeding through the thousand other emotions playing against his face and Martin doesn't hesitate before leaning forward and pressing their lips together.

For a moment, Danny doesn't move, frozen in place like he's not sure how to interpret Martin's gesture. It lasts only a second and then he's leaning into the kiss, letting his mouth fall open, accepting Martin's tentative tongue and by the time Danny's hands make it up to grip Martin's shoulders, Martin can no longer remember why he ever thought to be afraid of this.

Why he ever thought to doubt this, because Danny's kissing him back like he needs Martin to breathe and Martin knows the feeling.

Danny's whimper pulls him from the moment, the sound seeming to echo through the room and Martin pulls back, instantly remembering Danny's eye and cursing himself from getting so carried away.

"God, I'm sorry…" he says, hands hovering on the verge of touching and when Danny doesn't flinch, Martin swears his heart skips a beat.

Danny doesn't answer, but he shakes his head, silently telling Martin that it's all right. He makes no move to reinitiate the kiss, though, instead staring at Martin like he's not quite sure who Martin is.

Martin offers what he hopes is a convincing smile before reaching for Danny's hand, pulling Danny back over to his bed and it's not until they're both seated that Danny returns the smile.

"I'm kind of bad at this," Martin says by way of explanation, knowing it's not enough to undo the damage, but hoping it's a start.

And maybe it is, because Danny laughs, the sound rich and warm and Martin had forgotten how much he missed hearing the sound of Danny's laugh.

"I…"

"Don't," Danny says, laughter fading, his hand coming up to still Martin's words, fingers pressing against Martin's lips and when Martin shakes his head, Danny lets his hand fall away.

"Where did you sleep last night?" Martin asks, hating that he needs to, hating that he wants to, but this morning's image is still burned beneath his eyelids and he needs to know.

"I didn't. I spent the night in the library, studying," Danny answers, still watching Martin like he's half afraid Martin might disappear. "I was kind of pissed off, in case you couldn't tell," he continues, soft smile telling Martin that's no longer the case.

Martin nods, but he's grinning, feeling incredibly stupid for ever thinking Danny would do something like that. It still doesn't explain Matt, or why they were laughing together this morning, but Martin's fairly certain it no longer matters.

Except maybe it does, because Danny cocks his head, staring at Martin sideways and Martin knows Danny knows exactly what he was thinking.

"You thought… huh. God no, I met him outside the garage. I know he's a jerk, but I figured I should give him a chance. Seemed like a nice enough guy, until he proved otherwise," Danny explains, smirk tugging at the corners of his lips.

It's not until Danny says it that Martin realizes how much the thought upset him. He's never been a jealous guy, never been possessive of anyone before in his life, but the thought of Danny with anyone else leaves Martin feeling ill, so much so that he actually sighs in relief, flushing the second the sound leaves his lips because the last thing he wants to do is scare Danny off.

Apparently that's not going to happen, though, because Danny is smiling, the smile touching his eyes and Martin can tell that he's pleased with Martin's reaction. It's almost enough to make Martin think that maybe things will work out. That maybe he really can have this, that, maybe, starting something with Danny is a good idea after all.

Chapter Text

He thinks they might be dating.

It's kind of pathetic, actually, that he doesn't know. They haven't talked about it --haven't talked period and Martin's more than just a little freaked out about that-- so for all he knows, this is just a fling.

A fling without sex, that is, because aside from the occasional night spent making out, they haven't slept together. Not since the first night, anyway.

It's not that Martin doesn't want sex --because he does and he's fairly sure Danny can say the same-- it's just that it hasn't happened. He knows part of the reason can be attributed to how little time they have. By the time the day ends and they actually make it back to their room, they're usually too exhausted to do anything but sleep.

It's something his father warned him about, cautioning Martin that the training would intensify, becoming increasingly consuming as the semester wore on and, while Martin's certain his father wasn't thinking about how that might cut into Martin's romantic life, it was obvious he hoped Martin might decide against joining the Bureau once he knew what was in store for him.

At the time, he didn't register the truth behind his father's words, though, assuming his father was just attempting to steer Martin in the direction he wanted Martin to go. This is the first time Martin's considered that maybe his father actually had his best interests at heart.

This is worse than he imagined and, most nights, he barely has enough energy left to fall into bed. He can't even count the number of times he's fallen asleep fully clothed, so he's not entirely sure how they're supposed to fit in time for anything other than the program.

He thinks maybe they designed it that way, because an agent's life is lonely, their job coming first and Martin suspects the Bureau wants new recruits to know that long before they take their first assignment.

Today it was a stint at Hogan's Alley. That was followed by a class, which was followed by a three mile run, and then another class, the only free time consisting of meal breaks and even those seem to get shorter as the days move forward.

So short, in fact, that Martin barely had time to finish his meal before Jackson was ordering them out to the range. Martin's eyes are still strained from shooting in the dark.

The have an hour before official lights out now. An hour to finish the night's assignment and Martin's already fighting against the urge to crawl into bed and sleep until morning.

He knows he can't, because in addition to the case study currently sprawled out across his desk, they have presentations to prepare, tomorrow marking the first in a series of mock court cases where they'll be forced to testify on evidence gathered during this morning's simulation at Hogan's Alley.

He knows he should be excited by the prospect, their training reflecting real life and that is why he's here. And this is what he wants to do, but it's hard to feel excited when all he really cares about is how little sleep he's gotten in the past week.

"I think I'm losing my mind," Danny says from across the room, reminding Martin that he's supposed to be working, not pondering Academy life and wondering how he's supposed to make it through the next few months.

Martin glances over to find Danny still staring at the papers spread across his bed. He's sitting cross-legged in the middle of the mattress, paper covering every available inch of space, several sheets spilling onto the floor. He looks as exhausted as Martin feels; bags under his eyes, forehead creased in concentration and, despite the faint yellow tinge that remains of his black eye, Martin can't help but think that he looks good.

Inviting, and Martin's not sure when he became the predator in their relationship. Before it was Danny chasing him, but Martin's had to initiate every moment they've shared this past week, Danny seeming almost hesitant and Martin knows that has a lot to do with Martin leaving that first night.

It's oddly reassuring, in a way, because at least now he knows he's not the only one freaked out by what's happening between them. It's enough to give him confidence and Martin pushes back his chair, taking a moment to stretch before crossing the room and depositing himself on the edge of Danny's bed.

Despite his precaution, several more papers fall to join those already on the floor, Danny finally glancing up, his expression a cross between mild annoyance and open curiosity.

"I've heard the best way to avoid insanity is to find a distraction," Martin comments, blushing as soon as the words leave his mouth because he's not used to be being so forward.

Danny brings it out in him, though, Martin saying and doing things he's never said or done before. He doesn't even really mind, that much, except that he still flushes each and every time and Martin wishes he could find a way to look as confident as he sounds.

"Is that so?" Danny questions, smirking now, something he's taken to doing every time Martin shows interest.

It's almost like Martin's Danny's own personal form of amusement and if it weren't for the fact that Martin's come to really like Danny's smirk, he'd probably be offended.

"It's just a theory," Martin answers, shifting closer, the bed dipping slightly and several pages crush beneath his knee.

Danny doesn't seem to mind.

In fact, he leans forward, definitely distracted and this is pretty much how every make out session has started. So far, they haven't moved past trading wet kisses, work coming first and Martin has a feeling tonight's not going to be any different.

There's still too much to do, too little time left and Martin has to force himself to stop thinking and concentrate on the kiss.

Danny's hands have found their way to Martin's shoulders, squeezing just hard enough to keep Martin in place, just soft enough that Martin could break free, if he really wanted to. Not that he does, though, kissing Danny quickly becoming one of his favourite pastimes and Martin shifts a little closer.

Closer still and Danny fumbles between them, pushing the case he was working on onto the floor, giving them ample room and Martin groans.

"This is probably a bad idea," Martin half mumbles against Danny's lips, pulling back to breathe and Danny grunts something that's meant to be agreement.

Not that he seems to be stopping, hands snaking around Martin's neck, fingers brushing against the base of Martin's skull and Martin tries to calculate how much time they can continue doing this before he's forced to leave the comfort of Danny's bed.

He settles on ten minutes, more than enough time to get lost in the moment and Martin leans back, pulling Danny with him until they're lying horizontal, Danny nestled between Martin's legs and it's so much like the first time that Martin considers upping his time limit.

~*~

He wakes to pressure and warmth, his body numb and tingling and it takes Martin a moment to remember where he is.

Under Danny, lying in the middle of Danny's bed and Martin doesn't remember falling asleep. He wouldn't have thought it possible, because he distinctly remembers kissing, a lot of kissing, in fact, and kissing Danny has never been conducive to sleep.

They're both still fully clothed, though, Danny drooling on Martin's chest and Martin can't help but feel embarrassed that he actually fell asleep while making out.

Obviously he wasn't the only one, Danny out cold and Martin shifts, glancing over Danny's shoulder and the clock on Danny's nightstand reads four-eighteen.

"Shit, Danny," he says, or tries to say. It comes out more of a grunt, Danny's weight against his chest making speech all but impossible.

It gets the point across, though, Danny shifting, shifting a second time before opening his eyes, blinking at Martin in dazed confusion and Martin must look panicked because a second later Danny's struggling, pushing himself up into a seated position and Martin groans at the sudden loss of warmth.

"Shit," Danny says upon noticing the time, staring at his clock like he's half expecting it to change --half expecting time to start moving backward because they're due in court in just under three hours and haven't even started their testimonies.

Not to mention their case studies and Martin forces himself off the bed, stumbling the second his feet hit the ground, legs still asleep and sheer will alone keeps him from falling to the floor.

"You do the case, I'll prepare our testimonies," Danny says, already scrambling off the bed, kneeling on the floor to pick through the papers still covering the ground and Martin nods before realizing Danny isn't watching.

"Make them different, though," Martin tells him, already feeling guilty because, technically, this is cheating.

He knows everyone does it, the entire class forming small groups to work on projects because it is easier that way. It's something he's been avoiding, though, because he wants to get through this on his own, with no help from anyone and Martin knows that's his father's influence.

Danny seems to feel the same, though, so Martin doesn't mind, even if it does make him more like his father than he ever wanted to be. Martin doesn't know Danny's reasons for wanting to do this on his own.

Across the room, he can already hear Danny tapping his pen against his notebook, something he does when concentrating and Martin sinks into his chair, shaking his head to clear the last remnants of sleep before focusing on his own work.

He has a feeling today is going to be excruciatingly long.

~*~

That was officially the most nerve wracking experience of his life.

He spent the better part of the morning telling himself it wasn't real, that it wouldn't really matter if he screwed up. His father neglected to tell him that the Academy employed retired judges direct from the Supreme Court and Martin doesn't think he's ever been scrutinized so thoroughly.

And that's saying something, considering who his father is.

"Would you relax, trust me, it went well," Danny says beside him, quickening his pace to keep up with Martin and Martin forces himself to breathe.

He supposes Danny would know, what with having spent the last four years at law school, but it doesn't make him feel any better.

He's a Fitzgerald, after all, and Fitzgerald's don't stutter. They don't sweat and don't swallow nervously and Martin hates that he lost his cool. And okay, technically, no one noticed, but he did and that's more than enough to leave him feeling out of sorts.

"You don't understand. I know Judge Reynolds. He's been to my house for dinner," Martin explains, shuddering at the thought of his performance getting back to his father.

"Huh," Danny says, looking slightly surprised and more than just a little amused.

Of course, Danny's testimony went flawlessly, Danny maintaining a cool demeanour throughout the defense's question period and Martin's still not sure how he managed it.

Not that he's surprised, because Danny is Danny and Martin has yet to discover something Danny's bad at. In fact, if it were anyone else, Martin would probably be green with envy.

"He probably assumed it was performance anxiety. I mean, it's not like you were the only one who was nervous," Danny comments, the first time he's acknowledged Martin's blundering and Martin groans before quickening his pace.

They only have half an hour before they're due in class, their case studies still sitting on Martin's desk where he left them in his haste this morning. It doesn't leave them much time to get back to the dorms and retrieve them before class and Martin contemplates suggesting they run.

Obviously they're walking faster than he thought, though, because as soon as Martin thinks it, the dorms come into view, Martin sighing in relief before crossing the lawn, climbing up the stairs and pushing past the front doors, Danny on his heels as he makes his way to the stairwell.

He can tell Danny's watching him, even without turning around and Martin finds himself hurrying just to escape Danny's eyes. Danny already suggested they blow off class and spend the morning in bed, and Martin's half afraid they'll end up doing just that if they're forced to spend any amount of time in their room.

"You grab the cases, I need to grab a warmer coat," Martin says as they start down the hall to their room, yesterday's chill forgotten this morning and Martin's once again wearing his fall jacket.

Danny doesn't answer, instead nodding as he falls into step at Martin's side, his early suggestion obviously forgotten and Martin finds himself strangely disappointed. He's tempted to say something, make some joke about taking their time, but as soon as he unlocks the door to their room and steps inside, the thought is forgotten.

"Hello, Martin. You're looking well."

There's really not much else he can say, so Martin says the first thing that comes to mind.

"Dad."

Chapter Text

"Hello, Martin. You're looking well."

There's really not much else he can say, so Martin says the first thing that comes to mind.

"Dad."

~*~

He's acutely aware of Danny's presence, Danny close enough that all Martin would need to do is step back and they'd be pressed together. He can tell Danny's just as shocked as he is, frozen in place and Martin's half tempted to glance over his shoulder just to see if the look on Danny's face reflects the expression Martin's sure has settled onto his own.

Disbelief, combined with terror and confusion and Martin swallows before forcing himself to smile. It comes out forced, smile closer to a grimace than anything else and Martin tries very hard not to glance around the room. He can't quite help it, though, taking in the one unmade bed and Martin prays his father hasn't noticed.

Not that it's likely, because his father notices everything, no detail escaping his attention and Martin hopes his father has chalked it up to Martin having made his bed before leaving.

His father hasn't said anything, though; hasn't done anything aside from stand there, staring at the two of them like he's waiting for something and Martin suddenly realizes that he has no idea why his father's here.

What he wants or how this is going to end and Martin coughs before moving forward, heading into the room, Danny on his heels and Martin flinches at the sound of the door shutting behind them.

"Um… this is Danny… Danny Taylor, my… roommate," Martin eventually gets out, stumbling over the words because he's never once considered the possibility of having to introduce his father to his... well Danny.

"Danny, this is my father, Victor Fitzgerald," Martin continues, finally letting himself glance over, taking in the slight fear in Danny's eyes and Martin would probably laugh if it weren't for the fact that his father is standing in the room.

"It's nice to meet you, Sir," Danny says after a moment, his surprise dissipating into charm and Danny smiles, offering a hand, seeming completely confident and Martin's not sure how he does it.

"A pleasure," Victor replies, accepting Danny's hand, instantly all business and this is the father Martin remembers.

Every meeting a potential contact. Every handshake an exercise in networking. Every glance carefully measured and Martin's certain his father has already analysed, categorized and weighed Danny, storing the information for future reference and Martin's half tempted to push Danny out of the room just to keep his father from seeing too much.

"My apologies for the impromptu visit. I've arranged for you to miss your next class," Victor says, Danny instantly forgotten and Martin blinks before absorbing his father's words.

He's heard them before, several times in fact, each 'visit' hiding a carefully veiled conversation in which his father will likely explain, in great detail, why Martin will never live up to the family name.

"Um, okay," Martin answers, because knowing his father's intentions and disputing them are two entirely different things. Standing up to his father is something Martin hasn't quite mastered.

"I'll take notes, and hand this in for you," Danny says from across the room, case studies in hand and Martin offers him an apologetic look, nodding his thanks as Danny quickly slips out of the room, obviously uncomfortable in Victor's presence and Martin winces as the door clicks shut behind him.

~*~

So far, his father hasn't said two words. And, so far, this is already the worse experience of Martin's life.

He has no idea where they're going, except that he's been following his father for ten minutes now, weaving through the halls of Quantico toward some destination his father hasn't seen fit to share.

It's not the silence that's disturbing, but rather, that every time they come across someone in the hall, Victor stops to exchange a few words, each person knowing exactly who he is and Martin's getting a little sick of all the appraising looks he's earned by default.

It's only made slightly better by the fact that, so far, his father hasn't introduced him.

This is my son, Martin.

Martin shudders at the thought, his entire youth flashing before his eyes and by the time his father finds what he's looking for --the administrative cafeteria and Martin shouldn't be allowed anywhere near it-- Martin's managed to push the thought aside.

"What are we doing here, Dad?" Martin asks, not slowing down, following his father to one of the empty tables, sitting at a gesture from his father and Martin hates that he's still so quick to obey.

"I've been talking to your instructors. They tell me you're doing well. Agent Jackson speaks very highly of you," Victor answers, sinking into his chair and Martin can't quite stop his mouth from falling open.

"You've been checking up on me?" he asks, regaining his composure, anger bleeding into his tone and several people in the room glance over at the loudness of his words.

He knows he should have expected this --hell, it is classic Fitzgerald behaviour, so why Martin didn't see it coming, he doesn't know.

Still, it bothers him, the thought of his father talking to his instructors, talking to the administration, in all likelihood talking to his classmates and the last thing Martin wants is his father interfering with his training.

"Now, now, Martin. I'm trying to apologize here," his father tells him, tone completely serious and if it weren't for the dozens of pairs of eyes watching them, Martin would probably laugh in his father's face.

Victor Fitzgerald doesn't apologize. Ever.

At least, not in the entire time Martin's been around, so the very concept is laughable.

"You know I didn't want this life for you, but you've chosen it, so you shouldn't be surprised that I'm proud of you for doing it well," Victor continues, misreading the expression on Martin's face and Martin once again finds himself lost for words.

~*~

He's still tense from 'lunch' with 'dad'.

Paranoid, even, because it was quite possibly the strangest moment of Martin's life, the first time his father has ever directed the word proud in Martin's direction and Martin can't quite decide how he feels about that.

Guilt comes to mind, but mostly because Martin knows he's screwed up. More times than he can count, in fact, but he doubts anyone would have thought to tell his father that. No, his father heard exactly what he wanted to hear. That Martin was the perfect recruit. That he was going to do the Bureau proud.

They certainly didn't tell Victor about Karen. Or that Martin hasn't been put in charge of a team since Karen left. He doubts they told him about this morning's screw up. About how Martin fumbled and stuttered and flushed red during his testimony.

And they certainly didn't tell Victor about Danny. About how much time Martin spends with Danny. Or about the rumours surrounding the two of them.

No, certainly not Danny, because his father seemed to like Danny, telling Martin he was glad Martin was making friends, pointing out Danny as an example and Martin came dangerously close to choking on his chicken at that.

The rest of their meal was spent in awkward silence, Victor not used to playing the role of caring father, Martin not used to playing the role of eager son. He imagines to anyone else they looked more like strangers than family, two men skirting around actual conversation and by the time the meal was over, Martin was practically vibrating with discomfort.

It ended the way pretty much every conversation has ever ended. Victor making his goodbyes, promising to give word to Martin's mother and then, just as quick as he arrived, he was leaving, Martin left to stare at his retreating back before remembering he was due at the gymnasium.

He ran then, sprinting to make it in time and it still wasn't enough, Martin showing up late, earning a frown from Agent Jackson, a worried glance from Danny.

Offering Agent Jackson an apologetic smile, Martin makes his way to Danny's side, ignoring the stares of the rest of the class and Agent Jackson waits for Martin to take his place before speaking.

"Today we're working with handcuffs. Grab a pair and partner up," he orders, pointing to the small bin at the front of the room, metal glinting under the fluorescent lights.

Martin lets Danny retrieve their set, using the opportunity to catch his breath. He almost has it under control when Danny returns, still looking slightly worried, like he honestly wasn't expecting to see Martin again today and Martin smiles before shaking his head.

"He's proud of me," Martin explains, the words bitter and Danny cringes before nodding, shaking his head a moment later before holding up the handcuffs, slight glint of amusement replacing the sympathy in his eyes and Martin's breath catches.

If he'd been thinking, he probably would have paired up with someone else, someone not Danny, because there's no way in hell Martin's going to be able to get through this class without losing it.

Danny seems to sense his apprehension, offering Martin the cuffs wordlessly, placing his hands at his sides and Martin swallows before stepping forward, acutely aware of snickering from across the room and Martin doesn't need to glance over to locate the source.

He can practically feel Matt's eyes on them, watching as Danny struggles for a moment, eventually giving in, letting Martin pin his arms behind his back and lock the cuffs in place.

The whole thing feels mechanical, Martin purposely concentrating on technique, keeping his body back to avoid contact and it's almost sad that he's proud of himself for not becoming aroused.

He suspects that's probably his father's doing, his visit leaving Martin so tense that even grappling with Danny can't penetrate the awkwardness of the morning.

In truth, it's hard to be worried about his body's reaction to Danny --harder still to be worried about Matt or the fact that he and his friends are watching-- when he's busy worrying about his father and the real reason behind Victor's visit.

And he knows there is a reason. A reason beyond fatherly pride, because his father never does anything without a reason. Figuring it out is going to be the problem, though, because Martin's never once been able to divine his father's intentions.

He doubts this situation will be any different.

Danny's slightly annoyed cough draws Martin from the thought, Martin blinking before realizing that he still has Danny cuffed, Danny struggling again and Martin apologizes before fumbling with the clasp, getting them undone before handing them over to Danny, Danny accepting them, eyes flashing and Martin's father is instantly forgotten when Danny steps forward, planned revenge written across his face.

~*~

He still has red marks on his wrists. Twin circles from where Danny handcuffed him, using entirely too much force and Martin knows it was payback for leaving Danny subdued for so long.

They don't hurt, but Martin can't help but rub them, remembering the feel of Danny pressed against his back, the pressure of Danny's fingers on his wrists, the tickle of Danny's breath against his neck.

In the span of a few seconds he'd managed to forget about his father. Forget about Matt. Forget about the entire class and Martin has pretty much spent the entire day waiting for this moment.

Waiting for a chance to get Danny alone, because, for the first time in days, Martin's not tired. Not completely exhausted and even if he were he doubts it would matter --this morning's exercise burnt into his memory and all Martin wants now is a chance to feel Danny's hands without the scrutiny of their class.

"Are you going to tell me how it went," Danny says, shutting the door behind him, crossing the room and Martin shakes his head.

"I told you…"

"I know, he's proud of you," Danny interrupts, tone suspicious, like he thinks Martin might be keeping something from him and Martin shakes his head a second time.

"Can we talk about this later?" Martin asks, crossing the room to stand directly in front of Danny, giving Danny a purposeful glance and Danny's eyes widen slightly before he nods.

"Good," Martin says in response to Danny's nod, inching forward until there's nothing between them, Danny's eyes still wide and Martin fairly certain they remain open during the kiss.

Chapter Text

So far, he's managed to avoid having a conversation about his father.

Danny's tried, several times over the past few days, but Martin's discovered that Danny's easily distracted, sex replacing the need to communicate and Martin would much rather get laid than talk about his childhood.

It helps that he hasn't heard from his father; not since his father's impromptu visit and Martin still hasn't figured out what that was about.

And maybe his father really did just want to apologize. Maybe his father really is proud of him. And, maybe, his father has no idea what Martin's really doing and is perfectly happy living in ignorance, hearing what he wants to hear and that Martin can handle.

"Are you sure you don't want to dress up?" Danny asks from across the room, rummaging through the chest at the foot of his bed, half his wardrobe already spread out across the bed.

"I'm not dressing up. That's final," Martin answers, because they've been over this twice now and if Martin didn't give in the first time, Danny shouldn't expect him to cave on the third.

Danny doesn't answer, but Martin can tell he's rolling his eyes, probably muttering to himself about Martin's stubbornness and this is pretty much the first argument they've had since the night Danny slept in the library.

It's strange, in a way, suddenly finding himself in a relationship, one half of a whole and Martin still can't decide how he feels about that. Part of him is deliriously happy, Danny everything he's ever wanted and it's nice to finally take something that he wants for a change. Another part of him worries about it constantly, playing over all the what ifs --what if his father finds out, what if the Academy finds out, what if this thing blows up their face and they end up hating each other, what if Martin's forced to spend his entire life trying to live this down-- until he's over-analysed the situation more times than he can count.

The latter usually happens when Danny isn't around, so he's not worrying about it now. What he is worrying about is being late, because, despite Danny's assurances that fashionably late is better than early, Martin's always been an early person and not arriving on time --be it a class, a meeting, an interview, or even a Halloween party-- isn't something he's used to doing.

"I know," Danny says suddenly, appearing in front of Martin almost instantly and Martin has to crane his neck to look Danny in the eye. "We're college students," he finishes, gesturing to his jeans and t-shirt, nodding to himself as though the matter is settled and Martin can't help but laugh.

"Works for me," he answers, pushing himself up off the bed, grabbing the front of Danny's jacket and dragging him to the door, because slightly late is better than fashionably late, as far as Martin's concerned.

For once he's thought to wear a warmer jacket, something he's immensely thankful for the second they step outside. This morning it snowed, the snow actually sticking, everything covered in a thin layer of white and Martin has a feeling there will be more added to it by morning.

Usually, he doesn't mind the snow, but he's already starting to hate it. It doesn't help that they'll be forced to run in it --forced to shoot in it and navigate the Marine course in it and trudge through it to get to the buildings not connected by the intricate web of glass hallways. Buildings like their dormitory, for example, and Martin pulls his coat closed, holding the two ends with one hand so that he can place the other in his pocket.

"Can you believe this? And it's still October," Danny says beside him, fumbling with the zipper on his coat and Martin has to bite his tongue to keep from laughing.

He can't quite keep it in, though, Danny looking ridiculous, trying to concentrate on getting his coat done up while walking a straight line and the two tasks weren't meant to merge. He stumbles several times, growling under his breath until, finally, he manages to get the zipper to connect.

"It took me forever to get used to New York," Danny muses, his earlier fumbling forgotten and Martin holds his breath, waiting for Danny to reveal whatever it is he's about to reveal.

It's something Danny's taken to doing with increasing frequency, but Martin still has more questions than answers, so he finds himself attentive to the shift in Danny's tone that tells him Danny's about to share something big.

"I grew up in Florida. I was thirteen the first time I saw snow," he continues, shaking his head, laughing under his breath like he can't quite believe he was ever so young. So sheltered.

"What happened when you were thirteen?" Martin asks, knowing the question is dangerous. On a good day Danny will open up completely, take the question in stride and answer without hesitation. On a bad day Danny will retreat into himself, blocking Martin out completely until Martin's forced to do something drastic to regain Danny's attention.

Another thing sex is good for, actually.

It's funny, when he thinks about it. After the first night, they spent an entire week not sleeping together. After his father left, they spent every night, and every morning, and every spare minute in between doing nothing but.

Martin tries not to analyse the whys of that too closely.

"I got moved to a foster home in Jersey," Danny says, and obviously today is a good day.

There are so many more things Martin wants to ask. Like why Danny was in a foster home to begin with. Why he got transferred. Questions he's wondered about pretty much since day one, but before he can ask, they've arrived.

Of all the things he expected to find at Quantico, a campus pub isn't one of them. This isn't the first time he's been here --he spent a good half an hour here during the hurdle party-- but it is the first time he's come here with Danny. The first time they've gone anywhere social together and Martin can't help but wonder if he should consider this a development in their relationship.

"See, I told you we should have dressed up," Danny says beside him, stomping the snow off his boots before unzipping his jacket, inside considerably warmer than outside.

And maybe they should have, because Martin's fairly sure they're the only people here who aren't, but Martin's not about to admit that to Danny, so instead he merely shrugs.

"We're college students, too poor to afford costumes, remember?" he replies, grinning over at Danny before shrugging out of his own coat.

"You mean too chicken shit to come in drag, don't you?"

Martin tenses at the sound of Matt's voice, jaw clenching as he glances over to find Matt and four of his friends leaning against the far wall.

Not very good odds, but that doesn't stop Martin from balling his hands into fists.

"What's the matter, Matt? Were you looking forward to checking out my legs?" Danny asks, tone completely arrogant and Martin has a feeling he's not the only one looking for a fight.

A fight that's been a long time coming, actually, because this isn't the first time Matt's given them slack. Technically, it's all speculation on Matt's part, because there's no way in hell he could know, but that doesn't mean Martin appreciates it, because he's met guys like Matt before --knows exactly what Matt's capable of and Martin knows, if he doesn't stand up to Matt now, Matt's just going to keep on pressing.

"You wish, Taylor," one of Matt's friends --Ron, Martin thinks-- replies before pushing himself off the wall, crossing the distance between them and any minute now things are going to get ugly.

"I think you've got that backwards," Danny retorts, stepping into Ron's space, body practically vibrating with the need to do violence and Martin can't help but be a little turned on.

It's kind of ironic, actually, that they're seconds away from getting their asses kicked by five guys who think they're fags and hate them for it, and Martin's aroused by Danny's sudden show of aggression.

Danny --as well as Martin's half erection-- vanish completely when Matt suddenly appears before him, lips pressed into a thin line and Martin can't help but picture them bleeding.

"You just going to hide behind your boyfriend? Is that what you are? The bitch?" Matt taunts, spit spraying against Martin's face and before Martin can process, he's swinging.

Fist connecting and Martin's only dimly aware that he's managed to hit Matt in the exact spot Danny did a week ago.

It fills him with a sickening sense of pride, the thought lasting only a moment, replaced by pain as Matt's friends join in the fun, pairing off and Martin may be good at hand to hand combat, but he's not that good.

Not good enough to fend off three, anyway. It means Danny only ended up with two, though, and for reasons Martin's not about to question, the thought makes him feel slightly better. Like maybe one of them will come out on top.

Just as suddenly as it began, it stops, voices drifting in and out of Martin's awareness and it takes him a moment to realize he's on the ground. Kneeling, hand wrapped around his stomach, blood trickling out of the side of his mouth and when Martin can focus again, he notices John.

John and several of his friends, all big guys, older and they've managed to push Matt and his friends back. Managed to break apart the fight before it even really began and a wave of indignation washes over him because how dare John interfere? How dare anyone step in and fight Martin's fight and…

"Martin?"

The sound of Danny's voice breaks through the thought, Danny's hands settling on his shoulders, attempting to help him up and Martin doesn't think before shoving Danny back.

"Get off me, I'm fine," he barks, pushing himself up of the floor, mentally categorizing the damage and it's not as bad as he first feared.

A few bruised ribs, a split lip, nothing that won't heal on its own, with time.

Finding his coat on the floor, Martin pauses only to retrieve it before heading in the direction of the door, not thanking John, ignoring the cold fury in Matt's eyes, as well as the hurt in Danny's as he makes his way outside.

~*~

It's strange to be sleeping in his own bed. Pretty much every night since his father's visit, he's slept in Danny's, curled around Danny, more often than not using Danny as a pillow and his own bed is decidedly cold. Hollow and Martin can't help but regret storming out of the bar the way that he did.

Danny's not back yet, despite the fact that Martin's been home for nearly an hour now. He has no idea where Danny is --for all he knows John left and Matt and his friends decided to finish what they started. Martin tries not to think about that alternative too often, because the very thought leaves him panicked, the sudden desire to climb out of bed and go searching almost overwhelming the pain keeping him in bed.

In the end, though, the pain wins out, or maybe it's just the thought of people seeing them together. Seeing him at Danny's side and assuming the exact same thing Matt assumes and Martin's nowhere near ready for people to know about them.

It's not that he's in the closet, per se --because really, he's still not entirely certain he's gay, this thing with Danny just an anomaly, something entirely tied to Danny and that doesn't mean he has to accept a label-- but there's something to be said for discretion. More and more Martin's certain of that.

After all, if they'd been more discreet Matt wouldn't have reason to wait around in bars for them. He wouldn't have reasons to start fights or slander them at every available opportunity.

It's not even just Matt. Martin knows, eventually, word will get around, and then the Academy will know, and then the Bureau will know, and then his father will know and suddenly all those what ifs he spends countless hours worrying about seem a lot more probable.

He's so lost in worrying that he doesn't hear the door open. Doesn't hear Danny slipping into the room. Doesn't hear Danny undressing or climbing into his own bed, and by the time Martin registers the fact that Danny's there, it's too late to take back his words.

Too late for a lot of things, Martin suspects.

Chapter Text

It takes all his concentration not to flinch, the cloth rough and cold against his lip and the only thing stopping Martin from drawing back is the hurt he saw in Danny's eyes the night before.

The hurt that's still there, lingering, but faded, dimmer than it was and the last thing Martin wants to do is make this worse.

They haven't spoken. Not really. Not since Martin woke to find Danny sitting on the edge of his bed, wet cloth in hand and Danny mumbled something about Martin letting himself fall apart before pressing the cloth to Martin's mouth.

Danny hasn't said anything since, but he's watching Martin, staring like he's expecting a repeat of last night. Expecting Martin to push him away. Expecting this to end before it even has a chance to begin and Martin wants to reassure him.

He doesn't, mostly because he's not sure how, but also because he needs the assurance himself. Needs to know that Danny understands. That Danny's willing to forgive him. That Danny's willing to give him a second chance because, more than anything, Martin wants one.

The thought came after a night of broken sleep. A night spent waking every few minutes to search the covers for Danny's warmth, each time finding only air and several times Martin contemplated climbing out of bed and crossing the room to slide into Danny's.

"I still think you should go to the infirmary," Danny says suddenly, his words neutral, idle conversation, like they do this every morning and Martin's tempted to just go with it.

Tempted to pretend the night didn't happen. Pretend they can just erase it from their memories, pick up where they left off and continue forward without the awkwardness and explanation he knows should follow what happened.

He's tempted, and yet, he knows doing so will only create more problems, likely ones they'll never be able to come back from and the thought of losing Danny terrifies Martin even more than the thought of people --even his father-- finding out about them.

"I'm sorry," Martin says, or tries to, the cloth muffling his words.

Danny hears, though, nodding like the apology isn't necessary. His eyes soften, relief apparent on his features and Martin releases a breath he didn't know he was holding.

"You know," Danny begins, pulling the cloth away from Martin's mouth, leaning back until there's enough space between them to fit an entire other person.

Martin tries not to worry about what that might mean.

"I was fourteen when I figured out I was gay," Danny continues, fidgeting for a moment before pushing himself off the bed, standing and the second his feet hit the ground, he's pacing. "After that, I didn't even question it. It just was, you know?"

And no, Martin doesn't know. Can't even begin to understand, but Martin still finds himself nodding, silently urging Danny to continue.

"I knew you were a closet case the second I met you," Danny says, the words harsh and Martin wants to deny it.

Wants to tell Danny he's wrong, that he doesn't know Martin at all. Curiosity, more than anything, guards his tongue.

"Forget it. I don't even know what I'm talking about," Danny finishes, obviously frustrated and Martin knows him well enough by this point to know the topic is closed.

He hasn't stopped pacing, his hands still twitching at his sides and Martin wants too tell him to keep talking. About anything, even the weather, because there's something decidedly odd about Danny's lack of gesturing.

He thinks it's because it's so much a part of who Danny is. Of what he is and Martin never thought he'd actually find himself wanting to see the movement of someone's hands.

"Danny… I…" Martin trails off, uncertain how to proceed.

And how can he? Danny's right, after all; Martin's spent pretty much his entire life denying who he is. Denying how he feels and while part of him wants to change, the rest of him knows that's all but impossible.

"We should bandage your ribs," Danny comments, changing the topic, obviously not liking the direction their current conversation is going and this time Martin lets him.

He nods wordlessly, struggling to push himself up into a seated position, Danny already moving across the room, digging through the small first aid kit that they were given along with their uniforms.

He pulls out a roll of adhesive tape, eyeing it critically before nodding to himself, crossing back across the room, once again perching on the side of Martin's bed and Martin doesn't hesitate before lifting off his shirt.

Or trying to, at least, his body protesting the movement and Martin's not entirely sure how he's supposed to make it through the day. Fortunately, they're not expected on the Marine course, but there's still running, and the firing range, and endless hours in class.

"Here," Danny says, shaking his head like Martin should have known better than to try to undress himself. "You know, if you went to the infirmary, they would excuse you from having to do anything physical today," he continues, hands ghosting across Martin's flesh as he pulls Martin's shirt up and off.

"Yeah, and then I wouldn't meet the requirements to graduate," Martin reminds him, forcing himself to sit perfectly still, arms lifted while Danny winds the tape around his torso. "Besides, it's not that bad," he finishes, partly a lie, because while it's not unbearable, it is uncomfortable.

"Just be thankful we have our law class first this morning," Danny tells him, but he smiles, letting Martin know that, if the situation were reversed, he'd likely be doing the exact same thing.

"Thank you," Martin answers, not at all what he meant to say, but he does mean it. More than that, he wants Danny to hear it, because, while things might not be normal yet, Danny's given him a chance.

~*~

Danny was right. He should have gone to the infirmary.

At the very least they would have given him painkillers and Martin's starting to think he's not going to make it through the day without them.

They're only an hour into their first class, the most strenuous thing Martin's done so far consisting of showering and eating breakfast. The chair beneath him is unyielding, though, forcing him to sit upright just so that he can breathe.

It doesn't help that he keeps forgetting about his ribs. Keeps glancing over his shoulder, half expecting Matt or his friends to appear, bent on finishing the job and Martin hates that he's worried about it.

And worried isn't the word he's looking for, because he's not worried. Concerned, maybe, but only because Martin knows eventually it's all going to come to a head and the fallout from that will be worse than anything Matt or his friends do to Martin.

He hasn't seen Matt, though, Matt's seat empty and Martin's not sure what to think about that. He's not sure what to think about a lot of things, actually. Like the fact that John seems to be hovering over his shoulder regardless of where Martin goes. Or the fact that Danny seems completely nonchalant, like he's not at all concerned that Martin's struggling to move about, or that they haven't really made up, or even that Matt's not going to be satisfied with yesterday's fight.

"Fitzgerald."

It takes Martin a moment to realize the class is looking at him, waiting for some kind of reaction and it's only then that Martin notices the agent standing at the front of the room.

Under ideal circumstances, Martin should have been out of his chair before the last syllable of his name left the agent's lips. But these aren't ideal circumstances and, in addition to the time it took Martin to clue in to the situation, it takes him several minutes to push himself out of his chair.

Several more to make it down the steps and to the door, the agent gesturing curtly for Martin to follow him into the hall and Martin tries to ignore the eyes of thirty students as he follows the man outside.

"Yes, Sir?" Martin asks as soon as the door closes behind him, trying to stand at proper attention, failing miserably.

He doesn't get an answer, instead another gesture and Martin finds himself following the man down the hall.

He's not sure how long they walk --a while, Martin thinks, although he suspects even ten feet would feel too long given his current condition-- twisting through several halls, heading deeper into the compound and it's not until Martin recognizes the administrative cafeteria that he realizes where he is.

The administration building, the agent in front of him finally slowing to a stop in front of a pair of doors that lead, Martin suspects, into the Field Counsellor's office --the last place Martin wants to be.

"Third door on your left," the man tells him before turning around, walking back the way he came and Martin's left with no choice but to head inside.

The door opens into a long corridor, offices lining either side and Martin makes his way down to the third. The door's open, revealing a surprisingly sparse office and Martin clears his throat before entering.

He recognizes the man standing by the window, one of his father's friends, someone Martin's met on several occasions and Martin swallows before clearing his throat a second time.

"Have a seat, Martin," Supervisory Agent Abbott tells him, Martin cringing at the use of his first name before crossing the room and claiming one of the chairs in front of Abbott's desk.

"Sir?" Martin asks once seated, fighting against the urge to slouch.

"I understand you were involved in an altercation last night," Abbott says after a moment, not turning away from the window.

"An altercation, Sir?" Martin asks, playing dumb, something he associates with his father and Martin hates that his father's shadow has managed to follow him here.

"Some of your classmates reported a fight, between yourself and Mathew Cunningham," Abbott begins, finally moving away from the window, crossing over to his desk to sit. "I also understand that Mathew started the fight, which is why he's on suspension and you're not, but I still require an official statement."

For some reason, despite Matt's absence this morning, Martin's surprised by Abbott's words. He can't imagine who reported the fight --it certainly wasn't him and Danny's not the type to bring it up. John flashes through his mind, but Martin's not entirely sure John's the type either.

"It was nothing, Sir. Just a small misunderstanding. It won't happen again," Martin answers, biting his tongue to keep from asking if his father's been informed.

That, on top of everything else, is the last thing he needs.

"You're choosing not to file an official report, then?" Abbott questions, Martin knowing what he's not saying.

Unless Martin files a report, Matt's suspension won't hold.

"No, Sir. I'd rather not," Martin replies, the prospect of having this incident formally on his record much more alarming than the prospect of having Matt return.

"I think you're making a mistake, but very well. You can return to class," Abbott dismisses him, shaking his head and Martin can't help himself.

"Sir? Would it be possible to keep this incident from my father?" he asks, cringing at the desperation in his voice.

For a moment, he thinks Abbott's going to disagree, disappointment written across his features. The moment fades almost as soon as it came, Abbott reluctantly nodding, once again gesturing Martin's dismissal.

Martin smiles his thanks before leaving, barely managing to make it out the door before grimacing in pain, something he didn't want Abbott to see. If the man his father played golf with twice a week suspected Martin was injured, Martin doubts anything he said could have prevented his father from finding out.

~*~

Class is just letting out when he finally makes it back.

He spots Danny almost immediately, standing just outside the door, far enough away to avoid the streaming mass of students leaving the lecture hall, close enough to avoid looking out of place.

He looks torn, hesitant to leave, uncertain whether he should stay and wait. He's not looking in Martin's direction, instead peering down the hall, searching faces and Martin knows exactly what he's doing.

Still, he doesn't say anything until he reaches Danny's side, Danny jumping at Martin's hey before eyeing him like Danny's expecting to find some physical evidence of Martin's absence.

"Hey," Danny finally answers, still eyeing Martin like he knows Martin's not going to explain and is hoping to figure it out on his own.

"Hey. Did I miss anything?" Martin asks, waiting for Danny to ask.

He's not even sure why, except that he thinks maybe Danny's asking will give him a chance for honesty, a chance to redeem himself for last night and Martin's not certain when he started wanting to prove himself to Danny.

"I took notes," Danny answers, peering into Martin's eyes, expression searching and Martin sighs before slumping against the wall, body instantly relaxing and Martin's tempted to remain leaning against the wall for the rest of the day.

"Supervisory Agent Abbott wanted to see me. Someone reported our scrap with Matt," Martin explains, watching Danny for any indication that he might have known.

He seems surprised, though, so obviously Martin was right: Danny's not the type.

"I think he wanted me to press charges, get Matt kicked out," Martin continues and this time Danny looks alarmed.

"And you didn't?" he asks, incredulous like he knows damn well Martin didn't and doesn't approve.

"Of course not. Look, Matt's a jerk, but I just want to get through this, graduate and then I'll never have to worry about seeing him again," Martin explains, ignoring the small part of his brain that tells him he'll likely never see Danny again either.

He thinks Danny might know, because his expression shifts, part understanding, part disapproval and Martin's about to respond when a throat clears next to them.

Agent Jackson, looking less than impressed at finding them lagging behind and Martin flushes before pushing himself off the wall, grimacing against the pain before falling in behind the rest of the class, heading toward the indoor range, Danny falling into step beside him, silent, lost in his own thoughts and Martin hates that this still isn't resolved.

Chapter Text

The week ends almost the way it began, Martin flat on his back, Danny curled at his side, sunlight flittering in through the window and, for a moment, Martin can't remember what day it is.

Saturday, he finally decides, because his alarm goes off before sunrise, and it hasn't, and the only time he doesn't have to force himself out of bed before the sun is on weekends.

Not that the day is completely free, but they don't have a morning class, or a morning run, or a morning anything and the next few hours are theirs.

Technically, they're supposed to use the time to catch up on work. Finish projects and assignments. He doubts the Academy intended for recruits to spend it sleeping in. He also doubts many recruits spend the time doing anything but sleeping in.

He has an excuse, though; ribs still tender and lying horizontal is pretty much the only thing Martin wants to be doing right now. It helps that he's back in Danny's bed, Danny far enough away to avoid injuring Martin more than he already is --which surprises Martin considering Danny's still sound asleep-- close enough that Martin can feel his heat, sense his presence.

Danny suggested it, yesterday ending with Danny all but carrying Martin back to their room, placing Martin in his bed before stripping and sliding in next to him. They didn't have sex --didn't even kiss goodnight-- Danny covering them both in blankets before falling asleep, leaving Martin to stare at him in the darkness and wonder if this was as close to resolve as they were going to get.

He's still wondering, contemplating exactly what he's going to say when Danny does wake up. He gets as far as hi when Danny shifts beside him, automatically reaching out and when he makes contact, he smiles, shifting a little closer before awareness cuts through the haze of sleep.

Then he's pulling back, sitting upright and blinking down at Martin like he honestly doesn't remember them sharing a bed last night.

"Hi," Martin tries, because he did spend several minutes coming up with it, so it would be a shame not to use it.

It seems to work, anyway, Danny laughing, shaking his head before rubbing his eyes, easing back onto the bed and turning until he's facing Martin's profile.

"Morning. How are your ribs?" he asks, settling further into the pillows, still far enough away that Martin would have to physically move in order to touch him.

"Better," Martin answers, not really a lie, because they are, somewhat.

"Uhuh," Danny says, like he doesn't believe it. Martin's not entirely sure when Danny started being able to read him so absolutely.

"Okay, they're better than they were yesterday, but still bad," Martin admits, earning one of Danny's genuine smiles and it's almost enough to make Martin forget about the pain.

Almost, but not quite, Martin hissing as he shifts, turning onto his side and he's forced to release an even breath before the new position becomes comfortable.

It leaves him facing Danny, though, something that's worth the discomfort, a thousand times over, in fact.

"Are we okay?" Martin asks, watching Danny's eyes, taking in the slight change of light that tells him Danny's putting up walls.

"We're good," Danny answers, just a little too quickly and Martin doesn't get a chance to respond before Danny's shifting, sitting up again, this time sliding from the bed and Martin comes dangerously close to screaming.

"We're not going to be good if we don't get some work done, though," Danny continues, tone light as he pulls on yesterday's clothes and Martin knows he's just trying to avoid the topic of them.

He is right though; they both have assignments due on Monday, a case on Tuesday and that doesn't include studying for next week's tests.

"Yeah," Martin answers somewhat reluctantly, hissing a second time as he pushes himself into a seated position.

Danny's at his side in an instant, hovering, looking fully like he intends on helping Martin out of bed. He doesn't, though, hesitating, watching Martin like he's searching for some sign of weakness, maybe permission to do something other than just stand there.

Martin offers a smile, silently telling Danny it's okay and Danny relaxes, returning Martin's smile before offering a hand. Martin accepts it, allowing Danny to pull him to his feet.

And now, now he doesn't know what to do --Danny mere inches away, their hands still linked together, Danny watching like he half expects Martin to fall and all Martin really wants to do is kiss him.

 

"Why don't you stay here, and I'll bring you back some food," Danny says suddenly, releasing Martin's hand before stepping back, clearly nervous and it reminds Martin of that night he found Danny in the hall of the club what now seems a lifetime ago.

Martin doesn't answer, instead nodding, watching resolve settle onto Danny's features and then Danny's leaving, the door closing behind him and Martin waits only long enough to hear Danny's footsteps fade before climbing back into bed.

~*~

He's walking even slower than he usually does, partly because of his ribs, but mostly because the ground is covered in a fresh layer of snow, half of it melted from the passing of dozens of boots, leaving the ground slick with ice.

Twice now he's almost fallen, barely managing to catch himself and Martin has a feeling, if he did fall, he wouldn't be able to get back up again.

Not on his own, anyway, and so far he's the only person he's seen willing to be outside on a Saturday morning.

Technically, it's fast approaching afternoon, the morning spent eating the breakfast Danny had brought him in bed, then showering, then studying and it was past eleven when Danny mentioned needing to go to the library.

It left Martin with relatively little to do, so after spending ten minutes staring at the far wall, Martin decided walking would be a good way to warm up his body for their afternoon stint on the Firearms Automated Training System.

Twenty minutes into his walk, Martin's decided that he probably should have stayed in bed.

It's not that he's hurting --the aching of his ribs almost familiar now, something that Martin's learning to deal with-- just that, between the cold and the ice, the thought of being indoors is suddenly appealing.

It's not until the library comes into view that Martin realizes where he is. Where he was going, because of course this was all predestined, like his subconscious knew exactly where he wanted to be and brought him to the exact place Danny happened to be.

It's almost sad, when he thinks about it, that Danny manages to drive Martin's behaviour even without being around and Martin sighs as he turns up the path to the front doors.

He's halfway there when he spots him.

Matt. Standing just outside the doors, staring at Martin, thankfully alone and Martin hesitates before continuing forward.

He doesn't say anything, tries to avoid eye contact, but Matt seems bent on saying whatever it is he has to say, stepping in front of Martin, leaving Martin with two options: run him over, which Martin doubts he could do right now, or stop and listen to what Matt has to say.

"What do you want, Matt?" Martin finally asks, trying to remain upright, hoping Matt hasn't noticed just how much damage he and his friends managed to do.

"Why didn't you rat me out?" Matt asks, stepping back, giving Martin space and, if Martin didn't know any better, he'd swear Matt actually looked apologetic.

"I just didn't, okay," Martin answers, using Matt's distance to step around him.

He manages a few paces before Matt calls out his name, Martin turning and Matt hasn't moved, still standing in the middle of the path, looking almost lost and an irrational surge of regret washes over him. Too late, he thinks, he should have ratted Matt out.

"Is it true? Are you and Taylor really…" Matt trails off, his expression an awkward combination of loathing and curiosity.

Martin shakes his head before answering. "Does it matter?" he asks, the closest thing to confirmation he's willing to give.

And maybe it doesn't, because Matt shrugs, still looking slightly out of place, but before he can comment, before Martin can say anything, the library doors open and Martin knows it's Danny even before he turns around.

He does anyway, turning and Danny just looks at him, not at all surprised to find Martin standing outside the main doors of the library. He does look surprised when he spots Matt, eyes narrowing and his shoulders tense, almost as though he's expecting a fight.

"You okay, Martin?" he asks, just under his breath so that Matt doesn't hear him.

Martin nods, turning back in time to see Matt shake his head and then he's walking away, not hurrying, but not lingering either.

"I was just out walking," Martin says as soon as Matt vanishes, turning back to Danny and Danny chuckles like he knows exactly why Martin's here.

"What did he want?" Danny asks, gesturing in the direction Matt went, still looking like he's half expecting Matt's friends to appear out of thin air and start something.

"Him? I think I just found an even bigger closet case than me," Martin answers, echoing Danny's words and Martin doesn't miss the realization in Danny's eyes.

The acknowledgement of Martin's words and Danny sighs, obviously resigning himself to a conversation that's been brewing for days.

Wordlessly, he starts walking, steps slow and even paced to give Martin a chance to catch up. Martin can tell he's listening, though, willing to hear Martin out and Martin doesn't hesitate before speaking.

"You were right. I've spent my entire life trying not to be gay, telling myself it was just a phase, just the guy; dozens of excuses, but…" Martin trails off, stealing his breath for the rest because it's the first time he's ever been honest with himself. The first time he's ever been honest with someone else.

"Just because I'm 'in the closet', doesn't mean I don't want this," he finishes, gesturing between them and Danny's half smile makes Martin suddenly glad that he finally said it.

"Good, because I'd be pretty pissed off if this turned out to be one sided," Danny answers, glancing over, smile shifting to a grin and Martin returns it without thinking.

And granted, he's not about to start wearing rainbow socks, and he won't be marching in any pride parades anytime soon, but it's a start. More than that, it's quite possibly the biggest leap of faith he's ever made, and making it earned him Danny, which is pretty much the best thing he's ever had.

"Come on, we've got an hour before we're due at the FATS," Danny says, picking up the pace only slightly, knowing it's the best Martin can manage.

Martin refrains from telling him that he'd be willing to run if it meant getting back to their room sooner.

Chapter Text

Most of the time, he barely notices his ribs.

Sometimes, though, he'll twist the wrong way, arch without thinking and then he'll remember. Pain and discomfort oddly out of place and, while technically it's only been a week and he knows his body hasn't healed yet, it's only then that he'll remember that he should be taking it easy.

Not that he needs to, Danny remembering for him, freezing the second Martin shifts, waiting for Martin to settle back against the mattress and nod before he's moving again. Even then his pace is slow, frustratingly so and Martin knows he should probably be touched.

Flattered that Danny cares more about Martin's well-being than he does getting off, but right now, Danny buried inside him, all Martin really wants is for Danny to move.

He says it too, or tries to, the words coming out muffled, his face buried in Danny's neck, arms wrapped around Danny's shoulders, fingers digging into Danny's back.

And of course Danny mistakes the sound for protest, instantly stilling and sometimes Martin thinks that Danny's just a little too cautious. A little too worried and Martin pulls back to glare before speaking.

"Would you just fucking move already," he demands, the words grunted, breathless and he knows how he must look.

Face flushed red, forehead beaded with sweat, eyes narrow and mouth open and if he doesn't come soon, he's likely going to kill Danny.

He's been hovering on the edge of orgasm for what feels like hours now. He knows it hasn't been that long --they do, after all, have places to be this morning and, despite waking early, they don't have enough time for hours.

They certainly don't have enough time for Danny's caution.

"Pushy," Danny mumbles in reply, but he starts moving again, drawing back, eyes closing against the sensation before he's pushing forward again, their bodies colliding violently and the sensation is so satisfying that Martin whimpers.

He regrets the sound as soon as it leaves his mouth, Danny once again stilling, body trembling with the effort and Martin growls. It seems to work, Danny opening his eyes, shaking his head and smirking before pulling back, sliding forward a second later, the bed shaking beneath them and Martin gives up waiting.

He reaches between them, wrapping his hand around his cock, stroking in time to Danny's thrusts, pressing his thumb hard against his head on the upstroke, letting his fingers dip low to press against his balls on the downstroke.

He can tell Danny's watching him, staring at the space between them, watching Martin jerk himself off and Danny stops holding back. Starts fucking Martin in earnest, control slipping as his pace becomes frantic and way too soon Danny tenses.

Comes and Martin doesn't think he'll ever get tired of watching Danny come. He thinks it might be Danny's expression; awe, like he can't believe he gets to do this, like he honestly never thought he'd have Martin and sometimes Martin swears he sees gratitude reflected in Danny's eyes.

It's gone almost as soon as it appears, Danny collapsing, remembering a moment later that lying on Martin probably isn't the best of plans. He pushes himself up with obvious effort, Martin's hand moving the second Danny's weight is gone, stroking almost frantically and as soon as Danny's hand wraps around his own, Martin comes.

Arches back in the process, his ribs be damned because this is only the second time they've done this since Martin's injury and Martin was starting to suspect Danny would make them wait the endless weeks needed for Martin's ribs to fully heal.

He's still floating in the void when Danny pulls out, settling onto the bed at Martin's side and Martin sighs, blushing furiously the second he registers the sound because, while satisfaction is one thing, sounding like a blushing bride is something else entirely and Martin's not about to start acting like a love struck teenager just because they had sex.

"We're going to be late," Danny murmurs next to him, but he makes no move to get up, sinking further into the pillows and Martin grunts his agreement.

He can't even remember where they're supposed to be this morning --Hogan's Alley, he thinks-- but he's fairly sure it doesn't matter. If it's not one thing, it's another, after all, and while he knows they'll likely get in trouble for being late, Martin doesn't care, his entire body still floating, only the awareness of Danny's warmth keeping him from falling asleep.

Or maybe not, because his eyes feel heavy, his entire body relaxed for the first time in four days --ironically since the last time they tried this-- and sleep sounds like a pretty good idea right now.

The prospect is taken from him as soon as he considers it, Danny groaning before pushing himself up, fighting against his own exhaustion and when he climbs from the bed, Martin's left with little choice but to join him.

Sitting up takes effort that has nothing to do with his ribs, his entire body still tingling and Martin has to shake his head before he's able to climb from the bed. Even then the room kind of sways, a wave of light-headedness claiming him as he settles on his feet, bending to retrieve his boxers from where they landed next to the night table during this morning's adventure.

It takes what seems an eternity to find the rest of his clothes, Danny having removed those the night before, tossing them carelessly to the side and somehow Martin's shirt ended up under the bed.

His pants are beside Danny's bed, along with his shoes and Martin makes a mental note to ask Danny to start folding their clothes the next time they get undressed.

The thought's enough to start him laughing, softly, just under his breath and by the time Martin's ready to go, Danny's already waiting impatiently by the door, shower supplies in hand and Martin shakes his head before joining him.

"We're not that late, you know," he comments once they make it out into the hall, heading toward the showers and Danny grins.

"No, but I wouldn't mind having an extra long shower this morning," he replies, glancing over to smirk and this time Martin's laugh carries.

~*~

This isn't necessarily his favourite thing to do.

He knows it's necessary, understanding how a crime scene is investigated an important part of his training, but in the real world the Bureau has technicians to do this type of work.

The knowledge makes him feel kind of silly, actually; wandering around the mock scene, placing yellow cards next to broken glass and bullet casings. He doesn't complain, though, the work easy and, besides, in a removed way this does help him to see the bigger picture.

He suspects that's why they're doing this, learning the ins and outs of investigation because, while they won't necessarily do this during their careers, knowing how will help them in the long run.

He's not sure where Danny is; the class divided into teams of five, sent to different locations and all Martin knows is that Danny's somewhere across town.

Likely doing the exact same thing Martin's doing and, for some reason that he chooses not to question, the thought of Danny mirroring his movements makes Martin feel just a little bit better about an exercise he's starting to hate.

It still seems surreal, when he thinks about it, how quickly they managed to put aside the awkwardness between them, falling back into their relationship like they didn't spend several days at the beginning of the week avoiding each other.

It's strange, and yet oddly comforting, like Martin knows now that, no matter what, there's nothing they won't be able to work through.

They still haven't talked about what's going to happen when they graduate, though. Martin knows the chance of them getting assigned to the same city is pretty remote, but he's starting to wonder if that even matters.

He doesn't have much experience with long distance relationships, but for the first time in his life, he's starting to consider trying.

As soon as he thinks it he frowns, the thought ridiculous because the life of an agent isn't exactly conducive to a relationship. He can't even imagine finding time for a long distance one and he knows, regardless of how hard they try, they'll likely end up drifting apart, eventually never speaking again and the thought is almost enough to make Martin want to end things now.

He thinks it might be easier, in the long run, because he knows it's only going to get harder with time. For the first time in his life, he's actually considering calling his father, requesting they be assigned to the same place.

He knows his father could do it, but that would require explaining why he wanted it, and Martin's nowhere near ready to come out to his parents.

Hell, a week ago he didn't even know he needed to come out. Things are different now, though, Martin slowly coming to terms with the knowledge that all his past indiscretions actually meant something. Actually said something about him, but Martin knows it'll be a long time before he's willing to bring that up with his family.

He tells himself it doesn't matter anyway, that if his father did know there would be nothing Martin could say that would convince him to assign them together. In all likelihood, his father knowing would only ensure they were separated.

Besides, there's a still a chance, however slim, and until he knows for sure, there's really no sense worrying about it.

Not the thought makes him feel any better.

"Is there something particularly interesting about that shoeprint, Fitzgerald?"

It's not until Agent Jackson says it that Martin realizes he's drifted off, too busy thinking about Danny and exactly where this thing between them is going to pay attention to what he's supposed to be doing.

It doesn't help that Jackson's still a little suspicious about them showing up late together, several classmates snickering at the fact --although, oddly, Matt wasn't one of them, looking more embarrassed than amused and Martin's starting to suspect he was right about Matt.

"Sorry, Sir," Martin answers, not explaining because, really, what is there to explain?

I was busy thinking about my boyfriend and whether or not he's still going to be my boyfriend in a couple of weeks.

He has a feeling that wouldn't go over well at all.

He also has a feeling he's going to spend the next few weeks thinking about it, things entirely too perfect now and, if there's one thing he's good at, it's screwing things up.

Things like relationships and it seems the only time Martin's not worrying about what's going to happen tomorrow is when he's with Danny.

Martin makes a mental note to never let Danny out of his sight again.

The feel of Jackson's eyes draw him back to reality, Martin cursing himself for once again drifting before straightening, forcing himself to pay attention.

Jackson's still staring at him, eyes weighing and Martin involuntarily cringes against a lecture that doesn't come. Instead Jackson merely shakes his head, glancing away before barking something about them taking their findings to the lab in a voice loud enough for everyone to hear.

Martin releases a breath before complying, gathering the evidence he's collected before tossing it into the small kit they were given upon arriving. He's the last to start moving toward the lab, the rest of the team directly on Jackson's heels and Martin has to jog to catch up.

He does, though, still half expecting a lecture and it's not until they reach the centre of town that he relaxes.

He suspects that has more to do with Danny's sudden presence than their arrival, though, Danny smiling at him from across the street and Martin returns his smile without hesitation.

Having Danny in his line of sight, it's almost easy to forget that, just a few minutes ago, he was worrying about the direction of their relationship. He knows it's still there, the lingering doubt that'll likely follow him to the end of the term, but watching Danny cross the street to join him, Martin doesn't care.

Danny's presence is distracting and by the time Danny reaches him, Martin's managed to push the doubt aside, vowing not to worry about it until the next time he finds himself alone and bored.

Chapter Text

It's not until he's packed all of his personal belongings into his duffel bag that Martin realizes just how little he owns.

How little of himself he brought with him, his bag not even half full and the only things left in the room are the items issued to him by the Academy.

He's more than just a little nervous about this weekend. Rationally, he knows what to expect --after all, this isn't the first time he's spent Thanksgiving at his Aunt's place. It is, however, the first time he's ever brought someone with him.

He's still not quite sure why he invited Danny, except maybe that he knew Danny didn't have anywhere to go. And okay, technically the invitation came on the edge of an orgasm, but they'd talked about it before hand, so it's not like it was the first time Martin thought about asking.

In fact, he suspects he's been thinking about asking for a while. Weeks, even, ever since they spent the night talking about family and holiday plans, Danny casually mentioning that his only remaining family member --his brother-- was in jail and that he had no intentions of visiting.

He joked about spending the weekend studying, getting ahead of the class, but Martin could tell he was less than enthusiastic about the prospect of spending the weekend alone. In fact, he seemed lost, depressed even, and Martin ended up calling his Aunt the very next morning.

And of course she was thrilled that Martin wanted to bring a friend. Delighted by the prospect of entertaining and, despite that, it still took Martin a good two weeks to work up the courage to ask.

He had to ask twice, of course, Danny discounting his first invitation, his laughter forced, nervous and it wasn't until Martin repeated the question the next morning that Danny took him seriously.

Even then it took convincing on Martin's part, and entire day spent reassuring Danny that, yes, he wanted him there. No, his Aunt wouldn't mind. In the end, it took Martin admitting that he'd already checked with his Aunt before Danny agreed.

Which led them to here, Martin packed, sitting on the edge of his neatly made bed, waiting for Danny to decide what to bring.

"We'll be there for two days, so you need two changes of clothes," Martin says, laughing slightly when Danny glances over his shoulder to glare.

 

"This is amusing to you, isn't it?" Danny questions, the statement meant to be rhetorical, but Martin answers all the same.

"Very," he replies, and it is, because he honestly never expected Danny to stress over what he was going to wear.

Logically, he knows it makes sense, Danny still under the impression that Martin's family is exceptionally well off. In all likelihood, he's probably expecting a formal dinner with servants rushing between the tables.

Martin's told him that isn't the case, not with his Aunt, anyway. Bonnie's a down to earth woman and the dinner will likely include screaming children and the occasional food fight.

Not that Danny believes it, of course, still frantically digging through clothes to find something 'appropriate', as he puts it.

"Okay, I think I'm good," Danny finally says, bag packed and Martin can't help but notice the tension in his shoulders.

It's almost funny, when he thinks about it, both of them nervous but for entirely different reasons and Martin steals his breath before pushing himself up off the bed.

He crosses the room quickly, before his resolve has a chance to dissipate, opening the door wide and it's not until they're in the hall that Martin starts to relax.

He's doing this. Actually introducing Danny to members of his family. And okay, technically his family thinks Danny's just a friend, but it's a step, a big one, as far as Martin's concerned, so that has to mean something.

"You sure we're not going to have to wear ties?" Danny asks beside him, eyes fixed on the ground, mouth tense and Martin chuckles before answering.

"Actually, tuxes, but don't worry, my uncle has one you can borrow," Martin jokes, earning a wide-eyed stare that sets him laughing all over again.

~*~

This isn't the first time he's traveled the day before Thanksgiving, but it the first time he's traveled by train, and he doesn't think he's ever seen an Amtrak station this packed before.

There are people everywhere, crowding into every available space, belongings tucked between legs or clutched against chests. He can practically taste the anticipation in the air, eager excitement rolling off the travelers in waves as they wait for trains to take them home to family and friends, meals they'll talk about until Christmas.

In truth, he can feel it too, the anxiousness of waiting, the eagerness to be home. It's dulled only by the nervousness that's been with him since he woke this morning, the prospect of introducing Danny to the only people he's ever really called family clenching his stomach and Martin swallows before shifting forward with the rest of the line.

They have time, he tells himself, a five hour trip from Quantico Virginia to New Rochelle New York and then a twenty minute cab ride to Mount Vernon before he has to worry about making introductions.

It doesn't help, Martin's mind racing as he pictures introducing Danny to his cousins. They've never really been good at the whole minding their own business thing and Martin can already picture them bombarding Danny with questions until they get what they're looking for.

Then, of course, there's sleeping arrangements, Martin's Aunt's place too small for an abundance of rooms. Martin considered staying in one of the local hotels, but his Aunt seemed bound and bent on putting them up, telling him there was always room like she'd honestly rather die than let them shell out for a hotel.

Martin can almost picture Danny and him being forced to share a room with one of Martin's cousins.

The thought's enough to make him shudder, Danny glancing over questioningly before placing a tentative hand on Martin's arm, like he's not quite sure how Martin's going to react and is honestly still expecting Martin to leave him behind.

"It's okay," Martin tells him, leaning into Danny's touch, offering a slight smile before starting forward, the train boarding and Martin tells himself he's not disappointed when Danny's hand falls away.

~*~

Martin's not entirely sure how Danny can concentrate right now.

It's beyond Martin's ability, anyway. They haven't even hit New York and already his hands are starting to sweat. Not to mention his stomach, still twisting and the rocking of the train certainly isn't helping.

Danny, on the other hand, seems perfectly calm, text book balanced across his knees and of course he thought to bring work. With three weeks left in their training, Martin knows he should be studying too, final exams fast approaching, but the idea of spending this weekend with his nose in a book is hardly appealing.

He's already met the physical qualifications --they both have, actually-- last week consisting of various drills and obstacle courses, tests on the range and a hand to hand combat tournament that Martin managed to place fifth in.

He likely would have done better if it weren't for his ribs, mostly healed now, but occasionally they give him problems, enough that he didn't finish on top, anyway.

Danny did just as well, placing seventh in hand to hand and third --six places above Martin-- on the range. The rest of their exams consist of law interpretation, legal cases and scenario work and he has a feeling Danny's going to end up near the top of the class for those.

Part of him is excited about finishing, finally getting to move on from the endless hours spent training and studying and start a job he's wanted for longer than he can remember. The rest of him is dreading it, their assignments announced the day of graduation and Martin's not sure he can wait that long to find out where they're sending him.

They filled in their applications together, ranking the same choices in the same order, but that doesn't necessarily mean anything. For all Martin knows he'll get stuck in some backwater office while Danny ends up at their first choice --Washington.

They'd argued about that, actually, Martin not really wanting to work in the same city as his father, but the J. Edgar Hover building is a big place, and Martin knows the likelihood of ever running into his father is remote. Besides, D.C. offers the best positions, all of them conducive to starting a career in the Bureau and they both want a chance to move forward.

"So why aren't you going home for Thanksgiving?" Danny asks next to him, drawing Martin from the memory.

He hasn't glanced up from his text book, but Martin can tell he's paying attention, listening attentively and it's still strange to realize that Danny wants to know as much about Martin as Martin wants to know about him.

"My parents have never been big on the whole family dinner thing," Martin tells him, leaving out the part about having spent every single holiday growing up at his Aunt's place.

It's not so much that he minded being shipped off to Aunt Bonnie's --she is, after all, his favourite relative-- but spending the time in between at boarding school meant that he rarely got a chance to see his parents, probably the reason he's never really managed to form a bond with them.

"So they're not going to be there?" Danny asks, and Martin knows what he's not saying.

Martin doesn't think either of them are quite ready for Danny to meet his parents, the brief introduction Danny did have with Victor Fitzgerald ending with Danny telling him that Martin's father, quite frankly, scared the shit out of him.

Martin doesn't even really blame him, Victor intimidating under normal circumstances, more so when he shows up out of the blue. Martin still hasn't heard from him since his visit, nor has he figured out the reason behind the visit, but it put him on edge for well over a week and Danny easily picked up on that.

"No. My sister might be, with her husband and their new baby," Martin tells him, enjoying the pleasantness of conversation, even if it is about his family.

It's better than sitting in silence and worrying, anyway, Martin's nervousness slowly dissipating, the near panic he'd experienced before boarding the train fading to a dull sense of anxiety.

Danny doesn't say anything else, though, turning back to his text book, fingers curling around the side and Martin doesn't miss the whitening of his knuckles. It makes Martin feel slightly better, anyway, knowing that Danny's just as nervous as he is.

~*~

The first thing he notices is the scent of cooking, so strong that his mouth actually starts to water. Then Bonnie's standing in front of him, door open wide and Martin barely has a chance to smile before she's pulling him into a hug.

Sound carries from inside the house, children screaming, people laughing, warmth and noise and scent almost too much and Martin has to fight not to pull back.

He manages, just barely, Bonnie eventually releasing him, stepping aside and eyeing Danny like she's sizing him up.

"You must be Danny," she says, not waiting for Danny's acknowledgment before pulling Danny into the same embrace Martin just managed to free himself from.

Danny seems startled, but pleased, returning Bonnie's hug like he's known her all his life. When she finally releases him, he steps back and smiles, earning an approving nod before Bonnie's leading them into the house, the sound louder with the door closed, the scent of food stronger.

Martin lets himself take it in, feeling more at ease than he has all day and he can't help but wonder why he ever thought to worry.

Beside him, he can tell Danny's thinking the same thing.

Chapter Text

It's not so much the sun that wakes Martin, but the fact that his bed is empty, Danny absent and it's not until Martin opens his eyes that he remembers why.

He's in what was the den before they arrived, two air mattresses blown up on the floor, barely fitting in the small room and Martin swallows against the taste of sleep in his mouth before rolling over and glancing at Danny's mattress.

Which is also empty, Danny's covers turned down, exposing the plaid sheets his Aunt managed to 'scrounge up' at the last moment. Martin suspects she likely went out and bought the set for this exact occasion; probably weeks ago, as soon as she found out Martin was coming, actually.

Sitting up is difficult, the bed shifting beneath him, air pushing to the sides until Martin's trapped in the centre. He has to roll to get out, landing on his knees on the floor before pushing himself to a standing position.

And wait… Danny's bed is empty.

Which means…

Laughter from behind the closed door tells Martin exactly where Danny is. In the kitchen, likely regaling Bonnie and Roger with tales of their time at the Academy, making each story entirely more fascinating than it actually was and Martin smiles to himself before picking his way across the room.

So far, it's going well.

Better than he expected, actually, both his Aunt and his Uncle taking to Danny like he was family rather than someone they only just met. It helps that Danny bleeds charm, his ability to put people at ease and meld into any social situation instantly making him a hit and Martin keeps expecting Bonnie to invite Danny for Christmas.

She hasn't, yet, but Martin can tell she likes him. It makes him glad he convinced Danny to come, something he couldn't honestly say yesterday, doubt lingering pretty much until the moment they arrived.

It vanished soon after, Bonnie talking Danny's ear off, Danny handling the entire ordeal with quiet amusement, laughing at Bonnie's stories, answering Bonnie's questions, taking everything in stride and, by the time they were finished dinner, Bonnie was treating Danny like she would one of her kids.

She even gave him dish duty, sending him and Martin into the kitchen with a look that dared them to protest. They didn't, of course, despite grumbling about it once they were out of earshot.

It's… nice, actually, spending time with his family, allowing them to meet Danny and interact with Danny and Martin knows that's probably a sign that he's a lot more serious about Danny than he realized. There's still the problem of telling them exactly who Danny is, granted, but even that prospect doesn't seem as terrifying as it once did.

Martin can't help but laugh at the thought, chuckling just under his breath as he makes his way out into the hall, walking the few short steps until he's standing in the doorway of the kitchen.

For a moment, he doesn't say anything, leaning against the doorframe and just watching. Bonnie's managed to once again put Danny to work, Danny standing over the stove, stirring something that smells suspiciously like scrambled eggs and Martin's mouth waters.

He can only just make out Danny's profile, his back facing the door, hips twisted and head cocked to the side as he listens to Bonnie go on and on about the time Martin spent two weeks digging holes in Bonnie's garden while trying to find buried pirate treasure. Martin groans at the memory and reconsiders just how glad he is that Danny came.

The sound, of course, draws Bonnie from her story, Bonnie glancing over and smiling brightly. Martin tries not to blush when Danny directs a smirk in his direction.

"Morning," Martin says, mostly to change the topic because Bonnie hasn't gotten to the part about him trying to save the earth worms he'd displaced by putting them in the fish pond, later crying as Bonnie's Koi found themselves an afternoon snack.

There is, after all, something to be said for a little mystery in a relationship.

"Morning, Martin," Danny says, drawing out Martin's full name, Martin already scolding him for using Marty --something his cousins used to call him and he hates the nickname to this day.

"Oh, good, you're up. You can make coffee," Bonnie tells him, handing Martin a bag of coffee beans that Martin's sure she had tucked in her pocket, ready to pull out the second Martin managed to make it out of bed.

Martin smiles before nodding, diligently taking the bag, seeking out the coffee grinder and within minutes the kitchen is once again filled with the sounds of cooking.

The entire situation is so nostalgic that Martin's forced to shake his head, not realizing until now just how much he's missed spending time here. So much so that he doesn't complain when Bonnie picks up where she left off, finally getting around to the earth worms, including the Koi and Martin doesn't even really mind that Danny will likely tease him about it for months.

~*~

He'd forgotten how many people turned out to these dinners.

He's lost count of how many people he's hugged, how many hands have been thrust into his. The noise is almost deafening; people laughing, people talking, children racing around screaming. It's almost too much and it's not until Danny drags him outside that Martin realizes he needed the break.

Neither of them have coats, but Danny still drags him around the corner of the house, into the backyard to duck inside Bonnie's greenhouse and, as soon as the door closes, Danny's kissing him.

Bodies pressing together, Danny surprisingly warm, despite having just trucked through the snow to get here, his hands settling on Martin's hips, mouth moving slowly against Martin's lips and Martin can't help but groan when Danny pulls back.

"What was that for?" Martin asks as soon as his brain starts working again.

Danny doesn't answer, instead shrugging, like he doesn't really have an explanation. And maybe he doesn't, because Martin's been thinking about kissing Danny pretty much from the moment he got up and they haven't really had an opportunity before now.

Now, though, they're alone, the silence between them broken only by their breathing and Martin doesn't hesitate before leaning forward to reinitiate the kiss.

It's a stupid idea, he knows, because they're not exactly secluded away and any minute now someone could come looking for them. Martin doesn't care, though, Danny kissing him back like he's been thinking about this all day and suddenly all those glances Danny's been shooting in his direction since breakfast take on new meaning.

He's breathless when Danny finally pulls back, Danny mumbling something about getting too carried away and him not being responsible for his actions if Martin doesn't stop.

It brings Martin back to the moment, anyway, suddenly remembering exactly where they are and exactly who might open the door. It's enough that Martin pulls back, mumbling an apology and Danny has the nerve to laugh.

He doesn't attempt to stop Martin, though, instead looking around, taking in Bonnie's plants before turning over a crate to sit on its end.

"I wasn't expecting so many people," Danny says once he's settled, obviously overwhelmed and Martin can't help but wonder if the kiss was the only reason Danny dragged him out here.

"Only about half of them are family. The rest are family friends, neighbours," Martin explains, grabbing his own crate and pulling it next to Danny's, sitting and, despite the cold outside, inside it's almost too warm.

The air is sticky and damp, heavy and Martin can already feel himself starting to sweat. It's not as bad as it was in the house, though, the heat from the oven and the thirteen people besides the two of them making the house entirely too hot for comfort.

"One of my foster moms had eleven kids living with her. Just her, and that year, for Thanksgiving, she spent all day cooking for us. I can't imagine cooking for twelve, and your Aunt's cooking for fifteen," Danny comments, slipping in the reference to his past and Martin smiles.

He already knew that Danny spent a large portion of his youth jumping between foster homes. Ten, in total, each lasting less than a year and Martin can't even begin to imagine what that must have been like. It's the details in between that Martin wants, Danny not often elaborating.

"One year, I think I was fourteen, she invited the entire block. We rented tables and set up a tent in the yard," Martin tells him, earning one of Danny's soft smiles.

Sharing something about his own youth is often the fastest way to get Danny to elaborate and Martin's not above giving Danny more dirt if it means Danny sharing something else.

Danny doesn't get a chance to add anything to the conversation, though, a knock on the door interrupting them, Martin jumping to his feet and he blushes as soon as he realizes that he didn't need to.

"It's open," he calls, Danny pushing himself off the crate, standing beside him, looking decidedly calmer and Jamie --his eldest cousin and still a few years younger than Martin-- pokes her head in the door.

"Dinner," she informs them, smiling shyly at Danny and Martin fights not to roll his eyes.

She has, after all, been making calf eyes at Danny pretty much from the moment Martin introduced them.

"We'll be right in," Martin tells her, resisting the urge to shoo her out of the greenhouse.

"Okay," Jamie replies, still smiling at Danny, making no move to leave and Martin shakes his head before motioning for Jamie to lead the way.

Even then the going is slow, Jamie trying to lead while maintaining visual contact with Danny.

Martin can't even really blame her.

~*~

They're stuck at the kids table.

Not that Martin's not used to it --in the entire time he's been coming here, he's never once sat with the adults. Besides, it's not like there's room, Bonnie's dining room table and kitchen table pushed together to make room for all the adults. The kids have card tables, three of them arranged in an L and Martin's just glad he's not on the end with the children.

Danny's at his right, Jamie sitting directly across from them, her sister Julie next to her with their cousin William on the end.

No one under twenty, anyway, although Julie's only just. It means no food fights, and he won't have to endure being kicked under the table. It also means he's not responsible for making sure his second cousins eat their peas.

They rotate, each year one of the first cousins agreeing to sit with the kids, keep order, or at least attempt to. This year that role falls to one of Roger's nephews.

For the most part the meal has passed in silence, Bonnie's tofu turkey world renowned and hence not conducive to conversation. Even Danny's enjoying it, despite the look of disgust on his face when he first found out what it was.

Slowly, though, as plates clear, people start chatting. Julie fills them in on college life. Martin, with a little help from Danny, lets them know about life at the Academy. William fills them in on his new job.

Jamie alternates between gazing at Danny and bombarding him with questions.

Yes, he and Martin are roommates.

Yes, he's joining the FBI.

Yes, he knows Martin's dad is the Deputy Director.

No, he doesn't have a girlfriend.

Halfway through the questions Martin's tempted to put his arm around Danny's shoulder.

He doesn't, mostly because he's not exactly the possessive type, especially not with harmless cousins who he tends to think of as siblings.

Still, he edges a little closer to Danny's chair, finding himself frowning in Jamie's direction. She doesn't seem to notice.

"So why aren't you spending Thanksgiving with your parents?" Jamie asks, yet another question and Martin silently reminds himself that she's family and hence can't be killed.

Until now, Danny's answered all of her questions without hesitation. Now, though, he pauses, obviously struggling for words and it's not until he answers that Martin realizes he wants to know.

That he's wanted to know pretty much from the moment Danny told him he didn't have plans. That he didn't ask because he was afraid of Danny not answering.

"My…um… parents died when I was eleven," Danny finally answers, shrugging, but Martin can tell he doesn't want to talk about it.

Which is probably a good thing, because Martin has no idea what to say. Apparently neither does anyone else, the entire table falling silent and Danny smiles somewhat sheepishly.

Part of Martin knew that Danny's parents were likely dead, but thinking it and knowing it are two entirely different things and Martin has no idea how he's supposed to react to hearing it.

Danny makes the decision for him, gathering his plate, excusing himself before standing and heading into the kitchen.

He's not gone two minutes when Jamie releases a breath.

"Oh God, Marty, I'm so sorry," Jamie says, suddenly realizing what she's done and Martin mumbles something that's meant to be reassurance before gathering his own plate.

He doesn't excuse himself before leaving, picking his way through the tables and heading into the kitchen. He finds Danny by the sink, rinsing his plate and Martin pauses beside him.

"You okay?" he asks, watching Danny glance up, taking in the slight strain around the corners of his eyes.

"Yeah. Look, I'm sorry I didn't tell you sooner… I just…" Danny trails off, reaching for Martin's plate, using rinsing it as an excuse to look away.

"I understand. It's… it's cool," Martin tells him, hesitating for half a second before reaching over, squeezing Danny's shoulder and as soon as he makes contact Danny seems to relax.

He laughs, anyway, glancing back up and Martin can tell his smile's not forced.

"I really like your family," he says after a moment, still smiling and Martin returns it.

He knows anyone watching them would automatically realize they were more than just friends, but standing there, in front of the sink, water still running, Martin doesn't care. It's hard to care about anything with Danny smiling at him, anyway, and Martin squeezes Danny's shoulder before letting his hand fall away.

"We should probably get back in there, before William eats all the pie," Martin says, Danny looking at him like he's crazy, silently asking how Martin can even think about pie after the meal they've just eaten.

He doesn't say it, though, instead nodding, letting Martin lead him back out into the dining room to wait on desert.

Chapter Text

This is always the hardest part.

Leaving. The endless goodbye that leaves Martin feeling like he might never return.

He knows he will --this is, after all, the only place that's ever really felt like home-- but watching Bonnie fight against the tears forming in her eyes always gives him pause.

It doesn't help that the entire family's here, everyone squeezed into the small hallway that leads to the front door. Julie and Jamie are pressed shoulder to shoulder in front of the stairs, Julie looking bored, Jamie looking more disappointed at Danny's leaving than Martin's.

He's already received his shoulder clap from Roger, along with his standard sorry to see you go, Marty. He's still waiting on Bonnie's second hug, Bonnie currently wrapped around Danny, telling him that he's welcome to return whenever he wants, with or without Martin. Martin shakes his head as she pulls back, stifling his laughter just in time to face her.

"You're going to stay longer over Christmas, right?" she asks, the question a statement but Martin still nods his agreement. "Good," she answers, like there was never any doubt and Martin smiles before being drawn into another hug.

It's almost a ritual now; the hugs, the commands to stay longer. Any minute now she's going to tell him to keep in touch, take care of himself and remember to eat properly.

Honking from outside saves Martin from having to stammer through the same promise he's been forced to make on every visit, their cab arriving and Bonnie's hug tightens before she finally pulls back, letting Martin go and Martin's half afraid she'll end up bursting into tears before they even make it out the door.

"Promise you'll keep in touch. And take care of yourself," Bonnie says as Martin bends down to pick up his duffel bag, the statement once again a command and Martin sighs.

So much for not having to stammer his way through a promise.

"I promise, Aunt Bonnie," Martin answers, Danny chuckling behind him and Martin knows he'll never hear the end of it.

He's tempted to turn around and glare, silently tell Danny that this is off limits. He doesn't get the chance, though, Danny mumbling his final goodbye before slipping out the door, vanishing before he's forced to make the same promise Martin just made.

Martin's surprised Bonnie let him leave without it, actually.

Danny's leaving seems to trigger the end of their visit, Julie bounding up the stairs, eager to be gone, Jamie heading back toward the kitchen, obviously uninterested now that Danny's gone. Roger hesitates until Bonnie glances over her shoulder, silently dismissing him and then he's leaving too, heading into the living room, leaving Martin alone with Bonnie in the hall and Martin's not entirely sure what to make of that.

"I really should be going," Martin says, gesturing over his shoulder at the door.

He knows Danny will hold the cab, but he also knows the meter started running the second the cab pulled up to the house and every minute Bonnie keeps him here is costing him money.

For a moment, he certain Bonnie's going to argue, force him to endure yet another hug, perhaps a lecture on why he needs to take care of himself. She doesn't, though, smiling instead, reaching over to squeeze Martin's arm and Martin frowns at her quizzically.

"I like Danny. He seems like a really nice boy," Bonnie says after a minute, giving Martin her patented I know you ate all the cookies but I'm not going to say anything until you confess look.

Martin blinks. Stares, still stuck on the implications behind the words and he knows how he must look. Like a deer caught in the headlights of oncoming traffic; mouth open, eyes wide and he's half a second away from a full fledged panic attack when Bonnie's expression shifts to acceptance.

"I'm happy for you, Martin," she tells him, using his full name for the first time in all the years he's known her and Martin swallows.

"Thank you," he manages, earning a nod and another squeeze on his arm before Bonnie's ushering him out the door, rambling on about missing his train if he doesn't stop dawdling.

He makes it halfway down the front steps when she calls out to him, stopping Martin in his tracks and when he glances over his shoulder, she's standing in the doorway, looking exactly like she did the last time he left.

"Don't forget to eat properly. Danny too," she says, waving Martin off and Martin can't help but laugh, Bonnie never changing and Martin wonders why he ever worried that she might disapprove of his relationship with Danny.

He's still laughing when he climbs into the cab, Danny shifting over to make room, offering Martin a questioning glance and Martin just shakes his head, silently promising to fill Danny in later.

~*~

They're an hour outside Quantico when he finally tells Danny.

He meant to earlier, but between the extended goodbye and the traffic, they barely made it to the train station in time, forcing them to rush and by the time they actually made it onboard Martin was too stressed to engage in conversation.

It didn't help that Danny spent the first hour of the trip running through his new arsenal of weapons. First came the earth worm story, then Martin's nickname, then Bonnie's instructions and if it were anyone besides Danny, Martin might have been insulted.

He's not, though, Danny's barbing underlined with affection and Martin's fairly certain he'd be offended if Danny hadn't brought any of it up. Besides, he kind of likes that Danny now knows these things about him. Likes that he now knows more about Danny than he did before, several revelations coming out of the weekend.

His parents' death, of course, was the biggest, but Danny mentioned several things, telling Martin about his brother and the car accident that left him an orphan. Recounting several stories of his youth, some sad, some funny, all of them little pieces of a puzzle that's well on its way to becoming a full picture.

"My Aunt approves of you," Martin says, not turning from the window, watching the last suburbs of Washington fly by the window as they make their way south.

"She does?" Danny asks, seeming uncertain, like he's not willing to interpret the meaning behind Martin's words.

"She said she was happy for me," Martin tells him, smiling softly, more for himself than anything, because for the first time in his life, Martin actually feels at peace with who he is.

He should have known, though, Bonnie the only one in the entire family who has ever fully supported him. She supported his decision to join the Bureau. She supported his decision to travel across the country. So it's really not surprising that she's accepting of this too.

When he glances up, Danny's watching him, staring like he's not quite sure he's heard Martin right and Martin's smile widens. Danny returns the smile a moment later, seeming almost mystified and Martin's tempted to touch him.

Reach over and take his hand, maybe even kiss him, right there on the train, in front of everyone.

The thought draws him up short, Martin shaking his head because coming out to his Aunt --although, technically she did that for him-- is one thing, coming out to the world something else entirely and Martin's not quite ready for that.

He's closer than he's ever been, though; the fact that he's even considering it when a couple of months ago he couldn't even admit it to himself a feat in and of itself.

"Does that mean I'm invited to Christmas? Because, I have to say, tofu or not, that was one good turkey," Danny says, laughing softly, the statement meant as a joke but Martin knows what he's not saying.

Neither of them knows where they'll be over Christmas, their training ending a few weeks before and Martin knows making plans now could mean disappointment later.

It doesn't stop him from answering, though.

"I think she'll likely hurt me if I don't bring you along," Martin says, earning one of Danny's grins.

A grin that lingers through the rest of the trip, now silent, Martin staring out the window, Danny pulling out the text books he hasn't had a chance to use until now.

~*~

The second they make it in the door Danny's on him, pulling at Martin's clothes like he can't get them off fast enough. Martin barely has enough time to drop his bag before Danny's pushing him toward the bed, mouth working the line of Martin's jaw and Martin grunts when his knees hit the back of the mattress.

It's the first time Danny's touched him like this in three days. Three long, agonizing days and while Bonnie seemed to be okay with the concept of them, Martin doubts she would have been okay with them having sex in her den.

Not that Martin would have ever been able to do it, the very thought of someone overhearing --or worse still, accidentally walking in-- enough to stifle his libido.

But he missed this. Missed being able to touch Danny and taste Danny and feel Danny and Martin groans a second time before pulling Danny forward, sending them both crashing back and it's pure luck that allows them to land without injuring each other.

"I never thought I'd be happy to see these beds," Danny mumbles into Martin's shoulder and Martin grunts his agreement.

Most night they spend fighting for space, shifting against lumps, but after a weekend spent sleeping alone, on leaking air mattresses, what he once thought of as a cot now seems like the greatest bed in the history of the world.

Danny's no longer pulling at Martin's clothes, seeming content to lie on top of Martin, face buried in Martin's neck, one hand twined in Martin's hair, the other pressed between them, Danny's fingers twitching against Martin's chest.

It takes Martin bucking up to set him moving, Danny pulling back, making eye contact before shaking his head, tongue darting out to wet his lips before he leans forward and presses them against Martin's mouth.

Kissing is another thing he's missed. They did manage a few, the greenhouse still fresh in Martin's mind. There were others, traded whenever they managed to find themselves alone, but never often and never lingering and Martin missed just being able to get lost in the feel of Danny's tongue sliding against his own.

He can tell Danny's taking his time, probably because they both know come morning they'll be right back in the thick of things, their time and energy limited, leisurely making out no longer an option.

Still, it's hard not to want to rush, both of them still dressed, if a little rumpled, and more than anything Martin wants skin to skin.

As if reading his mind, Danny pulls back, breaking the kiss long enough to tug his shirt up and over his head, tossing it onto the floor before reaching for the hem of Martin's shirt, struggling with it until it too finds its way to the floor.

And this is better, Danny's chest warm, skin everywhere and Martin doesn't hesitate before touching. Letting his fingers wandering the lines of Danny's back, tracing absent patterns into Danny's flesh.

This time when Danny pulls back Martin can tell he's beyond wanting to draw this out. His face is flushed, pupils dilated, lips swollen and Martin barely has a chance to draw a breath before Danny's struggling with Martin's belt.

His hands shake in the process, three days making him clumsy and Martin pushes Danny's hands away, fumbling with the belt himself, having no better luck and by the time he gets it off Danny's already shimmying out of his pants.

Danny hesitates for half a second before deciding to ditch the boxers too, tossing them onto the growing pile of clothes before reaching for Martin's hips, tugging at the material of Martin's pants until they give way, sliding them over Martin's hips and down his legs, throwing them in the general direction of the door and Danny doesn't wait for Martin to finish stripping.

He leans forward, mouth opening around the head of Martin's erection, sucking it through the thin layer of fabric, Martin's entire world vanishing with the sudden sensation of heat and wet.

And okay, compare to this, kissing is quite overrated.

It stops almost as soon as it began, Danny pulling back, admiring the wet spot on the front of Martin's boxers before glancing up, making eye contact and as soon as he speaks Martin closes his eyes and groans.

"I want you to fuck me," he says, tone completely serious, like he's been thinking about it for a while and Martin groans a second time.

He's not entirely sure why they haven't before, because it's not like Martin's never fucked someone. He thinks maybe it's because Danny's never asked, and Martin wasn't about to bring it up, so it just ended up that way.

"God, yes," Martin finally manages, sitting up, reaching for Danny and pulling him forward, fusing their lips and Danny climbs into Martin's lap.

This time, Martin lets the kiss linger, lets himself get lost in Danny's mouth, his fingers inching down Danny's spine, settling on Danny's ass, pulling Danny's cheeks apart, fingers brushing the line of his crack, earning a shiver and a moan and Martin almost comes at the sound.

He doesn't, but only just barely, his entire body on the edge of overheating and when Danny reaches between them, pressing his palm against the outline of Martin's erection, Martin groans and bucks into the touch.

The second he does Danny's pulling back, reaching for Martin's boxers and Martin lifts his hips, letting Danny slide them off before Danny settles back on Martin's lap.

It's not exactly his first choice for positions, but it means he doesn't have to stop kissing Danny, so Martin's not about to complain. Certainly not when Danny pulls back, moving forward a second later to lean over Martin's shoulder, Martin forced to lie back so that Danny can reach the drawer.

He pulls out their rapidly depleting supply of lube, squeezing some into the palm of his hand before reaching for Martin's cock, urging Martin back into a seated position before wetting the tip.

He lingers longer than necessary, fingers ghosting up and down Martin's length, swirling across the tip and Martin's forced to growl a warning just to get Danny to stop.

He does, though, Martin sending up silent thanks before reaching for Danny's hand, guiding it between Danny's legs and Danny immediately takes the hint.

He pushes a slick digit up behind his balls, sliding it back until he reaches his opening, toying with himself before sliding the finger inside, Martin watching and it's quite possibly the hottest thing he's ever seen.

So hot, in fact, that Martin's forced to wrap his hand around the base of his cock, squeezing hard to keep from coming as he watches Danny's hand between them, finger buried in his ass as he fingers fucks himself.

It's entirely too much, the visual too intense and Martin whimpers, wanting nothing more than to be inside Danny. Danny seems to sense Martin's urgency, pulling his hand free before reaching for the sheets, wiping off residual lube and Martin doesn't even care that, once again, they're going to end up trashing his bedding.

Danny doesn't seem to care either, pushing himself up onto his knees, inching his way up Martin's thighs until he's hovering just above Martin's cock. Martin reaches for his hips, slowly guiding him down, letting Danny set the pace as Danny sinks onto Martin's cock, mouth tightening and Martin can't help but wonder if Danny's ever done this before.

"It's been a while," Danny says, answering Martin's question without really knowing it and Martin nods, still watching Danny's expression, waiting until it shifts to pleasure before moving.

Even then it's not much, just a small shift to get comfortable, arms wrapping around Danny's torso, pulling him close and Danny releases a breath before sinking the rest of the way down.

He pauses then, panting out the stretch, groaning against the feel of Martin's hands as Martin absently strokes his fingers up and down the line of Danny's spine.

"God, I almost forgot what this was like," Danny finally says and Martin has to push aside the sudden twinge of jealousy that comes with the thought of someone else fucking Danny.

He wants to say something, but all his energy is focused on remaining perfectly still, not coming and not pushing and when Danny finally relaxes, Martin almost whimpers a second time.

He doesn't, just catching himself, the thought vanishing the second Danny lifts up, hovering for half a heartbeat before sinking back down and they groan in unison. He does it a second time before leaning forward, pressing their foreheads together, breathing in Martin's air and Martin tilts his head to press their lips together.

It seems to encourage Danny, his tentativeness disappearing and the second their lips connect, he pulls up, sinking down the second he reaches Martin's tip and Martin moans into Danny's mouth when he finally starts moving.

Despite Martin's intentions to let Danny set the pace, he can't, his hips moving independent of his brain, thrusting up as Danny sinks down, tilting back whenever Danny pulls up. It's still nowhere near enough, Danny's pace torturously slow and Martin's half tempted to push them over, pull Danny up onto his knees and fuck Danny like Danny always fucks him.

The thought vanishes with the feel of Danny's hands, pushing Martin back until he's sprawled against the mattress, Danny's hands pressing into Martin's chest for leverage and suddenly it's too much.

Too intense, too hot, the expression on Danny's face too vivid and Martin doesn't even get out a warning before arching back, coming hard and Danny keeps on moving.

To the point of pain, Martin forced to grab Danny's hips, still him until Martin can catch his breath. He can tell Danny's close, right on the edge, so Martin reaches between them, wrapping his hand around Danny's cock, stroking in time to his racing heart and a second later Danny's eyes close, come spilling between them and Martin can feel the tension in Danny's body everywhere.

Feel his ass clenching around Martin's still tender cock, squeezing hard and Martin groans at the sensation.

Groans again when Danny finally lifts up, letting Martin slip out and Martin's half tempted to stroke himself to hardness just so that they can do this again.

"I really like your family, by the way," Danny says, all but falling into Martin's side, face pressing into the pillow and Martin tries and fails not to shudder.

"No mentioning family in bed," he says, the words coming out grunted, his breathing still laboured.

Beside him, Danny laughs, his entire body shaking. He doesn't say anything else, though, merely lying there like they both don't need showers.

Martin can't blame him, the thought of moving too much to process. Instead he shifts over to give Danny room, making a mental note to shower once they're both capable of walking again.

He has a feeling that might be a while.

Chapter Text

Looking back, it doesn't feel like it's been sixteen weeks.

More like four, time moving entirely too quickly, vanishing in the blink of an eye and Martin's still half expecting to wake up and discover this has all been a dream.

It feels like a dream, anyway; his whole world changed over the course of a few months and Martin never expected to find himself here.

The plan was simple, after all; make it through training at the Academy, struggle his way through being a rookie, earn his stripes and then become a better agent than his father ever was. That, of course, was before Danny.

Because Danny changes everything, Martin no longer caring about the prestige of a position, but rather, whether he'll get to work with Danny so that they can continue what has fast become the most serious relationship of his life.

And it is serious, Danny the only person he's ever really felt connected to. The only person he could ever see himself falling in love with.

Some days, he suspects he's already there.

Not that he's said anything, but then again, neither has Danny. Martin knows, though; he can see it in Danny's eyes, feel it in Danny's touch and Martin's even gone so far as to write a coming out letter to his parents.

And okay, technically he hasn't sent it, and he doubts he ever will, but it's the thought that counts and Martin's never met anyone he was willing to even consider the possibility for.

"I hate that they're making us wait," Danny says, Martin swallowing against the sudden urge to tell Danny exactly how he feels.

He nods instead, not voicing his own frustration because, while he does want to know where he's going to be assigned, he understands that, technically, they're not supposed to know they've graduated until they have that piece of paper in their hand.

Not that it actually works that way, those that didn't pass the term silently escorted off the premises long before tonight's ceremony, but Martin knows that's not the point.

"It's only three hours," he finds himself saying, despite his vow to remain silent.

It's hard not to say something, though, Danny's energy making him twitchy and it's either talk or continue to watch Danny pace up and down the length of their room.

They don't technically leave until tomorrow afternoon, but they've already packed their things, the room surprisingly empty, reminding Martin of the first time he set foot in the door. The absence of life is even more apparent this time, though, the room void of warmth, void of mess and Martin can't help but wonder what will happen if they do get assigned to the same place.

He's thought about it a lot, actually, already questioning whether or not it's too early for them to consider moving in together. Probably, but he can't imagine living with anyone but Danny; can't imagine living alone either and Martin tells himself he's being premature.

"I think I need to walk," Danny says suddenly, stopping in the centre of the room, the sudden lack of movement disturbing and Martin doesn't hesitate before pushing himself up off the bed.

Danny doesn't wait for confirmation before crossing the room, sliding into his coat, absently patting pockets until he finds his keys and Martin shakes his head before reaching for his own jacket.

"So where are we going?" Martin asks, falling in behind Danny as Danny heads out the door, his steps rushed, like they're running late rather than wasting time.

Danny doesn't answer, instead shrugging, like he honestly doesn't know, like it's more about getting out of the room than actually going somewhere and Martin understands that.

Waiting has never been his strong suit, after all.

As soon as they're outside, Danny's steps slow, the tension in his shoulders draining and Martin feels himself relax for the first time in days.

It's not the first time his mood has mirrored Danny's, Danny's stress becoming his stress, Danny's happiness his happiness. Another sign that he's falling hard and Martin can't help but laugh at the thought.

Danny doesn't comment, but he does glance over, shooting Martin a look that tells Martin exactly what Danny thinks of his sudden good mood. Apparently the mirroring of emotions doesn't work the other way. Martin tries not to question that.

It's not as cold as it has been, the first week of December bringing a warm spell, melting the snow until all that's left is slush. The ground has become a maze of soggy puddles, Martin forced to navigate around them on more than one occasion just to avoiding soaking his feet.

It's not until they pass the low hanging wall that lines the walk up to the dorm that Martin realizes it started this way. He can still remember that night, the slight chill in the air that they both tried desperately to ignore as they sat on that wall, talking and trading stories.

They walked that night too, aimlessly, just to waste time, neither of them wanting to stay at the hurdle party and Martin can't help but smile at the memory.

Sometimes it feels like it was a lifetime ago, but every so often he can recall every detail, conjure the image like it was yesterday; the look in Danny's eyes, the tone of Danny's voice, the ease of bonding that Martin had never once experienced before that night.

Other memories surface: their first kiss, the first night Danny spent in Martin's bed, their first fight, their second fight, their third and all the make ups in between. A lifetime of memories, compressed into four months and Martin's so lost in the thought that he almost misses Danny stopping.

Misses the reason for Danny stopping, John standing on the path in front of them, looking eager and for some reason his presence makes Martin glad. It means John passed the term, anyway, something he wanted more than anything else and Martin smiles by way of greeting.

"The class is heading over to the pub for a few drinks, sort of a pre-graduation celebration," John tells them, clearly an invitation and Martin half expects Danny to decline.

He doesn't talk about his alcoholism often, but Martin knows he's still not comfortable being around people drinking. It's still too new, too fresh, the span of a year not nearly enough time to comes to terms with it and Martin's still in awe that Danny managed to make it here.

Were the situation reversed, Martin doubts that he could have enrolled at Quantico after such a short period of time. Then again, maybe this is part of the process, part of healing. Either way, whenever he thinks about it, Martin finds himself struck with an inexplicable sense of pride.

"Yeah, okay," Danny answers, surprising Martin and Martin finds himself glancing questioningly in Danny's direction.

Danny merely shrugs, smiling softly before gesturing for John to lead the way. John doesn't comment, but Martin can tell he's noticed, nodding uncertainly before setting off, leading them back to a place Martin's only been in a handful of times.

~*~

Obviously, their class wasn't the only one wanting to celebrate.

The pub is packed, people pressed shoulder to shoulder and Martin half expects Danny to change his mind. He doesn't, following on John's heels as John leads them to a group of tables near the back.

Well over half their class is there, though whether some declined or didn't make it through the term, Martin doesn't know.

He finds himself seeking out faces, smiling at finding several of the people he's closer with. Even Matt gets a smile, Matt's animosity disappearing sometime after their fight and, while he's still not Martin's favourite person, Martin no longer feels any sort of hostility toward the man.

Some of the faces surprise him, but for the most part, the people sitting around the table are the ones he expected to pass. They're colleagues now, people he might end up working with and it feels almost different to now be on an equal footing with them.

For now, at least, Martin tells himself, drawing up a chair at Danny's right, ordering soda water when John offers to head up to the bar.

Danny doesn't comment on Martin's order --this isn't, after all, the first time Martin's declined a drink in his presence-- instead requesting the same, smiling softly as soon as John leaves and Martin knows what he's thinking.

He's told Martin before that he doesn't mind Martin drinking. That he doesn't expect Martin to adopt his lifestyle just because Danny can't drink, but Martin can tell he's secretly pleased, that he likes that Martin's willing to forgo a drink if it means being able to kiss Danny later.

Low murmurs from around the table drift into his focus, several people engaged in quiet conversation. He picks up most of it, people wondering where they'll end up, whispering excitedly about having made it through. It's almost nice, in a way, knowing that he's not the only one torn between excitement and anxiety.

It's also nice to know that he and Danny aren't the only couple to emerge from the term. Most of the class knows about them now --it was almost impossible to keep it a secret-- and while no one's actually commented on it, for the most part they seem accepting. Derek, one of the few people Martin didn't expect to pass, is sitting entirely too close to Laura, their hands hidden beneath the table and Martin doesn't have to check to know that they're touching.

There are others, people pairing off and Martin can't help but wonder if they're as worried about their assignments as he is.

"Two club sodas for the lightweights," John announces, appearing seemingly out of thin air before setting their drinks down in front of them.

His tone holds warmth, though, like a teasing father and Martin nods his thanks, Danny doing the same beside him and the next time John opens his mouth, it's to start in on a story, automatically becoming the centre of attention and Martin finds himself sitting back, listening with rapt attention, his earlier worry soon replaced by laughter and the warmth of memory.

~*~

Waiting to get here was bad enough. Waiting for them to call his name is a thousand times worse.

They've only just made it through the Cs, dozens of people between him and a piece of paper that he's starting to get a little obsessive about.

It doesn't help that his father's at the front of the room, looking as calm and collected as he ever has and Martin hates that his father will be the one to hand him his diploma.

He's just thankful that his father didn't give a speech, that role falling to the Director, someone Martin's met once in his life and even that was too much, the man twice as intimidating as Victor and Martin's never actually seen his father nervous around someone before.

He promised Danny he'd wait to open his assignment until they got back to their room, but Martin's starting to doubt that he'll be able to. Not that opening it now will mean anything, because he won't know Danny's assignment until after all this is over and Martin forces himself to take a deep breath.

He's not the only one, people around him twitching with nervousness, the pent up energy so thick in the room that Martin's surprised the entire class isn't vibrating with it.

His father's started in on the Ds, getting closer by the minute and Martin releases his breath, clenching his jaw against the sudden desire to run up to the front of the room and sort through the pile of papers sitting on the table in front of Victor.

This is officially the hardest part of his training he's had to endure.

~*~

He knows the second he says it that they won't end up in the same place, Danny's eyes clouding the second Seattle leaves Martin's lips.

He knew it was too much to hope for, anyway, but it doesn't stop the well of tightness in his chest, or the sudden desire to scream.

"Would you just tell me, already," Martin says, more forceful than he intended and Danny flinches before answering, the piece of paper shaking in his hands.

"New York," Danny answers, not breaking eye contact and Martin's breath catches at the raw pain he sees in Danny's eyes.

An entire continent between them and Martin's certain the loss reflected in Danny's eyes is visible in his own.

Chapter Text

It's well after ten by the time they start back to the dorms, the temperature outside dropping with the setting sun and by the time they actually make it into their room Martin can barely feel his toes.

Not that it matters, some things more important and Martin pauses only long enough to toe off his boots and toss his jacket into the corner before tearing the seal on his assignment.

He's been waiting for this moment all day. Dreading it and needing it and now that it's here he doesn't want to see. Doesn't want to know, because as soon as he does this will all be real; they really will be leaving tomorrow and so long as he doesn't look he can imagine that today is just another day in an endless stream of days that has become almost as much a part of Academy life as their daily stint at the range.

"You first," Danny says from across the room, perched on the edge of his bed, the seal on the envelope of his assignment already broken, the paper inside clutched to his chest and Martin gets the impression that Danny's just as apprehensive about knowing as Martin is.

He looks almost as nervous as Martin feels, anyway; mouth drawn into a tight line, hands shaking and Martin nods before pulling out the tiny slip of paper inside his envelope, releases a breath before glancing at it.

Seattle.

The word seems distant, the place non-existent and Martin clears his throat before speaking it out loud.

"Seattle. White Collar Crimes," he says, glancing up and as soon as he meets Danny's eyes his heart sinks.

Danny doesn't say anything, staring at Martin like he's just lost the only thing that's ever really mattered to him. It's the only answer Martin needs, but he still wants to hear it.

"Would you just tell me, already," he says, the request practically a demand and Danny flinches before answering.

"New York," Danny answers, still staring at Martin like he's half afraid Martin will disappear on the spot. "Missing Persons," he continues only after he's certain Martin's heard.

Certain Martin's absorbed and how can anyone be expected to absorb something like this?

Because it's impossible, everything they've spent the last four months building stripped away in a matter of seconds and Martin's legs give way, sending him crashing down onto the mattress beneath him and it's not until he's seated that Martin even realizes he was standing next to his bed.

"New York?" he asks, tone disbelieving and Danny nods.

"Yeah," he answers a moment later, sounding almost hollow, bottom lip quivering and Martin has to fight not to crumple the piece of paper in his hand and throw it across the room.

He knew this was a possibility, but he always assumed they'd at least be close. Danny ending up in Washington with Martin in Philadelphia, or Martin in New York with Danny in Boston, and then at least they'd be close enough to visit. Close enough to make a long distance relationship work, but this…

This will make the prospect damn near impossible.

It's enough that he knows he should just end this, tell Danny that they're better off going their separate ways, that in the end it will be easier. He can't, though; the thought of walking away now too much to even consider and Martin's stomach sinks as he tries to imagine never seeing Danny again.

"You know… it's what? A year's probation before we can put in for a transfer? We could..." Danny trails off, gesturing absently and Martin can tell he needs confirmation.

Needs to hear Martin say that they're worth fighting for, that Martin wants this as much as Danny does, that they'll find some way around this because there's no way in hell Martin's going to let this slip away.

"Yeah. God, yes," Martin says, nodding as he pushes himself up and off the bed before closing the distance between them.

Danny glances up then, hope flashing in his eyes and Martin doesn't hesitate before climbing into his lap. Doesn't pause before leaning forward, pressing their lips together and when Danny's hands wrap around Martin's shoulders, drawing him even closer, Martin whimpers into Danny's mouth.

It has nothing to do with the kiss, or even their proximity, but rather the entire situation, the thought of not seeing Danny tomorrow, or the next day, or the day after that almost overwhelming and Martin's forced to pull back just so that he can breathe.

"I, um..." he gets out before Danny's kissing him again, obviously not ready to let Martin go and Martin doesn't protest.

Instead he leans into the kiss --if it can even be called a kiss, their mouths moving entirely too sloppily to actually qualify for anything other than desperation-- letting his hands roam up and down the line of Danny's back, his knees squeezed tight around Danny's thighs and it's still not enough.

Nowhere near and Martin wants to crawl inside Danny, merge them into one being and then they won't have to worry about tomorrow or just how they're supposed to manage to sustain this with thousands of miles between them.

"You'll still come for Christmas, right?" Martin asks when Danny breaks the kiss, pressing their foreheads together, noses touching and Danny nods.

"Yeah… I…"

"Good," Martin answers when it's clear that Danny's not going to say anything else, Danny's voice broken, coming out strangled and Martin can tell he's trying desperately to keep it together.

Trying desperately to not break down and Martin understands that. He's closer than he's ever been in his life, his Fitzgerald upbringing the only thing keeping him from falling apart and Martin presses himself that much closer, close enough that he can no longer tell where he begins and Danny ends.

Danny seems to be doing the same thing, grip tightening and Martin can remember a time when he would have laughed at how pathetic he was being. It's not funny now, nowhere near and, if anything, he wants to be closer.

Wants things that he's only recently become comfortable with; things like a life with Danny, a future and before Martin can stop himself he's speaking.

"A year's not that long, and there are phones, and email, and maybe we could arrange to get a few weekends off and…" he trails off, babbling because it's not until he says it that he realizes just how serious he is.

Just how far he's willing to go to keep this thing between them, to keep Danny in his life and when Danny nods his agreement, shifting to bury his face in Martin's neck, Martin can't help but acknowledge that he's done something he swore he'd never do.

That he's fallen in love, despite his best intentions, despite knowing how much it could hurt his career or his future and even that doesn't matter because this is the last time he's going to see Danny for weeks at the earliest and Martin lets his hands climb up Danny's back, one wrapping around Danny's neck while the other tangles in Danny's hair.

Danny glancing up at that, meeting Martin's eye and Martin tries to tell him all that without speaking. Tries to make him see everything Martin's not capable of saying and when Danny leans forward, kissing Martin like it might be the last time, Martin gets the impression that he understands.

That he feels the same and Martin doesn't hesitate before pushing Danny back, following a moment behind until he's sprawled on top of Danny, their limbs intertwining, Danny's hands moving restlessly now, claiming and memorizing and Martin deepens the kiss.

It's not enough, Danny seeming entirely too distant, despite the fact that they're pressed together, the only thing between them a layer of clothes and Martin grunts before pulling back.

He waits for Danny's eyes to open before pushing back, climbing from the bed and Danny smiles when Martin offers him hand. He accepts it without hesitation, letting Martin pull him to his feet and as soon as they're both standing, fingers still linked together, his smile fades to something more serious.

Something more real and it takes Martin's breath away. So much so that Martin's forced to look away before it comes again, lungs clenching despite his efforts to take deep, even breaths and Martin distracts himself by reaching for Danny's tie.

He lets his fingers play over the silk of the material, fumbling slightly with the knot and it strikes him that this is likely the uniform Danny will be wearing every day for the rest of his life.

It's fitting, somehow, that their time at the Academy should end the way their careers will begin, both of them dressed for the graduation ceremony, looking somehow older despite the short passage of time.

"Hey…" Danny says, the word soft and it's not until Martin hears it that he realizes he's staring.

Fingers stilled on Danny's tie, thoughts drifting and Martin blushes before pulling at the knot, Danny's tie unravelling and Martin carefully slides it from around Danny's neck before placing it on the bed.

Danny's shirt is next, each button unclasped with shaking fingers and by the Martin manages the last one, Danny's eyes are dark with want.

Dark with need and Martin pushes the shirt over Danny's shoulders, exposing the expanse of Danny's bare chest and Martin presses his hand to the space just above Danny's heart, absorbing Danny's warmth and just feeling.

It's not until Danny's hand covers Martin's that Martin realizes he's once again drifted off, lost on the thought of Danny and how long he'll have to wait until he feels this again. How many months might stretch between their visits and when Martin glances up, Danny's watching him again.

Staring like he's still surprised Martin cares, like he honestly never expected any of this and Martin smiles before leaning forward, pressing a chaste kiss to the corner of Danny's mouth before pulling back, letting Danny set to work on Martin's tie and Martin can't remember them ever spending so much time undressing.

Usually it's a race, clothes flying in every direction until they're stripped and bare, even then rushing, hurrying toward climax like they just can't wait.

This is different, though; this is slow, purposeful and leisurely and Martin knows what that means.

Knows that it's more than just making the last time count. More than just not wanting to walk away from this place and by the time Martin's shirt hits the floor, Martin has to focus not to tear at Danny's pants.

He manages, the sound of Danny's zipper moving slow and even in the room. Danny's still watching him, eyes following Martin's every move and by the time they actually make it out of their clothes, Martin's well beyond the point of wanting to draw this out.

He does anyway, forcing several even breaths to maintain calm as he lets his hands drift over Danny's body. Lets his fingers trace the surface of Danny's skin, touching everywhere, memorizing each scar, each freckle, each imperfection until it's burned into Martin's memory.

Danny's doing the same, touching Martin like he can learn everything there is to know about Martin just by what's written on Martin's skin. Martin's not entirely sure he can't.

Danny's on his second sweep of Martin's chest, fingers pressing into Martin's ribcage when Martin caves, stepping forward, pressing their bodies together, erections colliding and Danny's eyes close at the sensation.

He moans when Martin tilts his hips, rocking them together, Martin leaning forward to suck at the soft expanse of skin just beneath Danny's ear, fingers creeping back up Danny's spine, moving across Danny's shoulders and holding him close.

Danny's hands move down instead of up, settling on Martin's ass, pulling him even closer, rocking that much harder and Martin groans against the sudden urge to come.

He doesn't, but only just barely, the entire process so erotic that Martin's head spins. It's almost funny, when he thinks about it, how little they're doing and yet Martin's more turned on than he's ever been before. His whole world seems off kilter, the room spinning and when Danny steps back, Martin follows him, pushing until Danny takes the hint and leads them back onto the mattress.

Most of the time they remain where they land, but tonight Danny shifts up, lying against the pillows, drawing Martin with him until they're stretched out along the bed, Martin's mouth moving down to Danny's collar bone, sucking and biting and he knows come morning Danny will be covered in Martin's mark.

Knows he'll likely bear Danny's as well, Danny's fingers pressing hard enough to leave bruises, Danny's mouth moving restlessly across Martin's skin and Martin likes the idea of them leaving this place covered in pieces of each other.

The sound of Danny whimpering draws Martin from the moment, Martin pulling back and the look in Danny's eyes speak to how far gone he is. How close he is to coming and Martin doesn't hesitate before spitting into his hand.

He reaches for Danny's cock, using his saliva as lubricant because they've been out of lube for days and it's not like there's anywhere here to purchase more.

Not that it matters, spit working almost as well and, besides, Martin wants the slight tinge of pain that accompanies not using lube. He wants to feel Danny inside him well after they've gone their separate ways.

Danny hisses as Martin circles his cock, thumb brushing against Danny's tip and Danny arches back, rocking into the sensation and Martin chuckles before pulling his hand away.

It earns him an impatient glare, Martin chuckling a second time and, for a moment, he can almost imagine that this is just another night.

He knows that's not the case, though, everything different now and Martin takes his time before positioning himself over Danny's cock.

He uses Danny's tip to tease his hole, rocking back and forth without sinking down and it's not until Danny moans that Martin finally lets Danny push inside.

Even that is slow, each stretch drawn out, Danny shaking with the effort of remaining still as Martin slowly sinks down, inch by agonizing inch until Danny's buried inside.

As soon as he reaches Danny's base, Martin leans forward, arms wrapping around Danny's shoulders, pulling him close and Danny doesn't pause before leaning into the kiss.

He's not sure who moved first, if Danny rocked back or if Martin thrust forward, but he's fairly certain it doesn't matter, the sudden shifting enough to set him moving, Martin pulling up before sliding back down, taking Danny in even further this time and by the time he makes it back up to Danny's tip, Danny's talking.

Whispering against Martin's mouth and Martin has to strain to understand any of it. He doesn't register the parts in Spanish, but there are English words mixed in, things Martin never expected Danny to say and before Martin can stop himself he's pulling back.

Breaking the kiss long enough to mumble against Danny's lips, I love you, too just loud enough for Danny to hear and Danny smiles against Martin's mouth, nodding before reclaiming Martin's lips, kissing Martin harder than Martin's ever been kissed before and by the time Danny pulls back, Martin's so breathless he's forced to pant just to breathe.

Danny's obviously having the same problem, breath ragged and heavy and Martin can't help but laugh at the thought of them dying like this. Oxygen deprivation and Danny seems to sense Martin's mood. He chuckles, anyway, bucking forward to meet Martin on the way down and Martin can already feel his orgasm building.

He can feel it everywhere; in his skin, his bones, his gums, even his hair, his entire body tingling and Martin pulls back up, slamming down a second later before pulling right back up again, Danny once again pulling back, eyes squeezing shut and when Martin slams down a second time, Danny arches back and comes.

It's enough to set Martin off, Martin rocking against Danny's orgasm, feeling the tension slowly drain from Danny's body and as soon as Danny reaches for him, hand wrapping around Martin's cock, Martin's lost.

He comes between them, sticky white pulsing against Danny's stomach and by the time Martin opens his eyes, Danny's watching him.

"Beautiful," he says out loud, the word almost a whisper and Martin's not sure Danny meant for Martin to hear.

He doesn't take it back, though, smiling back when Martin smiles down at him and Martin doesn't pull free before leaning forward, kissing Danny even harder than Danny kissed him and for the first time since opening his assignment, Martin's starting to think that maybe they have a chance after all.

~*~

They haven't said anything this morning. Not since waking up, Danny still buried inside Martin, growing hard the second awareness registered and it was well past noon by the time they actually made it out of bed.

Late enough that they had to rush through their showers, forgoing any kind of meal in their rush to be ready.

The Academy's already arranged for flights and trains, buses for those moving closer and, as it stands, Danny's dangerously close to missing his train.

Martin still has a couple of hours, but he knows he should be going, the drive to the airport requiring him to leave a little earlier than he'd like.

"I guess this is it," Danny says suddenly, standing by the door, bag thrown over his shoulder, eyes drifting across the room and Martin swallows against the lump in his throat.

"Yeah," Martin answers, wincing as soon as he says it and when Danny glances over, Martin finds himself continuing. "Christmas is only three weeks away, and you're close to my Aunts, so…" he trails off at Danny's nod.

"Yeah. Besides, we're going to be so busy we probably won't have time to…" Danny begins, unable to finish and Martin doesn't press.

He knows what Danny was going to say, anyway. In truth, Danny's probably right. The first few months of working will be twice as hard as their training and the time will likely fly by. Certainly not enough time to miss each other.

"I should…"

And Martin's not doing to well on completing sentences right now.

Danny seems to get that, though, shaking his head as though arguing with himself, finally deciding and he drops his bag, stepping into Martin's space, wrapping his arms around Martin's waist and Martin lets himself get lost in Danny's hug.

Lets himself get lost in Danny's kiss a minute later, the two of them likely looking ridiculous, standing beside the door, bags at their feet, arms wrapped around each other and it takes effort to let Danny go.

Even more effort to open the door, Martin following Danny down the hall and as soon as they're outside they break apart, not glancing in each others' direction as Martin climbs into the car his father sent, Danny climbing into a cab and as soon as Quantico vanishes behind him, Martin lets himself cry, silent tears marring his cheeks and for the first time in his life Martin stops trying to be a Fitzgerald.

Chapter Text

His stomach lurching has nothing to do with the plane touching down.

Nothing to do with the six hour flight, or the turbulence that came with flying through several thunderstorms and low pressure systems. Nothing to do with the job waiting for him when he lands and everything to do with the one person Martin's tried, and failed, to forget.

He hasn't told Danny's he's coming. Hasn't spoken to Danny in well over six months, their calls and visits become less and less frequent until they eventually vanished all together.

Two years and Martin still can't let go.

Can't move on, despite trying to. Can't forget, despite wanting to.

In the end it took seeing Danny's picture in a Bureau publication, a small boy of four in Danny's arms and within two weeks Martin's transfer had gone through.

He knows he owes that to his father, but even that doesn't matter, because in the past two years he's seen Danny all of six times. Not nearly enough and even the phone calls and emails in between couldn't sustain him. Not when they ended, anyway.

He's dreading Danny's reaction. Dreading looking Danny in the eye and finding that Danny has moved on. That he has forgotten. That he has let go.

For all Martin knows he's married now, involved with someone that isn't Martin and this could be the worst decision Martin's ever made.

Two years, after all, is a long time apart.

It was easy at first, the first few weeks in Seattle slipping by faster than he could imagine. Before he knew it he was flying to New York, meeting Danny at the airport and together they drove up to Martin's Aunt's.

They each had three days leave at the time, the two of them checking into a hotel despite Bonnie's disappointment. Martin could tell she understood, though, smiling at them even as she protested and Martin still remembers every detail of those three days.

There were weekends after that. Sometimes a full week or the occasional conference they just happened to attend at the same time. In between they spoke over the phone, despite the time difference and sometimes that meant Danny staying up entirely too late just to be able to say goodnight.

He's kept all of Danny's emails. Filed them away in a folder called 'Taylor' and, more often than he'd like to admit, he opens the file just to reread them.

They were never anything substantial, mostly Danny complaining about lack of sleep or Martin venting about the bad guy getting away. They were something, though, contact and Martin's still not certain why they stopped communicating.

He suspects it's his fault, Danny's last email forgotten during the heat of a case and by the time Martin remembered it was too late to email back. He told himself he would just wait for Danny's next email, but it never came.

He tried calling, once leaving a message after three days without sleep and he can only imagine how distant he sounded. It was probably enough for Danny to make the assumption that Martin was done with them and after that Martin couldn't bring himself to try again.

The weeks bled into months, months becoming half a year and it took seeing Danny's picture to realize just how much he missed Danny. Just how much he needed Danny and Martin called his father on the spot, demanded a transfer to Missing Persons in New York without really thinking over what that might mean.

He's thinking about it now, every possible scenario he can imagine drifting in and out of his consciousness as he shuffles forward with the rest of the passengers, wanting nothing more than to get into the terminal and over to Federal Plaza so that he can know for sure.

~*~

He knows he should probably say something.

Do something besides stare, only dimly aware of Agent Malone's introductions as Jack makes his way around the room, the names of Martin's future coworkers barely registering as Martin tries to absorb Danny's shock.

It's hard to notice anything but Danny, though; Danny's expression disbelieving and Martin can't decide if that's a good thing. It's hard to read, anyway, Danny staring back just as intently and Martin's starting to wish that he'd come a day earlier, contacted Danny before this meeting because he knows he likely won't get the chance to get Danny alone any time soon.

"Okay, the clock's ticking. Let's get out there," Jack says, finishing his introductions and when he gestures for Martin to follow him, Martin forces himself to tear his eyes away from Danny's gaze.

He can feel Danny watching him go, uncertainty welling in his stomach because he still can't decide if he's made the right decision.

He doesn't have time to contemplate it, Jack starting off on the case and Martin nods to let him know that he's listening.

Danny aside, this is still his job.

~*~

If he's honest with himself, he knows that he was looking for Danny. Has been since he got back to the office and discovered Danny was here, actually.

That's not what he tells himself, though. He tells himself that it's just chance that allowed him to catch Danny alone in the break room, Danny bent over the coffee maker and Martin clears his throat before letting the door close behind him.

Danny glances up the second Martin announces his presence, looking somewhat wary, but Martin doesn't miss the slight question in his eyes.

"Hey," Martin says, wishing he'd thought of something better, because it's quite possibly the weakest thing he could have come up with.

Danny doesn't seem to mind, instantly relaxing and it surprises Martin that he can still read Danny so well.

"Hey," Danny echoes, putting down his cup before crossing the room, stopping a few feet in front of Martin and Martin's suddenly lost for words.

Obviously he's not the only one, Danny fidgeting, absently straightening his tie and Martin says the first thing that comes to mind.

"You look good."

It's probably the most cliché thing that's ever come out of his mouth, but when Danny smiles at the compliment, Martin doesn't care.

"You too," Danny answers, the beginnings of a smirk tugging at the corner of his lips and Danny cocks his head, examining Martin in earnest.

It's enough that Martin has to fight not to squirm, the room feeling entirely too small and the last time they saw each other they were pulling at each other's clothes and trying to make it into Martin's bed.

"So, what brings you to New York?" Danny asks suddenly, still staring, eyebrow quirking like he's dying to know Martin's answer.

"You don't know?" Martin asks, the words weighted and Danny's eyes widen in surprise.

His surprise fades a moment later, something close to hope flashing in his eyes and it's not until Martin sees it that he relaxes.

"I… um…" he gets out, tongue tied and Danny's expression shifts, becoming affection, so familiar that Martin's breath actually catches.

He feels himself flush as soon as he realizes what he's doing, Danny's smirk becoming full blown and when Danny steps forward, inching into Martin's space, Martin's heart skips a beat.

"I knew you couldn't live without me," Danny says, still smirking, reaching out and Martin closes his eyes before realizing that Danny's merely straightening his tie.

When he opens his eyes, Danny's already moved past him, Martin turning in time to see Danny pause by the door.

"Coffee, after work, my place. We should… catch up," Danny says, letting his eyes drift down Martin's form, back up again to make eye contact and when Martin nods, Danny smiles.

He doesn't say anything else, shaking his head like he should have known Martin would show up before pushing through the door, heading back to work and for the first time since arriving, Martin silently thanks his father.

~*~

This isn't exactly how he planned on ending the evening.

There's coffee, except he's not drinking any, the IV in his arm forbidding him from doing that. Danny has one, though, one of the small blue cups that they sell on street corners everywhere in Manhattan. He hasn't touched it, the cup clenched in his hand and Martin feels the sudden urge to apologize.

His first night in the city and he's already landed himself in the hospital. And granted, it's just a minor head wound, something he knows he'll recover fully from. There's the threat of concussion, though, which is why they haven't released him and Martin sighs, bringing a hand up to his temple, wincing as his fingers make contact with the bandage around his head.

"Will you stop that," Danny says, practically jumping out of his chair, grabbing Martin's wrist and drawing his hand back down to his lap.

"Sorry… God, this isn't how I wanted to spend our first night…" Martin trails off, instantly realizing what he was going to say and, technically, he's still not sure there is an our.

"Me either," Danny answers, smiling softly to let Martin know that he's pleased with Martin's assumption.

Martin can't help but return the smile, despite the fact that his head's throbbing and smiling makes it worse.

His smile lingers just until Danny reclaims his seat, pulling his chair closer to Martin's bed before setting his coffee down on the windowsill behind Martin's bed. For a moment, Martin thinks he might say something, but instead he falls into silence, watching Martin like he doesn't quite believe what he's seeing.

"I'm sorry I didn't do this sooner," Martin confesses, mostly to displace the silence before it can become awkward, but also because he truly means it. He should have put in for a transfer the second his probation period was over.

He knows wishing it won't change anything, but when Danny nods, Martin can't help but think that maybe it's enough. A second chance, anyway, because in the two years they've been apart, he hasn't come anywhere near falling out of love and, if Danny's expression is any indication, Martin's not the only one.

~*~

Epilogue:

"We're going to be late," Martin says, not the first time he's used those words, but regardless of how many times he says them Danny hasn't been able to master the whole getting out of the door on time thing.

Martin suspects the day Danny's early for anything will be the day Martin dies from shock.

"Pushy, pushy," Danny says, but he makes no move to turn away from the closet, still sorting through clothes like deciding what to bring is the toughest decision he's ever made.

Martin suspects a lot of that has to do with how many clothes Danny owns.

They actually had to move, their first apartment lacking the closet space for both their wardrobes --all Danny's fault, of course-- and they ended up compromising on a small living room and dingy bathroom just for the walk in closet.

"We're going to miss our flight," Martin reminds him, but his tone's joking, a smile flittering onto his face as he watches Danny discount several shirts before finally pulling out something he's happy with.

Danny doesn't acknowledge Martin's comment, instead smirking before heading back across the room, tossing the shirt into the open suitcase on their bed before heading back to the closet.

Martin tries not to roll his eyes.

Besides, he knows convincing Danny to hurry is like convincing rain to stop falling, or traffic in the city to disappear. An impossible task that hasn't become easier with time. Granted, he's only had three years of living with Danny to work on it, so perhaps all is not lost.

Amazingly, after finding the perfect jacket --leather that looks oddly familiar and it takes Martin a moment to realize it's his, not Danny's-- Danny announces that he's ready, looking at Martin like Martin was the one holding them up and all Martin can do is shake his head.

~*~

Being back here is surreal, to say the least.

It's not the first time that he's been back --there have been several conferences held in the main lecture hall over the years-- but it's the first time he's set foot in the dining hall since he was a recruit and Martin almost feels like he never left.

There are still so many memories here, so many things he associates with this place. And granted, most of those things involve Danny, but it's still strange to think back to that time, remember how young and naïve he was, even when he was trying not to be.

He can tell Danny's having the same reaction, Danny frozen by his side, eyes drifting across the dining hall like he's seeing it for the first time and on impulse Martin reaches down and grabs Danny's hand.

It's something he never would have done while they were actually training here, but things have changed, he's changed and it's nice to finally be able to acknowledge what everyone suspected anyway.

"God, I think I'm having flashbacks," Danny says next to him, still staring and Martin chuckles.

"Good ones, I hope. You think they'll let us borrow our old room for a night?" Martin asks, earning a laugh and the feel of Danny's thumb brushing against Martin's knuckles.

"We should definitely ask," Danny tells him, glancing over to grin and Martin's so caught up in smiling back that he almost misses the throat clearing next to him.

When he does glance over, he's met with John's knowing smirk, an infant hanging off his hip and Martin flushes before dropping Danny's hand to accept John's.

"Glad you guys could make it," John says, shaking first Martin's, then Danny's hand before introducing them to the newest member of his family.

He points out his wife and son across the room, promising proper introductions after dinner. Seeing John again makes Martin instantly glad he let Danny drag him to his reunion, something he hadn't wanted to attend before now.

"Good to see you again," Martin says when John excuses himself, John smiling his agreement before drifting away, stopping at nearly every person he encounters, making the rounds as surely as he did back when they were training, still holding his role as second as close as he's holding the child in his arms.

He's not the first to make his way over to where Danny and Martin are standing, several faces Martin hasn't seen in five years suddenly filling his vision, each introducing those with them, be it a wife or a husband, a son or a daughter. So many faces that Martin once again finds himself grabbing Danny's hand, dragging him out into the hall just to escape and catch his breath.

"You okay?" Danny asks as soon as they're not surrounded by people, looking almost concerned and Martin nods before answering.

"Just a little overwhelming, you know?" Martin answers, Danny smiling in response before stepping into Martin's space, letting his hands settle on Martin's hips, pulling Martin forward to press their lips together.

When he pulls back, Martin notices that they have an audience, Martin flushing slightly before stepping out of Danny's embrace.

"Matt," he says, Danny stiffening for a moment before relaxing, turning around with a smug grin on his face and Martin can't help but laugh at that.

Danny never seems to change.

"Hey, guys," Matt begins, looking slightly uncomfortable and it's only then that Martin notices the person standing behind him.

He glances over, Matt noticing and clearing his throat before making introductions.

"This is my boyfriend, Terrence," he tells them, smiling almost apologetically and Martin resists the urge to shout out I knew it.

Instead he settles on extending his hand, smiling as Matt introduces them.

"It's a pleasure to meet you," Martin says, making eye contact with Matt, silently forgiving him for everything that Matt ever did to them.

After all, Martin knows exactly what it's like to live in the closet. Exactly how hard coming out of said closet can be. He's still working on it himself, his parents next on what was once a never-ending list.

Their meeting doesn't last long, Matt excusing himself before heading into the dining hall, hesitating for half a second before reaching for Terrence's hand, gripping it like it's the only thing keeping him moving forward. Martin watches them go with a smile, waiting until they've vanished around the corner before turning back to Danny.

"Now where were we?" he asks, stepping back into Danny's space, smiling at Danny's laugh before letting Danny draw him back into a kiss.

Someone once told him that you could never go home, but standing here, in a place he only really recalls as nostalgia, Martin's starting to suspect that's not true. After all, Danny is home, and Martin's starting to think that maybe home is what follows you throughout your life, not simply a place.

Fin.