It’s been hours since he finished recording his statement on his unfortunate encounter with Jane Prentiss, and yet, despite everything he's had to endure in the last two weeks, it seems the only thought Martin truly can’t shake off right now are Jon’s last words.
There's a room in the Archives I use to sleep when working late.
He is sitting in said room at this very moment, which isn’t helping at all.
It’s not a huge space, and in all honesty Martin is not sure he ever noticed this place before, even though it is so close to the assistant’s office and the main archive. It looks like an old meeting room, as the dusty old whiteboard and the many discarded piled up chairs would suggest, although it’s more likely being used as nothing more than a filthy storage room these days. Cardboard boxes filled with binders are scattered throughout the room and on the old-fashioned round table in the center, and Martin is pretty sure no one has bothered cleaning this clunky imitation of a storeroom in ages.
He would wonder how could Jon possibly sleep in a place this shabby, were he not – well, were he not thinking about Jon sleeping, just sleeping, on the very worn-out couch where he’s sitting right now, with his back so stiff from the tension he will probably explode in a million little pieces in a minute or two, if he doesn’t find a way to relax.
It doesn’t help that the door to the room has a little square window at the top, and from it Martin can see the entrance to Jon’s office, his door just slightly ajar, the thinnest halo of light escaping from it, suggesting that the Archivist must still be awake and working despite the late hours.
He’d like to think that he feels safe in the knowledge of not being left alone in a place of occult such as the Institute, but he knows it is not just that. It wouldn’t be the same if that light from the corridor came from Tim, or Sasha, or Elias. It wouldn’t make him this happy and nervous and terrified all at once.
He takes a deep breath and lets his body fall heavy on the couch, so tired, so desperately awake.
He looks up, and even lying down he can see the light – Jon's light, Jon’s office, Jon’s whole skeptic little world, made of disbelief and denial and rational explanations for something that defies logic with such hostility as the paranormal they are trying to explain.
He wonders why he chose a job like this, how he ended up here, but he’s almost scared he might truly reach for the answer. He is scared to imagine that someday Jon will get bored to look for impossible answers, that this will all become too much for him.
No wonder he is so scared to be left alone, he thinks. So typical of him, so annoingly obvious.
And yet, the feeble light beyond his door brings a tranquility he did not hope for.
Why is he in love? And how can it be so easy to admit such a heavy truth to himself?
He tries closing his eyes but it does not bring him any comfort. He misses the light already, almost the same way he would miss looking at Jon’s face was he sleeping right next to him.
He is not. Such a simple, evident truth, and yet it doesn’t hurt any less when it crashes onto him, almost unexpected, the moments his eyes open again.
The light is still there, though. They are close, maybe the closest they will ever be, a strange tasting intimacy engraved in the distance between them, one that is silent and permanent and Martin knows way too well, almost as if it belonged with him from the very start.
He is not sure when his hand starts moving, or why, but the simple act of covering himself with the blanket – Jon's blanket – brings him to a whole new space – a space made of smell and a the memories of a touch he’s never truly known, a space so primal and powerful it takes his breath away, and then gives it back to him, and then chokes him again like he’s on the edge of a precipice he had no intention of jumping into.
For a fraction of a moment, when his fingers slip underneath the elastic band of the tracksuit pants – Jon's pants, cause everything Martin owns was left at home when he fled – he stops to wonder: does he really want this? And if not, can he really stop?
The answer, if he was ever looking for one, gets drowned in the soft, small moan that escapes his lips when cold fingers touch his half-hard cock and he feels a painful hunger boiling in his stomach, claiming desires and needs and longings he’s now confessing for the very for time, secrets surrendered in the dark, silent void of a room that’s only for him and the light outside his door.
He thinks about Jon, about his office, the door closed but not locked, a hand trapping the little noises coming out of Jon’s face when he holds him, his shirt only half unbuttoned, his cheeks red as cherries and so delicious to kiss, his body sprawled on his desk, flushed, desperate, craving – it’s all in there, in the light coming out of Jon’s office, like a red string that brings it all together, his throbbing cock, the loud images in his mind, Jon’s office, Jon’s body, Jon’s voice when he tries not to be heard, when he comes, when he calls him, when he clings to his shoulders only to whisper tender words, indecent words, loving words into his ear --
He is so close he feels like exploding.
He knows this is so fucked up, the way he recognized Jon’s smell so easily, the way he was almost ferociously drawn to it the moment he entered the room, as if he already knew he would end up like this, with such longing and not enough shame to even doubt the possibility that this might be utterly wrong, let alone realize his own mistake or thinking about stopping before it’s too late.
It is too late, he knows, he knows, he’s the one with a hand wrapped around his own cock and fingers shoved deep in his mouth, after all. And even if he stopped now, even if he could, would the guilt really go away?
He grabs his pillow – Jon's pillow – with wet fingers, pressing his face against the fabric and inhaling the smell – Jon's smell.
And god, it tastes so well, so right, that if he had any trace of lucidity left he would probably feel intoxicated right now, because there is no way something this good could exist, it must be poison – and maybe it is, and what of it, this is already bad enough, he deserves this, he deserves the remorse and the shame and the ugly disgrace he will feel in the morning, when his eyes will meet Jon’s and they will share good morning’s and on his lips and tongue and nose and sorry hands he will still taste the man’s smell now let loose, now all over his body, never fading, never letting him sleep peacefully again.
He comes violently, choking down a desperate moan and feeling his underwear and pants – Jon's pants, good god this will feel so bad tomorrow – wet with cum, his fingers trembling together with his whole body enwrapped in Jon’s blanket, his smell, a phantom of everything he owns and consumed and lived, now engulfing Martin like a coccoon of memories he does not deserve to borrow.
He is looking at the light when the last spills of cum drip onto his hands. He’s still shaking, refusing to let go.
He hates Jon a little for what he made him do – more than he hates himself, maybe. Definitely.
He gives a last look at the light outside of his door, just on the other side of the corridor, where he can pretend Jon is thinking about him as well, distracted by the thought of their silent vicinity and struggling to keep his eys open on his latest statement.
“Goodnight, Jon”, his voice is so small it gets lost in the loneliness of his room.
Feels like rehearsal for a hopeless show that's never ending up on a stage.