Todd was at his desk stewing over expenses. They'd splurged too much on booze the past month and were a couple hundred bits over budget. It wasn't too serious. He had factored in a 700 bit safety net in case of mishaps like this. They just needed to be more careful. Make Nyoka buy her own booze if she's gonna drink it all. That probably won't work long-term though.
Something lightly touched his cheek. He looked over to see Martin poking his face with the back of his pen. "Hey," the former salesman said softly, a fond smile on his lips. "Did you know you were mumbling?"
"Oh," Todd said softly. "Sorry." He bit the inside of his bottom lip to stop it from happening again as he returned to his work.
"I didn't mind," Martin said with a tiny chuckle. "I just wanted to see if you knew."
Todd looked at him again, a little disarmed. Martin met the captain's eyes and his smile widened to show his first few teeth. God, he was handsome. Even the tiny chip in his front tooth was endearing.
He was everything Todd always wanted. Quiet and soft. Gentle, patient, and kind. Intelligent, creative, passionate, loyal, and diligent. Looking back, it was so obvious that he would fall for Martin. He should've seen it coming from the start.
"What've you been working on?" he asked to break the silence. A soft red blush rose in those freckled cheeks and Todd had to stifle the rising urge to kiss them.
"Well," Martin began with a nervous chuckle. "I was writing a poem. It's not very good but," he shrugged, ending the sentence there apparently.
Todd offered him a gentle smile. "If you made something, then it's art. It doesn't have to be 'good.' That said, I'm sure it's not as bad as you think it is," he encouraged. Martin smiled at his writing a little nervously. "But also, know that you don't have to show anyone. Not me or Max or even ADA. This is yours. You don't have to share."
Martin chuckled fondly. "Do you even mean to sound like a dad all the time?"
"No, it's just.. how I've always been, I suppose?" Todd said thoughtfully. "I've always had people I needed to take care of. When I was young, I would always think about what my dad would say." He leaned back in his chair and looked at the ceiling. "He always seemed to know just what to say."
"It must've been hard," Martin said softly, "when he died."
"It was. I was young and scared and all alone," Todd sighed. He was quiet a long time. "I still see him sometimes. Standing in dark hallways or moving out the corner of my eye." Martin's hand squeezed his.
"What did he look like?" Martin asked gently.
Todd gave a sad chuckle. "Like me.. He looked just like me but with grey and brown hair and a fuller beard. He was taller than me too, I think. And he had a scar across his face and was missing part of his left ear. So I guess he didn't look too much like me," the captain said sadly.
"Did he have your eyes?"
"Yeah, right down to the bags under them," Todd said self depreciatingly.
"From my mom," Todd said, shaking his head.
"What about your freckles?"
"They're from him."
"And your nose?"
"Also from my dad," he said looking over. "Hey, what are you doing?"
Martin gave him a knowing grin. "Shh, don't worry about that. Now here's a tough one. Where'd you get your eyebrow shape from?"
"My dad," Todd said suspiciously.
"What about your fingers?"
Todd looked at his hands. "Fingers are from my dad but his palms were wider."
Martin nodded. "So Papa Sean had some big ass hands," he said with a drawl.
Todd couldn't help his startled laugh and punched Martin in the arm playfully. They both laughed a little too hard and a little too long at Martin's horrible joke. When he finally caught his breath Todd looked at him again and shook his head. "You're awful," he said still smiling.
"But you're smiling," Martin pointed out, grinning triumphantly.
"Was that what all that was about?"
"And to show you how much you really do look like him," Martin nodded, more serious now. "I know what it means to you."
Todd drew in his brows suspiciously. "I've never said anything about it before."
"You didn't have to," Martin said with a subtle shake of his head.
Todd lost himself for a moment dwelling on the implications of that. How did Martin know? Did the others know? Did ADA? Did she tell him? Was it wierd that he held something like that close to his heart and cared so deeply about it? Was he a bad person for not grieving his mother the same? No, no. He was too young for their time together to have made an impression. Should he be sorry for that? That wasn't something he could change though. She died to disease.
"If I could fly just like a pteroray," Martin said rhythmically. Todd looked over at him and he restarted with a smirk.
"If I could fly just like a pteroray
I'd take you in my arms.
And we'd fly across the Terra 2 sky,
Above cities, streets, and homes."
Martin shook his head for effect.
"But I know I'd lose my way
If we flew for just a day
Cause I would get lost in you."
He looked over at Todd, his captive audience.
"If I could stop time in an instant,
Make a single moment stretch on into forever
I would take you in my arms
And I would spin you oh so fast
And we could finally dance together."
Martin gave a wistful sigh.
"But I would trip over my feet
And I'd fall upon my seat
Cause I would get lost in you."
Todd waited a moment to hear the rest but nothing more came. "You should finish that," he said without thinking.
Martin smiled sheepishly. "It's not very good," he said bashfully.
"It's the best poetry I've heard in Halcyon," Todd said proudly.
"Well, all the poets are still frozen," Martin countered.
"So? You don't have to make a career out of every hobby. You should be proud of that poem. Maybe you could give Junlei some pointers?"
"I don't know if I'm even that good," Martin rubbed his neck bashfully. That cute blush was back in his cheeks. "Anyways this was supposed to cheer you up not put the spotlight on me."
"Too bad," Todd grinned and leaned over to kiss his cheek, but Martin retreated away, hiding his face behind his notebook and giggling. Todd pushed Martin's chair back and planted himself straddling the man's lap. "Hey," he said all coy as he trailed his hands feather light up Martin's arms to peal the notebook from his hands.
"Hey," Martin returned just as coy but also a little nervous. He was blushing all the way to his ears and looking up at Todd with wide eyes. Almost like he still couldn't believe Todd would want him.
The captain resolved to make sure he caught on. It might take some time. And a lot of sleepless nights. But the results will be well worth it all. Anything to make Martin smile.