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The bruises are dark.

It’s saying something, really, how stark they are against his skin. He’s not pale, not like Martin, with all his complaints of sunburns and freckles on display. But the bruises stand out as though he might have been, dark and darkening still. He wonders what they might look like tomorrow, and what that means when he sees himself to work in the morning. But right now… right now, Jon thinks he thrills a little at the patches of discoloration against his skin left by Tim’s lips and teeth.

Tim’s not overly gentle, which is just as well. He’s kind and compassionate, sees through Jon’s hesitance in a heartbeat when it happens and holds him through the messy moments of insecurity. But Tim’s also heavy hands and determination, enthusiastic love bites and suction at his skin. Amongst other things.

It’s… nice, sometimes, to revel in the feeling of Tim taking him so forcefully out of his head. And the… hickeys, they’re a sign of it. He knows it. Tim knows it. Or maybe Tim just really delights in leaving marks on his partner’s skin. That, too. Jon doesn’t mind.

He prods at one, steeling for the brief flash of discomfort that comes at the pressure. It only hurts for a moment, like it had when Tim had put it there. Sucking at the hollow of his throat and then a bite to his collarbone. He passes his fingers over the skin again, just touching, and then takes a step back so he’s in full line of the mirror.

It’s not the only one. There’s an assortment of them, each that Jon maps out with his eyes as he contemplates his reflection. The one at his collar. Another on his neck proper. An angry red mark at a nipple, and a prominent bite at one of his ribs. He thumbs at another just above his hip, and then catches the knot at his bath towel to let it unravel and fall.

His thighs always take the brunt of the marks. Tim’s penchant for having his head between Jon’s legs does tend to encourage it, and he’s already said– repeatedly– feeling the way Jon’s thighs tremble is good. So he’s always got his mouth in the vicinity, biting and licking and teasing until Jon’s a mess, hard and aching and covered in marks that steadily turn darker as the hours pass.

He counts one, two, three, four, peppered below the waist. There’s an actual nasty bruise, just below his knee, from his own faults; he’d tripped over a concrete block in artefact storage and very nearly bashed his head on an old chest of drawers secured due to multiple decapitations. Nearly been another victim there.

He definitely prefers the bruises from Tim instead.

He should be used to it, used to marks across his skin. He’s had a scar from the playground bully, just below his knee, from when he’d been pushed over on a walk home. That one, he’d carried throughout his life. Still, partially his fault, though; he’d had his nose in a book. And, now, more recently, the worms, the scars scattered if not still concentrated across his hands and arms and neck and face. Here and there elsewhere, and the scar from the corkscrew on his leg. At least… at least that one hadn’t healed up quite as badly, not like the craters left from the worms dying half inside his body. The corkscrew was less… invasive, he thought wryly.

Still, he prefers the hickeys.

Tim doesn’t like the scars, either. Not that he says as much, never… never brings it up, but he avoids them in ways he doesn’t avoid the rest of Jon’s body. His fingers never settle there, lips never linger. Jon, privately, thinks it’s not a pleasant reminder, for Tim. It’s… the attack, it’s the Eye, it’s their situation. It’s more than Jon probably knows, because they’ve all struggled and Tim’s struggled… louder than the rest of them, sometimes. Jon doesn’t notice a lot of things, but he notices that while Tim doesn’t give a verbal indication of not liking Jon touching his scars, either, he somehow always manages to shift just so Jon’s hand slips away from a marred bicep or a raised line of flesh at his chest. (It’s unfortunate, really; Jon tends to focus on irregularities of touch and he always finds himself rubbing his thumb over some of the pockmarks at Tim’s knuckles when he holds his hand. It’s something they both struggle over.)

“Aww, you’re enjoying the view without me?”

Jon only startles a little when Tim speaks from the open doorway, and lifts his gaze to look at him in the reflection of the mirror.

“Heard the shower click off,” Tim says, crossing the room. “Wondered what you were doing when you didn’t come out– oh shit, that’s getting dark already, huh?”

Jon’s still thumbing absently at the mark at his hip, he realizes. He drops his hand, and stoops to pick up the towel. “A bit,” he says, “but don’t pretend you haven’t enjoyed the view all night. You put them there,” he reminds, and sets to toweling his skin dry.

“I know!” Tim says, all cheerful, and Jon leans out of his touch when he presses a finger to one at his neck. Another moment of discomfort, fleeting but sure to settle into the pit of his stomach if he lets it, and he doesn’t want to let it. He’s just showered, for God’s sake. But Tim relents, anyway, leaning over Jon’s shoulder to look down the bruises at his front. “But I like admiring my handiwork.”

It takes a momentous effort not to roll his eyes, and Jon finds himself smiling back at Tim’s infectious attitude. Much more reserved than Tim’s buoyancy, but, well, he is happy. As much as he’s permitted these days.

“Plus, you know, I like admiring you,” Tim says, and tugs the towel into his hands to start toweling Jon’s hair dry. “Even with all that gunmetal grey,” he teases, and Jon can’t help but bristle a little because he knows what they’re talking about, Tim delights in it, and Jon teeters between amused exasperation and being prickly when it comes up.

“That’s not my fault.”

“No worries, boss, it matches the rest.”

“That’s not my fault,” Jon repeats, but Tim’s hands at his hair relaxes him, and he can’t help but lean a little bit into Tim’s broad chest and radiating warmth. It’s getting cold, still standing here in the nude.

But it doesn’t matter. Tim gives a determined “I like it” in response, and then ushers Jon off to get dressed when he starts to shiver. He claims the shower for himself while Jon ambles off to put the kettle on once he’s swathed himself in one of Tim’s impossibly large sweaters. 

His hand trails back to the hickeys on his neck unthinkingly, and he traces his fingers along the marks again as he waits for the water to boil.