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you won't need me; you only need you

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Jon sighed and sat down at his desk. Despite having stayed up late last night, he was determined to follow through with his plan of getting to the Institute early. As he set down his bag, he was surprised to find a statement labeled #8163103 already on his desk. He had stayed at the Institute quite last the previous night, but surely not late enough to remember taking out a file? He tried not to think about an ominous explanation for it and simply loaded a fresh tape into the recorder. He stretched and prepared himself.

"Statement of Albrecht von Closen, regarding a discovered tomb near his estate in the Black Forest."

And with that, he was lost in another statement. He gradually dissociated as he became more and more engrossed in reading the transcript. The feeling of being watched was ever-persistent, but he could never bring himself to look over his shoulder as if something was compelling him to just keep reading. Before the feeling reaches its peak, the door to his office opened.

"Oh, I'm-"

"Martin, good lord," Jon was shocked at the sight of Martin in what was presumably his pajamas. "If you're going to be staying in the archives, at least have the decency to put some pants on."

"Oh, god, sorry, sorry!" Martin went red in the face. "I didn't think you were in 'til later... it's not even seven yet."

Jon sighed heavily, not wanting to explain this to Martin of all people. Martin, who already hovered over him at what seemed like every waking moment. The last thing he wanted was him worrying more, especially after what happened to him. Nevertheless, he couldn't come up with a feasible lie in time.

"I've been coming in early in hopes of leaving before dark," There was a silence as Jon studied Martin's face. "Are you alright? You look like you haven't slept in days."

"I could say the same for you," Martin laughed slightly as he sat down in the chair opposite Jon's. He brought his knees up to his chest like a small child. "But no, it's just the nightmares."

"Oh," Jon said softly. Jon was no stranger to nightmares, especially after particularly intense statements. But Martin... Martin has witnessed Jane Prentiss in a form that he could only imagine. From what he had described, it was a miracle that he wasn't harmed more than he was.

"Yeah, I've been alright, apart from that," He frowned and avoided Jon's eyes. "Do you really think she's still out there?"

"I have no idea, but I don't intend to take any chances."

Martin sighed. "No, I suppose not."

Jon felt a strange feeling in his chest as Martin's expression fell. Something deep within him wanted to help him, tell him that everything was going to be okay. He quickly realized that the more pressing matter at hand was the statement. The comfort could wait, possibly forever.

"Now, if you'll excuse me."

"Righto," Martin smiled sadly and exited the small office.

Jon tried to push the conversation (and, to be quite frank, the sight of Martin in his boxers) out of his mind as he finished the statement. Even then, he stumbled through his follow-up notes.

I need a cup of tea, he thought to himself.

Chapter Text

Admittedly, ever since he had been listening to Gertrude's tapes, Jon had been feeling increasingly anxious. He had picked at his nails until they started to bleed and had been staying at the archives late far too often (not to mention the lingering feeling of worms burrowing under his skin... that certainly didn't help anything). After hearing the statement of Walter Heller, Jon spontaneously decided that taking up Martin's offer of sandwiches would be a good way to take his mind off of things.

He met Martin just outside of his office. His eyes lit up and he smiled when he saw Jon, who was now wearing a tan peacoat due to the weather.

"You sure you don't need your cane?"

Jon stopped in a brief panic, but the lack of pain in his legs proved well. "No, I don't think so."

Since the worms did a number on his legs in particular, his physical therapist had recommended he use a cane until it healed completely. Still, he felt a bit self-conscious, being young and having to use a cane of all things. Martin had noticed this and made it a point to remind Jon to use it constantly.

"Righto," Martin said.

They swiftly exited the institute, saying goodbye to Rosie as they did so.

"So, um," Martin shoved his hands into his pockets. "How have you been?"

"Hm?" Truthfully, Jon's mind was still on the statement.

"How have you been?"

"Oh," Jon paused. "Other than the stitches, I'm managing."

"Yeah," Martin exhaled, his breath creating a puff in the chilly air. "Me too."

"You..." Jon looked at Martin in confusion. "What?"

"Oh god," Martin's eyes went wide as if he had just revealed his biggest secret. "Yeah, that's a bit strange out of context, huh? Considering that asked you how you were, now isn't the time to-"

"Martin," Jon cut him off. "It's alright. Are you... okay?"

Martin laughed nervously. "Y-yes? I'm fine."

Jon sighed. "Alright."

It was an obvious lie, but he decided it wasn't worth getting into at the moment. Martin wasn't exactly the most subtle person on Earth. It had been a few months since Prentiss's attack, and while every employee seemed anxious, Martin was definitely hit the hardest. Everyone knew that he had been far from "fine" since his initial encounter with Prentiss. He seemed to be dealing with it by being overly concerned and almost affectionate with Jon. Hell, he couldn't imagine Martin taking on this... outing, of sorts, a year ago. Needless to say, it was a bit strange. Was it an outing, or was it...?

No, this is most certainly not a date.

Jon quickly pushed that thought out of his mind in a panic. He himself was no stranger to going out with men, but Martin? He truly had no idea. Besides that, a romantic endeavor in the middle of the workday was wholly inappropriate, even for someone as strange as Martin.

"Gosh, you're almost starting to worry as much as me." Martin broke the silence.

Oh.

"Sorry," was all Jon said.

"No, s'alright," Martin sounded dejected. "It's just... I'm also worried, what with you running yourself into the ground with statements and all."

"When are you not worried, Martin?"

They both laughed at that, and Jon felt a sense of relief as the mood lightened.

"I- Thank you, though. I... appreciate your concern."

"S'alright," Martin replied.

Jon glanced up and realized they had reached the cafe. It had been one of his favorites since he started working at the Institute, but since he got promoted to Head Archivist, well... he didn't have much time now, did he?

Martin held the door open for Jon, and for the first time in a long time, Jon was grateful for his presence.