Martin didn’t notice the new door in the staff room. He was elbow deep in his midday tea ritual, and wasn’t even looking the same direction as the wall that now contained a yellow door where it had previously contained nothing of the sort. He didn’t even notice it when he walked to the table where he’d already set out a plate with biscuits, too focused was he on the warmth of the mug cradled between his hands. No, Martin didn’t notice anything was amiss until the door creaked open, and by that point he was already sat down and halfway through a biscuit.
He froze, swallowing carefully. “Um, Michael?” His voice had that awful squeak to it that it got when he was nervous.
“That is a name,” It said thoughtfully from somewhere behind him.
He cleared his throat. “Right, uh, you’re not super keen on names. Um,” Martin faltered as his brain searched desperately for an escape route that wouldn’t be construed as rude. He’d listened to Michael Crew’s statement, and was acutely aware of the dangers that coming across as rude to an avatar posed. Martin wasn’t exactly sure if Michael was an avatar, but he figured if It wasn’t It was probably something worse.
“Michael is fine. I suppose you must call me something.” It hummed with an air of amusement that made him feel like It knew what he was thinking.
“Right, well, um,” he cleared his throat again. “Can I um, can I help you?”
It spilled into view, one hand resting on the chair across from him. It looked mostly human, Its bizarrely fluid movements notwithstanding, but when It tapped Its fingers against the wood it made an awful clacking sound. “I thought you might like company, Archival Assistant.”
Martin froze completely under Its gaze, caught halfway between abject terror and noticing, not for the first time, that Michael was really rather pretty.
Michael made an amused sound and smiled Its too-sharp smile. "Are you feeling alright?”
“I uh, um, I -” Martin cleared his throat for the third time as the squeak crept back into his voice. “I-I’m fine, thanks.”
He stared down as his tea and wished he could stop existing. Maybe, if he focused on his mug intently enough, Michael would leave him alone. He jumped with a yelp when the pattern from the mug slithered across his fingers, and managed to spill hot tea all over his jumper. That was it. That was the last straw. His day had already been horrid and Martin was at his breaking point.
“Would you just leave me be?” He wasn’t shouting, but he’d certainly spoken louder than was absolutely necessary. He set the mug down hard and what was left in it sloshed dangerously.
"You're upset," the creature said slowly.
“Yes!” He gave it an exasperated look. “ Yes I am upset! You’re tormenting me!” Shakily, he tugged off his probably ruined jumper. He had really liked that jumper.
“I had not meant to upset you, Archival Assistant.”
“Martin!” He snapped. “My name is Martin, not ‘Archival Assistant.’”
“I’m sorry Martin.” His name sounded strange in Its weird distorted voice, and he almost regretted telling It what it was. “I can fix your jumper, if you’d like.”
He gave It a wary look. “Fix it how?”
It held out Its hand and he clutched the item of clothing to his chest a bit defensively. After a moment he reluctantly handed it over. Michael handed it back and it was perfectly clean and dry.
Martin, It would try to hold onto the name, was thoroughly confused when he took his jumper back. Michael hadn’t needed to take it from him in the first place to fix it, but It sensed that doing that would have upset him more.
“How’d you do that?” He asked, soft blue contrasting with the grey little room.
“Magic.” It smiled, then laughed at the look he gave It. “It’s as true as any answer I could give you Martin.”
“I’m pretty sure that’s a lie.” It smiled more and Martin sighed. “Well, thank you for fixing it. Please don’t, whatever you did to my mug, please don’t do it again.” He pulled the jumper back on.
“I will try.” It hummed, and that might have been the truth.
He looked shocked before he caught himself and covered the expression. “Really? Oh, well thank you.”
It smiled again, aiming for something less overtly predatory and more pleasant. Martin’s face turned pink, soft like the rest of him, and Michael thought it suited him.
“Right, well um. I should be getting back to work then. Have a good afternoon Michael.” He spoke quickly, then hurried out of the room. Michael laughed to Itself.
It saw him later that day. It had gone to the Archives to see if watching Jon would prove entertaining. At the very least, Elias objected to it strongly, and the feeling of him trying - and failing - to behold his Archivist while Michael was there was very amusing. Not that It would tell the Archivist that that was why It bothered him, because he could be very amusing in his own right. Like presently, where he was about to be very startled when he looked up and saw Michael perched on his desk.
“ Christ! ” The Archivist yelped, and It smiled.
“No,” Michael hummed and Jon glared daggers at It as he caught his breath.
It was then that Martin popped his head in the door, the real door, to the Archives. “Are you alright Jon?”
It turned Its smile to him and he took an instinctive step back. “Hello again, Martin.” The way his face flushed that lovely pink reminded Michael of something. Strawberry parfait, some distant part of Itself offered. “I was just saying hello to the Archivist.”
Jon scowled. “You nearly gave me a heart attack.”
Michael’s laughter twisted through the air in looping spirals. “I thought I was the liar,” It said, with a grin just this side of physically impossible.
“It's an expression.” The Archivist said dryly. “Thank you Martin, you can go. You ,” he turned towards It again, “can also go, Michael.”
“Can I?” It arched forward to further invade his space, all sharp teeth and dangerous angles. “I wasn’t aware I needed your permission, Archivist.” Michael laughed again, and then laughed more when the archivist physically recoiled from the sound.
The Archivist frowned and opened his mouth again, he must be feeling awful brave today, but then Martin spoke instead.
“Actually, Michael, I could use your help.” It wasn’t exactly a lie. He could use Michael’s help. He didn’t necessarily want it, but Jon looked like he was about to say something very stupid to the very pointy monster who’d already drawn blood from him before. Martin needed to de-escalate the situation before someone got hurt, and removing Michael from the current equation seemed like the easiest way to do that.
Michael and Jon both seemed surprised by what he’s said for a moment. Then Jon frowned and Michael grinned.
“Martin,” Jon started.
Michael cut him off. “I suppose I’ll be taking my leave now Archivist, if you’ll allow it , of course.” It said as It unfolded Itself from his desk. The motion was… disconcerting.
Martin was nervous, but he’d already committed to the creature’s company. The little voice in the back of his head reminded him of the importance of not seeming rude.
Jon continued to frown as Michael came to stand next to Martin. He wasn’t sure if It was trying to give them a headache, or if It just wasn’t very good at moving like a person. “Are you sure that’s a good idea Martin?” He asked in a tone that suggested he very much thought it wasn’t.
“He’ll be fine, Archivist,” Michael crooned. “It's almost as if you don’t trust me.” It teased, then laughed.
Martin was concerned to find that Its laugh was beginning to grow on him. Though, being so close to It when It laughed made his teeth ache and his bones feel strange, and he shivered. “I’ll be alright Jon.”
He didn’t seem convinced, but he just sighed and rubbed his face. “Fine.”
Michael looked like It might make another snarky comment, so Martin touched Its arm. His hand buzzed in a way that was strange, but not wholly unpleasant. “Come on then,” he said when It gave him a curious look.
It followed him out of the Archives and he could feel Its eyes on him the whole way to the storage room.
“Right then.” He pushed his sleeves up. “I need to get these boxes down from the top shelf. You’re tall, so you can help me.” He hoped he sounded more confident than he felt.
He was a bit shocked by Its apparent compliance. Martin had expected at least some teasing, but It just started taking boxes down like he’d asked, and stacking them on the floor. “Great. I’ll be working on these,” he stopped himself before he said if you need anything. Michael seemed like the sort to be careful of what he said around.
They’d been quietly moving boxes for around twenty minutes or so, and everything had been going surprisingly smoothly. Then, because wasn’t that just his luck, Martin had underestimated how heavy a box was. The weight of it knocked him off balance on the little step ladder, and by the time he’d tried to correct himself it was too late. He braced himself for the pain of bashing his skull against the concrete floor, but it didn’t come. Instead he felt rather dizzy.
Michael made a strange tutting sound. “You should be more careful Martin.” It hummed, and he realized It had caught him. Then he realized It was still holding him.
He felt his face turn red and he started to stammer out apologies and thanks at the same time, resulting in nonsense. Martin didn’t remember It taking the box from him, but it was already on the floor when It guided him to his feet. “I um, I, thanks.” He said quickly, still blushing.
Michael smiled in a way that might have been fond. “Are you alright?”
"U-uh, yes? I m-mean," Martin was hyper aware of how he was stammering. He cleared his throat. "Um, I mean yes. I'm okay. Thank you, for uh, for catching me."
"I prefer you in one piece." It hummed and smiled at him and Martin's brain may have short circuited. "The Archives do not reward clumsiness well." It said offhandedly as it retrieved the last box from the shelf Martin had been working on.
He was still trying to process the first part. "I uh, yeah." He mumbled.
Michael laughed softly and gently lifted Martin's chin with long fingers, making him meet Its eyes. They were two, bright, swirling, pools of color, and he was immediately hopelessly lost in them. "You shouldn't agree to things you don't understand, little one." It hummed softly, and his brain did short circuit then.
It smiled, inches from his face, and he found that regular panic did not, in fact, cancel out gay panic. "You're such a curious creature, Martin. Don't you know that it isn't safe to be alone with monsters? You could get hurt." Michael touched his cheek, ever so carefully. "I'll be seeing you, little one." It said, and then It was gone.
Martin took a deep, shuddering breath and glanced around the now empty storage room. "Fuck," he murmured softly. His heart was still pounding in his chest. There was no way Micheal didn't know the implications of what It had done. The real question was if It was just teasing him. If It hadn't been… there must be something deeply wrong with him for even considering that possibility. "I'm really in it now, huh." Martin sighed softly, as he smoothed his jumper before stepping out into the hall.
How did one even ask a monster out on a date anyways? Martin hadn't seen Michael for the better part of a week, and most of that time had been spent agonizing over the exchange in the storage room. He'd fully accepted already that he must be a special type of messed up to have a crush on the creature anyways. That had led to a lot of time spent trying to figure out precisely what Michael was to begin with, which had reminded him of the time It had implied that It was a hand , which in turn had led to a very confusing and concerning several hours spent wondering how much free will It had. Finally, no closer to any answers than he had been before, Martin resolved to just ask Michael when he saw It next. Of course, that was easier said than done.
Presently, he was perusing the bookshelves at one of the second hand stores near his flat. A bit of gilded lettering caught his eye, and he reached for the small yellow book. It was worn, but he could still make out the title. "The Yellow Wallpaper? I think I had to read you in secondary school," he hummed to himself as he turned the book to open it.
"I would not do that if I were you," came a familiar voice from next to him, and he nearly dropped the book.
"Michael?" He looked over to see It watching him with an amused smile.
"H-how long have you been standing there?" Had It seen humming poetry to himself?
"Not long," It gave no indication as to how It defined 'long'. "You should give that to me," It said, looking at the book.
"Why? O-oh, is it…?"
"You would not like what it did to your home, if you tried to read it, and I would not like one of the… other limbs trying to steal you from me."
Martin felt his face flush, and quickly handed the book over. That was an awfully possessive way of wording that, and he was sure he shouldn't have liked it near as much as he did. "What would have happened?"
"What do you think would have happened Martin?" Its expression was surprisingly void of amusement. "Do you want to know how it would have killed you?"
He faltered. He had been expecting some level of twisted delight as It told him whatever gruesome thing the book did, or at the very least some of Its strange laughter, but Michael was more serious looking that Martin had ever seen It. "I-I'm sorry,"
It seemed to soften. "Such a curious creature." It murmured, then gave him one of Its mostly gentle smiles. "Would you like to help me burn it?"
"You're going to burn it? But, won't that hurt the, uh, rest of you?"
"Perhaps. A necessary discomfort." It started walking towards the counter, so he trailed behind It.
"But, why?" Martin watched It pay the cashier, though he had no idea where It would have gotten money. Did monsters have jobs? What would a monster put on its resume? Proficient in excel and can conjure up doors to madness inducing halls?
"Because this limb," It tapped the cover of the book as they left the shop, "has caused me far more pain than it is worth." There was something dark in Its voice that scared Martin.
"Oh." He walked at Its side quietly for a while.
"You're afraid," Michael said with a non committal hum as they continued down the street.
He glanced up at It. "Oh, I mean a little? I'm not used to you being so serious. Your smile is creepy and all but it makes me more nervous when you're completely straight faced."
"Well yeah," he looked back at his shoes. "It's like, if you're just smiling, that's normal. But if you're not smiling at all, or you're like, grinning a lot, that's kinda scary because something is making you act different. But I think that's just because I know you and I know you tend to smile all the time, a random person on the street would probably be more scared of your smile, because it is pretty creepy. Well not like, know know, cuz that goes against your whole thing I guess, but -" he realized he was starting to ramble and rubbed his face. "You know what I mean."
It gave him an amused look. "Do I?"
Martin blushed and looked the other way. "Where are we going anyway?"
"The park." Considering there were literally thousands of parks in London that wasn't a terribly descriptive answer.
"Why are we going to a park?"
"To burn the book." It hummed as if that was a perfectly logical answer.
"Ah of course, I'd forgotten about the designated 'book burning corner' that's standard in London parks, forgive me."
Michael laughed and it only made his teeth ache a little. "There are fire pits at the park down the street Martin." It responded when Its laughter had mostly subsided.
"Oh. Right." He blushed more.
Martin had seemed shocked when Michael had offered to let him light the book. Now they were both watching as the pages shriveled into curling smoke and ash. It felt a certain human satisfaction as the flames consumed the little book. It felt contradictory, but that was standard for Michael. Burning the book was wrong so it was right so it was wrong, so on and so forth.
"Can I ask you something?" Martin was watching Its face rather than the little fire.
"You can do whatever you like," It responded, turning to meet his eyes. His face turned that lovely pink and It smiled.
"Do you, uh, do you have free will?" It hadn't expected that question, if It had expected anything.
"As much as you, more or less."
"But aren't you controlled by the Spiral?"
"Are you not controlled by the needs of your body?"
"Oh, I hadn't thought about it like that." He seemed to consider Its answer. "Why," he paused. "You said that the book hurt you,"
"What did it do?"
It made a thoughtful sound. "A long time ago, when I was still two creatures with no knowledge of each other, the part of me that had been human lost a close friend to the creature in that book." Michael said after a while, turning Its attention back to the fire that was beginning to die out.
Martin was quiet for a long time and It could feel his quiet horror. Eventually he said, very softly, "You used to be human?"
"Some of my parts were, yes."
"What… what happened?"
"Michael Shelley was betrayed by his Archivist and we did not notice him until it was too late. Now he and us have been fragmented and mixed crudely together and what is left is me."
"W-wait, you used to work at the Archives?" He was more afraid now. Michael considered lying to spare his nerves, but decided against it. If he wanted to be close to It he would learn the truth eventually.
"Michael Shelley did. I did not start to exist until he stopped existing."
"She was as cruel as she was practical, and the loss of innocent life did not matter to her, only how much. Michael Shelley was not the only one she condemned, believing that the ends justified the means."
It looked at him again. He seemed very upset. "The Archives will protect you only so long as you are useful. The Institute cares only for its own preservation, not that of the lives it has swallowed. Your Archivist tries to be different, but the Eye has no time for moral objections."
"That's awful." He said eventually, and drew in a shaky breath.
"I've upset you."
"No no, I mean yes, but it was just, what you explained, not you specifically."
It blinked slowly at him. "Would you like me to leave?"
"No, um," his face turned that lovely pink again. "I actually like spending time with you, horrible revelations and people stealing books aside." He smiled sheepishly.
Michael smiled back. "That is unwise, little one."
Martin's face turned darker pink. "Why do you call me that? 'M not little." He mumbled.
"You are, compared to me. You are very little."
He looked away. "Short maybe, but not little."
It laughed softly. "My body is more than what you see presently."
"I'm sorry, what?"
"Would you like to see beyond my door again?" Michael asked, smile verging on a grin as realization and then horror danced across Martin's face.
"That's part of your body?!"
It laughed. "As much as this," It motioned to Itself, "is. Perhaps more."
"That's awful! I've been inside your halls, and now you're telling me they're part of your body?"
"What did you think they were?" It made no attempt to keep the amusement out of Its voice.
Martin was curled up on his sofa with a mug of tea. He was watching some historic drama, but his thoughts kept drifting back to the things Michael had said earlier that day. Most of what It had told him terrified him, especially the bit about Michael Shelley. He'd done a bit of digging online and had managed to uncover Michael Shelley's Facebook page. It hadn't been updated in nearly ten years, and what was there was sparse, but he'd found a few pictures of the man that looked like they were from University. Much to his horror, but not surprise, the man looked almost exactly like Michael. A little younger, a little more human, but he recognized the face and the curls instantly. Martin had really hoped It had been lying. There was still a possibility It was, but the existence of a human person called Michael was bad enough.
He had closed the page and turned on Netflix, in hopes that a boring period piece and a nice cup of tea might help him relax. It had mostly worked, though he was still worried about what might happen to the rest of them who worked at the Archives. They'd already lost Sasha. Martin had shut down that train of thought after a couple of minutes. Imagining all the horrible ways his friends might die wouldn't help anyone. Instead of letting himself spiral (ha) into a depression over the Institute, he'd gotten up and added a bit of whiskey to his tea.
He decided to focus on the not-horrible things Michael had said, and found himself fixated on Its possessive comment from the second hand shop. After a couple hours and another spiked tea, he was a little tipsy, very flustered, and no closer to a definitive answer as to how to deal with the situation. In the end he chalked it and the show he'd meant to have been watching up as lost causes and trudged to bed.
A few weeks had passed since the conversation at the park, and Martin had seen just enough of Michael to keep him questioning Its motives. He wished he could just work up the courage to ask It. He didn't even know if It could understand romance. It seemed to have a difficult enough time with names. He was in the staff room at the moment, taking a break from researching at his desk to hide in there and play on his phone for a while. The Unknowing was getting close, and the closer it got the more stressed everyone was. They had gone over the final plan earlier that day in the tunnels, and he was drained.
A now familiar creak drew him out of his thoughts, and he looked up to see Michael standing by one of the chairs. "Would you like company, Martin?"
He smiled a bit and motioned for It to sit. "Yeah, that sounds nice. What have you been up to?"
"Feeding." It hummed as It folded Itself into the chair. "And you?"
He yawned. "Researching the Stranger." Martin rubbed his eyes. "It's all either dreadful, or boring. Mostly dreadful."
It made a thoughtful sound. He'd gotten used to the strange way It watched him, and it no longer reduced him to a blushing, stammering mess. Mostly.
"I don't suppose you know anything about its ritual?"
"Nothing of use,"
"Figures, thanks anyway. Can I ask you something?"
"Have I ever stopped you?"
He shrugged. "Mostly just say it to be polite. I don't need you deciding I was too pushy and eating me," it was mostly a joke, and luckily Michael laughed. "I was just wondering why you hang around me so much."
"Is it not obvious that I enjoy your company?" It sounded genuinely curious as It titled Its head just a little too far.
Martin shrugged again. "Can I… can I hold your hand?" He asked shyly, not meeting Its eyes.
He half expected It to say something to the effect of "you can do what you want" because that was how It usually responded, but instead It held out Its hand to him.
He blushed and took the creature's hand carefully. It wasn't right, something about Its skin felt a bit more like wet sand than skin, and Its hand was weirdly heavy, but it was still kind of nice. It also made his fingers go a bit numb. He laced their fingers together and traced the little details of Its knuckles. "Did you know that I rather like you?" He mumbled.
It smiled. "I may have guessed, though I can't say I understand why."
Martin smiled a little. "Can you understand anything?"
"Not especially, not like you understand things."
"I've kind of been dreading this conversation for weeks, it's rather difficult to figure out how you tell a monster you have a crush on it." He was surprised at how easily he was able to admit that, considering how much time he'd spent agonizing over it.
"You are a very curious creature," It hummed, "perhaps that's why I like you."
Martin blushed a bit, then he was quiet for a while. "I'm worried Michael."
It gave him a curious look.
"The Unknowing is soon, and I have a job to do here while everyone else is trying to stop it, well everyone but Melanie, at least. I'm afraid for them mostly, but also I'm kind of afraid for me." His voice went soft. "I think Elias might hurt me." He tried to push the image of Jurgen Leitner's body from his thoughts.
"That would be very unwise of him." It said after a moment.
"Oh?" Martin managed a little smile. "Well I appreciate the vote of confidence, I guess."
The rest of his break passed quietly, and when he finally, reluctantly, let go of Michael's hand to go back to work, It hesitated a moment before It left. "You confuse me Martin Blackwood."
He laughed a little. "You confuse me too, Michael."
Martin hugged his knees and took deep shuddering breaths in an attempt to stop his crying. He almost didn't hear the telltale creak as he tried and failed to compose himself.
He hid his face in his knees so It wouldn't see what a wreck he was. He was still sobbing though, so the gesture was mostly futile.
"Martin," It touched his arm gently. "What happened?"
"E-elias," he managed to choke out. "I-I'm not hurt, d-don't worry." He drew in a shuddering breath and tried to rub the tears off his face with the back of his sleeve.
"You can't lie to me Martin." Michael stroked his cheek, and he wanted to cry more. "Stay here."
"W-what are you going to?" He watched as It straightened up and stepped towards Its door.
"You don't want to know." The door closed behind It, and Martin was alone again.
He managed to get himself composed again by the time Melanie showed up. Mostly.
"Martin we need to go kill him! Look what he did to you!" She frowned as she handed him the papers she'd stolen from Elias's office.
"We can't. Even if he was lying about the rest of us dying too, he'd see us coming." He took another shaky breath.
"The benefits of remaining unseen ." They both turned at Michael's voice, Martin relieved and Melanie defensively. It was shaking gore from Its fingers, which looked decidedly not-human at the moment. It had one of those serious expressions that would have scared Martin if he wasn't so relieved to just see It again.
"What are you?" Melanie frowned. "And what are you talking about?"
Martin spoke up before things could escalate, he didn't need anything else to deal with at the moment. "This is Michael, Its a… friend of mine."
Michael wiped the last of the blood from Its fingers on an unburned statement and Its form seemed to settle into something less monstrous. "Elias will no longer be a problem."
"Michael," Martin walked over tentatively. He didn't think It would hurt him, but he had been afraid when It had a neutral expression, and that was nothing compared to the anger written across Its features now.
It seemed to soften. "I'm sorry for scaring you Martin," It said quietly. "And for not taking care of the Watcher sooner."
Melanie, unlike Martin, was having none of it. "Out with it then, what exactly did you do? Quick like too, you may be Martin's friend, but I don't like the look of you." She crossed her arms as she glared at It.
Martin turned back to her. "Melanie, ple-"
"I killed him." Michael said simply.
"Really?!" Her face lit up. "How? Did it hurt?"
Melanie didn't stop badgering It until she got all of the sickening details, then she got a phone call and ran off, leaving a slightly sick feeling Martin alone with Michael again.
"I'm sorry," It said again, but he just shook his head and hugged It. After a moment Michael wrapped Its arms around him and rested Its chin on the top of his head. "This isn't the end, removing Elias only stops his plans. There are others who hunger for the same power." It said quietly after a moment.
"I… I know." He mumbled against Its chest. "Will you stay, with me?" He looked up at It.
It gave him an amused smile. "Don't you know it's not safe to be alone with monsters?"
Martin felt his shoulders relax, and he laughed. "I don't think I care."
Michael held Martin, who was currently laying half on top of it, snoring softly. It did not sleep, so It watched him sleep instead, noting all the fascinating things that were purely Martin. The little peek of brown at the roots of his curly pink hair, the gentle movement of his breathing, the subtle taste of strawberries and summer and sunshine. It brushed Its finger through his hair carefully, and he pressed into the touch.
"Mm, it's creepy to stare at people, you know." He mumbled, voice still raspy from sleep. There was no bite to his words, and he snuggled closer to It.
"Do I?" Michael smiled at the little huff It got in response.
Martin rolled off of It and stretched. He yawned and reached for his phone. "How come you always stare at me like that?" He asked, blinking the sleep from his eyes.
"I don't know what you're talking about." It responded with a smile.
He laughed a bit. "You're a bad liar Michael."
It smiled more and pulled him back against Its chest, burying Its face in his hair. "I'm hurt." It wasn't.
Martin made an exasperated sound, but put an arm around It anyways. "Someone's feeling cuddly today."
A hum was the only response It gave.
"Well I have to get up eventually to go to work." He said, running his fingers through Its curls.
Michael kept Its edges soft for him, enjoying the touch. "You don't have to."
"Nuh uh, you're not making me late again. Don't you have some gross politician to drive crazy anyways?"
Michael would deny it all day long, but It pouted at him when he said that. "He can wait."
"Yes well my paycheck can't, because my landlord certainly won't." He poked Its chest gently. It didn't sleep, but Michael always seemed especially needy in the morning.
Eventually It relented, and let him get up to get dressed. It had been about three months since the creature had "moved in" to his flat, and he didn't think he'd ever get tired of Its little idiosyncrasies. If anything they made him love It more. He wasn't totally sure how the path of his life had led him to be in love with a monster, but his life was weird enough that it didn't really phase him anymore. He wasn't sure what exactly their relationship was, but he'd long since given up on trying to define it. Putting a definition on Michael seemed unfair, given what It was. Regardless, It held him at night, and listened to his poetry, and had even altered Its "diet" to avoid harming innocent people for him. If that wasn't love, he didn't know what was.
"Tim messaged me," he called from the kitchen as he made his morning tea.
"He said that Jon's awake."