Martin groaned and rolled his eyes at the sight of Tim walking across the archives towards him holding a large chocolate cake, with Sasha trailing behind him. A red party hat sat jauntily atop Tim’s head, while Sasha was sporting a blue one, with a third, purple one dangling from her fingers alongside a small gift bag. The biggest kicker in Martin’s mind was the fact that the pair of them were tunelessly singing happy birthday as loudly as they possibly could for just two people.
“Happy birthday dear Martin, happy birthday to you!” they finished singing, and Tim placed the cake down on the desk with a flourish, pulling a lighter out of the pocket of his shirt and flicking it over the candles now that the cake was in a stable position. Martin managed to shoot a withering glare across the desk at them before the corner of his lips twitched upwards and gave him away.
“I told you guys that I didn’t want any fuss,” Martin muttered, cautiously eyeing the gift bag that Sasha was holding out to him to place on his desk next to the cake.
“Yes, and what fun would that be if we didn’t have an excuse to embarrass you in front of everyone?” Tim asked with a grin, his eyes sparkling with delight. Martin suppressed a snort.
“What do you mean everyone?” he asked, gesturing around the empty main room of the archives that had been designated to the assistants. “It’s only the three of us here. I highly doubt that Jon will be emerging out of his office any time soon. It hardly seems likely that he would come out for anything other than to yell at you for the volume of your singing. Can’t go around having anything that sounds like too much joy in the archives.” Martin was aware that the last half of his statement was laced with bitterness, and he closed his eyes briefly and took a deep breath to chase away the negative thoughts before they had a chance to register and stay in his head. It wasn’t the day to be following that particular train of thought. He was supposed to be trying to enjoy himself.
“Don’t worry about the boss,” Tim replied. “I cleared this with him, and he told me under no circumstances that I was allowed to have an open flame down here, so you best blow out your candles and make a wish already before he comes out here to spoil our fun.” Martin rolled his eyes again and blew out the candles. While he was leaning forward, Tim caught a hold of him to pull the party hat onto his head. Bending down closer than was strictly necessary, Tim muttered into his ear. “I bet I know what you wished for.” The tone of his voice was lower than usual, and Martin could feel himself blush with the intensity of it, despite the fact that nothing specific had really been said.
“Hopefully it was for the pair of you to leave him alone so we can all actually get some work done around here; that way we could all possibly leave at a decent time this evening.” At the sound of Jon’s voice, the three of them turned to look across to the man in question, who was leaning against the door frame of his office with his arms crossed over his chest. The ghost of a smile was visible on his lips, which Martin hoped was a good thing. “Happy birthday, Martin.”
Martin beamed at Jon before replying. “Thanks, Jon.” He returned his attention to the gift Sasha had passed to him.
“It’s not much,” she said with a sheepish smile. “I know we said that we wouldn’t do gifts once we got moved down here, unlike the usual whip around upstairs in research, but when I saw it I couldn’t resist, and Tim agreed when I showed him.”
“Sasha…” Martin started to say, but she cut him off with a look.
“Martin,” Tim said, reaching across and putting his hands on his shoulders. “You look after us every other day of the year, let us do something nice for you for a change.”
Martin removed the tape from the top of the bag and peered cautiously inside before reaching in and pulling out a white mug with a spider design on it. He let out a small chuckle as he read the words that the spider was implied to be saying. ‘I made it with my bum’ was written in red, and it was referring to the large web that covered the rest of the mug.
“This is great,” Martin said with a smile, turning the ceramic over in his hands before placing it down on the desk.
“Yeah, I thought you could use it the next time you do a tea round,” Sasha joked, and Tim laughed, clapping her on the shoulder.
“Yeah, maybe that’s something that can happen sooner rather than later so we can enjoy it with this cake,” Tim suggested, which caused Martin to roll his eyes and make a move to stand up to do just that. “Martin, I was kidding! Mostly.” Tim chuckled, moving out of Martin's arms reach to avoid the playful punch that was being thrown his way.
“I mean, I was thinking about getting some tea with this cake anyway, and it’s not exactly like I can trust either of you to make it correctly, let alone Jon.” His eyes darted over again to where Jon was still standing, a small smile tugging at the corner of his lips. “Full offense, but I saw you heating up the last cup I made you in the microwave and you are no longer allowed anywhere near the kitchen until you have atoned for your crimes.” Martin pointed across the room accusingly, causing Tim to let out a gasp of feigned shock and hold a hand to his chest.
“Jon, how could you do such a thing to a cup of Martin's tea?” Sasha hid a snigger behind her hand while Jon’s cheeks darkened with the shame of being called out.
“Don’t think you’re exempt, Stoker. I’ve seen you do the same thing up in research before I took over the tea round,” Martin stated, his accusing finger rounded to Tim. Not allowing him a moment to retort, Martin turned his attention back to Jon and waited to see what his response was.
“It had gone cold,” he grumbled defensively, dropping his head to avoid the three inevitable judging gazes. “I couldn’t exactly expect Martin to make another one when I had barely even managed to take a sip of the first.” Martin rolled his eyes again and stood up from his desk, gathering up the mugs from the respective desks before heading through to the kitchenette.
“Microwaving tea is a crime, Jon. I’d rather make you cups that you don’t drink than see you ever do that again. All you have to do is ask.”
Martin had agreed to go and get a few birthday drinks with Tim and Sasha that evening, which pleased him more than he wanted to admit out loud – he hadn’t been looking forward to spending another birthday evening alone in front of the television with a bad bottle of wine and whatever leftovers he could scrounge up from the fridge. He had given up attempting to call his mother on special occasions the previous year, the result of her not wanting to speak to him was the same whether it was his weekly check in call or anything else. It hardly seemed worth the effort to put himself through the emotional struggle to get the same result, so he had resigned himself to his fate until Tim had cornered him in the break room at lunchtime. It hadn’t taken much convincing on Tim’s part for him to accept the invitation either, especially not when Tim was pressed into his space at the counter, reaching around him to grab his own food from the fridge. Martin still wasn’t completely used to the easy familiarity Tim seemed to have with everyone, and had felt himself blush slightly at the fleeting hand Tim had placed on his back to steady himself. They had attempted to invite Jon to the impromptu gathering as they were leaving the archives but he had waved them off, telling them to enjoy themselves before turning his attention back to the statements on his desk in a clear sign of dismissal. Sasha and Martin had exchanged a look before she shrugged and tugged on the sleeve of Martin’s jacket to pull him away before he had the chance to second guess going.
“You got it, boss. We’ll have your share of the drinks too,” Tim said, shooting him his signature finger guns as the three of them crossed towards the stairs.
“Come on, Martin,” Sasha said. “It’s your birthday and you are contractually obligated to spend time with us, your most favourite of colleagues, and get a few drinks.”
Martin chuckled and followed her up the stairs out of the Institute basement. “I don’t think it says anywhere in my contract that I have to spend time with you after 5:30pm, actually,” he replied, earning a soft amused snort from where Tim was following them. “And anyway, you’re my only colleagues. You can’t be my favourites if there’s only you guys now.” At the top of the stairs, Sasha paused and linked her arm through Martins before all but towing him across the lobby. Tim fell into step easily next to them, shrugging into his jacket as they walked.
“It’s not in the official wording, but there’s a clause that states if a staff member was going to go home and eat leftover chow mein on his own on his birthday, then he has to have at least three drinks with two of his closest friends,” Tim deadpanned, and Martin squinted at him.
“That’s an oddly specific clause to have, but I don’t know enough about contracts to dispute it,” Martin replied, causing Tim to break out into a wide grin and point excitedly between him and Sasha.
“Meme learning!” he exclaimed. “I’ve finally instilled some meme learning into another member of the archives!”
Sasha smiled but said nothing for a moment, pausing to push the doors of the institute open to the streets of London beyond them. “If I have to hear one more meme out of either of you, I will kill everyone in this group and then myself.”
Tim whooped at Sasha’s statement and threw an arm over Martin's shoulder as they descended the weathered marble steps onto the street below. Martin knew better than to try and come back with another meme; he had been on the receiving end of Sasha’s death stares often enough to know where to draw the line, and apparently two vague meme references was the threshold for now.
“Come on, Martin. I know of a great little place not too far from here,” Tim said, using the arm around Martin's shoulders to tug him closer to his side as they reached the street. Martin could feel his cheeks heat up from the proximity, but he hoped that he could at least blame it on the July weather rather than how Tim was affecting him. “The first round of shots is on me!” Sasha and Martin groaned in unison, but allowed themselves to be steered by Tim down the street to the closest underground station. “Play your cards right, and they might literally be on me as well.” It was easy to catch the light flirting tone in his voice, and as Martin glanced sideways at him, Tim returned the look with a wink and a cheeky grin. Martin could already tell that it was going to be a long night.
True to his words, Tim had ordered them a round of shots when they first got to the pub. What he had failed to mention at the time was that his idea of a round of shots was actually six shots split between the three of them.
“It’s not my fault that they’re three for a fiver,” he had said, when he made his way over to the table. The small tray he was carrying was covered in the small plastic shot glasses, as well as their usual of three pints. As he slid into the booth next to Martin, he began to divide the shots out, putting two in front of each of them. “I thought why not start the night off with a bang?” Sasha rolled her eyes but reached forward for her first shot. A gleam of mischief crossed her expression before she raised it to her lips.
“Last one to finish buys the next round!” She downed the liquid as Tim let out a squawk of indignation, before he and Martin scrambled to catch up. Martin had reacted slightly quicker than Tim and had downed one straight after the other, though Tim was only moments behind him. Despite issuing the challenge, Sasha had only done her first shot.
“Sasha?” Martin said with a slight cough, his second drink having gotten a little stuck in his throat in his haste. “You are aware this means the next round is on you?”
“I just wanted to see how fast the two of you could do the shots and you didn’t disappoint in the slightest,” she chuckled, throwing her head back and taking her second. “Plus, Martin, it’s your birthday, and Tim, you got the first round in. It hardly seemed like it was fair to make you do the second as well.” Tim shrugged in a manner that indicated ‘it is what it is’.
“Just be thankful that it's a Tuesday and I can’t make you regret challenging me to take shots like I did back when I was in uni.”
“Tim, you’re the one who bought this amount of shots. I only exploited your weakness for picking up a gauntlet. Anything that happens from this point onwards is entirely your own doing.”
Martin reached over for his beer rather than joining in the playful banter between his friends. With the glass cradled against his chest, he leaned back in his seat, just observing the scene unfolding in front of him. Spending time with both of them outside of the Institute was something that Martin enjoyed doing, and he knew that they should do it more often than they did. However, he didn’t like to impose himself on them despite the fact they were always more than happy to hang out, and were constantly inviting him. Tim nudged him with his shoulder, crowding into his space in a comforting way.
“Penny for your thoughts?” he asked, leaning his head around to look Martin in the eyes. Martin snapped his head up and met Tims gaze. He could feel the tips of his ears heating up as Tim grinned up at him, the corners of his eyes crinkling, and Martin struggled to tear his own eyes away.
“Just thinking about how nice it is to spend time with you both, and how we should do it more often.”
Sasha snorted, causing him to look over to her. “Try telling your face that. You look ready to kill someone with the way you were staring.”
Martin rolled his eyes at her before taking a sip of his drink. “And now I know why we don’t spend more time together. It’s because you can't handle the fact that my sweet nature is protected by my terrifying resting bitch face.”
Tim laughed, learning further into Martin and throwing a casual arm around his shoulders. “Martin, your face could never hide your true inner softness. Your cheeks are just so pinchable.” Reaching up with his other hand, Tim attempted to do just that, while Martin flailed his hand in an attempt to bat it away.
“Tim, please,” Martin begged through his laughter, making a half-hearted attempt to escape from Tims embrace, though he had decided that the warm weight of the arm was comforting.
“He’s not wrong, Martin,” Sasha said, raising her own glass to her lips. “You’ve got the sort of face that would make my grandma coo over until you bent over to let her pinch your cheeks.”
“Sasha…” Martin whined, at the same time as hearing Tim mutter under his breath.
“You could bend over for me and I’d squeeze some kind of cheeks.”
Martin choked on his drink, and with his attention now diverted from Tims wandering hands, it allowed the taller man to successfully catch a hold of his cheek and give it a friendly squeeze. He heard himself squeak in surprise as Tim’s arm around his shoulder tightened him in a half hug. Releasing Martin's cheek, Tim stretched his hand across the table to Sasha for a high five.
“Here’s to teamwork!” he cheered, as Sasha joined him in the gesture. Even in his feigned annoyed but completely flustered state, Martin settled himself into Tim’s side as his arm had still not been withdrawn. He wasn’t kidding himself that he enjoyed how familiar and tactile Tim was with him, despite it being a relatively new development. The strong arm over his shoulders causing the warm feeling in his stomach was testament to the fact that it had been a long time since Martin had felt so wanted by someone. The fact that Tim’s fingers started softly caressing his shoulder while they drank only solidified the idea in Martin's mind that maybe it wasn’t all that platonic after all.
Three hours and significantly more drinks later, the warmth in Martin's chest had spread around the rest of his body. Despite his initial protests about how quickly he had taken the shots, Tim held his alcohol surprisingly well, as did Sasha, but Martin had always been an affectionate drunk. This was demonstrated by the fact he and Tim were now pressed flushly together from knee to hip, with Tim’s arm still around Martin, though his hand was now gently moving through Martin's curls. Martin had his head pillowed on Tim’s shoulder, with his arm around Tim’s waist, wedged between the back of the booth and Tim’s back. He could hear Tim and Sasha talking over the top of his head but he felt too content in his position to add anything, so he let the rhythm of the conversation flow over him. Tim shifted slightly and Martin sighed, nuzzling his head into Tim’s neck to make himself comfortable again, and even in the state he was, he couldn’t miss the way Tim’s breath caught, and how he swallowed hard.
“Are you good there, Martin?” Sasha asked, rescuing Tim from the need of trying to control his voice at that moment. “Do you think you might need to stop trying to keep up with us?”
“...’m good,” Martin mumbled, his breath ghosting warmly across Tim’s neck. “You guys are so good.” His eyes were closed, so he didn’t see the look Tim gave Sasha.
“I think we might be needing to get you some water,” she said, which caused Martin to wrap his other arm around Tim’s waist, anchoring him to the booth.
Tim chuckled at the almost petulant tone, and stilled the hand that was in Martin's hair. Martin whined softly when the motion stopped, which caused Tim to gently rest his chin atop Martin's curls.
“Come on buddy. We’re gonna get some water into you and then I think I should take you home.”
“Please.” The word came out breathy and rushed, with Martin clinging tighter around Tim’s waist. “I want to go home with you.” Tim froze slightly, listening to Martin's almost confession.
“Martin?” Tims voice was quiet, hesitant. He had been around Martin when he was tipsy before, though he had never seen him quite like he was now. It wasn’t unusual for them to get drinks, but Martin tended to be the more responsible of the three, always wanting to make sure that Sasha would make it home safe. Tim getting home safe tended to be a given, sometimes with someone else from the pub on his arm. It was nice to see Martin relax, especially on a day like his birthday, but Tim was a little concerned about the state he was in for a Tuesday night. “Do you want me to take you back to yours or mine?” The sentence was out of Tim’s mouth before he could really stop it, and he couldn’t bring himself to regret it once it was out in the open.
“Wanna come with you.” As he said this, Sasha arrived back at the table with a glass of water in hand. She placed it on the table and slid it over to where it was in Martin's line of sight. He squinted at it suspiciously for a moment before sitting up and taking a sip. He still hadn’t released Tim completely from his temporary imprisonment, though, and kept one arm wrapped around his waist.
“I’ve ordered him a bowl of chips as well,” Sasha said as she slipped back down into the seat across the table from them. “Thought he better get a bit more food into his system if the way he’s been acting is anything to go by.” Tim nodded thoughtfully, looking down at Martin who was now cradling the glass of water against his chest.
“Yeah, and after that I’m going to attempt to get this one home.” He inclined his head towards Martin and smiled softly. “He’s decided he’s coming to mine, and honestly, I think it’s better he’s not alone.”
“I can hear you, y’know,” Martin mumbled, and though his eyes were closed Sasha could have sworn she saw him roll them. “And I want you both to know I love you so much.” Tim hummed affectionately at Martin's words, while Sasha hid a grin behind her hand. “You guys have made my day so much fun. Can’t remember the last time I had so much fun on my birthday. Usually spend it alone on the sofa with takeaway and terrible movies.”
“Well, now you’ve got us. We can make Spoons a birthday tradition if you like, and we can even see if we can get Jon in on it for his birthday too, once we actually find out when it is.” As they spoke, a waitress appeared and put the bowl of chips down on the table, which Tim immediately pushed in front of Martin, handing him a fork from the cutlery pot.
“Eat.” The command fell easily from Tim’s lips, and Martin could feel his stomach twist with a sense of desire from the word alone. He wasn’t sure if the redness on his cheeks was from warmth, alcohol, or the effect that Tim was now having on him through his words. He didn’t want to have to wait long to find out though. Sasha shot Tim a meaningful look over the top of Martin’s head at the previous revelation of the fact that he was going to be taking Martin back to his flat. Shaking his head almost imperceptibly, Tim finished the last of his drink and snatched a few chips from the bowl before Martin could react. He received an owlish blink for his actions, but it wasn’t enough to stop him from considering doing it again. Sasha cleared her throat, and it was at that moment that Tim realised he had been staring at the profile of Martin’s face silently for a few minutes.
“I think I might head out now, if you’re going to be looking after the birthday boy?” Sasha asked, though she was already downing the last few mouthfuls in her glass and checking her bag for her phone and keys.
“You gonna be ok getting home?” Tim asked, watching her stand and start tapping on the screen of her phone. “Do you want us to wait with you while you get a taxi?” She shook her head at Tims concern. Martin was also watching her now as she stood.
“I’m going to catch the tube,” she replied. “The station’s not far from here and I could probably do with the walk rather than getting straight into a taxi.” Tim looked at her dubiously before shrugging.
“As long as you’re sure,” he said, and she nodded at him.
“Be safe,” Martin said, as he reached across Tim to try and catch a hold of her hand. She stepped closer to make it easier for him, and he grasped it tightly. “Thank you for coming out with me so I didn’t have to spend another year alone.” The raw emotion in Martin's voice was almost enough to choke her up as well, as she returned the squeeze on his hand.
“Martin, nobody should have to be alone on their birthday. I’m just glad you’ve got us now.”
He swallowed thickly and nodded, releasing her hand and sitting back in the chair. Tim waved at her retreating back, knowing that she would turn back to them one more time as she reached the door. She grinned as she saw and raised her hand briefly before walking through. By this point, Martin had pushed the empty bowl to the centre of the table and was angling his body as if to start using Tim as a pillow again.
“Oh no, buddy,” Tim said, holding out a hand to stop Martin before he could get himself settled. He did his best to ignore the crestfallen look that crossed over the other man's features. “We’re going to get you back to mine and then we can cuddle for however long you want, but you gotta come home with me first.” Martin straightened himself as Tim started to slide out of the bench. Once he was on his feet he held out his hand to Martin who took it gratefully as he was pulled to his feet. “I think it’s about time we got you somewhere cosy.”
Getting Martin back to his flat had turned out to be easier than Tim had originally thought it would be. The combination of some food in his stomach and the fresh air on the 10 minute walk from the tube station had started to sober him up. It wasn't a lot, but enough that he didn’t need to use Tim as support as he walked once they had gotten off the tube. It would have been easy to say that Tim almost found himself missing the easy contact that both he and Martin had been initiating that evening. Martin didn’t tend to be the most confident of people, and Tim had found it refreshing that he could be so open and enjoy himself. Most of the time in the archives was spent with Martin cringing at Jon’s criticism, so in a way it had been a good thing that the head archivist had elected not to come out with them. Despite Martin's initial wave of disappointment, Tim knew that Martin had had more fun with just him and Sasha than if Jon had been there too. It was hard to let your guard down around your boss, something Tim had learnt from experience over the years. After kicking off their shoes at the door, Tim deposited Martin on the sofa before heading through to the kitchen to put the kettle on.
“Tea?” The question came a little late as he was already pulling mugs out of his cupboard to make some. It wasn’t as if Martin had ever refused tea. The mumbled sound of assent floated into the kitchen, and Tim stuck his head back through the door to see that Martin had flopped over, his face now smushed into the cushions. Biting back a smile, Tim returned his attention back to the task at hand. Carefully assembling the drinks, he carried them out and set them onto his coffee table before dropping down onto the cushions next to Martin’s hunched figure. He placed a hand gently onto his back, and started rubbing slow circles as Martin stirred slightly from the half-drunken doze he had slipped into.
“Mmm, Tim..” Martin mumbled, his voice muffled by the material of the sofa. Tim hummed an acknowledgement and continued the gentle movement of his hand.
“Your tea will get cold,” Tim pointed out, with the certainty of a man who knew that Martin wouldn’t let the tea go cold. As if on cue, the other man sat up just enough to be able to cradle the drink against him and sip at it without spilling it, though he did lean heavily into Tim’s shoulder to help keep him propped upright.
“Thank you for letting me come over,” Martin said, tightening his hands around the mug, allowing the warmth to seep into his skin. “I don’t think I could’ve handled being drunk and alone in my flat on my own birthday.” He let out a grim chuckle, and Tim wrapped a protective arm around his shoulders. “God, only losers spend their birthdays alone.” Tim frowned at the words, and reached to take one of Martins hands with his own.
“You’re not a loser, Martin.” The words were spoken quietly, reverently, with his breath ghosting across Martins cheek where he was laid against him. “In fact, I think you’re delightfully charming.” He pressed a gentle kiss to the top of Martin’s head, and heard the small intake of shocked breath that came from the man. Martin tilted his head up to look at Tim, and his cheeks coloured with how tenderly Tim was looking back.
“Tim?” Martin questioned, his brow furrowing slightly in confusion. Tim smiled sheepishly down at the man in his arms.
“I mean it, Martin. Every moment spent with you is a bright one.” He watched as Martin processed what he had just said, before leaning forward to put the mug safely down on the coffee table without releasing Tim’s hand. As he settled back down he angled his body so he was more turned towards Tim, his face open and trusting.
“Do you really mean that?” Martin asked quietly, trying and failing to maintain eye contact. “I don’t think anyone has said that about me before.” Tim frowned slightly, though his gaze remained gentle and locked onto Martin.
“Then they don’t deserve to know you.” The confession was soft, barely a murmur as Tim released Martin’s hand in favour of catching a hold of his chin and holding it steady so he could do nothing but look at him.
“Tim.” Martin breathed out his name again, and Tim was sure that he had never heard it said with such reverence. He unconsciously flicked his tongue out to wet his lips, and didn’t miss the way Martin's eyes tracked the movement. “How did I ever get so lucky?” Tim chuckled at the self depreciation that Martin toned almost all of his conversations with.
“Martin, please. I think I’m the lucky one.” Tim moved his hand from Martin’s chin to cradle his cheek, the scratch of stubble against the palm of his hand becoming a grounding sensation. “Martin, I know we’re both a little tipsy right now, but I would really like to kiss you.” The words had barely even escaped Tim before Martin had moved forward, hesitating with his lips only a breath away from Tim’s.
As he spoke, Tim took the leap and closed the gap between them, and he could feel Martin melt against him. It was a chaste kiss, something that had no right stirring up the feelings deep inside of Tim’s chest that it did, but before he could pull away completely Martin let out the smallest of whines and pressed forward again, sighing into the contact and allowing Tim access. Ever the gentleman, Tim kissed back for only a few moments longer, and though he could have spent the rest of the night tasting the inside of Martin’s mouth, he reluctantly pulled away. Martin tried to follow the movement, but Tim chuckled softly and he relented, deflating slightly.
“Martin, I would love to continue this…” The statement was punctuated by Martin leaning in again, though Tim slid his thumb to gently press on Martin’s lips to stop the movement before it really started. “But I want us to both to go into this with the clearest of mindsets, and I think you do too.” Martin's face fell slightly but he nodded, relaxing back into his own space slightly.
“You’re right, Tim. God, you’re so right.” He joined in with the gentle laughter, feeling himself floating along on a euphoric cloud that was a mixture of the lingering effects of alcohol and the feeling of Tim’s lips finally, finally being on his own. Tim shook his head, trying to loosen the thought of exactly what could happen if they had continued.
“I’ve been thinking about kissing you for the longest time.” The confession fell easily from Tim’s lips, causing Martin to blush again. “Martin, I don’t think you understand just how much I’ve been wanting to do that.”
“I think I do,” Martin responded, turning his head and kissing the centre of Tims palm where his hand was still cradled against his face. “Tim you’re.. You’re amazing. You brighten up any room that you’re in and I honestly feel like the luckiest man alive that you would even look at me twice when there are people so much better than me out there.” Tim shook his head harshly at Martin’s attitude about himself.
“Never,” Tim said firmly, his eyes burning. “Never talk about yourself like that.” Martin lowered his head, though he did glance up at Tim through his eyelashes, embarrassment written across his features though he didn’t open his mouth to dispute anything further. Tim nodded once, firmly. “Good man.” Tim stood up and stretched, offering a hand down to where Martin was still sat down. At the confused look on Martin’s face, Tim inclined his head towards the closed door past the kitchen. Realisation dawned across Martin’s features and he began to shake his head insistently.
“Tim, I couldn’t possibly ask you to give up your space for me. Just get me some blankets, and I can sleep here. You’ve already done so much for me today.” Tim frowned at him, and Martin felt his mouth shut automatically, his teeth clicking shut, stopping any more words from escaping. Rather than give a verbal answer, Tim took Martin’s hand anyway and pulled him up to his feet, lacing their fingers together.
“Who said anything about giving up my bed?” Tim asked, a devilish grin making its way onto his face. “I may have put a stop to kissing, but you absolutely deserve to be held on the night of your birthday, and I have it on good authority and I’m the best thing for remedying that.” Tim tugged on their interlocked hands and Martin made no effort to not follow him across the room to the bedroom.
As they started to get settled for the night, Tim slipped out of the bedroom quickly to grab a glass of water, knowing full well that Martin would appreciate it in the morning. He placed it onto the bedside table and slipped under the covers behind Martin, who was already beginning to slip into the soft embrace of slumber. Tim wrapped an arm around his waist, and tugged them flushly together. It took a moment of gentle manoeuvring to settle together in the new position but he could feel it the moment that Martin relaxed into his arms, back pressed against Tim’s bare chest. He gently kissed Martin’s head and earned a soft sigh from the man in front of him, who laced his hand with the one of Tim’s that was wrapped around him.
“G’night, Tim,” Martin mumbled quietly, his voice sounding as if he was on the verge of sleep.
“Night Martin,” Tim replied. “And happy birthday.”