There was a policy at the Magnus Institute about not pursuing relationships with statement givers. Bringing in a friend or loved one for a statement was generally fine, but following a stranger home after they gave their statement was frowned upon. It made sense on the surface, but Martin never really got a good explanation for it. The best he ever heard was that statement givers were often not mentally sound, and pursuing them could be dangerous for both the statement giver and the Institute employee.
Antonio Blake surely seemed to be one of these people. He was distraught when he came in, hands in his coat pockets, eyes wide and bloodshot behind his glasses. Martin hadn’t personally taken the statement from him, but Gertrude had given him a look while Antonio was writing it down. It was a soft scowl, an expression Gertrude tended to hold while taking statements from crazy people. Institute policy was to never directly refer someone to a psychiatric facility, but suggestions that statement givers should seek therapy were allowed and even encouraged. Martin heard Gertrude make such a suggestion to Antonio Blake, asking if he’d “seen anyone else about the nightmares”, and when he said no she’d suggested he do as such. Antonio seemed upset by this, demanding Gertrude listen to him and “take his warning.” Martin stood outside the door of her office, prepared to enter and diffuse the situation if things got ugly. It had happened before, and while Martin couldn’t exactly fight anyone his size was usually enough to deter erratic statement givers from trying to attack him or Gertrude. Antonio was calm, however, and when Gertrude told him there was nothing more she could do for him he grabbed his coat and walked out of the office.
That should have been the end of it. Institute policy being what it was, Martin shouldn’t have said a word to him. He should have silently watched him go, as he did with everyone who made a visit to the Archive.
But Antonio was beautiful. Martin tended to watch statement givers leave regardless of their appearance, but he was staring at Antonio Blake. Antonio walked past him at first, but he turned around suddenly as he neared the end of the hallway, looking back at Martin. Martin blushed.
“Sorry,” Antonio said. “You startled me. I didn’t see you there.”
“It’s alright,” Martin replied. “Sorry, I-I didn’t mean to stare at you.”
“Stare?” Antonio said, raising an eyebrow. Martin blushed harder, turning his head to the ground.
“I mean, not really stare. Just… I watch all the statement givers leave. Nothing to do with you.”
“No, no, I’m flattered,” Antonio said. He walked back towards Martin. Martin couldn’t help but feel like he looked more… normal. Maybe he wasn’t as crazy as Martin had thought. Or maybe he was just seeing an attractive man and wanted to believe that man was a good person. It wouldn’t have been the first time.
“Do you maybe want to get a coffee?” Martin blurted out. “You look a bit tired, and I was planning to get one for myself around now anyways. I wouldn’t mind paying.”
“I-I’d love to,” Antonio replied. “You sure your boss would be okay with that, though? I don’t think she liked me very much.”
“She’s like that with everyone. Besides, you and I were both just leaving anyway, right? She won’t really notice anything’s off.”
They’d left the Institute together, thankfully not passing anyone else on their way out. It was cold, but the walk was short, so Martin didn’t really mind that he’d forgotten to grab his jacket on the way out. Antonio had offered to lend him his, and Martin was perfectly aware it would be too small on him, but he appreciated the offer.
Martin ordered tea. He never really liked coffee anyway, and caffeine made his insomnia worse, so he stuck with tea. In fact, there was plenty of tea in the break room at the Archive, specifically because he drank at least three cups of it over the course of the day. Usually he didn’t go to the coffee shop for tea, except maybe before or after work, but he’d been so caught up in the majesty that was Antonio Blake, and now here he was. Antonio ordered a coffee, black, with two shots of espresso. Martin knew just enough about coffee to know a drink like that tasted awful and probably had enough caffeine to keep him up all night. He’d heard Gertrude asking Antonio about his dreams, so maybe that was the point.
Once they were sat down across from each other at one of the little tables, Martin was suddenly at a loss for words. The fact he’d even asked Antonio on this date was surprising, if it hadn’t fallen out of his mouth he’d probably never have had the courage to ask.
“I don’t think I got your name,” Antonio said.
“It’s Martin,” Martin replied. “You really agreed to go on a date with a guy whose name you didn’t even know?”
“Oh, so it’s a date, then?”
“Er-not a date. I mean… uh…”
“I’m fine with a date. Been a while since anyone’s taken me on a date, actually.” Antonio took a long sip of his coffee. Martin expected him to wince at the bitterness, but he didn’t.
“Really,” Martin said, laughing softly. “I would’ve thought you wouldn’t have any trouble with that.”
“Not a lot of people walking into a magic shop looking for a hot date,” he said. “And I don’t get out much besides work, so that’s about it.”
“Real shame, honestly,” Martin said.
“I don’t mind it. Besides, being able to predict someone’s death makes dating a bit difficult.”
“I’m not crazy. I know your boss didn’t believe me, but… I know what I’ve been seeing.”
“Don’t worry. I believe you. I’ll put in a good word with the rest of the Archive staff when we do follow-up on your case.”
“What’s there to follow up?”
“I don’t know. We usually check to make sure you and anyone else you mentioned were where you said they were, if you talked about any places or events we like to check if they’re real.”
“Oh. Well… good luck, I suppose.”
“I gave a fake name. I-I don’t know why. I guess I thought it’d be safer?”
“Oh. Well… can you give me your real name?”
“No. For me. I won’t tell the Archive staff if you’d feel safer with them not knowing, but I just want to know what to call you. You know, in case… in case.” Martin didn’t say all the dirty things that passed through his head in that moment. He was definitely moving too fast. He’d never moved this fast before, but there was something about Antonio (or whatever his name was) that fascinated him.
“It’s Oliver,” he replied. “I suppose you don’t need my last name, if you’re thinking what I assume you’re thinking.”
“Is it that obvious?” Martin muttered, looking down into his mug of tea.
“You’ve got that look,” Oliver said, grinning. “I’m flattered. Really, I am.”
“Do you… do you want to?”
“Well, not right now. It’s the middle of the day, for lord’s sake, and I’m sure you’ve got to get back to work.”
“Of course. But like… can I call you sometime? Tonight, maybe? I can even take you to dinner first.”
“You’re a real gentleman, aren’t you?”
“I’m sorry!” Martin said, his whole face red with embarrassment. “I promise I’m not usually this… forward. I don’t know what’s gotten into me.”
“No, you’re fine,” Oliver replied. “I can give you my number. Just call me whenever you’re ready.”
He pulled out a notepad and pen from his pocket, wrote down his number, and handed Martin the folded-up piece of paper. Martin shoved it into his pocket. They finished their drinks in silence, looking into each other’s eyes and grinning.
Martin was practically shaking with excitement the entire rest of the day. His coworkers definitely noticed, and they gave him weird looks, but they didn’t ask and he didn’t tell them anything. When he got back to his flat that evening, he put on a nice shirt and pants and combed his hair (it was still messy, but he hoped Oliver wouldn’t mind) and called to ask him to come over.
Oliver was wearing the same clothes he’d been wearing when he came to the Institute, but they were fairly nice clothes. Martin took his hand and led him inside, sitting down on the couch next to him.
“So… did you want to go somewhere?” he asked.
“For dinner?” Oliver replied. “I mean, I’ve already eaten, but I wouldn’t mind getting a drink.”
“Oh, I don’t really drink,” Martin muttered. “If you’ve already eaten, then…”
“I thought we could stay in. You know.” He tugged at the collar of Martin’s shirt, and Martin leaned in closer to him. “Figured that’s what you’d want, anyway.”
“I’d like to stay in, sure.” Martin replied softly. “Did you want to maybe go to my bedroom? I don’t know if this couch is really big enough.”
“That sounds lovely,” Oliver said. He pulled Martin down and kissed him, and Martin reciprocated, darting his tongue over Oliver’s lips. They kissed until they were out of breath, Martin leaning over Oliver as Oliver laid on the arm of the couch.
“Really,” Martin said. “If we’re doing this, my bed’s going to be a lot more comfortable.”
“Alright,” Oliver agreed. “Lead the way.”
He followed Martin into his bedroom, and Martin sat down on his bed. Oliver pulled a condom out of his back pocket and set it on the bedside table as discreetly as possible, but Martin went wide-eyed anyway.
“This is what you want, isn’t it?” Oliver asked, grinning at Martin.
“Yes, yes, I just… it’s been a while, alright?” Martin stammered. He began unbuttoning his shirt, and he watched as Oliver pulled his own shirt off. He was incredible, and Martin couldn’t tear his eyes away from his muscular chest. He finished undoing his buttons, letting the shirt hang off his shoulders for a moment. Oliver reached down and gently pulled the garment the rest of the way off. Martin shivered, leaning into the touch.
“You look nice,” Oliver said, dragging his thumb over Martin’s collarbone.
“Y-you too,” Martin said. He reached a hand out, and Oliver took it gently and pressed it to his stomach, letting Martin feel the muscles there. He stroked his hand up and down, gradually moving lower until he reached Oliver’s trousers. Oliver gave him a nod, and Martin pulled down his zipper, reaching a hand into his trousers and rubbing him through his underwear. Oliver held tightly to Martin’s shoulders. Martin pulled his underwear down, just enough to grab his cock and gently run his fingers over its length.
“You wanna take it?” Oliver asked, his voice soft and deep and so incredibly hot. Martin nodded. He turned his body, letting Oliver climb onto the bed between his legs. He placed a hand on the underside of Martin’s belly, squeezing gently and eliciting a whine from Martin. Then he moved his hand down to Martin’s zipper, but Martin stopped him.
“Wait,” he said, grabbing Oliver’s hand.
“Something wrong?” Oliver asked, looking down at him with concern.
“N-no, not really, it’s just… I’m trans. I thought you should know that.”
“Oh,” Oliver said. He looked Martin over, his eyes landing briefly on the scars that crossed Martin’s chest. “Alright, then.”
He fiddled with Martin’s zipper for a moment before pausing again.
“Would you rather I not take your pants off? You can suck me off, if you’re more comfortable with that.”
“No, please,” Martin replied. “I-I want this. It’s okay.”
Oliver nodded, undoing Martin’s trousers and pulling them down to his knees. He dragged his hand over Martin’s underwear, brushing over the damp spot already starting to form between his legs.
“Please, Oliver,” Martin hissed. “Take them off.”
Oliver nodded. He pulled Martin’s boxers down, taking them off along with his trousers. Martin spread his legs eagerly.
“You’re okay with me fucking you… there?” Oliver asked.
“Alright.” He grabbed the condom off the nightstand and quickly put it on. Martin reached up and placed his hands on his hips, pulling him close. His cock brushed over Martin’s cunt, and Martin whined.
“Getting a bit eager, aren’t we?” Oliver asked, grinning. Martin glared at him.
“I’m ready,” Martin growled. “Please.”
“You’re the one who needed to know my name so badly,” Oliver said. “Why don’t you use it?”
“I’m not begging for you.”
Oliver pulled back, breaking contact with Martin. Martin whimpered, pulling him back in, grinding his hips against his body.
“You sure?” Oliver asked, gently brushing a stray lock of hair from Martin’s face.
“Oliver, please,” Martin whined. Oliver pushed the tip of his cock into him, and Martin gasped. He lifted his hips, trying to pull Oliver closer, deeper, but Oliver didn’t let him.
“Please what?” he asked, stroking Martin’s cheek and smiling devilishly down at him.
“Please fuck me. Please, Oliver, please.”
Oliver pushed his cock deeper, then pulled it back out, thrusting in and out of Martin at an agonizingly slow pace.
“Harder,” Martin whined. “Deeper. I want more, please.”
Oliver quickened his pace, letting Martin pull him closer and take his cock down to the base. Martin whimpered with every thrust, bucking his hips in time as Oliver pushed into him. Oliver reached down to drag his thumb over Martin’s clit, making him cry out. Martin grabbed Oliver’s hand and held it against him, gasping at the sheer amount of sensation. Oliver leaned down and kissed him, and Martin moaned into his mouth.
Martin shook as he finished, digging his nails into Oliver’s hips. Oliver came moments later, collapsing into Martin’s chest. Martin wrapped his arms around him, holding him close.
“Stay,” he whispered after a few moments of catching his breath.
“I don’t know,” Oliver replied. “I’m not very fun to share a bed with.”
“I don’t mind,” Martin said.
“Alright. Fine. Just for tonight.”
Oliver sat up, pulled off the condom and tossed it in the bin, and then pulled his underwear back up. He took his trousers off and left them on the floor. Martin followed suit, putting his underwear back on and leaving his trousers on the floor.
Sleeping next to Oliver should have been nice. Martin fell asleep more easily than usual, the warmth of Oliver’s body pressed against his own being as soft and comforting as it was. However, he did not sleep well. He had a nightmare that night: he was trapped in a place he didn’t recognize, and thick black tendrils were coming out of nowhere and wrapping around his body. They pulsed with a red light, and Martin could feel them squeezing around his body, nearly stopping him from breathing. He even thought he saw Oliver in the nightmare, standing somewhere in the distance, watching him.
It was only after he read Oliver’s statement the next day that he realized what this meant. Martin decided then that maybe, just maybe, Institute policy exists for a reason. It didn’t matter anyway. Oliver never answered his calls, and Martin figured it was probably for the best.