quarter in die

by Domashita Romero (地下ロメロ)

(mirrors http://s2b2.livejournal.com/155302.html)

Martin received a text from Olivia around ten in the morning that read v. important matter need to discuss with you, meet @ dahlia 1230. He wrote back right away with a What is it??, but she was not forthcoming with a reply, leaving his mind to go mad with what she could possibly have to tell him. Something must be wrong, he naturally assumed first; something with their parents, or perhaps she herself was sick, oh God, that had to be it. He stared at his phone and cleared his thoughts; he always went to eventualities like that first, but Olivia was not the type of person to deliver bad news at a cafe. But life was full of uncertainty.

They met at Dahlia Cafe once a week or so for lunch, schedules depending, so the waitress recognized him when he came in ten minutes early and led him to their usual table, where he took the napkin off the table, put it in his lap, and then delicately wound it into little knots. Olivia arrived five minutes late, and the deformed origami swan he’d made with his napkin fell on to the floor when he stood up to kiss her hello.

“Sorry to keep you waiting,” she said as she sat down. “You know how hard it can be to get out of there.” She picked up the menu sitting on her side of the table to start skimming it.

“Yes, of course,” Martin said. “…Well?”

“Well, what?” she said, blinking at him. She set the menu down and raised an eyebrow. “Have you been fretting?”

He kept all emotion from his face as he bent down to retrieve his napkin from the floor. “No. I’m just curious.”

Her eyebrow went higher. One could always lie to family, certainly, but that didn’t mean it would work. “It’s nothing bad, Martin.”

Martin tossed the abused napkin on the table and rolled his eyes. “You’re always so vague in your texts,” he said, just barely keeping himself from crossing his arms across his chest petulantly. “I know you do it deliberately.”

“It’s good for your health. Raises your heart rate.”

“Shortens my life span, you mean,” Martin said. He looked at Olivia, and then he looked at her. “Well?

Her lips pursed together like they did when she was pleased with herself but didn’t want to give way to a full smile yet. “I’ve someone for you to meet.”

“Meet?” Martin’s mind skimmed over possibilities again. “Are you seeing someone new?”

“Not me,” she said, and her smile cracked through. “For you. Someone who wants to meet you. …A date.”

He put his hand over his face. “Oh, god, Olivia, not again.” He held his hand out to her, but closed his eyes to continue to not have to see whatever expression she had on her face now. “I’ve told you, I’m done with that. It’s over for me. I quit.” His last date had been around nine months ago; he’d gotten to a third date with Philip and it had ended then, in the fashion of many previous third dates. That had been enough for him.

“I do not accept your surrender,” she said. “His name is Giles, he works with me at the hospital, and I wanted to date him before he mentioned his ex was named Harold.”

Martin opened his eyes narrowly. “Why do you always try to set me up with the ones you fancy?”

Olivia smiled at him patiently and reached over to pat his hand. “Because I just want the best for you.” The kindness faded away and she was looking at him sharply again. “Giles is handsome, smart, funny, quite tall, and he wants to meet you.”

Olivia’s nails were short, but Martin knew from a lifetime she was not above poking them into his hand if he meddled with her the wrong way. “You told him about me?”

“Talked you up a good deal. Showed him your photo on my phone.” She smirked a little at that. “He seemed pleased.”

Well, that was nice to hear, at least. Martin sighed at a familiar heavy feeling, though. “Did you tell him about me, though?”

She squeezed his hand then, all soft, nothing sharp. “Of course not. That’s your decision.” Martin let out a little sigh; it would be easier if she brought them to him warned in advance, but the thought of her saying it made his stomach knot. “Anyway, he’s a doctor; we’re very understanding types.”

“I suppose that is true.” He pulled his hand out from under hers and looked out the window. No one really wanted to be alone, of course, even if it was the easiest path. There was room yet for one more attempt. “Tall, you say?”

Olivia bit her lower lip a little to keep from smiling. “Quite.

Martin sighed and let a little smile come up himself. “Fine, you win, as always. I’ll meet him.”

Olivia’s smile became one of satisfaction. “Excellent.” She picked up her menu and focused on that again. “He’ll meet you at the coffee shop in front of the hospital tonight at seven.”

Martin honestly did not know why, after a lifetime of knowing her, he still managed to be surprised by this sort of behavior. “You already…?” She just looked up at him over the menu, a perfect ‘yes, and?’ written in the arch of her brow. He put his hand back over his face. “Fine, yes, seven it is.”

“Who’s a good boy, now,” she said, and only smiled like a cat when Martin glared at her.

Martin gave himself a once-over in the mirror in his office’s toilets. He looked tired, but when didn’t he look tired these days? He needed a haircut and a trim of his beard, too; Olivia could have picked a better day to set him up with someone. Still, he could be worse, but at the very least he took his tie off and shoved in it his bag so he didn’t look like a complete tit. He undid the top button of his shirt, then the second, then called himself a few rude names and redid the second.

“Hello, my name is Martin Jones, and I am wasting my time,” he said into the mirror, then gave it a big smile and headed out of the office.

Olivia had not been so kind to provide a picture of Giles on her phone in return, so all he had to go on were ‘tall’ and ‘handsome’. He stood in the doorway of the coffeeshop scanning the room; everyone was seated at tables, so that eliminated any guesses based on height, and as for handsome … well, there were a surprising number of contenders. Thus, his best bet was to stand there awkwardly and wait to be recognized.

Fortunately, he didn’t have to wait long. “Martin?” A man at a table near the window was standing up–and yes, he was rather tall–and coming towards him. He was handsome, with a gingery tint to his hair and dangerous cheekbones. Martin started to smile in spite of the voice in the back of his head singing ‘not a chance!’ “I’m Giles.” He held out his hand and Martin took it. “Your photo didn’t do you justice.”

He had good hands. Surgeon’s hands, Martin thought, although Olivia had given no indication he was that kind of doctor at all. “Yes, I suppose it didn’t give you an idea of how short I am.” Self-deprecation, he’d always found, was an easier shortcut than having to actually be charming.

Giles looked a little surprised at that. “Well, no, but…” His smile got warmer. “I meant more that it didn’t show what a lovely smile you have.” Martin found himself without an immediate proper response to that, but Giles kept things moving before he began to stammer. “I’ve a table, if you’d like to sit.”

Giles, it seemed, needed no shortcuts. “Yes, that’d be great.” He took a seat at the small round table across from Giles. There were two paper cups on it, with lids hiding their contents.

“I got us coffees, I hope that’s all right.” Giles took a sip of his and smiled. “Of course, you’ll tell me you hate cream and sugar, and I’ll be off on completely the wrong foot.”

“No, no, you’re… on a very good foot. Excellent foot.” Martin took a drink of his coffee and found it milky and sweet. He laughed. “You know, I don’t usually…”

“I don’t either!” Giles interrupted. “I mean, it’s all a little awkward, isn’t it, the blind date thing? Especially in this age where you can stalk whoever you want online before you ever say hello in person. But Olivia made a good case for you, and with the hours I work it’s hard to ever meet anyone, and I figured, oh, what the hell!”

Martin opened his mouth, closed it, and then set his coffee cup down. “I was going to say ‘I don’t usually drink coffee,’ but, you know, you made some very good points as well.” It was Giles’ turn to fall speechless, which turned out to look very charming on him. Martin just smiled. “So, you stalked me online?”

Giles brushed a hand over his hair, taking it from ‘messy’ to ‘slightly more messy’. “Only a little bit.” He held up his thumb and index finger a few centimeters apart. “Just this much. It turned out to be difficult. There are a lot of Martin Joneses out there.”

“I’m sure I’m the only one without a blog.” He’d started to fidget with the cardboard holder of his coffee cup, bending the edges of it up. He felt like something was unspooling inside of him at the same time it was tightening at the other end. “I mean, that you know of. I could always be posting under an alias.”

“Oh, what is it? I can tell you that I’ve been known to leave blog comments as ‘Dr. G’, if you want to go home and stalk me tonight.”

“‘Dr. G’? Seriously?” Martin laughed. “That sounds like an advice columnist who answers awkward medical questions.”

“That could be what I do in my time off!” Giles said, gesturing broadly as he grinned. “You haven’t stalked me at all, so how could you know?”

“I haven’t had the time! Olivia sprung this on me rather suddenly.” He met Giles’ eyes solidly. They were really a remarkable shade of blue. “I promise I’ll go home and thoroughly stalk you tonight.”

Giles held out a hand in front of him and drew himself up a little. “I’ll save you the time. Giles Mason, thirty-four years old, no siblings, OB/GYN, got out of a long-term relationship about eight months ago.” He folded up his hand and smiled. “That covers some basic stalking points.”

“That it does,” Martin said, and then blinked hard as some of it settled in. “Wait, you’re a gynecologist?”

Giles laughed and shook his head. “Trust me, I’ve heard it all before. All I have to say is, there are plenty of vegetarian chefs who cook meat.”

“If you say so,” Martin said, unable to resist laughing himself, at least until another thought occured to him. “Wait. Is Olivia your colleague, or a patient?”

“Both, actually!” Giles said, smiling brightly as Martin covered his face to mutter an ‘oh god’ into his shirt cuff. “Doctor-patient confidentiality, though. I promise it won’t come up.”

Martin let his hand drop until he was just covering his smile with his spread fingers. “Please, yes, respect her privacy.”

“I shall.” He drummed his fingers a little on the lid of his coffee. “I’d like to continue disrespecting yours, though. Let’s stop pretending to drink coffee and go get a bite to eat, what do you say?”

Martin couldn’t help but smirk. “At a vegetarian place, perhaps?”

Giles laughed. “Yes, certainly, why not. There’s good Indian a few blocks away.”

“Sounds fantastic,” Martin said, and stood up from the table, abandoning his mostly untouched coffee. “Lead the way.”

They talked more over chana saag, Giles entertaining him with the less gory tales of medical work, and trading embarrassing stories about Olivia (that didn’t involve stirrups). When they were finished, Giles walked Martin to the train station.

“I’d love to see you again,” Giles said before Martin could even begin stammering about what a nice time he’d had. “Give me your number and e-mail right now before I have to extort it from your sister.”

Martin laughed and brought out his phone. “Yes, sir.” They swapped information, punching numbers and letters into their respective phones. “So… I’ll see you soon?”

“Very soon, I hope,” Giles said, and then there was that moment, that brief sparking moment where Martin’s heart could have either plummeted to the center of the earth or leapt up into the heavens, vibrating between possibilities before Giles leaned down to kiss him. He was soft, and sweet, and sent Martin soaring.

“Very soon,” he said, and his feet didn’t quite touch the earth again until he was at the door of his flat. He was still light with it all until he headed for bed that night, and picked up one of the prescription bottles by his bedside. He shook out a pill and held it up before him. In the window just beyond it, the moon was shining almost full. It would have made a very artistic image, he thought, if the pill weren’t an oblong capsule. He drew the shades shut and took his medicine, then lay in bed in the dark, trying to ignore the plummeting feeling in his chest.

The next day at work Martin spent it solidly resisting doing some frantic Googling of Giles, for all his promising otherwise. It didn’t seem sporting, he felt, to come in to a second date with a wealth of ill-gained information. Also and perhaps more importantly, he was simply terrible at online stalking, not knowing Twitter from a nest of starlings at any given time. He’d simply approach their next date the old-fashioned way. Presuming there would be one, which despite the excellent way the last one had ended, the dark parts of his mind still found ways to doubt.

Second dates, second dates were fine. Slightly larger talk, expansion of chemistry (or lack thereof), detailed exploration into the types of music and films the two of you liked. Third dates were where things got complicated. Because he wasn’t a complete prude, third dates historically ended at his or his date’s flat and things got more intimate. “Historically” was really the way to put it now, though; since three years ago things hadn’t gotten intimate (save for one sympathetic handjob), not now that he had to be a bearer of bad news before any clothes came off. For all that people talked a good game about being open-minded, when it came down to actual decision time, his dates had not found his wit and reasonably above-average looks cause enough to take the risk.

Second dates, though, those were good. Martin spent his afternoon wondering if it was too soon to call–no, that would be a bother, he should text–and what restaurants were nice enough without being too nice, until he got a text from Olivia reading went well? he’s very cheery today. He texted back with No major disasters, and when she returned with expect a call later, he was so pleased he forgot to worry about anything for almost two hours.

Martin answered the phone after one ring, and Giles’ voice was sweet in his ear when he called. “How do you feel about Moroccan?”

“Food, I assume? Because I often find the tilework a little busy for my tastes.” Giles’ laugh was warm even through the crackle of his phone.

“Yes, I was thinking more in the way of couscous. There’s a new place, Sintir, I’d like to try out.”

“Been dying to try it, actually. Haven’t been able to find anyone to go with me.”

Martin could somehow hear Giles smile. “Aren’t we a lucky two, then? Is tonight good?”

“Tonight?” Martin hoped he didn’t sound too surprised. “Really?”

“Mm? Are you busy?”

“No, it’s just…” Not for the first time Martin wished mobile phones had cords he could twirl around his fingers in moments like these. “So soon?”

Giles, it seemed, could purr when he put his mind to it. “I’ve been thinking about seeing you again since the minute you walked away last night.”

Martin was able to catch his breath after only a few seconds of silence. “…Tonight it is, then.”

They met at seven at the restaurant, and Giles greeted him with a kiss so eager Martin had no doubt he was telling the truth about the dominating theme of his thoughts the past day. If Martin were less desperate a man, he might almost be put off by Giles’ enthusiasm, but he was, so his mind settled instead on playing with the idea that Giles was being bribed by his sister. …No, she wasn’t willing to spend that much money on him, not to get a kiss like that.

Giles’ knees bumped with his under the table and together they ordered half the menu before Giles launched into a story about exactly how his day had gone, ending in, “And lo and behold, I found his wedding ring!”

After Martin had recovered from choking on his water, he said, “Well, that’s… certainly more interesting than my day.”

Giles’ eyes got wide. “Oh, God, I’m a total prat. I’m so busy talking about myself that I never asked what you do.”

Martin laughed a little and shook his head. “You probably psychically sensed that it’s not at all interesting. I’m a sales rep.”

Giles didn’t look immediately bored. “What sales do you rep?”

Martin sighed. “Shoes. Ladies’ shoes.”

Giles tilted his head to the side a little and started to smile. “You’re a shoe salesman?”

“If only it were that interesting,” Martin said, shaking his head. “I facilitate the interactions between the manufacturers of the shoes to shops and department stores across the country and oh, you’re asleep already.”

“No, no, I’m sure it’s… very interesting and stimulating work.”

“It’s not,” Martin said, but he was smiling. “But if you’d like any discounts on a nice high heel, I could probably arrange something.” He peeked under the table. “What are you, a size twelve?”

Giles tapped Martin’s toes with his own. “Hmm, think you could find something with an open toe? I hear that’s very ‘in’ this season.”

Martin was about to respond when his phone blipped and buzzed in his pocket. “Hang on,” he said, and pulled it out to see the screen greeting him with alarm reminder it greeted him with every single day of his life at this time and that he had managed to forget about when scheduling a dinner date. Wonderful. He gave Giles his best apologetic smile. “Excuse me for just a moment.” He snagged the pill container out of his inside jacket pocket as discreetly as he could and headed off to the men’s room.

He swallowed his pills with a handful of water from the taps and brushed a hand over his face. He gave himself a smile in the mirror and said to his reflection, “Still good! Still have tonight.” He turned his smile up until his face hurt and headed back to the table.

“Everything all right?” Giles asked. There was some softness around his eyes now, a little line of concern between his brows.

“Oh, nothing to worry about,” Martin said as he slipped his phone and the container back into his jacket. He waved a hand dismissively. “Just a work thing, needed my input.”

Giles was starting to smile again. “Vital shoe business?”

“Very vital,” Martin said, and felt the pills sticking in his throat. He took a few gulps of water, to no avail, but then Giles’ toes were resting on top of his again.

“About that … what do you think about a sensible ballet flat?”

The rest of dinner went well, a second date to be lauded before all other second dates, Giles’ knees and toes brushing under the table advancing to his hand reaching for Martin’s atop it. They wavered together outside the restaurant, Giles taking his face in his hands to kiss him more seriously than he’d ever been kissed on a public street before. He couldn’t bring himself to mind.

“Come home with me tonight,” Giles said against his mouth, and Martin froze.

“I … shouldn’t,” he said, although it hurt to, his body fighting for him to say yes while the rest of him fought to keep at least tonight, this wonderful night, free of any crushing disappointments.

“No?” Giles said, drawing back. He looked confused and more than a little hurt. Of course he was, the night was going so well. Martin lifted a hand to rest it on the back of his wrist.

“Not ‘no’,” he said, and sighed as he closed his eyes for a moment. “Just … not yet.”

Giles looked at him for a while, and that soft look came back around his eyes as the corner of his mouth crept up. “…A little old-fashioned, are we?”

Martin laughed, a nervous breath. “A little,” he said. “Something like that.” Giles leaned down to kiss him again, and not for the first time since this all began Martin wished things could just be fucking different. But Giles was smiling at him when he drew away.

“Later?”

Martin nodded. “Later.”

Giles put a hand through his hair and kept smiling at him. “Worth the wait,” he said, and kissed him again. They were going to get arrested for anti-social behavior at this rate, but Martin took what he could, while he still could.

When Giles did not come calling for a third date the next day, Martin sank into a brief pit of despair, certain that his apparent prudishness had been a nail in the coffin before he ever even got the chance to share his real problems and hammer the rest of them all the way in. He came right out of the pit when he got a text late in the afternoon that consisted of a cell phone picture of a speculum wearing a mitten as a hat and appearing to sing with the included message of I make my own fun sometimes, but I’d have more fun with you. See you again soon? Martin started grinning, his dark mood receding, and texted right back with Dinner at my place this weekend? I can cook a little.

Amazing. Just amazing. was what came back, and Martin stared at that on his phone until its screen went to sleep. It could all still end horribly–and if it did end horribly, it would be the one that possibly ended him–but there was the chance, the amazing chance…. Martin put his phone away to resist the temptation to look at the message another six times and tried to focus on the rest of the work day.

It was a few days until the weekend, which gave Martin ample time to find things to worry about, like whether or not his flat was appropriately clean or nice enough, or whether Giles was actually a vegetarian instead of just a metaphorical one. He settled on doing some serious dusting and straightening up and making a nice pasta, which only left him one large, hulking worry. He’d choke that pill down when he came to it.

Martin’s sauce was simmering when the door buzzed, and he was still in his apron when he let Giles up. “Oh, very sexy,” Giles said instead of hello, and kissed him straight off. “And it smells wonderful. Hello, I brought wine.” He held up the bottle in his left hand as proof.

“And I already have an open bottle! What a terrible state we’re in!” Martin took the bottle from him and sat it on the counter.

“Oh, started in without me? Lush.” Giles followed in right behind him, resting his hands on his hips and nuzzling into his hair. His public displays of affection had been eager enough; behind closed doors seemed to be a whole extra level.

“I’ll have you know it was used honorably in the line of cookery.” Giles reached past him to pick his half-empty glass of Pinot Grigio off the countertop. “Into the sauce, and into the chef. Very honorable.” He looked over his shoulder to watch Giles taking a sip, and smiled as his eyes closed as he swallowed. “I’ll get you your own.”

“I like this glass. It’s had your mouth all over it,” Giles said, and Martin felt himself blushing as he went for another wine glass. He would have a very difficult time feigning any old-fashioned sensibilities at this rate. He filled a second glass with wine and held it up to Giles.

“Cheers,” he said, and let the alcohol dampen any of his lingering anxieties.

Somewhere after dinner and after they’d made ample headway on the second bottle of wine, they’d ended up on Martin’s sofa, with Martin being pushed back into the cushions as his hand tangled up under Giles’ shirt. He’d kissed him until his lips went numb with it before moving on to his neck, dotting the line of his pulse with kisses. This, this alone could go on forever, Giles sighing into his throat and crowding him with the warmth of his body. Just don’t say anything, his tipsy mind begged him, but when Giles’ hand drifted below his belt, his sense of morality fought its way up through clouds of wine.

“Wait… stop,” he said, and Giles groaned, sagging against him.

“You’re going to kill me,” he said into Martin’s neck. Martin put a hand on his shoulder and pulled him back lightly so he could see his face.

“It’s not that. I want to.” He took a heavy breath. “I really want to. I just… need to tell you something first, so you know what you’re getting into.”

Giles looked at him while he gathered his courage, and then his eyes got that softness around them again and he was brushing his fingers across Martin’s cheek. “Martin, it’s okay. I know.”

That was a sharp spike of sobriety. “You … know?”

Giles smiled a little. “I know.”

Martin’s stomach clenched a little and he frowned. It was easier, it was so much easier if he didn’t have to say it, and Giles didn’t seem to be running away yet, but still… “Did Olivia tell you?”

“No, no. She said you’d had bad luck in love for a while, but nothing specific.” He was still petting Martin’s neck, fingers soft just beneath his ear. “I just picked up on the clues. I am a doctor, after all.”

He hadn’t been as subtle at the restaurant as he’d thought, then. He could feel himself struggling to still panic against the rising waves of relief. “I mean, it isn’t bad, I take medication, it’s just… I pose a very definite risk.”

Giles smiled, something just crooked enough to make Martin’s stomach do completely different types of flips, and leaned in to mouth at Martin’s ear. “How fortunate that I happen to be something of a professional in the field of sexual health and have miles of condoms in my bag.”

Martin’s eyes fluttered shut as Giles nipped at his earlobe. His head was light, like he hadn’t gotten enough air in a while. “You don’t care?” He let out a nervous little laugh, and wished his voice hadn’t turned out so small. “Everyone else has cared.”

“I care enough to be careful,” he said, and came back up to look Martin in the eyes. “Everyone else have been idiots, because you’re worth it.” When he kissed him then it all became real; for once, finally, things were going to work out. He put his hands into Giles’ hair and kissed him back hard, cutting loose the restraint he’d been holding on to for fear of getting hurt all this time. He started laughing partway into his serious focus on sucking on Giles’ lower lip and had to drop his head back as it all hit him again. Right, this is what it felt like to be happy. Giles was smiling, too, as he kissed his neck a few more times.

“Martin, you know, I’d really like it if you showed me your bedroom,” he said, in a low purr that went straight to his cock.

“What a terrible host I am,” he said, and woozily got to his feet off of the sofa. “Allow me to show you.” Giles followed behind him as he lead the way–with, of course, a brief stop to retrieve a few items from his bag.

It wasn’t that Martin didn’t have condoms–he had plenty of condoms, he’d always been very rigorous about using them, save for the drunken encounter on his thirty-fifth birthday that had been his undoing. It was just that by this point the ones in his bedside table were well past the expiry date. Giles dropped an honestly quite optimistic number next to Martin’s pillow as he kissed him back onto the bed. Martin could feel him smiling against his mouth before he pulled away, kissing his neck for a while as his hands went under Martin’s shirt, rucking it up beneath his arms.

“Come on, off,” Giles said, and dealt with the offending garment before stripping out of his own shirt. His body was as slim and all angles, so much pale skin in sharp shapes. Martin’s brain cast up a little flare of worry about the state of his own less than taut belly, but it was quickly quenched when Giles leaned down to kiss him there, skimming his teeth over skin before leaning down further. He just breathed against Martin’s clothed erection and Martin bucked like he’d been shocked.

Christ!” he shouted out, and wound his hand in the sheets when Giles starting nuzzling. “Christ.” He heard a warm laugh from Giles and his head started swimming. “It’s, it’s been a while,” he said, and reached down with an unsure hand to touch Giles’ face.

Giles kissed his fingers when they came close. “Then I shall have to give you my very best,” he said, and then sucked just the tip of one of Martin’s fingers into his mouth. Martin bit his lip to keep from crying out again, but god, it was obscene, and it had been long enough since anyone had done anything remotely like that to him that he wondered if he could come from that alone. Giles was smirking around his finger as he wrapped his tongue around it; he’d probably feel very clever if he managed a trick like that.

He let loose his finger to focus on undoing Martin’s trousers. Giles planted a little kiss just below his navel before stripping him entirely naked, and he was clever, wasn’t he? Martin was naked and hard before him, and Giles had the gall to remain still half-dressed himself. Martin started to sit up to rectify this, to touch him, to do anything at all, but Giles pushed him back again, bending over him. “Let me,” he said, and kissed Martin’s stomach, his hips, the tops of his thighs, circling closer and closer to his cock.

“You … you shouldn’t,” Martin said, though it physically pained him to say so. He wanted nothing more than Giles’ mouth on him, but there were precautions to be considered…. Giles just shook his head and smiled as he nuzzled Martin’s thigh.

“Don’t worry, I know what I’m doing,” he said, and proved it right away by wrapping his hand, one of those wonderful hands around Martin’s cock. Then Martin got his mouth, wet and hot pressed against his balls. The combination of sensations made Martin shudder and groan, grabbing for Giles’ hair. He worked him like that for a while, tonguing and sucking at sensitive skin while his hand worked in a slow, twisting stroke. Martin realized he was pulling at Giles’ hair and started to leave off of it to grab at the bedclothes instead, but Giles held his hand there, leading his fingers to tangle there. God, it was almost too much, too quickly, all while being not enough.

“Wait, wait…” he said, and Giles’ mouth came off him with a little wet popping sound. His hand kept moving, though, which made it hard to focus on anything but that. “Ah … more?”

Giles smirked and gave Martin a long, slow lick, up to the base of his cock. “More of this?”

Martin had never had any skill for any form of dirty talk. He grabbed one of the condoms from the pile near his head. “No, ah … more.” Giles pulled himself up Martin’s body to kiss him; he tasted darker now, enough to make Martin shiver. He plucked the condom packet from Martin’s hand.

“With pleasure,” he said, and finally took off the rest of his clothes. Martin stopped being so stupidly stunned and passive at the sight of him, the sharpness of his hips and the long curve of his cock, oh, he could think of several places where he’d like that. He grabbed at Giles, touching him wherever he could and drawing him down to lick at the hollow of his throat. He smelled good, he felt good in Martin’s palm when he stroked at his cock, and oh, that made him sound good, shakily moaning into Martin’s ear. A few more of those noises and yes, it was time, it was past time. He pressed the condom packet into Giles’ hand and went for his bedside table. At least lubricant didn’t have an expiry date that he was aware of.

Giles kissed him while he slid two slick fingers inside of him, and he could have simply melted away right there, moaning at the relief of it. Years of frustration and tension came away in waves with the curving of Giles’ fingertips. He felt Giles smile against his throat and he realized he’d been making sounds, desperate, needy things. He couldn’t manage to be embarrassed; he was desperate and needy at this point. “God, please,” he managed, and Giles groaned into his throat.

Martin’s hands were shaking some as he rolled the condom, but as Giles sighed as he stroked his cock, he didn’t feel nervous, not at all. He was nothing but want, with a giddy happiness rolling underneath somewhere deep in his core. He smiled when Giles eased his cock inside of him, something of a laugh mixing up into the moan that pressed out of him.

“Good?” Giles panted against his mouth when he was buried in deep, and Martin just grabbed his face and kissed him hard.

Good,” he sighed, and tightened his thighs around Giles’ hips.

“Worth the wait,” Giles said, laughing as he started to move his hips. Martin tangled a hand in the sheets and laughed himself, a little wild and unhinged.

“You have no idea,” he groaned, and wrapped his arms around Giles, hands skimming over his back as they moved together. Giles was slow at first, taking kisses from his mouth as he built up a heat inside him, and some small part of Martin’s mind wanted this to be slow and delicate and to last forever, but his body, his poor deprived body, would have none of it. He wrapped himself around Giles, writhing into him, driving him deeper. God, had he missed this.

“You feel so good,” Giles said right into his ear, and Martin dug his fingers into Giles’ back without meaning to. This was too much, it was just too much; he pushed a hand between them to start stroking at his own cock, but Giles made a little dissenting noise and pushed it away, taking over with his own. He was unraveling at the seams and it was perfect, just perfect, good again after so long, Giles inside him and around him. He wanted to do this again and again, as many times as he possibly could, no matter the risks. This time, however, was not to last much longer; Giles stroked him fast while he thrust hard enough to make the bed creak, and Martin was lost to it. He moaned something, some strangled word as he came, but he would never be able to recall what it was exactly. Giles, though, he moaned Martin’s name when he came shortly after, and that might have been one of the best things to happen yet.

Giles stayed sprawled on top him for a while, heavy and warm, and Martin considered drifting off to sleep like that, but then the necessities of the modern world made their demands, and Giles sighed softly as he pulled out to dispose of the condom, which had served its purpose nobly. He came back right away, lying beside Martin and giving him room to curl up against him. Martin tucked his head in the curve of Giles’ neck and just breathed, not a worry or thought in his head except for pleasure at the discovery of how Giles smelled even better now. He was considering the sleep option again when Giles suddenly sat up, reaching past him to the bedside table and picking up one of his prescription bottles.

Martin blinked a few times to clear his eyes and saw Giles staring at the bottle with a serious expression. “What… what is it?” Martin asked. It was never good to have a doctor looking at your medication that way.

“Aconitol? You’re taking Aconitol?” He reached over to grab the second bottle at Martin’s bedside. “And Arnicate?” He stared at him for a while, holding a bottle of pills in either hand. “You’re a werewolf?”

Martin was, suffice it to say, confused, and as the seconds ticked on, increasingly becoming full of dread. “Ah, yes… I thought you said you knew?” He had said it, he had said he was comfortable with risks, this whole situation had been entered with full knowledge and consent … hadn’t it?

“I thought I knew,” Giles said, shook his head, and then, oh, perhaps this was good, started laughing a little. “God, Martin, I thought you had HIV!”

Martin felt the world go into slow motion for a little while. Yes, he supposed that was a conclusion that one could draw from the situation. Perfectly reasonable mistake, really. But a mistake, that was important. “No! No, god, no. Just, ah… lycanthropy.” Another incurable sexually transmitted disease that required a number of medications to keep well-controlled, but, ah, considerably less deadly, all told.

Giles put the bottles down and pulled Martin in for a kiss. Oh, good. “You fool, you should have just said something right off instead of worrying yourself sick like that.”

Martin let out a breath that he wished could have been a little steadier. “So, you’re… fine with it?”

Giles stroked the side of his face, brushing the backs of his fingers over his whiskers. “First off, my ex was one, too, so I’m, well … used to it.” He leaned in to kiss Martin softly. “And secondly, if you hadn’t realized, I was more than happy to sleep with you when I thought you had HIV. You just getting a little furry once a month holds a much brighter future for the two of us.”

Martin closed his eyes and let all this settle in. Something in him was still trying to panic, but he told that reedy thin voice of worry in his head to shut it once and for all. He opened his eyes and smiled. “So, I suppose you’d be interested in a fourth date?”

“And a fifth, and a sixth, and a seventh, and so on and so on,” Giles said, and settled back down on the bed, pulling Martin in close to him again.

“We’ll have to schedule around the full moon,” Martin said into Giles’ collarbone. “It would probably come between dates six and seven.”

“I don’t see why we couldn’t make that a date, too.”

Martin looked up at him. He didn’t seem to be joking. “You wouldn’t mind that? You’d want to… be around?”

Giles rubbed a hand over his back. “I’m sure you’re a lovely wolf.”

“I take my medication religiously, as you’ve seen, so I assure you I’m quite docile.” He usually spent full moon nights with Olivia watching over him. It mostly meant he sat on the floor and was unable to make any demands about what to put on the telly. She had awful tastes in telly.

“You should come over to my place. There’s a park near by.”

Martin considered this for a while, then lifted his head up from the pillow. “Are you…”

“Yes?” Giles said, smiling. Martin might even say he was twinkling slightly, the beautiful bastard.

“Suggesting walkies?”

“An enjoyable activity for us to share together!” Giles was grinning brightly and gesturing with the arm that wasn’t wrapped around Martin. “I’ll even get you a collar with your name on it.”

Martin snorted a little laugh and tucked his head down against Giles’ chest. “Kinky.”

Giles kissed the top of his head. “Only if you wear it other times of the month.”

Martin smiled as Giles settled his other arm back around him and pulled him close. “We’ll see.”

The collar he got was blue, and had a tag engraved to say “MARTIN” on it; he had kindly omitted any “IF LOST, RETURN TO” additions. That was a discussion for later in the relationship.

“What a beautiful dog!” A young woman declared when they were walking through the park. She bent down and started petting Martin’s head and face, and he could only huff lightly and roll his eyes under her attentions.

“Yes, he’s very handsome, isn’t he?” Giles reached down to pet Martin, too, gently taking up too much room for her to continue. “Well behaved and very attentive, too. Hardly needed any training at all.”

The woman was paying more attention to Giles now, giving him a long look that lingered on his left ring finger. “I’ve a dog at home, myself. Little pug.” She smiled winningly. “Maybe you’d like to get coffee? I know a shop near by that’s very friendly to animals.”

“Oh, no, I couldn’t,” Giles said, and leaned down to hug Martin around the shoulders. “He’s my boyfriend as well, you see, and I think he’d get very jealous.” The woman took a step backwards. “I’d love the name of the shop, though. Care for a cup of tea, Martin?”

Martin barked, and then barked again when the woman had surrendered the name of the shop and hurried away as fast as she could on her high heels. Giles laughed and kissed him on the top of his head.

“Who’s a good boy, now, yes, you are,” he said, and for perhaps the first time since this had all began, Martin felt inclined to agree.

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