Jon blocked Martin’s path with his arm, knowing he wouldn’t push by him, “You need to talk to me, Martin. Isolating yourself with Peter Lukas isn’t doing you any good.”
Martin stopped short, and huffed, “You don’t understand. I can’t talk to you.”
“Help me understand. Please . I - I can’t keep going like this.” Jon would have felt embarrassed about how his voice broke if it had been anyone other than Martin.
Martin looked like he was torn between wanting to yell and cry. Then he went completely blank, before his eyes brightened like when he had an idea.
The one eighty was too quick for Jon to follow. “I’m sorry - wha- what?”
“Use your powers on me. If you use compulsion, I’ll have to tell you.” Martin was getting animated, almost excited about Jon using his powers.
“I don’t know... Are - are you sure?” Jon wanted nothing more than to Know Martin. The urge so strong it was difficult to even question it.
Martin licked his lips, and nodded, “Yeah. Yeah, I’m sure.”
Jon knew he should ask specifically about what was going on with Lukas and the Lonely, but it didn’t feel right. He wanted to Know Martin . Wanted to ask him what no one else ever seemed to. He felt the power build in his throat, rolling off his lips, “ What do you want Martin, what do you need ?”
Martin’s eyes widened and he gasped softly, “You. Us . Anything you’ll give me. I’d do anything to keep you safe. I’d do anything for you.” He breathing quickly, but not labored. His cheeks were flushed, and he looked… relieved and… hopeful.
Jon felt breathless, he Knew Martin wasn’t lying, that he meant every word (not that he could lie under compulsion anyway) but there was so much more meaning to what he said. There was such a depth and strength to it, Jon could hardly believe it.
He wanted to reciprocate, but he had never been good at words, at sharing himself. He never really learned how. But… he might have a way to do so now, without even having to bother with words. He knew he could pull Statements - information - out of someone, and he knew Elias could put Knowledge into someone’s head - Melanie and Martin were both proof of that - so he should be able to do the same.
“May I try something?”
“Of course,” Martin smiled lopsidedly, “Anything.”
Jon’s heart jumped at the quick, easy reply. That implicit trust cut to the core of Jon in a way he couldn’t describe.
He knew he didn’t need to touch for this to work, but it was Martin , and he wanted to. He reached up and placed his hand on Martin’s neck, thumb resting just in front of his ear. Jon took a steadying breath and pushed .
He gave Martin his care and worry for him. Gave him his loneliness, his pain, and his fear of rejection. Gave him every treasured moment between them he kept close to his heart. Gave him his confusion and hesitance. Gave him his concern of what he was Becoming. Gave him both his fear and exaltation of the monster within him. Gave him his hope that he could fight the other Avatars, his hope that Martin could help him fight them. Gave him all his insecurities that he could never be what Martin wanted, that he could never be enough for Martin. Jon gave himself to Martin. Revealed himself like he had for no other. Chest cracked open for Martin to see, to See all of him. To Know him.
Jon came back to himself as Martin’s legs gave out, and he used the wall to help ease him to the floor. Martin’s eyes were glazed over, and had tears streaming down his face. What had he done ?
He gripped Martin’s shoulders, “Martin?! Martin, I’m so sorry. It was too much. I - I shouldn’t have done that. Fuck, I -”
Jon paused when Martin blinked a few times, focusing on him, and gently raised his hand, resting it on his cheek, wiping at the tears he hadn’t even known he was shedding, “Oh, Jon . I had no idea.”
Jon closed his eyes, and took a shaky breath in as Martin pressed their foreheads together. They stayed that way until Jon heard a tape recorder start, He felt something - someone - coming. He knew exactly who it was, and they weren’t going to get what they came for.
Martin still felt weak from Jon’s Sharing, and could still feel the faint echo of it tethered between them. It had been so intense , and more intimate than anything else could have been. It had been completely overwhelming, but also completely worth it. To know Jon… Martin never felt so close to anyone else in his life. The loneliness that had been engulfing him was gone. All those threads Peter had strung around him were snapped the moment Jon pressed his hand to his neck.
Peter was not going to be happy.
At that thought, Jon’s eyes snapped open, and they looked dark, more dangerous than Martin had ever seen them. But he wasn’t scared. Not now, not after what they shared. That look was for someone else.
Jon stood and turned to the opposite side of Martin’s office just before Peter fizzled into existence.
“Ah, there you are, Martin. I thought I told you not to talk to him. You know how I hate to take disciplinary action, but I just might have to for this.” Peter’s usual jovial tone had a sharper edge to it.
“Leave him alone .” Jon’s voice was low, almost a growl.
“Come on, Martin. Let’s go.” Peter talked as though Jon weren’t even in the room, refused to even look at him.
“You aren’t taking him anywhere.” Jon took a step to match Peter’s, staying in between them.
Peter finally looked at Jon, with that faint smarmy smile of his, “Oh? Is that so, Jon? And why is that?”
“Because he is mine .” Martin felt the power in that word, felt that faint connection between them strengthen.
Peter chuckled in that absolutely infuriating way, when he knew he was going to get his way, “Is that so? Elias could never really do anything to prevent me from doing what I want, and I’ve been dealing with him for years. What makes you think you can?”
“You forgot one thing Peter.” Jon’s voice was getting larger, echoing around the room, without actually talking any louder, “I am not Elias. I am The Archivist .”
Peter’s smile disappeared as Jon opened his hands spreading his arms low and wide. Martin wouldn’t have believed it, except that he watched it happen. Everywhere skin was exposed on Jon’s body, eyes blinked open. A large one on each palm, smaller ones on the backs of his hands and up his forearms where his sleeves were rolled up. They opened at all angles on his face and neck, but focusing where the scars from Jane Prentiss were.
Jon rose up a few inches into the air, toes pointing down just above the ground. All of his eyes facing forward were focused on Peter; who was frozen in place, with a look of, not fear , but shock and pain. Martin couldn’t easily see Jon’s face, but he knew there would be a look of determination. Jon was done letting Peter do whatever he wished in the Archive, his archive. Elias may be the head of the Institute, but Jon’s power had always been focused in the archives.
Martin wasn’t sure how long all of this lasted, but it couldn’t have been more than a few minutes. As soon as Jon’s feet touched the ground, Peter sagged and fizzled back to wherever he disappeared to, with the barest wisp of fog left behind.
Jon turned back to him as the extra eyes all closed and smoothed over like they hadn’t even been there. Martin was finally able to stand up and meet him. He couldn’t help but ask, “Are you okay?”
Jon stopped short, “Yeah, I - I’m fine. Though I now know far more about Peter Lukas than I ever would have preferred.” He paused and briefly made eye contact, with a pained expression. “I’m sorry you had to see that. If - if you don’t want anything to do with me anymore, I’d understand. I’m obviously far too gone - “
“Jon.” Martin interrupted him, and closed the space between them, resting his hand on Jon’s neck, mirroring Jon’s touch from earlier, “Things are different, you are different. But I Know you, in a way I never had before. And though you have Become something Other, you are still Jonathan Sims , still my Jon.”
Jon closed his eyes, leaning into Martin’s hand, look of utter relief written all over his face. Martin pulled him close, and Jon came to him easily, tucking his face into the crook of Martin’s neck. No matter what happened, or what Jon became, Martin knew they would be there for each other. Neither of them would be lonely again.