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Tempting Fate

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The first time that Ryan meets Shane he looks him up and down, and all he can think is Big. This is a Big Man. It's not exactly a coherent or intelligent observation, but Ryan is running on two hours of sleep.

They lock eyes from across the kitchen, and Shane gives him a knowing nod. Ryan doesn't do anything stupid like drop his cup of coffee, but it's a close call.

Shane snorts as he fumbles with his cup, and Ryan shoots him a look. It's a strange greeting to do with someone you just met, but, of course, it doesn't feel like the first time. It feels like they're old friends that have lost touch. Ryan's nervous because he's Ryan, right? Shane, on the other hand, is leaning against the counter, at ease in his BUZZFEED hoodie, and watching him with laughing eyes. 

"So...." Shane says as he pulls down his watch to show him the RYAN on his wrist. "How does this usually go? This whole soulmate business? Should we shake hands? Embrace?"

Ryan's mouth goes dry as he looks at his own handwriting tattooed on Shane's skin. His own wrist tingles, but he doesn't pull down his sleeves. 

"I, um, have to- to get to work," Ryan stutters, and Shane raises his eyebrow, unimpressed. Ryan's glad he's got his hands around a cup otherwise he might be at a loss of what to do with them. 

"What you working on?"

"It's, uh, this video series I'm doing with Brett. We're looking into Unsolved Crimes-"

"To solve them?"

"Just go over all the theories."

"Ah, so like Scooby-Doo but without the fun of unmasking anything at the end."

"Fuck you, it's a cool series," Ryan snaps, and he's not usually this short, but Shane's- well, Shane's Shane. His goddamned soulmate. Ryan can say whatever the fuck he wants with no consequence, and he's not sure how he feels about that. It's both liberating and terrifying to contemplate that he's just met the person that the universe thinks is his other half. Ryan doesn't feel instantly completed or happy; to be honest, he's annoyed that Shane keeps looking at him like he's waiting for something more. Maybe the Universe made a computing error. 

Shane half shrugs: "So when do we start filming?"

Um. what?

"No, uh, it's a two person kinda thing."

"Ouch. Awkward. You better tell Brett sooner rather than later."

"Tell him what?"

"That I'm your partner," Shane says, voice smug, and Ryan grips his cup so tight that he's afraid it might shatter. The word 'partner' make his temples throb, and if he gets a headache, he'll know who to punch in the morning. Ryan's sure there are a hundred reasons why this is a fucking awful idea, but his mind is blank.

Say yes, you idiot, a voice in his head whispers, not his voice.

"No! No, I'm not just going to randomly change Brett to you, how can you expect me to do that? What about- what about continuity? What about integrity? Ok, stop laughing. There's honestly nothing funny about this situation. I am dealing with a moral dilemma, and if you think it's just as easy as 'hey, Brett, I have to replace you with my- my soulmate person, you have a 'nuther thing coming."

There's a pause, and Ryan can feel the tight crackle of their connection. 

"Don't make this harder than it has to be," Shane warns as he brushes past him. "See you tomorrow."

Ryan stares, arm tingling.


When Ryan walks into work, the hairs on the back of his neck prickle. Someone giggles when he passes by, and Shane's leaning against his desk, looking a little too smug. Or maybe that's just his face. Ryan crosses his arms as he makes his way through a sea of stares, very much aware of how small he is compared to this lumbering beast. Jesus, why would the universe pair them together? They're not even size compatible. 

"Uh, can I help you?" 

"Well, since we're work partners, I'd thought-"

"We're what now?!"

People are looking at them, and Ryan flushes. If you stand out at a workplace where people regularly chain themselves up and glue shit to their faces, you know you fucked up.

He turns to go to the bathroom, and Shane follows after him. It doesn't even occur to him to ask or signal because Ryan knows -he just knows- that Shane will follow him. Another stupid soulmate perk. Fuming, Ryan slams open the stall doors of the bathroom to make sure that they're alone. Maybe it's the lack of sleep or just the lack of caffeine that has his head spinning. Either way, Ryan's aware of how much his voice squeaks as he bitches-

"What did you do, Shane?"

"I'm sensing that this is going to be our dynamic; me, chilling. You, pissed. And I have to's quite endearing."


"To be clear, I find you cute when you're flustered."

Ryan flushes: "I don't care what you find me! I just want to find out why Karen from Finance is staring at me like I'm wearing a 'Make America Great' hat."

"Oh, yeah, I told people we were soulmates-"

"What?! Y-you can't just tell people that, Shane!"

"No? I just thought we should be transparent, so people know why the big boss switched me out for Brett. I don't want there to be office gossip, you know, and- wow, ok; Ryan, I can sense you're fuming right now, but I'm really not sure why."

Because you're a fucking idiot with a big mouth, Ryan projects, and Shane nods. 

"That I am. But also, you're getting worked up over something that's mutually beneficial- emotionally and financially. Do you know how many views soulmates get on Youtube? Think about all the biggest performers on the platform. They get millions of views per each video. Zoe and Alfie. Julian and Jenna. Liza and David-"

"Please don't compare us to actual couples."

There I said it. Ryan shifts on his heels as Shane slowly nods to himself, and he wonders if it's normal to get this much pleasure in hurting your soulmate. It's oddly satisfying to see Shane struck speechless. 

Shane holds his hands up in a truce: "Ok...fine. I'm sorry for telling people at the office without asking you. And I'm sorry for comparing us to 'actual' couples. We'll be like, uhhh, Dan Lester and Philisnotonfire. They're platonic soulmates, right?"


Shane bursts out laughing and then covers his mouth. Ryan cracks a smile because Shane has a contagious laugh, and the happy shimmering of their bond tugs him out of his angry hazeIt's so new and fragile, and Ryan's never felt anything like it. He's watched videos where people described a bond, of course, and he took Health Ed in middle school, but he's never felt it. Well, feeling's fucking believing.

"So, we good, Ryan?" Shane asks, and he seems to linger on his name, as if he likes the way that it rests in his mouth.

"Apology accepted...just don't do it again."

"To partners," Shane says and sticks out his hand.

"Work partners."

Ryan struggles not to react when his fingers close around Shane's for the first time. He was going for something between a high-five and a hand shake, but, now, they're just standing in the men's room holding hands. Yeah, just dudes being dudes.

The door opens, and Ryan jumps away. Shane watches him with that amused smile like he's observing a skittish kitten trying to walk for the first time. Ryan ribs him a little too hard as they walk out of the restroom, but Shane only laughs. 

"What's so funny?!"


If Shane's enjoying some private joke, Ryan's doesn't want to be in on it. 


Ryan stops scrolling as he comes to the comment- "Hey. Anyone wondering why they replaced the other dude?" Even though he knows he should have addressed it at the start of the video, he didn't. It's not a secret it's just...yeah, okay maybe it is a secret. An obvious one. "Duh. They're soulmates," is the reply with over a thousand likes. Ryan's mouse hovers over the 'dislike' button, but he closes out the tab instead.

When he checks his phone, he's got a flood of new Instagram and Twitter followers and honestly? Fuck Shane for being right. 

The worst part is that Ryan's started to look forward to coming to work. He gets home and everything's too quiet, and he feels restless, unable to do anything but look over scripts. He moves from the couch onto his bed and opens up Facebook messenger. He finds Shane's name and just stares at it. Isn't Shane supposed to know that he-

Wanna talk? Or you wanna be mopey all night? -S

Ryan's heart does not skip a goddamned beat. Fuck no. Not a single beat.

I can talk to you AND be mopey -R

I can't stop you, I guess -S

Listen. We're popular and I hate it -R

Mhm -S

Yeah yeah I can feel ur smugness thru the screen so JU ST SAY IT! -R

Say what? -S

What ur thinking, dick -R

I told you so? -S

YEAH! Feel better???? -R

I feel like you want to talk about it -S

I FEEL like we're going to the Whaley House tomorrow, and, dude, I shit you not that place is actually haunted and high key I'm freaking out-R

You don't really believe in ghosts, do you?  -S

Um -R

They're not real if that helps ease your anxieties-S

1) you don't know that 2) YOU DON'T KNOW THAT 3) I have had a REAL goddamned paranormal experience -R

Riiiight. Lemme guess...something fell down? -S

I hope a demon possesses you tomorrow -R

Aw, Ryan, you can hold my hand if you want -S

Fukasdck off -R

I won't let the ghosties hurt you, baby -S

F U C K O F F -R

He leans his face against his hand as he watches Shane type a reply, and he's only half aware that he's smiling. Ryan's own heart betrays him when Shane sends him three heart emojis. It does this horrible flutter thing that's 1/10th heart attack and 9/10th Shane. God, he feels like a little girl on AIM talking to her crush, except he's a fully grown man talking to his coworker-soulmate-bestbro. But Ryan has bigger things to worry about- like demons. 


"The fact that we're sleeping in this house after what we saw is...astounding."

"I'm proud of you, Ryan," Shane says, still typing on his computer. Fuck, he just looks so at ease, and- and how?

"Time to sleep. Lights out, I guess. Fuck."

As Ryan settles in, Shane turns over to him and says, in his irritatingly monotone voice: "You know it's weird thinking what's directly below us is that basement."

"Why would you say that?" Ryan asks, the pitch of his voice so high it almost breaks. "I'm- I'm gonna get closer to you. I don't even care."

When they turn the camera off, Shane whispers, "Can I try something?"

Shane reaches forward to offer his hand, and Ryan turns on his side and meets him halfway. Even if they weren't soulmates, it's always nice to hold someone's hand when you're scared, but, with the addition of their bond, the darkness transforms into the white sand of a beach. Shane's looking at him with bright eyes, and Ryan closes his own, slipping further into the fantasy. The warm waves lap at his bare feet. The seagulls softly laugh. The sun kisses his skin, and Ryan smiles in spite of himself at this cheery vacation that Shane's showing him. 


He squeezes Shane's hand.

"Hm, I don't know. The hand holding and dream sharing is...sort of gay."

"You can let go if you want."

Ryan holds on tighter.


It's been a week since they held hands, and Ryan hasn't slept since. He knows that the dark bags under his eyes are a give away, but Shane doesn't comment. Ryan's both relieved and frustrated when the secretary tells him the "bad" news.

"I'm sorry but the room you booked only has one bed. The person booking it said that you were soulmates, and I just assumed that you'd want one bed-"

"Can you check again?"

"It's fine; we'll make do for one night," Shane reassures the flustered secretary, and she gives him a grateful smile.

When Shane squeezes his shoulder, Ryan shrugs him off. 

He doesn't look at Shane as he pulls his suitcase into their room, and his fingers are tingling. Why do they always tingle when he's around Shane? Must be the stress turning him numb. That or the hotel's fucking cold. He tries to turn on the heater, but it's busted. He looks over at Shane, who wordlessly leaves to go charm the administration into turning on the heat. Shane comes back with an extra pillow and an apology.

"Sorry, Ryan. Listen, you can have the covers. I'll just-"

"No, I'm not going to steal the covers from you. We can," Ryan pauses and worries his lip, "share, or whatever."

So he bundles up in one of Shane's too baggy sweaty shirt, and his chest does not tighten at how big it is. It's for warmth. He crawls under the covers and tries to settle his mind, but the events from their earlier location still have him on edge. When hotel creaks and groans in the wind, Ryan knows it's the wind, but he just- just can't be sure.


A big hand curls around his and squeezes.

Mhm, go to sleep, Ryan.

Ryan smiles into his pillow, and he closes his eyes again as Shane once again shows him a gleaming ocean and island, far away from this frigid hotel. Palm trees. Smooth sand. Curling waves. Ryan happily sighs, content at the fantasies lazily drifting between them. The images melt into one warm dream, and Ryan's only vaguely aware of himself slipping away. The only thing tying him to reality is the slow reassuring rhyme of Shane's thumb stroking his. Soon even that fades away, and when he rolls over, it's onto Shane's bare chest.

He isn't sure whose dream it is, but all of a sudden Ryan is pressed into the hot sand, between Shane's arms. Dream Ryan has no trouble wrapping his hands around Shane's neck, and he's pulled into a warm hug. Mhm. It's nice. The nicest hug that he's ever gotten. Shane presses kisses to the top of his head. Such a good boy, Ryan, always so good.

Ryan's never had a dream so clear and perfect. Shane's arms feel so real around him, and- and maybe those are Shane's real arms, wrapped around his waist.

Yes, Ryan realizes, they're chest to chest in the bed. Shane's warmth and the happy crackle of the bond have Ryan pushing up. Pushing up, for what? What is he searching for?

I'm hard, Ryan foggy mind realizes. He communicates this to Shane by rolling his hips into him, and he knows that he's doing that in real life too. Even through the thick layer of clothes, Shane must feel it. Shane presses another kiss to the top of his head. Ryan's sure that this intimacy is what Shane's been craving. He rolls his hips up again, thrusting into the solid warmth that is his best friend.

Stop. Don't wanna. Stop. No. Yes. No.

The conflicting thoughts don't slow the steady motion of his hips, and he's not sure if he's fighting himself or Shane. All he knows is the animalistic warmth that tightens in his gut. Shane holds on tighter, urging him forward. Come on, Ryan. 

Ryan's past the point of self control. His hips are guided by a hot, unceasing fire. It feels like he's suffocating. The weight of Shane. The heat of their bond. The throbbing pain of his cock. His mind is a foggy haze of arousal as he seeks release. Shhhh, come on just let go for me, baby. Just let it all go. 

Ryan cums with a stutter of his hips.

"Shane," he gasps, and the fever dream breaks. There are no more palm trees or sweet, sweet Shane. Now, there's nothing but the cold reality, and the sweat dripping down his back, causing his shirt to stick to his skin. Cum drips down his inner thigh, and Ryan flushes as he realizes that he just came all over himself like some pubescent boy. 

"We can't...?" Shane starts, voice tight, but then stops because the answer is clear. "I'll go sleep on the floor then, right?"


The bond's gone from soft and fuzzy to needle sharp. 

In the morning, Ryan can't look in the mirror or at Shane. He dresses with his back to both.


Finally, Ryan breaks down and shows his friend Zach. It's only been two days since he pushed Shane away, but it feels like two years. He's not sure if he's been avoiding Shane or if Shane's been avoiding him. Either way, he needs to tell someone. 

"I knew it," Zach whispers. "I fucking knew that Shane wasn't lying when he told everyone at the office. I wasn't sure what to believe because you said it wasn't true..."

His voice fades away and they stare at the black SHANE marked on his light skin. Ryan's searches Zach's face for disgust or disappoint, but he finds a glimmer of awe instead. 

"It's fucked," Ryan says, secretly pleased. 

"I don't understand why you don't just tell your fans. They already think it's true. Are you two...?" 

"No! It's not like we- we have a platonic bond. Like Seth Rogan and what's-his-face? The one that looks like Tommy Wiseau?"

"James Franco. Right, but I'm pretty sure he'd suck Seth Rogan off if he asked nicely. One hundred fucking percent. That's the weird thing about bonds...they can shift from platonic to romantic and then back again, you know?"

Ryan shrugs as he orders himself a drink. He's been wondering about that lately, about wither or not he's forcing it to be platonic. Shane had always seemed like he wanted something more, and his chest twists as he remembers the hotel room and the breath taking friction. He clinks glasses with Zach and downs the shot. Then another one. Another. 

"I've never meet anyone with a platonic soulmate that's not a twin, and I've always wanted to ask- can you, like, feel when he's doing it?" 

"Uh, no," Ryan stammers, "you can only see shit if the other person lets you. I mean- I mean Shane wouldn't show me any of that."

Zach laughs and raises his eyebrows: "But you could show him, right?"

"W-why would I do that?"

"I don't know? For science."

And Ryan -with alcohol clouding his mind- decides that he's a man of both ghosts and science.

Ryan finds a girl at the bar, tall and dark eyes, who thinks that he's cute. He invites her over to his apartment, all the while groping in the dark, trying to grasp onto the golden trails of his bond. Ryan -though he's almost twenty seven- feels like he's seventeen again as he falls onto his bed and she climbs onto his lap, giggling.

Ryan groans and desperately searches for Shane behind his closed eyes. Come on, Shane. Come on. I need you here. A shiver races down his spine when he finds him. Ryan's eyes snap open and he shows Shane, with almost malicious glee, the image of her delicate hand rubbing Ryan's bulge. He can feel the exact, electrifying moment when Shane sees it too. You like that, Ryan? Like how she's doing that? The words are nothing but a sneer, but they make him throb in ways that this girl could never. He strains against the denim.

Ryan squints to make out her hand unzipping his jeans. Then she's down on her knees, dark hair tumbling over her face. Perfect.

He leans back against his bed, holding his breathe. He's never been good at stopping himself from cumming too fast, alright? And now he has the added pressure of Shane watching. Ryan tries to slow his breathing, but he's sure that Shane can feel his growing fear and arousal. Shhh, it's okay, Ryan. I'm sure she wouldn't laugh too hard if you came right now. The whisper almost makes his knees buckle. 

Ryan threads his hand through her hair as she jerks down his boxers and takes his throbbing cock in her hand. He knows that he can cut off Shane's connection any time, but he- he wants Shane to watch. He wants Shane to see this girl's tongue curling up his sensitive length. He wants Shane to feel and see and know every moment of this as he does.

Oh god, her tongue, Shane. So wet and nice. Ohfuckfuckfuckfuck. Can you feel it too? Ryan, eyes glazed, watches as she gets to the tip. Goosebumps creep up his arms as he feels the jolt of Shane's arousal. She's barely grazing her wet tongue against his cock, but he's dripping with the knowledge that Shane's there, watching, arousedHe wonders if Shane can feel the heat of her breathe or the cool precum dribbling down his length. She catches the drop with her tongue. Ah

You gonna cum so soon? Shane presses. Before she gets her mouth all over your little cock?

Not little, Ryan snaps, but Shane's words have his skin on fire. The mocking tone make his toes curl, and, shit, he really might cum from that. He deserves the abuse. It's not like he asked Shane if he could show him this, but, then again, Shane could look away at any moment. 

"Fuck," he gasps as she takes him all the way into her hot mouth, and Ryan's eyes flutter at the sweet, sweet suction. Ryan can feel Shane's irritation, but the signals for shame and desire are too tightly wired at this point for Ryan to do anything but squirm. He grips the covers, and she's only just started deep throating him. Ah, don't cum- don't- 

Come on, Ryan, cum already, so I can go back to sleep. I know you can barely hold it in. Just let go, I can feel how badly you want to. Come on. Do I need to come over? Stroke your little cock for you?

Ryan cums with a helpless whimper at the goading. He cums without his own brain's permission, and he feels like Shane's ripping the orgasm out of him.

"That was amazing," Ryan accidentally says aloud. He listens for Shane, but the connection has gone cold. He projects the thought.


She cuddles up to him, and Ryan drifts off. In this bliss-ed out state, it's easy for his mind to tip-toe to Shane's bed. Then they're cuddling up together, and it's heaven. Even though a part of him knows that it's the weight of this girl's head, not Shane's, against his chest.

Ryan dreams of a palm trees, swaying under a warm breeze. Then he dives into the deep blue sky, and when he turns, Shane's in the sky-water with him. They toss clouds at each other and laugh. He leans over to kiss Shane, and Shane meets him halfway. They're tangled up and sweaty and perfect.

Ryan wakes to find the wrong head against his chest. He tries to go back to sleep, but he can't find the island again.


"Sleep well?"

Ryan clears his throat and shrugs: "Not bad."

"Yeah?" Shane asks, voice low as he sits down next to him on the red couch. The morning bustle of the busy Buzzfeed offices drift away as Shane's presence overwhelms him. Ryan doesn't need a bond to tell him that Shane's frustrated.

He shrugs and stares at the computer perched on his lap. He's researching for the next season, or at least trying to look busier than he is. He listlessly scrolls through this Reddit forum about demons, aware of the angry heat radiating off of Shane's larger body. Shane's hand rests on his knee, and Ryan tenses. Shane squeezes, a little too hard to be friendly. If it had been any other morning, Ryan would have pushed him away. But this morning? This morning he just keeps on typing, fingers missing the right keys. The underlined red words grow as the silence stretches. Finally, Shane speaks, voice lower than it's ever been before.  


"Hm? Y-yeah, need something?" Ryan says, playing dumb. 

"We need to talk about boundaries." 

"If it's about last night, I was drunk and I- well, Zach paid for all those drinks, so it's not like I planned to get that drunk, which I was, you know, drunk. Really drunk. And there was this girl, and I got carried away so, uh, what I'm trying to say is that whatever I're allowed to do too," Ryan word vomits, and that's happens when you start speaking without knowing what you're going to say. Did any of that make sense? Ryan forces his mind closed, but his wide eyes must be a give away.


"Yeah, it's like," Ryan continues as he glances around and whispers. "Friends send each other porn-"

"Not any friends that I have."

"Ok, fine not all friends, but I've had friends who do that. As a joke, of course. So, yeah, soulmates can show each other that sort of thing from time to time."

"Last night wasn't a joke."

"No," Ryan reluctantly admits. "It was fun though. Something to de-stress." 


"Fun to have you there." 

"You like me watching?" Shane asks slowly, voice so strained it might snap at any moment. His hand is still pressed up to Ryan's knee. Before, Shane would never have burst his private space bubble, but now, his fingers slide up Ryan's leg. They slide in a slow, sure movement, until they stop on his upper thigh, just below his computer. Ryan's cock weakly twitches. He can't help the tightening of arousal as he looks at how big Shane's fingers are compared to his thigh. Stupid big Shane and his stupid big hands. 

"Y-yeah, sure. I like it. Did you like it?"

Shane's hand moves back down, and Shane waits a moment before his fingers gently stroke up the length of his leg. Up. Down. Up. Down. 

Stop, Ryan projects, although it's not a bad sensation. Shane ignores his demand, hand continuing to stroke him, and Ryan's sure it must be some sort of twisted revenge. Finally, Shane stills his hand on Ryan's upper thigh, grip almost vice-like.

"It isn't nice, is it? When someone does something without your permission." Shane says and pointedly pauses so that Ryan has the time to flush a deep red. "But, yeah, sure it was nice to watch her...and you...and then afterwards. Afterwards, it was nice when we-"

"We cuddled, platonically."

"Right," Shane snorts and sinks his fingers down into Ryan's thigh. "Platonic." 

"Um, Shane- your hand is hurting me- Shane?" 

He sees something dark flash in those eyes. Shane leans over, so his mouth is pressed against Ryan's ear- 

"Well, if that's how you wanna play the game, Ryan, I hope you know I don't lose." 

Then he's gone, and Ryan's left with the world's most confusing erection. He stares down at the sad bulge in his jeans. What's Shane going to do? What game? He can usually predict Shane, but, this time he's not sure. He's never felt his soulmate like this, and it's so out of character that Ryan's sure that he must have broken Shane. This is why you shouldn't go and fuck around and blur the boundaries of a platonic bond with a romantic bond. Whatever's shifting between them is dark and ugly. 

Ryan turns around and watches as Shane walks over to a boy's desk. It's -what's his name?- the new kid with blue hair and smiling eyes. Ryan's stomach twists with something closer to jealousy than anticipation as Shane leans in to whisper in the boy's ear. The boy nods and almost knocks his chair over getting up. Is Shane really going to...?

He turns back to his computer, but he watches, through Shane's eyes as he guides the boy to the bathroom. It's the weirdest feeling, this double vision. He assumes that's why soulmates make the best athlete duos. Or NAVY seals. Ryan's both here and in the bathroom, locking the door, and pushing the boy into the stall wall. If you like to watch, Ryan, I'll give you a show you won't forget. Better than the thirty seconds you lasted last night.

Ryan licks his lips as Shane's presses his against the boy's. Oh wow, he tilts his head as he feels the phantom kiss against his lips. It sends a shiver down his spine. This may be the closest he gets to fucking a ghost. Then Shane's doing something with fingers and lube that Ryan can't watch, but he can't not watch. It's lewd the way those big fingers sink into the whimpering boy. One then two. Then.


Ryan feels the slick slide of his soulmate's cock as it enters the boy. Ryan squirms, and his own cock strains against his boxers at the rough friction, and, oh, oh god. He twists on the couch, pushing up into the warmth of his laptop like it's the boy. You like that, baby? Shane rasps as he folds the boy over the toilet and slides into his tightness, and Ryan wants Shane inside of him, fucking him like that. He helplessly rocks forward, aware that's he's still in public and he can't cum because of a fucking dream- no, not dream. It's real, and, fuck, it hurts. The foreign desire. Shane's thick cock. The boy's happy moans.

Ryan doesn't let himself cum to the electrifying drag of Shane's cock deep inside him- no, inside the other boy, he reminds himself. Shane's deep inside of someone else. He feels his point of view switching as Shane tries to press him forward into the boy's position. You'd like it, Ryan. Might help loosen your tight ass.

He drags his fingers down to the watch covering Shane's name and squeezes the metal, as if he could break the bond by squeezing hard enough, but, out of the corner of his mind, he can feel Shane there. Always there. Ryan's afraid he might go crazy because he can't watch, but he can't look away, not when Shane's down on his knees doing things with his tongue. What is that even called? He tightens his own thighs, and it's like he can feel the rough drag of Shane's tongue between them. He's stuck on this couch, sweat trickling down his neck, wishing that he were in that bathroom stall. 

How to break a bond, Ryan finally googles as tears gather in his eyes. 


1) You don't. 


Ryan's not so proud that he doesn't know he fucked up. He was wrong for starting this game of "torture your soulmate" and yeah Shane was wrong for playing into it, so they're both guilty, competitive fuckers. Now it's time to see who can say sorry the best, and Ryan's going for gold. He comes up to Shane at the end of the end of the time with two cups of coffee and some papers to look over in case it all goes to hell.

Shane's eyebrows raise, but he accepts the cup with a grateful nod.

Ryan pulls up a chair and tries to keep his voice even and his palms up when he apologizes.

"I'm sorry for fucking with you like that last night and then- then lying about it this morning. I was trying to test our bond, I think, to see if it would shift. And that's shitty 'cause our bond is more than something to do a fucked up science experiment on. And I'm not an amateur soulmate scientist or professional ghost hunter, I'm your friend, and I want to still be your friend. I know I hardly deserve it because of how I acted. I realize that must be a head fuck. "So- uh" Ryan looks down at his hands and wishes he was braver. "I'm sorry. For last night. And the other night, at the hotel. And, really, just for everything; you deserve a better friend. A better soulmate. Someone kinder. And- and less of a fuck up than me."

Shane's stare softens, and he reaches forward to put his hand on Ryan's: "Don't be stupid, Ryan; I want you as soulmate. And you're a good friend when you're not being a dick."

The warmth is instant like the first sip of hot chocolate. His whole being pulses as he closes his fingers around Shane's, and he hates himself for resenting this. This? This is something that not everybody gets to feel in life, this wonderful connection. Why does he always have to go and make everything so fucked when it's so simple? He squeezes his fingers around Shane's like they're back in the Whaley house. 

"Thanks for saying that. I wasn't sure after today-"

"That was just petty revenge, and I'm sorry I made you watch. I'm sorry I wanted to hurt you like that. I've just been flirting with him for a while, hoping that you'd get jealous. Then today I told him that I didn't have a soulmate and...and I have to go apologize to that poor kid. He didn't deserve to get caught up in our...?"

"Unsolved sexual tension?" Ryan suggests with a cautious smile that Shane immediately returns. 

The air shifts as, for the first time, Ryan allows himself to be honest. Shane's possessively rubbing his thumb over Ryan's, and he likes that. It's just a simple motion, but it fills Ryan with all the longing that he's been suppressing for so many nights. He remembers how easy it was to cum when Shane told him to, and he wants to feel that again. He wants Shane in his bed, holding his hand like this and whispering that everything's OK. Ryan squeezes Shane's hand again and looks up at him through his lashes. You should come over tonight. I've never showed you my place.

Shane's eyes crinkle mischievously- that all you never showed me?

I've never kissed a boy, you know.

You know I'm going to interpret that as an offer to take your virginity. Right, Ryan?

"Right,"  he softly whispers as Shane's gleaming eyes invite him closer.  

There's nobody left in the office but the overhead cameras, and Ryan knows the security will be watching this. Whatever. Let 'em watch. 

He leans forward at the same time that Shane does, and their lips softly touch. It's the most platonic peck, but it makes Ryan's heart trip and stumble over itself. His face heats up as they part with a soft gasp. With only a taste, Ryan's already light headed. He's drunk off this feeling of Shane looking at him, and Ryan realizes that this must be why it's so hard to keep non-familial soulmates platonic. There's just something so seductive about someone who can feel what you feel. All of one's life you're alone, until- until you're not.

You liked kissing a boy, Shane smugly projects. 

Nope, Ryan childishly protests even as he leans in for another one. This time he parts his lips a little and Shane encourages him with a warm squeeze of his hand. Ryan dreamily sighs into the kiss, and, for a moment, it's like he can feel the sweet, ocean breeze. The ocean waves pulse around them. Ryan's never understood all of Ed Sheeran's coos about the kiss of a soulmate until now. Now, he fucking gets it. Shane deepens the kiss as he uses his other hand to cup Ryan's face, and Ryan forgets how to breath. 

When they pull away after a minute, Ryan's vision is hazy, and his pants feel tighter than before. Shane, who came earlier, is relaxed, but Ryan's still tense. You spent the whole day teasing me.

Come 'ere, Shane projects and tugs him forward. Ryan's fingers tingle as he does something that he'd never thought he'd do twelve hours earlier- no, something he'd never thought he'd do period. His toes curl as he clumsily clambers onto Shane's lap. It's nice that he doesn't have to vocalize any of this. Between the two of them, they can communicate with nothing but projections alone. Ryan's read somewhere that it's not good to do that too often, that it can isolate other people if you speak only in your mind, but he's tired of living for other people's expectations. He wants to live for himself in this moment. 

He straddles Shane, resting his hands on his shoulders, closes his eyes, and and clumsily gropes for their bond. He can feel it shimmering, hot and heavy between their sweat covered skin. Unlike before, when he had to fumble for it, Ryan's mind easily finds it this time. This time, of course, Shane is right here. Shane's hands are around his waist, and Ryan decides that he likes how they're so big that they almost make it all the way around. It makes him feel delightfully delicate, like no girl's ever made him feel. Shane's lips are against his, and Ryan's already addicted to the way their lips softly smack together. Ryan's hips drag forward without his permission, and the rough grind of denim against denim makes him gasp against Shane's mouth. He looks down to see his clothed bulge pressed up to Shane's larger one. 

You think this is a smart idea? Shane projects, but Ryan tightens his hold around Shane's neck, determined to have this. Determined to let himself have what he wants.

Please, lemme just...

What do you want, baby?

To keep going.

...promise you won't run away after?

"Mhm," Ryan softly promises, and he might have made the noise out loud. It's hard to keep track when it's just the two of them of wither they're projecting or talking. Around other people, he never slips up, but when he's this close to Shane's heat, Ryan loses control. When he's sitting on his lap, feeling so small and precious, how can he control himself? It's so fucking embarrassing to be doing this in public, and Ryan should protest. He should tell Shane that they both have cars that they could sneak back to, and they don't have to do this in front of the blinking red eyes of the camera. Instead, he hides his flushed cheeks into Shane's shoulders and lets himself shift closer, so his ass is rubbing down against Shane's big bulge and his own is pressed to his soulmate's stomach. He can hide his face, but he can't hide the warm arousal that urges his hips back and forth, back and forth. He can't hide the memories of Shane's earlier fuck that make him hungry for something he's never had. 

Yeah? Shane projects as he starts to soothingly rub his hands down Ryan's back. Want me to touch you like I did him? Want me to put my fingers inside of you? Eat you out? Fuck you?

 Ryan nods into Shane's shoulders, face red, as he rocks back. He never wants to forget this electrifying moment when he truly felt the extent of their connection. The drag of the denim against denim. Their staggered breathing. Shane's hand rubbing down his back, soothing him. And Ryan wants to stretch it out forever, wants to make it last, but, of course, he's never been very good at keeping himself from coming. Tears gather in the corners of his eyes as he strains to hold onto the feeling. He wants to last as long as Shane, wants them to cum at the same time, but he can't hold it in much longer. Fuckfuckfuck.

Shhh, that's it, Ryan. You can cum, Shane urges him and presses a kiss to the top of his head. I'll teach you how to hold it in later. Come on, let go.

He knows it's messy and gross, but he can't help it. Ryan shudders as he cums all over himself while Shane sinks his hands into his hips. Ryan rests his face there, in the crook of Shane's neck, and pants as he comes down from the high. He can feel Shane's orgasm building up as thrusts up into Ryan's ass, using him like he's a sex toy. Ryan's never been held like this. Never been touched like that. 

Fucking hell. Shane's holding him like- like-

Like I own you.

Ryan arches his back as he feels the hot release of Shane's orgasm. He's breathing hot and heavy in Ryan's ear. Their bond is warm and glowing as he rests his sweaty forehead against Shane's shoulder. When lips press against the nape of his neck, Ryan feels like he's cumming again. Can a heart cum? Whatever. That's how it feels. Soft and perfect and orgasm-worthy.

"I love you," Shane says as Ryan hugs him tighter. 

I love you too.

"Hey, I said it aloud. You have to too."

"What's the difference?"

"One can be held up in a court of law and the other can't."

"Fine. I love you. How's that? Legally binding?"

Shane tugs playfully at their bond: "Mhm. Now let's go home, so we can stop giving the security a private show."


They "come out" as soulmates in the next video in a Shane and Ryan fashion. Shane says "oh yeah, and we're soulmates," and Ryan just smiles a big, dopey smile when Shane adds on "not the platonic kind either." 

Shane hugs him after they finish filming, and Ryan doesn't miss how well he fits into Shane's arms.

I was wrong, and the fucking Universe was right.  We're perfectly size compatible.