It's only been two days after Ethan's latest car prank on Grayson when he kind of spectacularly and unintentionally gets Grayson raging again.
Like it wasn't bad enough the past two days already, having Grayson give him random cold shoulders and push him around every time he remembered that Ethan had gotten him good. "You suck so bad, trying to give your own bro a heart attack, dude," Ethan heard him say once or twice, and tried not to snicker every time Grayson shot him a glare.
So yeah. Ethan honestly and one million percent does not mean to do it. It is a complete and total accident. It’s actually Grayson’s fault, if he’s being honest.
It's a beautiful day out and after the super random light rain showers hitting them during the weekday, Ethan goes out with a bucket, hose, car polish, and rags and starts washing his Jeep.
Grayson is somewhere in the garage cleaning shit out and they've got music blasting outside. It's a nice day, until Ethan backs up too much with his hose and doesn't look behind him, and accidentally trips and falls down on a now wet box that Grayson's just put there to take inside.
Ethan hears cracking sounds and cringes, his poor ass and tailbone twinging in pain. Grayson's head pops up out of the garage, his eyebrows at his hairline, mouth gaping open in shock but not for long. "Ethan! What the fuck did you do!" He's stomping over to Ethan with his next breath and yanking him up none-too-gently, Ethan almost falling into him full-body but Grayson just pushes him away like a rag doll.
"Ouch, asshole, I didn't mean to do it." Ethan rubs at his bruised ass with a frown.
"You're never fucking careful, bro, and now look what you've done. These were my favorite! I was gonna hang ‘em up on my walls." Grayson is grimacing and his face is tight - the veins in his neck standing out sharply against his skin - as he looks through his vinyl albums and shakes out broken pieces of records. "You're so dead," he concludes, voice low with a fatal kind of promise, and Ethan just scoffs and continues rubbing at his ass, hunched over.
"I didn't do it on purpose, douchebag, so just chill," Ethan bites out but it is one thousand percent the wrong thing to say.
Grayson's gaze snaps up to meet his so fast that Ethan swallows the rest of his verbal diarrhea down with a gulp. Grayson is shooting him full-blown crazy eyes, tensed like a tightly coiled spring.
Ethan sees his absolute destruction in that one heated, blistering look, so he does something that he hasn't done for over a year and actually holds his hands out placatingly in front of him as he takes a few slow steps back, before running into the house with a leap onto the top step outside and barreling through the front door like a goddamn gazelle.
"E! Come back here!" Grayson yells before he takes off after him in a chase.
Ethan is almost at the safety of his bedroom before Grayson yanks him from the back of his t-shirt and then slams him against the wall.
"Calm the fuck down, Grayson!" Ethan shouts, his hands going around the fists that Grayson has made in his shirt, both of their breathing kind of ragged.
It always hits Ethan by surprise how like a raging forest fire Grayson's anger is, whereas Ethan’s own expression of it is more like an arctic blast of extreme displeasure.
“Are you gonna hit me, Gray? Huh?” Ethan goads, now getting pissed off too, before remembering sort of too late that he’s a bit of a pussy and doesn’t have a high pain tolerance. And Grayson is a lit dynamite stick.
So when Grayson’s eyes narrow into dangerous slits and he says pretty threateningly, “I’m thinking about it, yeah,” his fists tightening, Ethan literally does the only thing that he can think of to diffuse the situation and save himself from an untimely death at that very moment. Grayson’s built like a truck and is thick, and his anger is all-consuming. Ethan doesn’t stand a chance unless he gets super fucking creative. Or plays dirty.
Dirty it is.
Ethan’s eyes widen as the idea comes to him like an anvil to the head but he doesn’t think about it, he just jerks forward and lands an awkward kiss to Grayson’s stony, pursed mouth. Grayson’s closed fists dig into his chest as he pushes him back into the wall moments later, after enduring the most awkward, mind-boggling silence of Ethan’s life.
Ethan pants weakly as he leans back against the wall, his eyes bright and kind of crazy looking, and Grayson looks much the same way, except he’s frowning and his face is red, too. His hands are now dropped down to his sides, clenching and unclenching spasmodically. At a total loss.
“What the fuck was that, Ethan? Why’d you kiss me?” Grayson asks in the most confused tone that Ethan has ever heard him use in his entire life. Which is saying a lot. He’s blinking at Ethan in a way that suggests that Ethan not only has two heads, but is also ten feet tall and a total alien of a person.
Ethan closes his eyes for a moment and lets out a snort, feeling the danger of total annihilation pass with an excess of adrenaline still coursing through his veins. Grayson doesn’t look happy at his reaction so Ethan runs his hands through his hair and walks to his room on slightly shaky legs.
“It looked like you were going to murder me, bro, so I had to think fast and subdue you in the most efficient and least life-threatening way possible,” Ethan informs him helpfully, before he faceplants down onto his bed.
When he chances a side glance to look at Grayson, he sees him standing there with his arms crossed over his chest and glowering. “So the only thing you could come up with was kissing me, is what you’re saying.”
“Yeah, I guess,” Ethan sighs out, and then adds, “it was next level gross, but it did the trick.”
“You’re nuts,” Grayson blurts out, face twisting with all kinds of emotions that Ethan does not feel like taking a close look at. “And you suck. And you’re the absolute fucking worst.”
Ethan chuckles, burying his face into his pillow for a second. “You’re pretty fucking terrible too, now leave.”
Grayson stands there huffing and puffing for a few more seconds, before he slams Ethan’s door shut on his way out.
Despite how unorthodox and cringey his method was, it did work and Ethan won’t examine it more than he has to.
Later on in passing that day, Grayson tells him with an appropriate mixture of shame and contriteness, “I wasn’t gonna punch you, bro.”
Ethan raises a pointed eyebrow at him. “Could have fooled me, Hulk.”
Grayson flips him off. “You could have also, I don’t know, like tickled me, instead of… of doing that.”
Ethan hums in contemplation. “I needed you to be stunned stupid for, like, maximum effect. It worked, let’s move on, and never speak of it again. But also I haven’t forgotten about how you confessed to wanting to mess me up bad sometimes while hooked up to that lie detector, so this is all on you, Grayson.”
“Whatever, man,” Grayson huffs out and makes to go, before Ethan also says, “Just as a suggestion, maybe look into doing something about your temper tantrums so I don’t have to get so creative out of desperation moving forward.”
“Fuck you, Ethan.”
Ethan looks up from his phone and smirks. “I’m just saying, I might do all sorts of crazy shit if I feel like I need to.”
Grayson leans into his space with an air of intimidation and says, “Quit giving yourself so much credit, E. You also don’t have the balls to try anything else,” and leaves. Ethan tries to wrap his head around his parting comment, feeling vaguely uneasy about it.
But then Postmates arrives with his food five minutes later so he forgets about it and goes on with his life.
That night before going to sleep, Ethan tries to look past how cringe, wrong and gross it was kissing his own brother, despite his very valid and life-saving reasons for doing so.
But it’s hard. It’s especially difficult because he’d weirdly enjoyed how that action had taken all of the pent up anger out of Grayson and left him dumb and speechless in the blink of an eye. Like a big balloon being popped by a pin.
It’s whatever. They’ll get over it, and Ethan will just have to hope that he doesn’t have to use that trick again to halt the stampeding elephant that is Grayson if he ever decides to go all Hulk on Ethan’s ass.
As a surprise to no one, Ethan uses the same method one more time a few weeks later, just as Grayson is physically dragging him out of bed by his feet since Ethan won’t wake up and they’ve got a meeting that they are running slightly behind on.
Ethan is sleepy-eyed, loose-limbed, and yawning - and feels kind of gross - just as Grayson shoves him bodily into his bathroom, incredulously yelling, “Ethan, this isn’t chill, bro. You’ve gotta be more responsible. You’ve gotta shape up and act like more of an adult. I’m not your goddamn alarm clock or--”
And it is way too fucking early for his obnoxious, holier-than-thou yelling this early in the morning, and Ethan just wants some peace, okay. Just a tiny, small moment of peace so that he can coordinate his limbs and step into his shower, get his brain properly working, but Grayson is going full speed ahead with his bitching and will. Not. Stop.
Ethan wants him to leave him alone sort of ASAP.
So letting out a pained sort of sigh, Ethan tips forward into Grayson just as he’s making to grab Ethan’s t-shirt and drag it over his head, and kisses him, nasty morning breath and all. Grayson’s fingers go tight in his shirt and clench out of surprise.
Serves him right, Ethan thinks somewhat smugly, but just as he’s about to pull away and is expecting Grayson to turn tail and run away in disgust, he’s pulled back in by Grayson’s hand going to the back of his head and finding rough purchase in his hair, and his mouth opening up to him. Ethan gasps into the kiss and his hands flail up and land on Grayson’s pecs.
Grayson’s tongue is in his mouth, his hands are on his hips, his fingers pressing in hard, and he tastes like coffee and something sweet, Ethan thinks stupidly.
And holy shit, holy shit, Ethan’s brain shuts down some more and he finds himself super confused and affronted but also into it and kind of gasping and really just, like, what in the ever loving fuck. It’s a full on attack.
It is safe to say that Ethan might’ve completely and totally miscalculated both of their reactions this time around.
What might be a minute or an hour later - Ethan can’t really tell at this point - Grayson shoves him back, and Ethan leans against his walk-in shower kind of stunned stupid and wordless, one of his hands clutching at his chest like he’s one of those scandalized old school romance girls on books and in noir movies.
Grayson’s cheeks are flushed and his mouth is kind of wet as he wipes at it with the back of his hand, his eyes dark and unreadable. His voice is low and raspy when he says, “Take your goddamn shower, Ethan,” and as he’s leaving the bathroom, he smartly adds, “You look stupid, by the way.”
If Ethan could speak, he totally would. He’d tell Grayson to go fuck himself in a million different and intensely unusual and impossible ways, but he’s only got time to take a cold shower and ignore his half-mast boner after catching his breath for a minute.
Later on, as he’s getting dressed, he realizes that his method kind of hardcore backfired on him, and the worst part is, he’s not even that mad about it.