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Needs must when the Devil drives

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Chapter 1

 

Ethan's POV

 

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.

 

Chapter Text

Chapter 2

 

Grayson POV

 

The bad thing about Ethan is that he doesn’t think things through, most of the time. He’s all act first and think/stress/panic later. His initial surge of momentum takes him only to the midway point of something, and then leaves him stranded there, until Grayson cuts in and helps him navigate from where he’s stuck, gives him a map.

The sheer stupidity of him kissing Grayson in order to diffuse their argument messes with Grayson’s head something bad.

It makes him fucking furious, honestly, since it’s just a joke to Ethan. Obviously. Nevermind how wrong it is, how messed up it is… how much Grayson wants it to not be a joke, in the heart of him. In the most sick, twisted, honest part of him.

It was nice, when they were fifteen, sixteen, and seventeen, sleeping with anything that moved, like two sex-crazed little savages. It was exhilarating, girls throwing themselves at their feet, wherever they would go, begging for their dicks.

It was super nice, until that first lie detector test they did by themselves, exposed something in Grayson that hadn’t fully taken shape yet back then. Was only mercurial and smoke-like, a whisper of something far off.

When Ethan asked him if he had ever been jealous of Ethan for a kissing a girl that he liked, the question had automatically reframed in his head as ‘Have I ever been jealous of a girl for kissing Ethan?’ and Grayson’s ensuing and immediate mild panic came through in the result, when Ethan read it as undetermined.

It shook him to the core after that video. It made him ignore Ethan for a couple of hours, so he that could slap together a quick mask in order to figure his shit out in private later.

Then it happened again, when they first started doing the Sister Squad bullshit and Ethan and Emma were paired together for obvious reasons, per their manager. Grayson would try to ignore the slight tightness in his chest, the weird hurt pricking him like a needle between his ribs, but it was no use.

It was no use to ignore it, like he had been, when Ethan asked that Grethan question while he was hooked up to the lie detector machine the second time, leaving Grayson exposed and vulnerable again, gutting him open like a fish, but being completely fucking oblivious to it, as always. In typical Ethan fashion.

Grayson took the L there, too. It felt like he was constantly counting his losses, tallying them up, where Ethan was concerned.

So when Ethan’s libido slowed down in 2018 and he started sleeping around less, for some dumb fucking reason, Grayson did too. The fact they they both haven’t had sex with another girl in 2019 and just have had their hands as relief, is driving Grayson crazy. Like, how much lotion and tissues can two guys buy, all the freaking time?

It’s like Ethan doesn’t care about it, and he’s super chill, just doing the single life and yolo-ing his way through everything. Just content with shooting videos and hanging out with Grayson.  

But Grayson isn’t like that, he still wants structure, wants a relationship, wants to know that he’s building something good, something wholesome, for his future. No matter how scary the thought is.

The last relationship that he had last year, with a really nice girl, ended with her telling him, “Look, I love you, I do, but it’s like you keep wanting me to be more like your brother, and you don’t even know it. It’s like, I’m not enough, as just me. It’s kind of like, my tits and vag are just a plus.”

Grayson had been mortified after that, face turning beet red and cringing, and she’d look equally as mortified after saying it, and Grayson would have fought for their relationship, fought for her to stay, he really would have, if she hadn’t seen through him like he was so fucking transparent. If she hadn’t known him too well, hadn’t exposed all of his inside bits like a pro surgeon, only after six months of dating.

After that, Grayson promised himself that he would fix himself up, take the weird, broken bits inside his head and heart out, throw them away, and stop nursing the infection. Make it heal.

That was seven months ago, and Grayson has made a shit-ton of progress since then. Grayson has been so good, so diligent, about redrawing all the lines and barriers inside his head, to keep things good and clean, nice and kosher, to keep him in line, but then Ethan has to go and fucking kiss him, not once - which Grayson ultimately shakes off, the first time, after a couple of hours of stewing and thinking over - but twice. Fucking twice.

And Grayson finally snaps.

It hurts, it hurts him to the core, that Ethan is so careless, so naive, so blind, and Grayson reacts and kisses Ethan back like he’s starved, like he’s gagging for it. Tries to mess Ethan up the way that he’s been messed up the past two years. Tries to fuck him over, even if it’s a little bit, so that they can be even. So that Ethan can get a taste of Grayson's savage need with his tongue, with his lips, with the finger-shaped bruises Grayson leaves on his hips.

Grayson’s shaking and not proud of himself when he leaves the bathroom immediately after, he really isn’t, but the way that Ethan looks, flushed and wide-eyed disheveled, his mouth kiss-bruised red, his chest heaving, makes a dark, ugly part of Grayson feel sated and satisfied in a way that he can’t put into words. Can’t wrap his head around.

Grayson tastes the fall, the surrender of entering into a directionless void, in that second kiss. He feels it in the hammering of his heartbeat thundering inside his chest with a dizzying beat, in the tension turning his entire body rigid and aching with want for release, as the lust slams into him from every direction, merciless, at high tide.

It takes him fifteen minutes to calm down, which is when Ethan finally comes out of his room, glaring at him, his hair still a little wet. Going to the toaster to pop in a bagel.

Grayson can’t be around him right now, so he says, “You’re taking your own car. See you there, asshole,” and doesn’t respond back to Ethan’s snidely muttered, “Oh, screw you, douchebag. I don’t even fucking care.”

Grayson’s tires screech as he pulls out of their driveway a little recklessly, his mind running a mile a minute. Bombarding him with things that he shouldn’t be thinking, doesn’t have time to even think about.

They’ve got a meeting in twenty minutes.

Grayson just needs to hold on for the next few hours.

 

TBC

Chapter Text

Chapter 3

 

Grayson POV

 

Grayson gets home earlier than Ethan and doesn’t stick around after the meeting, when Ethan pulls their manager aside to speak at length over one of his promotional ideas.

On a whim, when Grayson gets home, he packs a backpack filled with a change of clothes, throws in some water bottles and snacks, and switches his car for Ethan’s BMW before getting back on the road again.

It might be a good idea just to get away for a bit and cool off, and come back calm and collected. That’s the goal, anyway.

What happens is that he drives around aimlessly for over an hour, heading north, no destination in mind, before he has to pull aside at a gas station for gas. He’ll stop by at a hotel or a motel for the night once he’s tired, but that won’t be for a while yet. The sun is high up in the sky, it’s only a little late in the afternoon.

He checks his phone while he’s in line to buy iced coffee, and finds three texts from Ethan.

Text 1: yo where’d you take my car 11:45 am

Text 2: lol are you ignoring me 12:22 pm

Text 3: looks like you ran away like a giant pussy, packed your backpck and evrythng 12:36 pm

He shouldn’t be feeling guilty for making the right call, for doing the right thing and giving them both time to get their heads in check, but Ethan has a way of making him second guess everything that he does.

Grayson quickly texts back i’ll be back tomorrow dont do anything stupid while i’m gone and plans on ignoring his phone for the next few hours as well.

In the waning third hour of his drive, he passes by green fields and rolling lands, cows scattered along the plains on both sides of the road, the sun beating down hot on his folded arm, resting outside the driver’s window. There is so much open space, so much room to breathe, and he finds himself taking in huge gulps and just expanding his chest until the tightness and constriction passes, until his body lightens up and settles, calms down.

He pulls aside to a deserted rest area and digs into his snacks, takes out his phone, less reluctantly than before. Something about the infinite expanse of the sky, stretching on for far longer than the eye can see, makes him feel insignificant. And carefree.

The only new text that he has from Ethan says we need to talk , and while that would have filled him with an intense amount of dread earlier in the morning, it just feels like an inevitability now. Something that he must face.

With a determination that surprises him, after his walk around an adjacent farm, fingers being tickled by the tall grass and the smell of hay and manure lingering heavy in the air - making him feel nostalgic for home - he gets to his car in total peace. With himself. With whatever happens next.

He’s just a blip on the radar, in the grand scheme of things, he thinks.

It takes a little over three hours to get home and it’s nighttime when he parks the car and gets out, nearing eight o’clock. The lights in the house are off, but all of their cars are there, so Ethan is home.

He turns the lights on in the kitchen as he drops his stuff on the counter, and sees Ethan waking up from sleep on the couch in the living room, the television on and a cooking show put on mute. Ethan lets out a muffled sound as he pops his back, blearily glaring at Grayson's figure, hand scratching at the back of his head.

Grayson offhandedly says, "Hey," as he continues to drop his empty plastic bottles in the recyclables container beneath the sink. He's absolutely starving, so he opens the fridge next and looks at what his options are. He's got some mushrooms, eggs, a bell pepper, and avocados. Veggie omelet it is.

"I thought you weren't coming back until tomorrow. What happened?" Ethan asks with his voice thick with sleep, his feet dragging as he makes his way to the kitchen, fighting a yawn.

Grayson tries to hide his small smile as he washes the mushrooms and starts cutting. "I wanted to clear my head, and it took less time than I expected for that to happen." Grayson looks up at him then, at Ethan leaning against the counter, his arms crossed. "I'm good now."

Ethan's lips purse up and he looks contemplative, like he's trying to see if Grayson is lying to him. Grayson looks back down and grabs a bowl and cracks six eggs into. Gets the veggies sweating in the pan. "So you're done being a little bitch? We cool now?" Ethan asks, after a long pause, watching Grayson as he cooks.

"Yeah, why wouldn't we be?" Grayson really hopes that Ethan will take that as the peace offering it is, but it doesn't happen. Ethan lets out a loud snort and chuckles. Grayson doesn't turn around but he hears him go to the utensil drawer and then grab dishes from one of the cabinets.

"You're right, Grayson, we're totally cool. It's no big deal," Ethan says with sarcasm dripping, "and it's totally, like, normal, for two bros to kiss and make out." Ethan's eyes catch his challengingly as Grayson snaps his gaze up to meet his. "Totally."

Grayson tries to hide his wince and the flush working up to his cheeks, but he isn't that successful at it. Ethan rolls his eyes at him and takes the toast out of their new billion dollar toaster, as Grayson halves the omelets into their plates and drops sliced pieces of avocados onto them.

They eat quietly at the table and while it's a tense kind of quiet, it's already ten times better than what Grayson was anticipating when he stepped into the house. No yelling, no cussing, no drama. He can work with this.

When they're done, Ethan literally pushes his plate away from him and leans back in his seat, arms crossing. Grayson wants to pretend for longer that they're alright but the option is taken away from him when Ethan says with resolve, "We need to talk, dude."

Grayson sighs and puts his phone down and stops pretending to be engrossed with it. "What is there to talk about, E?"

Ethan's eyebrows draw together and his face scrunches up. "Are you serious right now? Don't play stupid."

Grayson shakes his head. "Okay, fine, let's talk about the fact that you were the absolute genius that started this entire thing in the first place. Why'd you do it, Ethan?" Grayson snaps, eyes firm and holding Ethan's slitted ones, wanting to know.

Ethan lets out a short chuckle and teeters back on the legs of the chair, his gaze unwavering. "Why'd you let me, Grayson? Why didn’t you knock me out?" His voice grating as fuck.

Grayson lets out a frustrated sound and counters back again with, “I was blindsided! I wasn’t prepared! Why’d you kiss me first, Ethan?”

Ethan immediately taunts back with, “Why’d you make out with me, Grayson?”

That’s it. Grayson pushes his chair back and stands up, points a finger accusingly at Ethan. “This is not a conversation, Ethan. You’re acting like a fucking child and not taking responsibility for the fact that you started this shit in the first place.”

“Oh please, save me from the tears, bro,” Ethan says, his voice losing any playfulness, sitting more rigidly in his seat. “We both know that I do stupid things sometimes without thinking and this can count as one of them in a list of many, but what I don’t get is you turning it into a... A makeout sesh.” Ethan’s lips purse up again and he’s back to glaring at Grayson, his cheeks pinking up. He’s so fucking infuriating, Grayson thinks, a little desperately.

Grayson’s hands are flat on the table and he’s leaning forward into Ethan’s space before he knows what he’s doing. “Why didn’t you stop me, Ethan? Huh? Why’d you kiss back?”

Ethan turns his head away to the side and lets out a disbelieving sound, his jaw clenching. “Don’t flip this on me, asshole.”

“Answer me,” Grayson presses, his voice dropping in volume but still pressing, and Ethan’s hands fly out and he shouts, “I was surprised, okay? I wasn’t expecting that! You hit me like a fucking brick, dude. I just reacted on - on instinct.”

All of a sudden Grayson deflates and lets out a breath that he didn’t know he was even holding, hangs his head between his shoulders, eyes closing. “This is so stupid,” he says on his next breath. They both fucked up, they should set is aside, forget about it, and move on. They’re making it hard for no reason.

Ethan doesn’t say anything and that makes Grayson sneak a glance up and straight into Ethan’s guarded eyes, his hands in his lap. “Can we forget about this and move on?” Grayson asks plaintively, somewhat desperately, straightening up and crossing his arms over his chest.

Ethan opens his mouth to say something, pauses, looks away for a breath but then reaches some resolve before he gets up and haltingly asks, “Would you want to do it again, though?” He’s slowly coming around the table and Grayson feels his throat close up and his lips glue together. It feels like an earthquake. He only manages out a strained, “What?” while watching Ethan come to a stop in front of him, his movements hesitant and stuttering almost, his hands running down his sweats with badly concealed nerves, but still standing tall despite all of that. Still with an air of challenge.

Grayson takes a step back and wants more than the barrier of his crossed arms between them, at that moment. He needs the Great Wall, he needs an ocean of space, he needs different continents, thousands of miles, halfway across the world.

There is a moment where Ethan drops his chin down to his chest next, his hands going into his pockets, like he’s telegraphing every move. His voice is deep and tense but still sure when he says, “It didn’t feel like a joke, Gray, what you did.” His eyes flick up to Grayson’s to pin him and Grayson is immediately gutted. “It didn’t feel like a joke at all.”

The spotlight on his most secret, poisonous truth being laid bare is heart-stopping in that moment, and Grayson doesn’t know how to react without stumbling all over himself in complete incoherence. “Don’t,” Grayson bites out with a hard growl, as Ethan takes another step closer, concern showing on his face.

He spins on his heel and leaves the kitchen, going straight for his room. Grayson slams his door shut and locks it just in time. He hears it jiggle and Grayson just can’t deal with this. He can’t.

He flops down onto his bed with shaky limbs, feeling nauseous and like he’s going to throw up. So much for the peace he was feeling less than an hour ago. So much for all of that idealistic, thinking-positive zen bullshit. Since when do he and Ethan do things the easy way, anyway.

“Grayson, Gray, c’mon, open up. I wasn’t done talking to you!”

Grayson hopes that Ethan can’t hear the wobble in his voice as he yells, “Fucking leave me alone, dude, alright?”

It shouldn’t be a surprise that Ethan would bring it up, because he’s not as dense or lacking in awareness as Grayson claims that he is. Ethan has also never backed down from anything ever in his life, so Grayson doesn’t know why he expected them to maturely ignore the elephant in the room and get on with their lives, like all adults do.

For the hundredth time in his life, Grayson wishes that they didn’t do things the hard way and were better at letting sleeping dogs lie. It’s just not their MO, though.

Grayson takes a shower and falls asleep like he’s been shot with a tranquilizer dart, the highs and lows of the day finally catching up to him. His eyes closing as soon as he climbs into bed.

In the morning when he wakes up, he braces himself for a tough day ahead, since he can’t just hide out in his room forever.

Grayson tries to take a quick glance at his phone before jumping into the shower, but that’s not what happens.

His heart stops in his chest as soon as he reads Ethan’s texts, he swears that it does, because Ethan is a fucking jerk. Ethan is the absolute worst.

Ethan’s texts from last night:

hey so if you werent such a dumbass i wouldve told you that i was feelin it too

and that it doesnt have to be a big deal since we’re adults

if you want to mess around

but you ran off like a drama queen so whatev

you’re so extra i swear grayson

The last text of the night reads:

i’ll say it was my fault if it makes you feel better

i’m sorry for messing things up

 

TBC

Chapter Text

Chapter 4

 

Ethan’s POV

 

Ethan isn’t anticipating Grayson to come barreling into his room like a very loud bulldozer in the morning - at ass o’clock in the morning, to be more precise - but that’s exactly what happens.

Grayson looks winded and is frowning hardcore, lips pursed tightly, holding out his phone to Ethan accusingly. “What the hell does this even mean, Ethan? Is this a freakin’ joke to you?”

Ethan groans weakly and puts his pillow over his head. He tries to cover himself with his blanket next but Grayson yanks it off of him. Grayson then yanks his pillow from his clutches too, and Ethan cracks his eyes open to glare at him sullenly. “You have no fucking manners, do you,” Ethan says thickly, mouth sticking.

Something flickers over Grayson’s expression but then he locks it away and throws his phone down next to Ethan’s head, crossing his arms over his chest.

He’s also glaring too, just great.

“I want you to explain to me, as clearly as possible, what you were thinking when you texted that shit last night,” Grayson says, slowly, with some impressive control. Ethan can tell that he wants to be yelling by the way that he’s fidgeting and by the way the veins in his neck are standing out.

Ethan flops onto his back and lets out a drawn out, long sigh. “Bro, I thought it was all pretty self-explanatory.” He quirks one eyebrow up, to say duh, get a clue.

Grayon’s hands fly to his hips then and he looks down for a few seconds, in some obvious confusion, biting at the inside of his lip with some distress. It sends a sharp pang shooting through Ethan, and he doesn’t like it. He doesn’t want to be the cause of it, but he can’t help it.

If they’re going to talk about it, then they might as well actually talk about it, instead of yelling accusations at each other. Ethan huffs before making his way to the edge of his bed and sitting down, his feet touching the ground. He sends Grayson a look and simply says, “Sit,” patting the space next to him.

It appears for a brief second that Grayson might not want to, by the way he very imperceptibly tenses up, but then he lets out a breath and sits next to Ethan.

But not too close, at least four feet between them. Ethan doesn’t know why that hurts him, but it does. This entire thing is one big confusing mess and it’s all his fault, and Grayson is right. So he’ll start with that.

“You were right last night, this is my fault,” Ethan admits, looking down at his feet. “I shouldn’t have done that, the first or the second time, and I won’t pretend that I even, like, fully get my real intentions behind doin’ it.” He taps his fingers to his knees, feeling like an idiot. “Honestly, I’m super fucking dumb, Grayson, you’re right about that, too.”

Grayson lets out a strained kind of sound and says with tired but easy reassurance, “No, you’re not, E. Stop saying that. I don’t want you to think that.” Ethan’s head snaps to him, and then Grayson looks up to him too, his face pained, and admits, “It’s my fault, I’m the one who fucked us up.”

Ethan frowns and wants to cut in but Grayson continues with, “I’ve been wanting to do that for longer than I care to admit, and it’s sick. It’s fucking twisted. I - I opened that Pandora’s box and fucked you up too.” Ethan places a hand on his knee and Grayson flinches and jerks back, shakes his head, Ethan’s hand falling between them limply.

Ethan’s chest feels tight and he can see Grayson making to get up, think about leaving, so he grabs a hold of his arm then, somewhat desperately.

“It’s not your fault, Grayson. I promise you it’s not,” Ethan tries saying, but Grayson just chuckles lowly and tries to shake Ethan’s touch off, but Ethan won’t let him.

Grayson licks his lips, his skin burning to the touch, and says, “Trust me, Ethan. This is my fault, it’s my baggage.” He holds Ethan’s gaze with some fire dancing in his eyes, some deep self-hatred shining through. “This is my fuck-up. You don’t want any of this, you really don’t, I promise you.” Ethan’s fingers tighten on his arm and he scoots closer, and Grayson doesn’t notice because he’s rambling, he’s unraveling.

“I made you confused, and I absolutely hate myself for it, I really, really do, but nothing needs to change, E, trust me. We can forget it ever happened,” Grayson says in a manic rush, his eyes feverish bright and intense, one of his hands resting on Ethan’s knee now with an urgent touch. “Please, please say that we can go back to the way things were, and forget about it. Please say you’ll forgive me, I can give you time, if that’s what you need. I - I can move out, if it will make things easier,” Grayson blurts out, looking like his anxiety is skyrocketing the more he talks, making Ethan dizzy with fear.

Before he can say anything else, Ethan just bites out, “Grayson, I just need you to shut the fuck up for a second and let me think.” Grayson leans away from him again and his mouth audibly clicks shut, his jaw clenching up, eyes looking down at where he’s clasping his hands between his knees now, in the imitation of a prayer.

Ethan’s mind is racing now, and he doesn’t know what to think. He had maybe - sort of, kind of, totally - lied to himself and downplayed it in his mind yesterday, because taking in the full scope and breadth of what he was considering was just very… dramatically life-altering. 

The set of Grayson’s pressed lips looks grim with some dark satisfaction, as he lets out a humorless laugh, when Ethan doesn’t say anything for a silent minute.

“See, I told you it was a bad idea,” Grayson says, voice heavy and low with some deep regret, and that makes Ethan come to focus enough to say, “Honestly, just shut up for a second and stop with what you’re doing with your… your face.” It helps snap Grayson out of his dark contemplations and veer towards annoyance because he rolls his eyes at Ethan and settles on a frown next.

He’s poised to get up again, a few seconds later, but Ethan shoots a hand out and tugs him back by his wrist. “I didn’t say you could leave.”

Grayson scowls at him but sits down. “So what, I’m just supposed to just hang around here while you figure things out?”

Ethan flicks him on the arm. “We’re figuring things out, Grayson. The two of us.”

“I’ve already figured it out! I just told you! We can forget about it and -”

“And I already told you that this thing isn’t as, like, one-sided as you think it is.” Ethan wants to strangle him, but that’s not the best move to make.

That brings Grayson jumping to his feet and has his hands flying out and wind-milling all over the place.  “And I told you that I was sorry for putting it in your head! It’s not what you want, Ethan. It’s just that you’re hard-up ‘cause we haven’t been getting laid in a while. Sex with me isn’t, like, the most sane or normal way to take care of that problem...” Grayson trails off, his face red now, but his gaze unwavering, hands on his hips.

Ethan cringes and looks down, his feet starting to tap on the ground. “I know.”

Surprise crosses over Grayson’s features and he relaxes for a second. “Well, good. Good, then.”

There’s no easy way to say what he wants to next without, like, completely making an idiot of himself, but Ethan’s got to try. So with some new determination, Ethan falls back on his bed and addresses the ceiling.

Ethan clears his throat first, then says, “You know that I love you, like, an unreasonable amount, right?”

It’s silent for two seconds, before Grayson unsurely responds back with, “Yeah, I do.”

Ethan chuckles at his hesitation, feeling the nerves starting to course through him, shaking him. “Do you know that I love you more than I love anyone or anything in this entire world?”

Grayson sighs now. “Yeah, I do, Ethan. You know it’s the same for me, dude.”

“Then it’s no surprise that sometimes I’ve wished that we weren’t related, because… Because in you, I have everything that I want to find in a partner. And it’s nuts, it’s absolutely crazy, that I know, like, deep in my heart,” Ethan says with a hoarse voice, getting emotional and trying to bite it back, “that I’m never going to be complete with whoever I choose to take your spot. Because that spot’s been taken since we were babies, Gray, by you. There’s no room for anyone else.” Ethan rubs at his chest and tries to soothe the hurt and ache moving through him like a freshly cut wound, something that he hasn’t acknowledged at any real length, like, ever in his life. Because what was the point of it?

Still feeling raw, he jerks when he feels the bed dip and then Grayson just pulls into his side, his arm going around him like a tight vice, his breath hot for a second before he drops a kiss onto Ethan’s shoulder, before he hides his head in the crook of Ethan’s neck.

Ethan’s arms go around him and he feels Grayson shaking against him, a fine tremor moving through him. His face is warm, and Ethan noses at his stubbly cheek to get him to lift it, but Grayson just softly mumbles, “No, leave me alone.”

In contrast, his arms automatically tighten around Ethan and Ethan laughs and kisses the side of his head, slowly cards a hand through his slightly sweaty hair, as they both settle and calm down.

Grayson’s growling stomach gets them moving again, and Grayson pulls back after a few minutes, still a little pink in the face, still a little bright-eyed, but also smiling a little, mouth quirked up.

Ethan starts poking him in the cheek. “Go make me breakfast, bitch,” he says, teasingly and good-naturedly, and Grayson rolls his eyes before slapping at his hand and jumping out of bed.

“Honestly, I don’t even know why I like you,” Grayson comments airily on his way out the room and Ethan yells in response, “Because I am fucking delightful!”

Ethan gets up too to brush his teeth and change, and feels pretty good about things. He’s sure that he’s going to have an anxiety attack later on in the day or in the week, because what they’re doing is absolutely, like, not chill, in the viewpoint of the world.

But he’ll cross that bridge when he gets to it.

*

“You know that incest was like, all the fucking rage back then, right? For thousands of years?”

Grayson starts choking on his oatmeal and his hand flies out for his coffee.

Ethan casts him a curious glance before going back to his phone. “Yeah, so it says here, the biggest issue with it was the fact that relatives would be boinking, and then have deformed babies. And it would lead to a lot of health issues. Not good for the species genetically or something.”

Grayson is now coughing fairly heavily in the background. Ethan mildly thumps him on the back, without looking up.

“Since neither of us has a uterus, that is one potential issue avoided.”

Grayson’s hand flies to cover Ethan’s mouth before Ethan can say anything else. Grayson’s voice is raspy from coughing when he begs, “Please, please shut the fuck up, alright?”

Ethan scoffs and knocks his hand aside. “You’re so dramatic. And you say I’m extra? Oh please.”

Ethan continues scrolling in silence.

Grayson lets us a relieved breath.

*

Ethan knows that he’s more disorderly and spontaneous in the way that he sometimes thinks and acts, while Grayson is more organized and plan-oriented.

It’s like this revelation has brought out the most chaotic and foot-in-mouth side of him, and Ethan can’t help it. He’s trying to understand things and build bridges between the spaces in his head where everything seems miles apart.

He is very aware that Grayson might deck him if he continues on in the way he’s been going, though, for the past few days.

But again, he can’t help it, and they’re in it together, so tough shit for Grayson.

They’re in the car heading out for lunch, and he casually asks Grayson, “So what do we do if, let’s say years down the road, mom keeps asking about why we’re not married? Do we go full Hollywood and get beards? Pay chicks on the side to give us a cover story?”

“Oh fuck, not this again,” Grayson says on a loud, frustrated groan, as he knocks his head against his passenger side window. Loudly and multiple times. Repeatedly. “Fucking hell, Ethan. Can you just chill out with this shit for a bit?”

Ethan huffs out a, “What?! These are valid questions, Grayson,” but one glance at Grayson’s tight, pinched face has him dropping the topic with a short breath.

“Fine. You’re right. It’s too soon to discuss that.”

Grayson mumbles out a, “Thank you,” and they drive the rest of the way in silence.

They’ll cross that bridge when they get to it, as well.

That seems to be the theme so far.

*

Grayson is building a chair and he’s got his serious face on, as he’s bent over a piece of paper and finishing up his touches on the outline for it on the outdoor table. He’s not wearing a shirt, which doesn’t seem smart. They’re in the backyard.

“You’re gonna get splinters in your nips if you don’t cover yourself up, dude,” Ethan tells him, helpfully. Grayson laughs underneath his breath and casts Ethan a look with a raised eyebrow. “Thanks for your concern, E. It’s been noted.”

“I’m bored,” Ethan then whines, and suddenly feeling a strange mixture of bravery and stupidity rushing through him, he sidles up to Grayson and right behind him, places his hands on Grayson’s waist lightly. Grayson, for his part, immediately tenses and straightens up so fast he almost headbutts Ethan. Thankfully, Ethan’s got ninja reflexes and that doesn’t happen.

“Uh, what do you think you’re doing?” Grayson asks, his voice kind of high-pitched. His hands coming to a rest on Ethan’s, almost like he’s about to shove them off and bolt. Ethan knows him too well, though, so he circles his arms around him next and drops his chin on his warm shoulder, gets a firmer grip, doesn’t give him a chance to dance away. Grayson sucks in a breath and his arms fall limply at his sides.

Still feeling incredibly stupid, Ethan blurts out, with zero cool points, “What are you attracted to? About me?”

Grayson pushes him back a little, dislodging Ethan’s hold, and spins around, his face flushed but also kind of nervous, his arms crossed tightly. Looking tense. “You are literally way in over your head right now, Ethan. I suggest you back off, bro.”

Once again, Ethan just goes with his gut and continues walking forward, until he’s all up in Grayson’s space again, arms bracketing him against the table. Grayson’s eyes widen and he leans backwards a bit, his arms falling open and one of his hands winding up on Ethan’s chest, to hold him back. Falling back into an old wrestling move.

But Ethan doesn't really pay attention to that, because Grayson’s eyes are pretty, Ethan thinks kind of dumbly and suddenly, and he’s got a nice, expressive mouth.

Also, Ethan’s gut instincts tend to lead him to good places and he’s relying on that now, despite the fact that his heart has started jack hammering inside his chest. He’s one hundred percent relying on that, as he leans forward for a kiss and Grayson pushes him away with enough force to send him stumbling back and almost onto his ass.

Ethan gets pissed off in the space of a second as he catches himself. “What the fuck was that for? I thought we were on the same page here.”

Grayson’s mouth falls open unattractively before he clicks it shut and shouts, “We are not on the same page, Ethan! You have no idea what you’re even asking for.” He’s gesticulating wildly with his hands. “None!”

“Well, then why don’t you tell me, show me?! Fill me in, Gray, ‘cause I’m just wingin’ it, here, dude. Flying blind,” Ethan says, with a frown and a pout. “Unless I’m totally wrong, and you really don’t want to…” A strange, gripping fear cuts him short at the thought, and Ethan holds his breath.

Grayson's eyes then narrow and he stares at him with a searing look that could kill - and would kill, if the recipient where anyone but Ethan - before he takes a deep breath in and storms towards Ethan and right up into his face. Ethan gulps and unintentionally raises his hands to Grayson’s chest, his pecs, needing grounding.

Grayson is like an inferno. The heat from his body is suddenly intoxicating and all that’s happened is that Grayson has a hand in Ethan’s hair, at the back of his head, holding him still, filleting him alive with his scorching gaze, and anchoring him to the spot with another hand on his hip.

He moves his head in slowly, Ethan unable to look away from his mouth. “What I want, Ethan, is to kiss you until you can’t breathe. I fuckin’ love your mouth, your lips, so I want you to be stupid with my kisses, dizzy from my lips and, and my tongue, begging me for more.” Grayson’s hot breath hits him in the face, and Ethan drops his eyes down like a pussy, face going hot and shocky, all thoughts disintegrating in his head - not being able to hold Grayson’s gaze. Fuck. The hand on Ethan’s hip squeezes and moves lower, over the top of his ass, bites into his flesh.  

Ethan whines low in his throat in surprise and jerks forward into him, drops his head down onto Grayson’s shoulder.

It’s not over because Grayson’s lips trail along Ethan’s cheek for a second, super fucking intimate, before he whispers with strained longing, “I want to fuck you until you don’t even know your own name. Until you’re crying. Totally out of it. You’re begging me, just begging for release. Aching to come. Desperate to come. I want to break you, E, I want to break you and put you back together with my touch. I want you so sore after, that you can’t sit, that you cry out and remember, that I did that. I did that to you.” Ethan might actually be panting and holding onto Grayson’s arms at this point, but he can’t really tell.

Grayson’s voice, his words, have set him on fire and he’s getting hard in a way that shouldn’t be possible.

The last soft whisper of, “I wanna ruin you for anyone else,” into Ethan’s ear has Ethan done with this shit. He roughly grabs Grayson’s face and surprises him with a bruising kiss.

Grayson is a little stiff and slow to respond, tentative in kissing him back, so Ethan pulls away in frustration and demands, “What the fuck, Gray, are you all talk?”

Grayson bites his bottom lip and looks shy all of a sudden, looks over Ethan’s shoulder. “I thought I’d scare you off for good, dude. I didn’t expect for you, to like, be into it, too.”

Ethan groans out, “You stupid bitch,” and drags Grayson’s face in for a kiss again, feeling hot and needy and aching with want. He doesn't need to prompt Grayson a second time.

He licks into Grayson’s mouth, their tongues touching, making Grayson whimper and push into him until their fronts brush together accidentally-on-purpose. They’re both getting hard, already a little out of breath.

It’s not sexy, how bad Ethan wants it and how desperate they are, but it’s what’s happening. It kind of hurts, the way Grayson is lightly tugging on his lower lip with his teeth and pulling at his hair and angling his head, his fingers like bruising points on his face, but it just drives the coiling need tighter and higher up in him, spiraling out of control.

Ethan drops his hand and palms at Grayson through his shorts, then, gets curious, and Grayson breaks the kiss and breathes out a whispered, “Fuck, fuck yeah, E,” his hands suddenly ending up on Ethan’s ass, squeezing, grinding them together.

It’s a full-blown make out sesh.

Somehow they wind up heading inside and Ethan gets pushed down onto the couch, with Grayson straddling his lap, their lips still connected, more tongue-fucking now than anything else, their lips red and slick. Dizzy with a lack of breath, with need. With everything.

There’s nothing gentle about the way they drag their clothes off with rushed hands. There’s nothing gentle about the way that Grayson kisses him, touches him. It lights a fire down Ethan’s spine in a dangerous way. He feels all molten inside.

Ethan tries to keep up with him, tries to store all of Grayson’s little - or big - tells for later exploration. Like how he arches with a gasp when Ethan’s lick on his nipple turns into a sucking kiss, pulling on the nub lightly with his teeth. Or how he leans forward with a grunt and a shaky, “Fuuuuck,” into the spread hand that Ethan has on his ass, fingers digging into the cleft of it, squeezing, pulling him closer.

They have just enough time to get a hand around their cocks, messy with precome - Ethan can’t look up from the sight of their cocks pushing against each other, slick at the tips, it’s sort of mesmerizing - and get a few strokes in before they follow one another over the edge, their heads coming to a rest against each other, sweaty foreheads touching, once they’ve come down from their highs.

Their breathing is labored as they come down, Grayon’s weight really heavy now since he’s boneless, and Ethan tries to catch his lips in another kiss, this one softer, unhurried, chaste in a way that makes Ethan’s heart flood with warmth and a deep, disconcerting affection.

Grayson doesn’t open his eyes for a few moments, his dark lashes fanning over his cheeks.

Ethan brushes a gentle thumb along his cheek and places one last kiss to the red, wet bow of his bottom lip and slowly pulls back. Grayson’s nose wrinkles and he blinks his eyes open and then bites his bottom lip and starts blushing, when he catches the open, unguarded way that Ethan is staring at him.

Turns his face away into his shoulder. “Fuck, don’t look at me like that,” he whines, voice wrecked, and he’s right.

It’s too early for all of this glowing hearts bullshit, so with a hard, last kiss to Grayson’s jaw, Ethan slaps him on the thigh to get him to move off of him. “Up, up, dude, my legs have gone numb.”

Grayson yelps and shoots him a glare and then stands, wiping his hand down his stomach with his shorts nonchalantly. 

Ethan raises an eyebrow up at him, enjoying the display, and knowing that Grayson knows it too, by the small, smug smile on his face. With a self-satisfied last look to Ethan, Grayson saunters to his room, evidently totally chill with being nude and not putting any clothes back on immediately.

Ethan watches his ass disappear around the corner before gets up next and immediately feels like tipping over because the pins and needles start. “Fuck, remind me next time that that’s a bad idea,” Ethan remarks to the empty space, through clenched teeth, hopping from one foot to another as he gets feeling back into them and braves going to the kitchen for a paper towel.

Once clean, he stops by Grayson’s room on the way to his, and sees the bathroom door closed.

When they’re both showered, Ethan bites back on the hysterical commentary that kicks up in his head when he cuddles next to Grayson on his bed, and takes a nap with him.

This shit is getting out of hand, and they’ve only just started messing around.

Ethan digs his chin a little into Grayson’s shoulder and mutters out a resigned, “I hate you. You’ve turned me into a little bitch.”

Grayson is near sleep, but he still giggles a little and scoots back farther into Ethan’s arms, their limbs tangled. “You are what you are, bro,” Grayson breathes out sleepily.

Ethan doesn’t say anything back and they both fall asleep like that and it’s definitely not the worst thing in the world, Ethan must admit.

*

The next two weeks, they move from handjobs to blowjobs with impressive speed. At least to Ethan.

Each time Ethan thinks about freaking out, about how it’s going to flip on them and get weird, they hurtle past his mental projections like rockets. The intimacy between them is next level fucking hot, and feels better than it logically should.

It stuns Ethan stupid, again and again, as he watches Grayson lap at the head of his cock, going down on him, his eyebrows furrowed, his fist pumping slowly, that it should be this sinfully good.

Ethan tries to return the favor after and not choke on Grayson’s dick, and when Grayson comes and Ethan pops up fast enough to miss catching it in his mouth but gets a shot of it on his eyebrow and cheek - it lands wet and warm and weird - Ethan wants to glare but can’t, when Grayson wheezes out a laugh after his orgasm fades. Looking all fucking glowy and giddy, his chest heaving and his abs obscenely glistening with sweat. Porn personified. 

After catching his breath, he lazily drags Ethan up for a soft kiss and gently swipes his thumb over the wet spots and collects them, and Ethan’s mouth locks shut tight with another hit of crushing desire when Grayson wraps his lips around his thumb all seductively, looking at Ethan beneath his lashes, and sucks.

They make it to round two like round one didn’t even happen.

Ethan considers upping his protein and electrolyte intake in order to keep up with his intense and exciting sex life the following morning. 

Ethan also comes to find that he's been having some very vanilla sex up until now, and that Grayson is his introduction to like, a very diverse and exploratory world of intimacy. He'll never tell him that, though, obviously.

He can't handle Grayson that smug.

Dude's a freak in the sheets and a gentleman on the streets. 

*

It’s been three weeks into whatever it is that they’re doing, when Grayson asks him, out of the blue, if he has any regrets.

Ethan is setting up the camera for their intro shot, and looks up quizzically, noticing the way that Grayson’s staring at him, trying to be chill but failing spectacularly at it, arms crossed tightly over his chest.

“Regrets about what?” Ethan asks, just to be a tool, even though he’s got a good idea what Grayson’s talking about. He’s been thinking about it before going to sleep every night, whether what they’re doing is worth any future drama and heartache they bring upon themselves.

Grayson rolls his eyes and says, “You know what I’m talking about, E. Just answer the question.”

Ethan stands up from where he’s crouched, his hands on his hips. “What do you want me to say?”

The hard lines of Grayson’s face softens, and so does his voice, when he says, “I just want you to be honest with me, so that I’m not making a fool of myself here.” His eyes are seeking something in Ethan’s expression, kind of hopeful but also kind of scared, his mouth pursed up, tensed in his seat.

Ethan takes in a deep breath and sits down close next to him on the couch, knocks their knees together.

“You’re lookin’ at me like I’m about to break your heart,” Ethan gently says, feeling his own heart doing the samba suddenly.

“Well, are you?” Grayson counters back with hesitation, casting his gaze down, and literally turning into a stone-like, android-type person before Ethan’s very eyes. Slowly closing off.

Ethan’s chest continues to ache and he reaches out to tip Grayson’s face up, being softer than he has ever known himself to be, and leaning forward for a kiss. Suddenly his answer seeming so obvious, so clear.

Grayson lets out a soft sigh into the slow brushing of their mouths and his hands wind up in Ethan’s hair, softly pulling at the strands.

Ethan’s used to a different kind of love with Grayson, so this new one, with all of its layers and details, all of its complexities, floors him. He’s never known them to be like this, like they’re both made of glass, like they’re precious. He didn’t know they could be so achingly soft with each other, so tender.

With a final peck to Grayson’s lips, he pulls back to look him in the eyes, feeling all kinds of corny and cringey, to sincerely say, “No regrets. None. Never. I promise.”

Grayson’s nose crinkles up as he ducks his head down to smile, and it’s the most beautiful thing that Ethan’s ever seen.

No lies.

*

Grayson asks him one last time if he regrets it a few months later, and Ethan has to effectively shut him up with a kiss again.

It’s not a terrible hardship, all in all.

 

-End