Spencer calls it a sleep over, even though they both know they're really too old for that sort of thing now. But Ethan's leaving town for his first semester of college in less than a week--not too shabby for someone who's only just turned seventeen, although it's still a long second from Spencer's achievements--and while they've made all sorts of plans to visit and stay in touch, Ethan knows that Spencer won't travel and Spencer knows that Ethan won't write. So he shows up at Spencer's house a little before five with a couple of pizzas and a stack of Doctor Who tapes, and while Spencer watches the Fourth Doctor trip someone up with his scarf, Ethan watches him.
He's not much to look at. Not yet, at least, stretched as he is between boy and man, but there's something sweet in the shape of his mouth and the curve of his spine as he bends over, his bony elbows braced on skinny legs. The tail of his shirt has ridden up, pulled out of his pants, and Ethan strokes the pale, smooth skin at the base of his back. Spencer glances away from the television screen to flash him a grin, and for a moment he's just a teenage boy. Not a super genius, not his mother's caretaker--and Ethan knows, is smart enough to see how bad things are getting even if Spencer will never admit to it--not any of those labels that the world would heap on him. He's just Spencer. Spencer, who's like a TARDIS, right out there where anyone can see, but so easy to miss because you can't open him up and look at how much bigger, how much more he is on the inside.
Ethan kisses him then before the light in his eyes can fade again. Spencer falls into his arms, all pointy knees and sharp elbows, like he hasn't been touched in days, weeks, longer. While the Doctor talks to his companion on the television, Spencer twists his hands in Ethan's collar and pulls him down until Ethan's spread out on top of him, chest to chest and hip to hip. Ethan grips Spencer's hair, sinking his fingers in knuckle deep, and kisses him harder. Spencer's legs are up around his waist, holding him fast, and Ethan presses his face into his neck and murmurs near incoherent words that make Spencer laugh even as he rocks his hips up and gasps.
But Ethan doesn't stop, just keeps whispering over and over, because it's true, because Spencer is beautiful. He's the most beautiful, blinding thing that Ethan's ever seen, and the brilliant fool doesn't even know it. So he tells him and he shows him, and when Spencer shudders in his arms, his eyelashes fluttering against Ethan's cheek, he holds him tight, because it's only a matter of time before Spencer is beyond his reach and he won't be able to hold him at all.