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He hadn't kissed Ethan that first time, when they'd been stoned and drunk and too uncoordinated to do more than grind against one another, hands fumbling helplessly with zips and buttons and belts. It had been slow and messy and clumsy, and he remembered being fascinated by the scrape of denim against his palm when he slid his hand over Ethan's jeans, and it had all seemed normal and natural and the best possible thing they could do at the time.

Afterward, they'd sprawled on the couch--Philip's couch--drinking Philip's beer and eating his crisps, and Ethan had slid down so that his head was in Ripper's lap. For Ethan, that was perfectly normal behavior, so there was no need to comment.

***

He hadn't kissed him the next time something happened between them, either, but that wasn't all that surprising: they'd been in the back of the bar Ripper's band was playing at that night, in the little dark room that passed for "backstage," supposedly loading up the last of their gear into the back of the drummer's van. Ethan had slid down to the floor, kneeling there on cold cement and grinning wickedly up at Ripper. When Ethan's lips slid down over the head of his cock, Ripper had bitten down on his arm so hard he left marks in the leather of his jacket, because the last thing he needed was for someone to come back inside to find out what all the noise was about.

It had been fast and frantic, and when it was over, Ethan had risen to his feet in one graceful movement, licking his lips with another grin, and without a word, picked up the amplifier he was meant to be carrying out.

For weeks afterward, the sight of the marks on his jacket sleeve was enough to get him hard. He never mentioned that to Ethan; in fact, neither of them mentioned it at all.

***

Kissing was the last thing on his mind the day at Ethan's flat when he told Ethan to move over so he could sit down, and Ethan looked up at him, grinning madly, and said, "Make me." Shoving him off the sofa had turned to wrestling on the floor, had turned to Ethan hooking his leg over Ripper's, pulling him down so that there was the rough slide of fabric and the press of Ethan's cock against his own.

Ethan's eyes were impossibly dark, pupils dilated from the dim light and only-Ethan-knew-what-else, and if he'd stared down at Ethan for one more moment, he probably wouldn't have been able to not kiss him, but before the thought consciously occurred to him, Ethan was squirming, twisting under him and pressing something into his hand. He might have only expected to sit down and finish translating that ritual Thomas had found the other day--Ethan's flat wasn't big, but there was more room to work here than in the room Ripper rented--but Ethan had obviously been planning this.

He grinned at Ethan, who laughed. "Get on with it then," he said, twisting again and rolling out from under him, nimble fingers undoing his jeans and pulling them down past his hips, then looking up at him again, waiting for him to catch up.

And then, for the next little while, everything was Ethan: pale skin, hot under Ripper's hands and rippling when Ripper blew cool air across it to make Ethan shiver; gasps and moans as Ripper pushed lube-slick fingers inside him, then protests when he pulled them away; and finally, curses and a low, needy groan as Ripper thrust slowly into him, wondering only why they hadn't done this before.

It was over quickly, both of them collapsing sweaty and panting on the floor, Ethan grinning at him. "We," he announced, "are doing that again as soon as I get my breath back."

"What makes you think I'd want to?"

Ethan only shrugged. "Your loss if you don't," he said, stretching and getting to his feet, then wandered off toward the bathroom without another word.

Ripper decided he could work on that ritual later, and was dressed and gone before Ethan was out of the shower.

***

It was a night like most nights: the two of them sprawled on Ethan's lumpy bed--just a shade less comfortable than the floor, and no cleaner--high on magic and grass and the fading edge of lust.

It was pure impulse that made Ripper pull Ethan over to him, his mouth pressed hard against Ethan's, feeling Ethan tense in surprise, then grin and yield, his lips parting. He'd expected a smirk and a remark about how soppy Ripper was getting, but for once, the only reaction he got from Ethan was to practically mold his body to Ripper's and go on kissing him.

In the morning, Ripper didn't even remember it all that clearly, so there was nothing for it but to do it all over again.