"I know what I'm doing."
"So you meant to drip paint on my shirt."
Ronan doesn't back down, because he is, after all, Ronan. "It's an ugly shirt."
"It's your shirt," Adam points out.
"So I know what I'm talking about." Ronan pushes his roller back up the wall, a smooth gesture with even pressure, like he hadn't just been waving it around over Adam's head dripping paint on him one second before.
Adam shakes his head and dips his own roller in the paint tray. He can't make up his mind whether Ronan was simply careless and refusing to admit it, or if he really did it on purpose. Ronan doesn't lie, but he doesn't always give a direct answer, either.
Whether it started as an accident or not, Ronan keeps on doing it, and definitely on purpose now that Adam has brought it up. He bumps his roller against Adam's chest; jostles the paint can so it splashes paint on Adam's feet; tilts the tray on the top of the ladder right as Adam walks by, striping the front of his shirt with green liquid the consistency of bird shit.
Adam bites back the first three things he wants to say to that.
"We don't have to paint the room if you've changed your mind."
"I don't change my mind," Ronan says.
"Yeah, I'm painfully aware of that." Adam scrapes as much of the paint off as he can with one hand, then flicks it down at the drop cloth covering the carpet. "You don't have to stall, you could just tell me."
"I'm not stalling." There's a direct answer, at least. "I want to do this. It's stupid living in a tiny room when the master bedroom's fucking empty."
"I don't mind," and Adam doesn't, really. Four years of camping out in Ronan's childhood bedroom when he came home from school have accustomed Adam to living in a 'tiny room'; it's more space than he was ever used to, anyway. He'd never thought twice about it, and then when he'd moved in for good after graduation Ronan had announced, decision made and defiant, that he wanted to redo the master bedroom and have the two of them live in there.
Adam had thought the worst part was behind them, the very long day of packing up Niall and Aurora's things with a lot of alcohol and swearing. Had thought, with that behind them, they'd finish up painting by the end of today, finish moving in the furniture by the end of the week. He hadn't expected this part to be so hard, when it looks less and less like the room Ronan's parents had lived in. But maybe every step away from familiar is hard. It's not like it's too late to reverse course. They could still paint it back.
But Ronan just scowls at him. "You should mind. You deserve a nice fucking room with a big fucking bed and green fucking walls, okay?"
"Yeah, okay," Adam says, conceding the point. Ronan wants to do this, so they're going to do it, even if he hates it every step of the way. "It'll match my green shirt, I guess." He shrugs, and then grimaces. The splotches of wet paint are cold, and they make the shirt stick to his skin weirdly when he moves. At this point, wearing the shirt is worse than having no shirt at all, so he takes it off, trying his best to keep the paint on the front of it from streaking across his face.
The moment he's got the shirt off he realizes his mistake. Ronan is watching him, trouble in his eyes, and as Adam watches he dips the entire palm of his hand in the nearby paint can.
"Don't -- " Adam starts, but Ronan is too fast. Before he can say you dare, Ronan dares, darts forward and leaves a sage green hand print on his chest.
Ronan smears his hand upwards, spreading the mess. One dripping wet finger brushes over Adam's nipple.
Adam breathes in, urgent in a very different way. He chokes down on the sound that tries to come out of him and hopes that Ronan doesn't notice.
"Seriously?" he demands. "This?"
"It's cold," Adam says, defending his honor. "It's -- heightened. Like -- you know what, forget about it."
Ronan does not forget about it. No surprise there: he never forgets anything that turns Adam on, or anything that embarrasses Adam. It would take a miracle for him to overlook something that does both.
It's hard to be too upset about Ronan ignoring him, though, when it means that Ronan runs his hand across his chest, until his index finger has just skated over his other nipple. Paint trickles down it to coat the areola. His skin tingles, all over, because even where Ronan isn't touching him, the paint is. The cold pricks at him, sends nerve endings firing off all over his body, this, this, this is happening.
Adam breathes in through his nose and remains very still.
Ronan runs one fingertip up his chest, up his throat, across the line of his jaw. Leaving his mark everywhere he goes, Ronan Lynch was here.
Adam swallows, hard. Ronan's finger, trailing back down to his neck, dips and goes off course. The paint tracks that, too. Memorializes this moment of arousal onto his skin.
Ronan dips his hand in the paint can again. This time Adam doesn't protest. He shivers, first from anticipation, and then from the cold as Ronan touches his stomach, a bare inch above his waistband. He stays low, traces the line of Adam's hipbone, the lowest of his ribs. He pulls his hand across Adam's stomach to the other hip, stopping on the way to stick his finger in Adam's belly button.
"Ronan," Adam says, exasperated.
Ronan grins at him.
Adam has no idea which Ronan likes better, annoying him or turning him on. It's truly unfair that he can do both at the same time.
Ronan pulls his shirt off with his dry hand. Adam wants to complain about double standards, before he remembers that the shirt he'd been wearing had also been Ronan's. Before Ronan reaches for him, hand green with greed, to claim him.
Adam shivers as Ronan kisses him. His back is cold and his chest is burning and he can't get his arms tight enough around Ronan. Ronan is tracing some indefinable pattern between his shoulder blades, like he's trying to give Adam a tattoo to match his, and Adam groans into his mouth when he realizes that's exactly what he's doing.
Ronan's other hand drops between them and fingers the button on Adam's pants.
"Ngh." Adam breaks away. Ronan's chest is a mess of green, visible sign of everywhere they touched. He forgets what the problem was, forgets that there was a problem, and then Ronan gets his button open and his zipper down. Right. That problem. "No, that's where I draw the line. You cannot get paint on my dick."
Ronan rolls his eyes, like this is an unreasonable and arbitrary whim. "Fine," and he drops to his knees
Adam's heart pounds. He thinks that he shouldn't reward Ronan for making a mess of him. He thinks that if Ronan blows him right now he'll develop an unfortunate Pavlovian response to the smell of wet paint. He thinks that they've never had sex in this room before and this might therapeutic for Ronan, to help him move on, to help cement this as their room, because it's not like anyone has sex in their parents' room, or in a dead person's room, once you have sex in a room that's your room --
Ronan cuts through his Gordian knot of overthinking by mouthing at Adam's briefs.
"Can I get a hand here?" he asks. "Since I'm not fit to touch you -- "
"God, you're such a jackass." Adam shoves down his pants and his briefs a few inches, enough to uncover his half-hard cock. He pauses, debating the merits of stripping entirely in a paint-strewn room versus standing with his pants around his thighs. Ronan makes the decision for him.
"Oh, shit," Adam breathes, as Ronan's mouth closes around the head of his cock. He gets harder in his mouth; the harder he gets the deeper Ronan takes him, until he's brushing against the back of Ronan's throat. He holds himself still, not willing to push too far, not sure if there's any amount that he can push that wouldn't be too far. But fuck, he wants to, he has to touch Ronan --
Adam reaches down with one hand and brushes it very lightly against the top of Ronan's head.
Ronan opens his eyes and looks up.
Adam meets his gaze and smiles, off-balance.
Ronan shuts his eyes and takes Adam even deeper into his throat.
"Fuck," Adam swears, and Ronan eases off of him.
At first Ronan makes a point of keeping his arms down by his sides, cooperating in a way that rubs in that he's doing it: look, no hands. Adam stands upright, so tightly wound that his legs tremble. There's no furniture in the room and the wall behind him is all wet paint; even if personal cleanliness is a lost cause, Adam doesn't want to have to redo a whole wall to get rid of blowjob shaped smears, so he just stands and trembles and fights not to move.
Ronan scrapes his teeth gently against the underside of his cock, and that's it, that's game over; Adam can't control himself anymore, and he thrusts into hard into Ronan's mouth.
Ronan makes a pleased noise and reaches up to grip his ass and pull him in deeper.
Adam stops holding back and fucks Ronan's mouth, while Ronan groans around him and watches from below and grips his ass tight.
"Fuck, Ronan, I'm gonna -- "
Ronan's hands clench again, his turn for a warning, don't you dare pull out. He sucks on Adam's cock one more time, cheeks pulling in tight around him, and Adam shuts his eyes and comes.
His knees go extra wobbly, and while Ronan is swallowing and then nuzzling at his pelvis Adam just focuses on not falling over, because that would probably ruin the mood. By the time he's gotten control back over his own body, Ronan is biting at the top of his thigh, getting green paint on the tip of his nose, and that's as good a time as any for Adam to interrupt him.
He drops down to his knees to kiss Ronan, wrapping arms around his shoulders so they brush chest to chest and smear more paint between them. He kisses slow and hot and wet, just the way that gets under Ronan's skin, and as soon as Ronan moans into his mouth he breaks off and pushes on Ronan's shoulder.
Ronan scowls at him but leans back, swinging his feet out from under him and lying propped up on his elbows.
Adam gets between his legs and then pauses. He has paint on his hands, too, from work or from Ronan, who can tell. Courtesy demands he not get paint on Ronan anywhere that he wouldn't want Ronan to get paint on him, so before he goes to unzip his fly he wipes his hands all over the thighs of Ronan's jeans.
Ronan doesn't even get annoyed about that, which, it's not like Adam wasn't going to turn around and throw that in his face if he had, but still. Sometimes he wants to piss off his boyfriend.
On the other hand, he wants to blow him more than he wants to piss him off, so he can't really complain that Ronan lifts his hips up off the ground to help Adam pulls his pants down around his ankles.
Adam drops down and lowers his face to Ronan's cock and just -- breathes, takes in the scent of Ronan and sweat and sex and, yes, wet paint, he's going to have to avoid the hardware store from now on. He inhales, deep, and exhales, until he can hear Ronan's breath catching, hear him biting down on a plea that he has no intention of voicing. It's okay; he's in a good mood. He doesn't need to make Ronan beg for it.
He opens his mouth and licks the head of Ronan's cock, in slow, thorough circles. Moves up to start halfway along the length of his shaft and lick back down to the head, licks in longer and longer stripes until he's starting at the base. It's sloppy and clumsy, not using his hands, but that feels fair; Ronan's not the only one who can do this trick.
Adam laps up Ronan's pre-come and gets him slick and wet all over, until Ronan reaches down and grabs his hair, just a little too tight. The paint on his fingers smears in his hair, matting it together in wet clumps. He imagines looking in the mirror later and seeing the green in his hair, on his chest, on his jaw, seeing everywhere that Ronan touched him today, a portrait of desire, and he groans and takes Ronan into his mouth.
They don't finish painting the bedroom, after all.
Ronan's already out of bed when Adam wakes up the next morning. There's a clanging in the kitchen, audible all the way from the bedroom, and his desire to kiss Ronan good morning is outweighed by his desire to not deal with whatever breakfast-related catastrophe is making that much noise.
He heads to the bathroom instead and takes his second shower in twelve hours -- well, third, but one of last night's showers had been purely recreational, so he figures that doesn't count.
Most of the paint has washed off his skin and his hair, so he doesn't spend long looking in the mirror, just heads back to the bedroom and throws on yesterday's jeans. He wants to finish painting today so they can move on to the next step. If Ronan tries to fool around again he's going to tell him to cut it out, and not in a "but seriously keep going" kind of way, either.
Adam wanders out to the kitchen and finds Gansey, Blue, and Cheng sitting at the kitchen island sipping coffee. Ronan is cooking and Opal is sitting on the ground, mulishly, with a pile of burned bacon in front of her. The air smells of smoke.
"Was there any damage to living creatures or to property worth more than a hundred dollars?" he asks.
"Define living," Ronan says, because he's decided to be a shit today.
"Define a hundred dollars," Cheng says, because he has no choice but to be a shit.
"No," Blue says.
"Okay," Adam says to Blue alone. "Then, good morning. You guys here to help paint?"
"No," Cheng says, too cheerful for the hour. "We thought you'd be done by now, or we would not have visited and risked being pressed into service."
Adam rolls his eyes and turns to get the orange juice out of the fridge. "You're shameless, but at least you're honest."
He turns back around, juice in hand, and sees Gansey staring at him bug-eyed, Blue looking amused, and Cheng looking overly pleased with himself.
"Well," Cheng purrs. "I can see that your home improvement has been rewarding."
Adam frowns at him, but he doesn't explain himself, so he turns his frown to Blue, who is after all the only useful friend he has.
She rolls her eyes, even more extravagantly than Adam had a second ago, and points at him -- not his face, but lower.
Adam looks down. Sure, he's not wearing a shirt, but that's hardly new to anyone; they're not big on body modesty.
"Behind you, Parrish," Ronan says, only sparing a second's attention from the stove.
Adam cranes to look over his shoulder and sees the green hand print that Ronan left on the ass of his pants.
"Perhaps we do want to help, after all," Cheng say, and Adam storms out of the kitchen with the orange juice. Ronan can finish the room on his own.