Grayson loves girls. He really does. How feminine they are. How soft their touch is. How they melt into his embrace and let out breathy whimpers every time he touches them gently. How affectionate they are and responsive they are towards him.
Which sucks when he realizes that something must be hardwired differently in him, on some deeper level. It makes things super awkward and cringey the older he gets.
It was okay when they were still young, that he’d get a boner whenever he tussled with Ethan and things got physical, which almost always invariably did. He doesn’t know how many times he yelled, “Even that flower over there gives me a boner, E! You’re not that special!” once his body turned into a livewire overflowing with hormones and each touch was electric. Even the pindowns, shoves, punches, and the wrestling over stupid shit, went straight to his dick.
He used to get super embarrassed about it, but sometimes Ethan would be in the same boat as him too, so they’d shake it off. Just two young, hormonal dudes being dudes.
As he grew in confidence and started having sex, those little moments went away almost altogether for a few years.
It doesn’t explain why, at 19, he’s started reacting that way again. Thankfully they tussle less than they used to and these days it’s more of a slap to the back of the head and a shove more than anything else.
But sometimes when Ethan is being a big jerk or really pissing him off, he’ll pin him down to his bed or the couch, grabbing his wrist in a bruising grip as Ethan tries to buck against him, and arousal will hit Grayson so fast that he’ll push away after a few seconds and leave the room. Ethan will shout, “This is going to bruise, asshole!” And Grayson will think, good . Good. He deserves it.
This is all Ethan’s fault, anyway. They primed each other to act like little savages as they were growing up, and now Grayson’s dick is all sorts of messed up and reads signals wrong.
The thing is, Ethan can be an asshole sometimes. He’ll be rude, dismissive and even standoffish with Grayson, because he takes him for granted. That’s why Grayson keeps telling him that he wants to move out ASAP, because the little look of fear and uncertainty that crosses Ethan’s face at those declarations never gets old.
It makes him warm, it makes him feel good. And that’s kind of fucked up, but it’s the least of his worries.
Ethan will also sometimes start shit, little jabs to annoy him, and whenever Grayson retaliates, by punching him in the shoulder or twisting his arm behind his back, Ethan will whine out, “Ow ow ow, let go, dumbass,” and give in. Just like that.
He’s always viewed Grayson as being stronger than him, bigger than him, so Grayson finishes off most of their fights by just throwing his weight around.
It makes Grayson feel good in a dark kind of way, that he controls those moments. That he can boss Ethan around physically, and Ethan will yield to him.
Ethan likes to pretend that he's the one in control in their relationship, but Grayson knows differently, when he's got Ethan pushed up against the fridge in a hold, and Ethan snaps, "Fine, I won't throw your stupid food away. Let me go." Grayson will, after a second, powerless to stop the smug grin forming on his face.
"You've got rage issues, bro. Get that shit checked out," Ethan will huff out, pushing past him and away.
Maybe Grayson does have some issues - control issues, rage issues, boner-at-the-wrong-time issues. It's just strange how most of his problems get triggered by Ethan, primarily.
To add to the list, Ethan is also less affectionate with Grayson the older they get and likes his space more. Grayson kind of thrives off of affection, but he seeks it out from a very select group of people. Like from Ethan, his family, and a girlfriend, if one’s in the picture.
It’s difficult to strongarm Ethan into a hug when he’s being a dick, though, so sometimes Grayson gets creative. In a super creepy way.
Ethan will be on his bed and on his phone, and Grayson will be feeling a little desperate and messed up, so he’ll go to Ethan’s room and get on his bed, and before Ethan can snap at him, he’ll pretend that he’s got a killer headache and just rest his head on Ethan’s shoulder.
“My head feels like it’s going to explode and my eyes hurt,” Grayson will say in his best wobbly, pain-filled voice, and Ethan will frown and throw an arm around his shoulders and run a gentle hand through his hair. Check his forehead for a nonexistent fever.
“What happened? Did you accidentally concus yourself again?” Ethan will ask with concern, phone forgotten on the bed. Grayson will drag an arm across Ethan's chest and cuddle into him, eyebrows pulled down low and face scrunched up.
“No, I didn’t. This just hit out of nowhere,” Grayson will mutter into Ethan’s shirt, and Ethan will pull him in tighter and something heavy in Grayson’s chest will shake loose and release.
He avoids acknowledging the sick feeling of lying to Ethan like that until he goes back to his room a little later, after a nice nap in Ethan’s bed.
They're arguing, like they sometimes do. They can both be extremely stubborn, but it seems like things have gone to another level of bad entirely recently.
"You don't want me living with you because you care or some shit. It's just because you want a maid around all the time, Ethan!" Grayson throws out the last of the boxes that Ethan's left against the front door into a plastic bag, to take to the trash later.
"Why am I always picking up after you? Why am I still living with you?" Grayson continues on in his tirade, well and truly pissed off and done with Ethan's messiness. The entire week has been grating on his nerves. Little things escalating into bigger things.
"Why are you still here, Grayson? Bitching and moaning all the time?" Ethan says as he walks up to him from his room, yanking the bag away and opening the front door to leave.
Grayson snaps out, furiously, "Maybe I should move out, you're right! Clearly this doesn't work anymore."
Ethan shouts, "Maybe you should!" as he slams the front door closed on his way out.
They freeze each other out for the rest of the day, and Grayson grabs dinner with Bryant and doesn’t text or call Ethan at all. Not once. When he gets home, he goes straight to his room, still feeling angry as hell but also kind of sad.
Ethan doesn’t come out of his room to acknowledge him, but Grayson saw his instagram pic and how he was hanging out with Romeo less than an hour ago.
It honestly feels like this might be the end of their little living situation, and maybe it’s a good thing. Maybe Grayson should really take the opportunity and get himself his own space. They’d been thinking of buying in the summer, so it’s good to make that separation now, without a mortgage hanging over his head with E.
He’s on his computer and looking at leases on Zillow when Ethan knocks on his door and then walks in, a couple of seconds later, even though Grayson doesn’t invite him in. Grayson ignores him and continues scrolling through the listings. He won’t give in and apologize. There’s nothing to apologize for, anyway.
“So you’re just going to ignore me? Is that it? Super mature,” Ethan says, arms crossed over his chest as he stands next to Grayson and blankly looks at Grayson's computer screen, mouth drawn tight. As Grayson clicks through the pictures nonchalantly.
Not even a few seconds later, Ethan says, “Fine, I’ll be the bigger person and apologize. I’m sorry.” Grayson lets out an incredulous snort at that, and casts a raised eyebrow at Ethan before going back to his scrolling. “Thanks, but I’m still moving out. Just give me a month to get it all sorted,” Grayson adds, quietly.
“Are you serious right now, Grayson,” Ethan says, swinging his arms to the side in a show of disbelief, glaring. Grayson spins in his chair to grimly face him and folds his hands over his stomach resolutely. “I’m serious.”
Ethan’s mouth is kind of open agape in shock and he’s standing there with his arms spread out, looking speechless. Grayson is a little shocked at his decision too, but he’s going to do it. It’s the right thing to do.
They need to be their own people and not some weird hybrid person, with no boundaries. It will be good for them. They’re brothers, not some twisted soulmates and lovers. It will help Grayson remember that.
“This is a mistake. You have to know that,” Ethan tries reasoning with him, but Grayson doesn’t let him get far with that.
“It’s not,” Grayson cuts him off, and cuts his eyes away to the floor and finishes with,” This hasn’t been working for me for a while. I feel suffocated with you. I feel like you’re the only thing in my head and in my space all the time.” Ethan lets out an aborted sound of protest at that.
“It’s messing things up in my head, and it’s not fair to you or to me.” Grayson doesn’t realize he’s worrying at the edge of his t-shirt until Ethan kneels down in front of him - his wide eyes focused like lasers onto his - and puts his hands over his and stops the movement.
“What are you even talking about, Gray? What aren’t you telling me?” Ethan looks lost and confused and it breaks Grayson’s heart a little but also makes him feel trapped.
He pushes his chair back to put some space between them again and says, a little desperately, “There’s nothing else to say, that’s basically it!” But Ethan doesn’t look like he’s buying it as he gets up too. Grayson sits down on his bed with a huff and Ethan sits down right next to him.
Ethan heaves out a sigh and leans forward on his elbows, worrying at his bottom lip. “All that you would accomplish by moving out is just make us more miserable and lonely in two different locations. You know that, right?” Grayson refuses to meet his look and continues tapping his feet on the floor, feeling his chest go tight.
“But you don’t even want me around. You want someone to just, like, keep you some company when you feel like it and clean up after you. Be your assistant or something,” Grayson accuses petulantly, scowling, but Ethan doesn’t let him say anything else as he replies to that with a cooed out, “Aw, Gray, you know that’s not true,” and throws an arm around Grayson’s shoulders and pushes them both back onto the bed on their backs. It’s difficult to be mad when Ethan tries to smoosh him to his side and chest with an arm wrapped around his neck, but Grayson tries.
He tries for a few seconds and then gives up and cuddles with him. Fuck. He’s so fucking weak. Ethan knows him too well.
Because Ethan is a pain, he breaks the companionable silence by asking, “So what’s the actual issue anyway? Just be real with me, bro.” Grayson tries to fidget but Ethan holds him still. He turns his head and looks at Grayson soft and imploringly, which is all sorts of unfair again. When Grayson closes his eyes and groans, Ethan feels the win because he gets onto his side on an elbow and faces him directly, all attention zeroed in now.
Fine. If Ethan wants honesty, he’s going to get it. Since Ethan’s basically a dog with a bone now, he’s going to chase, annoy and harrass Grayson until he tells him. One way or another.
“I said what I said, and that was all true,” Grayson starts, and flicks his eyes at Ethan then away. “But…”
“But what?” Ethan asks, poking him with a finger to his side.
Grayson sucks in a breath and continues with, “But that’s not the only reason. I have been wanting… more from you recently, and it’s not right. We shouldn't be everything to each other, but I’ve been, like, wanting other, um, things too. And it’s wrong.”
He doesn’t want to risk looking at Ethan so he keeps his eyes closed. Ethan’s pretty still next to him, which is already pretty telling.
“What… more do you want?” Ethan hesitantly asks, like he’s catching on but is wishing he isn’t. Grayson is not going to take that bullshit. If Ethan wants the truth, then he’s going to fillet the both of them open with it.
Grayson takes a bracing breath in then says, “Remember last month, after we worked out and then wrestled for a bit? And how we both noticed I had a boner after that and you just said, ‘Ew, get it away from me,’ and left?”
Ethan sucks in a noisy breath and wheezes out a strained, “Yeah?”
Grayson does look at him then, at the way Ethan is trying to hold himself still and not bolt from the room, eyes wide and unblinking, and says, “I want everything with you. More of your love, your touch, your affection… even your crankyass bitching in the morning.” He’s totally resigned to the impossibility of it, and Ethan has to hear it in his voice.
Ethan whispers out a “Holy shit,” and falls onto his back like he’s been shot, totally limp. He covers his face with his hands a moment later, and Grayson is so terrified by his reaction that he jumps up from the bed, heart in his throat, and tries to leave before he can see the look of disgust or pity on Ethan’s face.
Ethan yells out “Grayson!” as he basically runs from his room and straight for his car keys in the living room. He thinks about not bothering with shoes in order to save time and make a faster getaway, heart now pounding kind of ferociously in his chest and his breaths coming out faster, when Ethan slams into him from behind and almost face-first into the front door.
“Ow,” Grayson lets out weakly, holding his hands against his chest, actually wheezing now and feeling an asthma attack coming on. Ethan says, “Shit!” and is gone in a flash to Grayson’s room and then back again with his inhaler. He leans against the door with Grayson, looking panicky and white, as Grayson focuses on his breathing and taking in a puff. When he rides it out without it getting too bad and slumps against the door finally, Ethan crowds into him and hugs him, his touch bruising and tight around him. Grounding. Grayson is so thankful that he tears up a little.
They then drag themselves to the couch and lie down, almost touching. Grayson is so exhausted that he feels himself start to fall asleep, but before he does, he hears Ethan tell him, “I’m not avoiding or ignoring what you said, I just need to wrap my head around it, Gray,” voice low.
Gray pats him on the arm in acknowledgement before he succumbs to sleep.
The following day, they’re pretty much back to even keel but slightly cringey with each other.
It’s like they’re trying to be careful and considerate with one another, and that is the most hilarious thing that Grayson has ever experienced in his entire life. It’s so bad that he feels sorry for the both of them.
When Ethan asks him if he wants to go grab lunch with him that afternoon, Grayson lets out a weak smile and declines, feeling like he’ll crawl out of his skin if he’s forced to put up with more of this weird energy than he needs to.
“Okay, um, bye then,” Ethan says, actually looking pretty relieved, and heads out.
Grayson lets out an incredulous laugh after he goes and heads to the gym not long after, to work out. To punish himself. Whichever.
He’s probably been working out for almost an hour when Ethan comes into the gym. Grayson is sitting down on the bench, head hung low and trying to give himself a one-handed shoulder massage, because he was a little too stupidly enthusiastic with the weights today.
“You okay?” Ethan asks, and Grayson frowns and says, “I think I might have fucked up my shoulder, man. There’s like a huge knot here now.” As Ethan gets close, Grayson finishes with, “I think I might need to go get a massage or something to unwind it.”
He feels Ethan’s touch and his eyes fly open and he looks to the side, but Ethan’s behind him already and has both hands on his sweaty shoulders now, firmly working away. “Fuck,” Grayson moans out and drops his chin down to his chest, because Ethan is not pussying around. He’s really digging in with his thumbs and Grayson feels his toes curling and tries to fight back another moan, but can’t.
Ethan doesn’t stop. “Is it good?” He asks, voice low and a little strained, and Grayson groans out a, “Yes,” so feelingly that he would be embarrassed if more of his brain cells were operating instead of on sleep mode. His dick is definitely operating, though, since he’s started getting hard. He doesn’t think to cover it up until Ethan is done, a couple of minutes later, and slaps his hands down on his shoulders.
The next thing Grayson knows, he’s opened his eyes and Ethan is standing in front of him again and wiping his hands off with a towel, face kind of flushed and closed off, his eyes fighting to stay on Grayson’s face and not stray down to the obvious bulge tenting his shorts. Grayson blushes something hot and fierce and mutters out a, “Fuck, sorry, man,” and covers his junk with his hands as he gets up.
Ethan doesn’t budge as Grayson makes to move past him, almost like he’s frozen there, but a hand shoots out and grabs a hold of Grayson’s forearm. Ethan clears his throat and says, “Clean up and come out to the pool. I want to talk to you.”
Grayson swallows down some terror and nods, resolutely not looking at the slight bulge in Ethan’s pants when he accidentally spots it. He’s off to his bathroom in the next breath then.
If it takes him only a couple of pulls to come, his moan punched out of him like a shot in the shower, well, there’s no one there to call him out on it.
They’re chilling underneath the pergola with sandwiches that Ethan bought and Grayson chews slowly, waiting for Ethan to spit it out and begin their little talk. They’re actually doing more stalling than talking and Grayson is about to shout at Ethan for prolonging their suffering when Ethan places down his half-eaten pastrami and says, “So, I want to ask you some questions and also tell you some things. Please just hear me out. Is that cool?” He looks nervous and a little jumpy but also determined, one of his legs bouncing up and down unconsciously.
Grayson says, “Yeah, that’s cool,” and leans back into the cushions, trying to balance his drink on his thigh. He’s suddenly super restless and hopes that Ethan doesn’t drag it out more than he has to.
“Okay, awesome,” Ethan says, and then immediately follows it up with, “First, you have these big dreams about having a wife and 2.5 kids. I’m also your brother and not a girl. This definitely does not fit into that scenario.” Grayson opens his mouth to interject but Ethan silences him with a raised hand and narrowed eyes. “Second, you’re only into girls as far as I know, so this is giving me major young-guy-wants-to-experiment-and-closest-dick-is-his-brother’s kind of vibes. Third-”
“E!” Gray shouts out, but Ethan doesn’t pause and ignores his interruption. “Third, just because you get turned on when we, uh, get physical, that doesn’t immediately translate into you wanting to bone me.” Grayson’s mouth snaps closed and he crosses his arms over his chest and tries to bury himself into the cushions again.
“Finally, fourth, if we do this,” Ethan says, voice dropping in volume and getting a little hushed, “there’s no going back.” His gaze burns into Grayson and Grayson tries not to flinch and look away, but it’s hard.
“I can’t have sex with you, Gray, and pretend it never happened or it was some dumb mistake. I can’t have this be something that we are both going to regret so bad, that we never speak to each other again.” Ethan leans forward, like he’s begging Grayson. “Do you understand that, Grayson?”
It takes a couple of tries for Grayson to sort through the responses in his head and put as much thought into it as Ethan just did, and he doesn’t mean to blurt out, “So the boner you got 45 minutes ago while giving me a massage was like, what, a misunderstanding?” But that’s exactly what he blurts out first. Fuckity fuck.
Ethan literally flings his napkin at him in obvious frustration and then runs his hands through his hair, face reddening up, eyes glaring. “Seriously, Gray? Did you not hear anything I just said?”
Graysons gets up and approaches Ethan, with his hands held out placatingly in front of him. As if Ethan will snap at him and jump him. “Bro, I heard all of that, and I’ve unfortunately got no answers for you,” Grayson breaks to him sorrily, as he sits down next to him.
“Then why say any of that yesterday?!” Ethan demands, turning towards him, his face drawn tight with confusion and hurt. “Why fuck us up for nothing? Were you bored? Was it a joke?”
Before Grayson can think about it he’s leaning forward into Ethan’s space and has an urgent hand on Ethan’s thigh and one on his shoulder, trying to hold onto him. “No, man, no. I swear on my life to you. I wasn’t messing around with you.” It doesn’t look like Ethan believes him so he tries again.
“On some level I have always, always loved you, and I don’t know when that shifted to being in love with you, but it did, and I didn’t notice. I wasn’t looking for it. I was never going to say anything. Nothing in this world is worth like, jeopardizing what we’ve got with each other already.” Ethan lets out a weary sigh and brings one of his hands down on top of Grayson’s on his thigh, squeezing for a brief moment and letting go.
They don’t say anything for a couple of minutes and pull away into separate ends of the couch, arms crossed but facing each other, looking tired and deflated. A light chuckle brings Grayson out of his thoughts and back to Ethan.
“You know, if we’d never done YouTube and we graduated from high school… If we never got bullied and moved out together and just had each other to turn to… if we’d done the college thing and joined a frat house, gone to parties, had other friends, maybe even went to different colleges, been normal… this would have never happened, dude,” Ethan finishes quietly, sounding resigned.
Grayson lets out a noisy breath and agrees. “You’re probably right.”
“I don’t know what you want me to say, man.” Ethan eyes him with a look that comes across as completely clueless.
Grayson snorts and says, “Fuck, neither do I, dude. Neither do I.”
They truce it even though there are a lot of things that they have yet to discuss, but Grayson doesn't want to push and accidentally drive Ethan away from him, so he lets it go.
He lets it go, despite how bad he wants to know what Ethan actually is thinking. The total cluelessness and helplessness in the face of the topic makes it obvious that Ethan has not ventured off too far away from those initial feelings to give anything else a thought. Grayson catches him glancing at him throughout the rest of the day like Grayson has grown a second head and Grayson just ignores it.
It feels like Ethan is trying to reorganize things in his head in drastically different, newer ways, and when he says, "I'm gonna go nap, man. Got an intense headache," Grayson lets him go. He lets, he lets, and he lets, hoping he can ease the weird vibes between them somehow.
If they ignore the entire thing, or avoid it moving forward, then Grayson will just deal with that, too.
As Grayson predicted, in unspoken agreement, they ignore the past two days like nothing out of the ordinary happened the following day. For the most part.
Ethan only cracks once when he asks Grayson if he’s still thinking about moving out. Grayson is in the middle of making himself lunch and stops. “Um, I don’t know, honestly. Maybe not?”
Ethan leans his hip against the counter, arms crossed, gaze intent. “Are you going to threaten to move out every time I don’t act the way that you want me to? Because that’s getting old fast, I’ve gotta say.”
Grayson looks up and frowns, puts down his halved avocado. “I’m not threatening you or messing with you for a laugh, dude. It’s not something I’m joking about.”
“Liar,” Ethan states, tone kind of cool, and Grayson does not feel like putting up with his drama, not today. Not after the past few days. “Out,” Grayson says, pointing the kitchen knife in Ethan’s direction.
Ethan snorts. “Are you kicking me out of the kitchen?”
“Yes,” Grayson replies and goes back to making his salad.
Ethan leaves and Grayson takes in a deep, steadying breath.
They are shooting a video with the Sister Squad the following week and Grayson is hyped for it in a way that that totally surprises him.
They’re at a cooking studio in one of the Burbank lots, and everything feels surreal and exciting and Grayson wants to win it in a way that’s not fake. He needs a win. Their guest judges are Shane and Jeffree and this video is going to go places, Grayson knows.
They’re teamed up the usual way. James and him against Emma and Ethan.
He’s feeling all kinds of ways once they do wrap up and he and James come through as champs, and when James sits in his lap and hugs him after, kisses his cheek and starts snapping it and taking pics, Grayson doesn’t push him off. He lets him. He encourages it. He puts his arms around him, even.
For one of the pics, he kisses James on the cheek as he shrieks with delight. He can hear Emma and Shane laugh at the reaction somewhere in the distance. “Not that I’m not enjoying this little PDA, honey, but what’s gotten into you?” James asks, his fingernails tapping against Grayson’s shoulder with an excited gleam in his eyes.
Grayson shrugs with a coy smile and says, “Things have been too quiet lately in the social media world. Just doing it for the ‘gram, I guess.”
James looks impressed and whistles out, “Well, look at the claws on you, kitty girl,” before snapping a few more pics. Ethan sounds a little snappish and strained in the background, but Grayson pays him no mind.
Grayson wishes that he felt some type of way for James, at that moment, because it would be so easy to take him by the hand and get out of there. Go someplace private and explore. But that’s not the case. He’ll just have to make do with his hand that night and the internet. He hasn’t gotten laid for nearly a month, after the last girl he was seeing broke it off with him because he evidently wasn’t mature enough or whatever.
So they all head out to a late lunch together and have a good time. Things between him and E seem a little off, and Grayson can’t put his finger on it, but he allows it to slide. Too busy planning future vid ideas with their group and imagining all sorts of hijinks that they can all get up to.
The car ride is pretty quiet and Grayson naps for most of it. They don’t make small talk.
Once home, Grayson heads directly to his room to take a shower and jerk off, feeling a hundred times better once he’s out and his head is a little more clear.
In the kitchen, Ethan corners him as Grayson is grabbing a cup of water, looking tense and upset.
“So what was that today?” Ethan asks, hands laid flat on the counter, mouth pursed up.
Grayson casts a brief glance at him as he grabs a mug. “What was what?”
“You and James being all extra in front of everyone today. Being all gross.”
“What?!” Grayson spins around once he’s done pouring his water and slams it on the counter.
“You heard me,” Ethan snaps, leaning on his elbows.
Grayson shakes his head in confusion and leans back. “Why are you being so nasty, bro?” That gets no response, just a tightening of Ethan’s shoulders.
Grayson tries to grab his cup but Ethan slaps his hand away and accidentally sends the mug flying to the floor, breaking it and spilling water everywhere. Grayson flinches in reaction but then his jaw hardens up and he pins Ethan down with a cowering look.
“You’re cleaning that up, douchebag,” Grayson says evenly, already heading out.
“Grayson!” Ethan yells after him and Grayson is almost turned around by the time Ethan slams him back into the wall, arms bracketing him in. Grayson flinches back at the suddenness and closeness of their bodies and knocks his head back into the wall too, hissing.
“Ouch, asshole!” Grayson groans, dropping his forehead down to Ethan’s shoulder as he tries to rub the back of his head futilely. Ethan curses but then massages the back of Grayson’s head too, bites out, “Fuck, I’m sorry, sorry.” But he doesn’t move away when Grayson pushes him back. And just like that, Grayson’s done. He’s so tired of it. From all of it.
Fighting Ethan, loving Ethan, wanting Ethan, hating Ethan. It’s all so bone-achingly exhausting.
He exhales noisily and loosely wraps his arms around Ethan’s waist, fully leans into him, since Ethan is evidently frozen against him and will not let him go.
“I’m so tired of fighting with you, man. I’m done, E. I can’t anymore,” Grayson pleads, and wants to flinch back again when Ethan’s hand softly goes to his jaw and lifts his face to meet his.
Ethan just pins him there with a light touch, Grayson’s head tilted back, his thumb gently pressing at the corner of Grayson’s lips, his eyes half-lidded and transfixed on Grayson’s mouth.
Grayson’s eyes widen automatically and he thinks he audily swallows a couple of times, but then he finds himself looking down at Ethan’s mouth too, with a desperate yearning that knocks all sense out of him.
He feels himself swaying forward, and thinks sort of hysterically that one of them should chicken out, should pull back, but their mouths touch as if pulled by magnets and all remaining thoughts just fly out of his head and burst like soap bubbles around them both.
Ethan’s lips are soft and yielding against his, and when he tries to pull back to take in a shaky, unsteady breath after a few seconds, Grayson chases after him and seals their mouths together again with a harder kiss. He’s got a hand in Ethan’s hair, another grabbing him by the front of his shirt to anchor him, to anchor them both. Because they’re flying in a model airplane now that was not built for takeoffs, much less safe landings.
The sound of Ethan moaning when Grayson lightly catches his bottom lip between his teeth goes straight to his dick and he immediately feels desperate and crazy for it in a way that can’t possibly be healthy. The hot brand of Ethan’s hands on his back, on his skin, makes him buck forward and groan out a breathy, “E, yeah, yeah…” Sort of nonsensically dumb, purely driven by need.
Ethan struggles to pull back, hands going to cup Grayson’s head, to look at him with a red mouth and bright eyes, and ask whisper-softly, “Bed?”
Grayson says Yes by dragging him in again by his t-shirt to kiss him bruisingly for another minute, before he stumbles back into the hallway and towards Ethan’s room, their hands clasped together and their journey interrupted by other stops against the wall to steal more urgent kisses, more lingering, heated caresses.
As he falls down onto Ethan’s bed after his shirt is yanked off hurriedly, with Ethan leaning over him to trail hot, searing kisses down his throat and mark him up with sucking bites softened by gentled licks across his chest, making Grayson whine unashamedly and hiss, hands grasping desperately and shakily at the back of Ethan’s neck… Grayson knows he’s well and truly fucked. He’s ruined for anyone else.
He shakes, shakes, shakes apart in Ethan’s arms and takes a new shape again after.
In a moment of complete honesty, a few minutes after they’ve both come, Ethan says, voice hushed, his face smooshed into Grayson’s sweaty chest, “The reason I started to kind of physically distance myself from you a year ago was because it... it scared me. How much I needed you. All the time, in like, whatever way. In any way. And… it freaked me out so bad, dude.” A gust of breath ghosts across Grayson’s cooling skin at the last confession.
Grayson leans his head down to kiss the crown of Ethan’s head, fingers spread like constellation points across Ethan’s back, holding him in place.
Afterwards, they’re both kind of quiet with each other, after they take turns showering and then wind up in the backyard, just chilling. It’s a good kind of quiet, though. Like they’re on the same page now.
Grayson puts on new Tame Impala tracks and starts grooving to it, with a new blueprint for a floating shelf that he wants to build in one hand and a pen in another. Ethan snickers and snaps him dancing, and a few minutes later, he’s up too. He’s in Grayson’s space, orbiting around him like a predator, before he reaches out and takes Grayson by the hands and throws his pen and paper on the floor.
Grayson smiles so widely that his face hurts. “Man, E, are you cheesin’ right now?”
In response Ethan twirls him, or attempts to, since they’re both the same height essentially. “You complaining?” Ethan asks, belatedly, a small, pleased smile on his face, and Grayson lets out a short chuckle, cheeks hurting. “No,” he answers happily, and then promptly tries to dip Ethan and almost drops him. They laugh as they almost topple over, and Grayson thinks he can get used to this, to this expansiveness of feeling filling up his chest and rushing through his blood, rooting down deep into his bones. The rightness of it.
He yanks Ethan forward by the front of his shirt as they straighten up, his new favorite thing, and kisses him.