Ethan stretches, feeling his bones crack in a way that’s not completely unfamiliar, but a little odd anyway; it usually only happens around Christmas when he’s been helping his mom and Benny’s Grandma around the houses and moving things for them. Equally odd-not-odd is Benny hovering next to his bed - not literally hovering, though he probably could, but just looking weird worried and weirder relieved. Ethan raises an eyebrow as he sits up, swinging his feet off of the bed.
“You’re back,” Benny breathes, actually hovering for a second before pulling himself back down to the earth. Both of Ethan’s eyebrows climb toward his hairline.
“I was gone?” Ethan asks, head tilted. Benny gives him a smile, a broken, half moon of a thing. He doesn’t think he’s ever seen Benny look like that.
“You were dead. I fixed it,” Benny admits. It takes a moment for it to register, but once it does, Ethan cannot be expected to keep the revulsion off of his face. He looks down at his hands but that just makes things worse; these hands have been dead. He should be rotting, his heart should not be beating, he shouldn’t be breathing, he shouldn’t be here, he shouldn’t be here, he shouldn’t be here. He should be dead. He was killed, and no one else ever, ever gets to come back, and why should Ethan be able to? He looks at Benny with a mix of repulsion and fear and desperation. He needs Benny to tell him how to feel. He needs Benny to tell him why.
“Why?” he asks, still looking between Benny and his own hands, his heart beating so loudly that he can hear it. Benny gives him a smile, broken and just a bit feral, and Ethan wonders how his Benny could have gone so far off of the rails. His Benny. Ethan told Benny he loved him. That’s not important. “Just tell me why you did it,” he requests weakly, his jaw clenching as he struggles not to cry. He doesn’t notice that Benny is moving until hands grab his own - hands that have never been warmer than his feel like fire now, like his body has gone to ice in the time since he’s - in the time he’s been gone. He was gone.
“Because I’m in love you with, okay? I love you, E. You’re mine. You can’t leave me,” Benny says, crawling into Ethan’s lap suddenly. His knees are on either side of Ethan’s, his body covering Ethan’s entirely and settling into him with a warmth Ethan just wants to sink into, but he can’t.
“B, I was dead. How did you bring me back?” he asks. He’s scared of the answer, terrified of the waters that Benny would tread for him, though Ethan doesn’t want to think that Benny would do unthinkable things. Benny is good. Benny is the best. Benny smiles against his skin.
“The witch that killed you. A life for a life, Ethan, and yours was so much more important, E, I love you so much. Never leave me again. Never leave me,” Benny says, nuzzling against Ethan’s throat. Benny killed someone. Ethan’s Benny fucking killed someone that wasn’t a vampire on purpose, no remorse, killed someone. “Had to keep her for a week or two because, well, I had to learn necromancy first. But, turns out, as long as you’re still passionate about the magic, it will still work. Isn’t that funny?” Benny continues, humming as he presses against Ethan’s skin. Ethan catches him behind the ears with his palms and pulls Benny back enough to look him in the face, to see him in honesty.
“How long was I dead, Benny?” he asks, to which Benny’s expression immediately sours, pulling at the edges of him in a way that makes the room feel tense as a storm.
“Nine days, ten hours, eleven minutes and forty-one seconds,” Benny replies promptly, his expression stony and serious for the first time since Ethan woke up. The tension in Benny’s body feels like it does when he hasn’t done magic in a few days, too magically pent up to be trusted to do anything, and Ethan strokes at his back to calm him. Immediately, Benny relaxes against him, slumping so that his face is back at the juncture between Ethan’s neck and shoulder.
Benny killed someone for him. He’s still Ethan’s Benny.
“Thank you for bringing me back, B. I love you,” Ethan whispers, fingers carding through Benny’s hair. Benny sinks even more against him, seemingly wanting to burrow his way into Ethan’s skin and never have to climb back out. His hands are dead, his body is dead, but he is still here, and if he was put on this Earth to love Benny Weir the first time, he was definitely brought back to do the exact same thing.
“I love you, I love you, I love you. Please don’t ever leave me again. I’ll bring you back, I will. No one gets to take you away, E. I’ll bring you back,” Benny promises, his arms slipping around Ethan’s waist. At this new touch, Ethan’s eyes roll back in his head, a vision clouding his mind as it takes him over completely.
Blood. There’s so much blood. A body in pieces and a girl crying and Sarah! Sarah is crying and Erica looks upset and Rory isn’t speaking, quiet in a horribly uncharacteristic way and his hand is in Erica’s, their fingers laced. It should look romantic, but it looks like Erica is protecting Rory like Ethan would protect Jane, pulled slightly behind her to be cradled in protection behind her back. She’s standing between Rory and... Benny. She’s protecting Rory from Benny.
“No one,” vision!Benny says, “will take him from me again.
When Ethan comes back to himself, Benny’s warmth against him, he doesn’t say a word. He holds Benny tighter and leaves bruises on his back with dead fingers, fingers that should never touch anyone else again, because he belongs to Benny Weir.
He is only what Benny Weir has created now, and he’s okay with everyone knowing that.