A/N: Exams are kicking my ass and I should be writing the Winterhawk series I have planned and started on already. Instead I wrote this. In a three hour sitting, so don't judge me too hard.
Tossing the bags aside that contain all their gear Ethan enters the flat in the safe house. A quick sweep of the eyes across the state of said apartment tells him it's not been much in use lately. The blinds of two of the three windows are drawn, the pane of the other is muddied and stained by countless raindrops. There's a layer of dust on the single table in the middle of the main room and the chairs haven't supported human weight for longer than just a few weeks.
But you take what you can get.
Ethan strides into the room and opens one of the windows. This flat is in need of fresh air. Behind him he hears the click of the door being closed.
"And you're sure we're safe here?" Will asks as he picks up the bags Ethan's so heedlessly thrown into the corner and places them on the chairs at the table.
"Sure" Ethan answers cheerily. "And it's only for one night, so nothing to worry about."
It's not as if they're in any danger, the mission's done and dusted and all they need to do now is lay low and wait for their ride who's going to pick them up tomorrow by four in the afternoon. Enough time to attend to their scratches and sleep off the stress.
Ethan sighs when he sees the look on Will's face; of course, of bloody course he's doing his analyst thing again. "Relax, Brandt. We did good today. And you won't argue with me over a safe house, now will you?"
Will lets out a half-hearted snort but his features don't quite manage to play along with the sarcastic tone. "I'm just concerned you might accidentally fall out of a badly secured window."
Ehhh, true, Ethan's had some close encounters with windows (and, afterwards, with pieces of glass. Comes with the whole jumping out of stuff package.) but it was necessary, okay?
"I can assure you, I won't try and escape your scowling face. Which is way too adorable" he adds for good measure, his lips turning into a grin. The flustered look on Will's face is definitely worth it.
Will huffs something unintelligible and turns away to rummage through their gear. A few beats later, Ethan has a first aid kit thrown at his head.
"Patch yourself up, Jumping Joe."
Ethan, for once resisting commenting on that, picks the kit off the floor and shuffles towards the table where he slumps down on the remaining empty chair. He pretends not to notice how Will watches him out of the corner of his eyes when he pulls his t-shirt over his head, revealing slightly reddish skin. It's mainly bruises and shallow cuts but he might have cracked a rib or two. Cautiously he touches at the forming bulge at his side and hisses when it sends a rush of sharp pain through his body. Then there's the cut at his abdomen that unfortunately looks like it needs stitching up. Ethan sighs. He's done this way too many times to look good on his health record but he's used to it.
As he attends to his wounds, Will does the same, inspecting a dark looking bruise in the greyish light at the open window through which the smell of rain fills the room. He's got a nasty contusion on his right shoulder and his lip didn't quite survive the hand-to-hand he got involved in with one of the bad guys. Ethan observes him as he frowns at his injuries and he believes that although Will started out as a field agent and has been back in business for some time now he's not as indifferent to this as Ethan has become over the years. On second thought, Will probably never will be.
Placing needle and thread down on the table Ethan stands up and walks over to the analyst, making sure Will hears him so that he's not startled when Ethan lays a gentle hand on his good shoulder.
"You need help with that?" he asks, stopping at a respecting distance.
Will turns his head to glance at him. "No, I've got it, you take care of your own." He nods towards the small gash that has started bleeding again.
"We might be more efficient if we help each other, then we can have an early night."
Will holds his gaze for another couple of seconds, his features clouding with a frown that soon fades, exposing the tiredness and his shoulders slacken in exhaustion.
"All right" he recedes.
The patching up doesn't take too long and before long they've both showered and are finally dressed in clean clothes again. When Ethan reaches out to attend to Will's split lip, though, the analyst flinches back, mumbling something about it not being important and Ethan lets it slide because they're both too tired to argue. So tired, actually, that Will kindly brushes off Ethan's offer to cook them a small supper and they agree to go straight to bed. It's late and the day's been long and exhausting and when Ethan thinks about it he's not even hungry.
Going to bed turns out to be more of a challenge than either of them would have thought.
Upon opening the bedroom door (because there is only one, the other one leads to the bathroom) Will stops, quirks a brow, and then announces, slight disapproval seeping through his tone, "Ethan, there's only one bed."
Ethan peers over Will's shoulder to be greeted by the sight of a double-bed that now that he feels every bloody muscle in his body does look rather inviting. He gently shoves past Will and goes to sit down on the mattress. The bed creaks a little under the applied weight.
Ethan glances up at Will, shrugging. "We have to make do." Giving the bed another once-over he adds, "It's big enough for two and we had worse, hadn't we? I would take the couch if we had one but we don't so…" He trails off, leaving the unfinished sentence hanging mid-air and redirects his gaze at Will.
His colleague sighs, defeated, and the fatigue really doesn't suit him although it's become some sort of permanent expression which has Ethan wanting to frown at the authors of Will's weariness.
"Yeah, I guess we had worse" he says and shuffles over to slump down on the other side of the bed.
It takes a few minutes of shifting and turning in awkward silence until each of them has found an appropriate sleeping position, both men facing the opposite walls instead of each other, Will trying to leave as much space between them as possible. Ethan doesn't comment on it and instead lets Will take most of the blanket. The man really needs a good night's sleep and Ethan isn't about to ruin that for him by fighting over the sheets.
Silence soon descends on them and Ethan listens to Will's breathing. He stays awake until it's slowed down to a regular rhythm but never turns. This day has given him enough riddles to solve and not few go by the name of William Brandt.
Ethan doesn't know when he drifted off into the deep, comfortably empty realms of sleep but when he opens his eyes, woken by the weak rays of a struggling sun, he finds himself caught off-guard by pleasant surprise. He must have turned in his sleep for he's not facing the wall anymore but Will. And Will… well, the other man has abandoned his side of the bed, successfully taking possession of Ethan's. Currently, he's lying so close to him that Ethan can feel his breath tickling his skin and his messy hair is the faintest sensation against Ethan's arm that's lazily sprawled over both of their pillows. They're not touching, though, as if Will's sleeping mind had been careful not to overstep that line. A fond smile tugs at the corners of Ethan's mouth; he's expected a lot of things but this takes him by surprise. He's careful not to interpret it in any way, though, because first, Will had only moved in his sleep, he wasn't consciously aware of it and second, who's he kidding, he likes this a trifle too much to just shrug it off and he knows he mustn't jump to conclusions. He doesn't feel the slightest bit ashamed when he nestles that bit closer to Will and sighs contently. Nope, he's much too selfish to let the only opportunity to be so close to him slide away.
It's been obvious to himself for a couple of months now that he's taken more than a simple liking to his ravishing teammate; to put it flatly, it only needed one look into those amazingly blue eyes to make Ethan's heart stutter in his chest (which he only realised belatedly) and a second look to have him falling for the other man (which he realised about two months after it happened). And of course it went down the usual road, work got into the way, plus Ethan couldn't man up the courage to tell Will so until today, the analyst remains oblivious of Ethan's feelings for him and Ethan remains a longing prat. (It doesn't help that Jane calls him a coward every time the issue comes up – which it does way too often for Ethan's taste. Even Benji knows but his promise to talk to Will, find out if Ethan's feelings might be reciprocated hasn't unearthed much until now. Which definitely isn't due to Benji's shortage of talent in that area and Will's excellent ability of closing up like an oyster. Needless to say Jane emphasises every time that the blond's unmistakably smitten.)
Ethan smiles to himself as he recalls their conversations in his head, his eyes never leaving Will's sleeping form; he's drinking in as much of him as he can get for he might not get another chance in the near future. For the moment, Ethan doesn't waste a thought on how awkward waking up will be, revelling in the present feels much more inviting. He's completely absorbed by the sheer cuteness Will's unknowingly displaying and his fingers itch to card through his hair that's shimmering golden in the early morning sunlight. And while Ethan imagines what waking up next to Will would be like when he didn't have to dread the consequences he gives in to his longing and absent-mindedly plays with the strands of Will's hair.
Will wakes slowly, his eyelids still heavy with sleep when he blinks into soft consciousness, the comfy dimness of the room prolonging his return into the land of the fully awake for another few generous seconds. Drawing in a breath he shifts slightly when Ethan deems the moment right to speak up.
"Good morning, sleeping beauty." The words are murmured as softly as Will's breathing has been against Ethan's skin when he was still soundly asleep next to him seconds ago. He's been watching him sleep innocently for almost an hour now, Ethan realises. How time flies.
It doesn't have the desired effect, though, for Will almost jumps, instinctively scooting away from him hurriedly. When he looks up at Ethan his eyes are wide and Ethan thinks to read shock in them.
Oh. That isn't what he was aiming to achieve.
Will opens his mouth as if wanting to say something but no sound comes out so he closes it again and instead just stares at his colleague – friend – (perhaps something more? Ethan has been thinking about this way too often lately) in utter disbelief. His eyes scurry between Ethan and the small space Will's been lying in, sleeping, and Ethan can see how Will's face falls instantly when realisation dawns on him like a rock hitting the ground.
"I'm- I'm sorry" Will stammers and his cheeks flush pink but Ethan's answering half-smile has him backing even further away, now exposing the space on the bed that he shouldn't have invaded like a belated alibi.
"I wasn't thinking." The apology is uttered out quietly as if to conceal the waver in his voice but Ethan detects it either way.
Ethan's smile surfaces again from where it has been fading. "No. You were sleeping." It feels like he's giving Will an alibi but it's not an accusation but a mere statement and his tone is gentle and warm.
Will swallows heavily, obviously not sure where to look and the blush on his cheeks seems to deepen a shade or two and the whole situation is so unusual (and apparently absolutely unexpected to Will) that it's just terribly endearing. Ethan's never seen Will so flustered and at a loss for words before that it's almost funny. The analyst's next attempt at a half-decent sentence only intensifies the sentiment and Ethan decides he can't have him hanging in the air much longer, he needs to do something about this.
"Will." He cuts him off, effectively also stopping any vague motioning towards the door, deliberately using his first name.
Will freezes. He doesn't dare look Ethan in the eyes and when there's a sudden arm wrapping around his middle his breath hitches in his throat.
"You know, sometimes thinking is overrated." Ethan can't count the times he's told him this and more than once has he been implying the exact same thing he's trying to convey right now but never did the idiot catch it. Or perhaps he's been deliberately ignoring it, Ethan can never quite tell when Will puts on his analytic stare.
Today, though, Will fails spectacularly at building up his mask and it might be for the setting – they're in bed after all – or for the sincerity in Ethan's voice, but what does it matter, really, when Ethan gets to see the whole storm of emotions battling for dominance on Will's gorgeous face.
Still, the analyst somehow manages to croak out an, "Ethan, I don't think-"
"Stop it." Ethan's voice is still soft although he really wants to smack Will for all the unnecessary thinking he does. This doesn't need thinking. Sometimes it's better to just do it. But Ethan knows he's got to go gentle with Will here because the moron won't get it otherwise and the last thing Ethan wants is to scare him away. Not when he's got what he's been wanting so close, right here in his arms. He marginally tightens his grip around Will's waist, pulling him that tiny bit closer. To his pleasant surprise Will lets him. Ethan braces himself up on one elbow, the other arm still wrapped around Will.
"Don't go" he breathes. "Don't make this mistake now, Will."
The other man simply looks at him and his face betrays him for it's open to Ethan to see how Will's trying to process what's happening here and perhaps why he hasn't fled yet. He catches his lower lip beneath his teeth, not paying attention to the cut that's only just begun healing.
And damn it. He's adorable.
Ethan likes to appear calm and collected and he does a pretty good job of it but inside his head everything's going topsy-turvy and his frantic heart is rabbiting against his ribcage. He knows one false step can cost him what he's been trying to build up for months but he won't let this opportunity pass by now.
He's known to be smooth and calm with everyone – except for when they're hurting his friends – but he's realised rather quickly that he's no such thing when around Will. There's something the analyst does to him and hell, Ethan wants to find out every bit of it.
Said man, who's been troubling him ever since their encounter in that blasted car in Moscow, is still staring at him, beautiful blue eyes wide and flickering between Ethan's own. Ethan wants to know what he has to do to make them shine and smile. He wants to know what he has to do to crack open that shell Will's hiding in. He probably shouldn't be wanting this but that thought is dismissed faster than he can blink.
Now or never, Ethan thinks and pulls tenderly at Will until he's lying on his side, now fully facing him. Ethan takes it slow, shifting so that the arm he's been holding himself up with is now free to reach for Will and he cups his cheek with one hand, the other again tightening its grip on the other man. It sends a warm, stuttering tingle through him when he feels the hotness of Will's skin underneath his palm. He must be right. It all seems so right. He can't afford mistakes.
During the whole thing Will doesn't move, doesn't even breathe and Ethan's pretty sure Will knows what's about to happen and he takes his stillness as an invite to shift a little closer still until there are only inches left between their faces and his vision is starting to blur when he looks at Will, searches his eyes for any sign of disapproval or – even worse – fear. He finds none and hopes he's not taking advantage of a shocked man when he leans in and ever so softly and cautiously presses his lips to Will's, careful to avoid the small injury, leaving them there for only a couple of fleeting seconds before he draws back. Only so much that their foreheads are almost touching, though, and when there's no change in Will's demeanour Ethan throws all caution to the wind and kisses him again, this time properly. When there's the sensation of hesitant lips answering to his demands Ethan can't help but smile and then Will's initial uncertainty melts away and he's kissing him back. Ethan's eyes flutter closed and he lets himself enjoy this for he's dreading what he will find when this ends and he's forced to open his eyes again. It feels beyond marvellous, in so many ways better than he's imagined. The hand still lying on Will's back slowly travels south searching for the hem of his shirt to crawl under the fabric and feel the touch of his skin before Ethan remembers that he shouldn't be taking it too far too quickly and he slides his fingers back up into their initial position again, but allows them to linger there. He lets it last for as long as he dares before he presses one last kiss to Will's lips and lets the touch fall away, drawing back again, not showing how his heart is racing in his chest. On the outside he's perfectly calm. When he opens his eyes and chances a glance at Will the analyst seems a little breathless and-
There's a frown on that beautiful face of his and fuck. Ethan's been reading him all wrong, this shouldn't be happening. This should be the moment where Will turns one of his shy smiles at him that make Ethan's knees feel like jelly. But he kissed him back, didn't he? So it wasn't all the way bad, right?
Is Will backpedalling now?
Will must have seen the confusion in Ethan's features for his own lines soften suddenly and the frown fades, leaving room for a careful blankness.
"I've always wondered how you kiss first thing in the morning."
This is what Ethan gets instead of the scolding he's already mentally braced himself for so it takes him by surprise. This is quite the change and the hell of a good one for Ethan's personal liking.
So… he's not been entirely wrong the past few weeks, he didn't only read something into Will's uncomfortable behaviour around him that wasn't there.
And then there's that smile, shy and beautiful on Will's reddening cheeks and Ethan knows this is jackpot. He offers him a smile of his own while his heart skips a few beats and when did he start to feel so giddy?
"If I knew it'd only take this goddamn safe house bed I'd arranged it earlier."
Will levels a disapprovingly lifted eyebrow on him. "Don't tell me you chose this on purpose?"
"No" Ethan replies truthfully, although with a grin emerging and a taunting undertone to his voice. "But I deliberately didn't push you away when I found you snuggling this morning."
Will snorts and his tone is only half mocking when he says, "Yeah, I figured that much."
Ethan eyes him for a second and almost deviously enjoys how Will's features cloud with uncertainty again before he teasingly tugs at his shirt and quips, "So, you still want to share my side of the bed?"
His smile might be a little smug and on the edge of seductive but there's nothing behind it but the deep desire to hold Will close. For now that's all he wants. For the future, well, Ethan wants to show him so much more.
When Will snuggles up to him for the second time this morning Ethan wraps both his arms around him, one hand travelling into his hair and taking up the carding movements again it's been disturbed in about half an hour ago.
Blessed be safe houses with only one bed.
(Will will later say that what he loves most about his relationship with Ethan is the sleeping because apparently, Ethan likes cuddling and Will has no objection to that. It seems a little cliché sometimes what with Ethan's goodnight kiss ritual but Will really doesn't mind. From then on the bed situation in safe houses is never a problem. Jane, of course, finds a channel for her mockery but they both don't really care. Not even about the remarks of what a cute couple they are which they ignore on a regular basis.)
(Ethan will later say, unembarrassed and with utter sincerity, that waking up next to Will and watching him sleep in his arms is the most beautiful thing he's ever experienced.)
A/N: Fun fact: The title was a coincidence. I was typing on my phone and when I wrote "blue" autocorrect suggested "blueprint". And that's how this fic got its title. Feedback is very much appreciated!