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Ben rarely spent time studying himself in the mirror, but this morning was an exception.

He catalogued them one by one: here, on the left side of his neck, was the suction mark where Ray's mouth had first drawn part of Ben into himself. Ben's fingertips traced the outline of it, touched it carefully, as though he expected it to burn.

Next he found two curved lines just behind the ridge of his right shoulder, left by Ray's teeth as he'd pushed his way into Ben's body. Ray had been so careful, so gentle, that Ben had let a groan of frustration escape. He wanted to be taken, opened, fucked, but Ray had been concerned about hurting him. When Ben had tightened around him and bucked up to meet him, Ray had cried out and finally, finally thrust deeply, and he'd bitten down on Ben's skin as he began to move.

The last marks were lower down, twin patterns splayed over Ben's hips, where Ray's hands had finally come to rest, the pads of his fingers finding purchase as he gave Ben what he had been yearning for all these months, months of stealing glances and storing up the memory of every casual touch, months of trying not to want this and failing miserably, because surely Ray could not want this as much as he did.

In the light of morning, however, the evidence pointed to the contrary. Ray had desired this, desired Ben, as much as Ben had him, and the proof of Ray's desire was written on his skin, an undeniable confession. Ben met his own gaze in the mirror and was startled when he did not immediately recognize the man looking back at him.

“Jesus, Frase.” Ben turned his head to see Ray at the bathroom door, his brow furrowed and his gaze fixed on the bruise on Ben's shoulder. “Did I do that?” He stepped forward, his fingers hovering just over the mark.

“Yes,” Ben said simply.

“Fuck, I'm sorry,” Ray rasped. He stepped behind him and Ben saw him look down, toward the bruises on Ben's hip. “I didn't want to hurt you –”

Reaching behind him, Ben grasped Ray's hands and placed them over the marks on his hips. Ray stiffened and tried to pull away, but Ben only pressed harder.

“Frase, what –”

Ben met Ray's gaze in the mirror and smiled. “I'm fine,” he assured Ray. I want to be different, he told his reflection, and watched his smile broaden as Ray's hands relaxed and warmed Ben's skin.