a/n: this is not only my first foray into the Pretty Little Liars fandom, but also the first thing I've written in nearly two months. It feels strange. I hope it doesn't completely suck.

I'm only up to season one, episode fourteen, so please excuse any inaccuracies or confusions that arise because I haven't seen the rest.

Set during 1x13, Know Your Frenemies, when Aria goes to Ezra's apartment that night.


no, it's not like any other love;
this one is different 'cause it's us.
Hand in Glove, The Smiths

They end up kissing on the couch, somehow. Their legs are tangled, her hands in his hair, and somewhere between kissing the hollow beneath her ear and hearing her exhale his name he realises that the way this makes him feel actually might just be worth losing his job over.

She grows tired, eventually. Her hands still, her body relaxes beneath him, and she smiles up at him lazily as she collapses down into the cushions of the sofa, eyes hazy with lust.

"You're…" she breathes without finishing, one hand moving up to toy with that lock of hair that always falls into his face no matter what he tries. He waits until it's apparent she's not going to complete her sentence, and then he kisses her once more, slowly and languorously, and then with a small smile clambers off her and stands in the middle of his sitting room, stretching out his back with a satisfied groan.

"You want a drink?" he asks her, and looks puzzled as she grins, rolling over onto her side to look at him better.

"I'm underage," she reminds him in a lightly teasing tone, her hair all messy on one side, "You shouldn't be sanctioning that."

"I promise not to tell the cops," he assures her, and then heads towards the kitchen with a wink over his shoulder. He pours wine into two glasses because it's that or beer and returns to the sitting room. He does it quickly, and he'd like to think it's being responsible or something but really it's just because he doesn't like moments when he's not looking at her.

She sits up to take the wine, pushing her hair behind her ear, and he finds the remote to turn the TV on and settles down next to her again. She reclines easily onto his shoulder and without meaning to he puts his arm around her waist, holding her there as if she might have the desire to leave. He likes how protective he feels, with her in his embrace.

They watch television for a while, more aware of the way their bodies fit together and the heat of the air around them than the characters in the show. His eyes trace the way her hair falls, the curve of her shoulder, the shadows her eyelashes cast on her cheekbones, and he can't help placing the odd kiss in her hair, scattering his feelings all over her.

Her eyelids start to droop somewhere in the middle of a talent show and it's not long after that before she's unconscious in his arms, face relaxed and vulnerable in sleep.

He presses a kiss to her temple and then, ever so gently, moves around until she's lying on the couch alone, with all the space she could want to sleep. He brushes a strand of hair off her cheek and stands for a while, just looking.

He gazes at her there with her hair splayed out over the cushions and he finds himself thinking suddenly how beautiful she'd look if it was splayed out over the pillows on his bed instead, her bare shoulders pressing down into his mattress and her eyes screwed shut as her hands fist against his back. But he only thinks it for a minute before he snaps himself back to the present (because there's quite enough wrong with this picture already without adding that to it) and smiles down at her when she opens one eye a sliver and raises a questioning eyebrow.

"Whatcha thinking about?" she asks quietly, voice slurred with sleep, looking up at him with an inquisitive expression he hasn't seen much before.

"You," he replies truthfully, kneeling down to be nearer her head, "Like normal."

She smiles, her lips curving upwards, and he bends to kiss her again as she lies there.

"I'm tired," she murmurs when they part, face sleepy, "I should –"

"Come to my bed," he says suddenly, closing his hand around hers, and then, "no, wait, not like that – you'd be much more comfortable and it's clean, I promise… I'll sleep on the couch. You could –"

"Ezra," she interrupts, smile creasing her face as she sits up suddenly, swinging her legs to the floor and giving him that impish little grin, lower lip caught by white upper teeth, "We can share the bed. No big deal. And if your morals find themselves too objectionable we can put pillows down the middle or something."

"You promise it doesn't –"

"Ezra," she butts in for the second time, grin widening, "It's fine. It's better than fine. I want to."

"You're sure?" he asks, just in case. She just smiles and pulls him to his feet, pushing him backwards in the direction of the bedroom she can see through a door left ajar.

"It's just a bed," she retorts, "one night," and he lets her take charge as she manhandles him into his room and shuts the door, "what's the harm?" before she vanishes into the bathroom almost immediately. He undresses, fast, leaving his teacher's costume in a heap on the back of a chair and finding a clean pyjama t-shirt and bottoms, finishing getting into them just as she opens the door of the bathroom. She's looking clean, flushed from hot water, her hair pulled back into a plait as she inclines her head towards the bathroom.

"I used your toothbrush," she says quickly, "I hope you don't mind."

"No, of course," he reassures her, tugging at the bottom of his t-shirt, "That's fine. Help yourself."

"Well, bathroom's free," she informs him unnecessarily, and he doesn't think to ask her about pyjamas before he's in the en suite with the door shut behind him, staring at his reflection in the mirror and wondering whether this is the good idea it first seemed.

By the time he comes out she's sitting on the right side of the bed with her clothes discarded on the floor beside her, wearing his pinstriped shirt and making him ache suddenly for want of her.

"You okay?" she asks in slight consternation, hugging her knees to her as she looks at him, "You look… I dunno, weird."

He smiles self-consciously, apologetically, and gives a little shrug, "I just – I like my shirt on you. Looks good."

"Thanks," she says quietly, and she worries her bottom lip for a moment more before she breaks the sudden tension, "I hope you don't mind, I'm kind of a right-side girl. I have a single bed at home but whenever I slept over at the others' when I was little I was always on the right. I can't sleep as well on the left."

"Ah," he replies, grinning wider now, "That's a shame. The right's my usual side."

She glances to the right and sees the stacks of books on the bedside table, The Great Gatsby and Twelfth Night piled up on top of some Hemingway and an unread copy of Lolita.

"I can tell," she informs him, tearing her gaze away from the literature and shifting her eyes to him, "That's a shame. Maybe we'll just have to share this side."

He's knocked sideways, suddenly, by the temptation of this suggestion. To sleep with her spine running the length of his torso, her legs intertwined with his and his face against her hair. It's like ecstasy and torture all at once, and he thinks it's something he might like to die of one day.

"I'm not sure that's a good idea," he stumbles out eventually, already moving to the left-hand side of the bed, "I just – I can sleep on the left. It's fine. The novelty might be quite amusing."

She looks like she might say something, but as she opens her mouth she appears to change her mind, and instead she just quirks her lips into a smile as he climbs into bed next to her, giving her a little private smile as he reaches down to tug the duvet over both of them.

He means to sleep apart from her. He really truly does. He plans to leave her untouched all night, to just lie next to her and let his morals toy with his mind until the sun comes up and he can be proud of his self-control, just for one night.

But then she's snuggling up against him, breath hot against his throat, her face pressed against his neck as she twines herself around him like a kitten weaving into his embrace.

"Aria," he says gently, unable to help the way his arms go around her to secure her against him, "We shouldn't –"

"Shh," she whispers in a voice thick with weariness, "Go to sleep."

He finds himself able to think of nothing else but the closeness of her body to his, how much skin they're sharing, how soft and supple she is and how amazing it would feel to just move his hand and touch –

He stops himself before he can do anything stupid, taking a deep breath and fixing his gaze on the clock on his bedside table, way over on the other side of the bed. He watches the seconds tick inexorably onwards, counting them and considering them until the need for her body starts to drift away and he can hesitantly explore the contact between them with his mind, drifting over his fingertips pressed into her side and her hair tickling his nose.

He slips into sleep quickly, breathing relaxing and legs tangling with hers unconsciously, and he doesn't dream about the nightmare tomorrow is going to be but instead inhales the scent of her and sees nothing but her dancing through his psyche until he wakes up in the morning, resigned to the fact that keeping her is worth all the lost jobs in the world.