Ethan ached to be touched. He'd wake from dreams, hard and needy, his skin tingling from a phantom's caress. Memories of happier times would haunt him at such moments, taunting him with what he'd once had.
Enough nights of dreams and Ethan would find himself seeking out Ripper. He'd watch him from a distance at first, but always a time would come when that wasn't enough. That's when he'd let himself be discovered, when he'd provoke with words and actions until he got what he wanted.
When one is that desperate for a touch, even punches can feel like caresses.