|“|| “Do you believe in love before first sight, L?"
"Do you believe in love after last sight, Ethan?”
— Lena and Ethan before Ethan must commit his sacrifice, Beautiful Chaos
Ethan and Lena's relationship is one of the central plotlines in the Beautiful Creatures series. Their romance is forbidden since Casters (Lena) and a Wayward (Ethan) are unable to be together due to their incapability of making love without Ethan being killed - therefore severing any chances of true intimacy, marriage, children or a future at all. Despite all this, Ethan and Lena are determined to be together; enduring and facing many obstacles in their relationship. They are sometimes referred to as Lethan (Lena/Ethan) by fans.
Before meeting in person, the two had first seen the other in dreams they both shared; Ethan desperately trying to save Lena from death. However, due to how these were just dreams, they both just assumed they were nothing more than just so; dreams, and that the other was not an actual person. Therefore creating a fear of not knowing what in fact the dreams meant for them both. Not knowing that deep down it was faith, destiny that has brought them both together.
The two later see each other for the first time when she moves to Gatlin and Ethan, while at the basketball court, sees her passing by in her family's hearse, stunning him when he recognizes her. Lena describes this scene in Beautiful Chaos, saying that when she saw him for the first time that she "nearly crashed the hearse" upon recognizing him as the boy from her daily dreams. The two officially meet in person when Ethan narrowly misses hitting Lena in the middle of a heavy rainstorm. Though reluctant, she accepts his offer to give her a ride home since her car had broken down on the side of the road. However, neither of them brings up already knowing the other from their dreams.
Falling in Love
The two's relationship was originally established as a strong friendship. Ethan is the first and only person to truly accept Lena ignoring her family name to be evil in town. Lena often attempted, at first, to push Ethan away for the sake of his safety - this majorly done in the first half of the series - before she finally accepts she needs him in her life as Ethan refused to abandon their growing friendship. Since Ethan was the only real person to accept her upon her arrival in Gatlin, she and Ethan spent a large amount of time together often just sitting around and enjoying the other's company.
However, as time passed, Ethan and Lena soon began to develop a romantic attraction for each other in Beautiful Creatures as a result of their spending so much time together. This resulting in Ethan asking Lena out and her accepting; though they still had yet to become an "official" couple. Despite this, the romantic tension was still there and growing between the two; discovering first love. The shared their first kiss after Ridley nearly killed Ethan and Lena saves him, yelling at Ridley, "Get the hell away from my boyfriend witch!" leaving Ethan smiling - at least trying to - as he passed out. After he awakens in Lena's room, he finally reveals his feelings to a hesitant Lena - knowing the risks he'd take being with her - before he kisses her and she kisses him back. (This also revealing the intimacy issue for the couple since Ethan described the kiss as though literally being electrocuted.)
The Sixteenth Moon
During Lena's Sixteenth Moon, Sarafine had showed up; determined to make Lena go Dark in order to save herself (since if Lena were to choose to go Dark then those Dark would be saved whereas those Light would die off). In order to ensure of her daughter's decision, Sarafine makes a proposition in exchange for Lena to go Dark...a future with Ethan, confusing both Lena and Ethan.
This leading to Sarafine revealing how Mortals and Casters beings cannot share a life together due to the different species and genetics and that if the two species were to engage in any form of sexual intimacy, the mortal would not be able to physically handle it and, in effect, die during the act of it. Thus cutting off any chance of a future with marriage and children. Lena, enraged upon further being informed that Macon was not intending on telling her this until after she Claimed herself, sets off a earthquake and hurricane-like storm; releasing a battle between her and Sarafine.
During the midst of the fight, Sarafine (intending to provoke Lena into going Dark by making her lose total control of her powers) stabs Ethan, killing him. Lena, in strong heartbreak, makes time stop altogether. However, Amma is immune to it and offers Lena the only way to make it possible to ressurrect Ethan. The two then make a trade with The Book of Moons; Ethan's life for someone else's. At first, Lena believes it failed to work and sobs in pain. However, Ethan soon wakes up and says her name, clearly revived. Despite this, Lena is horrified to discover the life taken in order to bring back Ethan's...Macon. Ethan comforts a grieving Lena, unaware of how he was murdered and revived and lead to believe he was only knocked out, not dead, for that short time period.
Hardships in Beautiful Darkness
See: Beautiful Darkness
As a result of Lena's trade with The Book of Moons hoping to resurrect Ethan, the trade being Ethan's life for Macon's, Lena is left emotionally damaged beyond repair being drenched in guilt, which drives the events of the novel Beautiful Darkness. Lena begins to act strangely; no longer writing in her journal, keeping to herself, even blocking Ethan out of her mind. Ethan starts to gravely worry about her (unaware of the events involving his death and not knowing he was ever dead at all), wondering what has brought all of this on.
When Lena eventually takes off with John Breed and Ridley, he follows her. Completely determined to find out what is going on. In the end of the novel, in order to help the teenagers fight off the Incubuses and Dark Casters inside the Sea Cave, Leah Ravenwood, Macon's Succubus sister, goes with them. Inside the cave, John Breed can be seen holding an unconcious Lena. There are also a lot of Vexes, powerful demons of the underground, who are sent back once Amma, Arelia (Macon's Mother), Gramma (Lena's Grandmother) and Twyla (Macon's Aunt) arrive. Quickly, while the others are fighting, Ethan helps revive Lena.
Lena claims herself as both Dark and Light, killing off both Twyla, a Light Caster and Larkin, a Dark Caster (also Lena's cousin) since on her last birthday, Lena had learned that if she was to turn Dark, then all the Light Casters in her family will die and if she turned Light, all the Dark Casters in her family will die.
One night after the previous events, Lena sneaks into Ethan's bedroom wearing one of his oversized t-shirts that ends at her middle upper thigh and shorts underneath and crawls into his bed next to him. After lying together, she emotionally and tearfully begs for forgiveness. Ethan does without hesitance. Thus proving how much he truly loves her. They then make up kissing passionately (before Ethan must pull away before suffering too much of the physical effects of kissing her) before falling asleep together, once again reunited.
"The One Who Is Two" - Ethan's Sacrifice
After Ethan was ressurected in Beautiful Creatures, his spirit was brought back "too fast" and in result, he ending up suffering a severed soul as he was revived; one part of him in the mortal world and the other in the spirit realm. But, no one is aware of this, even Ethan himself.
After Beautiful Darkness and Lena had ultimately claimed herself as both Light and Dark and the balance of the Caster/Mortal worlds was thrown off course, Lena and Ethan came to the conclusion that a sacrifice must be made in order to balance things out once again; The One Who Is Two. After Ethan and Lena try to determine who was the One Who Is Two, Ethan has a vision of himself in a dried up grain field, watering it and making things better. After putting two and two together, he realizes what was being said to him...he is the required sacrifice. After demanding his loved ones be left alone and released from any promises they made in the past for his sake, he reveals his doomed fate to his friends and family the next day; horrifying them all. After spending his final day alive with Link, Liv and Marian, he goes to visit Lena for his final and last time. He writes her one last message on the wall of her bedroom reading, "I will always love you - Ethan."
He soon finds her at Greenbrier, sobbing for his required death. She recalls the moment she realized that she was falling in love with him and despite her emotional and hyterical pleas not go through with the sacrifice needless of the consequences, Ethan sadly insisted he had no choice in the matter; leaving her devastated. He gives her the map of all the places he dreamed of going to in the world as a token to remember him by and in exchange, she gives him her necklace. They then hold each other as Lena continues to sob into chest and Ethan silently telling her that he loves her. After this, Lena cries herself to sleep.
Ethan then goes to the water tower to commit the sacrifice where John Breed, Macon and Amma all eventually arrive. Despite Amma's attempts to help and stop him, Ethan realzies there was nothing to be done and goes up on the water tower as Macon forces her back as he bids his goodbye to Ethan. Ethan then commits the sacrifice, throwing himself off the water tower to his death.
Determination to reunite
After Ethan's death and sacrifice, Lena begins searching for ways to resurrect Ethan and have him return to the Mortal world. Despite grieving Ethan - making it rain literally everyday, annoying Link who complains he is starting to smell like a "wet dog" - she refuses to believe he is gone for good. It is seen that she has even refused to have him get a tombstone for his grave, saying that only "dead people" need those and Ethan doesn't since he isn't "gone". She is shown to rebuff anyone's attempts to convince her that Ethan is never coming back, flat out refusing to believe so and that he can. Lena is the first to recognize Ethan's hidden messages in the newspaper crossword game and immediately realizes that Ethan is trying to reach out for her so he can come back to the Mortal world, even though his friends and Macon are initially wary of believing this.
It is noted that Lena is alot stronger then in the beginning of the series, handling Ethan's death far better than she did Macon's, even though she describes through poetry she mentally creates that losing Ethan was losing her "other half" and is truly devastated of his passing. Although, like she did while grieving Macon's death, she was unable to actually write poetry saying it "hurt to even look at it" and "didn't think the world was worth it" since Ethan's death. It is revealed that she regularly made visits to his house, the water tower and his grave on a regular day-to-day basis, worrying Link who vowed to look after Lena for Ethan's sake. She is also the only one who for a great while, has faith in Ethan's possible return to the world of the living while the others, even Link, became pretty much set on accepting his death and low chances of ever coming back. After discovering Ethan's clues and messages, they all begin to help Ethan to return to the Mortal world.
Meanwhile, after his death, Ethan is also searching for ways to return to the Mortal World while getting used to living in the Other World of the dead. He is reunited with his Aunt Prue and his mother, Lila, who reveal that his death was never meant to happen; someone changed it so he would be forced to commit his sacrifice. He meets the man who changed his fate, Obidias, who tells him that, despite what he originally did, he can change it back. He explains to Ethan that he must go to the Far Keep and rip his page from the Caster Chronicles and "erase his death" which will bring him back to the Mortal world. However, to do so, he must go up against the Keepers - Angelus and Adrias among others - who are shown to be absolutely ruthless with those who come to change their deaths and fates, often punishing them in some torturous permenant way. Despite the risks, Ethan is determined to rewrite his fate.
After a long time trying to return, Ethan is finally able to rip out his page and returns on top of the water tower - now alive and back in the Mortal world - where he previously died. He sees Amma and witnesses her taking his place in death with the Greats, leaving him alone before Lena shows up. After seeing him, Lena embraces him and happily sobs into his shirt. After they pronounce Amma legally dead, Lena and Ethan continue to grow stronger through this experience. Also it is noted it no longer harms Ethan when he touches/kisses her, resulting in a newfound possible future for the two of them.
In Dangerous Dream, Ethan and Lena, who no longer has an intimacy issue, are no longer the central characters. They now can do typical couple things. Then, the focus is on Ridley and Link.