Actions

Work Header

Should Be An Interesting Year

Chapter Text

Kurt walked down the hall of his new, all-male dorm. It was early September and the move-in day of his first semester in college had finally come after a long, pleasant summer. Sure, so this place was no NYADA—it wasn't any college in New York and it was just an hour or two from home in fact—but Ohio State had a theater program, and Kurt planned on performing at his best no matter where he landed.

 

Plus, he thought as Burt and Finn followed behind, carrying boxes and talking of football, he was really happy to be getting a new start. He was nervous too; it was kind of scary, living on his own and having to fend for himself entirely, but he couldn't help but feel excited as he dropped the box at his feet and slid the key card through the handle.

 

He couldn't help but feel like, after a senior year of losses, battles, and changing course, he'd finally made it to the next part of his life.

 

Kurt opened the door, however, picking up the box and taking it a few steps inside, to find himself staring at his new roommate apparent. He knew this guy. Tall, slender dirty blonde dressed in a shirt so v-necked and fitted, you just knew he was gay. Leaning back in a desk chair, legs propped on the desk, reading a glossy magazine and a mischievous smile painted across his snarky face. Directed at Kurt.

 

Sebastian Smythe.

 

Sebastian was one person Kurt had certainly hoped he'd seen the last of last year, the heated lead Warbler who hardly took no for an answer when it came to stirring up trouble, and trying to steal Kurt’s boyfriend, among other things. This was who was going to be sharing this space with him, raining on his brand-new parade. Great.

 

"Kurt," Sebastian said. His voice was like liquid going down Kurt's back. "It's great to see you again."

 

Kurt was about to ask what kind of strings Sebastian pulled to manage this, how he found out—but Burt and Finn walked in, causing the tension in the room to break and settle. Causing Kurt to resume his movement and drop the first box of many on the only spare bed in the room, pensively.

 

Burt looked over at Sebastian expectantly.

 

"You two know uh, each other?" he said then, to his son.

 

Kurt flushed at the question.

 

"We, uh." He dropped his voice to a whisper. “He’s, you know. That guy. With Blaine.”

 

“Oh.”

 

"Sebastian Smythe." Sebastian cut off their whispering by suddenly appearing, tall and grand and in their faces. He forwardly held a hand out to Burt. "Nice to meet you, Mr. Hummel, I was a—friend of Blaine's, back at Dalton."

 

Friend is far from the correct terminology, Kurt thought. He watched their handshake, scowled internally at the meeting of those hands with his father's. Who knows where they’d been, from Grindr to the nearest bathroom stall, in the last day?

 

Burt nodded at Sebastian, and did that thing men do when appreciating the firmness of each other’s handshakes. Kurt rolled his eyes.

 

"Did you two, uh," Burt said, flickering his eyes between his son and this taller boy, "go to school together, when Kurt was there?"

 

"Unfortunately, no," Sebastian replied, flashing his gaze over at a very tense-looking Kurt, "I transferred for my last year, but, of course, I heard all about him. Your son was quite the countertenor for the Warblers, and everyone knew that he and Blaine were very, very close."

 

As Burt asked some other surface-level questions about the Dalton show choir which then turned into football – come on, Dad, stop having bro talk with the enemy – Finn raised a clueless eyebrow at the growing discussion, glancing over at his brother.

 

When the light bulb clicked on, Finn cupped a hand around his mouth.

 

"Wait a sec, this is that guy." He no doubt recalled the second night of their West Side Story opening, when Sebastian had come bringing flowers for Blaine, in front of everyone.

 

"Yes. In the flesh."

 

"Y'know I could'a sworn they went all-league this year," Burt was saying to Sebastian now, on some other note. "But I'm no good with remembering stats anymore, not since the heart attack–Kurt?"

 

Kurt smiled and perked up at his father. He could feel Sebastian's stare was on him, too; he didn't want it there.

 

"We still have a couple of trips to make," Burt said. "'xcuse us, Sebastian, we're runnin' a little short on time here—"

 

"No, it's no problem." Sebastian grinned.

 

"Of course, right," Kurt quipped, as Finn and Burt walked towards the door.

 

"I'll just—I'll be out to the car in a minute, Dad," Kurt attached. "I'd just like to say a little something to my good old best friend Sebastian here, if you don't mind." He clasped his hands colloquially, and Sebastian looked amused. "Roommate agreements, general catching up, what have you. Don't worry, I'm sure I'll be quick."

 

Burt raised an eyebrow, gave him an amused, "Okay," Finn's eyes grew a bit wide; the two of them left the room.

 

Soon as the door shut, Kurt whipped his eyes back 'round toward Sebastian.

 

"Well if this isn't a fantastic 'welcome home' present than I don't know what is," Kurt said. Sebastian laughed.

 

"I mean it when I say that it's great to see you, Kurt," he said, leaning against the post of his newly-claimed bed.

 

"Really," Kurt droned.

 

"Really," Sebastian repeated, giving him a small wink.

 

"And why would there be anything good about seeing me?" Kurt asked.

 

"You know how badly I get a kick out of watching you squirm," Sebastian returned, biting the inside of his cheek. "Living together, sharing close quarters with you and that steadfast gay face.You can't possibly imagine my excitement."

 

"It's great to see that your leaky little brain still hasn't come up with any better insults for me than 'gay face'—"

 

"Ohio State?" Sebastian spoke again, walking predatory levels of close to Kurt. "Guess your big New York dreams crashed and burned?"

 

"And what of yours? They didn't burn. They just changed. Change is a part of life."

 

"And Blaine?" Sebastian prompted.

 

"We're still together," Kurt fired back.

 

"Cute."

 

"It is."

 

"Your disillusionment with how tied you two are is adorable."

 

"And your jealousy of the fact that Blaine never wanted you is so pungent that I could smell it from the parking lot."

 

Sebastian chuckled. "Blaine is irrelevant."

 

"Yes, he is now, isn't he?" Kurt sang.

 

"Here's the thing," Sebastian said, squaring off with Kurt before him. "Apparently we're going to be spending a lot of time together—"

 

"As little as I can stand," Kurt cut in.

 

"I plan on having sex," Sebastian told him promisingly. "On the bed, on the floor, in the shower, and probably on top of that pretty little windowsill, right next to your bed—"

 

"Well it's a good thing STDs aren't transferable through air contact."

 

"I know that you're about as prude as they come, so I'm just letting you know now, that this is a warning. I'm not up for compromise."

 

"Do whatever, or whoever, you want," Kurt said with a flick of his hand. "And when Blaine comes to stay the night I'll make sure to fill you in."

 

"Fine," Sebastian said. "Should be an interesting year, then."

 

"Enthralling," Kurt returned.

 

"Can't wait."

 

"Oh, neither can I."

 

And that was when Burt and Finn stepped in again, rapidly dissolving the tension. Carrying a full sized mirror, a foldable bookshelf, and several bags full of the contents of Kurt's armoire.

 

Kurt smiled and Sebastian moved away from his side, returning to the back half of the room and the chair he'd been fixed in before.

 

"Figure out some ground rules?" Burt asked, piling things on the bed, his back to the two of them.

 

"I think so," Sebastian said, nodding at Kurt from behind his book.

 

Kurt glared at him.

 

"Good," Burt said, hands on his son’s shoulders, walking him away from the fight. "So that means you can come back down, 'n help us get all of your things out from that trunk—"

 

Sebastian leveled his eyes at Kurt soundly, then once he was gone, smiled widely into the pages of his book.

 

This really was going to be an interesting year.

Chapter Text

For the first couple of days, Kurt wasn't quite sure he preferred state college to his familiar high school, but soon, he was finding himself adjusting to things. Starting to feel confident in his independence, and this chance at a fresh new start. He had most of his classes in the morning, and most were impersonal, lecture-based general eds, all two hundred identical students being talked at in a massive auditorium by professors, who kind of scared him, mostly because had to call them ‘professor,’ a word with such weight and pressure.

 

At a just-about-moderately-ranked school like Ohio State, Kurt was a number; as long as his parents paid tuition, the administration wasn’t going to hound him about showing up to class, or deciding to suck someone's face in the back corner of Bio 101, as Kurt had seen two girls blatantly do on the first day.

 

Kurt found it was nice being a no-name in a sea of thousands, and being one of the youngest people on campus. But he was nostalgic for the tight-knit community that was his former Glee club, the New Directions. Finn and Tina and all of those guys were guaranteed to be friends because of their obscure, extremely polarizing interest in harmonized show tunes. But, there were new cultures and worlds all around in this place, Kurt supposed, even if it was still Ohio. It's just that in high school, Kurt was the constant recipient of sideways glances and stares. From his fashion sense and exaggerated pompadour hairstyle, to the aura he was just born giving off, radiating it, Kurt Hummel was obviously gay. And at McKinley High, where the conservative and bigoted hiveminded, anyone who wasn’t straight was basically a leper.

 

Here, at first, it was strange for him to realize that no one cared. Unlike at his alma mater, he was certainly not the only out person on campus. There was a rather put-together, visible gay, les and queer community on campus, in the form of the Gay Lesbian Bi and Transgender Student Alliance. Kurt liked the girl he'd befriend during Welcome Week at the club booth for said alliance, Rachel Berry, well enough. Sort of. The loud and clearly self-assured brunette was a self-proclaimed “straight ally” and freshman co-director of the GLBTSA, and a musical theater major like Kurt, too. However, while he did sign up for the alliance email list, Kurt was so homesick for his old life, all he really wanted to do between classes was socialize digitally with Blaine. So that was what he did.

 

Kurt was hoping that Sebastian Smythe, former Dalton celebrity and overall pain in the ass of a clearly-only-child, would be scarce so that he and his boyfriend could FaceTime in peace. But it turned out he and Sebastian had similar class schedules; both needed privacy at the same times of the afternoons and evenings, but one of them was usually too busy (read: selfish) to let the other have it.

 

Usually that one of them was Sebastian.

 

Living with Sebastian was Sebastian interrupting Kurt's sessions with Blaine to talk and catch up with the boy he once failed to capture. Purposefully walking around the room doing background things shirtless, showing off that gold, long and able torso. Kurt really wished Sebastian didn't get to have that on top of many other things, like being some kind of millionaire because his parents were from Westerville, the most secluded and privileged neighborhood in the southwest-most county of midwestern Ohio.

 

It was Kurt telling Sebastian that if he left another god-awful, Steve-from-Blue's-Clues-esque striped polo on his Dior rug, he was going to burn the shirt and sacrifice it to the circle of hell designated for fashion-decency-rule-breakers. Also, did he have to be half-naked? All the freaking time?

 

Their afternoons usually transpired in a fashion such as this: at the start of the third week, Kurt walked into their room just coming from his only Theater class of the semester, and Sebastian was sitting at his desk in a thin muscle tee and jeans. Working on some kind of homework and singing the lyrics of a song on his Pandora radio:

 

“Baby boy, where ya at? / Got no strings, got men attached / Can’t stop this feeling for long, no / You makin’ dogs want to beg / Breaking them off your fancy legs / But they make you feel right at home now--”

 

Ugh, he would be singing that song. Upon hearing Kurt take a step inside, Sebastian turned around and flashed his devious hazel eyes at his roommate, giving him the slightest of regards. Kurt dropped his binders and books on his bed without grace, purposefully curt, and unwrapping the frayed scarf from his flushed neck. Garing at the way the desk light highlighted the curves of Sebastian's biceps, the veins in his forearms as he sang:

 

“Oh I swear there’s somethin’ when he’s pumpin’ / Askin’ for a raise / Well does he want me carry him home now? / Does he want me to buy him things? / On my house, on my job / On my loot, my shoes, my shirt, my crew, my mind, my father’s last name--”

 

Kurt tore his eyes away from Sebastian’s skin and focused instead on how deplorable Sebastian's taste in music was and how often he had to please, please ask Sebastian nicely to turn the volume down while he studied, or he was going to have to take his sweet little iPhone and introduce it to his friend called the washing machine, who lived just down the hall.

 

"Afternoon, Kurt," Sebastian said absently, eyes on his book, taking a break from serenading himself.

 

Kurt didn't dignify him with a response as he unzipped off his knee-high, navy, leather combat boots and stored them pristinely with the others, all sixteen pairs of them, underneath his lofted bed. He already wasn't having a very good day, realizing the first big exams of each class were coming around and he was humiliating nervous for his designated test days, it was going to be the first big measure of whether or not Kurt had what it took. He didn’t need Sebastian making things any more nerve-wracking, and yet--

 

"There's a floor meeting at ten tonight," Sebastian was saying now, over the sound of the loud, funky music. "RA came by, wanted me to tell you."

 

Kurt sighed noisily, removing his Burberry sweater and hanging it from his closet door hook.

 

"Thanks," he said, drab. "I already knew."

 

Sebastian watched Kurt as he sat down at his desk, which faced the same way as Seb’s towards the two twin blinded windows along the back wall. Kurt flipped through his Introduction to Theater binder, unhinged his papers and set them in an orderly fashion, then cleared his throat loudly.


"Baby boy, you the shit / That makes you my equivalent / You could keep your toys in the drawer tonight / All my dogs talkin' fast, ain't you got some photographs? / 'Cause you shook the room like a star, know you did--"

 

Kurt practically winced at the sound of Sebastian's steady, even voice holding a run on the last note.

 

"Sebastian?" His voice was mock-sweetness, pure venom, as he smiled and squinted. "We both know how much I enjoy your creepy, crooning, R&B odes to one-night-stands, but would you mind keeping it to a minimum while I study? I'd really appreciate it."

 

Sebastian chuckled, pressed the 'plus' button on the side of his iPhone, raising the volume. Kurt didn't know why he'd even bothered to ask.

 

"There's a library across campus for a reason," he said, half dancing in his chair, tapping his socked foot against the carpet.

 

"Look," Kurt nearly growled, "I've got headphones, you can borrow them if you need to, but I can't hear myself think over the sounds of this unripe, untalented, sex-saturated Congo-music—"

 

"Don't you think calling it 'Congo' music is kind of racist?" At the look on Kurt's face, Sebastian laughed. "Robin Thicke is far from untalented," he said then. "He's expressive."

 

"Yes, and I've expressed numerous times in the past few weeks that I don't want to hear it."

 

Sebastian ignored him.

 

“All these intrusions just take us too long /" he was singing directly to Kurt now. "And I want you so bad / Because you walk city / Because you talk city / Because you make me sick / And I'm not leaving / 'Til you're leaving--"

 

Kurt had to admit, it was less that this song was objectively horrible and more that he had some bad, bad memories associated with it. He'll never forget the day Blaine, his one love, stood up in the middle of a GAP and embarassingly belted this song--without changing the pronouns--to an unworthy and mop-headed three-years-older boy. Jeremiah rejected Blaine's advances, and while watching him profess his love for someone else, Kurt realized just how bad he wanted Blaine, sexually and in all other ways that there were to want a person.

 

"When I get you alone / When I get you you’ll know, babe / When I get you alone / When I get you alone--”

 

Sebastian finally lowered the volume as the last repeat of the chorus died out, and then stood up from his desk.

 

"For someone who's so into music, you could really stand to broaden your horizons, Kurt," Sebastian said, leaning against his chair, scrolling through his phone. "Take a listen on the wild side for a change."

 

"Broadway and occasionally off-Broadway musical theater score, my personal genre of preference, is much more substantial than the ‘wild’ and unoriginal garbage you know and love." He was grateful for the almost-silence, took a short breath, eyeing Sebastian judgmentally. "I bet you've never even seen a real Broadway musical, have you?" he said.

 

"No, but I know you haven't either," said Sebastian, to which Kurt raised his brows. "Don't try to play snotty-artsy with me, the only musicals you’ve ever seen are the ones you starred in at your backwoods high school, like the joke of the West Side Story performance senior year that was only saved by Blaine’s broad mass appeal, and that ass, of course. Let’s not pretend you haven’t only been to New York twice, and even then it was for the National Show Choir Competition. That you lost. Both times."

 

That stung more than Kurt would ever admit, and reminded him just how deep the thorns of Sebastian were in him. Sebastian was there last year, for the heartache and struggle of almost losing his boyfriend and his Dad in such a short period, and Sebastian sitting watching Blaine in the stands with roses as he played, and killed, Tony during West Side Story, that night and how much it changed Kurt's life, made him realize how fickle it all really was.

 

Kurt just stared at the other boy now, blinking rapidly, trying to regain himself.

 

"I've flown to New York with my dad on business dozens of times," Sebastian continued, walking over to the top drawer of his dresser, removing headphones from it, "and I can assure you that there were always better things to do than wait in line with hags and their homos at the Gershwin. Night clubs, twenty one and up bars—lusty Wall Street interns, fresh out of work—"

 

Kurt held his hands up unceremoniously.

 

“I’m going to have to stop you right there, Sebastian. If I wanted to hear about the life of a big city streetwalker, I’d watch Pretty Woman.

 

Kurt was ready to abandon ship or kick his former-almost-classmate/lousy-almost-boyfriend-stealer out by the end of that day, but unfortunately his attempts were to no avail. ("Not enough space," the officer on the phone at the housing office had told him, bleak.)

 

And anyway, once Sebastian quite probably heard Kurt speaking with the housing director, loudly and on purpose, he decided to take things up a notch, clearly.

 

“So, Kurt.” It was Wednesday afternoon and Sebastian was coming back from class, peeling off his jacket, tossing it a few inches over the border of Kurt’s side.

 

Kurt glared at the patterned polyester with all the ‘bitch’ he could muster, then turned a page in his book. “I thought we agreed that unless it was about business, you and your painfully regressive wardrobe were invisible to me.”

 

“This is all business.” Seb dropped his shirt near the jacket. “I have a new rule, for our contract.”

 

“Oh?”

 

“I’m assuming you’ve never heard of the sock on the doorknob rule.”

 

When Kurt raised his eyebrows accordingly, Sebastian grinned.

 

“To put it delicately, I’m having a guy I met at Scandals over the summer come over tonight,” he said as he rummaged through a drawer for another shirt, “and he’s planning on staying.”

 

As far as the vague promiscuous threats from their first dorming day together, Kurt thought he was safe, for a while. He thought that when Sebastian said he was planning on having sex on Kurt’s “pretty little windowsill,” he was just being, well, a regular pompous boy. All talk, no follow through.

 

Sebastian’d already had three guys over that week: Thad from Dalton, who Kurt went to school with while he attended and who he actually enjoyed seeing, before remembering that anyone who associated with this guy was probably also a rich asshole, and two other vaguely attractive Anglo-Saxons who'd introduced themselves as “friends” of Sebastian to Kurt, all while getting practically eyefucked by the man himself. But the guys had each stayed only an hour or two, and whatever transpired happened somewhere in a car or off campus, Kurt could reasonably assume. Apparently this fourth one was going to be a "stayer." What did a sock have to do with anything?

 

"Not only do I feel terrible for the poor fellow you must've scammed on and quite possibly drugged in order for him to consider spending even more time with you, post your first encounter," Kurt responded, "but I also feel bad for you, for expecting that I'm just going to conveniently disappear anytime you want to use this place as a turnstile to pay yourself out. You're clearly delusional.”

 

Sebastian laughed, slinging his new shirt over his shoulder, crossing his arms, tension forming in them. Kurt swallowed.

 

"Unlike most, and unlike you, I'm not ashamed having of lots of sex. I’m so good, I don’t need to get paid. I consider my skill set a gift to mankind.”

 

“Oh, please. Put a sock in your mouth.”

 

"The way this is going to work," Sebastian continued, walking into Kurt’s ‘half,’ "is that if you leave, come back, and one of my socks is stretched over that brass little knob, it means I'm giving some 'poor fellow' the best stiff hour of his week.”

 

“Ew.”

 

“Better than the ten sweet minutes you'd ever give to Blaine. If you were a top.”

 

Kurt tried not to let offense rise in his chest, literally bit his own tongue to keep himself from wailing that with Blaine it was much, much more than that. This wasn’t high school, Blaine hadn’t even seen Sebastian in months. He had nothing to worry about it. If he was going to last an entire year feeling this much anger, he was definitely going to have to pick his battles.

 

"Anyway, he’s on his way here now, so I’m going to have to ask you to clear out.” Sebastian’s smile was still brilliantly wide, undeterred. “I'm sure you can find something to amuse yourself with while I'm working. A copy of Vogue, a bottle of lotion?"

 

Kurt slammed his his book shut suddenly, rose to his feet to get his keys and things.

 

"How do men even begin to like someone like you?" he said.

 

"Stand by the door tonight, I think you'll get a pretty good idea.”

 

Kurt yanked his keys from their post on his bulletin board, in protest.

 

"It's not like I plan on a sock every minute of every day," Sebastian said. "It'll just be for casual instances, so. Don't get your panties in a knot."

 

Kurt actually groaned as he scrambled for the doorknob, could practically feel Sebastian’s grin burning the skin on his back, as he turned on him.

 

Kurt dialed Blaine's number the moment he got outside, and demanded Blaine give him five good reasons, with sources, why he shouldn't poison Sebastian in his sleep tonight.

 

 

 

In lieu of being able to Skype with Blaine in the privacy of his dorm room, Kurt spent time at Rachel’s that evening. She lived in the all-girls freshman dorm across the way. Dressed in what had to be an eight year old’s confirmation dress (why did everyone at Ohio State dress so badly?), Miss Berry was currently trying to convince him to go to some ill-conceived house party on fraternity row called “The De-Flowering,” and “Seriously, Rachel? This has ‘date rape’ written all over it” “It’s romantic! Like the soft, fragile petals being torn from a stem as he repeats, ‘she loves me, she loves me not.'”

 

The party wasn’t nearly as horrific as Kurt's imagined it would be, the frat house was beautifully large and antique and Kurt wished any of the meatheads who lived there had even a fraction of an idea how much the place and the stuff in it was worth, how little they were valuing it--but he cringed at the sight of people throwing up into potted plants, trolling in beer pong. He was only able to stand it for an hour before he told Rachel, who was up-in-arms with some particular very straight baseball player, that he was going to head out.

 

More than three hours had gone by since he'd last checked the doorknob with Rachel, before they left to go to the party. Surely Sebastian the Sex-glutton would be done by now.

 

He wasn't, of course.

 

Kurt waited almost another hour tired and standing outside the hall, tapping his toes against the cheap, rough carpet and texting Blaine a series of messages he would not answer, because he was asleep. While he was out there one of the cute black guys on their floor, James something-or-other, he’d introduced himself during the first week, passed and smiled first at Kurt, and then at the doorknob.

 

“Been there, bro.” He held up his fist. “Your roommate some kind of stallion or something?”

 

“Clearly.”

 

Kurt fake-smiled back just as Sebastian's latest pale ingénue was opening up the door to their room and stumbling out, clearly drunk. Kurt entered the room to find that an enormous amount of air freshener had been sprayed and that Sebastian was getting his things to hit the shower.

 

"Chlamydia's going to look fantastic on you," Kurt fired as he slammed the door behind himself. "I hear it's all the rage this season."

 

"Really, how long did it take you to come up with that one?" Sebastian looked more visibly irritated by the remark than usual. Seemed like he hadn't had the best hour with this poor guy in particular, for once. Kurt couldn't care any less. But, seeing him somber after sex for once was something; disturbance on the war front, perhaps?

 

Not so much. Friday morning, Kurt woke up around nine and automatically frowned at the sight of Sebastian across the room as he lounged in bed, with very little else but glasses on, reading. What was it he was always reading? Kurt slipped on his flip-flops and velvety robe, grabbed his shower caddy and left the room to take what was intended to be a somewhat fast shower.

 

But in the half hour that passed, Sebastian had somehow managed to put another damn sock on it.

 

"Oh come on, are you serious? Sebastian!"

 

Kurt stood with wet hair and a tote full of skin care products for forty five minutes garnering judgmental looks and pitiful chuckles from passersby until Sebastian finally opened the door, and James something-or-other shuffled out, giddy and red faced.

 

"Sorry, bro," he laughed carelessly, zipping his jeans up.

 

Kurt stalked in half-robed and furious, and Sebastian, shirtless and sweaty, laughed at how disheveled he appeared.

 

"Just so you know, I hate you," Kurt groaned.

 

"Just so you know, I hate you too," Sebastian answered.

 

Sebastian said he had something to do for most of the day on Friday, and Kurt was relieved to see him leave. Kurt wanted to attend the movie night event in the campus center later on in the evening—Blaine was going to be busy with New Directions practice, and besides, he needed to try and get out and meet people--but he completely dreaded the idea of leaving the room unattended for too long. Apparently it was dangerous to ever stop watching his back, and apparently, Sebastian could manifest hook-ups like water benders could the sea.

 

"He's done it twice already today?" Rachel asked Kurt of his roommate, watching as he hair sprayed his pompadour in his lit, full-sized mirror. This was the first time she’d been to Kurt’s dorm room, or the male side of the freshman quad at all. "How does he get so many girls to sleep with him?"

 

Kurt laughed. "Girls? You do know he's gay, right? Like, the gayest manwhore I think I’ve ever met."

 

Rachel laughed, too. "Well, it is true what they say: the hottest ones always are.”

 

"Gross."

 

The movie was interesting but Kurt could hardly focus on it, what with feeling like he had to go back and anxiously stand guard at his bedpost, to keep Sebastian from starting anymore sock-business. When he got back at around nine, his suspicions were confirmed. He was too late, and this time, the sock over the knob was disgusting. Once white, now grayed and yellowed, it smelled like the month-old fondue Brittany S. Pierce used to use on her webshow.

 

Now this has to be a joke, Kurt thought, fuming.

 

This time the man that walked out was older than the others had been, like, twenty years older, and he'd started at the sight of Kurt, ran out of the hall like he was seeing ghosts.

 

Kurt walked into the room to find Sebastian clad in thin, damp boxers, removing his also-damp sheets from the bed and gathering his laundry to take it down the hall. One of his sheets was barely touching the rim of Kurt’s Dior floor rug and it made the vein visible in his forehead pulse. He needed to remember to breathe. Arrhythmias were genetic for the Hummels.

 

"Seriously, this is just ridiculous, Sebastian," he tried saying calmly. And then: "That sock out there should be classified by the US Food and Drug Administration as deadly toxic waste!"

 

"Rule doesn't say that the sock can't be used," Sebastian returned, as if he'd written it down somewhere.

 

"Well y’know, I think we need a new rule," Kurt glowered, his voice almost shaking. He kept wanting to stare at Sebastian's long, long legs, immediately and furiously felt himself blushing at the shine on his muscles that were caught in the light. Gross. "About just how often you can continue to be sleazy. I don’t know if at this point you bother to keep count, but I've been locked out by you and your gallivanting at least three times in the last two days, and I—"

 

"Can't make a rule unless both parties agree," Sebastian interrupted. "Looks like you're still gonna get the short end of this stick, unless I say so."

 

Kurt silently fumed as Sebastian left the room, trailing his sheets on the floor behind him like a train.

 

Saturday morning, Kurt almost considered not showering. When Sebastian left for his shower, he thought about throwing a sock up purely for revenge. Instead he shot Sebastian the dirtiest looks he could manage all morning, as the silently two avoided each other, getting ready for the day.

 

There was a football game on campus that afternoon, and though Kurt cared more about most other things in the world than he did about football, no offense to Finn, Blaine wanted a live viewing of the state game from Kurt's close-up student section seats. Kurt kept Blaine by his side on his iPhone the entire afternoon, and it made him feel better about how awful things had been with Sebastian. It turned out that Rachel absolutely loved Blaine, too much, in fact, and again reinforced to Kurt that the best looking guys were always on the other team.

 

Kurt couldn't lie about that when it came to his Blaine, whose boyish excitement and big, heaps of joyous brown eyes he still enjoyed just as much even on the screen of his phone. He sometimes thought loved Blaine just as much, if not more, when they were apart. Though having him just a click away, in his pocket at all times, made him feel like they never were really apart anyway.

 

Kurt was having an astounding afternoon until he realized Sebastian was at the game, too. Kurt went to the restroom on a phone-break with Blaine and saw him standing in a concession line, with "summer Scandals" guy from Wednesday and a beer, objectifying and smiling at the kid like he had the worst of intentions for him. His hands were in the guy’s pockets, all over his ass. Kurt panicked internally when he realized Sebastian and the guy were getting ready to go now, and had it not been such a close game, if Blaine wasn’t dying to see how it ended, he would've run as fast as he could to the room to intercept his impending fate.

 

He just about wanted to throw something when he got back to the room hours later, and found himself locked. On the other side of the door he could hear the faint sound of skin-slapping, Scandals boy moaning obscenely. Had Kurt not disliked Sebastian's personality and everything about him to such an extent, he would've been genuinely concerned for the risks to his health for getting that much action. Sheesh.

 

He read something menial on his phone in the hallway until Sebastian finally let the door open, was walking out with his friend just as Kurt was entering, disregarding Kurt's existence as he quickly left the vicinity.

 

Kurt took two steps in the room and his jaw almost unhinged. Two condoms, used, and a pair of sticky, dismissed boxers lie on his Dior rug.

 

"SEBASTIAN!"

 

Several hours later, Sebastian came back while Kurt was in the middle of his Bio homework, which he’d only just recently calmed down enough to do. On the back of his assignment, he was also writing murder mystery musical plots.

 

Kurt stared in outrage to find that Sebastian had a visitor who was a completely different guy than the one he'd just been with before. Kurt stood up quickly, his red-hot anger burning in his cheeks as he tried to forget those sounds, he’d heard earlier.

 

"If you ever, leave any of your trash on this rug that’s worth more than your life again," Kurt raged, as Sebastian gave him a vindictive, crooked smile, "I will literally throw everything you own out my window, where it can find happily ever after five stories down."

 

Sebastian's friend chuckled as Sebastian just stared at Kurt, steady and smug. He licked his lips once, in a way that made Kurt feel on edge. What was a look like that supposed to mean?

 

"I guess this is your roommate,” the friend said from Sebastian's side. “I totally see what you mean.”

 

"Gets worse when he's PMSing," Sebastian said, not taking his eyes off Kurt.

 

"I am not leaving," Kurt grunted now, crossing his arms over his chest, indignant. "I don't care if you two have to use the bathroom down the hall or a portapotty on the other side of campus—"

 

"We'll be in the shower," Sebastian informed him. He gave his friend eyes as he quickly removed his own shirt, and then the two of them followed each other out.

 

It took one more morning of Sebastian somehow hypnotizing James for long enough to lock him out while he showered again, for Kurt to get in his Ford Escape that Sunday and drive away from campus furiously, trying to work through his complicated emotions at Blaine as he went.

 

"Hi.” Kurt was short and terse, when Blaine answered his wireless Bluetooth call.

 

"Hi, baby. You sound--is everything okay?"

 

"No."

 

"No?"

 

Kurt took a deep breath as he sped onto the freeway, remembering that this was Blaine, and Blaine was everything to him. He didn't deserve for Kurt to be cross with him.

 

“Sorry, not trying to be a downer. It was just a rough night. Again.”

 

"Sebastian still being Sebastian?"

 

"Yep.”

 

"How many times has he pulled the whole sock thing?"

 

"Six? Seven? Nineteen? Ninety-eight? You know it's an appalling amount when I can't even count it." Kurt turned on his signal, changed lanes. "He’s left me stranded in the hallway for hours all week, I’m telling you, hours. On Thursday I was so late to my Chem lab, the professor slammed the door in my face!"

 

"Geez. I knew he was, you know, bad, but. Not this bad."

 

“You're just lucky you don't live with him.”

 

Blaine was quiet.

 

“Anyway.” Kurt exhaled, picturing Blaine's face, those gold-brown eyes and that comforting smile. "What are your plans for today, beautiful?"

 

"Nothin' much, really. My dad still hasn't--helped me out, with the car, so. It’s not like I could go someplace , if I wanted to.”

 

Kurt pressed his heel down further on the gas pedal.

 

"Why? What are your plans today?"

 

"Sit tight," Kurt answered, smiling crookedly. "I'm coming to Lima to pick you up right now."

 

"Wha—really?" Blaine's shocked tone of voice was one of Kurt's favorites, his heart practically fed off of it. "You're serious?"

 

"Serious as the fact that I've been driving in your direction for fifteen minutes!"

 

"Oh, you. You always know exactly what I’m going to need, before I can even say I need it. Are we going somewhere? Should I put on a different shirt, or a bowtie, or--"

 

"Wear whatever you'd like," Kurt answered. "Just as long as it's not that god awful pink tie with those green suspenders—seriously Blaine, I don't know what you were thinking that day—"

 

"You took those both away from me, anyway."

 

"I did, didn’t I?"

 

Wow, I can't wait to see you. What a way to wake up Sunday morning!"

 

Kurt couldn't’ve agreed more.

 

"Do you need gas money, anything? I know you said you're short on cash for trips to Lima—"

 

"No no no, put your money away, sugar lips,” Kurt assured him. “This will be worth it, I promise."

 

Two and half hours later, after a car ride of Blaine giving Kurt heart-eyed gazes and Blaine clearly becoming more and more excitedly anxious as to what was in store for him at Kurt's place, Kurt let Blaine into the dorm with his key, and—

 

Perfect. Sebastian was gone now, just like he had been at this time on Sunday morning last.

 

Kurt dropped his things on Sebastian’s side of the room as Blaine took a look around, probably noting Kurt's extravagant, mauve and maroon-colored side, versus Sebastian's generic, navy-and-black themed side.

 

"I can't wait 'til I get to live on my own like you," Blaine said, fingers fixing to loosen his bow tie. Kurt smiled, feeling a little tug at his heart as Blaine's eyes hazed over with a twinge of sadness. Maybe a little resentment.

 

"Just make sure you get a solo room when you go off to college," Kurt said. "You never know what kind of narcissistic maniacal sociopaths they'll set you up with at random. They might even refuse to let you change that."

 

Blaine chuckled and eyed Kurt carefully as Kurt sat down on his bed, ran his hands in soothing little circles over the comforter.

 

"I've missed you," Blaine said, walking closer to him.

 

Kurt had heard him say it every day and every night, but in person, like this, it made him feel breathless.

 

"I've really missed you too," Kurt answered, softly.

 

Blaine sat next to Kurt, very close, tangled their fingers together.

 

"Are we—going to be alone for a while?" Blaine's voice was low, his eyes eager.

 

"As long as I want us to be," Kurt said.

 

Blaine learned in, catching Kurt's lips in a light kiss. Kurt kissed him back, ran his tongue across Blaine's lower lip, breath becoming shorter and hand running up his boyfriend's forearm, light to the touch. Blaine glided his fingers across the base of Kurt's neck, his sensitive hairline, and Kurt wasted no time pressing a thumb to Blaine's jaw, angling him just so, so he could slide his tongue across Blaine's, an agonizingly slow drag.

 

Blaine gravitated closer to Kurt's body, letting Kurt's tongue back in his mouth, sucking on it as it moved in and out of his mouth in a flawless, tempting rhythm.

 

"Mmh—you—" Blaine whispered as Kurt pulled back a little.

 

"What?" Kurt left long, wet kisses across Blaine's smooth jaw and then playfully bit the other boy's earlobe. Blaine grasped at Kurt’s waist as Kurt inhaled the warm scent that was only Blaine's, as he kissed love from his neck to his collarbones.

 

"I can't believe I've lasted even three weeks without you,” Blaine said.

 

Kurt moved back up to kiss Blaine's lips hungrily, then grunted, broke contact, and stood up triumphantly from the bed, nearly dashing across the room to Sebastian's side.

 

Blaine frowned a little as he sat up, eyes trained on his boyfriend's figure. “Kurt, what are you doing?”

 

"Socks." Kurt growled, nearly throwing Sebastian's sock drawer open. He bundled almost all of them in his arms, about thirty to forty mismatched singles, and practically ran to open the bedroom door. He threw them all out of it furiously and laughed as they landed in heaps on the carpet, littering the space before the door and far beyond it.

 

When Kurt came back in, face flushed and panting, Blaine looked a little scared, exhilarated.

 

"Are you—? I haven't seen you this mad since, I'm not even sure."

 

“Fantastic,” said Kurt. “Never been better. He's about to get a taste of his own friggin’ medicine.”

 

Kurt threw open his own drawer and grabbed handfuls of neatly paired cashmere socks, throwing bundles at Sebastian's bedspread and desk like he had intent to injure. He then slid the last of them over the knob outside, locked it, then climbed back into his bed, leaning in to bite Blaine's lips, and push him down under him.

 

Blaine closed his eyes, letting Kurt press his chest into his so that they fell back onto the bed. Blaine shifted to put his head against the pillow and Kurt drove his hips into Blaine's, creating slow friction; their kiss deepened and Blaine gripped Kurt's shoulders to pull their bodies closer. Blaine's hands were grasping and needy, nearly ripping into Kurt's shirt entirely and Kurt marveled at how good Blaine's hips felt against his already, even through thick jeans and thin cotton.

 

Kurt ran his hands beneath Blaine's shirt as he nipped Blaine's soft neck, fingers trailing over flesh and hip bones. Blaine began to bunch Kurt's shirt up, wringing it over his head and stripping that and his two undershirts; god Blaine looked so eager for Kurt, to feel skin on skin and heat and sweat, and it felt like so long since the summer when they'd practiced this every day.

 

"Fuck me," Blaine whispered, between Kurt's tongue in his mouth. "Fuck me, Kurt, please."

 

Kurt broke their kiss and propped himself up, leaving the bed and Blaine's panting body to retrieve lube from nightstand. He applied it to himself and kneeled on the bed again, staring into Blaine's familiarly lust-blown pupils; as Blaine spread his legs Kurt lubed up two of his two fingers, teasing them over Blaine's entrance, and quickly palming his own dick, emitting an eager, choked out sigh. His eyes never left Blaine's as Blaine exhaled and told him, like always,

 

"You're so gorgeous, Kurt."

 

His fingers entered Blaine to stretch him as willing moans broke from Blaine's kiss-swollen lips. Blaine tightened around his fingers, legs shaking and back beginning to writhe as Kurt entered a third. Kurt abruptly removed them, used the beads of pre-come dripping from his head to slick up the rest of himself, and leaned his flushed torso over Blaine's, aligning himself and inhaling in anticipation--no condoms needed here, they'd been at this for a while, and knew that they always would be—

 

He pressed his cock against Blaine's giving entrance, inching in steady and Blaine's eyes clenched shut, his voice made those same, lovely sounds that drove Kurt to temporary insanity. Kurt loved how Blaine always gripped his lower back to pullhim inside even further, to bring their hips even closer. Kurt picked up his pace, feeling Blaine gaze his stomach and warmth blooming in his chest in fluttering bursts, like his heart was on fire.

 

"I love you," Kurt said breathless as he still pushed in and out of Blaine; Blaine's legs were wrapped around his back and he was so in the moment that he was starting to get heady-dizzy, and everything felt right, everything—this was so worth it, staying in Ohio to be close to Blaine, Blaine would always be safe, warm, and worth it—

 

"I love you too," Blaine sighed back. "I love you, I love you—"

 

They came and collapsed into each other. Kurt rested his body on top of Blaine’s afterwards, heat burning all around them them, Blaine leaving sweet, breathy kisses on Kurt's sweat-slicked forehead. Kurt stayed put for several quiet, serene minutes, focusing on the sound and feel of Blaine’s quick-beating heart.

 

In a moment, Kurt began to smile and pick himself up, staring down at his boyfriend affectionately.

 

"What?" Blaine was doing the hearts with his eyes thing again.

 

"Nothing," Kurt said, running his thumb down Blaine's soft cheek. "Let's get dressed, I wanna give you the grand tour around campus. Okay?"

 

As Kurt watched Blaine turn his back and redress, he realized he’d almost forgotten the socks just littering his roommate's bed sheets, or who his roommate even was, for that matter. But just then, with three hard, slow knocks on the door, and that voice mumbling something, he remembered.

 

He made quick, excited eye contact with Blaine.

 

"Go to that top drawer. I have an idea."

 

Sebastian had the dorm room door opened for him by Kurt only to have dozens of paisley-ed and argyle-ed socks hurled into his face from Kurt's and Blaine's grubby hands. That wasn’t including the socks Seb was currently standing in, very much annoyed, but knowing that he deserved this.

 

When Kurt and Blaine were done, and high-fived each other, he rolled his eyes, applauded.

 

“Oh, I'm sorry,” Kurt said as Sebastian moved past him through the door. “Was that enough socks for you? Did I get the point across, huh?”

 

Sebastian was too busy eyeing Blaine for a moment in distant, bitter greeting to answer, and that made Kurt’s stomach turn. Blaine was actively trying to ignore his eye contact and doing a bang up job of it.

 

"I'm not cleaning any of that," Sebastian said to Kurt presently, kicking off his shoes and purposefully, meaningfully, pushing them over to Kurt's Dior rug with his toes. "If your socks get left out there and someone decides that it's a free for all, that's your problem."

 

"Don't be silly Sebastian," Kurt sang, as Blaine chuckled and made his way towards the door.

 

“All the ones outside in the hall are your socks.”

 

As Kurt passed Sebastian out the door, Seb’s smile fell.

 

"This isn't over," he said to Kurt’s back.

 

When Blaine turned the corner at the end of the hall, Kurt paused, turning around and snapping, doing a sashay turn as if on the end of a runway, because Sebastian was hanging around outside their doorway, watching them go.

 

Sebastian definitely still hated that stupid gay face, and like he said, this back and forth was far from over, Kurt would see.

 

Sebastian was just getting started.

Chapter Text

If it wasn’t already fairly obvious, Sebastian didn't like Kurt much. He knew from the moment Blaine Anderson, former top Warbler, serenading dreamboat and one of Seb’s many potential thrushes, said the word "boyfriend” to him that he wasn't going to like Kurt.

 

To be honest? Sometimes he didn't know why he'd even bothered with Blaine from that point on. Kurt Hummel, that hanger-on with his soft voice, damn perfect skin and devotion to "high” (read: flaming) fashion, was so lame and hilariously predictable as a stereotype that just looking at him, even in photographs, of which Blaine's social media profiles had many, made Sebastian cringe.

 

He would be the first one to tell you there were many types of gay men in the world—trust him, it was his goal in life to sleep with most, if not all of them—but one of the types he always steered clear from, without fail, were the ones like Kurt. The musical theater and Gaga loving, domestic partnership having, old-fashioned die-hard romantics, who wanted to raise a family with the husbands of their dreams in picket-fenced, rosy, mediocre suburbs.

 

He didn't care how intimidating Kurt tried to come off, or how "risqué" it had been for Kurt to lose his sacred virginity to the only boy who had ever loved him, and surely the only one who would ever be able to stand listening to his shrill rants and harpings. Every time Sebastian ran into Kurt senior year, at the Lima Bean or in Blaine’s arms at an event with mutual friends, he found him boring and weepy to death.

 

His existence as a gay male, and his immature obsession with “true love,” was tiresome. Unless, of course, Sebastian decided to have some fun with it. Above all, Sebastian loved fun. Last fall, once it become clear to him that Blaine was into the whole loving relationship thing, Sebastian cared much less about trying to get into Blaine's pants and much more about pressing jealous boyfriend Kurt's buttons. It was compelling to watch the clearly overconfident Kurt realize he had someone he actually had to compete with in Sebastian. That was what it was about, Seb suspected, less than the Blaine of it all. Kurt cared about winning for winning’s sake; Blaine was just the trophy he happened to keep from it.

 

Them becoming roommates was completely coincidental, but Sebastian saw it as an opportunity when it came: a chance for him to continue trolling, after months of recess, the steadfast, stubborn reason he didn’t get to bang Blaine Anderson. What unexpected luck!

 

When he did those little things—the ill-timed socks, the dirty clothes on the floor, and the admittance that yes, he was watching gay porn on his laptop—it was funny to watch Kurt scramble to get him back. It was funny to imagine that he was right.

 

While he and Kurt used to and still have very little, if nothing, in common, there was this: they were both stuck an hour away from their hometowns together. Ohio State hadn't been Sebastian’s first choice, not even his tenth or a hundredth honestly. Preferably he’d wanted to study abroad, as in out-of-the-country abroad. He'd been in France as recently as last summer, and his desire to live there permanently someday was just about as active as his sex life. Very. There were reasons, however, that he couldn't travel there or anywhere that wasn’t local to his parents' vast expanse of Ohioan estate, for a while; reasons that he liked not to get into, like, with anybody ever.

 

His similarities with his roommate probably started and ended there, though; Sebastian was a pretty damn good singer, ask any of the Warblers at Dalton, where he crash-landed and cleaned ship his senior year, but he wasn't into musicals, for real, like Kurt was. Not at all, in fact. None of his long term career goals involved him being a performer, he was an International Business major. Sebastian took up vocal lessons when he was young and carried out with them through high school simply to be able to add singing/serenading to his list of many talents. And, yes, he'd have you know, there were many. The list consisted of things like excelling at academics (he’d had a flawless A average and perfect attendance since seventh grade), lacrosse, baseball, soccer, water polo, stunts, poetry, pole vaulting, crushing at beer pong championships and tying cherry stems into knots with his tongue. Plus, his personal favorites: bribing and blow jobs.

 

Sebastian Smythe just wanted to be known as a well rounded man, that was all. Not known for the fact that yes, he also fucked men, but for the fact that his work ethic, despite being raised by a millionaire, was superior. So far, he thought was succeeding at life.

 

Needed a little bit of something to knock him down.

 

 

The GLBTSA held a mixer for the freshmen and transfers that Friday night. Kurt stood with with Rachel, a few other freshman girls, and a boy by the name of Chandler, each of whom all chirped and argued about who the best Elpheba on Broadway was, since it was currently making its tour. Other than giving his two cents (okay, a thousand bucks) about Idina Menzel, he was zoned out on the conversation, his eyes were fixated on Sebastian's tall, intrusive figure moving about in the room. When Kurt saw him here, when he arrived, he felt like throwing himself off a cliff. Okay, or just walking out and going back upstairs, considering this attempt at socializing without a critical audience a bust. He stayed, but almost the whole night, he couldn’t keep his eyes off Sebastian, watching him, suspicious. Which one of these guys was he going to gimmick into a facade of intimacy this time?

 

It annoyed him that Sebastian looked so comfortable and at ease here, so seemingly charming (if only they knew) with his stories from his transatlantic vacation this summer, his knack for conversation, and that face; oh, Kurt hated him, but objectively, Sebastian just naturally had the kind of face that movie stars paid thousands for.

 

This event was supposed to be Kurt's thing, tonight, Sebastian didn't even like public gay pop culture, he'd said it himself to Kurt just the day before. This was supposed to be the thing about going to such a huge state school, far from the little Lima cul-de-sac where he grew up: even if he did know a classmate or three here by name, the odds of him seeing them unless he wanted to were supposed to be zero.

 

Every time Sebastian caught him watching him he darted his gaze over, smiled, winked. Kurt rolled his eyes or turned his back, and when Rachel asked him, "What's your roommate doing here? I thought you said he wasn’t into gay culture," he replied,

 

"I think Sebastian's only into anything that gets on other people's nerves. Like mine."

 

Sebastian had very little agenda at the mixer besides that he hoped (and would turn out to be right) that it might get him laid at some point in the future. After exchanging a few numbers, thinking he might try that junior from the men’s volleyball team later on this evening, Sebastian left the mixer, relatively early.

 

Once he was out of the room, Kurt felt a bit more relaxed, like he could unclench. However, there was the fact that this Chandler boy was a bit too friendly, and eager. He was sweet, dorky-cute and the horn-rimmed glasses were really a nice touch, and he shared Kurt’s intense love of Patti Lupone’s musicals for some reason. When he asked for Kurt's number just before he had to leave, the thought of giving it to him crossed Kurt’s mind, as friends—but he knew that having “friends,” especially flirty ones, in a relationship, was complicated. Said that he’d just see him around instead.

 

“Aw, well. If you insist. By the way, may I just say, your eyes are just spectacular. Like diamonds and emeralds and everything sparkling and good in this world.”

 

“Uh, thanks?”

 

Kurt almost wanted to laugh off and debate the compliment, but he realized that was because he had never really been in a place where other people—other men—would find him attractive. At McKinley he was considered about as physically appealing and date-able as one of those wrinkly, plastic troll dolls. Except, of course, to Blaine, but Blaine was from another school. Clearly there was something in the water of the out-of-towners, and Kurt had always considered himself lucky to have kept the eye of someone as classically good-looking (and dare he say straight-acting?) as Blaine for so long.

 

Kurt tried to stay in as amicable of spirits as he could until he felt it appropriate to leave the mixer, drained from the social interaction. At around midnight, when he got to the room, he found all the lights off save for the one on Sebastian's desk. Sebastian was shirtless, etching something into a leather-bound notebook, his back on Kurt.

 

Kurt said nothing as he let down his satchel and began to unzip his coat, get rid of his many, many layers and suspenders, among things. He stayed quiet and eyed Sebastian suspiciously every couple of seconds, wondering why he hadn't so much as even glanced in Kurt's direction, hurled an insult at his clothing choices today yet.

 

Then, all of a sudden, he heard a slight groan and movement coming from Sebastian's mattress.

 

There was suddenly a dark-haired boy in it that Kurt must’ve missed the first glance over, covered up to the shoulders in Sebastian's sheets. When he turned over onto his back, eyes still closed, Kurt almost jumped a little; he realized that his hair was curly like Blaine’s, and in the dark, he almost resembled Blaine, and that made his heart sink fast. The thought of finding Blaine in bed with Sebastian was no stranger to the back of his mind.

 

Kurt took his silk pajamas to the bathroom to change. Came back, ready for bed. The stranger was still bundled up in Sebastian's bed. Kurt sighed loud enough for Sebastian to turn around.

 

"Do you still need the lights on?" Kurt said.

 

Sebastian looked first at the digital clock on his desk, as if to imply that it was early, and then back at Kurt.

 

"I'll turn it off when I'm done."

 

Kurt made a dissatisfied face and crawled into bed, facing towards the wall and covering his eyes with a silk mask. Yes the mask made it dark even with the light on, but not pitch dark, he liked things a certain way and why shouldn’t he get to have them sometimes?

 

And now that he was in bed, he wasn't tired. That was usually how sleep went these days. It got very cold in this room at night so Kurt bundled himself in his down comforter extra tight, just lying there. Nothing beat the feeling of Blaine's arms around him to keep him warm, as he slept. He so sorely missed the days when Blaine was by his side nightly, and he might’ve missed even more, the days he used to be able to fall asleep alone. Those seemed far away days, now. Now, he was used to things, so used to the feel of Blaine’s bed. Sometimes it could take hours for him to drift off, when he wasn’t there.

 

Or maybe it was the irritating knowledge that presently, in this ill-conceived room, the light was still on behind him just wasting, or maybe it was the persistent, nagging distrust of ever allowing Sebastian to be awake in the room while he wasn’t. He hadn’t tried putting Kurt’s hands in warm water or drawing on his face or anything (yet), but regardless, Kurt found himself tossing and turning, the faint sound of pages turning behind him putting him needlessly on edge.

 

Just when he felt himself starting to doze off, after god knows how long, he heard a voice come from Sebastian's bed.

 

"Hey. I didn't realize I'd fallen asleep. I think I'm just gonna go."

 

Kurt heard Sebastian stand up from his chair.

 

"You don't have to drive tonight, if you don’t want.” Kurt tried not to notice but Sebastian's voice sounded—different, when he said that. No snark, less bite. "Really, I don't mind you staying here."

 

The next silence dragged on for what felt like minutes. This was so horrifically awkward, Kurt waited restless, anxious for the boy to respond like he was living through a soap opera. What was it like, being with and trying to make sense of a creature like Sebastian?

 

"Look," the boy finally said, lowering his voice a little. "I know that you're not just,you know. With me."

 

Kurt could hear the smile in Sebastian’s voice. "Yes, and I told you that from the start."

 

"I'm not—" The boy sighed. "I'm sorry, but I'm just not into this kind of thing, with how many other people you’re seeing. You're a cool guy, and you're really, really great in bed, but it's been, like, two whole months, and I feel like I still don't even know you. Hell, I don’t even know your last name.”

 

“Smythe.”

 

“I don't feel comfortable. Staying here."

 

Kurt heard Sebastian take a few steps.

 

"And I feel like I c-can't even—“ the boy’s voice faltered— “talk. When you’re in the room.”

 

Sebastian's tone dipped low, somewhere wicked. "You sure have a lot to say when my cock is inside you."

 

Kurt almost let an offended gasp slip. How was he allowed to just say things like that to people?

 

"A-ah, well—"

 

"You knew what you were getting yourself into the moment we met. In the bathroom, at Scandals, me making you scream into my hands over that mouth. Or did you forget. If you’d like, my friend here and I can remind you."

 

"I know, I know I came off like this is what I wanted, but I changed my mind, alright?"

 

It was silent again. Uncomfortably so.

 

"I see you, Sebastian, and I feel you. But I don't know you. And I can't keep sleeping with someone I don't know."

 

Kurt heard a zipper, keys jingling, and then soft steps towards the door. It opened, it closed, and Kurt couldn't help it: he opened his eyes and inhaled and exhaled, as if in some kind of relief.

 

Certainly loud enough for Sebastian to hear.

 

"Have fun eavesdropping, gay face?"

 

Shit.

 

Kurt turned onto his other side slowly, pushing the mask off his eyes blinking rapidly, attempting to appear as if he'd just woken up. Probably failing miserably. Sebastian had his arms crossed, staring at him from his side, eyebrows raised expectantly.

 

Kurt decided he was too sluggish for confrontation, cut his losses where he could.

 

"Goodnight, Sebastian."

 

 

 

The next morning, Kurt woke up way before his roommate, relieved for the temporary lonesomeness that brought. After his long, relaxed shower he gathered his things for a trip to the library, phoning Blaine as he walked through the breezy campus.

 

"Do you know anything about Sebastian's parents?"

 

Blaine hesitated on the other line."Uh, no, I don't. Why do you ask? Is something going on with him again?"

 

"No, no." Kurt switched his grip on his phone to his other hand. "I was just wondering what kind of humans could possibly raise such demon spawn. God, it's just sometimes, when he talks, I think, what would his mother say? Does he even have one? I mean if I knew that my son was going off to college only to become a world class, well, a world class porn star I don't think I'd let him out of my friggin' sight."

 

Blaine laughed, not so comfortable. "Gee, Kurt, wanna bash the guy anymore?"

 

"Oh c’mon, you love bashing him with me.” Well, he did sometimes. “You should have heard him last night, Blaine, I caught him in the middle of a break up talk that was much less 'break up' than it was something out of a dirty movie. Poor thing, whoever that guy was, he was just trying to get out of there and Sebastian was trying to hook, line, and sink him. With some terrible, down low talk about getting it on in dive bar bathroom stalls—"

 

"Wait," Blaine interrupted, "are you listening to his phone calls?"

 

"It happened while I was in the room! In person! And then he put on this conceited bravado after it was over and asked me 'why I was eavesdropping.’ If he didn't want me to listen, why didn't he just take it into the hall? It was like he was having the fight there on purpose."

 

Blaine sighed. "It sounds like he was looking for attention."

 

"His entire life is a cry for attention.”

 

He was almost at the library doors now; the last time he'd tried to walk in phone-in-hand, he'd gotten hateful stares from stressed out upperclassmen researchers, foreign exchange students, and underpaid, overworked, matronly librarians.

 

"I have to go. Library. Still really, really worried about these first exams."

 

"You're gonna do fine, baby. You've got this. You've been studying like crazy."

 

"I know.” Kurt smiled and sighed. "Thank you. Love you. Talk to you."

 

"Love you too."

 

It was true, he had been studying a lot this week. Turns out his homework load at McKinley had been laughably low and light compared to that of sixteen units at a four-year. He hadn’t felt this stressed out since his auxiliary stint at the accelerated Dalton Academy, for all of nine weeks. He wasn’t saying public schools were inherently lesser-than, but his hadn’t done him quite all the favors he’d needed it to.

 

One night he almost pulled an all-nighter studying for his bio and pre-calc exams—he'd been kicked out of the room because of the sock rule anyway, so instead of bothering with going back and forth, he just stayed there. He even felt compelled to turn off his cellphone for most of that time, so that he could focus.

 

Once the math and sciences tests were past, the second half of the week had Kurt gearing up to perform his first number, and oral exam, as a theater major. In his Introduction to Musical Performance and Production class, every student was going to be auditioning for that fall’s musical, Urinetown. They didn’t have to land a role or even sing, necessarily, but Kurt, who’d marathon-ed this musical on YouTube for months straight some years back, had a small shred of confidence he could land a part, even just as a background singer. It was small, though, very small. He was so much younger than everyone else.

 

His classmates all had assigned dates and times to audition for their professor and the senior student directors of the show. He managed to get a time slot that was the exact same as Rachel’s, so they were there, and Kurt was seriously trying not to hate her for her talent, for how recklessly she killed Barbara Streissand’s “My Man” to audition, and later become the second understudy for, the female leading role of Hope Cladwell. She was totally overbearing sometimes, and her dresses were terrible, but holy hell, could she sing.

 

When Kurt entered the room, he curtsied to the panel of judges.

 

“My name is Kurt Hummel, and I’ll be auditioning for the role of Little Sally. While this character is traditionally played by a woman, I believe my androgynous visages and lightning quick wit would me a unique choice for the part. I’ll be singing ‘Popular,’ from Wicked.”

 

“Great.” His professor seemed impressed, if only for the one-point-five seconds he ever seemed to get of her attention. “Let’s hear what you’ve got.”

 

Unfortunately for Kurt, the song that started blaring from the speakers was not the homemade CD he’d given the volunteer deejay backstage forty minutes ago. It was, instead, “I Just Had Sex” by the Lonely Island. Kurt was mortified, face searing and he hoped that by standing there jabbing his hand back and forth in front of his throat, the volunteer deejay and panel would realize this was not his intention or the statement he wanted to be making, not at all.

 

The music stopped after almost a minute.

 

“Is that all you’ll be performing?” said his professor, chuckling.

 

“I’m sorry, just—” he began to skipping to the off-sides of the stage, “there appears to be a slight mix-up with my music, just slight, you understand. But I will fix this, I promise you.”

 

He marched up to the volunteer deejay, who had his headphones on watching YouTube on his phone.

 

“Hey.” He snapped his fingers in the short, stubby upperclassman’s face. “Hello? Earth to disk jockey? What the hell? Where’s the CD I gave you?”

 

“Oh, that? Your boyfriend came and said you gave me the wrong one. Something about you were tired this morning, weren’t thinking straight.” He gave Kurt’s outfit a once over. “I’ll say.”

 

Fucking Sebastian.

 

And then, Sebastian was there, after it ended. It ended, by the way, after Kurt ran back on stage to offer to let them stream the song with an aux cord and his phone. His professor just smiled sympathetically.

 

“The point of the assignment wasn’t to land a role,” she said. “It was to get up on stage and make a statement, show your personality. You certainly did. I thought it was funny. Thanks.”

 

Sebastian was outside in the hallway as Kurt walked out of the auditorium, leaned up against the wall, texting casually.

 

"What is your problem?"

 

Sebastian shrugged, held up his hands.

 

"Don't blame me. Blame the dense kid handling the audio for this shindig. He’s the one who decided to trust me when I said I was your boyfriend."

 

"Yeah, about that.” Kurt practically seethed. “I would never date you, you’re a terrible person.”

 

“If it’ll help things, I’ll fess up to your teacher,” Sebastian said. “But not now. I have to go. I'm up.”

 

You’re auditioning for Urinetown?”

 

“Yes. Now you understand. I had to nail the competition.”

 

"Hey!" Days later Kurt had his cellphone pressed close to his hot cheek, listening to Blaine’s cheery voice and staring daggers into the back of Sebastian's head, from where he sat, watchful and alert, on his bed. "Did you find out about your test grades?”

 

"Yes. My professor somehow had mercy on me and gave me a C." Sebastian's audition wasn't successful either, so there was that. "But my math professor wasn’t so accommodating. I had no idea I was supposed to be paying attention in algebra three. No matter what I wrote down, that sweet old lady Mrs. Filikins gave me ‘happy face’ and ‘rainbow’ as my grades. At least I got an A in biology. Somehow.”

 

Sebastian was currently clad in boxers, hair still wet from the shower, arms and shoulders slicked up with some kind of oily balm, for massages and muscle aches. Kurt resented him and his cut body, which he would never have no matter how many times he worked out, for numerous reasons right now, but the first on his mind at the moment was that thing that happened earlier.

 

Sebastian and Kurt had showered simultaneously that morning, not on purpose, in the big, floor-shared bathroom that had each shower head separated with a mere flimsy curtain. It wasn't that uncommon to be in there at the same time as someone else on the floor—about thirty guys had to split four stalls—but up until that morning, Kurt had always timed it right enough to never be there the same time as Seb. Being naked around him? Too much vulnerability, unsafe.

 

This morning Kurt woke up late for pre-calc, had no choice, and knew exactly what he'd heard Sebastian doing. That first tight, exasperated groan, followed by another, then another, more tuneful and frustrated.

 

Kurt just about wanted to die when his own dick began to perk up because of it. Not because it was him but because it was just that time of the morning. Anything, probably—anything, clearly—would’ve gotten him going at that hour.

 

"I’m sorry it didn’t go the way you planned it to.” Kurt felt terrible, dozing in and out on him on like this. “But I mean, you're just getting your foot in the door. You're a freshman, you know? You have your grunt work now, and it’ll be hard, but there are still four more years to improve your scores. And, plenty of other musicals.

 

Despite Blaine's words of encouragement, Kurt was starting to get the sence he wasn't cut out to be a career singer. The let down of his NYADA audition began the decline, even as he still majored in theater in college. Even though Mr. Schue and others in the Glee told him repeatedly that he could make it, the logical part of him knew he wasn't going to live it: his starlit, childhood dream of belting it on stage in front of thousands. Not unless he changed the way looked, anyway.

 

That didn’t mean he couldn’t still love the music, and still sing on his down time. But he wondered, sometimes, how long his love would last.

 

"You're quiet,” said Blaine.

 

"It's just," Kurt started, but couldn't say what he wanted to here. He sighed. "I don't know."

 

Sebastian was completely ignoring him now, but yesterday, Sebastian's interruption to their FaceTime conversation had occurred when Blaine brought up a teacher that of course, Sebastian and Blaine had both had at Dalton. Kurt knew Blaine hadn’t done it ill-willed or on purpose, but for at least five minutes, he had talked right back at Sebastian amicably, laughing and recalling as Sebastian knelt far too close besides Kurt's bed.

 

Blaine didn't always enjoy the interruptions, most times he gave Kurt a little "wow, this guy" eye roll after Sebastian had slipped from the camera's eye. But still, that wasn't really Kurt's problem; Kurt's problem was that he was supposed to have gone away to college to escape, relax, and have time to discover himself. Growing up as an only child, he'd always had his own room. But now, he couldn’t unwind in his own space,  without feeling embarrassed about displays of his true feelings. Sure he could drive home to Lima an hour and half each way, to his dad’s house, if he needed. But his parents didn’t have the money to support him taking all those trips. It was enough they could even pay half of his tuition.

 

Even when Sebastian was making it clear he wasn’t listening, Kurt didn’t want him in the room at all, as he talked to Blaine late nights, telling him he couldn't sleep without his arms around him. Seb was there when Kurt was feeling stressed from a long school day, just wanting to curl up into a ball with his curtains shut. He was there when Kurt became outwardly, vocally, far too frustrated at the sight of Sebastian's fine jeans bundled up on his side of the room (and yes, it was just laundry but sometimes Kurt wanted to look at a clean floor, in this, in their miserable shared existence.Was that too much to ask? Clearly, it was.)

 

He was a person, with aches and pains as well as triumphs, and he was supposed to be able to express them in privacy. Sebastian, though? He didn't seem to have emotions at all. Most days he seemed a robot, even after a whole month, about as one dimensional and smarmy as the day he and Kurt moved in together. He didn't seem to be making any friends who stuck around, as in anyone he wasn't just speaking to to sleep with.

 

Sebastian was a lone wolf, levelheaded in control, and perfectly content with himself. He got away with being a jerk. And it wasn't, like, fair.

 

"Kurt?"

 

Kurt realized he'd zoned out on Blaine again.

 

"I’m sorry. I don’t know what’s up with me. Not having a very good start to the week. I'm not always this dismal about the future, but—"

 

Across from him Sebastian was finally putting clothes on. Staring at himself in the mirror on his closet door, stringing damp, gold hair through long, agile fingers.

 

"I just miss you," Kurt said. "A lot."

 

"I miss you too, Kurt. A lot."

 

Kurt closed his eyes, imagining Blaine's face.

 

"Life was easier when we did it every day together in person, wasn’t it?"

 

"Yeah. But we'll get used to it, Kurt. This is just, you know. Part of growing up."

 

By Friday, though, Kurt was feeling rather restless about his lack of a best friend and support system on campus. This and the fact that Blaine was going out with Sam and Artie all night, is what found him being dragged to another fraternity sponsored party by Rachel, and two other Alliance members he met at the mixer.

 

The party was off campus this time, thirty minutes away at some warehouse venue, and Kurt was dressed up in dark skintight jeans, knee-high boots, and a crimson scoop-neck sweater, complete with diamond-crusted broaches and chains. Rachel noted, as she let him into her dorm room to pre-game, that he might have overdressed for this, but Kurt didn't dignify that with a response. This sweater was Marc freaking Jacobs, and anyway, at least he wasn’t wearing a too-big dress made entirely out of pink plaid, and penny loafers. Actual, unironic penny loafers. Was this a costume party, and was she going as a twelve year old dressed as a grandma?

 

One of the people joining them, and offering to drive them all there, was Chandler. The beady-eyed boy who'd asked for Kurt's number at the mixer, had appeared a little frustrated at lack of said number ever since. Kurt tried to pretend that the fact he’d turned him down wasn’t a point of awkwardness between them, but it was; as Rachel and her other friend threw back vodka shots and argued loudly about music, and he and Chandler watched them, he noticed Chandler watching him more than he did the others. He wondered if he’d ever make a new, platonic male friend he didn’t have weird, sexual energy with.

 

At eleven they arrived at the strobe-lit club/party, which already sweaty and overcrowded. Their group waited nearly twenty minutes at the supposedly-ID-checked bar, elbowing other OSU students and then some, until Chandler could buy everyone (including Kurt, who declined) a round Everclear shots with his fake.

 

Judgmentally Kurt watched Chandler, the supposed designated driver, as he took both his and “Kurt’s” shots. Later on, the boy would try and fail to get Kurt to get drunk with him. "Come on, just have one shot. For me?" But Kurt wouldn't. He certainly felt extremely lame every time he said no, though.

 

Kurt did dance with Rachel and Chandler a little, since dancing did always brighten his mood But for the most part? He just felt like going back to his room. It was too loud to have a real conversation with anyone, so all he was was awkwardly shaking hands with the friends of Rachel’s he was meeting (how did she know everybody?), whose names he couldn’t even make out. Kurt didn’t know Rachel well enough to feel safe and put his guard down here.

 

Plus, of course, Sebastian was also here. Kurt had caught him at the bar earlier, his arm around his next willing victim.

At about midnight Kurt was teetering on the edge of his patience and boredom, watching as Rachel played beer pong against three random senior boys on the golf team, swirling the virgin Cosmopolitan in his red cup around. He kept feeling like he was being stared at, but it wasn’t coming from the most obvious perp, Chandler, who was actively chatting with two girls at the moment.

 

Pretty soon Kurt realized that he could see Sebastian sitting on a couch across the way, next to a short, vaguely Eurasian, dark-haired guy. He really had a thing for picking up dudes who looked like Blaine at first glance, it was unsettling. Said guy was just leaving his pursuer to get another drink. Sebastian took that moment to notice Kurt, smile and wink at him.

 

Kurt tore his eyes away. As he stood there, considering checking his account to see if he could even afford an Uber, (probably not), Chandler came out of nowhere at his side, touching his arm a bit too much for comfort, rambling about something Kurt couldn't understand.

 

"You did more shots, didn't you?" Kurt shouted at him eventually. Chandler’s breath smelled like it was two hundred proof. Why oh why hadn’t he driven himself here?

 

Chandler grinned and attempted to draw closer to Kurt, but he stumbled. Kurt backed away, and the next thing he knew Rachel was in his face. Taking him by the hand and asking if he wanted to do a "celeb shot" at the pong table.

 

"Celeb shot?" he repeated as the increasingly incoherent Rachel pulled him along. "What is that?"

 

"Shoot! Here!"

 

Rachel took Kurt's cup from him and handed it to Chandler, replacing it with the game's the sticky white ping pong ball. Kurt rolled up his sweater’s beautiful sleeves as he glanced up at the two hot but probably douchebaggy straight guys waiting for him to strike across the way, eyeing him not-so-expectantly. Kurt felt them judging him, but his  competitive nature motivated him to make this shot, prove them wrong. He eyed the seven red cups that remained, arched his wrist back, and flicked mocking the way he'd seen people play this tomfoolery on TV.

 

When the ball plopped into the farthest cup back, sloshed beer on the table, and tipped over a second cup with it, the people watching the game around cheered for him. He was more surprised than his opponents clearly were that he'd made it.

 

Kurt smiled smugly, and curtsied, at the bro-dudes across from him. Maybe this wouldn’t be so bad, after all.

 

"See that?" Rachel was yelling. "See? Beginner's luck!" Rachel leaned into Kurt's shoulder, grinning up against his collarbone. "Has anyone ever told you have magnificent ears?"

 

Kurt laughed, patting her on the back awkwardly. "No, because all ears look the same.”

 

He got out of her hug when he could, and then Chandler was before him, offering him his virgin cup back. Kurt took it and sipped absently, the bright cranberry juice and bubbles from the triple sec substitute tickling his tongue.

 

He swallowed down about a third of what was left, and when he finished, he found Sebastian was still staring at him from the couch, alone.

 

 

 

Meanwhile, Sebastian finally forced his eyes away from Kurt and mulled over the scene that he'd just caught. That freakishly loud beanie-d kid who'd taken Kurt's cup—Chandelier or something, wasn't it?—had just slipped a distinctive little pill inside the liquid. Even from yards away, Sebastian had instantly recognized it as Rophynol. He'd just watched as Kurt sucked half of said roofie down the long expanse of his throat, along with what he thought was just cran-juice and melted ice.

 

And, well, what was Sebastian going to do about it? He wasn't supposed to be giving a damn about Kurt Hummel's wellbeing, he was supposed to be at this party to scope out and challenge one of these new "questioning" college guys.

 

The guy he'd been with so far, some random who didn't dorm on campus and whose name he was constantly forgetting, presently returned from the bar with two shots of Patron and Sebastian's refill full of Kamikaze. Sebastian gave his "friend" a knowing smile, bringing the rim of the shot glass to his lips, tossing it back--but as the Patron burned, making the edges of his vision all blurred, his body hot, he realized begrudgingly he couldn’t stop staring at Kurt.

 

Sebastian felt on edge waiting for the first signs the drug was working, no doubt tearing itself through Kurt’s system as he walked around somewhat drowsy, unaware. This was bad, really bad, and moral conflicts were something Sebastian didn't do well with. He was an extremely selfish person, and in his mind, there was nothing wrong with that. If you weren't watching out for yourself, you got screwed over, in any way the powerful people around you could manage, in his experience.

 

Self-fulfillment was the eighteen-almost-nineteen year old's prime concern, the name of the game always. If people decided to get hurt or bothered by him not caring about them back, that was their fault. They knew what not to expect from him, as he always started any conversation or relationship off by making his intentions very, very clear.

 

And that was why he resented, so much right now, this compulsion to keep tabs on his roommate. To toss his intentions aside, put someone before them.

 

Sebastian pulled the boy at his side up to dance with him suddenly, just so he could “casually” move himself to the side of the room where Kurt was. He could see Kurt was wondering off from his “friends,” starting to trip over himself, and the problem for Sebastian now, as much as he'd fucking deny this to his grave, was that he'd been staring at Kurt on purpose, for almost an hour, long before the roofie had even happened. Had he not been watching him, bored with the conversation his current next fuck was trying to fiddle with, had he not been cynical and laughing at the idea of sober princess Kurt having what it took to win a game of beer pong, he wouldn't have even seen the disturbance.

 

He wouldn't have given guilt this opportunity to cross him.

 

Sebastian had this random guy, who devastatingly wanted him, pressed up against the wall, his hands around his waist. He could feel how hard this guy was, against his thigh. Telling him in his ear they should “get out of here.”

 

But one more flicker of his eyes towards Kurt, by himself, and Sebastian knew that he couldn't ignore this feeling.

 

He needed to get rid of it first. Now.

 

He pulled the strange boy in front of him closer, so they were chest to chest.

 

"Wait for me here," he demanded, trailing fingers down his lower back, scratching hard. The guy nodded and bit his lip, appearing to fall in line and obey as Sebastian handed him his new full cup of drink, telling him “Babysit this” as he left him.

 

He weaved in and out of the sweaty dance floor, all the while keeping his eye on his stupid target, who was now sitting alone on the arm of a loveseat, arms squeezed tightly around his stomach. As Sebastian drew close enough to notice details, he found that Kurt’s skin was paler than usual, if that was even possible, and that he was sweating and trembling. In a matter of hours, if that, he’d be passed out.

 

Sebastian pitied the way Kurt’s head was buried in his hands, remembered how bad that felt, to be so fucked up you couldn’t even stand. Sebastian put his hand on Kurt's shoulder and ran it briefly down the small slope, and to his surprise, Kurt stared up at him directly, through dazed, exhausted eyes, and held his cold-sweating hand over Sebastian’s.

 

Sebastian could tell by the way Kurt’s pupils were blown, unable to focus, that the drug had already taken him well under. He was screwed.

 

"You’re not Blaine?" Kurt shut his eyes and keeled forward, reaching his hands out to grab onto Sebastian's shirt for leverage. Sebastian hated to let Kurt’s hands touch him below the ribs and at the belt, like this, but he managed. Kurt’s slender fingers dug and worked into the fabric of his tee.

 

"You need to leave." Sebastian had to shout to be heard over the music, staring down at the shiny top of Kurt's luxurious hair.

 

Kurt shook his head, handsing Sebastian's abs and holding him tighter.

 

"I don't—" he attempted, shakily, "I don't know what's happening. Why is there lightning, flashing above your head?"

 

Sebastian looked irritably for the chirpy little Jewish girl he’d seen Kurt running around with.

 

"Who did you come here with?" he demanded, searching for her name. Instead of answering, Kurt lost even more of his balance and almost slumped entirely off of the couch. Sebastian caught him by both shoulders and propped him back up, as two girls sitting near this sloppy interaction got up, laughed and pointed.

 

Kurt's eyes opened into Sebastian's again, a hurricane of hazel, blue and green, a storm.

 

"What are youdoing here?" Kurt said, his words languid.

 

Sebastian gripped tighter around Kurt's shoulders, as Kurt grew more limp.

 

"Someone slipped you something."

 

Kurt didn't seem to understand this; instead he, confused, glanced back and forth at either of Sebastian's hands, probably wondering why they were touching him, like this. But far too out of it to even protest. Maybe in the state he was in, he even—liked them there. The pressure against his skin in the midst of feeling like he was floating in the dark, completely sick.

 

Sebastian wanted so badly to leave him here, couldn't stand unironically helping this kid. He wanted to take his hands off of the whiny, effeminate show queen who’d once said Sebastian was “a trashy waste of human existence”Blaine told Sebastian more about Kurt than Sebastian thought Kurt would ever realize

 

But now Kurt was staring deep into his eyes, and he wasn’t all that sober himself, feeling a lump form rapidly in his throat.

 

This was the wrong time to realize that Kurt’s eyes were sort of thrilling.

 

"You got drugged," Sebastian said again, louder this time.

 

Kurt sighed, shaking his head. "It's—I'm not—"

 

"You need someone to take you back to school."

 

Sebastian stood up then, letting Kurt halfway-pass-out against him and lean his head up against Sebastian's abdomen. Sebastian let him stay there as little as the image of him did for his perverted mind, as he stood still, searching the venue one last time for the little Jewish girl. He presently found Rachel Berry at the side of a friend who was throwing up violently in a corner. Rachel herself was drunk-crying, trying to avert the attention of the people who were staring.

 

This party was a hot fucking mess.

 

The only other reprieve for handling this alone would be for Sebastian to confront the doer Chandler, but he could fight that prick right about now. He didn’t need that little street urchin distracting him. Sebastian was despicable and all, with more schmoozing skills than actual character, but even he would never, ever roofie someone. Ever. That was fucking cheating.

 

He’d deal with a guy like that later—would he? Fuck that, he needed to get his priorities in order

 

Sebastian’s massive alcohol tolerance, which he’d been polishing since he was twelve, hadn't had enough to make him incompatible with the wheel, so he was going to hate himself, really, for what he was about to do.

 

And he swore, he would murder Kurt if he threw up in his brand new car.

 

"Get up."

 

Sebastian’s order came harsher and louder than he’d planned on, and at it, Kurt pressed his lips together and tried to get some leverage, his hands almost comically dragging down so hard on Sebastian's shirt, it was sliding and near-tearing well past his sternum. He was going to fall the second he got anywhere near to being on both feet, so Sebastian, stopping this nonsense, lifted him up by his arms and threw one over his neck, so he could carry Kurt pretty much entirely with his shoulder.

 

Though Kurt was attempting to make messy, miscalculated steps in time with him, Sebastian was doing the real work of steadily dragging Kurt towards the exit doors of the venue. He hadn't seen the guy he'd been with earlier leave, but could only figure. Now it was Kurt's body to which he was somehow close tonight, too close as Sebastian had a hand gripped tight around Kurt's trim little waist, Kurt's head resting lazy against his collarbone.

 

"We’re going?" Kurt tried to look up at the person who was saving him, but instead, his wet lips gently grazed Sebastian's neck. Sebastian tensed.

 

"Don't talk," Sebastian groaned, hoisting Kurt up further. "You don't know what's going on and you won't remember a lick of this tomorrow. You don’t want to regret anything you might say to me."

 

Sebastian disregarded the cat calls and whistles from the frat guys at the door as he passed through, eventually graduated to carrying Kurt on his back all the way through the parking lot.

 

He fished his keys out of his back pocket aimed them at his all-black, push-to-start, eighty thousand dollar car. Seriously, if Kurt hurled, he’d scalp him, maybe turn the hair on his head into a wig—

 

He spread Kurt down across his back seat, turning him over onto his side being careful not to touch him anywhere that might even remotely be suggestive. Kurt was panting, frowning through shut eyes, beginning to gag a little already.

 

"What’s happening? Why are so many stars out?”

 

Sebastian didn't bother trying to make sense of Kurt in this state and shut the door, gliding around to the driver's side. Started up the car fast and, as soon as he was able, sped into the night at a hundred mph.

 

He ignored Kurt's faint groans and moans as his sleek car slid down the empty one way street. They were on a nearly unpaved road way outside of the Ohio State campus area, with very little civilization; no street lights lined them and dead grass stretched out on either side, the half moon in the sky the only light, the only comfort.

 

Sebastian just really didn't want him to throw up. He'd dump him on the street and he wouldn't come back—

 

He'd almost made it to a cross street and a ramp onto the freeway but, as fate would have it, his battery started cutting out, died just before he could get there. Fuck. He glared at his charge gage, smacking his hand against the steering wheel and realizing the lever was way below empty.

 

This was why the fuck Sebastian never did things for people.

 

Sebastian groaned to himself in his seat, clicked his hazards on, staring at Kurt through the rear view mirror. He’d definitely blame this on Kurt entirely in the morning, and not on the fact that he’d been too impatient, restive to get to that party, to stop at an electric charging station earlier on. It's not like the bumfuck middle of nowhere that was Ohio had that many. Kurt had stopped moving as much, eyes shut and lips parted, so Sebastian got out and opened the door to the back seat, leaning into its opening.

 

He gave Kurt’s vital signs a once over, okay, a thrice over and determined the situation was not 911-worthy, at least yet. More time would be needed to assess just how much he’d been given. It seemed he was already sort of gently hallucinating. He might not puke and just pass out instead, but it wasn’t looking likely. He'd blow at least once, twice.

 

Because the drug obviously hadn’t been mixed with any booze though, he could rule out Kurt needing emergency attention from the sometimes lethal mixture of Zolpidem and liquor. He was breathing fine. He just needed to stay calm, and who knew what calling cops might do for the chances of that happening right now.

 

Seb fished into his phone for a certain contact.

 

"Sebastian?" The high school senior, Kurt’s boyfriend, was sheepish, mumbly-sleepy on the other line. "It's late, you probably shouldn't be calling me. I’m notinterested in, that. A-anymore—"

 

"Don't bother working up that ego of yours this late about me, Blaine. This is about Kurt."

 

Blaine hesitated. "Kurt? What's up, did something happen?"

 

"He's just about passed-out in the back of my car, and I'm done taking care of him."

 

"Passed out?"

 

"He got roofied. Do you have a car?"

 

"I’m sorry, what? How the hell did he get roofied, Seb? Was it you?"

 

Sebastian looked at Kurt, who was starting to move and make noise in the seat again.

 

I didn’t even know that the two of you were—hanging out, at this time of night—”

 

"Do you have a car or don't you? I told you, I'm done taking care of his ass, so either you can come do it, or he's at risk of getting worse. Much worse. I'm not staying up with him all night to make sure he doesn’t choke on his puke."

 

Blaine was silent. Kurt started coughing a little, and Sebastian felt himself growing angrier and angrier.

 

"M-my dad has my car, it's getting shopped—"

 

"So you can't come get him."

 

"N-not unless I stole my dad’s keys, but, I’ll—see who I can call, to give me a ride to—where even are you, is he oka—"

 

Sebastian's impatience got the better of him, and he quickly ended the call.

 

"I feel—ugh"

 

Kurt was muttering nonsensically again.

.

"If you have to let it out, crawl yourself out of this open door and do it at my feet.” Sebastian was now dialing the toll number for roadside assistance on his parents’ insurance line.

 

"Sebastian?" Kurt said.

 

Sebastian held the phone to his ear, glared down at his unoffending flower of a nemesis. Kurt was staring blankly at him, upside down.

 

"Hi. Yeah, I'm out of battery on Olive and Interchange, before the I-15—"

 

"I think that you're lonely," Kurt said suddenly.

 

Sebastian frowned. Moved the speaker of his phone from his mouth.

 

"I’m sorry?"

 

"I said,” Kurt paused, swallowing hard and closing his eyes again, “that I think you’re lonely," he repeated. "Mmh, it's so cold.” He was still trembling a bit, tugging at the collar of his rose-colored sweater. “I don't feel—"

 

"An hour?" Sebastian repeated to the phone call. "Are you kidding? For an emergency charge?"

 

"Where are we? Is Blaine? I want him to be here—"

 

"No, you don't get it, I don't have an hour."

 

Sebastian fumed listening to the dispatcher on the other line make up a bunch of bullshit excuses, like it was one in the morning and they were in a part of Ohio their techs “rarely serviced.”

 

"Don't give me that," Sebastian cut the man on the phone off eventually, he’d hardly been listening to his words anyway. "What is this, am I a premium customer here for nothing? Give me someone to talk to, a supervisor or manager or someone who actually matters. I don't care what time it is, sir. Transfer me."

 

Sebastian stared down at Kurt again, channeling a death stare that he knew Kurt wouldn't interpret.

 

"This morning," Kurt mumbled now, probably to himself. But then: "Sebastian?"

 

"What?"

 

"This morning, in showers, in the sh-hower.”

 

Sebastian, angry as he as, almost felt like laughing at that, and at his memory of this morning. He’d known Kurt was there, and hadn’t cared. Hadn’t known his prissy roommate liked to listen. So Kurt was the kind of drunk who liked to say things he shouldn't say?

 

Sebastian stayed quiet in response, waiting to hear what else Kurt might have to say of his rituals. 

 

"Who do you—" Kurt kept holding onto his stomach tighter and tighter, as if trying to keep it from coming off of him. "Who do you even think of? When you, you know? Come?"

 

Oh, god, that was it. Sebastian let it go, laughed viciously at first from deep-sated amusement, but then it was from—oh, what was this feeling, nervousness? Why on earth was Kurt asking him this?

 

Though, he supposed, this wasn’t exactly Kurt.

 

"I’m sorry, I can’t hear you, the drugs are making you incomprenhisible.” He’d heard Kurt say it, he just really wanted to hear him say it again. Maybe record it and send it to Blaine. No, that was mean. Yeah, he should.

 

"I would," Kurt began again, "never, never, ever, think of you."

 

Sebastian scoffed.

 

“Good to know.”

 

He rolled his eyes.

 

The man on the phone came back into his ear telling him that someone from roadside assistance would be there in fifteen. Sebastian didn't bother saying thanks and hung up, grazing his eyes over the lit screen of his phone and realizing he had nine missed calls from Blaine. And counting.

 

Funny how the tables turned in life, he thought. It used to be Sebastian calling Blaine late at night, going unanswered time and time again.

 

Sebastian decided, for no real reason, that he liked this, giving Blaine a dose of his own medicine. He slipped his phone carelessly into his pocket and watched as one lone car sped by on the otherwise pitch black expanse all around them. Then he gazed back into his open car door, at Kurt and his stupid, freakishly delicate face.

 

“I don’t understand what’s happening to me. Am I dying?”

 

Sebastian knew the feeling. He didn’t like to get into it, but the reason he’d recognized the roofie was that he’d been slipped it once himself. Kurt still had his eyes closed, still sickly pale and restless, but he clearly had a point:

 

"Please? I asked a question, about who it is.” Kurt managed to continue. “Answer.”

 

Sebastian tried to put Kurt's usage of "please" like that out of his mind, and his pertinent demand, “answer,” even further. He considered the question, instead. He realized that he never thought about anything or anyone particular really, lately, when he was got himself off. Maybe a faceless body. But he decided to keep Kurt amused with a load of crap instead.

 

"You wanna know what I think about? Boobs." Sebastian took his phone back out of his pocket, tossed it up and down in his hand. "I think about boobs."

 

"Ick.” Kurt made a face, gagged a little. Sebastian watched him like a hawk, at that sound.

 

"But you're gaaaaay," Kurt slurred.

 

"Doesn't matter," Sebastian replied. "I like what I like."

 

He would admit this to no one, but as he stood there in the dark, he was, well, scared. He didn't now what to do to make this any better.

 

"Boobs are weird," Kurt clenched his eyes shut tighter. "They're all flabby, and—milk, comes from—they're just weird, Sebastian, gross."

 

Sebastian let an anxious laugh break through the bitterness, but that laugh would be very short lived. Kurt was suddenly writhing like he was in pain, and then he was gagging consistently.

 

"Oh no, you, out of the fucking car—"

 

Sebastian reached into the back seat and pulled Kurt roughly by his shoulders, sliding him out and clumsily onto his feet as he started to choke up. Sebastian had almost dropped him onto his knees in nearby grass but, before he could, Kurt was already letting it rip. On him. It dripped and soaked onto his pants and in his shoes, and fuck if Sebastian wasn’t ready to walk back to the dorms at this point, alone.

 

Thirteen more minutes before the truck was going to show.

 

Once Kurt was done, got it all out of his system, he finally passed out completely. Sebastian picked him up off the ground and laid him and his barf-covered sweater back into the seat. There was nothing else he could do, but this. And maybe a trip to the hospital was in order, if Kurt really got worse.

 

But not before he changed his fucking clothes.

 

The insurance's truck came shortly, and once he was charged enough to go he sped back to the dorms with a dormant Kurt. He found that the worst of things seemed to be over for him and carried his little body bridle style up the stairs, into their frighteningly too-small room and didn't let him down until he was sideways, breathing, in his bed.

 

After it was over he practically ripped his soiled clothes off, planned on taking a quick shower and then probably drinking. But first, he decided to call Blaine back.

 

"He's fine," was all he said when Blaine picked up, after the very first ring.

 

"Where the fuck are you?" Blaine practically belted it into in his ear, always a songbird, him. "I haven't been able to breathe since you hung up, you seriously think you can just tell a guy his boyfriend was date raped and not expect a fight? Where is Kurt?"

 

Sebastian sighed.

 

"Calm down, I just said he's fine. We're both in the dorm, and he's asleep."

 

"People don't just get roofied and then go to sleep, Sebastian.” Actually that’s pretty much exactly what they do, he didn’t bother saying.This is serious—"

 

"Blaine."

 

All Sebastian had to do was say his name that way, stern and just so, the way he used to. And Blaine shut up.

 

Sebastian stared at Kurt in his bed, watching the slow rise and fall of the other boy’s chest.

 

"It's two o' clock in the morning," Sebastian said, coolly. "I'm going to bed. If you want to come up here and see him right now, dressed in a candy striper outfit to check his pulse, do it. Nothing's stopping you. Drive, run, walk. Find a way."

 

Blaine was still silent.

 

"And if you have nothing else to say to me right now, then, goodnight. Sweet dreams. I’ll take your boyfriend to the hospital, if he needs it."

 

Sebastian didn't wait for an answer and was mildly surprised when another call didn't come, after he hung up. But he knew Blaine had no way to come to the probable, dependable rescue; he had no car, no resources. Nothing but his worries.

 

Guess the "teenage dream" of a power couple wasn't so dreamy, Sebastian thought.

 

As he rinsed himself down in hot water, he jerked himself off in quick, angry strokes again, thinking about that faceless body, wishing he hadn't gone out tonight.

 

 

Kurt woke up in his bed feeling wretched the next morning. All around there was this awful smell, he was sticky and he couldn’t stop trembling, he was still in last night's clothes, and he felt like his body had been drained of everything good.

 

That was when it hit him. What happened last night? He had no recollection of leaving that stuffy warehouse party, of ever coming home.

 

"Oh my God."

 

The last thing he remembered was the beer pong table, the celeb shot and realizing oh well, there went the designated driver, might as well try and have some fun to wait this out, and Rachel screaming and Chandler hanging onto his cup while he played.

 

Other than that, it was pitch blackness, the dark.

 

Except, perhaps at sunrise this morning: a voice, and bright lights. Strong arms, lifting him.

 

Kurt winced and tried to sit up, finding that very hard when every move he made made his guts feel too queasy. The putrid, acrid smell around him was only getting worse, and through hazed vision, he glanced around the room and found Sebastian sitting at his desk, calmly. Shirtless and in glasses, appearing to be writing something in a notebook.

 

When Sebastian noticed that Kurt was awake, he smiled, wide and foreboding, shut the book.

 

"Let me guess,” his evil roommate beamed. “You're wondering how you got home last night, right?"

 

Kurt's stomach lurched as he watched Sebastian slowly stand, start walking towards his bed.

 

"Well, you have me to thank for that," Sebastian said, and that voice made the hairs on the back of Kurt’s neck stand up. “Out of the kindness of my heart, I drove you, wasted, back from that warehouse and all the way here. Didn't even get so much as a 'thank you, Sebastian' the entire time, or once it was all said and done of course. For someone who's so judgmental all the time, you could really stand to up your manners, Kurt."

 

Oh, god, not this. Kurt didn't get it. Why was Sebastian so mean?

 

"I wasn't drunk." Kurt’s shook his heavy head, in disbelief. "T-this doesn’t make any sense, I didn't have anything to drink last night"

 

"The barf stain all over your fancy girl sweater doesn't say the same.”

 

Kurt looked down at himself in disgust to find his latest Marc Jacobs piece completely destroyed.

 

He shut his eyes, sank back into the bed and tried to placate his nausea and gag reflex as he struggled to pull the still-vomit-crusted sweater up over his head. How much of that party was he there for? What had he done and who talked to him, saw him like that? Had he done this to himself, somehow? Or had someone tried to hurt him?

 

He so wanted to be home right now, at Burt and Carole’s quaint house in east Lima in his old bed from high school, still there. He wanted Blaine, wanted safety and he certainly wanted never to go to another frat party, where apparently you could get fucked up without even remembering. What was in that supposed-virgin Cosmo?

 

"Thank you, for taking me back.” Kurt didn’t look Seb in the eye when he said it, can’t even to begin to imagine how that must have been for either of them. Trying instead to folding the disgusting sweater while lying on his back, as if that would make it any less disgusting.

 

"But would you mind, just—please, please, leaving me alone about this? Forever? Seriously, this isn't funny, this isn't a joke.”

 

This not knowing, not remembering anything? It hurt him.

 

"I can't remember the last ten hours of my life and that would scare most people, maybe even people like you who have endless money and virtually no empathy for any living thing besides themselves. So please, just. Back off me, for once."

 

Sebastian took a moment to respond.

 

"Fine.” He seemed to be conceding defeat. “But just so you know, you didn’t last two seconds after you had that drink. Don’t start hemorraging worrying that someone cherry-picked and took advantage of your delicate little body, while you were comatose. I practically babysat you. Lucky for you, I was around.”

 

Kurt was much too sick, and much too tired, to try and contest Sebastian's recollection of the event, to try and have the final word.

 

Blaine would tell Kurt the story of how he got something slipped to him once Kurt had the energy to reach for his phone on the dresser— after a groggy, hour long, miserable half-nap—and found that Blaine was currently en route—after a confusing two hours spent trying to communicate with Sebastian.

 

As far as whodunit, there was only one likely, too persistent, too nice culprit, and Kurt swore never to trust another boy, besides his first love, who ever tried to flirt with him, ever. There was always an ulterior motive, always.

 

No doubt Blaine would soon come to Ohio State on the train, to look after his love. Gratefully, Sebastian was out the whole day.

 

Sebastian, who found a friend or another to stay with all day, didn't bother mentioning the Rophynol or the running out of gas, or the fact that he'd had to throw away his shoes from them getting puked on, to Kurt.

 

He didn't say a word about the moment Kurt's lips grazed his neck, those tortuous minutes he’d had to put his hands on him, the fact that it made something in him, however slight, ridiculous and reluctant, stir.

 

Sebastian decided that once Kurt found out what happened exactly for himself, post hospital visit and Blaine’s heavy petting, only then he might, just might, tell him his side of the story. The truth was he had stayed up all night for Kurt, checking his breathing periodically whilst sipping on a fifth of Corvoisier. He didn’t like Kurt much but he just simply couldn’t have it on his conscious, letting the kid die from this sort of freak of an accident.

 

Dying by some other way, by Sebastian’s own hand some day, as payback for this, sure. Until then, he was waiting for Blaine’s sleek and shiny gelled self to wander his way in. He finally did at around seven thirty, wearing sweatpants, a duffel on his back, as Kurt slept soundly.

 

“Good morning.” Sebastian tipped his bottle up, cheers-ing him. “You’re late. I’d start by taking him to someone who’s a doctor. I’d have done it, but I’ve practically bathed myself in cognac. He has a long day ahead of him."

 

Blaine looked, and sounded, exhausted. "Who was it?"

 

"Some loser named Chandler."

 

For now, Sebastian wanted to grapple with the facts of last night as little as possible. No more frat parties for him for a while, either.

 

Chapter Text

This is one of the stranger injuries of assault via roofie: the healing process never quite feels complete, because you've been robbed of your ability to narrate and reclaim your experience. Luckily for Kurt, he spent the morning following the incident being doted on hand and foot by Blaine, glad that his boyfriend didn't seem to really be pushing him to try and explain his complicated feelings.

 

Instead, Blaine took him to the emergency room, where he had to strip down to a robe, get his blood and urine tested. When he claimed to the doctor that he didn’t know who did it to him, Blaine looked disparaged for moment, but didn't disagree. Results from the drug test showed it was in fact Ambien, in heavy, non-time-released form. A one or two day recovery was in order, drinking fluids and getting plenty of rest.

 

As they walked slow, hand-in-hand, back to the parking lot from the hospital, Blaine asked Kurt,

 

“Have you called your dad?”

 

“No. I really don’t want to worry him. Nor do I want him breaking down any doors at Ohio State, insisting on a dry campus or the disembowelment of the entire Greek system.”

 

Kurt knew he would have to tell his dad eventually, as there was very little he was able to even keep from his very best friend, in the end. Just not now. Now, he needed to not feel like had to run to his parents home in Lima for everything. He needed to pace himself.

 

As they drove home, Blaine driving Kurt's car, Kurt doubted that Blaine was going to stay quiet about his lack of action plan following his misfortune. When Kurt offhandedly remarked, “I thought I threw away all your sweatpants," Blaine said:

 

“Baby, I know it’s not in your nature to take prisoners and seek revenge, but don’t you think this guy deserves it? You could’ve been hurt, maybe even killed.”

 

“And then what? I go to court for a depressing eight months trying to prove something impossible to prove? You know that the legal system in this country is designed to be a never-ending hamster wheel to run in for victims of rape.” Blaine’s eyes widened. “Not that he or anyone raped me, I’m just saying. I don’t wanna focus on it. There's nothing I can do to change the fact that it happened. Besides, I think I trust—Sebastian—” saying those two words together was really not right, was it—“when he says that nothing happened, and he just took me home.”

 

“Seriously?”

 

“He leads a deplorable life and looks like every generic villain on Gossip Girl or the sad remake of 90210. But he doesn’t exactly lie, besides his gross exaggerations. Maybe he is even capable of a good deed. But probably only one.”

 

When they get back, Kurt is grateful that Sebastian's gone. Blaine began to set the bed up for the sick day Kurt was going to spend in it, and that was when Kurt heard several demure knocks on the door. He opened it to find Rachel standing with a bouquet of flowers and a “Sorry you got roofied” card (how the hell did she find a novelty store that sold those?), apologizing profusely.

 

“Had I known what he was planning," said Rachel, as Blaine joined Kurt to greet her in the doorway, "I wouldn’t for one second have handed him your cup of virgin Cosmo. I’m so sorry, Kurt. I feel like this is my fault.”

 

“No, it wasn’t. It’s not like you’re the serial rapist.” He laughed to try to make light of the situation, but neither she or his boyfriend joined in. Well, that was awkward. “You’re fine, Rachel, really.”

 

“Obviously Chandler Kiehl is no longer allowed anywhere near the Gay Lesbian Bi and Transgender Student Alliance, and were I a young, lush countertenor with a bright future ahead like yourself, I would be lividly plotting to prosecute Mr. Kiehl on rape charges to the fullest extent of the law, as well as getting him expelled and publicly humiliated. But, anyway.” She softened her expression, truly an actress. “I’m going to hug you now, okay?”

 

Kurt supposed he would allow the gesture. The flowers were Gardenias, after all.

 

“Thanks, Rachel. But I don’t want to press charges. I just want him to stay at least fifty feet away, at all times.”

 

“You know, we could see about getting a restraining order,” said Blaine.

 

“Be sure to let me and the other allies of this campus know if there’s anything we can do to make your stay at Ohio state a safer place.”

 

“...Okay.”

 

Sebastian came to the door just then, towering over the three of them in the Shire.

 

“Excuse me.”

 

Kurt and Blaine said goodbye to Rachel and then re-entered the room as Sebastian started packing what appeared to be a bag to say somewhere over the whole weekend. Kurt and Blaine returned to his bed to watch YouTube with headphones, which they would as a holdover until Sebastian left, but Blaine knocked out five minutes into Friday Night Lights. Kurt, bored with what was clearly Blaine’s choice today, looked over as Sebastian spoke rapidfire and frustrated on the phone with someone. Was he speaking French? Kurt didn’t take his headphones out as much as he was curious if Sebastian spoke like a native. He never was able to drop his pride enough to just ask Blaine if he had been born there. It's not like it would make him any less terrible. 

 

Kurt kept watching him, until eventually Sebastian started watching him back. Kurt was trying not to let his mind stretch to its wildest imaginings, in lieu of having a memory map to follow about last night. Sure they saw a lot of each other last year, and fancied themselves hypothetical experts on the other, but the two of them were basically strangers. Without Blaine for context, they knew nothing substantial about each other. There was nothing Kurt knew about Sebastian, for example, that would’ve made him consider going quite as far as Sebastian had gone for him. Sure, he would have driven him back to the dorms, on some level he would look out for any gay man in that situation. But would he have carried him?

 

Sebastian didn’t seem to be angry at him for it either. Since their one conversation in the morning? Just quiet.

 

Now Sebastian was ending his phone call, picking up his bag and leaving the room abruptly.

 

For Kurt, the rest of the day was spent messing around with his sweetheart, leaving the dorm with him as little as possible. He and Blaine watched movies and stuffed their faces with pastries, talked about what kinds of schools they wanted their kids to go to. Until finally, late that evening had Blaine’s parents calling him every five or ten minutes.

 

“They know where I’ve been,” Blaine tried to protest to Kurt, who was silently judging him for ignoring yet another call. “They just, you know. Don’t want to accept it.”

 

“Go to them. I’m sure Mrs. Anderson just wants to give you a warm glass of milk, sit you down on her sofa and let you tell her about your day.”

 

“We don’t actually do that, that was a joke I told once. Mostly we just eat Chinese food in silence.”

 

“And I don’t want Mr. Anderson calling my father up accusing me of murdering you. With cuddles.”

 

“The most heavenly way to die.”

 

Blaine kissed him. Long, slow.

 

“Get out of here,” Kurt stopped him. “Or I’m going to pin you to this bed.”

 

“Yes, sir. Is that a promise?”

 

“Goodbye.”

 

Then Kurt was alone.

 

He thought Blaine might text him goodnight, even just to tell him he got home on the train safe, but by one a.m., he figured he’d forgotten. And here it was: the trying to fall asleep alone thing again. Only this time, the room was completely empty.

 

Kurt sat up and realized this was the first time since they’d moved in that Sebastian hadn’t come back to sleep in here. Not that Kurt was worried. Even when he got home at three some nights, he at least crashed his head down into the pillow for an hour two before slithering off to whatever his next competitive fix was. His parents did have some grand estate hidden somewhere deep in Westerville, so maybe he was there. Why did Sebastian want to stay in this walk-in closet with Kurt, anyway?

 

It occurred to him then that Sebastian’s parents probably weren’t okay with the whole fucking at least a dude every day thing. So state college was where people went to escape the confines of their home lives, but not too far.

 

Kurt hated this solitude, hated staring up at the asylum-white ceiling of this dorm, because his thoughts always ended up leading him to feel like coming here was the wrong decision. It wasn’t just because Sebastian ended up being his roommate, or just because being with Blaine didn’t make him feel one hundred percent sure he’d chosen right. Even with a roommate he hadn’t known, and the best friend he could possibly he imagine here, Kurt didn’t know if this place would feel like home to him.

 

He may have to change his major to undecided. Maybe he could even transfer to a different school, to New York or Rhode Island where Tina would be staying soon. Try again at getting away another year. It was just the timing of everything last year, that made everything go so wrong; his NYADA application and auditions not being refined enough, because he was too busy practicing and packing and running for senior class president, and fighting to keep his boyfriend, and trying not to miss his mom so much. With so much going on, he’d just gotten overwhelmed, and the only back up school he'd applied to was this one.

 

He missed the faux business from his senior year, how important it all had seemed, how important singing was. But even if he had had the chance to sing at the audition for Urinetown at this school, just the thought of practicing and having to get used to new egos and directors made him tired. Besides Rachel, he couldn’t seem to meet anyone who he didn’t only see once a week, or had only met once. And, as pattern had it, the one boy he had been slightly been nice to and tried to maintain contact with so far had drugged him.

 

Kurt was glad he didn’t believe in God, or else he’d think the devil was after him with his luck sometimes. He seriously didn’t even want to think about what would’ve happened if Sebastian hadn’t been right where he was at that party. He was an Atheist, but he believed humans were special in that their instincts often led them to significant, critical moments. Something, whatever it was, put Sebastian there in that critical moment, and was that fate? Did that mean he needed to wax philosphical all “if I hadn’t gone to this school and that asshole hadn’t lived with me, I wouldn’t’ve learned the dangers of underage drinking”? No.

 

But it gave him a whole lot of questions about who Sebastian was, maybe before all this. Every person was a good person, at some point.

 

 

Sunday night, Sebastian returned from an errand plus a long weekend with an old flame of his. On the front of the door he'd found a flyer for an emergency floor meeting happening in just a few minutes.

 

"You see this?" he asked Kurt.

 

"Yes, but I'm not going."

 

“’Attendance is mandatory for all residents,’” Sebastian said. “’And yes, that means you, Kurt.’”

 

“Does it actually say that?”

 

Sebastian handed it over.

 

“I don’t know what I did to offend the R.A.,” Kurt said, making a face at the flier, “but in the meeting last week he asked me what kind of teenage girl’s perfume I wore and accused me of spraying it all over the bathrooms. It’s not my fault straight men think their masculinity’s being threatened when they don’t smell like armpit sweat.”

 

Sebastian glanced over at Kurt’s dresser, recognizing the little clear bottle of “unisex” cologne that Kurt sometimes spritzed himself with in the mornings, amongst the plethora of skincare creams.

 

“Surprisingly enough, that smell’s not you,” Sebastian commented. “It’s that girl who’s always sleeping over here.”

 

“Ah, yes, the blonde one. She’s dating the short one, the one with all the back-ne.”

 

“I wouldn’t call what they’re doing ‘dating,’” Sebastian said.

 

The two of them walked into the lobby a few minutes late. The only spots available were next to each other on a too-small loveseat pushed up against the left wall. Sebastian went to it immediately and almost sat, but waited as Kurt hesitated, depreciatively glancing around the floor for a space. Evidently he decided that he didn’t want to be near the rest of the boys and men in this room, either, so Sebastian was the slightly lesser of two evils.

 

The R.A., Taylor, a junior with freakishly skinny legs and long dreadlocks, glanced up from his clipboard at Kurt from where he sat at the front of the room. “Nice of you to show up this time,” he said, regarding Kurt’s last two purposeful absences.

 

Sebastian, meanwhile, already bored, took out his phone and reopened his most recent conversation with Blaine.

 

That’s good, Blaine was texting him. Nothing much for me. Just struggling with this French homework. Gotta say I commend you for speaking this stuff fluently. Spanish I could handle, but this make me feel like tongue’s going to fall out.

 

Sebastian smiled a bit and flickered his eyes over at Kurt, who was staring down at his own pale hands, pushing back the cuticles on his nails.

 

I did live there, Sebastian replied to Blaine. Is this your lame way of hinting that you need a tutor? I thought your little boyfriend knew French as well.

 

“Alright,” Taylor spoke up, over the voices of the guys who were rambling to each other. “First order of business tonight: the shower stalls. I don’t know why I even have to tell you this, but it’d be really cool if you guys, whoever you are, could stop covering the shower heads with condoms in the mornings. Used condoms.”

 

Uh, no, Blaine messaged. I don’t need a tutor. And yes, Kurt knows some French. But I texted you earlier because I have a question. Not about homework...

 

Fine, Sebastian typed back. Shoot.

 

“Second order of business,” Taylor resumed. “Some of you have been coming to me with noise complaints, especially lately. You know what kind of noise I’m talking about.”

 

“Some of you need to tell your girls to keep it down, yo,” a guy in the corner commented.

 

“Or your guys,” someone else tossed, pointedly staring at Kurt.

 

Kurt tensed up a bit, and Sebastian knew they probably assumed he was the one making magic happen almost nightly. Sebastian himself wasn’t the noise problem though, he prided himself in being nearly silent while he did his work, but he couldn’t control how his recipients responded to his dick.

 

“The majority of the noise complaints—actually, pretty much all of them—have come from the rooms around the end of the hall,” Taylor said flipping through a couple papers on his clipboard. “Kurt, Sebastian, I don’t know how it works between you guys, or whatever, but consider this is your first formal warning.”

 

Kurt immediately flushed dark red as a couple guys whistled and laughed. Sebastian finally graced the room of his inferiors with a glance up at them from his phone.

 

“I’m sorry?” Sebastian said.

 

“If I get more complaints and I end up having to give you a second and a third warning, the housing department will deal with you and trust me, you do not want that. There will be fines.”

 

“Wait.” Sebastian chuckled. “You think—he and I—“ he pointed at Kurt, “would actually fuck each other."

 

“Oh, god,” Kurt groaned quietly beside him, holding a hand to his head.

 

“Regardless of who’s doing what,” Taylor said. “Just keep it down, alright? Some people say they can’t sleep at night—”

 

“You know if you wanted to discuss it with either one of us, you could’ve just done it in private,” said Sebastian. “I’m ninety-nine percent sure, on account of the handy little housing manual that you clearly haven’t read, that you discussing any of our personal housing violations in front of other residents without warning is a slight on your back.”

 

“Not when it’s an issue that affects the entire floor,” Taylor corrected, then he held up his clipboard, which held together his stack of apparent complaints.

 

“If all of you weren’t straining so hard to listen to whatever either Kurt or I was doing in that room, I really don’t think it’d be an issue with the entire floor.”

 

Taylor ignored him, flipping through pages on the clipboard. “Anyway, next order of business—“

 

“That’s it, I am never coming to one of these things again,” Kurt mumbled next to Sebastian. “I don’t care if he writes me up a thousand times.”

 

“If you get written up enough,” Sebastian said, “maybe you’ll have to move out.”

 

“Dream come true,” Kurt answered.

 

Sebastian skimmed his eyes over the newest text from Blaine, which said,

 

I know it’s weird that I’m asking this, but do you and Kurt change in front of each other?

 

Sebastian widened his eyes at this. Oh, Blaine and his damn curiosity.

 

Just wondering.

 

And well, Sebastian changed in front of Kurt all the time, most of the time when it was needless and unnecessary. But Kurt had so far never changed in front of Sebastian. He switched from an undershirt and baggy shorts to pajamas here and there in the room, but the times he had to be naked, he changed in the bathroom down the hall. Sebastian didn’t mind this. Kurt’s skin was so white, Sebastian was surprised that Kurt wasn’t blind from staring in the mirror at himself all the time.

 

And Kurt did do a lot of standing or sitting in front of the mirror. Adjusting the layers of his clothing, spraying at his flyaway hairs, nicking at the beginnings of a blemish, or otherwise gazing sad and disapprovingly at one thing or another.

 

I’m afraid I haven’t had the pleasure, Sebastian said back, his leg slightly shifting a little closer to Kurt’s unconsciously. Not yet, anyway, he added, smiling.

 

Blaine’s response was rapid.

 

What the hell does that mean?

 

Sebastian almost laughed audibly. Blaine really was gullible and panicky enough he thought Sebastian ever wanting to see Kurt with minimal clothing on, or maybe nothing on, was even reasonably fucking plausible. Had he not made his point clear, all those times when he insulted Kurt right to Blaine’s face?

 

Relax, sweetheart. Your wimpy lover keeps his fabulous, glittery clothes on. Like all the time.

 

I don’t understand why you’re still so mean to him, Blaine was saying then. If you guys are going to last an entire year, you should be trying to make things easier on each other, not harder.

 

You sound like a marriage counselor.

 

I’m just tired of you giving him crap because of me, Blaine responded.

 

Believe it or not, not everything that happens is because of you, Blaine.

 

Sebastian could just see Blaine’s face screwing up at that.

 

I know it isn’t.  You don’t have to talk to me like that, you know.

 

“Touchy,” Sebastian muttered out loud.

 

Kurt looked over at him, and for a second, Sebastian had almost forgotten that he was there. He was re-aware of Kurt’s presence, though, after making the mistake of staring at Kurt back.

 

Kurt was the first to break their loaded eye contact, attempting to shift his leg further in a way that Sebastian wouldn’t notice. Sebastian did notice, his eyes gathering the details and shape of Kurt's thigh.

 

Okay, so why ask me if Kurt changes in front of me. Sebastian was losing his patience exponentially. Are you really that insecure about your juvenile relationship or do you just have a threesome idea involving us you never told me about?

 

Whatever Blaine answered, he decided not to read it.

 

 

The next morning, Kurt sat at a desk in an isolated cubicle in the library. Kurt was supposed to be working on his midterm paper for literature and composition, but he was horrendously unmotivated to read fifty year old articles on Robert Frost’s poetry.

 

Instead, Kurt was indulging in a guilty pleasure: Facebook stalking. In addition to it being the way he kept up with Finn, Tina, and Mercedes’ daily lives, Facebook was one of Kurt’s favorite ways to analyze people without them knowing. Often times he caught himself spending hours clicking, making his way through a hundred of someone’s photos purely out of curiosity, his mind's wheels churning.

 

He usually spent part of those hours stalking Blaine, too, but in that case, he preferred the term “lovingly watching over.”

 

Even though it was probably stalking.

 

This morning he scanned his eyes down his boyfriend’s timeline, mentally approving and gazing admiringly at Blaine’s adorable pictures. Especially those ones where his eyes got all crinkled up at the corners. Upon first glance Kurt thought the page hadn’t changed much since he checked it last, but then he realized there was a small difference. Blaine changed his profile picture to one of he and Kurt from two years ago, back before either of them knew Sebastian, but all of a sudden now, Sebastian was going and liking it in the present day.

 

And why did that make Kurt so terribly annoyed right now? Kurt went through the rest of Blaine’s photos trying to see which ones Seb had and hadn’t liked. Okay, maybe he did get out of hand whenever he started this. Regardless Kurt clicked Sebastian’s name, scooted in closer to the screen and turned over his shoulder to guard his surroundings. He and Sebastian weren’t Facebook friends—Kurt would never let his pride stoop that low—but Sebastian’s page was visible and open to the public, anyway.

 

This wasn’t the first time Kurt flickered though pages upon pages of him, the tagged photos of him kissing random foreign guys on the cheek, sitting half naked in their bathtubs popping champagne. All the “I had fun last night xx”s that had been left by many a gay lover over the last couple of weeks.

 

His latest default picture, with over three hundred likes, was one of him shirtless on some swanky Cannes beach. Kurt hated how tan and smooth Sebastian’s skin got to be, how low he wore his jean shorts, pulled far down past his v-cut and jutting hip bones.

 

Kurt didn’t notice it at first, but after ten minutes, he realized he was frowning so hard he might give himself crease lines.

 

Meanwhile, on the other side of the library, Sebastian had his fresh hot coffee and was reviewing flagged chapters for his microeconomics test. He’d been reading for almost an hour, absorbing information at some times and completely spacing out at it at others, so he took a break started screwing around on his laptop.

 

On Facebook, Sebastian was messaging Blaine. At that point he was bored of the conversation, but he supposed it was his fault for starting it a half hour ago. Sebastian was about to go offline suddenly in protest, but then Blaine typed something that kept him for just a moment longer.

 

>> You’re the one who just liked a picture of Kurt and me *kissing* anyway.

>> If you think our relationship is so stupid, what was that all about?

 

Sebastian answered,

 

>> People take this site way too seriously.

 

then went back to the picture in question. He’d liked it solely for the purpose of gaining this kind of paranoid reaction from the couple. While he was more looking forward to the hissy fit that’d come from Kurt instead of Blaine, he’d take it from either one of them, honestly. He just wanted them to know that he was right about them: the reason they were so obsessed with each other’s whereabouts was because they had a blatant lack of trust in each other.

 

Kurt always made a photo look so jarring, those bright eyes and that silk skin and the sharp corners of his bone structure. He read Kurt and Blaine’s little comments back and forth to each other in the captions--the “I’ll never forget this day with you”s and the “you make my heart so happy”s—and then clicked on Kurt’s profile link. The page was private, as usual. All Sebastian could see were a few details and a profile picture of Kurt, wearing an elaborate navy kilt over a black lace sweater, apparently pieces he’d designed and sewn himself entirely.

 

Sebastian decided to pack up in his cubicle, then, to go back to the room. At the same time, Kurt was on the other side of the building, gathering his books and laptop to go to his third and final class of the day.

 

They both left their cubicle areas and turned the corner into the main lobby at the same time; Kurt was texting Blaine on his phone with one hand and holding his notebook-filled satchel with the other, and Sebastian was holding his coffee with one hands on his phone too, letting his newest “friend” on Grindr know that he’d be “on his way in ten minutes.”

 

Neither of them saw the other approaching as they crossed the lobby floor, so all of a sudden Kurt was crashing into a tall, rigid body, stumbling onto the ground and losing the majority of the contents of his bag, hot coffee spilling and splashing the front of his light blue shirt.

 

Kurt flung his eyes up at who he’d just run into, as Sebastian stared down at Kurt, all embarrassed and pissed off with a brown stain seeping into the thin fabric stretched across his chest.

 

The urgent guilt Sebastian felt was too much, too strong, and Kurt flushed with rage, his mouth hanging open as he watched Sebastian descend down the nearest staircase, leaving him alone with the people that stared at him.

 

 

Okay, so Sebastian had felt like shit for that one.

 

He didn’t mean to make people suffer, when he was having an off day. He did it before he could stop himself sometimes, the mean just kept flowing out of him like the ocean from an unsecured dam. There used to be a joy in it, but lately? It kind of just made him hate himself.

 

Perhaps his instincts and the fight in him kicked into gear so quickly these days because they wanted to him to start something exciting. Sebastian had felt like things in his life were growing stagnant and lackluster. His classes were too easy, he'd been to all the bars and places worth going to in this state, and this did happen to him from time to time; every once in a while, for a bad week or a bad month, he’d hit a dry spell, maybe wish that things in his life were different.

 

But if something in Sebastian’s life were to change, he wouldn’t know what he'd want it to be, or in what way he’d want it to change.

 

Sebastian got back to the room that afternoon after a "lunch date" that had pleasantly-surprisingly turned into him getting road head, and Kurt was sitting at his desk and had changed his outfit entirely, now wearing some long trailing sweater with off-center buttons and a giant scoop neck.

 

Kurt glanced over his shoulder, made startling eye contact with him.

 

“You are so lucky that the coffee stain on the shirt I based off of DKNY’s 2007 spring collection is starting to come out in the wash.”

 

This kid was so extraordinarily particular. He made it impossible not to laugh.

 

“Seriously, I know that you hate me and my fantastic, genderless, original clothes, but what you did back there was just a low blow,” Kurt continued. “You could have at least apologized, or tried to help me up, or something.”

 

Sebastian studied Kurt silently for a moment. Stared at those eyes. Hated how clear and intruding they were.

 

“I’m sorry,” Sebastian said, short.

 

Kurt looked shocked to those words from him.

 

Sebastian didn’t hate Kurt, not now that he was starting to get a look at him up close. He hated the things Kurt said to and about him, sure, and it sort of freaked him out, the way he inhabited this weird aesthetic space that was split-exactly-down-the-middle between masculine and feminine, hard and soft. The dangerously open and vulnerable way he presented himself to the world at large notwithstanding, Kurt was smart, smarter than quicker than most people Sebastian’d ever met. Even if he wasn’t using those smarts for anything other than fashion and gross elaborate displays to impress his kiddie boyfriend.

 

Kurt tried to make it look like Sebastian was the only bully between the two of them, but he watched the way Kurt’s eye worked, the way he analyzed people and had their logic and life story all figured out by the time they’d even said hello to him.

 

 

That Thursday, there was a karaoke themed fundraising event put on by the Japanese Culture Club; sake and other types of alcohol were being served, so that drew a majority of the school’s population in that night. The tiled room was crowded, and the stage was constantly full of tipsy students screeching into the microphones.

 

Kurt wasn’t necessarily surprised when, a half hour after he and Rachel got there with half hearted plans to sing together, Sebastian and his “guest” for the evening showed up to the event. Kurt was sitting at a stool at the main bar next to Rachel, swirling his straw around in his water cup.

 

“Yes?” Kurt prompted when Rachel started clamoring for his forearm.

 

“Your roommate’s here,” she informed him, taking a small sip of sake an older guy had bought for her.

 

Kurt sighed. “I know. He’s always here. He’s everywhere, all the time.”

 

“Have you talked to him about Friday night yet?”

 

“No,” he replied. “There’s nothing for us to talk about.”

 

“Okay, as much as you don’t wanna admit it, it was really heroic of him to carry you out of that place while you were passed out. Arlena was throwing up on my feet at the time, but I saw you two. He had his arms around you all close and everything, Kurt.”

 

Kurt snorted, shaking his head.

 

“If he hates you so much, why does he always just happen to be at the same events as you?” Rachel said, grinning. “And why is he always, like, craning his neck everywhere you go to stare at you like you're fine?”

 

Kurt gave her his best ‘you’re-delusional’ look. “He does not stare at me.”

 

Rachel waggled her finger over Kurt’s shoulder. “He’s doing it right now.”

 

Kurt turned around and found that, unfortunately, she was right. Sebastian was still with that guy drinking from his Sake cup, but his eyes were focused on Kurt. He glanced away in annoyance just as Sebastian’s friend was trying to get his attention to tell him something.

 

“It’s like he’s here waiting for you to need saving again,” Rachel said. “I wouldn’t mind. Though I have to say, I see what you mean now about his face sort of looking of lemur’s.”

 

“No, he’s here because this is a big school, and this is a public place. And he’s looking at me like that because he knows how much I hate him. And I have Blaine.”

 

“And Blaine’s cute,” Rachel said. “But Sebastian’s hot. I don’t know, maybe you guys could have a threesome.”

 

“What would you know about threesomes, miss straight-laced?”

 

“N-nothing, I’m just saying, there’s obvious chemistry between the two of you.”

 

“Yeah, two chemicals that explode."

 

“I’m not an advocate for cheating, and you and Blaine are going to have the most talented kids in all the land once they figure out how to make a fetus in a lab with two men.” She’d really been taking the phone away from Kurt too often to talk to Blaine about his fathering dreams. “All I’m saying is that it’s healthy to acknowledge your attraction to another person, that's all, just acknowledge. And then just let it exist for what it is.”

 

Rachel gulped down the last of her sake as Kurt texted I miss you, how was your day today? to Blaine, and then Rachel was gripping his arm tightly.

 

“Oh my god, he’s coming over here.”

 

“Oh my god, shoot me.”

 

“Hey, Rachel,” Sebastian said. “Looking fantastic as always.” Kurt didn’t turn around, duly noting fact that that was so clearly a schmooze move, Sebastian never remembered Rachel’s name until now apparently, hardly recognized her prior to this. “Kurt.”

 

“What do you want, Sebastian?”

 

“This isn’t about what I want.”

 

Kurt twisted to find Sebastian in a tight, black v-neck shirt that clung to his chest and left far too little to the imagination. He was standing next to a blonde, shorter than him, who had dimples and a very chiseled chin, but clearly got dressed in the dark this morning.

 

“My friend here, wanted to meet you,” Sebastian prompted. “Adam, this is Kurt.”

 

The man smiled crookedly, held out his hand. Kurt blinked back in disbelief at him. Rachel tried not to giggle.

 

“I’ll leave you two,” Sebastian said now. He turned to Rachel, turning up the wattage on his smarmy smile. “I hear you’re a theater major—if you need a karaoke partner for the night, I’d be more than happy to oblige.”

 

Rachel seemed far too thrilled. “Only if you let me sing lead.”

 

“You can sing whatever you want to me.”

 

“How do you feel about Barbara Streissand? I have several and by several I mean all of her classics in my repertoire—”

 

Rachel began to chat Sebastian’s ear off as they strolled in the direction of the stage, and Kurt felt a flicker of panic when Adam sat on the stool next to him, giving him eyes.

 

This had to be some kind of joke or something.

 

“So, can I buy you a drink, Kurt?” Kurt did a double take at the man’s very sexy posh British accent. “I suppose we’re supposed to be ordering sake.”

 

But Kurt knew accepting a random drink from a stranger like this was like, an open invitation into getting roofied again probably. He figured the bad luck associated with his near accident was had to be snowballing up exponentially, just waiting for release again.

 

“If this is some kind of prank, or something Sebastian put you up to, I’m not interested.” Kurt noticed the stubble on the man’s face, the tan line around his ring finger, how much older he seemed. “Even if it wasn’t, I’m not sure I would be. I’m sorry.”

 

“How old are you?” Adam said now.

 

“Eighteen.”

 

Adam smiled. “Sebastian wouldn’t tell me.”

 

“I’m sure.” Kurt poked his straw around in his cup anxiously, grateful for the little light that went off on his phone, showing Blaine had texted him back.

 

My day was so shitty. Can explain later. Miss you too, baby. What are you up to?

 

“He’s certainly a handful,” Adam was saying now. Kurt glanced over at him, half feigning interest while texting Blaine back, and noticed Adam's gaze trying to subtly graze his legs. “He said you two were roommates. If so, I commend your patience and your heart.”

 

Kurt finished his text to Blaine and then said to Adam, somewhat sincerely, “I appreciate that.”

 

Adam laughed a little, and damn objectively he was kind of sneaky dad hot. Kurt was really, really blushing now, and he just wanted to know what in the world had Sebastian done to convince this guy to hit on him as a ruse.

 

“So how do—you two know each other?” Kurt tried.

 

“We met in a bar, after my, uh. My divorce.” Adan chuckled. “I see him every once in a while. What we have is— open, if you know what I mean.”

 

Kurt made a face.

 

“I don’t mean to make you uncomfortable,” Adam continued, looking into Kurt’s eyes. “And I am older than you, by a few too many years I reckon. But. Sebastian pointed you out to me, and I though that you were just gorgeous.”

 

Kurt almost dropped his phone on the ground.

 

“Gorgeous?”

 

“You sound surprised.”

 

“Oh, I am. Sebastian didn’t tell you that I have a boyfriend then, either, did he?”

 

“That he did. Sometimes you younger men have a—wishy washy idea of commitment.” He then backpedaled. “Not that I don't think it isn’t admirable, what you’re doing, and I hope it works out for the best. It’s just. I thought I might try my luck.”

 

“Yes, well, there’s no luck to be had. I’m happily soon-to-be-married, once we graduate and I’ve found a job stable enough to afford us a loft in Manhattan.”

 

“That’s alright, then.” The man winked, taking the loss. “See you, Kurt.”

 

Kurt’s heart was racing a million miles an hour. Okay so he was British and older, and maybe if Kurt hadn't been so rude, the two of them could've been--friends? But anyone Sebastian spent the night with regularly had to be a terrible person.

 

Kurt stood up and marched around looking for Sebastian, found him standing up against the wall in the main karaoke room, texting while Rachel belted “Dancing Queen” up ahead on stage right. Kurt walked up to him and snapped his fingers in front of his roommate’s view of his phone.

 

“Seriously? What could your angle possibly have been there?”

 

“Can’t say I know what you’re talking about.”

 

“Your ‘friend’ trying to hit on me, buy me a drink? Not only does he look like he has kids somewhere, not even he knows where, he was wearing courderoy pants. Courderoy.”

 

“When he asked for an introduction to you I told him I hated the idea, actually. Turns out he likes his boys prepubescent, and creepy-doll-faced.”

 

“Okay, you know what?” Oh Kurt had finally had it. “Sending a random creep-o to hit on me while you know I’m still with Blaine, and after I narrowly avoided abduction by a random creep-o last weekend, is one of the least creative things you’ve come up with to get under my skin, even more so than the dick and the monocle you drew in permanent marker on my three hundred dollar mirror. But I’m tired of you constantly picking on me. It’s bad enough that we have to dance with each other in the room all day. Why do you have to be on me like this?”

 

“I want you to look at what you’re doing right now.”

 

All of a sudden, Kurt realized: Sebastian was very, very close to him. Kurt was definitely flustered, visibly so, but not going to back down. Standing his ground.

 

You’re cornering me at a public event,” said Sebastian.

 

“You cornered me at the bar!”

 

“I spoke calmly and politely. You’re raising your voice and snapping your little manicured fingers in my face.” His smile was just devastating, wasn’t it? “Just admit it, Kurt. This thing between us, is mutual.”

 

“What ‘thing’?”

 

“And your outfit looks like it was picked out by a blind eight year old ballerina.”

 

Fine.” Kurt nearly grunted, tearing gaze up from Sebastian’s chest. “From now on, you don’t exist. Maybe in the past I’ve insulted you right back, but this is no longer worth my energy or my time. From now on, I’m the bigger person. Screw you.”

 

Kurt practically stormed back up to his room.

 

You want my advice?” Blaine said, as they talked an hour later. “I’ve been dealing with this guy for a while now, and trust me, all Sebastian loves is an audience. All those times he tried to talk dirty to me online, when we first met? I’d just act like it never happened, and the next time I saw him he’d act that way too. It’s a pride thing. If you ignore him, eventually he just goes away.

 

“Yeah, after about five months.” Kurt shifted on the bed a little. He was always going to be uncomfortable with the five months Seb was relentless with Blaine, and the fact that he’d never know just how many of those calls had Blaine had answered. Yes, he’d ignored most of them, but Kurt wasn’t stupid. He could see that over the course of their terrible interaction, a friendship had occurred and advanced along the way. Blaine talked to him enough that they had each other’s numbers, and even a few “Dalton” inside jokes Kurt didn’t get, and Kurt had been a student there, too. Kurt hated the fact that he’d never know just what was said between them. Maybe that made him insecure, or maybe that made him a jealous boyfriend, but there was something about it all that he just couldn’t let go of yet.

 

“Besides, this is different,” Kurt said to Blaine now. “Sebastian was all over you because he liked you. Sebastian is all over me, because—I don’t know, he likes giving me crap or something.”

 

Kurt,” Blaine said. “Remember what you always told me? And what I told you, on the day we first met? Refuse to be bullied. If he gives you crap, don’t take it.”

 

“But that’s what I’ve been doing,” Kurt replied. “I confront him, I stand up to him, and at this point he might not even actually be doing anything wrong, and I just snap at him and lose control of myself because...the room is just too small, and he has a self-destructive world view and we’ll just have to fight the administration to get out of there, if we can’t end up making things work.”

 

Blaine sighed.

 

“And for the record, that advice that you gave me about Karofsky wound up making things a hell of a lot worse, just in case you’ve forgotten.”

 

Wow. Come on, are you really gonna go there?”

 

“Sorry.”

 

Kurt started over.

 

“I don’t want to fight. I just feel like. A walking target, sometimes, y’know?”

 

I know.”

 

“...Can we meet halfway again tonight? The Breadstix in Eastvale has two for one pastas.”

 

Meanwhile, Sebastian was in Adam’s bathroom at his apartment in Springston. He turned on the sink, splashed his face with cold water, then gave himself a somber once over in the mirror.

 

He walked back into Adam’s humid bedroom with a towel around his waist, expecting to find his shirt, jeans, and underwear still carelessly discarded on the floor where he’d left them in his mad rush to fuck this guy. But, upon searching for them, he found the clothes folded, neatly, in a pile on the bed.

 

Oh god, he wasn’t going to have to end things, wasn’t he.

 

Once he was dressed again, Sebastian went into the main room, which had an adjacent kitchen. The television was on, and Adam was at the stove cooking chicken.

 

“So, is this the part where you disappear? Or will you stay and eat something? If you do ever eat. I swear you’ve lost about thirty pounds since we met.”

 

Sebastian sighed, feeling his back pocket for his wallet and his phone.

 

“Not hungry,” he said offhanded.

 

“If you ever are, you know where to find me.”

 

Sebastian didn’t reply on his way out.

 

On the drive back to school, Sebastian turned the radio on to some conservative talk station he didn’t even like, flicked the heat on so his hair would dry faster. He’d be in a better mood if Adam hadn’t started in on his “you leave always after you get the sex” spiel. The men like him never got it; Sebastian never wanted to feel like anyone was catering to him, trying to give him things he hadn’t earned or asked for. People did that to bait you, to stack up favors and paybacks that you’ll eventually have to owe them in the future.

 

Back at the dorm, he lie in bed with his most recent conversation with Blaine open, again. He was re-reading the messages from this afternoon and trying to determine if Blaine just legitimately didn’t trust Kurt, or if he was doing something Sebastian knew all too well about: deflecting.

 

Earlier on, the always eager to please Blaine texted Sebastian something to the extent of: Does Kurt get hit on by guys all the time? What made Chandler want to do that to him? What if I’m not hot enough for him anymore? I still love him so much and Sebastian had wished that he was having the luxury of watching Blaine say that all to him in person. He got so visibly pent up over his concerns, especially about Kurt, so frowny and emotional, it just made you want to slap him. He once told Seb he liked to be slapped across the face, so it was okay for Sebastian to think that.

 

Sebastian replied to Blaine saying Kurt was practically whipped and would never dream of stepping out on him, and that was the truth so far as he could tell. Even if the kid had filled out a little since high school, and was clearly too avant garde and weird for Lima, but knew how to use his spectacular edge to his advantage here. He didn’t add that last part on, of course. Blaine hadn’t appreciated his usage of the word whipped.

 

I don’t like that term. I’m in love with him and he’s in love with me.

 

Sebastian had ignored that, and Blaine had gone on to ask if Sebastian could keep an eye on Kurt for him.

 

I trust him, but I really miss him sometimes, and I'm worried about him with all this Chandler business. That’s all.

 

He really didn’t understand these two. They were seventeen and eighteen, they’d only known each other for, what, two years? They couldn’t actually be in love.

 

Sebastian didn’t think that because he was jealous, though that was an irritatingly common misconception about “guys like him,” guys who made fun of couples all the time and stayed intentionally single. Sebastian didn’t wish he was in a relationship, “wish he was Kurt” or anything deep and existential like that.

 

So Sebastian told Blaine that he’d test Kurt’s trust if he wanted him to. Said he had a “friend” Kurt might find objectively pleasing in another universe, and Blaine didn’t even seem to mind the idea. He was curious as to how Kurt would react.

 

Sebastian didn’t actually go back and check to see if Kurt had gone for Adam. He knew that while Kurt would certainly let his eye wander, he would instantly turn Adam down. If not for the age difference and divorce, and the fact that he was associated with Sebastian by any degree, then for the fact that Adam new next to nothing about how to dress, and Kurt was quick as hell to catch onto that.

 

Sebastian hated himself for knowing that. Wondered why Blaine didn’t know that.

 

Sebastian sunk his head back into his pillow now, thinking about how this round of sexual favors hadn’t gone so well. One in every fifteen encounters, he speculated, went badly for him. It happened. Shit happened. Adam was getting old to him; the gays usually did faster than the others. Sebastian wasn’t more into “straight” and bicurious men as a hard rule, and personally he was one hundred percent gay himself, but he liked what he liked because of the forbidden aspect of it.

 

Instead of staying at Adam’s tonight like he had last weekend, Seb decided to switched it up, hit up his Blaine look-alike to see if there was something to reheat. He was a little surprised the boy agreed so quickly, to come to Sebastian’s room tonight to “talk.”

 

Sebastian was getting a hell of a lot more than talking. He thought he had the room to himself, it was date night for Kurt, so he had the Blaine look-alike right where he wanted him, on his knees sucking him dry. But just when Sebastian felt himself getting close, there was a jingling and the other side of the door, a click, a swift turn, and then Kurt.

 

“Oh my god.

 

Sebastian saw Kurt’s eyes, wide and horrified, and a glimpse of Kurt’s cheeks turning a violent shade of red, before he heard a squeak and the sound of the door slamming shut.

 

Sebastian groaned when the boy beneath him popped his mouth from around him, began frantically wiping his lips.

 

“W-who was that?”

 

“My roommate, obviously. Keep going, he won’t come back—“

 

“Jesus! Don’t you have that—that sock on the doorknob thing?”

 

Sebastian sighed. He’d forgotten about that already.

 

“He’ll wait. I don’t want to be done until you’re screaming for me again.”

 

“Sebastian.”

 

The boy looked conflicted, at the promise in Sebastian’s voice and the fact that Sebastian was still pulsing and hard in front of him, but then he didn’t seem to be in the mood anymore. He was pink with embarrassment, probably that some other guy had just seen him spread-eagled.

 

“I’m sorry, I have to go. I shouldn’t have come.”

 

Sebastian tried not to say it.

 

“At least you did.”

 

Meanwhile Kurt was standing out in the hallway, his back pressed against the wall, breathing heavy. He so did not need to see Sebastian like that, fisting his hand into some boy’s hair—a boy that looked like Blaine, Kurt might add—his head lulled back and his cock inside of someone else’s mouth.

 

Kurt wanted to determine, when his roommate opened up, whether or not the sock had been left off on purpose, because if it was, he was full on going to take some kind of legal action on Sebastian, for public indecency, whatever he could manage.

 

When Sebastian finally did open the door, and his boy toy slithered out, he actually had the decency to look significantly embarrassed.

 

“I don’t want to hear you make any crude jokes about this, and we’re just going to pretend that it never, and I mean never happened,” said Kurt, harshly. “Got it?”

 

“You broke your silence treatment,” Sebastian said. “Knew you wouldn’t last long.”

 

Kurt wanted to kill him.

 

Gratefully Sebastian seemed too embarrassed to stay in the room with Kurt, and packed another bag to go away the rest of the weekend.

 

Sunday morning, Kurt had just woken up, still sleepy and groggy, when Sebastian walked back in wearing a crisp white shirt, black tie, tight slacks and a suit jacket thrown over his shoulder. Church clothes. As if this demon spawn actually attended church.

 

Seb was ruffling through a duffle bag, coins and keys jingling. When he saw Kurt looking at him in bed, he went on the offensive:

 

“Are those pajamas you’re wearing, or did you skin the week old road kill your lumberjack daddy brought home on his way from Woodstock in 1968?”

 

This is a sleepwear rendition of the mink romper Naomi Campbell wore in Ibiza at Vera Wang’s charity gala last summer. Well, inspired by.” He yawned, rubbing the sleep from his eyes. “You look like you’re dressed for your own funeral.”

 

“I’ve decided to enter the grave early. Living here with your cabbage patch face is the unbearable alternative.”

 

“Go to hell,” Kurt said whimsically.

 

“I’ll see you there.”

 

“Nice comeback, but I don’t actually believe in it. Hell.”

 

“What do you mean you ‘don’t believe in hell’?”

 

Kurt stared at him deadpan, getting ready to make quick work of him, obviously. “As in I don’t believe in God, or any other superior mythical forces that definitely may not be. Don’t tell me you do.

 

“Of course I do.”

 

Sebastian’s phone was ringing just then.

 

“I’m sorry, Dad, but I can’t—I can’t find it.”

 

Sebastian had stopped looking for whatever it was, sighing and leaning against his desk.

 

“Seriously?”

 

Now he appeared to be getting bad news, or possibly being yelled at.

 

“Look, alright, fine. There’s a chapel here at school.”

 

Kurt almost flung his eyes wide open. Did he just say chapel?

 

“As far as I know they don’t have services running, but I’ll just. Sit there. And I’ll pray.”

 

Kurt could not believe this.

 

“You’ve said it yourself, it doesn’t matter where I go, just as long as I go,” Sebastian said. “You wanna know if I’m really there? I’ll record myself for you, how’s that for devotion. ’For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.’”

 

Scripture. He just quoted scripture. Kurt had heard that line before, from Mercedes.

 

“Myself,” Sebastian replied, to some kind of question on the phone. “And God.”

 

No.

 

“Why would I do that? If I wasn’t going, I’d just say I wasn’t going.” No. Way. “Yes, I’m going, right now, sir, and I’ll just—I’ll see you guys, next week. Have a good sermon.”

 

Sebastian hung up the phone and Kurt waited until the door closed again before literally flinging himself out of bed, watching the ground from his window like a hawk moving in to eat its prey.

 

Sebastian Smythe, evilest of all evildoers, was apparently also capriciously religious.

 

Kurt stared out his window at Sebastian walking by himself through the quad with a book in his hands—had to be a Bible—towards the west end of campus. He reached a jittery hand to his cell phone and scrolled down his contacts, attempting to find someone to share this with and realizing that no one would find it as shocking as he currently did. Blaine was tired of his Sebastian-related ranting, Tina didn’t have enough context—he was really going to have so much to tell her at their loosely scheduled hangout next week—so instead he just kept watching vigilantly, until Sebastian was almost out of sight.

 

“He can’t be serious,” he said out loud to himself. If no one would laugh with him, he’d have a hell of a time with this moment by himself. “This guy is incredible.”

 

Still a bit delirious from just having woken up, Kurt changed into slightly more modest attire (sweatpants, a pair of Blaine’s old ones from Dalton, and one of Finn’s McKinley Football sweaters) and the closest shoes he could find (his fuzzy purple slippers), and walked quickly to the bathroom to fix himself up enough. Once he was done he nearly ran out of the dorm, grateful for no one being outside this early on a Sunday, and stopped before the nearest campus directory.

 

He located the chapel on the map, walked quickly towards it, careful for any onlookers or Sebastian himself, finding none as he completed his journey. The chapel was in a near-deserted back corner of Ohio State’s campus, and closed, from what Kurt could tell from the signs on the door. A new chapel was being built on a different part of campus, and this one was soon to be constructed to become something else.

 

He got on his tippy-toes to glance through the window on the doors, which let him have a total view of the entire, small, one-room chapel. The stage was hollow, the floorboards having been lifted, and half of the stain glass windows at the front of the building were covered in some kind of tarp. There were about ten rows of pews on each side a carpeted aisle, and Sebastian, who Kurt could only see the back of right now, was at the end of a pew in the second row.

 

On his knees.

 

“This is like, hands down, the creepiest thing I’ve ever witnessed.”

 

He wasn’t sure in that moment if he was referring to himself or Sebastian. Maybe Rachel was right, maybe he should stop, take a moment, accept the fact that he was fascinated by Sebastian and yes, unfortunately attracted to him physically only, and try and make peace with it.

 

No, that’d never happen.

 

He didn’t know how long he stood there for watching, and he didn’t know what he was waiting for. Maybe for the moment that Sebastian would give up and find his efforts useless, or for the moment that he’d wake up suddenly and find this a hilarious dream. Or for, the worst yet, the moment Sebastian’s hook-up of the day was going to meet him here, for the ultimate middle finger to the Man Upstairs.

 

He didn’t have to wait for anything much longer. As he moved his hand from the surface of the door to scratch an itch on his face, on its way down it thwacked the already-loose metal doorknob. When it landed with a loud clunk! on the pavement, Kurt, who was so sleepy, yelped a little as he’d thought it was going to crush his toes.

 

Kurt froze then, his mind bouncing frantically between picking up the doorknob and trying to fix it, and running, running fast because there was no way that Sebastian hadn’t heard that, and if Sebastian found out that Kurt stalked him here he’d never hear the end of it—

 

But it was too late for him to decide anything, because Sebastian was at the door in just seconds, opening it and wearing the most interesting expression that Kurt had ever seen on his face.

 

“What are you doing?”

 

“I-I—uh—“

 

Sebastian glanced down at Kurt’s attire, clearly finding it amusing that for the first time ever, he was looking at Kurt in sweatpants and a sweatshirt. Both of which belonged to other guys.

 

“Nevermind,” Sebastian said, staring up into Kurt’s eyes again. Kurt still kept his mouth shut, trying to decipher the look in Sebastian’s eyes and having no luck whatsoever.

 

“Were you planning on coming in, or were you just going to stand here?”

 

“I’ll just—I’ll go. I think.”

 

But Kurt didn’t move.

 

“I’m sorry, I just have so many questions,” Kurt began. “You, a Christian?”

 

Sebastian rolled his eyes.

 

“Or is this just the place you go to to murder the sex workers whose lives and self-esteems you’ve no doubt permanently ruined.”

 

“Come inside,” Sebastian said.

 

Kurt wasn’t expecting that. And still, he couldn’t move.

 

“Or don’t. Whatever.”

 

Sebastian was about to close the door, but for some reason Kurt’s hand lept out to catch it. Sebastian ignored him and walked back to his pew, as Kurt followed after him very, very slowly. He had no idea what he was doing, but this—Sebastian, and a chapel, and Sebastian, and a Bible—was far too much of something that felt like payback to Sebastian, for this entire week, for him to pass up.

 

Sebastian had the Bible back out before him and was reading it silently. Kurt came closer and stared around the dusty room. He hadn’t been to church in almost there years, and before that, it’d been ten years. Sebastian glanced up at him for a moment, then scooted over, as if there wasn’t ample space enough for Kurt to sit. If Kurt wasn’t still so surprised, he would’ve laughed as he sat down, settling uncomfortably onto the hard wooden surface.

 

What was he doing right now?”

 

“So, um. You’re—um—“

 

“A Christian,” Sebastian finished for him. Kurt stared over at Sebastian’s hands, watching as one of his fingers worked a worn corner of the book.

 

“And your dad is a pastor.”

 

“He’s also a retired neurosurgeon. No one ever seems to care about that part.” He was very pointedly not looking at Kurt right now. “And you, then?”

 

“Obviously I’m an Atheist.”

 

Sebastian smiled, shook his head.

 

“I don’t understand how anyone can be an Atheist.”

 

“Well, the fact that people like you exist certainly rests my case.”

 

Kurt tried not to be one of those Atheists who made pious people feel stupid for their beliefs. He was all for people finding their own ways to have courage and hope in this life. But he had very little to no mercy for the kinds of people whose moral codes were excuses for them to be exclusive assholes. Plus, to him most churches were too wishy-washy to make clear statement on gay people. They beat around the bush, said they “loved the sinner not the sin,” but for Kurt, halfway commitment to the cause wasn’t good enough. Gay people were still dying and being extradited because of who they were, and only an unwavering, completely tolerant allegiance to them by the religious majority would help them.

 

“But you’re gay,” Kurt said to Sebastian, again.

 

“Yes.”

 

“So aren’t you considered to be the worst of the worst, to your people?”

 

“Some churches are actually accepting these days. My congregation, my parents’ friends, they all know that I’m out, how I spend my time. Some people don’t stick around the place because of that. We don’t need them, we get funding from a plethora of avenues anyway. Every other week, they have a special prayer night for me. But it’s really not as big a deal as people make it.”

 

“How can you sit in a room full of people that hate you, and just let them hate you?”

 

Sebastian didn’t answer.

 

“I don’t believe you,” Kurt said. “I don’t believe any of this.”

 

“That’s fine. I didn’t ask you to.”

 

Kurt was more confused about his reactions to this moment than he thought he’d been about anything in a while. All of the other gay and lesbian people he’d ever met—granted there were only really three of them—felt the exact same way about this as he did. About the conservative, religious political right as he perceived it in Ohio, being the reason that boys like Karofsky hated themselves so much, they pinned strange boys against walls and force-kissed them, being the reason Kurt had been bruised and tossed around by men so much older than him his entire life, men who were being fed a toxic, outdated ideology from churches that claimed to be all about love, but actually fostered strict and yes, deadly gender roles, that got women pregnant and having back alley abortions, and men killing each other so they wouldn’t seem “gay.”

 

He thought about Sebastian, his disregard for his health, the socks on the doorknob, foul language and foul everything, and the only word kicking him in the brain over and over was hypocrite, hypocrite, hypocrite.

 

“One of my best friends,” Kurt muttered now, surprising himself even by speaking, “is a Christian. Mercedes.”

 

Sebastian didn’t look up. “I thought your best friend was miss Tina Blowin’ Wang.”

 

“I know you think that it’s hilarious to call her that, but it’s actually demeaning and racist.”

 

“You’re right. It’s Sunday, and as you can see, on Sunday I spend my days basking in shame about the fucked up names I’ve come up with for people over the years. I’m trying to change.”

 

Kurt couldn’t tell how much of that was sarcastic. He stared at his roommate like he had three heads.

 

“Anyway, people can see that Mercedes is a Christian,” Kurt went on. “That’s what the whole thing is supposed to be about, isn’t it? If you’re going to have a personal health care ritual incongruent with medical advancements and you know, science, at least you can do what the good book says and treat the people around you with kindness and respect. Mercedes abstains from sex because she doesn’t want to have the power to hurt another person. When she does curse, it’s minor and about no one in particular. She even says, ‘Lord, forgive me,’ right before she does it, and I could just—hate what you people do, and how the elite in your system treat everyone who’s even the least bit different from them like crumbs that should be swept off the earth, but at least Mercedes tries to live the small portion of the Bible she preaches.”

 

Kurt shook his head, not sure why he suddenly felt like crying. Maybe all of this reminded him of the time when his dad was sick and dying, and Mercedes and Quinn and Finn and everyone around him was telling him that prayer could one hundred percent cure his dad. When really, his dad could kick the can at any moment, only time would tell when he’d wake up from his coma, and medicine, medicine he knew they couldn’t afford, was going to be the only life-giving force in their corner after that.

 

In his experience, many Christians meant well, but they lied to themselves, and in the process to many other vulnerable people.

 

“If you,” Kurt said to Sebastian, accusingly, “were to ever tell me anything, about how I should be living my life, for example, I think I might throw up. Or die. Or both.”

 

“That’s not dramatic at all.”

 

Sebastian was finally looking him in the eye again.

 

“Clearly you’ve been hurt by someone who likes to sit in an old building and meditate for an hour or two, tops, about once a week. All I can say is that God’s kept me going through some of the worst moments of my life. If it wasn’t for my faith, what I learned in church as a kid, I would’ve died more times than I can count.”

 

Kurt wasn’t expecting him to be so honest.

 

“Is there anything else I can do for you?” Sebastian said.

 

Kurt woke up at the question. He realized how early it was, pondered the circumstances of them being here, in their lives. They were alone, in this haunted, ethereal, abandoned building, and what Sebastian just said was actually kind of heart trending, and also, his no doubt expensive cologne smelled really heavenly, made everything about this moment all the more mesmerizing and disorienting.

 

“No,” Kurt said, looking away. “This is not what I thought I’d be doing when I woke up this morning. I’m half asleep, and quite possibly dreaming. I’m really going now.”

 

Kurt stood up and tugged at the sleeves of his sweatshirt. suddenly re-aware of the fact that he was in a sweatshirt in public, eagerly in need of a shower.

 

Later on that night, when the two were finally in the room together again, Sebastian made it a point to set the record straight.

 

“I was decently surprised,” Sebastian said in greeting, “when I got to the parking lot of the shopping center this afternoon, and you weren’t chasing after my car in your boyfriend’s cum stained sweats and those fabulous slippers.”

 

“I thought you said Sundays were your day to try and change.”

 

“It’s midnight. Also, have you considered the world of opportunity that a tanning booth could offer you? I’m just saying, you look like you were soaked in bleach and then locked in a basement for several dark years.”

 

“Honestly, why do you do this? Do you expect me to laugh along with you at some point? Because you’re really, really not funny.”

 

“The truth is, Kurt, you can dish it out, but you can’t take it. Just a few days ago you said I was a disgrace to the gay community because I was encouraging the re-emergence of the AIDS disease.”

 

Sebastian knew he took it too far sometimes, but he wondered, if he backed off, if Kurt even would at this point. He couldn’t seem to convince Kurt that there really was nothing happening with Blaine and him anymore, from his perspective. What was happening with Kurt now, as a matter of fact, was not ideal, but was at least much more thought-provoking than things with Blaine had ever been.

 

“At my primary school, in France,” Sebastian said to him, perhaps by way of apology, now, “I got made fun of for being really tall, and really skinny.”

 

Kurt just stared at him, no doubt wondering how that was relevant.

 

“They used to call me haricot vert,” Sebastian added.

 

“String bean?” Kurt repeated incredulously. “That is barely an insult. Is this you trying to relate my history of being gay bashed with a charming, empty narrative about how tortured you were?”

 

“No,” Sebastian said plainly. “It isn’t.”

 

Kurt looked to be growing tired of this conversation. But:

 

“Someone said something to you once that you still haven’t got over, didn’t they? Maybe for you it wasn’t the—haricot vert nonsense. But it was something.”

 

Sebastian didn’t like to get into it, but he was staying in Ohio because his father, who yes, also pastored the New Horizons church two times a week, was sick and might only have a few months to a year to live. His mother had been trying to prepare him, she was big on the grieving process and rituals. But Sebastian just hated to be a stereotype about it. His father hated him anyway, said a lot of things to Sebastian that sure, he probably hadn’t gotten over. Sebastian was just lucky the man had even let him into his house again for his senior year.

 

When his dad found out about him being gay his freshman year, he’d sent him to a boarding school in Europe, extremely expensive and prestigious. But Sebastian had hated it there. He knew he hadn't been banished there to further his education, it was a way for his father to show everyone around him the order in his world, to make an example of the people who were ungrateful of his time, who refused to be perfect.

 

Sure Sebastian had gone out into the world with money, his sophomore and junior years. But he'd suffered being on his own that young, a regular prodigal son. Sebastian didn't like to look back to those years, because they were when he became worldly, realized he didn’t have to give a fuck about what his father or anyone else wanted him to be like. He was going to be himself and alone in that, clearly. 

Sebastian left the room then, too miffed by the events of the day to stay indoors and try to sleep, and came back just Kurt was coming in from a shower. Only the desk light was on and a thin white towel covered his waist, and he’d jumped and tensed a little when he saw Sebastian come in.

 

It looked like he’d just been about to drop the towel. Sebastian said nothing to him and walked towards his closet, kicking his shoes off and changing with ease.

 

Kurt, meanwhile, as Sebastian could see from the peeks he was taking at him, had strategically draped the towel over his shoulders and was carefully trying to slip his his black underwear on, digging his toes through the leg holes, trying hard not to lose his balance.

 

Finally, when he had them on, Kurt let the towel down and stood half naked in the light. For what might’ve been the only moment that Sebastian might see it, he took in Kurt’s thick, clean hair, his elongated neck, his back free of marks and blemishes save for a tattoo in cursive under his shoulder blade. There was another in script at the small of his back. Seb’s eyes grazed past Kurt’s ass in tight briefs and paused for a moment on his legs, on beautiful muscles and visible veins, then let his eyes fall defeatedly to the backs of Kurt’s heels.

 

Sebastian thought about Blaine then, wondered again why Blaine had really asked if Kurt had ever changed in front of him before.

Chapter Text

It started when Blaine showed up at Kurt and Sebastian’s door, unannounced, late one Wednesday night in mid October.

 

Just before, Kurt and Sebastian had been in the middle of a petty argument. This time it was because Sebastian insisted on sorting his dirty clothes all over the floor, the way Kurt did when he did laundry, which included the middle of Kurt’s Dior rug, which was supposed to just be on Kurt’s half.

 

“It’s in the middle of the floor, that’s not technically half,” Sebastian was saying.

 

“Yes, but it’s a decoration for the entire room, and I own it, so that makes it my half.”

 

“That doesn’t even make any sense. It’s not like I asked you to put it there.”

 

“You don’t have any taste, so of course you wouldn’t’ve put it there.”

 

“Fine, what would you prefer that I do, then? Sort my laundry in front of the door?”

 

“Why do you even have to do it on the floor? Can’t you use your bed for anything other than fucking?”

 

Sebastian was about to move the rug over with his foot, but Kurt made a high-pitched noise.

 

“Please, just leave it there.”

 

Kurt’s rug was one of the many things Seb was realizing Kurt had mild OCD about. If it wasn’t exactly lined up with orientation of the walls, he stood over it fastidiously, nudging and obsessing until it lie perfect. Seb had also noticed the way that Kurt turned the lock on the door three times every time, touched every shoe on his rack with his right pointer finger every time he retrieved a pair.

 

Kurt had just been saying, up close to Sebastian’s face, “If you don’t move them, I will, and you won’t ever see them ever again,” and Sebastian had just deadpanned, “What a threat,” before loud, abrasive knocks cut them off.

 

They looked at each other questioningly, then Kurt went to the door.

 

That was when he saw Blaine standing before him, duffle bag over his shoulder, Dalton hoodie pulled over his head.

 

Kurt’s eyes flew open in shock.

 

“Blaine?” He looked down at the nonexistent wristwatch he’d taken off moments ago, by habit. “What are you doing here? It’s late, is everything okay?”

 

Sebastian glanced up, raised a brow at Blaine in the doorway.

 

Blaine kissed Kurt’s cheek, let himself inside the room.

 

“Everything’s great.”

 

He went to put his duffle bag down on the floor, then realized that the floor was covered in clothes.

 

Kurt’s heart was racing a million miles an hour, trying to recall having made plans with him tonight, then he remembered it was Wednesday, and wait, Blaine had school tomorrow. Why was he--

 

“You usually call first,” Kurt said to him, smiling as Blaine turned in a half circle, surveying the contents of Kurt’s adorned wall. “Not that I’m complaining.”

 

“I finally got my car fixed tonight,” Blaine said, “so, I wanted to surprise you.”

 

“I’m surprised.”

 

Kurt knew his boyfriend, ever the (dare he say neurotic?) perfectionist, wasn’t one for veering from his weekday routine. The two of them scheduled everything from good morning texts and make outs to movie times and when they would coordinate outfits. Whenever Blaine suddenly deviated? It probably meant something was wrong.

 

But, Kurt wouldn’t let his doubts spoil a perfectly good moment this time. Maybe Blaine really was just trying to surprise him.

 

Blaine put his things down on the edge of the bed and sat, as Kurt stood just before him to kiss him. Blaine put both hands around Kurt’s waist, and Kurt gently hummed in satisfaction. He was beginning to feel heat build in his chest, and he would’ve kissed Blaine again were it not for who else was in the room with them.

 

Sebastian hadn’t been watching, though it was hard not to, and had just begun to gather one of his laundry piles, a basket and detergent.

 

Kurt put his hands on Blaine’s thighs, running his fingers in small, soothing circles across his wrinkled jeans.

 

“Are you sure you’re okay?” Kurt tried to calm his nerves, his concerns that those bad dreams he had sometimes, those fears that Blaine wasn’t actually safe, were real this time. He gave his boyfriend’s skin a once over for bruises or any other signs of harm. He didn’t find any.

 

Blaine opened his mouth to answer, then shut it again, sighing.

 

He ran his hands over Kurt’s, looking him in the eyes.

 

“I’ve just missed you, that’s all,” was all Blaine said.

 

Kurt squeezed Blaine’s fingers in his own, disheartened by the sadness he saw.

 

“I’ve missed you too,” Kurt assured him. “But we talk every day. Are you sure that’s all that’s wrong?”

 

Blaine smiled once more, slightly rolled his eyes.

 

“I’m not running away from home,” he recited. “My parents don’t hate me—that much—and my dad didn’t hit me. I’m still doing fine at McKinley.”

 

Kurt felt like he could breathe a little easier.

 

“Do your parents know you’re here?” he guessed then. “I thought the last time you stayed, they got mad, and that was just on a weekend. And you just got your car back.”

 

“No, they think I’m at Artie’s,” Blaine said, shrugging. “I told them that we had a calculus midterm tomorrow and I was just gonna stay at his, so we could study and go to school together.”

 

Kurt raised an eyebrow.

 

“My mom almost didn’t let me do that.” Blaine laughed. “I think she thinks I’m going over there to—you know—“

 

Kurt feigned an offended look.

 

“Gee, they do still know about me, don’t they?”

 

Blaine chuckled, kissed him.

 

“You know I don’t see Artie like that.”

 

“Mm hm.” Kurt let himself be kissed once, then twice more, adding a hint of playful suspicion to his tone. “I know.”

 

“I only have eyes for you,” Blaine said.

 

Kurt had to painstakingly ignore the fact that, behind Blaine, he could see Sebastian’s mouth forming a derisive grin.

 

In the year and a half that they’d been together, Kurt had only met the Andersons a handful of times. It seemed far too few for two people who wanted to get married, but Kurt was patient with the process, and knew he was lucky his future spouse’s parents even knew he existed. The Andersons were always polite, and they did pay for their son to go to Dalton Academy when he was bullied for coming out, and they had to know that, when they were out of town, Kurt spent the night in their son’s sailor-themed bedroom with him. But even with a partner as safe and monogamous as Kurt, and even though they hadn’t kicked him out when he’d been honest with them, they seemed to disapprove of Blaine acting on his sexuality.

 

The first time Kurt met Blaine’s parents was a couple weeks before the start of Kurt’s senior year, when Blaine finally invited Kurt over to have dinner with them. He’d proceeded to introduce Kurt to Mr. and Mrs. Anderson without the title of “my boyfriend” even though that title was very much implied, if not for the fact that Blaine had never had a girl over, than for the fact that a boy who dressed like Kurt probably couldn’t be anything other than “campy.” As Blaine said his mother liked to put it.

 

Blaine had been so nervous throughout the evening he’d forgotten to so much as look at Kurt the entire time, let alone hold his hand or do anything to show his affection. Kurt had been expecting that, so he’d just answered Mrs. Anderson’s questions with a smile, avoiding the awkwardness that arose every time he said something too “campy.”

 

The very stern and bushy-browed Mr. Anderson hadn’t said a word. Kurt had noticed the man watching Blaine a lot, as if he were the one being questioned, and Blaine had sometimes cut in on Kurt’s answers every once in a while, to try and clarify and make them “Mr. Anderson-friendly.” To no avail. At everything, the old Filipino man simply raised his eyebrows, gave an uninterested “Hm.” No wonder Blaine was always stumbling over himself for approval. This man seemed impossible to read.

 

Kurt was surprised when, a couple weeks later, they’d actually decided to let Blaine transfer to McKinley. Throughout Blaine’s junior year and Kurt’s senior year, they didn’t do anything to necessarily make their relationship anymore difficult. It helped that they couldn’t keep tabs on Blaine properly because they were out of town frequently, and Blaine would invite Kurt over constantly. Sometimes they came home when he was around in the day time, over summer. They said “Hello,” and other than that, they didn’t seem to care.

 

But lately, ever since Kurt had gone off to college, and since it was the year Blaine’s father was retiring, it seemed they were pressuring their son to spend less and less time with his “special friend,” and more time at home.

 

“Don’t you have class tomorrow?” Kurt asked him.

 

“Yeah, but, I figured I could miss a day. For you.”

 

“As much as I appreciate you coming to shack up with me —and as little as I like the idea of you ditching just to be with me—unfortunately I still have to go to school tomorrow.”

 

“I’m totally okay with that. Do what you need to do, and I’ll just—wait here, until you get back.”

 

Kurt would’ve been fine with that, except for the fact that Blaine wouldn’t be alone while he was waiting. Sebastian was currently packing the last of his load, getting ready to leave the room.

 

When he finally did, Kurt cradled Blaine’s face in his hands, traced the contours of Blaine’s lips with his thumbs.

 

“Kiss me,” he said.

 

Blaine willingly did as he was told, and Kurt smiled into each hard press of their lips. A few seconds in, he felt Blaine’s hands sneak up and thread through his thick, brown hair. Kurt slowly eased his tongue into Blaine’s mouth, tasting a familiarity that always really got to him. The next thing he knew Blaine was pushing him back onto the bed so that he was straddling him. Blaine had just started trailing his hands down Kurt’s chest and flicking open buttons when the door swung back open behind them.

 

Kurt snapped up, nearly mortified.

 

“Could you?” he managed.

 

Sebastian sighed, turned back around.

 

An hour and a half later, Seb was still in the laundry room. He hadn’t bothered to go back after the ten minutes he figured it took them, since Kurt was probably going to keep him out as long as he could anyway. Instead he tried to shake off the bad mood he’d sunk into ever since Blaine had walked in, just expecting to be taken in. Of course Kurt had played it off well, and there was no way he would’ve said no or anything, but Seb could tell that Blaine’s sudden interruption in his little routine was sort of throwing him.

 

And things had been different with Kurt, Sebastian thought now, as he emptied his basket and let his clothes soak, ever since that Sunday Kurt had followed him to “church.” It wasn’t like he’d planned all that, he was supposed to have gone to his father’s service in Westerville just like he did every weekend or two, with a speech he would stand up and read before the baptisms. But he’d lost the stupid speech, written on a loose leaf of paper somewhere, in the midst of packing up hastily on Friday, and getting fucked up at Scandals on Saturday. His father wouldn’t let him go on stage without it, without “having prepared.” So they’d gotten in an argument, and in protest, yes, Sebastian had sat there in a creepy abandoned chapel, and prayed.

 

He knew it must’ve made him look stupid to some people, his insistence on practicing his rather un-accepting father’s religion. But there was something about being in church that made him feel comfortable and safe in a way he couldn’t replicate. Perhaps it was his memories of being next to his mother in that cathedral in Sainte-Maxime, France, where they all used to attend when he was a kid. Young Sebastian always looked forward to that sunny redeeming morning when the week would start over, when unity would win and his parents would forgive each other for their most recent fall out. The wisdom and salience of the scriptures he had memorized, repeating them to himself like mantras as he needed them, the weight of a bible in his hands, the fine pages. Call his spirituality an outdated relic from his past, or call it muscle memory; it was sentimental, but for what it was worth, having it was better than not.

 

Meanwhile, in the room, Kurt and Blaine were naked, bodies close beneath the comforter. Kurt had his hand on top of Blaine’s and was feeling the coarseness that angered boxing had once brought to these knuckles. Blaine was staring at Kurt just like he had after their first time, like he was in awe of him, and it was doing all kinds of crazy, lovely things to Kurt’s head. He didn’t know how much longer he’d able to handle Blaine looking at him like this, not without melting into a smitten pile of teenager. He couldn’t handle how much Blaine seemed to love him sometimes, how Blaine could always look at him like he was the most beautiful person alive.

 

Kurt yawned, then, nestling his face further into the pillow.

 

“Can you look at the clock on the desk, n’see what time it is?”

 

Blaine did. “It’s almost midnight.” Kurt shut his eyes and felt Blaine move in closer. “You tired?”

 

Kurt nodded, hummed in the affirmative.

 

Blaine glanced over at the door.

 

“Is Sebastian coming back?”

 

Kurt opened one eye.

 

“If he isn’t back already, I’m assuming no.”

 

Blaine pressed his lips together.

 

“He probably found a stranger’s bed to sleep in,” Kurt mumbled, “again.” He found that funny, his lips slightly curling into a smug smile.

 

But Blaine didn’t find it so much. He walked his fingers up and down Kurt’s forearm, and Kurt could tell the tapping of those fingers meant his beau was anxious about something. He was almost too tired to ask what it was. Just before he fell asleep, Blaine nudged him back awake.

 

“Hm?”

 

“Hey,” Blaine kissed the top of Kurt’s nose. “We should probably put clothes on.”

 

Kurt pouted.

 

“But I like being naked with you,” he reasoned sleepily.

 

“As do I with you,” Blaine sing-songed. “But this isn’t just your room, and I don’t want—him—to see us like this.”

 

Kurt didn’t make any more noise, so Blaine took the initiative. He got up and went to Kurt’s drawer, pulling out a pair of Kurt’s dark green pajamas and taking them into bed with him. He gestured for Kurt to sit up and Kurt did so groggily. Blaine dressed him completely in a shirt and pants, let him fall back into the sheets, then got a clean pair of underwear and pink sweatpants from his own bag for himself.

 

He was going to climb back into bed, but he remembered the sock outside. He opened the door to remove it and found Sebastian sitting on the floor on the other side of the hallway, phone in hand, laundry basket at his side.

 

Sebastian’s face was illuminated by the screen.

 

“How long have you been out here?” Blaine said.

 

Sebastian stood up, and Blaine had almost forgotten how gangly Sebastian was. In the dark, the foot at least that Sebastian had on Blaine looked damn near menacing.

 

“Hi, Blaine. Cute pajamas.”

 

Sebastian passed by him and Blaine shut the door, getting back into Kurt’s bed. He then began vigilantly watching Sebastian move through the room. Sebastian, as a test, took his shirt off, and it was only then that Blaine started acting like he hadn’t been watching. Putting on that whole bashful act.

 

“I don’t think he would approve of you watching me do this,” Sebastian said, unzipping his jeans and slinking them down his hips with ease. “Don’t you think?”

 

Blaine half-scoffed, bundled further under the blankets.

.

“Whatever, Sebastian,” he muttered. “Goodnight.”

 

Kurt was the only one who got a decent night’s sleep that night.

 

The next morning Kurt was in biology trying desperately to pay attention to, but couldn’t much; not with fresh memories of Blaine rolling over and whispering, “Love you, sweetheart” to him this morning, memories of Blaine in the shower with him, kissing him and jacking him off as hot water rained down massaging their skin.

 

Class was over in a sweep and soon as it was, his cellphone buzzed in his pocket. While he was expecting his sweetheart, it was actually Tina calling.

 

Oh my god, Kurt, I’m so jealous that Blaine is there. I saw it on his Snapchat. He didn’t tell me he was ditching to come and be with you. I wanna be invited.”

 

“Well, you should totally drive your emo self out here, and stop hiding in the dark with your misandrist literature and sad Imogen Heap records. I know you’re a vampire, but the sun loves your beautiful face.”

 

Tina wasn’t starting university until the winter quarter began in late November. Just weeks before her departure to Brown University in the fall, she had a break-up-slash-mental-health-related nervous breakdown, and delayed her acceptance. That got her back on the wait list for winter, but Kurt was sure they would take her off of it in the next couple of weeks. Tina was not so sure, had been crying and dying her hair a lot. Well, more than usual.

 

Hey, I know you said that you’re never gonna go to another party where there’s alcohol involved, or another party thrown by someone from our high school, but I think that’s pretty impossible because Artie’s dragging me to Rick the Stick’s party tonight, and I cannot suffer through that nightmare without you.”

 

Kurt felt himself deflating.

 

“God, Tina, we can’t be those alumni who go back to all the parties with the teeny-boppers.”

 

She sighed. “You’re right. I love hanging out with Artie, but his ‘friends’ make me want to put bullets in my brain.”

 

Though it wasn’t ideal for Tina in the interim, Kurt was glad that she was officially done with his brother as of the end of their senior year. Finn was working full time at the tire shop and they hadn’t even so much as texted each other since graduation. Kurt thought she was better for it. She was more herself without him, and Kurt loved Finn, but his brother has this way of winding girls up, making them obsess over him and lose themselves in the process.

 

Tina looked comfortable and badass again, donning all black instead of headbands and bright dresses, walking witch-like and regal behind the wheelchair of Artie Abrams, who stayed her best friend (and now, her new relationship partner) throughout her Finn affairs. While Kurt was not one to encourage dating another person so swiftly after a traumatizing break up, Tina and Artie’s union made perfect sense to him, because it was like they had already been together. Those two talked like two people who’d known each other their entire lives, and in other past lives. They’d been inseparable since Tina was in eighth grade, and especially ever since the day they auditioned for Glee club in high school, when Tina heard Artie sing a surprisingly sexy, self-depreciating cover of Genuine’s “Pony,” and promptly fell head over heels in love with him (and him, at her “I Kissed A Girl” rendition, head over wheels in love with her).

 

“Well, let’s do something tonight anyway,” Kurt said to Tina. “Why don’t you meet me and Blaine here on campus and we’ll figure something out. I’ll pay for your gas.”

 

No, it’s fine, you don’t have to do that.”

 

“Nonsense.” He didn’t really have the money, but he was feeling nostalgic, and knew Tina would help him feel better about that. “Artie can come too, if you can drag him out of jock hell.”

 

Probably not. He ran as student body vice president on Rick’s ticket, and won, so now he says he has to make a ‘political appearance.’ I think that just means that he wants to buy weed from him.”

 

“Hold on, I’m getting another call.”

 

It was Rachel.

 

“Hello?”

 

I know that you said that you’re never gonna go to another party where there’s alcohol involved, but you have to come to the drinking game party Arlena and I are hosting at her and Bryce’s apartment in the everglades, where Vivianne and Frances and that other really hot guy I told you about live.”

 

“I don’t know who any of those people are.”

 

I know you won’t drink and I totally respect that, but the games will still be fun, and, you can bring your cutie boyfriend with you. I saw him, okay, I know he’s here.”

 

Kurt frowned. Wait a minute, Tina was friends with Blaine on Snapchat, but Rachel definitely wasn’t. “How do you know that Blaine is here?”

 

I saw him, like, ten minutes ago with Sebastian. Or at least, I swear that was him, right? They were walking across west campus earlier, getting coffee.”

 

Kurt was really going to kill this guy.

 

“Hold on,” he said. “I have another call.”

 

Seriously, though, if your boyfriend comes tonight, you’ll be safe, you haven’t come to anything in such a long time and my friends they all like you and—“

 

Kurt switched lines.

 

“Tina?”

 

Am I going to die alone, you think?”

 

“Can’t talk. Though I hope you feel better and I’ll buy you all the peach flavored ice cream you want when you get here. But I have to go. Sebastian is getting coffee with Blaine, in places. How dare he, again, you know?”

 

Ugh, that bitch.”

 

Kurt dialed Blaine’s number.

 

Hey, lovely, Blaine said, chipper, into the phone.

 

“Hi. Where are you?”

 

I think I’m in the—campus center now. Caffeine craving settled. I sort of wandered around a bit by myself this morning, needed to clear my head, I hope you don’t mind.”

 

Kurt exhaled slowly.

 

“Rachel told that you were with Sebastian. Um, earlier.”

 

Oh. He was just showing me how to get here.”

 

Kurt’s first instinct was not to believe that, because Sebastian was Sebastian and there was always an ulterior motive.

 

Kurt tapped his fingers against the back of his cellphone.

 

“Stay in the campus center? I have chem lab now, but it’s a short one. I’ll meet you there afterwards.”

 

Okay.”

 

After lab, just as he turned the corner out of the sciences building, Kurt found Sebastian standing in front of a campus bulletin board just a few feet away from him, posting fliers for the student run business association he had just joined. He stood out from most of the students buzzing around him, had on an olive green sweater on that clung to his arms and chest, dark wash jeans slung low on his hips. Kurt wished his eye would stop catching on Sebastian’s hips, as he came up behind him.

 

“I’d say ‘good morning,’” Sebastian said before Kurt could start, not turning around, “but it isn’t now.”

 

“So glad you and Blaine could catch up this morning.”

 

Sebastian did turn at that, staring down at his little roommate and noticing, with dread, his choice of outfit today. Black velvet pants clinging up and down those thighs and a nearly translucent, long sleeve white button-up, that had an intentional, open slit across the chest and the curves of his shoulders, revealing the skin of his collarbones and well, that was. Interesting.

 

“You really have that thing of yours on a tight leash,” Sebastian said. “It’s a good thing he likes being a submissive.”

 

“Just answer, the question.”

 

Sebastian’s heartbeat skipped a little bit, at the sudden wrath and venom in Kurt’s voice.

 

“I woke up this morning and Blaine was all over me,” he decided to go with.

 

“What?”

 

“He started talking my ear off the second I moved around in bed. Wouldn’t shut up, about you or about anything really. Like a blaring alarm clock without a snooze button.”

 

Kurt, meanwhile, tried to relax. Blaine wouldn’t do it, he didn’t want Sebastian.

 

“He followed me out of the room because he said he wanted coffee or something,” Sebastian said. “I was glad to finally get him off my tail.”

 

“Okay, you can stop now. I get it, nothing happened.”

 

“I don’t see why what I do or don’t do with your boyfriend matters anyway.”

 

“Despite the fact that you would’ve given an eye to have Blaine tailing behind you last year, while he was with me?”

 

Sebastian stared for a moment, quiet.

 

“I think your brain is damaged,” he said then. “No matter how many times I tell you I don’t want Blaine anymore, you insist, like a broken record.”

 

“I don’t trust you.”

 

“I suppose I wouldn’t trust me either.”

 

“I’m going to see him now. I hate you.”

 

“Been a pleasure, as always.”

 

Kurt turned his chin up and stalked the opposite direction, and anyone observing the pair would’ve thought that Sebastian was watching Kurt leave so diligently because he wanted him.

 

Kurt walked into the campus center’s café and lounge area and found Blaine at a table, dressed in a bright green sweater, sitting with none other than Rachel. This chick was seriously omnipotent or something.

 

“Oh, Kurt, so glad you’re here,” said Blaine. He and Rachel were holding hands, and Kurt found it so strange he also had to laugh at it. “Rachel was just telling me about some kind of game party tonight, a competition? I’m sold, it sounds like an amazing time.”

 

“I don’t know, Blaine,” Kurt said. “I invited Tina to come hang out with us—”

 

“Your friend can come too,” said Rachel.

 

“—and I don’t know if she or I will be up for that kind of mood tonight.”

 

“You shouldn’t have to be afraid of going out anymore just because of what some awful person tried to do to you,” Blaine was saying all of a sudden. “It’s not fair that you have to lose your sense of fun, you know? You shouldn’t let him take that from you.”

 

Kurt really didn’t want to talk about Chandler again.

 

“And, it would be fun if me, you and Tina all went together,” Blaine said. “Just like the good old days.”

 

“Yeah, it’d be fun for you two, because you like to drink,” Kurt said.

 

Blaine nodded, taking that in stride.

 

“Okay, you’re right. If you don’t wanna go, we don’t have to go.”

 

Both Rachel and Blaine pouted in tandem, and Kurt studied Blaine carefully. He had his bouncing legs crossed and propped up on the empty chair next to Rachel across from him, his big puppy eyes boring holes in Kurt’s resistance. Kurt hated the way it worked on him sometimes, Blaine biting his lip, looking all pleading.

 

“Fine,” he said, smiling and he just loved the way Blaine looked when he was getting his way. “We can go for a little while.”

 

“All right. And I’ll just like, drive home to Westerville tonight, after we get back, okay?”

 

Kurt looked amused at that, pulling up a seat in the empty chair, placing Blaine’s legs back on top of his own.

 

“I’m not letting you drive drunk,” he said. “In the middle of the night, no less. You do have school in the morning.”

 

Blaine stared innocently. “I’m not gonna get drunk.

 

“You get drunk whenever there’s anything even mistily soporific within a four foot radius of you, honey.”

 

Rachel reached across the table to pat Blaine on the back.

 

“It’s okay, it happens to me too. The best of us, the best of us.”

 

Several hours later, once it was already dark out, Kurt and Blaine sat on Kurt’s bed in the dorm, making an attempt at doing homework before Tina arrived. While Kurt was actually focusing on his math problems, thought not without glaring at his floor rug with half of Sebastian’s clothes still all over it, Blaine was lightly singing “Japanese Denim” and pointedly not doing homework, distracted by things like Kurt’s eyelashes.

 

“Have your parents asked where you are yet?” Kurt said, absent. He could feel the way Blaine’s eyes were on him as he etched out an equation, and drew a couple of hearts at the sound of Blaine’s singing voice.

 

That got Blaine’s eyes to trail off, got him to stop singing for a moment.

 

“No,” Blaine answered simply. Too simply. He tried to get back to his book again.

 

Now Kurt was the one staring at Blaine, doubtful.

 

“Seriously, you don’t seem okay,” Kurt said. “Are you sure something didn’t happen before you came? You usually call first, and you seem, I don’t know. Sort of sad.”

 

Blaine looked somewhat annoyed that he was being asked again.

 

“I told you, I just. Missed you. And, I was tired, of my parents telling me I had to wait to see you, when really, nothing was stopping me.”

 

Kurt tilted his chin.

 

“So, you’re doing this to try and prove something to them.”

 

“No.” Blaine put his book down with haste, took Kurt’s hands in his, kissed them. “I’m not like, waiting for their approval, or else we might die before our wedding day. It’s just that--every day that you’re not home, Kurt, and I have to face them, knowing what they think about you, about our life. I just feel like I’m missing something, all the time. Seeing you, physically, in person, is the only way to make it feel better.”

 

“I love you,” Kurt said, was all he could think to say. He wished he could fix Blaine’s worries and insecurities, but the only thing he could do was continue to love him, to help with what Blaine let him.

 

“I love you too.”

 

Blaine was the first to let go of Kurt’s hand, sigh a little, and then get back to his reading, and his song. Kurt listened, harmonizing a bit for a while, then giggled to himself.

 

“What?” said Blaine.

 

“What would we have done with you, if I’d gone to New York?”

 

Blaine laughed too, shaking his head.

 

“I don’t know,” he said. “I’d be miserable, to say the very least.”

 

Kurt was about to lean in and kiss him, but he heard that ominous clicking coming from the door, his least favorite sound.

 

Sebastian dropped his book bag on the floor, ceremonious.

 

“Evening, Kurt,” he said. “Blaine.”

 

Kurt looked down at his littered rug pointedly, curling his fingers into a fist with his spare hand, squeezing them tight.

 

“You still haven’t finished your laundry, dear,” he said.

 

“Later, dear,” Sebastian said.

 

Blaine looked back and forth between the two of them warily.

 

Sebastian left the room shortly after he’d come in, making it a point to do nothing about the clothes, and Kurt’s irritation about this may’ve stewed longer had Tina had not shown up a few minutes later. His best friend was dressed in an elaborate gothic hoop skirt and a studded choker that said “bite me,” her hair long, pin-straight and purple-streaked. She FaceTimed Artie and caught everyone up on her latest post-graduation passion projects, the most recent of which was hand-knitting matching snuggies for herself and her cat Heirloom.

 

You are the most un-single single cat lady I’ve ever met in my life,” said Artie.

 

Meanwhile Kurt and Blaine got ready for the night. All getting ready consisted of for Blaine was putting more gel in his hair—which Kurt had actively tried to protest—but for Kurt of course, the process was elaborate. An entire new outfit was in order of course, though still based around his favorite slitted white shirt, plus extra hairspray, higher boots, a crocodile broach, and a number of face creams and powders that would make his skin look more highlighted, brighter. Blaine watched Kurt in fascination as he changed and prettied up, sitting cross-legged on the bed with his hands folded in his lap.

 

“Should I drive, or you?” Blaine said, as Tina and Artie still cackled to each other in the background.

 

Kurt shook his head, trying to be gentle, failing: “It’s hilarious to me that you’re even asking.”

 

“Oh, come on. You always make me sound like an alcoholic.”

 

“You aren’t quite,” Kurt said, pressing the trigger on his hairspray can. “But we’ll give it a few more years, see where you stand.”

 

Blaine rolled his eyes.

 

When they got the apartment, which was dimly lit, loud, and humid inside, Kurt, Tina and Blaine were offered a tray of green Jell-O shots by a guy with bunny ears and suspenders on. Blaine took two and gave his thanks, handing one to Tina as Kurt shook his head, made a face, and declined.

 

“I haven’t had one of these in forever,” Blaine said as he and Tina sucked the fixes down.

 

“The last time I did these, I made out with Mike Chang at Brittany S. Pierce’s surprise party. I thought everyone was staring because I lifted up his shirt and let everyone see his abs, so Finn would get jealous, but it turns out everyone was staring because they thought we were related.”

 

Rachel strolled up to them just then, wearing a black turtleneck, a very short skirt, long, white, girlish socks and those same chunky loafers.

 

“Hi, I’m so, so glad you could all make it!” Her eyes stopped for a moment on Tina, who was staring past her at the weird Salvador Dali painting on the wall across from them. “What was your name?” Rachel said, to get her attention.

 

“Tina Cohen-Chang. I know Chang sounds Chinese, but I’m Korean, and I will get pissed if you get the two mixed up.”

 

“Oh, okay. Is it hyphenated because you’re mixed race?”

 

“You can’t just ask people if they’re mixed race.”

 

“I didn’t mean to offend you, I—”

 

“It’s ‘Cohen’ because my parents are divorced, and I decided to take both their names. Wanna paint each other’s nails, talk about it?”

 

“Wait, where are you—”

 

“She’s a little intense,” Kurt said to Rachel, as Tina took Blaine in arm, marched around with him to try and find a proper drink. “It means she likes you, trust me.”

 

“H-her bone structure is incredible.”

 

Rachel went on to chase after Tina’s dark storm, and presently, Blaine returned to Kurt with cup full of sprite and tequila. Kurt took Blaine to a couch and the two of them people watched, commenting on which celebrity such and such looked like, but at one point, Rachel and Tina called Blaine to play to flip cup, and Kurt insisted that he go and enjoy himself.

 

Kurt watched for a half hour that felt like two hours, as Blaine took shot after shot in a number of creative ways, including straight from the bottle itself. Kurt couldn’t help it, his skin was crawling watching Blaine douse himself like this. He knew it was indicative of a deeper problem, wished he could see Blaine’s life at home and really understand what was going on, behind those seemingly happy-go-lucky eyes.

 

Blaine looked over at him excitedly from time to time, as if that would convey that they were experiencing this together, but he didn’t come back to Kurt’s side at all, and Kurt was old enough now to know he didn’t like that.

 

Kurt was considering getting up and telling Tina that this party was suffering, and he wanted to go, or attempting to talk to some of the acquaintances he had met with Rachel at one time or another, but just then the door to the apartment was opening, and wouldn’t you know it: Sebastian was walking in, still wearing that olive sweater from before, followed by two (really hot) guys Kurt had never seen him with before.

 

Sebastian didn’t know the guys he’d walked in with well. He’d just met them today in the first meeting of the business society he had just joined. When they’d asked him if he’d wanted to come out tonight, to a party where there’d be “girls, girls everywhere,” he knew that they were dead set in their heterosexuality, that they had no idea about him being the way he was. For once he felt tired of always being “that gay guy,” and instead, kept a low profile.

 

Thought he could use a night off from trying to break and bend someone. Instead, he saw Kurt sitting alone, still wearing that weird cut-up shirt, and thought this would distract him enough to force him to go home alone tonight.

 

“Just because we’re both here, and I’m convinced you’ve installed some kind of tracker on my phone at this point, it doesn’t mean we have to be civil to each other.”

 

Sebastian sat down next him.

 

“Blaine went home, I’m assuming,” he said.

 

“Blaine’s here,” Kurt announced, flicking his hand in the direction.

 

Sebastian found the image of Blaine with a blindfold on, as he got to choose between several different cups of booze on a table, surrounded by women, pretty decently hilarious.

 

“Have fun taking care of the bachelorette tonight,” Sebastian said.

 

Kurt didn’t appreciate that, but he said, “Thanks.”

 

Sebastian didn’t feel the need to say much more to make Kurt feel pathetic. Kurt already seemed to be having an off night without Sebastian even having to contribute. He was almost jealous. He kept trying not to pay attention too much to those eyes, which illuminated every little thing that he was feeling, so crystal, transparent.

 

Kurt glanced over at Sebastian after a moment. He watched the way Sebastian’s lips met the rim of the cup, the way his tongue darted out to wet his lips after he’d swallowed, and then he found himself quickly darting his gaze away, trying to ignore the clinical attraction.

 

“I don’t get it,” Sebastian said, after some time. “It’s like the second Blaine drinks, you’re invisible to him or something.”

 

Kurt picked Blaine out in that crowd, and one of those girls was taking a shot from Blaine’s belly button. He was sweating, laughing, and half-rolling around on the floor. Kurt rolled his eyes, trying not to act like that hurt. They were just girls, and Blaine didn’t even know them. But Kurt just didn’t understand how this kind of thing was considered fun people his age. And Blaine didn’t even go to school with these people.

 

“Blaine and I don’t have to be with each other all the time,” Kurt defended, to Sebastian. “That’s not what a relationship’s about. Not that you would know anything about that.”

 

“What makes you think I don’t know anything about a relationship?”

 

“Oh, I don’t know, Mr. We-Broke-Up-About-Twenty-Minutes-After-We-Met.”

 

Sebastian looked slightly impressed.

 

“You still remember that I said that.”

 

Kurt rolled his eyes.

 

“I remember a lot of things about our horrible first meeting.”

 

Sebastian took that as a compliment, in his way.

 

“I think I’m leaving soon,” he said.

 

“Leaving Ohio? Forever?”

 

“This party blows. If it can even be considered a party.”

 

“This is one of the worst social gatherings I’ve ever attended.” Kurt glanced down at the carpet, which covered in spills and discarded cups. “I feel sorry for the person in charge of this.”

 

Sebastian stood up from the couch, stretching beautifully. He smiled at Kurt, and for the first time, Kurt was uncomfortably moved by it. For a second it looked nice. Genuine.

 

“I was serious about your clothes being gone, if they aren’t off the floor,” Kurt said. “You have until tonight.”

 

Sebastian nodded. “Anything for you.”

 

They held eye contact a moment longer, something simmering between them, and Blaine across the way, who was on his way to fucked up, saw a trace of it between them, started to panic.

 

Once Sebastian walked off, and after Kurt’s eyes trailed curiously after Sebastian for a moment, Blaine wandered over to the couch, his eyes hazed over. He plopped hard onto Kurt’s lap, causing Kurt to squeal and squirm underneath his weight. Blaine straddled Kurt’s lap with a leg on either side, wrapped his arms around Kurt’s shoulders.

 

“I love you, how come you haven’t—come to play games with me? I know I haven’t been back here to talk, but Tina seriously needs a wingman, I think Rachel’s like, desperately trying to hit on her. Are you sure that she’s straight?”

 

“I haven’t gone over there because I will probably never drink, remember?” Kurt arched back to get a clearer view of Blaine’s face. “And I suspect Rachel’s insistence on her identity as a ‘gay ally’ might just be a cover for her latent bi-curiosity, at the very least. How much did you have to drink?”

 

Blaine pressed his mouth against the shell of Kurt’s ear instead of answering, and then he started

to bite and kiss along it. Kurt closed his eyes because he loved how that felt, but he was sober, and they were in a room full of people.

 

When he looked out again, he saw Sebastian standing with those two guys from before, watching him. Watching Kurt and Blaine with his disorienting hazel-green eyes, laughing.

 

Kurt began to furiously blush.

 

“Blaine, come on,” Kurt muttered, as Blaine’s lips went from ear to neck. Kurt groaned a little when Blaine began to bite there, too.

 

“Can we be alone here?” Blaine asked, sucking his way along Kurt’s jawline clumsily.

 

“We’re not alone, Blaine, that’s the thing,” Kurt said breathlessly. He tried to push Blaine off of him gently, but Blaine was obstinate, still handsy. “We’re—in public, so if you—mmh—if you want to do this, we have to wait—“

 

“Kurt, don’t ever leave me, okay?” Blaine was saying between bites at Kurt’s skin, with a sudden sense of urgency.

 

Kurt gave Blaine a harder push back so he would finally stop. Blaine snaked his hands up either side of Kurt’s face, cradling it and pressing his thumbs against Kurt’s cheeks.

 

Kurt wanted to melt.

 

“Why would I—“

 

“I get scared,” Blaine cut him off, “I get so, so scared that you’re gonna find somebody better than me here.”

 

Kurt wished that Blaine would look at him, really look at him, but his pupils were blown and his focus was all scattered.

 

“Is that why you came to see me last night?” Kurt asked him.

 

Blaine paused, breathing heavily and trailing his hands down Kurt’s chest, staring at him like he needed him more than anything.

 

“Please tell me you won’t leave,” Blaine begged. “That there won’t ever be someone else while I’m not with you.” Blaine began to grip Kurt’s shirt in his hands, “I just, I love you so much, and I don’t know what I’d ever do without you. Promise me, please—“

 

“Okay,” Kurt hushed him, holding his hands. He suddenly felt awful even though he hadn’t done anything. “I promise, okay? I won’t leave you.”

 

Kurt looked around for Sebastian’s lasting stare, but as it turned out, no one was looking at them now. Tina and Rachel were making out in a corner though, so Kurt would have to come back and untangle that mess when he could manage it.

 

“You’re really drunk,” Kurt said as Blaine messily kissed his cheek, then the corner of his mouth.

 

“I just had some shots, not that many shots. I lost at quarters like, seven times in a row. But I’m fine—I just want you so bad right now—“

 

Kurt pushed Blaine back even further, trying to help him up and steady his feet on the ground, deciding that they should just leave now and not give Blaine’s stomach time to turn itself inside out here.

 

Kurt held onto Blaine and walked them towards the door, out of the stuffy apartment, and down the stairs.

 

“Why’s Sebastian so mean to you?” Blaine was saying, or more like slurring.

 

“He’s mean to everyone,” Kurt answered, as he led them to his car. “I don’t think Sebastian Smythe has one nice bone in his entire plastic body—”

 

“I don’t—” Blaine hiccuped, paused to grip onto Kurt tighter, “I don’t want you with him, living with him, anymore.”

 

“Well unfortunately I have to for now, Blaine,” Kurt said. “Trust me, I tried to get out of it, but any attempt at proving he’s a danger to me is going to fail unless he actually does something threatening, which at this point I don’t even think is going to happen—“

 

“Is something going on? With you and him?”

 

Kurt stopped in his tracks, pulled Blaine out in front of him, holding him vice-grip-tight by the forearms.

 

“You’ve got to be kidding me,” he deadpanned. “You’re serious?”

 

“I don’t know."

 

“Have you completely missed the fact that I have hated Sebastian, ever since I first met him?” Kurt said. “Because of you?” He brought his boyfriend back under the support of his arm. “There will never be anything going on between he and I, ever.”

 

“Okay, I’m—I’m sorry.”

 

Kurt opened the passenger seat door of his car for Blaine, guiding him in and buckling his seatbelt while he let his head fall back lazily against the seat, which he was fumbling around with to recline.

 

“Baby,” Blaine grumbled. “I didn’t mean to get like this. Again. I just—”

 

“I know, and we’ll talk about it later, okay?”

 

They did not, in fact, talk about it later, or at least not the rest of that night.

 

Kurt returned to the apartment to find Tina and Rachel doing something that resembled talking in the kitchen, and for once, Tina was not the one crying.

 

“You mean to tell me—all that stuff, in there,” Rachel was pointing furiously at a nearby bedroom door, mascara smudged around her cheeks, “and you have a boyfriend?”

 

“Yeah. Artie knows I like to experiment. He does it too.”

 

“Oh my god.”

 

“We’ve been trying to get Kurt to let Blaine make out with Artie, for years.”

 

“Tina?” Kurt interrupted. “As much as I and everyone love hearing you talk about how free-spirited and boundary-less your budding relationship is.” He started pulling Tina with him. “We’ve got a code green. Blaine is sloppy.”

 

“I love him, but when isn’t he sloppy.”

 

“Wait!” Rachel called after them. She ran up to Tina, grabbed her by the arm and pulled her close so they could messily tongue kiss. Kurt was both grossed out and weirdly proud of Tina.

 

“C-call me,” Rachel said, to their retreating figures.

 

 

 

After dropping Tina off at her car and saying goodbye, Kurt took Blaine back up the elevator to his floor. By the time Blaine was two steps into the hallway, he was throwing up. Kurt scrambled to grab the trash can from his lobby and shove it beneath Blaine’s spews. Blaine kept trying to apologize between gags. Kurt wouldn’t let him.

 

When they got in, after Blaine got the rest out of his system in the bathroom, of course Sebastian was there, wide awake. But also, notably: his clothes were off the floor. In fact, it seemed he had swept, and even Swiffer-ed the floor, the fresh lemony-pine smell sharp and relieving to Kurt’s nose. He even put the rug back exactly in its place.

 

Kurt took Blaine out of his clothes, blocking Sebastian’s hypothetical view with his back, as Blaine fell back on the bed and attempted to curl up with one of the cold, dry sheets.

 

“I’m going to go shower,” Kurt said, trying to ignore the fact that his favorite white shirt was probably going to be stained. “Trash is by the bed if you need it, okay?”

 

Blaine grunted some sort of answer as Kurt picked up his shower caddy, left the room.

 

Sebastian was surprised Kurt hadn’t given him some kind of warning when he left, about leaving his precious lover alone to suffer in peace. Nearly forty five minutes passed, and it was almost midnight. Sebastian had almost gone this entire day with not one solicitation, dirty text, or intention to hook up. He was oddly proud of himself.

 

“Sebastian?”

 

Sebastian turned at the sound of Blaine’s coarse voice. Blaine was shifting over to his side to face

him, but his eyes were still closed. Sebastian decided to ignore him.

 

“You think—you think you aren’t gonna fall for him,” Blaine started.

 

“Who, Kurt?”

.

“You think that you can just ignore your feelings, and they’ll just go away, but then you spend time around him, and he just—grows on you, he has this way, then you look at him one day and you can’t even help yourself.”

 

Sebastian had no idea how to respond to this information.

 

“It happens so slowly you don’t even realize it,” Blaine finished. “And then all at once. Even when you don’t want it to.”

 

Sebastian laughed.

 

“If you’re telling me this because you think I’m attracted to your effeminate bitch of a boyfriend,” he didn’t want to use that word this time, but this was serious, he was tired of all this childishness, “then you have a serious case of alcohol poisoning.”

 

“I’m not poisoned,” Blaine contested, smothering his face into Kurt’s pillow. “I know what I’m talking about.”

 

Sebastian hoped he kept his face there.

 

“I love him,” Blaine muttered. “I love him so much, and I can’t lose him, I won’t lose him to you—”

 

“Trust me, you have him all to yourself. Keep him, please.”

 

Hours later, as the dark night became the early morning, Kurt was waking up to Blaine saying goodbye to him, promising they’d talk about all this later. Sebastian was still awake in his own bed, his back turned on them. He heard the noises that their lips made when they kissed, heard Kurt humming “it’s okay” over and over, and then finally, the door shutting, leaving Kurt and Sebastian alone again.

 

As it should’ve been.

Chapter Text

It wasn’t so much the Sebastian of it all,” Blaine clarified, on the phone with Kurt the next day. “I guess I just wanted to pin it on him because he’s the only guy I know who goes to school with you.”

 

“I know,” Kurt said, smiling a little. He was in the dorm room at his desk, alone, enjoying the peace. “But you do know that that was ridiculous, right?”

 

Blaine laughed at himself. A little.”

 

“A lot,” Kurt corrected him.

 

I just,” Blaine started again, “think that you’re the smartest, most talented, most inspiring boy in the entire world, Kurt. I would think that everyone around you would meet you and start to think so too, you know? Including—”

 

“Other guys?” Now Kurt was the one laughing. “People aren’t fawning over me everywhere I go, Blaine. You have on what I like to call love goggles.”

 

Love goggles?”

 

“Like beer goggles, but with less regretful consequences, sometimes marriage.”

 

Kurt understood Blaine’s uneasiness about their distance. Perhaps he hadn’t before because he was the one who’d started a new life this year, who had new things to distract himself with while Blaine still lived in their old world. He still remembered how he felt in the height of his paranoia about Sebastian, how he’d had too much pride and stubbornness to act outwardly the way Blaine did, sure, but he'd still had terribly invasive thoughts, of accusing Blaine of cheating or trying to leave him. He definitely understood the desperation.

 

Blaine assured Kurt that he wasn’t always feeling as anxious as he’d been when he'd showed up to the room. Sometimes he was fine, and courageous, and sure. At other times, though, he used his heart, and his fear, instead of his brain.

 

Kurt knew this to be one of Blaine’s flaws, and didn’t think he wanted to be with him any less because of it. It wasn’t like Kurt didn’t have his flaws too. It was just that he was worried about how reluctant Blaine had even been to tell him his concerns, how he masked them with alcohol and trying to have sex with dubious consent.

 

The drinking was becoming more consistent and routine ever since the first time they showed up at a bar together. That had been Sebastian’s fault, in a way, they never would’ve stepped in foot in Scandals had he not outstretched his dirty privileged hand. Although, Kurt had been the one who’d pushed for them to go. It was still Sebastian's fault, though.

 

Regardless, he didn’t want to have that conversation with Blaine, today, right now. Baby steps, he figured they should take it, one issue at a time. Today, they’d accomplished enough. He wanted to focus on the good things, on the love, instead.

 

 

 

Soon, Kurt realized that Halloween weekend was only one week away. He absolutely lived for the thirty first, as it was the holiday dedicated to elaborate, over-the-top costumes. When it came to making costumes, Kurt was a connoisseur. This was one of the few times a year he had a massive captive audience.

 

Kurt’s actual plans for the weekend were his secondary concern. His first concern was finishing the gaudy male spin-off of little red riding hood he’d been dreaming about for months. The getup was being made with red velvet and spandex, white silk, a black lace-front corset, and of course, the longest thigh-high, leather, red-soled boots that he could get his greedy, designer-hungry hands on.

 

Kurt had been doing mandatory volunteer hours with the theater department’s Urinetown production for a couple of weeks now. Most of it was lighting and curtains and the regular crew’s busywork they couldn’t be assed doing, but after about a week or so, Kurt started sneaking into the costume department’s wing, to use their spare sewing machines at night. Recycling their fabrics that had previously been discarded, he turned scraps into beautiful vestures.

 

Tonight Kurt was in the room finishing up his riding hood, which he’d been perfecting with the details all week. It was post-rehearsal, and Rachel, the female lead’s under-challenged second understudy, had followed Kurt back there this time. He didn’t mind, as it gave him a chance to talk her ear off about his vision for this look, and gave him the authority to make her do his extra stitching, in exchange for the pleasure of his company.

 

“So these are are my sketches of what it’ll look like when it’s done,” Kurt was saying to Rachel, sliding his notebook across the table. He then adjusted the white shirt he was working on under the sewing machine, watching as her eyes scanned his vignettes.

 

“This is incredible, Kurt,” she said. “You’re really going to wear a corset with it?” Kurt’s eyes flickered up at her, defensive. “Not that that’s a bad thing,” she added. “I mean, you’re already so skinny, it’ll look great.”

 

Kurt smiled, satisfied with the change of her response, pressing his foot on the machine’s pedal.

 

“Yes, I am actually wearing a corset. But that’s nothing compared to the rendition of Gaga’s glittery ten inch heel look I wore for an entire week to school my sophomore year.”

 

“Oh my god, do you still have that?”

 

“Anyway, Yves Saint Laurent had a plethora of corsets and a slew of red and black in their latest fall collection at fashion week, especially black leather. I’ve been dying to try the whole thing on for Hummel-size ever since.”

 

Rachel picked up her needle and thread again, working on the lining of the hood.

 

“Blaine and I are going to match,” Kurt continued, still feeding the machine with care. “Blaine is going as my ‘big bad wolf,’ though he’s not really big or bad. He’s more like a smaller, puppy-sized version of Jacob from Twilight.”

 

Rachel chuckled. “You like Twilight?” she said.

 

“No,” he shot back, stern. “Do you?”

 

Rachel hesitated. “Maybe.”

 

“I am, however, in love with Taylor Lautner, and I’ll watch any movie he’s in as long as he’s wet and naked.” At the look on Rachel’s face, he feigned innocence. “What? I’m in a relationship, but I have eyes.”

 

“Uh huh, mister.”

 

Kurt finished with one of the shoulders on his sleeveless top, then glanced up at the clock. It was almost nine, and he’d been out since noon, but he was in no rush to get to his room. Things with Sebastian were testier than usual lately, but for once it wasn’t because his roommate was having gentlemen callers in and out of their pad. In fact, Sebastian hadn’t had anyone over in almost two weeks, not since that last party where he had worn green.

 

Kurt decided to give himself fifteen more minutes in the sewing room, or at least until he was done with his shirt. After a while, Rachel asked him what exactly he was doing for Halloween weekend, and he was hesitant to tell her.

 

He’d half-heartedly been planning on going back to Lima to hang out with Blaine, plus Tina and Artie. Apparently Sugar Motta was having another one of her Daddy-funded McKinley parties at BreadstiX, and yes, it did make him feel humiliated that he was going to be a college student at a high school party, but he and Blaine had matching outfits. They had to be together. Besides, because it was a weekend, because it was this weekend, there were going to be things transpiring with Blaine after the whole affair, whatever that affair might be. At Blaine’s house, which he was going to have to himself for two days, they planned on venturing into dom-sub territory officially, for the first time.

 

“You have to come to frat row with me,” Rachel told him now. “Thousands of people will be there, you’ll get so many compliments, and, there are even costume contests where you can win money and things.”

 

“The last time I attended a fraternity event, I blacked out. Against my will.”

 

“But Ohio State is famous for its ‘Nightmare on Frat Row,’ you don’t even have to drink because it’s mostly like a carnival, the orgs set up rides and dance floors and these really elaborate haunted houses. Plus, it’s freeeeee.

 

Rachel sang the last note as Kurt turned the shirt, began stitching up the other shoulder, and damn it, he was smiling at that. She was lucky she had such a good voice.

 

“You do realize that every time we have this conversation, I end up not enjoying myself in the end,” he said, still trying to protest.

 

“Come on, what are you going to do instead?”

 

“Blaine and Artie want Tina and I to go to this girl we went to high school with’s party. But.”

 

“But?”

 

Kurt thought about how titillated he wouldn’t be wearing this outfit in a room full of McKinley jocks, plus with the anonymity and the more liberal way of thinking in this part of town, he would have more space, and more time, to make out with Blaine freely.

 

“I’ll think about it,” he said to Rachel.

 

Rachel nodded.

 

“Tell--” She paused for a moment, suddenly looking flustered. “Tell Tina, I’ll be looking forward to seeing her?”

 

Just then Rachel’s phone was ringing, so she handed the red hood back to Kurt, dismissed herself for her study group back in her dorm building.

 

Once the door shifted shut, and Kurt knew he was alone, he stopped the machine and took a deep, slow breath. The shirt was pretty much done, save for a few details; it was a white silk shirt with a fold-over collar, and the breakneck v-neck was designed to stop just above Kurt’s navel, completely showing off his chest and ribcage.

 

Kurt stood up and walked across the empty room, going to the door and locking it three times. Then he walked back to the table, unbuttoning his sweater and removing his layers until he was standing shirtless in front of the nearby mirror.

 

Kurt slipped the shirt on for a fitting, then started at himself solemnly. He stared at his jutting collarbones, his near hairless chest, his blossoming arms. He used to always feel insecure about his body, but that was changing with years of retraining, positive mantras to himself, push ups, and the fact that Blaine had probably kissed every inch of him at this point. He was starting to see how someone could find him sexy, all the more spurred on by the fact that while he used to only dream of wearing an outfit like this, now he finally had the figure to actually put one on.

 

He traced the border of the shirt on him with his eyes, and almost blushed at how much skin he’d be showing everyone. Some of his day-to-day outfits were just as tight-fitting as this one would be, but at least Kurt’s body was always covered when he wore those. He didn’t usually feel the need to show skin for attention, but lately, as of the last couple of weeks, he’s had this stubborn image, in his head. An image of Blaine seeing him dressed like this and getting that look, that look like he wanted Kurt to fuck him so hard, he forgot his own name.

 

Kurt wouldn’t admit it, to anyone, ever, but he’d really, inexplicably horny lately. Kurt hated the implication that his body biologically depended on him coming from time to time in order for him to feel normal, (he wasn’t Sebastian), but ever since the last time he’d saw Blaine, he’d been thinking about sex with him so much more than normal.

 

Perhaps that was because he still felt guilty for the things Blaine’d said. He didn’t usually get this bad; he never felt the need to force himself to look provocative to drive Blaine crazy. It was just that they’d had sex a lot when they were in high school, and they had it so sparingly now. Plus, sometimes their sex could be so simple. Same quickened build up, same tearing off of each other’s clothes within seconds, same positions, and same tones of voice when they said “I love you.” Hell, Kurt could wear a potato sack, not wash his face, do nothing with his hair and Blaine would still always want to sleep with him the same amount.

 

Kurt liked being comfortable and safe around his boyfriend, but at the same time, he did want a little chase, a little thrill. The fact that Blaine had given him text-message permission to tie him up at some point this weekend, was only making him want to push Blaine’s patience and resistance to the edge even more.

 

When Kurt got back to the room twenty minutes later, Sebastian was doing pull-ups on the six and a half foot bar he’d bought and rolled in here for some terrible reason last week, that barely even fit on his side of the room.

 

Kurt paid him no mind, grateful he was wearing a shirt for once and put his bag with the majority of his costume in it back in the closet. He then spread his velvet hood out in his rug to fold it, and felt Sebastian’s eyes burning holes into his back as he did.

 

“What is that?” Sebastian asked, coming down from the bar. “Your dress from last year’s prom?”

 

“It’s part of a costume,” Kurt corrected. “For Halloween.”

 

“Right.”

 

“What are you dressing up as?” Kurt asked. “I’d guess a dirty, French-speaking working boy from a brothel in early 20th century Europe, but I don’t think you’d be so creative.”

 

Sebastian appreciated that, in his head, and then he replied, “Satan.”

 

“Really can’t tell if you take the whole religion thing seriously, or if it’s an ironic, long-con prank that absolutely no one is buying.”

 

Sebastian appreciated that a little less.

 

 

A couple days later, Blaine drove up to Ohio State for a fitting for his half of their costume. That was why Blaine was standing on top of a step stool in the middle Kurt’s room that afternoon, wearing pointed wolf ears and a gray-black woolen outfit that only was half-sewn, covered in safety pins.

 

“So, what is it that we’re going to again?” Blaine asked Kurt, staring down as his boyfriend came alarmingly close to jabbing the skin of his belly with a pin.

 

Kurt took another safety pin from between his lips as he knelt down on the floor in front of Blaine’s pelvis. He knew that he was frowning something serious right now, but that was because this particular position was reminding him of something.

 

“It’s called ‘Nightmare on Frat Row,’” Kurt said. “Cheesy, I know. Supposedly it’s a street fair, there are supposed to be rides, and I didn’t want to go, at first, but you know. Rachel. Plus, there’ll be so many people there, I’m sure that my outfit will be—”

 

“Ow!”

 

“Sorry, sorry—”

 

Kurt lifted the fabric of the waistband of the pants and pressed his thumb to the place where he’d just stabbed Blaine. Thought nothing of the tiny droplet of blood that appeared when he removed his digit and continued with his work. Blaine didn’t look pleased with this, this had to have been the sixth time he’d been marred him in the last twenty minutes, but he also knew not to take it personally. Kurt was just in his “zone.” There was no stopping him when he was like this.

 

“Anyway, I thought that we might as well try it,” Kurt said, finishing this thought and changing his position. He went around to the back of Blaine then, and had to stifle the groan he felt rising in his chest at the view that this gave him of his ass. He tried to stay focused on the clothes, instead how much he really wanted to strip the clothes, taste Blaine’s skin.

 

“Well, a street fair sounds like it could be fun,” Blaine said. But then: “Is um, will Sebastian be there?”

 

Kurt sighed, fidgeting with the fabric.

 

“Probably,” he said, just knowing he’d run into his devil of a roommate at some point during the night. It always happened, like clockwork.

 

“But don’t worry, Artie and Tina will be with us to buffer any flack he might give. We’ll be the four piece Sebastian defense squad.”

 

“Hm, alright,” said Blaine, giving up. “I know Artie will be happy to see you. I think he said something about them dressing up as—Kurt!”

 

“Sorry, sorry.”

 

Blaine looked like he was fighting back tears, but he said, “I guess this is what they mean when they say ‘beauty is pain.’”

 

“There you go.”

 

Kurt was about to pin a segment of a pant leg, but the sound of keys jingling made his gaze instantly and protectively dart towards the doorway.

 

Covered in sweat and dressed in tight workout clothes, Sebastian was entering, taking one good look at Blaine as a standing model and Kurt on his knees with the contents of his sewing kit all over the floor, and laughing condescendingly, as he often did.

 

“I’ve always known that you two were immature,” Sebastian said, “but playing dress up with each other is reaching new levels of juvenile, even for you.”

 

Kurt took a deep breath as Blaine crossed his arms over his chest self-consciously.

 

“Really don’t think you should insult me right now, Sebastian,” Kurt said, focusing back on Blaine’s leg and pulling harsh and hard on the fabric. Blaine was startled by this, but Kurt didn’t seem to notice. “I have a box full of pins, sharp pins, right next to me, and trust me, I have no problem using them to pin you to the wall.”

 

Blaine looked between the both of them and frowned, upset. Sebastian kicked off his shoes and unpacked his gym bag as Kurt continued to work beneath Blaine in silence.

 

“Is this really what it’s like between you two all the time?” Blaine asked.

 

“Pretty much.”

 

“Yep.”

 

Kurt was pulling another pin out of his box, the wiry muscles of his arms moving quick and tight as if he were trying to keep them from swinging.

 

“So what tragic fairytale disaster is Kurt transforming you into?” Sebastian said to Blaine.

 

Blaine rolled his eyes. “When this is done, uh, I’m gonna be a wolf.”

 

Sebastian laughed again, and Kurt silently seethed.

 

“Not very fitting,” Sebastian said.

 

“Y’know we really didn’t ask for your opinion,” Kurt said.

 

“You’re putting on this show in the center of our room. If you’re going to be so open about it, I’m going to have an opinion.”

 

“Ow, sheesh, Kurt!”

 

“I’m sorry, I am.”

 

“This is, like, the tenth time! I’m bleeding!”

 

“I know, I’m sorry.”

 

Blaine tripped off the stool and held his hand to the fresh puncture on his inner thigh, as Kurt stood up and wiped the bits of fabric he’d been cutting earlier off his pants.

 

“Alright, my little model, you can take five. There are band-aids and Neosporin in the sewing kit.”

 

Blaine chuckled. “Do you end up stabbing everyone you make you clothes for?”

 

“Only the ones I love very dearly.”

 

Kurt had finished his own get up late last night in the sewing room, so he decided to take it out now, stare at it admiringly. As he unzipped the dedicated garment bag and let the clothes breathe, he practically beamed at them. The finished product looked just the way he’d sketched it, and fit even better than he had expected. As well, the thigh high, black leather, stupid tall Louboutin boots Kurt had gotten from the outlet the other day, were just begging to be broken in (and his empty wallet was crying because of them).

 

Sebastian stepped out for a moment to take a shower, and after slapping a band-aid on his leg, Blaine fixed his attention on Kurt’s open garment bag.

 

“Holy smokes, you’re wearing that?”

 

Kurt just wanted to put it on now. “Yep. This is what I’ve been working on, the one I’ve been telling you about.”

 

“Oh, man.”

 

Blaine came and wrapped himself around Kurt from behind, kissing the back of his neck.

 

“Ugh, don’t start that with me, right now,” Kurt said, his heartbeat racing suddenly.

 

Blaine continued, teasing him. “Why?”

 

Sebastian returned with a loud slam of the door behind him, answering Blaine’s question for him (and how long was that shower? Thirty seconds?)

 

“Sorry for just barging in,” Sebastian said, sounding the farthest thing from sorry as Kurt shrugged his boyfriend off of him. Seb was wearing nothing but a thin white towel, soaking wet. “Looked like it was about to get PG in here.”

 

“I swear to god, one day I’m going to get you one of those dog collars that zaps at your neck every time you try to bark.”

 

Sebastian looked to Kurt to make a rebuttal, but then his eyes went past him to the outfit in the garment bag, hanging on the closet door. Upon first glance it looked like one of those cheap, slutty teenage girl costumes from every generic Halloween store ever (and it was so like Kurt to buy himself a chick’s outfit, or so he thought), but upon second glance he realized that it did in fact appear to be made for a man: it had pants, and a muscle tank, and—

 

Oh, it had a corset, too.

 

Sebastian was distracted, very distracted by that for a moment, but he prevailed, collected himself.

 

“That looks like an embarrassing excuse for a jester’s costume,” he said, as Blaine moved to the bed and began to dig through the bag he’d brought with him, aimlessly.

 

“Well it’s not,” Kurt bit back, crossing his arms and lifting his chin. “It’s the best little red riding hood anyone’s ever made and I don’t care what other ill-conceived insults you have to give it. I designed it myself, I worked really frickin’ hard on it, and I'll look fantastic.”

 

Sebastian gave Kurt’s handiwork one more purposefully patronizing look, then went to his closet to get his change of clothes. He had to stave off a number of inappropriate thoughts in that moment just then, because he—well, he had a thing, a really, really bad thing, for men wearing corsets. He wouldn’t tell you why if you asked, but his fixation stemmed from the first time he ever went to an all-male burlesque club in France, when he was just barely fifteen.

 

His parents had given him plenty of cash for “souvenirs” that summer, enough for him to buy the pretty twink in black leather he’d been trying to find the nerve to ask for a dance in there for days. Sebastian hadn’t expected to fall so deep in lust in the back of the sweaty club, hypnotized and tortured by the way the fabric laced and squeezed tight around the man’s middle, made him look deliberately bound. Long story short, he’d ended up telling the guy to keep it on while he’d fucked him raw into the late hours of the night, and ever since, voilà.

 

But Sebastian would not fantasize about Kurt ever, even if he did end up seeing him at the ‘Nightmare’ in that outfit (that, in Sebastian’s opinion, someone as prude as Kurt didn’t even deserve to get to flaunt around). Within another minute, he was dressed, grabbing his wallet and keys and leaving the room.

 

It was true, what Kurt suspected: Sebastian was two and a half weeks strong and hadn’t fucked anyone, anywhere. He thought maybe taking a break, and working out furiously to stave off the sex cravings, would help with his motivation or memory or mood or something or other. He wasn’t sure about that now, his temper flaring up more times than he would like it to all week long, but something about having a goal to look forward to, something to change, made him feel more like himself than he had since that day that Kurt followed him to the chapel.

 

That Saturday, the Ohio State campus was abuzz with activity; most students were out and about, tailgating and going to the football game, and at around five or so, frat row was closed off in preparation for ‘Nightmare.’ Food and drink booths, foam machines, stages, mini-coasters and speakers were being set up on the street, and the frat houses were setting up their dance floors, stocking their bars, and opening up their cash registers.

 

Tina and Artie arrived at the pin Kurt had sent them in their group chat, about a quarter mile before the street fair would begin when the sun set, about an hour before Blaine did. The polygamous couple was dressed as, in their words, “Edward and Bella,” their faces painted pasty white and Artie wearing cheap gold contacts, fangs.

 

“So when we gonna meet this Rachel little bitty?” Artie was saying to Kurt. He was the only white guy Kurt had ever met who unapologetically used slang such as ‘bitty.’ The nerdy-cute senior may’ve looked unassuming to most, with his sweater vests and magnified glasses, but he was the most talented director to ever come out of Lima, and he was just a seventeen year old Trekkie. Granted one with an extremely gifted artistic eye behind the camera; in his short career he’d already directed six short films, one of which had won him a national award, three stage musicals, and a one-time television holiday special. He’d established a brand, and everyone at school knew he basically had his choice of all of the best film schools in the country, from NYU to USC.

 

The few but loyal people who loved him were just hoping he didn’t drop it all off for his other dream, which was to be a rapper; specifically, “the paraplegic Jay-Z.”

 

“She said she’ll be getting there around ten,” Kurt answered, “but just to warn you, I really don’t know how she’s going to feel, about seeing you two together.”

 

“I thought she told Tee that she’s okay with it,” Artie said, glancing at his girlfriend for assurance, but she was currently playing Flappy Bird.

 

“Sure, that’s what she said,” Kurt told him, “but it’s another thing entirely to actually see it.”

 

“Well I for one think it is a bangin’ ass idea. And I’m not just sayin’ that because I might get to see it all go down. Literally.”

 

Kurt chuckled. “Don’t count on that.”

 

“I don’t know if I should go for it, you guys,” Tina said now, putting her phone back in her pocket. “I mean, she’s a virgin—”

 

“To the shock and awe of no one,” Kurt said. "Have you seen how she dresses?"

 

“I’m sorry, that’s all the more reason you should be doing this,” Artie said.

 

“It’s a lot of pressure,” Tina said, pouting. “I don’t want to make her terrified of ever being with a woman again, just because I didn’t do it right!”

 

“Girl, you do everything right,” Artie told her. “You’re golden! If anything, you’ve got the home court advantage. She’s got no rubric to base the shit off of!”

 

Kurt didn’t understand how the two of them could let each other sleep with other people, but somehow it came as easy and as simple as letting each other borrow a pair of shoes.

 

“Y’know there’s something to the old adage,” Artie said of it once, to Kurt and Blaine, when they asked. “’If you love something, set it free.’ Tee was miserable with Finn, and that ain’t Finn hate, I love that brother like he was my kin. But she is too young, too hot and too wonderful to buckle down and hide herself away from people, especially other girls, just because some selfish lug who masturbates to porn all day and can’t get it up says so. I want everyone to see how fun and incredible she can be. And she wants that for me, too.”

 

Meanwhile Sebastian had just barely missed Kurt stepping out to meet his friends, when he returned to the room after his last class of the day, to grab his black jeans, devil horns, pitchfork, and trusted flask from his closet for the night. He was on his way to pre-game at his business society partner’s apartment, with nine other classmates in tow, and was seriously re-considering his whole half-hearted celibacy stunt. Especially when said business partner was offering him a hit of cocaine.

 

He hadn’t had any since his boarding school days in Europe, after a near overdose, in combination with liquor, landed him almost dead in a hospital in Amsterdam. It was only then his dad considered letting him come home, and this was what he'd meant when he'd told Kurt he probably he would’ve died without God.

 

But he did the cocaine now, as two lines turned to four lines, staving away the feeling that those days were upon him again. Feeling like maybe he would never get past them, still that lost boy deserted by his family in the Netherlands. Lonely even in apartments full of people who wanted him there, who wanted his friendship.

 

The drug made him feel wired, hyper-focused, and fever-y hot, the prickling in his nose and bitter taste in the back of his mouth being burned off by tequila and whiskey. Also he’d forgotten how goddamned horny blow could make him, even just the slightest pat or elbow from one of his classmates, even the girls, making his skin burn with want, making him want to jump someone’s bones.

 

By nine, his mixed gender group of ten was out and wild on frat row; the long, dark street was full of sweaty young adults in shiny, skimpy fabric, blaring music that blew out eardrums, and bittersweet booze freely spilling from red cup to red cup. Going shirtless with his black jeans and devil-wear, Sebastian felt like the night would last a life time, and he was freakishly and quite terrifyingly anxious to get another hit of blow from the small glass vile his partner had given him before they took off. So he did, paying no mind to the people around him, feeling like the man, apparitional, unstoppable.

 

At ten they found their way into the most jam-packed end of the street fair, the zombie apocalypse-d Phi Lambda Lambda house, with blood splatters and fake guts all over the walls. The brothers of the house were dressed to the nines in rotting make-up, the wooden floors were trembling and shaking to the bass of the music, and Sebastian’d managed to slink away unnoticed from his “friends” to meet up with a random from Grindr.

 

As Sebastian pinned his next conquest up against the wall, he realized that something was missing from this contest. He didn’t want to admit it was the fact that he hadn’t seen Kurt around at all. That ever present litmus test, those judgmental eyes letting him know of his iniquities. He figured that this was the last place Kurt Hummel wanted to be, a sweaty den full of liquor and sin. Imagined that so long as Blaine wasn’t wasted off his ass, again, the two of them had probably turned in hours ago. Exchanging five minute favors and cuddling in their nighties.

 

This guy he was with now was doing a terrible job at dancing, so Sebastian turned him around, making it less clear who he was, just a body; that was when he suddenly saw Blaine and Tina, hand in hand, awkwardly stumbling their way through the crowd of rowdy dancers.

 

Sebastian’s heartbeat kicked into high gear, and then, a beat later, he saw Kurt. And the thing was, Sebastian was in a dangerously fucked up state when he saw Kurt. When Sebastian got to drinking like this, and got high like this, his perception of gorgeous men was slightly—

 

Altered.

 

The thing was that Kurt was slinking through room like liquid, blood, on these extravagant leather boots that made his legs look like a statue’s. The thing was that Kurt’s legs, implausibly endless, near-perfect legs, were wrapped in bright red spandex so tight around his thighs, they jiggled when he stepped. Those pants hugged Kurt’s hips like—like they had a means to suffocate him, and the tight fabric actually, seriously stretched over the outline of his dick, making one’s guess to its size, if they’d ever had one, pretty much perfectly clear.

 

As if that wasn’t enough, as if those pants showing off Kurt’s form wasn’t really enough for Sebastian, there was the fact that Kurt’s little waist was wrapped up in that corset, lacing up the front of him and stopping just under his chest. Kurt’s white shirt was wide open, revealing the flushed skin of his chest and a peek of his nipples. His arms, though pale as light, were exposed and taut with muscles, muscles he probably didn’t even realize he had. His red velvet hood was draped over his head, and the tips of his shiny brown hair jutted out and stuck up underneath it.

 

Even though Sebastian’s vision was blurred, and his brain was clearly cranked to the point of delirium, shit—Kurt looked fucking jaw-dropping, a vision in red and black as he struggled to chart a path through the sea of human beings, to chase after the boyfriend who clearly didn’t want him, at least not right this second.

 

Oh Blaine, you're so stupid, stupid, Sebastian thought.

 

Sebastian watched as Kurt's eyes, sharp and stunning, took in everything around him with heartbreaking caution and shyness, as usual.

 

Kurt couldn’t see Sebastian at the moment, but Sebastian could see definitely him. And Kurt Hummel, the boy he should’ve kept hating, he knew it, wasn’t supposed to be looking like someone Sebastian would probably kill to have.

 

Kurt, meanwhile, wasn’t having a very good time, at least not anymore. This time it wasn’t because Blaine was incoherently drunk (although he was still kind of drunk, and par the course, the more alcohol he consumed, the less attention he paid to his lover) but moreso because he was just way too sober to find this scenario satisfying, yet again. Way too many people, although several of those people did give a nod to his outfit, very impressed, and he kept getting bumped into and having drinks spilled on him and he swore, this was the last time Rachel Berry would convince him to participate in a night full of this much foolishness.

 

Also, Kurt was trying to ignore it, but his feet were starting to kill from his brand new boots, and his corset, spellbinding as it was, was really making it hard for him to breathe in the muggy heat. And, that desperate-to-fuck reaction he’d wanted from Blaine, for his risqué little outfit? When he first put it on, Blaine’s eyes definitely had their way a bit, lots of lip biting and “god you look so good, Kurt”s were definitely seen and heard from him. But after a half hour tops, Blaine’s responses his to him had dimmed to the sweet and ordinary, and he had the same reaction to looking at Kurt that he would’ve if Kurt had been wearing a potato sack.

 

God, Kurt was being ridiculous, wasn’t he? As if they hadn’t just spent the last three hours together, as if Blaine wasn’t crazier about him than anyone would ever be, even if he wasn't singing his praises one hundred percent of the time. Still, Kurt couldn’t stop the hurt about this, couldn’t stop feeling like if things didn’t go perfect now than they wouldn’t tonight, and he was starting to realize he had to, he had to ask Blaine why got so out of it and loopy with him whenever he drank even a little bit.

 

Also, Kurt realized: in the two months since he’d moved away from Lima, somehow Tina and Artie had gotten closer to Blaine than they were to him. Tonight they each spent more time talking to Blaine, and in Tina’s case, drinking with Blaine, and there were random points in time where Tina and Blaine would randomly go missing from their party without warning, leaving Kurt alone with Artie to sit and wonder.

 

When they got to the Phi Lambda Lambda house, which was one of the last stops on the row, Kurt felt himself starting to get a headache from the earsplitting music, the smell of beer, the sticky floors. When he, Blaine, Tina and Artie finally got to a miniscule clearing in the muddle of bodies on the floor (people did tend to suck their teeth and give way when they saw a guy in a wheelchair with them), he saw that Rachel was finally calling him on his phone, but when he answered, it was impossible to hear.

 

“What? I don’t know where you are, but we’re at Phi Lambda Lambda, and you—oh, there you are!”

 

Rachel was approaching them dressed as Dorothy of Oz, complete with a basket and a stuffed animal Toto.

 

“You weren’t lying!” Artie shouted to Tina, who was seated in his lap. “She is cute as a kitten!

 

“Artie, Rachel, Rachel, Artie!” Tina announced, with a quick sweep of her hand.

 

“Are you two supposed to be mimes?” Rachel asked them.

 

“Na, we’re racist Twilight!” Artie yelled at her.

 

To Kurt, Rachel was obviously very anxious at the sight of her girl crush with the boyfriend apparent, trying not to wince at the way Tina and him were intricately close, the way Tina was absently stroking Artie’s hair. But then, Tina looked to Kurt suddenly, as if looking at him would make everything clear for her, and then she stood up, taking both of Rachel’s hands in hers.

 

“You look amazing!” she said, grinning. “Come dance with me!”

 

Rachel was trying very hard not to look so flattered, or excited.

 

As Tina took the other girl’s hand, to lead her off, she glanced back at Artie to really make sure this was okay. He nodded at her soundly, and she nodded back.

 

“I’ma go see if I can’t get one of these frat boys to show me what it’s like to feel summin’ below the waist again,” Artie announced to Kurt and Blaine. “See ya!”

 

Now that they were alone, Blaine came close to Kurt and wrapped his arms around his neck, beginning to gyrate his hips.

 

“You okay, baby?” he shouted at him. “What’s wrong?”

 

Kurt looked into Blaine’s eyes, hoping to find a spark, but they were blank, hazed over. He should’ve been happy, having Blaine all himself again, but he just couldn’t kick the small, sad feeling, that doubt in the back of his mind. He felt the way he did in high school, like no matter how hard he tried, he was always going to be a failed social butterfly, not sexy or desirable enough to really get what he wanted.

 

He couldn’t say all of that here, so he shook his head, wrapped his hands around Blaine’s waist back.

 

“I’m just—kind of over it” Kurt yelled back, over the music. “It’s too crowded, and—nothing interesting has happened, and—I’m getting kind of tired—”

 

Blaine looked confused for a moment, but then he just pressed his body closer into Kurt’s. Jutted their hips together with a bit more force than Kurt was expecting, and it made Kurt’s breath catch in his throat. His stomach did a small flip as Blaine kissed his jaw and then his earlobe, pressing his tongue and lips against Kurt’s sensitive skin. Kurt held onto Blaine tight and closed his eyes, trying to let his brain shut down and just live in the moment. He decided to kick things up a notch and dance in front of Blaine ass to crotch, grinding back, as a heavy-handed trap song played:

 

“I’ve been thinking ‘bout you late at night /

“I’ve been thinking only of you /

“Ain’t nothing else to really talk about /

“Boy show me what you want to do /

“These days you’ve been feeling lonely /

“Yeah I’ve been feeling lonely too /

“I’ma fuck it up, won’t you show me some /

“Run it back like you owe me some—”

 

Kurt looked out ahead at all the people around as he danced, and then, through a gap in the crowd, he spotted him: the absolute last person he wanted to see in this moment.

 

Across the way, Kurt saw Sebastian. Standing up against one of the blood-splattered walls, jutting his hips out with ease as some guy without a costume touched the floor and shook in front of him. Sebastian had black horns sticking out of messy, dirty blonde hair, and as per usual he was without a shirt, sheathed in sweat, making him look like he was the model for how sweat was supposed to look or something. Kurt bitterly and silently cursed Sebastian’s strong arms and pecks, those abs that seemed to be death-defying, those black jeans low enough to flaunt his v-cut and hip bones. He was gripping the guys hips with his hands, riding out the inconsistent waves and looking like he wasn’t pleased enough. Sebastian never did seem pleased enough, did he?

 

Then without warning, Sebastian looked up from the ground and into Kurt’s eyes. And Sebastian got caught up in Kurt’s image, in bright red cheeks and open chest and tight black corset. Kurt was ruining his brain, and meanwhile Kurt didn’t like the way that Sebastian was staring at him, the way he was gaining an even cockier expression and thrusting the guy harder into his body.

 

After about a minute, with Kurt’s eyes scattering to find literally anything else in the room, Kurt felt Blaine begin to slow down behind him; when he turned, Artie was by Blaine’s side and was pulling him down to yell something in his ear, diverting his already erratic attention.

 

“Yeah, yeah—let’s do it!” Blaine was saying to Artie, as Kurt was giving up on dancing and frowning.

 

Kurt felt Blaine’s hands leave his waist and, slightly irritated, he was about to ask where Blaine was going but, before he could, Blaine was suddenly grabbing Artie’s wheelchair handles, yelling “Stay right here, Kurt, I promise I’m coming back,” and darting off. Ramming into people with Artie’s wheels, disappearing in seconds.

 

“Oh my god, what am I doing?”

 

Kurt was talking to himself, and if he hadn’t felt like going home before well, he certainly did now.

 

Kurt wasn’t angry about Blaine running off; if anything at this point, he was used to it. He wanted everyone to have fun even if he couldn’t, he was just tired, starting to feel like the clicks from the beat of the music were creating the rhythm for the pounding in his head. Uncomfortably, Kurt sighed and pushed his way through dancing couples until he got as close as he could to the nearest wall, which had the counter for the bar attached to it.

 

Gratefully, it was a little quieter back here, as the song changed to a Ke$ha one more techno and upbeat. Kurt stood towards the very end of the bar counter and propped his elbows up on it, leaning back. Grateful for the temporary reprieve this brought his pained feet, he kept his guard up, eyes searching and vigilant. As Kurt stood there by himself, he picked out Tina and Rachel dancing amongst the people. Rachel seemed to have let herself loose and Tina was currently teaching her how to salsa. They were totally off beat with the music, and Tina was shouting something at her that was making her laugh hysterically. Meanwhile Blaine and Artie were at the front of one of two stages, Blaine taking Artie out of his chair and helping him crowd surf a bunch of beefy frat dudes.

 

Kurt was trying not be a jealous harpy, or a bitch, but he wanted to leave, he really just wanted to leave. He decided that he’d wait for Blaine for fifteen minutes, maybe ten. If Blaine didn’t turn up by then, Kurt was going to walk himself back to the dorm, try and sort himself.

 

Sebastian was staring to sweat off his buzz, so he told his guy that he was going to get more drinks for them. He left abruptly, making his way towards the bar as his dizzy eyes took in the shelves of glass bottles on the wall, and the fantastic image of Kurt standing there in his red hood, leaning up against the counter, dwindling his thumbs.

 

When Kurt realized that Sebastian was coming, pitchfork in hand instead of over his shoulder, he crossed one leg over the other so as to hide the hard on he’d been slightly sporting for minutes now. He then shifted as far down the counter as he could away from the bartender, so as not to encourage Sebastian to taunt his sudden lack of Blaine.

 

Sebastian walked up to the barkeep and didn’t look at Kurt at first, but felt a scalding heat between them as if it were tangible. He still spoke first to the bartender instead. He asked for two AMFs as he flashed his fake, and Kurt shook his head, trying not to think of all the dirty things that that ID had probably let Seb get away with. As Sebastian waited for the drinks, he looked over at Kurt, because he just had to.

 

His eyes skimmed up and down Kurt’s face and body, especially his hips and the black corset, clinging tight to his lower back. He had a brief, dark image of Kurt’s legs naked beneath that corset, open for him like one of his fantasies, and then washed it away like it was slowly, surely plaguing him.

 

Kurt could feel Sebastian’s eyes on him, felt like they were leaving imprints on his skin, so he said something to try and stop it.

 

“At this point I’m not even surprised that you’re stalking me,” he said. “Go on, get it out now, whatever insults you have for me. I’m waiting.”

 

“Where did Blaine go?” Sebastian asked, assuming a similar position to Kurt and leaning his back against the bar counter. “Off to dance with some other guy who sweet talked him and then offered him a beer? I mean, that’s all it took for me to get him away from you last year.”

 

Kurt’s eyes flickered over to Sebastian’s flexed bicep as it rest against the counter top, and then tore his eyes away, looked out towards the crowd.

 

“Fuck you, Sebastian,” Kurt said then, almost harsher and harder than he meant to.

 

Sebastian almost couldn’t believe Kurt’s choice of words, his eyes dancing all over the parts of Kurt’s face that weren’t shadowed by the hood. Especially his blush-stained cheek, his jawline, his full lips.

 

“I would never let you do such a thing,” Sebastian said, his heart racing. “Although the way you were staring at me across the room earlier, while you were dancing with Blaine,” he ratcheted his voice lower, “I wouldn’t be surprised if you wanted it.”

 

Kurt groaned loudly, obscenely.

 

“God, you are seriously the most arrogant person to ever live! As if everyone who looks at you for more than five seconds wants to go to bed with you! Get over yourself!”

 

Sebastian waited, waited for more.

 

“I was looking at you because you were looking at me!” Kurt continued.

 

“That’s arguable,” Sebastian replied.

 

“Everything is arguable with you, literally, everything.”

 

“And as I’ve said before, I think you get off on the argument.”

 

“The only thing I’m getting off to tonight is the fact that I won’t be seeing your face, while I’m in bed, with my boyfriend.”

 

Kurt didn’t know if he’d ever felt this pissed before, so he was about to let Seb have it, really have it, and tear into him emotionally, but the startling sound of glass smashing somewhere threw him off.

 

Kurt and Sebastian both watched as something monstrous transpired a few feet away from them, as shouts, groans and rumbles erupted from a swarming horde of guys dressed as zombies, apparently the height of some conflict between these kinds of frat guys and those kinds of frat guys. The crowd began forming a messy, jumbled circle around what would appear to be a bloody, dog-piled fist fight, and then there was a hard push from someone to someone else outside of the fight, and then lots of people were being thrown around violently.

 

As the fight clearly thickened, and the mob became rowdier, Kurt’s heart skipped a beat and he panicked, thinking, Oh my god, where is Blaine? as Sebastian was about to turn and ask the bartender what the fuck was taking so long with his drinks. But then there were shrieks and high-pitched screams, and everyone running and a loud pop and fissure spread through the room—a gunshot.

 

Bodies hit the floor and Sebastian, without thinking, threw himself at Kurt and took him down with him. He landed on top of him with a hard thud, holding himself and Kurt there on the floor as three more bullets popped off and spliced the thick glass bottles along the wall above them, shattering them and making them rain.

 

Kurt squeezed his eyes shut as the glass hailed down on them and Sebastian covered him pretty much entirely, then groaned out loudly at the feeling of dozens of tiny sharp shards, pelting into his back from the bottles' sudden bursts. Kurt’s back was full of dull pain from the impact of hitting the floor, and he was panting, heedlessly digging his nails into the skin of Sebastian’s lower back, so hard that he was drawing blood.

 

Then it was like hundreds of people started yelling, some saying things like “oh my god, he ran out!” and “call 911!” and there were no more gunshots to be heard, just the sounds of rabid footsteps stomping and fleeing. Sebastian stayed down trying to brace all of the pain he felt, the blood he felt trickling down his back, and that was when he realized he was pressed up against Kurt.

 

Lying down on top of him but propped up on his arms, he saw that Kurt’s chest, his beautiful, open chest, was heaving up and down underneath him. Kurt’s eyes were still shut tight, and Kurt knew, he knew who it was who had his arms surrounding him, his chest flush against his. He knew this was Sebastian grounding him like he just knew that Blaine was dead, that it was him who’d been shot and he needed to get up, now, and escape this, and never come back, or maybe just stay forever, and die here too.

 

Kurt opened his eyes, then, and met them with Sebastian’s, realizing that Sebastian had been cut up pretty badly by the glass, that their hips were aligned and blood was seeping down onto his pants and he was crazy hard right now. That their faces were way too close, that Sebastian was just staring at him panting, that the room was beginning to clear out and sirens could be heard, so he took his hands from around Sebastian’s waist, tried slowly to retract his arms.

 

Sebastian let Kurt’s hands slink away from him, and watched as Kurt’s frantic eyes found the ceiling and everything chaotic around them, instead of him. When he fixed to move every part of his back twinged in abject pain, each little speck of glass digging deeper through his torn up skin, but he powered through it, getting up, looking around, and suddenly pulling Kurt up to his feet.

 

Once Kurt was standing he watched as Sebastian, his back dripping with blood, made a mad dash towards the door of the house as cops and EMTs entered right past him. Three or four people were lying on the ground and he found he could barely move his legs without them trembling terribly, as one of the EMTs, a small female, asked him if he was hurt and then hurried him out of the house, and into the street.

 

As soon as Kurt stepped out into the crisp midnight air, Blaine running into him and tackling him in a hug. Kurt embraced him quickly and soundly as Tina and Artie came up closely behind, asking him if he was okay and all other kinds of questions, but it sounded like a jumbled mess to his ringing ears.

 

Blaine drew back and looked at Kurt with unsettled eyes, holding onto his boyfriend’s waist and staring down at his arms with a frown.

 

“Kurt,” Blaine said, “you’re bleeding.”

 

And he was. His forearms were cut up and little bits of blood had started to seep through his pale skin, and he only realized and they only started burning after Blaine pointed them out, after Kurt was aware of them.

 

Blaine began to wipe Kurt’s arms off with his shirt, as Kurt made pained little noses, and Tina sat in Artie’s lap, on the phone with Rachel. Kurt didn’t want to admit it, in the aftermath of this accident, but he kept looking around, looking for him somewhere, and wondering how things could always change so fast, so irreparably, in their world without warning.

 

 

 

It was safe to say the Phi Lambda Lambda house was shut down for the night, as were the rest of the remaining festivities. The entire campus was on lock down even after the gunman was acquitted, it had been an hour since the party had ended and Kurt, Blaine, Artie and Tina were still in the street. Kurt had had his slight wounds treated, the bits of glass removed, by a paramedic, and was now currently wrapped up in a shock blanket, sitting on the curb. Blaine was next to him, head on his shoulder, and Kurt was finally starting to feel normal enough to remember the real world,and his plans for later on, which were definitely starting to burn out.

 

Tina and Artie had been off to the side for a while, talking to OSU students around and trying to get a story. Soon enough they rolled back over to Kurt and Blaine.

 

“You guys good?” Artie said, with Tina plopped down lazily into his lap. “Apparently no one got seriously hurt, no bullets in any bodies.”

 

“We’re okay,” Blaine answered, as Tina kissed Artie on the cheek. Kurt let Blaine answer for him, staring obstinately down at the slits on his forearms.

 

“Did you guys even see what happened?” Tina said. “Rachel and I were already near the door, so when we heard the gun we just slipped right on outta there.”

 

“I didn’t,” Blaine responded, “Artie and I were pretty far from it, too, just got the worst of the trampling as people tried to leave.” Blaine looked over at Kurt, who was still silent. “Kurt?”

 

Kurt finally found it in him to move, say something.

 

“No, I—I didn’t see anything either. Luckily, I was by the bar, and I—he, somebody, warned me in time, and I got down.”

 

Blaine exhaled, rubbing his hand along Kurt’s back.

 

“I’m just really, really glad that we’re all okay,” he announced to the group of them.

 

Artie nodded and whistled, brushing some of Tina’s hair out of her face. “What's up with Rachel, she a’ight?” he asked her.

 

“Yeah, she managed to run out so fast she got all the way back to her dorm room without anybody seeing her. But she says she’s really scared. She asked me to come over, actually. Doesn’t wanna sleep alone.”

 

“So, go get it, girl.”

 

“Really? But we agreed that next time, we—n-not that anything is gonna happen now, but—that you’d be there, and—”

 

“Yeah, but that was only if she agreed to it. I think she liked me and all as a person but, I don’t think she’s ready for this jelly.”

 

“You are such a dork.”

 

“I’m serious, yo. Go. Call me tomorrow. And don’t forget the photos.”

 

“Oh my god, shut up.”

 

“Kidding, I’m kidding. But seriously, if she lets you, don’t forget the photos.”

 

“Blaine?” Kurt was suddenly muttering. Blaine looked at him as attentively as he could while he was still sort of drunk, which wasn’t that attentive at all. “I don’t know if I wanna, you know. Try anything tonight. ”

 

“Of course,” Blaine said avidly, taking one of Kurt’s sweaty hands in his, squeezing it. “Of course, babe, we should just get some rest tonight. Whatever you want.”

 

Once was the lock down was finally cleared, Artie was a throwing a “See you Monday, Blaine,” over his shoulder, Tina was heading in the direction of Rachel’s dorm, and Kurt was walking hand in hand with Blaine through the still-crowded street, through the smog of glitter, dirt, and darkness.

 

Kurt asked Blaine to wait in the lobby downstairs in his dorm hall, because he couldn’t, he couldn’t stop thinking about that moment with Sebastian. And if Sebastian was there, when he got back to his room, he needed to say something to him finally, do something permanently to alter the way he treated him. And he needed to do it alone.

 

When Kurt opened the door, though, Sebastian wasn’t there. Kurt turned on his desk light, fixing to pack a small overnight bag for Blaine’s, but stopping, staring at himself in his hanging wall mirror.

 

He stared at his reddened face, a combination of natural and purposeful blush. He stared at his pasty arms and the scrapes of pink and brown that now tarnished them; he stared at his outfit, the hood and the white shirt and the corset and the fitted, red pants, and wondered what the point of it all had even been for a moment.

 

Kurt bent down and unzipped his long leather boots, relieving his throbbing, tired feet. Then, as he started to unlace the corset from his abdomen, he heard that familiar clicking and jingling at the door.

 

Kurt stared at the doorway until it opened, until Sebastian was walking back in still wearing his costume.

 

Sebastian first glanced at Kurt’s hands as they worked to untangle the corset’s lace, and then he made the mistake of looking up at Kurt’s face. Sebastian was still partially drunk, still not seeing things clearly, the cuts on his back that had been treated by medic finally scabbing, so they weren’t dripping blood everywhere, disgusting. But still, his back sang with pain, and when saw the cuts on Kurt’s arms, the small frown in Kurt’s expression, the guilt he’d felt before came spilling out of him in the form of words, almost without his permission.

 

“I’m sorry, Kurt,” Sebastian said, quiet and uneasy.

 

Kurt didn’t seemed to phased by this much, and continued to take the corset off, lying it on his desk when he was done.

 

“For what?” he said, once he was finished with that.

 

“For—“ Sebastian sighed, having to stop, his heart almost beating too hard for him to say this, “holding you down, back there, for scaring you. For everything, I’ve done to you.”

 

Now Kurt seemed to be processing this, blinking rapidly in surprise.

 

“I suppose I appreciate that,” he said eventually. Then he shook his head. “But I know you don’t mean it.”

 

Sebastian was about to protest, but then Kurt was taking off his shirt. Letting Sebastian see that beautiful body without care.

 

“You only feel guilt because you know that you have to, and when it’s all said and done you just go back to being the same, old, shallow rich kid who thinks the world turns on its axles just for him.”

 

Now that he’d begun, Kurt was feeling empowered. He threw on a t-shirt, packed up his things, and sang the rest of his song:

 

“You’re kind of a piece of shit, Sebastian. You say whatever you want, and do whatever you want, and don’t care who gets hurt in the process. And you know, maybe if Blaine hadn’t ever come between us, or you and I had met under different circumstances, or if you would stop being such a dick all the time because of whatever happened to you in the past, and just let people see you, for who you are. I don’t know, maybe we could’ve been friends. It’d be nice, to have another, friendly gay face in the world. But I can’t make you see me as a human being. Instead I’m just this prop you feel you get to kick around, whenever you get bored. But no longer.”

 

Sebastian wished he could contest these statements, but deep down, he knew that Kurt was right.

 

“I have to go,” Kurt was saying suddenly. He walked out of the room, and hours later, as he tried to fall asleep, in Blaine’s bed, he had no idea why he was crying.

Chapter Text

After waking up at Blaine’s on Saturday morning, Kurt decided to spend the rest of the weekend home in Lima. The New Directions were having a six hour practice at McKinley to gear up for Sectionals, so while Blaine and Artie were engaged, Kurt and Tina were stuffing their faces with cheesecake, eating their feelings, at BreadstiX. She was having mixed emotions after her apparently spectacular night with Rachel, and it was always funny to Kurt to see her hair in a messy ponytail, to see her wearing a baggy shirt and sweatpants with no make-up on. She didn’t even need it, and it reminded him how strong she was as a person, how little she cared about what the people around her thought of her natural looks.

 

“I have to say,” Kurt said to her now, as she finished telling him about her heated night with Rachel, “I’ve always known you were bi, I mean, obviously you’re bi, but I kinda figured it was going to be one of those things. Y’know, the Katy Perry thing, where it’s just an in-between thing before you find a man.”

 

Tina finished swallowing her mouthful of chocolate cheesecake, as Kurt dug into the classic one beside it.

 

“That’s kind of offensive and sexist, but I guess I do see your point. I mean, I’ve been hung up on Finn for the last three years, until recently, not a woman in sight. But Rachel is really amazing, Kurt. She’s ambitious, she’s headstrong, she’s gorgeous, and, we sound amazing when we sing together. Even if she does talk about herself way too much, and even if she thinks The Rolling Stones are a clothing brand.”

 

“But does she want you to break up with Artie?”

 

“She’s not going to say that she does, at least not now, but.” Tina sighed, shook her head. “I can tell it makes her really, really jealous and sad. Not that I can blame her at all, I meanI used to have fantasies about cutting Finn into a thousand pieces if he even blinked at another person.”

 

“So glad you’re not having those anymore,” Kurt noted.

 

That was because he cheated on Quinn with me, and you’re never supposed to start a new relationship with cheating.” She sighed, wiping her fudge-covered mouth with her sweater sleeve. “And this, with Rachel? Is a shiny, sparkle-y, brand new relationship. I used to dream about what we did in that room together last night when I was a kid. When I was younger, before I met Finn, I used to always think I’d end up with a woman. I told Artie that when he tried to go out with me in eighth grade, and when I finished watching The L Word? I told my parents that if it never became legal, I was eloping in the Alps somewhere with Katherine Moennig. But...”

 

“But?”

 

“Artie is my best friend in the entire world, I can’t break up with him, now that we’re just finally getting started. I know no one else understands what we’re doing, but I haven’t been this happy in a really long time. I also haven’t found a girl I feel so crazy about, in such a short time of meeting her.”

 

“If you had to choose,” Kurt said to her, “right now, if I told you I would take this cheesecake away until you picked. What would it be?”

 

Tina groaned unhappily, as Kurt dragged the cakes to his side of the table.

 

“I don’t know,” she whined. “Rachel? She’s the one who wants monogamy, and I’d do it, for her. But then Artieugh.”

 

“Well, definitely don’t rush your decision.” Kurt relinquished the cake back to her grabby-hands. “It’s something you should think about more before you start having relations back and forth between the both of them. And Rachel deserves a clear decision. I haven’t known her a very long time, but I can see that she’s very traditional. If she likes you as much as I can clearly tell she does? Something like this could break her.”

 

“I know.”

 

“But you’re the smartest, most forward thinking person I know. You’ll figure it out.”

 

“Thanks. Why is sexuality so confusing and weird?”

 

Kurt laughed as he gobbled down the last bite of the classic cake, and mumbled full-mouthed: “You’re telling me.”

 

“By the way, you need to tell me what the hell is going on with you and Sebastian.”

 

Kurt took his time chewing up his last bite, to avoid the subject. Then, when he was done: “There’s nothing to tell.”

 

“Oh boo, don’t lie to me, Kurt. When I was dancing with Rachel, I saw you guys talking at the bar. I know you love Blaine and it’s not about sex with him, but there’s something going on. Even I could see it from yards across the building.”

 

Kurt sighed, swirling his fork anxiously through the melted whipped cream on the plate in front of him.

 

“I don’t know. It just bugs me so much that he’s proud to seem like one of those gay guys we all get stereotyped to be. The kind of guy who just wants a hook up, probably has ‘no fats, no femmes’ in his bios on Grindr and Craigslist, and doesn’t take no for an answer from anyone. I’m starting to suspect that he doesn’t even want to look or be that way to people. But it’s like instead of playing out a genuine personality, he has this pre-recorded track spinning over and over. Also...”

 

Tina’s brow quirked. “Also?”

 

“He’s the one who covered me last night, when the gun went off. Practically threw himself on top of me and if he hadn’t, I think my face might look the way my arms do right now. Instead of thanking him though, I totally ripped him a new one. Told him every critique of him I’ve pretty much ever thought of. Out of context, I was just so upset about everything from the past, and so confused by the one good gesture he managed to show me, that when he was the vulnerable one for once, instead of me, I saw red and just went for the jugular.”

 

“Well, if you want my opinion, he deserved you finally telling him what’s wrong with him. If he makes up one more pun about my name, and I hear about it, I will take chopsticks and every other stereotypically Asian thing he’s ever pinned on me to you or Blaine, and stab his little meerkat eyes out.”

 

“Sign me up to watch that.”

 

“But maybe you guys should actually talk, when you get home,” Tina said seriously. “About Blaine and everything that’s happened in the past. You can’t keep living in such a hostile environment, Kurt. I’m worried about you, and it’s only been two months. How are you supposed to survive the whole year?”

 

“I don’t know.” Kurt shoved his fork around the crumbs on the plate. “I think only another cheesecake will make it better.”

 

“Make that two. Or five, or eight. Did you know they have mint chocolate raisin now?”

 

“That sounds disgusting.”

 

Tina held up her water cup, the baggy sleeve of her sweatshirt dragging through whipped cream.

 

“To having boyfriends who would never leave us, even if our thunder thighs exploded from all this cheesecake.”

 

Kurt bumped the rim of his cup full of ice that he was chewing on to hers. “Cheers.”

 

When it came time to pay the bill, Tina snatched the leather book up.

 

“Kurt, stop it, your money’s no good here. Consider this my thank you for accepting all my not-being-good-enough-for-Brown type of crazy.”

 

When he got home an hour later, his dad was in the kitchen with the oven on, meal-prepping at the kitchen island.

 

“Oh, no, are you cooking?” Kurt said, kneading his dad’s thick shoulders. “I just had eleven pounds of cake, so I’ll be scrapping.”

 

“Y’know we still have our family dinners without you Fridays when we can, but I thought, we have to make an exception and have a second, since the man about town is finally in our midst.”

 

“I have to start making more trips down. I have class so often that it’s hard to get away, but I miss you guys. I miss this.”

 

Even if he wouldn’t eat anything, or would try not to, Kurt would help prepare. Italian salad and baked ziti pasta were on the menu for when Finn and Carole came back.

 

Kurt pushed up his shirt sleeves to wash a head of lettuce, and upon seeing his arms, Burt clasped one, frowning at the lacerations.

 

“What happened? Don’t tell me some'a those guys up at that school are givin’ you grief. You don’t fight ‘em, alright? No matter how much they deserve it. We talked about this.”

 

“No, it’sit was an accident. Glass. I fell.”

 

“Must’a been some fall. You puttin’ Neosporin on it every day?”

 

“Yes, Dad.”

 

“Alright. You let me know, if it’s more than an accident. If it’s someone.”

 

“I will.”

 

Kurt tugged his sleeves back down over the scars, so eager for them, for that memory, to be gone.

 

“Remember what you said to me, when we talked about s-e-x?” he said now, separating lettuce leaves into a bowl. “That with two guys, it’ll be harder to forge emotional connections, all about the physical? I don’t know, I guess I’m just wondering if I’ll ever get to just be friends with a man ever again. It’s like it’s either we have awkward tension because we’re gay, and there are practically no gays in Ohio, or they avoid me like the plague because they’re straight and afraid I’m gonna hit on them.”

 

“This about your roommate?” Burt guessed correctly. “That uh, sloth lookin’ guy?”

 

Kurt chuckled, loving his father’s semi-accurate comparison.

 

“With the sex you’re attracted to, it’s just gonna be different, son. Heck, I’ve been alive fifty some odd years, and I can still count on one hand the married women I was able to just be friends with when I was with your mother. But that don’t mean you and whoever this guy is can’t be some of the few who manage it.”

 

Finn and Carole came home to the ziti just minutes away from finishing. They all caught Kurt up on Burt’s latest wins as a congressman, and Finn talked about how excited he was to have survived his first manager’s shift without Burt at the shop. Kurt was paying attention but also texting Blaine under the table, disappointed that the Andersons had come home early and were putting their collective foot down on him, not letting him go out for the rest of the weekend.

 

He thought about sneaking up to Blaine’s window, the way they used to in high school, but he was so full after guiltily consuming his dad’s food, that when he got to his familiar, encompassing king bed, he knocked out instantly, and dreamed sweet.

 

He visited with Blaine very briefly the next morning when Blaine managed to step out “to go to the grocery store,” and Blaine promised Kurt that his parents wouldn’t be in this kind of mood with him for much longer. Kurt drove back to Ohio State then, strengthened and warmed by the few kisses they'd shared, and spent pretty much the entire day alone in the dorm, relaxing.

 

A little after nine o’clock, he got a flier slipped under the door reminding him of the floor meeting tonight, to ring in the month of November. “Meeting is MANDATORY for ALL residents, whether you’re gay, straight, or a god damned independent.” Kurt expected it to be another waste of his time, and spent the rest of the hour slightly dreading when he’d have to show up for it, even more than he dreaded the sound of Sebastian’s keys jingling.

 

Sebastian walked in still dressed his nice shirt and tie from church that morning. Briefly, he looked at Kurt sitting at his desk—Kurt in transparent white t-shirt and silk pants—then swallowed hard as he kicked off his dress shoes, almost not recognizing himself for how sincere and untainted it sounded when he said,

 

“Hey, Kurt.”

 

Kurt watched a little suspiciously as Sebastian proceeded to unpack his bag.

 

“Hi, Sebastian,” he said, after a while.

 

A silence fell between them, then, as Sebastian undid his Sunday best and changed into sweatpants and a tank top. Kurt kept his eyes dutifully trained to his cell phone instead of taking the glimpse he wanted to take at Sebastian’s body. He wondered if the slices from the glass on his skin were healing as they should’ve. He waited until he could tell that Sebastian was clothed, however, before speaking.

 

“There’s a—“ Kurt cleared his throat. “There’s a floor meeting, tonight. Starting just about now, I think.”

 

Sebastian sighed.

 

“Great.”

 

“The second that guy says something homophobic to me again, I’m walking out."

 

Sebastian chuckled. “You say that every time.”

 

“What?”

 

“You threaten that you’re going to leave the meetings all the time, but you never actually do.”

 

Kurt ignored the truth about this statement and the two of them didn’t say anything to each other as they walked down the hall to the lounge, side by side; Sebastian with his hands in his sweat pockets and Kurt with his phone in his hands texting Finn.

 

Sebastian was thinking about the frustrating hours he’d spent at church this morning, as they walked. It was always so angering to him for some reason, seeing his retiring father still standing at that podium. Even in his sickness, coarse-voiced and walking with a cane, speaking slower and slower each time he preached, he insisted that he would be preaching the word to dumb masses who needed his health, until literally, his dying breath. The congregation members always cried and hemmed and hawed over it, the way he said that every day he woke without a stroke or an apnea was God’s miracle.

 

It very well might’ve been, Sebastian thought, but it was more than likely because his father was the most hardheaded person who God could allow to exist. So much so that not even years of hypertension, and every doctor telling him that this was really it, now, could kill his tunnel-vision doggedness, his steadfast belief in Revelations, and his growing idea that he was actually God; that he’d been so ordained, so articulate with the Word, that he would one day replace even Him.

 

That morning, Sebastian had been sitting in the front row next to his mother only half-listening to his dad’s tired voice, reading from Ecclesiastes, and half-thinking about himself in an all-male twentysome. He was fully versed in how wrong it was to host pornographic images while loosely holding a Bible in his lap, but the fact that he hadn’t gotten any on Halloween night, the way he’d suddenly wanted to, was making him feel wound up and miserable.

 

The thing about it was that being in church, with his stiff tie and restrictive slacks and all the people watching him because of the “pastor’s son” title, made Sebastian really hate how easy heterosexuals had it. He didn’t understand, number one, why the couples with crying children always sat in the pews closest to his, why the parents didn’t do everyone a public decency and take their little shits outside.

 

And the thing Sebastian disliked the most about the churchgoers was the exhibitionist’s way they had about their practice. The fact that all these people came to show off how “Godly” they were, when many of them were breaking God’s laws in ways they’d never admit in the building. He knew from eavesdropping on church wife gossip that several men in the congregation had been divorced several times. Many of the wives suspecting them of cheating, and many had children out of wedlock with their current partner.

 

The leaders of the ring, in fact, his very own parents, argued vehemently every single morning on their way to church. His mother always cursed about her un-dry-cleaned skirts and his father always drove the car with tight, white knuckles. Sebastian drove himself to church without them these days, and took himself home as soon as service let out, dodging “are you still single?”s and “I have this cousin, she’s great, she would love you”s from his parents’ nosy friends. But he couldn’t imagine that they’d stopped their morning arguments just because he wasn’t living with them anymore. When he was away in Europe, in fact, and they were alone, their fights had escalated to a level that terrified him.

 

And yet when the two of them were in church, they smiled fake, gave each other chaste kisses. Put on a show and made everyone think that the young Mrs. Smythe was really just “falling all the time.”

 

Sebastian loved his parents, don’t get him wrong. Well, he loved his mother anyway, even with her quick temper and affinity to speak French-lish to strangers, not understanding why they didn’t understand her. But whenever Sebastian spent more than an hour with them, he felt like the person he really was suffocating, within the confines of religion and reputation.

 

He continued to attend for the few moments of clarity he still sometimes had with God, for the times he just wanted to believe in something good, so hard, and so well, that he could allow himself to buy his parents’ peaceful facade. Those times he was able to zone out during worship, think about the times when he was small and not about how sexually frustrated he was as an adult.

 

It was ironic that the only times he really enjoyed himself in church were the times he’d just been laid hours before.

 

This Sunday he was going on three weeks without action, and it didn’t help his mood much that now, this evening, Kurt smelled like coconut and his sweet conditioner, that the scent was mind-numbingly potent as they walked next to each other.

 

Kurt was walking closer to him than was their usual standard, just an oblivious inch away from their arms brushing against each other. Sebastian was a flick of the tongue away from insulting Kurt about how good—no, terrible he smelled, but one actual, accidental graze of Kurt’s arm against his, when Kurt took one crooked side step, made Sebastian’s words retract themselves quick.

 

When their skin brushed, Sebastian’s dry with Kurt’s soft, Kurt mumbled, “Sorry,” and Sebastian’s hatred melted.

 

“You’re fine,” Sebastian said, and he meant it.

 

They managed to be the last ones from the floor to show up to the meeting, and the same ratty couch they’d been “forced” to sit on the last two times was empty and waiting for them this time. Kurt sat down first without thinking much of it, his hands clicking away the screen of his phone as Sebastian was the one who hesitated, this time. After giving a short, frustrated sigh, Seb settled into the cushion and glanced up at Taylor the R.A., who was sitting with his clipboard and watching Kurt militantly, as if the younger boy had already offended him.

 

Kurt finished his current text to Finn, something along the lines of, Yes, Tina kind of has a girlfriend now, no, she hasn’t broken up with Artie, and no, this doesn’t mean she thought your penis was small, as Taylor started the meeting off with another complaint about used condoms over the shower heads.

 

“Seriously?” Kurt muttered under his breath, over the sound of Taylor’s lecturing. “Who keeps doing that?”

 

“Whoever it is is never going to confess.”

 

Kurt glanced over at his roommate. “Oh, god, it’s you, isn’t it?”

 

“Please,” Sebastian said, flat. “I have much better uses for condoms.”

 

Kurt rolled his eyes.

 

“I still haven’t forgotten the time you left a soiled condom on my Dior rug, within two weeks of moving in,” he growled. He pictured that unsightly image in his head, and he remembered how awful the first week of the sock-on-the-doorknob rule had been, and how furious he’d been about Sebastian’s shenanigans.

 

Sebastian smiled.

 

“And I don’t know why you’re smiling either,” Kurt said. Sebastian looked over at Kurt who was somehow still staring down at his phone. “It was disgusting. You were disgusting.”

 

Sebastian shifted on the cushion, smile quickly fading, glancing down at Kurt’s frustrating thigh enveloped in soft, dark blue fabric.

 

“What is it with you and that rug anyway?” Sebastian mumbled, eyes tracing their way up Kurt’s leg and then following Taylor’s sign-in sheet as it came around the room (Taylor had enforced it as a way to ensure that residents who skipped, like Kurt, could be written up if their names weren’t written down).

 

Kurt paused for a moment at Seb’s question, his demeanor becoming tangibly sad. The fancy, square Dior rug had been his mother’s once, something he’d convinced his dad to let him bring from home. Like a lot of his mother’s old possessions, the rug still faintly smelled like her skin and her Chanel perfume, and no Kurt didn’t frequently dig his nose into the thin, expensive fibers just to get a whiff, anymore, but it had been hers, and like her, he loved it so.

 

Putting it in the center of the room, the room he shared with someone like Sebastian Smythe, wasn’t the smartest idea he’d ever had, he realized.

 

“It was my mother’s,” he said simply. “She’s dead.”

 

Sebastian leaned across Kurt’s space to reach for the sign-in sheet, as Kurt tried not to stare at Sebastian's cut-up shoulder, those muscles entirely too close.

 

“I didn’t know that,” Sebastian said, writing his name down. “I’m sorry.”

 

Every time Seb said it ever since their conversation on Halloween, Kurt’s heart did something funny. Right now it made him somewhat sorry for the words he’d told Sebastian, even though there was no way in hell he’d take them back. Right now it made him think, as well, oddly enough, about the words his father told him when he’d sort of unconsciously asked for his advice on this.

 

Was friendship with Sebastian really what he wanted? Would a peace-keeping like that even work? Kurt distracted himself from this internal questions with his next text from Finn: Oh did I tell you Blaine’s coming to dinner tomorrow night dude? He had to be nudged impatiently by Sebastian with the rough edge of the plastic board in order to stop replying.

 

Really? Kurt asked Finn after scribbling his name down on the sheet, picturing Blaine sitting at their table like he used to in the summer. Without me? Boo. What’s the occasion?

 

Uh I guess he saw Mom at the supermarket today, she told him we missed him at our dinner on Saturday and he was talking about how he missed you so much, she invited him.

 

“Next order of business,“ Taylor was saying up ahead, as Kurt lamented that he’d be in bio lab all night on Monday. “RHA is doing this—door decorating contest, thing, for Thanksgiving and Christmas. The winning rooms, one guy room, one girl room, will get two hundred bucks taken off their board next year.”

 

Kurt had already been sold at the word ‘decorating.’

 

“If anyone is interested,” Taylor was saying, “let me know now so I can—“

 

Kurt’s hand shot up rapidly, as Sebastian looked over.

 

“Of course,” Taylor mumbled, scribbling something down, “you are interested.”

 

Kurt’s hand fell back down and he frowned, offense prickling at his skin as a few guys around them chuckled. Sebastian wasn’t one of them, surprisingly.

 

“Okay, that was seriously unnecessary,” Kurt said to Taylor.

 

Taylor just looked up at Kurt and half-smiled.

 

“What, don’t know a joke when you hear one, Hummel?”

 

Kurt was going to reply to this at first, but then he sighed, shook his head and glanced away.

 

“Anyway,” Taylor resumed. “Next order of business

 

“See what I mean?” Sebastian said to Kurt now.

 

Kurt handed him a small death glare. “Excuse me?”

 

“I don’t see you scrambling out of the room right now, in some bout of self defense.”

 

“I’m doing what’s called ‘taking the high road.’ Something that I’m sure you know nothing about.”

 

Sebastian didn’t dignify that with a response, which he considered taking the high road.

 

“I don’t like it when people revile me,” Kurt resumed, quiet, “but at this age I can’t pick a fight with every single person who’s ever going to dislike me. If I do I’ll be exhausted.”

 

Sebastian glanced at Kurt again, saw the scrapes on his pretty arms, and tried to ignore the remorse settling heavy into his chest.

 

“Besides,” Kurt rambled on, typing into his phone again. “Mr. R.A. up there is not as funny as he thinks he is. People who can only make jokes when it’s to bash other people have a a seriously warped idea of comedy.”

 

“I don’t know,” Sebastian mumbled. “Some people think my jokes are hysterical.”

 

“I suppose ‘hysterical’ is relative. You only think you’re so funny when you’re ruthlessly picking on someone who isn’t you.”

 

“That’s not always true. I make jokes about myself plenty. Want to know how to make a gay guy scream twice?”

 

Kurt’s wide eyes found Sebastian’s.

 

“What?”

 

Sebastian repeated his joke in an even lower voice. “Want to know how to make a gay guy scream twice?”

 

Kurt just made a face at him.

 

“Fuck him really hard,” Sebastian said, “and then wipe your come off on his curtains.”

 

Kurt emitted a short, high-pitched snorting noise from his throat, as a few guys around him turned around and looked at him.

 

Sebastian smiled privately, and Kurt felt himself blushing as he composed himself.

 

“That wasn’t funny,” he protested.

 

“How do you know for sure that you’re in a gay bar?” Sebastian continued. “You’ll find the patrons sitting on upside down bar stools.”

 

Kurt pressed his lips together to keep them from smiling, the skin of his chest heating up.

 

“Okay, correction,” Kurt mumbled. “I don’t think you can be funny unless the jokes are gay and grotesquely sexual.”

 

“Most good humor is offensive to someone, especially when it’s to the joke teller himself.”

 

“Well, I don’t agree with that,” Kurt said.

 

“And I don’t care,” Sebastian said. “Because I’m right.”

 

“You two have something you wanna share with the rest of us?”

 

Taylor was staring at Sebastian and Kurt directly now.

 

As Sebastian raised his eyebrows, and Kurt shifted uncomfortably, Sebastian would swear, really swear, that his sudden irritation with the R.A. had nothing to do with defending Kurt. He responded, bluntly:

 

“We were just talking about what a tremendous waste of time these bullshit weekly meetings are.”

 

Kurt stared at Sebastian disbelievingly, and several of the guys around chuckled their agreement.

 

“No we weren’t,” Kurt tried to cover, in a sing-song voice.

 

“Bullshit?” Taylor repeated, adjusting his clipboard and laughing without a shred of humor. “If you don’t wanna be here, Smythe, get the fuck out.”

 

“Fine with me."

 

Sebastian stood up and took a bow as he exited, and Kurt, red-faced, watched him go until he disappeared, his fingers tangling absently through his damp hair.

 

Taylor shook his head and wrote something down, and when he said, “You too?” to Kurt, Kurt shook his head quickly, and stayed put.

 

The meeting ended half an hour later, and when Kurt got back to the room, Sebastian was in bed. Shirt off and glasses on, reading. Kurt cleared his throat as he went to turn off his desk light, and Sebastian looked up at him accordingly.

 

“Why did you do that?” Kurt said to him. “Earlier?”

 

Sebastian took his glasses off, to punctuate his answer.

 

“Because you wouldn’t."

 

Kurt turned off the light on his side then, climbed into his bed, burying himself in blankets.

 

“I really don’t get you,” he said to Sebastian then, watching as his roommate stubbornly studied his book, knees curled up against his chest.

 

Sebastian didn’t look up at him again, instead simply said,

 

“Goodnight, Kurt.”

 

Kurt turned over onto his other side, muttering,

 

“Goodnight, Sebastian.”

 

 

 

There was something different about the way Sebastian was looking at him, recently. It was a subtle shift, less smirking and looking more or less happy to be giving him grief, and more solemnity, calmness, quiet. Kurt didn’t want to believe ‘being a dick’ was his roommate’s one personality trait, but maybe it was, if emptiness and awkward silences were all that would replace it instead.

 

Part of him knew why exactly things were different, though. Part of him caught himself sitting around thinking about Sebastian’s body on his, how the two of them had never touched each other any more than accidentally to his knowledge, but had that night somehow as if “fate,” which he hardly even believed in, had forced them to come to terms with their inevitable conjugation.

 

He knew that something had changed when Sebastian came back to the room that night, and finally, actually showed human vulnerability when he said,

 

“Sorry for everything.”

 

Sebastian, meanwhile, wasn’t going out of his way to be nice to Kurt that week or anything, but he wasn’t being mean either, and that was the thing. This was the change, if it could even be considered that: it was taking all the damn resistance he had in him to have simply neutral conversations with Kurt, to answer questions with no bite and try to see him removed from their complicated history, trying to erase the images he still had of Kurt’s waist in that corset, Kurt’s legs in those pants.

 

He didn’t do “sorry” very well, but now that it felt worse to not be sorry, he didn’t have much choice but to try and see it through.

 

That Wednesday, Sebastian was sitting at a two person table on the third floor of the library, studying for an exam. Kurt was walking up the stairs headed to that floor too, and stopped suddenly when he saw Sebastian sitting alone.

 

Kurt bit the inside of his cheek as he angrily recalled the last time they were up here, when they brusquely ran into each other and Sebastian had spilled coffee all down Kurt’s front. But Kurt decided to test something now, then, walking steadily towards the table until Sebastian looked at him.

 

Sebastian was only partially engrossed what he was reading, so when he felt someone approaching, caught a whiff of that sweet smell, he glanced up and his defenses threatened to rise up immediately.

 

“Something I can do for you?” he said.

 

Kurt gave Sebastian a small up and down glance, noting his dark jeans and striped button-down shirt, with way too many buttons undone for a regular school day.

 

He worried the strap of his bag with his fingernails.

 

“Can I sit?”

 

Sebastian narrowed his eyes for a moment, then exhaled, spinning his pen between his fingertips.

 

“Knock yourself out.”

 

Kurt looked around the room almost self-consciously before he sat, setting out his books on the table carefully, placing his cup down like it was made of fragile glass. Sebastian fleetingly glanced up at Kurt when he was sure Kurt wouldn’t notice, when Kurt leaned down to get something from his bag and his long, pale, beautiful neck was in clear, unapologetic view.

 

Sebastian wanted to say something about its indecency, an insult about the pallor of Kurt’s skin wanting to crawl from his mouth and infect. But he felt that thing in his chest, that thing that had been most intense when they’d been on top of each other the other night, and somehow, his lips stayed sealed.

 

Kurt eventually started to lose focus on his lecture notes, something about the fact that Sebastian hadn’t even mildly protested to him sitting there making him want to push the envelope.

 

“Sebastian,” Kurt said, after some time.

 

Sebastian hesitated before muttering, “What?”

 

Kurt watched Sebastian’s fingers flex around the pen as he wrote on the side of his textbook page.

 

“You haven’t insulted me in four whole days,” Kurt answered, his stomach doing a tiny flip.

 

Sebastian continued writing.

 

“I was going to throw up on that god awful sweater when I saw you walk in here,” Sebastian recited, blandly, “but it looks like a half a dozen people already beat me to it.”

 

Kurt’s fingertips ran along the hem of his sweater under the table, but he didn’t let his expression falter.

 

“Funny, but I could tell that was halfhearted,” Kurt said carefully.

 

Sebastian put down his pen then and sat up straighter, sparks in his eyes.“Did I just hear a homeless cat screeching for its life as it got hit by a car, or was that just the sound of your voice?”

 

Kurt looked mildly surprised by this at first, but then a tiny smile tugged at the corner of his mouth. Sebastian was taken by it, totally confused. It was like Kurt was making fun of him.

 

“Look,” Sebastian said, his patience with this whole guilt on his heartstrings thing wearing painfully thin. “I can’t promise you that every time I insult you it’s going to kindle your parts enough to your liking, but trust me, I could keep the insults coming all day if you wanted me to.”

 

Kurt raised his eyebrows.

 

“If I wanted you to,” he repeated.

 

Sebastian looked away from Kurt’s damning eyes, then, and back down at his book.

 

“As stimulating as this conversation is,” he spoke, coolly. “I have an exam to study for. So you can either sit here in silence and act like I’m invisible to you, or you can go ahead and find yourself another table.”

 

Kurt considered this for a moment, glancing around the room, but he did not, in fact, find another table. He stayed put, sitting still and pretty across from Sebastian, flipping through his biology notes as if nothing about this arrangement were unsettling.

 

If Kurt’s presence and scent were affecting Sebastian’s ability to concentrate, and his sanity, he didn’t let it show in ways that Kurt would ever notice. After about thirty three minutes (Seb was counting), Sebastian found himself watching Kurt’s hand is it curled around his cardboard coffee cup, and to stop himself from watching the rim of the lid touch the tips of Kurt’s pink lips over and over, he asked him,

 

“What are you drinking?”

 

Kurt hesitated, pretending to be unsure of whether or not the question was for him.

 

“Oh, amI allowed to speak to you now?”

 

Sebastian took a deep breath, fingers clenching tight around his pen.

 

“Grande non-fat mocha,” Kurt answered then, noting Sebastian’s tense and wary movement. “Not too special, but it’s comforting, gets the job done.”

 

Sebastian nodded once, and Kurt wondered how this line of conversation was even remotely interesting to him. Was this Sebastian’s idea of small talk or something? Why were they doing this?

 

Kurt imagined how he and Sebastian must’ve looked now. It was hilarious really, two guys who had once sworn each other worst enemies, sitting across from each other in a cramped space. Knees inches away from knocking under the table, posture clearly exhibiting a foreign and uncomfortable situation for the both of them. It was almost as if they were little kids who were being punished in “the corner.” Except for the fact that Kurt had offered to sit down, and Sebastian had willingly allowed it; except for the fact that maybe, this was the both of them punishing themselves.

 

“What about you?” Kurt said to him now.

 

Sebastian looked up as if lost for a moment.

 

“I mean—coffee,” Kurt said, slightly shrugging. “What’s your coffee order.”

 

“Venti white caffe au lait, with Blue Mountain coffee beans specifically. Extra dry, half skim milk, half whole milk, two and a quarter pumps hazelnut, and a floater of Courvoisier.”

 

Kurt snorted. “You can’t be serious.”

 

“I like what I like.”

 

“Not only does that sound disgusting on the palette, but that is one of the most stuck up coffee orders I’ve ever heard, and I consider myself a coffee snob.”

 

“You should see the looks I get from the simpletons who work at the Lima Bean.”

 

“I don’t blame them. If I were a barista I’d throw you out of my store.”

 

“But you’d probably do it for reasons other than my coffee order, right?”

 

Sebastian pictured Kurt as a red-faced, pissed-off Lima Bean employee, snarking him and hating him from behind the counter, and almost smiled.

 

“You know you can tell a lot about a person from their coffee order,” Kurt said.

 

“Enlighten me.”

 

“You order Blue Mountain coffee beans specifically because you know they’re expensive. Anything you say after that is just to let me know you think I’m trailer park trash who doesn’t know the difference between two types of slightly less homogenized cow milk, and doesn’t know Courvoisier is cognac from France.”

 

After another twenty six minutes (Seb was still counting), Kurt began to pack his things and get ready to leave the table. When he stood up and adjusted his bag over his shoulder, Sebastian’s sudden gaze at him stopped him, almost seeming to inquire why he was leaving.

 

“I—I have class,” Kurt said suddenly, giving an answer to a question unasked.

 

Sebastian sighed, said,

 

“Fine. See you later.”

 

And as Kurt walked away, he just knew that his confusion was remnant on his face.

 

See you later?

 

 

 

Sebastian stayed in the library for two hours longer, accomplishing much more work by himself than he’d been able to with Kurt at his table. Just as he was about to start a new chapter of reading, his cell phone buzzed in the pocket of his jeans.

 

He pulled it out of his pocket to see that his mother was calling, and his stomach tied itself into knots in a state of dread.

 

His eyes flickered around the room self-consciously, even though it was nearly empty; if someone were watching him, it might look like he didn’t want anyone to know who was contacting him. Sebastian’s mother almost never called. It wasn’t because she didn’t ever wish to speak to her son, but because that was the kind of family dynamic they’d always had. She didn’t feel the need to constantly remind people that she cared about them, with actions. It was supposed to just be implied, by virtue of her existing.

 

She could be a bit unlovable at times, high maintenance and tactless, but maybe that was where Sebastian had always gotten it from.

 

As his phone still buzzed, he fixed his eyes on the scenery in the large glass window to the right. He watched as students crossed the quad beneath him, as rusted leaves dwindled and fell to the ground, as he answered the call worriedly on its third ring.

 

“Mom?”

 

Sebastian sat up in his chair, tensing. He never knew what to expect from her these days, the rare times she was far enough from her husband to speak to her son alone. Especially not with the change coming and all. It always made him so fucking nervous, like at any moment, she would say those words, and his world would come crashing down.

 

“Mom,” Sebastian repeated, impatient, when he got no answer.

 

Presently, she sighed into the phone. “Hi, hi,” she said, absent.

 

“How are you?”

 

Your father, he—he made a mess of it all again. I need to come see you, to give you these things.”

 

He stood up suddenly. “What things?” Then: “Wait, you’re coming here, now?”

 

Yes. The highways here are so offensive, I think I might die in a crash with a popped tire, or a road kill, or—” Sebastian heard her honk the horn, then curse someone violently in French. “But, not the matter, I will be there, as soon as I am. This is no problem, right?”

 

“No, I mean.” Yes, it was, but he knew there was no arguing with this woman. She was his mother, after all. “See you when you get here.”

 

She showed up to his dorm’s parking lot wearing a sparkling gold blouse, white jeans, and stilettos that clicked when she walked, always dressed extravagantly even when it was just to run errands for her cold, unfeeling steward, where he had her stashed in bumfuck-nowhere, Ohio. Opened the hatch of her brand new BMW and started handing her son cardboard boxes, the gilded bracelet on her wrist that said “Adélie,” her first name, jingling as she said to him, “Go on, take them.”

 

“I’ve told you, I don’t want any of his crap,” Sebastian said, as she stacked them, one by one, in his arms.

 

“It is our crap. And I will not let you slither from this, until you have looked through every one. You will send me photographs of each unopened box, and every item, showing that you have done it. Am I clear?”

 

“Yes.”

 

She kissed him on both cheeks, then started picking the lint from his sweater, pinching and poking at his ribs, as she followed him through the lot.

 

“So skinny, do you have that, what is it, anorexic? Shall I come up and cut your string beans every night, like I did when you were a little thing?”

 

“Mom, stop.”

 

Sebastian and his mother made several hurried trips back and forth, her simply watching as he did all of the labor, arguing about nothing and everything as Kurt, with headphones on and a book at his desk, watched in no-doubt wonder, looking like he had questions.

 

Then, when it was all upstairs, Seb’s mother started fussing with his hair, as Kurt stopped trying to look like he wasn’t eavesdropping and took one headphone off, watching the pair with wide eyes.

 

“Your clothes are all over the place as usual, such a boy,” the woman said. “Look at your roommate’s side, so pristine.” Then to Kurt, smiling: “You are not cleaning up after this one’s messes, are you?”

 

Kurt perked up at this and smiled back, impressed, and then said smugly to his roommate:

 

“I like her, she can stay.”

 

Sebastian sucked his teeth, swatted his mother’s jeweled hands away from his scalp.

 

“Shall I clear a space for you here?” he said to her. “Or are you still pretending that living at his is even fractionally sustainable?”

 

“Oh, hush. No, I wanted to speak to you in person about our estate sale. Since you avoided me on Sunday like I did not almost perish, pushing your screaming corpus from my labia.”

 

“Mom, Jesus.”

 

“The china from Chizhou, the silver he bought me when we were in Milan, the ten hundred thousand euro statues and art in the foyer, he is being without soul, trying to sell it all to strangers! Will not let me say so because I am a woman, says we have no place in these affairs. Do not you want any of it?”

 

“I don’t know if you’ve noticed the shoebox I live in currently, but I have no room for china, or a marble bust of some German dictator he looks up to.”

 

“You are aware, you can stay at the house, when he” Her voice trembled, but she stopped it. “When he leaves it.”

 

Fuck no.”

 

Mon trésor!” She slapped him lightly across the face. “Language!”

 

“Sorry.”

 

Sebastian looked over at Kurt, who was turning quick back to his homework, trying not to look caught and trying very hard not to laugh.

 

“But you know I can’t stand being in that graveyard anymore,” Sebastian said. “If I lived there after him his ghost would be up my ass, saying ‘sit up straight, don’t wear those shoes with those pants, diversify your stock portfolios’ as I tried to sleep at night. I’d be sick.”

 

His mother sighed.

 

“You are so stubborn, mon chéri, I do not know how you maintain. Now that we are all adults, and now that we have so less time, we should be trying to make amends. You need to care more, about this family. It is not perfect, but it is the only one you have. He loves you, you know, even if he has a funny way of showing.”

 

Sebastian scoffed. His father never could say he loved him to his face, and Seb doubted he’d ever said it much to his miserable wife, either. “Is that really why you came?” he asked her. “To be his messenger?”

 

“I have come because you looked so very depressed, at church this weekend. I know that look, from your father. I Just wanted to make sure you were all right.”

 

“Well, I’m fine. Thanks.”

 

The last thing she said to him, in French, was about Kurt:

 

He is so cute, you should be dating him.”

 

“Mother, please, he understands.”

 

Kurt, indeed, turned over one shoulder and acknowledged her praise of him.

 

J’aime ton collier,” he said, of her emerald Swavorski piece.

 

She winked at him. “Merci.

 

Sebastian walked his mother out and down the elevator, ignoring the quick pulse of anger he felt as several guys in the lobby practically broke their necks to stare at her. As he waved her goodbye, watching her speed out of the parking lot, he tried to keep his temper cool, tried not think about the memory of his mother siding with his father, when he got kicked out those years ago. That it had been a strain on their already complicated relationship ever since, but now she wanted them to have the relationship they’d had before it.

 

He’d vacillated back and forth from both forgiving her and not, many times since it all went down. But mostly, most consistently, he was still wounded. More than he thought she’d ever know, at the way she’d let her husband just send her son away, just because he’d tried to be honest with them. For her reluctance to ever leave his abusive father, even after he tortured them mentally, and sometimes physically, with his too-high standards and rules.

 

But then: who was he to talk? He couldn’t leave Mr. Smythe, or the money, either. He still went to church every Sunday like her, too, and that was why he couldn’t hate her, in the end. The both of them were doing what they had to, to survive, in psychological captivity.

 

Kurt, now that he had the room to himself again, was trying not to let the exchange he’d just witnessed with Sebastian and his mother make him miss his own so terribly. To that day he knew Elizabeth Hummel would’ve accepted him fully for who he was now, remembered her always fostering his gentleness and light, and supposedly “feminine” qualities, years before either of his parents knew he was gay for certain. She and Burt used to argue about Kurt’s style, his mannerisms, his “inappropriate” interest in women’s fashion, when he was much too young to understand it. Kurt didn’t know he wasn’t supposed to play with girl’s things, because his mother never so much as batted an eyelash at his want for them.

 

Kurt actually thought, in the few moments he’d spent with her, that Sebastian’s mother reminded him of his a bit, so out of curiosity, he pulled up Sebastian’s Facebook on his laptop, to ponder her. Noticed that Sebastian, just a minute ago, had changed his profile picture to one of the two of them. It was dated from this most recent Mother’s Day, taken in Sainte-Maxime which, he could tell from the caption, was Adélie’s hometown on the south coast of France. Apparently that day he had wined and brunched her, as well as sent her hundreds of azaleas, and the long dedication, written in French, made Kurt somewhat shocked that Seb was capable of such feelings. Such love.

 

His mouse hovered reluctantly over the ‘Send friend request’ button on Sebastian's profile, but eventually he decided to let his stubbornness down, clicked. Just minutes later, Sebastian accepted.

 

Then just a few more minutes later, Sebastian was walking back into the room.

 

“Sorry,” he said, when Kurt turned to him, quickly x-ing out of whatever was in his browser window.

 

Kurt stared at him curiously. “What for?”

 

A lot, Sebastian almost said to him out loud. But, at the moment:

 

“She thinks it’s funny to chastise me and talk about extremely personal family business in public, where everyone can hear her.”

 

“Oh, don’t apologize for her, I liked her. Also, she’s stunning, looks not a day over twenty nine. Botox?”

 

Sebastian couldn’t believe Kurt was asking him that, but then again, it was Kurt, so he could. “No,” he said, chuckling, “not yet.”

 

Kurt was quiet, then:

 

“So.”

 

“So?”

 

“I think that we should talk.”

 

“Okay, talk.”

 

“I didn’t actually, properly thank you for protecting me on Halloween. You really didn’t have to do that, and I can’t stop—thinking about um, what might’ve happened, had you not—had you not been there.”

 

“Find that hard to believe coming from someone who just recently called me, and I quote, ‘kind of a piece of shit.’”

 

“I know, I know that wasn’t the kindest, but really? You’ve said such awful things to and about me over the last year that I think you deserved it.”

 

Sebastian didn’t, couldn't, refute that.

 

“I don’t know why you think I did you any favors,” he decided to say, instead. “You probably would’ve ducked in time without my help, and all I did, when I pushed you to the ground, was—“ he paused, his memories of that night painfully vivid once again, “hurt you, for no good reason.”

 

Kurt tried not to think about the moment he saw blood, dripping off Sebastian and blending in with this color on his pants, the bulge in them he knows Sebastian had to have felt—

 

“Yeah, sure, you made my back hurt a little, and I’ve got these little dings on my arms. But you clearly got the worst of it. I don’t think my instincts would’ve kicked in nearly as quickly, for you.”

 

Sebastian started walking up to Kurt now, slowly.

 

“And that’s the thing,” Kurt continued, trying not to falter at the quickening of his heartbeat, the butterflies in his stomach, as Sebastian came closer, “had the roles been reversed and I’d seen the bullets coming, I don’t know if I would’ve helped you. Because in my head I kept—tallying, what you said, what I said, and at the moment I thought you were winning and I just. I don’t want us both to keep wasting what little time we have, during what is supposed to be the best time of our lives, running up these tabs and keeping score of how nasty we can be to each other. And I’m officially over the whole Blaine thing, if you are, so. I think that we should finally at least try to start over, and see each other like, I don't know. We’re meeting for the first time again. Clean state.”

 

Sebastian got close enough to Kurt that he could see the barely-there pores in his skin, each long eyelash, taking in his lovely, lovely features and noticing the little speck of cotton he currently had caught in the one strand of hair of his, just to the right of his widow’s peak, that was slightly blonde and kind of curly. Cursed himself for having some of the hairs on his kid’s head memorized—

 

And Kurt’s breath got ever shorter, as he pondered how it was suddenly so hot in this room, how Sebastian’s silence could be so unnerving.

 

What?” Kurt prompted him.

 

Sebastian reached up and pulled the cotton out of Kurt’s hair, holding it up in front of Kurt’s eyes with his finger.

 

“Oh. Thanks.”

 

Sebastian flicked it to the ground, then turned to walk back to his side of the room.

 

“So,” Kurt said, his fear of Sebastian settling into something much more manageable, “do you agree, then? That maybe, we…can be friends?”

 

Friends.

 

Being friends, to Sebastian, required getting to know one another without stocking the information up as ammunition for the future. Being friends required effort, time, and maybe even a tiny little bit of Sebastian’s heart, without knowing he was going to get his dick wet in return. Being friends meant that Sebastian might not be able to keep the darkness of his past, his ghosts and his demons, from showing Kurt he probably wasn’t going to be worth the effort.

 

Friends meant that they would consider each other real, human people with feelings and ideals and quirks, in their heads, instead of the usual inconveniences.

 

To answer Kurt’s question, Sebastian shrugged, and for the first time in a long time, for someone who wasn’t family, he let someone else have the control.

 

“You tell me, Kurt. From this point forward, I want what you want.”

Chapter Text

If Kurt and Sebastian were friends now, it was certainly an interesting friendship.

 

It was Kurt sitting by himself in the library, and Sebastian sitting down and joining him sometimes. The few first times it happened Kurt watched Sebastian carefully, halfway expecting him to say something ill-bred and smutty before they’d had a chance to be civil. But Sebastian was composed and weaponless each time, opening his laptop, cracking a mild joke, and commenting on menial things like the weather.

 

It was Kurt watching a YouTube of someone doing something foolish, and Sebastian coming over to his desk to watch it with him. “Look,” Kurt would say through cute, high-pitched giggles, as Sebastian would lean in over the back of Kurt’s chair, fingertips brushing his shoulders just slightly. “Idiot,” he’d chime in.

 

It was the two of them just happening to stand in line together for coffee at the campus center, Sebastian telling Kurt he made entirely too much noise in the mornings, and Kurt telling Sebastian that he snored entirely too loud at night. “I don’t snore,” Sebastian had argued. “You wouldn’t know that you don’t, you’re asleep.” “Is this you admitting that you lie awake listening to me at night?” “No, this is me admitting that I’ve woken up at one in the morning fantasizing about going over there and sticking cotton up your nose, to block out all that growling.”

 

It wasn’t a perfect friendship, not by any means. Kurt still had his days where Sebastian got on his nerves, where his tone or a too-bold remark made during otherwise friendly conversation would make Kurt have to stand up and walk away from him, breathe, remember why he was doing this.

 

And for Sebastian, there was the pressing, aching, undeniable fact that with each passing day, he found himself growing more and more frustrated with Kurt’s looks. The kind of frustrated that had him peeling and forcing his eyes away from Kurt’s arms, and waistline, and eyes, telling himself that they were plain, telling himself that only Blaine found them appealing, telling himself that under no circumstances would he ever tell Kurt about the way he had enraptured him.

 

But their friendship was, more importantly, for both of them, finding out those things about each other that they never would’ve guessed had they never tried to find them.

 

It was Sebastian learning Kurt ran a blog called “The Ones We Lost,” where he wrote dedications to LGBT people who had died recently. The most recent was a story about a lesbian couple in Indiana who’d been beaten to death by a father of three. In it Kurt included photographs, with their families’ permission, of the women’s country backyard “wedding,” where the two of them celebrated the purchase of their first home together. Sebastian read through it compelled by Kurt’s diction, stayed up half the night reading the whole blog through. The thoroughly research essays, the personal touches, made him realize this boy really had a heart on him.

 

It was Kurt learning Sebastian was really good at magic; could perform a number of ridiculous illusionist and card tricks, as if they were nothing, on point and on command.

 

The first one Sebastian demonstrated for him in their quarters was one where he “disappeared” a card. Kurt was asked to write his first name in sharpie, large and distinguishable, on the face of a king of hearts. He then put it back in the deck and watched as Sebastian did a seemingly normal shuffle, although he was clearly an expert at it, the cards practically floating between his hands. Sebastian then fanned the cards out spaciously so Kurt could see them all, shrugging and showing that yes, indeed, the card Kurt had written on was in fact gone.

 

“Okay, so the trick is that you put it in your pocket, right?” Kurt took the cards from him to rifle through them himself, then held the deck in one and started pulling gently at Sebastian’s sweater, jean pockets with the other. Sebastian was apparently ticklish, swatted him.

 

“Scout’s honor, it’s not on my person,” said the magician. “In fact, I think, it’s actually on yours.”

 

Kurt started feeling himself up rather recklessly, until Sebastian told him,

 

“Open your wallet.”

 

Kurt pulled it, chained to one of his belt loops, out to find the king of hearts sandwiched between his maxed out credit cards.

 

“What the hell! Explain yourself!”

 

“Nothing to explain. It’s magic.”

 

Another one, Kurt’s favorite of the bunch, consisted of Sebastian holding two little foam brown rabbits in his hands. They were sponge-y springy and virtually indistinguishable, and he would introduce the trick by saying that the one on the left was “momma,” and the one on the right, “poppa.” He then closed them both in his fists, switched his hands about midair as if this would confuse Kurt, and then asked him to touch the hand with “poppa” inside.

 

“But they both look exactly same.”

 

“How dare you, they are distinctly individual.”

 

Kurt, bewildered, poked Sebastian’s right hand and, he guessed it: it was a totally nondescript brown piece of foam! Sebastian opened his other hand, then, to reveal its identical twin.

 

“I don’t get it,” Kurt said.

 

“Alright, alright. Why don’t you try it, then? I’m gonna put the rabbits in your hands, and while I do, I’m gonna tell you a story.”

 

“Okay.”

 

“Once upon a time, there was a momma rabbit—“ he placed one into Kurt’s soft palm, curling the other boy’s fingers around it, “and a poppa rabbit—” and the other. “Now these two rabbits are very much in love, so, you know what that means.”

 

“Do I?”

 

“It means, that when they get together,”

 

“Uh huh?”

 

“Open your hands.”

 

“Oh—oh!

 

Kurt uncurled his fingers to find his hands full of twenty separate, tiny baby foam rabbits.

 

“They fuck,” Sebastian finished, as the pieces overflowed from Kurt’s fingers, “like rabbits.”

 

“Oh my god, no! There were two, there totally, definitely only two of them in there. I could feel them!” He shook his head. “How?”

 

“I told you. The power of love.”

 

One thundering, rainy Tuesday, a week and some change into their unexpected, makeshift friendship, Kurt sat with Rachel and Tina, who’d come to visit, at a table in the campus center café. Kurt was sipping on his mocha and raking his eyes about the spacious place, busy and swarming full of tables of other students, chattering people in long lines. Across from him, Tina and Rachel were fiddling absently with each other’s hands; he knew that his best friend had come here last night to see Rachel finally get a chance to perform on stage in Urinetown, during its last week of showings. Rachel, in return, was keeping Tina distracted, because today was the day she found out about Brown University.

 

He and the two girls were currently rating guys that walked past, a used-to-be favorite past time of he and Tina’s before they were in relationships. Even now, with Kurt in one relationship and Tina sort of in two, they thoroughly enjoyed the diversity in men that life brought them, and sometimes still humored themselves accordingly. Plus, Blaine and Artie had been known to chime in on the game, on occasion.

 

“Okay, blondie over there,” Tina was saying to Kurt. “With the striped jacket and the big, curly surfer hair.”

 

“Oh, he’s a four,” Kurt chastised, “max.”

 

Just a four?” Rachel objected.

 

“It’s forty degrees out, and he’s wearing Birkenstocks,” Kurt replied judgmentally, eyeing the guy’s gangly, too-exposed feet. Honestly he was surprised Rachel found the game fun too, but so far, she was the most into it out of the three of them.

 

“That’s because he’s from California,” Rachel said. “He doesn’t know any better!”

 

“Okay how do you know that he’s from California,” Kurt said.

 

“She’s probably stalked him on the Internet before,” Tina said. “Apparently, she does that.”

 

“Okay, I did not stalk him—” she tried to pinch Tina’s nose and Tina squirmed, shimmed back, “at least, not digitally. He’s the TA for my chemistry class and a double major in pre-med and pre-pharmacy. I heard he has a girlfriend back home but he cheats on her with everyone here at Ohio State. I know a girl who spent the night with him on Halloween, gave him—you know, a blow job and everything—” she shuddered, “and now he won’t even make eye contact with her.”

 

“Well he sounds like a total piece of trash,” Tina said. “But objectively he is good looking, in that hipster bad boy stoner kind of way. Like Sam Evans if he showered less, stopped cutting his hair. I’m sorry, Kurt, but I override you and give him a seven.”

 

“Please, that is way too high. If he cheats on his girlfriend now, what makes you think he wouldn’t cheat on you?” He made a face then, slurping down a bit more coffee. “God, I can’t imagine ever cheating on Blaine, even if I knew that he would never find out. I’d just feel awful about it.”

 

“Well, you and Blaine are better than most men,” Rachel said, “and by ‘most,’ yes, I mean straight men. And I mean, it’s so rare, and you’re so lucky, that you two are both the first person you’ve ever been with.”

 

“It’s true,” Tina chimed in. “People write songs and movies about the story you have.”

 

“And you’re really okay with being, like, you know,” Rachel said, “done, forever?”

 

“Of course,” Kurt answered. “What’s wrong with only ever having one love in your life? I mean yes, I’m sure at some point I’m going to wonder what’s out there, and sure, it’s not like I’m blind; Blaine knows I find other men attractive from a distance, without wanting to have sex with them. And I know that he must do the same a little too. We’re young.”

 

Tina and Rachel were staring behind Kurt’s head as he continued to speak, as if someone were approaching.

 

“But we’d rather risk a few non sequitur, hypothetical questions about what could be,” Kurt continued, “than ever have to wonder what it would be like to be without each other. We made a promise, to never leave each other no matter what comes, and I don’t really see what I could be missing out on, other than—”

 

“Oh, hey, Kurt.”

 

Sebastian was suddenly towering over the table, pulling up a chair between his roommate and Rachel.

 

“I'm just on my break from my business law lecture," he told the group. "The despot masquerading as my professor, only gives us fifteen minutes for four hours.”

 

When Rachel offered her sympathies, gave her cheery greeting and waved, Tina swiped at her hand, held it down.

 

“Hello, Tina,” Sebastian said then. “Nice to see you aga—”

 

“No.”

 

Sebastian looked pleased and excited by this, by the challenge of this part of mending things over. After all, he did love to schmooze his way into people’s hearts. “No?” he said.

 

“Kurt’s deciding to be nice for some reason, but don’t think I’m not still recording all the clever little monikers you come up with for me. Tina Kim Jong-Un, Tina Ching Chong Chang, Tina Kung Fu Panda, Tina Lets You Bang—”

 

“I’ll admit, I called you those things just to get under Kurt and Blaine’s skin, and not because I actually meant it. From what I’ve heard about you from your friends, I actually think you’re a pretty interesting girl. The way you dress is definitely badass. Is it true you grew up in Seoul?”

 

“Okay, nice save, Mr. Kiss-Ass, but I’ve still got my fully open eyes on you. And yeah, I’m a dual citizen. I went back and forth until I was nine.”

 

“That’s crazy,” Sebastian said, “I’m also a dual citizen, between here and France. Maybe we have more in common than you think.”

 

“I seriously doubt it, but I’ll tolerate you, because I love Kurt.”

 

“Look at this, huh?” said Kurt, placing his hands on the arms of both his long-time best friend, and his new-former-hate friend. “The storm out there is washing away all our old resentments.”

 

Rachel snorted. “I seriously can’t believe the crazy chance and circumstance of you two becoming roommates, given your history. I mean, of all the thousands of students that go here? What are the odds?”

 

“Trust me, you’re not the only one,” Kurt said. “But with how often I used to see him everywhere last year, all the time, it’s actually not that surprising. Blaine and I used to swear that he lived in the Lima Bean stock room, or underneath the counter, or y’know, in the dairy freezer, since his blood runs cold.”

 

“If you hadn’t been there so often, flipping through your bridal magazines and ruthlessly abusing the joint’s free refill option, you wouldn’t’ve even known I was always there.”

 

“It is a Dalton-specific hangout, to be fair, so you had more reason to be there than I did.” Kurt flickered his glance away from the tiny bit of coffee leftover on Sebastian’s upper lip. Were he Blaine, he would’ve kissed it off. God, what a weird and ugly thought. “I discovered the place while I did go to Dalton and have dragged everyone I know there on a half hour commute since.”

 

“I also can’t believe that you were on the Warblers,” Rachel said to Kurt. “My failure of a glee club at Fairbrook, who refused to let me coach them to glory and victory, was always so, so jealous of the fact that you guys always won our local sectional.”

 

“Ah, yes, I did my background ‘ooh’s and ‘aah’s, took care of little Pavarotti and everything. May the yellow songbird rest in peace, in his bedazzled little grave.”

 

“Wait,” Sebastian said, looking pointedly at Kurt. “Don’t tell me you’re the one from the spring of twenty ten who killed that thing. Well, the first one, before they got a second and named it Pavarotti again.”

 

Kurt’s eyes went wide.

 

“I heard about you.” Sebastian laughed. “Didn’t care about who you were then of course, but apparently you’re the only Warbler in Dalton history who’s managed to keep Pavarotti for such a short period of time, and then suddenly murder it without paying to replace it.”

 

“Oh my god, I didn’t murder him! He died of a sudden stroke!”

 

“And then you transferred two weeks after you ended him. Canaries are expensive, Kurt. You ripped Dalton off and then made off like Madoff.”

 

“Oh please, as if that grandiose estate of a boarding school needed my dad’s blue collar chump change. I transferred back to McKinley because my parents couldn’t afford the tuition. Besides, if there were really such a deficit, the council should’ve told me that they wanted money for it. I mean, for him.”

 

Sebastian tried to picture how Kurt must’ve looked then, in a navy and red piped blazer, a striped tie, surrounded by the rowdy fraternity of those guys. That image really didn’t seem to fit, and why had Kurt even gone to Dalton, anyway? Not even for a full semester, but rather, a random four month span that didn’t make sense on an academic calendar. Sebastian wouldn’t ask for the details, but given the way Blaine had jumped ship to that shitty public school when Kurt snapped his fingers, he figured that it must’ve been the same way back, too.

 

“Sorry I’m not sorry that I missed you at Dalton,” he said.

 

Kurt rolled his eyes, scoffing and laughing at the fact that Sebastian had still managed to know about him even before their paths crossed. They really did live in a small world.

 

“Trust me, the sentiment is shared,” Kurt replied.

 

“Okay, okay, what about that guy over there?” Rachel was saying to Tina, and Kurt and Sebastian, now that they were acknowledging the world spinning on around them.

 

All four of them looked in tandem at the object man in question.

 

“Okay, first of all, if you ever see a man wearing Uggs, that is a huge red flag,” Kurt stated. "And by that, I mean rainbow flag.”

 

“Pretty sure Blaine does have a pair of Uggs,” Sebastian noted, and Tina nodded.

 

“Um, no boyfriend of mine has ever or will ever wear Uggs,” Kurt said, like he was sure. “They are a disgrace to fashion and a public indecency. If he did have any, I assure you they would’ve been burned by now.”

 

“He wore them to the Warblers’ Christmas party last year,” Sebastian said, “when they invited him back.”

 

“How on earth do you remember that?”

 

“Because several and by several I mean all of his friends made fun of him for them when he showed up in the common room.”

 

“Probably Wes and David leading the charge.”

 

“Yep.”

 

He didn’t know how Blaine had managed to get Uggs without him, as they usually did most if not all of his clothes shopping together. But, he would investigate that possibility later. For now, Sebastian was dismissing himself suddenly, saying he had to go back to his tortuous lecture.

 

As Rachel answered a phone call from her gay dads, who were coming to visit her and meet Tina later, Kurt and Tina sat for a moment alone, and Tina got real with him.

 

“Kurt, I really don’t know about you and Sebastian being friends.”

 

Kurt sighed, wanting to protest but understanding her protest. “Honestly, I know it’s really weird. It’s weird for me, even, looking at him and realizing I don’t have to try and compare him to weird looking mammals anymore, or nag at him about his smarmy little rich boy life. Now that my relationship’s a hundred percent safe, and now that he’s genuinely trying to be good to me, it’s—I don’t know. It’s just nice to not have to worry, anymore.”

 

“I’m happy the peace makes you happy, and if you say he’s got a good streak, it must be deep down in there somewhere. Just be careful, okay? You know what this guy’s capable of.”

 

As Rachel got off the phone and began trotting her way back over, Kurt thanked Tina and they stood, embraced.

 

“Y’know I really don’t know about this whole you having a girlfriend and a boyfriend thing,” he rushed in, before Rachel was back in hearing range. “You still need to make a decision!”

 

“Ugh, I know, I know. I'm just so happy!”

 

When Rachel returned, she and Tina shared a quick, sweet kiss, and Kurt watched as the two of them practically skipped hand in hand.

 

 

 

The afternoon had been fun and all, but Kurt was just dying to get to this part of his day. The New Directions meeting at McKinley was out around this time, which meant Blaine would be calling as he exited the choir room, packed up his books and went home for the day.

 

“Hi,” Kurt said when he answered Blaine’s call, leaning back in his desk chair and playing with the crimson threads of his scarf. “How was school? How’s practicing for regionals?”

 

Blaine detailed the mad rush Mr. Schue had gone into so quickly after ND had finished winning sectionals. “He says he doesn’t want us to ‘lose our edge,’ but seriously? He almost killed us with all of those weekend practices. We just wanna go back to the days of loosely covering Lady Gaga with no point, and Sam and Artie showing us their terrible bromance songs, and everyone making crazy outfits and wearing them to school for the fun of it.”

 

“I kind of miss glee club and all, but I hated when Mr. Schue got like that.”

 

Yeah, and, to top it all off. Everyone keeps getting all, ‘Blaine gets all the solos, since when did this become the Blee show, blah blah blah’ at me, but, like—it’s not my fault that I work harder than almost everyone else at this. I mean, you know me, I sing in my sleep.”

 

“Which you would think I find creepy, but no, just endearing.”

 

But, anyway,” Blaine said. “How are you? What’ve you been up to?

 

“I’m actually having a really happy, really magical day,” Kurt replied, smiling even though Blaine wouldn’t see him. “Even though it’s raining cats and dogs and other things, it feels almost symbolic or something, like a great flood washing over me and giving me new life. And, I finally unpacked my winter wardrobe from the space bags Carole bought me in the summer. Goodbye airy blouses and sequined riding pants, hello Burberry coats and fabulous infinity scarves.”

 

God, I miss you so much. You are so adorable, Kurt.”

 

“Oh, I almost forgot,” Kurt said then. “Since when did you start wearing Uggs?”

 

Wait, how do you about know about that?”

 

“You know how I feel about those furry monstrosities. The next time I’m in Lima, we have to do another mass sweep of your closet.”

 

Oh, goodie.”

 

“I also might be re-considering having you send me your receipts when you go stag to the mall."

 

Come on, they’re really comfortable—and they’re the blue ones, and they’re not that—“

 

“If you tell me that Ugg boots are not that ugly, Blaine Anderson, I will hang up the phone right now and ignore you no matter how many times you call me back. You don’t want to be back on my fashion probation list, do you?”

 

Hold on, it had to be Sebastian. It was, wasn’t it? He was at that one party. It couldn’t’ve been Tina. I trust her.

 

“Yes, as a matter of fact, he revealed you this afternoon over coffee.”

 

Over coffee? You guys are hanging out, getting coffee, now?”

 

Mm, Kurt really had to bite his tongue at that, at the tone Blaine had just pitted saying the words hanging out. Kurt did it, he remained sweet and accommodating even though he kind of wanted to bitch, about how rich it was that Blaine was acting even the tiniest bit suspicious about this.

 

“I don’t know, we’re—“ Kurt attempted eventually. “We’re trying this whole friend thing now, just trying to act like two normal people who live together, so yeah, the Ugg thing came up when we were with Tina and Rachel at the campus center and—”

 

“’Trying this friend thing now’?” Blaine repeated.

 

“Something like that, sure.”

 

But you hate the way he treats you. Heck, Kurt, I hate it—“

 

“You’ve been friends with him this entire time, Blaine. You were even at the worst of him treating me like garbage.”

 

Blaine sighed. “I know. But—“

 

“And it’s not like we’re actually friends, I don’t forsee us staying up braiding each other’s armpit hair and getting mani-pedi’s. We’re just—peacefully coexisting. Trying not to hate each other anymore, because it gets so, so tiring. Finally Sebastian is tired of it too.”

 

Kurt relaxed a little, kept on talking.

 

“And he is trying,” he continued. “Doing something I thought I’d never hear him do. Apologizing. At first it was for—hurting me.” His stomach did a strange turn at that, of the memory of Sebastian on top of him on Halloween. “And then it started happening for little things, like, telling me my hair looks weird and puffy, or cutting me off in line to get coffee in the mornings.”

 

They had gotten coffee at the same time every morning that last week, Kurt realized now. It wasn’t because they’d explicitly agreed to do so, but that they both needed coffee to function like regular humans, and not bite off anyone's head off before the sun was high. Their classes were around the same time and on the same general path, too, so it just made sense.

 

“Sometimes it takes a while for him to say it,” Kurt moved on, “but it happens almost every time he does something wrong now. Which is often, because he’s him. But I test it, and he’s getting a C. Minus.”

 

Blaine still hadn’t anything. Kurt tried not to think about why that was, just kept going.

 

“I don’t know if I’m getting through to him in any way that matters, being nice. He still kind of seems terrible to other people.” He thought about one morning in particular, when Sebastian had snapped at the poor barista in the café for not getting his order right. “But I don’t know, faking it is better than not.”

 

At this point Kurt thought Blaine was actually dozing off on him.

 

“Earth to boyfriend,” he prompted, snapping his fingers loudly at the mic.

 

I’m here,” Blaine said, quite neutrally, calm, and Kurt felt relieved. He didn’t sound angry or accusatory, though it wasn’t exactly like Kurt was holding his breath, expecting him to be. Just listening, you have a lot to say about him suddenly. Maybe Sebastian does have a conscience, and a soul, then. Even if the last text he sent me, and I quote, was, ‘Are you really that insecure about your juvenile relationship, or do you just have a threesome idea involving us you never told me about?’

 

Kurt was so suddenly taken back by this, that now he was the one being quiet, processing.

 

...Kurt?”

 

“When did he say this?”

 

I don’t know, a couple of weeks ago?”

 

“How many exactly?”

 

Three, and a half, give or take.”

 

“And why didn’t I hear about it?”

 

Well, I didn’t—think you’d wanna hear it, baby.”

 

Kurt took a deep breath to try and release some energy, tapping his fingertips rapturously against his desk.

 

“How graphic was he?” he said, after too much time passed. And how on earth did your conversation get there? he wondered.

 

Not at all, Kurt, I swear. It was literally just a sentence.”

 

Did you have ideas, about us being with him?”

 

No, Kurt, god. I would never, in a million years want to share you with him.” Blaine did sound like he was genuinely grossed out. “That kind of thing is special, for some of us.”

 

Kurt really, really, wanted to not feel anything about this, knowing logically that it was a pointless tiff to try and be having. Something from the past that shouldn’t have changed anything about today, and how perfect, almost, today had been until this point. Obviously, said threesome never even happened, and it was said before he realized that Sebastian was a person. And he trusted Blaine, really, he did. He knew the conversation hadn’t gone any further, and he definitely knew Sebastian didn’t want Blaine anymore. But...

 

Oh, Kurt, I shouldn’t’ve even—looked through my phone, to read this crap to you. I’m sorry, it was really immature of me, and I probably should’ve just deleted them after I got them, but—you know how I keep all my messages from everyone, and ninety percent of what we say to each other isn’t that—“

 

“No, it’s—“ Kurt suddenly felt like he needed to do something quickly with his hands, so he started picking and scratching at the wood of his desk. Trying not to get all hyper and analytical, his brain freezing over on the first words of that carefully crafted message: Are you really that insecure. Insecure about what? What had Blaine said before this?

 

“It’s fine.”

 

Was it?

 

Kurt glanced over at Sebastian’s empty desk. He still hadn’t seen him since he’d walked out of the café earlier.

 

“It’s just, um. Weird, you know, to be part of someone else’s conversation like that. Out of context.”

 

If you want, I know we said we were never going to do this, but if you want, I can show you my phone, the next time we’re together, and we can talk—“

 

“God, no, babe, I am not going to allow us to become that couple.”

 

Just then, Kurt heard that ever present clicking at the door, and when Sebastian walked in, he turned the other way, quick.

 

“I love you, and I trust you, okay?” he said. “And like I said I'm just so, so ready to be past that part of our life, and onto our wonderful future."

 

Sebastian watched and half-listened as Kurt talked on to Blaine, specifically noting Kurt’s mouth as he smiled—he had a particular “Blaine” smile, Seb had stated to notice recently, especially giddy and endearing.

 

When Kurt hung up, though he'd seemed to be all chipper on the phone, his expression deflated.

 

Then, he gave Seb an irritated look.

 

“Something wrong?” Sebastian prompted.

 

“I know we agreed not to talk about it anymore," Kurt said, standing from his desk chair, "but I didn’t know that just as recently as three weeks ago, you were sending Blaine your little threesome taunts about you, me and him.”

 

Sebastian tensed, and then sighed.

 

“What, that? Don’t wet yourself over it,” he said, the old him returning, reciting his lines. “There’s exactly zero chances I’d try and get you two to fuck me at the same time now, that ship has sailed. But, a year ago? It seemed the most obvious solution. It’s why I invited you both to Scandals, the day we first met. I figured if I couldn’t have Blaine by himself, all to myself, I’d have you,” he gave Kurt’s little figure an up-and-down nod, “come along and I’d just handle you both. Or, in other words, I’d’ve just watched you keep him occupied, while I sucked him off like I’d always wanted to.”

 

Kurt’s jaw fell open.

 

“But once I realized how gay and in love you were, I changed my mind, anyway. It would’ve done nothing for me, watching you two spoon and Eskimo kiss all night.” If he sounded jealous, Kurt couldn’t tell, and thought he was being obscene to be obscene. “Like you would’ve given up your sappy missionary for a wild night with me and my c—”

 

“Sebastian, stop.”

 

Kurt’s demeanor was pure ice.

 

“Once again, you’ve managed to take it too far.”

 

Damn. Talking about sucking Blaine off wasn’t friendly conversation, was it? He really wasn’t very good at this.

 

“I just don’t understand why you thought it was okay to think things like that about someone else’s boyfriend."

 

“My thoughts are one hundred percent my business, my privacy. And it’s not like I was the one with the boyfriend.”

 

“Yes, but you were talking and thinking about someone, about people, who did. Can’t you at least try to empathize and imagine how I could’ve been upset? Knowing some other guy had it out for my everything? Wouldn’t you have been upset, if Blaine were your boyfriend?”

 

“I’m not exactly prone to pointless fits of jealousy.” Was that even true anymore? “And, like I’ve said a hundred times, I didn’t who you were, back then.”

 

“It wasn’t about knowing who I was,” Kurt said. “It was about having respect for Blaine’s relationship, and having respect for the boundaries put up by someone other than you.”

 

Now that made Sebastian feel something spark in him; anger, agitation? This sounded a lot like Kurt calling him selfish, and he hated when the people who knew him did that, and had the arguments, and facts, to back it up.

 

“If Blaine has so many ‘boundaries,’ why didn’t he tell you about it when I crossed one with that text?”

 

Now Kurt looked really pissed off.

 

“Because, you made him uncomfortable, Sebastian. You’re really good at doing that.”

 

Sebastian hated himself right now, for where he’d caused this conversation to go. And so, he relented.

 

“I’m sorry, for thinking those things,” he said, quietly, “almost a year ago.”

 

Kurt exhaled thinly, glanced up at the ceiling.

 

Sebastian counted backwards from ten in his head, waiting for Kurt to come down from his well-earned throne atop morality and righteousness, and acknowledge his apology before he immaturely, and fearfully, rescinded it.

 

“Thank you for apologizing,” Kurt granted, at three seconds to go.

 

Kurt sat own on his bed now, quickly trying to recall what he’d argued to Blaine and Tina earlier.

 

“We aren’t supposed to be doing this again,” he said, presently. “I guess it’s just still going to take me a little bit longer to be one hundred percent over you trying to take him. It’s just that you’re the only other person I’ve ever had to consider, who ever got that close to my relationship.”

 

Sebastian didn’t know what else he could say.

 

“I really am sorry, Kurt.”

 

Maybe the closest people to Kurt thought it naive of him, to try and see Sebastian’s inner being, inner soul, but Kurt knew he wasn’t being stupid for doing this. People often doubted him for things they would praise him for later, anyway, even the people who loved him most. There was something in Sebastian, something good, and he wasn’t going to stop trying to focus in on it, if this living situation was ever going to last.

 

“I know.”

 

 

At two-thirty a.m., they were mostly peace at again, the tension from their argument having pretty much faded. Kurt thought about it, and he supposed he wasn’t that upset about the thought at least occuring to Sebastian. He knew there was nothing wrong with his infatuation with monogamy, but really, he was going to be nineteen soon, so he could try being just a little more open minded about things sometimes. Maybe. Most men would probably be flattered to be told, by someone who looked like a celebrity like Sebastian did, that they were in his mind in that way, especially when it was a harmless thought meant to lead to nothing tangible.

 

Why did so many men like Sebastian, anyway? Because everyone secretly wanted a guy like that—rich, hot, tall, and hilarious—to be interested in talking to them, Kurt thought. He knew that even if for most of the time he knew this guy, he hadn’t shared the sentiment. Even now, he was hardheaded in his belief that aesthetically beautiful people didn’t deserve any more sympathy  free passes in life than ordinary people. If only Sebastian could replace his too brutal honesty with charm and charisma inside, that lasted more than fifteen minutes. Kurt supposed, though, that plenty of people mistook the two: insults and romance. He could imagine that that was why Fifty Shades of Grey was so popular; Kurt didn’t like to get into it, but he owned all three sections of the series. He’d only made it a laughable fraction of the way through the first one, while Blaine, on the other hand, had consumed them all instantly.

 

Kurt was thinking this as his tired eyes pored over his pre-calculus textbook, studying for the midterm he had in two days and seriously hoping he didn’t butcher it like the last one. He was also seriously craving some iced coffee to keep him going; he knew it was strange, but when it was cold out, he liked to have even colder treats.

 

Meanwhile, Sebastian was studying too, but losing focus, whispering terms from his micro-econ notecards to himself and thinking about his bank accounts. For a moment he stood up, stretched, and took his glasses off, rubbing the bridge of his nose with one hand and rummaging around for his wallet and keys in his jacket pocket with the other. He knew it was strange, but when it was cold out, he liked cold drinks, ice cream. He decided to get himself something from the to-go section of the campus café to stay awake.

 

Kurt yawned at his desk next to him, and Sebastian looked over.

 

“Going to get something from the cc,” Sebastian said. “Do you—want anything?”

 

Kurt’s face bore a slight frown and a small smile at being asked.

 

“You’re actually offering?”

 

Sebastian rolled his eyes.

 

“Sure,” Kurt answered now. He slipped his feet into the boots at his feet he’d been wearing earlier. “I’ll just come with you. I need to stretch my legs.”

 

Sebastian wasn’t expecting Kurt’s self-invitation, but by the time Kurt was chaining his own wallet to his slinky pants, slipping his arms through his coat and zipping it up, Seb hadn't found any way to protest his company.

 

The two of them walked out of the dorm side by side, Kurt on his phone and Sebastian, as usual, cursing the rousing, overwhelming scent of Kurt’s post-shower aura: the distinctive soap and that conditioner and just his skin’s natural pheromones, god, he really, really had it bad, didn’t he?

 

At one point, when they were almost there, Kurt glanced up at Sebastian and asked,

 

“Are your glasses prescription, or are they just the kind that are supposed to make you look smart?”

 

Sebastian smiled. “I look smart without them. My vision is fine too.”

 

At the campus center, Kurt watched carefully as Sebastian paid for both of their bottled coffee drinks at the self-check out. He realized he hadn’t had a guy who wasn’t Blaine buy him anything in, well, ever, since he always insisting on paying Finn back when he tried. The question of why ghosted behind Kurt’s lips, but before it could pass, Sebastian was shoving the bag into Kurt’s hands and walking quickly, steps ahead.

 

Almost as if he were embarrassed of himself.

 

On their ten minute walk back through the foggy, mostly-deserted campus, Sebastian led and Kurt followed absently, on his phone again as their figures charted a path. They were on a dark, winding road with barely any lights lining it, that crossed around the back of the giant football field. About halfway through it, Kurt received two very exclamatory texts from both Tina and Rachel, informing him that Tina was a go for her dream school. When Kurt squealed audibly next to him, Sebastian told him to give her his congratulations, so he did.

 

Once the reply was sent, they heard something that sounded like a bunch of humans making howling wolf noises. They both frowned at each other then glanced around quick, the sound obviously coming from a distance.

 

“What was that?” Kurt said.

 

The sound fired off again, and this time, its location was clearer. Sebastian looked over the top of Kurt’s head and down the damp, slippery-grassy hill that led to the football field. He then started going in that direction rather boldly, and Kurt, not sure if he should, followed him.

 

Once ascended down the main curve of the hill, on the field Sebastian saw, slightly obscured by the fog, a pack of about forty guys standing in two horizontal lines, facing each other, half of them wearing black shirts, half of them wearing red.

 

“Fraternity pledges,” Sebastian said to Kurt when he pulled up beside him, smirking and pointing there.

 

Kurt could barely make out the mass of bodies that Sebastian referenced, but the incessant, crazy howling still continued.

 

“Oh my god, it’s three in the morning,” he giggled. “What are on earth they doing?”

 

“Probably getting hazed. Getting their asses beat or something else humiliating.”

 

“Oh my god, isn’t Taylor, our douchey R.A. in this one? The red and black frat? C’mon, let’s go look at him.”

 

All of a sudden Kurt was tugging Sebastian’s hand and taking him to crouch down, spy-like and secretive, before a thatch of tangled shrubbery just a few yards from the opening in the field fence. Kurt then peered up over the wall of branches, curious and intrigued, letting go of Sebastian's hand.

 

From where they were now, they could see the ceremony apparent more clearly: the established brothers of the frat were in the ones in black and were now in their poor pledges’ faces, screaming on top of one another at them, and said pledges weren’t wearing any pants or shoes beneath their red shirts, only underwear.

 

“Looks like they’re about to have an orgy,” Sebastian commented.

 

Kurt chuckled, scanning the pale, hairy backs of all the legs that he could see, and picking out Taylor’s long distinctive dreads on one of the black shirts. This guy really was a bigot, wasn’t he?

 

“I really, really don’t understand this whole culture,” Kurt muttered. Sebastian, meanwhile, realized how close they were now, arms flush against each other, body heat radiating. “It’s awful to me that they think that this abuse is somehow going to make them stronger. At the same time, though, I have always wondered what they—do, to each other. The membership process is always so hush-hush.”

 

“I don’t blame you,” Sebastian said, “it is a staple genre of gay porn and erotica.”

 

Kurt punched him in the arm. “You know I didn’t mean like that. But trust me, I know, Blaine is totally into that kind of thing.” He paused, turning bright red. “And I didn’t just tell you that.”

 

“Personally I don’t understand it either.” Gratefully Sebastian seemed to be ignoring his slipped comment. “Nothing but a bunch of preppies paying for friends, and masking their inadequacies with red cups and fear.”

 

“I don’t know,” Kurt said, keeping his eyes diligently trained on the guys up ahead. One of the ones in red stepped forward from his line and got down on his knees, and then there were especially loud and manic jeers erupting from the elders. Kurt tried and failed to pick out what words specifically they were slinging, as he kept speaking absently to Sebastian.

 

“I would’ve picked you out to be the frat boy type,” he continued, “if I didn’t already know you.”

 

Sebastian was less offended by this accusation, and more staring yearningly at Kurt’s profile. His flushed lips were parted, his little whiffs of breath clouding in the cold hair, and his nose was red from the cold, too. His hair smelled so sickeningly sweet and good, that Sebastian felt himself, against his resistance, wanting to get closer to it, maybe press his nose to the nape of Kurt’s neck. But he wouldn’t.

 

“Why?” he went with, instead.

 

“Well, you’re disgustingly rich, for one,” Kurt began, still without glancing over. “You totally dress like one, secondly.”

 

Sebastian stared down at the two layered polo shirts, with collars popped, that he was wearing beneath his unzipped coat and scarf (Kurt really was good at this clothes thing, wasn’t he?).

 

“And thirdly, they’re known for their tendency to be rude and hapless to anyone who isn’t like them, as well as frequently promiscuous.”

 

Sebastian tried not to genuinely take offense at that last part, but it stung. He tore his glance away from his roommate, looked back out on the field again.

 

“Thanks.”

 

Kurt finally looked over at him then, biting his lip and looking all innocent.

 

“I’m sorry,” he said. “I’m joking, you know that I’m joking, right?”

 

“Yeah.”

 

Kurt thought about how strange and boyish he and Sebastian must’ve looked right now, crouched down like sneaky kids playing hide and seek in branches, their shoes all muddy. He still held the bag of both their iced coffees in one hand and was just about to tell them that while this was a rare opportunity to roast some of the worst kinds of people on the planet, they should probably be getting back—but then all of a sudden something was changing up ahead, and both Kurt and Sebastian ducked down, stayed to watch.

 

The guy in the red who’d been singled out was shouting another wolf call, and then he and his pants-less cohorts started running in a fast, erratic circle around the group of black, each one of them stripping their t-shirts as they did. Sebastian and Kurt snuffed their laughter as they began yelling out a clear, demonic chant:

 

“We like it here, we like it here /
“Oh fuckin’ A, we like it here /
“We’ll fuck your chicks, we’ll drink your beer /
“We’ll smoke your pot, we’ll call you queer /
“’Cause we’re the boys of G.G.G. /
“And we despise sobriety /
“We like it here, we like it here /
“Oh fuckin’ A, we like it here!”

 

Sebastian had his phone out now, recording this for Snapchat and saying “this is why straight people shouldn’t procreate anymore,” while Kurt said, “oh my god, I have to sing that song for Blaine later, this is absolutely trash-tastic.”

 

As Sebastian finished his vid Kurt clutched onto Sebastian's coat sleeve, in preparation to drag them forward to a shrub that was even closer to the group. Sebastian stared down at Kurt’s hand and couldn’t manage to brush it off, couldn’t believe Kurt was so thrilled by this social massacre.

 

“Okay,” Kurt whispered, shoving the bag of coffees, ill-fitting, into his coat pocket, “there has to be some way we can like, get them penalized by the school or something. As much as I think these boys are brain dead for wanting to join a cult like this, they can’t be naked in thirty degree weather like this, it’s just obscene.”

 

He finally let go of Sebastian’s sleeve.

 

“On my count,” he said, “let’s get to the next patch of bushes over there, and record the rest.”

 

Sebastian didn’t give a fuck about turning the frat in, but scheming looked so terribly good on Kurt and this had to be some kind of dream, he thought woefully. He’d conked out at his desk and was making this all up, he had to be.

 

Seb waited for Kurt’s musical voice to get to one, and then they darted out from behind their hiding place, tennis shoes and boots squeaking and sliding in the damp grass and mud.

 

“Hey!”

 

Kurt and Sebastian froze where they were in plain sight when they heard a voice from the field shrieking out at them.

 

All of the frat guys were now staring in their direction, the ones in red no longer running and Taylor, distinctive with his dreads, emerging headstrong from the horde.

 

“The fuck do you two cucks think you’re doing? This is a fucking private ritual! You trying to get killed?”

 

“I think they’re trying to get killed, brother mine!” said one of his lot.

 

“Pledges!” Taylor yelled, addressing the twenty underdogs. “Get them!”

 

And just like that, the mid-sized guys in nothing but briefs were booking it towards Kurt and Sebastian full speed.

 

Kurt scrambled for Sebastian’s strong arm.

 

“This is a joke, they have to be joking—“

 

“Go, run—“

 

The two of them took off back up towards the dark path, and Kurt, perhaps blinded by adrenaline, was not scared as he sprinted. Not only was one of his secret talents running at breakneck in heeled boots, but he knew he and his roommate had a several yard head start, that the dark would help protect, and that the zombies couldn’t possibly know where they were headed.

 

Sebastian, on the other hand, felt a strike of panic rupture through him as Kurt—who could somehow run much faster than he could—pulled him along through the fog-thick campus. The pledges had spread out and were trying to come from all directions, all of them still a great ways back but screaming “fucking pussies!” and “you don’t fuck with G.G.G.!” For a moment, Sebastian felt the horror and dread he'd had one too many times before, like a nightmare from his past days of being beaten for being queer were thrust upon him once again.

 

But, no matter: by the time Kurt and Seb were at the glass doors of their dorm building, it would appear that most of the pledges had forked off unsuccessfully. Only three or four of them were still lingering on, panting and stumbling over themselves in exhaustion, too far back to obtain a victory.

 

Kurt flashed his key card at the doors and pulled Sebastian in with him as they closed shut. As he and his roommate paced around the lobby, panting to catch their breaths, the last three near-naked stragglers staggered up to the glass doors, one of them knocking on it harsh and baring his teeth.

 

“Oh, what, you want us now?” Kurt curtsied for them, sticking his tongue out. “Put some clothes on! Get out of that trap before they turn you into criminals!”

 

Sebastian was panting much harder than Kurt, wiping the sweat that had formed on his forehead with the back of his icy hand.

 

“You,” he managed finally, staring at Kurt as he did a mini pirouette, as the boys behind the glass threw up their hands, gave up hope, “you really enjoyed that, didn’t you?”

 

Kurt made electrifying eye contact with him, then laughed breathlessly.

 

“People like that have no power over me.”

 

Sebastian was so, so, so very screwed.

 

“What do you think they would’ve done?” Kurt said now, pressing a thumb to his wrist and checking his pulse. “If they’d caught us?”

 

“Tied us up? Branded us? Made us join the orgy?”

 

“I think they just would’ve tried to beat us up.”

 

“Bullshit,” Sebastian said. “They couldn’t’ve taken me. Or you.”

 

They walked over to the elevator. As they waited for it to drop, Kurt removed the bag of glass bottles, which had gratefully survived the run, from his pocket and handed Sebastian his.

 

“I honestly don’t feel like I need this anymore,” Kurt said, as he popped it open in spite. “That chase down certainly woke me up.”

 

“Same.”

 

Sebastian took his icy bottle and slipped it into his pocket, as the elevator doors opened before them. As they headed skyward in the box, he rubbed his hands together, pressed them over his mouth.

 

“Hands are fucking cold,” he said, shaking them out.

 

“Here.”

 

Kurt was suddenly very, very close to him, holding his hands open for Sebastian to place them in.

 

“Oh, stop it,” Kurt said, when Sebastian apparently looked hesitant at the gesture, “I’m not going to cut them off. You won’t turn into gold or stone, either.”

 

Sebastian relinquished, and Kurt enveloped them in his own, rubbing back and forth rapidly to generate heat. As Kurt stared down at what he was doing, Sebastian stared at him and stomach turned, nervous as fuck. This exchange was doing absolutely nothing to keep his mind out of the gutter, and god, it'd been a month, he really needed to get laid. This kid was overstepping, he was definitely overstepping and making Sebastian feel things he hadn’t in years, and what was he going to do, huh? Kurt couldn’t possibly be aware of what he was doing. He was just genuinely trying to be a good friend. And he was.

 

 

The next morning, Sebastian and Kurt stood in line for coffee trading barbs about who was in line first, when they saw a pack of young men rocking red and black Greek letters, including Taylor. When the group gave them both dirty, hateful stares across the campus center, and pointed, cracking their knuckles, Kurt and Sebastian shook their heads, gave each other a knowing smile.

Chapter Text

"You're leaving like that?"

 

Early next Friday morning, Kurt stopped Sebastian on his way out of their room before his first class. Kurt was sitting at his vanity applying his a.m. moisturizers, dressed in black silk pajama pants and no shirt. Sebastian, who’d woken up with a straining and unfortunate hard-on that still wouldn’t quit after relieving it once, was currently vacillating between hating and reveling in the fact that, apparently, he’d reached “Kurt is comfortable being shirtless in front of me” territory.

 

Sebastian knew Kurt's question had something to do with his outfit, but he feigned innocence.

 

“Like what?”

 

Kurt sighed good-humoredly and stood, face still half-slathered in cream, to walk across the room towards his roommate. Once close, he eyed Sebastian up and down clinically, frowning. Unsexy.

 

"You need help,” the fashion advisor commented.

 

Sebastian was finding it hard to stay as irritable as he felt, because Kurt looked just so goddamn fine this morning.

 

"The kind of help I need right now isn't the kind that you can give me," he said, glancing down at his own crotch.

 

Kurt rolled his eyes, not following Sebastian’s gaze south. "You're disgusting."

 

Sebastian shrugged, as this was true.

 

"And,” Kurt continued, “this layering arrangement you’ve got going on is wrong on every conceivable level.”

 

Sebastian looked down at his clothes, a navy blue and white striped zip-up sweater with a black dress shirt underneath, the collar popped, and black jeans that were gratefully doing an okay job of masking his little big problem.

 

"It's not," he argued pointlessly.

 

"First of all," Kurt resumed, as if Sebastian hadn't protested, "you need to change your shirt. As a rule of thumb you should never wear a dark colored shirt beneath anything with white stripes.”

 

"Never?" Sebastian repeated mockingly.

 

"Never," Kurt enforced, dead serious.

 

He then trotted over to Sebastian's open closet like he owned it himself, sifting through garment after garment until deciding on a white dress shirt, burgundy button-up sweater, and a pair of dark blue jeans from the rack, tossing them all over his shoulder at Sebastian and aiming pretty well without looking.

 

“The winter coat you’ve been wearing all week is brown, so burgundy will compliment that nicely,” he explained, still searching through the clothes. “Plus the colors will go from darkest on the outside, to lightest on the inside, plus you simply cannot wear black and brown together, and especially not brown over black.”

 

Sebastian stripped, both grateful and ungrateful that Kurt’s back was still turned, slipped on the new jeans and then started fastening the shirt. All the while, his eyes traced the muscles, curves and dimples in Kurt’s back, trying to decipher the tiny, cursive letters of his tattoos.

 

"I don't think anyone out there was going to know or care that I broke one of your imaginary fashion rules,” he said.

 

"They aren't imaginary," Kurt said. "And if you and I are going to remain friends, you're going to have to accept that I'm going to fix your clothes sometimes.”

 

Kurt seemed to give up on finding anything else to suit his tastes, returned before Sebastian presently. He stared down at his roommate’s nearly-clothed torso and chuckled, sympathetic.

 

“You’re off,” he said; Sebastian had missed the bottom-most button without realizing and the shirt was lopsided. Kurt took charge, undoing the entire thing and re-buttoning it with steady hands. He then began to smooth his hands across Sebastian's pecks, to press some of the wrinkles, and Sebastian's breath hitched as he watched, a lump forming in his throat.

 

Kurt's fingers adjusted the thin collar of the dress shirt several times, and then he snapped his fingers and said “sweater,” motioning for Sebastian to slip it on over.

 

"You don't own a lint brush, do you?" Kurt was saying now, picking away at the gray puffs of lint on Sebastian's burgandy sweater with two fingers.

 

"If I say yes, will you stop?" Sebastian snapped, although his wood wasn’t physically protesting to having Kurt's hands rake their way around his chest one more time.

 

"I know that you hate this, or at least you pretend to, but I'm doing this because I care about you as a friend. Also if people see you with me and you don't know how to dress, it's a reflection on me. I can't have that. You'll make me look bad."

 

“I think you do a good enough job of that on your own.”

 

Kurt pinched his arm, hard, and Sebastian groaned in annoyance.

 

Kurt adjusted the sleeves on Seb's sweater, fingertips lingering over the curves of his biceps and it wasn’t lost on Sebastian, the way Kurt bit down on the inside of his cheek as he worked.

 

"Our definitions of friendship are different," Sebastian said, and Kurt seemed to draw even closer as he pulled the sweater’s zipper up and down in increments, trying to figure out where it should be placed.

 

"How so?"

 

"I would never care enough about you, 'as a friend,' to fix any of your girl clothes.”

 

"That’s probably true," Kurt said. “But you show you care in other ways.”

 

"Such as.”

 

“I've noticed that you have a habit of opening doors for me.”

 

Sebastian wanted to protest that, but he remembered the day before, when he'd jumped up and held the door for Kurt as he'd walked into their room with a stack of heavy books.

 

"I do not.”

 

Now Kurt was toying with the hem of Sebastian's shirt where it tuckered out beneath his belt, and Sebastian really thought for half a second that Kurt might actually tuck it into his pants for him. Kurt's hands shouldn't have been going there for either of their own goods.

"You just don't realize that you do," Kurt corrected. "But you do. The doors to the library, the campus café, even our bedroom sometimes—" he turned on his heel to float back over towards Sebastian's closet, "—you need different shoes with this—"

 

As Kurt walked, Sebastian finally caught a coherent glimpse of the words on Kurt’s lower back:

 

Constant craving

 

“What's your point?" he said then.

 

"My point is, you do things to show that you care about this relationship too.”

 

Kurt tossed a pair of brown, leather ankle boots at his roommate's feet, as Sebastian slipped them on.

 

"You're actually starting to like me," Kurt said sweetly.

 

"Am I done yet?"

 

Kurt’s smile faded a bit until he realized that Sebastian was talking about his outfit. He gave his standing model one more once over as he stood in the middle of the room, on his Dior rug: tall, handsome, and countenance bearing his signature, impertinent, boyish impatience.

 

Kurt didn't know how it happened that he was the one pushing Sebastian's buttons and pissing him off, instead of the other way around, but he supposed he didn't mind this. Not at all.

 

"Yes," Kurt dismissed, biting the inside of his cheek again. "I suppose."

 

Sebastian picked up his book bag from his bed and was about to shuffle out in a hurry, but he stopped in the doorway as Kurt resumed position at his vanity, just having to ask:

 

“Constant craving?”

 

“It’s a song by a lesbian singer, k.d. lang, and I got it as an eighteenth birthday present to myself. When I was coming out, when I was fourteen, I kept replaying this line from it in my head: ‘Always someone marches brave, here beneath my skin.’ People think the song is sexual, and it is, and that is why I have it where it is. So that only someone I’ve allowed myself to be vulnerable with gets to see it. But the song is also about more than that. I love the way she calls this inner knowing of herself a ‘craving,’ a coercive, all-consuming ‘magnet’ that ‘pulls all souls towards truth.’ I got it to remind myself that no matter how much I wanted to stay scared, and wanted to stay in the closet, that longing inside me, to truly find myself, was always going to be constant. The same way that tides are always pulled back in towards the moon.”

 

Sebastian was so moved by this, he couldn’t find anything else to say but:

 

“Cool.”

 

He left the room abruptly, then, thinking god, oh god, was he so turned on right now.

 

This was going to be a long, long day for him indeed.

 

 

 

Kurt may not have been an expert on sex, even with all the sex he and Blaine had had over the course of a year, but he did know one thing: addictions were often masks for things that people couldn’t deal with themselves.

 

And it didn't take an expert to know that Sebastian Smythe was addicted to sex.

 

The question of why wasn’t typically at the forefront of Kurt's mind, because he supposed it didn’t matter much at the stage of it all Sebastian seemed to be in. But with all the time they spent around each other now, Kurt was beginning to notice The Cycle. He noticed that Sebastian’s entire persona seemed to revolve around the times he apparently got some from one of his lusty, gay bar strays (and Kurt hadn’t seen this actually occur in quite a while, now that he thought about it, almost a month, but he could only assume the nights Sebastian disappeared for an hour or two without warning and then returned in a much better mood meant, well.) This was a terrible thing to admit, but Kurt liked being around Sebastian a little bit more just after they occurred. Sebastian smiled more, he dressed better, and his everyday back-and-forth banter with Kurt was still banter, but it was less insulting and much more playful. They had some of their greater days on day one, day two of the cycle, but three or four days in? Sebastian's good moods were evaporating quicker, and he was much more prone to rude remarks towards Kurt, sitting at further distances from Kurt, and masturbating roughly in the showers with little to no discreetness in the mornings.

 

He thought about all of this as he walked across the icy, rainy campus to meet with his theater major advisor for the second time that semester. When he got into the office, the receptionist told him to wait a few minutes, and time seemed to be dripping like molasses. He was supposed to be seeing Blaine at nine tonight, in eleven hours, for a perfectly planned romantic rendezvous, but oh how far and yonder that hour seemed now.

 

His advisor Mrs. Shah, a stern aging Indian woman, wasted no time with pleasantries.

 

"You should know that the theater program at Ohio State is a lot more rigorous than it may appear, especially for the bachelor of fine arts performance concentration. You'll have to audition for every major class you wish to take, including voice, music theory, acting, choreography, and audition techniques. By the time you’re a senior you should’ve finished all four parts of voice, four parts of the theory, three parts of acting and all sixteen mandatory theater electives, all of which you will be admitted into on the selective preferences of the head of the department. Or, me.”

 

Kurt just stared.

 

Where did this lady think she worked, NYADA? OSU’s theater department wasn't even ranked, and in fact it was practically unheard of. For goodness sakes, the office that Kurt was sitting in right now had no air conditioning, had paint chipping from the walls, and looked like the last time it’d been touched by an interior decorator was the 70s.

 

So why did Kurt still feel so intimidated by it all?

 

"And that still doesn't guarantee you a spot in any of the productions, which you will need on your resume if you want to be on a stage someday."

 

Kurt swallowed.

 

“I see that you've gotten many of your general ed classes out of the way for your first semester, biology, pre-calculus, English and the like. That's good. But you're a few major units behind the rest of your freshman theater class for having taking that route, and it will take you at least a semester longer to finish unless you’re willing to max out at eighteen units. Most freshmen audition before their first semester even begins, and start in voice II at the very least.”

 

Kurt chewed on his lower lip.

 

When he’d registered for classes online in the summer, he’d received no prompts about any pre-semester auditions, and apparently "falling behind" the rest of your class if you didn’t. He did remember Rachel saying something about having to contact the school in advance in order to get into voice III, but he didn’t realize everyone was supposed to have done that; he thought it was just Rachel being well, Rachel.

 

He hadn’t done his research prior to showing up to school, that was all, but apparently, he was going to have to pay for that. Literally.

 

The thought of auditioning for this woman now made his stomach slightly turn. He hadn't even actively practiced his singing since he'd auditioned for Little Sally in September, and he hadn’t even gotten the chance to sing then.

 

"In our first appointment, I asked you why you thought you wanted to be a theater major at this school," the lady resumed. "I've seen ninety-six students since then. Explain to me what your purpose is again? What exactly is your plan after the program?"

 

"Uh."

 

Kurt shook himself, barely remembering that first meeting himself.

 

"Well, I was in a glee club, er, I mean a show choir, in high school. We competed in national competitions and did a ton of routines, and I t-thought when I signed up to go here that I wanted to keep doing that for the rest of my life. I loved it."

 

Mrs. Shah didn’t seemed to be enthused with his answer.

 

"And I've been in love with Broadway musicals since as far back as I can remember," Kurt added. "Les Mis, Evita, Wicked, Phantom of the Opera, the list goes on and on. Whereas most little boys aspired to be Spiderman or Superman growing up, my favorite superhero was always Patti LuPone."

 

Kurt gave a nervous, half chuckle at himself, and again, his advisor didn't seem to be amused.

 

“Anything else?”

 

“M-my glee club professor, Mr. Schue, always told me that I should be really proud and always work on my range as a countertenor, that it’s rare and that he personally was inspired by it. I also um, auditioned for Carmen Tibideaux once, to get into NYADA, and while I didn’t get in—obviously—she said that she would always remember what I sang for her.”

 

"Only one in approximately two hundred students graduating students from this program each year get casted into actual, theatrical productions later on. Most of those are community theater and certainly not in anything as grandiose as Broadway. It's not our program's priority to ensure that that happens.”

 

Kurt sighed. This was a tedious, losing battle.

 

“Most find jobs completely out of the industry, become wedding singers, ticket salespersons and ushers at the big name theaters that they were rejected from, and high school English teachers who volunteer their unpaid hours to help out the school's group of misfit drama students."

 

Like Mr. Schue, Kurt thought instantly. He did not want to grow up to be Mr. Schue.

 

"There's a very good chance you won’t be the one in two hundred, Kurt Hummel," his advisor concluded, taking off her glasses and staring at him grimly. "We're very real about this fact with the students in this program, and I’m sorry if it’s coming off harsh, but we're just trying to prepare you for what's in store when you leave the 'safety net' of college. I majored in accounting in 1978. Look at me now.”

 

But what else did he want to grow up to be?

 

“I’m sorry, are you trying to tell me I should change my major?”

 

“Yes. If that’s how you’ve come away from this conversation feeling. I give every single one of my students this speech to light a fire underneath them before major class auditions. But if you’re passionate, Kurt, disregard what I’ve said entirely.” She reached across the desk to hand him her pre-prepared paperwork for him, as well as two tickets for the last showing of Urinetown. “Good luck.”

 

As Kurt, with an umbrella overhead, left the dingy theater department office, he glanced down at his tentative schedule for next semester, and thought about how far away it all seemed. How far away the future seemed. He still felt like he had just gotten here, but here his advisor was already talking about his senior year, graduation, and what he was destined to do with the rest of his morose adult life stuck here in Ohio, and to be honest, it all scared the living daylights out of him.

 

He was not supposed to be letting this put a damper on his day today. Maybe all he knew about the future so far was that he was going to get a degree in something, and that Blaine would be there when he did. Maybe that was going to have to be enough for him, for now.

 

When Kurt got back to the room, he opened up his laptop, and scrolled through Facebook picture after picture of he and his husband to be. He smiled especially when he came upon the album Blaine had posted of them in New York at Nationals that spring. Blaine had been so warm and consistent and wonderful then.

 

Today they’d sent their usual good morning texts, were having a boring “How is school?” conversation, and sometimes, he and Blaine did go through "phases" of how romantic they were with each other. Typically there was a lull like this not long before Thanksgiving. Plus, they hadn't seen each other as much in person lately, but Kurt was actually getting used to that part of it, of only seeing Blaine once a week or every two. He knew, or at least he thought he knew, that things were still fine even if they didn't see each other.

 

Very soon, Kurt expected, he could feel it, something incredible and life-altering would happen between he and Blaine again. It always did around this time of year, especially around Christmas which was Blaine’s favorite holiday. Their boredom with their same old phone calls and same old words exchanged would be soon be cured by the romance of the first snow, poinsettias, mistletoe, and being thankful for your loved ones, your forevers.

 

Plus, this year there was a new anniversary they’d be celebrating: today was the anniversary of the first time they had sex. They had dinner plans at the rather upscale Du Garamond’s, and then Kurt would be bringing Blaine back here to celebrate. He still needed to work up the guts to ask Sebastian to somehow be gone from 10 p.m. until the morning, which he would do as soon as he saw him again, he swore. He’d forgotten to earlier because of the whole clothes thing, but now—

 

As if on cue, Kurt heard Sebastian’s keys jingling on the other side of the door. He was sitting with the Urinetown tickets in his hands, tearing at their perforation and waiting on Blaine’s text back, when Sebastian stepped inside. Still wearing the clothes Kurt had picked for him earlier, he smelled like a mixture of the same strong, and dare Kurt say sexy, cologne he always wore, and a little bit of sweat, probably from working out at some point earlier, or from—having sex, at some point earlier.

 

"What?" Kurt must’ve had some kind of pointed look on his face, because Sebastian glanced down at his outfit expectantly. "I haven’t changed a thing.”

 

“No, I know," Kurt said, pursing his lips a bit. "I—forgot, how good I made you look this morning.”

 

Sebastian rolled his eyes.

 

"I was just at church," he decided to share, ignoring the fact that Kurt just complimented him. "Apparently my mom has taken a rife look through your Facebook, and said she could tell that you 'advised' me today."

 

Kurt was flattered at that sentiment, but he frowned for a moment. "Wait, why were you at church on a Friday?"

 

"Afternoon class was canceled, and there was a—prayer meeting, of sorts, this afternoon. Drove an hour and a half just to get there, only to sit in my dad’s office and do the bullshit paperwork he didn't feel like doing, instead of actually being allowed to sit in the meeting. Typical him.”

 

Kurt hummed.

 

"For someone who religiously uses the run down chapel at school when he can't get to church on Sunday morning, you really seem to—well, hate, church.”

 

Sebastian managed to hold his tongue, because jesus that was only one time and he really didn’t feel like re-explaining at the moment that he didn’t always hate church, it was just that today was one of those petty pent-up meetings where his father’s closest, closed-off staff, “raised up” all the people they knew who were “lost.” Usually they were gay public figures or ex-church members, or the down-low members, or him.

 

He didn't want to re-express how he’d felt as he’d sat on the other side of that closed door, and how the worst thing about him as a person was that sometimes, he wished a tiny bit that his father would die already.

 

"I'm going back out," Sebastian said now, seeming to successfully mask his angst enough for Kurt to let it be. "In about twenty minutes."

 

"Where to?" Kurt requested.

 

Sebastian replied, "Warbler sectionals.”

 

Kurt snorted, smiled goofily. "Really?"

 

"It’s tradition that alumni who still live in town show up for the rap party in the green room, win, lose or draw. Supposedly, we’re the new favorite this year. Without you, Tina, your brother, that lesbian and that token, powerhouse black girl—“

 

“Santana, and Mercedes—“

 

“—sorry, Santana and Mercedes out of the New Directions, Dalton's on the high road to Nationals this year. Anyway, they asked me to come and I’ve decided to oblige them with my presence."

 

“How kind.”

 

"What are those?"

 

Sebastian was gesturing to the ticket stubs in Kurt's hands.

 

"Oh, just Urinetown tickets. Since Rachel won’t be playing Hope Cladwell this evening, I don’t even think I wanna go. I honestly think it will just make me depressed.”

 

"Watching a bunch of gay people run around and sing cheeky numbers about poverty doesn't sound depressing," Sebastian said, "for you."

 

"If you can recall," Kurt replied, "I tried out for this musical and didn't get the part I really wanted because, number one, according to my advisor, I’m a blip in a sea of two hundred, and number two, my audition was sabotaged by a certain intrusive roommate.”

 

Sebastian frowned, sighed. Kurt was really good at bringing up his old mistakes.

 

"I was a dick to you that day.”

 

Kurt shrugged.

 

"You were a dick to me a lot of days.”

 

Sebastian didn't want to talk about this anymore.

 

"Wanna come to sectionals?"

 

Kurt looked slightly incredulous.

 

"What?"

 

Sebastian swallowed his pride, and came up behind Kurt at his desk. Leaned around him and flicked the two tickets in his hands.

 

“Look, I know that you're just going to sit in here and miserably sulk if I don't, so, I’m inviting you to get in the car and come with me.”

 

Kurt pressed his lips together.

 

“As much as I don't miss the confines of private school and living with my parents,” Sebastian continued, “I can admit that I miss my life at Dalton. Being head of the council, getting all the solos, and I know that you must miss your little troupe, too, even if you hardly got solos next to your petit ami."

 

Kurt chuckled.

 

"Yeah, don't remind me," he said, recalling all the times that Blaine got to stand at the front of the room, while he sat in the back in the audience.

 

He hadn't seen or spoken to any of the Warblers guys in a while; every once in a while Blaine's closest friends visited and Kurt just happened to be there, but there wasn't anyone in particular from Dalton that Kurt wanted to see. He did really miss the high energy of show choir competitions, though. He thought again about some of the last ones he'd ever been to with his New Directions family, and it made him get a warm, nostalgic feeling in his chest.

 

One that, especially after the happenings of today, he could really use.

 

It was just a little weird that he was going with Sebastian, a scenario he never in a million years could’ve pictured just a month before this, but like Sebastian said, what was he going to do instead? Sulk all day? Call Blaine and sulk on the line with him?

 

Sebastian watched as Kurt gave a little exhale, and then promptly ripped the two tickets.

 

“Let's go.”

 

 

 

Hanging out together on campus was one thing, Sebastian thought, but going on outings, leaving campus by choice, and driving in Sebastian's car (where he, hypothetically, had the power to turn things south the way he wanted to, but couldn’t), was another thing entirely.

 

Once they both settled into Sebastian’s car, Kurt adjusted the rear view mirror to look at himself. Sebastian glanced over half in annoyance and half in admiration of the view this seat gave him of Kurt’s profile as he picked at flyaways, at Kurt's startling body as he crossed his gorgeous legs. Usually the only time a good-looking male, dressed in some of the tightest jeans Seb had ever seen, in Kurt's case, was sitting opposite him in that seat, it was because they were about to go to either one of their places and fuck.

 

But Kurt was just Sebastian's “friend.”

 

Jesus, he really needed to get some. What the hell was he still doing, ignoring his Tindr and Grindr notifications? He’d decided that turning them off entirely, and a break from sex, would help him focus on school and other things a month ago. But now? This week he’d realized that not fucking had been turning him soft, into a bitch.

 

Who apparently pined over the last person available.

 

Sebastian took the rear view mirror back into his possession, positioning it right, and Kurt pouted at the loss.

 

Then, when Sebastian pushed-to-start the car, and blue lights flickered on, Kurt glanced around the sleek leather interior, impressed.

 

“Nice car.”

 

Sebastian chuckled. “You've been in it before.”

 

Kurt looked mildly horrified for a moment, at the memory of that.

 

“Oh, god. What was I like, that night? Was I totally incoherent, or did you manage to some sense of me somehow?”

 

“Pretty incoherent. But I managed you, somehow.”

 

After arguing playful and light over the radio station, they sat in comfortable silence for the rest of the drive. Sebastian had grown to like Kurt’s comfortable silences, for the moments they gave to hear himself think without judgment or fear.

 

The “Cycle,” which unbeknownst to Seb, Kurt had pretty much timed to the wire, was starting to become a giant headache and nuisance as of late, to our once rather shameless gay playboy. The “resets” Kurt seemed to be noticing were right now based on when Sebastian went off to masturbate, not when he went off to give or get head. His most recent round while he’d had the room alone, just moments before he’d left for church that late morning, had finally placated him, calmed him and relaxed him the way it should’ve, at least for now. But he knew that the clock would soon be resetting, because the dream he’d consumed himself in earlier, was simultaneously the best, the worst, and one of the most dangerous ones he’d ever had.

 

It was Kurt wearing that damn, black corset from Halloween, sitting on his dick, asking him absolutely filthy questions in French, and striking him with a riding crop when he didn’t answer correctly. And then: it was Sebastian coming inside him, then taking the corset off, the two of them switching gears, changing lanes, and taking things slow and gentle for a while. It was Sebastian lying him down on his back, mouthing his neck until he groaned and bucked into him. Kurt was probably so sensitive as a partner, Seb thought, that thin skin probably soft and hyper-aware to stimulus, the kind that marked and bruised with ease, the kind with several spots that made him whine after just one tender bite to them.

 

Kurt probably blushed all over, from his chest down to his crotch, his body a clear example as to how overwhelmed his partner was making him. Kurt would probably tell Sebastian things in his ear as he got fucked, sweet, pained, whispered things that showed how much he needed it, needed what Sebastian's cock could give him if he'd let him.

 

And then: it was Sebastian pressing Kurt's little body up against a wall, getting him to shut up already by forcing that mouth shut with a rough kiss and then yanking those second-skin pants down, sliding it in slow.

 

And finally: taking him for hours like this from behind, hands pressed on the hot skin of his lower back, each thumb stroking the words ‘constant’ and ‘craving.’

 

Taking himself through the details of it all again was certainly not doing him any favors. He thought instead about imagining any old man in those positions, about why he couldn’t bring himself to contact any one of his easy flings. Why?

 

Perhaps because the last time he had, he felt hot and confident, sure, but also, dare he admit it, empty, afterwards.

 

Sex's purpose and goals were supposed to clear, its nature uncomplicated, for him: if you fucked for long enough, you orgasmed. If you put in the work, you got the reward. He’d been told most of his life there was supposed to be more to it than that, something “emotional,” and in church, they were always talking about how God created sex for procreation, number one, and for emotional intimacy with your spouse, number two. Sex was seen by a lot of people as this "big step," this heightened, spiritual, risk-it-all process. His mother had once told him that it bound your soul to another person's for the rest of your life.

 

But Sebastian had never felt that happen to him once. Maybe it was because he "sinned" and slept with men instead of women, but regardless, he’d always counted himself lucky for his lack of a connection. Who needed those inevitable, inescapable repercussions? Surely not him.

 

But as much as he hated to believe the stereotype that this purely physical act could affect someone’s heart, he was starting to realize that maybe, now, this dry spell he couldn’t even be assed to fix with a human being, meant that those lecturings from his childhood could actually be true. Took him six years and God knows how many lovers (seriously he didn’t even know how many anymore, and that used to be a source of pride for him) to finally understand what it could mean, but as for how to fix this problem? He was a total fucking loss. Literally.

 

Forging a mutual connection with a man beyond sex, or quite possibly even without it, was at this point for him, he figured, impossible. The Cycle had a hold on him, hard-wired into his being, and the last time he’d tried to outrun it, when his father had sent him off alone to deal with it, well, he’d almost died trying.

 

After they parked, Sebastian let Kurt walk a little bit ahead of him through the drizzle, towards the convention center. Kurt had his personal black umbrella up and was half-splashing, half-skipping through the small puddles in the potholes of the parking lot. Sebastian tried not to find it so goddamn fucking adorable.

 

When they came upon the huge glass doors of the building, Sebastian saw Kurt reaching for the handle and cut ahead abruptly to open the door and hold it. As Kurt passed through, he turned and gave Sebastian a borderline flirtatious, told-you-so look.

 

"Opening doors for me," he sing-songed, as Sebastian still stood with the door in his hand. "See?"

 

"Just keep walking," Sebastian commanded.

 

The two of them walked inside the warm, crowed center. Kurt hadn't been to this location since regionals his junior year. As he passed through certain halls he revisited some of the memories from that day. In one corner, near the concession stand, Blaine had interrupted him and kissed him mid-sentence, and the novelty of it, of the two of them suddenly being new boyfriends with absolutely nothing to hide, had made Kurt want to melt into a pile right there.

 

Kurt and Sebastian found their seats, and as Sebastian pulled out his phone, Kurt realized that he hadn't heard from Blaine in about an hour, that he was probably going to have to double-text. He thought about picking the conversation back up by th telling Blaine where he was right now, but—that would be weird, right? Explaining that because he'd been sad earlier, he'd chosen to hang out here, with Sebastian?

 

So instead, Kurt typed, I love you, and, Hope you're having a good day! <3

 

Blaine replied right away. Love you too. Can’t wait to see your gorgeous self tonight, then, What are you wearing?

 

Kurt said, Now, or later?

 

Both.

 

He thought about taking a selfie, but didn’t want Sebastian noticing or in it. Though he did think at this point that he and Sebastian deserved a cute picture together, to commemorate how little they hated each other now. Later.

 

He decided, instead:

 

My outfit today is fantastic, but later, I’ll be wearing nothing.

 

:O

 

Kurt looked over at Sebastian, who was reading the program, now. He was smiling to himself and Kurt thought about how little he ever actually saw Sebastian smile genuinely. It was a shame. Those slim instances, of actual happiness? Looked very good on him indeed.

 

"I used to love getting first slot," Sebastian said now, his voice excited. "Gave you the chance to wow the judges, set the bar. If you did it right, everybody would remember you."

 

Kurt was impressed with Sebastian's enthusiasm.

 

"You know, I didn't think you actually liked show choir," he said, “when we were in it.”

 

Sebastian looked up at him. "Why?"

 

"Well, you don't even like musical theater, for one," Kurt said, "and musical theater and show choir go hand in hand like lovers. The fact that the only production you've ever seen in your life is McKinley's version of West Side Story is appalling. If you and I are actually going to like each other, you're going to have to see more than that—I'll let you borrow my dvds or something. If not, I don't know how this," he pointed back and forth between the two of them, "is supposed to continue."

 

Sebastian tried not to smile any wider.

 

"And, I don't know," Kurt went on. "It just doesn't seem like something you'd really be into. You don't really seem like a team player, in most aspects of your life."

 

Sebastian chuckled, not taking that dig too personally for once.

 

"The reason I joined the Warblers," he explained, "was because of the popularity, honestly. I could already sing, as I can do practically anything that I set my mind to, and with Blaine gone the Warblers lacked a strong, dominant leader. Got the head council position right away, figured that I would gain the 'friends' and the hype, and get bored, and then move on. But I ended up liking it more than I thought. When you're on the Warblers, you just—build a bond with those guys. You don't have to like them all as individuals, as I sure as hell didn't, but when you're up there on that stage and you're dancing, you forget all that stuff and you just click."

 

Kurt understood that entirely.

 

"It was probably the most fun I ever had in high school," Sebastian admitted. "Besides all my paid summer vacations to Europe, and my extended stay in the Netherlands.” So that’s what he was calling his boarding school damnation these days? “And all of the sex I had during both.”

 

And there went the likeable part of Sebastian, Kurt thought, with a roll of his eyes and a small smile. The lights in the auditorium began to blink and dim.

 

"I wonder what songs they're doing," Kurt said. "With Blaine gone I'm sure their repertoire of Pink, Katy Perry and Destiny's Child has steadily declined."

 

"Blaine transferring schools was probably the best thing that ever happened to the Warblers' catalog.”

 

The announcer presented the Dalton Academy Warblers as the red curtains flew open, and navy blue and red blazers covered the stage. The fast-paced beat to "Everybody Talks" by Neon Trees was started by a chorus of tenor beat boxers, a fresh face Kurt didn't recognize belting out the main verses. The song was a hit and got a standing ovation, and Kurt could hear Sebastian practically screaming as he stood and clapped next to him. So cute.

 

For the second number, all of the Warblers but two lined up along the back of the stage, a few of their soft, faint voices 'ooh'ing and 'aah'ing. The two obvious leads, one underclass, one upper, were singing a mash-up duet of “Vulnerable” by Secondhand Serenade and “Letters to You” by Finch, each of them starting one side of the stage, walking in time to reach the middle.

 

“Share with me the blankets that you’re wrapped in
“Because it’s cold outside, it’s cold outside,
“Share with me the secrets that you’ve kept in
“Because it’s cold inside, it’s cold inside,

"And your slow, shaking fingertips show
“That you're scared like me so

"Let's pretend we're alone
“And I know you may be scared,

"And I know we're unprepared, but I don't care.

 

"Tell me, tell me, what makes you think that you are invincible?
"I can see it in your eyes that you're so sure.
"Please don't tell me that I'm the only one that's vulnerable,
"Impossible."

 

“Aww,” Kurt cooed, leaning in towards Sebastian as the second verse of the song began. "This reminds me of Blaine and I. At our regionals we did a duet like this, to 'Candles' by Hey Monday."

 

"You lost that year, didn't you?"

 

Kurt glared.

 

"And, correct me if I'm wrong, but I'm pretty sure 'Candles' is a break up song.”

 

"So not the point.” He pinched his roommate teasingly. “Hater.”

 

Sebastian shook his head as the older boy began to sing the crossover:

 

 

“Can’t you see that I wanna be there with open arms?
“It’s empty tonight and I’m all alone
“Get me through this one.

“Do you notice I’m gone?
“Where do you run to so far away?


“I want you know that, I miss you, I miss you so.
“I want you to know that, I miss you, I miss you so.

 

“I’m writing again, these letters to you, on much, I know,
“But I’m not sleeping and you’re not here
“The thought stops my heart.
“Do you notice I’m gone?
“Where do you run to so far away?


“I want you know that, I miss you, I miss you so.”

 

 

Sebastian couldn't help it and he kept stealing quick, fleeting glances at Kurt as the song went on. And then, it started to hurt, that Kurt didn't want to steal glances at him back. Kurt held his eyes straightforward the entire performance, forgiving of Sebastian for their prior days of rivalry, but probably never apt to want him any other way. Why would he, after all the things Sebastian had said about him?

 

 

"Slow down, boy, you're not going anywhere.
"Just wait around and see, maybe I'm much more,
"You never know what lies ahead.
“I promise I can be anyone, I can be anything.
"Just because you were hurt, it doesn't mean you shouldn't bleed.
"I can be anyone, anything—I promise I can be what you need."

 

 

The last run of both choruses overlapping was a beautiful run-on of voice after voice, harmonizing and layering words until the two boys finally came together hand in hand, and sang out the last note while staring into each others’ eyes. Kurt found the whole ordeal completely enchanting, while Sebastian was starting to resent the Warblers a little bit for going the romantic route. Luckily for them, the sappy card worked on almost everyone it got pulled on. Except for him.

 

After the judges convened, the Warblers were announced as the sectional winners, dumped on by gallons of confetti from above, and something about watching them all celebrate made Kurt feel better about what his advisor said to him. It made him remember the exact same moment happening to him years ago, with everyone on that team who he loved. Even if he couldn't relive those days again, and even if Mrs. Shah was right, at least he'd gotten the chance to live that moment once.

 

Those days were long gone now, but there had to be something for him here, in the new days, that could make him just as happy.

 

Sebastian and Kurt left the main auditorium, and Sebastian started heading towards Dalton Academy’s green room.

 

“Gonna show my face for a minute or two,” he told Kurt. “I left a legacy in that room and I just have to thank them for seeing it through.”

 

Kurt rolled his eyes, but was too enamored at how proud Sebastian looked. “’Legacy,’ huh?”

 

But when Sebastian walked into the green room before him, Kurt could totally see what he was talking about.

 

The winning Warblers reacted to their former lead singer in an upheaval shouts, grins, and handshakes. Sebastian made his rounds around the room then, hugging some and holding onto the hands of others. Kurt definitely noticed the looks on some of the young Warblers' faces as they watched Sebastian move, like they were either reverent of his stature or fan-boying over his looks, if they played for that team.

 

Kurt realized how out of place he felt in the room after about five seconds. He realized that several of the boys were staring at him questioningly. No wonder: he had walked in with Sebastian, after all. Awkwardly he stood near the door and searched for a face or two he recognized, finally finding some in Nick and Trent.

 

"Kurt!"

 

Gratefully Nick and Trent, who were the only two seniors that Kurt still knew on a speaking basis, approached him and adequately distracted him.

 

"Hi!" Kurt hugged them both. "How are you doing?"

 

"What are you doing here?" Trent asked, and he gave an excited, obligatory glance towards the door of the green room. As if he were expecting someone else to enter. Probably Blaine, to enter.

 

"You came with Sebastian?" Nick was saying. "Never thought we'd ever see the two of you hanging out together.”

 

"Well, we do go to school together now," Kurt excused. "At Ohio State."

 

"We thought that you two still hated each other," Trent said. "Or at least, that Sebastian still hated you. That's what Blaine's been telling us."

 

“Pretty much every time we see him.”

 

"We did," Kurt answered, trying to smile at that. "Hate each other. But, I don’t know, we've—begun to sort out our differences, lately."

 

Kurt made eye contact with Sebastian across the way, and Sebastian, thankfully, met it, smiled and nodded.

 

"Seems like it," said Nick, as he and Trent shared a look.

 

Just then Sebastian stole Kurt away from his conversation with Nick and Trent, told him he was ready to go. Sebastian opened the door and they exited accordingly, but not without attracting the attention of a few still-curious Warblers. Especially those two who had just sung a duet together.

 

"Wait, who was that guy with Sebastian?" the sophomore was asking the senior.

 

"Kurt Hummel," the older boy said. "He was a Warbler two years ago, and sounds like a girl a bit, but he's cute, huh? He's dating Blaine Anderson."

 

"The Blaine Anderson," the sophomore echoed. "So Kurt and Blaine are the trailblazers we modeled our performance after."

 

The senior nodded and said, “They certainly do have a love for the ages,” and the younger boy frowned.

 

"Hm," he said. "Why's Kurt here with Sebastian then?"

 

The other guy shrugged.

 

"Beats me. I guess they're friends? They must know each other through Blaine—"

 

"Come on, you know Sebastian better than that," the sophomore said, from his own experience the year prior. "We all know he only hangs out with a guy alone if he's trying to get in his pants."

 

The older boy considered this. "I don’t know, man, Blaine is, like, crazy-insane head over heels for Kurt. He would not let Sebastian take him."

 

The sophomore supposed that the question was whether or not Kurt would let himself be taken.

 

 

On the walk towards the giant glass doors at the front, Sebastian pulled out his phone again. Turning on his Grindr notifications earlier had already proven fruitful, if should he be so inclined later on tonight. Kurt pulled out his phone as well, and supposed suddenly that he should tell Blaine where he was, before anyone else got to.

 

But as the two of them drew closer to the glass, they saw it was storming outside, pouring, splashing, thundering.

 

"Okay, it was not raining this hard before," Kurt said, as the two of them stopped before the doors warily. Kurt slipped his phone with his unfinished text into his pocket, began unwrapping his umbrella.

 

"Let me use that,” Sebastian said of it, and Kurt raised his eyebrows.

 

“Hell no. This is a one person umbrella, and it’s not my fault that you didn’t come prepared.” Kurt sighed. “I suppose we could share it, if you want, but—“

 

"There's no way I'm going to fit under there," Sebastian said. "With you."

 

“Well, it's literally either sink or swim here, so.”

 

Sebastian really didn't want to be drenched to the skin.

 

“You've never done this before, have you? Shared an umbrella with someone?”

 

Kurt and Sebastian were outside beneath the overhang of the roof, curling beneath Kurt's small black tapestry. The raindrops were swirling and howling before them in fast, heavy sheets, and Sebastian was hunched over dramatically while Kurt held the handle in his soft, curled hand. Their shoulders were flush against each other, and Sebastian still didn't even fit.

 

"I have personal space issues," Sebastian replied. "Unless I'm fucking."

 

Kurt gave him a look.

 

"You could raise it a little higher," Sebastian complained. "I feel like a giant."

 

Kurt did so, but it still didn't leave much more room for Sebastian's height. And 'personal space issues,' aside, they just needed to get back to the car; Kurt was trying to help him here.

 

He proceeded to remedy the problem by snaking his hand between Sebastian's arm and ribcage and interlocking their elbows, nestling in closer.

 

"There. You under now?"

 

“I guess.”

 

Oh, was he ever.

 

The two of them stepped off of the curb, arm in arm, and began to traipse through the rivers of water that covered parking lot. As rain beat down around them and misted their faces, Kurt noticed that Sebastian kept squirming, every time his hand came especially close to his armpit.

 

"Oh, that’s right, you’re ticklish.”

 

Kurt proceeded to dig his hand relentlessly into the coat material of Sebastian's armpit.

 

"This—hey! Stop, stop it—this isn't working. You are about an entire foot shorter than me, I can feel myself getting scoliosis—"

 

"Don't be such a drama queen," Kurt said in a voice that mocked Sebastian’s, and now they were hardly walking, just half wrestling in the ankle-deep water.

 

"Kurt, stop it—" Sebastian was full-on laughing now, and Kurt was struck by the sound of it.

 

"No, no, no," Kurt insisted, "this is golden, that you, Mr. High and Mighty Warbler King, could be so weak to something like this—"

 

But Sebastian broke away and darted off before Kurt could get to him any more. He made it to the car several paces before Kurt and got inside, his now heavy clothing sticking to the leather. When he saw that Kurt was about to make a lunge for the door handle, he quickly pressed the 'ALL LOCK' button.

 

Kurt pounded the window, stuck out his tongue, as Sebastian shrugged, shouted, “Sorry!”

 

A big gust of wind picked up, blowing Kurt’s umbrella inside out as a bolt of lightning flashed through the sky, and thunder nearly shook the ground beneath them. At Kurt’s absolutely adorable shriek, and at the fact that he was pretty wet now, too, Sebastian finally undid the locks.

 

Kurt scrambled inside, pushing Sebastian playfully. “I hate you.”

 

“No you don't.”

 

When he proceeded to push the button to start the car, the air conditioner exploded at his soaking and shivering body at full blast.

 

“Jesus, fuck.

 

Kurt couldn't help the laughter now, letting his head fall back against the leather headrest, laughing hard until he felt it in his heart.

 

It wasn’t until he got back to the room, when the sun was setting at five, that he realized Blaine had texted him an hour ago, saying,

 

So...what've you been doing all day?

 

Kurt immediately texted back.

 

Sorry! I actually went to the Columbus county sectionals today! It was unexpected and a lot of fun. We still on for nine?

 

Kurt watched as three pending dots appeared on screen to show that Blaine was typing, the way they kept starting and stopping, and then stopped entirely.

 

No big deal.

 

As Kurt closed his phone and relaxed at his desk, Sebastian, across the room, began to strip himself of his wet layers of clothing.

 

"Thank you," Kurt was saying now. "For taking me with you today. I had a really good time."

 

Sebastian was down to just his sopping briefs, towel-drying his hair. “Don’t mention it.”

 

Kurt still needed to ask him to clear out for the night. Why, why couldn’t he just do it?

 

“Hey so I—I’m supposed to be taking Blaine out tonight, and then I’ll need the room, um, kind of the whole night, if you don’t mind. You have somewhere or, someone, you can stay with right?”

 

If Sebastian was bothered by the request, Kurt didn’t pick up on it all.

 

“Yeah.”

 

“I’m sorry, I don’t mean to put you out, it’s just kind of our anniversary.”

 

"Thought your anniversary was in March.”

 

Kurt gave Sebastian a curious look.

 

"Don't look at me like that, I know that because you never shut up about it. Or him. You just told me that it was in March a few days ago."

 

Kurt seemed mildly satisfied with this answer.

 

"March fifteenth is our official, 'getting-together' anniversary. There's also the anniversary of the day we met, the anniversary of our first official dinner date as a couple, the anniversary of our first sleepover, and the anniversary of the day we said 'I love you.' Today is our 'first time' anniversary."

 

Sebastian chuckled. "That all sounds completely pointless."

 

"You're completely pointless," Kurt bit.

 

"Do you celebrate the anniversary of the first time you whipped him, too? And I don't mean that sexually. Although I’m sure you’ve got one of those anniversaries, too."

 

"No," Kurt sneered, smiling. "I know it sounds silly, and yeah, we end up celebrating something every few weeks, but—it’s just to commemorate how far he and I have come. To celebrate the fact that we love each other more and more each day."

 

Sebastian laughed.

 

"That sounds like something you just recited out of the handbook you must've pre-written for your

relationship.”

 

"What does that even mean?" Kurt asked, bored.

 

"It means, do you even mean it?"

 

Kurt rolled his eyes. "Of course I mean it.”

 

"You and Blaine are two of the most boring and predictable people I think I’ve ever met. Haven't heard either of you say a genuine thing about each other that I haven't also heard come from some overbearing pop singer's bloated, lovesick mouth, or a centuries-old poem written by a star-crossed lover in heat. 'Love him more and more each day,’ do you actually wake up every day and physically tally your love for him? Does your love for him systematically rise at its perfectly timed paced? Is it growing according to schedule, Kurt? Will you be able to contain it once it grows too large for your chest?"

 

"You sound bitter," Kurt noted. He was used to these kinds of spiels from Sebastian by now. At some point along the way here, he’d become immune to them.

 

"I'm not bitter," Sebastian retorted. "I'm making fun of you."

 

"Got anything else to add?"

 

"No," Sebastian answered. "I hope your evening with him is perfect."

 

Just like everything else seems to be.

 

 

Hours later, post Kurt’s departure, Sebastian was drinking and realizing he needed to get out, not just out of this room tonight but out of this desperate and hopeless situation, these feelings and how much they hurt, how stupid he’s been to be pining after someone this taken again. He always did it this way, perpetually seeking situations with dead ends, call it leftovers from a life of trying to please someone who would never be content with him, always trying to be perfect and get the gold star just to be told his work was “fine,” in the end. To never receive more than a pat on the back from his father, to never hear, “I love you.”

 

Sebastian remembered trying to say it when he was a boy, the way he would to his mother. He’d say it, “I love you,” and his father would just stare. Just put a hand on his arm instead, nod. As if that were substitute enough, and what was it, masculinity? Pride? Why couldn’t he just say those words? Why did Sebastian care so much?

 

In his phone he scrolled to the name of one of his hookups from the summer whose messages he’d been ignoring for weeks, and buried himself into his craving once more. Still up for that date?

 

 

 

"You're determined to get the same thing every time we come here, aren't you?"

 

Blaine watched with a simple smile as Kurt spun his fork around in his cream-covered linguine, nearly beaming at the bowl of shrimp pasta in all its steaming glory.

 

"Change is overrated," Kurt enthused.

 

He spun the noodles around his fork and slurped them, as Blaine, meanwhile, was cutting his lasagna up into carefully divided sections and not really eating much of it. He'd only had one piece of bread, as well, whereas Kurt had had about six.

 

"So, you never really answered my question earlier," Blaine was saying, as Kurt continued to chow down. "About what song you think I should sing with Sam as a duet for Regionals?”

 

"Oh, mmhm—" Kurt wiped his mouth with his napkin. "We started talking about Tina's hair, and then your hair, and then my hair—I forgot what you said the choices were?"

 

“'Waking Up In Vegas’ by Katy Perry, or ‘Sunshine Song’ by Jason Mraz.”

 

“Well I can tell which one was your idea.” Kurt giggled, and Blaine kicked him lightly under the table. “But 'Sunshine Song' would be perfect for both of your voices."

 

"I uh, I hope you can come this time, to see us at Regionals," he said, still pushing pasta around.

 

"Mm, I hope so too. It's just—by that time, I'll probably be right in the thick of my major classes for theater—I have to audition just to get into all of them, did I tell you? And if I don't make it into a high enough level on the first go, I'll be behind the rest of my class, or, well, even more behind than I am now. And I'll have to keep trying out until I make it." Kurt pouted. "I'm a little nervous. Okay, a lot nervous."

 

"I'm sure you'll be great," Blaine told him, reaching across the table to hold his spare hand, and Kurt sighed a little, romantically, at the touch. "Just, you know, start practicing now, and I'm sure it'll be fine."

 

"Yeah, yeah. I'm just psyching myself out. I'm not used to auditioning for something so serious. If I don't perform well I'm wasting money, and credits. Glee club auditions were a lot less pressure."

 

"Yeah. Hey, speaking of glee—did you—have fun, at Warbler sectionals?”

 

Kurt’s mouth was full, so he had to finish chewing in order to answer. Watching the way Blaine’s expression deflated, growing sadder at the pause, made his stomach do a quick turn, reminded him of their weird conversation about Sebastian’s text. He didn’t want to feel that way ever again.

 

“Yeah, I mean, it’s not exactly what I thought I’d be doing on a Friday afternoon these days, but I had fun.”

 

"Nick and Trent—texted me, telling me that they saw you there, and that it was nice to see you, and—I don’t know, I just figured you would tell me while you were there that you were at a Dalton event, the school we used to go to together, with Sebastian, that’s all."

 

“I really don’t wanna talk about Sebastian tonight,” Kurt told him, “okay?”

 

The waiter came up then to ask how everything was, and when Blaine fake-cheered-up in order to answer, Kurt took the opportunity to bring back the tide.

 

“Hey,” he said, slipping his foot out of his shoe and drawing it up Blaine’s calf under the table. “You look really, really good tonight.”

 

This seemed to melt the anxious phase Blaine was about to slip into, and he did that bashful grinning stint, eyelashes all a flutter, that drove Kurt absolutely crazy. “Yeah?”

 

“Yeah.” Kurt lowered his voice a notch, sweeter, dirtier, and drew his foot up to Blaine’s knee. “You wanna know how I think you could look even better?”

 

Blaine’s mouth was slightly ajar now, eyes watching Kurt’s movements beneath the table. “Tell me.”

 

“Naked. Tied up to my headboard.”

 

Oh.

 

When they got back to the room, making out hot and heavy, Kurt exercised the black rope and ball gag he and Blaine were supposed to have used on Halloween. They’d agreed via text that since Blaine’s mouth would be out of commission, he would shake his head if he wanted things to stop.

 

Kurt had already practiced the knots he would tie, across Blaine’s chest and wrists, if he ever got this moment. Now here it was and here Blaine was naked, sitting with his legs wide open, back against the headboard, arms spread out and hole wet and prepped from self-pleasure. Kurt sat, also naked, between his legs, watching as his boyfriend’s dick grew harder and harder at the rough, stinging feeling of the rope across his abdomen.

 

“I’m so upset with you,” Kurt began to say, propping himself forward a bit so that he could fasten the wrist restraints, “for earlier tonight. How dare you sit across from me and look all innocent and tempting on purpose, trying to turn me on at the restaurant.”

 

“I’m sorry.”

 

“Oh, no, I’m sorry. Did I say you could speak?”

 

Kurt yanked at the rope around his boyfriend’s right wrist harder as he tied it, and Blaine hissed, smiling gorgeously at the dash of pain, biting his lip.

 

Kurt said, then, trying not to break focus, “You can answer that.”

 

Blaine hesitated, releasing his lip slowly.

 

“No.”

 

Kurt began to bind the other wrist.

 

“You’re really trying to make me punish you tonight, aren’t you? Is that what you want? Answer.”

 

“Yes.”

 

Kurt stands up on the bed and looks down at him, splayed and assailable and open for him, and he was lucky, so incredibly lucky that this body would be all his tonight.

 

He inserted the ball gag into his lover's mouth, and Blaine’s cock bobbed at the obtrusion.

 

“I’m gonna make you wait.” He started stroking himself and tilting Blaine’s chin up with his other hand, watching as Blaine’s eyes watched his throbbing dick, eyebrows pinching in frustration, want. “Right when you think you’re going to get yours, I’m taking it. That’s what you get, you know that’s what you get, for being such a fucking beautiful tease all the time.”

 

Kurt levels himself between Blaine’s thighs and slipped the head in, just that. Blaine moaned around the gag. “You want more? You think you deserve more?”

 

Slammed in quick and then pulled out slow, as Blaine actively trembled at the loss, starting tugging his wrists against the thick, cutting rope.

 

“It’s only been five minutes and you’re already squirming. Don’t you dare come with out my permission, do you hear me?”

 

They made lust and fucked in this fashion, Kurt slipping in out of him at painfully dragged out intervals, at which Blaine came three times without even being touched. As penance, Kurt would remove the gag to let Blaine’s hot and ready mouth suck his dick, and then replace it. Finally forty five minutes into the game, Kurt was shaking horribly, Blaine so pliant and his thighs so thick and perfect that he was just desperate to finally relieve himself between them. He grabbed Blaine’s hips and lifted them up and finally gave it to him fast and rough, as Blaine practically sang and moaned behind the ball gag.

 

“God, Blaine, you are so fucking hot for me, take it, baby, take it—“

 

He didn’t think he’d ever orgasmed so hard in his life.

 

For a moment he semi-collapsed onto his boyfriend, trying to contain and compose himself. Then he picked himself up enough to take the gag out of Blaine's mouth, as Blaine panted, his eyes red and misted.

 

Once the ropes were all removed, Kurt cradled Blaine’s face with his hands, hoping with every last ounce of love in is heart that Blaine’s tears were happy ones.

 

“Oh my god. You’re okay, you’re okay, right?”

 

“Yeah—well, I—“ He sighed shakily. “I don’t know.”

 

“Oh my god, I knew I took it too far.” Kurt felt horrified, playing it all back in his mind, realizing he couldn’t tell when. “Why didn’t you shake your head?”

 

“Because, it was like—I wanted it to stop, but I didn’t want it to stop. You know?”

 

“No.” Kurt shook his head miserably, beginning to tear up himself. “I don’t, I don’t know.”

 

“Oh, baby, it’s uh—” Blaine wiped his eyes. “It’s fine, I still came, a lot, you saw that. I just um—tried to keep telling myself it was a game, but then I imagined you were actually upset at me, and that you hated me, and I—”

 

“I’m sorry, I’m so, so sorry, we don’t ever have to do this again.”

 

“Come here.”

 

Blaine hugged him close, and Kurt cried for real, confused and overwhelmed by how intense he’d just been feeling. When they pulled back a bit, Blaine kissed him soft and vulnerable, and Kurt just wanted to melt into his arms.

 

“It wasn’t bad for me, okay?” Blaine said. “It was confusing, really arousing and confusing. You were perfect, Kurt, you were gorgeous, I guess I just—have a lot to think about.” He kissed Kurt’s forehead, as Kurt nodded. “Okay? You didn’t do anything wrong.”

 

On the drive back to Lima, they stopped in front of Blaine’s house, kissed goodbye in Kurt’s car. Their kiss was long, slow and torturous, and Blaine ended up getting out his seat and grinding in Kurt’s lap. Kissing his boyfriend’s neck, relentless and idolatrous, leaving bruises and hickies, as Kurt apologized again.

 

“I love you so much, I’d never actually think those things about you—mmh—you know that, right?”

 

“I love you too, it’s okay—I love you, I love you.”

 

When Kurt got back from taking Blaine home, at three in the morning, he found the room still empty.

 

When he thought about the emotional night he’d just had, he couldn’t sleep.

 

Finally at six a.m., Sebastian came back. Kurt would never admit this, for fear of the other boy’s head growing larger than it already was, but his odd, newfound friend was a sight for sore eyes in that moment.

 

Sebastian wasn’t exactly happy to see Kurt awake, witnessing his walk of shame. He’d done it, he’d been a dog and he’d gotten his bone, and the guy was crazy hot, a total power bottom the way Sebastian used to like them, and he’d given them both MDMA to keep them going. He had to admit, an hour or two back, still drunk off of merlot and cognac, and molly? Being in that stranger’s apartment, not talking unless it was orders, had made him feel better, made him feel like fuck Kurt if he didn’t want a good thing.

 

But walking in the glass doors downstairs, and in the elevator, beginning to crash hard from his buzz, he realized that already now, the clock was reset. Instant sadness had been his reward, and now he was going to be counting up again, the hours, the days until he got it again.

 

Until he got Kurt, or until he finally, if ever, got over this.

 

Kurt had that “just fucked” glow, he could tell, as he watched his little roommate walk over to his closet, slipping what was clearly Blaine’s sweater off and hanging it up, leaving him in an off the shoulder, barely-there long sleeve, and light blue boxers.

 

“Didn't take you as the type to let him give you hickies.”

 

Kurt was surprised to hear Sebastian’s voice, figuring the two of them would just crawl into bed after they night they’d had—somehow he knew Sebastian had just had a night, too—but he answered in spite.

 

"Getting hickies from my committed, long-term relationship partner of almost two years, doesn't make me a certain ‘type,’” Kurt argued, faint, as he absently shuffled through the hangers in his closet.

 

Sebastian counted them, all eight of the bruises, and damn, that must’ve been some fuck-up on Blaine’s part. Some apology.

 

"Besides," Kurt continued, "it's cold weather season, and I have enough turtlenecks in my wardrobe to wear three different outfits every day for a week, which will more than cover them until they go away.”

 

"I never let men give me hickeys," Sebastian bragged.

 

“I didn't ask.”

 

Kurt turned around and, to make sure Sebastian knew he wasn’t angry, smiled. But he knew it was a sad attempt.

 

"Have you ever had a boyfriend?" Kurt asked now.

 

Sebastian scoffed. Kurt bent over slightly to get a pair of pajama pants from one of his drawers, and he must've thought that, with this level of "comfort" in his and Sebastian's friendship, standing there in his modest, loose-fitting underwear and teasing, one-shouldered shirt was a perfectly okay thing to do—but Sebastian was a deviant, and Kurt should've know that. Sebastian's eyes would round the curve of Kurt's ass and stare at it lustfully even if he weren't Kurt.

 

And especially since he was Kurt, he found himself feeling very, very frustrated by the display.

 

"Why?"

 

Kurt shrugged.

 

"I don't know," he said, pulling out a soft, gray pair of pants. "I'm just curious."

 

"I'm impartial to your presence now, but that doesn't mean I'm going to indulge you in all the grimy details of my love life," Sebastian muttered. "Sex life. There are some things I'm sure you don't want to know anyway."

 

Kurt rolled his eyes. "Don't be annoying," he said, dipping each of his slender limbs into his pant legs. "It's just a question."

 

With his drawstrings pulled up over his hips, fully clothed once more, Kurt walked to the center of his rug and sat down about the middle of it. Sebastian found this action curious, wondered why Kurt wasn’t sleeping—he hadn’t been taking any drugs—and noticed immediately that Kurt began to gently tug at the coils of the fabric on the rug.

 

Sebastian couldn’t take his eyes off of him, so he yielded, answered.

 

"Alright, no. I've never had a boyfriend."

 

Kurt nodded, and then fell silent.

 

"You're going to ask why, aren't you?” Sebastian prompted.

 

Kurt smiled. "Sure, if you want me to. Why?"

 

"I guess I just haven’t seen the point. The only point—usually, for me—in having a relationship is getting constant sex, but I get offered it enough without having a boyfriend. So, like I said. No point.”

 

At the surprisingly empathetic, and somewhat doubtful, look on Kurt’s face, he wanted to take the words back, and swallow each of them whole. But this was what Kurt was expecting of him, right?

 

"Maybe when I'm old, and no longer attractive, then I'll settle with just one man," he said then. "Like, when I'm sixty or something."

 

Kurt chuckled. "Oh, is that when beauty fades?"

 

"Who knows, maybe I’ll still be attractive after sixty. I’ll still be able to get it up, I can promise you that.”

 

“Of course.”

 

“And, I have really good skin, so, no wrinkles.”

 

"You have okay skin," Kurt informed him. "You don't moisturize enough."

 

"When it comes to that kind of thing,” Sebastian said, hating that he was even saying this out loud to another person, “’love,’ I guess, I tend to—want things, and chase things, I know I can’t have anyway.”

 

Kurt flashed back to the day in the Lima Bean when he’d caught Blaine and Sebastian having coffee. He didn’t think he’d ever forget the way Seb’s eyes looked, how much fun and enjoyment he seemed to be having.

 

"That's why you wanted Blaine, right?" Kurt asked of him now.

 

Sebastian chuckled. The prospect of wanting Blaine now was laughable.

 

“I wanted Blaine because you had Blaine,” he said. “Point blank.”

 

Kurt didn’t seem swayed by this at all, and again, several moments passed in silence. Kurt pulled especially hard on the rug, and Sebastian wanted to ask so badly what was wrong with him.

 

“It's still so soft. My rug.” The affection in Kurt’s voice was making Sebastian’s head swim. "My mom used to sit here with me, when I was little, and she would have her sewing basket and machines out. She made all her own patterns, and designed her own clothes, like I do. She used to like, accidentally cut up and poke holes in this ancient thing, so. She didn’t mind when I pulled the threads away from it, when I got sad.”

 

Kurt sounded very young whenever he talked about her. Sebastian had wondered how long it had been, ever since Kurt had told him. So finally, he asked him.

 

“I was nine. It happened sort of suddenly. She had breast cancer, stage four, but supposedly she was in a brief phase of remission. It was never going to be totally cured, it had spread to other parts of her body, but we thought, at least another year with her, maybe two. Then one night, she—died in her sleep, and—that was that. The last thing she and I talked about was the details of our Polly Pocket love quadrangles.”

 

“I can’t—imagine. What that must’ve been like.”

 

“For the next couple years, everything felt like it was moving in slow motion. But my dad and I got each other through it. He’s been my best friend ever since.”

 

Sebastian thought about the day he’d met Kurt’s father, on move-in day. He’d probably kill to get a dad like that.

 

“But you’re losing your father, right?” Kurt said now.

 

Sebastian’s heart skipped several beats. “How did you—“

 

“I kind of figured. The way your mom was speaking about him when she was here, you know, that day. I’m sorry, I really didn’t mean to listen in, it’s just that she was so loud and—“

 

“No, it’s—it’s fine. Not really sure how I feel about it, though.”

 

“Well, if you ever need someone to talk to, about anything, I’m—I’m here.”

Chapter Text

 

"Sixty nine."

 

Sebastian averted his gaze from the foggy Ohio State football field to glance over at Kurt, beside him in the stands.

 

"Thanks for the offer,” he said, “but my favorite sex position is the three o'clock appointment.”

 

“Okay, first of all, I don’t even know what that is,” Kurt responded,and second, obviously I'm still talking about players. I mean sixty nine as in the number on the back of that jersey."

 

Accordingly, Sebastian scoped out the player in question, just as he was also being zoomed in on on the scoreboard's big screen. Hm, good pick, he thought: tall and strapping, nice legs, nice ass too, although that could've been the work of his football pads, and not his actual gluteus maximus.

 

"He's in my bio class," Kurt continued, shapely eyes following 'sixty nine' as he went back to the starting line. "I don’t think he could tell you the difference between photosynthesis and the endocrine system, but his Broderick Hunter-esque looks make up for what he lacks in the brain department."

 

Sebastian noted now that Kurt had changed outfits entirely for this event, of course; was in a simple black pea coat and a jade green scarf pulled up to his chin, his pearly cheeks blushing brightly from the cold, and Sebastian wished he could take his stupid eyes off of him. Kurt had started up the game of I'm-bored-so-let's-pick-out-the-hottest-players several minutes ago, and Sebastian wasn't objecting.

 

"Eighty," Sebastian said now, pointing.

 

Kurt leaned forward in his chair.

 

"Ooh, I don't think I know him. Wish he’d take his helmet off so I could see his face.”

 

“Why? I thought the reason we were playing this game was for the pants.”

 

All of a sudden whistles screeched and yellow flags flew through the air, as players from both teams started pushing each other into dog piles and fist fights, as the crowd wailed and booed, and Kurt winced in recoil.

 

"Seriously, I don't ever understand what's going on in this game. You'd think I would after having a stepbrother who’s explained it to me a million times, and after I was on the team for a couple weeks to do a little dance and then kick, but all it is to me is random scattered running and boys getting covered in grass stains. And each other."

 

"Well, there are two different kinds of football fans. The kind that watch it for the sport, and the kind that watch it for the men."

 

Kurt chuckled. "Which kind are you?"

 

"I go both ways.”

 

"I'm in it for the men then, I suppose," Kurt said with a small shrug. He sighed a little, taking his soft drink from the holder and sucking on the end of his straw. His pitch fell a little lower when he said, "I've always had this, well, this kink for football players, to be honest."

 

Sebastian raised his eyebrows. Hearing Kurt use the word ‘kink’ was a like listening to a foreign language. One he, quite desperately, wanted to learn.

 

"Well, for all athletes, in general," Kurt rambled on. "There's just something about all the sweat, and the uniforms, and the locker room—I always stood out like a sore thumb in them, y’know, ‘gay face’ and all, so I never got the luxury of getting to watch the towel-slapping.“

 

"You should've been a fly on the wall when I played lacrosse at Dalton," Sebastian replied. "Or when I fenced at boarding school in Amsterdam, or played real football in the amateur league in Saint-Maxime; that year they said I was the best defender they said they’d ever had, and one time this—"

 

As Sebastian's voice bragged on and on—it was great and all that he was confident and proud of himself, but he’d forgotten that he’d already told Kurt this story at least four times, so Kurt just let him have it–Kurt allowed his mind to drift off for a moment. Kurt thought, finally, that he’d done it: though his entire life he’d never had a guy best friend who didn’t find him creepy (Finn didn’t count, they were related, and he did find him creepy at first), he’d finally managed to feel one hundred percent platonic and safe with another dude, because he was one hundred percent sure that said dude found him ugly.

 

And that was okay–it didn’t always have to be about that, about trying to look desirable and sexy in front of someone. Though at first Sebastian’s insults made him deeply self-conscious, now in a weird way, he appreciated the lack of interest. What he liked most about he and Sebastian’s relationship was they could talk and hang out and Kurt could be his boring self, and Sebastian’s view of him seemed to stay stagnant, levelheaded.

 

"It's four p.m., are you seriously drunk?"

 

Halfway through the third quarter, Kurt was staring up at Sebastian as they stood in the stadium parking lot, intermixed with the modest crowd of students at the Japanese culture club’s tailgaiting event. Bottles of beer were being passed around undergrads freely, and Sebastian must’ve already had at least five or six in the last twenty minutes.

 

"I'm not drunk," he said back to Kurt.

 

Kurt was now standing in front of Sebastian after taking a leave of absence from Rachel, who was not too far off laughing and toasting with some of her friends in the club (she was a member of every club on campus, just about). Just before this, she’d been talking to Kurt about her finally giving Tina an ultimatum about their relationship.

 

“Good!” Kurt had encouraged her. “I love Tina, she’s the moon in my sky, but she needs to stop just giving in to what everyone else thinks she should do, and start making the hard-hitting decisions. Even if it means someone’s going to get hurt.”

 

“Yes, exactly, that’s exactly what I said to her. Although I hope that her hard-hitting decision ends up, well, being me.” She gripped Kurt’s arm, her lip trembling. “She made me orgasm eight times the last time we were together.”

 

“Oh dear god.”

 

Kurt and Seb had separated not longer after they'd gotten here, but now Kurt was back, to his anchor in these kinds of social situations. He thought one of the most poignant things about Sebastian was that he was actually kind of socially awkward, despite having years of cotillion training, and charm he could flip on like a light switch if inclined. The problem was that he hardly did seem so inclined, preferring to make jokes about how gay he was to the point that people didn’t know what to say to him. Kurt supposed he himself had always been the same way, with his own often polarizing interests.

 

Kurt decided now that he could tell Sebastian wasn’t drunk. Tipsy, probably, and feeling good, if dilated pupils and blissful smile were anything to prove it, but not drunk. He was sweating a bit though, beneath his double sweaters.

 

"Need something?" Sebastian said to Kurt now.

 

"Yes, actually. I’m finally getting sleepy after, as you know, only getting three hours of shut eye last night, so I wanted to go home, and go to bed. But in my sheepish stupor earlier, I left my keys in the room. Can I have yours, pretty please? I’ll let you back in later.”

 

Sebastian swiped his keys out of his back pocket, but instead of handing them to Kurt, he dangled them within Kurt's reach, and then snatched them back. Kurt pouted.

 

"Why should I let you do that?" Sebastian replied playfully, washing away the thought of taking Kurt's lower lip between his own, sucking.

 

Kurt tried for Sebastian's hand again, but Sebastian held them up as high as he could, his height giving him the home court advantage.

 

"Because, it'd be a favor, and it'd be nice of you.” Kurt jumped, to no avail. “I know you have such a hard time taking vacation and abandoning your post beside your best friend Satan, but just this once, for five minutes, I’d appreciate your defection.”

 

“Shut up.”

 

“I guess I’ll just have to call the R.A. who hates my guts, and has probably been plotting my murder since we caught him terrorizing a bunch of newborns. Is this really worth me getting killed over?”

 

Sebastian had to bite his tongue, at the inflection in Kurt’s voice at the word ‘really.’

 

"Relax, babe, I'll take you up,” he blundered out, and at being called ‘babe,’ well, Kurt didn’t seem to notice or care. Thank God. “Don't trust you with my keys by yourself. Might try to drive my car into a dam or something."

 

"As greatly satisfying as that might be, I'm not willing to die over petty revenge on you. At least, not today.”

 

Moments later, they were in front of their door; Kurt waited impatiently with his back turned on Sebastian for him to open it, and Sebastian stood behind right him, jingling his keys aimlessly as if "searching "for the right one.

 

When Kurt turned around and glared at him pointedly, Sebastian grinned, proud to have Kurt so faux-angry and focused on him.

 

"You're being slow on purpose," Kurt huffed, "let me do it—" He reached for the keys again but Sebastian snatched his hand behind his back.

 

"You shouldn't have left yours," Sebastian teased. "Like you said, I'm doing you a favor, so. You get to wait until I’m ready."

 

“Why are you like this?” Kurt complained, but he was still smiling.

 

"I like you when you're pissed off."

 

"Yeah, I know that. You've been doing your damnedest to make sure I’m pissed off for the better part of a year."

 

Sebastian now tossed his keys up and down in his hand leisurely.

 

"What if I said that you have to do something for me, if you wanted me to let you in?"

 

"Seriously, how did I ever become friends with you? Just open the door.”

 

Sebastian decided to give up, then, and reached around Kurt to stick his key in the slot of the door. For a moment almost too fleeting for Kurt to register it, Sebastian’s arms curled around Kurt's, his chest pressed flush with Kurt's back, and his hips slightly brushed against Kurt's ass as he quickly flicked his wrist, clicked the door open.

 

Kurt turned around when Sebastian stepped back, his mouth slightly ajar.

 

It was fine, it was fine for them to touch occasionally, it was an accident, a fluke, a harmless motion from Sebastian having drunk a bit.

 

Right?

 

“Sweet dreams,” Sebastian slurred to him, departing down the hall.

 

When the door was shut behind him, Kurt started to pace the floor. While just moments ago he’d felt sleepy, now that he was back in the room alone, a nervous energy was coursing through his body. He suddenly felt that he should call Blaine, having spent almost this entire day not ruminating over him.

 

Hello?”

 

“Hi, love of my life.” He start to calm down, and breathe, after hearing that voice in his ear. “How are you?”

 

I’m just okay. How are you?”

 

“Good, good. Just um, coming in from the football game today. I thought about—Facetiming you during it, like we used to do in September, but um, I know you said you wanted to get some sleep today, and I didn’t want to disturb you.”

 

Yeah, I was asleep pretty much all day, so I probably would’ve just missed it.”

 

It was quiet, then. This was the first time they’d spoken on the phone since their heated exchange in Kurt’s car. Kurt wanted so badly to keep kissing away the pain, to keep trying to show him for sure he hadn’t meant it, but he didn’t want to push. He was about to say as much, even if it would mean he was pushing, but then:

 

Listen, Kurt, I—I don’t want you to feel like I’m all wilted and, well, damaged after—you know. I’m feeling pretty tired, emotionally, after the whole thing, but—don’t worry about me, okay? I may be—quiet, the next few days, but it’s not you, okay? Plus, I haven’t really been doing all that great at school, lately, and I really need this weekend to do make-up work—“

 

“Of course, baby, I—“ Kurt’s heart skipped a beat once, and he tried to wash away the sight of Blaine crying, the ball gag around his neck. “I may be a little bit worried, but mostly I just wanted to hear your voice.”

 

Okay. I love you, Kurt.”

 

“I love you.”

 

Kurt was starting to feel like those words had become synonymous with Blaine and his’ goodbyes; when Blaine hung up a moment later, it certainly didn’t inspire confidence.

 

Relax, he told himself. He just needs time, and time is healthy. He’s allowed to get some space, and be without you. Just a few more days until we see each other again, and all is well.

 

Thanksgiving was that upcoming Thursday, and Tuesday night, Kurt would be driving home to Lima. He was so relieved to be spending five whole days back in his old bedroom, surrounded by family and his best friends, and warm fires and heavy, love-infused cooking. Several of the scattered New Directions were going to be back in town, and he’d be getting plenty of Blaine time, too, since they'd both be out of school. He knew this reunion was just what he and his boyfriend needed.

 

 

Late Sunday night, Sebastian was heading back to the dorm after a long, rather exhausting day at church. His father always held extra services during the holidays, as non-believing family members of the congregation would be in attendance. Sebastian and his mother were put to work with the rest of the administrative staff as office drones, printing up programs and balancing ledgers and re-branding Dr. Smythe’s holiday image. Tonight he was so ready to knock out and pretend this day hadn't happened, but as he stood outside the dorm in the drizzling rain, digging around in all his pockets, he realized that he'd left his keys in the room when he’d left early this morning.

 

Great. He wasn’t getting enough sleep these days, either.

 

He knew that Kurt would still be awake, but they still hadn't exchanged numbers for easy contact ("I'm not asking for yours first," Sebastian had said of it last week, and "Fine, I guess you're never going to have it," Kurt had answered.)

 

In order to remedy what he’d just decided now was clearly a crisis, Sebastian wrought up a text to Blaine.

 

I need Kurt's number. Thanks.

 

Blaine responded immediately asking, given the time of night it was, why he should let him have it.

 

Because I'm booty calling him. Damn, you caught me red handed. It's late and I'm horny as all get out, asking you, his boyfriend, to give me his number, so I can finally get up in that sweet, tight ass of his, tell him all my fantasies of fucking him senseless.

 

Fuck you. That isn't funny.

 

Sebastian got a thrill in his chest, reading that.

 

Are you dense? he replied. If I was going to sext Kurt, or even touch him for that matter, I'd do it behind your back. And I'd be prepared, with his number among other things. But, not to worry. I have no interest in diddling him as long as you’re around.

 

When he got no answer to this, he stopped messing with the poor kid and got to the point.

 

I'm locked out of the room, Sebastian explained. I need him to open the door for me. But since this is taking too long, and since nothing is ever simple with you, Blaine, I'll just call my RA.

 

Sebastian had Taylor’s on-call number dialed and ready, but right before he pressed send, he received Kurt's contact card from Blaine in his inbox.

 

And another irritable text.

 

Sorry. I just really don't think things like that are funny. Especially when they come from you.

 

“Joking” about it in such a harsh way, and tormenting Blaine just because he knew he could, and Kurt would never know, may have been Sebastian's only coping methods at this point in the game. He was really scrambling for ways to avoid the inevitable, the fall out, wasn’t he? Because no matter how good-spirited he was trying to be to Kurt in spite, he was still reeling and panicking from the realization, that what should’ve been the raw fucking of his month the other night with his hook-up from Grindr, had barely even pacified him.

 

He was starting to become a man he didn’t recognize. Little did he know, that man was someone better.

 

 

 

Let me in.

 

Kurt squinted at the unknown sender of the new message in his inbox. He glanced away from the reflection of his coconut-extract-mask-covered face, and glanced across the room at Sebastian's empty bed. He'd been gone for hours. His room keys were neatly piled atop his pillow.

 

Sebastian? Kurt texted back.

 

Glad to see you recognize my tone of type.

 

Kurt rolled his eyes.

 

Only you would send something as vague and demanding as 'let me in' and expect me to understand it. You left your keys here. Where are you?

 

Outside, downstairs.

 

Well I hate to do this to you, but I'm in the middle of a moisturizing routine. I'm afraid I simply can't part myself from the mirror long enough. Sorry ;)

 

This is payback for yesterday, isn’t it?

 

You know me so well.

 

Taylor the douchebag frat boy's going to hate me for waking him up for this.

 

All the more reason to do it, right?

 

True.

 

Within a couple of minutes, Sebastian was at the door with Taylor, who was staring in the room half-asleep, pissed.

 

"Just so you know I'm writing fucking both of you up for this.”

 

“I didn’t even do anything!” Kurt protested.

 

"Don't care," Sebastian chimed in.

 

After their door slammed shut, Kurt turned back to his mirror, half-watching his own hands touch his face, and half-watching Sebastian undo his tie.

 

“Church today?” he prompted his roommate.

 

Sebastian hesitated. “Yeah.”

 

“How was it?”

 

“Same as always.”

 

What made it especially irksome today was his mother’s insistence that he come home to Westerville and have dinner more often. Thanksgiving was going to spend just the three of them this year, as it had been the last twelve years, but Sebastian didn’t want to step foot in that haunted house, this Thursday or any other day ever again. He was going to anyway, though, even if he had to get wine drunk just to get through it. His dad was especially moody on holidays, more prone to hitting his wife, especially if anything didn’t go as he planned. And Sebastian knew all too well that him playing hooky on them, on one of “God’s days,” was definitely not in his father’s plan.

 

That night, neither Kurt nor Sebastian slept well for a second consecutive night. Kurt in particular had a dream that would go on to trouble him for days. In it, he was a boss conducting interviews, wearing a clean-cut suit and sitting in a simple, white chair, in the center of an all white, too-bright room. Exactly the same size and height as the dorm, the room had no windows, and only one solid door just in front of him. Every couple minutes the door would open, and one interviewee at a time would shuffle in; all of them male and dressed in top notch suits as well, each of their faces blurred out and obscured by a strange, floating fuzz. Kurt was speaking to them about something even he wasn’t be allowed to hear; it was as if he were outside of his own body, and deaf, watching his mouth move and watching himself smile, flirtatious, at the men. Each one of them was clearly not good enough for the job, being sent away amicably, bowing to him gracefully.

 

The last interviewee, however, was bolder than the rest. After being kindly dismissed for the position, this one set his briefcase down next to his chair, stood up, and mounted Kurt’s lap. They began making out, and at this, the blur began to cover Kurt’s own face, too. Just as Kurt was standing up and holding the guy straddled around his waist, the man disappeared, and, across from him, so did the door.

 

Now Kurt was back in his own point of view, spinning around trying to something other than nothingness. All there was was white, white, white everywhere, the floor, walls and ceiling all looking as one. Finding no exit, he gave up and collapsed to his knees on the floor, began itching and scratching at his own cuticles, so much so that the skin of his fingers began to tear, rivulets of blood tickling down his pants and onto the floor.

 

Finally Kurt woke up from the dream on the verge of a panic attack, his throat closing up. Breathe, breathe, he told himself, staring around and eventually becoming comforted by the same old decorations on his wall, the burgundy drapes, the collages of he and his friends.

 

Sebastian, sound asleep, on the other side.

 

It was a dark and stormy Monday morning, and there were only three more days of this; three more days until he was out of this stuffy small room, and back at home safe in Lima.

 

He focused on his dreamy imaginings of it all as he got dressed for his classes, trying, in light of the holiday spirit, to be grateful for what he had.

 

 

 

That morning and afternoon were rather uneventful for Sebastian, at least, until Kurt came back from one of his classes. When he did, Sebastian watched from his side of the room out of the corner of his eye, noting Kurt's tight white turtleneck and even tighter black jeans that hugged his beautiful legs, sighing hatefully under his breath.

 

Kurt was exhausting for him to look at.

 

For the first time in a while, Sebastian remembered what it was like to insult Kurt whenever he felt this feeling creeping up on him. He refrained himself now, as Kurt immediately got into bed, retrieving the sleep mask from his dresser and sliding it on.

 

“I’m going to go to sleep, quite possibly forever,” Kurt said, “so if you have to make any noise over there, well, don’t.”

 

Sebastian didn’t say anything to that, feeling irritation prick at him, and surveying the text from his Friday night fling in his inbox. Hey sexy. Wanna bang again? He knew he probably should’ve tried, that if he did it enough, he'd get used to it. But he’d only be offered MDMA again, and the come down from that was something he wasn’t apt for feeling, not this time, not again.

 

He felt himself getting half-hard between his legs, though, even at the slightest invitation, and he had to actively fight the urge to let his hand slip beneath thighs, under his sweatpants. But why, he thought now, hold himself back? It was annoying as fuck to always have to leave and go to the showers, it was god awful cold in there these days, and if he wasn’t going to get some in real life, he needed to be rid of this somehow.

 

So just a minute later, mostly hidden beneath the blankets, sweatpants pooled at the ankle and shirt shoved up past his chest, Sebastian lie on his back in bed, dizzily stroking his half-hard erection and occasionally, guiltily, glancing over at Kurt’s snoring figure. To stop letting his nerves turn him into such a wreck, he closed his eyes; frowned, thought vaguely about the last few guys he'd fucked and was fully hard then, thinking about jumbles of male anatomy that all started to look the same after a while, and then, he began to get rough with himself.

 

He stopped for a moment to lick his palm, bringing his hand back and jacking himself rapidly, his body snapping forward and then arching back, tensing all over, this was starting to feel so good; he imagined himself getting fucked instead of giving it for once, just like he had the first few times, when he was a kid; saw broad, unknown hands scratching marks into his hips, a thick cock dragging and ramming into him hard, shaking him up with no sympathy.

 

Then he imagined that Kurt, fully clothed, was watching it happen across the room, that bright, pale skin turning deep, deep red as he tried and failed to not get turned on by the display. Sebastian inhaled sharply at the thought, his heel kicking out on the bedspread as his hand jerked out of his control, his head tilted back. The last thing he pictured before he came, fist bitten into his mouth, was Kurt's eyes, those vivid, vivid eyes.

 

Oh, shit.

 

Sebastian hadn't gotten himself off that well in weeks.

 

And he'd never felt more like a creep.

 

As he lay there spent and catching his breath, he felt sick, that he'd been reduced to fantasizing about Kurt while he was sleeping in the room, completely innocent, unaware, not wanting him in the slightest. It was official: this was how bad things were now, how much he’d become the gay he’d always feared would, predatory and spineless, the way his father assumed they were.

 

Sebastian wiped the come from his stomach with the back of his dry hand, and ashamed, tried not to feel so stirred by the sound of Kurt breathing across the way. He quickly pulled his boxers and sweatpants back up, let his head sink back into his itchy pillow.

 

Stared up at the ceiling, feeling empty. He seriously hated himself.

 

He wasn't winning this game of 'let's-pretend-we-don't-like-each-other' with Kurt. He was the biggest fucking loser that had ever stepped up to Kurt's plate. Kurt had unfair advantages to this game, always had ever since they'd wound up as in this situation; whether or not he was actually starting to become interested in Sebastian, to his own knowledge or not, he still had a damn boyfriend to focus his affections on, as well as better control of his impulses sexually (and Sebastian tried to figure that that was because his sex life with Bland was so marital and boring, but who was he kidding? Kurt probably got dicked down so good, and so often, there was no way he was ever going to leave his ship).

 

Sebastian got up then and went to take a shower, metaphorically and literally washing himself of what he’d just done, the stab of envy he’d just felt, thought about dead puppies, his parents' sex life, crusted jizz on the pages of the Bible, anything to turn himself off for good, to scrub away the darkness until he found out who he was without sex—was he even anybody, anymore?

 

 

Kurt woke up in about an hour later, grateful for the deep, sated sleep he’d just had with no strange dreaming. Grateful to see his friend sitting at his desk, seemingly calm and normal, around for Kurt to talk to, if he wished it.

 

After fixing his slightly bed-mussed hair in his mirror, he took out his organizer and walked over to his giant whiteboard calendar, writing in his upcoming events for December, including AUDITION in big, red cursive on the block for December 1st.

 

After he wrote it, he realized that Sebastian was looking at him.

 

"What's the audition for?" Sebastian asked.

 

"It's for my major classes," Kurt replied, capping the pen in his hands. "For Theater. I have to audition twice that day, for voice and piano. I know that I'm going to sing 'Don't Cry For Me Argentina' for the first, but I have no clue what to do for the second. I’m especially freaked about having to play piano, I'm really, really rusty."

 

Sebastian nodded. "Better practice up, then."

 

Kurt just sighed. At least there was still another week before then.

 

He couldn’t wait for Thanksgiving, to just hold Blaine again, and feel like everything was back to normal.

 

"What are you working on?" Kurt asked Sebastian then, trying to keep his mind off of things.

 

"Test for economics, on worldwide inflation," Sebastian answered. "Piece of cake."

 

"Must be nice."

 

Sebastian eyed him.

 

"Is that audition why you're in such a mood today?"

 

“I am not in a mood.” At that, Sebastian raised a brow. "Okay, I kind of am. But it’s not because of the audition, or at least, not just.”

 

Kurt decided that focusing on what he would wear home this weekend would help pull him out his funk. He pulled a brown, leather suitcase, half full outfit contenders, from under his bed, and began to put other things he’d already pulled aside inside of it as well: his favorite broaches and accessories, his favorite wrap-around sweaters, his knitting needles.

 

"I guess it's—part of it is because I had a really awful dream last night,” Kurt said, to Sebastian now. “You know the kind that feels real, that when you wake up, still kind of feels like it’s happening?”

 

“Yeah. So, what, did Lady Gaga retire in it?"

 

Kurt let himself laugh a little at that. "Blaspheme, Sebastian. Don't ever say such things."

 

It was quiet for a moment, and then Sebastian stood up. He came and sat down on the Dior rug, watching Kurt pointlessly sort through his things.

 

"What?" Kurt prompted.

 

"Tell me what your bad dream was about," Sebastian ordered.

 

Kurt frowned up at him, mock-offended. "You can't tell me what to do."

 

"Obviously you want someone to bitch to about it, or you wouldn't have brought it up, and I'd rather hear you talk about it than listen to you huff and puff all afternoon like a teenage girl who just got dumped, so. Tell me."

 

After giving him another brief lecture about managing his tone when he was trying to be helpful, Kurt told Sebastian about the dream. The more he re-explained it, the more anxious he became over it again.

 

“Besides the obvious I-was-trapped-in-a-room-and-weirdly-self-mutilated thing, I guess it also sucked because I—sort of cheated on Blaine once in it, I guess.”

 

Sebastian tensed. "With who?"

 

"No one I could see. It was weird, like, all of these good looking men in suits kept coming in to talk with me, and one of them made out with me, but their faces were all blurred out, and all of their voices were coming out like they were speaking into a synthesizer. If I didn’t know any better, I’d say it’s just my feeling anxious about—well, Blaine and I’s date the other night. We made a bunch of mistakes, trying this thing, and—I-I don’t know, I guess I’m just feeling afraid of losing him, a little bit. But, the fear of losing someone is healthy, I mean, it just means that you have to something really great to lose."

 

Sebastian shrugged, rolled his eyes.

 

"If you say so."

 

I do wonder why Blaine hasn’t texted me today, Kurt thought.

 

Stop it, you’re being ridiculous. You don’t have to text each other every day.

 

“You’re really not a very good person to confide things in, y’know,” he said to Sebastian.

 

"I don’t know, Blaine, he's just so cryptic. Especially lately."

 

"Cryptic?” Kurt repeated.

 

Sebastian shook his head and sighed. And then, slowly, he said,

 

"Sometimes, I think.” He scoffed, for emphasis. “That he thinks I'm in love with you."

 

Kurt's eyes went wide, and his cheeks flushed.

 

"I’m sorry?"

 

"I mean, he thinks I'm going to love you.” Sebastian had to take his eyes away from Kurt's bright, startled ones, their swells of lovely, icy color melting holes into his resolve. How were those things even allowed? "Basically told me that it was my fate. That I was bound to fall for you the longer I looked at you or some other archaic Shakespearean garbage. Personally I think it’s him projecting, because of how relentless I was with him. But I’ve never so much as even told you that you have nice fingernails.”

 

Kurt felt a knot tie in his stomach. God, Blaine was being so weird, so unsteady lately.

 

"Why would he say something like that?" he said, more to himself. “To you?”

 

Sebastian swallowed.

 

“Beats me.”

 

Kurt worried his lip between his teeth thoughtfully, trying to imagine that logically. Imagining someone like Sebastian...loving him...or anyone else besides his parents. He didn’t care how close they ended up getting as friends, that word just didn’t even seem to come close to a possibility.

 

Not because Sebastian wasn’t great, now that he was letting Kurt actually get close to him. But because Kurt imagined that, when they didn’t room together next year, they really wouldn’t have a reason to see each other. And Sebastian didn’t have, well, any friends, at least as far as Kurt could see. Didn’t seem to keep in touch with anyone long term, anyone who wasn’t directly in front of him.

 

What could they possibly ever share or do that would cause love, even platonically?

 

"He said this to me months ago, mind you,” Sebastian was saying suddenly. “And obviously it's never going to happen.”

 

"God no," Kurt quipped, just as fast. "You hate me.”

 

“Even if it did happen in some alternate universe where you had higher standards and I dressed better, we’d probably break up a day after we got together.”

 

“Right.”

 

“Because I'd say something stupid, and you'd yell at me, and we’d just go back to hating each other."

 

“Obviously.”

 

Sebastian got up and started walking around the room, and Kurt stared after him, still confused as to how to feel about this information. He started to feel a little sick, remembering the conversation Blaine had started to read to him, knowing he’d never really know what they had said about him.

 

Was Sebastian in love with him?

 

He couldn't be.

 

"Anyway.” Sebastian actually wished he could stick his own foot in his mouth. "Since you're so stressed out about this theater bullshit all the time. Why haven't you ever considered becoming a fashion designer?"

 

Kurt made a face.

 

"Um," he said, continuing to add things from under his bed to his suitcase. “I don’t know.” He chuckled a little. "Where's that coming from?"

 

"The fact that you own about a thousand back issues of Vogue, and they're in your hands right now, for starters."

 

Kurt looked down at the stack of favorite magazines in his hands, dated from 2009 to the current year, which he was packing to shuffle through during his dad and Finn’s impending annual Thanksgiving day football game watch.

 

"Well, I have," Kurt said, "thought about it, I mean, as fashion-forward as I am, it’d be a cake walk."

 

"It suits you much more than wearing tights on a rundown stage singing show tunes," Sebastian said. "And, no offense, but you're not exactly the best singer."

 

"Gee, thanks. Asshole. Why bother saying 'no offense' when you know it's going to offend me?"

 

"I’m just saying, everyone has their strengths, and that's not yours."

 

"You've never even heard me really sing.”

 

"I didn't say it to piss you off.”

 

"Oh, my, we have a first!”

 

Sebastian took the high road, continued.

 

"I said it because you plan your outfits for years in advance in your spare time. You plan outfits for people you've never even met. Supposedly you’re working class poor, but you have more designer clothes than anybody I know, and trust me, I've met more Richie bitches in my life than anyone will ever want to meet.”

 

“I find discounts online.”

 

“You even make your own clothes already."

 

God, shut up about him, Sebastian scolded himself.

 

"You're good at it, it's what you do in your sleep. So, don't they have majors for fashion design at this lame school or something?"

 

It did seem sort of obvious, when Sebastian put that way. Fashion had always been Kurt's other passion, the thing he’d do, and did do, without ever being paid for it. But it was too late for trying to major in it, at least at OSU; this school barely had enough classes in sewing and design that could be put together as an entire field of study. He should’ve gone to trade school, now that he thought about it, but he was here instead, stuck, his money being spent. Being told that he was already behind.

 

"You don't get it, I—have to try, at least a little, to become a singer," Kurt argued. "Even if it's not on Broadway like I used to dream, it's—it's what the New Directions and Blaine and all the people who know me best want from me, and they believe in me, so. I owe it to them, to try and make them proud."

 

"Owe it to them?" Sebastian repeated.

 

“Yes, I know we’ve talked about how hard it is for you, doing things for other people.”

 

"You should be more selfish," Sebastian replied. "Do what you want to do. It’s your life. Besides, how many of them are in this room with you now? Why put on a performance for an audience that isn’t even watching?”

 

Kurt stared at him curiously.

 

"Well, thank you? For asking me to think about it.” He sighed, then. "I am stressed out about all of this, but I'm not just going to give up on theater, at least not without seeing how I do at these auditions. It may be difficult, but I still think I could really have a shot at it, and I’ll never know if I don’t at least try.”

 

There was a knock on their door, then.

 

A small, white piece of card stock got slipped under the door. Kurt stood up to retrieve it, and he brightened, squealed, and grinned as he read what was written on it.

 

The RHA Thanksgiving Door Decorating contest starts NOW. You and 11 other residents have 24 hours to create a dazzling display on the door of your dorm room that expresses the spirit of the holiday season. You will be judged on (1) Color, (2) Use of Space and (3) Interactive Component. Winners will receive $200 off their board next semester! And, more importantly, bragging rights! Good luck to you! Let the decorating begin!

 

"What's that?" asked Sebastian.

 

Kurt was already stooping down and reaching under his bed when Sebastian spoke; he pulled out a long, flat box full of craft materials and pieces, as well as a giant drawing board, as tall as he was, full of autumn-themed sketches and concept art.

 

"Thanksgiving Door Decorating contest," Kurt informed him. "I'm so excited, I've literally been planning for this since October."

 

Sebastian watched in amusement as Kurt began to manically pull things from the box, laying out the door designs that he'd already pre-made: a dreamy-blue sky background, giant clouds made of glittery cotton, a five foot strip of intricate cardboard tree with 3D branches, and tissue paper sheets of red, orange, and rust, for leaves. The board of concept art was even more elaborate, and Kurt had an overall theme: Happy Thanksgiving: What Do You Wish For?

 

Sebastian wondered when the hell Kurt had even had the time to make that. He'd certainly never seen it 'til now.

 

"I think my day finally, finally, just vastly improved," Kurt said to himself.

 

And this was what Sebastian had been talking about.

 

It was blatantly obvious, after living with Kurt for three months, that this was what his true love was. This was his gift. Creating an aesthetic, using his hands to make the pretty things in his mind, whether they be clothing or room décor, come to life. It was impressive, really. Sebastian had always slightly and jealously thought that it was, even back in high school, although he never would've admitted it until today. Yes, Kurt constantly forcing him to change clothes ten times a day until he looked “perfect” was obnoxious most of the time, but it was also kind of endearing? It was just so him.

 

When Sebastian got back from his exam, which he aced, an hour later, Kurt was sitting exactly where he’d left him. He had measuring tape wrapped around his neck like a scarf, sprinkles of paper were littering his pants like snow, and he was in the middle of crafting beautiful paper mache leaves, sticking them to the branches of his lifelike cardboard tree.

 

"How's it going?" Sebastian said to him.

 

"Amazing. I haven't put anything up on the door yet, but in a few hours I can start with the first few layers."

 

"Need any help?"

 

Kurt practically beamed.

 

"Yeah, actually, if you want to, that would be killer. I could use a human scaffolding."

 

"That was one of those 'I feel obligated to ask' kind of questions, as in, 'I don't actually want to be a prop on your big gay pride parade float, I was just trying not to seem like a dick.’"

 

"Well, you failed at that, as always.”

 

Regardless, Sebastian stooped down to Kurt's level on the floor, and settled himself on the rug.

 

"What do you want me to do? That doesn't require me to be covered in all that fabulous glitter, like you are right now."

 

And so they sat in the middle of their floor for what ended up being hours. Sebastian did end up covered in glitter, after several playful arguments caused them to throw it at each other. They cut dozens of intricately shaped leaves from tissue paper, drew hand-traced turkeys and painted them, glued clouds in various recognizable shapes to the backdrop.

 

After all of the background layers for the door were posted, Kurt and Sebastian ventured out of their dorm huddled together under Kurt's umbrella, and went to the girls' hall to scope out the eleven other doors that were competing. Many of the Kurt’s competitors’ designs were intense—especially the girl with the cut-out pilgrim who could shake your hand—but seeing the other doors had just edged Kurt on by the time they were heading back.

 

“The 'interactive portion' of my door is going to be little wishbones," Kurt explained to Sebastian once they were back in the room, gearing up to add the door’s final, last touches. He held up his Ziploc bag full of white, cardstock bones, blank on both sides. "The idea is for people to take one, write down a wish, and then hang it from one of the branches on the tree."

 

Sebastian let Kurt finish the final details, as he needed to go to the library to study for his last exam in the morning. Now that he was alone, after not hearing so much as a tweet from him all day, Kurt decided to call his boyfriend. To his surprise, and an ease to his nervous, beating heart, Blaine wanted to Facetime with him. They didn’t talk much too much, though, as Kurt predicted. Kurt wore headphones to hear his boyfriend more closely, when he did speak. Blaine briefly got into the fight he’d had with his dad on Saturday, explaining why he’d been so distant on the phone that day. He said that it had seriously made him consider transferring back to Dalton, to get them off his back about public school “killing his brain cells.”

 

Plus I have all these college applications due next week, and I’m just too like, depressed to even look at them.”

 

After comforting him as best he knew how, Kurt practiced his singing softly as Blaine did his work, seeming to like his boyfriend’s crooning as a soundtrack. They stayed on the line until they both fell asleep, Blaine dozing off long before he did.

 

Or at least, that was Kurt thought at first; when he woke up for a moment at five in the morning, however, he realized Blaine had ended the call just a minute after Kurt had fallen asleep.

 

The following morning, the Resident Hall Association was to announce which rooms were competing in the competition on their Facebook page, and that was when, Kurt hoped, his door display would be covered in wishes.

 

But by eleven o 'clock the next morning, he still didn't have a one. Sebastian figured, in his opinion, that it was because they were only guys’ room participating. On his way to his last class of the day, he’d passed two guys in the hall who were making fun of the design.

 

So, when he knew Kurt wouldn’t be around, (he’d said earlier that he was going to hide out in the campus center during ‘contest mode’), Sebastian spent a decent amount of time sitting cross-legged in front of the door, several wishbones on his lap and pen writing various messages, in varying handwriting.

 

Sebastian's first wishbone said, "I wish I was getting some ass tonight." He tied it up on a branch with a silvery string, smiling at it stupidly. He decided he wouldn't be quite as crude for the rest, which said things like, "I wish I had five bucks," "I wish my dad was around more often," "I wish for world peace," and "I wish I could give every homeless person a turkey."

 

Rachel and a few others girls came around to contribute, and Rachel was especially particular about the fact that Sebastian was “standing guard” over Kurt’s product, as she put it. But by the end of the afternoon, the majority of the wishbones on the door were written by him.

 

The last one he put up, in big, bold letters, said, "I wish I had you," with a heart at the end.

 

In the end, Sebastian gazed up at the finished work of art. He didn’t think he wanted to see the door without this glittery blue sky, protruding trees, and hundreds of intricate red leaves. Kurt had drawn the title of the work in large, fancy handwriting near the peephole, and all the little smiling turkeys that they'd drawn (or, well, the ones that Sebastian hadn't fucked up) were chasing each other at the foot of the door.

 

Later on, after he’d gone inside and Kurt had finally rejoined him:

 

“They're gonna knock on the door of the person who won any minute now," Kurt informed Seb, who was standing just a few feet away from him. “I'm so glad the wishbone thing caught on.”

 

And like clockwork, there were three knocks on the door just then. Kurt ran to open it, excited, and when he found the RHA judges on the other side, handing him his certificates, he succumbed to a fit of joy.

 

After he closed the door, he decided. Sebastian had been a good friend for helping, and it wasn’t going to be weird, it wasn’t weird for them to touch. So he walked in close, and he hugged him.

 

Sebastian froze up at Kurt’s embrace, at the way Kurt’s head came just under his chin, his hair soft and his scent mesmerizing. Kurt wrapped around lightly around his back, their chests practically flush, so Sebastian let his hands dip a semi-appropriate distance down Kurt's lower back. Kurt had never deigned to touch him like this before, and fuck if it wasn’t going to make him lose his sanity. 

 

It was over far too soon, in his opinion. Kurt pulled back first, looking far more levelheaded than Sebastian was currently feeling.

 

“What was that for?” Sebastian managed, even as his heart was sort of breaking. “You know I don’t do sentimental.”

 

“God, you act like physical contact is going to burn you sometimes,” Kurt said. “But I don’t know, just—thank you, for spending so much time with me working on my project yesterday. I know this is silly, that I’m so happy about winning, but—things like this make me feel really good about myself.”

 

As Kurt left for his final class of the day, Sebastian knew: he couldn’t take this any longer.

 

 

 

I don't know about you, but this day has been seriously dragging on, Kurt texted his roommate. I'm so ready to go home and not do anything but lose my trim figure to gravy-smothered turkey for five days.

 

Kurt had an hour left of his Literature class before he was free. He was hardly paying attention, thinking about how glad he was that he'd more than halfway survived his first college semester. He’d grown a lot already, hadn’t he?

 

He was also thinking about how he wished he could be texting Blaine, but he was still trying to give him space. Sebastian would just have to be a time-consuming second.

 

I felt the same this morning, Sebastian answered, from their room. I take it you're not paying attention.

 

I’m shopping online.

 

Tsk tsk.

 

You don’t understand, Swarovski's new holiday collection just came out on their website, and I just  had to start pining over things I can’t afford right now. ‘Tis the season.

 

Sebastian was lying on his back in his bed, simultaneously head strong yet anxious about what he was about to do. He wasn't usually one to hide behind a text, mask his motives or beat around the bush. He was typically blunt with his advances, only using the phone to initiate real-life face-offs, but with Kurt, it was different; it had always been different.

 

Here, behind the cell phone, he could spit it all out without losing his resolve, and he wanted, now, no he needed, to tell Kurt at least a part of what he felt for him. How it had started, that night on Halloween, and how he had been steadily falling ever since. He wanted to do it today, right now, in this moment, because given how things had been between them the last few days, and given that Kurt was having dreams about cheating on his boyfriend, for Christ's sake, Sebastian knew that Kurt was vulnerable, would be more open to what he was thinking. He wouldn't be so offended by Sebastian taking a stab in the not-so-dark, by Sebastian trying to find out once and for all if Kurt was attracted to him, too, at least physically.

 

Kurt had only ever known what it was like to be wanted by one person. He had no idea the way Sebastian could want him, could make him feel wanted.

 

It was going to be a risk for him to do this, could possibly topple everything that they’d worked up to, but he was tired of letting the pain of his past make him hardened, make him afraid of feeling anything.

 

So he decided to finally be honest with himself, about the strongest feeling he’d ever felt in his life.

 

I was just thinking, Sebastian continued to him. You knit, don't you? You should make me something while you're at home this weekend.

 

Uh, no.

 

Why not?

 

Because you’re a giant, I don’t have enough yarn. What would you even want me to make you?

 

I don't know, a scarf or something. Ass-less chaps.

 

I only make things for people that I like.

 

You like me.

 

:P

 

And besides, I want a Kurt Hummel original.

 

I don't know if you've earned your way up my friendship ranks enough for me to knit you an entire  scarf, Sebastian. But you can keep trying. You're on your way.

 

I'm sure you could knit a scarf in less than a day. These things don't take you long. You made that Red Riding Hood costume pretty quickly.

 

You mean my Halloween costume? The one that you made fun of to no end?

 

It looked gorgeous on you, Kurt. Sexy.

 

Kurt stared at his phone with wide eyes. In shock.

 

And well, Sebastian thought. There was no turning back now.

 

Don't let that go to your head either, princess, Sebastian tacked on, quick. I'm just being honest.

 

Kurt’s heart skipped several beats, and then sunk. Heat began to prick at his cheeks and neck as he glanced self-consciously around the classroom, hoping his reaction to those words hadn't been noticeable.

 

He re-read them in his inbox, again.

 

Gorgeous. Sexy.

 

I’m sorry, is this you? he texted back in disbelief. In what universe do you, Sebastian Smythe, find me ‘gorgeous and sexy’?

 

Good.

 

Sebastian exhaled deeply. He’d gotten a response. A question, even, which meant that Kurt was curious.

 

This was a hook in.

 

This universe. The one we live in now.

 

He sent another, then, even riskier.

 

You are gorgeous, Kurt. Your eyes, your style. Your heart.

 

And that little red outfit, that night? Very. Hot.

 

Kurt both wanted to throw his phone away from him, and pretend this wasn’t happening, and press this incredulous matter further.

 

This was impossible, it had to be.

 

You’re joking with me, and I don’t think it’s funny, Kurt insisted. You told me I looked like, and I quote, an embarrassing excuse for a jester.

 

It was your body. You wear things that look like they were dragged out of the chest of Victorian divorcée most days, but you have a stunning body, Kurt. The kind I’ve caught myself wanting to be wrapped around. That outfit of yours showed you off, and well. I was drunk that night, but I remember.

 

No.

 

You were wearing those tight, red pants. Didn't even look like your pretty legs could breathe in them. You were hardly wearing a shirt, and had that damn little corset on, too. You walked into the room and I swear, I’ve never wanted anyone so badly in my life. You can't possibly blame me. Any gay man with eyes should've wanted to stare at you, and much more.

 

This wasn't happening. This. Was not. Happening.

 

But like I said. Don't let it go to your head. It's just something I thought, just a compliment. Nothing more.

 

Don't let it go to your head, he kept saying.

 

Right.

 

He didn't mean it.

 

Kurt was sitting there reduced to an embarrassed mess, his eyes stinging, locked onto the messages burning in his inbox. But you thought that I was ugly, he thought, tearing up, exasperated. This was the refrain that kept playing over and over in his head, what he almost responded to Sebastian now, all the pain and insecurities this boy had once caused him suddenly re-surfacing. It was cruel, he thought, to be so mean and then so heavenly back and forth, and he flashed back to that so very painful day their senior year, when this stranger who knew nothing about him had sat across from him and said all those things:

 

“Blaine’s too good for you, New Directions is a joke, and one of us has a hard luck case of the gay face, and it ain’t me. Odds are by the end of the school year I’ll have Blaine, and you’ll have khakis and a Lima Bean apron and that gay face.”

 

And that wasn’t to mention all the traps he’d spun up this year, all “you look like you’ve been soaked in bleach and locked in a basement for several dark years,” people didn’t say things like that to the people they wanted. Right? How could they?

 

Sebastian didn’t like anyone, not really, not him, and the guys Sebastian did actually sleep with? They were all older, and worldly, and he kicked them all out of his life, one by one, like they were nothing to him, like they were garbage.

 

Sebastian would never waste his time, or be attracted, to someone sentimental like Kurt, so simple, so boring. Right?

 

No, this had to just be some kind of prank again, Sebastian getting bored and playing with his emotions to stroke his ego, just like all his other tricks, and seriously? Kurt had thought his roommate was past this by now, being ballsy and titillating just to get...attention?

 

His heart thumped wildly as his class ended and he made the trudging journey back up to the room, where no doubt Sebastian was just sitting there waiting for him.

 

Shit shit shit, he told himself, Blaine was right, I’m so stupid.

 

He thought about the night they ran across campus at three a.m., the day they half wrestled each other in the rain on their date to see the Warblers, the fact that they’d hugged, like really hugged, just hours ago—

 

Shit. He’s attractive, yes, okay, you’re attracted to him, and you were stupid, naive, and vulnerable enough to actually start to care for him, but...you can’t let this relationship become a strain like all the others, you just can’t. This was supposed to be different, not like Karofsky, like Chandler...fuck.

 

Why can’t any man just see me and be normal?

 

When Sebastian hadn’t gotten anymore responses, he knew things had just taken a turn for the worst.

 

When he heard the jingling of Kurt's keys at the door presently, he sat up, and his stomach turned. He wasn’t ready for Kurt to walk through that door holding his beating heart in his hands. He wanted so badly to just go back in time, but now Kurt held the cards, and the power.

 

When Kurt walked in and looked at him, unsmiling and nervous, Sebastian knew what kind of conversation this was going to be. He prepared himself for the worst, to beat Kurt Hummel to the punch, accordingly, and his old self returned.

 

"Um, okay," Kurt started, loosening the scarf around his neck. "What is going on with you? Your texts?”

 

Sebastian gave him his best poker face.

 

"Nothing," he said, flat.

 

Kurt had to look away from Sebastian’s blank expression, walking over to his bed and pacing a little in front of it.

 

"Look, you can't just—text something like that to me, and then not be able to talk about it in person.”

 

“I just did.”

 

Kurt sighed, long and slow. He didn't know why he'd expected this conversation to be easy.

 

“I'm not—okay, I don't know, whether you meant any of that, or not, or what.” Kurt’s temperature was rising, though he tried to sound as calm and reasonable as possible. “But Sebastian—" his voice broke, faltered, "it's not right for you to talk about me, and my body like that, when I have a boyfriend. You know that I think that."

 

Broken. Fucking. Record.

 

"And I don't even really—understand," Kurt went on, and Sebastian just watched him, watched his mouth trying to craft these perfect little words, these safe, composed little sentences. "You spend months telling me in every possible, conceivable way that I'm ugly, and now all of a sudden, I'm attractive? I was attractive to you back then?"

 

"Get over yourself, Kurt," Sebastian snapped. "I said I wasn't hitting on you."

 

Kurt actually had the gall to look visibly disappointed at this.

 

Sebastian stood up. He took a moment to breathe, noticing the minor trembling of Kurt’s lip, the way that lovely color started to fill his face. He smiled, then.

 

"Though judging by the pathetic look you have on your face," he said to Kurt, "you want me to want you.”

 

"God, shut up, you’re so typical!" Kurt yelled. "I don't want you either!"

 

If Sebastian hadn't been sure about the fact that he had a hook in before, he was sure about it now.

 

"You're blushing," Sebastian confronted him.

 

Kurt swallowed. "I blush at the drop of a hat," he defended.

 

"You really don't know how to take compliments, do you?" Sebastian began to walk towards Kurt. "Think that every time a guy so much as tells you that you have a nice eyelash, he wants to jump your desperate bones.”

 

"You're being really mean.”

 

Sebastian came close enough that their faces were just inches apart, and Kurt's eyes flickered down to his lips for a half a second. So quick that anyone else would've missed it, but of course, Sebastian didn't miss it. He chuckled.

 

"You're flattered.” His voice dropped down to that almost-growl. "You're flattered that I gave you the attention you strut around here wearing lingerie over clothes just asking for, acting like you aren’t dying for it. You looked hot, that night, gorgeous, that night, and yeah, maybe I would've fucked, if you weren't you." He drew closer, so close that he and Kurt were just inches apart. "And you're trying to find the meaning behind it, when there is none."

 

"Stop it," Kurt shut his eyes, his heartbeat racing and Sebastian’s proximity starting to overwhelm him, but he didn't, and wouldn’t, back away, give into cowardice. "You can’t turn on me like this, it’s not fair, not after I trusted you, not when you know how much I love my boyfri—"

 

"If you’d stop being such a child, pretending that word works like a failsafe that keeps the rest of the world out, you’d realize I'm not doing anything that crosses a boundary with you and your boyfriend."

 

Sebastian came even closer, smiling wickedly and nearly whispering in Kurt's ear, ghosting his hand over Kurt's forearm.

 

"I'm not even touching you."

 

Kurt inhaled, smelled Sebastian's cologne and felt Sebastian so close, and damn, he really just needed to get out of there—

 

"The only way you'd be betraying Blaine is if you wanted me back," Sebastian continued in Kurt's ear. "Like I said. Do you?"

 

Kurt shuddered.

 

"You're being—pompous, and conceited, and stop—" he backed away now, giving Sebastian a harsh, warning push,"—getting so close to me."

 

That wasn’t a no, that wasn’t a no, but Kurt was suddenly hurrying around the room, grabbing his small suitcase from under his bed, fumbling with his car keys and his coat.

 

Walking away. Leaving him.

 

"This is why I've never actually liked you, Sebastian,” Kurt spat suddenly. “Deep down I knew that this was always what it was about, and this is why no one will ever stick around for you. You never change. Clearly any sad attempt at ‘friendship’ you conspire is a shallow, desperate, con artist’s attempt at getting your dick sucked, and if you haven’t already figured it out? That’s never going to be me. I’m going now. Have a nice break."

 

Sebastian watched, provoked, as Kurt rejected his advances for real.

 

And before Kurt could open the door to let himself out, he felt he just had to get the last word.

 

"Drama queen."

 

To which Kurt returned,

 

"Asshole."

 

And Sebastian,

 

"Bitch."

 

"Slut."

 

"Brat."

 

"Whore."

 

"Tramp."

 

"I fucking hate you."

 

"Goodbye."

 

Sebastian shook with frustration as the door slammed shut, immediately wishing, and begging God above, that he could take it back, take it all back.

 

And later, Kurt was driving home crying, so confused at how things had turned so ugly so fast. So conflicted, because he knew letting Sebastian say those things to him was wrong, and he hated having to say what he had just said to his friend, and he knew, or at least hoped, that Sebastian had just called him a bitch and a tramp as a defense mechanism, because he was hurt—

 

And then there was the fact that Sebastian had admitted it was about more than sex, and maybe Kurt should’ve listened—

 

Your eyes, your style, he had texted. Your heart.

 

I've never wanted anyone so badly in my life.

 

But Kurt had jumped on the defensive, faster than he could even comprehend or stop. And now their prides had gone and ruined it all again, and now it felt like they were back at ground zero.

 

And god, if things were already starting to feel on ice with Blaine before, Kurt was sure as hell they would be now.

 

He hadn’t known, he hadn’t known what exactly he'd been stirring, hadn’t known Sebastian had been watching him so closely, lying in wait.

 

But should he have?

 

 

 

Hey, Kurt. We need to talk.

 

Blaine felt sick to his stomach as he stared at the message, drafted in his outbox to Kurt. His boyfriend was on his way back to Lima as they hypothetically spoke, for Thanksgiving break, and Blaine should've been happy about this.

 

But he was starting to feel miserable.

 

Hey, Kurt. We need to talk. It's not bad or anything, but...okay, maybe it is bad.

 

His finger hovered over the ‘send’ button, just like it had for days,

 

But he erased the messages instead.

Chapter Text

If this was a dream, Kurt didn’t want to wake from it. That Wednesday, the night before Thanksgiving, Blaine was invited to the Hudmel household for what they’d initiated last year: unofficial “in-law” Thanksgiving festivities held for Blaine specifically, for what he would miss when he was with his own family.

 

When Kurt picked Blaine up that morning, he was surprised when nothing seemed to be the matter at all about Blaine’s countenance. They’d kissed, sweet and chaste and over and over, and Kurt felt himself get butterflies from it, the way he did at the start of it all. And Blaine gelled right back in with Kurt’s family the way he always did, detailing to Carole his upcoming solo Christmas carol gigs at coffee shops, bookstores, arguing with Finn and Burt about football coaches, trades and plays. Save for Kurt, they all drank a little wine—Burt finally let Blaine and Finn join in this year—as they prepared the first turkey, mac and cheese, and brussel sprouts for dinner number one.

 

Everything was so cheerful that Kurt couldn’t possibly bring himself to tell Blaine what had happened with Sebastian. Not only did they not have the privacy, his family acting as a gleeful buffer for what really needed to go down, but every time that Kurt caught Blaine’s eyes during the day, he looked so happy and at peace for the first time in what seemd like so long; he couldn’t stand to take him aside, be the reason why that faltered.

 

The only time they would’ve had a moment was just before bed. Burt, feeling especially ceremonious, broke his “open door” rule about Kurt having boys stay the night, and allowed Blaine to sleep over. Kurt wondered if Blaine wasn’t pushing it with his parents doing so, but didn’t want to ask; and Kurt was so full, and they were both so tired, that he still couldn’t bring himself to do what he had to.

 

They laid across from each other mostly in silence, smiling soft, and as Blaine drifted off, Kurt counted his eyelashes, laced their fingers together, not wanting this moment to ever end.

 

Blaine woke up early to spend his actual Thanksgiving at his parents’ house in Westerville, and Kurt decided that today, via text message, was not the time or way to drop the come-on either. The Hudmel clan watched the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade and football game (while Kurt read his Vogue in protest), and dinner was a bustle of humor and joyousness, Kurt almost crying from laughing at his father and Carole’s bantering with each other.

 

That night before bed, around eleven, they participated in what used to be Hummel-only tradition, the popcorn singing of the twelve days of Christmas to ring in the second half of the holiday season. Kurt was always given the five golden rings bit by Carole, always completely nailed that last note. Just after it was done, as he and Finn watched Animaniacs re-runs on cable, he got a text that would stir his heart.

 

Hey. I know you probably don’t want to hear from me, but I just wanted to apologize for the other night. I said what I said to you to bolster myself up after your rejection, but I was wrong. If you don’t want my attention, I totally understand. I’ll back off, we can act like what I said never happened. But I hope we can at least try again to be civil. We still have to live with each other, at least until the end of the semester.

 

But Kurt didn’t answer, couldn’t, at the moment. For just one more night, he wanted to pretend that everything was perfect.

 

But when he woke up Black Friday, and read the text again, he knew he couldn’t keep living in his fantasies.

 

Around noon, Finn and Kurt sat across from each other at the kitchen table, Finn pushing soggy cereal in a bowl around with a fork, and Kurt fully dressed to go out for the afternoon, munching on a leftover-Turkey sandwich.

 

“I can’t believe I went out with Tina for three years and didn’t even know she was a lesbian like that,” Finn was saying.

 

“I can,” Kurt replied.

 

“What kind of girls is she even into?”

 

Kurt scrolled through his phone for a moment, pulled up a photo of Tina and Rachel from Tina’s instagram.

 

“Whoa,” said Finn.

 

“Pretty, huh?” said Kurt. “That’s Rachel. Incredibly high strung, but she’s the best at what she does. And cares about my little Tina more than most things in this world, all of a sudden. Bless her.”

 

“I know this is crazy dude, but I feel like I know that girl, like I’ve met her somewhere before or somethin’.”

 

“You’re right, that is crazy.”

 

"So, how's it been going with that douche-y roommate?"

 

Kurt felt his heart do a strange thing at that. Where did he begin?

 

“Well, pretty damn awful, lately,” Kurt said to his brother, with his mouth half full. “A few weeks ago, we'd finally started to get along. Really, really well, actually. He'd probably tell you it was my fault, that we don't get along now, but he seriously started it. He always starts it.”

 

“What happened?” Finn inquired. “Did you fight? I gotta be honest, I can’t imagine you and a guy like that, all preppy and proper, in a fist fight. I’d peg you to win the fight, more than him.”

 

“Oh, there was a fight, but it was with words. He thinks he’s into me, and told me as such, as inappropriately as only he can, but—he’s just like the majority of men on the planet in thinking that, being mean to the person you like is how you show them you like them. I just don’t believe in that.”

 

Finn slurped a bit of the milk from his cereal bowl.

 

“It’s stupid that men do that, huh?” he said then, thoughtfully. “I was real mean to Tina sometimes, it was almost like, the good was so good that when the bad was bad, I got scared that that good was never coming back. I never wanted to feel that back and forth ever again. It’s was like, a self-defeation thing, you know?”

 

“Self-defeatist. And yeah, I get it. I mean, I understand the train of thought of it, but—couldn’t he have just thought his way out of it, before attacking me? I could just hate him, right now, for falling back into his old ways.”

 

"You know men, always thinkin’ with our boners.” Kurt snorted, and Finn shrugged, giggling at himself. “Even gay dudes, dude. Anyway, if you hate ‘m so much, why don't you just move out?"

 

"I tried that," Kurt said. "And I don’t hate him. Anymore. He's just difficult."

 

"You think you'll be able to work it out the whole year?"

 

Kurt finished up the last of his sandwich, wiping his hands off on his pants.

 

"I hope so."

 

Finn was quiet for a moment, then, smart as ever:

 

“Does Blaine know?”

 

Kurt sighed.

 

“He will today.”

 

“Good luck. Let me know if you need anything.”

 

“Thanks.”

 

Kurt thought he was past the cycling thoughts about what happened, but there that afternoon-morning, as he waited for Blaine to pick him up, it started happening again. He first tried to imagine, pissed and flattered and confused, how someone like Sebastian could find him gorgeous, how he could say that “every gay man with eyes would've stared at him, and wanted to do much more.”

 

Kurt had been spoken to like that by Blaine before, sure, but only ever Blaine. He'd never really had any indication that he was attractive to anyone else, perhaps because his head was so far crammed down into his relationship, he barely looked up at anyone. But also because, while he had nice skin and hair—because he went through grandiose measures to keep them up—Kurt looked at himself in the mirror and saw flaws.

 

Saw too-big eyes, too-big pores, a too big nose and a body that was just okay, he guessed; it looked good in designer jeans, but designer jeans looked good on everyone.

 

The fact that Sebastian had seen him that night, dressed in next to nothing, and had thought that his body had looked so—

 

Kurt didn't want to think about it.

 

He wasn't supposed to be thinking about it, damn it. Sebastian was bad, bad, bad for him.

 

And that was why Kurt felt guilty. Because that morning, he lie in bed thinking about Sebastian’s messages, and thinking about the conversation that followed them, trying to, as Sebastian had accused, trying to find a meaning behind the whole thing.

 

And if some guy had texted Blaine all those things, as this same guy had, once upon a time,

 

Kurt would want to know about it.

 

And yes, Blaine hadn't given him that most of the time, but Kurt didn't care as it applied to himself. He was over what happened with them officially now, as it seemed that Sebastian had—clearly moved on.

 

No, Kurt was going to do the right thing here. No matter how uncomfortable it made him.

 

 

 

 

"Kurt, come on."

 

"Oh no, no, don't 'Kurt, come on' me. Just try them on, it'll only take a minute. Please?"

 

Kurt and Blaine were at the overcrowded Lima mall, inside Kurt's favorite men's fashion store. Kurt was doing some therapeutic money-wasting, holding up a pair of pink jeans in Blaine's size, smiling teasingly. Blaine was smiling back at him, but thinly.

 

"They're going to make my ass look huge, look at those pockets!" Blaine complained.

 

"All the more reason to put them on," Kurt said, with a raise of his eyebrow.

 

Blaine sighed. Kurt pouted, adorably, said "please" again, and Blaine couldn't say no to Kurt when he looked at him like that. He took the pants from his boyfriend and headed towards the long line at the dressing room begrudgingly, with Kurt following behind.

 

"I don't understand why I'm doing this, these are horrifying," Blaine said, from the other side of the dressing room door. "You, of all people, should know that."

 

"Oh, please, you would've picked something out like this yourself if I wasn't at the mall with you," Kurt said from the hallway, leaning against the wall across from Blaine's room.

 

"When have I ever worn hot pink pants?"

 

"Never, but, you have worn hot pink scarves, hot pink suspenders, hot pink bowties, hot pink polo shirts—need I continue?"

 

"Alright, alright, fine."

 

Blaine opened the door momentarily, standing in the tightest, brightest, most camel-toe-inducing jeans that Kurt had ever found in the men's section of any store. Blaine's legs looked like stuffed sausages, but he was shirtless save for his black bowtie, and Kurt burst into laughter at the sight.

 

"Oh, my god," he coughed through his laughs. "How much do those cost again?"

 

Blaine glanced down at the tag by his butt. “Five hundred dollars.”

 

"Five hundred dollars! That’s incredible. They're not even True Religion, or Seven, or DKNY, or anyone even notably important. This De la Cruz, whoever they think they are, is just making a sad attempt at trying to pass them off as bourgeoisie."

 

Blaine chuckled, trying to be a good sport, and rolled his eyes.

 

"Okay, you're dismissed," Kurt said with a wave of his hand. "Thank you, that was highly amusing."

 

When Blaine turned around to walk back into the changing room, Kurt had to wholeheartedly agree: the pants, ugly though they were, did make his ass look huge.

 

At the food court an hour later, Kurt’s internal clock was ever ticking, pressing and pushing him to do it, just do it, there was never going to be a “right time” to do it—

 

He returned to his boyfriend at the cafeteria table with a tray with two salads, and iced tea and a Coke on it.

 

“What?” Kurt said, on the scrunched up look on Blaine’s face all of a sudden, staring down at the food self-consciously. “Did I screw this up?”

 

“No, it’s—“ Blaine shook his head, sighing light. “I wanted cranberry apple walnut instead of blueberry walnut vinaigrette, but—it’s okay, I’ll still eat it—”

 

“Oh, no, here.” Kurt unchained his wallet from his belt loop and handed it over to his boyfriend. “Go and buy what you want, I’ll just save this one for my dad. He and his bad heart need it more than you do, anyway.”

 

Blaine returned after a few more minutes with the right salad, and was quiet, then; pushing his fork around his food instead of actually eating it. Kurt, meanwhile, was starving, even after the giant sandwich he’d had earlier, practically shoving his food into his mouth.

 

"I was just thinking," Blaine said, after some time. "You've changed, ever since going off to college. I mean, physically. You look older."

 

Kurt finished his clumsily-portioned bite, shrugged. "You think so?" He made a face. "I don't know, I feel like I've looked the same since my junior year.” At Blaine’s silence, and the way he had suddenly placed his cheek in his palm, staring, Kurt added, “Is this...a bad thing?”

 

"No, no," Blaine said, straightening up. "You've just grown up. You've blossomed, Kurt."

 

“Aww, well thank you. Oh, when did you say you have to be home again?"

 

"They claim they don’t care, but I know they want me home at least before eleven," Blaine fidgeted with the sleeves of his sweater. "They’ve been giving me a lot of crap about you lately, more than usual. They didn't want me hanging out with you again today."

 

Kurt just rolled his eyes. Same old, same old.

 

"It's because you're not around so much anymore, at college and all that," Blaine added, resuming his salad pushing. "Far away. Busy."

 

Kurt deadpanned him. "I still live in Ohio.”

 

"I know. They just still really think that I'm wasting my time with you."

 

"Do you think you're wasting your time?"

 

Blaine hesitated.

 

"No," he said then, hurriedly. "No, it's just—hard, to hear them tell me that stuff every day when I don't get to see you. They ask me if I'm still with you, and then they ask why I even bother, and I do feel really, really lonely when you're not here." He looked broken up about this as he spoke. "It just gets me down."

 

Kurt pouted sympathetically.

 

"Well, at least next year when you’re in college, what your parents think won't matter as much, right?”

 

Blaine hesitated again.

 

“I hope so.”

 

Kurt knew, or tried to tell himself stubbornly, that Blaine’s doubts about his family were normal, understandable. But he also figured that one day, in the vague future, Blaine's parents wouldn't be so hard on him about it. They would accept that one day, he was going to live with a man, and marry a man.

 

He'd had this conversation with him about a hundred times.

 

When Kurt reached for Blaine’s hand across the table, to rub it soothingly, his stomach turned. There was a conversation he hadn’t had, that he just needed to spit out—

 

"Hey," Kurt said now. "Not to be a Debbie downer on the already somber mood, but—I have something that I need to tell you."

 

Blaine's face went from slightly worried to completely distressed in about a second flat.

 

"It's not—nothing happened," Kurt ensured him quickly. "And I don’t wanna break up, ever. I just wanted to tell you. That—“

 

In his head, he saw Sebastian close to him, whispering things in his ear, ghosting his hand above his forearm.

 

Asking, in a low and tempting tone, if he wanted him.

 

He shuddered.

 

"Sebastian came onto me. The other day."

 

Blaine's mouth fell open, and then he groaned, yanking his hand back.

 

"See, I knew it, I knew that he was interested in you, Kurt!"

 

"He’s not—" Kurt started to deny the whole thing, but don’t, don’t lie, he told himself sternly. "Wait, just listen—"

 

"What exactly does 'come on' even mean?"

 

"It was a text message," Kurt answered, nervous, "a series of them, and um—r-remember what I was wearing, on Halloween?"

 

Blaine huffed. “Yeah, I remember it.”

 

"He complimented me on it, and apparently he—fantasized about me, in that outfit, or something, and decided because of that that now he has a crush—" Kurt winced at the look of disgust on Blaine’s face, “and then decided to tell me about it because he's Sebastian, and he thinks the world’s his plaything, but—I promise, I didn't engage, and I didn’t want it."

 

When Blaine still hadn't said anything, began to stab at bits of lettuce with his fork, Kurt took both his hands, held them tight. Blaine still wouldn’t look at him.

 

"You know just as well as I do that it doesn't mean anything coming from him. I think at this point he’s tried making it with every guy his age he’s ever met.”

 

Blaine seemed to calm down a little, but not much, and he stubbornly still wouldn’t look at Kurt.

 

"What did you say, in response?" he asked weakly. "When he—'complimented' you."

 

Kurt paused for a moment.

 

"I—I can't lie, and say that I wasn't flattered by his comments about the clothes, themselves," at the defeated look on Blaine’s face Kurt just about wanted to die, "because I worked really, really hard on that costume, you know that. But I told him, in person, that he can't say things like that to me ever again, and that I'm not interested in him, because I'm not."

 

Blaine still seemed upset with him.

 

“I don’t know if it’s possible at this point in the semester, but maybe I can see about trying to move out again,” Kurt persisted.

 

At this, Blaine finally looked him in the eye. Kurt wasn’t even sure he’d meant it, if he wanted to run away, but right now he thought, if it made Blaine trust him, that he might try.

 

“You believe me when I say that there’s nothing going on, right?”

 

Blaine smiled, but it was a sad attempt.

 

"Yeah," he said eventually, faintly. "Thank you, for telling me. I'm glad that I know."

 

 

 

"This is the most ridiculous line I've ever seen.”

 

Kurt and Blaine were in Macy's, Kurt's arms full of potential purchases, and Blaine's arms full of even more of Kurt's potential purchases. It was true what Blaine said, the line was stretching around two whole corners of the store.

 

"You seriously want to wait in this?" he continued.

 

"I'm not going to find Guess this cheap any other time a year.”

 

"Well, you can wait then. And while you're here, I can go to the watch factory, and the tie store, like I've been wanting to do since we got here. Four hours ago."

 

"You don't even need any more bowties.”

 

"Well you don't need any more Guess.”

 

"There is always enough room in my closet for Guess, Vera Wang, and Yves Saint Laurent."

 

"We've been doing what you wanna do all day, Kurt."

 

"We passed by the watch factory and the tie store earlier, but when I asked if you wanted to go in, you said it was okay if we went to Burberry first."

 

"I knew how much you wanted to buy that umbrella, you've been talking about it for three whole weeks...when we have talked…"

 

"You can leave and go to the other stores if you want to, Blaine. We could've done it four hours ago if you'd just said something."

 

"I was just trying to do what made you happy!"

 

At the crack and the break in Blaine's voice, Kurt glanced over.

 

This was silly.

 

"If you're going to go, just go," Kurt said, calmly and slowly, like he was speaking to a child. "I really don't mind. I'm fine, I can wait by myself."

 

Blaine frowned, proceeding to hand Kurt the clothes that he'd been holding for him, stacking them so high that Kurt could hardly even see over them.

 

Another hour later, they were in the car, and Blaine was driving them back to Kurt's house. They were both unusually quiet, though Kurt was because he texting Tina about her trip to Rhode Island with her parents, to get settled into her new apartment.

 

"Did you still wanna go to Puck’s party tonight?" Blaine spoke up eventually.

 

Kurt didn't answer right away, distracted.

 

"Sure," he said. "I mean, yes, I still want to go."

 

Blaine tapped his fingers against the wheel.

 

"Who's that?" he asked, of Kurt's phone.

 

"Tina."

 

"Oh." More silence. "How is she?"

 

"Didn’t you just see her the other day, before she left for Brown?” He dialed it back, catching his tone. “Fine, she’s fine.”

 

More silence, then.

 

"Just fine?"

 

Even more.

 

"Yes.”

 

They didn't say anything else to each other until they were back at Kurt's house with Finn. Finn and Blaine played the latest Fallout, handing the controller back and forth and talking strategy as Kurt sat on the couch, refusing to play as usual.

 

He’s being so grumpy today, he was telling Tina, he was even before I had anything to say about Sebastian. I don’t know, I can just see him balling everything up. I feel like something bad's going to happen.

 

Blaine’s too smart to actually think Sebastian’s a threat to you guys, Tina told him. Don’t worry. Try to focus on the good!

 

 

 

Later that night, Kurt, Finn, and Blaine drove to Puck's house, where the New Directions reunion party was being held. Puck’s fake I.D. allowed for booze to freely flow, and a la the function they held in Tina’s parents’ basement junior year, the night would serve to bring the already tight-knit group of misfits even closer.

 

Not everybody from the glee club had been able to come back in town, Quinn had stayed at Yale in New York and Tina was spending the holiday in Rhode Island, but Santana was back from Kentucky, Mike back from Alvin Ailey, Brittany back from “the future,” whatever that actually meant, and Mercedes back all the way from glitzy Los Angeles.

 

For much of the evening, Kurt, ever the designated driver, sat on the floor and watched his friends all play their games, play catch up.

 

“Kurt Hummel, you are the only person I know who can be sitting in a room full of people who love him, and still be sitting by himself in a corner.”

 

Mercedes plopped down on the floor next to him, giddy-drunk, and affectionately cradled his face.

 

“What are you talking about?” he said, after kissing her palm lightly.

 

“It’s what you do, you sit in corners alone at parties.”

 

“I do not.”

 

“So, you and Blaine still seem all smitten.” She sipped happily from her rum and coke. “When the hell are you two pretty birds getting engaged? And don’t you dare have that wedding until I’m back in town.”

 

“Well, uh...”

 

She held up a finger before he could even get started. “What’s ‘well, uh’?”

 

“It’s just, we’ve been fighting a little bit, lately. But it’s normal, we go through funks around this time of year. It’ll pass.”

 

Accordingly he glanced across the room at Blaine, who was playing a game of corners with Finn, Puck, and Sam, losing terribly as usual. Sometimes Kurt thought he tried to lose on purpose—

 

“You still spendin’ a lot a time together, even though you live at school?” Mercedes questioned.

 

"I think so," Kurt replied. "We see each other once a week, or once every two weeks. He told me today that he gets lonely, and wishes he could see me more but—I miss him too, I just get so in the zone, spending every day on campus; it’s my life now, you know?"

 

He watched as Blaine stumbled over to Sam as the two of them laughed about something, practically burying his face into Sam’s chest. Thank god Sam was straight.

 

"So how have you and Mr. Trouty Mouth been?" Kurt said to Mercedes, tearing his eyes away from Blaine’s spectacle.

 

"Great!" Mercedes drank again and grinned. "Sam's parents finally got the money to buy a house again, so he's been in very good spirits. We were kinda worried about the distance, me being in Cali and him still being here, but it’s actually helped us. We've really had to learn how to communicate with each other. It's made us stronger."

 

There was an eruption of cheers and table-fist-pounds from Puck and Finn all of a sudden, so Kurt and Mercedes glanced over, startled. Sam was cursing and Blaine was falling backwards into the couch in a fit of laughter; apparently the two of them had officially lost the game, and now they were going to have to finish the rest of the cups on the table. And there were a lot of cups.

 

"Oh, Lord," Mercedes groaned, as Sam got to it, started throwing them back. "Thank God that Southern boy’s tolerance is as high as the day is long. Still, I’ma make sure he paces himself. Up we go."

 

She stood up and waddled over to her boyfriend, and Kurt decided begrudgingly that he should check on his. Who had just finished chugged cup number three, and was now curled up on himself on the couch.

 

“Blaine.” Kurt sat down next to him, rubbing his hands over his thigh. "You okay?"

 

Blaine sat up to wrap his arms around his boyfriend's shoulders, hanging off of them lazily.

 

"Yeah," he slurred, “but—Sam Evans is officially, the worst partner in corners ever!"

 

"Shut up!" Sam defended.

 

"Puck and Finn kicked our asses," Blaine explained. He closed his eyes, exhaled, and hung his head low. "Fuck, Kurt, I'm so drunk—"

 

Kurt rolled his eyes, patting Blaine on the back.

 

"Aren't you always?"

 

“I’m sorry.”

 

Blaine kissed Kurt's cheek and then rose, stumbling back towards the table and joining Sam in the chugging of the last two mixed drinks.

 

Kurt didn't follow.

 

A half hour later, Kurt and Mercedes were seated on the floor again, and Sam was laying with his head in Mercedes' lap. While the rest of their friends smoked hookah in a circle and listened to Artie and Santana tell horror stories, Kurt and Mercedes were in the middle of discussing the latest fashion finds that Kurt had picked out during his Black Friday shopping. When suddenly, someone could be heard in the hallway bathroom retching and puking.

 

Kurt scoped the room for who was missing, and his heart sunk.

 

"Aw man, who's spewing their guts in there?" Puck shouted.

 

"Blaine," everyone answered in unison.

 

Kurt groaned louder than he’d meant to, and Mercedes frowned.

 

"Damn,” she said, “he was never this bad before, was he?"

 

"He's always been bad," Kurt complained. "I don't understand why he does this."

 

Mercedes grabbed her best friend's hand, consoling.

 

"Dude, I’m not like, trying to freak you out or anything,” said Sam, “but he gets like this every single weekend, at least.”

 

Okay, maybe Kurt didn't know exactly how bad it had been.

 

"I love the guy,” Sam continued, “he’s like, my favorite person ever, but it does get kinda tiring, cleaning up after ‘m all the time. I think he's just really sad lately or something. At least he hasn't gotten to the point where he starts crying yet."

 

"What on earth does he cry about?" Kurt asked incredulously.

 

Sam answered, “You.”

 

The door opened presently and Blaine stumbled out, wiping the back of his mouth with his sweater sleeve. Kurt watched as Blaine glanced over at the hookah circle self-consciously, though no one over there was paying him any mind. He then wobbled over to the hallway wall and leaned against it, his hands on his knees.

 

Kurt stood up and marched over to him immediately.

 

"Blaine."

 

Blaine wiped his mouth again, and didn’t respond. His eyes were shut.

 

"Blaine, I'm really worried about you,” Kurt tried again, “this isn't okay."

 

Kurt took Blaine's hands in his, but Blaine’s hold remained limp.

 

"I'm sorry," Blaine grumbled. "I don't—I don't like it when you worry about me, since you have—so many other things to worry about—"

 

"Well if you don't want me to worry about you, you have to stop hurting yourself like this," Kurt said, ignoring what was clearly Blaine trying to start a fight. "At this rate you’re going to end up in the hospital some day, this is serious!"

 

“You're angry at me.”

 

Kurt stopped short when Blaine stared up at him, golden eyes all dejected and wounded.

 

"No," Kurt said, suddenly sorrier than he could even articulate. “Frustrated, yes. But not angry.”

 

Blaine scoffed, shut his eyes again. “You should be.”

 

“What?”

 

Blaine shook his head. “Let's just—“ he had to stop talking, to gulp back what was probably leftover barf, and then pressed on. “Can we—can we just go? Can you take me home, please?"

 

Kurt sighed. He wanted to stay and talk to Mercedes, and be with his friends, but Blaine came first. He knew Blaine would do it for him.

 

He rounded up Finn and the two of them hoisted Blaine up, took him to the car. Blaine passed out in the back seat after a couple of minutes, and that’s when Finn asked,

 

“You guys okay, dude?”

 

Kurt repeated, would repeat forever,

 

“It's fine.”

 

Though, he amended,

 

“It will be fine.”

 

Kurt was both relieved and not relieved to see Mr. and Mrs. Anderson's cars parked in front of their house in Westerville. Relieved because at least Blaine wouldn’t be home alone, and if he did start choking on his puke in his sleep, someone would be there to help him,

 

But not relieved because, well, this was going to be awkward as fuck.

 

Blaine had woken up a little, just barely, when Finn announced that they had reached his house, but he was much too incoherent to walk in by himself. Kurt told his brother wanted to make sure he got to bed all right anyway, so Finn waited in the car as Kurt and Blaine stumbled up to the doorstep.

 

Kurt opened up the front door with Blaine's keys, guiding Blaine inside by his waist, and was greeted by Mrs. Anderson sitting on the living room couch reading, Mr. Anderson in an armchair watching Fox News.

 

The couple looked bored and uninterested when they saw their son, like they'd seen this kind of thing before.

 

"Hi," Kurt said pleasantly, even though they hadn't spoken. "I'm just gonna take him up to his room. He's not having a very good night. Clearly." He forced an uncomfortable laugh that went on for too long.

 

Mrs. Anderson smiled stiffly, and all Mr. Anderson did was raise an eyebrow.

 

Once in the bedroom, Kurt stripped Blaine of his clothes and into pajamas, helping him climb into bed. Kurt sat on the comforter for a while before letting himself out, stroking the side of Blaine's face with his hand. He was so worried about what his parents would say to him tomorrow, how Blaine might take it. They were hard on him about things, but really, Blaine was the hardest on himself.

 

Kurt leaned down and kissed Blaine's sweaty forehead once before leaving the room. He said goodbye to Blaine’s parents on the way out, but par the course, they did not respond.

 

The next morning, it was safe to say that Blaine had a hell of a hangover.

 

Once Blaine had texted Kurt letting him know he was alive, the couple decided to do late breakfast at a diner near Blaine’s house.

 

Blaine drank lots of coffee, black, and Kurt talked to him about some of their favorite memories from glee club, trying to keep the mood light. At one point Kurt went scrolling back through his inbox, trying to find a funny message from Santana about Brittany, and went far back enough to see Sebastian's errant messages, still sitting there.

 

He hadn’t erased them, wouldn’t erase them, but still hadn’t responded to his message on Thursday. He wanted to wait until he saw him first, wondered what that was going to be like; probably awful and tense, like it had been at the start.

 

And Blaine's smile faded, unbeknownst to Kurt, when he realized that his boyfriend’s attention was elsewhere.

 

They went back to Blaine's house, which was empty this time, and Blaine asked if Kurt wanted to "hang out in his room for a while." Kurt didn't expect that they would mess around as usual, Blaine was sick, and they hadn't even kissed all day. But, he agreed.

 

After unchaining his wallet and taking off his shoes, he went into Blaine's bathroom for a moment. Mostly he was in it to stare at himself in the familiar environment, and give himself a pep talk about his anxiety. He went back out then and sat on Blaine's bed, let his eyes scan the familiar olive walls, full of photos of them, as Blaine changed into baggy sweatpants.

 

"That coffee was amazing, but I still feel like I haven’t slept in weeks,” Kurt said.

 

Blaine sat down on the bed too, but he left a lot of distance between them.

 

“I feel like I haven’t slept in weeks because I have the worst fucking headache of my life,” he said.

 

"I like nursing you back to health sometimes, but right now it feels pretty hard to be sorry for you," Kurt said casually, eyes still wandering. "You do this to yourself."

 

Blaine stared at the back of Kurt’s head miserably.

 

"I hate the way you get when you're drunk," Kurt admitted now, exhaling. He hadn't been able to sleep last night, not knowing whether or not Blaine had stopped spewing. He hadn't really given the possibility of Blaine becoming seriously injured from his drinking that much thought, until Sam, who knew him well, said that it was a constant thing. "It's awful."

 

Blaine sighed irritably.

 

"Well, you’ve never told me that it bothers you, until last night, maybe," he complained. "So."

 

"Why wouldn't it?" Kurt went on. "You turn into a completely different person."

 

"I'm not an alcoholic.”

 

"I'm not saying you are, but that doesn't mean that when you drink around me, I like it, or think it's okay. I don't even understand why you drink."

 

"Well, I don't understand why you and Sebastian have been texting every day."

 

Kurt whipped his head around to stare.

 

Blaine stared back, appearing not to take back what he said.

 

"It’s not every day, he just got my number,” Kurt defended, “and what does that have to do with anything we were just talking about?

 

"I saw those text messages you were talking about, Kurt,” Blaine declared, “not to mention the—magic card, with your name on it, in your wallet, that apparently you saved when he showed you that trick. He did that same stupid stint with me, but I didn’t think it was clever enough to save it.”

 

Kurt's stomach plummeted as he glanced protectively at where his phone and wallet had been when he'd gone into the bathroom. He couldn’t even lower himself enough to comment on the card, which he hadn’t even looked at since that day; for god’s sake, he kept months-old receipts and trash in that pocket.

 

And, much more fucking pressing:

 

"You went through my phone?”

 

"I didn't read them all, word for word, I just—scrolled through, to see how many times he texts you in a day, and it's a whole hell of lot, Kurt. A lot. I just—wanted to check, and see if you were being—"

 

"Honest with you," Kurt finished for him. "You didn't believe me? I told you pretty much exactly what he said to me, and you still didn't believe me."

 

"Well, I—"

 

"You are being really ridiculous about him," Kurt cut him off. "I know he just seriously violated a boundary by talking about me in that outfit, but before that? Nothing he did was overstepping. And I didn't check your phone behind your back once when you used to talk to him. Ever."

 

"You could have," Blaine contested.

 

"Yes, I could have, but I didn't because I trusted you. Clearly you don't trust me just as much."

 

"It's him that I don't trust—"

 

"Oh, and you think that I trusted him back then?" Kurt argued. "It made me so, so incredibly angry, Blaine, the way he used to ogle you right in front of my face, the way that it was painfully obvious he wanted you to be his sex toy. It was humiliating, being around all our friends with him around, not wanting to look like a controlling jealous harpy if I didn’t let you have your own relationships. But did I ever snoop on you, and tell you to stop talking to him? No. And for the record, you rarely even attempted tell me about any of the nasty conversations he used to try and start with you. At least I told you about mine."

 

Blaine crossed his arms over himself.

 

"Sebastian had his reasons for pursing you, and I've long talked about it with him, and dealt with it, and forgiven him and you and all that,” Kurt continued. “And I trusted that no matter what he tried with you, you would compose yourself and you wouldn’t cheat."

 

Blaine squinted. "I never cheated on you.”

 

"I'm not saying that you cheated on me. You didn't, did you?"

 

Blaine paused for a moment, but then he said, "No."

 

He looked like he was about to start crying.

 

"You texted him all day on Tuesday," he said then, shakily. "You wanna know how many times you texted me, the one that you're actually supposed to have feelings for, that day? Twice."

 

Kurt sighed, frustrated.

 

"You told me that weekend that you were going to be ‘quiet,’ the next couple of days,” he said. “I didn’t even really understand what that meant—”

 

“Yeah, well, that was the weekend, not Tuesday.”

 

“What would you have even wanted to talk about? That we couldn’t’ve said when we saw each other literally the next day?”

 

"I don't know." Tears started falling from his eyes. "Anything."

 

"Wait—why are you crying?" Kurt asked, incredulous.

 

"It's not about Sebastian," he said. "Really, it's not. I've just been—doing a lot of thinking, and—we don't ever talk about anything, Kurt."

 

Kurt just stared at him.

 

"What are you talking about?"

 

"You didn't tell me about the door decorating contest while it was happening," Blaine pointed out. "I always have to find out what you're doing later now, even after he knows."

 

"He lives with me,” Kurt groaned.

 

"I'm sorry, I know, I know I'm being dramatic, I just—"

 

He stopped there, as if that were a complete sentence.

 

Kurt scoot over on the bed, hoping his closeness would quell his love’s tangible anxiety, the way it usually did.

 

"I know we don't always talk everyday anymore, and I'm sorry that I don't share as much as I used to," he said to Blaine now. "I know it's different, but I don't ever mean for my not texting or calling to hurt your feelings, ever, okay? And I mean—you and I still do talk—"

 

"We talk, Kurt, but we don't talk."

 

Blaine took a deep breath, wiping his eyes.

 

"Ever since you've been home, and since we've been alone, all we've been doing is arguing, and—I didn't know, that we had this many problems."

 

"We haven't been arguing that much," Kurt tried. "And the things we have been—babbling about, they aren't big problems, they're all little, stupid things,and we can work them out. We always do."

 

“Do we?”

 

The silence that fell between them, then, and the way Blaine turned away from him on the bed, started to shake Kurt to his core.

 

"Blaine," he said, uneasily.

 

"You still haven't forgiven me for all that shit with Sebastian last year, I can tell," Blaine snapped suddenly, harshly. "You never forgave me for it, you never even cared enough to look into it, and we never even fully talked about it."

 

"Okay, I agree that we never fully talked about it, and yes, I used to feel hurt—sometimes I still feel hurt—that you continued to talk to him every day even after he was clearly trying to come between us, and even after he talked so much shit about me. But," Kurt continued, dismissively, "it's okay, it's in the past now—"

 

"It's not in the past, Kurt!" Blaine exclaimed. "It's happening right now, it's still affecting us right now!"

 

Kurt was stunned into a confused silence.

 

“Don’t raise your voice at me—”

 

"We hit all of these speed bumps, and we have these—seemingly minor issues." Blaine practically spat over the word ‘minor.’ "But instead of dealing with them we just keep bouncing and bounding on over them, and we just ignore everything! I feel like we can't have, like, really, really open conversations about—hurt feelings, or hurt anything!"

 

Kurt’s heartbeat was thick.

 

“This is about the other night, isn’t it,” he started, horrified, “I told you, okay, I told you, to tell me to stop if I was hurting you—“

 

"It’s not about the other night, it’s not. I was the one who wanted you to do that to me, okay? Please, it’s not about that, it’s—about everything else, like—I didn't even know that you hated my drinking so profoundly. You've never told me that before. You find any way you can not to tell me what you think I'm doing wrong, so we don't ever come up with any final solutions, for anything."

 

Kurt was starting to feel terrified by this, by Blaine’s wording. “Final solutions?”

 

"What do you want me to do about my drinking, huh?” Blaine demanded. “Honestly, tell me how you really feel."

 

"I wish that you would stop," Kurt said. "I wish that you were never drunk, around me or anyone else ever again."

 

"You wish?" Blaine repeated. "Or is that what you want me to do?"

 

"You can do whatever you want, but—"

 

"Well what if I don't want to stop drinking?" Blaine contested, standing to his feet. "Ever? What if this is something I enjoy, and what if I get drunk around you again, the next time we go out? What are you going to do about that, Kurt, huh? You gonna push me? Anything?"

 

"Blaine, why are you talking to me like this?"

 

"Because you don't care! God, it's like I can't get you to feel anything!"

 

"Stop yelling at me!"

 

"I just get so frustrated—" Blaine sobbed a little. "I feel like I'm in this relationship by myself."

 

And just like that, Kurt started crying quicker than he could even believe.

 

"Oh, but baby, you're not—“

 

"But that's how I feel." Blaine sniffed, wiping his eyes again. "You don't ever—get angry, you don't ever tell me when you're upset. You don't ever ask me to change. You always just say ‘it’s fine,’ like everything’s fine, and I just don’t know what you want from me."

 

Kurt stood up too, took Blaine's hands in his, but Blaine didn't hold onto them back.

 

"I love you the way that you are," Kurt promised. "I don't want you to change—”

 

“Oh please, Kurt, you are picky about everything. If something doesn’t go exactly the way you’ve pictured it, you get panicky, and fidgety, and then you swear you’re ‘fine’ when I can tell that you’re obviously not! I used to think that you were joking about how—paranoid you get when the patterns of my clothes don’t match, or I don’t look just the way you imagine me, but you’re serious. You really can’t stand it when I step off of your ‘Blaine is so perfect’ little line, but half the time I can’t even tell where that line is!”

 

“I just—“ Kurt’s voice broke, “hate to burden you with this, my—my OCD, or whatever it is. I know the patterns thing doesn’t make sense, that I could get so upset over something so stupid, but it’s—it’s my battle, that I’ve always had, my hill I have to climb—”

 

“But you do burden me with it, Kurt. By keeping it from me, by keeping—secrets.”

 

A tear fell from Kurt's eyes. He felt like Blaine was drifting further and further away, just wanted his love to come back to him.

 

“It’s just like the way that—I could tell you were so hurt, when we were first getting to know each other,” Blaine said now. “At Dalton.”

 

"Stop it,” Kurt said, “we've talked about this, and you weren't that bad.” He didn't like talking about this part of their story.

 

"No," Blaine cut him off, "I knew, I knew exactly how you felt about me back then, you know? I knew from the moment I saw you on that staircase that there was something about you, something between us, but I was too scared, to be with someone as brave and as out as you were, so—so I acted like I didn't even want you, for months, and you shouldn't have ever let me treat you like that."

 

"But you did want me," Kurt persisted. "Deep down, you did, and then you realized that, and you kissed me—"

 

"I thought you were already done with me when that happened. When I kissed you that day, I was panicking, Kurt. I was scrambling. Trying to throw something, anything I could together at the last minute, so that I didn't lose you. What I said to you that day came from my heart, but it was so late. I realized too late that I would regret it if you got away, and I thought that there was no way you'd take my last minute garbage, or agree to being my boyfriend. I chased after you only once I thought that your feelings were gone.

 

"You should've been angrier with me, for ignoring you then. You shouldn't have wanted anything to do with me after I ignored your feelings—"

 

"I'm not that kind of person," Kurt whimpered. "I was hurt when those things happened, yes, but—I-I was okay. I saw your heart that day when you kissed me, I saw who I'd always known you were. That's why I let you in."

 

Blaine shook his head.

 

"Who you thought I was wasn't who I really was. That wasn't who I was showing you, with my actions. I've never deserved you, Kurt."

 

"Don't say things like that. Not now. Why are we even talking about this, this was so long ago—"

 

"You are so special, Kurt," Blaine continued, unsteady, "I know that, and I try to treat you that way, and I try to be good enough for you, but—when I'm throwing up, and you have to take care of me, or when I'm texting Sebastian about threesomes, feeling too ashamed of myself to tell you, I just think sometimes that you’d let me get away with murder. I can't tell if you’re really okay, or if I’m stepping all over you. You don't ever give me that. I've never been able to tell whether or not I'm hurting you by being with you."

 

Kurt couldn’t believe what he was hearing.

 

“Never?”

 

This was wrong, this was all wrong.

 

"All the time we’ve spent together,” Kurt told him. “My god, I feel like this isn’t even you, like you’ve been replaced by someone else all of a sudden. Just last weekend I was sitting in Du Garmond thinking ‘wow, I love him so much, I don’t want anything else in this world but to be eighty and still doing this dance with him.’ And yes, I hold back, but it’s just because I still can’t believe that someone like you could fall in love with someone like me. But we did it, we’re here and we’re trying our best, even if our best kind of hurts. Can't you see that?"

 

Blaine hesitated far too long.

 

"I wanna see it," he attempted.

 

Kurt stared.

 

"But you can't?"

 

Blaine didn't say anything.

 

Kurt stared and stared, tried to find him.

 

"Blaine, I'm—I'm trying to talk, now, I’m trying, and you're not talking back to me—“

 

"All I do now," he said, lowly, "is sit here. I sit here, with all these thoughts about you, and all these nagging concerns that I'm not doing enough, or that I'm doing too much, and I wonder if you're ever hurting, or ever angry, or still secretly blaming me for my mistakes with Sebastian, and my drinking, and Jeremiah, and everything else I've put you through. I sit here and my thoughts cycle and it really doesn't help that you're at a distance from me, physically and emotionally—it's just starting to make me feel literally crazy."

 

Kurt hadn't known.

 

"You are my best friend, and my first love, Kurt, but we have been pushing and pulling at each other to no end, without realizing, and I just feel like—you aren't in this like I am anymore. I feel so alone, and shitty, and like you don’t need me, and it's not the same as it was before. I can't do it this way."

 

"Blaine—"

 

"We should—" Blaine finally looked into Kurt's eyes again, boring holes into Kurt's composure, and began to slip his hands away. "I'm sorry, but I just think we should—"

 

"No." Kurt grabbed onto his hands tightly again, hurting them, not wanting to let them go. "No, no, no, don't, please—"

 

"I told you that I've been doing a lot of thinking, and I just I can't keep feeling like this, especially when you're gone and you’re building this whole new life without me. It hurts, it hurts me too much."

 

"But this is just a recent problem," Kurt pleaded. "Isn't it?"

 

Blaine paused.

 

"For months," he said weakly. "I've been feeling this way, for months.”

 

Kurt shook his head in denial.

 

"Four more weeks," Kurt rushed now, grappling with Blaine's hands greedily. "In four weeks, in December, I'll be back home for winter break, we'll have three whole weeks to spend together, as much as you want—"

 

"And after that?" Blaine snapped. "In January, and February, and March?"

 

"I can drive here to see you more often," Kurt insisted. "Or you can come to me, and I'll make more time, I'll call you every night again. I'm busy, but I'll do it for you, I promise—"

 

"I can't, Kurt! I can't do this when you're not here with me every day, I can't take my parents hounding me about how much I'm wasting my time, and I can't handle not ever knowing where we stand—"

 

"Please don’t, this is just so sudden, and I—" Kurt sobbed. "Please let me do something to try and change this, I didn't know that this is how you've been feeling—"

 

"I love you, Kurt, please know that I love you, but I'm just—I just can't, right now," Blaine finished. "I'm really, really sorry."

 

Kurt backed away, wiping his tears with his sleeve, as Blaine sat back down on his bed, no longer crying himself.

 

“How long?” Kurt begged, then. “H-how long is ‘right now’?”

 

Blaine shrugged, his voice steady.

 

“Don’t hold your breath, for little old me.”

 

Kurt walked out of the Anderson’s house trembling, feeling like something heavy was crashing down all around him. Repeating the word ex-boyfriend, ex-boyfriend, ex-boyfriend in his head, he felt like this was another dream from which he could not wake.

 

He drove, right back home and then in a blind hurry, packed his things to return to Ohio State, because being in Lima without Blaine, left to torment himself with his thoughts—What did I really do? Did he cheat on me? He’ll call me tomorrow, and say it was a mistake, right?it was too much for him.

 

He hoped to drive right out of this nightmare, and back into the world, but he was so awake, too awake, and this nightmare was the world.

 

 

 

 

Sebastian’s Thanksgiving was not quite as grievous as Kurt’s ended up being, but it was sorrowful in its own right.

 

Sebastian’s father spent the actual holiday, Thursday, locked away in his study, preparing for his services the next day. In his predictable absence—he believed a woman’s place was in the kitchen—Sebastian helped his mother with the dinner: stuffed duck and turkey, purple potato stew, cranberry red wine sauce, shrimp and scallop stuffing.

 

She’d been cooking since the late hours of the prior night, fixing as if twelve guests would be around her table, when really, it was all just for the two of them, “my two boys,” as she called her husband and son. That evening, the kitchen was warm with steam, with smells that made Sebastian think of being here with her when he was young. Back then, standing beside her at the counter, he would pretend that it was just the two of them who lived here. He still wished to this day that he could take her away to another palace, but knew that she would never leave, at least, not until her lover did.

 

She stood a few paces away from him now, chopping vegetables to add into the stuffing.

 

“How is that darling you live with?” she asked melodiously. “Kurt, is it? Home for the holiday with his family?”

 

Sebastian was adding her diced cubes to the stuffing mixture, stirring. “I assume so, yeah.”

 

“You should have invited him here. Make him your boyfriend, yes?”

 

Sebastian scoffed, chuckled. “We both know damn well I can’t do that.”

 

“I would not be telling your father.” She winked at him. “It can be our secret.”

 

“You are too much.”

 

He paid close attention then, quiet for a moment, as she expertly brandished her cutting knife. Caught sight of the most recent bruises on her wrist, underneath her thousand dollar diamond crusted watch.

 

“Even if I could, bring him here,” he said then, swallowing hard, glancing away from his mother’s thin arms. “He doesn’t feel the same way about me.”

 

“But, you are my son, so you are perfect.” She paused to reach one hand across the counter and pinch his cheek, as he swatted her playfully.

 

Then, looking serious, resuming her work: “Why does he not?”

 

“Aside from the fact that he’s basically married, to a guy I know, no less—I haven’t been very kind to him. Said some pretty awful things when I found out he didn’t return my feelings. I was just jealous, I didn’t mean a word of it, but. Now I fear he’ll never forgive me.”

 

“Do not use that word, ‘never.’ Do what ever it is possible to show him you are there. Who knows, what will become of this fiancée someday, no? If there is one thing I know about you, mon amour, it is that you do every thing with one hundred percentage. When your mind is on something, you do it all, with all your passion. Show him that aspect. I am sure he will return.”

 

He suddenly felt the urge to hold her, so he did; paid care to one of her wrists especially, rubbing his thumb over the bruised skin gently. Kissed her temple.

 

“Thanks, Mom.”

 

Adélie whistled as her son resumed his post.

 

“Tch, you are in love, my, my. So affectionate lately, ooh la la.”

 

Sebastian’s laughter practically spilled from his lips. She made him so happy. “Shut up.”

 

At being told to shut up, she threw bits of carrot at Sebastian’s head.

 

A few hours later, the grandiose table set, Sebastian went upstairs to get his father from his office. The door was slightly open, and before beings seen, he overheard the man on the phone with his assistant pastor.

 

“No, no, John. At least you know Michael will give you a family someday. Sebastian’s never so much as batted an eyelash at a woman. I don’t think he’s going to go either way, at this point. A eunuch, maybe. Or broken.”

 

Sebastian stood with his back against the wall by the doorway, listening in and staring up at the ceiling, where he perceived God to be. The Big Man’s timing was just as apt as ever. His father seemed obsessed with his orientation, had to be if he was talking about it just as Sebastian walked up; who knew what else he had been saying, and for how long?

 

He decided to interrupt not long after his father said that “it” was Adélie’s fault, for “castrating” him.

 

“Always treating him like he was something special, before he’d earned it. He never became humbled, never feared. Thinks he’s on par with God or something. He does this, now, this thing, because he thinks he’s God. Like he has the control.”

 

Sebastian’s father used to say things like that, accuse his son of trying to surpass God, when he would beat him with a belt in the master bedroom closet as a kid.

 

“You think you have the control? Not one of us, not one of us does. There are rules, there’s an order, and I will not have you bringing that feminine shit into my house.”

 

This particular beating had taken place because a ten year old Sebastian had been caught reading one of his mothers hidden romance novels, a glossy, near-nude man gracing the cover.

 

“It’s not mine, it’s not mine, I swear–”

 

“Your mother’s, then? You must want her to get beaten, too.”

 

“Please, please don’t—”

 

The next day, after beating them both, Dr. Smythe would be unaffected, levelheaded. Smiling as he asked his son and wife how their days had been, without him while he was at work. Passing the mashed potatoes and the wine like this life wasn’t torture for his dependents, like they were a happy family, who hit the reset button at the start of each new day.

 

Now, the three of them sat nine years later.

 

“I was just on the phone with John discussing the new initiative, to take place during December,” Dr. Smythe was telling them, his hands trembling as he sliced into his duck. “To increase youth engagements we will be holding a Wednesday night Bible study for teens, which will include opportunities to shadow staff members, show them career opportunities in the church. With the conservative shift in the tide of politics, with Trump at the helm, I think now is the time to mobilize the youngest generations, early.” He chewed and swallowed his fowl, then: “What do you think?”

 

As if what we think about you matters, Sebastian thought bitterly, around his mouthful of Merlot.

 

“I think it’s wonderful, darling,” said his mother, reaching for one of her husband’s wrinkled hands. “Great, great work.”

 

The man nodded, smiling at her. Then, turning his gaze back to his food, his smile dropping off his face:

 

“Sebastian?”

 

Sebastian imagined himself standing, saying what he wished he could say:

 

I think it’s bullshit. I think kids are impressionable, and you know just how to get them and mold them and trap them before they can even comprehend it. Worse yet, I think you’re going to ask me to lead the Bible study, and lie to these kids about what a great place this is to come and know the Lord. If only they knew what a farce you really were.”

 

But instead, he swallowed the last of his glass, and his bravery with it.

 

“Sounds fine. Good luck.”

 

After dinner, his parents sequestered themselves in their bedroom as usual; Sebastian killed the rest of his mother’s vintage bottles, all four that she had been saving for the occasion all year, too irritable to care if he’d be in trouble for it the next day.

 

The Merlot and Cabernet, paired with his mother’s passionate words to him before, gave him the liquid confidence to craft a certain text message:

 

Hey. I know you probably don’t want to hear from me, but I just wanted to apologize for the other night. I said what I said to you to bolster myself up after your rejection, but I was wrong. If you don’t want my attention, I totally understand. I’ll back off, we can act like what I said never happened. But I hope we can at least try again to be civil. We still have to live with each other, at least until the end of the semester.

 

Not long after hitting send, he finally felt woozy enough to sleep.

 

His Black Friday was spent almost entirely in church; his father held four different services throughout the day, for the citizens of Westerville and their families to abandon the “demonic consumerism” celebrated by the masses on that day (as if you don’t have an empty house with ten fucking bedrooms in it, he thought at his father hatefully). That night, he drank himself to sleep again on wine he bought himself this time, awaking late Saturday morning in his dusty old bedroom. Drawing curtains only slightly, just to see fog and rain waiting for him, he finished the readings he had been assigned for the break for several hours. He thought his mother might knock on his door for him, but then, who knew what his parents got up to in that room.

 

Then, by sunset, had decided that three days here had been hellishly long enough. His head pounding, he moved around the room to re-pack things, taking more than he’d brought with him, this time; the rest of his clothes, already packed in space bags, his identifying documents, his keepsakes from France. After adding a second suitcase to the first, he stared at them both on his floor, readying himself to leave this place for what he hoped was probably good.

 

But he knew he would be back, he always came back.

 

Before he left, he knelt down before the king sized bedframe, stripped of all its pillows and sheets, the way he used to when he was a child.

 

“Hey.” He spoke his prayer aloud for the first time in several years, his voice echoing around the high ceilings. “I know, it’s been a while. I don’t need to tell you all the things I need to repent for, but. If you’re still on my side, I could really use some cleansing, and some clarity, about things. Just some kind of sign, that you haven’t abandoned me, the way I used to feel. Anything, would be great. Thanks.”

 

When he slipped out, the doors to his parents’ bedroom was closed, a light on underneath it.

 

He left without saying goodbye.

 

Scandals was open for the weekend as usual, and Sebastian found himself driving there more on autopilot than anything else. He wasn’t surprised to find the place rather bustling; he knew several older regulars, from drag queens to bear cubs, who met up here regularly on holidays, instead of traveling home to their rather hostile birth families.

 

The bouncer at the door, sad and gloomy as ever, waved him inside, no longer bothering to pretend like he checked his fake ID. Sebastian sat himself at the bartop and gave some quick nods to the people he recognized. Definitely noticed the man in his fifties he’d hooked up with far too many times, leaning up against the jukebox with a friend, staring over, smiling steady.

 

But Sebastian didn’t want to be touched tonight—for once, that wasn’t why he was here. He was here purely just to drink: ordered a shot of whiskey and the strongest IPA on tap, doing away with them both in under a minute. The bartenders, usually young and fucked up themselves, always failed to cut the underage Sebastian off; the only rundown gay bar in West Lima needed all the money it could get.

 

As he took down his second shot and beer, Sebastian scrolled through Twitter on his phone mindlessly, until he saw an advertisement for a fashion design school on his feed, which reminded him of Kurt.

 

God, is this a sign? he thought.

 

He copied the link in order to send it to his roommate, but knew that in their broken-up state, it would come off inappropriate. No, he had to do this right way, and start off by apologizing.

 

He’d tried, but Kurt hadn’t responded.

 

Soon the old man from the jukebox and his friend were leaning over the bartop to Sebastian's left, ordering another round for themselves. They treated Sebastian to two vodka shots on them, cheers-ed him accordingly, and Sebastian took them, grateful for the numbness they brought.

 

Two additional beers, three additional shots, and twenty blotchy minutes later, Sebastian’s ears were burning, his long legs itchy in his ill-fitting denim, cramped at the too-small barstool. His iPhone presenting, over and over, that Kurt left had his message on read. He was very much aware of how alone he was then, and knew that if he stayed, he’d just drink himself into oblivion, let someone “romance” him into a bathroom stall.

 

He stumbled back outside into the parking lot, the crisp air cooling the sweat on his face, far too drunk to drive his car, so instead he sat inside of it, watching as the dashboard spun.

 

In a moment, he was crying.

 

“I know, I know,” he continued his prayer. “If I want to hear your voice, I have to stop living my life like this. Not the gay thing, I know you love me not in spite, but because of that. But the drinking, the lashing out. The self-hatred. If there’s one thing I’ve learned, in all my life about you, it’s that you don’t make mistakes. Being gay isn’t a punishment. I need to stop acting like it is.”

 

Too soon before he was ready, perhaps, Sebastian sped off blindly down the interstate towards school.

 

On the same highway, that same hour, Kurt’s Ford Escape was pulled over in the emergency lane for the third time that evening. Sporadically, his crying became too incessant for him to see clearly, the sudden icy rainfall not helping, his vision too blurred for him to move forward.

 

“I hate you, I hate you,” he weeped to his steering wheel, thinking of how unfair it was for Blaine to make him feel like this. He picked up his empty, notification-less phone. “Why, why won’t you just call me?”

 

Finally, he arrived back to the dorm. The room was dim, with only Sebastian's small lamp on against the far wall, and Sebastian sitting in his desk.

 

“You're back.”

 

Sebastian spoke to Kurt the second he entered the room.

 

“Unfortunately,” Kurt responded.

 

During the last half hour of the drive, Kurt, with dry eyes, realized that he had things he needed to do; Blaine was being ridiculous, and would come to his senses presently. Figured he couldn't really cry anymore, as he'd done too much of it already, but his eyes were still red and puffy.

 

It was because of the way he looked, like he’d obviously been crying, that he really wasn't in the mood for much conversation with Sebastian Smythe, at least not tonight. Though he did believe his (former? no, just estranged, for now) friend was truly sorry, he didn’t have the energy tonight to get into any more verbal sparring, not after the one that had just trampled on his heart.

 

They would talk, maybe tomorrow, then.

 

As immature and in denial as he could be about some things, Sebastian knew that what had happened the other day between them was his fault. He knew he’d been selfish for trying to impose his desires for Kurt's body on Kurt, when Kurt had been unprepared for them. He'd been selfish for wanting Kurt to admit it first, for wanting Kurt to want him first, just so that he didn't have to be faced with the shivery possibility of admitting his own feelings, and not getting anything back in return.

 

The small, lingering part of his old self that just wouldn’t die, that Sebastian was longing to kill, just wanted to make Kurt and his stupid “eww, don't touch me, I have a boyfriend” rejection feel like crap. Part of him wanted to forget about how good it had felt to make Kurt laugh, and make Kurt smile. And part of him still wanted to erase the in-person apology he'd thought up that very Tuesday night, when his contrasting thoughts about going back in time and hate-kissing Kurt and going forward in time and comforting Kurt had driven him to an obvious state of delirium.

 

But a much greater part of him knew he couldn't, and wouldn’t, go through with any of that. Not anymore.

 

Sebastian was a boy who liked to be in control, who needed to be in control and especially of himself, and of his feelings. The problem with Kurt, his very existence, was that they made Sebastian feel so very out of control.

 

But what he did know now, was that he had to apologize again.

 

“You have to know, I regret everything I said to you.” He wasted no time pouring himself into the speech he’d spent hours agonizing over, as Kurt just watched. “When I was home, I prayed, a lot, and I realized that I am just–angry, about a lot. And God told me, he said, you take it out on people who have nothing to do with you, because you can’t find anyone to blame about what’s happened to you. I mean yeah, it’s kind of my dad’s fault, that I was in the closet, mentally, for so long, that now I have all these–habits. But it’s hard, impossible, really, to blame a person who will never admit what they’ve done to you. So now, I don’t trust anyone, Kurt, and that’s on me. Not even my own mother, and that’s why I sabotage everything and everyone around me. But you don’t deserve that from me, and I’m sorry. You are the most–gracious, and calm, and thoughtful person I think I’ve ever met, and that fucks with me, because–because I’ve been so convinced my whole life that no one is going to accept me for who I am. So I tried, on purpose, the other day, to provoke you and bring out the worst in you, to make you seem less–less perfect, to me. I don’t want you to think I’m just trying to get forgiveness, you’re not God, you’re not endless, so. You can hate me from now on, again, if that’s what you want.”

 

Kurt was crying again suddenly, his tears streaming down his face.

 

“I’m sorry, that I’m not saying much,” he said, sniffling. “I appreciate it, I do, and thank you, for being so honest with me. It’s just that, um–Blaine broke up with me today.”

 

“What the fuck?”

 

Kurt rolled his eyes, scoffing. That would be his reaction.

 

"I just mean—" Sebastian tried that again. His head was spinning. "You two are the dream couple. I thought this day would never come."

 

Kurt exhaled and half-laughed, brokenly.

 

"That makes two of us."

 

Sebastian shook his head in disbelief.

 

“This isn’t because of me,” he said, horrified, “because of what I said to you. Right?”

 

“Surprisingly enough, no, it’s not.”

 

Kurt stood up, then, and fixed to unpack his things from his suitcase. When Sebastian saw how many shopping and garment bags Kurt had gained since his departure, his eyes went a little wide. Retail therapy was clearly his forte.

 

"Is it—permanent?" Sebastian continued. "Or—"

 

"I don't know, okay?"

 

Kurt sighed, hanging up his clothes in the rack of his closet. He feared to turn around and look at Sebastian’s face, to see how he’d responded to his impertinent little snap just then,

 

But when he did, he found that Sebastian wasn’t even looking at him; instead, staring self-consciously at his own thighs.

 

"Sorry.” Kurt’s voice was tight, more level, as he tried to keep the emotion out of it. To keep that emotion away from Sebastian, who might just stockpile it and use it to hurt him later. But he couldn’t, he couldn’t stop it.

 

“It was just so sudden, a-and I still almost think that he was faking it. I had—no idea, that he was so unhappy.”

 

Blaine was the one who'd been unhappy? Because Sebastian could think of a hundred and one reasons why Kurt should've been the one who was unhappy.

 

"I'm sorry," Sebastian said now. "For your—loss."

 

Having finished enough with unpacking, Kurt was suddenly taking off his shirt and jeans, slipping into thin pajama pants, and climbing into bed.

 

“Good night,” he muttered, with uncertain finality.

 

Kurt covered his eyes with his sleep mask, turned over onto his side, and started miserably playing the bargaining game with himself. If he hadn’t gone to Ohio State, if he had stayed home in Lima, worked at the Lima Bean and gone to community and been there day and night for Blaine after school—that was stupid, he knew even in this crazed state that logically, it was stupid to try and back track and compromise, that it would’ve been stupid to give up his own freedoms for his impending marriage—

 

Or would it have been?

 

His phone was somewhere behind his head on the nightstand, silent and unbuzzing. So far, Blaine hadn’t changed his mind.

 

He couldn’t stop thinking: what if ‘right now’ was forever?

 

 

 

 

“Kurt.”

 

It was one in the morning. Sebastian was staring up at the ceiling resolutely, his head throbbing from his dumbass Scandals tryst earlier, trying to get some shut-eye without tossing and turning and wondering what the fuck Blaine's rationale had been for breaking up with Kurt now—but he couldn't sleep, because of all the noise.

 

Because of all of Kurt's noises. He hadn't gone to sleep, after all.

 

“What?” Kurt groaned from under his blankets.

 

Sebastian sighed as dramatically as he could.

 

“I can't sleep with you whining and sniffling like that. It's like listening to a grandmother weeping while I’m trying to jack myself off.”

 

Kurt snorted, and Sebastian wondered for a moment if Kurt had actually laughed at that.

 

“Sorry.”

 

He didn't sound sorry in the least.

 

“Why don't you just listen to your iPhone or something?” he said then.

 

“It's dead.”

 

It was quiet again.

 

Sebastian finally broke his resolve, and turned his head to stare longingly at Kurt's back. Kurt was shifting restlessly under his covers, curled up in a ball. He sniffled again, and Sebastian tensed.

 

“What do I have to do to get you to stop?” he sighed wearily.

 

Kurt stopped shifting.

 

“I’m sorry,” Sebastian amended that immediately, “I just mean—I can’t take it, you being hurt. It’s hard for me to hear.”

 

At this, Kurt turned over onto his other side, and pushed his sleep mask up.

 

Stared at Sebastian, blinking softly, from the other side.

 

“What usually helps?” Sebastian went on, staring back at him breathlessly, “when—when you can’t sleep at night?”

 

Kurt, in the last two hours, had gone from kinda sorta letting the calm and logical side of him break through the pain and regret and despair, to being fucking pissed that Blaine would decide to break up with him over the course of a day, to wanting to do anything just to make him feel the way he felt, to now—

 

Kurt thought about all the times Sebastian had been there for him lately, before the agenda—the buying him iced coffee and shielding him from the rain, and listening to him when he was sad, and furthermore, the deeply moving things he’d said earlier tonight, about his father and forgiveness, all “gracious” and “calm” and “perfect to me”—

 

He’d meant that, Kurt knew he had. This was the Sebastian that he had come to know.

 

It may have been a mistake, it may have been facetious, and it may have been the last thing on earth he imagined himself doing three months ago, but because he wanted to reset the equilibrium, because of reciprocity, because Blaine was somewhere out there and Kurt knew this would hurt him, send a vengeful, spiteful energy out of this room and into his:

 

“Not sleeping alone,” he said to Sebastian.

 

And Sebastian’s heart started immediately racing.

 

“Are you—saying that—“

 

Kurt just kept staring.

 

And so, Sebastian got up—slowly, uncertainly, and actually fucking trembling, Jesus he was so embarrassing, and had it so bad—and shuffled over to little Kurt's bed.

 

Kurt watched Sebastian’s body, crevices and curves highlighted in the moonlight, approach his beside. He pushed his sleep mask even further into the roots of his soft brown hair, his heart also racing.

 

“Move over,” Sebastian ordered gently.

 

Heat quickly spread across Kurt’s face, as he did so.

 

He moved his body towards the wall, and felt his breath catch in his throat as Sebastian crawled into bed next to him, lifting the covers and slipping beneath them. Sebastian took a moment to get settled, hoping that his stupid, pathetic heart wasn't beating hard enough for Kurt to hear.

 

And then the two of them were there, face to face, in the dark. Inches apart, Sebastian's socked feet pressed against Kurt’s bare ones. This was weird, Kurt thought, so weird and different for both of them, but not bad, definitely not that.

 

Kurt raked his nervous eyes up and down Sebastian's (fucking ridiculous) body; the hard, spheric bicep tucked behind his head; the other arm, cut and curling around the pecs that rose and fell with his breath; the fine, fine defined abdomen, the kind the Kurt used to stare at on supermodels when he was younger, drool over; the long, firm legs that were curled back, obviously cramping to keep their distance from the smaller legs beside them.

 

To Sebastian, Kurt's eyes showed just how exhausted he was emotionally. He didn't know how on earth this had just happened, what alternate universe his roommate seemed to be coming at him from right now. Were they really here? Two boys who used to be sworn enemies, with so much sexual tension between them now, that one day, it was bound to snap?

 

Because as much as Kurt may have only been doing this because of the circumstances, Sebastian knew, as Kurt’s eyes grazed over his body in pure, unadulterated want, that they could never go back from this.

 

Kurt said, then, almost in a whisper,

 

“No funny business, alright? I’m um—I’m in a fragile state.”

 

Sebastian scanned his eyes across Kurt's face, wondering why Kurt wouldn’t stop staring at his lips as he said it.

 

“Yeah. Whatever.”

 

Kurt almost didn’t trust this flimsy plea to get him anywhere with Mr. Man Whore himself, but also knew damn well that he was shamelessly flirting with corruption here, that this was a dangerous line to consciously choose to cross. It was just that he hadn’t known the last time with Blaine would be the last for a while, and who knew now when he was going to be kissed again, be held again—

 

He just needed Sebastian to be physically there, he just needed Sebastian to—oh, god, what did he even want Sebastian to do?

 

Could he let him? What would Blaine think of him, then?

 

"I-I'm gonna turn back around now." Kurt swallowed. "Okay?"

 

Sebastian glanced down at Kurt's lips again.

 

“Okay.”

 

Kurt turned over onto his other side, kept his sleep mask up, and closed his eyes.

 

And Sebastian, meanwhile, stayed exactly where he was. Keeping and respecting the distance Kurt wanted. But still, he felt himself sweating, staring at Kurt’s beautiful pale shoulders in the moonlight from the open window, the cursive tattoo that said elizabeth on the left blade, and the swell of his lower back, and those dizzying words again,

 

constant craving

 

He didn't know how long he lie there awake, listening to Kurt's sniffling breaths eventually turn to calm ones. Unable to close his eyes, afraid this was a dream. But eventually, it seemed that Kurt was asleep.

 

Kurt had been able to fall asleep after calming down, and realizing that Sebastian really wasn’t going to push him.

 

Feeling that he wasn't actually going to be as alone now, in this Blaine-less nightmare, as he feared.

 

And Sebastian woke up first early that morning, in a drowsy haze, to find himself completely curled around Kurt's body, with Kurt holding onto tight. He could feel Kurt's black slowly rising and falling against him, and their legs were entangled, and at some point Sebastian had kicked his socks off. Seb's hand was draped over Kurt's side, his palm relaxed over his hip, rubbing gentle, soothing circles across his bare skin and bone, where his pajama pants and underwear had started to slip down. His nose was just barely pressed to the back of Kurt's neck, inhaling his divine scent, that sweet conditioner. Kurt's skin smelled so good up close, and the hair at the base of his neck was so soft, and Sebastian ran his hand up and down Kurt's side, almost giving into the urge to kiss the spot behind Kurt's ear—

 

And that was when he realized that he needed to get up.

 

Because his crotch was pressed to the backs of Kurt's thighs, and Kurt's slender body was wrapped up in his arms, and before he knew it he was going to have the thickest morning wood in the world.

 

Quickly and tensely, but carefully so as not to wake Kurt, Sebastian untangled himself from his addiction. Kurt did not stir at the loss of Seb around him.

 

Sebastian stared at the imprint he'd just made in Kurt's foamy mattress, and groaned internally because he couldn't stay there.

 

It was Sunday. He had to go to church, for his mother if for nothing else.

 

And it would take everything in him, later on, as he sat there in his slacks and tie, to not picture sleeping with Kurt naked as his father preached from the podium.

 

Chapter Text

On Monday morning, Kurt woke to find that Blaine had changed his Facebook relationship status, which in turn forced his to change as well:

 

 

 

Feeling much too humiliated to respond to any of his friends, Kurt shut his phone back off and well, cried. He cried most of the day in fact, attempting to go to each of his lectures, not getting through a one without his eyes welling up, drawing inordinate attention from his classmates. He’d crawled back into bed a lousy fifteen minutes after trying to leave it.

 

Just like on Sunday, he spent almost all of Monday in bed alone, binge watching How To Get Away With Murder episodes and weeping betwixt them. Luckily—or perhaps not so—Sebastian was completely scarce. He’d managed to slip out without Kurt noticing on Sunday morning, and seemingly hadn’t returned Sunday night, unless he’d come in after Kurt had fallen asleep. It must’ve been the same case today.

 

Far away from opening his social media apps again Kurt stayed, but he still kept the phone as close to him as possible; frantically turning it over in his sweaty palms, clutching it to his chest, clicking in and out of the inbox, hovering over Blaine's name in his contacts. He jumped and scrambled whenever it vibrated, seeing that it was only just Finn or his dad.

 

When he got really sad, too much so to take, he drafted messages:

 

I don’t understand the silence. Are you really mad at me? What can I do to fix this?

 

This just a break, right? I’m here, I’ll always be here.

 

Please, can I come over and can we just have sex one more time? I didn’t know that last time would be the last, and I don’t want your last memory of me to be of me calling you a fucking tease.

 

But how pathetic and miserable were those? If Blaine still wanted him even as a friend, or as a lover better still, he’d be showing that, with his actions. The hardest thing about it for him was, that Blaine was also his best friend; for two years, they had talked every single day. Even just two whole days of silence had iced Kurt to his core, made him realize that he must have really, really hurt him.

 

Throughout all of this, Kurt was periodically overwhelmed by his thoughts about Sebastian in his bed with him; wondered if his roommate wasn’t avoiding him on purpose, and embarrassed by how his want for the other boy’s affection, in his distraught state, must have been so obvious and manifest.

 

He wasn’t in Sebastian’s arms when he’d fallen asleep, and he never woke up completely that night, but in the back of his mind he remembered shifting around in Sebastian's arms, that all night he’d felt warm, surrounded, and comforted.

 

Furthermore, he didn’t know what he and Sebastian were to each other right now now. Friends? Sure, but friends didn't bitch and fight with one another because one of them called them the other gorgeous. Friends didn't make up for said fight by spooning damn near erotically.

 

Monday night, ostensibly alone, Kurt lie in bed and re-read Sebastian’s messages. Really paid attention to his word choice, and what it meant, because now, he was allowed to; let those words create a picture in his mind, let himself fantasize about what it could’ve been like:

 

He saw the two of them back on that floor at that Halloween party, how hard he’d been in his sticky red pants, imagined Sebastian taking control of the situation, rutting against him intentionally, grinding, slipping his tongue into his mouth—

 

Oh, Kurt felt a little something at that then, glanced down at himself humiliated to find that this was definitely making him semi.

 

Went to bed that night tortuously thinking that this must’ve just been an attempt to replace Blaine, but logically, knowing there was absolutely nothing that reminded him of Blaine about Sebastian; not his looks, his body, his voice, or the steadfast way he carried himself.

 

They probably couldn’t be any more dissimilar.

 

Tuesday morning, Kurt woke up and finally found Sebastian in the room; seeing him fast asleep, mouth slightly open and drooling across his pillow, he stared at him wondering if he should get into bed with him. If it would change how miserable he felt about Blaine, if it were wise—his heart thudded intensely in his chest as he contemplated, should they still talk more about that fight? No, almost all that needed to be said had been said so eloquently by Sebastian, and the rest? Had probably been said by their cuddling.

 

Kurt was much too nervous to take a second plunge, so he slipped out before Sebastian woke up. Outside on campus, it was beginning to snow; Kurt dragged his boots through puddles of icy slosh, and managed to get to and through his morning class without crying.

 

But afterwards, back outside again, it was getting hard to maintain his facade. He was usually overjoyed by the first signs of flakes, as he and Blaine would always make angels on their backs in the powder, and draw their names in hearts, side by side.

 

On his way to the library, to begrudgingly study for his pre-calculus final, his phone buzzed violently with a call from Tina, for the fourth time that morning.

 

"Kurt?” He finally gave in, figuring he could only handle one face-off with reality today. “I saw Facebook this morning, what happened?”

 

"I'm sorry, I’ve been—" He was going to say busy. Really, he’d been sulking. He bit his lip, his eyes beginning to string. "You haven’t talked to him?”

 

Before I started trying to reach you, I called him about a billion times. Artie says he didn’t go to school today or yesterday, not even for glee rehearsals.”

 

Kurt tried not to let his mind flirt with the worst.

 

"He said he just—couldn't handle the distance between us,” he answered Tina. “That things were too different, and my not being around was starting to hurt more than it helped him."

 

"Oh my god, so this is really happening then? I'm so sorry, he is being such a jerk!"

 

"Don't be, it's—"

 

Fine?

 

No, it wasn't fine.

 

“I really don’t wanna talk about it, anymore, if that’s okay.”

 

Of course.”

 

He recalled seeing Artie and Tina’s relationship statuses both changing, too.

 

“What happened with you and Artie?”

 

Oh, that was amicable. We both agreed that what we were doing wasn’t really dating anymore, and he got early accepted into film school in L.A., anyway. Plus, I realized I would be a fool if I let Rachel get away, that I was still kind of stuck in the closet and it wasn’t fair, what I was doing to her. So, I’m sad that he and I won’t get to finish what we started, but now I can actually be with her. I know it's the right thing to do.”

 

Kurt was happy for her, he was, but he hadn’t gotten the luxury of amicability. He was trying not to be selfish, and make everything about his suffering, but he was seriously, seriously suffering.

 

"Listen.” Kurt’s voice began to break. “I h-have to go—”

 

"Oh, Kurt," Tina insisted, at the sound of him beginning to cry. "I can’t imagine how hard this must be hard for you, but Blaine does this, you know he does this—he doubts himself and gets all wound up over nothing, but that’s all it is, nothing, I mean, right? I’m sure he can’t mean it to be over for real, over a distance that’s less than two hours. We all know how much you mean to him, and how much he means to you. Don’t give up the faith.

 

“Yeah.” He sniffled, the tears beginning to fall. “You’re right. It’s just the waiting game is hard, it’s so hard.”

 

I know, babe, I know.”

 

After hanging up with Tina, he drafted one more message, didn’t send it.

 

Why did you do this to us?

 

 

 

 

Sebastian still hadn't slept in Kurt's bed again yet. Unfortunately so, in his opinion.

When he'd gotten back from spending forced time at church and at dinner with his parents on Sunday night, Kurt was already dead asleep, face squished into the sunken pillow, lips slightly wet with drool, laptop playing the exciting misadventures of Annalise Keating. Sebastian had smiled a little, contemplating crawling into bed with him, curling up alongside him. But since he didn't have Kurt's explicit permission, he left him alone—but not without first tipping his laptop shut for him.

 

He got into bed on his own side, growing drowsy to the soothing sound of Kurt breathing. He wanted Saturday night back again, he just didn't know how to initiate things.

 

All day on Monday, he was too freaked out about potentially hearing Kurt tell him it was a mistake, so in between classes, he lived in the library, grateful for the building’s late hours during finals season. Waited until after midnight to let himself back in, saw Kurt asleep and dipped out on the opportunity.

 

The challenging part of it was, that he knew Kurt had no ulterior motives. Kurt hadn’t been trying to gain sexual comfort by asking him to sleep with him, wasn’t trying to find a rebound or revenge fuck. Kurt wasn't like that, and that was why Sebastian loved liked him.

 

The old him would’ve taken his target being single as a sign that he should start hitting on him blatantly. Close in on him and kiss him, show him all the talents he’d been saving just for him, make him unable to escape their fate. It didn't help that he couldn’t shake how angry he had felt at seeing Kurt look so broken ythat night, wanted so badly to make him feel good again.

 

But the person he was becoming, the kind who was in tune with Kurt’s heart and Kurt’s mind, knew that seducing him while he was weak was taking advantage.

 

He wanted Kurt to want him—one hundred percent, surely, want him—and he didn’t yet.

 

Finally, Tuesday afternoon, which they both had idle, brought the two of them face to face again. Sebastian was sitting at his desk when Kurt came in from the library, and as Kurt unzipped his coats, unwrapped his scarves, and peeled his legs from his knee-high boots, he stared at Sebastian the entire time. Sebastian watched, flickering his eyes up and down Kurt’s body shyly, tracing each line and contour of his form.

 

Kurt thought Sebastian might stand up, approach and accost him; put those words from his texts into motion. He was so anxious about this suddenly, he glanced away, half hoping he’d come and half hoping he’d stay.

 

He kept his back on him, hanging up his coats in his closet. No, no, they couldn’t just start that right, not without talking about it first—oh who was he kidding, it couldn’t happen ever—

 

Blaine really wouldn’t want him then.

 

“It's snowing out.”

 

Kurt decided to say something first, felt like he needed to make normal conversation, before any awry thoughts came slipping out of his mouth.

 

"Is it, really?" Sebastian teased him, from his desk. "Thanks, I had no idea."

 

Kurt looked over at him, saw him smiling, and rolled his eyes, smiled back.

 

It was the first time he'd smiled all day.

 

Just as Kurt was setting his bookbag on his bed, then sitting down on his bed to dig inside it, Sebastian decided to cross the room to Kurt's side. He sat down on the comforter next to Kurt, not quite close enough for their legs to touch, and Kurt completely forgot what he’d been looking for.

 

“So,” Sebastian said, quiet, not looking at him. “How’s it feel today?”

 

Kurt sighed, watching Sebastian not watch him. "Is this another of those questions that you're asking out of obligation?"

 

Sebastian paused.

 

"No," he admitted then, honestly.

 

Kurt looked away from him, pained by what he had to say, to be honest back.

 

“I kind of feel like dying,” he said. “Kind of feel like driving to his house and banging on his door and slapping him in the face and just begging him to talk to me.” A tear fell from his eyes again, and really, wasn’t he all dry now? “But I mean—what can I actually do?”

 

Sebastian felt a little bit like slapping Blaine too. Kurt didn't deserve to want someone who didn’t want him, and yet here he was, walking around all morose and sad, and self-conscious.

 

"Has he not spoken to you since you broke up?" Sebastian said to him.

 

"No. I haven't heard from him, and supposedly neither have any of our friends. I’d be worried, if I wasn’t so angry, but I—can’t handle, trying to log onto Facebook right now, to see if he’s done anything.”

 

Sebastian glanced down at Kurt's hand, which was trembling ever so slightly on his knee.

 

"I'm sorry,” he said.

 

Kurt didn't say that it was fine or okay this time.

 

Sebastian knew that as usual, on this day, they were going to have the next few hours off, no classes scheduled. A plan began to mold in his head.

 

"You look like you could use some cheering up," he said then.

 

Kurt's teary eyes met his suddenly, wide and alert and arresting.

 

"Um—" he squeaked, "I'm flattered, Sebastian, but that is not going to work right now—"

 

Sebastian laughed, nervous as fuck. He really wanted to hold one of Kurt’s hands right now.

 

"I'm not talking about sex," he responded.

 

Kurt exhaled shakily, then laughed too.

 

"Oh."

 

Unless you want that, Sebastian imagined himself saying. I'd give it to you in a heartbeat. Fuck you 'til you're breathless.

 

"In the winters, not long after we moved here from France,” he said instead, “my mother and I used to go to this park in Westerville, whenever I was homesick. For Ohio, it’s practically enchanting, has the perfect hills for sledding. The snow still isn't too thick yet, might be sort of muddy, but I think it'll still let us slide.”

 

Kurt was smiling again. Sebastian felt like he was melting.

 

"You wanna take me sledding?” Kurt repeated.

 

"If it'll help you stop looking so miserable."

 

Kurt punched him lightly in the thigh. Sebastian counted this as a success.

 

"Sure,” Kurt said. “That sounds fun. I haven’t actually used a sled since I was twelve."

 

Sebastian nodded.

 

"Three o'clock good?" he suggested, offhanded. "I just have to finish a couple things, then I'll drive us.”

 

“Perfect.”

 

For the next couple of moments, Kurt watched Sebastian wordlessly; watched as his roommate went back to his desk, flipped through one of his textbooks intermittently, got on the phone to talk a project with a classmate, smiled wide like not a thing in the world bothered him.

 

In his mind, Kurt started to plan which coat and scarf he would pair, and imagined what the park was going to be like. Maybe it wouldn’t be so bad, this being away from Blaine; not if he had things like this to distract him.

 

 

 

"Oh my god, I hate you!"

 

Kurt was on his back in a puddle of snow and ice, his stomach in pain from laughing so hard, his eyes dizzily watching the white sky as it spun above him. Sebastian had just attempted to push Kurt down the steepest hill in the forrested park, but the plastic lid from one of the park recycling bins, which was doubling as their sled, hadn't been able to hold up; Kurt had just tumbled down the hill without it, coming to a stop in a slush pile at the bottom.

 

As he lie there, Kurt could hear Sebastian's footsteps splashing and crunching towards him.

 

"You just completely ate shit!"

 

"Yeah, I know, thanks!"

 

Sebastian plopped down beside him and sprawled out on his back too, out of breath.

 

"You're not actually hurt, are you?" Sebastian asked.

 

Kurt turned his head to look over at him.

 

"I probably should be, with a fall like that," he said. "But I'm not.'

 

"Good." Sebastian grinned. "Now I don't feel like as much an asshole."

 

Kurt socked him in the arm. "I told you I wasn't ready."

 

"You had fun.”

 

“Fine, fine.”

 

Kurt sat up now, digging his gloves into the snow between his legs, scooping it into his palms. Sebastian watched admiringly, fighting the urge he had to lean in, tilt Kurt's chin up, and kiss those lips 'til all the cold was all gone—

 

Just then, Kurt hurled the icy snow he'd been molding right into Sebastian's face.

 

"That was fun, too!" Kurt said.

 

Kurt was up and running just seconds next, and Sebastian quickly chasing after him. The pursuit was short, ending in Sebastian attempting to tackle him, but Kurt winning and winding up on top of him.

 

Kurt sat with his thighs straddling Sebastian’s sides, pinning his arms down and as they both calmed down, stopped laughing, Sebastian felt it. He felt the sudden seriousness of the moment, the way Kurt was staring at his lips, almost as if he would lean down and kiss them.

 

But something shifted in Kurt's gaze, all of sudden.

 

Kurt rolled off of him, and back onto his back in the snow. Tried to breathe, slowly and silently cursing how much he’d just wanted to kiss Sebastian now.

 

Stared up at the clouds, as snowflakes fell down on them. Grateful that the world was still spinning as it should’ve been.

 

Sebastian stared over unrequited, counting each of Kurt's blinks. Little flakes were getting caught in Kurt's long, brown eyelashes, faint specs of crystal making him look at much more beautiful, and he would wait, he would, forever if he had to, Blaine be damned.

 

Kurt finally returned his gaze after some minutes, the smile returning to his face.

 

“Race you back up the hill?”

 

 

 

A day later, in dark, near-stormy weather, Kurt sat across from Rachel in the campus center, both of them nursing hot chocolates. Kurt had felt temporarily appeased from his sadness for most of the day prior, but once alone again, Sebastian gone off to class and then the library, he’d cycled. Lied in bed hating himself, and the way he’d almost just kissed someone else, typed up a long and desperate message towards Blaine. Deleted it, scrolled backwards in time through their messages, cried at the ‘I love you’s and ‘I can’t wait to see you’s, imagined texting Blaine and telling him that he was going to fuck Sebastian, just to see if that would get to him. Hating himself again for even having that thought, crawling over to his laptop and avoiding his assignments.

 

Today, however, he felt rather numb to the cycle. That morning he’d managed actually get some work done, including practice for his audition. He’d even deleted his social media apps—after seeing that Blaine had been on Facebook in the aftermath, mostly just to like Sam’s statuses—and with them the temptation to keep tabs on his estranged lover.

 

Now, to celebrate this achievement, he sat across from Rachel, listening to his new friend ramble passionately. He realized he was starting to recognize the cycle phases; as long as he kept it in his mind that none of it would last, that eventually he’d get better, he could get through this.

 

He also realized it would help by not being so selfish, by throwing himself into the affairs of other people. And Rachel had big, grandiose affairs.

 

“So I told my dads this weekend that Tina was my girlfriend,” the brunette was saying, and Kurt had definitely noticed the pep in her step today; also, her outfit looked stellar, sleek and appropriate and coordinated; he knew that Tina’s fashion sense must be rubbing off on her. “I told you I’d been agonizing over what I might say, if I should do it in song or in dramatic monologue on the stage they built in our backyard for me, but I just did it, I sat them down all calm and I said, ‘Dads, Tina’s not just my best friend. We’re in love, and we’re finally going to be together.’”

 

“Oh my god, that’s a big deal, Rachel. I mean, that was your first official coming out!”

 

“I guess it was, wasn’t it? You know I thought I’d always feel terrified, if anyone ever knew about my secret. The way I’d always like, looked at girls in locker rooms and catalogs, feeling so ashamed, but—I don’t, I just feel free, and incredible, and happy.”

 

“And you look it. By the way, I love the turtleneck little black dress, the classy silver hoops, the new boots, the new makeup. Very Audrey Hepburn, very chic.”

 

“Well, I can’t take all the credit, my girlfriend may have had something to do with this. But okay, enough about my happiness.” Rachel’s expression sobered as she paused to sip her chocolate, then: “You are obviously going through the worst week of your life right now.”

 

At her mention of him, here it was again, the backtracking. Didn't Blaine miss him too, even just a little bit? Couldn’t Blaine at least just ask how he was doing?

 

"Why don't you text him first?" Rachel was saying, like she had read his mind. “I know, he broke up with you, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t reach out.”

 

Kurt pushed the Popsicle stick in his open cup around pointlessly, watching the foamy liquid swirl. His phone was vibrating in his pocket as they spoke, but he’d been avoiding looking at it all afternoon.

 

"I can't handle how I’ll feel if he doesn’t respond.”

 

"You never know, him not calling or texting could just be a coincidence with really bad timing. Maybe he like, dropped his phone into his little thing of hair gel, and now it doesn't work. Maybe he wants to get in touch with you, but he has no way."

 

Kurt made a dreadful attempt at laugher.

 

"I'm sure that didn't happen." He sighed. "Blaine's phone case is completely gel-proof, trust me, he's dropped it in it before. He's—“ he tried to push past the breaking of his voice, “h-he’s always been such a klutz."

 

Rachel hummed, as Kurt bit back his tears. God, over Blaine’s hair gel, really? He couldn’t wait for this turmoil to end.

 

"Okay, I know that this might not be the best way to cheer you up, because for some strange reason you're a relatively sane college student who still hates to party, but. There's a theater major get together this weekend, almost all the freshmen in our class will be there, we're so all stressed out about our major class auditions, and I know that on top of everything else you have going on, you must be too. So, we're all getting trashed and dancing to take the stress off—maybe you can even bring Sebastian.”

 

Kurt felt himself blushing as yesterday came to mind, as he wondered where his roommate had been all day.

 

"I'd have to see what he's doing," he said quickly.

 

"You guys are still really close right now, right?"

 

"Well, you—you know how it is with him, we fight, and he apologizes, and then we just end up fighting again, and then we make up, and—”

 

“Oh my god, make up? Something finally happened between you two, didn’t it?”

 

"No!" Kurt was mortified by the knowing look of mischief on her face. "And what do you mean 'finally'?"

 

"I mean 'finally' as in he's sexy as hell, and if I were a gay man I would’ve tried it. I’ve told you, Kurt, I think he’s always had it bad for you, and now you’re single, and–“

 

"Not always," Kurt argued, and god it felt terrible to hear himself spoken about that way. Single. "Did you miss the part where we used to vehemently hate each other?"

 

"You’re telling me there's really nothing going on?"

 

"Nothing.”

 

“Liar.”

 

Kurt’s phone vibrated again, and Rachel tuned in.

 

“That’s him, isn’t it?”

 

Intending almost certainly to prove her wrong, Kurt pulled his phone out his pocket to find that indeed, it was Sebastian texting him. He’d just sent copies of his most recent Snapchat photos, starring him rousing about the library, posing next to poor exhausted students who’d passed out in their chairs, or curled up with their backpacks on the floor between the shelves. He was calling his performance art #napgate.

 

"Seriously,” Kurt said, putting his phone back into his pocket, and god, he’s such a dork, he thought, smiling despite himself, “it’s nothing.”

 

“Uh huh, mister. I’m convinced.”

 

 

 

That night, Kurt and Sebastian were in Kurt's bed together, watching movies on Kurt's Netflix.

 

Sebastian had his arm around Kurt's waist, his hand relaxed on Kurt's hip, and Kurt was resting his head on Sebastian's shoulder.

 

They'd been in that position for about an hour, and Kurt had just barely started remembering how to breathe again. He'd spent many, many minutes before this, just after they'd settled in next to each other, trying to make some damn sense of A Knight's Tale, trying to pay attention to the pictures on the screen instead of on the dizzying facts of their position; that Sebastian kept running his thumb across his hip bone, turning his head a bit and nestling his nose into his hair.

 

Sebastian had started it, this was all his fault. When Kurt had told him that he could sit, he'd immediately gotten too close, but to be fair, Kurt had accepted Sebastian's open arm willingly.

 

And Sebastian couldn’t focus on Heath Ledger, like he'd said he was going to when he chose this movie. Their position made him realize that he had never been in a position, awake, where he’d just cuddled someone. Whenever he got shy guys, who beat around the bush with him, nuzzling their faces up against him and dragging their fingertips bashfully atop his clothes, he pulled said guys up to kiss him directly, letting them know point blank that he wanted them.

 

But here, he felt—well, he felt scared. Like hell if the pajama pants draped over Kurt’s hip bone weren’t driving him mad, like hell if he didn’t want to slip his hand beneath them. But this moment was almost too good to be true, like the first time but this time, Kurt was awake, acknowledging it.

 

Kurt was the first to speak up after the first hour, remarking on the fashion in the movie as Sebastian remarked on the music. Eventually, they talked over the movie, their conversation flowing naturally, their nervousness and fear settling into comfort.

 

“So how did you end up at Ohio State?" Sebastian was saying, after Kurt had just narrated his dad’s ascension into congress.

 

“Don’t you know that already?” Kurt said.

 

“I’d heard you were trying to get into NYADA—” He decided to not even say that bitch boy’s name right now, and those days, how he’d heard. “But I thought you were there, when I showed up here.”

 

“Well, it started when I forced Finn to apply here. I, of course, had no intention on joining him, but I sent in an application too, so that we could, I don’t know, bond over it or something. He didn’t take a minute of it seriously, filling out half of his responses with joke answers Puckerman was texting him. Anyway, surprise, surprise, Finn didn't get accepted—not because he isn’t smart, but because he didn’t try—and I did. But, I tossed it aside, still helplessly waiting on my NYADA admission. I thought when I auditioned for a callback with Carmen Tibideaux, and she liked me, I was a shoe-in, but—I guess, for whatever reason, I wasn’t good enough.”

 

Sebastian responded to this by giving an especially meaning rub to Kurt's hip.

 

“They didn’t send me my rejection until May, and I was so, so devastated. By then it was too late to try and apply elsewhere, and I would’ve died if I’d had to go to community. So Finn reminded me about Ohio State, and I—didn't have any other options. New York is still my dream, but my mediocrity has me stuck here for now.”

 

"You could always transfer," Sebastian said. "To a different school, in New York."

 

"Maybe."

 

Kurt didn't sound very hopeful when he said that.

 

"Why are you here?" Kurt changed the subject. "I mean, I figured, with all the money that your family has, that you'd be at Princeton or Yale, or any one of those ridiculously expensive, majority white ivy leagues."

 

Sebastian chuckled.

 

"I definitely applied to those schools. Stanford was my dream school in the U.S. California was pretty much as far away as I could get from Ohio without going back to France, but—I realized, as my senior year drew to a close, that—I needed to stay here. For reasons."

 

Kurt raised a brow.

 

“Your dad?”

 

Sebastian stopped moving his hand at Kurt's side.

 

"Even before he was—“ He couldn’t ever actually say the word. “I needed to be around to keep them from defeating each other. My dad, he can’t do much to her now, because he’s physically unable, but he used to—it was awful, and unwarranted, and it scares me even to this day. And she—I mean, not that what he did was anything but monstrous—but she always made it seem like it was a game they were just playing. But, it won’t be long now, for him, and I knew—I knew I’d have to come back and be here with her, anyway. To go through his things, since that house they’ve been living in is a junk motel. Granted, a junk motel with ten bedrooms.”

 

Ten?”

 

“Anyway, I've played the role of mediator since I was tiny, and I guess I wasn’t ready to give that up."

 

“I’m so sorry.” Kurt couldn’t even begin to imagine his dad hurting Carole, or his mother before her. “It must be so frustrating, not ever having peace. Trying to love someone, who could do that.”

 

"They literally argue about everything,” Sebastian said. “What the weather's going to be like, what type of food we’ll have for dinner, what type of skirt my mother should wear to the benefit. Whether or not the book of Revelations is upon us. They're honestly like children about it."

 

"You do realize that you're sort of the same way, right?"

 

When Sebastian sighed, admitting that defeat, Kurt tried to reverse that, hating himself for saying it.

 

"I mean, I get it," Kurt said, and with the hand that wasn't wrapped around Seb's back, he touched Sebastian's thigh, ran his thumb in soothing, understanding circles. "It makes sense. Sometimes the relationships you have with other people have a basis in and stem from your parents’ relationship. I maintain that I’m a die hard romantic because my parents were such soul mates. They met when they were fourteen, and said that they just knew. I’ll always want a love like they had."

 

And I have it, his mind supplied for him. Had it. He really couldn’t do this much longer, pretending what he had with Blaine was just over—

 

Even though there was, well, this, with Sebastian.

 

"Do you think you'll fill his role for him at the church?" Kurt asked, running with every offshoot question in his mind now, trying to keep himself from falling backwards. "I mean, it seems like you're sort of next in line, like it—runs in the family or something?"

 

"Hell no."

 

Kurt held onto him a little bit tighter.

 

"My father used to try and groom me for the position, before it turned out I was gayer than eight guys screwing nine guys. He used to make me help him in the office, used to make me help him prep his sermons. He still does sometimes, against my will, but even if I wasn't gay, I wouldn't want his job.”

 

"You said that the people in your church—they accept you, right?"

 

Sebastian hesitated at this, watching Kurt's hand dance around his leg.

 

"Tolerate, would probably be a better word. When they say to each other that 'the preacher's kid is gay,' they think it means that I skip around handing paper rainbows out at pride parades, wear pink shirts to the country club and prefer fashion to football, even though clearly, I don't. They pretend to be ignorant to the reality that 'the preacher's kid is gay' means that I stick my cock up the asses of men I don't know, basically give our religion the finger, and commit the worst of all pleasure sins."

 

Kurt took his head from Sebastian's shoulder to look at him.

 

Sebastian's face was beet red.

 

"Sorry.” He knocked his head against the headboard behind him, embarrassed. "I'm rambling."

 

"It's okay," Kurt assured him. "This is interesting to me. You're interesting to me."

 

Sebastian stared at Kurt as if to search for how true that really was. And Kurt's stare didn't falter.

 

"Do you wanna—watch another movie?" Kurt said now.

 

Sebastian glanced over to find that the credits for A Knight's Tale were rolling.

 

He felt scared, again, of how close Kurt was getting to him.

 

"Sure. You pick.”

 

After turning off the lights, Kurt put on one his favorites, Clueless, in spite of Sebastian's complaints. ("My Netflix, my movie," Kurt had argued, with a winning smile). As Sebastian made fun of the lingo and Kurt admired the clothes, their conversation was lighter, and then it died down completely.

 

Eventually, Kurt yawned, and started settling in deeper into Sebastian’s arms. He was comforted by this, he really was, especially because he knew that Blaine would never know—decided now that he didn’t want him to know—and that what happened in their room was for them only.

 

Right?

 

“I know we aren’t really doing anything, sleeping in the same bed together, but.” Kurt was almost surprised to hear himself speak, his heart beating hard at having the courage to say this. “Could you not tell—?”

 

“Blaine?”

 

Sebastian tried not to let this line of question hurt him.

 

“Trust me, after the way he’s made you feel this week, I’ve got nothing to say to him.”

 

“I just don’t wanna hurt his feelings,” Kurt said, “and I think—you touching me—“ he curled his fingertips against Sebastian’s side, “would sort of hurt his feelings.”

 

Sebastian decided not to mention the irony of Kurt not wanting to hurt Blaine’s feelings, when Blaine clearly hadn’t cared for hurting his, and focused more on the fact that Kurt was acknowledging his touch. He stroked his thumb across Kurt’s bicep, staring down at the highlights of Kurt’s form in the blue light from the computer, taking in as much of his beautiful body as he could, letting his imagination ramble into his wants:

 

He wanted so badly to press Kurt up against a shower wall, worship his wet skin with his tongue, suck Kurt's cock, drink him down and tell him he tasted sweet. Wanted to be the new bone between Kurt's legs, tell him he was hot and taking it so well, watch him revel in the fact that someone did want him, someone who wasn't stupid Blaine, someone who was realer and much better at fucking.

 

But this wasn’t the moment to kiss Kurt, to start all that, it wasn’t. Not when Kurt’s expression was falling, no doubt with worries of his ex cycling his mind; not when Kurt was so tired.

 

So they slept, Sebastian eventually shutting the laptop and lowering himself to be even with Kurt, and Kurt intentionally, half asleep, turning around and letting Sebastian hold him.

 

When they woke up in the morning, they were facing each other. They stared at each other for a moment, rather solemn, until Sebastian decided to cradle Kurt’s face in his hand, just so.


“Hi,” he mumbled.

 

Kurt shut his eyes, nuzzled his cheek against Sebastian’s fingertips.

 

“Hi.”

 

He felt a myriad of mixed emotions; sadness, because he’d been dreaming of Blaine, and Blaine’s face wasn’t the one he’d been staring at. But solace, because he couldn’t believe how gentle Seb could be with him, how different his touch was, how nonsensically beautiful his eyes looked in the morning.

 

“I really don’t wanna get out of bed,” Kurt muttered, keeping his eyes closed.

 

He feared, if he opened them, he might do something stupid.

 

Sebastian decided to seal the prior night and this morning off, with a quick, soft kiss to Kurt’s forehead. He then got out of bed, resolutely this time, keeping his promise to himself that he would wait until Kurt followed.

 

He opened up the drapes in front of Kurt’s window, dousing his roommate in white, fogged light.

 

“Rise and shine, Aurora,” he said.

 

Kurt groaned and threw one of his spare pillows at him. Sebastian caught it, laughing at him lightly.

 

“Oh, are you trying to fight?”

 

Sebastian jumped back on the bed playfully, taking the pillow in his hands and ruffling it against Kurt’s face, as Kurt kicked and scrambled, giggled, pushed him.

 

“Okay, okay, I’m awake!”

 

 

 

Saturday night, Kurt was feeling better than he had all week.

 

He, Sebastian and Rachel had all hung out intermittently the days prior, mostly at the library. Half ignoring each other at their table, engrossed in their own work, and half reaching out for each other for social respite: Kurt stressing about math, and Sebastian, who for some sick reason loved accounting, helping him work through it; Sebastian continuing with his #napgate chronicles, accidentally waking one of his grumpy subjects; Rachel singing to herself as she studied her Foust play so often, that Sebastian and Kurt both periodically exiled her.

 

Kurt was so distracted by them, his new Ohio State life, that when Tina texted asking if he was still upset about Blaine taking space, he’d actually sort of meant it when he said, I’m getting used to it.

 

When Saturday rolled around, he was actually kind of looking forward to the theater major party.

 

Kurt had told Sebastian about it that morning, trying not to sound explicitly like he was inviting him, but just letting him know where he'd be. Sebastian had said he probably wasn't going to make it, as he was meeting up late with his business society classmates, finishing a group project they’d seriously procrastinated on all semester. So Kurt wasn't really expecting him.

 

At the party, Kurt mostly wandered around arm-in-arm with Rachel, taking sips from his red cup of water and mostly just listening in on her conversations. Eventually they got separated and he carried on with two colorful gay sophomores, a couple, who he had class with, but they both made him nervous with their talk of audition song choices. Kurt didn't wanna think about getting up on that stage again, or his impending failure to graduate in four years like the rest of the majors. Wasn't this party supposed to be fun?

 

Just as he was thinking of driving himself home, the door to the apartment opened, and Sebastian walked in alone. He didn't even properly excuse himself before floating across the room to him.

 

Sebastian had to search the crowded room for a moment before he could pick out Kurt. When he spotted him walking his way, smiling, he moved from the doorway to the hallway near by, leaning up against one if its walls.

 

"Hi," Kurt greeted him.

 

Kurt looked stunning to Sebastian, in a white buttoned shirt, burgundy scarf, simple black pants. He didn't even have to try.

 

"Hi.”

 

Sebastian’s attire was simple, dark green sweater under brown leather jacket, dark jeans, but the sweater brought out the hues of his eyes, the jeans clung to his athletic thighs.

 

"Weren't you—supposed to be studying tonight?" Kurt asked of him.

 

"I'm meeting up with them later."

 

Is he here just for me? Kurt thought.

 

"Are my eyes deceiving me?” Sebastian chuckled. “Or are you actually drinking right now?"

 

"No," Kurt said, with a slight roll of his eyes. "It's water. Usually always water."

 

"I figured." Sebastian took a moment to take a glance down at Kurt's legs. Pants were practically painted around his calves, thighs, and ass, like a dark, thinning, enticing second skin. Sebastian just wanted to put his hands on him. "You're boring.”

 

"You're annoying.”

 

"Says the one who just came and approached me by choice."

 

Kurt let a small smile slip.

 

"Whatever.”

 

Sebastian watched as Kurt came to lean against the wall next to him.

 

“This is probably the least ratchet party we’ve ever been to,” Sebastian said now. He held up his hand for Kurt to high five, and Kurt did. “Moving up in the college world, look at us.”

 

“I’ll let you know if I see someone with a gun.”

 

Sebastian snorted, Kurt counted it as a success; started playing with the frayed ends of his scarf.

 

“I was starting to get tired, though,” he said then. “If you hadn’t walked in, I’d be considering going home.”

 

"It's a Saturday night; if you go back now you'll be in bed with your facial and your sleep mask before eleven. If that's not a step back to the lameness that was our lives in high school, I don't know what is."

 

"Well, I’m afraid I don’t have any concrete plans for how to make this party more enjoyable. Rachel is—engaged,” she was currently dancing on a table on the other side of the room where the dance floor was, Coyote Ugly style, “and I usually just tag along with her like a shadow.”

 

"Stay with me tonight," Sebastian said. "I'm sure I can find some way to entertain you."

 

"I'm willing to see what you’ve got for me.”

 

 

The question game. That was Sebastian's form of entertainment.

 

The apartment was musty and warm, and Kurt and Sebastian were sitting at a small table in the kitchen, where sticky red cups of beer and cards had been discarded in a previous game of King's Cup. The rule of the game, as Sebastian explained, was that you could only speak to each other with questions, and if you couldn't think of one to ask back, you took a drink. Sebastian was the only one drinking.

 

They were talking quick back and forth, trying to fluster each other so that one of them would lose. Kurt was losing regardless, because Sebastian was good at this, constantly throwing Kurt's lines of interrogation off with something hilariously vulgar.

 

Kurt lost track of time for over an hour, and was proud of himself; he didn’t even want Blaine to be here, and there were no signs of the cycle in sight.

 

"How much have you been drinking?" Kurt asked after a while.

 

Sebastian gazed down at the contents of his cup, accordingly.

 

"Not much," he answered honestly. "This will be my only one. I've been drinking my weight since I was fifteen, so I have a high tolerance, but. I’ve been trying to cut back, lately. Gives me clarity, helps me think. Keeps me from making bad decisions."

 

Kurt glanced over at the bar on the nearby kitchen counter. It was covered in at least thirty tall, glass bottles of hard liquor, multi-colored, menacing, enticing. Sebastian noticed that Kurt had been staring at it during their game.

 

"It won't bite you," he commented.

 

"I know," Kurt retorted, drab. He lightly kicked Sebastian's leg under the table. "I was just thinking."

 

"Of," Sebastian prompted.

 

Kurt bit his lip. He was thinking of the lyrics in all of those songs, the ones that told you that when you were heartbroken, the bitter booze took the pain away.

 

He was being silly, and wondering if those songs were right or something.

 

"What's—one taste?" Kurt said now. "I know it's mostly pointless unless you're socially inept and need it to function in public, but—will it really turn my liver into a piece of meat if I drink just once? I've had a hard week, so maybe I deserve to know what it’s like, for my toil. I’m for sure not going to overdo it, like—some people I know."

 

For a second, the image of Blaine stumbling out of Puck's bathroom entered his mind. He shook it out.

 

Sebastian perked up in his chair.

 

"Do you want me to make you a little bit of something?" he asked.

 

Kurt just stared at him.

 

"You can watch me make it and everything," Sebastian ensured. "Don't worry, I remember what happened to you. Probably won't ever forget that, or the smells."

 

Kurt stuck his tongue out at him.

 

Sebastian smiled.

 

"Come on," he said.

 

Kurt followed Sebastian to the alcohol counter. Sebastian shuffled through a couple of cabinets until he found a tall stem-less wine glass, and Kurt frowned.

 

"There are red cups over there," he pointed out.

 

"This is your first drink, it should be classy. Done in style."

 

"We don't even know whose house this is. We can't use their dishes."

 

"So?"

 

Sebastian turned a few of the bottles on the counter around, reading labels, examining mixers, seeing what he had to work with. Kurt had no idea what was what—why some were darker, why others were completely clear, it was all the same thing to him. But apparently there was some kind of craft to this.

 

"I'll make you a fuzzy navel," Sebastian said, grabbing a bottle of peach Schnapps.

 

"A what?" Kurt snorted. "Is that seriously the name of it?"

 

Sebastian poured the glass a quarter full of the liquor, and Kurt grabbed the bottle by its head.

 

"That's too much!" Kurt scolded. "I have to drive back to school."

 

"Once I add the orange juice, you won't even taste that. This is the sweetest drink I could think of. Almost as sweet as you are."

 

“Aww.”

 

Sebastian garnished the drink with an orange slice and two cherries. He handed the golden finished product to Kurt, watched as he brought the glass rim to his lips, and smiled when Kurt swallowed it without flinching at all.

 

"It's not as bad as I was expecting," Kurt admitted. "It's actually kind of good."

 

"Can barely taste it, like I said, right?" Sebastian said.

 

"Apparently I have a thing for fuzzy navels.”

 

They played another round of the question game, and this time both of them drank. After losing enough times to finish his glass, Kurt realized he kind of liked the feeling of this; the slight burn in his stomach, the way it made everything so fun, the way he couldn’t stop smiling because of it. But, on the downside, the heat in the apartment was becoming unbearable. He stood up for a moment, undid two buttons on his white shirt, revealing far too much of his chest in Sebastian’s opinion. Tied his scarf around his waist like a belt, fanning himself with his hands.

 

Sebastian suggested a break from the muggy air, then, and the two of them pushed through the crowd to reach a sliding glass door.

 

The door led to a balcony on which they both rested; it was dark, but a gold bulb on the wall illuminated their faces. As Kurt went to lean over the railing, staring down at the parking lot, the drunk people looking for their cars, Sebastian took a sip of the watered down cognac he’d been babysitting, feeling the slick burn down his throat and wanting to be close to Kurt, so he made a move.

 

Sebastian came to stand next to him by the railing, so close their arms were flush, and Kurt responded by intentionally leaning into him.

 

"Hey, I recognize that girl," Kurt was saying absently, pointing at someone in the parking lot. "She's the housing rep who brought me my Thanksgiving Door contest thingie."

 

"How do you even remember that?"

 

"I remember everything about that contest. It did make me very happy."

 

Sebastian couldn't handle how cute Kurt was like this; shirt open and face flushed and lips quirking to the side just so as he talked.

 

"Did you ever stop and read all of the wishes on the wishbones before I took it down?" Kurt asked now, talking fast. "Some of them were crude, but some of them were really sweet. Funny."

 

Sebastian chuckled.

 

"You do know that I wrote them, right?"

 

Kurt looked amused, at best.

 

"You mean the crude ones?"

 

"No." Sebastian drank again, finishing the cup, gaining confidence. "With the exception of a couple, from the friends of Rachel I recruited. All of them."

 

Kurt glanced over at him incredulously.

 

"No," he replied. "No! That wasn't you, I know your handwriting. Those were all different."

 

"I wish I was getting some ass tonight."

 

Kurt frowned.

 

"I wish I had five bucks," Sebastian went on.

 

Oh, he was reciting them.

 

"I wish my dad was around more often. I wish for world peace. I wish I could give every homeless person a turkey dinner."

 

Kurt's mouth fell slightly open.

 

"I varied the handwriting," Sebastian said. “But. Yeah. Guilty as charged.”

 

Kurt's eyes were practically shining.

 

"Did you mean any of it?"

 

He asked because a particular note stuck out in his mind.

 

He'd seen it when he was putting the decorations away, written much bolder than all the others. He didn't think it was directed towards him, or towards anyone in particular perhaps, but it was simple, maybe longing, romantic.

 

"Just one," Sebastian answered.

 

"And which was that?"

 

When Sebastian hesitated, his smile widening and his hands absently twirling the empty cup around, Kurt felt himself getting anxious.

 

"Let me guess—it was the one about getting ass," he joked.

 

"No, Sebastian said. "I wish I had you."

 

Kurt's heart skipped several beats.

 

Sebastian still hadn't looked away from him, because he'd meant it, he'd meant it, he'd meant it.

 

"Who's the you?"

 

"Who do you think?"

 

Kurt hesitated, mouth still agape."But, that's—"

 

He exhaled. He glanced away, down at the parking lot. He suddenly felt much warmer.

 

"You don't, actually want me—"

 

"I’ve already told you how I feel about you."

 

Kurt's startled eyes found Sebastian's again.

 

"You mean—“ Those messages. “Um—"

 

"The fact that I’ve told you your body is gorgeous."

 

Sebastian’s eyes were so intense and so full of want, that Kurt hardly even knew what do with himself.

 

"That you are gorgeous," Sebastian continued, coming a little bit closer to him.

 

"Y-yeah." Kurt swallowed. "About that."

 

He watched as Sebastian traced the rim of his plastic cup with his finger, no doubt waiting for his confession to sink Kurt, do him in.

 

"I-I don't get it," Kurt fumbled, "it's not true, I’m not—physically—"

 

"Don't be stupid," Sebastian said, irritated. "You're playing modest."

 

"I'm not playing anything," Kurt said back, just as irritated. "I’m just having a hard time believing that you’re suddenly attracted to me—"

 

"I’ve told you, it’s not sudden."

 

"How long has it been exactly?"

 

"Does it matter?"

 

Kurt got stuck on that.

 

"But what does you mean by that?” he pressed on. “T-that you wish you 'had' me?"

 

Sebastian gazed at him, quietly, longingly.

 

"Means anything you want it to mean.”

 

Sebastian felt it happening again. He watched Kurt contemplate and stare down at his body, and then at his lips; but Sebastian wouldn’t do it to him, wouldn’t seize the lapse.

 

Kurt would come to him, as long as he opened himself up like this. He had to, right?

 

Kurt almost did it this time; Sebastian's lips were right there, and it was then he truly realized: Sebastian was waiting for him, not taking him like the world might expect of him. Kurt was about to inch forward, his curiosity to taste Sebastian leading him—

 

But the sliding glass door slammed open, hit the wall beside them with a thwack.

 

Kurt inhaled sharply, jumped and pulled back, and looked over to find none other than Rachel.

 

"Oh my god, you two? I'm sorry, am I interrupting something?"

 

Rachel was standing in the doorway with another friend, the one who was always barfing on her at these affairs, who was currently hunched and half passed out over her shoulder.

 

"I'm so sorry, Arlena just needs air—"

 

"You’re fine, it’s fine,” Kurt managed, but the color stained all over his face screamed otherwise.

 

There was a fast paced song with a heavy-handed bass playing inside, blaring through the now open door and setting the pace for Kurt’s heartbeat. He stared over at Sebastian, who'd just done a short, frustration-releasing walk to the other side of the balcony, and was now staring up at the overhang of the roof.

 

He'd been so close. Fuck timing, he thought, fuck everything.

 

"Um—do you wanna go dance?" Kurt said to Sebastian.

 

Sebastian exhaled thinly, slowly.

 

He stared at Kurt, whose chest was rising and falling, whose cheeks were furiously red, who was slightly smiling and flustered and nervous, and apparently wasn't quite done with this night yet.

 

So instead of saying yes, Sebastian just took charge, dropped his cup, gripped Kurt's hand and pushed through the doorway, led Kurt onto the dance floor in the center of the apartment, spinning him around to face him as the chorus of the song played:

 

“I wanted you to know,
“That I am ready to go
“Heartbeat, my heartbeat
“I wanted you to know
“Whenever you are around
“Can’t speak, I can’t speak.”

 

The lights were off in the living room now, neon lights were flashing, and the music was so loud the walls vibrated with it. Kurt and Seb were face to face, close but not touching. Sebastian, tense and still eager for Kurt though he was, couldn't help smiling at the way Kurt danced when he was solo; it was subtly sexy, because damn could Kurt work his hips without even really trying, and it just made Sebastian hunger to feel those hips against his own, but he also looked a little bit silly and ridiculous. He kept on doing this quick little shimmy move, kept scrunching his nose, kept framing his face, and eventually Sebastian couldn't help laughing.

 

Kurt tugged on his forearm. "Hey!" he shouted. "Don't laugh at me! You're dancing like a dork too!"

 

Sebastian shook his head. "Am not!"

 

Kurt backed up and did a stellar impression of Sebastian's stiff two-step, and Sebastian pulled Kurt back in by his arm to get him to stop.

 

"Hate you," Sebastian told him.

 

Kurt responded by wrapping his hand around Sebastian's neck and bringing their bodies together, pressing his chest to Sebastian's, and beginning to gyrate his little hips to the beat in a way that had Sebastian pretty much instantly hypnotized.

 

"Hate you too," Kurt said, flirtatious, in Sebastian's ear, smiling wide.

 

It appeared that this was Sebastian’s song, because he knew and was presently belting all the words to Kurt, changing the pronouns, as they kept dancing:

 

“I know what your boy like,
“Skinny tie and a cuff type,
“He go and make breakfast,
“You walk around naked,
“I might just text you,
“Turn your phone over when it’s all over,
“No settling down, my text go to your screen
“You know better than that
“I come around when you least expect me
“I’m sitting at the bar when your glass is empty
“You thinking that ‘this song coming on to tempt me,’
“I need to be alone like the way you left me
“You start calling, you start crying,
“I come over, I’m inside you
“I can’t find you, the boy that I once had
“But the sex that we have isn’t half bad
“The text say that ‘it’s not fair,’
“That’s code for ‘he’s not here,’
“And I’ma flirt with this new boy,
“And I’ma call if it don’t work,
“So we fuck ‘til we come to conclusions,
“All the things that we thought we were losing,
“I’m a ghost and you know this,
“That’s why we broke up in the first place.”

 

Kurt found it so endearing that he wrapped both arms around Sebastian's neck. Sebastian held him by his lower back, feeling every jut of Kurt's waist in his palm every time he spun his hips. When Kurt was dancing on him, he was perfect; most of the time his gaze was lowered, watching the way that his and Seb's hips thrust against each other at every pulse of the music, but every once in a while he'd look up and give Sebastian a sly little look and a sweet, wickedly captivating smile, and god Sebastian was going to lose his shit.

 

Eventually Kurt turned around, pressing his ass to Sebastian’s crotch. Sebastian held onto Kurt as he ground on him, steadying himself to try and keep up with how fast Kurt was rolling his hips and fuck, how long had he known how to dance like this? It didn't take long at all for Sebastian to start getting a hard-on, and when Kurt felt it, he didn't stop. He just pressed back into Sebastian more, couldn't believe that after just a few short minutes, he'd turned Sebastian on this much.

 

This was bad, Sebastian thought, he was completely entranced and couldn't take much more of this. Pretty soon he was going to snap and have his way with this little dancer, turn him around and kiss him hard, push them into a bathroom and yank down those tight, black jeans, finally see this body for what it was really worth.

 

The song ended abruptly, but just a few moments later, a slow song was called “Sacrifices” was starting up, and it was clear that Kurt didn't want to stop yet.

 

“It’s not my M.O. to fall in love,
“But fucking ‘round with me is dangerous,
“The lines are blurring now, this isn’t lust,
“But you like it, and I like it.
“Never knew you’d have it so bad,
“Never knew I’d do you so right,
“Never felt this feeling so fast,
“Never knew it’s worth the sacrifice.”

 

Kurt pushed Sebastian back so that he was standing against the wall, then danced on his own for a moment in front of him, slowly and teasingly as Sebastian bit his lip, watching. Kurt then returned to Seb’s eager hands, initiating their searing contact once more and Kurt worked his hips in temptingly slow, forceful circles against Sebastian's crotch, dragging each one out. His breath hitched every time Sebastian met him with a forward thrust; he could feel the firm outlines of Seb's cock beneath his jeans, and it was making his own press hard into the front of his pants. Kurt wrapped a hand around the back of Sebastian's neck to brace himself, let Sebastian's hands roam all over his body and after a while, Sebastian couldn't help the "Oh, shit, Kurt," that tumbled from his mouth.

 

“I’m gonna touch you if you let me keep you up,
“I’m gonna show you what it’s like to be in love,
“I’m gonna treat you just the way that you deserve,
“I’m gonna touch you just the way that you deserve,
“I’m gonna take you where you’ve never been before,
“I’m gonna hold you like you ought’a be held,
“I’m gonna kiss you, pin you up against the wall,
“I’m gonna give you some place warm to lay your head.”

 

The song ended too soon, and another, loud and hypnotic followed it. Kurt was sweating a ton from the work he'd done, untangling himself from Sebastian’s arms and turning around to look at him, still in a trance against the wall.

 

“I didn't know you could dance like that.”

 

"I'm—not really sure that I knew I could either.”

 

Sebastian saw how sweaty Kurt had gotten, so he guided him via lower back to a cooler, quieter part of the apartment.

 

"You good to drive?" Sebastian asked him after a while, as they stood and caught their breaths.

 

Kurt nodded.

 

"Let's say we get out of here?" Sebastian suggested, lower.

 

Kurt swallowed, and agreed.

 

 

 

 

 

I know I'm super late, but give me ten more minutes, Sebastian texted his classmates.

 

Sebastian hated the fact that they'd scheduled that damn study session tonight, of all nights. They’d procrastinated as fuck and he’d already canceled on them twice, and tomorrow he couldn’t meet with them and it was due Monday—

 

But how was he supposed to know that Kurt would turn him on like this?

 

"Why are you looking at me like that?"

 

Kurt was standing up against a wall in their room now, toying with the top most button on his shirt. It was quiet, and Sebastian had been staring, intense and stirred up, since they'd been back.

 

"You have no idea what you did to me while you danced with me, do you?" Sebastian started walking towards him. “You were incredible. Makes me wonder what we could do in bed together.”

 

Kurt scoffed, his mouth dropping open.

 

"God, Sebastian, I'm not sleeping with you," he groaned.

 

"No?”

 

Sebastian came far too close, kept leveling that lust-blown stare and Kurt stared back resolutely, though he knew he was staring to lose this battle, and fast; trying not to stare at Sebastian’s lips, which he'd wanted to kiss tonight on that balcony, wanted to kiss all week—

 

"You say that like you're so sure," Kurt said to him instead."What if I'm the one gay guy on this entire planet who isn't going to get naked for you just because you look at me a certain way?"

 

Sebastian kept at it, that bastard, smiling just evilly, he knew how drunk and flustered this made Kurt, he knew it.

 

"Just because you look at me that way?" Kurt added, less confidently.

 

"You don't have that much resolve," Sebastian told him. "You've been caving into me all night."

 

He brushed the backs of his fingers along Kurt's cheekbone, and Kurt responded to the touch way more eagerly than he should have, inhaling sharply, letting Sebastian take his face into his hand.

 

"And, you almost kissed me on the balcony.”

 

"Did not," he tried to resist.

 

Sebastian licked his lips.

 

"Don't lie to me, babe," he said. "Admit it."

 

Kurt swallowed hard.

 

"I—wanted to kiss you." His eyes scanned Sebastian's face back and forth, up and down quickly, and Sebastian's brain was flooded with thoughts about how tremendously and stunningly beautiful those eyes were up close. This close. "Earlier, fine."

 

"But not now?" Sebastian prompted, stroking Kurt's cheek gently.

 

Sebastian came so close that their mouths were inches apart. Kurt took a deep breath.

 

"Nothing's holding you back now," Sebastian said. "Take me. I'm yours."

 

And finally, Kurt gave in, and took Sebastian's lips in his own.

 

Sebastian closed his eyes, inhaled sharply. His brain felt like it had fireworks going off inside it and he quickly felt a jolt down south as he reveled in the feeling of Kurt's soft lips on his, of Kurt just barely sucking on his lower lip, curiously and innocently tasting him. When Kurt made an angelic little noise, Sebastian pressed his tongue in Kurt’s mouth and Kurt accepted, letting Sebastian drag it across his slow and agonizing.

 

Sebastian had wanted Kurt for so long and this was it, this was finally it. His craving kicked into overdrive and suddenly his hands were driven and purposeful, framing Kurt's face, sifting through Kurt's hair, grasping his back, yanking at fabric. Kurt's little body was pliant as Sebastian pulled it close, handled it, palmed it, and Kurt's mouth fell open as Sebastian began to bite his neck hungrily. He moaned as Sebastian sucked at his skin, held him tight by his lower back, and practically growled.

 

Kurt was stunned, meanwhile, felt like he was melting. He was starting to fall apart already, quips coming out of his mouth all desperate and trembling, chills all over his skin, hairs standing up on end. He wasn’t sure what else to do with his hands but grasp needily onto Sebastian through his shirt, at hard shoulders, tight abs. When Sebastian started making quick work of his shirt buttons, and he watched, he couldn’t believe that this was happening, so much so that the had to say:

 

"Why are you doing this with me?"

 

Sebastian was in the middle of kissing his collarbones and chest, but paused to smile against his now wet skin, glance up at him, the gorgeous fuck, and say, "Doing what?"

 

"Is this just—mhm—to get in my pants? Because that's—" he caught Sebastian's hands sliding down to his ass and shoved them back up— "not how this works with me—"

 

"No."

 

Sebastian kissed Kurt on the mouth again suddenly, sucking on his lower lip tortuously, then pulled back to look at him rather seriously.

 

"This means something to me, Kurt," Sebastian said, both hands coming up to stroke Kurt's cheekbones gently, and the look in his eyes was practically begging. "For the first time, it does, it does."

 

When he dove back in for Kurt's lips again, Kurt let him have them, his heart weak.

 

Sebastian pulled Kurt away from the wall as they still kissed, turning him around and guiding him and pushing him so that they were both stumbling onto Sebastian’s bed, Sebastian over Kurt. God, Kurt thought, Sebastian was good at this, so, so good at this, no wonder he had guys constantly lining up to be with him, he was so obviously experienced and controlled.

 

Powerful.

 

Kurt moaned when Sebastian let go of his lips, which were growing red and swollen from being bit.

 

"You and I," Sebastian exhaled now, "have had sexual tension ever since we met."

 

Kurt thought about that day, about the fire that had burned in his gut at the sight of that face making eyes at his boyfriend, at how that burn was the same one he felt now.

 

"Imagine if instead of fighting over him—" Sebastian gently bit Kurt’s earlobe, and when he tugged on it, Kurt hummed, and he laughed, "we’d taken all that bad blood out on each other.”

 

"That never would’ve happened—"

 

"Why couldn't it have?" Sebastian's mouth was back on Kurt's again, and he spoke between each greedy kiss. "You were a much better dancer than him, I remember that—could’ve gotten over my pride, pressed you up against a stall door in the bathroom—fucked you until you came all over yourself—I bet you look divine when you come, Kurt—"

 

"Oh my god—"

 

Sebastian pulled the rest of Kurt’s shirt buttons open so his smooth, pale torso was exposed, the skin flushed and warm from arousal. He resumed his travels south and nipped and nicked at Kurt’s stomach, running his tongue just above the waistband of Kurt’s tented pants. But the thought of Sebastian giving him head suddenly made him panic, because Sebastian seeing him naked made his faithlessness official, made him realize he was about to be in too deep to stop—

 

"Sebastian—"

 

He felt guilty, he shouldn't have, but he felt so fucking guilty, like he was about to throw away the rest of his life, and oh god, what if Blaine—

 

"Sebastian.”

 

"Really like saying my name, don't you?”

 

"It's only been a week.”

 

Sebastian stopped, gazed up at him.

 

"Since?" he demanded.

 

Kurt couldn't answer. But Sebastian knew exactly what he was talking about.

 

Kurt stared at Sebastian panting and looking so perfect, defenseless, and felt a sudden jerk of his cock in his pants as he re-imagined the possibility of Sebastian’s mouth around him. This made him pull Sebastian in to another messy kiss, because what if that had just been a mistake, too? He could only have one chance at this, to rewrite time, to change his life—

 

And Sebastian, so afraid of this change in his life ending so quickly, was already painfully feeling addicted to the feel of Kurt's lips, taking them in his over and over, trying to memorize how they felt and he knew it, he knew he’d wanted this all along, never wanted this to stop now—

 

Kurt’s conscience about Blaine, about how paranoid he’d been that this would happen, leaped up and kicked in once more, making him panic again—

 

"It's been—mmh—a week." Kurt tried to get the words out, but Sebastian kept on kissing him, and he kept on wanting it, even as self-hatred flooded his poor, confused brain. "A week and I'm—already kissing someone else—you."

 

That made Sebastian stop for a moment. He stared at Kurt carefully.

 

"You can stop me anytime," he said.

 

But Kurt couldn't stop. He gazed at Sebastian's mouth and then kissed him again, torn between his pain and the overwhelming physical sensation, wanting to be taken over the edge tonight like he had grown so used to with—

 

"Just tell me that you want me to stop," Sebastian said in between kisses. "Just mmh—"

 

Kurt wrapped a hand around the back of Sebastian's neck, pulling him down hard on top of him so that their bodies were pressed, effectively shutting him up.

 

When Sebastian trailed his mouth down to bite and kiss Kurt's neck a third time, Kurt's fingers stroked through Sebastian's hair encouragingly. When Sebastian decided to roll his hips down on Kurt’s, Kurt tugged at his roots, yanked hard; he could feel Sebastian's cock through his jeans again, fully hard and thick beneath the zipper, rutting against his own.

 

"Oh god, Sebastian—"

 

"Go ahead," Sebastian said, thrusting his hips along Kurt's once more and making him shudder. “Tell me you want me to stop.”

 

“Don’t, not now—“

 

Kurt wrapped his legs around the back's of Seb's thighs to bring him closer, and after just one more rut, he sighed in defeat and frantically slipped his hands between the two of them, to undo the button on his pants, just needing release—

 

But all of a sudden, someone was knocking on their front door, hard. Six times in a row.

 

Kurt's eyes went wide into Sebastian’s, as Sebastian sat up suddenly.

 

"Oh my god, get the door," Kurt hurried him.

 

Sebastian knew who it was, had willfully ignored his texts and his classmates knew where he lived, one lived in the building. But he kept going.

 

“They can wait.”

 

Sebastian leaned down to kiss Kurt again, but Kurt pushed him.

 

“Sebastian, stop.”

 

Sebastian went rigid, and did so immediately.

 

He stood up from the bed in a flash, pulling his shirt back down over his abs, quite shamelessly sticking a hand in his pants to rearrange his dick, and Kurt tried not to look so fucking shocked, that it appeared to be, well, enormous.

 

Kurt watched, then, his shirt still open and chest still rising and falling swift, as Sebastian faced the door, cleared his throat, and then opened it.

 

"Hey."

 

Kurt couldn't see the faces of the guys on the other side, and they couldn’t see him, but he suddenly felt humiliated at how he must've looked in spite. Sprawled out on Sebastian's bed just like all the other men that had been in this same position, eager and willing for Sebastian to have his way with them.

 

Self-consciously, Kurt sat up, and with shaky fingers began re-fastening the buttons of his shirt. Sebastian said something to his classmates and then closed the door slightly, walking to his desk and shoving various things into his bookbag, trying very pointedly to not look his unfinished business in the face, the eyes, the soul.

 

Kurt watched Sebastian’s quick, tense movements, trying to calm his breathing, trying not to fantasize about that body anymore than he already had.

 

Sebastian gave Kurt one last look before opening the door, heading out.

 

And Kurt, poor Kurt, couldn’t help it; once Sebastian was gone, he slipped a hand into his pants to finish himself, nearly crying in relief as he came onto his stomach, on Sebastian’s bed.

Chapter Text

 

You've been avoiding me.

 

That Monday, Kurt's heart sank at the sight of the message in his phone from Sebastian.

 

I haven't, he typed back, from in front of the piano he’d been using to practice. I have finals. I've been busy.

 

But he was lying.

 

The morning after their heated kiss, he felt a plethora of complicated emotions; the strongest of them, unfortunately, was dread. Sebastian had already left for church, and when Kurt glanced over at his roommate’s empty sheets, his memory flooded with images and feelings from the night before, realizing that was only his third kiss ever, and it had gone much further than he ever could’ve planned it.

 

Slightly panicked, he'd slipped out of bed and stared at himself in his vanity mirror; at the new hickies that covered his neck and chest, running his cold hands over each of them quick, feeling the suffocating fear of what Blaine would say if he found out that he'd cheated on—

 

Then remembered there was nothing left to cheat on, that Blaine had dumped him and he still hadn't heard from him, and all of that just made him feel ten times worse.

 

So for the next two days, he’d figured physical distance was the best plan of action. Drowning himself in schoolwork was the best way to keep himself from feelings, about Blaine and Sebastian both. When he wasn't studying in the library, he was practicing the audition numbers for his major, in one of the department building's soundproof cubicles. But the singing and playing were boring and tedious, and he was reminded and ashamed of how rusty he'd become, in the midst of spending all his free time worrying over men. He was here to get a degree, damn it; shouldn’t he have been focusing on that?

 

He couldn’t stop messing up his chords, and contemplating his dismal future as a performer, and trying not to compare himself to the much more talented singers he had come across in classes.

 

He went to sleep early on purpose at nights, so he wouldn't be awake when Sebastian came in late, and snuck out in the mornings unnoticed. He concealed the marks on his neck with a heavy woolen scarf, and every time he ran his tongue over his lower lip, he was reminded of his conduct by the swelling and the bruising of it.

 

Kurt knew himself better than to think that he was just acting this way because he felt ashamed. He was also avoiding Sebastian because he couldn't deny his arousal in their memory's wake; emotional consequences aside, Sebastian was physically jarring to Kurt, an absolutely mesmerizing kisser, all rough bites and tongue and flawless control.

 

Kurt could deny it all he wanted, but he'd been reduced to a hot mess in Sebastian's hands, and if someone hadn't knocked on that door, to stop them? He would've gotten lost in that rush, let Sebastian tease him and get him so wound up and desperate, that it wouldn't've been long before they were both naked, and either one of them was flirting with penetration.

 

And that was all so strange to him.

 

This was only the second person he’d been with in his life, and it’d taken him months to feel comfortable enough with Blaine to let the other boy to touch him under his shirt. But things were different now; Sebastian's kiss hadn't been slow or rose-tinted, there was no time for Kurt to hold his breath and count to three until their lips finally, chastely met. No, their kiss had been quick, straightforward, and dirty, immediate invitation into tumbling into bed and Sebastian had hypnotized him halfway out of his clothing within minutes.

 

But still, when Sebastian finally texted him, Kurt used the lamest lie in the book, the I'm busy. He didn't even expect Sebastian to buy it, however:

 

If I don’t see you before, good luck with your theater auditions, Sebastian replied. Don’t fall asleep in the library this week, I can’t promise I won’t make you one my #napgate victims. I'm sure you'll do perfect. Let me know if you need anything.

 

Sebastian was being graceful in spite, and Kurt knew that avoiding him was tiptoeing around land mines, like stepping on one and re-opening what they had wasn’t fate. Unless Kurt wanted to be homeless real soon, of course they'd have to face what they’d done. So, he was about to respond to Sebastian with this truth, but like the universe was cursing him with its timing, his phone finally buzzed with the text he’d really been waiting for, from Blaine Anderson.

 

Hey.

 

Okay, so Kurt had been expecting the short love of his life thus far to say more than that, after everything they’d been through. But, he’d immediately wanted to cry at the sight of his message, because had he gotten it a week ago? He’d be jumping at a response, probably calling right away, dying and desperate to hear his best friend’s voice.

 

But now?

 

He stared down at Blaine’s message, his fingers trembling, knowing that if his love found out so soon, how Kurt had already had his tongue down someone else's throat, he’d probably never want him back.

 

And because of who it'd been, and the distrust with him that Blaine already had there, Kurt knew that no matter what he said, Blaine would just assume it had been going on before they’d broken up, when really for Kurt, it hadn’t been—

 

But hadn’t it been? How else could he have been with Sebastian like that?

 

If things were ever going to back to the way they were, Kurt would have to explain away his night with Sebastian, and admit to Blaine that it wasn’t just to get over him, and admit that maybe secretly he had known all along, that Sebastian was into him. That maybe he was just so virginal and inexperienced, that some other guy flirting with him, besides the only one he’d ever had? Had just been too much attention to resist.

 

But it was going to be too much for him right now, that admission to Blaine, that now it was no longer just the two of them.

 

He closed the conversation, clicking over to the one with Sebastian.

 

We should talk, Kurt said to him. About the other night. In person.

 

Sebastian agreed.

 

Okay.

 

Come to the theater building, Kurt instructed. Second floor. Cubicle nine.

 

Once again, the reply was instant.

 

On my way.

 

Kurt took a deep, anxious breath, and skirted his fingertips across the piano keys.

 

Kurt had been preparing “Don't Cry For Me Argentina,” as it was one of his classic, go-to songs. But part of the reason he was so attached to it, was because it reminded him of Blaine—reminded him of blue and red blazers and the Dalton commons, and Blaine's confident smile reassuring him as he belted.

 

So, as of the day before, Kurt had decided to add a second song to the mix; a song that reminded him only of himself, and that reflected what he wanted in his complicated, lonely state.

 

 

Sebastian hadn't been able to stop thinking about Kurt since it'd happened. He’d kissed a lot of guys before, over a hundred at least all sloppy and aggressive, tasting like alcohol in the back of clubs, remaining nameless in the middle of apartments. Not one in recent memory had set him off like this. Already, he felt like a fiend, like an addict who was going without his fix cold turkey, and this was only after two days, Christ.

 

He couldn't imagine what not having the rest of Kurt would feel like.

 

Had he not been good enough for him, he wondered? Was that why his roommate was avoiding him? No, fuck that, of course he had been good enough; he'd heard those moans Kurt had made from underneath him, and over and over, he’d told Kurt to stop him.

 

He didn’t know why Kurt was hesitant exactly, but all his best guesses were making him feel dread inside. Trying not to picture how recently Kurt had had Blaine in their room, how little he actually knew about why they were splitting up, and how dangerous it was for him, and his heart, to get involved in between these two again.

 

That afternoon, Sebastian hurried across campus to the theater building, at Kurt's request. The snow and ice from the weekend was melting under modest, still-cold sunshine. When he got inside, upstairs, and in front of cubicle nine, he found the black door to it closed and locked. Faintly, he could hear the piano being played by Kurt, and Kurt's voice, passionate, along with it:

 

"Somebody, hold me too close.
“Somebody, hurt me too deep.
"Somebody, sit in my chair,
"And ruin my sleep,
"And make me aware
"Of being alive,
"Being alive—"

 

For one who often described himself as rusty, Kurt’s voiced sounded startlingly deep and clearly beautiful, swelling, holding all the right notes, hitting all the lowest pitches of his range. Sebastian thought hearing it, though he’d given him shit before, that maybe Kurt could actually sing after all.

 

"Somebody, need me too much.
"Somebody, know me too well.
"Somebody, pull me up short,
"And put me through hell,
"And give me support,
"For being alive.
"Make me alive,
"Make me alive—"

 

And what he was singing, what he was asking for with these words—there was so much emotion behind his voice, Sebastian could feel it. Kurt really meant this and he sounded so heartfelt, like he was actually begging of a 'somebody' in particular.

 

"Make me confused.
"Mock me with praise.
"Let me be used.
"Vary my days.
"But alone is alone,
"Not alive—"
"Somebody, crowd me with love,
"Somebody, force me to care,
"Somebody, let me come through,
"I'll always be there,
"As frightened as you,
"To help us survive
"Being alive,
"Being alive."

 

Sebastian waited until Kurt finished holding the last note, and brandished one last flourish on the piano, before he fixed to knock his trembling hand.

 

The door opened before him in a hurry, Kurt standing behind it in black sweater and jade jeans, and thigh-high boots that accentuated him in ways that were so unfair, and Sebastian couldn’t help but smile at seeing him.

 

But when Kurt’s bright eyes met Sebastian's, startled and concerned, he looked—

 

Not happy to see him.

 

"Before you say, or do, anything, just listen," Kurt told him, holding the door in his hands. "Okay?"

 

Sebastian’s smile faded. "Okay.”

 

Kurt let Sebastian into the small room, and locked the black door behind them presently. Sebastian's eyes danced around the padded walls, as Kurt went to stand beside the piano, trying to find the right words, and trying not to be so distracted by Sebastian's scent, his open shirt buttons—

 

Remembering Blaine’s text in his inbox, how if he was ever going to get to that, he needed to work through this—

 

"I don’t think we should make out anymore,” Kurt said.

 

Sebastian finally met his eyes again, frowned.

 

"Really," he said.

 

"Really," Kurt tried.

 

Sebastian just stared, making Kurt even more nervous. And now, he felt a lot more like he was lying than telling the truth.

 

"I-it was just one night," Kurt scrambled, "a-and I think I've just missed Blaine so much that I wanted you to feel like him—“ but he hadn’t felt like Blaine, not at all, had he? “—and that’s why I let you kiss me, and touch me, but if I had been myself, I don't think I would have."

 

Sebastian bit his lip, tried not to let his mind sink in on I just wanted you to feel like him, tried not to let those words stab him.

 

"Okay," was all he said.

 

And at that, Kurt looked perplexed at him. Sebastian thought, he actually has the gall to look hurt by my acceptance, by actually doing what he’s asking.

 

"Okay?" Kurt repeated.

 

It was then Sebastian realized Kurt was bluffing, afraid of this. He decided that he needed to regain some points here, for his own sanity if for nothing else.

 

"You sound shocked or something,” he said, level.

 

"I’m not shocked," Kurt responded, "I just thought you would—"

 

"Wanna fuck your brains out, now that I've had a taste?"

 

At the aghast look on Kurt’s face, Sebastian chuckled softly.

 

"I'm not going to force you to do anything with me," he said, taking a few small steps towards Kurt’s figure, "because trust me, I've got plenty more where you come from. Plenty of guys who’d put out for me, no questions asked. I don’t need you.”

 

Kurt tensed up at these words.

 

"Then why did you tell me I meant something to you, the other night?"

 

Fuck. Kurt had actually, truly been listening to him.

 

"I say a lot of things when I'm hooking up," he attempted.

 

"So, you tell every guy that you're with that they mean something to you?"

 

"I’ll admit, you meant something to me, but.” He swallowed, his heartbeat racing. “That was before I knew you still thought that you and Blaine would get back together, after all the wishy washy bullshit he’s put you through. But if you wanna sit around and wet your pants over him like a spineless, lovestruck teenager, that’s fine by me."

 

Kurt scoffed, the pain becoming rapidly apparent in his expression.

 

"Don't talk about me like that.”

 

Sebastian hated, hated doing this to him, but he was just so hurt.

 

"Why would you even bother to want someone who was so quick to dump you on your ass, like two years meant absolutely nothing to him?"

 

"Shut up," Kurt snapped. "You don't know Blaine like I do. Stop acting like you get him, or us."

 

"You're being pathetic," Sebastian challenged. "You deserve someone universes better than him."

 

"Oh, and what, you think you're that someone better?"

 

"Clearly. I’m here, and he’s not.”

 

Sebastian took the truth of that moment, and the fact that it was obviously registering in Kurt’s mind and heart, to come closer.

 

“And when it comes to sex,” he went on, “I guarantee you, Blaine couldn't even come close to the things I could do to you."

 

"Well, unlike you, I don't just care about the sex of it all.” Kurt was playing at resistance, but he was getting turned on by Sebastian walking closer, his memories from the other night threatening to overtake him. “I don't care about what you can or can't do to me, because I’m not so proud of how many people I’ve fucked, that I mistake sex for actual intimacy.”

 

If Sebastian was hurt by that at all, he couldn't process it, because god was he ever so distracted by the cold, gorgeous harshness of Kurt's maddening stare. Kurt's attack on him just now was as wounding as it was uninhibitedly sexy.

 

"It pisses me off that clearly you think I'm just some piece of ass,” Kurt said, “that can be wooed by your stupid words and your stupid, sultry stares long enough to jump into bed with you just like that.”

 

Oh, Sebastian loved it when Kurt got all fiery like this. He drew even closer, taking in the blotches of red stained on Kurt's lovely face; it was a pity that anger looked so stunning on him, it made it so hard for Sebastian to concentrate.

 

"Is that really what you still think of me?" Sebastian said.

 

He was within inches of Kurt's body now, standing almost chest-to-chest with him. Kurt was screwed, so screwed, if he thought that he was ever going to escape this.

 

"Why wouldn't it be?" Kurt managed.

 

"Because," Sebastian said, beginning to lean in, close in on Kurt's mouth, "I think I can change your mind."

 

"Please," Kurt bluffed one last time, shutting his eyes and feeling Sebastian cup a hand to his cheekbone,

 

"Try me."

 

So with a lunge forward, and a harsh press of his mouth into Kurt's, Sebastian did.

 

For a moment, Kurt forgot about calling this off altogether, forgot about shame and Blaine, letting his lust sweep over him in heavy waves. He could do nothing but fervently give in again, as Sebastian teased his mouth open, making grip Sebastian's shirt between his fists, feel like all of his nerve endings were on fire.

 

Sebastian pushed Kurt backward until he was pressed up against the piano, Kurt’s hands fumbling for purchase behind him and dancing across keys, creating frantic notes of music. Sebastian's hands reached around to grab handfuls of Kurt's ass over his pants, and this time, Kurt let him; let rash little noises slip from the back of his throat, as Sebastian tortuously squeezed and groped him.

 

Sebastian couldn't believe that this was happening again, that he was tasting Kurt and feeling him, so he brought his hands around to his own front, wanting to take advantage of this while he still could—

 

And all Sebastian had to do was zip down his own pants, the sound ripping through the quiet room, before Kurt was coming back to his senses, pulling back abruptly.

 

“Wait.”

 

Breathless, Kurt opened his eyes wide, stared down at the open fly of Sebastian's jeans. At the clear, hard bulge pressing against the thin cotton, his mouth fell slightly open; he could see a dot of pre-come leaking against the fabric, see the whole of Sebastian’s erection slightly pulsing, against too-tight, too-thin restraint—

 

Kurt had to close his eyes to keep from wanting, and then he began to shut down.

 

"I'm sorry," he said, weakly, trembling. "I can't."

 

Without saying anything, Sebastian conceded. Quickly and quietly, he zipped his jeans back up, and turned towards the door.

 

It slammed shut behind him with no kindness, and Kurt, once again, was conflicted; was letting him go the right thing?

 

And when Sebastian got back to their room, it took him less than a minute to finish himself off. Imagining that awestruck look on Kurt’s face when he’d gotten a look at his cock, turning into Kurt dropping to his knees, shyly and longingly sucking him off.

 

 

 

Much later on in the evening, Kurt, uncertainly, wandered back into their room.

 

He'd been putting off coming back for as long as he could, hashing out his piece on the piano and trying to work up the nerve to just text Blaine back, Hey, or maybe call.

 

But this, with Sebastian, would be easier; because at least with him, he would always get honesty, even if the brutal truth wasn’t always what he wanted to hear. With Blaine lately, everything was so clouded.

 

When Kurt came in, Sebastian was on his bed with his laptop and a book open next to him. He glanced up at Kurt accordingly, but tried to make his gaze look as removed as he could possibly make it.

 

Kurt dropped his heavy book bag on the floor, and took a deep breath.

 

“I’m sorry,” he started off, plain. “For what happened earlier.”

 

Sebastian shook his head.

 

"What do you have to be sorry for?" he said.

 

Kurt's eyes scattered elsewhere.

 

"I get it," Sebastian continued, watching the way that Kurt tangled his fingers together anxiously. "I get that you’re not just going to be over the one you wanted to spend the rest of your life with. And, I get that I move fast, that I've been doing this longer and that freaks you out."

 

Kurt walked slowly towards Sebastian's bed, sitting down on the edge of it. Sebastian responded with hesitance at first, staring at Kurt's back like it had intent to hurt him. But eventually, he pushed his laptop aside, scoot up, and sat next to Kurt, keeping a sizable distance between their legs.

 

They sat for a while in silence, working through their thoughts. And then, Kurt spoke again.

 

"I don’t know, about Blaine anymore, okay?” He teared up. “I can’t keep pretending like it's going to go back to the way it was, not anymore. Because I was so hurt by what he did, and what he said to me, that yes, I was with you instead, and that’s—I have to admit that that's starting not to feel like a mistake, or a fluke anymore.”

 

Sebastian looked over, met Kurt's misty gaze.

 

“A-and I know that you're not used to being with someone who likes to take things slow,” Kurt continued, “but I’m a romantic. I like—chaste kisses, and feeling someone's arms around me, and cuddling in bed together. The little things. I mean, I like sex too, don't get me wrong, I really, really do, but—not if there isn’t a process, and not if it’s not in the context of a relationship. That's just the way I am, and the way I’ll always be, and if you can't accept that? Then we can't, and I can't. I can't be anything more than just friends with you.”

 

Just friends.

 

They'd never been just friends, and Sebastian knew it.

 

Sebastian sunk his elbows into his knees, and hid his face in his hands for a moment. Kurt watched Sebastian's stubborn attempt to keep his feelings in, watched the other boy fold, stare resolutely at the floor.

 

"This is going to put a strain on us living together, isn't it?" Kurt said to him.

 

"You just," Sebastian replied, after a while, "don't get how insanely drawn I am to you, Kurt. To all of you."

 

Kurt watched him, waiting, on edge, for more.

 

"For the past month, or two, or three, you don't get how hard it's been for me to just keep my eyes off of you, let alone my hands," Sebastian said, figured he might as well spit it out now, since it was pointless anyway. "I haven’t even been able to fuck anyone else, I haven’t wanted to, and when I tried—I would just think of you, and how much you’ve already changed me, and hard it might be to get you, but how worth it would be, and now—now I know that I was right. We've never been friends, Kurt. There's always been something between us, whether either of us were able to see it or not. Why do you think I was so terrible to you before?"

 

Kurt couldn't answer that.

 

"Because eventually, I realized that,” Sebastian answered for him, “even if Blaine were no object, you would never lower yourself to be with me, actually. Physically, this works because we’re both hot, but. As a person, where it really counts—you're too good for me."

 

Kurt shook his head.

 

"But." Sebastian shrugged. "Whatever."

 

Kurt opened his mouth to try and speak, say something as eloquent and silvery as what Sebastian always seemed to be able to say to him, but nothing of worth would emerge. Did Sebastian really, honestly feel so lowly about himself?

 

"It's not that I'm not flattered, Sebastian," Kurt tried eventually, "really, I—"

 

"Don't."

 

Sebastian got off the bed and knelt down on the floor, propping himself up on his knees right in front of Kurt. The look in his eyes was more serious than Kurt had ever seen it, and he looked so vulnerable, and genuine, and hurt.

 

Kurt stared, captivated, and swallowed hard. Sebastian’s eyes had him stunned, irrevocably drawn in.

 

"Look," Sebastian said, plainly and much more calmly. "I don't want your pity. You can keep that, no problem. This might be the worst case I’ve ever faced, of wanting something so badly that I can’t have, but. If what you want is to figure out exactly what you want with Blaine, take the time out and do that for yourself. I’ve been burned before, and eventually, this burn will fade like all the others. So, I'll keep doing me, and you keep doing you, and if I ever catch myself, with thoughts about my head between your legs—"

 

Sebastian's eyes flickered there accordingly, and Kurt shuddered with want.

 

"—I'll keep them to myself. Because there's no way could want that, the way things are right now—"

 

Kurt felt himself growing breathless.

 

"Right?" Sebastian finished.

 

"Right," Kurt managed back to him.

 

But just seconds later, he was leaning down to kiss him.

 

This time, the kiss was soft, and gentle, without any intention to be rough or lead to sex. It made Sebastian weak, the gentle purse of Kurt's lips, the way that Kurt hummed in faint, pure bliss.

 

When Kurt pulled away, Sebastian's face was warm, from the unexpectedness of the other boy's touch.

 

"What was that?" he asked, frowning a bit.

 

"Um." Kurt blushed. "It was—one more, for last time's sake?"

 

Sebastian's heart skipped a beat.

 

"Huh," he muttered.

 

They stared at each other, then kissed again.

 

Their kiss was winding and steadily building, the tension between them magnetic, then electric. Kurt swore he’d never felt this physically stimulated, this jolted alive, by someone else's kiss before. Whereas Blaine had always made him feel sated and comfortable, Sebastian felt striking, jarring and stirring, making every hair on his body stand on edge.

 

Sebastian crawled onto the bed and over Kurt's body, gently pushing Kurt onto his back, leaning in and kissing his neck as Kurt's fingers tangled through his hair.

 

"This is it," Kurt exhaled, as Sebastian continued to nip at his skin. "This is the last time, okay?"

 

“Okay.”

 

Sebastian came up to kiss Kurt's mouth, suck on his lips long and slow, as Kurt moaned into his mouth unabashedly. God, how long could Sebastian stand holding back, when Kurt sounded like that because of him?

 

When Sebastian brought his kisses down the side of Kurt's face, Kurt tried again.

 

"Unless—unless you tell me that we can be exclusive," he tried, "that's the only way that I can—"

 

"Yes," Sebastian whispered between kisses. "I'll do it, anything, anything you want—"

 

Kurt pushed Sebastian up by his shoulders, then sat up, forcing them to look each other in the eye.

 

"Really?" Kurt demanded. "Have you ever even been exclusive with anyone before?"

 

 

"No."

 

Sebastian snaked his hands around Kurt's waist, grasping at it as he stared at Kurt’s lips.

 

"But how hard could it be?" he continued.

 

"Um, it's very hard, actually.” At this, Sebastian gazed down between Kurt's legs. “Stop,” Kurt chastised, tipping Sebastian’s chin back up with one finger.

 

Sebastian took Kurt's hand into his, then slowly brought the pad of one finger up to his lips. He kissed Kurt's fingertip gently, and then sucked, dragging it slowly along his tongue and then taking each digit into his mouth, kissing his way down Kurt's forearm.

 

Damn, he was good at this.

 

Kurt let Sebastian hover over him again, let him kiss him and slowly rut his hard-on against his thigh. His mind recovered that image in the soundproof room, of how thick Sebastian’s dick was, and his imagination flirted with what sex with him would be like.

 

Would it feel as good as Blaine had? Even better?

 

When Kurt felt himself start to sweat, felt himself starting to get too turned on by this, he stopped them, sitting up and keeping Sebastian at bay, but not too far.

 

"Sebastian, I'm serious," Kurt said to him, out of breath. "This seriously will not happen unless I know that I'm the only one. It's all I'm used to."

 

Sebastian kissed Kurt again in promise, several wet, affectionate pecks over and over, and Kurt's eyes fluttered shut.

 

"I'll stop, then," Sebastian said, “I already had,” and then whispered,

 

"I just want you."

 

And damn it if Kurt wasn’t, against all logic and and all warning, starting to take those words from Sebastian to heart.

 

 

 

The rest of the week, after studying for hours at their desks, Kurt and Sebastian would tumble into either of their beds with lips locked, like it was the last one that they would have each time, letting out their frustrations on each other, clinging and pushing and breathing heavily.

 

Sebastian was so intense, so driven and so focused, Kurt had to get used to the extra force: the overwhelming sense that Sebastian was no amateur, and he knew it well. And Sebastian was learning that Kurt had certain spots, there was a place just at the nape of his neck that made him emit the most lovely of sounds, and his inner thighs were such pleasure spaces for him, god Sebastian wanted nothing more than to run his tongue down them, but for now he was restrained to pressing fingertips in, leaving imprints on malleable skin.

 

Kurt would orchestrate the stop before anything actually happened, before underwear came off and Sebastian would start to hate it. But Kurt would sleepily change into pajamas across the way, sense that Sebastian wasn't completely content and come over and remind him that "slower was better." He'd stare up at him with apologetic babydoll eyes, kissing him softly on the mouth over and over in a way that Sebastian couldn't help but lose his mind over.

 

They'd sleep in Kurt's bed at nights, hours after kissing, lights off and moonlight dripping in the half-shaded window. Kurt would always fall asleep first, and Sebastian would soothingly run his fingertips through Kurt's hair, nestle his nose at the nape of Kurt's neck. As he lie there, feeling the warmth of Kurt's body against his him, Sebastian sometimes worried that this was too much; that he'd already let Kurt in too far, and told Kurt one too many times that he wanted him, that one day he might share something way too personal, and let Kurt get in close enough to judge him, to mold and to chastise him, to hate what he found once he dug deep enough.

 

On some mornings when Kurt woke up first, he’d start to feel that sinking regret from before; staring at Sebastian’s strong, beautiful body, realizing that lying here was pushing Blaine away. Realizing further that, if he wanted, he could never answer Blaine’s text, or never see him ever again.

 

He knew that that wasn’t what he wanted, it was just that he was still so upset at him. Sebastian was, objectively, better-looking than Blaine; Kurt would always love Blaine and always find him sexy, but he’d be stupid to believe that Blaine was better in bed than Seb. Kurt usually didn’t even care about things like that, but felt like now, in his suddenly adult world, he was forced to, because this world could be so cruel. He still wanted Blaine to feel as hurt as he did; still couldn’t even imagine the tables having been turned, couldn’t see himself wanting to break up with Blaine that day. How did Blaine hide his disinterest, and his pain, from him for so long?

 

Was it so wrong for him to focus on the one he was with now, as long as now would last?

 

Finally, Kurt’s last final of weight had arrived that December 1st. It was storming outside as Kurt and Sebastian stood inside the dimly lit hallway of the theater building.

 

Kurt was the last one to go in for his major class audition that afternoon and with several of the girls who'd gone before him coming out of the theater in tears, Kurt's nerves were all ablaze.

 

Here they were now, and Sebastian was damn near playing the role of the boyfriend here; staying up with Kurt until three a.m. the night before, then taking him to the theater and waiting for the results with him.

 

Here they were now, and Sebastian could feel his phone buzzing in his pocket. He'd been derailing texts from his usual gentleman callers, refusing to log onto Grindr and turning down invitations to gay bar after gay bar, night after night. Shit, it was like the universe or God in heaven knew that Sebastian was trying to keep it in his pants, like all his strays had been sent notification of his attempt at monogamy, and were throwing themselves at him accordingly, making the sleaziest passes possible. He was surprised he hadn't gotten a dick pic from a random number to his inbox yet—that happened sometimes.

 

As he and Kurt waited for Kurt’s turn to go in, Sebastian glanced at the rain-streaked door down the hall, considering for a second that he could walk out now, and leave this thing unscathed.

 

But one look over at Kurt again, pacing and perfect, and he knew that he couldn't leave.

 

"Ten minutes," Kurt was saying to himself. "I'm going in in ten minutes and I'm not even close to ready—"

 

"You're ready. We stayed up until three last night, you practiced so much, I have your songs memorized."

 

"I can't handle all the pressure. The guys who make it in this program, who make it in the productions, are bold, and fabulous, and daring, and I'm not—edgy enough, or risqué enough, or hot enough, a-and I’m starting to feel like maybe I over practiced. It happens to even the best of auditioners, they go with their go-to but when they get up on that stage, their memory shorts and they choke."

 

Sebastian tried not to find Kurt's panic-mode endearing. He also tried not to get too distracted way Kurt was dressed today. He'd gotten all prettied up for this audition, and of course that included the tightest jeans, which Sebastian really wanted to see on the floor. Sebastian may have been in this mainly for the emotional support, but he was still him; he couldn't help the desire to want to get physical with Kurt as often as possible, now that he could.

 

Smiling a little, he picked himself up from against the wall, and slowly walked towards Kurt, who hadn't made frantic eye contact with him in minutes.

 

"And besides, we didn't stay up until three," Kurt added, "you stayed up until one, and then fell asleep with your nose in your econ book, and even when you were awake, you weren't very much help, you kept—distracting me by giving me more hickies, or telling me that the last time you were this bored, you were watching straight porn and realizing you were gay.”

 

“I was in that closet of a room for four hours," Sebastian bantered, "and I can only listen to ‘Don't Cry For Me Argentina’ so many times before I feel like shooting myself in the foot."

 

"You really think insulting me is gonna help right now?" Kurt finally darted those beautiful, icy eyes up at Sebastian, making a shiver run down his spine.

 

“Not insulting you, insulting the song.”

 

“That's the same thing, I chose the song!"

 

"Kurt," Sebastian muttered.

 

"Don't 'Kurt' me—"

 

"You really need to relax, babe."

 

"Don't 'babe' me either!" Kurt covered his reddening face with his clammy palms. "Stop trying to be cute while I'm stressing.”

 

“Trying to be cute?” Sebastian stepped closer to him. “I'm always cute.”

 

“Shut up.”

 

"Okay.”

 

Sebastian tugged down on Kurt's forearms, pulled him in, leaned down to kiss him.

 

Kurt made a small, indignant, muffled noise at first, but then he felt Sebastian frame his jaw with his hand, angling his face just so way in that way that always got him, and felt heat sweeping over his body quickly.

 

When Sebastian parted their lips, Kurt was practically stammering, wide-eyed.

 

He still wasn't used to—well, that. The fact that Sebastian could kiss him whenever he wanted, wherever they were, and that he did it frankly, and frequently. In the middle of Kurt's sentences, across the table in the library, while Kurt still had one arm in his shirt as he was getting dressed in the mornings.

 

"C'mon," Sebastian said now, realizing that he now had Kurt's fleeting attention, and he needed to act fast. He kissed Kurt again, pert and quick, and then leaned in and slipped his tongue into Kurt's mouth, taking Kurt by the hands and slowly easing him into stepping backwards. He paused for another breath, getting caught up in Kurt's eyes. "You need to take the pressure off."

 

"No." Kurt stopped walking with in time with him, but he was the one to initiate the kiss this time.

 

Sebastian walked backwards with him again, pressing himself completely against a door to a janitor's closet. He reached back to palm the doorknob, and then opened it, pulling Kurt inside with him by the waist.

 

"Are you insane?" Kurt whispered, firmly gripping the hands on his sides. "Anyone could walk through here right now, and my audition is in five minutes."

 

Sebastian brought one of Kurt's hands to his lips and left a wet kiss on his palm, mouthing his way down Kurt's wrist in the way that he knew Kurt loved. He eyed Kurt's wristwatch on his travel south.

 

"Eight minutes," Sebastian corrected, "and while I can go much, much longer than that, all I really need right now is five."

 

"I am not having sex with you for the first time in a closet.”

 

Sebastian smiled at the mention of a first time, massaging Kurt's hand with his fingers. "Sex isn't the only way to take off the pressure," he promised.

 

He leaned down to kiss Kurt's lips again, and while a panicked part of Kurt knew he should stop before he started, another part of him felt power surging through him. He could just barely hear the piano echoing inside the theater, over the sounds of their bated breath, but it was just five minutes, he told himself, as Sebastian drew him in to the open door behind them,

 

Five minutes of Sebastian grinding against him, making him brand new and making him thrilled to be alive.

 

Sebastian slammed the door shut; the dimly-lit closet had to be just six feet all around, smelling of bleach and moldy mops, but Sebastian didn't care. Their hands were frantic and tugging at clothes, and with their shirts half-unbuttoned, Sebastian picked Kurt up and held him in a straddle position.

 

Cleaning products were harshly shoved off of a shelf as Sebastian propped Kurt up onto it. Kurt wrapped his legs tight around Sebastian’s waist, watching as Sebastian undid the rest of his shirt buttons and kissed every inch of his chest, sucking on each nipple and drawing his tongue down his thin, trembling abdomen.

 

Sebastian stopped when he got to soft wisps of brown hair, flicking open the button and zipper on Kurt's jeans. He had to hold back the groan in his throat when he tugged the jeans down and saw the bulge in Kurt's briefs. He knelt down, massaging the bare skin of Kurt's thighs with his hands, staring into Kurt’s eyes intensely.

 

“God, this is so unfair,” Kurt muttered then, smiling as Sebastian bit his thigh, and smiled back at him.

 

“Just tell me what you want,” Sebastian answered him, “we can make this as fair as you want it to be.”

 

Kurt threaded his hands into Sebastian’s hair, his heart pounding. Shyly, he shifted his hips forward, and Sebastian responded by gripping Kurt’s thighs even tighter, mouthing kisses to Kurt’s cock over his underwear. Kurt's head lulled back and he muttered "fuck" under his breath, especially when Sebastian pressed a long kiss over the damp fabric where his head was bobbing, bringing his hands to the junctures of Kurt’s thighs and hips.

 

"Oh god, we should stop," Kurt whined, digging his nails into Sebastian's shoulders. “It's not like I could even—mmh—even come in here, I have to be presentable in—“ he looked at his watch, “three minutes! What would I even clean myself off with in here?"

 

"We are in a closet full of cleaning supplies," Sebastian suggested.

 

Kurt pushed him in the shoulders, hard, and Sebastian laughed.

 

When the heavy door to the theater in the hallway creaked, Kurt's eyes shot wide open, and he gently held Sebastian back from his crotch. He didn’t want to stop this time, he really didn’t, the combination of Sebastian’s teases and their exhibitionism, making him want to press his deviant feelings further.

 

But, he started composing himself in record time, zipping up his jeans and pulling down his sleeves and smoothing all his fly-aways, all while covered in a ruddy shade of pink.

 

Sebastian started straightening up too, but at a slower pace than Kurt—while usually at this point in having to stop, he felt frustrated, irritable, right now he was elated.

 

"Still nervous?" Sebastian prompted him.

 

“Yes; I have to calm down and go in there, and you have to stop making me want to stay here.”

 

Sebastian pulled him in to kiss him one last time, marveling at the way Kurt melted into it.

 

"Just remember, out there, that you're far from boring, Kurt. If you wanna catch their attention, the way that you caught mine, unexpected, then take the way you feel right now—" he kissed him again, "—take the fact that you made me want you—" another kiss, long and slow and meaningful, "and channel it into your music."

 

Kurt just stared, unable to find the words he needed once again, and this was what he’d meant when he said it wasn’t fair: that Sebastian could make him feel so physically good, and pair that with emotional speeches on the fly, and be patient and willing to respect all of Kurt’s rules—he deserved it, Kurt thought, he really did deserve it—

 

Sebastian took Kurt’s wrist in his hand, stared down at the watch.

 

"You have one minute," he said.

 

"Shit."

 

 

 

 

Kurt's audition was to last twenty minutes at the latest. At fifteen minutes or so, Sebastian was tapping his toes eagerly, leaning against the wall in the hallway for the verdict.

 

He wasn't expecting anybody else to come into the building, as Kurt was the last one on the schedule, so when he saw a figure beneath an umbrella, dark-haired and in a red sweater, approach the glass door at the end of the hall, he frowned; stood up straighter to get a better look.

 

When realized that the figure was Blaine, and that Blaine was carrying a few red roses with him, well, he kind of panicked.

 

Blaine entered obliviously at the other end of the hall, shaking off his umbrella, paying no mind to the tall brunette waiting for him yards away. He fidgeted with his bowtie a minute, staring at himself in the reflection of one of the trophy cases, singing some lovey-dovey jazz song to himself.

 

When he eventually looked over and realized he wasn't alone, he jumped a little in his skin.

 

"Hey, sorry, I didn't realize that there was someone else in…"

 

His voice trailed off and he frowned, a heavy and thick black line of eyebrow.

 

"Sebastian?"

 

Sebastian looked first at the doors to the theater, still shut thank god, and then to Blaine, washing the look of worry from his face and seamlessly adopting his signature nonchalant expression.

 

"Blaine," he said, nodding. "Didn't know Kurt was expecting you."

 

"He isn't." Blaine cleared his throat as he came closer to Sebastian. "What are you doing here?"

 

Sebastian chuckled.

 

"Kurt wants me here," he answered, simple. "Don't think I can say the same thing about you."

 

"He told me about the audition when we were together," Blaine excused. "And, you wouldn't know this, but Kurt likes to be surprised. He likes flowers, romance, hand-written notes—and he likes when those things come from me."

 

"Are you dense?" Sebastian laughed. "He doesn't want that shit from you, you dumped him. Or did you hit your thickly-gelled head on the pavement somewhere, forget?"

 

Blaine scoffed, clearly getting the picture that this thing wasn’t friendly between them, not anymore.

 

"I didn't—" Blaine sighed, retrying that, making a vague gesture with his spare hand. "It’s not supposed to be a permanent break up."

 

Sebastian stomach twisted into a knot.

 

"If you think that a 'surprise visit,' which you call a surprise and I just call creepy, and some stray wilting roses that you picked out of the dirt in your neighbor's garden right before you came here, is going to work like some pathetic, lame apology," Sebastian said, smooth, "then I think you should walk out, and act like you never even came."

 

Blaine shook his head, his stare cold.

 

"God, you haven't changed one bit, have you, Sebastian? I was hoping that for your sake, hanging around Kurt would make you less of a dick, but I guess he's still too good for you."

 

"If he wasn't too good for you, you'd still be with him. I know you think you’re special because you can sing and you don’t have a gag reflex, but let's face the facts here, Blaine. Even I have a better chance with him than you do right now, hence the reason that I'm standing here and you're the one on the outside looking in. Dragging yourself in here from the rain like some kind of kicked, whiny puppy, hoping to get a chance to throw him your tacky, washed-up romance and then lick his feet and beg, as meanwhile, I'm the one who's going to be taking him back to his room tonight—”

 

"If you so much as touch him, Sebastian, I swear to god," Blaine growled.

 

"I guess you'll never know if I have already, will you?"

 

A flash of panic peaked behind Blaine's eyes for a second, but he attempted to wash it away, stood up taller, resolutely.

 

“I know my Kurt. He'd never want anything to do with you.”

 

“I'm sure.”

 

“And by the way, don't think that I don't know about your little come on to him last month. It didn't work, and it never will. He'd never settle with someone so low."

 

"Well, he settled with you, didn't he?"

 

"You're right—" Blaine scoffed again, lowered his voice, his lip trembling. "I shouldn't've come, this was a mistake."

 

Sebastian had to admit, he wasn't expecting Blaine to back down so soon.

 

"He may be upset, and I feel terrible for the way I ended things too soon,” Blaine was saying then, his eyes welling up, “but I'm never going to stop letting Kurt know I love him, even if we aren't together—he deserves to know that I'll always care, and that I'll never forget him. Tell him that when you're taking him back to your room tonight, and sleeping alone."

 

Blaine suddenly stepped forward and shoved the roses into Sebastian's hands, then turned to to walk away.

 

"Give these to him if you want, I really don't care. The next time I see him, I'll make sure you aren't around."

 

He made it to the end of the hall, and looked back once more before walking out into the downpour.

 

The door slammed shut, echoing through the hall, and Sebastian wished that he could feel relief; but the bitter exchange still had him reeling.

 

His heart beating fast, his mind hoping and praying that Kurt hadn’t been hiding just inside those doors, Sebastian held the damp, thorn-less stems of the roses in his hands, realized now that they were freshly cut, and clearly expensive, from a florist. They were tied together with a sleek, silver ribbon, and personalized with a note written on cardstock, bearing an imprint from a shop in Westerville.

 

Kurt,

I know that we haven't talked, but I just wanted to wish you good luck with your audition. You're the most humble and talented person I know, and if anyone deserves a spot in that theater program, it's you.

Knock 'em dead.

Yours,

Blaine

 

Sebastian forced a laugh from his throat, but it was a positively weak attempt.

 

It was a good thing he was alone.

 

Directly across from the doors to the theater, there was a large, lidded trashcan, and Sebastian realized what he had to do, and fast. In one quick, resentful motion, he ripped the cardstock from the ribbon and tossed it into the waste, staring at the flowers next in sour contemplation, getting ready to toss them out too.

 

When suddenly, the giant doors ahead of him shifted, and when Kurt emerged, Sebastian drew the flowers in quick, holding up them against his chest.

 

"Oh my god, I survived!" Kurt enthused, pressing his back to the door and grinning. "More than survived, I nailed the ‘Argentina’ and they loved ‘Being Alive,’ and—"

 

Kurt's voice trailed off when he noticed the lush petals of the roses in Sebastian’s hands. His mouth fell open a little, and his heartbeat skipped.

 

"You—you got me flowers?" Kurt asked, blinking back his surprise.

 

"Uh."

 

Tell him that when you're taking him back to your room tonight, and sleeping alone, Blaine had said to him.

 

Sebastian would be damned if he was sleeping alone tonight.

 

"Yeah," he answered, smiling slow.

 

Kurt stared at him, and started to smile too.

 

"But—wh—"

 

Kurt sighed, at a loss for words again. He approached his roommate slowly, overwhelmed by the sweetness of the gesture; at how, like the door decorating contest before it, Sebastian just knew how much he cared about the little things.

 

"I know how hard you've been working for this,” Sebastian improvised, “so I thought you deserved a little extra celebration.”

 

When Kurt came close enough, Sebastian handed him the roses, watched his expression absolutely shine.

 

Kurt was quiet as he stared at them, smiling thoughtfully and tangling his fingers through the ribbon.

 

"I'm sorry, that I don't have much to say,” he managed.

 

"Don't get all weepy-eyed about it now," Sebastian told him.

 

Kurt giggled. "Oh, shut up, I don’t cry about everything.”

 

Sebastian came close, tilted Kurt’s chin up with his finger.

 

"So," he said, pecking Kurt affectionately. "When do you know that you made it into your classes?"

 

"They're posting the official results tomorrow in the office," Kurt said, beginning to walk with Sebastian down the hall, "but I'm not worried. The judges on the panel were completely different from the ones at Urinetown, and my advisor told me that I'm right where I'm supposed to be."

 

Sebastian reached out to hang onto Kurt’s hand, tangling their fingers together.

 

"I'm glad that everything seems to be moving forward."

 

"Yeah."

 

Kurt stopped walking, then, and Sebastian turned to look at him curiously. Suddenly Kurt pulled him in and stood on his tip-toes to kiss him, wrapping his arms around his shoulders, pressing their bodies close together.

 

When they got outside, it was still pouring rain; Kurt opened his umbrella for them, but about a minute into the walk, Kurt was overcome by that feeling of happiness again, dropped his umbrella and jumped up to straddle Sebastian, kissing him and laughing in bliss. Sebastian held him up as they got soaked, hands tangling through wet hair and cold clothes sticking to their bodies, shivering and clinging to each other for heat.

 

Kurt hopped down and playfully ran full-sprint back to the dorm with Sebastian following, the water from their garments drenching the floor of the lobby as they raced into the elevator, making out again as the doors closed behind them. As Kurt clung to him and kissed, Sebastian reached a trembling hand behind him to jab at their floor button, but Kurt contested this, pushing the emergency stop button.

 

Motivated by Kurt’s sudden mischief, Sebastian grinned and pressed Kurt up against the wood-paneled wall, squeezing his ass and thighs through his wet jeans, running a slow, tentative thumb down the firm contour of Kurt's hard-on.

 

Kurt let him, gasping into his mouth; he let Sebastian tease and palm his erection through his pants, hips stuttering towards Sebastian in want. Sebastian was on sensory overdrive, the scent of Kurt's hair and skin and the chill of his body and the finally getting a feel for the pretty cock he'd wanted for so long. He undid the front of Kurt's jeans and brushed his hand atop the thin layer of cotton, and at no sign of disapproval, started stroking Kurt firmly; from the stiff, thick base to the place where the head of his cock rounded, feeling the weight of Kurt in his hand through the fabric and measuring his just-right length with generous strokes, god Kurt was so perfect, everything about his figure was fucking perfect and Sebastian thought he was going to come unscrewed already.

 

Sebastian paused his hands’ work to unzip his own pants, and Kurt stopped kissing him and whispered “bedroom” at him, reaching over to send the elevator skyward. They practically chased each other down the hallway.

 

Once they were in their room, they scrambled to undress each other; in nothing but their wet underwear, Sebastian threw Kurt down on top of his bed, hovering over him on his knees and kissing his neck as his hand shoved the waistband of those briefs down. He grasped the hot, bare skin of Kurt's cock and pumped quickly, as Kurt reacted instantly; his legs kicked up and hitched around the backs of Sebastian's thighs, his moans sounding like music as they spilled from his throat.

 

Sebastian shifted up to get a good look at Kurt now, naked and splayed out on his bed with his eyes shut, his hands tangled in his sheets, and god, Sebastian thought that this moment would never actually be real. He stared down at Kurt's cock as he worked his hand over it, slowed his strokes so that he could really soak in this visual, memorize the colors and the hardness and the debauched way that Kurt looked when the thick head was resting against the pale expanse of his stomach.

 

Kurt opened his eyes when Sebastian got so caught up in staring, he almost completely stopped his strokes altogether. Kurt felt momentarily self-conscious, Sebastian's eyes raking in every part of his body, every scar, dip, curve and thatch of hair. How naked he was was scary for a moment, especially when he considered Sebastian's strong, tanned, athlete's figure. Sebastian's briefs were still on, doing a terrible job of concealing the heavy hard-on he was sporting, and Sebastian’s gaze followed the line of Kurt's sight, realizing what he wanted.

 

He guided one of Kurt's soft hands to touch him, and Kurt tentatively stroked his fingers up and down his wide base. Sebastian groaned at this, his knees buckling and already feeling the first pulse of his orgasm pump through him, just with Kurt's faint, barely there touch. As a sweat broke out on his forehead, he watched Kurt's lovely hand and felt every wave of the slight friction it was giving him, and it was less about the fact that Kurt was on the brink of giving him a mediocre hand job and more about the fact that Kurt was touching him at all that really got him.

 

He couldn't take his eyes off of Kurt's heavy-lidded expression, Kurt's lips as they hung slightly open, couldn’t believe Kurt was looking at him like this with those unbelievable eyes and it made him swell with pride; he'd never known that this could feel so special.

 

Blaine didn't know what the hell he was talking about.

 

Kurt slowly tugged at the waistband of Sebastian’s briefs and pulled them down under his hips, muttering a soft "oh" and feeling his dick tighten. He’d known Sebastian was big in theory, but it was another thing seeing it entirely; he couldn’t believe how thick Sebastian’s cock was all-around, it was intimidating and unreal and stupefying and hot. He could only barely wrap his hand all the way around it, pulsing his wrist up and down the pre-come slicked member.

 

Sebastian was embarrassed at how little Kurt was having to do to get him off, he was so pathetically weak in this boy's hands, so he brought his hand back to Kurt's cock, not willing to be the first one to lose this thing. He spit on his palm and slicked Kurt up and went as fast as he could, reveling in the way that Kurt's body constricted and keeled beneath him. Sebastian didn't have to go much longer before Kurt was retracting his hands and tensing up everywhere and beginning to shake, and with a kick of his heel and an arch of his back Kurt was coming, and Sebastian swore he'd never seen anything like it.

 

Sebastian was aching after watching Kurt spill all over himself, brought his own hand to his cock and the image right in front of him was like his fantasies, like every daydream about Kurt that he'd ever masturbated to and suddenly he was crashing, biting down on his lip and spurting come onto Kurt's thigh.

 

Kurt lulled his head back into Sebastian's pillow as he felt the warm come drip onto his leg, closing his eyes and shuddering an exhale; he still felt the slow burn of his post-orgasm, felt his heart thudding hard in his chest, felt Sebastian's hot hand begin to gently wipe the mess away.

 

Sebastian sat up and stared at Kurt resting there on his bed, and realized that even this, just seeing Kurt naked, was a feat in and of itself for him. Sebastian didn't think he ever wanted to take his eyes off of him like this, made a tentative plan to burn down Kurt's closet down, never let him be clothed again.

 

Kurt opened his eyes and gazed over at Sebastian, who was sitting on the other side of the bed, catching his breath. It didn't feel real that Sebastian had just gotten him off, and he also couldn’t believe that Sebastian was still completely hard, flushed and pulsing, clearly not fazed by having come.

 

“Um.” Kurt stared at it breathlessly, couldn’t help himself. “Are you—?”

 

“Oh, don’t worry about him. He’ll get tired eventually.”

 

“How many times? Can you—?”

 

“So far?" Sebastian chuckled. "The record is six.”

 

Six?”

 

“To be fair, I was on drugs that time. It’s more like three or four, on a good day.”

 

“O-oh.”

 

Kurt felt himself blushing furiously at that, as Sebastian came to lie down beside him.

 

“You don’t have to keep going, if you’re spent,” Sebastian said. “But, just let me know.” He kissed Kurt, smiling gorgeously. “And we’ll be happy to oblige.”

 

Kurt chuckled and kissed him back, rolling his eyes.

 

“You speaking about your dick in the third person is doing nothing for me, by the way.”

 

But just minutes later, Kurt had his hands back around him, dumbfounded by Sebastian’s talent and his luck, and they were back at it again.

 

Chapter Text

Sebastian woke up the next morning to find Kurt wrapped around him from behind for a change. Last night they’d rolled around making out and frotting until one in the morning, still naked when they finally passed out over each other.

 

Sebastian had taken the night’s dreamlike opportunity to give Kurt head for the first time, Kurt on his back and him perched between his thighs under the blankets. He made his work last long as it could, sucking long and squeezing slow and whenever Kurt might come, pulling him out and slapping him lightly against his tongue. At times Sebastian thought he might lose it himself just from the friction of his dick against the sheets, as the tortured whimpers and cries Kurt was making above him were almost enough for him in their own right.

 

This morning, he shifted a little bit against Kurt’s smaller frame, realizing Kurt was awake when he felt the other boy's eyelashes fluttering against his shoulder. When Sebastian asked groggily, “What time is it?”, he found Kurt’s angelic voice closer to his ear than he’d anticipated.

 

“Nine or so.”

 

Even just his voice alone drove him crazy, this early; Sebastian sunk even further into the bed, hating that the rest of his purpose in life wasn’t solely going to be making the boy behind him climax.

 

“I have a final in forty five minutes,” he lamented.

 

“You don’t have to go right now, then.” He felt Kurt’s hand brush his forearm, fingertips dancing on goosebumped skin. “A few more minutes won’t kill you, right?”

 

“Don’t know,” Sebastian sighed. “They might.”

 

 

 

 

Though Sebastian probably should’ve probably been in bliss, and he largely was, for having bedded and won the object of his strongest affections, a sense of dread was building up inside him at the coming, colder winter season. Kurt had been an ample distraction lately, but the fact was that at the end of this week, the final week of the fall semester, he would have to return to his father’s old manor, for longer than a couple days this time. Unfortunately for him, the dorms would be closed the actual week of Christmas; there weren't many places he could go if he decided he couldn't make it the full seven days.

 

He could come crawling back to Ohio State for the remaining two weeks of the break, but even then, his mother would question, give him grief for it. She was going to be especially hard on him, he knew, about spending time with his father next week and in the coming weeks, as this would most probably be the last Christmas and New Years they had together. It wasn’t that he didn’t want to live through that, and try to make of it what he could—without of course lingering on the fact that Christmastime four years ago, his father had found out about him and one of his lacrosse teammates barebacking in the other boy's bed, after having been caught that afternoon by his unsuspecting stepmother—it was just that he really, wanted to finally move out of that house, and leave its most painful memories behind him.

 

He’d become a rather transient person since high school, and really always had been, but having to move to Amsterdam with no time to pack, had forced him to start to lose attachment to his physical things. The boarding school hadn’t allowed him to keep much, and over summers, he went directly from the Netherlands to meet his parents in France. When he got back to Ohio nearly three years after leaving, his bedroom had seemed foreign, almost haunting to him. There wasn’t much left in it that he still wanted to keep.

 

This week while he had time, he needed to get a unit for the furniture he still wanted, and sort through the rest of what was in his closet, and do it all without his mother realizing. She would just accuse him of emptying things prematurely, months before the impending sale of the house, as him trying to accelerate the passing of his father—and would she be right?

 

 

 

Later on that afternoon, Kurt stood before the list of audition results posted on his theater advisor’s door. His heartbeat was steady as he scanned it, and found that he had only made it into voice I, while almost everyone else on the list had made II or III. He hadn't even made it into a piano class at all.

 

In that room, they’d seemed to give him praise; it was just the same with Carmen Tibideaux, it was like, on their own and at first they saw something in him, but perhaps it was the time they had to ponder him alone afterward, realize how little he fit in the traditionally gendered world—or maybe it’s just that you suck! he told himself, and maybe it’s time to be okay with that!—that made something in their minds change along the way. Regardless, as he turned and left, out the doors and out onto the icy campus, he decided that this was a sign, and he should take it. No more theater and no more singing as a career; and maybe, that was okay with him.

 

Making a mental note to hit the admissions and records office later, he felt his phone buzz a couple dozen times in his pocket; the Old New Directions group chat, as it was called, was abuzz with plans for another makeshift meet-up over winter break. Seeing pretty much everyone but Blaine respond was making him worry; also worrisome was his current one-on-one conversation with Tina, in which she was reminding him that she had spoken to his estranged beau days ago, and thought last week that he'd be eager for her share that information with him.

 

It was a ticking time bomb, telling her about his recent misconduct. He figured now was as good a time as any would be, and dialed her directly.

 

Is this you telling me you’re ready for me to tell you what he said?”

 

Kurt’s heart sunk, so he quickly said, “No.”

 

Why not?”

 

“Because. Because I know I shouldn’t, but I’ve been hooking up with Sebastian.”

 

Oh my god.”

 

“Yeah, I know.”

 

Wait, for how long?”

 

“Since last week, on Saturday. Since then it’s been, well. Already too many times to count.”

 

At her silence, he could just see her on the other line, squinting at him.

 

“A-at first I thought it would just be a one time thing, but—I know you love Blaine too, and I know that he’s your friend too, but—would you please, please not say anything to him?”

 

Of course, my lips are sealed. I am always on your side before his, you know that, and this is your process. But you know I have to tell you what you don’t wanna hear, a little bit, because I love you?”

 

“Okay.”

 

The part of me that still rages at Sebastian having no problem at all hurling racist nicknames at me when he didn’t even know me, and what I think that says about his character overall, and the part of me and all of us in Glee club who hated him when he was mean to you, still doesn’t really trust him, but. I am open to one day coming to accept that there’s a side of him I haven’t seen. I also worry that you're moving into things way too fast, but I'm not one to talk about thatI've kind of been in three relationships back to back now."

 

“Yeah, you have.”

 

"Speaking of,  I promise not to tell Rachel or anyone else either , if that’s what you want, too.”

 

“Well, Rachel already knows, I think. But yes, mum’s the word with everyone else. Thanks.”

 

Soooo...” He could hear the rising mischief in her sing-song voice, then, and his heart warmed a touch at it. “Is the sock on the doorknob monster any good in the sack?”

 

“God, yes.”

 

Do tell.”

 

“I have never seen,” Kurt said, turning over his shoulder to make sure he wouldn't be heard by passersby, lowering his voice a bit, “never seen a dick as big as his in my life, not even those couple of times I tried watching porn and got horribly, irreversibly depressed. He gave me head last night and I swear, I was halfway on my way to becoming a religious person because that, was heaven.”

 

Oo la la. Well if he’s putting it down so good for you like that, I have to admit, I might hate him a little less.”

 

Kurt was mildly comforted by this response, but something in him was starting to become unsettled. He knew this wasn’t sustainable, this pretending he could just orgasm his way into a daydreamy existence of a new life. Soon his heart would break back open about Blaine, and what sucked? Was that he didn’t know when it was going to happen.

 

“Can you just—” He stopped, trying to figure how best to phrase this, “tell me just a hint of what Blaine said? I don’t wanna know the details, please, spare me, I need time, I just— want the overall of tone of what his pitch was.”

 

Tina sighed, hesitated.

 

I can tell you this much: he has no idea about you being with Sebastian. I think it’s a good thing you aren’t telling him. I really don’t know how he’d handle it right now.

 

Kurt knew, of course he knew that this would hurt Blaine irreparably; Blaine couldn’t have found somebody else already, too, could he have?

 

But Kurt shoved the alarmingly emotional reaction he wanted to have to Tina’s words to him back down, forcing blunt happiness in place of his true feelings. Besides, it was just one text, at this point, he was ignoring—one text, that said “Hey,” after all they had been through, just “Hey”! No, Kurt was right, he thought, right in wanting more, and needing time.

 

For focusing on himself for the first time in a long time.

 

He had the room to himself for the afternoon, and decided to get a little deviant. He went into his top drawer, uncapped the half empty bottle of lube that had been sitting idle there for weeks, and took it to his bed with him. He unzipped his pants, taking a deep breath and smelling Sebastian’s shampoo on his pillow, replaying images of him lying naked in this bed this morning, as he slipped his pants and underwear off his legs.

 

With bated breath, he slicked one of his fingers up, realizing he hadn’t touched himself inside himself since the late summer, but he was so inspired by his developing fantasies of his roommate. He had to, right? at least once in this facade, ride the implausible opportunity that was Sebastian’s giant cock into the metaphorical sunset. He had this fantastical guy here who wanted him, who fell completely undeservedly into his lap, and even if it wasn’t ever actually going to happen—he knew Sebastian would wait for him to ask, and ask how many times Kurt had done it, and Kurt would be embarrassed to admit how few—he had enough real life snapshots in his memory, to envisage the situation thoroughly.

 

So he did, inserting and exerting his finger slowly, at first unsure and nervous at the smarts of pain, but soon off and running and panting into his blankets. He hadn’t bottomed for Blaine in so long, it wasn’t so hard to imagine that it wasn’t him; he allowed himself to see Sebastian’s brilliant face above him, staring down all headstrong and proud, to see the bigger dick he’d had his hands around lately, slamming in and out of him slick and red, stretching him open.

 

A few minutes after Kurt had finished up and cleaned himself, Sebastian came back into the room somewhat in a hurry, and clearly a little burnt out from isolated studying. Kurt couldn’t stop staring at him, red-faced and antsy, as he did absolutely nothing sexual about the room.

 

“I’ll be in the library tonight,” Sebastian told him, having only come in for a moment to switch supplies, “term paper for micro econ, so I—“

 

He paused for a moment, smiling and surveying Kurt’s obviously flustered expression. “What is it?”

 

“Nothing.” He felt strongly and overwhelmingly like his fantasy had happened in real life between them. “Good luck to you, I’m studying with Rachel in her room tonight. Although we’ll probably just end up gossiping and watching I Love Lucy.

 

“Fun.” Sebastian kissed him goodbye. “Seriously, are you okay?”

 

“Mm hm.”

 

Later on that night, Kurt indeed went to Rachel’s dorm room, and study they did very little. They sat on the floor listening to Patti Lupone vinyls on Rachel’s record player, getting drunk on sparkling pink Moscato champagne, discarded books and laptops yards away.

 

“Okay now I can understand why some people like to drink so much,” Kurt was saying, “this stuff is a magical elixir. I can’t wait until I’m married and cooking dinner for my husband while we’re drunk off a bottle of this.”

 

“Well let me know if you want more, I have several friends on campus who do wine runs for me, and when we’re twenty one or if we can snag some fakes, we can officially go tasting.”

 

Kurt knew he was definitely drunk this time around, while last time, he had probably been more like buzzed. His face was searing hot and his ears were burning, and he was sweating profusely underneath his cashmere zipper-covered sweater. He also found himself somewhat garbling his words, and feeling more honest around one Rachel Berry than he had with anyone new in his life so far.

 

“I have to say,” Rachel told him, pouring herself a fresh glass and then cheers-ing his half of one, “I’m so glad that I decided to talk you at the mixer, and that you decided to let me be your friend. I mean, just look at how far we’ve come since September.”

 

“I agree. I mean at first you were just this overbearing but well-meaning, well-meaning girl I associated with that creepy kid Chandler trying to roofie me, and now you’re my best friend’s girlfriend which I’m so, so happy about, and you’re boozing me up and I feel great about it.”

 

“So how are things going with Blaine? Have the two of you spoken?”

 

“No, and that’s because—” He took another sip, the burn and the bubble causing his next words to turn him on instead of trouble him: “I have a secret I can never, ever tell him about.”

 

“Oh my god, is it Sebastian, finally?” At the smarmy smile on Kurt’s face, she smacked his thigh. “I knew it, I knew something was happening when I found you on the balcony last weekend! What is he like? Is he everything you pretended you weren’t dreaming about and more?”

 

“He definitely lives up to the reputation he’s garnered. And he happens to be extremely well endowed.”

 

“Hot.”

 

“But I have yet to really do much of anything with it, or well, on it.” He was surprised at how excited it made him saying this, imagining it: “Because I honestly don’t even think it’s going to fit.”

 

“Honey, with practice, everything will fit.”

 

“Rachel, Jesus Christ.”

 

“What? I may have been a virgin before I met Tina, but my dads’ esthetician is one of those traveling old saleswomen, who goes around selling dildos to bored housewives and gay bachelors and—one time when I was in sixth grade, she needed my dads’ living room for one of her shows, and I stole like, a wheelbarrow full of her merchandise, no seriously, after the party was over I rolled my little pink wheelbarrow down the stairs, and stuffed it full while she and my dads were in the kitchen. They were the start of my now burgeoning collection.”

 

“Oh my god, that is a priceless image of you. I don’t even have a dildo, the only sexy stuff I’ve bought was stuff I used to make Blaine happy.”

 

“Well, what the hell are we doing sitting here? We have to get you one right now!” She chugged the rest of her glass suddenly. “Seize the night!”

 

Kurt hiccuped through his laughter at her. “From—hic—from where?”

 

Minutes later had them out in the new evening air, Rachel pedaling them on her bike down the college town’s main street, Kurt propped on her handlebars yelping and squealing directions at her. Kurt’s maps app found them a tiny adult store tucked between two dive bars not five minutes away in a near shopping center. Once there, still silly in their drunkenness, they wandered through the tiny hallways wide-eyed and throwing inappropriate small objects at each other.

 

Eventually Rachel FaceTimed Tina in on their adventure, as Kurt started to wander down a men’s aisle by himself.

 

Whoa, hello. Looking for something new I can play with you with?”

 

“Actually, we’re here for newly single Kurt.” Rachel turned her phone towards him and he waved, blew her a kiss. She caught it, held it to her chest. “But now that you mention it, I was looking at these harnesses, and I wanted to know what you think your size might be—“

 

Rachel roamed away with her girlfriend in hand, as Kurt stood half mortified and half turned on, before a row of colorful prostate-stimming dildos, ranging in shape, size and animal resemblance.

 

“Can I help you with something?”

 

An obviously gay store employee walked down his aisle, with pink and red dyed hair and three piercings in his lower lip.

 

“Oh, I’m just, uh—taking a gander at some of my potential friends here. I’m s-still pretty new at letting someone in, but, it might be happening kinda soon-ish? So I just um, y’know, wanna be prepared ”

 

“I’d suggest these two,” the employee supplied helpfully, handing Kurt two boxes with silicone six-inchers, “They’re slim, they’re not too intense, they feel really natural and they’ll give you a good stretch.”

 

“Why thank you.”

 

“Who’s the guy?”

 

Kurt faltered as to how to describe Sebastian then, seeing his face in his mind and getting giddy. “My friend—roommate—thing.”

 

The employee winked at him. “Whoever he is, he's a lucky man.”

 

When they got back, Kurt decided to take Rachel’s advice literally: seize the night. He waited half an hour, ‘til he wasn’t feeling quite as drunk anymore, unwrapping his new gift to himself from its box, staring and considering it in his hands, and then deciding to save it for a later date.

 

Why do it himself when he could possibly have the real thing?

 

Hey,” Sebastian answered when Kurt called him.

 

“Hi.”

 

Having fun with Rachel?”

 

“We did, have lots of fun. But I’m back now. Can I come study with you?”

 

Sure. I’m in one of the private study rooms.”

 

Kurt wasn’t sure his boozy brain would be able to concentrate fully, but he packed the things to study for his biology final regardless. For good measure, knowing Sebastian, or was it wishful thinking? he tucked his tiny bottle of lube into the bottom of his bag.

 

When he got to the secluded study room Sebastian specified, he opened the door and found Sebastian at the table in the center with his glasses on, in front his laptop, his hair all sleepy-messy.

 

Kurt closed the door behind him and sat down in the chair across from Sebastian, feeling pretty riled up just from Sebastian’s eyes on him.

 

“Hi,” Kurt said again, mindlessly unpacking things from his bag, nervous. “How’s it going?”

 

“If I have to write one more sentence of this paper this hour, I think I’m going to blow my brains out." He closed his laptop and moved it to the floor. "What did you bring to work on? I’ll quiz your or something, I need a distraction.”

 

Kurt started showing him cellular biology work, spreading out his worksheets and thumbing through his textbooks. He was still acutely aware of the effects Sebastian’s gaze was having on him, but he tried to focus in spite. He’d already made flashcards for the upcoming exam, and suggested Sebastian read them to him.

 

“Oh, before we start,” Sebastian said to him. “What’s the word on your auditions?”

 

“No cigar.” Kurt pouted briefly. “I’m just gonna change my major to undecided, and take as many of the rest of my GEs as I can next semester. That way by the time fall starts next year, and I’ve picked something new, hopefully I’ll have room in my schedule to play catch up.”

 

Sebastian nodded. “Sounds like a plan. How’s that make you feel?”

 

“Scared. But I mean, a lot of things have—changed, about my life recently, and—I’m doing okay, better than, actually. I just have to keep focused on today, and do my best, and trust that the rest will follow through.”

 

Sebastian was more than pleased Kurt had appeared to him suddenly, sitting pretty in this room and talking all fast with him. He didn’t want to do a lick of schoolwork more, watching as Kurt now absently flipped through his flashcards. He was wearing this cashmere, almost-off-the-shoulder sweater that zipped all the way down the arms, and Sebastian couldn’t stop staring at the way it hung across him, teasing him with only glimpses of that body.

 

Sebastian held out his hand to take Kurt’s flashcards, and Kurt lingered their contact on their purpose, nudging Sebastian’s shin under the table with his foot.

 

Sebastian, in spite, played at actually working with him. Flashcard after flashcard, until Kurt got flustered.

 

“What is the series of biochemical reactions, including carbon fixation, that occur in the stroma of the chloroplasts during photosynthesis?”

 

Kurt tapped both of his feet against the ground restively.

 

“Photolysis?”

 

“Guess again.”

 

Kurt did, another wrong one.

 

“You keep this up,” Sebastian said, “and I’ll turn this into a strip quiz.”

 

Kurt stuck his tongue out him, then sunk his still-burning face into his palms. “It’s only been like what, fifteen minutes? And my brain feels like its trying to fry itself. I’m not even ever going to use this information again.”

 

“You can do this,” Sebastian goaded. “The stroma of chloroplasts, photosynthesis.”

 

Kurt let his hands fall from his face and got tripped up by Sebastian’s intense stare, as he faltered out another term.

 

“Oxidative phosphorylation?”

 

Sebastian shook his head. “Should I strip or should you, as your punishment?”

 

Kurt’s stomach twisted into a knot, and then suddenly he heard his phone buzz once, hidden amidst a pile of books, binders and highlighters on the table between them. He dug around the pile to find it, relieved that it was no reminder of his inevitable ex run-in, but rather, a text back from Mercedes about her plans for winter break. After replying, he glanced up at Sebastian and found the other boy glaring at him playfully.

 

“No texting while I’m tutoring you,” Sebastian faux-ordered. Kurt raised a brow at him. “I just don’t see how much you’re going to get done on your phone.”

 

“Well excuse me,” Kurt bantered, “Professor Smythe.”

 

Sebastian leaned across the table suddenly, closing the distance between them and kissing him. Kurt hummed softly and needily against his lips.

 

Sebastian pulled off. “Call me that again,” he muttered.

 

“Professor Smythe?” Kurt repeated.

 

Sebastian kissed him again. “Mm hm.”

 

“Ew.” And once again, with the beginnings of tongue. “Don’t tell me you have a secret student-teacher kink.”

 

“I promise you—” Sebastian’s hand came to stroke Kurt’s jaw, as their tongues swept each others’ once more, “I have probably every kink in the book.” Ran his hands down that beautiful, long neck he loved, pushed Kurt’s sweater off one shoulder, fumbling with the zipper down his bicep. ”And, I promise you, I won’t keep them a secret.”

 

Sebastian’s hand unzipped one sleeve, the other hand skirting to its partner on the left. Once he had both totally open, he peeled the sweater off Kurt’s body, watching the fabric pool around his perfect waist. He closed his eyes then, hands roaming south to stroke Kurt’s shapely thighs.

 

The feeling of Sebastian’s hands on his legs sent sparks through Kurt, as he urgently sucked on Sebastian’s tongue. The quietness in the room, and the fact that they were doing this here in the library, that he was exposed in a semi-public place, made him all the more edged on, all the more passionately involved in this kiss.

 

Sebastian slid a hand up to palm Kurt’s crotch, and when Kurt gasped faintly, Sebastian instantly felt dizzy. He didn’t think any other sound would ever fuel him as much as this, and he was reminded of the damn near music he’d made the night prior, wanted so badly again to hear it.

 

“You seemed to really want me to study earlier,” Kurt managed as Sebastian kissed his neck, “And now—“ Sebastian sucked especially hard at his collar bone, and Kurt pulled him in closer, accepting it. “And now you’re all over me—”

 

“I can teach you a lot more about the human body than that silly little book can.”

 

“That I don’t already know?”

 

Sebastian suddenly reached out with one arm to shove all of their books off the table, picking Kurt up and propping him onto the edge of the hard surface, pressing his thighs open and slotting between them. Kurt’s hands, two paces ahead of his brain, moved down to toy with Sebastian’s erection under his pants, and he could feel himself already becoming maniacal over this thing, how unbelievable and promising it was. He felt his own dick jump in his pants as their kiss deepened and his hands got more comfortable, feeling heat and fervor rush through him; what would it be like, in real life, to have Sebastian inside of him? Was it even possible? Or would he feel like he was being split open when he got it?

 

The curiosity burned in his chest, as Sebastian stepped back briefly to slip his sweatshirt and shirt over his head in one motion. Kurt got off the table then, turned Sebastian so that he was the one pushed up and standing against it. Sebastian, hands off, watched as Kurt made a show of slowly, timidly getting rid of Sebastian’s pants, and pushing his briefs down to his knees, awestruck at the way Sebastian’s cock bobbed before him, the way Sebastian’s hands were nearly trembling as they braced the table behind him.

 

This made his eyes dart back up to Sebastian’s face, and the way Sebastian wasn’t even trying to reign in the unshed emotion all over his face? It made him feel like the pressure of this all might be to much for him. Did he really have this much power over someone? He slipped his tongue back into Sebastian’s mouth, and Sebastian let him guide the pace of their kiss. It was dizzying to have control, to not feel like it was rushed, to be able to soak up the minute sensations. Kurt ran his hands down Sebastian’s long torso, feeling the heat of Sebastian’s skin, and his breath hitched as his fingers slipped down six well-defined abs.

 

“Like those?” Sebastian broke their kiss to say, grinning.

 

“They’re alright,” Kurt answered, smiling back.

 

He slowly stooped down, ran his thumb across each ab and then followed it with his tongue. Once close to Sebastian’s member, he let his hand wrap around it, stroked it slow, up all the way, down all the way, heat coiling in his stomach at the feel of it sliding in his hand, running his thumb over the tip and feeling the whole of it jump against his palm.

 

When he heard Sebastian groan up above him, he paused for a moment to stare up at Sebastian’s face; he knew that he was only teasing, dancing around the truth, and though a part of his brain had jumped ahead to thought of what Sebastian might taste like, to the idea of sucking all that pre-come off the head, he was still, in another much more innocent part his brain, humiliated by those thoughts, too demure and unsure of himself to act on them. What if he did it the wrong way, or in way Sebastian didn’t like?

 

Sebastian was starting to slump forward by this point, biting his lip to keep from spewing the profanities on the tip of his tongue. He wanted to take over so badly, jut himself forward and press his cock to Kurt’s pink lips, but he could never, not with Kurt, not without running to get a condom first, plus he didn’t want to stop Kurt’s pace or momentum, so instead he focused all of that want into his hands, gripped for dear life at the edge of the table.

 

Kurt rose to his feet and kissed Sebastian open-mouthed, deciding what he wanted truly here was for Sebastian to lead him, and Sebastian suddenly gripped his hands around Kurt’s little waist, nails grappling with the skin as a testament to his fight with control.

 

“You’ve been so patient,” Kurt whispered. “You don’t have to be so gentle with me, you know.”

 

So at those gratifying words, Sebastian let himself take over. He made quick work of Kurt’s pants and underwear, spitting into his palm and beginning to stroke Kurt teasingly, watching as his little ingénue bit his lip, grappling at Sebastian’s shoulders and squeezing onto them tight.

 

“I can tell by the way you react to me,” Sebastian said now, “that you’re still pretty new at this.”

 

“I-I’ve had sex plenty,” Kurt attempted.

 

“Ever taken it in public like this? Ever been fucked with a spreader bar pressing these pretty legs open?”

 

Sebastian.

 

He was going to have to stop squeezing so good and taut at his base, and stop sweeping his thumb over his head like that, and making him picture—

 

“This may come—mmm—as a surprise to you but,” Kurt stuttered out, “I-I’ve only ever ‘taken it’ a few times in my life.”

 

“You’re a top?”

 

“I don’t really like to label it, but—mm hmm—historically, yes.”

 

Sebastian almost never let anyone top him, hadn’t since he was fifteen, but the thought of Kurt doing him didn’t even phase him. “Is that how you want your life to be?” he said now.

 

“No, actually, I’d shit—I-I’d love to try it again, with someone, um—”

 

Sebastian interrupted him by turning him around and pushing him up against the table, pressing up against his ass as he continued to stroke him off.

 

“B-Blaine used to try,” Kurt said now, as Sebastian started kissing the back of his neck, “but he could only, um—i-it would only ever last a couple of minutes.”

 

Sebastian paused only to mutter, “Why does that not surprise me.”

 

“I don’t know, i-it was kind of flattering—like, he thought I was so hot he just couldn’t take it?”

 

God, Sebastian thought, Kurt had no idea what he was in for, did he?

 

“Well, I can assure you I don’t have that problem. How well do you think you can take nine inches?”

 

“Oh my god.

 

Kurt laughed, breathless, at how predictable, prideful and Sebastian that statement was, then tried miserably to answer with something else coherent.

 

“I-I don’t know but maybe we—ugh, fuck, fuck—maybe we can practice.”

 

Sebastian bent him over the table then, Kurt propping himself up on his elbows and closing his eyes, humming and remembering this afternoon and how badly he’d wanted this, how it was like he’d dreamed it into existence. And from this point of view, Sebastian was able to really, really admire Kurt’s ass; for a while he just stared, especially struck by the tattoo, constant craving, that cradled and accentuated Kurt’s back dimples, and then he let his hands roam freely, squeezing each cheek exhaustively, playing rough and spanking a little, getting off on Kurt’s affirmative little sighs each time.

 

Sebastian then moved away for a moment, and Kurt instantly turned around to watch him fumble through his bookbag on the floor. He returned momentarily with his own bottle his lube, explaining, “What? You never know,” at Kurt’s amused and startled look at him.

 

Kurt watched as Sebastian slicked up two of his fingers, practically aching at how hard he was becoming and at how mesmerizing it was to look Sebastian in the eye as he did that, at how Sebastian just couldn’t stop smiling, at how beautiful he looked when he was confident and in control.

 

“I used to watch you bend over in the room when you weren’t looking,” Sebastian said now, eyes back on Kurt’s ass, “back when you still thought I hated you.”

 

Very slowly, he began to press a finger into Kurt, and Kurt closed his eyes and let out a small gasp, concentrated on the odd and then sated, gratifying feeling of Sebastian going all the way inside him, his fingers flexing around the table’s edge. His heart was racing as he glanced over at the unlocked door beside them, definitely sure now that the debauched fact that this wasn’t a bedroom, that someone theoretically could walk in and catch him doing this thing he shouldn’t be, was only making this better and better.

 

“Can’t say I didn’t ever imagine you naked,” Sebastian continued. He started up a rhythm, slow pull, steady push, as Kurt’s grip on the table tightened. Kurt had to press his lips together so hard, to try and not let the moans he wanted to make slip out, and picturing what Sebastian’s view of him must’ve been like really, really wasn’t helping him.

 

“Can’t say I didn’t ever watch you and imagine you exactly, like, this.”

 

Sebastian pulled his finger out incredibly, evilly slow this time, and Kurt let his voice get out from under his control, tensing all over.

 

“Your ass is incredible,” Sebastian said, watching in pride as Kurt’s thighs began to tremble.

 

“Y-you were always a perv, then,” Kurt managed. “I should’ve guessed oh, fuck, mmhmm—”

 

Sebastian started to finger him fast then, damn near grinning at the mess he was making of him.

 

“Want a second?” he offered.

 

Kurt nodded, so Sebastian stuck it in along the first. Kurt’s head clunked forward on the desk, adjusting to the stretch, pushing back on both fingers intentionally.

 

“God, you’re gonna be so good for me, Kurt, I can tell.”

 

The first few pulses hurt Kurt a little bit, but soon, the pain graduated to deep, sated pleasure; so good, Kurt had to hold a hand over his mouth to keep from crying out.

 

Sebastian laughed at the gesture. “That good, baby?

 

Kurt dropped his hand to mumble, “Yes, god yes—” and had to slap it back up when Sebastian started working him faster.

 

“You gonna scream when you come, gorgeous? Don’t by shy. Let everyone in this library hear how turned on you are.”

 

Kurt reached back to try and hit him with his other hand, and yes, he was so worked up right now he thought he might scream with his release the way he had last night, all blissed out and seeing stars. He reached under himself with his free hand now, shakily fumbling with his cock and knowing it would be any minute, any second—

 

Kurt’s orgasm rushed through him, and he moaned and panted into his sweaty palm, milking his come into his hand and trying to keep it off the floor. As he came down, feeling Sebastian slowly pull his fingers out and step back, Kurt semi-collapsed against the table, closing his eyes and forgetting who or where he even was for a couple rhapsodic moments.

 

Soon he caught his breath, and opened his eyes, and half-stood up on trembling legs. Seeing their books and papers all scattered across the floor, he couldn’t believe how lost he’d just gotten in their intimacy, how time seemed to have stopped just because Sebastian kissed him.

 

When he turned over one shoulder to look at Sebastian, he found him stroking his dick with the hand he’d just been using inside Kurt, staring down at himself. Watching him handle that big thing just about got Kurt going all over again.

 

“Bend over again for me,” Sebastian said.

 

Kurt did so, still turning over a shoulder to watch and feeling Sebastian grip one hand around his hip, and Sebastian finished himself off to the sight of Kurt spread before him, came in spurts all over Kurt’s back and over the words constant craving, an image he never wanted to leave him.

 

When he was finished, he wiped the mess from Kurt’s skin with the back of his hand, glancing around for something to clean it off with and nearly stumbling over the jeans and briefs still jumbled around his shins. Kurt was standing now too, one hand cupped around his own semen, a little squeamish at the feeling of it settling.

 

“I’m okay with wiping this on one of your articles of clothing if you are,” Kurt chuckled.

 

Sebastian laughed too, throwing Kurt his inside out sweatshirt.

 

“Worth it,” he said.

 

Just as Kurt was tossing the garment back to Sebastian, about to start to gathering up all his clothes, he heard his phone vibrating steadily on the floor, somewhere beneath the pile of books. Dizzily, still naked, he searched for it through the mess, and when he pulled it out, he saw a name on the caller ID that made his stomach turn, his heart hurt.

 

Blaine.

 

“You gonna answer that?”

 

Sebastian didn’t need to see it to know who it was; it was written all over Kurt’s pained eyes and pinched brow all of a sudden. Kurt was so struck by the look of suspension on Sebastian’s face, and the sudden fear and conflict that he was feeling physically, tightening up his throat and chest, that he missed the last vibration of the call.

 

When it rang again immediately, he glanced down at the phone again, tears sprung to his eyes and he couldn’t even control them; the picture of the two of them, unchanged since the break-up, of Blaine wearing red kissing his cheek, and the prospect of hearing that voice—

 

“I—I have to, I can’t just keep acting like he never even existed to me—“

 

Sebastian zipped his pants back up quick, threw his shirt back on and started packing his things to leave, suddenly more pissed that he imagined he’d be at the inevitable.

 

“Wait, Sebastian,” Kurt’s voice trembled, “please—“

 

“No, no. I’ll let you two have your moment.”

 

Kurt let the second call go as he watched Sebastian leave him, collapsing into a chair and tossing the phone at the table, covering his face with his hands.

 

And he knew, he couldn’t keep toying with the two of them any longer; it was time to face the music, and the truth, and decide.

Chapter Text

 

It was when his mother told him that his dad’s side of the family was coming down from Maine, for the first time in five years, that Sebastian realized he couldn’t keep letting his father control his life. Even though the man no longer had physical control over him, and even though a decent chunk of Sebastian’s money was finally in his name, and even more if it would be when that day came, Sebastian still felt the emotional weight, that had been dragging down on him like a two ton anchor in his life for as long as he could remember.

 

The other five Smythes—Sebastian’s uncle Mark, aunt Nora, and their three young children—had been estranged from the senior Dr. Smythe ever since a charged personal argument divided the two of them. Mark Smythe’s eldest daughter Sara, when she was just eight years old, was raped by her twenty six year old youth pastor, a man that the Smythe brothers had watched grow up their entire lives, and a man who was esteemed by their home church in Cape Elizabeth.

 

In the aftermath, Dr. Smythe told his younger brother that they had always let their little girl dress “too frivolously,” that she was always “too curious” and “too eager to provoke and question adults,” and that they needed to see what happened as “the blessing in disguise” that it really was. That God was “just trying to show their family something."

 

Sebastian would never forget that ruinous afternoon, that Christmas Eve when he was just thirteen, both of their families gathered in the living room at their house just weeks after the horrific trauma for poor Sara. He’d never forget the way his father spoke those words so easily, how Nora had started crying, and as he watched his dad and uncle furiously scream at each other, Sebastian questioned for the first time whether or not God really had a plan for every evil. If you’re listening, he had prayed in his head that day, why? Why do good people have to go through so much pain?

 

Today found Sebastian speeding down the interstate, having woken up frustrated even before his mother called and told him about their impending forced family reunion. It wasn’t just because of the way things had ended up with Kurt last week—though the fact that his roommate didn’t say goodbye before slipping out and packing up for the holidays, was making him regret ever opening up his heart—but also because of how out of control this month always made him feel, and how little he wanted to sit and wait for fate to hit him.

 

He wished them gone, every year he wished them gone, the flashbacks of this week in time five years ago, when Sara was raped. Four years ago as well, and two years ago, too, this time of the month was doomed to prove tragic for Sebastian Smythe.

 

He knew that there was really no such thing as “bad luck,” that he wasn’t cursed and that God wasn’t always trying to “show him something.” But for whatever reason it was, something fucked up happened to him like clockwork this week of the year, it was inevitable. For once, he just wanted to outrun it.

 

Anyway,” Adelie was saying to Sebastian through his Bluetooth, her voice resonating through his empty car, “they will be staying in the guest rooms for the week, Nora and I spoke, we are hoping you can be willing to take Sara, Larson and the baby to your favorite park, to play in the snow.”

 

It was really something, he thought today, all the time, the way that little Sara, too young to really understand what had happened, had hugged her only uncle goodbye on their way out that night, after he blamed her for partially causing her own demise.

 

“Honestly,” Sebastian spit to his mother, not dampening the venom in his voice, not today, “I don’t know how Uncle Mark doesn’t want to deck dad across the face every time he sees him.”

 

Sebastian!”

 

“No, Mom, no, the kinds of things Dad said to him, about his own niece? No kind of grown man should ever say about a little girl. I mean, ‘you should see it as a blessing’? He’s no better than that Senator who said that ‘rape happens for a reason.’ You know that’s what he meant by what he said, come on.”

 

I know.” The way his mother’s voice broke made his heart break even further, but still, his anger would not falter. “Your father can be so blind, so sure that chaos is in the will of God, that he does not even see his own humanity at moments. But that does not mean he deserves to be deserted by family in this, his time to pass. They are to come to say and goodbye, and to support us, and we are to appreciate and thank them.”

 

Sebastian pulled up to his father’s manor at that moment, telling her he had to go, that he would see her when she got home from the supermarket. But he was here not to return, and stay and watch the fakery unfold. To gather round with the rest of the Smythes and listen to his father's devotionals for hours on Christmas morning, even if they were often thought provoking and full of points, he was intelligent after all. No, Sebastian was here to leave for good.

 

Sebastian let himself inside the grand foyer with his key, the ice from the bottom of his shoes tracking streaks along the dark wood floors. His father used to get voraciously upset when his dependents forgot to remove their shoes on his expensive floors, so Sebastian kept them on in spite as he proceeded through the dusty house.

 

This was the first time he had been here without his mother home since he’d returned from the Netherlands the spring of his junior year. Sebastian never let this happen, always following his mother out for even the simplest errands when he was a senior at Dalton. But today, he was going to take a stand for himself.

 

He knew that his father was locked away in his office right now, that the day he finally snuffed it, that was probably where he was going to be sitting. Sebastian walked around the kitchen, surveying the preparations his mother was making for dinner tonight. How she could cook for this man with such love, for such hours, after he repeatedly hit her was beyond him.

 

Sebastian sat down at the table trying to compose himself, scratching his bitten down fingernails across the plate in front of him. This was where he sat the night he was forced to come out to his parents his freshman year of high school. He was just fourteen, and they already knew; the neighbors had just called after catching Sebastian with their son, and he could see that his dad was already stirring; a calloused, wrinkled hand vice-gripping the counter he stood beside, refusing to meet his son’s eye. Still, Sebastian carried on, and spoke his peace to them. He’d never forget the way explaining it to them had finally made it all make sense to him in his head, how the words he never thought he’d find just suddenly came to him.

 

He’d never forget the way that his father said nothing to him afterward. Not one beating, not one harsh word. Instead Dr. Smythe simply let go of the counter, stared at Sebastian somberly, and then walked out of the room, with Adelie following close behind him.

 

He’d stupidly thought that because of the non-reaction, he’d gained some kind of spiritual immunity; that his words and his prayers and his thoughts had really broken through his father’s cold heart. That God was somehow telling him that this was going to be okay, that even though his father vehemently spoke against “faggots,” and beat his son for every arbitrary thing he could think of, that finally, the man was going to give up fighting him. Because it wasn’t like Sebastian could help all of this, and God knew that. He knew how hard that Sebastian had been trying to get rid of this "feminine wile," and knew that trying to stop his love now was like trying to stop the sun from shining down on Earth.

 

It was because of this he trusted that God would protect him for his honesty, even in this house where he had always been terrified.

 

God knew that when he was a little boy, seven, eight and nine years old, too young to have a choice, the boys he went to school with holding his hands and singing to him made him feel warm and elated like nothing else could. When one of his old friends from Sunday school, the first boy he had ever truly loved, had the most beautiful and awe-inspiring smile he’d ever seen, when something like that was so chaste and harmless—could God really fault him, could He?

 

And when he was twelve, and realized the weight of the images he was touching himself to at night, and begged to God over and over for them to stop, and fasted and cleansed himself of everything and still, the thoughts would just turn over again, appear to him in his unconscious, in his dreams. How did one kill a dream? How could he erase this craving that had been with him for all of his knowable life?

 

That night he told them, when his parents never came to knock on his door, he let himself sleep, thinking maybe he had landed on his feet.

 

But the next morning, when he sat down at the table for breakfast, the pamphlet for the boarding school sat next to his empty plate.

 

His stomach turned as he considered it, realized how far it was and realized that it meant his banishment, turned to watch his father and mother act like this was nothing devasting.

 

“I’m sorry, I don’t—“ Sebastian said to his father’s back, as the man scooped food onto a plate, and his mother poured his coffee with shaking hands. “I don’t understand—”

 

“How dare you, after everything I’ve provided for you!” His father punctuated his blowout by hurling his plate of his food across the floor, ceramic shattering as Adelie’s sobs became louder. “All the best schools, the toys, the trust fund, this roof over your head, and still, you disrespect me? Disrespect our God? I ought’a strip you out of those clothes I bought you right now, and send you out into the street!”

 

“Please,” Sebastian begged both of them, wishing his mother could turn and look at him, but knowing what might happen if she did, “don’t send me, it won’t happen again, I promise—“

 

But there he was on a plane two weeks later, learning not to be so emotional, numbly drifting through his orientation at the Eerde International School for Boys. Realizing quick that said boys were all foreign and hot, and rowdy and mischievous, that it was common for his classmates to all mess around and that he and his roommate would soon get to fucking. It was no question then, he was definitely gay.

 

Within week, he already felt like he had stopped hearing God’s voice completely. With no moral conscious to guide him, he started acting out, and dating older men, who he would shamelessly flirt with and meet when students could go off campus. There was one in particular he fell in with as a junior when he was just sixteen: the man was thirty, black-haired and bearded, not afraid to spend his euros and deal dangerous amounts of cocaine and ecstasy to teenagers. The man took Sebastian out shopping, and to five star restaurants, and to all male brothels in the red light district. Doping him up and letting him roam free, stick his dick in whatever he wanted, explore and find himself. Calling him his young protégé, which Sebastian was proud to be; this felt better than any God had made him feel.

 

Sebastian stayed out in trap houses with his new “dad’s” stranger friends and drug users until four in the morning, sneak back in way out of the bounds of curfew and pop a couple of Adderall, or do another couple lines, and barrel through his classes the next day steel-minded and smiling. He never let his power or his pride diminish, still getting his straight A’s and sometimes inviting some of his schoolmates out on his risqué adult adventures. Because of it he was the coolest, most secretive guy on campus, and the other boys were jealous, of what mindless fun and wealth his to-die-for, boy-next-door-esque looks seemed to have garnered for him.


Then one night, his power all came crashing down on him; he still remembered being in that red-lit apartment, sitting in the old man’s lap and doing line after line, soon the rush and the dizziness coming like a spell over him, clambering to stand up with his head throbbing and heart racing, the room spinning and the dancing strangers in the room coming apart, floating and blurring like ghosts and apparitions.

 

Then finding himself lying on the floor retching and seizing, the people around him shaking him, haunting him, murmuring. Then blacking out, waking up, dry-mouthed and disoriented in a bright room at the hospital. That day a female nurse and his mother’s eldest sister Joanna were at his side, telling him he’d overdosed, been in a coma for three days.

 

His mother flew in not longer after that, surprisingly and unsurprisingly without his father, who hadn’t let her visit Europe on her own in almost seven years and counting, so that she could not see her sisters. Adelie listened with the stern, yet supportive Joanna at her side, self-consciously pulling her sleeves over her bruises and weeping at Sebastian’s thin appearance, as the doctors told her that her son was lucky. That with the man he’d fallen in with—who’d finally been apprehended—getting into all that he did about the city, Sebastian was lucky he hadn’t caught HIV or much worse. It finally broke Sebastian open for the first time in years, seeing his mother cry for him like that.

 

Once the doctors were finished, Joanna scolded Sebastian for his recklessness, though still kissing his forehead and letting him know she loved him, before she left her baby sister and nephew to be alone. Sebastian watched as his mother took his hands, explaining that his father wasn’t here because his hypertension had worsened severely in the last year; had caused a life-threatening apnea a few months before that had almost killed him. That when he had another, and he would soon, he would die.

 

“Hold on.” Sebastian had missed her so much, but he hated her, hated her for telling him this way. “Let me get this straight, if I hadn’t almost coked out, you two wouldn’t’ve even told me that he was going to die? When you guys came to visit, over summer—y-you couldn’t’ve have said anything then?”

 

He knew, he knew this wasn’t the way his mother wanted for them to live; she squeezed his hands, her own hands trembling something devastating, reciting the lines he knew she had been told.

 

“He did not want to distract you from your studies. You know I cannot control his decisions.”

 

It wasn’t fair, he thought as he stood up from the kitchen table now, that his father was in iron-wrought control of how his mother grieved the tragedies of her life. He went upstairs and spent the next few hours barreling through the sorting of what was left in his bedroom closet, tossing most things and sweating it out carrying the mahogany headboard and bed frame down the stairs, tying it with rope to his car.

 

After what was left was all packed, he called the nearest storage facility to him and arranged to get a unit. Then finally, he went upstairs to the office, and as he waited around the corner of the cracked open door, he heard his father’s old familiar voice mumbling. He was praying in tongues, and it made Sebastian want to cower in his presence, to not say all that he knew he needed to say.

 

His father seemed to have so much power, whether it was truly God-given or divine or whether it was not, especially when speaking that language that only he seemed to know. Sebastian still remembered a time he used to revere it, when he thought his dad hit him because he was so wise, and knew so much more than Sebastian, and was trying to teach him how not to be so wrong. Not because, what Sebastian realized the truth was in time, he actually felt he had no power. Needed to compensate by preying off of weakness, by creating weakness using fear and arrogance.

 

Sebastian knocked on his father’s office door as a formality, pushing it open and finding the man curled over his desk, reading the Bible and making notes. He was once handsome, and Sebastian remembered a time when the hard wrinkles of his face, and his strong hands and glasz eyes, used to be to him like that of God’s, when he was still too young and happy to hold a grudge against him. Now he obviously looked sick, his hair gray and falling out, his skin worn and his body constantly shaking.

 

“Hello, Sebastian.” His father said it without looking up from his work. Sebastian’s heart was pounding, knowing in his heart that this would make things as right as he could make them, for his mother and himself. He stepped forward into the light shining in from the window, taking a deep breath, and saying it.

 

“I just wanted to say that I forgive you, even though you haven’t asked for it once. I forgive you for leaving me to die out in the Netherlands, and I forgive you for beating the shit out of my mother.”

 

The man put down the book then, stared at his son, raised his eyebrows.

 

“I also wanted to tell you that I—“ Sebastian stopped to swallow hard, “I think I may have met someone, at school this year. Someone actually special, for the first time in my life. I’ve always pushed people—men—away from me because you taught me that I should feel ashamed of this. That I should be ashamed of being who I am, of being able to love. But I’m not ashamed, or afraid of you anymore.”

 

Damn it, he wasn’t supposed to cry during this, but he couldn’t help it now. It was like all those nights he lost sleep wondering what he did wrong, what he ever did to deserve this, were coming back to him now. At least now he knew, that he didn’t deserve it.

 

“I don’t know if it’s going to work out with him, or if I’ve already ruined things, but. Even if it isn’t him, I’ve always wanted it to be someone like him, and, uh—” He wiped a hot stream of tears it escaped down his face, “I just wanted to know if finally, yet, I have your blessing.”

 

His father was well aware of the power he had in that moment, that he could no longer frighten his son with loud, physical gestures. Instead, he did what he could do now: withhold, and withdraw, and return back to his book.

 

“You already know how I feel about your choices. Nothing will ever change that. Was there anything else?”

 

Sebastian knew, he knew not to expect anything to come of this, but still, he was reeling from his rejection.

 

“Yeah, there is. If either one of the two of us is going to hell, it’s probably going to be you.”

 

He turned and walked out of the office, left his house key on the kitchen counter, and got in the car and drove.

 

When he had the rest of his things all set in the storage unit, he called his uncle Mark to ask if he could house sit for them in Maine, while they were all here. His uncle obliged instantly, explaining where he was going to leave the spare keys, how to manage the alarms, and where to get the most healing food around the state.

 

He’s really done a number on you over the years, hasn’t he?” his uncle said, at the end of the call.

 

“Yeah.” Sebastian fought the last of his tears away. “He has.”

 

 

 

In the time Kurt could’ve spent enjoying his vacation, he had mostly been sitting at home sulking next to Finn, as Burt and were Carole out in D.C. for a weekend and some change, for Congressional holiday business and parties.

 

Kurt felt the utmost of emotional confliction as he sat, watching the light snow fall from the window, picking away at his own scabs, because he knew after being intimate with Sebastian, that hands down, those were the best orgasms he’d ever felt, on a physical, visceral basis anyway. He’d meant it when he’d told Tina that when Sebastian gave him head, it had felt like heaven—with Blaine he’d never been taken to that edge and then pulled back right from it so many times, and so good—

 

But at the same time, reflecting on the end of this year and how starkly, harshly different it has been for him, Kurt was just so angry at how Blaine had treated him; at how unfair he was being and how little he had thought, at how he badly wished that Blaine were hurt too, even as he loved him so much, so regretfully.

 

That was why it had been four days and Kurt hadn’t returned Blaine’s calls from that night. Half out of anger and half out of the creeping fear he had that despite his feelings, once he heard that voice, he was going to break down. All the memories were going to come rushing back, and it wouldn’t matter how good Sebastian made him feel. Just a month ago he wanted to be calling out Blaine’s name in ecstasy forever, and he and Blaine both still knew that.

 

He hadn’t contacted Sebastian either in the last four days, frustrated because when he was all alone in his bed, it was Sebastian he was thinking of when he used that toy on himself. But he knew that until he talked to Blaine, until he finally gave Sebastian the honesty he deserved, that he had no business stringing him along any further.

 

He tried to avoid this all for a fifth straight day, but that afternoon while he was out at the Lima mall shopping mindlessly, Kurt finally hit a wall, and knew he had to stop running.

 

At the fourth store he went into that afternoon, his hands full of purchases he hadn't even counted, his credit card got declined. A seemingly trivial incident it was, but the mean and judgmental looks of all of the shoppers behind him as he slipped out of line, made him realize just how tangible and frazzled his constant running had made his real life become. He walked all the way to his favorite ice cream parlor in the mall, sitting in a chair and looking back at his online statement on his phone, letting it sink in: this was what he did when he hated himself. It was his OCD back to haunt him, his obsession with piling up things that didn’t matter, things that would distract from what was really going on, on the inside.

 

So finally, there in front of the ice cream shop, he called Blaine back.

 

Hello? Kurt?”

 

And Kurt couldn’t handle it already, how calm, natural and musical Blaine’s voice sounded to him, even still; like he was always so relieved to hear from him.

 

“Hey.”

 

Hey, it’s been a while. It’s really good to hear your voice.”

 

Kurt instantly started tearing up. “Is it?”

 

Blaine fell quiet, and Kurt vowed it in that moment, to not let his loneliness hold him back.

 

“Where have you been? Do you have any idea how heartbroken and confused I have been at not hearing from you at all? I mean, what, have you been soul searching? Dancing it out? What? Because I have been—dying, without answers, for almost three weeks. Wondering what I really did besides love you the best I could, trying to understand why you did this to us.”

 

I know, Kurt, and I’m so, so sorry. I guess I’ve been—keeping myself from you because I knew I needed to think, that what I said when we broke up was harsh and I needed to try and remedy it, andI know I messed up, and hurt you really bad, so I—wanted to practice what being without you might feel like forever, in case you hated me for what I did. And I did text you, the other day, but—you didn’t answer, so

 

“Yeah, ‘hey’?” Kurt scoffed. “What was I supposed to say to that? ‘Hey, I’ve cried single day because you suddenly don’t want me,’ ‘Hey, one day you’re telling me that you want to marry me, and the next you’re telling me to get away from you.’ I know that you were hurting, that I hurt you without realizing but—to just leave me all alone? To not ask how I was doing? You're supposed to be my best friend. Just nothing?”

 

Trust me, there has been so much I wanna say, but I haven't wanted to bombard you with it all over text, I wanted—to make sure you weren’t so mad at me that you wouldn’t even want to hear it. If you’d answered, and I knew you wanted me to, I would’ve started saying what I wanted to say. What I—what I wanna say—“

 

“And what is it, that you wanna say, huh?”

 

Kurt, I—”

 

“You know what?” Kurt sniffled, wiping the hot tears from his face with his hand. “I’m sure it’s very romantic, I’m sure it’s great and I’m gonna wanna come bolting and booking it full speed back into your arms, because I’m this big bleeding sap who loves you more than he loves himself, and who for two years now has wanted so badly to be half, half alive and half a person, so that you and I could be whole together. But honestly, I don’t even really see what the point is, now. Not today, not—not anymore.”

 

Blaine was obviously taken aback by this.

 

But don’t—“ his voice cracked and shook, don’t you still want us to try again, someday? When more time has passed, and we’re both—in a better place, to work through all of this?

 

Kurt decided, it was now or never, that if they were ever really going to work through all of this:

 

“Sebastian and I are fucking, Blaine.”

 

Silence.

 

“I mean, we haven’t—officially—” Kurt couldn’t believe he actually said that, like that, “but after you completely deserted me for weeks, I thought, ‘what if he doesn’t want to be with me ever again? What if I should be trying to move on, what if I’m missing a really good chance?’”

 

God, I can’t believe you’re such a hypocrite! You’re here accusing me of wasting our time apart, when meanwhile you’ve been screwing the biggest man whore we’ve ever met? I can’t believe that I’ve been so fucking stupid! To think that you weren’t always sleeping with him behind my back!”

 

“You know what? I love you, but you are really, really thick sometimes. You left me, okay, you broke up with me because I didn’t text you enough or whatever, you left when I was mindlessly and hopelessly devoted to you. But there is never going to be any way that I can convince of you that, is there? Because you love being miserable. That’s what it is, you love having an excuse, like I haven’t always been the one chasing you. I mean, it’s like you wanted me to be with him, Blaine. Not once was I going to step out on you, I’ve never wanted anyone but you, but you drove me out of your hands. And sometimes, I think you still see me as the fifteen year old boy who wandered into Dalton, traumatized and bruised and trusting and innocent, looking to you for all my light. But I am not that person anymore. I’m an adult, I want, I have needs, and I can’t be expected to wait around dwindling my thumbs on all your whims, no matter how much I want to. I can’t keep living a half a life and you can’t just waltz in and out on me because you were the first, I’m not your property.”

 

He is going to ruin you, Kurt. Mark my words, you won’t be happy with him. He is going to use you and fuck with you and wring you out until you’ve got nothing left, and who knows, if I’ll even recognize you then? You are too good and too smart to compromise yourself and lower yourself for him, because I made a nothing mistake. But you go ahead, knock yourself out. Don’t come crawling back to me when you’re broken.”

 

“I won’t!”

 

Blaine hung up on him suddenly, and Kurt buried his face in his hands to hide his crying.

 

It was really over now, wasn’t it?

 

Kurt sat up and looked around after a moment, wary of all the stares his outburst had probably just garnered, noticing a straight high school couple staring over from their table nearby, sympathetically. Trying not to be so ashamed and embarrassed, he wiped his face and took a few deep, slow breaths. Watching as the shoppers around him soon came and went; watching the world move on, knowing that particular moment had just been hell, but at least the worst had passed.

 

Kurt spent the next half hour there, considering himself and all the unknowns up ahead of him. He really had been so different before he met Blaine, so insecure about his looks and personality that he constantly wanted men who were unavailable. He’d thought for many years now that being in a relationship, that being loved back, would be a fix-it for all his self-esteem problems. But it said something, he thought, it really did, that he cared so much about what Blaine thought about him, he’d let the other boy determine his self worth.

 

Sebastian wasn’t going to ruin him, he wasn’t, because Kurt was never going to let another man make decisions for him ever again.

 

He thought about the last night they’d been together now, how Sebastian’s fingers had felt and how free and uninhibited Sebastian had made him feel. Even if no more sex was to come from things with him, if Sebastian had taken Kurt’s silence as a sign that he should move on, Kurt realized that he wanted, not needed, wanted at least Sebastian’s words and advice, as his roommate if nothing else, to be a part of his new life now. To see his new adult self reflected in someone who’d come to know it, to have that listening ear, to know that now Sebastian wanted just for them to get along, supporting each other through being gay and being different and struggling, whether it was sexual or not.

 

He suddenly felt like such shit that he had run out without saying anything, that he was constantly turning his back on the things that accepted him. No more running, Kurt Hummel thought, and so he dialed Sebastian’s number, hoped that they could settle things, and meet each other halfway again.

 

Sebastian answered on the last ring.

 

Hey.”

 

“Hey, I um—“ Kurt took a deep breath, considering Sebastian’s voice, so different from Blaine’s. “I missed you, I mean before they closed the dorms, and we went our separate ways—I’m sorry.”

 

It’s fine. I think we both needed a minute, to think after—everything.”

 

Kurt closed his eyes, imagining that Sebastian was saying all of this in front of him.

 

“How are you?" he said now. "I have to say, it’s kind of weird, not seeing you every day.”

 

Isn’t it just?” Kurt could hear the smile in Sebastian’s voice, and it warmed his heart. But then: “But to be honest, Kurt, I’m not that great. At least, not right now.”

 

“Oh?” Kurt’s eyes opened and he felt a flicker of worry, remembering Sebastian saying that his father got more violent over holidays. “Is everything okay?”

 

Will be, pretty soon here. Once I’m in Maine, Cape Elizabeth, until after Christmas.”

 

“Maine? Wow, how beautiful that will be this time of year. What’s in Maine?”

 

My uncle Mark’s empty house on the coast, which I'll have to myself. And yes, it is, very beautiful.”

 

Kurt wanted to see him suddenly, wished he could make whatever pain he was feeling, a kind that would drive him to be alone on Christmas, go away for good. “You can’t be alone on Christmas, that’s—“

 

Depressing? Yeah, I know. But trust me, the politics of all the Smythes being under one roof, are way more depressing than eating fresh lobster in a giant transformed light house, drunk off champagne, is going to be.”

 

Kurt couldn’t help but smiling at that; he supposed he was happy, to imagine Sebastian happy. “I don’t know your mother that well, although it seems like I do from how you talk about her, but—I can imagine that she’s not happy, with you going by yourself.”

 

Oh yeah, she won’t be, not at all. I’m not telling her until my flight lands, to ease the blow.”

 

“When are you leaving?”

 

Tonight, at two a.m..”

 

Kurt’s heartbeat started racing.

 

“Sebastian, I think that we should—”

 

“—see each other, yeah.”

 

Kurt felt his relief wash over him in waves.

 

“Where are you right now?”

 

In my car, in the parking lot at a storage facility. Been here for the last two hours.”

 

“Well, if you want to, I’m out at the Lima mall going bankrupt. Come meet me?”

 

So Sebastian did. When he saw Kurt sitting alone in front of the ice cream parlor, he knew, whether or not this thing would be forever between them, he knew that telling his father what he had about him had been worth it. Kurt stood in greeting, and when the two of them hugged, Sebastian felt the fear that had been seizing him all day start to melt. Warmed by Kurt’s radiance and patience pouring into him.

 

This was the direction he needed to move forward in, even if trusting this boy was scary in its own right. Because the kind of love that Kurt had for his closest people, the kind that Seb was sure his father and mother had graciously loved into him, he needed its powers to bring him out of his own darkness; he knew he would receive that from Kurt’s friendship if nothing else.

 

Kurt was somewhat taken aback by how tight and significant Sebastian’s hold around him was. He thought Sebastian might still be mad at him for wanting to talk to Blaine, but nothing about this embrace communicated anger. Only relief, and peace.

 

“You okay?” Kurt said to him.

 

“Yeah, yeah.” Sebastian pulled back, smiling at him. “I am right now.”

 

They walked around the mall in circles for a while, talking about little nothings and pointing at various trinkets in the windows of the stores. Soon they got to the center where the elaborate Santa display sat vacant and darkened, where the indoor ferris wheel was accepting its last few riders of the hour, as the mall prepared to close. They decided to ride in it, staring up at the glass dome in the high ceiling from their caged cart, at the stars shining brightly down on them.

 

“So,” Kurt said, after they sat a while in silence. “I’m assuming that, since you’re leaving, things at home with your dad for the last few days weren’t ideal.”

 

“Went the same way they always do. Same way they always will. Until...”

 

He paused and sighed. Kurt put his hand on Sebastian's thigh.

 

“You don’t have to talk about it, if you don’t want to,” Kurt said.

 

Sebastian nodded. “Thanks.”

 

For a moment, Kurt wanted to tell him something uplifting, that maybe things would get better, but then he thought otherwise. He knew the darkness of some people’s hearts, that sometimes, people don’t ever really change.

 

Sebastian then asked Kurt the thing he really didn’t want to know, but had to.

 

“Did you end up talking to Blaine?”

 

Kurt hesitated, not wanting to relive Blaine shouting at him, the ugliness. “Yeah.”

 

“How was that?”

 

“Terrible.”

 

Sebastian watched Kurt deeply exhale, and stare straight ahead.

 

“He always suspected this,” Kurt said thoughtfully. “You and I, with each other. He did even before it was in any way plausible, so y’know, that part’s on him, but. When I told him tonight, he swore, he swore that I premeditated it, but I—I really didn’t, I mean—I think maybe I knew, that after Halloween I was starting to feel close to you, but it wasn’t a closeness that I thought he would even care about. And not something that I cared about more than I cared about him. I mean it was good, finally having you as an ally, and I’m—used to having affectionate friendships outside of him, and him knowing about those. Mercedes and I and Tina and I, we kiss and sit in each other’s laps and hold hands and things like that all the time. Quinn and Santana and Brittany sometimes, too, we had our moments. So I don’t know, I thought that he would see me as capable of having a nuanced relationship with you, too, but it’s—it’s different, with men, and I know that. So maybe I was sowing some seeds with you, but I was just in denial about it. I don’t know.”

 

Kurt stared over at him then, biting his lower lip.

 

“It doesn’t help that you, Sebastian, are just—“ He turned away and held his hand up, his smile and blush spreading rapidly, “really, unfairly, god-awfully good-looking, like, seriously, any time you wanna stop all this?” He made wavy gestures towards Sebastian’s face and body. “It’d be really, really helpful for my sanity and hormones.”

 

Sebastian couldn’t help smiling back at him. “Sorry.”

 

Kurt sighed, sobering once more. He put his hand back down on Sebastian’s thigh, patting it once.

 

“Anyway, I don’t think there’s any convincing him now, that we weren’t always conspiring behind his back. And that breaks my heart, because I love him so, so much and I—had he not broken it off with me, and forced me away, there was no way I would’ve consummated anything with you.”

 

Sebastian shifted his thigh away a little.

 

“And I’m sorry, that that’s hard for you to hear,” Kurt punctuated, and Sebastian hated it, the way that Kurt was always just inside his head. “You are not just a rebound, I care about you a lot, and it’s not that I don’t want to do this, it just—might be hard, for a while. I really, really wanted to marry him.”

 

Sebastian studied his face, seeing the pain behind his eyes, imagining how hard that conversation must have been for him.

 

“I know.”

 

He could just hate Blaine, he really could, for throwing and expelling this loving boy away from him. Even if it meant that now, he had a shot at loving him too.

 

“I used to think that feelings like the ones he and I spent so much time building never went away, that you could never choose to let them,” Kurt said. “But apparently, I’m in the wrong for thinking that, and—apparently, you just can.”

 

Kurt wanted to try being with Sebastian now, he really did. But it wasn’t like the words Blaine weren’t going to cut him deep, and do so for a while. Kurt had hurt him first, dropping the bomb so bluntly and without explanation on purpose. Shouldn’t he have expected that Blaine would try to hurt him back? He could hear Blaine saying it all to him again now, and it shook him. “He is going to use you and fuck with you and wring you out—“

 

“If you want us, not to mess around for a while,” Sebastian was saying, “so that you have time to process what you might be waking away from, I—“ At the look on Kurt’s face, and how beautiful he looked sitting there in the moonlight, Sebastian almost lost his train of thought. “I admit, it will be hard, to keep my hands off of you now, but. Just let me know.”

 

Kurt shook his head.

 

“I don’t see how that would help things, for either of us, really. I’m not going to keep punishing myself for not being good enough for Blaine Anderson. I have to walk away now, whether I want to or not, and—I want to, I do, want to move on. Besides, it’s not like I’ll be to able to behave myself around you anyway, now that I’ve—had you, and you just—” he glanced away again, smiling shyly, “have this cruel and outrageous aversion to wearing clothes in our room.”

 

Sebastian laughed. “You like it.”

 

Kurt rested his head on Seb’s shoulder then, and Sebastian let him nestle in close. He held his hand over Kurt’s, massaging his cold knuckles and wondering if it was too late, for him to even consider not giving this boy his heart. Blaine may not have wanted him now, not anymore, but would he again? Was Kurt too full of love, and so set on trying to make everyone around him happy, to ever truly let Blaine go? Was Sebastian good enough, strong enough, to hold on through this fight?

 

As if Kurt could sense what he was thinking, or at least that he was starting to doubt himself, he leaned up and kissed Sebastian’s cheek soundly.

 

“I want ice cream,” Kurt said. “I think we’ve both earned it, after the day that we’ve both clearly had. Do you want some? I’d buy, but as I just found out, all my credit lines are maxed out.”

 

Sebastian cradled Kurt’s face in his hand, finding him adorable even in his debt.

 

“When we get down from this,” Sebastian said, as Kurt’s eyes surveyed his lips, “sure.”

 

Kurt caved, and initiated a deep, hungry kiss between them as their cart stopped and swung at the top of the wheel.

 

“Yeah there’s no way in hell I’m giving this up,” Kurt whispered and smiled.

 

“Good.”

 

Sebastian decided to share a little more of what was weighing on him, as they ate their ice cream in front of the shop.

 

“Today I moved out of my dad’s house officially. Not much was left, just my bed frame and a lamp or two, and some of the valuables I didn’t want to keep at school. My mom wanted me to keep at least some of stuff there, until—“ He stopped, stabbing his spoon in his ice cream once. “Because she thought it might hurt his feelings, if I was really gone. But that would necessitate him having feelings, so. Yeah, I um—I’d like to use the profits from my investments, next year, on an apartment, instead of saving.”

 

“That’s great, I’m proud of you. Do you need any help, with anything, on that front?”

 

“No, but thank you. I appreciate that.”

 

As they walked to Sebastian’s car holding hands, Kurt stared up at the night sky; proud of himself for making it through this day, for choosing to be happy in spite of what he’d lost.

 

“God, what a semester this has been, right?” Kurt said to Sebastian. “I mean, look at this.” He held up their conjoined hands, and Sebastian laughed along with him. “You and I, practically best friends over here, actually and unironically fond of each other.”

 

Sebastian thought about that; how at the very first inkling of having hurt Kurt’s feelings, of being confronted with the reality that someone else saw him, and someone else cared, he had been forced to try and change his hardened ways. He used to think that Kurt was the kind of gay man he hated, with his fashion and musicals and so-called “femininity,” but now Kurt’s softness and ability to love so passionately, inspired him to want to follow in his footsteps.

 

“I can’t say that I saw this coming at first, like at fucking all,” Sebastian said, thinking back to early September. “But I’m lucky that you ever saw my human side, how small and insignificant it might actually be. I know I was just the worst to you, and you had no reason, still have no reason, to forgive me, but. I swear, I won’t willingly hurt you ever again.”

 

Sebastian stopped them, having reached his sleek black car in the parking lot, and cradled Kurt’s face in his hands.

 

“I want you so bad now, Kurt. So much it kills me.”

 

Kurt felt chills rack up and down his spine.

 

“Yeah?” he exhaled.

 

“Yeah.”

 

They kissed again, and Kurt wanted him so badly too; he was the one who started to make things hot and heavy, started toying with Sebastian’s belt loops, rutting their hips up against each other.

 

He realized now, as his hands roamed Sebastian’s warm body, as it felt comfortable and safe and familiar, that he also felt a peace about what Blaine said to him. This was the choice he’d made, and it was starting to feel more and more right each time he made it; it was time to truly let go.

 

“You make me feel so good,” Kurt whispered between kisses.

 

“Pleasure’s all mine.”

 

“I want you to fuck me tonight. At my house.”

 

Sebastian pulled back just to be sure he heard that right, and found Kurt staring up at him confidently, horny, headstrong.

 

“Yeah?” he asked breathlessly.

 

“Yeah.”

 

Sebastian drove, trying to insist that they should take Kurt to his own car, and he should follow him. But Kurt didn’t want to wait, making some vague idea at him that they would come back to get it later, that he just wanted him now.

 

On the way, Kurt worked his hands over Sebastian’s erection through his jeans, dipping inside them to tease him now and then and Sebastian hissing and mumbling “fuck” as he tried to keep focused on the road.

 

Kurt hurried Sebastian inside the dark living room, where Finn was on the couch by himself watching Netflix. When Finn turned over his shoulder and saw who his little brother was with, his eyes went a little wide, no doubt full of questions.

 

“Hey, dude.”

 

“Hey.”

 

But Kurt didn’t have time to answer them, led Sebastian by the hand upstairs immediately.

 

One Quinn Fabray once gave Kurt an extraordinary piece of advice: “When you get your heart broken by someone you love, take someone new to all the places that you remind you of them, and rewrite history.” Kurt had these words mind as he stripped Sebastian naked in his bedroom, letting his hands explore as the moonlight shone in on them. Erasing all the moments he had with Blaine here, feeling like that boy was the only one who would ever love him. His confidence now was brimming, having a gorgeous man like Sebastian here, moaning and letting Kurt have his way with him, coming so undone at his touch.

 

Sebastian was letting Kurt take control because he was so moved, so stupefied, that Kurt wanted him to take him for the first time here, in his home, the place he felt most intimate. He hardly had time to marvel at the bedroom’s surroundings, at all the touches and frames and ornaments that really made it Kurt’s space, because Kurt was accosting him with so much power.

 

Once they were both naked, Kurt pulled Sebastian down on top of him in the bed, grinding his hips up against Sebastian’s, their cocks rutting against each other, Sebastian’s tongue sliding against his making Kurt feel like he was going to lose his mind.

 

Kurt sat up then, reaching over to the drawer in his nightstand for lube and his dildo.

 

“What’s this?” Sebastian said grinning, when Kurt held it out for him.

 

“Just use it on me before, to practice. I’ve been—practicing, for you.”

 

Sebastian groaned, wishing he could’ve seen that. But Kurt was naked for him now, cock red and bobbing against his stomach, legs spread and hole open, so he could re-create the moment now for his own viewing pleasure. He slicked the head of the purple silicone with plenty of lube, pressing it just so inside Kurt, and watching as his pale thighs trembled; alternating between giving him shallow thrusts and then sliding it in deep and slow, slipping it out and rimming him instead every now and again, as Kurt got all wet and stretched, sighing and squirming above him, his hands grappling with his sheets.

 

“You’re gonna feel so good on my cock, baby.”

 

“Mm, yeah?”

 

“Fuck yeah.”

 

“I’m ready, please.”

 

Sebastian got up momentarily to fumble through his clothes on the floor, finding his wallet in his pants pocking and fishing out a condom.

 

When he came back to the bed on his knees, he started opening the condom and trying to slide it on himself, but found his hands shaking too much really steady it, the sight of Kurt and how important this suddenly was racking his brain.

 

“I’m sorry, wow.” He stopped for a moment, laughing at himself depreciatively and hanging his head, taking a deep breath and finally sliding it on over smooth.

 

“Are you nervous?” Kurt giggled at him. “Don’t be nervous.”

 

“I just want this to feel as good for you as it’s going to feel for me.”

 

Sebastian came forward to kiss him, guiding his cock with one hand to the breach of Kurt’s entrance, pressing against it only very slightly.  Kurt was so hungry for it now, the low growl of Sebastian’s voice when he said that, the tease of that cock being so close to finally entering him. He reached around blindly for the lube lying somewhere beside them, finding it and capping it open as Sebastian pulled back to watch. Kurt started slicking Sebastian up over the condom with both hands, his mouth nearly goddamn watering at the way Sebastian’s cock was pulsing against his touch.

 

“Grab a pillow, put it under your hips,” Sebastian instructed.

 

Kurt did so, and Sebastian aligned himself with Kurt’s entrance.

 

“Let me know if you need me to go slower, or stop,” Sebastian told him.

 

“Okay.”

 

Kurt closed his eyes to brace himself, Sebastian started pushing in and it felt both better and worse than he anticipated. For all that he had tried to mimic how Sebastian might feel, there was nothing that would compare, with how stretched he was and the pain he felt around the insertion, but Sebastian was already hitting that spot and making him feel orgasmic, and he wasn’t even half way inside yet.

 

Sebastian stopped sliding in, staring down at Kurt taking it, feeling again like his brain was going to short circuit and he was going to forget how this act he’d done a hundred times worked. He was still in disbelief that this was Kurt, and Kurt wanted him, and he was so fucking tight and doing so well; he looked like he was in pain, though.

 

“Is it uncomfortable?” Kurt looked so good, but Sebastian would wait, forever if he had to. “I can stop.”

 

“It’s—it’s a lot,” Kurt managed breathlessly, “But don’t stop. I think I can get used to it.”

 

Kurt wrapped his hands around the back of Sebastian’s neck, trailed them down Sebastian’s abs, mesmerized at the lewd image he’d imagined so many times. The sight of Sebastian inside him made his cock jump, so he pulled Sebastian in to kiss him messily, the just so tilt of Sebastian’s hips forward at the gesture suddenly shooting pleasure through his body.

 

“Oh, fuck.”

 

“Starting to feel good?”

 

“Yeah, yeah.”

 

Then after a couple more moments, when Sebastian tried again, it was extremely good. Soon the pain was replaced by an insane feeling of completeness; Kurt had never felt pleasure like this before, like each time Sebastian swung forward he felt himself squeezing around Sebastian’s cock without even willing it, his thighs trembling and the shivers racking up in his arms and spreading to his toes. It went on for so long, so steady and smooth, and the moans his body forced from him each time he felt Sebastian’s cock hit the deepest part of him were uncontrollable; he had to let them out because he was so in awe of what this was doing to him, and having to keep his mouth covered with his own hand just turned him on even more.

 

When Sebastian made Kurt come, he felt overwhelmingly like he might cry, managing somehow to hold it in. He felt stupid and ridiculous at the sentiment, watching as Kurt came down and sank a little deeper onto his cock, still touching himself a little absently, staring into his eyes. And then Sebastian realized it wasn’t about how he looked, although that was a feat in and of itself. It was that feeling he got sometimes when he was most happy, that contrasted so heavily with that time he thought he might die; how he had overdosed on purpose that night, feeling like he’d hit a ceiling, like nothing was ever going to come close to that closeness with God that he had lost for good. But there was this feeling, this elation and perfect contentedness with the present, understanding that if he had died, he would never know what awaited him in this moment.

 

They went back to get Kurt’s car from the Lima mall parking lot at midnight; got out to say goodbye to each other under the lonely street lamps.

 

“Call me when you make it safely, okay?” Kurt said, holding him close.

 

“I will.”

 

When Sebastian was finally through security at the airport for his red eye, he called his mother back.

 

Sebastian? Is everything all right? I have your house key. Are you out?”

 

“I’m um—at the airport.”

 

Wh—airport? Why, why?”

 

“It’s a long story, but Dad doesn’t want me there, I know he doesn’t, so—Uncle Mark is letting me stay at theirs, for Christmas. Come, come and be with me here. I’ll pay for it, so Dad doesn’t find out until you’re gone.”

 

His mother fell silent. Sebastian could feel his heartbeat throbbing in his head.

 

“They’ll understand,” he tried again, “Mark and Nora, they know how hurt you are, and I know he hurts you worse, when I’m not there—“

 

Sebastian, please, we do not speak of this—“

 

“Well maybe it’s time we did, Mom. I know it sucks that this is it, that this is all the time we’re going to have with him but—he can’t keep treating us like garbage, just because he’s sick, it doesn’t mean we have to pretend that he —“

 

If you do not want to be here to support your family at this time, that is your decision. But I cannot leave him, you know I cannot, not when he is needing me the most.”

 

Still, he wondered why he was ever surprised. But he understood, the guilt and the fear that compelled her.

 

“I love you," he reminded her. "I just want us to be happy.”

 

She was crying, when she spoke again.

 

We will be here waiting for you when you are home. I love you too, mon amour, more than everything in this world, I promise that. I am sorry that we are having to be apart.”

 

“I’m sorry, too.”

 

 

 

 

 

They were on a double date at the Korean restaurant-barcade that was Tina’s favorite place in all of Ohio; she and Rachel, and Kurt and Sebastian. At dinner, Rachel was doing one of her moderately offensive but mostly just annoying monologues, about how much better she considered herself over the other NYADA transfer applicants she’d been stalking online.

 

“I’m just saying, how do you expect to ever make it onto Broadway by auditioning with a song that wasn’t even on Broadway? I get it, Beyonce is a crowd pleaser, and by showing Carmen Tibideaux that you have even a fraction of her range, I suppose, you fill some rather high heels. But that woman is not a classic, and the lyrics to that song however much people like it are so trashy, and besides, now that she’s a mother, she should really not be wearing those escapades that she puts on. I mean, what is poor little Blue Ivy going to think when she gets older, and sees all those nasty people making lewd comments on her mother’s body?”

 

“Rachel, shut the fuck up.”

 

Kurt appreciated his boyfriend being the only one brave enough to say it—did he really just think of Sebastian as his boyfriend?—and at the faux-shocked look on Rachel’s face, Tina agreed. “I draw the line at you talking trash on Queen B.”

 

Kurt wasn’t sure if his relationship with Sebastian was that far along yet, despite the slipping of his mind. But he did know that they had spent every single day of the rest of their winter break together, ever since Sebastian had gotten back from Maine. Two and a half weeks of watching movies late in their dorm, and fucking and showering it off and then fucking in the shower, and Sebastian telling Kurt about his past, and Kurt unable to imagine how he survived, but so glad he did.

 

After dinner, Tina pulled Kurt aside as Sebastian and Rachel cheated at skeeball up ahead of them, running up the ramps and shoving each other playfully.

 

“Okay, so I was kind of wrong about him,” Tina said. “He really does care about you.”

 

“What’s bringing this on?”

 

“The way he stares at you all doe-eyed when you talk, the way he jumped up to get your condiments when dinner came, the way he runs to open doors for you. He like, worships the ground you walk on.”

 

“Oh, stop it.”

 

“I just mean,” she said, taking his arm in her own.I see a change in him since high school, a huge one.” She shook her head in disbelief. “You change people’s lives, Kurt, you really do.”

 

“God, you’re gonna make me cry.”

 

Things weren’t perfect with Sebastian now, although Kurt knew that they were better than they’d ever been. But it still hurt for him sometimes, that he and Blaine weren’t even friends, and what Blaine said to him still ran constantly through his head. He wondered if he really would come running back to Blaine broken, if he would have even if Blaine hadn't said it to him. He felt these pains and hesitations while simultaneously feeling like Sebastian’s sense of humor about the world was one of his favorite things, like Sebastian promising he would cook for them one day made him see a future for them, doing what they were doing now maybe years off in the future. All while still he would dream some nights that he and Blaine could reverse time, that Blaine was still waiting for him at the end of an altar, that nothing about his teenage life had been disturbed or changed. It was a strange convergence, and he hoped Sebastian would be patient with him; that one day, that patience wouldn’t run out.

 

Sebastian knew this wouldn’t be easy, as he could see it Kurt’s eyes and hear it in his voice, the pain he still felt over losing Blaine so abruptly. He knew that this was just the beginning, that he had years of Blaine molding Kurt a certain way, his way, to work against. But he also knew that if God still cared about him, he had sent him Kurt as a guardian angel—a sentiment he knew Kurt would find completely ludicrous, still the mouthy Atheist he ever was—but seriously, Sebastian was starting to believe it, the closer he felt himself getting to hearing God’s voice again, the more this boy calmed him and soothed him. What with the crazy odds of them being them roomed together, out of thousands of other options? Whether it was divine or complete coincidence, Sebastian wanted to see where this might lead him.

 

Next semester would test them.

Chapter Text

The first icy, wintry day of spring semester, Kurt sat bundled in scarves and coat on the bleachers of the field behind the dorm. Sebastian’s classmates from his business society—which he was now the treasurer of—had taken to playing pickup flag football games on the frozen lawn every weekend since the January term started, despite the often inclement weather. Today the melting snow from last week made the field ice-chunked and slippery, but still the group of boys ran round tackling each other, red-faced with dripping wet hair and damp clothes. Kurt would never join the festivities himself, but watching his man rough house every afternoon did have its perks. Sebastian took to staring up at Kurt in the stands often, grinning and blowing the occasional kiss.

 

It was the after-game custom for Sebastian, who always managed to work up a sweat despite the temperature, to join Kurt on the bleachers and make out with him right then and there. Which would usually garner whistles and whoops from any of the boys from the society who were still lingering on the field. Sebastian gave no fucks, and Kurt found it hilarious, that he couldn’t even wait to shower or at least walk back to the building to get it on. “You’re going to get sick one of these days,” Kurt would chastise him, clinging to his sweat-damp shirt. “Never,” Sebastian would disagree, kissing him and carrying him over the threshold into their dorm.

 

The January term at Ohio State meant basically a month off, before heavy full time classes would begin in the spring; Kurt and Sebastian both took easy one unit electives that met twice a week, and that meant lots of spare time with each other. Most days they barely left their room or its perimeter, nesting and finding comfort in their new and improved domesticity. Arguing playfully with each other, putting documentaries on to run in the background while doing light housekeeping and rearranging furniture, and of course, their favorite thing, fucking each other in all imaginable ways, on the floor, in the showers down the hall. They decided to push their twin beds together in the center of the room, sharing their blankets and pillows. Kurt even fashioned a cream chiffon drapery that hung from ceiling to floor, serving as a veil that would siphon their love-making den from the rest of the room.

 

Kurt had been making a lot of things lately, thanks to Finn who had gifted him a brand new sewing machine for Christmas. Finn had done his research with it too, coming up on an industry darling with a four hundred dollar price tag. Kurt had loved using his mother’s old one from the 90s, but nostalgia had worn it threadbare and unusable. Now he wouldn’t have to spend so much time un-jamming it, or, as of late, sneaking into the theater department to use theirs.

 

Kurt hadn’t expected Finn to give him something so on the nose, as his step brother was notoriously abominable with gifts (he usually forgot them entirely on birthdays, and didn't have money to spend anyway). But now, as acting manager of Burt’s shop, Finn was getting an actual salary, paying back for all the times he missed. He’d told the family that Kurt's sewing machine was the start of that payback, and also tried to pay off one of Kurt’s credit cards. Kurt adamantly refused.

 

These days the otherwise idle Sebastian, fulfilling his new boyfriendly duties, was used as the standing model for Kurt’s new creations: fantastical army uniforms with glitter trim, velvety cloaks with floor length sleeves and yard-long trains. Though he wouldn’t have been caught dead in any of the stuff outside of that room, Sebastian loved watching Kurt hone his freakishly adept skill, his God-given gift. Sebastian grew up with a mother who was obsessed with French Vogue, and these outlandish, androgynous, sleek and shimmery pieces were exactly the kinds of things he used to see when he watched her read them. Kurt seemed to know his shit.

 

“It’s a shame,” Kurt said to him one afternoon, pinning teal lamé fabric around one of his thighs, “you have the perfect body to be a runway model. I would kill for you to do this for me full-time.”

 

“Your profession is literally the last thing I’ll end up doing with my life,” Sebastian said, “though with enough sex, I might be won over.”

 

Kurt swatted his ass lightly.

 

“You should really do the costuming on TV sets or something,” Sebastian said then. “Move to L.A., or get yourself on Game of Thrones.”

 

“As much as I would live to dress one Sansa Stark, I’m sure the crew of that set is well over-booked. And I can’t just go to L.A., it’s one of the most expensive places to live in the country. I’ll starve.”

 

Sebastian bit his tongue on the offer to send him there, paid in full. “Not when they see what you can do, baby."

 

“California is beautiful,” Kurt said dreamily. “Well, looks it, in photographs. You’ve been before, right?”

 

“Last fall, to visit Stanford. The northwest coast is definitely my forever place, after I graduate and then spend a couple years on Wall Street. And definitely where I want my first house to be.”

 

“Your first house?”

 

Kurt was increasingly growing fascinated with learning just how rich Sebastian was because of his family. Kurt had never known anyone his age who easily had tens of thousands of dollars at his disposal, and even more than that backed up in a trust. The Hummels had struggled to pay the mortgage every month that Kurt had been alive, and their house was beautiful, don’t get him wrong; Kurt had never grown up without nice things. But he knew that his dad was only able to keep up the facade of nice things by going into debt. Dr. Smythe had millions of dollars. Kurt couldn’t even imagine his family having a hundred thousand dollars, how radically that would change everything. To have even one million, or better yet, several?

 

“Where did it all come from?” Kurt asked Sebastian later on that night, as they lie in bed naked, massaging each other. Kurt was perched atop Sebastian, who lie flat on his stomach, working his thumbs deep into the knots in Sebastian’s shoulders. “My dad would have to own twenty more tire shops at least, maybe even a hundred, for that kind of money.”

 

“My family’s just kind of always had it,” Sebastian said from under him. “The Smythes are originally from Germany and have properties there that have been handed down for who knows how long. Eventually some of them migrated here, bought up stock and land in the midwest when it was cheap, and built hotels and historic houses and farms. My dad owns five different places right now, and three of them are just from rich uncles who happened to die and leave them to him. The men in my family all have this obsession, that it’s their God-given right to fill mansions with copious amounts of children. That’s why he hates that I fuck men, I’d imagine. And that my mother couldn’t conceive after me. It’s his dream to have a bunch of us to show off to the world, and I—well, I’m not made in his image at all.

 

“I have no proof of this, but I swear to you my aunt Joanna took my mom to get her tubes tied after I was born,” Sebastian went on. “Almost every time I hear them talking about him, Joanna says, ‘you made the right decision.’ And that’s what I don’t get about now, why she’s staying. Now that I’m out and no longer her dependent, she could go back to France with her sisters in their mother’s house. Get on a plane, lawyer up and sue my dad for all he’s worth. Set up a camera or something, let people see what he does to her. She won’t do it. That’s what being a woman is, to her family. Unwavering loyalty to your man.”

 

“I don’t know how you deal with it,” Kurt said “How she deals with it. Do you know what my mother would’ve done, if Dad had hurt us? We would’ve been gone in two seconds flat. My dad would’ve let us go, willingly.”

 

Sebastian turned over his shoulder, sought Kurt’s eyes.

 

“Does your dad know?” he said. “About me?”

 

No, Kurt immediately thought to answer, but he didn’t yet want to upset the surface of why that was. He didn’t want Sebastian to think his dad was That Stereotypical Dad With A Shotgun, but he was kind of that dad. Or at least, he had been with the over-stepping Blaine, at least at first. But really, Kurt had yet to tell his father about his new arrangement, because there was so much more to say than just, “Hey dad, I have a new boyfriend!” Finn had been one the one to tell Burt and Carole about Blaine breaking up with him, assuming they already knew, and Kurt had been dodging his dad’s questions about it ever since. “So are you and Blaine gonna talk about what happened?” “We already did.” “So that’s just it, then?” “Yeah, I guess.”

 

“I’ve talked to him about you before,” Kurt said to Sebastian. He pressed harder into the knots and Sebastian hummed encouragingly, his eyes slipping back shut. “He knows who you are, and I mean, he did meet you that one time.”

 

“But he doesn’t know that I’m drilling his son from sun up to sun down in here, right?” Sebastian coupled with this with a mischievous smile, and Kurt hit him in the ass again.

 

“If that’s how you’d personally like to phrase it to him, in those words, by all means, be my guest. Though don’t expected to be invited over on holidays, or like, invited over ever.”

 

Sebastian chuckled at Kurt’s joke, but then his smile faded.

 

“I just don’t think I’m the kind of guy any good father would approve of.”

 

This made Kurt horrifically sad; he thought about the way Seb was before, the snot who kicked him out twice a day to hook up, the kind of guy who, if Kurt had complained to his dad back in September, would definitely not have been given the boyfriend stamp of approval.

 

“He’s protective of me,” Kurt said now. “I was a virgin for longer than I think most gay men are, and I was always, well, different, and chaste and things. So he has pretty high expectations, but he’s not a judgmental person. He would take the time to get to know and care about anyone, especially if he could see that I really care for them.”

 

Sebastian seemed mildly set at ease by this depiction, but still, Kurt could see the dejectedness in his expression.

 

“He won’t hate you, I promise,” Kurt insisted. He kissed the warm skin between Sebastian’s shoulder blades, then kissed his way south, slow and smooth.

 

Sebastian stopped him when he got to his lower back, turning over to reveal how hard he was. In tandem with Sebastian reaching over the side of the bed for the box of condoms, Kurt felt around for the lube bundled in the sheets.

  

The spring semester brought busier schedules for the both of them, with Kurt taking four classes and Sebastian five. Kurt for the first time had a night time lecture, American History after 1940, spanning the course of four hours twice a week, which he was sorely dreading.

 

On the way to his first meeting of the class, he perused Facebook on his phone absently. He was still checking Blaine’s Facebook every now and then, now not necessarily because he searched his name to do so, but because the site still showed him all his ex’s latest things, assuming he’d still want to see them. He knew it was an algorithm that made it this way, judging from how often they communicated in the past, and he also knew that he could mute Blaine’s updates. But part of him wanted to see how Blaine’s life might progress without him.

 

Blaine’s life seemed to be all about Sam Evan’s enhanced camaraderie these days, and vice versa. The photos of each other parkour-ing all over McKinley, their selfies with goofy-girly Snapchat filters, the long comment battles they were having back and forth under Artie’s daily shitposts for hours on end. Last weekend Mercedes had even told Kurt, in playful annoyance, that “Blaine is Sam’s new girlfriend lately.”

 

Kurt did wonder how that conversation went, when Blaine probably inevitably told Sam about he and Sebastian. Kurt hadn’t told anyone in the New Directions besides Tina yet, not even Mercedes, and honestly, hated that anyone might find out. He also wondered other things about Blaine, seemingly harmless things, like what colleges he had ended up applying to. He realized that during the last month of their relationship, he hadn't even ever really asked, mostly because Blaine didn’t want to talk about it, as it would just remind him of how disappointed his parents were always going to be in him. But still, Blaine was growing older fast, and soon, he might be gone for good.

 

Kurt was grateful to get to the door of his classroom, and have a good reason to put his phone away. He scanned the lecture hall speckled with people entering, and found none other than his tall, handsome roommate seated at a table in the back, glasses perched on his nose, reading something on his laptop. Kurt’s chest filled with relief as he snuck around the back of the room giddy, so Sebastian wouldn’t see him approach.

 

“This seat taken?”

 

Sebastian turned from the Economist article lit up on his screen, as Kurt pulled up the chair right beside to him.

 

“I know how tempting it will be for you to give me hand jobs under the table,” Sebastian said, “but let’s try our best to be professional.”

 

“Can’t make any promises, sorry.”

 

After the brief syllabus-review class, Sebastian had an executive board meeting with the business society. He decided to run for office in the organization during January term, and was surprised when he got it. His project partners from last semester were president and vice, and the eight person e-board was all juniors and seniors. They recommended him for the position, vacant after the fall treasurer graduated, when they realized how wealthy he was in book smarts, and actual cash.

 

While waiting for the meeting to come to session, Sebastian sat at the front of the room wheeling through ignored texts and app pings that he’d let pile up all January. He was certain the number of missed messages via iMessage, Grindr, and Tinder combined was getting close to a hundred. It was worse every winter, the temptation to hook up, the fish caught in his trap that he could easily reel in. He had a theory the cold made men, and everyone really, desperately crave something warm beneath them.

 

Sebastian refused to read the messages now, old conversations he’d once had having either been deleted, or put on Do Not Disturb. But now that spring semester was starting, and the campus was full of everyone who’d trickled off in the middle of last semester, Sebastian was also realizing he would sometimes have to deal with his face-to-face hook-ups around campus. The guys he’d linked up with after parties, the guys who lived in his building and on his floor, the array of faces and bodies he’d had passing through his door just to put a sock on the doorknob. Guys who Kurt of course didn’t remember the details of, too grossed out by Seb’s previous misbehaviors to have them categorized, and Sebastian never even used to care about his stands running into him. He’d never walked around Dalton ashamed that he’d fucked a bunch of sophomores when he arrived, never cared that men saw him as a playboy, that guy you knew would never call you back.

 

But tonight, and all day as he'd wandered around Ohio State, he imagined this worst case scenario: of Kurt sitting down in a new class next to some friendly gay Sebastian had once bought a couple vodka and tonics for, and his transgressions casually coming into conversation when Kurt said “my boyfriend.”

 

Sebastian wasn’t so conceited, and he hadn’t slept around that much, to think he thought the odds of it happening were even slightly fucking likely. But still, his universe seemed way too coincidental as of late, everything lining up cosmically and inevitably. With his luck, and the way it seemed that Kurt always ended up finding the truth, like he was a magnet that brought it to him, something was going to happen that would soon make Kurt realize that Sebastian’s past was still present.

 

Because for Sebastian, it was, all of a sudden.

 

Not just because of the realization that Sebastian’s hit count was innumerable, but because of something deeper, this dark energy that seemed to be hanging about him. On nights that were otherwise flawless—staying up ‘til four in the morning sweating it out and fucking, Kurt still begging him for more and more and more—Sebastian would be greeted by nightmares in his sleep. The one week he’d spent at home before Christmas, and the dead look in his father’s eyes the last they’d spoken, was clearly haunting him in ways he couldn’t shake. He would find himself back in the red lights of Amsterdam, back in dark and sweaty clubs and filthy bathroom stalls. Find himself coming back home his senior year, seeing how sickly his father had become in his absence.

 

Sebastian would wake at dawn to the heaven-esque white drapes, and soft, angelic Kurt in his arms now, and get through the rest of his day with Kurt constantly pressing him, forcing new memories to flood out the old. But when he was alone after Kurt fell asleep, the only few hours he was ever alone anymore, it all rose back to the surface, overpowering.

 

Had he not met Kurt, those things would still buried. It was easier, being an asshole, having fun. He knew, he knew that this was making him a better person, but did the scars have to go so deep? Did they have to hurt this much?

 

As if his life’s tendency to serve ill-timed inevitabilities, just overheard him thinking of it by name, he saw that in the horde of missed text messages, he had one from Blaine from a few days before, the first time the two had messaged in almost two months:

 

Can you ask Kurt if he has a certain sweater of mine? Brown wool with steel buttons. Thanks.

 

He didn’t want to let the stupid message bury itself deep in him, but the reality that he and Kurt were still existing in a bubble—that family hadn’t been involved yet for Kurt, for whom family actually mattered—made him resent that he’d never be the one Blaine Anderson. Even as he knew for a fact that that was a good thing.

 

It didn’t matter if he thought it was a good thing, though, if everyone else in Kurt’s life didn’t.

 

All throughout the e-board meeting, Sebastian thought up a number of ways he could answer Blaine’s question, including detailed re-tellings of the nights they’d been spending in ecstasy. Last night Kurt had his legs wide open for me and god, I bet you wish you could fill him like I can. Did you know that he likes to be fucked for hours? He once told me you couldn’t last five minutes.

 

Even though Tina forgave him, and Rachel was a fan, what about Mercedes, and Kurt’s brother Finn? They seemed to hate him just from what they’d heard, and from the way they’d looked at him when they’d witnessed his once shameless chasing of Blaine. He found it deeply hypocritical that they had all assumed his thing with Blaine was one-sided, and never slighted Blaine for his part in it. Sure Blaine was never going to step out on Kurt, and definitely didn’t, but that boy loved attention no matter who the source was. Blaine maintained that it was friendly, and mostly it was, advice giving and their shared interest in Dalton history. But he was the kind who would let friends push their boundaries, who was “too nice,” and not even Kurt was willing to see this flaw in him.

 

All of Kurt’s old friends saw Kurt and Blaine as Sebastian’s victims. They might still think that when they found, if they hadn’t already, how much he’d really come between them lately. Sebastian hadn’t been above lurking through the comments on their Facebooks when they broke up, the collective hemming and hawing of their fans. And though he knew they didn’t all have Kurt’s ear so intimately, certainly people like Finn and Mercedes did. And who knows what ill thoughts they still had of him?

 

Sebastian wouldn’t walk through the door of he and Kurt’s room tonight, before he sent his final text message to Blaine. This would be their final conversation, he decided, lest his unwarranted bitterness make him say something atrocious.

 

The context and history of how Sebastian met Kurt was ugly, but if they could have met each other another world, the world they keep trying to create as each day passes, Sebastian knows without a doubt that this same outcome would’ve happened. That Kurt would’ve challenged him, and that sweetness would’ve broken him, and that courage and his story would’ve pulled him out of his darkness.

 

So he decided to just tell Blaine,

 

Ask him yourself.

 

Because this was he and Kurt’s story now, and he wanted to move on.

 

Sebastian opened the door to their room to find Kurt before his sewing machine at his desk.

 

“I’ve decided we can dissipate our classroom sexual tension by sneaking ‘to the bathroom’ at the same time periodically.” Kurt often picked up their conversation right where they had left it last, as if the last month and a half had all been one conversation. He stopped the press of his sewing machine’s pedal, adjusting the garment beneath the needle. When Sebastian didn’t answer, he turned over his shoulder to stare at him. “You okay?”

 

Sebastian decided to just come out with it. “Heard anything from Blaine lately?”

 

Kurt was trying for nonchalant in his expression, but Sebastian could see minutely that his attention was piqued.

 

“Not anything directly, just his mildly annoying, mildly cheerful Facebook posts I still see on my feed. It feels weird to want to just delete him sometimes, because I think maybe in a couple years we could be friends? But no, I haven’t, heard anything from him lately.” He frowned. “Have you?”

 

“He messaged me asking if you have ‘a certain sweater of his. Brown wool with steel buttons. Thanks.’”

 

Kurt sighed, hand absently itching the back of his neck.

 

“Yeah, I do have that sweater.”

 

If any sentiment was threatening to rise at that realization, Kurt was moving quickly to smile through it, and push it downward.

 

“Don’t worry,” Kurt said, turning his back and putting his foot back on the pedal. “I’m not driving all the way out there to give it to him.”

 

Sebastian tried not to be irritated at his ‘Don’t worry,’ hating that Kurt could sense that he was worried.

 

“You can if you want to,” he put forward.

 

Kurt didn’t turn around. “I don’t.”

 

Sebastian wanted to trust him, so he did, or at least he tried to. He started putting away his books and things from the day, listening to the whirring of Kurt’s machine and finding it soothing.

 

It stopped again and Kurt rose, coming to Sebastian’s side of the room with his cloth in his hands.

 

“Let me drape this over you a minute?” Kurt requested.

 

Sebastian stripped down to his tight briefs, as was their custom.

 

“It’s not right. It’s supposed to be more—“ Kurt chewed his lip and fussed with the ends of the fabric, which was becoming a metallic silver hood akin to the one he made for Halloween. “More flowy. I’m aware that that’s not actually a word.”

 

“Is there anything new you want?” Sebastian asked him suddenly.

 

Kurt raised a brow, a touch playful. “Like, sexually?”

 

“Not sexually,” Sebastian corrected. “Though you know I’m always more than happy to try new things like that on you. Whatever you want.”

 

“Is this about you trying to pay off my debt again? Because I told you, even if it takes me twenty years, I’m doing it. I will not have you Christian Grey-ing me.”

 

Sebastian took Kurt’s face in both his hands, cradling it.

 

“The way we met each other was toxic,” he said, having Kurt’s full attention now and feeling suddenly nervous under that gaze. “I know, we’ve hashed it over a hundred times, but. Sometimes I think we should get out, do something different as a couple. Travel somewhere, leave high school and Ohio far behind us.”

 

“Well, I agree,” Kurt said, bringing his hands to curl around Sebastian’s forearms. He smiled, and it ease Sebastian’s worries, and then Kurt was saying:

 


“Do you remember that night we talked about our fantasies?”

 

Sebastian didn’t think he would ever forget the first night they pushed their beds together. While of course it had been Sebastian who’d brought it up, and who’d had at least ten fantasies on hand to tell Kurt about, Kurt had had trouble recognizing what his own were. Sebastian had helped him, taking Kurt back to a time before Blaine in his mind, and Kurt had realized that he moreso had ideas about how he wanted to feel during sex, and not necessarily when or where or how he wanted it to happen. Still, it was a good two hour talk, in which they theorized how they could bring both of their fantasies to life in would-be scenarios, and of course, ended in them having sex.

 

“There was the one you brought up about us pretending we don’t know each other,” Kurt said now. “We go out to a bar and you pick me up like I’m a stranger. I know you asked me about wanting something new just now and didn’t mean that to be sexual, but—I get what you mean, and I think we should go out and do something really that different, to wake ourselves up.”

 

And oh, that kind of night would be perfect for where they were right now, Sebastian thought. Sometimes the fact that Kurt was in his head, always aware of what he was fearing, wasn’t a bad thing. If what they needed was a fresh start, an official break from the toxicity of their past, to ring in the spring, why not make one? Sex had great communicative power between two people who could express their emotions so comprehensibly with it.

 

So there the two of them were that night, spontaneous: Kurt had been sent to the predetermined location in an Uber, Sebastian’s treat (for which he’d had to argue), at the upscale bar in Dayton where they knew no one. Kurt sat at the bar dressed in his best gray slacks and a thin white shirt, drinking what was now his second glass of Cabernet. Kurt was using a fake id Sebastian had given him for this occasion—this time fitted with an actual picture of him, which Sebastian had “had my guy make after you and I got together, just in case,” whatever that actually meant. The wine coating his tongue as he waited helped his mind play into the illusion that he really was a twenty two year old who had every business being there. The trick was that Kurt had no idea when Sebastian was showing up, and was truly waiting on a sign, lost in his own thoughts.

 

Sebastian had actually gotten there before Kurt did, scoping him out from a table for where he sat on the restaurant side of the bar, for at least twenty minutes. All the while working himself up, getting himself into character, watching Kurt look around and entertain his thoughts peacefully. What would you do if you could go back in time see him for all he is the first time? If you could go back and imagine him without the context, a gorgeous man with striking eyes and a voice that drives you insane?

 

Sebastian decided to go light on the liquor, a vodka water, mostly water, left his empty glass and tab with a fifty percent tip and then crossed the room to make his move.

 

“This seat taken?”

 

Sebastian had said in the instructional text that he sent while Kurt was en route, that he was “going to clean up nice.” And oh hell, did he ever. He always looked good to Kurt now, since Kurt was starting to get used to and fond of everything about him, even the messy; but lately they’d been lounging in pajamas or nothing, so he’d forgotten what Sebastian looked like in dress clothes. Right now Sebastian looked as rich as he was, and Kurt didn’t mind; the black pants, pressed shirt, leather shoes and swanky timepiece, were all clearly his best. His hair was conditioned and pushed back, and he had on the same mind-altering cologne he’d worn the day Kurt had followed him into the chapel.

 

“That depends.” Kurt glanced away from him, bouncing his crossed leg and considering the hell out of his clearly boring wine glass. “Who are you?”

 

“That depends. I don’t mean to be invasive, but you are absolutely breathtaking. I’ve been watching you from over there. At this rate, I would be anyone you wanted me to be.”

 

“That’s big talk,” Kurt humored him, still not looking, “considering we don’t even know each other’s names.”

 

“I know a great way for us to learn them.”

 

Kurt finally graced him with a gaze, his once composed smile starting to slip.

 

“What do you like about me?” Kurt demanded.

 

“You look like someone who’s comfortable being alone,” Sebastian said. “And please, I don’t mean that as an insult. You caught my eye initially because you were beautiful, but then I noticed something further. You were sitting here with your head held high, looking deep within your own thoughts. Like you came here just to be deep within your own thoughts. I wanted to know so badly what you were thinking about. You have this pull, this—quiet wisdom. I have a feeling you might teach me things that no one else can.”

 

Kurt wanted to kiss him so bad, not the stranger but the real Sebastian, for what he’d just confessed from his heart.

 

“You gathered all this, just from watching me five minutes?”

 

“I’m ashamed to admit, it may’ve been longer than five.”

 

“You are right, about my comfort in being alone. You get used to being alone when you look and talk like me. What you call ‘breathtaking’ most people call effeminate, which is the last thing you can be if you’re a man. I’m more of a man than most men I think I’ve ever met, not because my testosterone is inordinately high, or because I’ve been in a bar fight over a girl I don’t even like. But because I don’t need anyone else to define me. I just am who I am.”

 

Kurt’s voice was just dripping with sarcasm and confidence, and Sebastian wanted to take him right there. He tried to keep it in his pants, though it was straining in his pants, and he could see Kurt, his Kurt, making a concerted effort not to look.

 

“And, I can teach you things that no one else can, by the way,” Kurt added to him, winking. “That’s what makes me a man too.”

 

“I’m sold. Willing and ready to learn, when you are.”

 

Kurt dismissed himself to the bathroom, saying, “I’ll be right back, or maybe I won’t be.” Just before he disappeared behind the men’s room door, he showed Sebastian the slight draw of his finger, letting him know that he should come behind and follow. Sebastian did, and they found the bathroom empty, kissing each other and stumbling into the handicapped stall along the wall.

 

Sebastian locked the door and dropped to his knees, wasting no time getting Kurt’s pants around his ankles. Kurt was in heaven from the head as usual, but added to his train of thought was the idea that someone could want him so quickly. That he had the power to make a gorgeous stranger this hypnotized, just by sitting and existing in a space.

 

Except this wasn’t a stranger, this was Sebastian Smythe, who was constantly surprising him by showing his vulnerability. This was the person he trusted enough to take him to orgasm in a public place. The person he stayed up making fun of and laughing with and fighting with all night, just to wake up and do it all again in the morning. It was backwards and all out of sorts, this all between them, moving in together as first step, hating each other vehemently as the next, becoming friends somewhere in between, fucking and then finally, now, their introduction.

 

“Sebastian.” Kurt could give a damn about pretending to be the character anymore, his orgasm threatening to spill over any minute. He wanted the stranger on the floor to be his boyfriend, and he was. Kurt also wanted, very, very badly, to be the one on his knees. It wasn’t that it wasn’t hot, seeing himself red and engorged in Sebastian’s mouth. But he couldn’t, even after all this time, work up the courage to just buck up, drop and return the favor.

 

“Sebastian.” He said it this time with all the intent to change the pace, to take Sebastian’s dick into his mouth without asking, but Sebastian only took Kurt saying his name as encouragement. The last thoughts edging Kurt on as Sebastian increased his speed in pressure, was of what Sebastian’s cock would taste like against his tongue. Would Kurt be able to swallow, when Sebastian blew his load? He’d try, he’d try the way Sebastian always did it so well, licking his lips when he was done—

 

At that Kurt lost it, and Sebastian, as was his custom, drank Kurt until he was spent.

 

Kurt realized as Sebastian led him out of the building, whispering “fuck, I just want to get you home,” that it wasn’t that the two of them had needed to start over. It was that he felt, and had the entire time, like his actual, eighteen year old self didn’t have sexual confidence yet. There was of course, deep pleasure for him in being taken, in Sebastian always being the lead the pursuer. But Kurt also couldn’t help feeling like even if he did assert himself, and attempt to dominate, that Sebastian wouldn’t, well, wouldn’t let him.

 

The biting makeout as they stumbled through the doors of the building, and the foreplay taking place in the elevator and their dark room, was an overpowering whirlwind and blur for Kurt, who was as usual so whipped up by Sebastian’s power that he couldn’t speak. But in the quiet pause of a moment in which Sebastian reached down from their bed to get a condom, Kurt decided to assert, and ask for something for himself.

 

He held his hand to Sebastian’s wrist, stopping his motion in the middle of ripping the condom open.

 

“I hate those things,” he said, giving Sebastian his best pout.

 

Sebastian froze, remembering and suddenly reliving the last night he spent with a man before with Kurt. How he went in raw with a stranger without a condom, breaking his own rule. He’d been so high at the time that it had made complete sense not to use it, and that wasn’t to mention the fact that he’d gone into the entire ill-thought evening with such a revenge fuck mentality. Wanting to prove to himself that not only could be with someone other than Kurt whenever he wanted, but he and this guy were so skilled and so more advanced than Kurt that they didn’t need to talk about it first.

 

Sebastian’s regrets from that night were many, now and he never wanted to feel as dirty as he had after again. Kurt was important, he wanted to always do this right way, with his rules in place.

 

“I always use them,” he said to Kurt, trying to bring himself back into the moment. Or at least I try. But when he moved to roll the condom over himself again, Kurt took it from him entirely.

 

“I don’t want you to,” Kurt said, clutching the slick latex in his fist and concealing it. “Not this time. Please?”

 

Sebastian felt himself going limp at the intensity of Kurt's stare, which hadn’t happened in months, and certainly never with Kurt. He stared down at himself and his slowly decreasing length, which brought Kurt’s eyes to it as well. Kurt looked hurt, he definitely, definitely looked hurt.

 

“We’re done pretending that we’re strangers,” Kurt declared suddenly, and he was starting to lose his hard-on, too, “just in case you didn’t get that.”

 

“Are you—“ Sebastian watched as Kurt closed his legs, sat up and started scooting away on the blankets. “Are you mad at me, have you always been, for using them? I don’t want to—“ treat you like I did any of those guys“It’s a respect thing. I do it because I care.”

 

Kurt took a shaky deep breath, trying to catalog why he felt hurt so suddenly. Maybe it was because he had finally spoken up about what he wanted, one of his preferences, and because of it, Sebastian’s body was shutting down right front of him. He took it personally, like Sebastian thought that being inside him bare might gross him out.

 

“It’s fine,” Kurt said. He let go of the sticky condom and tossed it back to Sebastian. “Let’s just go to bed tonight, okay? We had a good night, so let’s just focus on that, and we can—talk about this more tomorrow, or something.”

 

But something wasn’t sitting right within Kurt at all, watching Sebastian as he moved behind the chiffon clothing himself. Kurt felt a cloying, heavy dread as he still fumbled with the condom in his hand. They always made him think about those pamphlets his dad showed him, and god, oh no, he was so stupid. Every piece of gay media he’d ever consumed was constantly reminding them to have the conversation. He hadn’t ever even asked Sebastian about it.

 

But the winter snow of January was melting, the dream ending to meet reality.

 

Sebastian let himself back into the drapery, fell onto his back beside Kurt.

 

“How many people have you been with?” Kurt asked, immediately dreading it.

 

Sebastian hesitated, and Kurt could just feel his internal struggle, and hear his shortness.

 

“I stopped counting.”

 

“Okay.” That certainly didn’t inspire confidence. “At what?”

 

“Fifty five.”

 

“Fifty five? When was that?”

 

Sebastian sighed. “Two years ago.”

 

Kurt thought back to all those men from early on, the Blaine-look-alike and Adam and suddenly he remembered faces, hairy legs and details and them skirting in and out at all hours of the day and night. It made him suddenly horrifically jealous, that they got to him before Kurt ever conceivably could. Imagining them all in one room with him.

 

“Have you been tested?”

 

“Not since I was in the hospital, in Europe.”

 

“Well don’t you think you should?”

 

Sebastian suddenly sounded offended. “I’ve used condoms ever since I overdosed, Kurt.”

 

Except that night in November he’d been desperately trying to get over Kurt, and those other times he got plastered the summer after high school, and—

 

“I’ve never had any of the signs,” Sebastian sounded off again, “I’m clean, I—I know my body.”

 

But Kurt remembered what he’d been told in all those pamphlets, remembered why he’d thought Sebastian was so foolish when he met him. Fuck-marathoning to his extent wasn’t safe, it had nothing to do with slut shaming, it just physically wasn’t safe.

 

Kurt wanted to jump outside his skin rather that do this, and tear himself from the most mindblowing sex he’d ever had—

 

“Well I’m sorry, but I need you to get a test, and I think we should stop having sex until you do.”

 

“What?”

 

“We can still kiss, and you can finger me, and maybe we can masturbate across from each other or something, but. Just to be safe, I think we should hold off. I mean, you said you waited for me a while before this, right? What’s so hard about doing it again for a couple weeks?”

 

“Put your hand in my pants, you’ll get your answer.”

 

Kurt knew he didn’t mean that, and Sebastian knew better.

 

“I’m sorry.”

 

Kurt took a deep breath, trying better to explain his anxiety. “I wanna to be with you, I wanna really feel you, and I think I have the right to see if that’s even a possibility—“

 

“Are you saying you’ll break up with me if I can’t?”

 

Kurt hesitated, hating to have to even think of this but—the thought of always having that barrier, always living with that worry that they might make a mistake if Sebastian did have HIV. He couldn’t leave or dehumanize a person for having a disease, he knew how despicable that was. This was Sebastian the person, the person he cared for deeply, and sex wasn’t everything, but—but he had to admit, he would be disappointed. If his husband, what he’s imagined that to be, couldn’t have sex with him the way that he felt was true, uninhibited sex—

 

“Just please,” Kurt finally said to him, “this is important to me, and more important than that, this is about your life. I want you to live a long and healthy life, and if this is something that could possibly stop that? For me, please, just do this for me. I need to make sure that you’re okay.”

 

That was it, that was a reason, it was, but really Kurt was just afraid of not having what he was used to. This wasn’t a conversation he ever had to have with Blaine, they used a condom the very first time and never again after. Sure it didn’t feel as good to use them, but the physical sensation had very little to do with it in actuality. But how could he admit to Sebastian now, that it was about a contest of purity? How it’s rooted in his fear that he will never meet a male virgin again, never meet anyone with no risk? How deeply he fears that he and Blaine were cut for each other because of this, that it was once profound and romantic, unbelievably so, that they would know no other souls besides each other’s?

 

He missed Blaine terribly all of a sudden.

 

“I’ll even go with you,” Kurt said to Sebastian, trying to swallow his doubts and be strong, “and get tested too.”

 

But he said this knowing with a sinking feeling in his gut, that even though Sebastian had been clean and fastidious, there were all those hazy lust-blown nights where the condoms and his skin had felt slippery with what very well could’ve been Sebastian’s come.

 

He had to go now, even though he didn’t want to.

 

“Well,” Sebastian said, defeated. “We already know you’re clean.”

 

Kurt hated where this conversation was going, how ugly and judgmental it threatened to get.

 

“Come here.”

 

Kurt held him, and Sebastian let the tension in his body go, relaxing into Kurt’s touch. When they pulled away, Sebastian left a hand on one of Kurt’s arms, gently grazing his skin and staring at it like it was precious. It made Kurt dizzy, and Sebastian’s silence, and the look of remorse on his face, made Kurt want to crawl backwards in time.

 

“I’m not assuming you’re sick, by the way. I wanna trust you when you say you know your body, and I’ve definitely never seen anything there, no rashes or anything.”

 

But there was no taking this back, no more hiding in fantasies.

 

“But can’t these things hide without symptoms, sometimes?”

 

Sebastian tried to take a deep breath, but his exhale was shaken.

 

“Honestly, you know as much as I do.”

 

Of course, of course Sebastian knew something of the hypothetical. The first and only formal training he received was at the Eerde School for the Boys, where the finicky old Finnish health teacher, a female, had shown them all the disgusting, blistery photos. His classmates had all clamored and laughed over the words of her presentation, and made jokes. Several of them would come down with cases of their own.

 

But Sebastian had never had so much as a zit on or around his cock, no discoloration, no defamation, and really, about eighty percent of the time he did use condoms. He knew he was supposed to use them even though his private Christian schools, pre- being sent to the Netherlands, would not even allow the word “condom” to be printed or spoken on campus, teachers instead calling it “the C word.” His saving grace was that the boy he lost his virginity to told him they had to use them, but only because “they’d shit themselves if they didn’t.” Other than that, “abstinence” was such an obstinate and redundant word in Sebastian’s life, that it soon lost its meaning, if it’d even had one in the first place. The institution funding the upscale K-12 religious school in Ashville he went to for most of his life—his father one of the main benefactors of its funds—would not inundate their students with the details of STDs, because the kids weren’t going to be having sex anyway.

 

The distinct differences between the slide show of red and pink, garish genitals he laid eyes on junior year, soon become indistinguishable in his head, once he started having constant sex and realizing how damn good it felt. HIV, AIDS, chlamydia, herpes; the monsters would all be gaudily visible, he thought, if they ever came to bite him. When men asked him beforehand, when he hooked up, he was honest with them. I don’t get tested. As far as I know, I’ve never had anything. I’ve never looked sick. You can leave if you want to. He honestly figured something would physically show eventually, but there were pills, weren’t there? He had heard from other gay men that all they took was a pill. If something like gonorrhea ever did ever come up, he’d pop the pill, wait out the rash, and then get on with his life.

 

His crazy, sex-filled and sometimes drug-filled life, where conversations had no place.

 

This was why those nightmares had come to him realized, and now, he blamed himself. He should’ve known that it wasn’t just an ominous danger, it wasn’t just the ghost of the past surrounding Kurt. There was actual, physical danger in Sebastian being who he was in the past. He should’ve never touched Kurt, he told himself, not without talking to a doctor or a therapist about what he’d been through.

 

Kurt thought Sebastian had fallen asleep for a moment, but soon, he felt the other boy trembling.

 

“I’m sorry, you shouldn’t even want to touch me right now.” Sebastian was crying. “I’m sorry, I’m so sorry—”

 

Kurt shushed him, running a hand through his hair and squeezing him tight.

 

“You’ve been through so much, Sebastian. It’s okay to make mistakes and not know how to cope. Hell I didn’t get my sex education ‘til I was sixteen. You were way younger than that when that man preyed on you, and forced you to do things you never would’ve done.” Kurt was crying, too, wishing he could save him. “But it’s going to be okay, it is, I promise. He didn’t take your life away. Don’t give him that. I’m here.”

 

They should’ve talked; Kurt maintained that it was both of their faults, that it never occurred to either of them to ask. Perhaps Sebastian should’ve known better, but being raised in the right-wing Christian clutches of smack-dab Ohio, as he was? There had to have been a severe lack of knowledge for him as a gay child. Kurt had seen what abstinence education had done to fully grown people like Emma Pillsbury, for god’s sake.

 

When Sebastian finally drifted off, Kurt lie awake wondering if Blaine was thinking about him tonight, too.

Chapter Text

“Have you been to the health center yet?” Kurt asked Sebastian.

 

“No. Have you?”

 

“No.”

 

Kurt asked him this while giving him a hand job, kneeling before him at his desk chair in their room. The way Sebastian looked with his t-shirt still on, pulling his plaid pajama pants down around his length only so Kurt could touch him—he hadn’t shaved in a while, and Kurt loved his dick more when it looked like this, au natural and curving upwards towards his abdomen from light, twisted curls—wanted so badly to nestle his nose in the thicket of hair at the crux of his thigh and groin, smell the mixture of pheromones and sweat—

 

“Thought we were going there together,” Sebastian interrupted.

 

“Yeah, but then I had class, and then you had class—“

 

“God, yeah, baby, that’s so good—”

 

Five days, it had only been five days since the conversation and Kurt was already more sexually frustrated for this boy then he thought he’d ever been. While that night he’d felt miserable about it, now he thought, this could be fine: just getting to watch Sebastian bite his lip and grumble and lull his head back, just to stare at that red expanse of throat and getting to feel his big cock growing hard against his palms, and then of course the powerful moment Sebastian finally came—he could get it on his hands, that was fine, that was enough, just as long as he got to see this—

 

Sebastian brought his hand down to grip lightly at Kurt’s throat, squeezing gently over the collar of his shirt, goading him on.

 

At how much Sebastian was clearly enjoying what was a total downgrade from their usual, Kurt said, smiling mischievously,

 

“I think you get more turned on by this when we’re fully clothed.”

 

“I do.”

 

There was this heightened aphrodisiac about being held back from each other, because they hadn’t held back from each other at all in the last month, since the night in Kurt’s bedroom. Kurt had gotten comfortable, he could admit that, in getting rammed into daily and nightly by this boy with massive size just loving to give it to him. He’d never take it for granted again, that was what he kept thinking in his mind over and in these moments—if given another chance, if Sebastian really was all cured and whole, he would really, really feel it and embrace it—

 

“We still need to go.” Kurt managed to speak even with the feeling of Sebastian’s fingers grappling at his neck, making him painfully hard beneath his own pants. “We need to—“

 

“We will, we will—“

 

“We also have class in fifteen minutes—“

 

“Is it six? Fuck, Kurt, you’re so gorgeous—“

 

“Yeah, come on, come for me, Sebastian.”

 

 

 

 

Sebastian had walked by the door to the health center five times already.

 

It was so sunny-looking in there, it made him sick; the pastel yellow walls, the pictures of green rolling landscapes, the flowers and the tissues. He knew that all he had to do was walk up to the cheery blonde nurse sitting at the desk, ask for a full STD screen and let them prick him in the cock or whatever it was they did for those things. It would probably take all of ten minutes, and then another few days to get the results.

 

But he couldn’t take what was sure to be the humiliation: the nurse and the doctor asking him what should’ve been obvious questions to him for a long time. The fact that he was soon to be nineteen years old, that he was a man and he’d never taken the time out to do this for himself. What if those sunny people judged him? He just knew that they’d be straight, and it was different for straight people. Gay men often hid in the dark, in the shadows—they couldn’t even give blood for Christ’s sake, even if there was no proof of them having been exposed to HIV—due to fear of judgment.

 

So he’d kind of been waiting for Kurt to ask him to go. But Kurt, gratefully or ungratefully or both, hadn’t really been pressing the matter either. Today was the first time either of them had brought it up, during what was probably the least effective time to bring it up (although Sebastian really was enjoying it, Kurt looking all prim and proper on his knees in those high-collared shirts, and he’d taken to liking being choked a bit lately, which Sebastian was enjoying even more).

 

And tonight, in class, Sebastian was distinctly aware that Kurt was staring at him more then he was ever used to. Though honestly part of Sebastian was still bitter about the text about the sweater he’d gotten from Blaine last week, how it’d made him feel. His awry mind had imagined that, one of these last few days in between classes or something, Kurt had gone to give him it back, and maybe they’d talked, and maybe Blaine had convinced him he was better for him.

 

But in contrast, in the real world, Kurt couldn’t have seemed more into him lately.

 

“You’re a horndog.” Sebastian whispered it as Kurt slid his foot up and down Sebastian’s shin under the table.

 

“Leave me alone,” Kurt chastised lightly.

 

“You leave me alone.”

 

But Sebastian was glad the seats in the very back of the room they’d dropped into on the first day hadn’t been taken up by any other students, that their professor was a practically blind old guy who didn’t know their names, that no one was seated anywhere near them and the tables had blockades at the front of them. Sebastian moved his hand down to squeeze one of Kurt’s thighs.

 

“I hate Hitler,” Kurt whispered conversationally, “do I really have to sit through a four hour lecture on Hitler? I’m surprised this guy hasn’t assigned us Mein Kampf.”

 

“You can just tell this one’s a Trump supporter.”

 

Kurt got up then, mumbling that he was going “to the bathroom” and was only gone a minute before texting Sebastian to follow him.

 

Sebastian met him in the single room, locking the door behind him. The way Kurt kissed him all tongue and desperation made him shiver with want.

 

“What’s gotten into you lately?”

 

“The better question is,” Kurt posed, between kissing him intensely and popping open the button on Sebastian’s jeans, “what hasn’t.

 

Sebastian raised a brow at him. “This was your idea, you know.”

 

This seemed to sober Kurt a bit, as he paused from unzipping Sebastian’s pants to sigh, stare up at him.

 

“I know.” He chewed on his lip. “We should go tomorrow morning, when they open.”

 

“Okay.”

 

But when they woke the next morning beside each other at seven a.m., Kurt was groggy and grumpy at Sebastian’s reminder.

 

“I don’t wanna go,” he mumbled, burying his face in his pillow.

 

“Why?”

 

“Because.”

 

Sebastian sighed. “You think I’m dying to do this, either?”

 

Kurt sat up then, his heart heavy.

 

“Because what if you have something and you already gave it to me?”

 

Sebastian broke, then, again like he had the first night. “We can’t know that until we go—”

 

“But what if—I just need to talk to about the hypothetical, Sebastian, before we—“

 

“Why, Kurt? Because if you’re going to dump me if things go south, I need to know.”

 

“That’s not—“

 

“Because I know what this getting tested thing’s really about. It’s about the fact that I’m not Blaine.”

 

Kurt wanted to dispute that, right away, but he couldn’t. Because he knew, he knew the dark place his mind had gone to after they’d had that talk, how badly he had missed the idea of Blaine—

 

“No,” Sebastian said suddenly, standing up from their bed and laughing without a shred of humor. “No, I’m tired of you fucking with me, Kurt. I’m tired of you holding your spotless record up against me, I’m tired of you judging me against an impossible standard. I’m sorry I wasn’t a virgin, I’m sorry the sex drive you love so much now was dirty to you until you benefited from it. You’re the one who wanted to do this, you’re the one who cut me off and now you’re cornering me in bathroom stalls. What the fuck do you want, do you want me to be all over you and putting you at risk? Or don’t you? The back and forth is too much for me, I can’t. I don’t wanna see you right now. Get out.”

 

“This is our room, I’m not just gonna—where am I even supposed to go?”

 

“Fine, I’ll go.”

 

“This is stupid, neither of us are going anywhere. I’m scared, okay? I’m scared and I’ve been acting scared, but let’s just go right now, so we can get this over with—”

 

“I’m not doing it until you admit you’re still in love with Blaine.”

 

“Jesus, where am I, right now? Am I still begging at his doorstep, asking him to take me back? No, I’m right here in this room, with you. Trying to make this work the best that I know how. It’s not simple, cutting him out and getting used to a different kind of love, but all I can do is move forward, and that’s what I’m trying to do. Every day, I wake up and know it’s over with him. Not once in the last month have I made any conscious efforts to still try and be with him, after he reamed me over choosing you—”

 

“Yeah, but I can feel it, Kurt. The unconscious efforts. The fact that you haven’t told anyone about me, the fact that you’re ashamed of me—“

 

“Are you serious? I am not ashamed of you—“

 

“You are, you’re making sure I’m clean enough for you and all your stuck up friends. Before you can really ‘move forward’—“

 

“You know what? Fine. I’ll go to Rachel’s. Call me when you want to go to the center, and we’ll go.”

 

Kurt showed up at Rachel’s gold-star-patterned door with a duffel bag, after having sent a brief text saying he might need to crash all day. She was already awake of course, didn’t question his reasons, and accepted him in.

 

“Have I told you I’ve pretty much never had a roommate?” Rachel said as they entered, still in her early morning workout clothes. “A girl lived here for two days but after I gave her a list of twenty two light ground rules that would come with living with one Rachel Berry, she just disappeared.”

 

“Good lord.”

 

“I expected housing to immediately replace her with someone else, but they never did.”

 

“Geez, when I complained about the very real problem of Sebastian kicking me out every fifteen minutes, housing acted like not having a roommate was impossible.”

 

“Well, aren’t you glad they didn’t make him leave now?”

 

“...Yes.”

 

Kurt told her, then, as they sat side by side on the floor beneath her bed, about the STD talk, and their fight that morning.

 

“Oh my god,” she lamented. “I mean, you’re sure, right? That he hasn’t—he couldn’t have—“

 

“He could have. I wasn’t being careful. I take one look at his—I’ve told you about, y’know, I take one look at it and the thinking part of my brain goes completely haywire and shuts off. And then afterwards, I look at him and think about everything he’s been through, and how proud of him I am and how smart he is, and that just makes me all the more careless. Sebastian’s been a dream I don’t wanna wake up from, but that night, when I realized we really needed to talk, I—all of a sudden, I was awake. And I just really wanna go back to sleep.”

 

“Kurt, you have to get a test, just for yourself. Even if you don’t do it together, for your sanity.”

 

“I know, but what if it means—“ He finally let his tears fall. “What if it means it’s over?”

 

“The honeymoon always ends.”

 

Rachel held onto one of his hands.

 

“If I have something, be it—treatable or life-threatening—I know it’s not something he gave me on purpose, but—does that mean I still can’t be angry? I can’t be angry at him, I know that wouldn’t be fair, but. Who am I supposed to be angry at?”

 

“I don’t know. Life. The universe. God.”

 

Kurt let his head rest on her shoulder.

 

“If you have HIV,” she said, “if you both have it. Life can still go on. My dads know couples who gave it to each other, who stayed married and worked through it the best they could. The great thing about these days is, you know, we have the technology and the medicine so that you really could live long. Plus, there are all the things we don’t know yet. Maybe one day, in our lifetimes, there will be a cure.”

 

Before his morning lecture, Kurt walked into the student health center alone, and only waited ten minutes to be seen by one of the sexual health doctors. He was grateful the young woman, who didn’t look much older than he did, never gave any negative or particular reactions at all to his answers to her questions.

 

“Okay, so I’m going to take a small blood sample from your finger, and you’re going to give us a quick urine sample. If you don’t hear from us in four days, you’re all good.”

 

“If I don’t hear from you?”

 

“Yes, Kurt. No news is good news.”

 

“Could you—is there any way you could call, anyway?”

 

“Of course. If that would make you feel better.”

 

After his composition class that afternoon, he met with Rachel in the campus center for a much needed midday coffee.

 

“Honestly, if right now you had to choose between them, no looking back,” she said to him, “who would it be?”

 

“I wouldn’t trust Blaine anymore,” he said. He felt a certain power, a bold honesty, flowing through him now. “The him I want is the him before he said all of those things to me. And that’s impossible, right? To chase after the past. I’m an idiot, of course, of course I want Sebastian. I want him so much it terrifies me.”

 

“So go, go and tell him that.”

 

“I—I tried, this morning. He didn’t wanna hear it.”

 

“Make him hear it.”

 

“I’m—I’m waiting for him to call me, I don’t wanna push, I was pushing, I was—really, really horny, and regretting the whole test thing, and acting totally back and forth the last few days. I get why he’s mad, why he wants space.”

 

 

 

 

Sebastian, meanwhile, was working through the anger he felt while trying and failing to focus on managerial accounting. And still, he hadn’t been along to the health center.

 

“Hey! Hey you!”

 

That afternoon as he crossed a crowded courtyard, Rachel flagged him down.

 

“You’re so tall it was easy to spot you,” Rachel said, out of breath. “You can’t hide from me, mister.”

 

“I’m assuming he told you.”

 

“I just wanted to say that I don’t judge you. My gay dads both had promiscuous phases in college, probably a lot worse than yours was.”

 

“I doubt that.”

 

“And I wanted to tell you not to shut Kurt out, not now and no matter what you find out about yourself. People like him only come around once in a person’s lifetime, and you’re so young. You don’t want to regret letting something like this get away from you, not with the love you two have for each other.”

 

Sebastian’s heart immediately jumped at her using that word. “No one said anything about love—”

 

“Kurt’s too stubborn and scared to see it right now, but its obvious to me that he loves you. And don’t you dare try telling me that you don’t love him, okay? I’ve seen it on your face for a long time now.”

 

She left him with that and Sebastian felt cornered, like the world around him was spinning. Who had he been trying to kid? He was in love with Kurt, that was why he’d been so upset, why he’d tried to make Kurt insist that he was still in love with Blaine. Because now, there was love for Sebastian in this. Love so strong it ached him. Love so deep he never wanted to be with anyone else.

 

“Mom?”

 

He stopped at a bench beneath a mangled tree with no leaves, his phone pressed close to his warming cheek.

 

What is it, mon cheri? Is every thing alright.

 

“I don’t think so.” He dragged a hand across his face. “I fucked up.”

 

Language.”

 

“Sorry.”

 

How so?”

 

“It’s Kurt, we—I should’ve told him something, about me, a long time ago, and I didn’t. Now I think I might’ve ruined things. Again.”

 

It is never too late. That boy—is he selling those clothes he has put on Facebook? Tell him I want—the green ones, the ones with all the glitter. Tell him I want them, to make them in my size.

 

“Yes, Mom, I’ll tell him.”

 

You are a kind and wonderful person. You do not do every thing right, but you always make it right, after all. So, make it right.”

 

He called Kurt on his way to the health center, got no answer. So, he left a voicemail:

 

“Kurt, I’m so sorry for this morning. I’m on my way now, to get tested. Thank you, for making me do this. I—“

 

Love you. God, was he really going to spit it out so easily? What if Kurt freaked out, what if he wasn’t there yet? Rachel said he was still too stubborn and scared to see it—

 

“—had no right, to tell you to get out, so. I wanna see you, when I get back from class. Hope I see you.”

 

Kurt practically bounded back to the room after listening to his mail, knowing he would have at least an hour before Sebastian came home. He stopped at a flower shop on main and bought as many roses as he could afford with what was left of his Christmas money, effectively leaving him broke again. But who cared? This was all that mattered. He scattered them around the room covering every see-able surface, until the room was a sea of red.

 

The grin that lit up Sebastian’s face was worth the money, and the wait.

 

“What’s all this?” he said, approaching Kurt in the room’s center.

 

“My apologies.”

 

Sebastian kissed him.

 

“I’m so sorry,” Kurt said, the moment he was released. “You’re right, I have been holding you to an impossible standard. I was talking a big game last week about wanting to move on from high school and our past, but I’ve been holding onto things you’ve done. I asked you to get tested because I care, but also because I was comparing you to my past. Well, no more. Whatever happens, whatever sickness may come. I’m in this, in the now.”

 

They night they laid in bed together and did nothing sexual; just touched each other’s hands, spoke.

 

“You and Blaine should see each other eventually,” Sebastian said. “Give him back the sweater and whatever else you have. That was no way to say goodbye, the way you did it. You owe it to yourself and to each other to get real closure.”

 

Kurt wasn't ready to do this now, but he did see Sebastian's point, and thanked him for it. That was what he had been feeling, not that he wanted to go back to the past with Blaine, but that he needed to come to terms with their present. He couldn't properly mourn and say goodbye to who used to be his best friend when all there was was ugly words between them. He thought it would still take time, but now he wasn't afraid of when that time would come.

 

 

Four days later, they received their phone calls one right after the other; Kurt’s first, and then Sebastian’s.

 

“I’m fine,” Kurt said, his heart beating fast. “You?”

 

Sebastian’s expression was grim.

 

“The doctor says to come back in and see her.”

 

There was a flu around campus, so the wait to see the doctor was longer than Sebastian and Kurt could’ve anticipated. They waited in the lobby hand in hand and anxious. Sebastian couldn’t bring himself to look at Kurt, his hand grip vice tight.

 

When the doctor called him, he followed her down the hall like a person to the gallows. Sat fastidiously, tense and jumpy on the crisp paper as she shut the door behind her.

 

“Sebastian Smythe.” She was all calm and smiles. “How are you this morning?”

 

“Been better.”

 

“Okay. Well, we called you in today to let you know that you have Chlamydia.”

 

His stomach twisted.

 

“But, it was completely symptom-less, so you may not know how long you’ve had it, and unfortunately we’re not able to tell how long with a urine test, but it should be very treatable with antibiotics. We’re going to prescribe you azithromycin, and that should clear it in two or three weeks. Because you’re not showing symptoms or any feeling pain or inflammation, we can probably rule out complications from the infection being long term. But if you’d like, we can schedule an appointment for you to come back and get an exam for those things, just to be safe.”

 

“Sure.”

 

As Sebastian waited in the room for his prescription, he tried to fight it, the sinking regret and the fact that he had no idea who gave it to him. Or worse, who he could’ve given it to. So it hadn’t been Kurt, not this time, but it very well have been the guy from November, or guys he saw semi regularly like Adam, or any of the men from the last two years. It was inconceivable to send out a mass text to everybody, those whose numbers he even still had. Though he hated the thought, he made a mental note of at least the ones from the last couple months who he could contact; he knew he had to.

 

Kurt felt like dying in the waiting room, not even able to feel too relieved for himself until he knew that his partner was safe.

 

When Sebastian walked out with a paper bag of medication, Kurt practically jumped out of his chair to go to him. Sebastian held him a moment, kissed him on the cheek.

 

“It’s Chlamydia. She says it’s not that bad, that the drugs will kick it out. I come back in two weeks, to see if it’s gone.”

 

“Oh thank God, I mean not thank God, but I’m so glad you’re gonna be okay—”

 

Kurt embraced him, and as Sebastian held on back, he said,

 

“I do thank God. Somehow, in all my mess, you came out alright. I know you don’t believe in Him, but He’s looking out for you. For us together.”

 

Because I love you.

 

He wasn't going to say it yet, because he wanted to be sure that Kurt was sure. But two weeks later, Sebastian’s appointment let him know that the azithromycin had killed the infection. Kurt kissed him right in the middle of the lobby.

 

An additional week without penetrative sex was advised by the doctor. They were both so eager for the night they were in the clear that they decided to make a special night of it. Valentine’s Day had passed; it was a Wednesday, so they’d mostly spent it in school, having a lazy night at home and getting each other off with their hands instead. But this Friday night, the 28th, was what Kurt was claiming as their real Valentine’s Day: the two of them dressing up and going out to a fancy dinner, the works, and sealing the deal with fucking for hours on end. Sebastian promised him, hours, on end.

 

The second they got back to their room, Kurt was in Sebastian’s lap at the foot of their bed, kissing his neck and undoing his shirt, when Sebastian felt his phone ringing in his slacks pocket.

 

“Hold on, hold on—Mom? What is it?”

 

Sebastian’s expression fell suddenly, and Kurt froze on top of him, watching him try to keep it together.

 

“Uh, yeah. Okay.”

 

When he hung up, he let the phone fall out of his hand onto the carpet.

 

“My dad’s dead.”

Chapter Text

Sometimes grief doesn’t look the way you’d think, big tears or emotional displays. Sometimes grief looks, and feels, like nothing. Sebastian felt nothing, just after.

 

A numbness took hold as he let his cell phone drop to the floor, as Kurt, who was still huddled in his lap, hugged him tight, and apologized. Kurt’s next questions to him were all jumbled, gibberish, and sounded far away. He felt as if he was underwater, like his lungs were full. He could not open his mouth to speak.

 

He felt nothing as he let Kurt pack him a bag of essentials, nothing as he rode down the elevator in silence. He lowered all the windows in his car so that he could at least sense something physical, the harshness of the cold wind against his cheeks. At the house, he found his mother at the kitchen table weeping, his father’s doctor, the coroner, and the funeral director speaking in low voices nearby. He regarded them with a quick nod, to let them know he’d be with them, then pulled a chair up beside her. Held her as she shook in his arms, and knew he couldn’t say it, but in that moment, he felt relief; a weight, a dark storm, being lifted from the two of them.

 

Here she was, the lone survivor of a marriage with a man almost twenty years her senior, who’d almost killed her spirit. Sebastian wanted to tell her, right now, that very soon, they could get on a plane or run, fuck, run on foot to any place in the world that they desired, never fearing what pain would befall them were they caught. It was unfair to ask, but if only his mother could see, that this meant they were free.

 

Even if Sebastian could respond emotionally, like her, one of them had to try and stay unsentimental and austere, when it came to the decisions about the family money to be made. One of them had to keep their place in the world from spinning out of their control, and as the lone heir, the executor of the will, it had to be him. He didn’t have time, literally couldn’t afford to crack. But he wondered if it wasn’t a strength, that he could be so businesslike in the face of corporeal death. Deep down, this had always been his fear, that he had never been human enough, only performing vulnerability when called upon, mimicking it.

 

Several days into the after, and no tears, no anything, much, had come to him yet. He forwent sleep entirely, stayed with his mother at the house, bringing her tea, cold food, and gifts from churchgoers. She’d locked herself away in her husband’s office, would not eat, open gifts, or leave, which left Sebastian alone to sort through the house’s affects. As he met with black suited lawyers, real estate agents, the funeral director, the church, still, he could not access it: sadness, grief, anger. He couldn’t even bring to mind his father’s imageHadn't even been able to for months prior.

 

Instead, there was only what was present: these are facts, and these are the actions you will take. He returned to the Ohio State campus, one morning—he did not know what day it was, couldn’t tell them apart anymore—to tell the school of his leave of absence. And of course, to finally visit Kurt, who he guessed, would force him to feel.

 

He found Kurt sitting before his vanity, just having woken up and showered, skin glowing beneath his white robe. He was burning candles and sage in the room, and stood up, attentive, when Sebastian entered.

 

“I just came here to let you know,” Sebastian said, “that I don’t know how long I’m going to be gone. If you don’t hear from me, it’s not that I don’t want to be with you, anymore. It’s just.”

 

Kurt nodded. “I know.” Sebastian remembered, then, that Kurt had lost his mother.

 

It wasn’t fixing it; seeing Kurt all angelic, sleepy-eyed, standing there waiting for him. It wasn’t spurring on any proper feelings. Shouldn’t he have been embracing Kurt? Sobbing? Something? No, there was only what was next: After this, meet with the probate lawyer. Then meet with the second broker, give her the tour of the house. Make sure the drafts of the eulogies are sent to pastor John by six. Call Dr. Ziegfield and the crematorium back.

 

Sebastian wanted the monotonous self-reminders to stop, just for a moment.

 

“Will you something for me?” he said to Kurt. Reaching out.

 

Kurt nodded. “Anything.”

 

“Will you come to the service? It’d be nice, to see a friendly face.”

 

“Of course.”

 

Kurt had always wondered what the great church Sebastian spent so much of his time in looked like. The foggy morning of the service, he was certainly in awe of the sprawling property, as he drove through it. He would’ve never stumbled upon this steep, glass-walled building, tucked deep in a private Westerville forest. It was chillingly cold inside the building, Sebastian’s father’s visage propped up in a gold frame just outside the doors of the sanctuary.

 

Inside the high-ceiling, green-carpeted room, hundreds of people stood amidst the vast rows of oak pews. Kurt plotted to quietly take a seat near the back, but even through the sea of the crowd, he managed to catch the eye of Sebastian’s mother at the front of the room.

 

Adélie waved him over, her hand fitted with a long black glove. He waded through the people clogging up the hallways with their sharp, fragrant perfumes and colognes.

 

“You may sit with us,” she said to him, gesturing to the row of old, steely eyed men in the frontmost pew. In some of their faces Kurt recognized a stony resemblance to Sebastian, and the deceased; but others of them were clearly lawyers, no-nonsense glasses on their faces, typing into their cellphones.

 

Kurt wondered aloud, “Where is he?”

 

“Just there,”  Adélie said, “by the stage.” She stared over at her son whilst placing her hand on Kurt’s forearm, gripping it tight. “He is to give the first remarks.”

 

Kurt immediately understood why Sebastian had said it’d be nice to see a friendly face. He couldn’t imagine the pressure, having to deliver something composed, eloquent, and well, probably perfect, in front of all these high-expecting people. Sebastian was staring down at a handwritten paper, pacing in circles, reciting words to himself. The only betrayal of his otherwise straight-faced exterior was the pacing, and the way his hands slightly shook around the page.

 

The chiming of the ten a.m. bell, high above the church, signaled that the service should begin. The officiator introduced himself as Dr. Smythe’s long-time assistant pastor. He spoke of a grand, wise, kind man, who opened his arms to all in the church community. When it came time for Sebastian to take the stand, Kurt watched him hesitate at the bottom of the stairs. His hands were shaking visibly to all by the time he reached the podium. He looked out over the congregation. Took a deep breath. Cleared his throat in the microphone. Opened his mouth. Nothing came out. He tugged at the tight collar of his shirt, tried again. Nothing but a faint, choked, breathy sound.

 

He hung his head low, dragged a hand slowly down his face.

 

“I’m sorry. I can’t.”

 

He stood there another moment, as if contemplating if he were really about to do this: then, fast and full of shame, he walked. Down the stairs, through the middlemost walkway, and out the back doors.

 

Kurt wanted to go to him, but was almost damn certain it was inappropriate to chase after him, here. As whispers sprung up among the crowd, Kurt couldn’t stop turning his head back, staring at the hall Sebastian had disappeared down. The officiator asked the church to rise, instead, for a song, and when Kurt stood, Adélie made contact with Kurt’s arm again, like it was urgent. Her silent nod to him, and her gentle push, was all the non-verbal approval that he needed.

 

In the sanctuary lobby, Sebastian was red-faced, hyperventilating and finally, crying. They moved towards each other at the same time, Kurt bracing him as he fell into their embrace.

 

“Oh, baby.” Kurt held him as he shook, sobbing against his shoulder. “I’m so sorry.”

 

It was, for Sebastian, finally, the exhaustion. Physically, the lack of sleep he’d endured for six days, short-circuiting his mind, reeking havoc on his nervous system. Emotionally, the disgrace, the anger with himself and the ugliness he felt, because the last thing he had manged to say to his father—the worst thing that ever happened to him but the man who kept him alive, provided a future—was that he hoped he went to hell.

 

Sebastian finished crying wordlessly, pulled himself from the spot he’d soaked into Kurt’s jacket, stood up straight. Took a deep breath, wiped his eyes, and said,

 

“I need a cigarette.”

 

“You smoke?”

 

“Not in years. But today, I think I deserve one.”

 

Kurt floored it to the nearest drug store, to buy him a pack.

 

Sebastian had moved to be outside, was standing in front of the church, done crying, numb again, when Kurt returned. Kurt handed him the cigarettes and said he thought he should go back to the service. Sebastian agreed.

 

For the next two hours, Sebastian didn’t go back inside. His hard work planning the service was done. He hoped all the people inside were enjoying it. The toils of his labor, which had clearly ended in his mental breakdown.

 

Slowly, instead, he smoked all the tobacco in the pack, stick by stick. It made him feel sort of sick, the taste in his mouth acrid, the dizziness he felt making the world spin. But this was what he wanted. For whatever he’d just felt, that total, monstrous burst, to be consumed and replaced with the buzz of nicotine.

 

When the service let out, Kurt found Sebastian standing in the same place he’d left him. He looked to be feeling somewhat calmer, his arms folding across himself, staring off into space. Occasionally acknowledging the people who touched his shoulder, giving him their condolences, with a nod. He did hug his Uncle Mark and Aunt Nora, who Kurt recognized from photos.

 

Sebastian felt relieved to finally see Kurt, who he did not need to explain himself to, for whom he had to raise no facade. There were still all those things that Sebastian needed to do next, but for a while, they were going to slow. Right now, there was only Kurt, the familiar smell of his skin, the faint tinge of red on his nose. There was Kurt, a reminder of the peace had once felt. A reminder that there would always be rest.

 

Kurt wasn’t sure that he should touch him, especially not with all the people around, staring at the two of them. But as if Sebastian could sense this, he reached his hand out towards Kurt’s, and held it.

 

“I’m checking into a hotel tonight. A Hilton, in Westerville. I think that’s the only way I’ll get a decent night’s sleep. My mom will have the address.”

 

Kurt squeezed Sebstian’s hand. “Let me know, if you need anything. I’m here, I’m always going to be here. Okay?”

 

Sebastian kissed Kurt’s hand softly, a small act of defiance, given where they were standing. He felt a twinge in his gut when he let go, watching Kurt walk away, wishing he could follow, chase after him. Sweep him up into his arms, kiss him boldly right there in front of the church, shocking all the faultfinding people around them.

 

Instead, he just stood. Go home with Mom. Help your uncles cook her the meal that she deserves. Thank the funeral director. Pay him graciously. Pack up, drive to the hotel. Get fucking drunk. Sleep.

 

 

 

Living at the hotel gave him a convenient excuse to interact with the outside world as little as possible. He forced himself through the social agonies that were things like the court dates for the estate sale, meetings with his father’s accountants, investment bankers. But other than those passionless words, he basically only spoke to say hello, or sometimes, "Hey," to hotel employees.

 

A couple of nights, he almost gave more words to strangers sitting in the hotel bar with him. But even then, he couldn’t let himself unwind. Because then, he’d have to explain his sad, sad story:

 

“Why am I here? Well, my dad just died. Eh, it’s not that bad, actually. Mostly I just want to drink and enjoy myself. Alone.”

 

When alone, Sebastian certainly was making grandiose, excessive, and ridiculous efforts to enjoy himself. Doing things on his bucket list, blowing money on the things he liked, breaking out the acoustic he’d abandoned in high school. Belting “Bohemian Rhapsody” at one in the morning, plastered, busting the springs on the bed, kicking over a lamp or eight. At one stage, to really try and make himself feel something, he flew to New York spur of the moment, on a red eye. Booked the ritziest hotel in Manhattan, spent the day drinking martinis and blowing money on gadgets, treating himself to filet mignon and aged, expensive wine.

 

Feeling wasted, and not much better, he retreated back to the hotel in Ohio, bought an Xbox One. Hit up his old connect for weed, Sandy Rhyerson, smoked a quarter a week, lived an alternate life as a crime lord in Grand Theft Auto.

 

Still, he couldn’t really enjoy himself, because depression is feeling nothing even when doing the shit you enjoy. Wondered often, as he imbibed himself with distractions, if he’d ever feel normal or whole again.

 

Nights would come, after hours spent of mind-numbing “fun,” and memories of he and his father—the reality he was desperately trying to run from—would intrude. He didn’t feel, about the memories, just couldn’t stop seeing them, like they were movies playing in his head. Many of them were about his dad from all the good times, when he got a perfect grade, or they went on vacation. Could see the man touching his shoulder, just so, the only physical touch they ever shared. That wasn’t, well, beating.

 

There were those nights, too. Those nights, he got high, so high that anything could become laughable. Seeing his mother’s lip busted. That night his dad actually, no shit, broke glass over his mother’s head in front of him. How crazy was it, that they lived through that? The garish, ridiculous violence, the over the top violence, so uncalled for, it was almost cartoon. His father had actually thought living like that was normal. Thank fuck, he thought, those nights, crying from the laughter, that he was gone.

 

But then, there were also those mornings. Sebastian woke up hungover as fuck, his eyes puffy. He’d avoid looking at himself, unkempt, in the bathroom mirror. Those mornings, there was regret. I could’ve told him how I felt. He could’ve stopped. I should’ve called the cops. Should’ve had him sent to prison. Should’ve thanked him for the money more. Should’ve tried to fight him. Whenever he found himself wishing his father back, it left him with an empty pit in his soul. There was nothing I could’ve done. He would’ve just made it worse.

 

A month, and then two, passed like this. It got easier, though, very slowly. Instead of staving off the hauntings that kept him awake with pills, weed, or booze, he learned to lie there in the dark, sober, and let them happen. He stopped avoiding mirrors, in the mornings. Shaved. Remembered to call his mother. Thought about going back to school, one day. Thought about Kurt.

 

 

 

Meanwhile, Kurt understood. He gave Sebastian his space, though it was hard, sometimes, not to worry about why he’d checked himself into a hotel. Two weeks into staying at the dorm room alone, Kurt had a very real-feeling dream that Sebastian had killed himself. Woke up from it not entirely sure that it had happened, checking Adélie Smythe's Facebook every single day afterwards, to be sure.

 

The woman reached out to him not two days after his nightmare, texting him (I went thru my sons phone b4 he left, stole ur number, sorry xx), a series of messages letting him know Sebastian was okay, not to worry, this was just his way. And god, sometimes Kurt felt like Sebastian and his mother were psychic to him, in some way. Like his feelings for Sebastian were so painfully apparent, anyone with their radios tuned in was instantly aware of them.

 

 Adélie told him further that if he needed anything, while Sebastian was apart from him, to just let her know. He really should've been telling her that. How was she even thinking of him, with all that she had just lost?

 

I know that we r only acquainted thru the phone, & the 1 time we met. But I am here for u, if u want to meet again xx

 

His bad dream made him realize Ohio State was dreary and drab without his constant nuisance. Without Sebastian there forcing him to feel awake, excited, aware, The days passed slowly. Each morning, he marked the current date on the calendar with a big, red, slowly drawn X. Kurt found himself, soon, going stir crazy some afternoons, being in their room alone too long.  Realized as sleep evaded him, in their double bed that was entirely too large for just his body, that he hadn't been truly alone in a long time.

 

He knew, some day soon, that Sebastian would be coming back to stay with him. But, hypothetically. If he wasn't? What was Kurt going to do about this empty feeling?

 

It made him wonder what this year would’ve been like, had he and Sebastian not run into each other. If he and Blaine had still broken up. He realized now that even if Sebastian hadn’t come back into their lives, as a catalyst, it would’ve just been something else. He would be here, alone, trying to find inspiration and coming up short.

 

His inspiration was dying.

 

This wasn’t a school that had options for him. The realization that the majors were stunted in the arts, that he didn’t know what to choose next, weighed on him heavier and heavier as he progressed through his general ed classes. All the while, his loan interest was piling up by the day. He tried to put on a brave face for his dad, Carole and Finn when we went home to visit for some Friday dinners. But he didn't want to disappoint them. His dad was so proud, that his son was the first one of the Hummels to go to college.

 

So Kurt would wake up in that dorm, every morning, and try to just shuffle through the motions of his insipid life. It didn't feel like the right thing at all, didn't excite him, but adulthood was meant to be boring. Wasn't it?

 

It didn't help his seasonal depression much to hear the news that the only real friend he’d managed to make at school, beside his boyfriend, was transferring to NYADA next fall.

 

“Oh my god, Rachel!” Kurt was genuinely happy for her, even as his heart sank at the impending loneliness. “That’s outstanding. You’re oustanding.”

 

“Thank you, thank you. I didn’t tell anyone but Tina about my callback in case I got rejected, but. It’s real, it’s really happening.”

 

He could just see it, as he sat across from her in the campus cafe: her auditioning for Broadway musicals, putting that ferocious ambition to work, screaming at taxis and taking the city by storm. She and Tina would be closer then, too. Maybe they’d move in together, at some point. Maybe Kurt could visit them.

 

“You’re gonna be amazing," Kurt said. "But. I can’t believe you’re leaving me. I don’t know what I’m even doing at this school anymore. I'm the most undecided Undecided major in existence.”

 

“You know, Kurt, you could always reapply to NYADA. It’s too late now, but you could try for junior year. I’m sure Carmen Tibideaux will still remember you.”

 

“Maybe.”

 

“Well, if you have stay at OSU another year, at least look up something fashion-related for you to do to keep your from losing it out here. You should really start an Etsy shop for clothes. Or I don’t know, maybe there are brand name companies with small, local offices in Columbus or something, somewhere you can intern.”

 

The task of doing online research for those things seemed colossal, when pressed with the reality that he might actually find nothing. When Kurt shrugged, and tried to put a smile on his face, Rachel sniffed out the fake in him, pouted.

 

“I’m okay!” Kurt insisted. “Really, I am. Or, I will be. I’m not so jealous of you that I can’t also be excited.”

 

“Okay, okay, good, because I wanted to ask your opinion on these cute little apartments in Brooklyn...”

 

 

 

His internet research on ways to keep himself from going cowtown-crazy was actually not as fruitless as he thought it'd be. In about a month, there was going to be a fashion show for charity in Cincinnati, some kind of contest a la Project Runway for aspiring designers enrolled in college programs throughout the Midwest. Kurt wasn't surprised he’d never heard of it, or the small-name company, based out of Michigan, that was putting it on. But he did see that the founder of the company had links to several editors of New York fashion magazines. There was even a photo of him and Ana Wintour on his website. That didn’t mean she liked him, though.

 

Kurt had only been to Cincinnati a handful of times, so he wasn’t familiar with the typically-wedding-centered venue that the show would be held in. He surveyed it on online, its high ceilings, florid blue lights, slinky draperies, chandeliers. Looked over the rules of the contest for entering the show, the reward: he would need to recruit up to eight models; all designs and jewelry had to be his own; all donations raised from the show’s tickets would be split equally between the winner’s prize, and the eco-fashion charity organization F.F.P. It said that applicants should be in the third or fourth year of a four year of a bachelor's degree program in fashion, design, or marketing. But Kurt could try, couldn't he?

 

The application deadline was tomorrow. He immediately called Rachel and asked for her assistance. “Can you get me like, three of those drunk girls you party with and two fashionable theater gays? Who don’t mind crossdressing?” Instantly, a plan for the collection he would create emerged. He would call it Transformations by Kurt Hummel. The show would start with blues, violets, blacks; dreamlike clothes that billowed and stormed. Then, halfway down the runway, his models would unveil, unclip, or release a piece or pieces, revealing underneath a second layer of bright, slinky, elegant springtime pastels.

 

He stayed up until four in the morning that night completing his application. He found himself lush with essayed responses about why he was so passionate about clothes, how being able to express himself had saved his life. He gathered up the thousands of photos he had sitting in folders on his laptop over the years. Picked out the designs he'd made that he felt best showed his potential.

 

At the end of the week, he found an email from the founder inviting him to the contestant pool. He would just have a month and some change to get it all together. During the first week, he forwent sleep most nights. Stayed up all night watching his favorite designers’ runways, decades worth of looks that had been burning in his mind, inspiring his own sense of style since he was eight. Taking chicken scratch notes about them that he’d have trouble reading later, sketching hundreds of female croquis with flowing skirts.

 

It helped, with the emptiness in the room; Sebastian’s desk, closet hooks, and workout stuff were used as places to hang designs-in-progress. Soon, the room was filled with them. Filled with light, with color.

 

At the start of week two, the contestants were allowed to practice their staging at the venue, which would be set up with a mock runway for them to use in one-hour blocks. Rachel’s friends weren’t all the easiest people to get on board, especially since they were only being paid in clothes, and not so much exposure as this was just Ohio. But eventually, he coordinated dates so that most or all of them could practice on site with him.

 

The first day of his scheduled practice, he drove Rachel and three of his other models to the venue. Having been told in his informational email that they would be the only ones present, his eye was immediately drawn to the golden brown guy in all glittering black clothes on the stage, who was backed up by what looked like some kind of steampunk vampire rock band. Dramatically steeped top hat, long velvet cape, blue shadow over eyes, he looked like something out of a gay circus. It was certainly hard not to stare at him.

 

“Uh, excuse me?” Kurt jumped up onto the end of the runway. “Who are you? I got told we were supposed to be practicing in here today.”

 

“Oh. Starchild.” He gave a mild curtsy, lifting the ends of his cape. “You?”

 

“Kurt. I didn’t realize my time slot with the runway was going to be shared with other models.”

 

“Oh, we’re not models. We’re the band, friends of the organizer. Starchild and the Diamonds.” He swept his bedazzled-gloved hand towards the other three similarly dressed men. “You probably haven’t heard of us.”

 

“Starchild and the Diamonds?”

 

“I know, it sounds like a rip off of Marina. We actually came up with the name before she did. She knows about us, we tweeted about it when fans of hers accused us of theft. She’s really cool.”

 

Upon speaking to one of the founder’s frazzled and clearly underpaid assistants, Kurt discovered that she had accidentally scheduled all four of Kurt’s runway rehearsals at the same time as the band’s.

 

He returned to the auditorium, irritable, to try and argue his fate. “Can’t you guys practice somewhere else? I had to coordinate to five different strangers’ school schedules to get this time slot. It’s the only one that works.”

 

“This is the only slot that works for us too. Just have your models walk down the runway to our music.”

 

“Yeah, that won't really work. They need to be able to hear my direction.”

 

Starchild shrugged, grinned. “Mime it to them or something?”

 

Every rehearsal went like this. Kurt shouting to be heard over the band’s heavy riffs. One of Rachel’s friends constantly tripping over the cords. Apparently Starchild wasn’t actually their fearless leader’s given name, but whatever it was, he wouldn’t tell Kurt. Regardless, the guy was always cheerful and electric, his powerful voice making the glass chandeliers on the ceiling shake. It almost always served to give Kurt a headache.

 

Kurt knew he was being petty, knew he was the only one of the two of them upset by their back and forth. All Starchild was doing was trying to sing. But perhaps, Kurt felt a little jealous. Nostalgic.

 

“At least they aren’t a terrible band,” Rachel said to him during week three, as he dressed her backstage in a satin, indigo ballgown that would turn into mint chiffon. “I know you kind of hate him, and he does dress like a freak. But they’re actually kind of good.”

 

“I don’t hate him. It’s just that I can’t hear myself think, when he’s in there. He’s just so chipper and rockstar and really in my face, and I’m really stressed out. What if all these dresses are too much? What if I’m not done in time? And who calls the hell calls themselves Starchild?”

 

It relaxed Kurt whenever he wasn’t thinking about how nervous he was about the actual show day. Once the wardrobe was finally set, the kinks worked out, Kurt started taking videos and photos of each one of the garments. Setting up a website and Instagram for #TransformationsbyKurt was cathartic, satisfying. Rachel was the model for most of the promotional material, and he loved photographing her. The boost from her many followers, when she crossposted his pictures, was actually garnering him some interest among accounts; indie fashion stores’ blogs, other Ohioan designers, and even, supposedly, several interested customers.

 

By the time the last rehearsal came around, Kurt was seeing the payoff. Thought he might see it eve