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From Black Dust

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“Are you staying?”

Blaine started. He hadn’t realized that Sebastian was still awake. In spite of himself, he could feel a flush rising in his cheeks. He’d been standing there, at the foot of Sebastian’s bed, far too long for it not to be awkward. He lifted his chin against his embarrassment.

“Of course. I’m not going to leave you here alone.”

“That’s very noble of you,” drawled Sebastian. His smirk was too drowsy to have the impact he probably intended. “But I don’t actually need a nursemaid.”

He attempted to sit up, as if in demonstration. He winced. Blaine rolled his eyes.

“Okay, tough guy.”

“It’s just a couple of cracked ribs. I’ve had worse.”

“So have I.”

Sebastian dropped his gaze. His jaw clenched. Blaine stomach dropped, realizing too late what that sounded like.

“That’s not - ”

“You don’t owe me anything, Blaine.”

Blaine scoffed, incredulous.

“You stepped in front of a moving vehicle for me, Sebastian.”

Blaine had been distracted, texting with Kurt, headphones blaring Queen at what was probably a less-than-advisable volume. He’d paused in the middle of the crosswalk, amused and horrified at Kurt’s account of the cockroach problem he and Rachel had discovered in the apartment they’d been touring. The next moment, he’d found himself sprawled on the pavement, watching dumbly as a car came to a screeching halt not six inches from his feet, knocking another body to the ground in the process.

Blaine had walked away with a bruised hip and a scrape up his forearm. The doctor had made sure to tell them both just how lucky they were to be walking away at all. So, yeah, Blaine was pretty sure he owed Sebastian a lot.

Sebastian was looking at Blaine again, expression carefully mild. He shrugged. He winced again.

“Consider us even, then.”

“I’m staying whether you want me to or not.”

Sebastian’s gaze sharpened - challenging Blaine, maybe, or taking his measure. The effect was undermined by the flop of his hair, hanging limply over his forehead. There was something vulnerable about that. A piece of his armor, stripped away.

Sebastian slumped after a moment, the fight draining out of him.

“I do,” he said. “Want you to, I mean.” He averted his gaze again.

It was a confession. Blaine’s heart jumped.

Just another way that Sebastian managed to throw him off balance.

“Good,” Blaine said brightly - maybe too brightly. He cleared his throat. “It’s settled then. You should get some sleep. I’ll just, um - "

“I don’t feel like sleeping.”

“What do you feel like doing, then?”

Sebastian smirked - of course he did - but had the decency not to make the obvious joke.

“Watch a movie?” he said instead. The way he cocked his head turned it into an invitation.

Blaine hesitated, struck by the same dilemma that had left him frozen at the foot of Sebastian’s bed earlier, when he’d thought that Sebastian had nodded off. On the one hand, it felt weird to be here, in Sebastian’s private space, where he slept and did his homework and…other things, when he was in such a vulnerable position. On the other, it felt wrong to abandon him, even if it was just to the living room downstairs. Now, though, Sebastian was watching him carefully, as if both trying not to get his hopes up and trying not to let it show. He wanted Blaine here. That was enough to make up Blaine’s mind.

“Any preference?” he asked.

Sebastian smiled, satisfied, settling deeper into his pillows.

“Nah. You pick."

Sebastian’s room was big, spacious, decorated tastefully if impersonally. The only photos on display were professional work, a series of black and white cityscapes. The wall opposite his bed was dominated by a large TV and a well-stocked entertainment center. Blaine bent down and scanned the titles, a little surprised to see just how eclectic they were. He would have assumed that Sebastian’s tastes would run toward the sophisticated, but he seemed to own just as many rom coms and superhero flicks as he did Oscar winners. And perhaps even more Golden Hollywood musicals than Blaine did himself.

Blaine almost picked up Singin’ in the Rain , but then his eye caught on Legally Blond e, and he immediately changed his mind. Elle Woods was something of a personal hero of his. Anyone who could save the day using only her knowledge of hair care products was a goddess in his book.

Sebastian seemed amused at his choice but didn’t protest. Blaine set up the movie, turned around, and froze. He hadn’t really considered the fact that the only viable seating option was on the bed next to Sebastian. Sebastian clearly had, if his smirk was any indication.

“Don’t worry, I won’t bite,” he said, only a hint of tease in his tone. Unless you ask me to, he didn’t have to add.

Blaine rolled his eyes - for Sebastian’s benefit, mostly - but settled himself cautiously on the bed. The last thing he wanted was to jostle Sebastian’s poor ribs. He could sense Sebastian watching him out of the corner of his eye, but he kept his gaze squarely on the screen. Sebastian would probably be asleep before the first scene was over anyway, considering the truly heroic dose of Vicodin he’d downed on the way home.

Sebastian’s bed was actually really comfortable, not that Blaine would have expected anything less. It was almost impossible not to relax into.

Sebastian was quiet next to Blaine, and so still that Blaine suspected his prediction had already been proven correct. He shot Sebastian what he hoped was a furtive glance, but it was impossible to tell from this angle whether or not his eyes were open. Sebastian didn’t react, in any case. Satisfied, Blaine turned his full attention to the movie.

“Ugh, I hate this part,” he said, a thoughtless, visceral reaction. He winced, horrified at just how loud that was, and glanced again at Sebastian. This time, Sebastian met his gaze, clearly as alert as ever. Blaine was relieved, if a little embarrassed. Sebastian didn’t visibly react, though Blaine was sure he could sense Blaine’s inner turmoil

“Why? She’s dodging a bullet.”

“I know. I mean, obviously, it’s not like I want them to end up together. Just the idea of being so convinced your boyfriend wants to marry you, only to find out…”

Blaine trailed off. Even thinking about it was enough to put a lump in his throat. He was being silly, he knew that, and he didn’t want Sebastian to see. Even doped up on painkillers, Sebastian was preternaturally adept at sniffing out insecurities.

“It sucks,” said Sebastian plainly.

“Yeah.”

It was easy after that. They managed to maintain a steady flow of commentary all the way through the movie. Blaine kept expecting Sebastian to flag, but the movie seemed to do nothing but invigorate him.

“My dad wants me to apply to Harvard,” he said at one point.

“Will you?”

“If the admissions process is anything like that, I just might.”

And -

“See, that’s bullshit - if a little liposuction can ruin her reputation, it can’t have been worth much to begin with.”

“No one wants to learn how to tone their ass from someone who takes surgical shortcuts, Sebastian.”

And -

“I bet you’ve got an amazing bend and snap.

“I may have spent some time perfecting my technique in front of the mirror.”

“I don’t know, Blaine - with assets like yours, who needs technique?”

And -

“God, could he be more of a cliché?”

“I know. Not that anyone deserves to be outed, under any circumstance - but in this case, it’s actually kind of satisfying.”

“Yeah, I’m pretty sure that shirt did the trick the second he walked into the room. Have these people never heard of gaydar?”

And -

“Now that I don’t buy. There’s no way that douchebag’s douchey father didn’t have something lined up for him the second he graduated.”

“Speaking from experience?”

“I’ve found there’s little that money and power can’t buy.”

Sebastian sounded oddly bitter about that.

The credits started rolling, and silence fell between them once more. Sebastian looked preoccupied, and a little like the painkillers may have finally caught up to him. Blaine opened his mouth, to say what he wasn’t sure, but then Sebastian looked at him. He let the words die on his tongue.

“Thank you,” said Sebastian. “For staying, I mean. You didn’t have to.”

“I wanted to.”

“Still.”

“Sebastian…you know, you don’t owe me anything, either.”

“I should hope not. I did step in front of a moving vehicle for you.”

Sebastian smiled wryly, as if it were joke that he didn’t find particularly funny. Blaine didn’t either.

“Before that, even. I forgave you a long time ago.”

Sebastian didn’t seem to know what to say to that. His expression was so open - much more open than it would have been were he in full control of his faculties. The relief he felt was so devastatingly clear. Blaine would have said something, or maybe done something, but the moment was broken by the sound of the front door opening. Sebastian looked away, seemed to come to his senses, as much as was possible under the circumstances.

“Dad must be home,” he muttered.

Blaine didn’t have time to do much more than sit up and straighten his back before there came a knock on Sebastian’s door.

“Come in!” called Sebastian, though he didn’t look particularly happy about it. Blaine fixed a smile on his face that he knew for a fact parents tended to find charming.

The door opened.

“Hey, buddy, how are you feeling?”

Blaine had never met Sebastian’s father, had, in fact, never even seen a picture. He knew from the way Sebastian talked about him that he was an ambitious lawyer type who had similar aspirations for his son. Blaine had created this picture in his head of someone imposing and craggy-faced, who rarely smiled and primarily communicated by barking orders.

It was not at all consistent with this man who was standing here in front of them, sporting ill-fitting tennis whites and thick-framed glasses, kind eyes his most striking feature.

“Dandy,” replied Sebastian, with a smile that wasn’t meant to be convincing.

Mr. Smythe approached his son. His hand twitched, as if he’d wanted to reach out with soothing touch but thought better of it at the last second. Sebastian made no indication that he noticed.

“I would have come home sooner, but I only just got the message,” said Mr. Smythe apologetically. “You know how spotty cell reception can be at the club.”

“It’s fine. I had company.”

Mr. Smythe seemed to register Blaine’s presence for the first time.

“Oh, hello there,” he said, offering a friendly smile and a hand to shake. “Benjamin Smythe.”

Blaine took his hand, re-upping his smile.

“Blaine Anderson. It’s a pleasure to meet you.”

Mr. Smythe’s eyebrows shot up in what might have more accurately been called shock than surprise.

“Anderson, you said?”

“Yes?”

Mr. Smythe didn’t clarify, but did shoot Sebastian a look that Sebastian steadfastly ignored.

“It’s nice to meet you, Blaine,” he said, with a smile that held more interest than Blaine felt was warranted by the situation. “Will you be staying for dinner?”

Right, because that wouldn’t be awkward at all.

“Thank you for the offer, but not this time. I promised my mother I’d be home for dinner.” It wasn’t true, but she’d probably appreciate it all the same. Even if she was just ordering from the one decent Thai place in town. He looked at his watch. It was later than he’d expected. “In fact, I should probably get going.”

He smiled an apology that became real when he met Sebastian’s gaze, which was utterly impassive.

“Alright, then,” said Mr. Smythe cheerily. “I’m sure I’ll be seeing you again.”

Blaine nodded politely. He looked again at Sebastian. He didn’t meet Blaine’s eyes this time.

“I’ll text you,” said Blaine.

Sebastian nodded, nearly imperceptibly. Blaine took his leave, declining Mr. Smythe’s offer to show him to the door.

Blaine climbed into his car, fastened his seatbelt, but stopped short of turning the key in the ignition.

He pulled out his phone. There were no new texts. The most recent had been that cockroach story from Kurt. He’d never responded

Sorry, sorry, didn’t mean to go MIA on you! he typed. Had the craziest afternoon…

He sent the message and waited for a moment. Nothing happened.

He started the car.

&&&&&

Sebastian

 

This is me, texting you

 

Ah, so you do have my number

 

I never deleted it

Just changed the name a couple of times

 

Let me guess - Spawn of Satan?

 

Evil Warbler

But that was only for like a month

 

Small blessings, I suppose

 

So, how did the Warblers take it?

 

Like a bunch of clucking mother hens

I should thank you, actually

 

What for?

 

Pushing you out of the way was the best thing that could have happened to my reputation

They worship you

Like, literally

I’m pretty sure Thad has a shrine

 

Happy to be of service

Don’t say it

 

The fact that you were thinking it is enough

 

Glee is starting, got to go!

Talk again soon?

 

You got it, rock star