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Blaine wants to know who exactly sets all this stuff into motion. Why does the universe get to decide who he wants to spend the rest of his life with? Does fate know him so well that it’ll pick someone he wants? Someone that’ll make him happy? That he can depend on? Really love? Or maybe it’s not about that at all—maybe it’s not about love or happiness or choice. It’s a system that lies to you at birth, filling your head with nonsense that makes you feel less alone. Cause your person is ‘out there and you’ll find them at the perfect time’.

It’s some Hallmark bullshit, something Blaine used to believe until his parents got divorced…which is incredibly unheard of and looked down on. The service was practically rendered useless because…who in their right mind would want to separate from their soulmate?

But it just goes to show that even if you share the same soul mark, even if the universe is telling you that you belong together doesn’t automatically mean you’re happy. All that it means is that at seventeen, you’re drawn to get a tattoo with the belief that somewhere out there your soulmate is getting the exact same tattoo at the exact same moment in time.

Other than that, nothing else is guaranteed.

Blaine finds it best not to think about it so much —he’s made it out of high school, he’s almost done with college and he has yet to run into his soulmate which is just fine with him. He’s not about to look for anyone—some people spend most of their adult lives searching for their soulmate. He’s got other things to do; careers to pursue, soul marks on the back burner to the point it’s falling off the preverbal stove.

He pinches the bridge of his nose as he closes his art history textbook and tosses it aside, running a hand through his curls. His eyes flutter down to his soul mark on his thigh, right below where his boxer briefs end. His fingers itch to trace it but he won’t allow himself to. Instead, his eyes glaze over the clean lines of a simple rose. The stem stretches down to his knee, a line tattoo of one rose with six petals in red. He hates that he wonders if his soulmate has it in the same spot, in that exact shade of red.

He turns off his bedside lamp to sleep before he thinks too much about it and it infects his dreams too.

--

Kurt wants to go on a date with him—at least, that’s what his friends keep telling him.

It’s not that he doesn’t like Kurt, he does…and it’s not about the soul mark thing either but he’s just. Not interested. In anyone, that’s the thing. He doesn’t want to date, he doesn’t want to get involved with someone and then realize it’s a complete waste of time. Doesn’t matter if they’re soulmates or not, look at his parents—he’d rather just be alone.

“Are you going to lay him down easy or just avoid him forever?” Sam asks as they lean against the bar.

Jake manages to wave down the bartender and grins at Sam, “He’s going to avoid, I’d bet money on it.” And orders them a round of beers.

“Fuck off.” Blaine mumbles and Sam snorts, running a hand through his blonde locks.

“I’m not going to avoid it…anymore,” He puts a five in the tip jar as the bartender hands him a bottle. “I’m just…hoping he loses interest and starts bothering someone else.”

“He’s not a dog, B.”

“So let me get this straight,” Jake turns towards them, taking a sip from his beer. “Next time you see him, you’re going to…tell him how you feel? That you’re not interested? That’s not avoiding, right?”

“Right,” Blaine agrees, “That’s exactly what I’m going to do.”

“Great because he’s coming over here.”

Blaine is surprised he doesn’t drop his beer but he knows his eyes grow wider than a full moon and his legs are moving him without his consent. He’s vaguely aware of Jake sniggering and Sam groaning as he puts a crisp twenty into the other’s hand; apparently it was a bet, those shitheads.

He takes a sharp right at the end of the bar and stands at a high table, putting his beer on it—barely registering that there’s someone already standing there.

“Can I help you?”

Shit.

Blaine glances over at the man standing next to him—tall, sandy brown hair, long limbs. His eyes are a pine green from what he can tell, or maybe it’s just the darkness of the bar. Either way, he definitely has freckles along his cheeks and maybe the bridge of his nose.

“Uh, sorry, I thought this table was open.”

“Clearly not, though, I don’t think I’ve seen someone run so fast for an open bar table before.”

Blaine laughs a little awkwardly, “I uh, like the view.” What?

“The view…of what? The bathrooms?” The stranger is smiling at him and of course, he’s beautiful. At least he seems to be generally amused and not annoyed.

He closes his eyes a moment—great, wonderful. “Okay, honestly, I was running away from this guy.”

“Boyfriend?” The taller asks, sipping his beer.

“No,” Blaine scrunches his nose, “Though I’m worried he might eventually want to be.”

“Ah.” He licks his lips. “Not your soulmate?”

“No, I don’t know,” Blaine says quickly. Too quick, which seems to peak the other’s interest. “I don’t care.”

He knows it might sound a little defiant but he’s always been rather reactionary. He waits for the other’s response, waits for the look of surprise or disapproval, a ‘tsking’ noise because how could he not care about such a thing. But none of that comes, the stranger’s face remains passive.

“Can I buy you another drink?”

Blaine blinks, “Sure.”

It doesn’t matter that he’s practically got a full beer in his hand, if a handsome stranger wants to buy him another one after his soulmate commentary then he’s going to take full advantage of that.

The guy smirks and leaves the table and he glances over at Sam and Jake who are watching him with equally amused looks on their faces. He shrugs his shoulders at them and leans his elbows on the table as he comes back, pushing another bottle of beer towards him.

“Sebastian.” Blaine looks up at him, eyebrows pinching together. He laughs a little, “My name. In case you wanted to thank me for allowing the table to be your harrowing escape plan.”

“Oh,” He smiles now, shaking Sebastian’s hand. “I’m Blaine and thank you. For the table, beer, and listening to comments on soulmates.”

“Well, there wasn’t much commentary, just pure distaste on your face. Which is a shame; you’re far too pretty to have so many frown lines.”

He feels blush travel up the back of his neck and heat his cheeks, “Use that one often?”

Sebastian smiles, slow and easy, “No, but maybe I should given your reaction.” 

Blaine shakes his head and sips his beer, trying not to stare at this guy who’s giving him his full attention. He wants to ask why he was at this table, alone, or is he waiting for someone and filling his time with Blaine standing there. He glances around the bar and feels relief fill his ribcage when he doesn’t see Kurt; though Jake is right, at one point he’s going to need to stop avoiding him.

He’s not going to leave quite yet though, he might as well drink the free beer Sebastian’s bought him.

“Most people don’t have that same reaction to what I said…about the soul marks?”

Sebastian shrugs, “Can’t really blame most people; our whole world operates on this very simple idea that’s…not so simple at all.”

Exactly, that’s…that’s exactly how Blaine feels about soul marks; it’s complex. How many people out there, just like his parents, are miserable in their marriage but stay through it anyways because they’re with their soulmate? How many soulmates realize they don’t love one another? That they’d be better off as friends? Or worse, what if they love them to the point where it’s all-consuming? Where there’s no amount of individuality left?

“Personally, I just don’t like the feeling of being tied down to someone.”

Blaine’s never thought about it like that, but he supposes that’s just as valid. He nods and sips his beer, chewing on his lower lip a moment before he speaks. “You like being single?”

“I like having a choice,” Sebastian smiles. “And I like sex. Having sex with the same person over and over again just because some soul mark tells you so is like only ever eating pizza. What if I want wings one day? Or a cheeseburger?”

“You’re making me hungry.” Blaine blurts out and Sebastian laughs, taking a step closer to him.

It takes him a moment to realize that Sebastian is purposely encroaching in on his space and he looks up at him, hazel eyes darkening as he meets green ones. His body is warm and smells like expensive cologne mixing with laundry detergent and something purely Sebastian. His stomach bottoms out and a thrill travels down his spine, making his cock twitch.

“Well Blaine, what are you hungry for?”

He licks his lips and can’t quite believe he’s about to answer this ridiculous question.

“Ice cream.” His eyes flitter to Sebastian’s lips, “Definitely ice cream.”

--

They actually get ice cream, which is fucking ridiculous; Blaine’s so horny he feels like he’s about to pop. But he figures that’s the point, Sebastian knows this and is purposely dragging him to an ice cream stand down the street from his apartment.

“What flavor do you want?” Sebastian asks as they stand in line, getting his wallet out. They’re up next.

Blaine crosses his arms over his chest and shifts on the balls of his feet. “I don’t care.”

Sebastian smirks and approaches the counter, “Chocolate and strawberry please.”

--

They’re barely in Sebastian’s front door when Blaine drops the ice cream on the floor and kisses him. If he notices or cares he doesn’t say anything, just closes the front door with his foot and tugs Blaine into his bedroom.

Their kisses are a mess of teeth and tongue and Blaine moans as Sebastian yanks his shirt off, fingers trying to undo the other’s belt while trying not to trip over his own feet. The back of his knees hit the mattress and he tumbles onto his bed, Sebastian moving to straddle his hips. Blaine pulls back just enough to remove the fabric that’s separating their upper bodies and…and pauses—

Because on Sebastian’s upper chest is a rose and it looks frighteningly similar to his own. His fingers move to trace the petals; except his are black where Blaine’s are red.

“What?” Sebastian pants a little, watching him.

He shakes his head, his hand falling. “Nothing.”   He’s never heard of something like this before but he knows that soul marks are identical; Sebastian is not his soulmate. It’s odd, though, to say the least.

Sebastian takes the moment Blaine is distracted to slide down off the bed, making quick work of Blaine’s jeans. He sinks between his legs, kissing between his thighs and if he notices the soul mark that nearly matches his own on his thigh, he doesn’t say anything. His attention is very much elsewhere and the noise that comes out of his throat when Sebastian puts his lips on his cock is definitely embarrassing.

All previous thoughts of roses and soul marks are thrown completely out of his mind.

--

Blaine sighs and presses his face into his pillow as a consistent buzzing starts. He reaches for his bedside table and frowns when his palm encounters air. He lifts his head and squints and—oh.

He’s not in his bedroom.

Oh.

The night before flashes into his mind and he hurriedly pulls his jeans up off the floor to get his phone to stop making noise. 1 missed call from Sam and a few texts from Jake. He groans and runs a hand over his face, glancing over his shoulder to see empty sheets. He opens his phone and reads through the texts:

11:00 PM

Dude did you go home with the hot table guy?

12:00 AM

You totally did didn’t you?

Jake’s bitmoji is giving him the thumbs up. Blaine rolls his eyes. Then another text from this morning:

7:10 AM

You’re still not back and Sam has a girl in his bed; I’m using your shower.

Blaine groans and tosses his phone back down and grabs his boxer briefs to tug on, reaching for his t-shirt. He pulls it on inside out but can’t be bothered to care because when he opens the bedroom door he’s hit with a wall of breakfast food and coffee smells.

Jesus, it’s like heaven.

He walks down the hall and smiles a little when he realizes the ice cream by the front door has been cleaned up from the night before. He chews on his lower lip and turns the corner, leaning against the doorframe to watch Sebastian cooking what smells like bacon on the stove.

“I thought you didn’t do the whole ‘morning after’ routine.”

“I never said that,” He turns and puts cooked bacon on a paper-towel covered plate. “I said I like having sex, not that I wasn’t a gentleman.”

Blaine smiles, “Ah.” and wanders into the kitchen, rounding the island to where Sebastian is standing and watches him turn off the stove. He just has a pair of briefs on, no t-shirt and Blaine can’t help but trace that familiar rose with his eyes.

He licks his lips and shakes his head, crazy identical, except for the color of he petals.

“Don’t think too much about it, they don’t match.”

“Huh?” Blaine tries to feign confusion, glancing down at the bacon on the plate and snagging a piece.

The other smirks and takes a step closer, his hand dipping down to grab Blaine’s thigh. It’s not forceful; if anything the touch is too light and it’s gone before he really feels it. “The colors aren’t the same, we’re not soulmates.”

“Oh, right,” Blaine licks his lips and munches on the bacon, standing up on his toes to brush his nose against Sebastian’s, “I didn’t think we were. Less than exemplary sex and undercooked bacon aren’t my thing.”

Sebastian’s mouth makes a perfect ‘O’ and Blaine’s eyes sparkle with mischief as the other grabs onto his hips, drawing him closer. “Did you just call sex with me ‘subpar’?”

He hums, pretends to think, “I mean…I’m only telling it like it is—”

A squeak leaves his mouth as Sebastian lifts him up over his shoulder and starts carrying him out of the kitchen. “Where are we going? We’re leaving the food behind!”

Sebastian smacks his ass, “Food can wait, we got more important things to fix than undercooked bacon.”

--

They exchange numbers and get to know one another. Blaine doesn’t usually do this; have one-night stands or anything like that but it doesn’t really count because they’re going backwards with the whole thing. He’s learning things about him: like how Sebastian is also going to school, a junior just like him hoping to eventually become a lawyer like his father. Blaine tells him about his art, about wanting to open his own little gallery in SoHo and maybe even sell his art for thousands one day. It’s a dream but, it feels nice being able to tell someone it who doesn’t laugh. It’s not that Sam and Jake and his parents aren’t supportive…they’re just constantly talking about his backup plans like this instantly won’t work out for him.

Sebastian asks him questions, talks about his art, even wants to see some of his work. It’s nice for a change. He learns that Sebastian has a little sister that lives in France and that he can speak fluent French because of course he can. When he spurts out a few sentences over the phone Blaine practically melts through the floor. He learns that he doesn’t like strawberries and that he’s allergic to cats and Blaine tells him that his parents are divorced.

Sometimes if he says that out loud in public, the whole room will stop if they’ve overheard him and stare. It makes him feel like he’s in that movie, Inception, where all the projections start to realize they’re not in a dream. Sebastian doesn’t hesitate though, he doesn’t apologize or make him feel like some sort of alien because he’s got out-of-the-norm parents.

Instead he says: They’re happier now, right?

And Blaine lets out a breath he doesn’t realize he’s holding because he just gets it.

He finds it unbelievably easy to be around Sebastian, to talk to him. They hang out, order pizza, watch movies and drink beer. They go on morning runs together, they go out with his friends, and of course Sebastian gets on with them just as seamlessly.

They keep having sex and he’s convinced it gets better every time. He tries to say it’s the endorphins brainwashing his mind but, at the end of the day he goes home and lies in his bed and stares at the ceiling and always feels the exact same way.

Blaine sits up and realizes he needs to sleep because he’s got an exam tomorrow and runs a hand through his messy curls before glancing down at his soul mark. He clicks his tongue off the roof of his mouth, his thumb running over one of the red petals. Before he talks himself out of it, he grabs a sharpie from his bedside table and takes the cap off with his teeth.

Feeling curious and possibly a little bit crazy, he colors in two of the petals on his leg and inks them black. Just like Sebastian’s.

He stares at them for a while before smacking the palm off his hand against his forehead, “You’re fucking nuts, Anderson. Jesus.” and jumps off his bed to rush to his restroom to rinse his leg off.

He manages to get most of the sharpie off, leaving behind a dull shade that darkens two of the petals compared to the others.

But he finds that he kind of likes it that way.

--

“You’re into this dude.”

Blaine sighs and doesn’t look past the canvas he’s currently working on; instead he focuses on mixing paint. “No, I’m not. I like having sex with him.”

“Which is just complicating things further.” Sam adds to the conversation between shoving forkfuls of ramen into his mouth.

He puts down the paint and stands, rounding the canvas to look at both of his friends. “Guys, I need to get this art work done. My final is due in three days.”

“So paint, we’re just shooting the shit.” Sam has noodles dripping out of his mouth and Jake smacks him hard on the back.

“Stop talking with your damn mouth full, it’s disgusting. And we’re not just talking, this is important.”

“No, it’s not.” Blaine moves towards his mini-fridge and grabs a beer, twisting the cap open. “I don’t understand, why is this any different than what Sam does with a bunch of sorority chicks?”

“Because A) we’re talking about dudes here,” Jake counts on his fingers.

“You didn’t just pull the ‘gay’ card on this.” Blaine throws a paintbrush at him.

“And 2) Sam isn’t in love with any of those girls.”

“Sometimes the things they do with their tongues… I damn well could be.” Sam grins.

Blaine scrunches his nose, “I’m not in love with Sebastian, Jesus. Why can’t I just enjoy having sex?”

Jake stands and helps himself to Blaine’s mini-fridge, “Alright, fine. You said Sebastian enjoys having sex with a bunch of people, that he doesn’t limit himself. So right at this very moment he’s probably doing something to some guy’s ass that’s so good it’s making his eyes water. That doesn’t bother you?”

Sam raises his hand, “That bothers me.” And puts his ramen down.

It doesn’t bother you. Say it. It doesn’t. For some reason, he’s hypersensitive of his thigh right now, his soul mark, the previous night of him coloring in a few petals to match Sebastian’s mark flashing through his mind.

“No, of course not,” Blaine waves him off, disappearing again around his canvas. “We’re not dating and he’s not my soulmate.”

Jake throws that paintbrush back at him and it hits the back of his canvas with a wooden thunk, “Fine, live in denial land with Kurt who still thinks he can ask you out on a date.”

Blaine frowns and dunks his paintbrush into the blue concoction he’s been meticulously mixing for the past ten minutes and starts to cover the corner part of his canvas where some newspaper clippings are.

Fine. He will live in denial land, population: 2.

--

Blaine for the most part knows Jake is right and hates that he’s right and he should probably stop having sex with Sebastian but…the thing is, it just sort of happens. One minute they’re hanging out and the next Blaine has his tongue in the other’s mouth and Sebastian’s tongue is everywhere and…

It makes it hard to think or concentrate and the pun about being hard is definitely intended.

He knows Sebastian is having sex with other people and that it’s casual between them and they’re friends and that he has to let this go because he’s going to eventually ruin the relationship he does have.

Shit. How does he get himself into things like this? He goes from not putting any faith into soulmates to coloring petals on his own damn soul mark like a stalker.

“What’s up with you tonight?” Sebastian kicks his leg with his foot from the other side of the couch.

“Sorry,” Blaine puts the plate his holding with pizza crust onto the coffee table. “Headache.” He doesn’t want to lie and his brain helpfully supplies back with: you don’t know what you want and isn’t that the problem in a nutshell?

Sebastian hums and his foot starts rubbing along his thigh, “I got a cure for a headache, wanna hear it?”

Blaine puts his hand down on the other’s ankle, squeezing and preventing him from moving any further up his body. “I’m…I’m not in the mood tonight.” He swallows and watches something pass over Sebastian’s face. He’s not sure what it is but he half expects him to kick Blaine out of the apartment.

Jake’s probably right (again); he needs to stop having sex with him. He’s starting to feel confused and overwhelmed as it is, orgasms aren’t going to help. He bites down on the tip of his tongue that wants to have a knee-jerk reaction of apologizing because he doesn’t have to say he’s sorry that he doesn’t want to have sex.

Sebastian sits up against the end of the couch and opens his legs a little, “Come here.”

Blaine blinks, unsure. “Like…”

The taller rolls his eyes and pats his own chest, “You need a roadmap?”

He shakes his head and moves to lie down against Sebastian, fitting perfectly between his legs. His chest presses against the other’s torso, his head resting directly under his chin. A soft sigh leaves his lips as Sebastian wraps his arms around him, pulling a blanket down from the back of the couch to drape over his shoulders.

Then his fingers start working their way through his hair, massaging gently when they come to his temple and fuck if he did have a headache, it’d be disappearing with these administrations. His eyelids flutter closed and he presses his nose into the other’s chest, breathing him in, Sebastian’s other hand working circles down his back.

“Better?”

Blaine lifts his head and turns to look up at Sebastian before nodding. Their eyes meet before his hazel ones flicker down to look at his lips. Then he’s kissing him; slow and gentle and soft and something it’s never been before.

Jake’s fucking right (again, again)—he’s in so much trouble.

--

He’s grumpy when he goes home and part of this ‘misery-loves-company’ ritual is he colors in another two petals with sharpie, because why the fuck not? and goes to sleep.

--

There’s a pounding at his door and it scares the crap out of him to the point where he yanks himself out of bed, trips on his sheets and falls onto the floor before he manages to open it.

“You know what time it is?”

Blaine frowns and looks at the clock above his mini-fridge. “It’s ten.” Then his face goes white and Jake nods, seeing 2 and 2 click together to make 4. “It’s ten.”

“Yeah, I know what time it is. You forget to set your alarm?” He asks as Blaine rushes back inside and starts pulling a shirt over his head.

“I have an exam. I’m missing it.” His words blend together, he’s not sure if Jake can even understand him. Doesn’t really matter—he just has to go.

“Dude what happened to your leg?”

Blaine trips pulling his jeans on, looking for his shoes. “It’s nothing. Do you see my other shoe?”

“Your soul mark looks ratched. Is that gangrene? I saw that on Grey’s Anatomy once, not that I was watching it, you know, it was on while I was making dinner and…hey shoe’s over there.” He points.

“I have to go.” And he’s out the door before he can hear the rest of it.

--

He misses part of his Art History exam and his teacher won’t let him make it up. The good news is that he aced what he managed to fill out. The bad news? The other half of his test is blank, which means zeroes, which means…

He failed.

He’s never failed anything in his life before, especially not a test that has to do with art. He can just see the look on his parent’s faces, that this some sort of message from the universe that he’s not meant to be an artist.

Fuck.

Blaine runs a hand over his face and wanders to his other classes like a zombie; he doesn’t even enjoy pottery class like he usually does, he skips lunch with Sam and Jake and he definitely snaps at Kurt who corners him in the courtyard.

Now on top of everything he’s an asshole and he can’t concentrate on his painting final. In fact, when he makes one wrong brush stroke he kicks the easel and the canvas goes flying.

Fuck.

He doesn’t realize his hand is shaking until he runs it over his face. Blaine lets out a slow breath out his nose and knows he has to take it easy, that he has to be gentle with himself and that he can’t let this get to him because shit happens but…

All he can see are his parent’s disappointed faces and his career slipping through his fingers all because a stupid test is going to give him poor marks and his crumpled, shitty, poor excuse for a painting final on the floor and he’s spiraling because why did he ever think he was good enough to have a gallery of his own and—

And suddenly he’s outside Sebastian’s apartment door, staring at the wood. He swallows thickly, cursing himself for showing up here, that this is the place he wants to be when he’s upset. There’s clearly something going on inside, some sort of party, Blaine can hear the music and muffled commotion.

He knocks anyways and it take a few minutes but Sebastian opens the door. He grins when he sees him and leans against the doorframe, “B, hey. I didn’t know you were coming.”

Blaine toes the carpet and glances over his shoulder at the people inside; laughing, drinking, smoking, having fun. “I didn’t…I didn’t know you were busy.”

The taller shrugs, “Just blowing off some steam, one of those ‘days ending in Y parties’. You can come in.” He opens the door a little wider but Blaine takes a step back, shaking his head.

“No, I uh…” His eyes fall to the floor and he hates that they burn a little because that usually means he’s going to cry. And he can’t do that in front of Sebastian; no matter how emotionally strung he may feel.

Sebastian seems to sense that Blaine’s off because he steps outside his apartment and closes the door behind him, “What’s wrong?”

“Nothing,” He says quickly, starting to feel the need to bail. “It's nothing. I didn't mean to bother you. It's...just a stupid school thing.” He’s starting to walk away as he’s talking, backing up towards the elevator.

“Blaine, wait.”  

He shakes his head, waving him off. “It’s fine.”

Sebastian calls his name one more time as he’s getting on the elevator but he’s already made up his mind: he’s gone.

--

Blaine lets out a soft sigh and draws his knees into his chest as he leans between the wall and the headboard of his bed. He pulls the sleeves down of the oversized sweater he has on over his hands and covers his eyes for a moment, taking a long breath in and letting it out of his nose.

His canvas still lies untouched on the floor where he left it and he’s been ignoring a few texts from Sam and Jake checking in on him. Sometimes it’s better just to handle this shit on his own; he’ll be fine tomorrow…he just needs to wallow for the time being.

A gentle knock on his door pulls him from his thoughts and part of him wants to ignore it but if he knows anything about his friends it’s that they won’t leave him alone. He pulls himself from bed and opens the door—

“Guys, I just need some sleep.”

But it’s not Jake. Or Sam. It’s…

“Thought you could use some sweets.”

Blaine swallows at seeing Sebastian, dressed in a simple pair of jeans and a sweatshirt, holding up a plastic bag. He knows that surprise has to be decorating his face, because out of everyone he expected to be on the other side of his door Sebastian wasn’t one of them.

“Your party…” He trails off, letting the other inside.

“There will be other parties.” Sebastian sets the sweets down on his bed and glances at the floor but says nothing about the canvas, thankfully. “I couldn’t very well enjoy it when you showed up at my door looking like a kicked puppy.”

Blaine sighs and sits back down in bed, pulling his sweater over his knees before grabbing the bag to look inside. Cinnamon rolls. Perfect. “Well, I didn’t mean to ruin your night.”

Sebastian sits down on Blaine’s bed, putting his hand on his knee to get his attention. “You want to tell me what happened?”

He swallows, feeling that exact same emotion well up in his chest again. That feeling of worthlessness seeping into his bloodstream and making him feel lightheaded. “Just…a bad day.” He admits quietly. “I missed half of an exam so it’s…I failed it, there’s no sugarcoating it. I never fail art tests Sebastian.”

The other nods, quietly watching him, listening.

“And it just…it worries me because I know…I know it’s just a test but,” Blaine bites down hard on his lower lip because his voice is starting to shake. “But what if this is, what if this is the universe telling me I’m not meant to be an artist. I mean do I really think I’m going to be good enough to get my own gallery?”

“Since when do you give a flying fuck what the universe thinks?” Sebastian teases and it’s not so much what he says but the way he says it that makes Blaine choke out a laugh.

Unfortunately that’s the last bit of his resolve because his face crumbles, he can feel it and he starts crying. It’s an avalanche that won’t stop and he tries to hide his face with his hands but Sebastian is moving, quickly, and drawing him into his chest by wrapping a hand around the back of his neck.

Sebastian is patient and warm and gentle, things he wasn’t aware he could be, threading his fingers through his curls and pressing soft kisses against his shoulder and neck. He only pulls back when Blaine stops crying, when he’s just left with small hiccups and sniffles.

The taller cups his face and runs his thumb along his cheek, removing tear tracks before leaning forward and pressing a soft kiss to his forehead. Blaine tilts his chin up as Sebastian looks down at him and their lips connect, moving in consistent, fluid motion. His hands fall to the other’s chest, fingers gathering up fabric.

“Please.” He whispers against his mouth and Sebastian nods before pulling Blaine’s sweater over his head.

They have sex but it’s different this time, he knows it’s different. It’s quiet and emotional and drawn out and he feels weird after it’s done. Sebastian pulls him close when they’re both finished and spent, a little sticky with sweat and incredibly sated and Blaine sleeps more sound than he ever has before.

--

When he wakes up Sebastian is gone and his soul mark burns. He runs to the bathroom and curses himself for not remembering to wash the sharpie off and his skin is probably having some sort of allergic reaction to the ink.

He submerges a washcloth into water and adds hand soap to it, quickly scrubbing his skin until its raw.

But when he dries off he notices something strange.

All of the petals of his rose are black and it’s not from coloring them in.

--

He doesn’t see or talk to Sebastian for a few days, which is fine (and by fine, he means it’s not fine because he woke up in his bed alone but he’s got a lot on his plate anyways). He needs space to think and finish his painting final and when he does, Blaine tells Jake and Sam about his soul mark.

Actually, he tells them everything.

“I won’t say ‘I told you so’ because I’m a good friend like that.” Jake crosses his arms over his chest.

“Dude, you just did.” Sam nudges and Blaine rolls his eyes (he’s surprised his eyes don’t stay permanently glued to the inside of skull after spending so much time with these two).

“Whatever,” Jake mumbles and reaches out to touch Blaine’s tattoo, “Does it hurt?”

“No,” Blaine admits, rubbing the back of his neck. “Though it did when…it happened.”

“Are you just fucking with us? I mean, you did have some of it colored in by choice.”

He feels his cheeks alight with a dark red blush and smacks the back of Jake’s head when Sam looks confused and then way too amused for his liking. “Okay, I may have done that a few times when I was drunk,” Or frighteningly sober, but whatever, “but I didn’t do this.”

Sam tilts his head at Blaine’s thigh a moment and stands from the kitchen chair, his eyes wide in that excited way when he gets an idea. “Dude, no way.”

“What?” Blaine asks, pulling his jeans up and buttoning them.

“Okay, this is going to sound nuts but remember high school history class, you know the day they teach you all about that soulmate stuff?”

Jake scrunches his nose, “Vaguely.”

“The only reason I remember it is because Kayla, the girl who used to sit across from me, wouldn’t wear panties underneath her skirt. I mean, I’m talking full view—”

“Sam,” Blaine interrupts, “Focus.”

“Right. Well, I remember the teacher mentioning a few cases of soulmates, I’m talking like 2 out of 100, where they’d adopt one another’s soul marks.”

He frowns, his hand falling to his thigh absently. “But I thought soulmates had to have the exact same soul mark?”

“They do, unless two people who aren’t soulmates develop an intense emotional attraction to one another. It overrides how soulmates usually find one eachother—it’s called soul mark transference.”

“How do you remember all this shit from high school when you can’t even remember what you had for lunch yesterday?” Jake points out and Sam shrugs, a smirk tugging the ends of his lips.

“Blame it on Kayla.” He winks. “I.E. you have Sebastian’s soul mark and he probably has yours.”

Blaine runs a hand over his face. “But that…doesn’t mean we’re soulmates. I’m sure there’s a ton of people out there that feel something for someone who isn’t their soulmate.”

“Actually, it does. In a weird roundabout way you are soulmates. And like I said, only a few cases in a hundred. You’re one of the lucky ones.”

“Too bad you can’t win the lotto when there’s actual money involved.” Jake adds, moving to rummage through Blaine’s fridge.

He has to talk to Sebastian and quickly moves to grab his phone and wallet before opening his door.

“Hey where you going?” Comes at the same time Jake says, “Thought you didn’t care about this soulmate stuff.”

All Blaine does is smile before he’s out the door.

Jake smirks, holding his palm out, “Pay up” and Sam groans out an expletive before forfeiting a twenty-dollar bill into his hand.

--

Sebastian opens up the door and lets Blaine inside, the silence stretching between them. He isn’t sure where to start and if someone would have told him a few months ago that he’d be in a guy’s apartment trying to talk about soulmate transference he would laughed in their face.

But after everything? He feels confident about this and he feels like he belongs here—like the universe is finally telling him this is it, you’re in the right place as he stands in front of Sebastian.

“You left.”

The taller sighs, running a hand through his hair. “I know.” The words come carefully, as if he’s having trouble saying them. “I’ve never felt like… not about someone else before.”

“I know,” Blaine mumbles. God he gets it, he really does. He takes a step forward and gently touches Sebastian’s chest, his eyes tracing his face for permission before he tugs the collar of his shirt down.

He takes in Sebastian’s rose, his soul mark on his chest…and the petals are red. Just like his used to be. He lets out a breath he doesn’t realize he’s been holding and runs his thumb over it, Sebastian shivering at the touch.

They belong to one another.

“I’m not going to say I expected this or…if I even understand what this really means,” Blaine chews on his lower lip. “But I know how I feel about you. I can’t say this will work just because…” He wants this to work, he does, but he can’t help but feel afraid…and of course he thinks about his parents.

But Sebastian’s hands are warm as they fall to his hips, squeezing, encouraging. So he continues.

“You think you’d be okay with just having pizza for a while?”

Sebastian laughs suddenly, remember their first conversation with one another. He shakes his head and picks Blaine up, the shorter’s legs wrapping around his waist. He looks up at him and Blaine leans down to nip at his lower lip.

“Just think about all the different pizza combinations we could figure out together.” He points out, waggling his eyebrows.

Blaine grins as Sebastian carries him into the bedroom, closing the door with his foot: he likes the sound of that.

--