Hey babe! So… Breadstix tonight? I can get you some cheesecake…
Kurt stares at the text. He locks his screen, opens it again to look at the notification bar, and repeats three more times before he actually opens the conversation.
Is it against the laws of the universe to leave your own boyfriend on read, even if you’re seriously considering ending the relationship? Kurt worries his lower lip between his teeth, staring ineffectively again. It doesn’t count if he hasn’t closed it yet, right?
It was the first thing he saw when he woke up this morning, and with yesterday’s conversation with Sebastian weighing heavy on his mind, it’s hard to put together a response that doesn’t feel like a lie.
Kurt? I know you can see this… your Snapchat status says you’re on your phone haha
Shit. Kurt almost forgot how savvy Blaine can be about these things. It’s been just under five minutes since he got the first message, but Blaine never likes to wait.
if you can’t come that’s fine just don’t ignore me… I get that you’re always busy but that doesn’t just give you permission to ignore me. I’m your boyfriend.
Hey, sorry, just finished sorting out my mess of a bedhead! Could I give you a ‘maybe’ for now on Breadstix? I’m a little under the weather… :(
His reply is a lie after all, but it also isn’t - his stomach is tying itself in knots as he waits for Blaine’s response, and the impending doom of change is a headache waiting to happen.
totally! Just keep me updated, so i know when to book the reservation. Love you!
Kurt isn’t sure how he feels about that response. It sounds understanding, but there’s that expectation hidden just beneath it-- or maybe Kurt doesn’t have a right to complain. He’s not exactly being honest.
There are certain parts of that text that he can’t bring himself to return, because that lie feels cruel.
Kurt stares at the emoji, and all of a sudden it looks wrong. In a sudden flash of distaste he switches over to his contacts, and opens up Blaine’s information.
Blaine <3 becomes Blaine Anderson, and Kurt becomes less of a liar. It still makes something in his stomach feel like it’s burning, but he takes it with a wince and a silent hope that it’ll fade with time.
An hour or so later, Sebastian rocks up to HT&L with his roof down and his sunglasses on, playing his music at a volume only a truly confident man can turn the dial to.
Kurt, still feeling his phone like a lead weight in his pocket, approaches the side of the car, only to be stopped short of actually greeting Sebastian.
“Shots, shots, shots!” He bellows, thrusting a paper cup out towards him.
Kurt looks at the cup, and then back down at Sebastian’s grin. He can’t help the flush that must be adorning his face right now, a mix of “this guy is unfairly cute sometimes” and “oh my god if this idiot drove with alcohol in the cupholders” at the front of the mind.
“Dork, dork, dork!” He chants, but he takes the offering anyway. He gives the contents a sniff through the hole in the lid, and confirms that Sebastian isn’t that stupid. At least not yet. “Espresso?”
“We’re in for a hard day of manual and emotional labor… I figured we could use the hit.”
“You more than me,” says Kurt, thinking of the hours he’s spent this summer fixing cars and lifting boxes for his dad. Painting, at this point, sounds a bit like a break to him.
“As the great Troy Bolton said, we’re all in this together,” Sebastian counters, before tapping the lid of his coffee against Kurt’s. “Come on, bottoms up. I won’t even make the obvious joke.”
Kurt rolls his eyes, but raises the drink to his lips nonetheless. With one gulp, it’s gone, and he lowers the emptied container with a satisfied hum.
The look on Sebastian’s face is equal parts unexpected and priceless. When he lets out an indignant “BLEH!” Kurt all but loses it, laughing unabashedly right in his face.
“Good lord, how do people drink this on purpose?”
“It’s a delicious blend,” Kurt supplies, still recovering from the hilarious shock of it all. “You could have gotten it watered down with sugar like your usual order! I wouldn’t have been offended.”
“No,” Sebastian tries to pout, but the sound of Kurt’s laughter lingers too perfectly for it to stick. “If I’m tough enough for espresso, I’m tough enough for a whole day of menial tasks.”
“But you’re clearly not tough enough for espresso,” says Kurt, taking a step aside as the car door opens.
With that, Sebastian steps out of the car, and the pair walk into Hummel Tires & Lube together, set to the music of Kurt crowing at Sebastian’s inability to drink coffee that doesn’t taste like a milkshake and Sebastian’s weak, smiling defensiveness.
The first obstacle to the Great Paint and Break Up Strategy Meeting Extravaganza for Kurt and Sebastian is the way that, for some ungodly reason (that absolutely involved impressing Kurt), Sebastian wore nice clothes.
“Son,” says Burt, giving him an up-down look and trying to hold back laughter, “You understand that if you get paint on your Gucci-”
“It’s Balanciaga, actually, but continue.”
“On your Balance-cigar-- Whatever. .If you get paint on your nice clothes, my son will be upset with you? I got some ketchup on one of his… designer socks, whatever that means, and he nearly disowned me.”
“I still don’t know how you managed to spill it that far! It’s both impressive and exasperating,” Kurt huffs.
Even if Sebastian cannot imagine a son disowning Burt Hummel, of all possible dads, he nods, and looks to Kurt.
“Should I, um, borrow one of your jumpsuits?” he asks, heart beating a bit faster at the possibility. Would he be spending the afternoon wrapped up in the coveralls that hugged those biceps so tenderly day in, day out?
“All his others are in the wash. You can borrow one of mine, though,” says Burt with a shrug.
“I’ll warn you now,” says Kurt with a wry smile. “They will smell like Slim Jims and taxes, but I can make sure you get the ones that he hasn’t had a heart attack in.”
“A what?!” Sebastian yelps, but before he can get any sort of clarifying response, Kurt’s already inside rummaging around for an acceptable pair.
Less appealing, but Sebastian could try to find a way to romanticize it. Such are the ways of a man with a crush on his mechanic.
When Kurt emerges with his father’s spare jumpsuit, grinning from ear to ear, Sebastian figures it won’t be so hard to romanticize after all.
With that roadblock cleared, and the necessary tarps set up outside of HT&L, Kurt and Sebastian get to work, pouring and preparing paint to the tune of Sebastian’s playlist, which he insists on playing even when his car isn’t getting fixed.
“So, you’re dumping your boyfriend!” Sebastian blurts out as he lays down the first stroke of paint, with all the nuance of a children’s book. Kurt’s First Big Break-Up is the title, and he’d like to leave it on the shelf for a little while longer.
“Woah woah woah, slow down tiger,” said Kurt, a hint of reedy anxiety in his voice. “We need to build up to that one.”
Sebastian’s eyebrow quirks up at the nickname, but he plows on, figuring that questioning terms of endearment could only get him in more trouble. “That’s the point of this, right? A strategy meeting for the dump?”
“I feel like we can use more graceful terminology.”
“The big ‘He Hit It, It’s Time to Quit It’? Maybe we can go through a more old school route, like the ‘Drop the Load and Hit the Road’?” offers Sebastian.
Kurt’s eyes roll yet again, and he points his brush at Sebastian. “The whole concept of a strategy meeting is way too over the top for us to dive right into it! Where’s your subtlety?”
“I don’t know,” Sebastian smirks, and Kurt can sense the oncoming punchline, “every time I see one of your boyfriend’s outfits a little piece of my ability to be subtle dies.”
Kurt snorts, and then draws his lips together tightly, like he can retroactively take the sound back. After all, Blaine is still his boyfriend.
“See? The sooner you retire the horse, the sooner you can appreciate my zingers.”
Kurt holds back on admitting that he already appreciates Sebastian’s zingers a bit too much for convenience. It’s a flawed argument, but there’s a point to be made about the way Kurt knows he’s stalling; his intent is already declared, but the thought of following through is terrifying.
“Alright… I need a plan of action then. I think the most obvious question to start with is the method of delivery. I mean-- It’s not acceptable to dump somebody via text, is it? At least not after being together for a year… right?”
“I think it’s perfectly acceptable, and it has the potential to be a hysterical story later on. You can’t really use a one-liner to call it off in person, can you? All this painting gives us plenty of time to come up with the perfect message. Not to mention that the chance of him causing a scene in person is… pretty high.”
Even though Kurt knows from every conversation he’s had with his friends that breakup-via-text is considered a dick move, he’s being swayed. At least he can block Blaine if he starts being difficult, right?
“I see the appeal of a text, but I want us both to walk away from this with some dignity intact.”
Then, a voice breaks them out of their conversation, and Kurt’s immediate surprise at his dad being there is soon eclipsed by realizing that his dad had witnessed at least a part of the conversation.
“Kurt, kiddo, I don’t care if you send the boy a damn carrier pigeon-- but could you please get a move on with the whole ‘painting’ thing? I can send somebody else out if you two are too busy, uh…” Burt casts a knowing glance between the pair, and if it wouldn’t embarrass him further, Kurt would tell his father to knock it off. “...Planning.”
Burt walks off, leaving Kurt and Sebastian to their mutually mortified stares.
“Right! Yes-- He’s right,” Kurt manages after a beat, clearing his throat as he turns back to the wall. “Painting. We’re here to paint.” He dips his brush back into the bucket, and gets back to work. He can feel Sebastian’s eyes on him, but before too long he follows his movements. They paint in silence for what could either be a few minutes or a few seconds before Sebastian speaks up again.
“At least it’s not the most embarrassing time I’ve been walked in on by a parent,” Sebastian says.
Kurt can tell Sebastian’s trying to make him feel better with that anecdote, but it’s having the opposite effect. Not because it’s not entertaining, but because it puts forth a question he’s never thought about in depth before: just how many guys has Sebastian been involved with before? And why is that something that concerns him at all? He’s pretty sure that Sebastian isn’t taken, even if that absolutely doesn’t matter, but what if Sebastian has been going on dates? Or hooking up? Why does that make Kurt feel just a bit off?
“Burt never walked in on me and Blaine, um, doing anything, but Finn did once. It was awkward but so, so funny,” Kurt has a pause, wondering if this is a weird thing to share. He’s never told anyone else, having been sworn to silence by Finn and feeling uncomfortable talking about that part of his life with anyone else, but he figures that if anyone else would get it, it would be Sebastian. “Basically, he walks in, right? And me and Blaine are- I’m just going to say that it’s horizontal, basically, and for a moment I’d swear that Finn had seen a ghost. Like that screaming kid from Home Alone, minus the noise, that’s Finn’s face. And then he’s like- ‘I’m so sorry gays- GUYS. I’m sorry guys. It’s cool that you’re gays, though! Gay guys… yeah… Being gay and… making out,’ and then he did finger guns, and said that dinner would be ready in five minutes before running out. And me and Blaine- we- we’re frozen, right? Hands still on my ass, like a statue. But, yeah… that’s my, um, ‘getting walked in on’ story.”
Sebastian lets out a less enthusiastic laugh than he means to. Kurt is still taken, even if it’s on a very technical level, and even if he wasn’t, Sebastian knows it’s not his place to be weird about it. He came over to be a friend, or at least to provide Kurt with some vaguely helpful advice and the little nudge he needs, but now it seems his most selfish side is rearing its head.
As necessary as it is for the day’s agenda, thinking about Kurt getting it on with another guy just sucks. Especially when all he’s seen that guy do is stress Kurt out, or make him miserable.
There’s a long breadth of silence, and Sebastian can practically hear Kurt overthinking. That’s not good, he thinks, and so he decides that direct action is necessary.
He starts painting with renewed fervor, but not just for the sake of covering the walls. Words form with each stroke, and in Kurt’s confusion he stops what he’s doing to watch. By the time Sebastian steps back with a big proud smile, he’s put together a whole sentence that just barely makes sense.
“How’s this?” he asks, gesturing to the words written on the wall.
SRY BLAINE, U DON’T MAKE ME HAPPY + BAD KISSER :(
“Is that your... pitch for what I text Blaine?” Kurt asks, not sure if he should start laughing or screaming. “It’s… certainly a collection of words.”
Sebastian takes this as a challenge. He starts painting again, this time a little more concisely.
This time it’s followed up with a... drawing, of sorts.
“...Is that a dick with four balls?” Kurt asks, because he can’t see it as anything else. Despite himself and the situation plaguing him, a smile is growing on his face.
“No! It’s a middle finger! The ultimate display of rage via text,” Sebastian replies, with the perfect amount of defensiveness to kickstart another laughing fit.
While Kurt, ever the connoisseur of class and grace, can’t imagine breaking up with his boyfriend of over a year with a text saying, in all caps, “sorry blaine u dont make me happy + bad kisser :( sowwy bitch” followed by a middle finger, he loves imagining that he would.
“If we’re going to be funny about this, I’m at least sending him off with proper grammar. That’s the decent thing to do,” Kurt decides, raising his own brush to the wall.
I think we should end it. I’ll be moving to another state and I don’t think either of us are ready for long distance.
“Counterpoint,” said Sebastian, before lifting his brush to the wall right below Kurt’s message.
2 OLD 2 FAKE ORGASMS. ITS OVR SOWWY NOT SOWWY
“I’m not ending an era with ‘sowwy,’ Sebastian!” Kurt insists, but he’s still laughing as he works on his next addition.
Sorry, you can no longer contact this user. If you’d like to inquire about this issue, please redirect your concerns to: my ass. Thank you.
Kurt bites his lip, looking at Sebastian as if he needs permission to laugh at his own joke. Sebastian gasps, high and melodramatic. “That is cold, Kurt! At least ‘sowwy’ cushions the blow!”
“Oh, come on! Baby-talk doesn’t cushion anything. You just want me to text him like he’s a toddler because you think he dresses like one!”
“Anybody with eyes thinks he dresses like one,” Sebastian objects, already working on his next masterpiece.
I REGRET 2 INFORM U THAT SOCIETEA HAS MOVED PAST THE NEED FOR KLAINE PLZ LOSE THIS NUMBER THNX
“You misspelled society-”
“It’s symbolic of you spilling the metaphorical tea,” says Sebastian, slow and philosophical like a professor.
“If that’s your idea of a metaphor, I’d rather just tell it like it is.”
Your meat game is simply not on point.
Sebastian splutters, his eyes wide as he looks between Kurt and his newest addition to the wall. “That’s how it is? Wow. Yeah, this break-up’s been a long time coming.” Sebastian resists the urge to bring up his own “meat game”, figuring that it’s at least a few days too soon.
They pass the next hour or so in a flurry of paintbrushes and snickering, trading blows against Blaine far too cheerfully considering one of them is still dating him. The wall grows closer to the end goal with each joke they crack, until Sebastian decides to be a freak about it.
I KNO IM DUMMY THICC SO U SHUD B ABLE 2 HEAR THE CLAP CLAP CLAP OF DEEZ CHEEKS OF ME WALKING AWAY FROM WH ERE U R BYE!!!
And, of course, it’s Kurt’s god-given responsibility to flick paint at him, saying “Shut UP! If my dad walks out here and sees that you think I’m ‘dummy thicc’, he will kick you out!” in between gasps of laughter.
Sebastian squeaks, recoiling from the splatter even though it all lands on the coveralls that are far too loose for him to feel any of it. “I won’t get kicked out for stating facts!” he declares, along with a paint war.
The paint from Sebastian’s brush hits his shoulder, but a little patch lands firmly on his neck, trickling lower. It’s enough to make him shiver, and to incite a playful rage. In the absence of Burt, Kurt decides that the only way to defend his honor is to flick even more paint at Sebastian, running his finger across the paint roller in earnest and tossing a splatter at Sebastian.
“Shut up about my ass you deviant!” Kurt yells, firing out weaponised blobs of paint with the best aim he can while shielding his face. Sebastian is doing exactly the same thing, and both of them are making a complete mess of themselves. At least Kurt can hope they’re getting some of it on the wall.
“First Amendment!” is all Sebastian shouts, before brandishing the paint brush like a dueling sword and swiping across Kurt’s sleeve. “My dad is a lawyer, so I know that!”
“You’re free to say whatever you want, and I’m free to tell you it’s awful!”
“And I’m free to do this,” yelps Sebastian as he sticks a dot of white paint on Kurt’s cheek, before backing away again.
Kurt reaches up to touch his cheek, mouth agape as he looks from the white smudge on his fingers to the culprit that put it there.
“Coward! You get back here!” He demands, chasing after Sebastian with enough determination to keep him from hearing the car rolling up nearby. In a rush of energy, athleticism and vengeance, with a hand coated in white paint, Kurt makes a running tackle, latching one arm around Sebastian’s shoulders and the other aiming for his hair, digging in and marking his hair with white as Sebastian rebalances. Within a few seconds, Kurt is in a lopsided piggy back ride on Sebastian, with one hand in his hair and the pair of them giggling so hard that the structure proves unstable.
It is in this position that Kurt hears the last voice he wanted to in that moment.
“Kurt?” Blaine asks, and in that initial burst of shock, Kurt can see himself through Blaine’s eyes. Breathless from laughter, tangled up with another man, the both of them covered in matching smears of paint and exuding the kind of joy he hasn’t shared with Blaine in months. Then, to top it all off, a literal mural of breakup texts behind them, and even if none of them have Blaine’s name on them, they might as well have his name, date of birth, and Social Security Number.
All Kurt can do is watch Blaine’s eyes as he starts reading the bitter words; every last shift in his expression is another stab of guilt.
Kurt doesn’t know when he climbs off of Sebastian, only that his feet are on the ground again and his breathlessness feels more like a crash than a high.
“Your meat game… Is simply not on point,” Blaine reads aloud, his voice broken and defeated.
Sebastian knows it isn’t his relationship to fix or destroy, but the tension is as unbearable as the heartbreak in Kurt’s eyes.
“That was me,” he lies, the desperate attempt to make things the tiniest bit easier for Kurt fully transparent. “It’s about… My butcher?”
Blaine doesn’t even acknowledge the statement, but with one venomous glance, Sebastian can tell he’s been noticed.
“With him?” Blaine spits, his jaw setting tight.
Kurt tries to straighten his posture, as if that will make him look any more dignified. “Sebastian’s become a good friend to me.”
“That’s what you’re calling it, now?” Blaine says, his voice mean, and he tosses a cruel glance to Sebastian before turning the full force of his anger onto Kurt again. “You told me you were under the weather!”
“I was, this morning!” Kurt tries, his voice cracking with his own shame. He feels it in full force that moment, embarrassed to the point of queasiness. “It wasn’t enough to blow off a full day of work, but--”
“But it was enough to blow off me, right?” Blaine interjects, his rage twisting into a cruel, vindictive smile - like he’s been proven right. “And don’t even get me started on your work, Kurt! Every time I’ve stopped by here for the past few weeks, you’ve been getting cozier and cozier with this guy who doesn’t even work here,” he jabs a finger in Sebastian’s direction, “and I’ve had enough of it!”
“I know it doesn’t look like it, with the writing and the... “ Sebastian looks down at his paint-smattered jumpsuit, resigned. “But it’s Kurt’s job to get this place painted today. Maybe if you come back when his shift--”
“This is pathetic. So, so pathetic, Sebastian, or whatever your name is,” Blaine sneers, scowling at Sebastian with an intensity that makes him feel a foot shorter. “Do you really think helping out with this shitty shop is going to make him like you?”
Kurt feels his blood run cold. There was always an inkling in the back of his mind that Blaine looked down on his family’s business, but it’s never been so blatant on the surface before. Defending that can come later though, because in the moment, he’s overwhelmed with a million different insecurities at once.
“There’s nothing going on between me and Sebastian,” Kurt says, his voice cold as ice.
Sebastian, watching on and feeling useless, tries to not let it sting.
“Oh really?” Blaine scoffs, “then why is he always here? Every time I want to give my boyfriend a romantic surprise, like I did today, you’re busy with him! Only this time I had to stop by your house first, because you lied about being well enough to be here!”
Sebastian fights the urge to say something about how Blaine needs to revise his understanding of a romantic surprise, and instead opts for stepping a bit closer to the wall, his eyes wide and darting between the sparring couple. He’s not the only one watching anymore either; the commotion seems to have drawn out the other mechanics who watch on with careful stares, ready to intervene the second Blaine crosses a more severe line. Burt, at the centre of them all, may as well be on fire with his fury, his arms crossed and his gaze murderous.
Kurt takes a deep breath and crosses his arms, just like his dad behind him, and Sebastian has the sudden confidence that Kurt can handle this one on his own.
“I’m breaking up with you,” says Kurt, his voice slow and dangerous. His eyes are blown wide and his fists are clenched.
Blaine is stunned into silence for all of five seconds before he insists on pushing his luck.
“I transferred schools for you, Kurt,” he begins, taking a step closer. In response, Kurt takes a corresponding step back. His words are quieter now, but all the more menacing for it. “I gave up that solo, made it a duet. I waited for you when you weren’t ready to take things further, I almost gave up Tony, and I’ve spent this whole summer dancing around your schedule, even though you’re the one that’s leaving at the end of it!”
Another step forward, another step back. The posse of angry mechanics has their hackles raised, and Sebastian can see two cups of iced coffee on the table that Kurt is backing up to, cups that Burt had brought out what feels like ages ago.
“I never asked you to transfer for me,” says Kurt, taking another step back. Sebastian can see the plan now, and as discreetly as he can, he raises a hand to halt the shop’s staff in their tracks. “And you don’t deserve a medal for not pressuring me into sex, Blaine, even though you did-”
“I was drunk, Kurt, you never forgave me-”
“No, and I’m not about to.”
Sebastian sneaks a glance to Burt, who’s gone from angry to murderous at the intimation. Sebastian has no idea what went down, and he doubts that Burt does either. He wonders, for a second, if either of them will ever hear that story.
Kurt’s back hits the wall, and in a split second Blaine goes from the most pristine one standing outside to a waterfall of cold brown liquid cascading over him. The iced coffee spills out over Blaine’s head, and all Sebastian can focus on is the way Kurt’s hand shakes around his white-knuckle grip on the cup.
Blaine’s recoil shudders through his whole body, his horror evident in his disgusted glance towards his stained shirt and the shift in his stance, stock-still with the shock of the ice.
Sebastian swears that he can see every emotion pass over Kurt’s face in the seconds it takes for him to speak: he rushes through horror, shock, anger, elation, regret, fear, and then finally acceptance.
“We’re over, Blaine,” Kurt says, with no more room for doubt. “This is it.”
“I don’t believe this,” Blaine sputters, looking up from his stained clothing to the crowd around them. He makes a dire mistake then, opting for his usual habit of trying to get as many of the nearby crowd as possible on his side. “Can you believe this?!”
Blaine only receives a gruff chorus of “yes” in response. Chris, the scrawniest of the mechanic bunch who lingers at the back, mutters “could be worse… I mean, there are people dying...”
When he doesn’t immediately move, Burt steps forward, and for a moment Sebastian swears he’s about to physically throw Blaine back to his car himself.
“You can go ahead and get the hell off my property now,” Burt says, less calculated than his son, but every bit as chilling in his anger. “If you’re going to struggle with that much longer, I’d be happy to show you out.”
With that, Blaine takes a step back. His eyes sweep his audience, and with one last huff, he turns around and walks to his car.
A strange, surreal silence passes over the group who remain, their faces a mixture of confusion and disbelieving of the confrontation they just witnessed.
Burt pats Kurt’s shoulder, firm and affectionate, before he ushers the rest of his staff inside.
“You always knew how to make it go out with a bang,” says Burt, his voice undeniably fond.
“Thanks, dad,” Kurt replies, leaning against him for a moment. Burt seems to sense a need to reassure his workers, and so he lets go with one more squeeze.
Once they’re alone again, Sebastian speaks up.
“To be fair, nobody with a car like that has good meat game.”
Kurt laughs, dry and quiet, before flashing Sebastian a watery smile. “My biggest regret is not using the phrase ‘meat game’ once in that breakup.”
Joking around lessens the sting somewhat, but there’s no denying the presence of pain. For every bit of Kurt that knows he’s done the right thing for himself, there’s another with regrets, offering up unhelpful memories of what it felt like to be in love with Blaine.
Burt steps out again, the picture of Caring Worried Dad™. “Do you need a breather?” he asks, looking towards Kurt. “I bet me and Sebastian over here could get some of it done while you, um… wash your face?”
Another laugh, this time a little more genuine. “Yeah, dad,” he nods, before turning to Sebastian. “Do you mind? I--” he pauses to wipe quickly at his eyes. “I won’t be too long. Just… Yeah.”
“Go ahead. I want to cover up my bad spelling,” says Sebastian. He feels more than he sees Burt’s curious eyes on him as Kurt nods and walks away.
Sebastian averts his gaze from Burt to the paint bucket, a brush handle still sticking out from it. “He could probably use your company,” he suggests, hoping he’s not overstepping. “I’ll keep going out here.”
Burt’s nodding when Sebastian looks up again, and although he’s understandably still perturbed by everything he’s just heard, the offer reassures him. There’s a deep kindness beneath the lines of worry on his face, and as much as Sebastian wants the best for Kurt, he realises he wants that for his family almost as much.
“Yeah… I’ll do that,” Burt huffs, managing a half-smile at Sebastian before he trudges inside.
When Kurt walks back out, all his tears cried out and his soul comforted by a high quality dad hug, he can’t help the wariness that creeps up on him. While he’s pretty sure Sebastian is better than that, what if he walked away once he was left alone? It’s not like he has any obligation to Kurt, or the Hummels by extension… if anything, he’s already doing them a big favor, and weathered a very unnecessary discomfort by being caught up in Hurricane Blaine.
Half-convinced that Sebastian has already left, Kurt emerges from the garage ready to finish the job. To his surprise, however, it’s already finished, and Sebastian certainly isn’t gone.
Sebastian’s coveralls are so thoroughly covered in eggshell paint that he looks like he’s hatching from them, and he’s beaming with the sort of pride that only comes from a job (mostly) well-done.
“I, uh, spilled one of the buckets while I was going for the high spots,” he explains sheepishly, as if it could make Kurt think any less of him in that moment.
Kurt is in awe, and he has to fight his own speechlessness that comes as instinct. “Thank you,” is all he can say, hoping it doesn’t sound as choked and genuine to Sebastian as it does to his own ears.
“You’re welcome. I nailed it,” Sebastian beams, looking so content that the feeling is contagious. Kurt’s chest aches with it, in a completely different way than it had been aching moments earlier. It’s not something he can contain, and so he moves closer, knowing he needs to do something to give that sensation some closure.
“Can I hug you?” Kurt asks, because at this point it’s all he feels like he knows how to say.
“Definitely,” Sebastian answers instantly, and for a few moments as Kurt is walking closer he swears he can hear his own heartbeat, until Kurt’s arms wrap around him and his mind becomes a simple oh.
It feels right. It’s warm, and good, and everything a hug should be - but it’s also something more. Sebastian’s arms tighten just so, and it makes Kurt feel more wanted than he has in months. It’s not an intense, burning, passionate moment, but a slow simmer. Something that it’s most likely too soon to feel. It’s grounding, simple, and Sebastian doesn’t know how he’s gone so long without it.
“You missed a spot,” Kurt says, muffled against the warm press of Sebastian’s shoulder, even though he can’t even see the wall from where his head rests.
“What? Where?!” Sebastian pulls back enough to snap his head round to search for it, and what the fuck, it’s not fair for anything he does to be that endearing.
Kurt stifles a laugh, dragging his finger quickly through a blob of paint on Sebastian’s back - how he even managed to get it there, Kurt can’t begin to guess. “Here,” he answers calmly, before wiping that very finger over the tip of Sebastian’s nose.
It takes a superhuman restraint for Sebastian to not say “fuck it” and ruin the friendship right there with something stupid like a kiss when their eyes meet, and the scariest thought that comes with that is a strong conviction that he isn’t going to mess up with this one.
Instead, he gasps, the sound dramatic and sharp, but not enough to overshadow the peals of laughter coming from Kurt. He drops his hands from Kurt’s waist, where they had fallen during the hug, and takes a step back as his face morphs into exaggerated offense.
“I have never worked a day in my life, and on my very first, you make a fool of me?” Sebastian sounds so very deadly serious, and yet all Kurt can do is keep laughing, almost wrecking his composure completely. “You know what? Fine… You win this time. But I will get you back for this betrayal, and it’ll be just when you least expect it. The French have made surprise and art, and you, Kurt, will know that better than anyone else when I’m through with you, and that is a promise, Kurt Hummel.”
There’s silence, just for a second, and then once again, Kurt breaks out into a laughing fit. All Sebastian can do is smile, feeling more accomplished with every second that Kurt keeps smiling.
“You need to get changed,” Kurt manages once he’s mostly caught his breath, before looking down at himself. “...And so do I, now that I’ve hugged you.”
“I don’t know, I feel like I’m kind of rocking this reverse canvas look,” says Sebastian, looking down at his coveralls.
“It’s incredibly powerful, but I refuse to be the one cleaning out your car’s beautiful seats after you drive home like that.”
“Wait… I thought the point of coveralls was that I could just climb out and be clean,” said Sebastian, and his smile turned to soft horror. “Are you saying that my Balenciaga has paint on it now?”
“I’m saying that you need to climb out of them inside, because they’re still my dads, and the quicker they get that paint soaked off the better,” Kurt replies, amazed that he’s not the one who’s most concerned about clothing for once. While most of it can be chalked up to Sebastian’s lack of knowledge about coveralls physics and common sense, it’s still quite refreshing.
“Right,” Sebastian blinks, remembering all at once that they weren’t his own clothes to sully. “Your dad… That’ll be a fun talk,” he half-jokes, flashing Kurt a smile before he makes his way inside.
Burt approaches when he’s halfway out of the coveralls, trying desperately to keep the wet paint off of both himself and the surfaces around him. They make startled eye contact for a moment - Sebastian is worried the reaction will be enough to get him banned from HT&L for life, whereas Burt hasn’t seen so much paint on a single person in his life before this moment.
“Hey. I’m sorry I got these… Kind of messy,” Sebastian winces, well aware that kind of doesn’t even begin to cover it.
“Jesus, son, how bad is your aim?” Burt asks, his head tilting as he tries to comprehend how there was enough paint left to coat the walls. “...Just stick it in the laundry. I’ll take it from there.”
“Are you sure? This is probably going to be hell to clean up…”
“Trust me, kiddo,” Burt gives him a dismissive wave and a warm smile. “You’ve done plenty for us today. That reminds me,” he rummages in his pockets, pulling out an envelope. “I’m not about to put you on my payroll, but I won’t skimp out on an honest day’s work either.”
Sebastian stares at the offering, unblinking as he tries to process it. Some would say it’s just an ethical gesture, but it means a little more to him than that. The sentiment, that is - not the money itself. He doesn’t exactly know how to say politely that he is, in fact, stacked.
“Sir… you know that- I- you don’t have to, really, and this isn’t one of those things where culturally I need to refuse a gift at least once before I’ll accept it,” he rambles.
Burt nods slowly, thinking it over. “...Alright, a compromise: I’ll take this off your next bill,” he pauses, clearly trying to fight off his knowing smile. “Something tells me you’ll be back with more car trouble by the end of the week.”
Sebastian’s eyes are wide, feeling a bit like he’s been caught red-handed, even though he knows he’s never been exactly subtle about how often he finds new reasons to stop by HT&L. After a moment, he nods. “My car is very testy,” he says.
“Hey, I’m not about to complain about a loyal customer,” Burt chuckles, stretching an arm out as Sebastian finishes maneuvering out of the coveralls.
“What can I say… I am gunning for Customer of the Month.”
When Sebastian gets back outside, he finds Kurt packing away the last of their equipment with fresh tear tracks over his cheeks. Wearing a silent, lopsided smile, he follows Sebastian over to his car trying to figure out why seeing him off is only making him sadder.
“Let me guess- next time you’re over here, it’ll be because of paint on your seats?” Kurt asks, and the hint of hopefulness in his voice isn’t lost on Sebastian.
“I can always just throw you a Bachelor Party before then,” says Sebastian, and Kurt’s eyes widen as if he’s been caught missing him before he’s actually left.
“A-- Bachelor party?” Kurt raises a brow, eager to focus on the topic at hand. “As in, the kind guys have before they get married? ...Don’t go cracking cruel jokes on me now…”
“No!” Sebastian rectifies quickly, “I mean, a party to celebrate your newfound status as a bachelor! I can, umm, invite some gay guys! Sluts, even,” says Sebastian, before biting back the words, visibly mortified.
“I don’t think that’ll be necessary, but I do appreciate the offer. I don’t think I need… Sluts,” Kurt laughs, the sound soft and oddly comforting. “Maybe… If some of our mutual Warbler friends want to catch up, that could be fun?”
“So you do want sluts at your party,” Sebastian quips, and his grin only widens as Kurt playfully smacks his arm.
”I was a member of the Warblers and I promise- unless things have changed a lot in the past year, that is one of the least slutty clubs an all boys school could offer. The most action they’re getting is banging the gavel.“
Sebastian snorts, reluctantly opening his car door. “Well, I’ll be sure to tell Wes you said that. You’ll get an earful about it on… Saturday night?” He suggests.
“Saturday night,” Kurt nods - he would get a day or so to mope, and then a night to lift his spirits with his friends - some old, some new. “I’ll see you then. And-- Sebastian?”
Sebastian looks up from the rumbling of his engine, smiling so easily up at Kurt that his heart hurts all over again.