“So,” a voice drawled, “you’re him.”
Blaine’s head snapped up from the book he was reading and his heart pounded in his chest. He had thought he was alone in the house but there was some random other guy, just standing there and staring at him from the doorway.
“I’m, uh, sorry?” He wished he had managed to sound nonchalant and composed instead of as startled as he felt.
“You’re him,” the guy repeated, even slower this time as his eyes raked over Blaine again. He was in shorts and a t-shirt and had obviously just finished a run. “You’re dating my sister.”
“Um, yes. Hello.” He gave an awkward little half-wave. “I’m—”
“Blaine.” He finished the sentence for him. “I know. She talks about you sometimes. I’m Sebastian, but I’m sure you know that already.”
“Oh! That’s, um… Yes, I’m Blaine. Anderson. Blaine Anderson.” He never felt this wrongfooted when meeting people and the use of a last name was a little excessive, given the circumstances but he wanted to contribute something to the conversation. “Umm. Hi?”
Sebastian reached up to push sweaty strands of hair out of his eyes and didn’t bother to answer.
Quinn didn’t talk about her stepbrother very often. Blaine had known that he existed, and he had heard the odd antecedent about him but he didn’t seem to be a huge part of Quinn’s life. Having a brother he’d rather not talk about himself, Blaine never felt the need to pressure her to say more.
Now, he sort of wished that he had.
“Whose idea was that, then?” Sebastian asked after an excruciatingly long minute.
Blaine felt the bottom of his stomach drop. “Excuse me?”
“To date.” Sebastian placed an unnerving emphasis on the word date. “Whose idea was that?”
Blaine stared. “Umm. Both of ours? That’s normally how that happens. You like someone. They like you too and you, mutually, decide to be in a relationship.” He bit back the urge to add “not that you would know,” because that was one thing Quinn had made clear, her brother was something of a philanderer.
“And where is Quinn? It’s rude of her to leave you here all alone. In her bed.”
“I don’t mind.” Blaine shrugged and did his best to ignore whatever hinting innuendo was lacing Sebastian’s voice. “She just had to run to the pharmacy. She should be back soon.”
He hadn’t expected his explanation to make Sebastian burst out laughing but then, nothing about his afternoon was going to plan.
“You’re a classy man, Blaine Anderson. Just as a tip to you, most men buy the condoms themselves.”
Blaine sprung up from the bed, looking horrified. “What? No. That’s not… she isn’t. I mean we aren’t. No. That’s not what’s happening.”
Long after Sebastian left, Blaine could hear his laughter echoing up the hallway.
The thing was, he knew Sebastian. They had met at Church, a dingy gay bar on the outskirts of town, back in August. It had been Blaine’s first time at a gay bar alone. Sebastian had also been there alone but he hadn’t been half as awkward about it as Blaine had.
Blaine had waited until he was three beers and a shot of vodka in before approaching Sebastian who had laughed at his attempts at being suave but accepted his offer to dance nevertheless.
They had ended the night in the back of Blaine’s car and, while nothing much had happened, what did happen had been very nice.
He had gone back to Church several times after that and the three other times Sebastian had been there, they had ended the night in a similar fashion.
Saying that Blaine had been alarmed to look up to see him standing in the well-lit doorway of his girlfriend’s room would be an understatement. But apparently the stars had aligned so that, while he remembered Sebastian, Sebastian had no recollection of him.
Blaine was relieved.
No really, he was.
Sebastian stared at him from across the table and Blaine cursed the fact that Quinn had left them alone to go talk to Brittany on the phone. When they were alone together, Sebastian focused all of his attention on Blaine, as though the way he ate a sandwich was actually fascinating to him. Blaine knew better, though, he knew it was just another tactic to unnerve him.
When he had (casually) asked if Sebastian would be there, Quinn had told him that he wouldn’t be. He went to a school in the city and was never home during the week.
Quinn had lied.
“It’s okay to look at me, you know,” Sebastian announced out of nowhere. “You don’t have to tell me how devastatingly attractive I am, but it is always nice to hear.”
Blaine inhaled half of his wrap and in the second before his natural instinct to cough took over, Blaine considered letting himself choke to death on his sandwich just to escape the situation. He even considered coming back to haunt Sebastian for all the misery he had caused him in the last few weeks except Sebastian would probably enjoy that too much.
“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” he said as he gasped for air, eyes streaming with tears.
Sebastian didn’t look concerned by his brush with death. “Mmm,” he hummed instead of anything more normal like “are you okay?” or “can I get you some water?” and continued to stare.
“I’m dating your sister,” he reminded Sebastian pointedly but politely.
Sebastian winked obnoxiously and grinned. “Doesn’t bother me.”
He wanted to tell Quinn that he didn’t feel comfortable going to her house and being around Sebastian. It seemed rude though to deny her invitations home just because he was afraid her brother would hit on him.
Sebastian might not even be hitting on him. He might just be obnoxious. Ever since Blaine had told her about their encounter while she was out, she was much more willing to share stories about his exploits. She told them all with a touch of fondness but it was clear that he liked to get a rise out of people and knew just which buttons to push to achieve that.
If he and Quinn had happened to start spending more time at the mall or hanging out at Blaine’s, then that was all just a coincidence.
“So,” Quinn slid into the seat across from him, casting a surreptitious look around the library to make sure no one was around. “I might’ve told Sebastian.”
Blaine’s heart stopped. “Told him what?”
“About us.” She drummed her fingers on the table while she waited for him to respond. “Our arrangement.”
“Oh.” He didn’t know what else to say. She looked scared of what his response would be. He didn’t feel angry though, just stunned.
“He figured it out. He heard me on the phone and I guess I said something that made him piece together that,” she dropped her voice to a whisper, so that Blaine had to lean in to hear her, “we're only together until prom. He got weirdly upset about it. He called me a lot of horrible thing then threatened to tell you. So I had to let him know that you already knew.”
“I didn’t tell him anything about you,” she rushed to reassure him. “I just told him that you were a really nice guy and you were doing it to help me out. He promised not to say anything. To you or to anyone else.”
Blaine sighed out in relief.
Quinn hadn’t exactly been one of his friends before they started dating. They were part of the same show choir group and friendly but they didn’t run with the same crowd: She was head cheerleader and one of the most popular girls in school. He was popular with his own crowd and somewhere between liked and tolerated by most everyone else but they just hadn’t been in the same sphere.
And then some of the football players saw them talking after rehearsal. They hadn’t been talking about anything important, one of the songs someone had performed that day or something, but the football players took issue with it.
From there the teasing had started, the jokes about how he never had a girlfriend and the ill-disguised sound of the word faggot coughed behind cupped hands.
Quinn had approached him, after about a week of taunting, with the proposition that they pretend to date. He could secure her the “alternative vote” that would ensure she won Prom Queen and the jocks would, she had assured him, leave him alone once they became official.
He had been ashamed to accept but he hadn’t known what else to do. No one was listening to the jokes yet, but he knew the longer they circulated, the more people would take them seriously.They were nothing more than an obvious scare tactic and not based in any known fact and no one really had reason to listen to them, he knew.
It just so happened that they were all true.
It had taken close to a month of being in their arrangement, and finally becoming real friends, for him for him to come clean and tell her about his struggle to accept himself and his sexuality. She had been sweet and understanding about it, assuring him that she would always support him and that she’d be there for him when he decided to come out to everyone else (as long as it was after prom, she had joked, although the glint in her eye was serious).
It would take time, he knew, to get there but it had meant a lot to know there was someone in his corner.
What he should have done, after learning about Quinn coming clean to her brother, was avoid her house and any chance of running into Sebastian like the plague.
What he did instead was proceed to get drunk at her birthday party and somehow end up in Sebastian’s room.
Sebastian was also drunk and back to staring intently at Blaine.
“I know who you are,” Sebastian said. “I always have. I’d recognize you anywhere.”
“You never said anything.”
Sebastian shrugged his one shoulder shrug. “It didn’t seem like you wanted me too.”
It was flattering to know that Sebastian remembered him and even more flattering to know that he cared enough about Blaine to follow his cues like that.
“I didn’t. Not because, not because of you. I just. I’m not…”
He didn’t know how to answer that. The word gay was on the tip of his tongue but he couldn’t bring himself to lie about that, not to someone who had fairly strong circumstantial evidence of the contrary. Out would work but was too close to a confession.
“How come?” Sebastian changed tactics at the speed of light.
“Because I’m not,” Blaine found himself saying. “I can’t be. Dad would never approve and—”
Blaine’s head spun from trying to keep up with the conversation. “So what?”
“So what if your dad doesn’t approve? Whose parents approve of anything they do when they’re a teenager.”
He guessed that was true but this was different. This wasn’t sneaking out to drink with his friends or even being part of show choir instead of the wrestling team.
“Are you afraid of him?”
“What?” He asked, startled. “Of course not!” His father wasn’t like that. He loved him and always would, Blaine knew that. He wouldn’t hurt him or kick him out just because he liked boys. But he would be sad and disappointed. He wouldn’t understand and it would drive a wedge between them that Blaine didn’t know they could ever recover from.
Sebastian smiled tightly. “His happiness isn’t more important than yours, you know.”
After the hangover wore off, Blaine couldn’t remember all the details of their conversation, but he kept the gist.
It became easier to spend time with Sebastian too. Sometimes, even without Quinn around.
An unfortunate side-effect of it being easier to spend time with Sebastian was that it was becoming increasingly harder to not like him. He was smart and good at making Blaine laugh, although he wasn’t necessarily funny. Sharp was a good word for him, both regarding his acerbic tongue (which Blaine could live without) and his wit.
There was one fight, when Blaine might’ve heavily implied that homosexuality was a sin. Not because he believed it but more as a knee jerk reaction. It was supposed to be in regards to himself anyways but Sebastian had looked like he'd been slapped and insisted that Blaine had meant it as a slight towards him.
According to Quinn, Sebastian had gone over bored in his “sexploits” in the week following and she told Blaine that she would really appreciate it if they sorted out whatever had gotten him in such a mood so she could stop hearing about it.
Blaine hadn’t been able to offer an appropriate explanation for what he said but he thought the earnestness of his apology made up for it.
Sebastian had accepted it on the condition that they go to Church together, or any other gay bar in the area. Not on a Saturday night but some off night during the week, when the debauchery level was a little lower. Blaine was so grateful that he had accepted his apology that he didn’t even comment on the fact that it wasn’t necessary to convince him that his lifestyle was an abominable sin. Besides, the earnest in his efforts was endearing.
Church on a Wednesday evening was a very different place than it was on a Saturday. Music still played overhead but not as loudly. Small groups of people sat at tables that had appeared on the edge of the dance floor, which was empty except for a couple who looked like they were in their mid-40s laughing and waltzing around.
“Can I get you anything?” Blaine asked, making an immediate beeline for the bar.
“Just a Coke.”
“… and Jack?”
“Just Coke. I’m not going to drink tonight.”
Sebastian shrugged. “I don’t need to drink every time I go out,” he said defensively.
“No. No, of course not. I’ll get Cokes for the both of us. Do you want to,” he gestured at the tables and breathed out when Sebastian went off to go claim one.
The evening picked up as it went along. Around 10:30, the music got turned up and more people took to the dance floor.
“Shall we?” He asked, standing up and holding out his hand to Sebastian.
If he were honest, they had spent most of the night flirting and he found himself just needing a couple minutes to get up and cool down.
Dancing, as it turned out, was not the trick to cooling down. Not when Sebastian was moving like that and dancing closer and closer to Blaine. He couldn’t stop himself from reaching out to touch, not quite grinding up against Sebastian but close, until Sebastian took him by his hand and spun him away.
“Come with me,” Sebastian said, not letting go of his hand. He lead Blaine away from the floor and past the bar, down a hallway that Blaine had never noticed before. It ended at a door which looked like it lead outside but they didn’t make it that far, instead they stopped halfway down the hall in front of a blank stretch of wall.
“See? This is okay. It’s okay,” Sebastian said, stepping closer to Blaine and trapping him against the wall, “for you to want me.” Gently, his knee slid ever-so-slowly between Blaine’s and it took all of Blaine’s willpower to not rock his hips against it.
Blaine’s eyes darted to Sebastian’s lips, which were barely an inch away from him, before fluttering closed. He could recall the taste and feel of them and being so close and yet so far was like torture.
“It’s okay,” Sebastian said again. He spoke soft and low, but not like he was speaking to a skittish animal, like he was speaking to a lover. “You’re allowed to want me.”
Blaine's eye snapped open as the leg between his shifted. He was torn between wanting to run away and he wanted to stay exactly where he was forever.
“I know,” he gasped. “I know.”
And then Sebastian’s lips were crashing into his own and he had never felt so desperate for anything in his life before. It should have been embarrassing how little finesse he was putting into the kiss but Sebastian didn’t seem to care if the way he kept pressing in was any indication, his fingers gripping Blaine’s wrist so hard it almost hurt.
Pulling back, Sebastian panted, “Say it.” His looked as wrecked as Blaine felt and Blaine wanted nothing more then to be kissing him again, but when he tried to chase after him Sebastian just pinned him to the wall with his hips and leaned back further. “Say it. I want to hear you say it.”
Blaine felt dazed and unbalanced and it took a second for him to even realize what Sebastian was talking about.
“It’s okay. It’s okay,” he chanted. “I’m allowed to want you.”
It was easy enough to say there, in a dingy back hallway of a gay bar. He was glad that Sebastian had asked him not to drink because saying it aloud and saying it sober felt profound. Felt like it might actually be the truth.
“I’m allowed to want you,” he repeated. Repetition to make it stick.
Sebastian kissed him again.