disclaimer: without prejudice. the names of all characters contained here-in are the property of FOX and Ryan Murphy. no infringements of these copyrights are intended, and are used here without permission.
author's notes: written for blainedarling : )
A Brand New Way of Seeing;;
The music plays too loud for the gentle rap to carry across the room, but Oscar barks before he runs for the door and starts pawing at the handle, cueing him in on his boyfriend's arrival. He stands up, takes two steps to his left, a half turn, and makes a straight line for the door–he pulls Oscar back by the collar.
"Now I know why you never get your doorbell fixed."
Oscar licks at his fingers. "I keep forgetting."
The door closes behind Sebastian, paper grocery bags crackling in his embrace. "I can make a call if you want." Sebastian presses a quick kiss to his cheek, before making his way into the kitchen, his footsteps dragging over the rug until they hit tile. He follows close behind, four steps and a right turn, hearing Sebastian release a sigh once he deposits the groceries on the counter.
"Did you find everything okay?" he asks, taking another few steps forward, and unloads some of the vegetables. He'd suggested Sebastian come pick him up so they could go shopping together, but Sebastian assured him that if he made a list of everything they'd need he could get it on the way over; this was his night, and he would make it special for him in every way possible.
"Right down to your favorite brand of tiramisu," Sebastian answers, the fridge opening and closing. "Though I never realized exactly how many kinds of pasta there are. I hope you don't mind I got tagliatelle instead of fettuccine."
"You what?" His face falls. "Sebastian, I said–"
"I'm kidding," Sebastian hushes softly, sidling his body in closer–arms wind around his waist and beckon him closer, and he goes willingly, reaching his arms up around Sebastian's shoulders.
"You shouldn't joke around with me like that."
"Yeah? Why's that?"
He pouts. "I can't defend myself."
Sebastian laughs, his frame shaking against his. "You can defend yourself just fine, blind man."
Any retort he might've managed drowns inside a kiss, Sebastian's lips parting his with a few soft nips, tongue licking into his mouth, and soon all the sound gets blotted out by the thunderous drumming of his own heartbeat, Sebastian's pitter-pattering alongside it.
He could pick out Sugar's raspy voice in any crowd, including the bustling student population at Callbacks. It reaches from somewhere at the front door all the way to the back, where Sam and Tina sit to his right, Rachel and Jesse opposite them.
"Hey, guys!" Sugar knocks into the table. "This is my friend from business class," she says, introducing a person he presumes stands by her side but chooses to remain silent for the time being. Judging by the stunned silence no one expected Sugar to have company. "Sebastian, this is Rachel and Jesse, Sam and Tina. And this is Blaine."
He meets with more silence, until Sugar takes hold of his left arm. "Blaine, this is Sebastian," she says, and he's known Sugar long enough to notice there's more behind the introduction than her intent on making him feel included.
But he's nothing if not polite. "It's nice to meet you, Sebastian," he says, and holds out a hand.
More silence follows.
Then disconcerted whispers.
Then the distinct sound of Sugar kicking Sebastian in the shins.
"Sugar did mention I was blind, right?"
He hopes his carefree tone can break the ice. Why Sugar suddenly decided to bring a friend to his standing Friday night set wasn't too big a mystery to unravel. It wouldn't be the first time one of his friends tried to set him up.
"Because I'm going to need a hand," he adds, and wriggles his fingers in emphasis.
Thankfully, a laugh follows, soon accompanied by nervous laughter from the others, and a hand forms around his. "I'm sorry." Sebastian has a firm handshake, hand bigger than his but long lean fingers cool to the touch. "It's nice to meet you too."
Soon after the kitchen fills with the scent of fresh vegetables, tomatoes and paprika, onions and mushrooms, all complimented with herbs from the tiny garden Tina tends to on her balcony, basil and sage mixing together throughout the apartment. His mom taught him how to cook from a young age, teaching him to wield knives carefully, familiarizing him with scents and textures that stimulated his tactile sense.
He'd tasked Sebastian with cutting the bread and grating the cheese and overseeing everything once he was done with the vegetables, and Sebastian was all too happy to comply. Since they started dating he's learned a trick or two, but Sebastian still preferred cooking for the two of them, with him closeby to put out any potential fires.
"Are you staring at me?" he asks, Sebastian's side of the kitchen suspiciously silent. He never minds becoming aware that Sebastian's looking at him, there's an element of flattery to it he's started associating with Sebastian–his boyfriend manages to surprise him at every turn.
"I'm staring at parts of you." Sebastian whistles. "Are those new chinos, killer?"
His cheeks heat up. "You're shameless."
"He stared at you all night," Sugar says, the hangers on the clothing rack clicking metallically along the metal bar as she picks through shirts; he needs new clothes and Sugar's the only one he trusts to shop for him.
"I'll take your word for it."
"I'm sorry he hesitated before shaking your hand." Sugar shoves something into his arms, trousers he guesses, his cane folded neatly together in his hand. "I swear I mentioned you were blind."
"Did you tell him you were setting him up?" he asks, fully aware there's rarely any rhyme or reason to Sugar's schemes. If Sebastian knew, he didn't show it, though they didn't get a lot of time to talk amongst themselves.
Sugar clutches a hand around one of his wrists. "I may have left out that part. Stay here," –she changes gears as fast as ever– "I spotted a pair of loafers with your name written all over them."
He smiles, left to his own devices for a while, but he's familiar enough with the shop's layout to move about freely. He had a nice time with Sebastian, in as far as that was possible with all his friends there and Sugar demanding their attention. But Sebastian was an easy conversationalist, if not more forward and flirtatious than any boy he'd ever met.
It didn't feel spontaneous though, not with Sugar mediating all the time, and there'd been more than a few awkward silences. Sugar even suggested they exchange phone numbers in case they wanted to see each other again. Still, he would never get to know anyone without at least trying, so they'd agreed to meet up for coffee sometime, just the two of them.
"You think I'm in his league?" he asks once Sugar returns to usher him to the dressing rooms.
"Well, he's definitely on your team."
He laughs, but along with the security Sebastian represents another sensation settles deep in the pit of his stomach. They've been planning this for a long time, today, tonight, and every single cell in his body wants this, he's never been more certain of anything–but he can't help the flutter in his pulse whenever he thinks it through.
Tonight, he'll lose his virginity to a boy he loves. And he's sort of terrified too.
Sebastian's hands land on his shoulders, his nose nuzzling at his curls. "Are you nervous?"
He wipes his hands down his apron to give himself something to do; Sebastian exudes confidence in so many aspects of his life, and his physicality was no different, which proved more than a little intimidating when they started dating. He was in no sense a prude, he knew the ins and outs of sex as well as the next healthy guy, but it took a lot of time for him to be comfortable enough around someone to also have a physical relationship, which seemed odd given how much he relied on touch as a means of communication.
He turns around, hands drawing a path down Sebastian's chest. "A little," he answers, because honesty seems most important in this situation. "But before you say that we don't have to do this, I know that. But I want this. I love you and I trust you, and I want to share this with you."
It took a while for him to get here, for his body to catch up to his heart and let this strong desire for Sebastian sink into every nook and crevice–they've been dating for six months, and they made out like teenagers with nothing to lose, they'd fooled around quite a bit and felt each other up, Sebastian had cradled that desire with great care and nursed it patiently until he was ready.
These past few weeks it's all he's been able to think about, bare himself for the first time ever, expose himself body and soul and surrender to Sebastian's touch, share something with him he wouldn't give anyone else.
"Say something," he whispers.
Sebastian bumps his nose to his. "I don't need to."
And no, he doesn't need to say anything, the first time he brought it up Sebastian's reaction came so illegible he feared they'd break up. It took days to peel back Sebastian's protective layers one by one, question his reticence because this was clearly where their relationship was headed, and he couldn't figure out what caused the sudden rift.
Until the day Sebastian ended up on his doorstep and opened with "Why me?", why not Cillian or Aiden, who he dated for much longer, how had he saved this part of himself for the right person and then decide that person was him? They talked and talked and talked, he'd neglected Sebastian's insecurities in favor of his own, but if they planned on getting anywhere they needed to communicate about this stuff.
It ended up bringing them much closer together.
"I can't see faces, Sebastian," he says, his legs sprawled over Sebastian's lap, Sebastian's arms securely around his waist. "I don't see bodies or clothes, no eyes or smiles. But I hear things and I feel things. I know you laugh at me every time I get smart with someone. When I'm done with my set you cheer louder than anyone else."
He places a hand over Sebastian's heart. "You've changed for me. You touch me and you talk to me. You see me. And you've found a way for me to be able to see you."
Sebastian draws in a breath, "When you put it that way–"
He digs his index finger in Sebastian's chest. "I'm serious."
"So am I," Sebastian says, caressing a hand up his thigh while the other rests warmly on his back. "I'm serious about you."
He leans in and finds Sebastian's lips without much difficulty, and soon they sink into a rhythm they've learned all too well, the dance of lips and tongues and teeth, hands roaming far and wide, breaths stolen in between kisses.
Sometimes he thinks that of all the boys he dated Sebastian struggled with his blindness the most; Sebastian was physical but not immediately prone to intimacy, he talked easily but didn't communicate his feelings. It could've been enough to drive them apart, he can't stand silences in his distance from people and he needs touch to balance out what his eyes don't pick up.
Yet of all the boys he's dated Sebastian never made him feel like there was something wrong with him; he's always hyper aware, always accounts for his presence, makes sure to face him when he's speaking to him, describes obstacles rather than take his arm and steer him around it.
He met Cillian at fifteen at the pet shop where he bought Oscar–Cillian was a year older but had a high pitchy voice, soft hands, and insisted he still had to lose his baby weight. Cillian liked that he was blind, that he couldn't see his spots or crooked teeth, his self-conscious attitude bleeding into their daily interaction. They never held hands where anyone could see, didn't kiss in public, there was even one time Cillian pretended not to know him at all. It didn't take him long to work out Cillian wasn't the boy for him.
At eighteen, a few weeks after he made it to New York, he met Aiden, a shy twenty-year old art student. Aiden often talked for him as if he couldn't say it himself, ordered food or drinks because he couldn't read the menu but never consulted him first. Even after letting out his frustration Aiden continued along those same lines–he never pointed out his blindness, never even seemed that bothered by it, but his unease proved internalized and incorrigible, and he refused to live like that.
His parents never treated him like he had a handicap, and he never felt at a disadvantage, it was the world at large that decided he lacked something that made him a fully functioning member of society. So he surrounded himself with people who saw him for his talents, who appreciated his diligent work ethic and his personality, his music and his easygoing nature–and now he had a boyfriend to match.
He and Sebastian settled into a rhythm–six months isn't that long but he enjoyed a particular kind of closeness and Sebastian happily obliged. They had their own way of talking to each other, they spent more time at his place at first because Sebastian still had to learn to keep his apartment clutter free, and when they were together Sebastian never strayed far from his side.
Sebastian considered his needs as much as he tried to give Sebastian the space he wanted.
That's why it needed to be Sebastian.
"Would you like to go out with me sometime?"
His fingers skid to a halt over the word 'extraordinary', the raised dots momentarily indiscernible from the rest of the page. He and Sebastian had sat in relative silence while the rest of the coffee shop bustled around them; Sebastian worked on an important assignment and he read a science-fiction novel Cooper had found in braille.
Now he wonders if Sebastian had been staring at him, feeling his fingertips over the comfortable silence they've grown accustomed to, reading it, analyzing it, until finally he found the courage to say something.
"And I'm not asking because of Sugar."
"I'd love to," the words spill out like they've been living inside of him all along, lying in wait, encompassing the hope that he wasn't delusional and Sebastian felt the same way–the dots beneath his fingers mystifyingly spell out It's about time.
After dinner and the dishes they head for the sofa–he turns on some music and lies back with his feet in Sebastian's lap, while Sebastian watches a basketball game on mute. Somewhere around half time Sebastian starts rubbing his feet and he closes his eyes, sinking deeper and deeper into his boyfriend's warmth and care, and not for the first time his heart seems too big for his chest.
Every now and then Sebastian's body tenses up; he's not the most fanatical or loudest sports fan, but he does get worked up, and over the past few months it's been an absolute marvel to try and decipher Sebastian's reactions.
"Why are you smiling?"
He wriggles his toes. "I like feeling your body react when you're watching sports."
A smile ruffles the air, Sebastian breathing a soft, "Get over here," before tickling his feet.
He pulls his feet back with a squeal. "I don't want to interrupt your game."
"I'm not really interested in the game," Sebastian says and moves himself; he opens his legs and lets Sebastian settle between them.
There's no more thinking involved after that; Sebastian licks a wet line over his lips and he sags back in the couch cushions, secure under the weight of his boyfriend's body. Only their legs and torsos touch, Sebastian careful not to rush anything or push him too far, and he loves how Sebastian takes the time for this, slowly winds him up with the gentle push-pull of his lips and tongue, lazy kisses while one of his hands deftly ventures underneath his shirt, soothing over worries and insecurity.
Every little touch serves its purpose, the more skin Sebastian charts the more turned on he gets, his body a livewire about to create sparks should he touch Sebastian, their kisses more heated by the minute. Their heavy breathing fills up the room and as Sebastian's hand travels towards the small of his back his hips struggle to remain still.
Sebastian's mouth marks a path down his neck, his chest heaving while an itch travels down his body, raising goosebumps all over–what if Sebastian could read those, what if Sebastian could trace his fingers over his skin and read his desire embossed on his body. They wouldn't even need any words.
Sebastian slows down. "You're still sure about this?"
"Absolutely." He licks his lips, his mouth too dry. Sebastian pulls back and he practically feels his boyfriend's eyes on him; his heart skips a beat. "You're–You're not?"
"I am," Sebastian answers immediately, "One hundred percent. I just need some time to set things up."
He swallows hard. "What things?" His insecurities gain too much power; it's hard for him not to hear hesitation or even rejection when a silence lapses from mere seconds into long drawn-out moments–is Sebastian trying to stop this? Is this his way of saying they made a mistake or he doesn't want this with him?
"Relax, it's a surprise." Sebastian presses a long and lingering kiss to his lips, tingling with both excitement and dread. "Five minutes?"
He nods, "Okay," even though the sudden absence of Sebastian's body leaves him lonely and nervous. Before he has the opportunity to freak out, though, Sebastian runs a thumb down his cheek, the touch sign language to a blind man, instantly reassuring.
They didn't always have this kind of intimacy. When his heart stuttered the first teaser of a deeper love for Sebastian he grew mindful of how Sebastian never touched him. They were friends and they talked, went out to movies or met up with friends, but whereas Sam or Tina squeezed his arm whenever they left the table, Sebastian never did the same.
"I don't want to freak you out," Sebastian explained, the table between them shaking as if it were the taller's nerves made flesh. "You can't see it."
He smiled and reached for Sebastian's hand across the void, astounded by how few words Sebastian needs to make his concerns for him known. "I can't see it. That's why I need this." His fingers curled around Sebastian's hand. "It lets me know someone's there."
"More than sound?"
Silence falls, but he's deaf to the footsteps around, the bell above the front door, baristas barking orders; Sebastian hasn't let go of his hand, the mood distilled into contemplation–he wishes more than ever he had some way of reading Sebastian's mind.
"It's different." He shrugs, shoulders tense with a quiet he hasn't learned to decipher yet. "When someone talks I'll know they're there, but when someone touches me it's like they're really saying Hi, I'm here. And I see you. It makes me feel more present."
Three minutes later Sebastian returns, simply taking hold of his hands and leading him into the bedroom, silence complicating the space between them. "What have you got planned?" his mouth hazards the question, feet grazing over the threshold to his bedroom, Sebastian's fingers playfully wedged between his.
Sebastian smiles, a sound he's learned to discern all too well. "Take a guess."
Just then a fresh scent catches his attention, one he never associated with his bedroom before. "Candles?" he asks, flowers his second thought.
"I know you can't see them, so I picked some scented ones."
He has no frame of reference of how it might look, how the flames dance and cast shadows on the walls, but the thought that Sebastian put effort into making this special for both of them unknots some of the tension stringing together inside his chest.
"Where are they?"
Sebastian whispers "Everywhere," and takes his hand in his, guiding him through the room, hovering his hand over formations of candles on the cupboard by the wall, by the window, and the bedside table–each time the heat of the flame sinks into the palm of his hand until it's nestled underneath his skin, making a small home for itself where his skin meets Sebastian's and their fingers wire together again.
He turns around, safe and secure in Sebastian's arms, and breaks the silence heedlessly, "Did you–?"
"Don't worry," Sebastian hushes, fingers tracing from his temple down his cheek, a thumb gently caressing over his lips. "I didn't move anything. And I'll clean up in the morning."
"Sorry." He giggles, while he settles sweaty palms over Sebastian's hips. "Force of habit."
If Sebastian's annoyed he doesn't show it, his other hand follows an identical path down his face, while he pushes a kiss where his eye meets the bridge of his nose; it tickles, but when another kiss follows a little lower, and then another, he gets lost in the sensation, senselessly losing his edges, spilling over into Sebastian.
"I love you," he says, unprompted, but he lies cradled in Sebastian's arms who has his lips pressed up to his temple. They had the perfect night out, dinner at a new restaurant followed by a performance of Elliott's new band. Now Sebastian watched some subtitled foreign film while he listened to some music, Oscar curled around his feet, their silence warm and nurturing.
Sebastian's arms tighten around him. "You're in luck, killer," he teases, breath hot to the shell of his ear. "I love you too."
His worries dissipate like ice exposed to the sun; Sebastian's lips dapple constellations of kisses all over his face and down his neck, star charts to newly explored regions, and every nerve ending in his body seems to come to life, screaming, crawling skin-deep, tumbling eyes-closed into uncharted territory.
"Can I–" Sebastian asks, tugging at one of the buttons on his shirt.
He bites his lower lip and nods, acutely aware of his shallow breathing as Sebastian unbuttons his shirt. He's always feared this part, what if his boyfriend doesn't like what he sees, what if Sebastian locks it all inside again and he'll be forced to pry it out of him? Or worse, what if he sucks at this, what if he needs a working set of eyes to make this truly special, to connect, to share an intimacy that scares him far more than he's willing to admit?
His shirt hits the floor, and he stops breathing.
Sebastian cups his cheek and kisses his forehead.
Hi, I'm here.
And I see you.
"If you're not ready–"
"I am ready." The conviction sounds as true as his love for Sebastian. "I am ready," he whispers.
Sebastian captures his mouth in a kiss, tongue licking over the roof of his mouth; his knees tremble a little and his head spins, parts of him unlocking he can't identify–but Sebastian has this way with him no braille could ever code.
He reaches down and grabs around the hem of Sebastian's shirt, pulling it over his head. Tentatively, as if Sebastian's made of glass he touches his fingers to Sebastian's chest; he's done so before, when their groping on the couch grew more heated and his hands became uncontainably warm and he just had to touch Sebastian wherever he could.
He smiles when he reads Sebastian's goosebumps underneath the tips of his fingers; he makes a mental note to ask Sebastian where all his freckles are located later.
"You're here with me, right?" he asks, one last reassurance before he surrenders, lets Sebastian have all of him, touch all of him, see all of him.
"I'm here," Sebastian whispers, voice dipping low and heavy and it tells him all he needs to know. "I'm right here. There's nowhere I'd rather be."
"Does it bother you?" he asks. "That I can't look at you?"
Sebastian's pause comes telltale when he takes hold of his hand, plays with his fingers in the hopes that his hesitation and careful answer to follow won't seem too construed. After long drawn-out moments have passed he expects a negation, a simple 'no' the past has proven a lie time and time again, yet when Sebastian speaks, his words have been calculated and measured. But they're by no means a lie.
"It just takes some getting used to."
He's not sure how it's possible, how every single decision he's ever taken made him deserve this boy, in this moment, all hard edges and soft words, all nimble fingers and hot lips, all love and care and everything in between.
But he sees all of Sebastian.
Not a week later they'll rehash the same conversation, Sebastian's silence still undecipherable without the proper key, but this time around Sebastian makes an observation, rather than an assessment– "You have different ways of letting me know you see me."
It's the day he learns that Sebastian might chose his words as carefully as anyone else does–but he's accounting for a new kind of vocabulary in service of their relationship.
His fingertips memorize every curve of Sebastian's body, his hipbones carved unmistakably into his skin, the ever so gentle slope up to his bellybutton, the flats of his abdomen, right up to the curve of his collarbone–he maps and graphs every inch of his boyfriend he can reach and then some, having long since reached below the surface too.
One of Sebastian's arms rests beneath his head, and the silence codes nothing but their complete ease with each other, the inhale-exhale of their bodies, now inextricably tied together. He could spend hours-days-years just like this, in the knowledge he's exactly where he needs to be, with exactly the right person, in the exact fated moment in time.
He pushes a kiss to whatever patch of skin his lips can reach. "What are you thinking?"
The drag of Sebastian's fingers over his shoulder leaves goosebumps in its wake. "You're my blind spot, Blaine Anderson."
And something happens in the stillness between them, settles featherlike somewhere his heart must be, because a storm starts in his chest, beating rampant around a feeling he thought would pass him by. Warmth spreads in his cheeks and down his chest. "That's the sweetest thing anyone has ever said to me."
"Really?" Sebastian asks, his usual snark peeking through walls he'd so painstakingly deconstructed. "The sweetest? Because I seem to recall–"
He pinches Sebastian's side, silencing him instantly. "Don't ruin the moment."
Hugging his body closer, Sebastian wraps his arms tighter around him. "I'm your blind spot," he muses, eyelids fluttering shut, sleep luring him away.
"Blaine–" Sebastian starts, fingers touching tentatively at his cheek.
"Don't say it," he begs, his lips tingling at the thought alone; don't say it, don't ask, not this time, he wants this moment the way everyone else does, the anticipation and the slight fear that it won't even happen, the sweaty palms and impatient rise on tiptoe.
And anything that might have left them both confused dissipates the moment Sebastian's lips touch his. It doesn't matter that he can't see, that he doesn't know Sebastian's face the way that others do, he'll trace its outlines and know it more intimately than anyone else.
He's never been at a disadvantage, least of all now.
"I'm sorry," he says, even though he's not. He's really not.
Sebastian kisses his hair. "Don't be."
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