A/N: Written for the Glee Collage Fest day 2 Prompt 'Extreme Weather'. Warning for angst, anxiety.
It wasn't supposed to rain.
The meteorologists on five out of seven news channels swore by it.
Well, 20% chance of rain was precisely what they said, which meant 80% chance of sunshine.
All morning the sky was cloudless and clear, with the crisp chill of autumn's bite in the swirling wind. The air felt dry and heavy, but that was usually the way of fall weather in New York.
But the deceptively blue sky and its accompanying sunshine turned out to be the calm. As soon as noon hit, the sky darkened, and with less warning than a crack of lightning and a ground-shaking boom of thunder, rain began to pummel the pavement. People scattered like ants abandoning a doomed hill, racing for the safety of available door hangs and empty stairwells to wait out the rain or to call a cab.
Both men reached the awning at the same time, running at it blindly from different directions – the smallest green and white striped awning covering the narrowest window of a bakery on 5th Avenue.
Both men collided beneath the shelter, crashing bodily into one another, and an argument ensued.
"Uh, this is my hiding place."
"No, it's not. It's mine. I got here first."
"I beg to differ."
"Beg all you want, princess. It only gets me hot."
"Ewww! Does that usually work for you?"
"Nine times out of ten."
"Then just call me Mr. Ten."
"Hello, Mr. Ten. My name's Sebastian."
"Lovely to meet you. Now can you kindly get out from under my awning? My Forzieri suede shoes are getting ruined."
"Not a chance," Sebastian said, standing his ground. The wind changed direction, blowing the rain horizontal and soaking the two of them despite the protection of the awning. "Well, that sucks."
"Yeah, well, I wouldn't be getting wet if you would just leave." Mr. Ten huddled closer to the smooth brick wall of the building behind them. He pulled his coat tighter around him, shivering in his damp clothes.
"But then I would get wet," Sebastian argued, happy to have someone to match wits with until the weather stopped.
"That's not my concern," the man growled – an almost wild sounding, animalistic growl.
That sound definitely could get Sebastian hot, if he wasn't currently getting soaked through several thousands of dollars' worth of designer clothing.
Sebastian turned to properly confront the obnoxious man crowding him out of his shelter. The man stood as close to the building as a human being could get without physically becoming one with the wall. He hunched over within the confines of his coat, but from what Sebastian could tell, the man was only an inch or two shorter than him. His brown hair hung down in his face, clumped against his forehead, resembling a flat, drowned animal. He had the collar of his coat popped, shielding his mouth and nose from the cold, but Sebastian could still catch a glimpse here and there of the man's pale skin, reddened by the icy spray of water. The man felt himself being examined and flicked his eyes up to meet Sebastian's.
Sebastian met the man's eyes and couldn't help himself from staring. His eyes fascinated Sebastian. As the man turned his face to get a good look at Sebastian, his eyes seemed to change color in the light – from frosty blue to stormy grey, surrounding a ring of yellow-green and over-wide, black pupils.
The man had enough of being stared at like a sideshow oddity and scowled in warning. When Sebastian refused to move, the man bumped him with his hip.
"Ouch!" Sebastian yowled. "Fuck you and your sharp hip bones!"
"Leave!" the man demanded.
"You know, you're kind of a bitch," Sebastian sneered.
"I've been called that by more interesting people than you."
Lightning split the sky right above them and the man's eyes flew open wide. The thunder boomed overhead, shaking the awning, setting off alarms in the cars nearby. It was so tremendously jarring that Sebastian actually jumped.
"Jesus Christ!" he yelled, covering his ears with his palms a second too late and wincing when they started ringing. "What the fuck kind of storm…"
He turned to the intruder behind him once again, but the man was curled into the wall, his face hidden, his shoulders trembling.
"You're not scared of a little thunder are you?" he teased, but the man didn't acknowledge the comment at all. Sebastian figured his ears were ringing, too. Sebastian's ears wouldn't seem to stop ringing. "Hey," he said, putting a hand to the man's shoulder and pulling his face out of hiding. "I said…"
"I heard what you said!" the man screamed, his voice shaking, his entire body tight with fear. When he snapped his eyes up to stare Sebastian down, Sebastian could see that he had started crying.
Normally this was just the kind of weakness Sebastian would exploit to win an argument – or in this case, an awning. He wasn't a corporate attorney for nothing – but something about the way this man stared up at him, eyes filled with anger, but also crowded with a deep standing fear, struck a chord and Sebastian found himself softening.
"Hey," Sebastian said, leaning against the wall beside his adversary, "what's the matter?"
"N-nothing's the matter," the man stuttered, shivering with more than cold. "A lot of people don't like lightning and thunder. That's not weird."
"You're right," Sebastian agreed. "That's not weird. But most people don't freak out quite this badly."
"I'm not most people," the man hissed, and Sebastian was startled by exactly how much of a hiss the sound was.
"Obviously." Sebastian moved closer to get a better look at the man burrowed in the coat. Sebastian peered at his skin – dark freckles sparsely spattered across his skin…but not skin, not completely. It was pale and fine - downy in texture. It didn't cover his skin completely, which gave him a mottled appearance.
When the next fork of lightning flashed and the man's pupils narrowed to vertical slit, Sebastian knew for sure.
"You're a …"
"Shhh!" Mr. Ten stopped Sebastian before he could say the word. "Yes, I am, but I would rather the whole frickin' world didn't know."
"How can they not know?" Sebastian asked, equally amused as he was confused. "Don't you have a tail beneath your coat? Or pointy ears?" Sebastian bent over to take a futile peek beneath the man's coat, but the man turned away.
"I don't have a tail," the man growled, but there was a smile somewhere in the rough, menacing sound. "And as for my ears…" He raised a hand, which Sebastian could see better now had long, pointed nails – not claws exactly, but longer and thicker than most human fingernails, and perfectly manicured – and brushed a lock of hair back from his face. The man didn't have the signature pyramid-pointed ears that most cat-hybrids (which Sebastian assumed this man was) had. His ears were only slightly pointed at the tips, and covered with a fine layer of fur like his face.
Sebastian found himself drawn to it. He wanted so much to touch it but he was sure that doing so would be committing some horrible hybrid faux pas.
"So…what kind…I mean, I know that's probably rude, but…" Sebastian frowned. He couldn't remember the last time he ruined a sentence that badly.
"I'm a lynx," the man said, opening the collar of his coat a bit and loosening a scarf that hid underneath. Sebastian caught a peek of a few dark spots marking up a larger expanse of soft, pale fur. Sebastian swallowed lightly at the pattern the spots made, how delicate and oddly enticing they looked, as if they were carefully painted across his skin. "I have a recessive gene. It's very rare, but that's why I look more human than other hybrids you might have seen."
The man covered the spots back up, tying the scarf tight and closing the neck of his coat. Sebastian missed them immediately.
He wondered if those spots dipped down below this man's collar…and how far they traveled beneath.
"So, do all hybrids hate extreme weather?" Sebastian asked, relaxing against the wall, but also pulling back to give the man more room beneath the awning.
"I'm not sure," the man said, leaning against the wall beside Sebastian. "From what I hear, yes, but I have different reasons."
"Might I ask what those reasons are?" Sebastian ventured.
The man raised an eyebrow.
"That sounds kind of like a second date revelation, don't you think?" he said smoothly.
Was this hybrid-lynx with the gorgeous storm blue eyes flirting with him?
Another crack of lightning, followed by a clap of thunder interrupted them, but from what Sebastian could tell the storm was passing them by. It didn't seem to matter to the hybrid-lynx, who ducked back into his coat and tried to make himself small beside Sebastian. Sebastian couldn't bear watching this man suffer any longer and circled his arms around him. It seemed like a compulsion – an instinct - to pull him into the safety of his coat.
They stood together awkwardly in this embrace. Sebastian ran a hand down the man's back and he went rigid, but he stopped shivering.
"Uh…thanks," his muffled voice issued from somewhere inside the coat. Sebastian chuckled.
"You're welcome," Sebastian said. "But if we're moving past the 'get out from under my awning, you asshole' stage and leaping straight to the cuddling stage, don't you think I should know your name?"
Sebastian felt the man hold his breath, but then he began to laugh, too.
"It's Kurt," he said, lifting his head up from Sebastian's coat. "My name's Kurt."
"Kurt?" Sebastian's face twisted into an almost disappointed frown. "Just Kurt?"
"Yes," Kurt said dryly, glowering in offense, "just Kurt."
Kurt stepped back, but Sebastian followed him, keeping him locked in his embrace. Kurt rolled his eyes, but he couldn't hide the smile on his lips.
"Really?" Sebastian continued. "Because there's another hybrid working in my office, and his name is Malacore. And there's one living in my building. Her name is Athena."
"So?" Kurt asked, crossing his arms beneath Sebastian's coat.
"So, I thought all hybrids had cool, mythological, comic book hero sounding names," Sebastian explained, a smirk curling the right corner of his mouth.
"Well, my name is Kurt, and you're just going to have to accept that."
He bit his lower lip, revealing slight, white fangs.
Sebastian's heart skipped.
"Fine," he huffed playfully. "But, can I call you Thor? Or Pendragon? You know, in private?"
Kurt shook his head and sighed, resting his damp forehead against Sebastian's shoulder.
"Oh, no," he said, wrapping his arms around Sebastian's waist and holding him tight. "What the hell have I gotten myself into? I'm stuck with you now, aren't I?"
"I'm afraid so," Sebastian affirmed. "But you know, you only have yourself to blame."
"I do?" Kurt raised his eyes to meet Sebastian's, the yellow-green ring surrounding Kurt's pupil overwhelming the blue-grey until his pupils shrank back to normal, and human-looking eyes returned to take their place.
"Yup," Sebastian said. "At any time you could have left my awning, and then none of this would have ever happened."
Kurt grinned wickedly and pinched Sebastian's side. Sebastian yelped appropriately, but when Kurt's nails grazed his flank over his shirt, something inside his chest burned hot.
Sebastian didn't want to let Kurt go, but he needed something else to pull his focus and give him an opportunity to cool down. The rain had settled from a torrent to a drizzle, and Sebastian turned his head left and right to get a better view of the neighborhood around them. He looked down the side of the building the rain had them pinned against, and laughed.
"Uh, Kurt? You do realize we're standing two feet from the front door of this bakery, don't you?"
Kurt peeked up and looked around Sebastian's body. Sure enough he could see another green and white striped awning, a larger one, shielding three steps and a glass door. Customers passed by, going in and out steadily, glancing at them with smiles or awww's. One woman carrying a white cake box tied in candy cane twine simply sighed with a fond grin on her face.
"Well, crap," he said, shaking out the legs of his sopping wet pants.
"I guess you ruined your shoes for nothing, huh?" Sebastian asked.
Kurt held on tighter and shook his head.
"Not for nothing," he said with a smile.
"Do you want to go inside and get a cup of coffee?" Sebastian asked. "My treat. It's the least I can do."
"The very least," he agreed, "but not just yet. I want to stand out here with you a little while longer."