Sebastian is in over his head and even Kurt, who still hates the guy, feels compelled to try and help him. Except Kurt isn't equipped to deal with drinking, drugs and a Sebastian who seems too damaged to repair.
Kurt has been in New York for three months when he runs into Sebastian at the drugs store. Kurt is there to pick up some lip balm and vitamins on his way back the NYADA dorms. He continues to find new places to explore in New York everyday – from designer clothes stores to his local bank – and there is still a little thrill every time he enters an unfamiliar place. He can't get enough of New York. He and his roommate, Andrew, just sit at night and talk about the cool things they saw that day. Andrew is from Minnesota and finds the whole city as incredible as Kurt.
The drugstore may not be particularly glamorous, but nevertheless Kurt looks with fascination through the wide range of products lining the walls - band-aids with different Disney characters on them, hand-cream that smells like honey and endless different flavours of condoms. He is so busy taking it all in that he wouldn't have seen Sebastian if he hadn't heard the other boys voice at the counter. Kurt turns, surprised, sure he must be mistaken.
'Do you have, like, five more of these?'
The tall boy is holding up a packet of painkillers, voice edgy and frustrated. Kurt, peering out from behind a display of hair dye, is completely stunned. Sebastian in New York. Sebastian wearing jeans and hoodie. Sebastian….just Sebastian. Kurt ducks back out to sight.
At times, Kurt has very briefly wondered what happened to Sebastian after he threw that slushie at Blaine. Sebastian left Dalton quickly after the incident and Kurt has never asked where he went. The guy is an utter bastard and as long as he stays away from Blaine, Kurt doesn't care if he moved to Peru. Blaine never brings him up.
Now, nine months later, he is standing ten feet away from him in New York. Kurt quickly makes a decision to say hello – because this is an opportunity to throw it in Sebastian's stupid meerkat face that, yes, he is still with Blaine and, yes, he lives in New York now. Plus, it will make a funny story to tell Blaine.
'Sebastian Smythe, is that really you?' says Kurt in a cheery voice, walking out from behind the display and up to Sebastian. He notices the tension that jumps through Sebastian's form and when the other boy turns around, his eyes clearly betray his shock.
Kurt takes him in quickly. Lose jeans and faded green hoodie, hair sitting over his eyes, mouth closed tightly. He looks tired, thin, but still undeniably striking.
'Hummel,' says Sebastian, tucking his change for the painkillers into his back pocket. 'Can I help you with something?'
A little taken aback by Sebastian's terse reply, Kurt keeps staring at him. Sebastian does not look well. He is so far removed from his clean, pressed Dalton uniform and if it weren't for his voice, Kurt probably never would have recognised him. Kurt doesn't let Sebastian see his unease.
'You know, just keeping out the local area. I just moved here. Going to NYADA. Nice to see a familiar face.'
Kurt fills with word 'nice' with as much sarcasm as he can. The slight narrowing of Sebastian's eyes shows he'd picked it up. Kurt braces himself for a scathing reply.
'Yeah, nice. Good to see you're living every little girls dream. Just got to find some rich old man to make an honest woman out of you.'
Previously, such comments would have make Kurt fill up with indignant rage. Now, though, it is hard to take Sebastian seriously.
'Ouch,' replies Kurt with a little smirk. 'Anyway, I'll tell Blaine you say hello. I'm sure he won't care, but hey, I'm the sentimental type.'
The attendant behind the counter is watching with an awkward expression. The tension humming between them is obvious and making her uncomfortable. Not wanting to make anymore of a scene – and confidant that he's rubbed Sebastian's face in his success – Kurt gives the taller boy his best condescending smile.
'So good to see you, Sebastian. Take care.'
Sebastian just watches silently as Kurt turns and walks towards the door. He feels a rush of success, a sense of atonement for all those times he let Sebastian get to him.
The door opens in front of Kurt and a small muscled man enters. Kurt automatically moves aside to let him pass, the man strides purposefully into the shop. Kurt is in the doorway when he hears a gasp of pain and glances back to see the man is gripping Sebastian's wrist tightly, glaring at him with enough anger to causes Kurt to wince even from the other side of the store. Kurt is frozen, wanting to leave as quickly as possible, but also completely struck by the fear painted over Sebastian's face.
He looks scared, with his teeth clenched and breathing heavy. He doesn't try to pull away, though, just let's the man squeeze his wrist until Kurt imagines the bones rubbing together.
'Hurry up, you little shit,' the man says lowly and shoves Sebastian towards the door.
They move past Kurt, who has moved back into the shop. Sebastian is staring determinedly at the ground; mouth tight with anxiety, hands stuffed into the pockets on his hoodie. Kurt looks away when the other man goes past, his own heart thumping in his chest, fear racing through his nerves. The door closes behind them and Kurt lets out a deep breath.
Okay, he thinks to himself, heart still beating hard. Okay. That was intense.
The whole event only took about ten seconds, but it leaves Kurt feeling shaky. That guy had just reeked of rage and violence. He may of only been in New York three months, but Kurt is smart enough to know the type of people to stay away from. And clearly this man knows Sebastian, knows him and… what? Shoves him and swears at him? Scares Sebastian enough that he doesn't talk back?
Kurt thinks it over as he walks back to his dorm. It's like everything else he'd been planning to do today is dimmed by the look on Sebastian's face when the man was holding his wrist. Kurt tries to remember anything else he had noticed about Sebastian.
Sure, he looked wiped out. Pale and tired. His clothes were old, certainly not something Kurt would expect ever to be worn by an ex-Dalton Academy student. And – this only occurs to Kurt as he is putting his key into the lock of his door – Sebastian is Blaine's age. He's still in school, or at least he should be. He might be going to school in New York, but that doesn't feel right. The whole thing doesn't feel right.
Without even really thinking about it, Kurt sits down on his bed and calls Blaine.
'Hi gorgeous,' says Blaine when he picks up and Kurt can just about see the big grin on his face. He sounds so happy.
Kurt isn't sure what to say. Hi baby, you remember Sebastian, right? You know, that guy that turned your best friends against you and then put you in hospital. I know we both kinda hate him, but I ran into him today. He looked like shit. I think he's in trouble and I don't know what to do. I think I should probably try and help him, but I'm not sure how. I don't even know where he is. Plus, he's still a total dick. But anyway, how was your day?
Instead, Kurt run a face over his face and tries to sounds cheerful.
'Hey yourself. Have you seen the new episode of White Collar yet?'
Even as Blaine replies, Kurt realises that this is something he's going to do alone. Although he doesn't know where to start.