My Dirty Little Secret
It took him awhile to notice.
On their third date, that's when he first saw it.
Tristan had sectioned off portions on his plate. He stared at each bite before he ate it, mouthing wordlessly, looking up as if he were counting.
It was harder to see when he ordered small meals and more noticeable when he spent the entire day with him. Small, tiny portions, constant mutterings of "no, darling, I'm not hungry, you go ahead" and "No, I just ate awhile ago. I'm alright" and the famous "I think I'm coming down with something. I'm not hungry."
The day after their date at the park, the day Tristan told him he loved him when they went to the lake, that's when he saw it. He wore a T-shirt into the water, white and tight. And when it got wet...
Sebastian saw how thin he was, truly how thin. The polos and sweaters over V-necks hid it so well, how bad it really was. And seeing this, seeing the undeniable signs of the love of his life starving himself, that's what did it.
"Tristan?" He said, looking at his body, worried half to death.
"Yes?" He said, shaking the water out of his hair, smiling.
He could see it now, the pain behind the smile, the pain in his eyes. Sebastian stepped closer to him, holding his waist, his own body wet. Tristan smirked. "Oh, you want attention? I can do that, come here." He leaned in to kiss him.
"No, Tristan, honey, listen. Why...why are you so...?" He whispered. Tristan looked at him, paling, terrified. "Tristan, you're so skinny, why?" He didn't answer, almost as if he couldn't answer.
"I...Sebastian..." He stammered, searching, looking around. Sebastian touched his cheek.
"Why? Why would you do this yourself?" He said gently, touching his cheek.
"Can we talk about this somewhere else?" He asked, swallowing. "Or...or when we're done here? We were supposed to have fun today, I don't want to ruin it."
Sebastian caught his lips in a gentle kiss, petting his hair. "We can come back tomorrow. That's the beautiful thing about lakes, it'll be right where we left it."
Tristan blinked rapidly. "Sebastian..."
"Let's go, darling. We can talk at my house."
They didn't speak until they arrived there. Tristan so solemn, and worried, wringing his hands.
Don't leave me, he prayed. Please, don't leave me, Sebastian. Please, don't...
"Okay," Sebastian said, sitting down beside him on the bed. "You want to tell me what's going on?"
"It just...happened. I saw all of these people around me and I felt..." He shook his head, raking his fingers through his hair. "I felt so..."
He stood slowly, peeling his shirt off, quivering. Sebastian looked at him, pain in his eyes.
So thin, fragile as a bird. He would have been pasty if not for his constant athletics, but he was certainly too pale. His chest and stomach showed muscles from those sports. His teammates probably wouldn't have asked, wouldn't have noticed. His mother...his mother was hardly home, hardly able to get a good look at him between her jobs, siblings too young to see.
Tristan looked in the mirror in front of him, tears in his eyes, glowering at himself. "You're so handsome, Sebastian. You're so gorgeous and perfect. I'm..."
He tugged at his skin, hard fingers and nails scraping over himself, loathing in his eyes. "Disgusting. I feel so putrid, so...huge, so worthless. Ugly, ugly Tristan with his stupid hair and his stupid freckles. Hideous boy that's never good enough. Never!" He bowed his head, shaking it. "This is what I see every day. Every time I pass anything where I can see myself, that's what I see."
Sebastian stood slowly, coming up behind him. He wrapped his arms around his waist, kissing between his shoulder. Tristan winced as he took his hands, prying them from their work at tearing his skin. "Stop, baby," he whispered. "Would you like to know what I see?" Tristan sniffed, giving no reply. "I see beauty. I see kindness and tenderness, gentleness that I've never seen in another human being before. You're wonderful. You are perfect, Tristan. Not me."
"I wish that helped," he breathed. "I want to stop, Sebastian. I don't want to feel this way anymore. I'm tired of hating myself so much."
Sebastian turned him around, hugging him to his chest. "There's things we can do. People we can go to to help you," he explained, nodding. He held his cheek, thumbing a tear away. "I'll help you through this, darling. I promise. We'll get through this together, I promise." He kissed him, holding him close. "I'll always think you're beautiful. You could be bald, or blind or purple for all I care. I love you. Does that help at all?"
Tristan rested his head against his chest. "A little," he admitted, sighing softly.
Sebastian rocked him gently, cheek against his. "It'll be alright, baby. I promise."
"STOP IT! LEAVE HIM ALONE!"
"TRISTAN, GET BACK!"
"COME HERE, YOU LITTLE FAGGOT!"
Tristan fought everything that was in him not to charge as Sebastian was tossed against the wall. "Tristan, just stay there!" His cheek was already swelling from the blow he'd just received, steadying himself, standing strong and tall. "I'm not afraid of you," he said, staring at the monster that had invaded his nightmares for so long.
"Sebastian, don't!" Tristan begged, shaking his head.
"You shut up, you disgusting little cocksucker!" His father snarled. Sebastian charged forward, throwing a punch right into his jaw. The older man staggered back, his eyes wild. "You son of a bitch."
"I'm not gonna let you talk to him that way, or me, or anyone else. Fuck you."
They collided, punches thrown, fighting, kicking and screaming .
Tristan watched, shaking with anger, wishing he could do something, wishing Sebastian would allow him to do something. He took another step closer when Sebastian was tossed against the wall again.
"Don't, Tristan, stay put," he breathed.
"I could snap you in half," the monster glowered at the boy, giving Sebastian enough time to get his hand free and collide with his gut.
Another hard strike to his son's face. He was thrown to another wall, looking so small and thin, so young. Too young to be treated like this. Tristan reached out, intending on stopping this, on taking Sebastian away, far away from this so he wouldn't be hurt anymore.
"JUST LEAVE HIM ALONE!" He barked, reaching out to take him. The monster grabbed his arm, slamming it against the wall beside his son in the process. Tristan cried out, Sebastian threw another punch.
"DON'T TOUCH HIM!"
Everything stopped, frozen where they were.
Tristan held his arm, only inches from Sebastian now, who was breathing hard and staring at the doorway.
"Stay out of this, Charlene," his father, Bradley apparently, warned.
"Brad, what the hell are you doing?" She hissed. "My mother-"
"Now, where's my darling grandso-" The older woman that had bustled her way through the door observed the scene before her. The state of Sebastian and Tristan, and Bradley for that matter. "What's going on?" She demanded.
"Mother, you should-"
"Sebastian and I had a disagreement," Bradley explained cooly. "And his friend here, was just leaving." He grabbed his injured arm, hauling him away from his son.
"No!" Sebastian cried, lunging to grab him back. "No, you're not taking him away from me again!"
"Shut your mouth, queer," he hissed, holding Tristan tighter.
"Ow," Tristan gasped, still trying to get away.
"Bradley, let that boy go!"
"Quiet!" She snapped. Slowly, the man let go, leaving Tristan to rush to Sebastian and look him over.
"Marilyn, I-" Bradley began, giving worried glances toward the couple.
"Sebastian's a homosexual?" She asked, her tone even, expression blank, unreadable.
"Yeah, Nana, I am," Sebastian said softly, touching Tristan's waist. She looked at Bradley.
"Have you been abusing my grandson because of this?" Still stony.
"Now, Marilyn, you have to understand, I was just trying to protect the family."
"By knocking a seventeen year-old boy senseless for his sexuality, yes that makes perfect sense," she scoffed. She looked at her daughter. "And you've certainly known about this for some time." It wasn't a question.
"Mother, Sebastian provokes him-"
"I'm certain he does," he said, glaring at her. "Can the two of you leave us? I have a few things to say to my grandson."
Neither of them moved for a moment, each exchanging glances with each other and Sebastian before leaving the room, whispering to themselves.
Marilyn waited a moment before speaking. "Sit down, darling." She sat on a chair, gesturing for the couple to sit on the sofa in front of her. "What's your name, dear?" Tristan blushed.
"Tristan Durand, Madame," he said softly. She smiled.
"Comment allez-vous, cher?" He perked up, happy to hear native tones. Sebastian watched his grandmother carefully through the exchange, confused.
"Nana," he said, interrupting. "Are...are you alright with this? With...with us?" Sebastian took his hand.
"Of course I am. Why should I care? Your grandfather was gay and hid it and look how well he turned out!" She chuckled. "The man's dead and didn't bother to tell me. I always knew though. He'd never divorce me, never for a minute. Not with all he thought was at stake."
He stared at her. She smiled, patting his hand. "Sebastian, the only thing wrong with you is taking your father's shit for this long. Here." She reached into her purse, taking out her check book. "This should get the two of you by until you get your trust fund from me."
"Nana, you don't have to do that, really. And Father-"
"Let me handle your father," she growled. "Never liked him. Not good for my Charlene, either." She touched Sebastian's cheek. "I know he's hurt you. I don't know how much, but judging by the look on Tristan's face right now I'd say it's more than I can bear. You don't worry about him. You worry about finishing high school, alright?"
"You don't have to do this for me," he whispered.
"Yes I do. I'm your grandmother. And if your parents won't take care of you then myself and this lovely boy right here will," she said firmly. "Go pack your things, darling. I'll help you find an apartment tomorrow. For now, just stay with this adorable fellow, alright?"
"Okay," he breathed. This was happening. This was really happening. He looked to Tristan, who smiled gently.
Kurt stepped out of his Navigator, Blaine doing the same on the opposite side of the car.
"We're staying here, aren't we?" Blaine asked. Kurt nodded.
"Unless you have somewhere else to be?" He smiled. Blaine shook his head, coming around the front of the car to take his hand.
"Where else would I be?" He said, looking at him with those sappy, completely and totally enamored look. Kurt smiled back, pecking his lips.
"Hey, look," he said, nodding behind him.
Sebastian was holding hands with a blond boy neither of them knew, smiling and laughing with him, walking toward the Lima Bean just like they were. He pulled him into his arms, kissing him briefly.
He grinned when he saw them looking, waving and stepping over to them.
"Hey," he smiled, Tristan on his arm. "Uh, this is Tristan. Tristan this is Kurt and Blaine."
"Nice to meet you," Tristan said, shaking their hands. He looked at Kurt. "Kurt, right?" He nodded. Tristan hugged him abruptly, startling him.
"Oh!" He exclaimed, taking a moment before he hugged him back.
"Thank you, so much," he whispered. Kurt smiled. "For everything. You saved our lives."
"Happy to help."
Sebastian winked at Blaine, who rolled his eyes and chuckled before taking Tristan's hand again.
"So, what have you been up to?" Blaine asked brightly.
"Finishing the year up then I think I'm gonna transfer to Europe next year," he said happily.
"Oh? Where?" Kurt asked, instantly excited.
Sebastian and Tristan exchanged a glance. "We're still thinking about it."
5 years later...
"Sebastian! I'm home!"
"Kitchen!" The younger called back, hurriedly setting the table as quickly as he could. Tristan sauntered in, dusting off his hands.
"The vineyard's looking good," he smirked.
"Darling, there's only eight rows of grapes, I don't think it's a vineyard," he chuckled, coming around the table and kissing him firmly. Tristan held his waist, nuzzling their noses.
"I'll call it whatever I want," he teased, kissing him again.
"How was work?" He asked. He shrugged.
"Normal. Nothing elaborate. The team's doing well."
"Of course they are, you're their coach," he giggled. "Your dinner's getting cold." Tristan grinned.
"Why don't we have a picnic out under that tree beside the garden?" He asked. Sebastian smiled.
"I think that's the most cliché thing I've ever heard."
Tristan laughed, keeping their faces close. "I don't think we could do better than that in a million years."
"Then I think we'll have to try as hard as we can to do so."