Title: A Yellow Rose Has Eight Meanings
Author: Amaranti
Rating: NC-17
Pairings: Sebastian/Blaine, Blaine/Kurt, allusions to Kurt/Dave
Warnings: Sexual content, adult language, possible dub-con, slut shaming, certain kinds of infidelity (no actual sex, but flirting/sexting/phone sex/erotic fantasies/wet dreams), mentions/discussion of (Dave Karofsky's) suicide attempt

Summary: After Regionals Blaine offers Sebastian a chance to restart their friendship and they try to make it work, both of them distrustful and unsure and having to deal with the sexual tension between them without actually resolving it.

The story starts after On My Way.

Blaine is too good for you. Chances are, by the end of…

Sebastian doesn't remember the exact words. They don't matter.

Fuck. Fuck everything.

For a heartbeat or two he wants to give everything up. Not in the way Dave Karofsky wanted, no. He's too terrified of the very idea of death to even dream about doing that.


The second place trophy sits on the table silently, completely ignoring Sebastian. (It's a fucking inanimate object, of course it doesn't want to have small talk with him.) Sebastian frowns before clenching his hands into tight fists, nails digging painfully into his skin, trying to fight the urge to just grab that fucking trophy and sling it across the room, maybe even out of the window. It's too big to flush down the toilet, which is the fate it most deserves.

At least it doesn't have feelings, Sebastian thinks with a wry smile. At least it won't get hurt by his angry glares and small, bitter sighs.

During his (their) performances he was so happy to bask in the attention and approval of the crowd. All those smiling faces, the enthusiastic clapping and cheering made him feel nothing less than elated. Yet what Sebastian felt there was a strange mixture of wishing he could stay on the stage for the rest of his life and wanting it to end, because the longer it lasted, the more chance Sebastian had to fuck up. He was confident he won't, because they practiced so much and because he is awesome as fuck, but, well, still.

After all, he's (The Warblers are) still only second best.

After the announcement of the winners the Warblers ignored him as best as they could. One of them accidentally caught his gaze and the boy turned away as quickly as possible. Sebastian doesn't even know his name, which is actually saying a lot about his relationship with the boys he should have led to victory.

And so he is left sitting alone with only that fucking trophy to keep him company. He thinks about the That means nothing to me, he thinks about the warm, tentative pressure of Blaine's palm and the feeling of the cold, heavy trophy in his other hand, he thinks about that strange look on Blaine's face; maybe pity, maybe sadness, maybe sympathy, something that at the very least didn't look antagonistic.

He thinks about the urge to reach out for him once Blaine turned away to go back to his club to celebrate their victory, thinks about his annoyance as he watched Blaine being hugged and patted on the back by his friends and then having to deal with the Warblers treating him like a goddamned leper.

"Hello, Sebastian."

The voice immediately yanks him out of his thoughts. The only reason he doesn't jump in his seat is that he is Sebastian Smythe and he doesn't show his surprise at something as simple as a greeting, not even if it is Blaine.

When he looks up Blaine is already leaning against the desk in front of Sebastian, arms folded in front of his chest; to shield himself or to make him seem confident and tough, Sebastian isn't sure. Either way, it is absolutely adorable and makes Sebastian wish for nothing but to be able to draw Blaine into an embrace, to wrap his own arms around his body.

Sebastian blinks in surprise, because that train of thought went in a quite unexpected direction. His eyes wander from Blaine's arms up to his neck, rest for a moment on the cute golden bowtie before arriving to his face.

Blaine is as pretty as ever, but his expression is empty in a way Sebastian is pretty sure means he's desperately trying to hide any emotion from him. It makes Sebastian a bit uncomfortable, because Blaine used to be such an open book to him. Well, a book he misunderstood terribly; to think that it would be easy to make Blaine cheat on his boyfriend with him had been one of Sebastian's biggest miscalculations in a very long time.

He really doesn't like Blaine's new, carefully blank expression. And when he remembers Blaine's smile, the one so honest and so happy, he feels something behind his ribcage ache. It's a sweet pain, if that makes any sense; something that takes his breath away for a moment. He doesn't get it. But he knows that he misses that smile a lot, the one that reached Blaine's eyes and made them even more beautiful than they usually were, the smile that couldn't be mistaken for being just polite or forced. If smiles could be translated into words that smile would have said: Oh, hi, it's so good to see you, I'm so happy, so glad you're here! A smile that wasn't tainted by anything untrue or mean or arrogant, like Sebastian's smiles. It was just… real.

"Um, well," Blaine whispers, looking down. Sebastian feels almost awkward, wondering what his expression was to make Blaine unable to hold his gaze any longer. "You were great. I was honestly impressed. Proud, you know, and relieved. Even without me, the Warblers were really, really awesome. So thank you, I guess. The Warblers are a team and every member matters, but from the ex-leader to the current one; we both know not everyone is… Well, how should I say it?"

Sebastian grins at him, a giddy feeling swelling in his chest. Blaine gets it. He acts sometimes like he doesn't, too shy and too sweet and too nice, but Blaine knows what this is about, of course he does, this is why he is still so dear to the Warblers. He was like Sebastian, except a lot friendlier and approachable, pretended not to be as proud and didn't put anyone into hospital.

"There's no need to try to sound so… democratic. We both know nobody matters as much as the leader."

Blaine is glaring at him fiercely, his eyes burning with anger, but he doesn't say anything; doesn't disagree with Sebastian. This makes Sebastian grin even harder, grin so much his face starts to ache and Blaine's lips turn down in a scowl in return, but he remains silent. But it isn't an uncomfortable silence; it feels rather like the silences while playing chess and waiting for the next step of his enemy (opponent, Sebastian's father loved to correct him when he was a little boy, because towards an enemy you feel hatred and there's no need to care enough about anyone to hate them).

"After the slushie, how did you manage to convince them not only to not kick your dictatorial ass out of the club but to still let you lead them?"

Blaine sounds mad, he really does, his voice loud and strong and somehow rough in a way that sends a shiver down Sebastian's spine. Blaine like this is something new, though not entirely unexpected and it would be so sexy, if only it didn't make Sebastian's stomach clench uncomfortably in guilt.

But Sebastian already gave Blaine an apology. He knows that wasn't enough, knows that almost blinding Blaine is not something that can be erased with a few words. But fuck, apologizing is really hard. Sebastian felt so bad; the news about Dave Karofsky a heavy weight on his shoulders, the knowledge of what being such a little piece of shit helped to cause (or maybe not stop) and the That means nothing to me like a kick in the guts. It was horrifying to be so vulnerable in front of them, mostly Santana and Kurt, perhaps the two people Sebastian had been the most terrible to and yet the ones who had stood up against him without any hesitation, fought back with so much strength and confidence. Able to frustrate Sebastian so damned much, because in the end he never had anything he could use to do more than a few shallow scratches, no real opportunity to actually defeat them. And to be unable to wear his mask of unbreachable arrogance made him feel so much more vulnerable than sitting mother-naked in front of them ever could. At least Santana's girlfriend seemed harmless enough for Sebastian not to feel threatened by her presence and Blaine was, well…

"Cat got your snarky tongue for once, huh?" Blaine taunts him, finally getting bored of Sebastian's lack of an answer. Anger takes the place of guilt instantly, a hot flame of fury flaring up in his chest at the spitefulness in Blaine's voice. Sebastian guesses he deserves this and he deserves a million other, much crueler things even more, but he's still pissed and he still wants nothing but to shut Blaine up.

"I sucked and fucked them until they had no choice but to obey me," Sebastian deadpans, raising his eyebrows calmly at Blaine. Blaine fucking recoils at this and his expression is filled with so much sheer disgust Sebastian actually feels a bit offended.

He shouldn't have said that. Too much for Blaine. But he doesn't show in any way that he realizes he miscalculated, made yet another mistake.

Blaine forces out a laugh, but it is so fake Sebastian cringes in second hand embarrassment.

"Most of them are straight," Blaine says, valiantly trying to sound unaffected, but a hint of something like doubt taints his tone. Sebastian wants to laugh bitterly, but he doesn't.

"So?" Sebastian rolls his eyes. A part of him (the part that dislikes the way Blaine's staring at him like he is nothing but a cheap whore) is screaming at him to reassure Blaine he really was only joking. But there is another part, the stubborn and so, so stupid part of him that still fights tooth and nail against even the very idea of admitting making a mistake. "An orgasm is an orgasm, isn't it?"

Blaine opens his mouth, but then he closes it and unfolds his arms to make a movement with his hands that probably means Fuck it, you're not worth this. They stare at each other until the tension becomes too much for Sebastian and he gives in with a soft sigh.

"They didn't want me," Sebastian begins. Blaine's face swiftly becomes a bit less angry and a lot more confused. "Didn't even like me, especially after the whole slushie incident, but they did need me. I realized it quite soon, even without your much desired insights." Sebastian puts air quotes around 'much desired', which is probably a mean thing to do. He is staring at the table now, so he can't see the expression on Blaine's face. "I realized that they can't really function without someone like me. Or you, but you weren't in the picture anymore, so you no longer mattered." Sebastian glances up just in time to see Blaine open his mouth to say something, now clearly looking pissed (not like he has any right, because he did left the Warblers for a boy, like some needy, lovesick idiot). Sebastian continues quickly, refusing to give Blaine a chance to speak. "They didn't want to do Michael Jackson, because it wouldn't have been… I don't know, appropriate? After what happened to you. And when I told them that okay, then we will do something else they were all like 'Well, great, then let's pretend nothing bad ever happened'. Because they all knew that someone had to be their captain, the one to sing lead, the one to be in the middle, the one to tell them how to dance, where to step, what to do with their arms. Without a person like that, they wouldn't have gotten anywhere. They couldn't have decided which songs to sing, couldn't have come up with the choreography, they would have argued too much and made too much compromises. And they needed someone to take responsibility. So they could console themselves with the fact that the reason they've lost wasn't mostly them, but me." Sebastian can't stop some of the bitterness he feels seeping into his tone. Blaine's face relaxes a bit; his forehead smoothes out, his eyes kind of become softer and prettier and there's a strange smile playing at the corner of his lips. But Sebastian can't enjoy it for long, because he quickly realizes what these little changes on Blaine's face mean; pity.

Fuck. This is the last thing Sebastian wants.

"But you were really, really good and…" Blaine starts, his voice slow and gentle as if he is talking to a child. Sebastian feels his stomach twist unpleasantly once again. Blaine does this to him a lot and he does this without having any idea about it, which only makes it that much worse.

"Shut up!" Sebastian snaps at him. Damn it. He was quite proud of himself for being able to hide his disappointment and anger at the Warblers' defeat in front of everyone. But now that it's only the two of them he can't stop acting like a spoiled brat, like the sore loser he truly is. "I don't need empty words to console me."

"They're not empty!" Blaine huffs. "I truly mean them! But fine, I won't be nice if you don't want me to be nice. Looks like not only can't you be anything but mean and cruel to others, you can't deal with others being nice to you either."

I have never meant to be mean and cruel to you, Sebastian thinks bitterly. And nobody but you tried to be nice to me.

He stands up suddenly, walking around the desk to stop only two steps before Blaine. He just can't stay sitting; he feels too restless.

He wants to change the topic. And the only thing he can think of in the short time he has before the silence becomes too uncomfortable is the question always nagging him, always something heavy and a dull aching in his chest.

"So your eyes are completely okay now, right? No complications? You know, I honestly didn't mean to hurt you like that. Or hurt Kurt. I didn't want to blind him. I'm an asshole, sure, but not a psychopath. The internet said rock salt makes iced drinks colder and it stains clothes and everybody knows how much of a crazed fashionista your dear boyfriend is."

It's not an apology. Sebastian has no excuses; what he did was wrong and that's all there is to it. But he does want Blaine to understand that he never wanted it to happen like that. He wants to apologize to Kurt too, and Santana and Rachel and her fiancé and Dave Karofsky, of course, for starters. But before any of them he wants Blaine to forgive him, truly forgive him; not just try to make him feel better about their defeat or whatever he is trying to do right now.

Blaine looks like he's expecting Sebastian to burst out laughing any moment.

"But you could have apologized or something," Blaine shrugs, like it's no big deal, but then he swallows quickly, almost nervously and glances up at Sebastian, his eyes hard and Sebastian couldn't look away if his life depended on it. "It took you a fucking suicide attempt to realize that maybe your actions have consequences, because apparently an eye surgery is nothing, huh? I'm really not trying to say that they're the same; obviously death cannot be compared to losing an eye and neither really happened. But… if you really aren't a psychopath you should have felt at least a bit bad about it."

"I did feel bad!" Sebastian says, angry at Blaine's anger and mostly angry at himself, because he's the one to blame for… well, for everything. He had to steal a sleeping pill from his mother's reticule after the… accident happened, with Blaine's screams echoing in his mind and surgery and he might loses an eye repeating themselves like a broken record. "But I couldn't show… weakness."

Blaine stares at him, puzzled and disgusted. But it's okay; Sebastian is used to such looks.

"You know how sometimes politicians all around the world do a lot of really, really stupid shit but they try to convince the plebs that they're actually saving the country? I was like that too. Too proud to admit that I was wrong, that I horribly miscalculated. And I thought… if I pretended not to be affected then the Warblers would maybe think that nothing too bad happened. And I couldn't be sure that Santana wasn't just making the whole surgery thing up to scare us and try to turn the Warblers against me."

"She wouldn't use such a dirty trick."

Sebastian's laugh is filled with mocking disbelief, but Blaine holds his gaze valiantly, standing up for one of his innumerable friends even if she isn't there to hear Sebastian's words. Probably wouldn't care about them, anyway.

"She totally would. Maybe you think you know her better, but believe me that I recognize a kindred spirit when I meet one. There aren't a lot of us."

Blaine sighs theatrically, frustration oozing from him. He turns his head toward the door and takes a step forward and for a heartbeat Sebastian thinks he will storm out of the room and Sebastian will never see him again. But he stops after that one step and Sebastian can't help the soft sigh of pure relief escaping him. Blaine doesn't seem to notice it, luckily.

Blaine looks upset. Angry, even, and almost hurt. And Sebastian, who so often enjoys the looks of distress and irritation caused by his mean comments and schemes (not because he's a sadist or anything like that, but because every one of them is yet another small victory), Sebastian doesn't feel anything but discomfort watching Blaine.

Sebastian didn't want to hurt him, neither with words nor with actions.

But he doesn't give a shit if others hate him, because he doesn't care about others.

Except he starts to understand that people are more than toys he can play with and manipulate, smirking when they react at his hurtful teasing (bullying is a too ugly word).

It took you a fucking suicide attempt to realize that maybe your actions have consequences.

He doesn't know what to do.

He wants Blaine, but maybe even more than that he wants Blaine's forgiveness.

But he knows he doesn't deserve it.

And even if he did get it…What would happen after that? How long till Sebastian fucks everything up yet again?

He knows how to use words as weapons, but he also knows he will never be able to learn what to say to make things better. He tried it at the Lima Bean and got nothing but confused, mistrustful looks and a That means nothing to me.

But maybe his expression is able to convey at least a bit of what he wishes his words could, because Blaine's eyes lose that almost hostile coldness. His look is not friendly, not warm, but it's something. Like Blaine has no idea what to feel, what to think of Sebastian, what to expect from him, but at least he doesn't think he is a complete asshole beyond forgiveness and redemption.

Or something like that.

Blaine's eyes shine like gems even in the pale, artificial lights of the room; Sebastian can only imagine how they could fucking sparkle in the bright, almost blinding sunshine of a summer day. The color of his eyes is like pure gold and warm, sweet honey and glittering amber.

"Your eyes are truly pretty."

Sebastian wants to bang his head against the nearest wall once his mind understands the words that were somehow able to slip out of his mouth. That… what the fuck was that? Because fine, he uses quite cheesy pick up lines sometimes (the guys at Scandals don't deserve or need sophisticated flirting, if such a thing exists at all), but… not like that.

He uses them when he wants something (like a warm mouth or a tight ass or a thick cock) and while he totally wants them in theory this time too, the reality is that he knows that – right now, at least – he has no chance of even getting to kiss Blaine, let alone doing anything more with him.

"Are they even real or just fancy contact lenses?"

Fuck. Well, apparently the world just can't continue spinning if Sebastian doesn't say at least one stupid, mean comment per minute.

"They're totally real!" Blaine pouts, a faint dusting of pink across his cheeks and Sebastian just wants to put him into his blazer pocket because of how adorable he is; tooth-rotting sweet and shaking Sebastian's hand while all of his friends were celebrating their victory and no doubt the best thing in this pathetic town. "Um, I guess thank you, Sebastian."

"So I'm just saying that it would have really sucked if the surgery failed."

And Blaine – just a moment ago practically preening and looking up at Sebastian with a demure smile –, Blaine slaps him, without warning and so fucking hard tears spring into Sebastian's eyes and he tumbles backwards, raising his palm to press against his aching cheek.

"What the fuck was that for?" Sebastian splutters, moving his arm and looking down at his palm and it's not like he's expecting blood or some dramatic shit like that, but his cheek hurts, it fucking stings and Sebastian Smythe isn't someone anyone can slap as if he were nothing but an insolent little brat.

"It would have sucked not because then you wouldn't be able to take pleasure in how pretty both of my eyes are, but because it would be terrible for me to live the rest of my life one-eyed. Don't look away, you coward!" There's nothing sweet or coy about this Blaine; the change so sudden it almost feels bizarre. But Sebastian gets that this is the part where Blaine finally snapped, where everything, all of Sebastian's horrible bullshit became too much for him. It's actually really hot, Blaine's beautiful eyes bright with anger and his expression tense and determined, except the feeling of guilt once again starts to gather in Sebastian's stomach, heavier and more painful than ever before except when he found out what happened to Dave Karofsky. "And that slap was also for saying offensive things to my boyfriend, for saying offensive things to and about my friends – and the slushies, too. And the blackmail and just… just everything you've done to hurt New Directions. And what you've made the Warblers take part in. Just simply being a little piece of shit to everyone you don't want to fuck and even if you do want to fuck them you don't have any idea how to treat them like… like anyone deserves to be treated, not just those you find fuckable. You look like you've already lost the thread, so the point is; you suck, Sebastian."

Blaine falls silent, but he is still gesturing wildly with his arms and seems to try really hard to spit out his next words. For a terribly absurd moment Sebastian remembers a scene from a really stupid romantic comedy he was forced to watch years ago where the heroine complained about the hero's bad qualities for like five minutes before saying something along the lines of 'And not only did you manage to knock me up, you also made me fall in love with you, you utter bastard!'. Of course that scene has nothing to with what is going on with Sebastian and Blaine, because the only thing more bizarre than Sebastian knocking Blaine up would be if he somehow managed to make him fall in love with him. He honestly has no idea why that film came into his mind.

"But the worst thing?" Blaine continues suddenly, looking everywhere but into Sebastian's eyes. It's strange, especially since just a minute or so ago Blaine was the one demanding Sebastian not to look away from him. Sebastian is a bit intrigued now. "I trusted you! I thought we were friends! Maybe it wasn't nice to hide the fact we talked from Kurt, but we hadn't done anything we shouldn't have. I talked to you about our idea to do Michael Jackson because I thought you would be… I don't know, honorable enough not to steal it. Yeah, you were in a rival club, but you were also my friend! But you betrayed me, Sebastian! What were you thinking? That I would stay friends with you even after you sold me out to my friends? Or that I would be okay with your slushie shenanigan? Kurt is important to me, more important than you. There's no way I would have continued to be friends with you after you tried to hurt my boyfriend, but I guess you thought you are so awesome you would be forgiven for anything, huh? Or did you just simply not care about our friendship at all?"

And geez, that kind of really hurts. To finally understand that Blaine's anger wasn't just born from the obvious reasons – for example that Sebastian is an asshole and that having a surgery is not a lot of fun –, but because… because trust and Blaine thought they were friends.

"I have no excuses. I wanted to win and the slushie was a horrible mistake and it wasn't fair to try to use blackmail to secure the Warblers' victory, but you know what? Life is never fair. Because if you want to achieve something, if you want to succeed? Being nice and honorable – to use your word – won't get you anywhere. I mean, how do you think the world works? Just because you have a bunch of friends and sometimes you dance and sing together doesn't mean you're going to get what you want."

Blaine doesn't look mad anymore. He's probably the kind of person who is drained of all of his anger in a matter of minutes, no matter what happened. Not necessarily quick to forgive, but the optimistic who doesn't see the point of being mad for too long when the sun is shining brightly and smiling is a lot more fun than frowning.

"Actually, this is exactly what happened," Blaine says, his eyes twinkling playfully. His mood whiplashes make Sebastian dizzy. "A bunch of friends danced and sang together and we got the first place trophy."

Sebastian almost laughs. How witty, seriously.

"Home court advantage, Blaine," he shrugs.

Blaine rolls his eyes, but his lips are twitching, probably trying to curl into a smile against his will.

"I saw you smiling and cheering us on."

Sebastian can't deny Blaine's accusation. The afterglow of his own performances, that so rare and so wonderful feeling of elation and pure joy had still not left his body when the New Directions were on the stage and they were great, really great, they sounded amazing and looked amazing and Sebastian did cheer them on; why wouldn't he?

"This still doesn't mean you deserved to win more than we did."

Blaine sighs, a bit exasperated.

"I guess you just can't end a conversation without having the last words, can you?"

Sebastian doesn't want to end the conversation. He feels like he could talk with Blaine for the rest of his life, maybe even getting slapped a few more times would be worth it.

But Blaine looks like he wants to go. He probably has a boyfriend and a million other friends waiting for him, maybe a celebration party where he's going to be the one to sing lead.

"So… what is going to happen?" Sebastian asks. Blaine's eyebrows knit together in confusion and yeah, that question was kind of vague, wasn't it? "Do you still have my phone number? Will you come to Dalton again? Would it be okay if I joined you and whoever is with you at the Lima Bean sometimes? Or is this the last time I'll ever see you? Because I won't stalk you if you tell me you do not wish to meet me ever again. I promise I won't."

Waiting for Blaine's answer is almost more terrifying than waiting for the winner of Regionals to be announced. But Blaine doesn't stay silent for too long and when he starts to speak his voice sounds sure, unwavering, calm, but Sebastian picks up the way his hands curl into fists so tight they must be painful and how Blaine isn't looking at him.

"I'm in love with Kurt. And I do not care if you can't understand why. Actually, do you have any idea how much easier it is to love him than to even tolerate you? And it doesn't matter if you don't like his face or clothes or whatever, because I do, I absolutely adore his face, I think it's the cutest face I've ever seen and yeah, sometimes I don't like his clothes because they're so damn difficult to remove, but I digressed. My point is that I won't break up with him and I won't cheat on him, I don't want you to be my lover or my boyfriend. Not even friends with benefits, okay? I really don't want to lead you on. I'm willing to give our friendship a second chance, but don't expect anything else. And you have to try to make it work. You have to try really, really hard, because you've done so much horrible shit and right now I really can't trust you an inch. Are we clear?"

Sebastian forces his lips into a smile.

It's not like he expected anything else. Or, well, he expected Blaine to avoid him completely. So this is actually pretty awesome.

Friendship. Right. Why not? It's pretty nice of Blaine.

Except also kind of fuck him, because it's mighty generous of him to tell Sebastian now that he doesn't want to lead him on, but then what the fuck was he doing all those times he looked down with a pretty blush on his face when Sebastian flirted with him or laughed into the phone at Sebastian's playful teasing? He loves Kurt this fucking much? Cool, but why couldn't he give Sebastian sooner this minor detail? Because if saying something along the lines of 'Sorry, I have a boyfriend, I don't want to hurt him' while practically begging Sebastian with those eyes to screw him on the table and shivering so deliciously, like a fucking virgin under Sebastian's desirous gaze isn't leading Sebastian on, then what is?

"It's fine if you don't want to be just friends. I have many other friends. But I want to remind you that you do not have anyone but me to call a friend." Sebastian opens his mouth to object, even though Blaine is right, but Blaine presses one finger against his own lips with a warning glare. Sebastian doesn't know why he isn't a lot more outraged by the insolence of the gesture. "The way you talked about the Warblers made it quite clear you only use but do not really care about them. Your parents basically neglect you. Your lacrosse teammates tolerate you because you're good, but they don't like you because you'd rather be an attorney or even a performer than a professional sportsman and because you never join their discussions about 'getting all the pussy'. New Directions is wary of you and you really can't blame them, now can you?" Sebastian must be staring at him with a mixture of surprise and grudging admiration, because Blaine is grinning proudly at him. "I wasn't the only one babbling on and on while we talked on the phone, you know. And you aren't the only one who can use the unsuspectingly given information to… So my point is that I know you're lonely. I know you hate doing your homework alone at the Lima Bean, cheerfully chatting friends and couples all around you. It's not like you don't have way too much one night stands so if you only wanted sex from me, you would have given up on me the first time I rejected you. The truth is, you like me as a friend. You like talking to me, you like helping me with my homework, you like laughing and joking with me, you like it when I complain about things that suck in my life and you like to complain about everyone and everything to me."

Sebastian wants to do his sarcastic clapping, but he has a vague feeling it wouldn't be appropriate. And he is actually a bit impressed, if he wants to be honest. Even though he also feels really uncomfortable, because the way Blaine described him makes him feel like a total loser and he is anything but a loser.

And it sounded like somehow he needs Blaine, but he doesn't need anyone.

"Okay," Sebastian starts carefully, suddenly wanting to leave but feeling like he can't just yet. "But why do you expect me to trust you?"

"Isn't that mighty rich coming from you?"

"Exactly," Sebastian shrugs, smiling sadly at Blaine, because he kind of feels sad and doesn't have enough strength to hide his emotions right now. "How can I trust someone I have betrayed? What if this is just a very cunning scheme you and your buddies cooked up to humiliate me or something?"

Blaine's eyes widen in shock before he lets out a long-suffering sigh.

"Okay. I give up. You're… You're not worth it. Forget it. Just… yeah, just forget it."

And he turns away, starts to walk toward the door with brisk steps like he's relieved to finally leave Sebastian.

No fucking way Sebastian is going to let him go just like that after everything.

Blaine wants to be friends with him. Sebastian wants more but he knows he can't have that (something he isn't sure what is actually, except maybe sometimes he feels like he kind of wants everything when it comes to Blaine, which is totally impossible, he knows) and being friends with Blaine seems to be better than anything else going on in his life right now. Not that there is much of a competition, of course.

"Wait!" Sebastian shouts after him, even though Blaine is still in the room, still close enough to hear him without having to raise his voice. But it's more dramatic and Blaine seems to have a penchant for dramatic things. "I'm sorry. I… I would like to be friends with you. I, um, I did miss talking to you and stuff."

Blaine stops, but doesn't turn back. Sebastian doesn't like the sight of his back when he could be gazing into his eyes, but he doesn't dare to demand Blaine to look at him.

"You took our friendship for granted, Sebastian. Don't make that mistake again. And no more flirting, okay?"

Sebastian halfheartedly takes a step forward to stop Blaine and explain him why trying to be Sebastian's friend is the worst idea ever.

But Blaine is out of the door before he has the chance.

Sebastian finishes his croissant and puts the empty plate into the washbasin on top of the already way too big pile of plates. He hasn't seen his mother in three days. Their last charwoman was fired because… well. His mother said the woman had been stealing money and jewelry for months before she was caught poking around is Sebastian's bedroom, but the charwoman herself told him she had to be fired because one night (when Sebastian was at Scandals, probably) she caught his mother with her skirt on the floor and a man's head moving between her thighs. Maybe the man was your father, boy. I don't have any idea how he looks, she said, sounding so gentle it made Sebastian's skin crawl and he just rolled his eyes because what would a State's attorney do in a state that doesn't have a State's attorney?

His phone rings suddenly, breaking the almost eerie quiet of the empty house. Almost, because Sebastian had years to get used to it. The name on the display is a simple Blaine Anderson. Sebastian contemplated using the name Blaine Warbler, because New Directions sucks and because Once a Warbler, always a Warbler and because that's how all the other Warblers are saved in his phone. He even thought about sexy!Blaine or super hot!Blaine, but those would have been incredibly tacky. And sometimes the most obvious solution is the best.

Looks like Blaine did not delete his number.

"Good afternoon, Blaine," Sebastian greets him, trying to filter any flirting playfulness out of his tone. It's surprisingly easy, actually, to sound like nothing but a platonic friend. He hopes Blaine appreciates it. (He really hopes he doesn't.)

"It's almost nine, not exactly afternoon anymore," Blaine's voice is so quiet Sebastian can hardly hear it and it sounds a bit… tired? Weary? Sebastian isn't sure.

"Time sure flies when you're all alone and have nothing to do," Sebastian laughs and Blaine is silent. Sebastian frowns in confusion. What Sebastian said wasn't funny, but Blaine always laughed when Sebastian laughed, even if only out of politeness. "What is wrong?"

"Why do terrible things keep happening to us? What have we done to deserve all this?"

Sebastian starts to worry for real at those words, at the sheer pain in Blaine's voice. Sebastian doesn't have any idea how someone speaks when they are in tears, but suddenly he thinks this is how they must sound. He flops down the couch, absent-mindedly starting to draw circles on the fabric with his free hand and resting his feet on the table (his mother would scream at him for this, but his mother is not here, so tough shit).

"Bad things happen to good people and nothing happens to bad people most of the time, that's how the world works, Blaine."

The noise Blaine makes is half a disgusted scoff, half an agonized sob. He mumbles something into the phone Sebastian can't make out and he isn't sure he wants the words repeated. He shifts on the couch uneasily, wondering how to deal with this. He hates feeling out of his element. He tries to take on a supporting, caring tone, which is rather difficult because he hardly ever has to use anything like that in his day-to-day manipulations of people.

"I'm sorry if that was mean or something. Promise I will listen to you, okay? So tell me, Blaine, what happened?"

Blaine lets out a shuddering breath and for a moment Sebastian thinks he will hang up, but then he starts to speak, his voice heartbreakingly weak and stuttering.

"You know Quinn Fabray? She was in, um, a… a c-car crash. I wasn't there, but… but they said t-there was a lot of blood. Fuck, Sebastian, she might… what if she dies? She's in the hospital, um, surgeries and… they said the best outcome would be a wheelchair, the worst… that she dies. Hearing about Dave Karofsky's suicide attempt… that was terrifying enough but at least we knew he's alive, but now…"

The following silence lasts long enough for Sebastian to take in the news. The cold feeling of dread settles in his stomach quite quickly, making him want to vomit. He hardly knows anything about her; Blaine told him she was knocked up by the best friend of her boyfriend and that there was a lot of drama, though Blaine himself wasn't there to see it, but that happened years ago and now she wants (wanted?) to go into Yale or something like that.

Sebastian feels himself shiver. He feels like a child. Horrified. At a loss. Useless. There's nothing he can do, because no amount of donation would help keeping Quinn Fabray alive.

"Are you still there?" Blaine asks, sounding worn-out.

"I'm not sure what to say," Sebastian admits, cringing because he isn't used to not being sure about anything. "Sorry."

Blaine kind of… giggles at this. But it's not a happy sound.

"That's why I called you, because I knew you wouldn't say empty platitudes, wouldn't try to comfort me with stuff like 'She'll be alright' while nobody knows whether she survives or not. I can't talk to anyone else. I mean… those who know Quinn are too affected by what happened. You know, I… I'm not too close to her. Almost everyone knows her for longer and better than I do. So I just wanted you to listen and don't say 'supporting' bullshit that will surely piss me off. Thanks. Well, what about you?" Blaine changes topic suddenly, not sounding particularly interested. Not like Sebastian can blame him. It's pretty clear Blaine just wants to take his mind off Quinn Fabray's plight and Sebastian can at the very least try to help him.

"I'm going to visit Dave Karofsky in the hospital. To, um, apologize. And give him the only thing I know that makes people happy."

"You don't mean that," Blaine whispers, sounding horrified. Sebastian rolls his eyes. Geez, Blaine can be as overdramatic and prudish as his boyfriend sometimes (but at least Blaine is always cute as a button and Sebastian is sure he would be absolutely the best in bed if only he had a lover who knows what to do with him).

"Money," Sebastian specifies. "Do you think fifty dollars would be enough? Or too much?"

There's silence for so long Sebastian opens his mouth to ask Blaine whether he's still there, just at the same time Blaine finally deigns to answer.

"You can't give him money! I… I don't even have words right now, don't you dare to give him money. Do you honestly don't know how to interact with people when it doesn't come to flirting with them or insulting them?"

That's not fair. He wouldn't have come this far if Blaine was right. Okay, so 'this far' mostly means that he's a loner almost everybody loathes or at the very least strongly dislikes, but even that is better than being someone everybody ignores, right? That only his parents and teammates do, most of the time. And he is actually really good at getting what he wants from teachers. One small smile and a Your dress is very pretty today, Mademoiselle and he doesn't have to write yet another French essay, for example. And let's not forget all the hot guys wrapped around his little finger at least for twenty minutes. Or moderately hot ones, because the one thing Lima, Ohio lacks more than Courvoisier or a classy restaurant or… fine, it lacks a million other things too, so this wasn't a good analogy. The point is, this hellhole has a serious lack of fuckable guys. Or maybe Paris made Sebastian super spoiled, he isn't sure.

"Well, I do also know how to manipulate and threaten others…" Sebastian focuses back on the conversation.

"Not funny, Sebastian. Anyway, I think you should give him flowers. Or a cake. Something. Just… do not give him money."

"Flowers are stupid and useless." Fuck. Sebastian remembers that phone conversation not even a week before the slushie, when Blaine just couldn't shut up about some pathetic flowers Kurt had given him that day. Dead plants you're going to throw into the bin, don't sound like you just won the lottery, idiot!, Sebastian wanted to sneer, but he just politely told Blaine he had to go because his mother wants him to help with the laundry. His mother wasn't even home, but it was the best excuse he could come up with at the moment. "And what if he doesn't like cake? Well, everybody likes cake, but what if, I don't know, he is allergic to something in it and has to stay in the hospital for a few more weeks because of it? Because of me? If I gave him money, he could just buy what…"

"Give him a bouquet of Eglantine Roses," Blaine interrupts him, like it's the most natural thing in the world to cut off Sebastian Smythe in the middle of his sentence. "According to Wikipedia this flower means 'a wound to heal', which is, you know, um, kind of fitting, right? And everything else is something about love. Or there's also 'domestic economy', 'a magic spell' and 'a good education'. Huh. Okay, so Eglantine Roses are really beautiful. They have pretty pink petals with a bit of white in the middle, something like that. What do you think?"

And Sebastian can't help the wide smile and the small, silent laugh, can't help the soft warmth blossoming somewhere in his chest. Because here he has Blaine Anderson looking up the meaning of flowers on Wikipedia for him, here Sebastian is talking to him on the phone like they've been friends for years, here Blaine is trying to help him.

And maybe his parents are nowhere to be found and maybe he (the Warblers) doesn't have the first place trophy and maybe almost everybody hates him, but there is one person who doesn't – the one person who has the most right to loathe him, betrayed and almost blinded. One person who, tentatively and distrustfully, but somehow still likes him.

Maybe a bit grudgingly, maybe only as a friend, but someone likes Sebastian.

(Sebastian doesn't need anyone to like him, but… but it kind of isn't a bad feeling.)

And at least Lady Luck must find him a bit charming (or perhaps she took pity on him, even if the idea makes Sebastian frown in disgust), because surely it can't be a coincidence that this one so dear, so amazing boy with enough anger and courage to slap him and then ask him if they could be friends again is also the only person Sebastian likes.