AN: Hello again, dear readers! I wrote this in thanks to rorbastianshipper on tumblr, and it got out of hand as it's now ~6800 words and my beta (leochris) suggested making it a two-shot. So...that. I have more stuff in the works, and have yet to start writing part two of this one. I'd really appreciate reviews, especially telling me what you'd like to see in the next (and hopefully last) installment.
Lastly, thank you LemonAidan (currently mmmniff on tumblr) for helping me think of a good resolution (aka telling me what to write).
So without further ado, my most recent:
For You I Will
When he opened his eyes, his captors were gone and a student in a uniform was standing protectively in front of him. He blinked, confused. Did McKinley have a new dress code? Why wasn't the uniform in McKinley colors? The student turned around, a flash of kindness in his livid eyes. "You alright?" he asked, holding out a hand, which Rory took gratefully, and pulled himself up. He winced. The hockey team had gotten him pretty good before his savior in a blue blazer had found him.
"Yes...thank you," Rory said in his thick Irish accent, letting go of the boy's hand in favor of leaning against the wall.
"So...those douchebags...was that a pointless crime, or...?"
"They said it was for crushing Finn Hudson. I've never crushed Finn Hudson."
The other boy laughed. "I think they meant you have a crush on him." Rory stared blankly, so the boy continued: "You know, like being gay?"
Rory's eyes widened. "Oh, no. No, he's my friend."
"Right..." The boy held out a hand again, smiling warmly, the anger in his eyes having long since dissipated. "I'm Sebastian."
"Rory Flanagan," Rory replied, reaching out to shake his hand. "I can't thank you enough for rescuing me. Is there any way I can repay you?"
"Your thanks is payment enough," Sebastian said smoothly, stepping over to put an arm around Rory's waist so that he could get to the bathroom without falling and clean himself up. "Unless..."
Rory put an arm over Sebastian's shoulders and started limping his way to the bathroom with the other boy as a crutch. "Unless what?"
"Unless you wanna have lunch with me?"
"Oh...when I said repay, I meant something not involving money..."
Sebastian laughed again, his laughter deep and warm. "I'll buy."
"But then I'm not really repaying you..."
"You'll be repaying me with your presence."
"I suppose...if you insist..."
"Then...yes?" Rory said, a bit confused. American customs were so strange.
Sebastian pushed open the bathroom door and led the way inside, and to the nearest sink. "Today?" he suggested. "The school day's almost over and it would be incredibly convenient."
Rory turned on the sink and splashed cold water on his face. It was soothing, cooling his far-too-hot skin, cleaning away the blood that had escaped his lips. He leaned over the sink for a good minute or so, resting his forehead on his arms, trying to catch his breath, clear his head, get a grip on himself. That had just happened. He'd just been cornered and beaten up on campus by a group of hockey players, and his savior had hair better than Kurt Hummel's and looked at him like the sun shone out his arse. He was happier to be acquainted with Rory than even Finn Hudson. He let out a soft breath and grabbed the paper towel Sebastian held out to him—how thoughtful—and dried his face slowly, taking extra care with his sore lip.
"What's your last name?" Rory asked, dropping his hands and the paper towel in them.
"Smythe," Sebastian replied, scrunching his eyebrows in confused curiosity.
"Yes, I would love to have lunch with you today, Sebastian Smite."
"So...Dalton is a...boarding school," Rory said, staring intently at Sebastian, idly rolling a french fry between his fingers.
"Yes," Sebastian replied easily, an amused smile on his face.
"And it's two hours away..."
"Yes, it is."
"...then what are ye doing in Lima?" he asked incredulously, his accent coming out thick.
Sebastian chuckled. "Well, I had plans with someone, but he cancelled on me last-minute. I was actually about to leave when I found you."
"I'm sorry," Rory said. "I know how it feels when someone cancels plans."
Sebastian shrugged. "It's not a big deal. After all, I became a hero for five minutes and got to take a cute guy to lunch. I'd say it was worth it."
Rory momentarily averted his gaze as his cheeks flushed pink from the compliment. "I still can't thank you enough."
"Please, I'm sure you would have done the same." Sebastian waved off the thanks. "Are you about done? I'm sure you're dying to get home after the day you've had."
"You say that like my whole day was bad." Rory smiled softly and stood up. "But yes, I think I've finished."
Rory spent the rest of his day at Brittany's house, quite happily doing homework while she copied off of him. He'd allowed her to fuss over his wounds without complaint, while she talked about Santana doing the same for her when the pyramid toppled and she'd sprained her ankle. She didn't ask questions, though—Rory wasn't sure if she'd deduced what happened, or if she was polite enough not to pry—and he was grateful for that, not really wanting to talk about it. He was just glad that he had an ally, even if he was two hours away. Finn Hudson was a great friend, but he turned a blind eye more often than not, too worried about his reputation to do anything. Sebastian Smythe had not only stood up for him, he'd left a few lasting marks on the hockey players as well. He'd never been more grateful for a friend than at that moment.
Sebastian had been so kind to him, without question. He almost felt for a moment like he was back home, where he had friends who cared about him, and a mother he didn't have to remind every week to buy groceries so that her daughter wouldn't forget to eat. Rory sighed and rolled onto his back, taking a momentary break from his homework. He ached to be back in Ireland. America was great—amazing, actually—but he was sick for his home. With each day that passed, his heart felt heavier; his shoulders, like they could carry less and less. Some days he missed his home so much that he felt like doing nothing more than wrapping himself up in a thick comforter and just laying there until his exchange program was over and he could go back. He was not that type of person, however. He was happy to be in America—it was so different from Ireland, and every new thing he learned brought him joy. How could he possibly stay sad when he had so much yet to discover? And his most recent discovery—that someone outside of McKinley cared enough to help him—would have him smiling for a week, at least.
"You seem happy, Rory. Like...happier than usual. It's kind of freaking me out."
"Oh, I am, Finn Hudson," Rory beamed as they walked down the hall to the choir room. "I made a new friend, and he is very kind to me."
"That's great, dude. I'm happy for you." Finn patted him on the shoulder.
"Thank you." He smiled even wider, if that was possible, his blue eyes crinkling at the corners.
"Alright, guys," Mr. Schue interrupted, ushering them into the choir room. "I had a great idea for your weekly assignment."
He got a slushie to the face on Thursday.
"What is a fag, Sebastian Smite?" Rory asked on Monday. Sebastian had picked him up for coffee without prior plans. Rory couldn't say no—he liked Sebastian's presence, and anyway, he'd had no plans anyway (as always).
"Those assholes call you that?" Sebastian asked, raising a single eyebrow.
"Yes. I would have looked for the answer on my own, but Lord Tubbington had the internet all weekend."
Sebastian decided not to ask. He really didn't want to know. "It's a derogatory term for gay."
Rory's face crumpled. "Why do they assume I'm gay?"
"I'd say it's because you've got a pretty face and you're in the glee club," Sebastian said nonchalantly, taking a sip of his coffee.
Rory shook his head sadly. "I don't like being called names and told to go to Mexico."
"So do something about it." Sebastian set down his coffee cup gently, but his other hand was clenched tight, holding back the rage inside of him. "Tell an adult."
"I have. They don't do anything."
"I don't believe in violence."
Rory's head popped up. "I could never. America is the land of opportunity. I can't give it up just because I can't handle the teasing of a few people."
"It's not teasing, Rory," Sebastian said softly. "It's bullying. And it's wrong. And no one deserves it, least of all, you."
"There is nothing I can do about it," Rory sighed. "I can deal with it until my exchange program ends."
"You shouldn't have to."
"I know," Rory said firmly. "But at the moment, the good far outweighs the bad. I don't like it, but I can bear through it."
Sebastian went silent for a few moments, thumbs playing at the rim of his coffee cup. He was silent for so long that Rory had dropped the thread of conversation and started smiling again.
"Promise me something," he said quite suddenly, breaking the silence between them.
Rory focused on him, his line of sight moving from somewhere behind Sebastian directly to his face. "Promise what?"
"That you'll keep going to the teachers. Keep doing it until someone listens."
Rory nodded after a moment of consideration. "I promise."
He got a slushie on Tuesday.
He was cornered in the locker room on Wednesday, forced to give up his wallet and his pants.
"Nice gym shorts," Sebastian commented. "They steal your pants?"
Rory nodded. "And my wallet. I'm lucky it was empty."
Sebastian shook his head and took a sip of coffee. "How the hell are you smiling? How can you consider yourself at all lucky?"
"Well...I still have you," Rory said, staring down at the table. "That's worthy of a smile."
By the end of the next week, Rory wasn't sure he could smile anymore. He'd gotten four slushies, he'd been shoved into lockers constantly, he'd had his pants stolen again, his phone's display cracked, and had no one there to help.
He kept his promise to Sebastian. He told a multitude of teachers, including the principal. Every single time he was met with some variation of 'There's nothing I can do.'
He was so close to snapping.
"Rory, you alright? I don't think I've ever seen you not smiling." Finn came up to Rory that morning between first and second hour. Rory was not smiling. He was tired, and it showed in the curve of his back, the heavy set of his shoulders. He was unhappy, having gone a whole week slushied and abused with no one there to help. He did not have the energy to smile, let alone pretend for Finn Hudson.
"No, Finn Hudson. I'm not alright."
"Oh..." Finn looked lost. "Is there anything I can do?"
"I'm sure if you could do something, you already would have," Rory snapped.
Finn's face went from lost to hurt in zero-point-two seconds. Rory softened, feeling bad.
"I'm sorry. I didn't mean to take out my frustration on you. It's just that...the past few weeks haven't been very good, and the only person who's been supporting me lives two hours away."
"Oh. I'm...I'm sorry, dude. What's been going on?"
"The hockey players...have been giving me a hard time..." Rory said reluctantly.
Finn put a hand on Rory's shoulder. "I'm really sorry. I guess I just figured that if they weren't bothering me, they weren't bothering anyone. I'll try to keep an eye out for you."
Rory managed a small smile. "Thank you, Finn."
Finn didn't manage to keep an eye out for him.
What was their obsession with his pants anyway?
They spent an awful lot of money on slushies.
All of Sebastian's advice was rather violent.
Rory turned around slowly, barely retrieving the energy to look Finn Hudson in the eye. "Yes?"
"Come to the auditorium." Why was he so giddy?
He sat somewhere in the front-middle, staring at the empty stage. Finn walked up, rubbing at his pants a little nervously. At least he was more serious now.
"Rory...I know the last few weeks have been hard for you...and I'm really sorry for not being there to help...but I think this'll make it up to you." The strum of a guitar sounded, and the rest of the group came out from the wings. Finn's voice was the first to ring out, but eventually everyone else joined in. They were singing to him, something about friendship, that he really did not have the patience for. He'd tuned out the moment the first notes sounded.
He rolled his eyes and stood up before they'd even reached the chorus, grabbing his book bag and then leaving the auditorium.
He'd only made it a few steps when Finn's voice stopped him. "Rory, wait! Where are you going?"
"Home," Rory replied, his back turned to Finn.
"Dude...I'm trying to make this up to you."
Rory turned around so fast he could feel his blood shift within him. "And you think singing a song is going to help me?" he snarled, ignoring Finn's suddenly wide eyes. "How in all bloody hell is that going to help me? I've had slushies thrown at my face nearly every day for the past two weeks. I've had my phone busted and half my pants stolen. There are bruises all over me because I keep getting pushed into lockers. And you think getting together and singing a song is going to fix everything?" He advanced forward slowly, fire in his eyes that had never been there before. "I'm not the only one who's picked on, but I sure as hell feel it the worst, because I only have one friend to help me and give me advice and comfort me, and he's two fucking hours away! I have an idea: why don't you and the rest of New Directions put your heads together and try to think of a real solution, instead of singing a bloody song! There's a dozen of you; I'm sure you can think of something, because I can't do it on my own. Why don't you call me and tell me when you've thought of something, tell me how it works out? It's a shame I won't be here to see it, but at least other people who need the protection will get it. Fuck you, Finn Hudson. I'm going home." He turned and walked away from a stunned Finn, pretending not to notice that the rest of the group was just beyond the auditorium door, listening in.
"W-Rory-wait! You can't leave in the middle of the school day!" Finn called.
"I'm going home to Ireland!" He yelled right back, and disappeared around a corner.
The sunglasses barely covered his bruises.
"Going home, huh?" A tall, scrawny hockey player asked, shoving his shoulder roughly.
"Please—I'm not in the mood," Rory replied sullenly, curling in on himself.
"No, I think we should give you a little going-away gift." Two more boys came out of nowhere, cornering him.
He could taste blood in his mouth. He felt nauseous every time he swallowed.
A hard fist went straight to his stomach, the protruding knuckles pushing into his soft flesh, bruising him almost immediately. His diaphragm clenched and he doubled over, unable to breathe, unable to think. Blood filled his mouth, and he coughed it out, the deep red fluid splattering on the waxed linoleum floor. He caught his breath, barely, before another fist pounded into his stomach.
"Not so tough without your fag boyfriend here to protect you, are you?" one of them growled, his voice muffled but somehow roaring in Rory's ears.
Weak and shivering, he could barely stand, let alone walk. He thanked the stars that there was an empty seat.
He was on the floor, curled up, trying to protect himself from the constant blows to his body—his sides, his ribs, his face—knowing that no amount of antiseptic and ibuprofen could possibly make this any better.
He nearly passed out while waiting for the second bus.
"You don't fucking belong here, you foreign fag!" They all yelled, variations of those words. Where was everyone? Where were the teachers, the students? Who was supposed to rescue him now that he'd relinquished all his friends?
His head was pounding with each beat of his heart. He could barely get his question out to the receptionist.
They'd finally stopped, after a thousand eternities, leaving him bruised and bloodied and broken, curled up on the floor. He could hear their laughter as their footsteps receded. His whole body ached, but he managed to push himself up, only one thought on his mind: he could stay there no longer. Not a single minute more. And he needed help. Real help.
He followed the sound of the music, walking slow, taking several breaks to lean against the wall. Their voices sounded beautiful, he noted, despite the fact that his head was throbbing. But he couldn't wait until they'd finished. He couldn't wait any longer. He pushed open the double doors, only looking for one person. Their voices died the moment they turned around to greet the newcomer. His eyes locked on one set of honeyed hazel, wide with shock.
"They've won," he said weakly, and passed out on the floor.
The first thing he noticed when he slipped back into consciousness was that someone was running their fingers through his hair. It was rather comforting, as his Mam did the same to soothe him. That soft, warm voice humming something that sounded like a lullaby was also rather comforting. That voice and hand must belong to the same person, he decided. He shifted, and realized he was laying down, but not on a bed. It felt more like a pair of legs and a couch. The humming stopped the moment he'd moved.
"Are you awake?"
Rory recognized that voice; how could he not? His eyes snapped open, and his vision was suddenly filled with Sebastian's face, a mixture of worry and calm all over it.
"Sebastian," he breathed, his dulled eyes suddenly sparkling. "Am I dead?"
Sebastian chuckled. "Not yet. Are you alright?"
"I—" he sat up and hissed, realizing just how much pain he was in. "I'll survive."
"Rory..." Sebastian reached out to touch his arm, then thought better of it. "This has gone too far. You need to take action."
"No one will listen," he said quietly.
"You're covered in blood and bruises. Someone has to listen to that."
"Who am I going to tell, Sebastian?" Rory asked, fury overriding everything else once more. "A teacher? None of them will listen! The principal? He doesn't care! Am I supposed to call a lawyer? An officer? I can't do anything, Sebastian!" His voice broke, and suddenly an overwhelming sadness gripped him. "I just...I just want to go home..."
Sebastian sat there stunned as the first of Rory's tears started to fall. Oh God...Rory was crying...what was he supposed to do? He'd never had to deal with this before; he wasn't good at assessing others' emotions, much less knowing what to do when assaulted with them. Alright hot stuff, he thought to himself, if you broke down in tears, what would you want?
No one to see me, ever, he responded.
I'm a fucking idiot, he decided. What if being seen didn't matter?
He sat there frozen, uncertain, waiting for the answer to come to him. Rory dropped his head in his hands and continued to sob, each sound out of him shaking his whole body.
The word came so easily to him that he had to wonder how it took him that long to think of it. He'd dwell on that later, he thought. He scooted forward and pulled Rory into a tight hug, pushing the other boy's head to his chest. Rory's sobbing increased and he buried his wet face in Sebastian's clothes, and slid his hands around his back, gripping the fabric tight in his fingers. Sebastian shushed him softly and ran his fingers through his dark hair once again, unsure if he was even helping at all. Did more crying mean that he wasn't helping? He waited until the hug seemed a decent length then uncertainly loosened his arms around Rory—Rory tightened his hold on Sebastian, and that was enough answer for Sebastian, who pulled his arms tight around Rory once more.
It was nearly ten minutes before Rory's sobs subsided into sniffles and Sebastian idly realized that that was the longest hug he'd ever given.
"I'm sorry," he mumbled, his voice dry and cracked. He cleared his throat. "I interrupted your rehearsal, and I involved you in my problems, and now I ruined your shirt..."
Sebastian pulled Rory back so that he could look him in the eye, gripping his shoulders tight. "Alright, first of all, I involved myself in your problems. Second, we rehearse enough as is. And third, my shirt is not ruined and even if it was I wouldn't care. So stop apologizing, because none of this is your fault. Okay?"
Rory nodded, his eyes downcast.
"Rory—look at me." He put a finger under Rory's chin and very gently tilted it up until their eyes met. Rory's eyes were clouded over, distant. "What are you thinking about?"
"I..." he dropped his gaze once more. "I'm thinking about cutting my exchange program short and...going home..."
"I thought you loved America..."
Rory shook his head. "I don't care anymore; I just want to be safe."
Part of Sebastian wanted to be selfish, to tell Rory that he could get through it, just so that he could spend more time with him. He just wanted to wrap him up in his arms and never let him go, be it back to McKinley or back to Ireland. He didn't want to lose him so quickly, so soon after meeting and befriending him. But the logical part of his brain knew that Rory was right. His safety came first. He could not go through the rest of his time in Ohio like this.
"You're right," Sebastian said quietly. There was a finality to those words, so heavy that it weighed down the whole room. Silence settled between them, like a wedge pushing them apart.
"I hate to say it," he continued, upon the realization that Rory was not going to speak. "But unless you stand up to them or...I dunno, transfer here...going back to Ireland is your only option."
Rory nodded sadly. "I was afraid you'd say that."
"I'm sorry," Sebastian nearly whispered, pulling Rory into another tight hug. "I really wish there was something I could do that you actually approved of."
Rory laughed softly, and Sebastian's heart leapt at the sound. It meant Rory hadn't been completely broken yet.
"I—" Rory hesitated, resting his forehead on Sebastian's shoulder. "It took me over three hours to get here...I don't think I'm ready to make that trip again, or have Brittany and Lord Tubbington asking me questions all weekend—"
"Say no more," Sebastian interrupted, once again deciding he really didn't want to know. "You can stay here. As long as you need to."
"Thank you," Rory said softly. "I'm really sorry for imposing—"
"It's no imposition," Sebastian interrupted again. "Now let's get you cleaned up—there's still blood all over you..."
Sebastian insisted Rory take his bed; Rory insisted the opposite, opting to sleep on the floor. Sebastian won that argument by picking Rory up, throwing him on the bed, and then wrapping the blankets tightly around him, trapping him.
By the middle of the night they both ended up on the floor, wrapped up in each other's arms, legs tangled together.
They woke within ten minutes of each other, both too tired to feel at all awkward about the position they were in. Facing each other; Rory's arms around Sebastian's neck, Sebastian's arms around Rory's waist; legs crisscrossed; faces less than six inches apart. Sebastian couldn't tear his eyes away from Rory's, powder blue and stunning, even when glazed over with the last dregs of sleep.
He couldn't stop the soft words from leaving his mouth: "I don't want you to leave."
"But you said—"
"I know what I said." Sebastian broke eye contact, unable to look into those eyes anymore. "I do think your only option as of right now is to go back home. But it doesn't mean I like it. It doesn't mean I want it. But unfortunately, what I want and what you need are two vastly different things."
"Unfortunately," Rory repeated. "Why do you want me to stay?"
"Because." Sebastian pulled his arms away and sat up, unwilling to look Rory in the eye, unwilling to let him see just how much Sebastian cared for him. "You're my friend."
"Well...that won't change," Rory said, leaning up onto one elbow. "We still have phones and internet..."
"It won't be the same," Sebastian said in a rush, the words leaving him like a gust of wind.
"What do you mean?" Rory asked, now sitting up fully.
Sebastian didn't answer.
"Sebastian, what do you mean?" Rory pressed, his tone taking on a sharp edge.
He bit his lip. God, he shouldn't have said anything. He should have kept his mouth shut, he shouldn't have said anything. He should have just let Rory sleep over, and then let him go on his merry way back to Ireland. No, he shouldn't have even let him sleep over. He should have driven him home—no, sent him home via bus. He shouldn't have ever saved Rory that first time, just walked on past and never known. Then maybe he wouldn't have ever befriended the boy beside him, gotten to know him, been unwittingly changed by him. But he'd done all those things. All those things and more. And he'd become a different person. And now he was going to do one thing more, and possibly lose the best friend he'd ever had.
He turned to Rory, a sudden fear and worry and want in his eyes, in his upturned eyebrows, in the creases at the corners of his mouth. Rory was staring at him with those vivid, bright eyes, wide with confusion. He did the only thing he still knew: he put both hands to either side of Rory's face and pulled him in, pressing their lips together in a firm but gentle kiss. It lasted all of five seconds, and Sebastian didn't even care whether Rory kissed back or not; he just wanted him to know, that this was all of Sebastian's reasoning, that he could never do this again if Rory moved back to Ireland—not that he expected to be able regardless—and as he pulled away, he didn't even take the time to look into Rory's still-wide eyes, didn't even try to discern the emotions that must be all over his face. He just averted his gaze, stood up. and left the room as quickly as humanly possible, leaving Rory sitting there, stunned.
Sebastian returned to his room four hours later, when he was sure Rory had left. Oh...maybe he should have stayed out all day.
"You're still here," he said softly, avoiding eye contact with the boy perched on the edge of his bed, sitting patiently.
"You told me I could stay as long as I needed," Rory said simply.
"Yeah, but—I thought you'd want to leave after...that..."
"I thought we might want to talk about it," Rory responded. "Also, I don't have any bus money, and I don't fancy walking all the way back to Lima."
Sebastian sighed. "You must be hungry. C'mon, we'll talk over lunch."
Lunch was an awkward affair, at least for Sebastian. It was silent on his end, even though Rory was smiling and talking about how Lord Tubbington and Charity would already be married if it wasn't for Charity's stubbornness and fierce independence and razor-sharp claws. Really, it was all Greek to Sebastian. Or maybe Gaelic.
"Did you want to talk or not?" Sebastian asked impatiently, once there was a lull in conversation.
"We are talking," Rory said, cocking his head to the side.
"About this morning," Sebastian clarified. "Please—the suspense is killing me."
"Right." Rory went silent, contemplative, staring down at his hands as he tapped his fingers softly on the tabletop. Sebastian didn't speak; it was obvious Rory was getting his thoughts together.
"It doesn't change anything," Rory finally said, after what felt like an eon of silence. "Your feelings for me. I'm still unsafe. I still can't do anything."
"And you don't feel the same," Sebastian added.
"Not that it matters, but no; I'm not gay." Rory sighed. "And even if I did feel that way, I wouldn't pursue anything. I doubt I could handle a relationship in my current state, when I'm struggling just to get through each day. Plus, I'm on an exchange program. Anything I got into would be cut short when I get sent back home."
Sebastian let out a short laugh. "I already figured all of that out. Why are we talking?"
"I don't want to leave," Rory said, sounding very much like a small child. "I—you mean so much to me, and...regardless of how you feel, you're still my friend—my closest friend here, and it—you're right, it wouldn't be the same if I went back. I...I don't want to leave."
Sebastian reached across the table for Rory's hand. It hurt a little when Rory pulled both hands away and settled them on his lap instead, but Sebastian understood. And just like he'd tried with Blaine before he met Rory, he would fight for this boy, tooth and nail. Whether he was fighting to earn his love or to keep him safe. He leaned back in his chair, his fingertips sliding back along the table towards himself.
"I'm here to help you," he said, thinking that those words would have had so much more effect if he'd been holding Rory's hand. "Whatever you want me to do, I'll do it."
Rory stared down at his lap. "Telling adults hasn't worked. My exchange program won't allow for transfer out of McKinley. I don't want any violence." He looked up and locked eyes with Sebastian. "We need an alternative solution."
"Spy!" Rachel called the moment he entered the choir room.
Sebastian put his hands up placatingly. "Relax, I'm not here to spy. Unless of course I was looking for clear-cut instructions on how not to win Regionals."
"So you came here to insult us," Finn said, standing up. "Like that's much better."
"No, you dimwit; I'm here for Rory."
A few of the students glanced at each other, including Finn and Rachel. "He's not here," Finn said quietly.
Sebastian rolled his eyes. "Obviously. He's been staying with me ever since he got beat up last Friday and his supposed 'friends' weren't there to help him."
Finn took a step forward. "He got beat up? Is he alright?"
"Of course he's not alright, beef brain," Sebastian growled. He only felt mildly amused at Finn's 'you-hurt-my-feelings' face. Because he was here on a mission, and not to make fun of this group...even if they were really easy to make fun of...
"Wait, hold on just a second there, freak," Santana cut in, seeing something that really should have been obvious to everyone. "Are you that friend of Rory's who lives two hours away and has been trying to help him?"
"Oh my God, Rory's totally gay," Puck said from the back of the room, only heard by those in his vicinity.
"Keyword: trying," Sebastian said.
"Why do I find that so hard to believe?" Finn asked lowly, taking another step forward.
"Oh, I don't know, maybe because you're thick-skulled, walnut-brained, and only have the capacity to see the first layer of everyone?"
Finn lunged for Sebastian, his face contorted in anger. Sebastian didn't flinch, didn't even move. Finn was held back by Sam and Blaine, the taller murmuring something about it not being worth it.
Blaine kept a hand to Finn's chest as he moved forward to take over conversation, a little more level-headed than the so-called leader. "So aside from insulting everything that has a pulse, you said you're here for Rory?"
"Yes," Sebastian said, getting back on topic. "He doesn't know I'm here. But he told me that he doesn't even want to think about coming back here until the bullies are taken care of."
"I thought he was going back to Ireland," Finn said, having stopped struggling against his friends.
"And you honestly think he wants that?" Sebastian asked, raising an eyebrow. He switched gears, shaking his head as if to move the topic aside. "I'm not here to discuss his feelings. I'm here because I thought that maybe if we all worked together we could think of a solution to this."
"Why do you even care? How did you even meet him?"
Sebastian shook his head again. "It really doesn't matter, and it's really none of your business. Are you going to help me out or not?"
"...Fine, yes," Finn finally said, as if it was a difficult decision to make (Sebastian would have rolled his eyes). "If it means helping Rory."
"And making the school safe for others," Blaine added.
The argument had started out rather civil, with Mike speaking up first with the suggestion that they should tell an adult, only to be shot down by Sebastian, saying that didn't help.
"Didn't you say your dad's a district attorney?" Kurt asked, hanging back in the last row rather than joining the huddle, his fingertips grazing the wall.
"He wouldn't help with something like this," Sebastian said, turning to look at Kurt. "Hence I left that out."
He turned back to the group, where more ideas were being formed already. Rachel almost suggested singing, but she was cut off with a glare from over half the glee club. Mercedes said they should give the hockey players a taste of their own medicine, but both Blaine and Sebastian threw that out immediately. Santana suggested blackmail; Kurt said no, that was out of the question. Quinn suggested softly and seriously that he just go back to Ireland. Artie's 'aw hell no' pretty much covered how everyone else felt about that. It ended up in all of them arguing very loudly until a deafening whistle from Finn caught their attention.
"Hey," Tina said, finally being heard after that large shouting match. "Where's Brittany?"
"Hey, Ricky!" Brittany called to a hockey player a few feet ahead of her down the hallway.
Rick Nelson turned around and greeted Brittany with a friendly smile. "Hey, Britt. You know no one calls me that anymore, right?"
"I know," Brittany confirmed, leaning against the lockers and smiling innocently at Rick. "I like it better."
"What's up?" he asked conversationally, also leaning against the lockers a few feet from her. "I haven't seen you around much."
"I just thought..." She put two fingers to her pink lips. Rick's tongue darted out to wet his own. "You and your friends have been picking on Rory a lot, and I thought if I asked nicely maybe you'd stop."
"W...what?" Rick looked up from Brittany's lips to her eyes. "The Irish kid?"
"Yeah." Brittany stared at him with her big straw-green eyes. "I really thought you'd be last to lead the vendetta against misfits."
"What're you talking about, Britt?" Rick asked, a little taken aback.
Brittany smiled and looked down, shaking her head a little. "I can't be the only one who remembers. Don't you remember elementary school? When you were in fourth grade and your little brother was just starting out in first grade. Some of the fifth graders picked on him all the time. I know, because he was always in the nurse's office when I came in. And his eyes were always red and he was always hurt. I remember that you stood up to those fifth graders all the time, and you said you'd never let anyone touch your brother."
The group piled out into the hall, backing up into a classroom when they spotted Brittany and Rick Nelson standing in the hallway, obviously in conversation. About half of them peeked out of the classroom and around the edge of the lockers to see what was going on.
"What's she doing?" Finn asked, towering over the rest of them.
"Obviously talking to the leader of the idiots," Sebastian said.
"What good does she think that'll do?" Finn asked.
"Oh, would you just shut your drooling gob?" Santana hissed.
"That's different," Rick said quietly. "He was six. This guy is what, ten years older than that?"
"Yes, it is different," Brittany agreed, playing with her fingers. "But not because he's older. Rory's here in America, all alone. He doesn't have an older brother, or any family here, that will protect him. He barely has his friends, because they don't know how to help him. If I didn't live with him, I never would've known how much pain he's in."
Rick looked down, the guilt written all over his face. "I...I had no idea."
"I know," Brittany said softly, that small smile on her lips as she looked up at Rick's face. "That's why I told you. Can you and your friends just lay off a little?"
Rick tipped his head up and met Brittany's gaze. "I'll talk to the guys," he said.
Brittany smiled wide. "Thank you so much, Ricky." She leaned in and kissed his cheek, causing him to blush a little (something he'd never admit to) as she turned to walk away.
"Hey, Britt?" he called. She stopped and turned around to face him questioningly. "You're not dating him, are you?"
Brittany shook her head. "No, I'm dating Santana." She turned and flounced off, leaving the hockey player to stare after her.
They piled back into the classroom as Brittany started walking back in their direction. Finn glanced at the group and exited the room, looking at Brittany as she walked up.
"Britt, why were you just talking to him?" Finn asked.
"Oh, I just asked him to stop picking on Rory," Brittany said, staring blankly at Finn.
"And...and what did he say?"
"He said he'd talk to the guys," Brittany said. She started walking again, and only managed a single step when Finn stopped her again.
Brittany shrugged. "I just asked nicely."
Santana smirked and linked pinkies with Brittany. "Bitches get shit done." And they walked away, leaving the group, much like Rick Nelson, to stare after them.
Rory came back to school on Thursday, after Rick had texted Brittany, telling her that her friend no longer had anything to worry about. Sebastian drove him to Brittany's house for a change of clothes, then to school, getting out of the car to escort him up the steps. Sebastian hadn't made much progress on the 'get-Rory-to-love-me' front, but at the very least he wasn't acting all awkward anymore. And, he realized, he was willing to wait as long as it took, which was new to him. Sebastian wasn't usually one to commit like this. But no one before had been as important to him as Rory. And it wasn't a bad feeling, he realized. Even if Rory would never feel the same, there was just something about it. Putting someone before yourself. It felt really good.
"See you around," Sebastian said, turning to face Rory when they stopped at the top of the steps. Rory smiled and pulled Sebastian into the tightest hug he'd ever experienced.
"Thank you," he said softly.
Sebastian was once again at a loss for how to act, although he figured it out faster this time. "Don't thank me," he said softly, returning the hug uncertainly. "I didn't do anything."
Rory pulled back and shook his head, that vividly bright smile still on his face. "Oh, Sebastian. You've done so much more than you can even imagine."
Sebastian really didn't know how to respond to that. And he was sure, even if he had more time, he probably wouldn't ever be able to figure it out. So he fell back on what he knew and flashed a cool smile.
"Coffee, after school?"
Rory's left hand slid down Sebastian's arm, stopping at his hand. He squeezed gently and said, "Absolutely," with that damn eager smile, and then disappeared into the school, the double doors whispering shut as he passed through them.
Sebastian looked down at his hand and smiled. Well, it certainly wasn't much, but it was enough to give him that little spark of hope that ignited his drive to get what he wanted. Now that Rory was safe, he no longer had to fight for that. Perhaps now he could put his energy into making Rory fall in love with him (or at least realize that he wasn't as straight as he thought) and helping him extend his exchange program. All the problems that seemed so daunting not a week ago now seemed like the easiest obstacles in the world. He would have Rory if it was the last thing he did. Prepare yourself, Rory Flanagan, he thought. Now that you're safe, Sebastian Smythe is coming after you.