A/N: Long chapter ahead. But I'm trying to move this fic a little faster in terms of where Blaine gets into the fight club. It's just that I think there's so much development needed before hand. Sigh. #InvolvedFicWriterProblems.

Anyways, R&R!

Chapter Four

He forgets about Kurt, about cutting, about the Warblers, about everything, and strains his ears to hear the faint murmuring going on behind the door. He doesn't have a roommate; unless someone broke in, there's no reason that anyone should be in there. Had he forgotten to lock the door when he left in a hurry this morning? And he must have left his wallet and laptop in plain sight, too.

The thought of all his possessions being stolen sends him hurtling through the door. It bursts open and Blaine freezes with his legs spread shoulder width and his arms up by his face, like he's about to fight someone. But after a second he realizes that the room looks exactly the same, undisturbed except for a long, lanky boy lounging across the extra bed with a phone to his ear and a suitcase at his feet.

"—for my mother. Hold on, some crazy son of a bitch just burst into my room, I can't tell if he's my roommate or the local psychotic."

Blaine blinks at him, gradually lowering his hands. Embarrassed, he tries to control his breath, now suddenly aware that he's breathing hard.

"No," says the boy into the phone, eyeing him up and down, "he's too cute to be crazy. I think he's probably my roommate. Yeah man, I'll call you back. Tell Ashley I said hi—on second thought, tell her I said 'fuck you, whore.' She'll know why. Okay. Later."

The boy snaps his phone shut and stands up so swiftly Blaine doesn't even see him move. He sweeps the distance from the bed to where Blaine stands in three quick steps, and then he snatches one of Blaine's fists out of the air, uncurls it from it's ball, and kisses it on the back.

"Bonjour," he says, winking. "So are you going to tell me or should I ask? Psychotic or roommate?"

"Uh," Blaine replies.

"Roommate, then," the boy says, and he switches his grasp on Blaine's hand to a handshake. Blaine feels himself grip the boy's hand, although all he can do is gaze open-mouthed at his thin smirk and amber eyes, turned upward like a cat's. "I'm Sebastian Smythe, and I've just moved in."

"Oh," says Blaine numbly, his mind flashing to Kurt, although Kurt really wasn't an actual new kid. Still, the parallel of meeting two strangers in such strange ways in one day makes his brain reel. "Blaine Anderson."

"A pleasure, Mister Anderson. Please, sit and tell me what all this"—Sebastian gestures to the cleanly folded sheets on Blaine's bed, the symmetrically arranged posters and pictures on the walls, and the even numbered stacks of books and cups of pencils that occupy Blaine's side of the room—"has to do with an obviously psychologically damaged, yet adorable, boy like you."

"Uh," he says again.

"Talkative," says Sebastian, grinning. "Slow down, I don't know how I shall keep up."

"Who—when did you get here?" Blaine finally forces out. "I've been out all day. It's Friday so classes are light, but… they didn't tell me you were coming."

"By 'they' I assume you mean that lovely lady in the housing resources department up top." Sebastian rolls his eyes. "I'll tell you why she didn't warn you—she's a woman. They say they'll do one thing, then do the opposite, or else forget to do it entirely. But of course, I don't mean to offend you or your girlfriend, if you've got one."

"No," Blaine shakes his head and looks down, like he does every time he has to talk about his sexuality, "I don't have a girlfriend, I'm gay."

"Ah," Sebastian's grin grows wider. "Great."

There's an awkward silence during which Blaine tries to deduce whether or not Sebastian is naturally this uncommonly rude or if this was his weird way of flirting with him. But he can't read Sebastian at all; conversely, the other stands there with his hands in his pockets, in the center of the room—on his right, Blaine's dresser, bed, and desk in perfect order, and on his left, his bed sheets already slightly disheveled and his drawers half open—looking like he can see everything about Blaine from just his name and sexuality.

"So, roommate," he says, "What do you like to do for fun around here?"


A half hour later they're sitting in Warblers practice. Nick's auditioning for a solo, and everyone watches patiently—except Sebastian. He sits to Blaine's right, twirling a quarter on the coffee table beside the couch, looking bored out of his mind.

The only thing he's been able to draw from him during their walk down here has been that he transferred over from a public school in California. His family moved here because of his mother's job promotion. But other than that, Blaine has been able to learn nothing from this tall, cool, mysterious new kid. Except maybe that he's horribly fidgety.

Nick finishes his solo and everyone claps politely. Blaine gives him an approving nod and Nick flashes him a grin and looks like he's about to come over to him, but before Blaine can make verbal or physical contact, Sebastian has tugged his sleeve and forces him to the other side of the room. For a few fleeting moments, they sort of hold hands. Blaine thinks again about parallels with Kurt as Sebastian leads him into the same hallway that he ran through with the other.

"So, choir practice, huh?" says Sebastian, dropping Blaine's hand and leaning coolly against the large oak doors after they get out of the room. Warblers got dismissed at that moment anyways, but Blaine feels weird about leaving without the customary dismissal from Wes and David.

"Yeah," he says. "It's fun."

"Fun. Right." Sebastian smiles.

"You don't believe me."

"Oh no. I believe you. In fact, I love to sing. Want me to give you a little private serenading?"

"I could go without."

"Snappy, Anderson. Don't want your nice-boy image to shatter too much, do you?"

Blaine blinks at him for what seems like the millionth time in the past hour that he's known him. "I literally have no idea what you're talking about."

"Sure you do." Sebastian hops off the wall and leans in toward Blaine, who holds his ground. "You pretend you're a good, orderly, sweet kid, but let's face it. You're bored."

"I'm happy."

"You're settling."


It's as if Nick calling his name shocks him into the real world. The hallway suddenly becomes alive—or, rather, Blaine suddenly realizes that there are other people in there, and that they're moving, and making noise, and it isn't just him and Sebastian anymore.

"Y-yeah?" Blaine says. It takes him a few moments to blink away from Sebastian's face and look at Nick, who has appeared by his shoulder. Nick's taller than Blaine but shorter and stockier than Sebastian, who leans back against the door again, thin and effortless, like a leaf. Blaine thinks that the wind of one wrong move might even blow him away.

"Are we going to go study for AP U.S.?" Nick asks. He looks back at Sebastian. "You said you wanted to work with me and Jeff on the outlines."

"Yeah. Yeah we are, just… let me get Sebastian back upstairs to his room. I'll meet you there."

Nick nods at Blaine, bobbing away after a second side-eye at Sebastian. The other remains motionless, knowing smirk stuck in place.

"What are you trying to do here?" Blaine hisses as soon as Nick is out of earshot. The rest of the Warblers shuffle past him but he avoids making eye contact so that he doesn't have to suffer a similar reaction from them as Nick had—and he's almost positive that at the next Warblers meeting he's going to be bombarded for an explanation. "You can't just show up, claim to be my roommate, and then embarrass me at Warblers practice. I brought you here because you asked what I did for fun. That means you play along, with my rules. Yes, California, there are rules here."

"I never pegged you as a stickler for the way things should be. I thought you liked freedom."

"You 'never'—like you've known me for something more than an hour or something."

"I have known you for more than an hour," snaps Sebastian, kicking off the door. He's back in Blaine's personal space again but this time Blaine steps back, his hands coming up to grip the strap on his bag. He doesn't want to put his fists up, because that would be threatening and dangerous and they're in a hallway for God's sake. But Sebastian's giving him a vibe that makes him want to protect himself. "I've known you your whole life Blaine."

"What the hell are you talking about?"

"Let me guess, you were bullied, right?" Sebastian's voice is a whisper. He's looking directly at Blaine's eyes and has bent over slightly so that they're at the same eye level. Somehow this is worse than him towering over him; it's like he's treating him like a child. "Probably pretty badly. You either cut or wrote sad poetry to relieve the pain—or both. You also probably have a family that hates you or damn near that. And so you transferred to a private school filled with tolerant boys in uniforms, and you put on your own blazer and you joined a club and you followed the rules because all you've ever wanted to do is blend in, be part of the crowd. But I bet you get a shitload of vertigo from being on that stage when you perform for the Warblers, because let's be honest, Anderson."

He moves away from him, standing up straight and clinking a key in his pocket, as if just the noise shattering the quiet of the now-empty hallway is enough imperfection to seal his point.

"You love disrupting the pattern."

With that, he turns on his heel towards the door. "I can find my way to our room myself. Go to your study session. You don't want to let the guys down." He grins over his shoulder as he exits, leaving Blaine standing there, heart thumping and brain reeling, trying for the second time in the past hour and a half whether or not Sebastian likes him, hates him, or just gets some sort of sick pleasure in throwing him for the biggest loops possible.


It's almost an hour later when Blaine finally goes to the study session. At first he tries to follow Sebastian back to their room, but when he gets there it's empty. There's the possibility that Sebastian got lost, but somehow he doesn't think that's what happened. Then he collects his books, organizing and reorganizing his class folder so many times the labels start to swim in front of his eyes. He walks slowly, hoping to run into Sebastian somewhere so that he can—so that he can what? Tell him off? Hit him? Both sound equally as ludicrous.

When he strolls in to Nick and Jeff's room, Jeff is spread out on his bed and Nick is spinning on one of the desk chairs. Someone's sitting in the corner with his head underneath a pillow moaning quietly.

"Way to finally show up," says Jeff, peeking up from his textbook. "We're on the Civil War and Trent can't remember when the Emancipation Proclamation was signed."

"I will never pass this class," moans the face beneath the pillow.

"It's okay, they probably don't have specific date questions like that on the test anyways," says Blaine, setting his bag down on the other desk and opening it up to get his stuff out.

"So," says Nick, eyeing him up and down. His book is open on his lap, but it's very clear that he's not going to be looking at it until Blaine explains something to him.


"So the new kid. Looked like you two had something of a row outside the practice room today. Who is he, anyways?"

"His name's Sebastian. He's my new roommate."

"You didn't tell us you were getting a new roommate."

"I didn't know." Blaine shrugs. "He just turned up this afternoon when I got home from helping out that Kurt kid who showed up to the performance this morning."

"Wasn't he a new kid?" Jeff asks. Trent has peeked half his face from beneath the pillow in interest.

"No, he was pretending to be though. Wes and David and I talked to him about it and figured out that he was just… he's gay and he's been bullied. I went to his school—he goes to McKinley, the one we're facing at Regionals—so I went to see what I could do, but the guy who's bullying him is so far in the closet himself that nothing's going to get done soon."

"So what was he doing here?" Trent asks, taking the pillow all the way off his head and running a hand through his hair to fix it.

Blaine shrugs again and looks between all three of them. Nick's still staring at him skeptically, and although the other two have moved on to talk about Kurt, Blaine figures he's going to get a full-blown interrogation from Nick about Sebastian later.

"He needs a safe place to be and he heard about us so he came here, I guess. He sounded pretty brave when he talked me through it at lunch, though. He's the only out kid at his school. All he needs is somewhere safe, now."

Jeff smiles.

"Sounds a little bit like you, Blaine."

"No," says Blaine, shaking his head as he finally gets out his papers and riffles through them until he finds the Civil War outline. "I'm nothing like Kurt."

Kurt, fabulous Kurt, brave Kurt, fierce Kurt—Kurt who unabashedly wore fashionable clothing to school instead of the ritual "masculine" jeans and t-shirts, Kurt who bore the weight of years and years of bullying all throughout high school, Kurt who tore apart obstacles, Kurt who was never defeated until he met this brick wall of a boy and had to finally seek help, Kurt who went back to brave a bigoted public school, Kurt who seemed so alike Blaine and yet so much better than him in every way.

"I'm not that brave. I just want to blend in."

They drop the subject and actually start to get some studying done. Jeff manages to memorize every important Union army general's name and recite them in under forty seconds. Trent finally nails when the Emancipation Proclamation was signed and all of it's key points. But now all Blaine can think about is him and Kurt, their similarities and their differences, and how Blaine felt from the moment he saw him that itchy, self-conscious feeling, like he was watching himself on camera.

Maybe they are the same, but in admitting that, Blaine has to admit that what Sebastian says is true—he hates rules, and being part of a crowd. He doesn't want to blend in; he wants to stand out. He wants to be special. He wants to be himself. He wants to be brave.

As Nick and Trent and Jeff quiz each other on the events that led up to the Civil War, Blaine takes a pen—a regular blue, ballpoint pen—and draws the word carefully in capital letters, right above the scar on his left wrist.


When he gets back to his dorm that night, Sebastian's lounging on his bed again, throwing a lacrosse ball into the air and catching it repeatedly. Although Blaine makes a point to stand in the doorway for a few heated seconds, giving him a contemptuous once over, Sebastian continues to toss the ball, the tweaking corner of his lips his only indication of noticing Blaine at all.

Blaine throws his bag onto his bed and goes to his dresser to change into sweats. He's semiconscious of the fact that each move he makes is deliberate and angry, and he wants nothing more than to take the goddamn ball away from Sebastian because he can't stand the rhythmic patting sound it makes each time it hits his palm. But he undresses and redresses quickly, slamming his closet doors closed too hard and then throwing himself on his bed. He's about to turn off his bedside lamp when Sebastian looks over at him and grins.

"Rough day?"

"You would know."

"Look," Sebastian sighs and sits up. His blazer is open and the first few buttons of his polo are undone. There's no sign of his tie. "I'm sorry if what I said hurt you, but that's no reason to dismiss it as the truth."

"How do you know it's the truth?" Blaine challenges. "You don't know anything about me."

"The fact that this is bothering you this much shows that I know a lot about you."

Blaine shakes his head and puts his hand back on the lamp switch, plunging them into darkness. It's a moment of silence before Blaine realizes he didn't brush his teeth or wash his face. He feels grimy suddenly, but getting up now would mean sacrificing the presence he just struck by turning off the lamp and silencing conversation.

"I didn't say all that to be mean, you know."

So much for silencing conversation.

"Then why did you say it?" Blaine asks of the darkness.

"I said it because it's true," Sebastian's disembodied voice answers him.

"You keep saying things are 'true'—as if just because you say them out loud they are true. What does that mean? Who the hell are you? You just showed up today and… and I've known you for maybe five hours and you've already made me feel like crap. What right have you got to do that to me?"

"You just don't like it that I'm correct, do you Blaine?" There's a rustling of bedsheets, a thunk of shoes hitting the floor, and then silence. "Someone saw through you and now you're scared of it."

"I'm not scared."

"Of course you are, Blaine. That's why you keep running away."

That's the last thing either of them say. Blaine lets it roll around in his head, chew it over as he licks his teeth and lips and tries to wipe the day off of his face with his palms (probably accidentally smearing Kurt's number all over his cheeks). Eventually he drifts off to sleep and dreams of Kurt and the bully at his school who shoved him against the fence, only now it's Sebastian, and he's grinning maniacally and Blaine gets an overwhelming sense of the urge to just—just hit him. Get him off of him. Roll him to the ground and beat him until he's bloody—until his fist is the one covered in blood instead of the other way around.

The last clear image he has is of Kurt's face, horrified, before he jerks into consciousness.

He must have slept for a long time, although it feels like it's been mere minutes; sun streams through the window and Sebastian's across the room finishing unpacking his suitcase into the previously empty dresser.

"Morning sleepyhead," he says, grinning. With that tone of voice, he might as well be an entirely different person. "Nightmare?"

Blaine blinks away the sunlight, rubbing his eyes to adjust them.

"A—a bit, yeah."

"Who's Kurt?"

"Just this—what?"

"You said his name towards the end. Not your boyfriend, right?"

"Not my boyfriend," Blaine says firmly, sliding out of bed and over to his dresser, where he grabs clothes and a towel so he can go shower and dress. When he comes back, fresh and in a clean pair of jeans and a t-shirt, he finally looks at his cell phone for the time. 11:30. He slept later than he thought.

By this time Sebastian's done unpacking and is pulling on some socks and shoes.

"What are you doing today?" he asks him. His voice is much gentler than it was before; perhaps he's trying to make up for their rough start yesterday.

"Homework," Blaine grunts, watching himself carefully sculpt his hair in the mirror above his bedside table.

"As usual I bet."

Blaine has to close his eyes and take a deep breath through his nose to stop himself from glaring at Sebastian. He'll never get used to having him as a roommate and if this doesn't stop he's going to make damn sure he doesn't have to deal with him ever again. He'll even hunt down the lady in the housing resources department if he has to.

Fortunately, Sebastian notices this little pause and his face splits into a grin. "Sorry," he says. "I'll stop trying to get to know you like that. Tell you what—why don't I take you out tonight to apologize?"

Taken aback, Blaine says, "Okay" before he's fully realized what he's agreed to. Sebastian widens his grin.

"Excellent," he says, and he finishes lacing up his shoes, which Blaine just now notices are cleats. Sebastian pockets the lacrosse ball he was playing with last night, grabs a stick that Blaine just now realizes must have been sitting in the corner the entire time, and heads to the door. "I'll pick you up at eight. Wear something pretty."

Blaine watches him go, aghast, hair gel drying in his palms. When he comes to his senses he realizes that there's nothing left to do for this day except to wait and… well, do homework, like he said he was going to.

Although he dressed and did his hair, he stays inside mostly, going over the Civil War outlines that he, Jeff, Nick, and Trent worked on yesterday. He's been so distracted for the past two days that he hasn't been able to get any work done, and it's still showing: he reads, rewrites, and recites the outlines, but nothing seems to stick. Occasionally he takes a break and wastes time on facebook. Sometimes he runs pens over the soft flesh of his wrist and inner forearm before he's shocked back into reality and he remembers that he doesn't do that stuff anymore. And it's back to reading, rewriting, and reciting.

It's 7:49 when Sebastian comes strolling back in. Blaine expects to see him sweaty, disheveled, and exhausted from lacrosse, but instead he looks crisp and alert in black pants and a red long sleeve shirt that brings out the amber in his eyes and hair. Over his shoulder he has a black jacket slung and, beneath that, a bag that must be carrying all of his lacrosse gear.

"I'm assuming tryouts went well then?" Blaine asks, looking him up and down again. Sebastian sees this and grins, dropping his gear in the corner.

"Went great. I made the team, of course." He turns to look at Blaine. "We're going out in ten minutes and you haven't changed at all," he pouts, "I told you to wear something pretty."

"Sorry, are bow ties too masculine for you?"

"Actually, come to think of it, they're perfect. Small and adorable—sort of like you."

Blaine wishes Sebastian would wipe that stupid smile off his face. He doesn't say anything for the next few minutes as he puts his homework away and locates his wallet and keys. When he's got his shoes on he looks back at Sebastian, who's been fixing his hair in their shared mirror.

Sebastian grins. "Ready?"

Oh, god.



Where they go is not what Blaine expects at all.

"Here's your ID," says Sebastian. "But don't worry, I know Harry, the bouncer. He lets just about anyone in, he gets it, you know? The teen gay desperate for a place to fit in, thing. You have that down perfectly with the bow tie."

"It says I'm from Hawaii," says Blaine, eyeing a suspicious looking fake ID that Sebastian just shoved into his hands. "And thirty."

"You look very mature for your age," Sebastian nods. "And Hawaiian."

They approach the bouncer, who stands beneath the large neon sign that burns the word "SCANDALS" into Blaine's eyeballs each time he looks at it. The bouncer—Harry—is a huge, burly man dressed entirely in black, but made significantly less threatening by the feather boa around his neck. He takes both of their ID's and—Sebastian's right—barely even looks at them before opening the door.

It's hot inside—really hot, and really crowded. Men and boys line the bars, occupy the tables, and stroll around the dance floor, upon which plenty of people groove to the music put on by the DJ in the corner. Sebastian has disappeared to get drinks, so Blaine stands awkwardly just inside the door, peering around at everyone. Sixteen years old and he's already in his first gay bar—pretending to be a thirty year old man from Hawaii. He hopes to God that nothing happens tonight that requires him to reveal this to his parents. They'd have him back in public school in a heartbeat.

When Sebastian returns, he's holding two cold beers. "For you," he grins, holding one out to Blaine. Blaine doesn't want to say that he's never had alcohol before, so he takes a swig as if he knows what he's doing, and ends up trying to swallow too much at once. It tastes like shit, just like everyone always said.

They try to find a place to sit and end up in a rickety table in the corner that looks like it's on its last leg—literally. It only has one leg and the rest of it is glued haphazardly to the wall with a chair on either side, like a propped-up fold-out ironing board. As Sebastian surveys the crowd and hums in time to the music, Blaine sips his beer, unable to decide if he's getting to like it or just getting used to it.

"First time at a bar, huh?" Sebastian asks. "Didn't mean to culture shock you. But really. You didn't think you were the only gay kid in all of Ohio, did you?"

"No," Blaine says seriously.

"Loosen up, Anderson. You sound like you're being interrogated. I'm just asking."

"I know," Blaine replies dumbly. He looks back down at his beer and wipes some of the condensation off of the bottle. When he looks back up at Sebastian, he's getting up and holding out his hand.

"Want to dance?"

"I don't know how."

"Doesn't matter. We'll learn together."

"I'm pretty sure you already know how to dance."

Another famous grin from Sebastian. "Look who thinks they know everything now." And he grabs Blaine's hand and yanks him up and onto the floor before he can worry about leaving their beers unattended.

From the side of the dance floor, Blaine didn't hear the music like he does now. Now he hears it much louder, fuller, and with his whole body instead of just his ears; it pounds through him like an earthquake, ricocheting off his insides and making him feel like an echo of everyone around him, barely there as he gets pushed from side to side by bodies that just want him to dance in time.

Sebastian grabs his hands and puts them on his shoulders, taking Blaine's hips under his fingers. He forces them to sway, and Blaine feels awkward, strange, and a little more like he'd rather go sit back and drink the horrible tasting beer than be out here on the floor with Sebastian. But the latter starts to make Blaine move and Blaine feels a sick, swooping feeling in his stomach; people surround him and press in towards him on all sides, he can't breathe, he can't think—the lights are blinding, the music's deafening, and he has got to get out of there.

The next motion is a flurry of hands and various movements by his neck that he thinks might be an attempt at shaking his head to let Sebastian know he's not comfortable with this. He's not sure what about the situation disturbs him so much—perhaps it's being so close with everyone. There were at least five people touching him at all times. It reminds him too much of his weaknesses, being that close to that many people. He can dance in group numbers, but freeform dancing in this mountain of bodies makes his head spin.

After forcing his way out of the crowd, he hastily locates the back door and walks as fast as he can towards it, his breath cutting sharply in his throat. It feels clogged—he coughs into his hand. Just spit; no blood.

When he gets outside, the fresh air is a blessed relief. He sinks down the side of the building and onto the concrete of the sidewalk, rubbing his head in his hands. He's slowly de-gelling his hair, but it doesn't matter; all he can think to do is breathe deeply the crisp, cold 9:30 pm air and try to figure out what happened to him in there.

The door to his left creaks open and there stands Sebastian, looking partly angry and partly pitiful, like he's torn between saying something omniscient and pretentious again. After a moment he settles on, "Sorry, I didn't know you really hated dancing."

"It's not that," Blaine says, shaking his head. Sebastian moves to stand in front of him and holds out his hand. Blaine takes it and Sebastian pulls him to his feet. "I just get nervous in crowds. I got in a pretty big fight last year and the close pressure… scares me I guess."

"You got in a fight?"

"More or less," says Blaine miserably. "I got beat up."

"Mmhm," Sebastian hums, scratching his chin thoughtfully. Then, without warning, he bends over at the waist and puts his hands on his upper thighs, so that his head is about the level of Blaine's neck. Blaine has to step backwards to avoid having Sebastian's chin collide with his shoulder.

"Okay. Hit me."

"What?" Blaine stares at him, astonished. "I'm not going to hit you. I don't like violence."

"Sure you do," Sebastian says, grinding his teeth into a fanged smile that glows in the half-light. "It's written all over you, practically in pen. You crave this."

He looks down at his arms and pictures them covered in inky spider webs.

"I don't. That doesn't even make any sense."

"Come on, Anderson. The same instinct you thought had been telling you to run this whole time has actually been telling you to fight, I guarantee it."

"You don't know what you're on about."

But Blaine curls his fingers into a fist, feeling the weight of sixteen years' abuse in his palm. He doesn't want to hit Sebastian, but maybe he does want to hit something. In fact, he's wanted to hit something for a while. He's wanted to hit something since he started getting pushed into lockers. He's wanted to hit something since he saw his dad's disappointed nose crinkle over the newspaper when he came home with pen streaks up and down his arms. He's wanted to hit something since he was forced to pull it all together for the sake of everyone else's comfort. He's wanted to hit something since he learned how to smile, because on that day he realized he would never be allowed to break down in front of anyone ever again. He's wanted to hit something since the first time he got hit.

Maybe it makes a little sense, after all.

"Stop arguing," Sebastian says through his teeth, "and hit me."

So, hurling his right fist at Sebastian's cheekbone, Blaine hits him.

What actually happens is that he undershoots just barely and hits Sebastian partially in the jaw and partially in the neck, sending him stumbling to the side, holding his mouth and howling. In a second, however, he's steadied himself and punches Blaine square in the stomach before Blaine even knows what's happening.

As he doubles over and faces the gravel, he's in a dark alley way again and there are three, four, five boys on him, and he's getting kicked in the gut, and he's spitting up a tooth, and he's wondering where his date is, where his dad is, where his brother is, where anyone is.

"Don't you want this, Blaine? Defend yourself!" Sebastian says. Shrieks. Something. Blaine can't hear for the pounding in his ears. "Come on, hit me ag—"

He doesn't let him get the word out; he has a fist buried in Sebastian's mouth, the other gripping his shoulder so he can't stumble away this time. And Sebastian's laughing, cackling even, his pretty face already bruising, ugly and purple-brown in the flickering light outside the bar. It's a maniacal sound. Blaine can't decide if he loves it or hates it.

They punch each other for several more minutes and when they're done, Sebastian goes back into the bar to get them their beers.

Now miraculously able to ignore the terrible taste, Blaine takes a sip of his, feeling invincible and breathless and calm all at once. The cold November air tries to touch him, but it can't.

"How do you feel?" says Sebastian, after they both take a moment to watch the streetlamp flicker.

"Like I'm in Fight Club," Blaine says. "You know, the movie? You said 'hit me,' like Tyler did."

"I like Tyler," says Sebastian, setting his beer down in between them and wringing his wrists. Blaine knows why: his own hurt, too. They're not used to having to knock punches around and deal with the strain, since the last time Blaine boxed was over the summer, and it was just for a little recreational self-defense, nothing serious. Still, Blaine thinks as he watches Sebastian press each of his fists into the opposite palm a few times, nothing ever gets used to pressure unless it's continually applied.

"We're a little bit the same, he and I."

"Tyler's the bad guy," says Blaine. "You're no Tyler."

"You don't know how bad I can be, Anderson."

"Anyways," Blaine deflects, "That's like saying you're the main guy, the narrator, anyways. They're the same person in the end."

"Tyler and the narrator are the same person like apples and oranges are the same fruit," Sebastian snorts. "He had multiple personality disorder, he didn't just call himself a different name for kicks. Tyler was another person living inside him. A soul inside a soul. I'm like that. The soul inside everyone else that they don't want to see."

A few cars pass by. Boys drive and their girlfriends sit in the front seat with the windows down even though it's cold, letting the wind ruin their hair. Blaine doesn't much care for the wind but on a night like tonight he doesn't much care about anything except the pounding in his temples, fists, and newly forming bruises.

"So what do we do next?"

Sebastian drinks. "You could punch me again."

Looking at him out of the side of his eyes, Blaine sees that the bruises on his jawbone and left eye are purpled now, the exact shape of his own fist. In the streetlamp, they look grotesque and golden around the edges, swelling a little bit so that Sebastian's normally thin face is blotchy in places.

"Nah," he laughs, "Your pretty face is fucked up already."

"Blaine Anderson, look at you. You've barely had half a beer and your first real fight and you're already cursing like a sailor. You're growing up so fast."

"You don't know anything about me growing up."

He says it like a joke. Sebastian takes it like a joke. But on a level that they haven't yet reached, they both know it's not.

"Okay, so you're not going to punch me. You could always kiss me instead."

Blaine looks at him again, and this time they hold eye contact. Sebastian's grinning from ear to ear, which must hurt as the whole left side of his face is a mess. Blaine can feel his own mouth tweaking into a smile although he tries not to let it. The effort it takes to hold his lips in place is overwhelming and lets him know that his own face has probably started to look pretty mutilated, too.

The tension is broken when he looks away. "Nice try."

"Worth a shot. Better luck next time, I guess."

"Yeah, don't hold your breath."

They drink.

"So now I guess you know," Sebastian says, like he's letting out that breath Blaine told him not to hold.

Blaine shakes his head. "Now I know what?"

They look at each other again, Sebastian from through his eyelashes. His face is swollen but he still pulls off a gaze that is one part alluring, one part dangerous.

"Now you know what we do next."

A/N: And viola, fight club action. Review for more.