Greetings! I'm back to writing again, and into the swing with my first non-Kurtofsky pairing. I'm taking a stab at Kurtbastian, because hey, I love Kurt and I love Sebastian, and I think the two of them could be pretty hot together. If you've followed me over here from the Pirate side of the fandom, thank you and welcome aboard. I hope you enjoy. :)

For those of you who may not have read my stories before, or don't know me from tumblr, I don't ship Klaine or support that relationship in any way. There won't be "Blaine-bashing" in this story per se, but I will be touching on some of the myriad of reasons I think Kurt and Blaine are downright terrible for each other, and many of them cast Blaine in a rather unflattering light (though Kurt's certainly not blameless). So if that's not your cup of tea, please move along, no offense taken. If you think Klaine is a healthy relationship, you will most likely not enjoy this story, so really, don't waste your time.

It was just after eleven-thirty pm when Kurt finally made his way up the dark pathway to his even darker house. His dad and Carole were away in Washington for the week, and Finn was either already asleep (unlikely), or out on yet another bonding activity with his "bros" (much more likely). His folks would have at least left the porch light on, but Finn was less attentive to those sorts of details. After missing the lock twice and dropping his keys once, Kurt was finally able to open and the door and get inside.

He lingered in the hallway, thinking about going into the kitchen to get something to eat. Dinner at work - a turkey sandwich and grande mocha – had been hours ago. Carole was always so good about cooking in advance and freezing the meals ahead of time when she knew she was going to be out of town, lest her boys waste away or something in her absence. But while he knew there was bound to be some lasagna in the fridge, or maybe some meatloaf and scalloped potatoes, Kurt decided to pass. His weariness at this point far outweighed any emptiness in his stomach. Instead he turned from the direction of the kitchen, and climbed the stairs to his bedroom.

Kurt flipped the lights on, and began to immediately shed his clothes. First the white polo shirt, with its embroidered gold and olive green logo; then the standard issue, straight-legged khaki pants. He'd left his Lima Bean apron in the passenger seat of his car, since he'd just need it again the next day anyway. He considered changing into pajamas, but even that seemed like too much effort. His feet hurt, his back hurt, and the vague sadness that he was able to push aside while working was slowly creeping back in. Kurt grabbed his phone out of his work pants pocket so he could set an alarm, and wearing just his briefs, crawled into the cool, clean sheets of his bed.

As soon as he unlocked the phone, he saw that he had several missed texts. Kurt groaned. Cody, his stoner co-worker, had failed to show up for his shift again, and Kurt had agreed to work yet another double. Being a Friday night, when live acoustic music was offered, the Lima Bean had been packed since five pm. It had barely even occurred to Kurt to try to check his phone, and even when it had, there just wasn't any time. He'd even foregone his ten minute break, though his boss promised to make it up to him the next day. The first text was from Finn.

5:34pm Going to Puck's 4 a COD marathon. Will probably sleep over.

Kurt sighed. Like you're not going to get enough time in playing soldier when you ship out for basic training? I hope you know here's no respawn in real life, brother dear, he thought darkly. Pushing the gloomy thought as far away as he could, he checked out the other texts. As he'd thought, they were all from Blaine, and the progression was easily predictable.

6:13pm Can I take my favorite barista out to dinner? I hear we could have your place to ourselves after. ;)

7:00pm Are you home? Or still at work? Call me, we can make it a late dinner if you want.

8:16pm I guess you're still at work? Let me know when you're getting home, I can always meet you there.

9:32pm Can you at least text me when you're back? It would be nice to know my boyfriend is still alive.

Kurt heaved another sigh. Blaine's irritation in the last text was obvious, and that was over an hour and a half ago. As much as he wanted to bury his head in his soft pillow, pull the covers over his head and fall into an exhausted slumber, he knew he'd have to call Blaine. It was either that, or face an epically sulky guilt trip the next time they spoke. Hopefully, it wouldn't take too long to smooth things over, and he could get some sleep. He thumbed the call button, trying desperately not to nod off as he listened to the rings. Just when he was sure Blaine had set his phone to silent and gone to bed, he heard his boyfriend's voice.

"Kurt?" Blaine said, with a slightly chilly tone.

"Blaine," replied Kurt, forcing himself to sit up straight against the headboard, and running a hand through his hair. "Hey. Sorry I didn't call you sooner, I just got home and saw your texts for the first time."

"I thought you were getting out at three," Blaine said.

"I had to work a double shift," explained Kurt. "Cody blew his off again, and it was a madhouse. I didn't even have a moment to look at my phone. I'm so sorry."

"That's the third time since you got the job you've had to work a double," said Blaine. "Not to mention all the other overtime. Are you the only one there capable of taking on extra hours?

"Of course not, but-"

"If I didn't know any better, I'd think you were trying to avoid me," said Blaine. There was no playfulness to his words, just an accusation Kurt couldn't help but miss.

Yes Blaine, it's all about you, Kurt griped mentally, but held his tongue. "I wouldn't do that," said Kurt, his grip on the phone tightening. "Look, can we please not do this now? I've been on my feet for over sixteen hours. I'm tired, sore, and can barely think straight. Just let me get some sleep, and we'll talk in the morning, okay?"

"Fine. Let's get together for breakfast," said Blaine.

"I can't," said Kurt. "I have to open in the morning."

"Of course you do," said Blaine flatly.

"Please don't be like that," said Kurt. His eyes started to sting a little, the easy tears of exhaustion finally at hand. "I get out at three, and this time no overtime or double shifts. I promise. Maybe we can catch a matinee at the movies? We still haven't seen The Avengers."

"Actually," said Blaine, "I saw it with Tina, Mike, Mercedes and Sam two weeks ago. The night we were supposed to all go out, but you had to cancel?"

"A different movie, then?" asked Kurt quietly, almost in a whisper.

There was a long pause, and when Blaine responded this time, it was less cold and more gentle. "Yeah, we can see something else," he said.

Kurt smiled a little, cheering slightly. "I'd like that," he said. "You pick. Anything you want to see. And I'll treat; I made a lot of tips tonight."

"I'm sorry to be so hard on you, Kurt," said Blaine. "It's just...I feel like we hardly spend any time together anymore. You're at the Lima Bean more than you're home, or with me. I mean, it was one thing when you were going to NYADA, I knew you'd be so busy over the summer getting ready to leave for New York. But now that you're staying here in Ohio, I thought we'd be together a lot more."

Kurt's improving mood evaporated immediately, both at the highly perceptible whine in Blaine's voice, and the unexpected mention of his dashed dreams. It was replaced with a crashing wave of sadness, a somewhat common feeling these days. One that he tried very hard to convince himself couldn't technically be called depression. He had to get off the phone before he broke down completely. "I have to go," he choked out. "I'm sorry, honey, but I'm falling asleep with my eyes open. We'll talk tomorrow, okay?" Kurt disconnected without waiting for a reply.

He stared at his phone for a long minute. Then, in a burst of hot anger that seemed to come from nowhere, he threw the iPhone across the room. It hit the bottom of his built-in shelves with a loud bang, and the spiteful rage fled as suddenly as it had come. "Shit!" Kurt cried, scrubbing his hands over his face and willing himself not to dissolve into tears. He took a deep breath, and tried to stay calm. It was okay, it was all going to be okay. He was just tired, and blowing things out of proportion. Everything would look better in the morning. Kurt dragged himself out of bed and over to where his phone lay, wanting to make sure he hadn't cracked the screen. But when he bent down to pick it up, he caught a flash of blue from the corner of his eye. Looking over, he saw that it was a small post-it note, and stilled.

That tiny piece of paper was once adhered to something that Kurt had been planning on bringing along to New York with him. He remembered the excitement of making his way around his room, blithely color coding what would stay, what would be purged, and what he couldn't bear to leave behind. But even more, he remembered what it had felt like coming home from school after opening the "acceptance" letters with Rachel and Finn, and numbly peeling every single post-it back off again. He'd tossed them all in the garbage, but this one must have fallen from the messy stack. Detachedly, he wondered what it had been stuck on. His beloved copy of In Vogue: The Illustrated History of the World's Most Famous Fashion Magazine? Or perhaps the small china cat figurine that had belonged to his mother? There were so many things that he'd wanted to bring, his dorm room would have been filled to the brim. But he'd anticipated that he'd be homesick, missing his family, his friends and of course, Blaine; so it seemed like having a lot of familiar items around him would ease the transition.

As it turned out, there would be no move to the Big Apple. Not for Kurt Hummel, at least. He reached over and picked up the scrap of blue, watching as it blurred when the tears finally came. All of his things would stay here, in Lima, just as he would. Gathering dust, month after month, year after year, because Kurt was a failure. Not only was he not good enough, not special or talented enough to get into NYADA, he hadn't realized until after he'd been rejected by the school how monumentally stupid it was for him not to have had a backup plan. His dad had wanted him to apply to other colleges, just in case, but Kurt had balked. He'd been convinced that applying to other schools meant he didn't really believe he'd get into his first choice. When he'd broached the subject with Rachel at application time, she'd boldly pronounced that if one wasn't willing to gamble everything, one didn't deserve to be succeed. You had to be brave, she'd told him, fearless to flourish in a career where the word "no" was around every corner. "If you don't believe in yourself, Kurt," she said, color riding high on her cheeks and a manic light in her brown eyes, "how can you expect anyone else to?"

At the time, riding the Rachel Berry Crazy Town Express had seemed like a good idea. Especially when Blaine had concurred. But while Rachel continued to ride the rails towards the bright lights of the big city, Kurt had unfortunately fallen off and been crushed beneath the steel wheels. Kurt dearly wanted to blame Rachel, or Blaine, or Carmen Tibideaux, but he knew the fault ultimately lay with him. For not having what it took to make his dream come true, and for limiting himself to a single dream in the first place. He'd been foolish and shortsighted, and now he was paying the price. Instead of fresh new textbooks and a dorm room just waiting to be made fabulous, he had an increasingly irritable boyfriend and a Lima Bean apron. He clapped his hand over his mouth to muffle the sobs that began to escape, until he remembered that he had the house to himself. Then he dropped his hand and gave himself over to a fit of loud and ugly crying, rocking back and forth on his heels helplessly.

Kurt wept because he'd lost New York. Because his father was staying in Washington more and more frequently as the November elections loomed closer. Because Finn was going into the Army, and Kurt was scared to death he'd be injured or even killed within days of his first deployment. And he cried because Blaine was right. Kurt was avoiding him, avoiding everyone lately. All his friends were either blissfully moving on to other things and places, or contentedly staying put on familiar ground. He felt alienated, trapped, and desperately unhappy. Work was his only escape, where the bustle of the busy coffee house was like white noise, dulling the screaming disappointment in his soul to a bearable hum. But alone in his house, so silent one could hear a pin drop? There, there was nothing but the cacophony of internal voices, shouting how utterly he'd failed, and how much he deserved to be stranded in this self-created limbo.

If you'd asked him, Kurt would have said he'd doubt that anyone in Lima was having a worse night then him. But on that same Friday evening a few miles away, Sebastian Smythe was giving him a serious run for his money to become winner of the "Shittiest Night Ever" title.

He sat on the leather couch in the formal living room, the usual location for a hearty chewing out by one of both of his parents. His mother had opted out this time around, saying she was so hurt and mad, she was afraid she might say something unforgivable during the dressing down. Which left Sebastian with his father, who he guessed was equally angry, but as an attorney was a little more adept than his wife of keeping his emotions in check. So far the older man had said nothing as he paced restlessly, clenching his hands into fists and occasionally glaring at his only son.

Stephen Smythe (alliterative names were a longstanding tradition for male children born into the Smythe clan) was a roiling mass of emotions; the anger that Sebastian had presumed, but also worry, and a sort of baffled shock at the situation he'd found his son in that night. For sure Sebastian had always been a handful, strong-willed and mischievous even as a small child. But despite all of his misadventures - including some rather startling reports from his Paris-dwelling in-laws, whom Sebastian had lived with the summer between his Sophomore and Junior years - Stephen had always believed he was a good kid at heart. His boy was a bit of a wild child, always pushing limits, chasing excitement and consumed with a desperate need to always have the last word, it seemed. But not a bad kid. Looking at Sebastian's ripped shirt, dirty pants, and the ice pack he held to his bruised jaw, however, Stephen wondered if maybe he and Julia had been in denial. Shaking his head, he finally spoke.

"Jesus, Sebastian," he said heatedly. "What do you have to say for yourself?"

To his credit, Sebastian appeared to be both wary and apologetic. "I know it looks bad, Dad," he said. "But I can explain-"

"The hell you can!" Stephen boomed loudly, interrupting. "I'm sitting home, looking over some files from work since I promised your mother I'd be home for dinner, and I get a call from the police department! Telling me my minor child is in custody!"

"I'm sorry," said Sebastian pleadingly. "Really sorry. Things got a little out of hand, I know." Actually, they hadn't gotten much more out of hand than a lot of his Friday nights, but it was way worse than he'd ever wanted his parents to be aware of.

Stephen stared at Sebastian in disbelief. "Out of hand?" he repeated. "Sebastian, you were in a bar, and you're underage. You had a fake ID in your possession. You were involved in a brawl at said bar, as evidenced by the state of your face. You were obviously drinking, since your blood alcohol count when they breathalyzed you clocked in at about point one-zero percent. And finally, and most damming, young man? They found a zip lock bag of marijuana on you. Does that about sum up how out of hand things got?"

Sebastian squirmed under his dad's pitiless stare. He hated it when his father treated him like a witness on a cross-examine, although he did have to admit he'd certainly earned the role tonight. "Yes sir," he said docilely, trying not to piss his dad off any more by trying to defend himself.

"You are very lucky, Sebastian," Stephen said. "All of the violations – even the pot, because it was barely a quarter ounce – have fine based penalties, as opposed to jail time. Particularly for first time offenders, and particularly when the offender's father is a State's Attorney. You're looking at about eight hundred dollars in fines."

Sebastian wasn't surprised. He'd been raised listening to his father talk about Ohio's laws for years, and he knew exactly how far he could go. He trained his features not to look smug, as his dad would likely not appreciate seeing it. "I see," he said, noncommittally.

"Since you burn through your allowance as fast as we give it to you, I know you don't have anything saved to pay these fines," said Stephen. "So your mother and I will pay them for you, as it would be somewhat embarrassing for me to have a son in thirty-day confinement."

Well, duh, thought Sebastian, but put on his best grateful, placating puppy dog eyes. "Thank you, Dad," he said, green eyes shining guilessly, lashes fluttering. "I'll make it up to you two somehow." He expected his father to respond with I know you will son; maybe ruffle his hair and tell him to get some sleep, since it had been a long night for all of them. That was usually par for the course during the rare occasion when Sebastian was caught out on his bad behavior. But he was dead wrong this time around.

"You bet your ass you will," said Stephen coldly. "You are going to pay us every goddamn cent back, Sebastian."

"Oh," said Sebastian, at a loss for words momentarily. The thought you've finally gone too far flitted through his brain, but he shook it off. He knew his parents, lived with and talked to and honestly loved them every day. It would be fine, they just needed to cool off and then everything would go back to normal.

"And let me tell you something, you better figure out fairly quickly how you're going to do that. Because your allowance is cut off, effective immediately."

"What?" squawked Sebastian, letting the ice pack drop to the sofa, eyes growing round with shock.

"Not another dime, Sebastian," his dad intoned. "Not another penny, until we're paid back. And I'm charging you twenty percent interest, on top of the principle." He allowed himself a little smirk at the aghast look on his son's face. "Cheer up, it's a better rate than you'd get from most of the bail bondsmen in the area," he said.

"How am I supposed to pay you back without my allowance?" asked Sebastian, legitimately puzzled as to how such a thing could be possible. He had no savings of his own, as his father had just pointed out. It wasn't like money fell out of the sky or grew on trees, phrases that he only just now realized were quite apt.

Stephen raised an eyebrow. He knew that he and Julia had sheltered their son, but he hadn't realized how overtly they'd done so. Despite both coming from old money, they had each been raised with an appreciation for the genesis of their wealth, and the urge to earn their way in the world. Somehow, in that respect, they'd failed Sebastian. "You'll have to get a job, I guess," he said.

Sebastian's own eyebrows shot up, along with his ass off the couch. "A job?" he said, holding his arms out in supplication towards his father. "A job doing what?" Other than singing and dancing, which didn't seem to pay much these days, Sebastian's only real skills were sexual in nature. And he doubted his dad expected him to become a prostitute. He stared at Stephen, completely clueless and gaping in astonishment.

"Anything you're capable of," responded Stephen, snorting. "You've got a brain, and full use of your limbs last time I checked. Hopefully there's enough gas in your car to get you back and forth to interviews until you land something."

Sebastian's confusion gave way to ire. This wasn't how it was supposed to go. His parents were supposed to give him a minor, lame punishment. They were supposed to forgive him almost immediately. It was how it always went down when he got in trouble, and he didn't know how to deal with the fact that this time was apparently quite different for some reason. "How can you do this to me?" he spat.

"Do what?"asked Stephen. "Ask you to function like ninety-nine percent of the U.S. population?" At Sebastian's wounded look, he shook his head. "You're spoiled, Sebastian," he informed his son. "Spoiled, disrespectful, and ungrateful for everything that you have. Your mother and I, we never meant for that to happen. We made a huge mistake, and it's time to fix that. We love you, and that will never change. But you forever taking and never giving anything back? Not contributing to society, or even to our family? That ends tonight." He gave his son a frosty smile. "Welcome to the real world, Sebastian. The free ride is officially over."

Cue the part where I beg for reviews, so I don't feel like I'm off on the wrong foot in a new universe. :) Do you like? Leave a review. If not, leave one anyway, because feedback is sustenance to the muse.