title: reach out and touch someone
pairing: Sebastian/Rachel, Blaine/Rachel, Blaine/Sebastian; estb. Kurt/Sebastian. Sebastian/himself. Rachel/insecurities. Blaine/green-eyed monster.
summary: See, here's the thing about him: he carries the metaphor through. And he knows enough to be able to tell when it turns back into a simile. An almost. No longer something definite, but like something definite.
a/n: so here's the second part; it's killing me that Sebastian hasn't yet been introduced in season 4 D: I mean even Kurt thought that if Blaine would cheat with anyone (which, what?) it'd be Sebastian. Also, to anyone from that fandom; Life With Derek is coming back as an entirely new show. I cannot deal with all my feelings, you guys. I'll probably combine these two parts sometime because I like the idea of having a 12,000 word one-shot, which is what this originally was.
disclaimer: disclaimed. I don't own at all, and I'm sure everyone's really glad about that right about now.
Don't do this. is Blaine's cryptic text to him, a week later. And since he wasn't going to do anything more offensive than watch the NFL match on television, he's guessing this is about something else. Someone else.
Which probably means that Blaine somehow found out about the unauthorized meeting last week where the most exciting thing that actually happened was a fictional make-out session in his head involving two people, neither of whom were him.
God, he needs to get laid.
(And wow, Rachel Berry has actually found a way of making clandestinity lame. Really, there should be an award.)
So anyway, what he knows about human psychology begins and ends with this— reverse. Always.
Truth is, he hadn't actually thought of doing this till now, till he was told not to:
He scrolls past the various 'R's and reaches her name. The button feels smooth under his hand as he presses. Like a gold star on paper.
Who is this, she texts back immediately, it's not like she has a life (this is again one of those not-mean-but-honest things; he has documentation and statistics, so it's a fact. No case of defamation would hold water in a court of law. He knows this stuff, his father's a State Attorney), and how do you know what I'm wearing?! I'll have you know my dads are very protective and have a lot of high-up connections in the Ohio State Police Department.
He doesn't obviously. Know what she's wearing, that is; you look so sexy in blue right now had been a hit-or-miss try, based solely upon the observation that she favored the color in clothes. Which is probably insulting to the color. Obviously, he'd hit.
And anyway, it was most definitely a lie. The article of clothing under dispute was probably a blue-cape she'd stolen out of her grandmother's cupboard or something. It's Rachel Berry, she doesn't do sexy.
(How 'Rachel Berry is the dictionary definition of unsexy' became a lie is this: he was lying across his bed, and she was wearing blue. Something ridiculous and uptight and way too covered and blue, but she was also leaning against his dressing table and looking at him with dark, inviting eyes and—
he'd woken up, tangled in his sheets, hard.
And in the shower, his hand was Blaine's mouth wrapped around his cock. And when he looked up, she was standing there, her eyes fixed on Blaine's head and—
that's all it took.
None of which happened, if you ask him. And since it's his story, that's the gospel truth.)
Sebastian Smythe, he texts instead, ignoring the second part. You know, the guy you're finding innovative ways to try and kiss.
She doesn't text for a long time and he puts his phone off-vibration so checking it constantly wouldn't be moronic and indicative of anything that it's not indicative of.
(So basically, what he is these days isn't gay, what he is is a girl. Just, fuck.)
I should have guessed, she texts finally, and he waits ten minutes before opening it because he can; Sebastian Smythe, ladies and gentlemen. When I started getting all those messages for a nose-job and Bathroom Singers Anonymous and vocal lessons for people who Think They Can Sing But Make The Cat Want To Drown Itself. Or the pornographic pictures of male celebrities over the age of 85.
Oh, oops. He'd forgotten about all that. He's had her number ever since he'd taken on the Warbler's of course. He doesn't do things half-assedly. And he may or may not have taken a few liberties of the sort.
Oh come on, he protests, that wasn't pornography, that was erotica. There's a difference.
I know there's a diff; the shortened words probably signify her outrage at having her intellectual capabilities bought into question, between porn and erotica. Although you obviously don't.
There's a beat where he's not going to do it, because then it's— more. It's more.
He does it anyway.
Litmus test, he texts back, pornography or erotica? Your answer will either qualify or undermine your claims, so, careful there, Berry.
The attachment takes a long time to load. Truth is, he didn't even remember having the picture taken, although it was probably during one of the Dalton parties by some horny guy he had sex with. It isn't completely inappropriate, even if it's the angle is a little lower than common standards, and it's obvious he isn't wearing anything. Still, chest and hip-bones in the 21st century probably equate to Victorian gowns.
He stares at the sent message signal for a beat. He definitely went into sexting territory there. Oh, well. There's no blame here, since all he's really doing in evening out the playing field. It's tilted towards her to the extent that he can't hold on to his side, as desperately as he wants to. He keeps sliding off.
He switches off his phone. She won't reply, he knows.
(She'll still have it though, even if she doesn't acknowledge it. And at the back of his head, that's almost like winning.
What, of course, is the part he hasn't yet figured out.)
When he wakes up, he has a text from her.
Please, I live in a testosterone encased cage about five days a week in glee club. It takes a lot more than a half-nude picture to impress me.
See, the irritating thing here is: he thought he had her figured out. All the nights of research and stake-outs meant something.
And then she does this— texts when he's convinced she won't— and it's like… like she's escaping. From the numbers and papers.
Like the exact number of trophies she's won and the ballet instructor she frequents; facts that he has written down in black and white in his bed-side drawer can't contain the tilt of her head anymore.
She's becoming. More. She's becoming more.
Maybe if he was in Paris, he'd appreciate the poetry. But here, it basically sucks. Possibly more than all of Ohio.
Meet me at the Lima Bean is all he says.
Here's the thing he's starting to figure out about himself: he's an idiot.
"I'm not here because you asked me to come," are the first words out of her mouth, tumbling over each other like she might forget her lines if she waits too long.
"Of course not," he allows, "why are you here?"
She stops short, like she hadn't thought he'd ask anything beyond her initial negative explanation.
"Because I want chai," she says firmly. He doesn't mention the fact that she missed the curtain call and that her statement implies she drove forty-five minutes to sip chai alone because he has no answers to the why's himself and anyone who knows him can agree on this: he cuts his losses.
"And I know why you're doing this," she says determinedly, staring somewhere slightly to the left.
(And it hits him then— she doesn't look him in the eyes.
It's one of those things he's never quite noticed because he's always been busy looking over the top of her head. Sure, he can out-sing her, but a little physical intimidation never really hurts.
But now that he has noticed, it's like...like he can't unnotice it. Because it's just right there in front of him, pointedly not looking at him.
He licks his lip and tastes cherry. It burns his throat.)
"Why," he asks, instead. Standard. He always goes for the standard stuff.
Her lips curve in a pleased grin at apparently having figured him out. (He wonders if she has notes on his like he does on her. The thought makes his stomach clench.) "Because you want to make Blaine jealous." she pulls out triumphantly.
For a moment, it's all white noise rushing past his head, "you think Blaine would be jealous of me?"
Because she can't know. Or maybe she does. Maybe it's just as obvious to all of them, caught in their sad, pathetic lives, as it is to him. Something to not talk about. Something to fill the air a little more.
But she's then looking at him, or at least to the side of his head, like words— even in her extensive vocabulary, she'd be sure to add— can't describe how much of a moron she thinks he is, and something at the back of his mind calms, like this is the new normal, "Obviously not, Blaine is gay. But you think he'll be jealous of me and realize he didn't know how much he liked you till he sees you've moved on. I've read all the issues of Cosmo since its inception, I know about these underhand relationships tactics, all right. And since I'm the only person you've frequently seen around him apart from Kurt and Kurt loathes you as much as the Montagues and Capulets did each other, so you're probably thinking that if you hang around me— and Blaine does seem rather protective, maybe because I was one of the first people to unreservedly accept him at McKinley and am, even now his boyfriend's best friend— then Blaine will realize what he's lost."
Oh, of course.
(Here's what he does know about her, even though it isn't written down anywhere: she doesn't think it's her, ever.)
"But your nefarious schemes will not see the light of the day, for I can assure you that Blaine and Kurt are as much in love as ever."
Speak of the—
"What. The hell. Is wrong with you."
Now that. Is hot.
He turns his head around, plastering a smirk on his face. It's getting harder to do these days, strangely enough. Like he's playing so many parts at once that he's starting to burn out or something. Mixing roles, emotions, cues. Feeling all the wrong things at all the wrong moments.
"You're going to have to be more specific," he stretches his legs in a calculated, suggestive gesture for maximum impact. He always does.
Blaine glares down at him, "I thought I told you to stay away from her."
"You don't get to tell him that," Rachel protests, putting her cup down, the liquid sloshing around the sides a little. That would be metaphorical, if he could just figure out what it's a metaphor for, "but," she turns around, "I do. So stay away from me."
"I didn't force you to come," he points out reasonably. He's totally being reasonable here, even if his head is pounding and he wants to do— something. He just doesn't know what. But something.
"Yes, well," she leans forward, her hair covering her face, "I only came to tell you I won't be coming."
He raises an eyebrow at her, and she flushes more, if possible.
"Why are you sending her naked pictures," Blaine asks grimly, and this, right now, this is the guy he'd wanted. In the bow-ties and ridiculous vests, the possibility of this guy beneath the bashful, schoolboy exterior.
"Blaine!" Rachel squeaks.
"Oh, come on," he says dismissively, "It wasn't a naked picture. You couldn't even see my—"
"Sebastian!" her face is bright red with embarrassment, and—
(just for a nanosecond, he wonders if she looked like that when she saw it. Flushed. Heated.)
"I was just furthering an academic discussion. And how do you know anyway, have you started tapping her phone?"
Blaine turns to her at that, "you know I would never do that," he says, quietly, "I came across it accidentally when you asked me to add the Evita list to your phone."
(Eva Perón is her dream role. It's not surprising he knows this. It is surprising he remembers this.)
"I would've thought you'd tell me something like that yourself." Blaine continues. He sounds. Hurt. Blaine sounds hurt.
It's odd, his tone. Like the meaning isn't in the sentence. Like it's suspended somewhere in between where she won't get at it. Like every third letter of every word taken together would add up more clearly to what he's saying than what he's actually saying. Sebastian should know, he probably wrote the code book.
She fists her hair in her hands but doesn't tie it, and it's obvious she's just doing it to give her hands something to do. "I know, I just— Finn—" she stops tiredly, looking up, obviously willing Blaine to understand.
"I know," Blaine says gently, "but Rachel, Sebastian's gay."
So are you, he doesn't say.
She smiles tightly, pushing her chair back, "well, two of the three guys I've kissed in the past year are gay, and the third left me for a girl who can jump higher. I should really be looking into a sex-change operation right about now, I think."
They watch her walk away.
(He does that a lot, he's starting to realize, watch while she walks away.)
(Blaine turns to leave.
"You're not a method actor." the warmth of the cup seeps through his fingers
The other Warbler—once a Warbler etc.— laughs, "is that the best insult you can come up with?"
"Merely an observation," he shrugs. "But you were brilliant as Tony."
Blaine grips the edge of the table, guarded, "how is that related to anything?"
"You don't," listen closely; this is important, "draw on experiences to recreate emotions. You don't have method. But you were brilliant as Tony because you didn't need any experience to draw on."
He watches the other boy's eyes hood, "I don't know what you mean."
Maybe he could make a hobby of this, he thinks, watching them walk away. Officially add it to his repertoire since he does so much of it anyway.
Blaine turns around at the door, "don't break her heart."
He raises his cup in silent acknowledgement, "no promises."
This is what he says. What he means is: he'd like to think he could. Because that would mean he had enough of it to be able to.)
You're projecting, he texts.
He doesn't know what he means exactly, but it sounds grand enough, cryptic enough to mean anything or nothing, so.
She doesn't text back.
(He tastes cherry, every time he licks his lips, and somehow it's Blaine's face permanently at the back of his eyelids so every time he blinks it's— annoying. It's annoying. Like he missed the cue somehow and now he's just always going to be half a beat out of sync no matter how hard he tries.)
He recognizes her voice before he even sets a foot in the bar.
She's belting a Top 40 at the top of her lungs, dancing provocatively in front of an audience that probably appreciates the singing more than the dancing.
Not that he…doesn't, but he might just appreciate both equally. And he resents her for it, because he thought he'd gotten past the confusion years ago. Labeled and finished with it. Been there, done that, bought the t-shirt.
"You bought her to a gay bar to get drunk?" he says by way of greeting.
Blaine looks at him from the counter without much interest or surprise, "only place I could think of where she wouldn't get carded."
Or get hit on. He adds to himself, because it's like he has a running monologue in his head whenever it's the three of them. There's what they say, there's what they don't say and there's the rated images in his head and his head trying not to explode.
"Sebastian!" she exclaims suddenly, obviously having spotted him, "this song for my good friend Sebastian. Not…good friend. Because we may or may not intensely dislike each other and he may or may not be trying to seduce me to make my gay best friend's boyfriend jealous, but— for Sebastian."
She jumps around in an affected rendition of I kissed a girl, which is…metaphorically appropriate, he's guessing.
Blaine turns back to his drink and snorts, "isn't that fitting."
Obviously the boy is more drunk than he'd initially thought if he's filling in the gaps himself. It's an odd silence that follows, sort of... conclusive. Final.
"Where's Kurt," he asks, because he's a bastard. That's usually explanation enough for about ninety percent of his actions.
He's also realized he doesn't need any creative nicknames for Kurt, because he's mastered the art of making the name itself sound like an insult.
Blaine's gripping his glass tighter than necessary, "he wanted me to take Rachel out. He didn't come because he had a good audition and he didn't want her to feel like the binge drinking was a pity party. God, I love that guy so much."
(— he's never been in love. He's sung about it like he knows what it means, sure, but that's about it. And apparently it's horrific and exhausting and soul-destroying if the songs he sings are suitable authority.
He's never been in love with one person; he can't imagine what it'd be like being in love with two.)
She's at the counter a few minutes later, glowing with the sound of drunken applause and shouts that ring from around the bar, "totally makes up for choking in the NYADA audition," she says, happily, signaling for another drink, and he has this totally lame moment where he thinks he's going to tell the bartender not to give her any more. But the feeling passes.
He's already gone off-script far too many times, and he's not going to allow her another victory she doesn't even know she's taking.
"You choked in your NYADA audition?"
It's just that— he knows about it of course, like he said, day job. What it means to her.
"Yup," she pops the 'p', "song I've been singing all my life too. But it's fate. Sam had it right. Stripping and bars are where it's at. NYADA can take that. Thank you, Blaine, for showing me the light. It's bright and shiny like a gold star, like me, because I'm a star— hey, did you know that the most number of NASA arto—astronomes are from Ohio? That's where I live. Thank you."
She leans down to sloppily kiss Blaine on the side of his mouth. To his credit the guy doesn't miss a beat, doesn't accidentally turn around. Somewhere along the line, Sebastian thinks he may have gained method.
And if he drinks about three shots in quick succession, and can't stop his hands completely from trembling, then that's an excusable rookie mistake, really.
It's raining when they step outside, and he's holding both of them up on either side and seriously, what the hell happened to him. When did he become thisguy?
Blaine obviously either doesn't understand the term 'designated driver' or is too exhausted to care or meant to call someone at the appropriate time. All of which are equally viable and redundant.
"I'm sad," she says softly, against his shoulder, "want water."
And inexplicably, she sticks out her tongue, closing her eyes, letting the rain-water down her throat and halting their progress. And inexplicably, he lets her.
She's shivering by the time he gets her in the car, carefully leaning her head against the window.
"I have a spare shirt in the trunk," he offers.
"No," says Blaine, immediately, slurring the word slightly.
His mouth half curves, "I'm not propositioning— this is my Good Samaritan face."
"I want," says Rachel simply, raising her head, before it drops down hard against the window, making him wince.
She always wants, he knows. Everything. And no Rolling Stones song can convince her that she doesn't deserve it. And it's probably infectious, or something, because when she's around, he wants too. Like maybe he was wrong all this while. Like maybe, the trick is to always want everything too much.
He stares at her in the rearview mirror because, hey, so he's been downgraded from the role of the main villain apparently, but he's still not the hero here.
She slips the wet shirt off, with an air of self-consciousness that pretends it's not; because she's drunk, but mostly hey they're gay, nothing to see here, move along folks.
He's not totally unaccustomed to the square feet increase in the comfort zone in the department of physical intimacy when girls find out he's gay. If they knew the number of girls he's seen without their shirts, or even bras, straight guys would be donning Zelda Fitzgerald hair and singing showtunes in less time than it'd take to say 'rainbow'.
Because he's gay. He's safe.
Because then they can slip off their wet shirts and know he won't be staring at the water-droplets falling off their skin or the golden-starred pattern of their bra or the water sliding down the valley between her breast, or the dark slash of her hair sticking to pale skin. Know he won't be half-hard with just the thought, the possibility. And that he definitely won't be running his hands over his cock, over his jeans. Won't be desperately thinking she won't see and she won't know and fuck, just, please. He's in the driver's seat, facing the wall, away from the light of the window. It's dark enough, so he could just—
He pulls his hand away, the muscles in his stomach clenching with unsatisfied want. He won't do it. Not like this. He has some honor. And sure, it's tattered and torn and rusty with lack of use and, at the moment, probably lying somewhere in a bloody mess at her feet, getting soaked by the water that she's shaking out of her hair.
But it's there. Barely. But there.
He realizes he's dropped the common noun halfway through that thought. He's hard enough to not care.
The sudden sharp intake of breath from his side means probably means Blaine's awake. Staring into the same mirror and all the while hating himself for it.
"What is the map," Rachel says from behind, trying to get her hands through the shirt, words running into each other, "on the picture."
It's sad he knows what she means. And by sad he means lame, obviously.
"It's a tattoo of Virginia," he says, gripping the steering wheel tighter because it feels like he's giving something up, for some reason. Like she— both of them already have too many parts of him already and soon he's not going to be left with enough to make a working whole, "where I was born."
"I want to," she stops, presumably trying to get her words in order, "touch. Wanted to, then."
He takes a deep, shaking breath, and before he can answer, she's snaked her hand under his soaked shirt.
His heart slams in his chest.
Cold. Her hand's just as cold as his skin, just as wet, and it burns through.
"Rachel," Blaine puts his hand out as well, presumably to push hers away, but she just entwines her hand with his, both of them against his skin, till his muscles clench to the point of pain. Because this—
— isn't fucking fair.
It's a long moment. Longer than a moment has the right to be. It takes him a while to realize he's stopped the car in the middle of the road.
She finally lets her hand drop; head banging against the window again, "can't tell…feel anything actually."
"I'll show it to you later," he says, starting the car, so maybe she wouldn't hear him over the sound of the engine and he'll get to pretend he never said it. It's something like a promise. Letting go. Or holding on. She's making him mix his metaphors.
He drives them home instead of dumping them in some backalley, because that's apparently how whipped he is now. And when he looks up, he can see Blaine out of the corner of his eye, unmoving, back ramrod straight, blindly staring out the window at the rain.
Halfway through, she sleepily starts humming The Way We Were under her breath.
The radio is silent.
His shirt is freshly washed and meticulously pressed. And when he buries his face in it and inhales, he can't smell anything except the detergent.
(— technically that was where it should've ended, he knows. Because that's what really works on Broadway. Tragedy. And he's pretty fucking tragic.)
But it goes something like this instead:
I wush I cud. I wish i couldd. Blaine texts, obviously desperately drunk again. Because that's the only way it'd ever be even the remotest possibility.
There's a moment where he thinks it could be him. That he's the one at the other end of the wishing.
But then he remembers Blaine's clenched fist and her shiny hair and—
See, he's always been a liar— it's like his profession— but he isn't stupid.
So what he has come to realize is this:
And that's the understatement of the year.
Because he can. He always could. And he's been too much of a coward to admit it.
So this is how it actually ends—
(— or begins. Or maybe it's the middle. He lost his cues somewhere through the first half of the first act and he's kind of been winging it since so it's appropriate that he at her terrible public school and leaning her against her own piano and it's tongues and teeth and I want you and oh god, yes. Like something sliding into place.)
"We're not singing," she says accusingly, pulling back, slightly breathless, "and we're not drunk. And I thought you were gay," confusion lines her forehead.
He thinks about lying for a moment, using the words bicurious or bisexual or something. Neatly slotting himself in the biggest pigeonhole around so he'll have room enough for all of it; her and Blaine's eye patch and the guy he thought he was.
"Not when it comes to you," he says before he's realized he's said anything at all. And fuck, that's the cheesiest thing he's ever said; he should start singing You Are The Only Exception in a high falsetto to complete the lameness of the scene. Jesus.
She doesn't register the excruciatingly high dork-factor of course; it's probably so tame compared to her own theatrics as to not be anything more than a passing blip on her diva radar. He'd probably need a boombox and a Peter Gabriel song to so much as warrant a head-turn.
Instead, she looks at him long and hard, face carefully blank so he can't read it, even though he has her expressions memorized because, hey, competition.
"I don't know what I'm doing." she informs him solemnly. Well, good, because he'd hate to be the only one without a clue here. Not knowing why it's so easy to want when it's her.
"But," she continues, the fire back in her eyes, "whatever it turns out to be, it'd probably be songwriting gold, considering you're the enemy. And mostly gay. I've kissed the enemy before and I've kissed a gay guy before. But not together. It'd be an excellent addition to my repertoire of life experiences all meticulously documented in the folder labeled 'Life Experiences' on my computer's hard-drive. I'm sure even Patti LuPone—"
He doesn't point out that they've kissed before because fuck, she has a folder labeled 'Life Experiences' on her hard-drive.
And that, more than anything else, has him reaching out, hands clumsy with need, pulling her back in before she can get all the words out.
Her mouth is hot and wet and soft. And he thinks something stupid about how she tastes like— like cherry chapstick, yes, because that's the semi-recognizable flavor at the tip of his tongue, but also— like Broadway. She tastes like she sings.
And it isn't the right metaphor, it isn't a metaphor at all, but she's kissing him back and he has time. For mistakes or discoveries. Whatever. And for the moment—
(He remembers the dramatic flourishes of his Parisian drama coach. Spending lazy days on end making fun of his accent. But mostly:
"It is all about the narrative ma chère. No story really ends at curtain call. They're faux dénouements. Fake endings. The only real end is where everyone dies. The other endings are just where you decide to stop telling.")
He has her on the piano, his hand under her skirt, when Blaine walks in ten minutes later.
"Rachel," he says, voice unusually quiet. Or maybe he can't hear him over the haze of arousal because he's wanted this since—
— too long. Longer than he'll admit. Even in a private audience comprising himself.
She jumps off immediately, with a high sound at the back of her throat, that makes him harder than he already is, and if he was in a state to think at all, maybe he'd be embarrassed by it.
"I know what you're thinking," she says, "and I swear I totally know what I'm doing. He's like—a distraction, if you will. I promise I won't get my heart broken. Which would be an academic impossibility anyway because I don't love him. Obviously."
She's stealing his words he knows.
"I just," Blaine stops and he thinks she must be blind if she can't tell just by the unnatural curve of his mouth, his eyes. Even he can. Always could. "Kurt told me you were staying back so I waited. To see if you wanted a ride back. I didn't know-"
"God no," she says, obviously still flustered, "I mean of course, I'll come. Not 'come' in...that way, of course. Not that you interrupted — I mean, to the car, I'm just—," she makes a show of brushing her skirt and smiles, even if it's glassier than usual, a little off-center. "Let's go."
He meets Blaine's eyes over Rachel's head and thinks something like I wish I could. Wonders if the other boy's already deleted it from his phone. Like not seeing it would mean it never happened. Like there was no lapse. No maybe. No what if.
He can hear her giggle as she links her arm with Blaine's, talk about how she's living up to their West Side Story pact of experiencing in the moment.
Knows he'll see her again. Touch her again. Even if he's almost ready to beg on his knees, and she's just experimenting with the academic possibility for musical inspiration. Even if for a little while he can ease that constant ache in his gut, just stop just wanting so hard and actually have for once.
The guy ahead of him trying desperately to not hold her too close won't, though.
maybe it was a Broadway tragedy after all. It's just that he chose the wrong point of view— it wasn't his story to tell.
He shrugs on his blazer and follows them out of the practice room door.