So many befores...
Before he had been taken.
Before he had started being sold.
Before he had reconnected with his mother.
Before he had met Kurt.
Each before building onto the next, building toward an unexpected slice of better; an intricate web that at any point could've broken, or trailed off into a disconnected path bearing nothing but emptiness...
But still, somehow, miraculously, it had all led him to here.
It doesn't change the fact that the possibilities, the 'what if's' feel almost palpable.
The thought if he had decided to abandon his instinctual pretenses and not have called the number of that naive, slightly aggravating kid he'd met at that gay shit hole after getting his ass handed to him by those festering addicts...
The thought if he had turned that same kid away and never looked back when Simon had first laid eyes on the beautiful teen; making excuses and shunning him until the boy took the hint and eventually stopped calling altogether...
The thought if he had never turned up that night, knocking on his window with the desparate promise of leaving behind his life's occupation; his very livelihood for some unknown horizon...
It's wild really. Thinking upon it and reflecting - the key word being reflecting, not dwelling; he understands the difference now - about how fortunate each turn, each choice had been in the end; how it had all eventually unfolded into his current present.
He didn't believe in much. That much was still true. But before...
There was no real reason to... was there? Nothing ever felt worth wishing for when the the trail leading onward, the idea of some worthwhile future was so bleak.
But he knows now. He knows what it's like to believe in something beyond simple survival.
He nearly snorts at how cliche and downright fucking corny the notion is... Well, the conviction - because that's what it is now; too consuming and profound to be labeled as a basic notion...
And though he's still a bit of a realist with a healthy predisposition for scepticism - fuck, does he sure believe in that word.
Sometimes he can't help but think of the other 'what if's' during his moments of introspection...
But again, he doesn't spend as much time dwelling on those. He'd done enough of that the first few years; the pain gradually dulling into something less acute, less overwhelming and self-depracating when he'd think of them - his girls... time slowly proceeding past the once crumpling pain.
It still hurts, but less so. No longer to the point where he'd need hours, sometimes days to recall just what he had left for himself in this life, so the loss wouldn't swallow him completely.
This is familiar, his lips caressing the cool glass as the amber liquid drifts over his taste buds, searing them in its wake.
He smacks his lips, blowing out the heat stemming from the alcohol as he exhales pleasurably. A cognac, to pilfer his nerves which still seem to be on edge even after having done this various times before in the past.
He then thinks of the most important before of all...
The fateful day when a certain brunette had sat at the bar several stools over, stewing with indignation and playful retorts that had intrigued Sebastian - the twinkish whore - into pushing past his norms... prompting a strange urge to do more than just fuck the oddly gorgeous creature into the floor.
He perks up, his eyes trailing over the obviously well practiced grin being showcased for him. The guy was clearly middle aged and had a pretty ridiculous mustache. Seriously - what is with guys over thirty five and their obnoxious facial hair? Sure he himself had gotten lazy and decided to grow his facial hair out a bit, but it was a very manageable mustache, goatee combo, neat even.
He immediately thinks of Tommy. He was happy that he hadn't lost touch with the old bastard, making a point to make a Scandal's pit stop at least once every few months. Some part of him would always be tied to the damn place, what with his history there; the bar ironically serving as the pinnacle for the beginning of desiring more for himself.
"Nah. Cognac's sort of my 'go to' drink."
The smile spreads thickly, causing the dude's dark mustache to shift.
"I mean flying. First timer?"
"Oh. Right. No, actually."
"Hm. Could've fooled me."
"Do I look that nervous?"
"This is your second drink. I usually wager that number two of any drink straight becomes more of a 'have to,' than a random means to unwind before a flight."
Seb chuckles thoughtfully.
"Oh it's definitely that. My liquid lifeline. For some reason it never seems to get easier - the whole flying thing. But in my mind this helps."
The bartender nods sympathetically, his eyes coursing over the bartop as he wipes it over with a rag. Seb takes his time to gaze at the name tag adorning the dark vest.
"Of course. Sebastian, what can I do for you?"
"Is is this like a side hustle, or a long standing career - working as an airport bartender?"
Jack is now rinsing out a nearby glass, focusing on relinquishing the beads of water with a fresh dish towel.
"I suppose a bit of both. I'm getting too old to go swapping occupations, but I'm also too old to call this a hustle. It's just a job in the end, don't think of it much beyond that."
"No reason to. I've got a wife and two grown sons. I served my country in the united states marine corps. I got a bit of a pension saved and I own my house. Not much but it's mine. I'm happy with that - and this gig keeps me grounded, brings in enough for me to get by, and I also get the pleasure of meeting all kinds of interesting folks."
Sebastian, blinks at the man, then takes a lingering sip from his drink.
"How did you know? With your wife I mean? That she was the one."
Jack's eyes narrow slightly, but not in a show of projected intimidation; more akin to curiousity at this young stranger's boldness. He apparently had decided to at least humor Sebastian.
"Oh I didn't. Not at first. It happened gradually. But when it hit, it was undeniable. Couldn't stand the thought of being without her. Like all the colors in the world would melt away if she wasn't in it."
Sebastian grows silent, his mouth crimping into an understanding smirk.
"Yeah. I get that."
"What you got woman troubles or something? Flying to go see your sweetheart?"
"Not exactly. I just... I was thinking of things, going over my life, you know? So much has happened in the last few years. So much has changed.. It's like I'm looking back on some stranger's life instead of mine or something."
"Ah, I see."
"You see what?"
"You had the epiphany."
"The epiphany. The one. Takes time to get there, but when it happens, there's no looking back."
"Sorry, you had me at epiphany."
"You've figured out what your true meaning is. You've found it, and are embracing the possibilities that come with it."
Sebastian's expression is clouded by uncertainty, his eyebrows ascending toward his hairline.
"Being in love," Jack spells out with a keen grin after noting Seb's transparent confusion.
Seb gulps down a quick mouthful, then answers, "I've been in love. I mean, not that I knew that at first. But I've known that for a while already."
"Young man, it's one thing to be in love. People fall in and out of love all the time. But it's something else entirely to actually embrace it. To get past the whole selflessness, I'd do anything for you crap, and have something left that's mature and substantial. To truly leave the other shit behind, stop second guessing, and live for that love. That epiphany."
Sebastian nearly chokes on his drink, Jack casting him a cautious glance and quickly sliding a glass of water over to him while Seb sputters through a coughing fit. His eyes are watering as he gulps down the clear liquid fervently.
"T-thanks," he gasps, eyes still moist as he settles himself down and puts the empty water glass on the bartop.
"Welcome. Sorry, I can be both melodramatic and straightfoward. Not the best combo if you aren't ready for it. But you get it, don't you?"
"Yeah. I think I do actually."
"So, you gonna tell me? I did keep you from choking to death."
"Tell you what?"
"Why you're having to drink yourself into a stupor of deluded bravery to hop on a plane? Visiting your girl?"
Sebastian can't help but smirk, following Jack's pointed stare at the white-gold band settled on Seb's left ring finger as if that countered any attempt at denial. To his credit, the older man didn't comment, just waited.
"I'm visiting my little sister actually. She's graduating from high school so I'm flying out. Big brother duty, being supportive and all."
"Hm. Well that's great. Congrats to her and to you. Sure you're proud."
"Very. I have a pic of her if you'd like to see. Here," and Seb hands over his phone after scrolling through his photos and selecting the most recent of the younger Latina.
Jack takes the phone and looks over the pic thoughtfully.
"She's definitely a looker. Doesn't look much like you, though."
"We're not blood related. Kind of a long story," Seb shrugs.
Jack hands the phone back over, then leans forward.
"Papa was a rolling stone, huh?" Jack buzzes, a lack of tact imbibed in the words.
"You really like to pry don't you?"
"Keeps the job interesting. Humor me."
Sebastian finds it easy to smile at that for some reason. And for some other reason, he finds himself talking.
"I didn't have a dad. Well - I did. But he - um - let's just say I never knew him. I got involved with the wrong guy, grew up selling my body for the dude, and that's where I met her."
"Your current girlfriend?"
"No. The best friend I've ever had. It was her older sister - I mean my little sis' biological sister. We sort of grew up together, under the same man, you know. Long story short, I lost them both. She was murdered, and he - the guy - killed himself."
"Jesus. Sorry man."
"He wasn't the murderer - not outright. But he may as well have been. Anyway in the end that's how I came across finding her little sister. They'd been separated years ago but I got in contact with her not long after my friend died. We've been close ever since."
"Well damn. I've heard a lot of stories over the years kid. But yours, excuse me for the bluntness, but yours is pretty messed up."
"So I've heard."
"Look I don't wanna bring up old wounds or nothing. At least, not anymore than you've already shared. But was she - you know, your friend - was she - is she the one?"
Sebastian feels the tears prick at his eyes; his smile thinning, but still warm.
"She was my soulmate in her own way. But not my heart. Somebody else has that."
Jack seems momentarily stunned into silence, his own eyes suspiciously bright under the dim lighting. Suddenly Seb catches the man looking at a spot just past him, resulting in Seb unconsciously doing the same.
Sebastian smiles thickly, beaming up at the man walking toward him.
"And always will," he breathes, before standing and pulling the approaching brunette into his arms, kissing him deeply.
When they pull apart, Kurt giggles breathlessly, arms still slung over Seb's shoulders.
"Hey. What was that about? I mean - not that I'm one to complain of course. But miss me much?" Kurt teased.
Kurt stills, immediately noticing the brightness of the green orbs, and the fragility of the tone.
"Are you sure you're alright? You didn't have too many did you?"
"No. I had just enough. So they're boarding already?"
"In about fifteen minutes. That's why I figured it was best to come dig you up before you ended up getting completely plastered like the the last time. Ready to go?"
"Always have to bring that up. One time. The one time I may have overdid it -"
"May have? If that's not the worst understatment ever spoken, like - ever. I had to convince the flight staff that you were drugged up on prescription meds so that we could even fly. Remember that? Oh - wait, you probably don't. Not to mention you busting out random show tunes - that God knows how you even managed to know the lyrics to since you literally plug your ears when I try to get you to watch any muscials - and Disney medley's during the flight. And then on top of that, having to practically carry you into the bathroom where you pretty much groped the hell outta me, and then having to deal with you insisting that we - um - become inducted into the 'mile high club,'" Kurt finished with a flourish and highly intimidating glare.
Sebastian only seemed to be aware of Kurt's close proximity, his perfect lips, and the blush coloring his neck and chasing across his skin; particularly after that mile high club remark.
He presses his lips firmly against Kurt's, silencing the potential protest with an attentive kiss; Kurt's retort rapidly dissolving into a moan.
As he pulls away, Sebastian looks over at Jack and makes a move to dig inside his back pocket for his wallet.
Jack raises a hand, gesturing for Seb to refrain from doing so.
"On the house, kid."
"Nah, I couldn't ask you to -"
"Who said anybody was asking? No charge. Enjoy your flight."
Sebastian grins, his arm slung over his partner's shoulders possessively, the lithe brunette figure apparently struggling with being a bit dazed after their embrace.
"No. Thank you. That little girl's lucky to have you in her corner. And despite you not being able to handle your liquor, so's your fellow, there."
Normally Kurt would've found the resolve to argue the point further, but in all honesty, he knew that the bartender, apparently called Jack, was absolutely correct. Kurt smiles his thanks and allows Seb to lead him out of the airport bar, glued to the hip and thoroughly blissed out. All things considered, Kurt was in fact the luckiest man on the planet as far as he was concerned.
Jack found himself whistling contentedly when the couple had retreated. Not that he wasn't used to seeing same sex couples pretty much daily, but once he had witnessed this particular pair's connection, both hands adorning a similar ring, he'd known that he had been absolutely correct in his assumption. They were living the epiphany.
"Good for them. Good for them," he whispers aloud, an empathetic gleam in his eye as the two disappeared from sight.
"Are you gonna keep texting or are you actually gonna grace us with your presence while we're here to see you?" Sebastian comments with a teasing smirk.
They had just ordered and were waiting for their food. The restaurant was normally a pretty popular place, made even more so by the fact that many of the locals were out celebrating their child's graduation as well - just as they were. Seb couldn't wait for the ceremony to come to an end; the metal bleachers were seriously scalding his ass, as some administrative genius decided that the ceremony should take place at the high school's football field - during a particularly blazing summer afternoon, at that. Not to mention the overly drawn out speeches from both faculty and students about life and finding your dreams, and whatever cock and bull fantasy land shit they decided to impart. Needless to say, he was grateful it was finished and were now in a position to finally eat something. He was starved and kind of light headed.
Ava looks up, a hint of guilt betraying her features as she attempts to feign innocence at said behavior.
"What? It's just a couple of friends. They're trying to see what I'm doing afterward. It is my graduation day after all," she adds placatingly.
"Give her a break babe. She's right. You do only get this night once," Kurt chimes in.
"Exactly. Thank you, Kurt. I'm glad somebody gets it."
Maurine, Ava's caregiver and by all intents and purposes, her surrogate mother - Ava eventually learning to withdraw the Aunt label in exchange for the Mom label - fixes her with a stern glare.
"Girl if you don't put that phone away..."
"Yes ma'am," Ava surrenders without skipping a beat, briskly slipping the phone into her clutch purse underneath the table.
"Ooh, I can't wait till I have that."
"Have what?" Seb questions.
"The 'mother look'. You know, the one that eats at your insides and makes you give in for fear of some far off, unexpected pain to come. I want to be able to master that. I'll be happy to become your understudy Maurine."
Kurt holds up his hand and she slaps him a high five which has Sebastian chuckling, and Ava rolling her eyes.
Something about Maurine can come across cold at first, perhaps her dryness and general quiescence. But after getting to know her over their collective visits, phone calls, and Skype sessions, they've come to understand her mannerisms and see that beneath the initial coolness, she's the biggest sweetheart there is, with a wicked sense of humor that was often masked to those who didn't know her well. She was sort of like an older, and if possible, bustier version of Mercedes Jones.
She tended to be the figure who would often condone and even instigate inappropriate commentary within their conversations, cackling loudly at the others incredulous expressions after having made some off the wall comment. Though to her credit, she kept it strictly parental while around Ava... most of the time.
"Mother look? Seriously? What're you thinking of getting knocked up or something Kurt?" Ava challenges, happy to see it cause the other man to squirm in his seat. Damn, the girl was her sister through and through sometimes, not just in looks.
"I - wha - no, I just - oh, hush you!" Kurt huffs indignantly and throws a napkin across the table at her for good measure. Ava bursts into a state, laughing heartily at Kurt's embarrassment.
Sebastian can't help but blink incredulously at this admission. Hm. Kurt actually seemed bashful, flustered even. Interesting...
"I don't think you'll need any training for that Princess. You've already got a pretty mean bitc - I mean - um - ice glare. Always feels like you can literally peel the flesh off my bones when you stare at me with it."
"Thanks, hon. I do get a lot of practice using it on you."
Suddenly Ava stops her chuckling, quickly sobering as she asks, "wait - are you, you know - thinking about kids? Having them - I mean, like adopting or whatever?"
Sebastian defers to Kurt, who blushes more distinctly. Seb frankly wanted to know too.
"No. Not - not really. Not now at least. But you know, maybe. Sometime in the future."
The table grows quiet; a moment of silent contemplation engrossing the foursome sitting at the dining table; the chatter and general din associated with a busy restaurant becoming more audible.
"You both would be wonderful daddies. Any child would be blessed to have you," Maurine states sincerely, a full minute after the awkward pause.
"Yeah. I concur. A kid with beautiful baby blues, impeccable fashion sense... and, whatever it is that Sebastian has to offer," Ava quips.
"Duh. My astonishing intellect and wit."
"And your ass," Kurt casually remarks.
Ava screws her face up in a look mixed with both disgust and amusement.
"Now I definitely second that one," Maurine adds.
Sebastian feels his face heat up, as both Kurt and Maurine burst out laughing, Ava following suit at her brother's growing discomfort.
"Okay, first off, we've only been engaged for like three months. Let's enjoy being selfish for a bit before we decide to take other life forms under our flashy rainbow wing. Second, this one over here is like having a giant toddler, an infant who comes fully equipped with a sailor's dirty mouth -"
"Hey!" Ava blusters, Seb completely ignoring her outburst as he continues.
"The best of both worlds in my book, so no need to neglect her in favor of having our own. Least not for a while. Thirdly..."
Kurt was starting to appear put out, breaking eye contact in favor of looking at the table, gnawing his bottom in that way that always made Seb re-evaluate whatever sputum was escaping his mouth.
Seb reaches across the table, and places his hand over Princess' own, prompting Kurt to meet his eye again. Sometimes he just can't help but goade the kid, even after all this time. But now, he just wants to spare him.
"Thirdly," he repeats with a renewed air of seriousness, "I would do anything for you. Walk on hot coals. Eat hot coals. Hell, put my penis in hot coals -"
"Okay, masochist, we are attempting to eat," Ava states sarcastically, Seb once again maintaining Kurt's gaze and ignoring her soundly.
"But I would especially, and most proudly be happy to have a baby with you. And buy him or her a baby blanket that's charcoal black."
Kurt giggles at Sebastian's characteristic lunacy. Maurine is watching the couple with a knowing twinkle in her dark eyes.
"So we can commemorate this conversation, and to let you know that I was - as I tend to enjoy doing - just giving you a hard time before. I'm honestly ready whenever you are, babe. Tomorrow, a week, a year, ten years. Hell we could push a stroller down the aisle when we officially get hitched for all I care. Basically, and I can't believe I'm doing this, but to quote none other than Finn Hudson, 'if you like it, then I love it'."
Kurt is blinking back tears, and then looks across the table at Ava. They seem to communicate something without words.
"Trust me when I say I'm not in any hurry. It's just a thought. A very far off thought. I think I've just been watching too many reruns of Teen Mom lately. But yeah - I would like that... one day."
The four carried on from there, discussing Ava's upcoming plan to move into the dorms at UCLA and debating on whether her strong sense of ambition was naturally inherited from her sister or influenced more recently by Sebastian. They ate, and joked, and reminisced.
Eventually Maurine announced her readiness to call it a night; she would be working early the next morning and was already functioning on compromised sleep in order to be able to attend Ava's graduation on time. Ava had returned to glancing at her phone every other second to solidify potential plans for an after party tonight.
Despite them having moved into their own home over a year before due to Seb's donation, Maurine still insisted on working as much as possible, including overtime hours when the opportunity arose. She refused to ever look at the money left over from Ava's inheritance as belonging to herself as legal guardian, or even as their joint finances. It was all for Ava's future, and she would be damned if she ever attempted to use it for her own gain. Having the house was more than she could've ever wished for. Not to mention the introduction and continued social support of the two men who'd become like family to both Ava, and herself if she was being honest.
Maurine bid them all good night and promised to meet up with them tomorrow for dinner as earlier determined, making sure to leave Ava with a warning to be home no later than one, one thirty a.m., tops.
Ava stood from the table to kiss her mom's cheek, thanking her profusely as the other woman guffawed, mumbling, "yeah, yeah, yeah. Just get home in one piece. And don't you dare get in anyone's car who's been drinking. If I get even an inkling that you're out there doing too much, I will track you down and embarrass the hell outta you. Bust all up in the party, maybe have a dance - something like I don't know, the butterfly or the electric slide, make sure everybody knows that I'm your mama, then leave with you in tote. We understand each other?"
Ava swallows audibly, then mutters, "Yes ma'am. Promise."
"Alright then. Gentleman, I'll be seeing you tomorrow."
"She's good," Seb relays in a hushed tone to Kurt as they both wave.
"The best. I'm telling you - understudy. We got to get in on it. That woman's the master."
Fifteen minutes later found Sebastian outside the restaurant taking in some air... sort of, anyway.
"Thought you quit?"
He holds up the plastic cigarette as if in answer.
"Electric. It's just flavored vapor. Not as bad."
"And Kurt knows?"
"Yep. But I try not to do it too often. Just indulge every now and again."
Ava joins him at the building's edge, leaning against the wall and staring out past the parking lot at nothing in particular. They both remain silent, thoughts swirling within their own private musings.
"You should do it you know. Adopt."
"I take it you and Kurt have talked about this subject matter before tonight."
She doesn't respond.
"Right," he concludes as if confirming his own suspicion.
"You know it's weird. If we would've brought up kids a few months ago even, I would've went running. The idea of me ever actually being someone's father... scared the shit out of me. Still does honestly. There's still a lot of things we're figuring out."
"Like?" She prompts.
"School. Being engaged. Where we're gonna be living -"
"I thought you settled on New York because of Kurt getting that internship with the fashion magazine? Not to mention him being re-accepted to Tisch."
"Yeah well... Both of us have been talking. And neither of us really like the idea of riding the subway everywhere. Not to mention everything apparently smellin' like stale piss. And I loathe snow. Like if I could wave a magic wand and make it disappear from mother nature's repertoire, I would without hesitation. Seriously - fuck Frosty."
Ava laughs, but then quickly recovers. "So what - you're staying in Lima?"
"Not exactly. We kind of thought somewhere with an actual sun would be nice. Like L.A. for example."
"W-what? Are you serious?"
Seb smiles warmly. "As a heart attack- shit! Forgot, Princess hate's that saying. But yeah, I can't think of any other clever little quote to convey the seriousness at the moment, but yes. I'm serious."
"You're gonna be living in L.A.? Like actually living here? Not having to come visit every other month and leave after a few days? You'll be residing in California?"
"I thought we established this already."
Ava squeals and throws her arms around Seb.
"Whoa! Whoa! Easy there woman."
She suddenly pulls away with wide eyes.
"Wait, you're not doing this for me right? I don't want you to move just because of me. I - I can't deal with Kurt or you giving up all those things for me."
"Okay selfish. Why does it have to be about you? I already explained, I like experiencing the sun. Plus Kurt applied to the Fashion Institute based out of L.A. and was accepted. And this is the capital for all things related to celebrity and fashion. He'll find something else before we know it."
"And you? What about school? The garage?"
"I'm gonna finish out here. I have a few options. One of the Cal-State's probably. But I'm only a few semesters into my undergrad for education. I've got plenty of time. Not to mention mechanics being a dime a dozen out here. I can probably walk down the street and find a place that'll take me on. Plus you know Mercedes is out here so we'll have some other sassy black company outside of your mom, and the entire gay brotherhood of twinks scowering the streets of west hollywood. We'll be good."
Ava's eyes were sparkling, but she stepped back after her outburst, a devious smirk remaining firmly planted as she leaned back against the building.
"You're definitely not the dick you pretend to be," Ava states quietly.
"And you're definitely not the dick you pretend to have."
Both of them smile broadly.
"And - well, I guess a little of our choice might have to do with this really selfish Latina girl who uses coarse language, and likes to post pictures of animals on her facebook page and say that they look like people, namely her innocent older brother... who burps like a grown man, and slap boxes people unexpectedly as a form of entertainment..."
Ava snorts at this exclamation, but the brightness of her eyes betrays the attempt to wash over the emotion. Seb exhales, and then presses on.
"A woman, who knows what she wants and isn't afraid to go after it. Who is protective of her friends and family, and is one of the smartest, most intellectually capable people I've ever known."
She's staring at him now, a few tears gliding over her brown cheek, a noticeable tremble to her smile.
"So... Fuck Frosty," She intones.
"Fuck Frosty," He repeats.
A car pulls up at that moment, music blaring and crawling with a gaggle of excited, teenaged girls. The passenger side window rolls down and one of the most boisterous of the bunch calls out, "Hey Ava! Let's go already! C'mon!"
Ava wipes at her eyes and seems to hesitate. It was then that Sebastian felt the need overwhelm him; the urge born from needing to further communicate his commitment to being her family - to make certain that she understood.
"Wait up, Ava!"
She turns after having taken a few steps. Seb approaches her, and reaches around his own neck, unclasping the necklace that had served as his own symbolism of family - of belonging, for the last few years.
He gestures for her to pick up her long hair so he can fasten it properly, and makes swift work of clicking it into place.
"It's yours now. Take care of it. Like it took care of me."
Ava holds the small Taurus symbol in between her forefinger and thumb, examining it with care. She recalls the tale behind the worn charm. How it had come to be in Seb's possession, and what it had come to mean to him over the years. She's broken out of her spell and sense of awe by the sounds of the car horn blasting and impatient shouting from the rowdy group.
"Thank you," she whispers.
"You're my sister. Always. Now go have fun, kid," he says simply as if that's all the explanation required. She beams at him, and then takes off toward the small sedan, jumping into the crowded back seat.
There were no 'I love you's' or 'I'll always be there for you's' thrown around. It hadn't been necessary. Ava knew, the moment that she felt the trinket between her fingertips, that Sebastian would always be her brother - that he and Kurt were undeniably her family, and that twinge of sadness at never being able to get to know her sister past the first five years of her life, would always feel less piercing because she had gained them, and would have them for the rest of her years.
She watches him, standing stoicly and smiling with that stupid crooked grin that she always associated with him, raising his hand in a casual wave as the car pulls away.
She doesn't feel the slightest hint of embarassment when she waves back. Seb doesn't re-enter the restaurant until she's completely out of his sight.
Sebastian is thinking with his dick of course.
When he steps out of the shower, he knows that he wants to take advantage of having this hotel room. Feels the familiar desire pooling in his belly, slowly easing itself into his nether regions and begin to fill his cock.
The steam sifts from the opened door as he steps out of the bathroom, wearing only a towel low on his hips.
He wants Kurt. Badly. But the sound of someone else's voice, a familiar one at that, causes him pause. He quietly makes his way over to the corner, leaning against the wall and crossing his arms over his bare chest as he observes the source of the noise.
Kurt is hunched over his laptop on the bed, the wide screen encompassing a very well-known square face and caramel colored orbs, alight and warm in a way Sebastian had once feared he never would've been able to see.
He had lost a few pounds over the course of their long distanced friendship. His cheeks less full and more hollowed, chiseled if you were being overly optimistic.
Dave for lack of a better way to phrase it, had made it - just as he said he would. He had left Lima with a football scholarship and never looked back. Except for the occasional family gathering and holiday retreat, he made his old hometown a distant memory.
He was soon to graduate from the University of Illinois, and had bagged an internship working with a small sports agency based out of Chicago. Sebastian couldn't help but eyeball the screen with a little pride, knowing that all of this could've been lost with one small impulse to play God, from Simon; one quick decision to take Dave away.
Seb shakes his head, because he wouldn't dwell, especially since Dave himself had sworn that he never would.
"So I'm here trying not to freeze my balls off," Dave was saying. "Carey keeps turning the damn thermostat down complaining about me using too much heat. And your Uncle Dave sort of needs his balls -"
"I heard that!" a voice calls in the background, causing Dave to wince slightly, then chuckle.
"Sorry, babe!" He calls back. "Anyway, when Kurt, also known as Fancy, told me that they were putting together a video for you, I of course wanted dibs on the first spot. Because of course - I'm awesome. But in all seriousness, because I wanted to let you know Ava, or rather acknowledge, how hard high school life can be. And just how important what you accomplished really is. I used to think I'd never make it - I don't mean like, out of Lima kind of make it. I mean, there were times that I didn't think I was good enough to even exist. That I was some kind of enigma, doomed to be lost and live my life as a lie. But the hard parts, the loneliest parts - they got better. Mostly when I met Fancy, but even more so when I met that idiot Sebastian."
Sebastian has to stifle a chuckle, knowing Cubby had meant the backhanded compliment to be endearing. Kurt however laughs aloud.
"Truth is, they both gave me the courage to face... well, a lot of messed up stuff, and decide to keep fighting. Because I had something to fight for... my life... the life beyond high school."
Seb knows that he isn't the only one who immediately flashes to Dave's kidnapping and near death experience. He shakes his head and refocuses and Dave's face.
"That's where you are now, the life beyond high school. It's pretty sweet when you remember to acknowledge and hold onto the sweet parts. Anyway this shit turned into an afterschool special didn't it? Sorry about that. So, congratulations and I wish you all the best. And yes, I still want you to refer to me as Uncle Dave despite me only being five years older than you. Makes me feel like more of a Bear, which kinda turns Carey on," he finishes with a conspiratorial whisper into the camera.
"Dave! Can you not be grossly sexual and perverted - this is for her graduation for God sakes!"
A wiry blonde man enters the screen, shooting Dave a seething look which causes the larger man to duck his head with a moderately sheepish expression. Carey turns toward the camera, immediately flashing a warm smile to cover up the outburst directed at his boyfriend.
"Your Uncle Davey is an ass. Ava, please aspire to be like someone else as his influence is, if anything, questionable. And also congratulations sweetheart, we're looking forward to your visit in the next few months. Love you!"
"Love you Ava!" Dave calls out before the screen goes black, and another face suddenly flashes onto the screen.
"Is it set up alright? Yeah? Cool. Hey Ava. It's Finn. You know, Hudson."
Sebastian nearly rolls his eyes at Finn's imbecility.
Finn was dressed in his army uniform, obviously having taken time at the base to send the message. He was clean shaven, and his hair buzzed into near nonexistence. Sometimes Sebastian weirdly found himself missing that stupid looking shark fin thing that he had going on with his hair when they first met. But the dude was admittedly handsome, striking these days, with his fuller build and his ability to carry himself with an air of authority and command like only the military could teach. It was pretty easy to see that Finn had really found his calling in the military, and would likely go career. He had been stationed at a base out of South Carolina for the past six months, and had been on tour over seas for over a year before that.
"So I couldn't make it obviously. We're supposed to be shipping back out in the next week. But don't worry - it's not an official combat zone, just gathering intel and checking up on the town's water systems and what not. Harmless, but still needs to be done. Rachel sends you her love of course. She's been doing two a day rehearsals in New York so she hasn't had time for much other than sleep, oh - and complaining to me about not getting any sleep. But not in a bitchy way - just like - yeah, kind of in a bitchy way. But I'm excited for when I get back, cause I'm planning to check in with you first hand and getting back hopefully in time to watch her perform in that show she's killing herself over. Maybe I can convince you to come out and see it with me. I can send you a ticket. I know you have your summer break and everything so maybe we can set a date."
Seb smiles to himself as recalls the time he and Finn had conversed about the idea of what it would be like attempting to maintain a long distance relationship. How hopeless and doubtful Finn had first been, until he finally realized that it was worth trying for; that his love for Rachel could surpass the obstacles of having to love each other from afar. It seemed that they had figured it out for now as they were still going strong. Kurt had even hinted that Finn was planning to officially propose after his next mission - only having refused earlier due to the looming possibility of being killed in action, or Rachel perhaps falling for some actor-type while she had been in school. Apparently they both represented storms that each other still wanted to weather and Sebastian was purely happy for them both.
"Well anyway, I just wanted to make sure to say congrats and to keep making us proud. I'll see ya!"
And then the screen goes black again. This time, the camera zooms in on a darker skinned figure, with a round face and equally plump lips.
"Hey sweetie. I know - I know, don't kill me. I wasn't able to be there for the ceremony since I was out of town for that gig but when Kurt told me about this idea I jumped at the chance despite the potential sappiness of it all. You've learned to know me a bit this last year or so, and in all honesty, I've never been a woman with the most eloquent way with words. So here goes..."
Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound, That saved a wretch like me...
I once was lost but now am found, Was blind, but now, I see.
And Seb felt his breath hitch in his throat, as Mercedes reprised her rendition of Amazing Grace, eyes closed and voice as melodious and perfect as ever in its effortlessness. It was no wonder that the girl had found her niche singing background vocals as a signed recording artist. Sebastian could see her taking it further, maybe doing a solo project sometime soon. Mercedes however insisted that the passion for stardom was no longer an obsession, that she actually enjoyed the thought of nurturing others talents and had kicked around the idea of taking on being a singing coach full time.
He overheard Kurt sniffling, and had to quell the urge to rush to him, for some reason feeling an even stronger impulse to stay back and remain unannounced. Seb renewed his gaze, surveying Mercedes' eyes flutter open as the song came to an end, and a single tear escape over her full cheek. She wipes hastily at the tear track.
"Ooh, damn. Sorry, that song just - it gets me. Mostly because of what it really means. I wanted - no I needed to sing it to you, 'cause that song is your sister. I know you have memories of her singing it to you, and I was hoping to let you know that, just because she's gone doesn't mean the meaning should be. She's just as proud and just as much with us in our hearts. Her and Brittany of course. Always. So... I owe you a latte when I get back in town and we can go hunting for some men's, okay girl? But don't tell your brother. His ass'll probably get all clingy and threatening and that's just not a good look. Love you baby girl and I'm so, so proud of you. See you soon!"
A quick transition and then two new faces appear within the confines of the screen; one sporting a faded baseball cap, and the other boasting chocolate eyes and a kind smile.
"Hey Ava! Oh and I guess I should say Kurt, and by natural extension of course, Sebastian," greets Burt Hummel.
"We - as in Carole and I wanted to firstly congratulate you on your success of getting the hell out of high school."
"Burt!" Carole admonishes with a quick smack on the shoulder.
"Right, right. Sorry. But you know what I mean. You did it kiddo! You made it! And we honestly couldn't be more proud. Expect a large bouqet from us if it hasn't already arrived. Just a small token of our happiness and congrats to you over your achievement."
Carole jumps in here.
"And we wish we could've been there sweetheart. Burt and his convention meetings tied us up for the week. Who would think that Tire and Car Shops even had those right? But we want you to come visit soon. It's been a long time since we got to see you outside of a computer screen and we're not getting any younger over here."
Burt interjects, a timid smile formulating.
"Also, do me a favor kid - would ya? I want you to look out for Sebastian and Kurt when you can. I know that they're both moving on soon enough, leaving Ohio and everything - going to New York or wherever life leads 'em."
Sebastian and Kurt hadn't finalized their moving plans with their family as of yet. They were all still under the impression that New York was their likely destination; but after careful consideration, they both ended up deciding on the west coast as the better starting place for them. And though he would probably never tell her so, a lot of their choice had indeed been influenced by being closer to Ava. Seb could see himself getting the opportunity to do the one thing that had never been granted him when he was growing up: an education - to get to be a teacher, the one actually giving the education to others. Yeah - he could actually see that for himself. In a sunny place, with fast paced people.
Maybe Seb and Kurt would break the news to Burt and company once they made it back to town.
But I want to make sure they have someone else watching their backs. And I know I couldn't ask for anyone better than you. I mean I'm just an old man with little sensitivity and even less sense... But I feel like this is it - all of you guys are growing and finding yourselves, and you're just at the beginning of the best part kid. And you'll always have us, well - we'll always have each other. Long as we take care, and make time, we - meaning you and all of us - will have that. Alright, enough blubbering, we'll see you before summer's out."
They conclude their video with continued sentiments and heartfelt exclamations of pride and well wishes before the screen again goes black. This time no other segments resurface.
"So you finished it?"
Kurt nearly rolls off the bed in his surprise, wiping at his eyes before repositioning himself into a poised sitting position.
"Holy hell! H-how long have you been there?"
"Long enough to witness Dave literally have his balls seamlessly removed by his boyfriend."
Kurt huffs, readjusting the laptop and rewinding the playback.
"You should've said something."
Sebastian slinks onto the bed, watching Kurt carefully.
"I couldn't find the words I guess. It - um - it looks good. Everybody's level of corniness was perfectly spot on... and pretty admirable."
Kurt smiles while dragging his finger over the editing tool, syncing the final segments together.
"Yeah. I was hoping to have it to her today but I figured we can give it to her after we meet with them tomorrow. A parting gift so to speak."
"She'll love it. It was a good idea."
They both fall silent, Kurt skidding over the buttons while trying to complete the finishing edits and Sebastian simply taking him in.
Finally noticing the silence, Kurt looks over his shoulder at Seb.
Sebastian shakes his head, but his grin cocks to the side.
"What is it? You're being weird right now."
"Do you really want to do this. Live here in L.A.? Start a life with me - like really start a life with me, I mean."
Kurt saves his progress and closes the laptop, facing Sebastian with a serious countenance.
"I've told you - multiple times - I'm with you. That's it, and that's all. If you wanted to live in Antarctica or the dark side of the moon, I'm there with bells on. I thought my patented 'pro's and con's list for flying the coop' would've spelled it out enough for you. If not that, perhaps this amazing piece of handcrafted jewelry gracing my finger would be the confirmation," he adds while holding up his hand to show off the thin band representing their engagement.
"Don't tell me that I still need to keep convincing you Sebastian Smythe."
"It's just - it's - sometimes - I just think to myself, how this can't be real, you know? After everything. You're still here - still wanna be with me. I was scared, convinced even that eventually you would come to your senses. Even after I gave you that ring. I couldn't help but think of the day that you'd realize that there was something else - not better - because I get that I'm not a bad thing - it's just, that there was something or someone, more fitting - more you, I guess."
Kurt traces over Sebastian's features with piercing blue eyes, assessing him.
"Is that what this is really about, meerkat?"
Sebastian swallows, looking at the beige carpeting as if it would show him mercy and open up into a gaping hole so he could disappear. Princess really did know him down to his bare assed soul.
"No," he answers quietly.
Kurt cups Seb's cheek, running his fingertips over the short whiskers making up the light goatee connected over his upper lip and chin. He's waiting patiently for him, the gesture a form of encouragement for Sebastian.
"Do you really think I can be someone's dad?" Seb whispers, a haunted tone swamping the words.
He says it, admits it rather; the real obstacle that had been plaguing him since their earlier dinner. He's past that place of terrible self loathing and self blame, but can't help but wonder if he has undoubtedly inherited traits from those men; the destructive characteristics that will inevitably be passed on to a helpless child: the neglect, the cruelty...
He knows that it's completely irrational. But his mind keeps fighting to convince him that maybe, just maybe... it could happen anyway.
Princess lifts Seb's chin, blue eyes burning with unshed tears as he smiles, tentative, and full of warmth.
"You're not your father. Or Simon. You - are - Sebastian William Smythe, who is in love with Kurt Elizabeth Hummel, the resident gay who never knew his ass from his elbow when it came to loving someone else, or caring about more than solos, or watching his calorie intake. Sebastian Smythe who now has a younger sister who just graduated high school to prove to her brother that she could be as great as he believes her to be. Sebastian who has a best friend living in Chicago, as out and proud and happy as he's ever been. Sebastian who has a father figure who wears ridiculously old baseball caps and brags to his colleagues about what his soon to be son in law has come to learn about cars and how he could single handedly run the shop as manager if he wanted, and is married to a woman who loves that same son in law as much as her own doofus of a son, and very fabulous step son. Sebastian who got the chance to meet, love, and stay in close contact with his real mother - who rekindled her very enthusiasm for life. Sebastian... Sebastian who was nearly killed and taken from me... who came back, and fought through darkness to still be able to love me whole-heartedly every - single - day."
Sebastian is looking at Kurt unabashedly, not ashamed of the tears that are falling from his own eyes as he stares into the glistening blue ones.
"You will be the best husband and father because you are no one else, but you. Which is what I, and our kid - if we decide to have one someday - will love about you most."
He closes his eyes, feeling the tears sliding over his heated cheeks, wandering through the scruff of hair shadowing his jawline. Kurt pulls him forward, capturing his lips, tasting the saltiness of his emotional release.
Seb responds, the kisses growing more steady, hungry, as he climbs atop Princess, his towel coming loose and falling in a pile on the carpet.
"But for Gaga's sake I'm only twenty-two years young - I'm honestly in no hurry," Kurt breathes between moans.
Sebastian pulls away breaking the kiss, kissing the tip of Princess' nose tenderly, and smiling down at him.
"So what's all this adoption crap about then?"
"Fucking Teen Mom. I told you. It makes you like - hate the idea of kids and then secretly makes you want to have them so you can do better, and out-parent those sad, trashy little girls."
Seb can only laugh, biting his lip at Princess' logic.
"Plus - the more we've gotten closer with Ava, the more I think we can maybe do the same for some other kid. She's told me things about her experiences - how its really given her a lot, once she ended up with Miss Corinthia, then finally Maurine. It just makes it more clear for me that I'd want that someday - to help somebody in that way. And to get to be an honest to God, dad. That's a dream that's just as important to me as making it in fashion."
Sebastian smirks, utterly and completely happy with himself, ecstatic with his relationship, and excited about the possibilities he would fortunately get the opportunity to share with the people he loved and who loved him in return. The epiphany...
"Fucking Teem Mom," he growls playfully.
"Right? Now fuck me like you're a horny teen - minus the cumming too fast part."
"As you wish, Princess. As you wish."
A/N: I know, I know, I cheated you out of a final moment of mindblowing man sex. I didn't quite care for the idea of leaving it on a note of "and then he came on his face - the end," so leaving it there just felt better to me.
And that is all folks! Crazy... I feel like I've been working on this story on and off for forever, foreeever, foreeeever (Sandlot anybody?). This chap took me a long time to finally compose, mostly because my time was limited to near nonexistence this last month and then lastly, I was uncertain of how I wanted this to play out exactly. In the end I'm pretty happy with the result. I think all the loose ends have been tied up, and I think (in one small way or another) I touched on all the main characters lives and what they're up to or at least planning.
For a while I started going, maybe I can have an epilogue of Kurt and Seb getting married, or Seb graduating from college or some shit like that... but in the end, it just felt too sappy and fluffball so I went this route instead. To clarify it's been about two years give or take since Sebastian met with Ava. And over time she's gotten the opportunity to become close with the family. I guess instead of having a baby be the idea of new life (even though the two talk about it a bit in this chap), Ava sort of represents the idea of starting over and coming together.
If there's any questions or something that was unclear, feel free to let me know. But I very much need to tell you all THANK YOU! A thousands times over, thank you! For every favorite, every review, every bit of fanart, and just for taking the time to stick this fic out. I couldn't have asked for better readers and supporters. Please leave me your final thoughts. And if you have any ideas or prompts, or are interested in any future stories please enlighten me. I might be taking a break for a bit since this story was my pet project for so long and I'm kind of exhausted. Please keep in touch if you so desire. Longest. Author's Note. Ever. Lol.. Much love! -Clef