Pairing: Sebastian Smythe and Kurt Hummel
Rating: M (It's going there so better be safe)
Disclaimer: We own nothing Glee related. Ryan Murphy is a genius.
Reviews: Reviews are love!Please share the love!
Athena's Note: Story is co-written with CeredwenFlame. Edited by redlizzie and Mercedies. Thanks for everything ladies.
If anyone else is interested in editing Michel's List or any other story, please let me know!
Chapter 1 -Chance Encounter
After the accident, Kurt Hummel heard voices and whispers but saw nothing. The car crash that broke his leg, both arms and nearly killed him also robbed him of his eyesight, leaving him in darkness. Once he recovered the use of his limbs and after extensive physical therapy, he returned to Lima, OH, leaving the glamorous world of fashion behind. For the fifth time in his life, Kurt Hummel literally had everything he loved torn away from him. There was no use in the world of design for a blind designer. Though Isabelle and his co-workers put on a brave face and assured him he'd soon be back to work, Kurt was not optimistic.
The longer Kurt lived without his eyesight the more depressed and withdrawn he became. The depression allowed him to justify playing the helpless victim. He refused to learn to use a cane or read Braille. He barely ate on his own. Getting dressed was frustrating because he couldn't see any of his clothing. He had to get Carole to pick out his outfits and he had to remember what he owned from memory. It became so bad that Kurt refused to talk to any of his friends, and shut himself away in his room. Finn would come and feed him to make sure that he ate his food.
His family finally staged an intervention and forced him out of the house. It was either that or admit him to a psychiatric hospital. Burt would be damned if he let that happen. So, Finn armed Kurt with Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban on tape, his favorite Harry Potter book, and dropped him off at the Lima Bean where he ordered Kurt a coffee and forced the man to sit at a corner table. "I'll be back in an hour," he said to Kurt, "by then you should be finished with at least a few chapters of the book and the coffee. If you need the bathroom, just shout for Amy. She'll take you to the door. You can do this, Kurt. I know you can," Finn said kissing Kurt's forehead before leaving the coffee shop. So, there Kurt sat alone, surrounded by people, but alone in his own darkness. He had one ear-bud in, listening to the story while the other ear focused to the sounds of the Lima Bean.
Sebastian had heard of the accident. Kurt was still friends with several of the Warblers. Sebastian remained in contact with a couple of them, Jeff and Nick to be precise. Really he couldn't get rid of either of them, not that he tried to anymore. He valued their friendship. Of course, Jeff adored Kurt, so all Jeff could talk about for weeks was the tragedy that had befallen Kurt. He wasn't sure how to feel about the information. It brought back uncomfortable flashbacks of that horrid prank gone wrong where he'd nearly blinded Blaine. Nearly but nearly was not blind. He didn't hate Hummel, not like he'd once pretended to. Oh sure, he could quip with the best of them, but in all honesty the only reason he'd really done it was because Hummel gave back as good as he got. It was a refreshing change of pace to play against someone that had skills that were up to snuff.
Though Jeff talked about Kurt and the accident constantly, he never really spoke of the details behind the accident. In fact, no one was talking about the details. This only served to make Sebastian more curious. His curiosity led him to do a bit of research to see if Hummel's condition was permanent. He didn't care. Really, he didn't. He was just curious. From what Sebastian had read, it could go either way. The loss could be temporary or permanent and no amount of time was going to truly make a difference one way or the other. Either Kurt's body would eventually repair the damage and his sight would return or it wouldn't. It was, theoretically, as simple as that. He couldn't help but think that sucked a great deal. He'd heard of some of the things Kurt had been through in his life, mostly from Jeff. Hummel had had it pretty rough and this was just one more thing. So okay, maybe he felt bad for the guy, no one deserved to have that much shit happen to them.
He was back in the area helping Smythe Senior launch his private law firm, so he figured he would pay a visit to a few of his old haunts. He was clad in a nice pair of khaki pants, a casual dark green Polo shirt and loafers. He looked good! More importantly, he knew he looked good. He was, of course, a lawyer now and had become accustomed to dressing in three piece suits and this was often as casual as he got anymore. Going to the Lima Bean, he could have been dressed in jeans and a t-shirt and no one would have cared, but Sebastian had standards. Imagine his surprise when upon entering he saw none other than Kurt Hummel sitting in a corner seat. He walked to the counter, ordered a double espresso, and thought 'what the hell.'
As he approached, he took in the scene before him. As a lawyer he'd learned to pay attention to every last detail because one little thing could make or break a case. Kurt had his iPod in his lap, one ear-bud in his ear. He was dressed impeccably and Sebastian wondered for a moment how much it must gall Kurt to no longer be able to see his clothing. The old Sebastian would have delighted in that misery. The newer, more mature Sebastian felt sympathy. He slowly approached Kurt's table. "Well if it isn't Kurt Hummel. Who would have thought that we would both end up here on the same day? Though neither of us has lived in Lima for a number of years now," Sebastian commented only slightly teasing Kurt. He knew Kurt would recognize his voice, but he wondered how Kurt would react.
Kurt's finger tapped the screen of the iPod to pause it. The story was just getting to the good part, the part where Sirius Black meets Harry Potter for the first time. He pulled the ear-bud from his ear and let it fall into his lap as he tried to pinpoint the direction of the voice that had spoken to him, but that still often remained a relatively unsuccessful pursuit for him. He didn't need the direction of the voice to know the source, however. "Sebastian?" he asked a bit softer than he intended and his voice broke at the end from lack of use.
Every other one of his senses had gotten sharper and more pronounced especially his hearing. That's why Kurt had taken to whispering because he always felt like he was shouting rather than talking. Realizing that his arch nemesis from high school was seeing him in this broken state embarrassed Kurt and he felt his cheeks flame. "Wha...What are you doing here in Lima?" Kurt asked, his voice shaking at the beginning and at the end of the sentence. He forced himself to push through his discomfort as his brain flashed him images of how Sebastian looked back in high school. He couldn't help wonder, just for a moment, if Sebastian had changed at all since then.
The tell tale signs. Kurt couldn't turn his head towards Sebastian's face because, in the din of the coffee shop, he wasn't able to make out where Sebastian's voice was coming from. Sebastian watched the blush cross over Kurt's skin and figured it must be due to the fact that they were once rivals and Sebastian was seeing him in this weakened state. However, Sebastian didn't see it as weak, just different. His mother's father was blind and he got along just fine. In fact, his grandfather hated it when anyone assumed he couldn't do something for himself. It took his grandfather time and sometimes he had to ask for help, but he could do all sorts of things and most of them better than sighted people. For example, he could tell you how many steps it took to move in his environment or if a fruit was ripe just by its scent and sound.
Sebastian was purposely loud when he drew out the chair across from Kurt, to give him a clue of his location. "My father is opening his own law firm. He wanted to for a while, but he didn't have the time as States Attorney. Now that he's semi-retired he has time to devote to running a law firm. So, of course, my help was required to get it up and running," he chuckled. "I hope you don't mind I've joined you. The Lima Bean's more packed than it is on Valentine's Day," Sebastian commented giving Kurt a memory to fill the absence of sight. He said nothing else, didn't ask awkward questions. He just left things there...for now.
"It isn't entirely accurate what you said," Kurt blushed as he corrected Sebastian. "I've made Lima my home again," he touched a finger to his sunglasses. An awkward silence descended. When Kurt couldn't handle it anymore, he cleared his throat and commented, "I heard from Niff you were a lawyer now," using the conglomerate name of their two mutual friends.
Sebastian chuckled at the moniker for their friends. "Yes. Not all that long ago, I passed the Bar. They had a big party for me in Boston. I'm well-respected for someone so new to the business, but I still have a long way to go before I can make partner," he explained.
"Are you going to work for your father then? Or is this just a short visit to lend your assistance?" Kurt really didn't know why he was being so curious, but for the first time in months he felt like talking. He fiddled with the cord of his iPod as he tried to focus on Sebastian in front of him and not on all the external noise.
"Oh, God! No! My father and I would kill each other. Mother has expressly forbidden us to work in the same firm. That is not to say that I wouldn't be able to take over his firm some day, but he'll have to hand it over and never set foot in the building again or mother will kill us both," Sebastian laughed. "I'll be here for a couple weeks. There's the celebration and my father wants me to help get a few things set up. Which translates to free manual labor, but I don't mind. It will give me an excuse to have my mother cook some of my favorite dishes while I'm here."
Kurt knew there were plenty of blind people that were very independent, but still Kurt hated being one of them now. 'As if I'm not already a walking cliché,' he thought bitterly to himself, the easy state of feeling sorry for himself and his circumstances creeping back in like an old friend. He wondered what the Lima Bean looked like today, wondered if it was sunny outside. He wondered if Carole had dressed him in the right red silk shirt, wondered what Sebastian looked like, what he was wearing. Certainly the cologne he had on made him smell very good, a musky cederish smell that Kurt found incredibly tantalizing.
"I still can't believe how the Lima Bean hasn't changed at all. It's like I stepped back in time to Senior Year of High School. The tables look new, but they're still the same old style. The cushions on the chairs are still the same color stripes. Margo is still manning the counter with an iron fist apparently. There are some new faces, but other than that the place itself hasn't changed at all," Sebastian marveled. Of course, the increased level of detail was really only for Kurt's benefit.
"I see your style has improved. That's a great shade of red for you, just the right tone. It doesn't wash you out and it accents the red-lights in your hair," Sebastian complimented Kurt. "I'm so glad your Puerto Rican Pride Float days are behind you," he teased, but the teasing was light. It wasn't meant to cut, just to get a chuckle out of the sullen man across from him.
Kurt was thankful for the sunglasses he was wearing that hid the glistening in his eyes. It was like Sebastian had read his mind. Kurt wanted to laugh and cry and hug the man sitting in front of him all at the same time, which was a strange combination of feelings for someone that used to be his nemesis. "Thank you," he managed to strangle out and found his voice trembling more than usual.
Sebastian was far more perceptive than most people realized. It enabled him to go for the jugular in the past and enabled him to do so much more now. He caught the tone and figured out what he was being thanked for pretty easily. "No problem," he said simply, the smile evident in his voice.
"So, how are Niff doing?" Kurt asked after clearing his throat. He needed to change the subject so he didn't end up feeling like a complete idiot in front of Sebastian.
"Oh God. Annoying and cloyingly sweet as ever. Giving the world over cavities just from proximity alone," he said, rolling his eyes. "Both are doing well. They went through a rough patch recently, but they worked it out. I think you know that Jeffy is still working on his residency."
Kurt nodded and asked about Nick to keep up the conversation, even though he already knew the answer to the general information he was asking. He also had an inkling that Sebastian knew that he knew, but Kurt couldn't be sure without seeing Sebastian's face. Damn lack of eyesight! "Nick finished Harvard Law with you, right?"
"He did. We're even in the same firm together in New York. Good thing too, wouldn't want to be rivals with him. I mean yes, I could still end up against him, but at least if he's in the same firm, it's still a win for us. He's gotten quite scary I should warn you. You think I'm good at arguing. Nick gives me a damned good run for my money. Sometimes he beats me and I'm not even ashamed to admit it," Sebastian chuckled. The sound was infectious.
"I hear tell from a little birdie that there might be talk of wedding plans in the near future," Sebastian added. "Though Niff refused to tell me anything on the matter, they fear being teased for some ungodly reason. Personally, I hope they do get married. I mean they've been together since the sandbox. They'll never agree on a designer though," he commented offhandedly to test the waters a little.
Kurt smiled knowing that part was true. Nick's style was mute and understated and decidedly male while Jeff's was happy and flamboyant. Jeff would wear Hawaiian shirts in a multitude of colors every day if he could. Kurt suddenly felt an overwhelming sadness as he remembered, "they always talked about me planning their wedding."
Sebastian figured as much. He did something then that would likely shock Kurt for a number of reasons, but Sebastian was not devoid of empathy, he just usually ignored it. He reached across the table and slowly, giving Kurt time to pull away if he chose, took Kurt's hand in his own. "Then you will. You know Niff, Kurt. If they've decided that you're planning their wedding then they won't settle for anyone else. It will be you or they just won't get married," Sebastian teased, but there was truth in the words. If Jeff wanted Kurt to plan his wedding, then Jeff would never accept anyone else and because Nick loved Jeff to pieces he would give Jeff what he wanted.
Kurt wanted to say something but he heard someone clear their throat above him and from the sheer height and distance of the voice he knew it was Finn. "Am I interrupting something?" Finn asked. The tone of his voice held a mixture of relief and apprehension – Kurt was socializing but with someone totally unexpected. Apparently, Finn had not forgotten the picture incident from high school.
"Not at all, we were just catching up," Sebastian said politely, smiling as he looked up at Finn.
If Finn had been overprotective of Kurt before, he was ten-fold worse now. He eyed Sebastian warily before reluctantly holding out his hand to him. "Sebastian," he said inclining his head slightly. "Unfortunately, I have to tear your company away from you. It's time we were getting home. Mom's waiting with dinner," he whispered in Kurt's ear like it was a secret. Kurt was pretty sure at least Sebastian heard him if not half of the café. At least Finn was trying to be sensitive to this whole acute senses thing. "Say goodbye," Finn said to Kurt as he helped the smaller man to his feet.
"I understand. Well, I'm in town for a couple weeks. Perhaps we can run into each other at the Lima Bean again. We did both used to half live here, after all. It was good seeing you again, Kurt, and you too Finn," he said as he half stood from his seat and watched as Finn tried to be helpful, but was kind of oafish about it.
"Bye, Sebastian," Kurt said holding out his hand hesitantly in the direction that Finn had turned him, guessing that he was facing Sebastian. "Thank you so much for keeping me company," Kurt said politely, but it didn't escape Sebastian's notice that all the passion and fight that he so once adored in Kurt was now gone.
Sebastian took Kurt's hand in his and he couldn't help himself. It was more to mess with Finn than anything really, though he hoped Kurt wouldn't mind the gesture. He brought Kurt's hand to his lips and gently pressed a kiss to the back of it. "It's been a pleasure, Princess," purposely using the first word Kurt had ever spoken to him and one of his favorite nicknames for Kurt. He thought about calling Blaine to find out just what happened to the spitfire, but thought better of it. He would figure it out on his own, even if he had to engineer ways to run into Kurt for the next few weeks. Flames that once burned so brightly should never be allowed to fade to embers.