When he had shouted at Denise that he needed a flight back to New York, that night (any flight would do. He didn't care what airline or when it left or ANYTHING, just so long as he would be IN New York by 7 the next morning. And no, not at the airport at 7. He needed to be IN the city by then) he hadn't been expecting this.
Stuck in the back of the plane in the dreaded middle seat. On his right was a middle aged man whose number one priority in life clearly was not personal hygiene. Whoever had the window seat had yet to make it on the place, despite the fact that the plane was due to take off in ten minutes..
He knew, based on the shouting match he and Denise had gotten into when he looked at his ticket and found out he would, for the first time ever, be traveling coach, that this flight (and every other one leaving LA and headed to NYC) was totally booked so he hadn't even dared to hope that he wouldn't be squished between two undesired companions for the duration of the flight. But as the clock ticked down closer and closer to take off he was allowing himself to become hopeful that whatever idiot was meant to be on his other side might just not show up.
Five minutes to go and he let himself begin to relax and smile smugly at his good fortune.
He was just contemplating convincing his father to double Denise's Christmas bonus (he really had been unfair to her during that last phone call) when some kid in yellow pants and a sweater vest came hurtling down the aisle, stopping at the end of their row and gesturing to the inside seat as he struggled to catch his breath. With an annoyed grunt Sebastian unbuckled his seatbelt and pushed himself out of his seat so this absolute imbecile could squeeze past him.
"Sorry," the kid murmured as he attempted to shove his bulging backpack under the seat in front of him.
"Blaine!" A blonde flight attendant cried happily. "We almost had to leave without you, silly boy. Janice and I were just brainstorming how to stall the pilot." She winked obnoxiously at Sebastian's seatmate. "Big day for you tomorrow, isn't it?"
"Two finals," Blaine nodded. "and another on Thursday, thesis due next Monday, and my recital next Wednesday," he recited.
"We'll be sure to have the champagne waiting. And some energy drinks" She winked again before hurrying up the aisle.
"I'm on this flight a lot," Blaine explained, like Sebastian cared. And oh, god, was he going to be one of those people who just talked the whole time? "I'm Blaine, by the way. Blaine Anderson." He smiled and held out his hand, which Sebastian tentatively shook.
"Sebastian," he said shortly, hoping to get across that he had no interest in furthering the conversation.
"I hope you don't mind if I keep my light on for a while," Blaine persisted. "I know they're only supposed to light up my area, but they never do, do they? It's just I have this really huge test tomorrow and I've been so busy this week and haven't had enough time to study for it.
"I thought you had two exams tomorrow," replied Sebastian without thinking, because it was second nature for him to correct people. "I mean, that's what you told the stewardess."
"Yeah." Blaine looked genuinely delighted that he knew that. " But one's in statistics and we get a note card as a cheat sheet, so I'm not too worried. Also, I think they prefer flight attendant."
"A cheat sheet?" Sebastian snorted. "College sure has changed since my day."
"Your day? That can't have been too long ago." Blaine flushed. "I just mean, you don't look very old."
"Thanks." He wasn't that old, he hadn't even been out of law school for two years, but he couldn't help but feel a little insulted at the comment anyways. An unfortunate side effect of his job, he was sure. In his world youth was not a benefit.
"So the light? It's okay if it stays on?"
Sebastian withheld the childish urge to tell him it was his light and he didn't care what he did with it. Blaine was only trying to be considerate of him and it wasn't his fault that Sebastian's vacation had been cut short. "It's fine. I have some cases I need to review. I wasn't planning on getting much sleep."
"Should've known you were a lawyer. I bet you work for one of those fancy corporate firms." Sebastian squinted, trying to decide if this was meant to be a jab at his person, but somehow Blaine really didn't seem like the type to do that so, just this once, he let it go.
By the time the stewardesses-sorry flight attendants- came around with their carts Sebastian was engrossed in his cases. "Scotch, on the rocks," without even bothering to look up he held up his credit card and accepted the drink.
"Jack, no ice," Blaine said a moment later. Sebastian wasn't surprised when the flight attendant covertly snuck him a second one bottle. He was, however, surprised when Blaine twisted open the top and downed it in one go. And maybe a little distracted by the long column of his throat as he swallowed it down.
"Easy there, killer," he couldn't help but chuckle.
"I don't normally drink like that," Blaine said, that charming blush creeping its way back up his neck again. Not that Sebastian had noticed it the first time. He also hadn't noticed how Blaine chewed on his thumb as he concentrated on whatever he was reading. "I just... Do you know anything about pre-industrial France? Or know any French? I swear I had a translated copy of this passage somewhere, but I can't find it and I haven't taken French since I was 16." His face had crumpled into this desperate puppy dog pout.
"I lived in Paris for about 10 years. So I know whatever I can remember from school. I am fluent in French, though. If you want, I can translate for you?"
Gratefully, Blaine handed over the book and pulled out a sheet of paper for Sebastian to write on. "I didn't actually expect you to. I mean, thank you for doing it. But if whatever you're doing is more important don't even worry about it. I'm sure I can find another source."
"Don't worry about it," he waved dismissively and read through the document. "Why are you even reading this?" He asked when he got to the end.
"It's for this ridiculous class. I took it because it was the only history one that would fit in my schedule and I needed one more course for the major and the professor was supposed to be really good. But then she went on maternity leave and we got stuck with this awful bumbling idiot who probably couldn't even find France on a map."
Sebastian took a second to look up from his translating. Blaine, apparently, wasn't quite as polite as he looked. "So you're a history major?" He tried not to sound too judgmental about that.
"Accidently, yeah. Went in as a music major and took a couple history classes my freshman year. Just for fun and ended up really liking them. So I took even more. Then last semester my advisor told me I only needed one more class and a thesis for a major. It didn't really seem like a big deal at the time, so I went for it. If only I had known." He laughed, shaking his head at his folly.
"Thesis more work than you planned?"
"Not really. I have a lot of friends who are older, so I watched them struggle through it first and I knew what to expect. And even with completing my music major it didn't seem like it would be that bad. But I, uh..." the red tinge was back, "kind of got signed to a record label a couple months ago. It was pretty much a once in a lifetime deal so I had to take it. But I didn't want to just stop going to school. A lot of people do, and that's fine. Whatever works for you. But I didn't want to just throw away the last 7 semesters. So I've been flying back and forth from New York to LA a couple times a week, trying to juggle both."
Even by Smythe family standards that was crazy. And Sebastian didn't hesitate to tell Blaine so.
"Your family is crazy then?"
"The craziest." Based on the pitying look he was being given he guessed he hadn't done a good enough job keeping the bitterness from his voice. "I should have this translation done for you in another couple of minutes." He turned his attention back to the papers in front of him.
"Oh, yeah. Sorry. Didn't mean to distract you." Out of the corner of his eye Sebastian saw Blaine press his lips together as though he was forcing himself to not say anything else. It absolutely wasn't endearing. Neither was the absurd bowtie the boy was wearing.
Sebastian finished up his work and glanced over it, making sure that it read smoothly. It had been a long time since he had to translate something and flip-flopping between the two languages had always muddled his brain a little bit. Logically, he knew that this kid should be grateful for any help he got, but he couldn't help but want him to be impressed. "It might be a little rough, but here." He shrugged and handed the translation over.
"Wow," breathed Blaine, looking over the paper. "This is great. I will never be able to thank you enough."
They didn't talk much after that. Blaine was frantically scrawling notes in preparation for the essays he would have to be writing in a few shorts hours and Sebastian trying to make sense of Cowell's nearly incomprehensible notes. Just before 4 the tiny text of Sebastian's notes was all a blur and he could barely keep his eyes open. It had been a long day before he received that frantic phone call beckoning him home and he knew the next day would be longer. With that in mind he capped his pen and straightened up his papers.
A proper, restful sleep was out of the question, but he thought he might be able to manage a 30 minute cat nap, even with Blaine's light diffusing across their row. Indeed, he had barely closed his eyes before he was drifting into unconsciousness.
Forty-five minutes later he started awake, heart thrumming in the way it normally did when he forgot to do something before going to bed. Wide-eyed he glanced around, reminding himself he was on a plane, that they still had an hour before they were scheduled to land, and the only thing he had left in California was his sanity.
He had just started to properly bemoan the latter fact when he became aware of a heavy, yet surprisingly comfortable, weight on his shoulder.
It was Blaine who had fallen asleep mid-thought, if the truly nonsensical scribble that took up half a page of his notebook was anything to go by. His pen was still loosely gripped in his hand and his book was opened to a page that looked like it had very little to do with pre-industrial France.
Sebastian didn't know how long he'd been sleeping (or how long he'd been using Sebastian as his personal pillow) but the poor kid looked like he really needed the rest. Even in the week leading up to their bar exam none of his classmates had looked that tired. Not that he was going to let Blaine keep napping on him, but he would be extra cautious in relocating him.
Once Blaine was resting in what looked like a comfortable manner against the window Sebastian pulled out his pen and got back to work. Cowell's thoughts were still half-formed and entirely pointless but at least Sebastian could think clearly enough to write appropriately scathing comments in the margins.
He had only just turned the page when Blaine's head found its way back to his shoulder. With a huff he nudged the boy back in the other direction, a little less gentle than last time but he couldn't quite bring himself to be utterly unsympathetic. He remembered his school days and how exhausting they had been. Weeks when he had maybe gotten twelve hours of sleep. The month during his first year of law school where he had become absolutely reliant on energy drinks and coffee. He couldn't even imagine adding regular transcontinental flights to that mix.
It was that sympathy that meant that when Blaine's head flopped back to the to the left for the fourth time Sebastian mentally threw in the towel and just let him stay there. What was the life of a college student if you didn't randomly fall asleep on complete strangers sometimes? Besides, he was getting no work done himself.
It had nothing to do with the way Blaine's eyelashes fanned out across his cheeks or the fact that it was oddly not unpleasant to have someone sleeping on his shoulder. Or that something about it just felt right. Like he could imagine himself travelling with this stranger in the future, but he wouldn't be a stranger, he would be—
No. That was actually weird.
He had long since gotten over his hang-ups about relationships. He still didn't really do them. During his second year of law school he'd been with a guy for a couple months, but it hadn't worked out. And since then he hadn't had the time to go looking. Nor had he had an overwhelming interest. He liked his space and independence and he was more than fine with the occasional hookup and the casual friends with many benefits (with an extreme emphasis on the word friends) thing he had sometimes going on and sometimes not with Vincent.
But this was just some kid, not even out of college. Probably five years younger than Sebastian and working on a music career, of all the impractical things. And, most importantly, they met on an airplane. Sebastian had no idea where he lived, although he presumed it was somewhere around New York City. But he could almost guarantee it was nowhere near where he lived (his neighborhood didn't exactly cater to the average, or even above average, college student). So the likelihood of them ever seeing each other was just on the wrong side of impossible.
Thankfully it wasn't too much longer before the overhead lights flickered on and Blaine blinked awake, not so surreptitiously wiping at the corner of his mouth and Sebastian really hoped he hadn't gotten any drool on his jacket.
"Oh, god," Blaine pushed himself away and looked horrified. "I'm really sorry. That's never happened before. How long was I-?"
Sebastian shrugged like it wasn't that big of a deal. "Not sure. You were there when I woke up. I tried moving you, but you just kept coming back. Must be my irresistible magnetism " He smiled, possibly a little too flirtatiously.
Blaine blushed furiously and hunched back over his book until the flight attendants came around again. Blaine happily accepted two cups; one of orange juice and one of coffee. Sebastian sniffed distastefully at his own coffee before dumping in three bags of sugar to try and mask the awful taste.
"Didn't think you'd be one of those people," Blaine commented with a grin.
"One of what people?"
"There's nothing to be ashamed of. A lot of people can't handle the taste of coffee by itself." He's partially teasing and maybe flirting and for a minute Sebastian is surprised.
"This is not coffee. This isn't even sludge. Besides," he winked, "who can resist a little sugar every now and then."
Embarrassedly, Blaine waved his hand like he's trying to brush the comment away. "Your euphemisms are horrible," he said, trying to force himself to meet Sebastian's eyes but failing.
"My euphemisms are fantastic just like the rest of me."
"Your ego is certainly fantastic. I'm surprised you even made it through the door." Blaine seemed as surprised by his sass as Sebastian was. Sebastian liked it though, a spark of fire under the blushing exterior. He wondered if that was what Blaine was like with his friends, brash and uninhibited. He couldn't deny that he kind of liked the idea that bringing out causing him to be flustered was something special to him.
"You'd be surprised at the tight spaces I can make it into."
That charming blush was back and the way that Blaine ducked his head really made Sebastian want to kiss up the back of his neck. He shifted a little in his seat and stared intently at the over-exposed cleavage of the girl across the aisle from him; the plane was already sloping downwards which meant he had less than five minutes before he would be forced to stand up and rush through a bustling airport and he didn't need thoughts of Blaine (no matter how appealing) distracting him or creating… awkward situations.
The closer the plane got to the ground, the more anxious Blaine was getting, alternating between looking at his watch and making abortive attempts at reaching for his bag, clearly regretting having put his books away.
"When's the exam?"
Blaine laughed nervously and looked at his watch again. "About 3 hours from now."
"You either know it or you don't," he advised. It was something he wished someone had said to him every once in a while he was still in school. Undergrad had been bad, law school had been hell. And in the end all those extra last minute study hours had done was made him more than a little crazy and sleep deprived. Once you had a 4.0 forgetting a name (or mixing up two entirely unrelated court cases) didn't actually matter. I haven't even known your for half a day and I can say with confidence that you've probably studied more than most of your class. And there is no way you will get anything lower than an A. Maybe an A- if you fall asleep halfway through."
"Can I get that in writing?"
"Absolutely. And I'll even get Janet or whatever her name is to sign as a witness." He hadn't smiled this much in months, if not years and it was starting to hurt his cheeks but he couldn't quite bring himself to stop.
They were taxiing into the gate and, with a bit of alarm, Sebastian realized he had entirely missed the announcement informing him he could switch his phone on. With a curse he reached into his pocket and pulled it out, already dreading all the missed messages and e-mails he was sure to have.
If he could travel everywhere by plane he would, if only for the precious moments of electronic silence it brought. He had once convinced his father to send him to Japan when his mother wouldn't stop harassing him with e-mails because it gave him almost 24 hours of compulsory solitude.
"Oh Christ," he muttered, scrolling through the three Very Important documents that had been sent to him while he was in-flight. They were, apparently, Crucial to the meeting he was expected to be sitting in within the next couple hours.
"Everything okay?" Blaine asked. He was visibly refraining for peering over Sebastian's shoulder to see what on his phone was so distressing. And he looked so earnestly concerned, like he genuinely wanted to help solve all of Sebastian's problems.
"Just work stuff. Appreciate your last few weeks of school. I promise you'll find yourself missing it."
The pair of them eased their way into the aisle, Blaine helping Sebastian wrestle his carry-on from the overhead bin as he kept his eyes glued to the screen of his phone, only looking up to flash a grateful smile at his travel companion.
The slow going nearly killed Sebastian, but Blaine seemed to be enjoying the pieces of his sarcastic commentary that he was able to catch. Although, he apparently drew the line at the harsh words directed at an elderly lady who was taking her time hobbling up the aisle.
"Don't be a jerk," he chastised. Of course Blaine Anderson was an upstanding citizen. He was probably dying to go up to said old lady and ask if he could carry her bags. "You try travelling alone when you're her age and see how easy it is."
"I'm sure I'll manage it fine."
"Then I will, personally, pay some young'un to knock your cane out of your hand." That teasing smile nearly caused Sebastian to miss the step from the plane. He managed to catch himself just before the stumble became apparent and it somehow managed with Blaine tripping instead.
"Steady there, killer." Sebastian wrapped a secure arm around the younger man's waist to keep him upright. "Looks like you'll be needing that cane sooner than I will." Blaine's weight rested warmly against his side and he definitely took longer than was strictly necessary to untangle himself.
"Sounds good. If I can get a top hat too." Blaine didn't seem to be in a particular rush to extract himself either. When he finally did it seemed to be with at least a little bit of reluctance, but that could just be Sebastian's sleep deprived and libido driven brain talking.
Awkwardly they walked through the terminal. They're coming from the same plane and headed in generally the same direction, but they don't actually know each other and neither really seems to be sure whether or not their interaction should've ended when they got up from their seats. Sebastian busied himself on his phone and Blaine walked just ahead of him.
It's still a little early to be bustling, but there's a healthy number of suit-clad people rushing around. Blaine looks hilariously out of place with his backpack and brightly colored pants while everyone else is in black or navy suits and toting a small carryon and a briefcase.
But every time Sebastian glances up from his phone he gets a really spectacular view of Blaine's ass, so he isn't complaining; even if mustard yellow pants should have been outlawed years ago. Or never invented in the first place.
"Well…" Blaine's slowing down as they enter into the arrivals hall.
Sebastian has a car waiting for him; hopefully with a steaming cup of coffee (or twelve) inside and a mountain of papers he needs to at least skim through and normally he'd be rushing through the doors but today he's oddly reluctant.
"Good luck with your finals, Blaine Anderson. I'll keep an eye out for you when you get famous." He made sure to emphasis the wink so he could see that blush one last time.
"I don't know about famous," he stuttered. "But I appreciate your vote of confidence."
"Nope. It has to happen. Because I'm going to spend the next week telling everyone I know that I met you and that you're the next big thing. And it would be really embarrassing if I were wrong about that."
"I would hate to be the source of your humiliation."
"Don't be then." And with a final wink Sebastian is headed towards the exit and absolutely not looking back.
Well, maybe once.