Blaine was a combination of nervous and excited as he opened his laptop, started up Skype and then waited for an indication that Kurt was online. Kurt had just returned to New York that morning and they had yet to agree on how to deal with what had happened on Valentine's. Kurt still insisted that sleeping together hadn't meant anything and they were just friends, but to Blaine, it had meant everything. He wasn't sure how to bring Kurt around to his way of thinking.
His reverie was broken when the computer indicated that he had an incoming call from Kurt.
"Hey, how was your flight?" Blaine answered the call, trying to contain his excitement at just talking to the love of his life.
"Oh so boring," Kurt replied with airy wave of his hand. "Santana managed to somehow get the seat next to me and kept up an ongoing commentary of everything that she hated about the wedding-that-never-happened."
"Anything good?" Blaine asked. He lay across his bed with his chin propped up on his hands, staring into the computer screen.
Kurt leaned forward as if imparting an important secret. "Would you believe that she and Quinn hooked up?"
"Quinn and Santana? Seriously?" Blaine asked in shock. Well, not the Santana part, but Quinn? "Does that mean Quinn is bi now?"
"Well, according to Santana, it was just a one-time thing. Quinn said that she still prefers men." Kurt went on to tell him all about Santana's version of her night with Quinn and how self-satisfied Santana was with herself. "She thinks she's some super-lesbian now and can convert anyone. I swear, if she starts on me, her perky little ass is going to be sleeping in the hallway."
Blaine didn't comment on Kurt's use of language. There were quite a few changes in Kurt since he'd moved to New York. He seemed freer, more comfortable with himself. In some ways it was refreshing. In others, it made Blaine feel the distance even more.
"Did you have any trouble getting home from the airport?" Blaine asked.
"No, no problem," Kurt answered. He fiddled with something below the screen and didn't quite meet Blaine's eyes, a sign that there was something he wasn't saying.
"You said that last time you kept getting pushed out of the way by others that were trying to catch a cab," Blaine added in clarification. There had been a time when Kurt would tell him anything, but that was before Blaine had admitted to cheating on him. He had hoped that after the past few days together, they were past this.
"Yeah, well, a friend picked us up," Kurt said in an offhand manner while looking anywhere but at the screen.
"You can talk about him, you know," Blaine said. "I know we're just friends."
"I just wasn't sure if you'd want to hear about him, you know, after Valentine's," Kurt said, finally looking into the camera.
Blaine felt like a stone weight had settled in his stomach as his fear was confirmed. No matter how much he insisted that he was agreeable with their just being friends, maybe even friends with benefits, he wasn't really. He wanted it all. He wanted to be the only one. But it was his fault that things were the way they were, so he would accept whatever Kurt was willing to give him. He knew that eventually Kurt would come around; he just had to be patient.
"Adam knew how much trouble I had before, so he borrowed a friend's car and was waiting at the curb when I walked out. I was so surprised."
Blaine tuned out the rest of the words as Kurt spent the next several minutes gushing about the guy he was 'sort of dating' in New York. The only thing that Blaine remembered later was that the guy's name was Adam and that Kurt talked about him the way he used to talk about them. It was so disheartening.
"Blaine, are you okay?" Kurt asked. It took a minute for Blaine to clue into the fact that Kurt had addressed him directly.
"Yeah, of course. Just a little tired, I guess. I should probably get to bed. We both have classes tomorrow," Blaine replied.
Kurt agreed and they set up a time to talk later in the week. For the first time, Blaine was thankful when one of their Skype sessions ended. He wasn't sure that he could have kept up his positive attitude much longer while Kurt sang the praises of another man; especially when that man was there and Blaine was stuck in Lima.
Blaine started to close his computer, but decided to check Facebook instead. It wasn't really that late and he didn't have any homework that needed to be done. Blaine got a few laughs about something that Tina had posted and clicked 'Like' on Sam's post about the upcoming Regionals. They weren't going to blow the second chance that Sam had worked so hard to get them.
Blaine was reading an article about gay rights and the progress (or lack of) that had been made when the computer dinged softly and a chat box popped up from Sebastian.
'Hey, Killer. Congratulations on making it to Regionals.' - Sebastian
Blaine wasn't sure if Sebastian was being facetious or not, but decided to act as if he were being strait (so to speak).
'Thanks. Too bad it couldn't have been during an honest competition.' Blaine hesitated just a second before sending. He didn't want to sound pompous, but this was Sebastian.
'Ouch, that was a direct hit.' - Sebastian
Before Blaine could decide on a reply, or even if he wanted to reply, Sebastian posted again.
'Kind of killed my attempt at redemption, didn't it?' - Sebastian
'I can't understand why you would do that, any of you. Integrity was always the cornerstone of what the Warblers stood for.' - Blaine
Blaine sometimes wondered if he had gone back when the Warblers had asked, could he have stopped them from resorting to performance enhancing drugs just to win a Glee competition?
'That's a heavy conversation for instant messaging.' - Sebastian
'How about over coffee at the Lima Bean?' - Blaine
Blaine wished he could take it back as soon as he sent it. He hoped Sebastian wouldn't make more out of it than he intended.
'Name the time and I'm all yours ;)' - Sebastian
Blaine rolled his eyes. Sebastian would always try to make more of it.
'Tomorrow, 5pm?' - Blaine
'See you there.' - Sebastian
Blaine closed the chat box and then shut down the computer. By the time he'd finished getting ready for bed, he'd pushed the short conversation with Sebastian out of his mind and was brooding over Kurt again. He just couldn't seem to focus on anything else for any length of time. Even his dreams that night were full of him chasing after Kurt while Kurt walked away on the arm of another man. He couldn't ever seem to catch up and fell further and further behind as Kurt walked on, oblivious to Blaine's efforts.
"I'm surprised you actually showed," Blaine said as he joined Sebastian at a corner table in the Lima Bean.
"I'm surprised you suggested it," Sebastian answered. "I thought I'd be persona-non-grata after the Sectionals debacle."
"You said you'd explain about that," Blaine reminded him.
"No, I said that it was too heavy a conversation for instant messaging," Sebastian corrected.
"But you will explain," Blaine insisted.
Sebastian sighed heavily and took a sip of his drink. "This would be a lot easier if they had put some Courvoisier in the coffee."
"Sebastian," Blaine said in warning, "just answer the question. Why risk ruining the Warblers' reputation by doing something like this? Was winning a trophy really that important?"
"Says the guy who won last year's Nationals and dressed up like a super-hero to take said trophy back after it was, uh, appropriated," Sebastian said. He smiled slyly. "You looked hot in those tights, by the way."
Blaine sighed. "If you're not going to answer the question, then I might as well go."
When Blaine started to stand, Sebastian waved him back down. "Fine, for a fellow Warbler, I'll give it a shot."
Blaine took a sip of his coffee while he waited for Sebastian to explain.
"One thing you have to remember is that I've never seen the Warblers quite the way you obviously do. When I got here last year, they were barely even functioning as a group. It didn't take much convincing at all to get them to follow my lead, misguided as that was at the time."
"You mean the slushy incident," Blaine said. He remembered that all too well. He also remembered how betrayed he'd felt by those he'd thought of as friends. He realized that they'd been after Kurt not him, but Kurt had been a Warbler too.
"It helped that they felt you had betrayed them," Sebastian said. "I wasn't above using that to my advantage."
"I betrayed them? How could they believe that?" Blaine asked, astonished. That thought had never occurred to him before.
"You were theirs first and you abandoned them for a guy you'd only known a few months. Not only that, when you left, you joined the competition. That really rankled."
Blaine wanted to protest, but he could see how the Warblers might have felt that way. It put last year in a slightly different perspective. "So they went along with your idea to throw a slushy at Kurt because he was the reason I left."
"That was their reason. Mine was a little more personal," Sebastian replied with a shrug. Blaine didn't need to ask what Sebastian's reason was. Sebastian had wanted Blaine and he didn't like to lose.
"Anyway, I'm not proud of what happened last year. I was a jerk and you deserved better," Sebastian continued. It was said in a rather offhand way, but Blaine could see that Sebastian meant it. He just wasn't used to apologies.
Blaine nodded. "When I came looking for the trophy, you said you were trying to change. How is taking performance enhancing drugs a change for the better? And how did Hunter convince all the Warblers to go along with something like that?"
"Not all the Warblers," Sebastian said, "but you knew that already. As for Hunter, he can be very persuasive when he wants something and he really wanted that Nationals trophy."
"But steroids? It's not the Warbler way," Blaine said.
Sebastian paused to take a sip of coffee that was growing cold. "I think, more than anything, they wanted to prove they could do this without you. Especially after you refused to come back."
Blaine looked away. He'd been afraid that his failure to return might have had something to do with the Warblers decline. "If I'd come back when you asked, do you think it would have been different?"
Sebastian reached over and covered Blaine's hand with his own. "Don't do that to yourself. Hunter had his own agenda from the beginning. If you'd come back and you hadn't agreed with his methods, he probably would have just done it behind your back."
"That didn't help Trent," Blaine said. He still felt like he'd let his former team down. Trent had been the only one to go against Hunter's scheme and Blaine had convinced him to confess what he knew to the review board and have the Warblers disqualified. He hadn't heard how Trent was being treated after turning traitor.
"Blaine, look at me," Sebastian insisted. He waited until Blaine's gaze met his before continuing. "You are not responsible. We screwed up, but it was our screw up. Don't take that on yourself."
"You really are trying to change," Blaine said. It was kind of amazing.
"Not everything," Sebastian replied with a smirk and a wink. "Now that Hummel is out of the picture, any time you want to take me up on my previous offer, just let me know."
Blaine couldn't help but laugh. It was just so… Sebastian. "Yeah, well, Kurt and I are trying to work things out." He felt that stone in his stomach again though. He was trying work things out. He wasn't so sure about Kurt.
"Oh? How's that going for you?" Sebastian asked. He was back to his relaxed, slightly sarcastic self. For some reason, it didn't bother Blaine as much as it used to. Maybe Sebastian was growing on him.
"It's difficult, the distance, you know," Blaine said. He realized that he was sidestepping, but he was too embarrassed to admit what was really going on.
"Let me guess, he says he's forgiven you for cheating, but he doesn't quite trust you yet," Sebastian said.
Blaine squirmed a bit in his chair. That was a little too close for comfort. "You heard about that."
"It was quite a hot topic at the time. As was a certain couple's duet at the reception for the wedding-that-wasn't last week."
Blaine's face began to burn. "You seem to know a lot about what goes on at McKinley."
"McKinley is a cesspool of gossip," Sebastian replied with an offhand gesture. "At least Dalton boys keep their dirty laundry in-house."
"That just makes a scandal that much worse," Blaine said. He knew well what Dalton was really like. Put on a pretty face for the world when underneath, it was just like any other high school. It had been his safe haven when he'd needed one though, and he'd always have a certain amount of loyalty to it.
Sebastian shrugged. "It's done. Nothing is going to change it now." He smiled slowly. "You know, I am quite put out that you didn't call me."
"Call you?" Blaine asked, not sure what Sebastian was talking about.
"When you decided to 'fall from grace', so to speak. I thought I'd made it clear that I was more than ready to oblige," Sebastian said. His smirk was back in full force.
"It wasn't like that," Blaine said, looking down at the table top.
"What was it like, then?" Sebastian asked.
Blaine could see what Sebastian was trying to do. He'd been made to bare his soul and now he wanted Blaine to even the score. "I was lonely. Kurt was gone. I didn't really plan it. It just kind of… happened."
"Okay, that makes a good party line, but this is me you're talking to. What really happened?" Sebastian leaned forward intently. Blaine could see that he wasn't going to just let this go.
"Kurt was moving on, or at least, that's what it felt like. He didn't answer my calls half the time. He skipped our Skype dates. When we did talk, it was all about how great New York was. It was like… I didn't matter anymore. I felt so... empty. That night… I just wanted to feel something again."
"And if you didn't matter, then it wouldn't matter that you cheated," Sebastian added.
Blaine nodded. He couldn't believe that Sebastian, of all people, actually got it. Sam had tried, but Blaine could tell he didn't. Tina just ranted about how terrible Kurt treated him and how Blaine needed to get over him and move on. "But as soon as it was over, I realized how wrong I was. It did matter. It mattered a lot."
"So, how did gay-face find out?" Sebastian asked.
"His name is Kurt," Blaine said in irritation. "And I flew to New York. I had to tell him in person."
"Wow. That's taking nobility a little far," Sebastian said in a slightly awed tone. "Most people would just keep their mouth shut and hope for the best."
Blaine wasn't sure if he'd just been insulted or praised. "Sometimes I wonder if I should have done just that. We'd still be together now if I had."
"I thought you were working things out," Sebastian said with a raised brow.
Blaine played with his coffee cup. Despite his flirting and sarcasm, Sebastian was actually a good listener and it would be nice to tell someone what was really going on. Neither Tina nor Sam understood. "I went to see him at Christmas and we agreed that we missed being friends. I wanted more, but… I was just relieved that he was talking to me at all. I understand that he needs time to learn that he can trust me again."
Blaine paused, wondering if he should go on.
"So what happened when he was here for the wedding-that-wasn't?" Sebastian asked. "Not quite the reconciliation that you were hoping for?"
Blaine shrugged, still not looking up. "We were making out in the car before the wedding. Kurt kept insisting that it didn't change anything. We were still just friends."
"And you agreed because at that point, you were willing to take whatever crumbs he was willing to throw your way," Sebastian said.
"You make it sound so… pathetic," Blaine said. He felt rather pathetic actually.
"You sound like someone who is desperate to have the man he loves, love him back," Sebastian said, for once without any sarcasm.
Blaine finally looked up. "We slept together after the reception. I thought, at first, that things would go back to the way they were before, but…" It hurt too much to put the thought into words.
"He just wants to be friends, with benefits," Sebastian finished for him.
"And he's seeing someone else, in New York," Blaine finished, nailing the lid on the coffin. "They aren't serious, yet, but how am I supposed to compete when they're both there and I'm here?"
"Wow, Hummel's got a boy-toy in New York and stringing his ex along back in Ohio. I didn't think he had it in him," Sebastian said, sarcasm back in full force.
"It's not like that," Blaine objected.
"Are you defending him or yourself?" Sebastian asked.
"Kurt wouldn't do that," Blaine objected. "And I agreed to it, so…"
"Doesn't mean you have to like it," Sebastian said, "and no matter how you slice it, that's exactly what Hummel's doing, whether you want to admit it or not. He's got all the power in your non-relationship. He knows you'll do whatever he wants, including let him see and do whoever he wants, just so long as he throws you a bone occasionally."
"You're wrong," Blaine said. He resented anyone suggesting that Kurt could be so cold and calculating. "Kurt and I were meant to be together. I screwed that up, but I will get him back. I just have to give him some time." Blaine stood to leave. His coffee was gone and he'd had enough of this conversation.
"Let me ask you one more thing before you go," Sebastian said.
Blaine knew he shouldn't encourage Sebastian, but he nodded anyway. It would have been rude to just walk away at that point.
"Does this 'relationship' you have with Hummel go both ways? Are you allowed to date someone else? Or is that just his prerogative?"
"I'm trying to prove that I can be faithful to him. Dating someone else would be counter-productive," Blaine said. "And if that was an attempt to ask me out, forget it. Even if I were to go out with someone else, it wouldn't be you. Kurt would never forgive me for that."
"I guess what they say is true, love really is blind."
Blaine started to retort, but then thought better of it and turned to walk away. Sebastian's words had unsettled him. They echoed fears that he'd been trying to suppress for days now. Was Blaine seeing something there that just didn't exist anymore? Was he blind?
Blaine wanted to hate Sebastian for forcing him to face all his fears, but he couldn't. The truth was the truth, regardless of who might have pointed it out. Blaine had no idea what to do with his fears and doubts though. He couldn't confront Kurt. If he were wrong, that could be the straw that broke the camel's back and they'd never get back together. If he were right, though…
He wasn't really sure that he wanted to know if he was right.