To be fair, it's not like it's the weirdest thing that's ever happened to him, but Kurt still gets pretty damn surprised when Sebastian ends up being the one who saves him from a nervous breakdown that afternoon in June.
He has just finished working his ninth shift at the Lima Bean in seven days, and he feels like he's about to pass out any second, when he runs into a bunch of neanderthals on his way out.
School is out, they don't have to worry about suspension, and this is Ohio. They're on him before he even has time to blink. Nothing too physical, because they're still in a very public place, but they catch Kurt so off guard that they might as well have punched him in the stomach. There are slurs and shoulder punches, and when they let him go, it's all he can do to keep himself upright until he gets to his car.
He slumps against the driver's door, taking a couple of deep breaths and digging into his pocket for his phone. He opens up his contacts and stares at it, trying to figure out who to call. He can't figure it out, he can't-He doesn't know who to call. His friends support him, but they don't understand, and-He has known this, logically, for years, but it's just now that the realization really hits him, and he stands there in the parking lot, feeling like all the air has been sucked away from him. When he finally remembers how to breathe, he almost manages to work himself into a panic attack, but he's jerked back to reality by an almost-familiar voice.
"Kurt? Are you okay?"
Kurt looks up, and of all the people he could've possibly expected, Sebastian is not one of them. He's a regular at the Lima Bean, he always tips Kurt pretty well, and they've exchanged a few words when Kurt's been wiping tables. He's confident to a point where he's almost full of himself, and had he been just a little bit more cocky Kurt's sure he would've hated the guy, but now, they get along. He wouldn't consider them friends, exactly, but he's the one who's here, and he looks at Kurt as if he's expecting an answer.
"Yeah. Yeah, I'm-fine. I'm fine."
Kurt frowns at him. "Why do you care?"
Sebastian shrugs. "I saw what they did." It's not really an answer, but it's more than Kurt ever would expect from him, so he accepts it.
"Okay. I'm fine, though. I've had worse."
Sebastian opens his mouth and looks like he wants to object to that, but he snaps it shut again. "I'll see you around," he says, and walks away. Kurt stares after him for a few seconds before he catches himself and gets into his car. As far as encounters with Sebastian goes, this is the best one yet. That has got to count for something.
It happens again a week later. Kurt has to work a double, again, and he's seriously considering calling his dad and ask him to pick him up, because he's not sure he's able to drive home safely. He gets halfway across the parking lot before he's intercepted, like they've been waiting for him. He closes his eyes and tries to block out the words, but some of them still make it through, still hurt. The best thing would be to just get away and drive off, but they're surrounding him, and he's too tired to fight his way through and between them right now. They give up eventually and leave him alone, and Kurt would've slumped to the ground in relief if it hadn't been for the arm suddenly wrapped around his waist, keeping him upright.
"Come on," he hears, and it's-Sebastian. Again. He gets lead to a car that isn't his own, and Sebastian shoves him into the passenger seat before going around and getting into the driver's seat.
"What are you doing?" Kurt asks, but he's not fighting, just wondering.
"Taking your mind off things," Sebastian replies and backs out of the parking lot with a practiced ease that Kurt can't help but admire.
Sebastian doesn't answer, just slides his sunglasses on and gives Kurt a brief smile before steering towards a road that will take them out of Lima.
"Are you kidnapping me?" Kurt asks. Sebastian snorts.
"Why would I want to do that? I told you, I'm taking your mind off things."
"You're not making any sense."
"I never promised I would." He opens up the compartment between the seats. "You pick," he says, nodding sideways towards the stack of CDs. Kurt takes them out and looks through them. He's impressed by Sebastian's taste in music, he would've expected horrible things, and while it's not exactly his favorites, he could easily listen to almost every one of these. Curiosity spiked, he picks out one that just has 'mix 23' scrawled on it and puts it into the stereo. The beat to Gnarls Barkley's Crazy comes through the speakers and Sebastian smiles, reaching to turn up the volume. "Good choice," he says, tapping his fingers against the steering wheel.
Kurt leans back and looks out the window. They're nearing the city limit and the houses are getting more and more scattered. It's late afternoon and the sun is low, forcing Kurt to squint to be able to see anything. He picks up his phone out of his pocket, but only gets two status updates about college into his facebook feed before he tires of it and puts it down with a sigh.
"Bad news?" Sebastian asks, glancing over at him.
"No, I just...don't know why I keep checking in when it only makes me feel bad," Kurt replies, defeated.
"Check what? Facebook?"
"Yes." He knows it's not his friends' fault that they got into college while he didn't, but it still doesn't mean he wants it rubbed in his face all the time.
"I don't have facebook," Sebastian says, reaching over to turn the volume down a little.
"Yeah, sure," Kurt says sarcastically, not believing him for one second.
"I don't! I had one, but then I got a stalker, so I shut it down."
"You had a stalker?"
"Yes!" Sebastian looks over at him, but Kurt can't tell if he's serious or not when he's wearing sunglasses. "And now I just don't like it."
"Okay," Kurt says, still not sure if he should believe him or not. He can check for himself when he gets home.
"Why does it make you feel bad?"
"I thought you were taking my mind off things," Kurt bites out, a little too sharply.
Sebastian shrugs. "Okay." He takes the next turn, and suddenly they're surrounded by nothing but fields.
"Where are we?" Kurt asks.
"Outside of Lima."
"Are we lost?" Kurt inquires, suddenly nervous. Sebastian scoffs, offended.
"No, we're not lost. I have GPS in my phone if you really want to know exactly where we are, but you don't need to know."
One song changes into another, and Kurt is a little surprised when Madonna trickles out of the speakers, but when he looks at Sebastian he's singing along under his breath and doesn't seem at all embarrassed.
"Why are you doing this? We're not-friends."
"I can drop you off right here if you don't like it," Sebastian replies, sounding annoyed and a little bit hurt. When Kurt doesn't reply, his shoulders drop and he sighs. "You looked like you needed it," he says a little bit softer.
"I did," Kurt agrees. "Thanks." A beat of silence. "But are we turning back soon? Because I'm starting to get hungry."
"Sure." Sebastian drives until he finds a safe spot to turn, and then they're on their way back, sun behind them and Lima ahead of them.
The next day comes with a heat wave, and Kurt is working his ass off serving customers ice cold beverages when Sebastian saunters into the Lima Bean again. He perches his sunglasses on the top of his head and shoots Kurt a smile as he gets in line. He's all casual and good-looking while Kurt is sweaty and exhausted, and not at all in a good way.
"Hi," Sebastian says when it's his turn. Kurt is already pressing the buttons on the cashier; he knows Sebastian's order. "When do you get off today?"
"Uh-" Kurt glances at the clock. "In forty-five minutes. Why?"
Sebastian hands him a credit card and a five dollar bill. "Just wondering," he says.
"Okay. Well, as said, in about an hour."
"Okay," Sebastian says and signs the receipt, sliding it back to Kurt with another smile before he moves down the counter to wait for his drink. Kurt follows him with his gaze until he catches himself and shakes his head, putting a smile back on his lips and turning towards the next customer.
"Are you still here?" Kurt asks an hour later as he steps out in the parking lot, raising his hand to shield his eyes from the sun.
"No, I'm a ghost," Sebastian replies, sliding down from where he's been sitting on one of the outdoor tables.
"Why?" Kurt asks, suspicious. "Another road trip?"
Sebastian shrugs. "You said we weren't friends. I'm gonna change that."
Kurt blinks. "How?"
"I'm taking you to dinner."
"Like a date?"
Kurt's first-hand experience with dating amounts to zero. He'd hoped that would change when he got to New York, but since he won't get to New York, he might as well take what he gets. "Okay," he says, taking a step towards Sebastian.
Sebastian smiles. He has a really nice smile. "Okay," he echoes. "Good. Let's go, then."
Sebastian drives them to a burger place in the outskirts of town. They make all the small-talk they never did yesterday, and by the time they get a table outside in the shadows with menus in hand, Kurt knows that he and Sebastian are the same age, that Sebastian had been in his school's show choir too, and that he's really good at lacrosse. And also, judging by the last track of the mix CD-that he likes Mamma Mia!.
"Are you going to college?" Sebastian asks when the waitress has taken their orders. Kurt sighs and lets his shoulders fall.
"Can we-not talk about college? Like, at all? I applied to one, I didn't get in, and now I don't know what to do, so... Please?"
"Sure," Sebastian says, not pressing. "Tell me more about the time you set your dad up with the mother of your crush and they ended up getting married," he smirks. Kurt kicks him under the table, but he's really grateful for the change of subject. He angsts enough about his future as it is, he doesn't want to do it with Sebastian, too.
When they leave an hour later, Kurt's cheeks hurt from too much laughter. He hasn't felt this easy and been this relaxed in days and he leans back against the headrest with a content smile while Sebastian drives them back to the Lima Bean. He doesn't know much about Sebastian, but he seems interested enough and looks good, and...they do have a summer ahead of them to get to know each other better.
As the days drag on, Kurt finds himself spending more and more of his spare time with Sebastian. They spend a lot of time just driving around, talking and singing along to the stereo, and generally just being. There's an easy silence growing between them, one that doesn't have to be broken, and it feels good. Kurt has only ever had that kind of silence with his dad, and it's rare now that it's not just the two of them anymore, and he didn't realize how much he missed it until now. He and Sebastian can easily drive for half an hour without saying a word to each other, just the low hum of the radio between them and the long stretch of landscape outside to keep them company.
"How do you know your way around here?" Kurt asks one day when the sun is playing hide-and-seek behind the clouds and just generally makes it really annoying to keep his eyes open.
"It's where I learned to drive."
"Yeah. My grandfather has-had a place out here. My parents travel a lot, so I used to stay with him when I was younger."
"Why did he sell it?"
"But you said-"
"He died." Sebastian keeps his eyes straight ahead, even though the road is clear and there isn't a curve in sight. "Two years ago."
"Oh. I'm sorry."
The silence gets a bit awkward then, Sebastian with his gaze fixed on the road and Kurt picking on the seam of his pants. It's reaching uncomfortable levels, when suddenly the stereo switches track and...Justin Bieber comes on. Kurt looks up and stares at Sebastian.
"Seriously?" It's another mix CD, and this isn't even a radio single, it's an acoustic version, which means Sebastian actively went looking for this version.
"Shut up," Sebastian mutters, still avoiding Kurt's gaze, but now for a completely different reason.
Sebastian shoots him a vicious glare, punches the skip button and turns up the volume. "Not talking to you anymore," he mutters, but there's a smile playing at the corner of his mouth.
"Not sure I want to talk to you anymore," Kurt shoots back.
There's a few moments of silence, and just as Sebastian opens his mouth to say something, the engine begins to hack. He looks at the steering wheel with a panicked expression, and then at Kurt.
"Stop the car," Kurt says, sitting up straight. "Pull over and stop the car." Sebastian does as he's told, and Kurt looks down at himself. "Lucky for you, these are not my favorite jeans," Kurt mutters and gets out of the car. "Pop the hood," he orders. Sebastian does, then gets out of the car himself.
"Kurt, you can't seriously be-"
"My dad's a mechanic," Kurt interrupts, not looking at him.
"Yeah, my dad's a state attorney, that doesn't mean I go around putting people in jail," Sebastian says, coming around to stand beside Kurt. "Come on, let's just-" He trails off when he sees Kurt go through the basic check-up with a practiced ease.
"Jesus, when did you even have service on your car?" Kurt mutters, looking at his smudgy fingers in disgust. "Do you have anything I can wipe my hands on?"
"What about the shirt you're wearing?"
"I'm not letting you wipe motor oil on my shirt?!"
"It would be an improvement," Kurt says, still looking at him expectantly.
"Hey, okay, either you mock my taste in fashion or my taste in music. You don't get to do both!"
Kurt looks pointedly at his hands and then down at the exposed engine.
Sebastian sighs. "Fine. I might have something in the back." He walks around and checks the backseat, reappearing with what looks like some kind of band shirt. It's well-washed and soft, and Kurt can't resist folding it out to look at it.
"Aqua," he says, forcing himself to keep his tone neutral. "I...honestly cannot choose between mocking your taste in music or your taste in fashion right now."
"Oh my god, just use it or I'll call a cab and leave you here," Sebastian moans, slumping against the driver's door. "It's not like I wear the thing. Or listen to them."
"Sure," Kurt says, carefully wiping oil all over the soft-washed print. "That's why it's in your car."
"Okay, okay. Can you start the car?"
"Just get in and start the car, Sebastian," Kurt says, rolling his eyes. Sebastian obeys, and after a few seconds Kurt waves at him to shut it off again. "I'm gonna call my dad, hang on. I hope you have a tool box in the back," he adds pointedly.
Sebastian gets out again and goes to look in the back. He does locate a tool box and sends a silent thanks to his dad, because Sebastian sure as hell did not put it there. He hands it over to Kurt and then leans against the side of the car while Kurt makes his call, describing the problem and humming while his dad talks him through it.
"There, try again," Kurt says loudly after a while, making Sebastian jerk. He gets into the car and turns the key-it purrs like a dream. Kurt shuts the hood and gives him a triumphant smile. He wipes his hands again, the shirt is definitely beyond all hopes of repair now, then walks around and drops them both in the back before shutting that too.
"Thanks," Sebastian says as Kurt gets into the passenger seat again.
"You look weirdly hot as a mechanic," Sebastian smirks, glancing over at him.
"Yeah, right," Kurt scoffs. "Now take me home so I can change."
"I'm serious!" Sebastian exclaims even as he turns the car around.
"Yes, 'weirdly hot,' such a huge compliment. I'm beside myself," Kurt deadpans.
"Okay, fine, you looked hot, period," Sebastian amends. "All..."
"...Greasy and manly?" Kurt fills in for him, sarcasm dripping from his words. Sebastian's silence is answer enough and Kurt sighs. "You're such a stereotype."
"Are you gonna mock me for everything I do?"
A beat of silence, then, "Yes, probably."
"Good to know."
"Hey, uhm, do you have any plans for today?" Sebastian asks as he takes his drink from Kurt.
"No. Or yes, I thought we were hanging out?"
"Yeah, yeah, we are, but-I want to show you something. So I just wanted to make sure we have time."
Sebastian is nervous, and it's adorable. "No, I'm yours for the night," Kurt smiles.
"Good, good. I'll see you later."
Kurt is in a good mood when he gets off his shift and out into the sun. It's been an early shift, so it's just after three, and it's been a good shift, so he's excited for what the afternoon will bring.
"Hi," he says brightly when he gets to Sebastian, who's standing against his car. "What was it that you wanted to show me?"
"Get in," Sebastian says and motions to the car.
"You could say please, at least," Kurt says, but his smile doesn't fade as he gets into the car.
"Please," Sebastian says, sugar-sweet smile on his face as he slides his sunglasses on and starts the car.
"Thank you." Kurt reaches for the spare pair of aviators in the glove box and leans back, forcing the tension from his body and wiggling his toes inside his shoes. Sebastian navigates them in the general direction of where they've been driving around already, but he stays on the main road longer now. Kurt has no idea where they're going, but he trusts Sebastian.
"How did you come out to your parents?" he asks suddenly when they turn onto a gravel road.
Sebastian laughs in surprise and glances over at him. "That was out of the blue," he says, amused. "Why are you wondering?"
Kurt shrugs. "Don't know. I just...can't imagine you sitting them down during dinner and telling them."
Sebastian snorts. "Yeah, no, no need. That wasn't exactly how it happened. They caught me blowing another guy behind the club house down at the golf course. Weren't a lot to question after that."
"Oh." Kurt hasn't exactly envisioned Sebastian as a virgin, but to get it spelled out like this was a little unexpected.
"'Oh' what? You wanted a sob story? I bet yours is," Sebastian smirks. Kurt deflates a little.
"It is, actually," he says. Sebastian's smile dims.
"Oh. Tell me?"
"Not much to tell there, either. I-uh-had some kind of crisis. Made out with a girl, was a kicker on the football team, we both cried when I told him. He said he already knew." Kurt tries to keep his tone light and neutral, tries to not show Sebastian how much this did, and still does, affect him.
"And you call me a stereotype," Sebastian mutters, but there's no heat in it. "I'm glad he was okay with it, though," he adds.
"You made out with a girl?" Sebastian asks after a few moments, as if he's just taken in what Kurt really said.
"Yes," Kurt sighs. "It wasn't my finest moment."
"Is it different than kissing boys?" Sebastian sounds curious.
Kurt replies "I wouldn't know" before he can even think twice about it, and then blushes furiously.
"What, you've never kissed a guy?" Sebastian sounds disbelieving.
"Well you've obviously never kissed a girl, so I guess we're even," Kurt bites out, and it looks like Sebastian wants to reply, but then he suddenly makes a sharp turn into a driveway and stops in front of a battered old house.
"What are we doing here?" Kurt asks as Sebastian kills the engine and unfastens his seatbelt.
"It's what I wanted to show you," Sebastian replies. Kurt glances dubiously at the weather-worn building.
Sebastian gets out of the car and motions for Kurt to do the same.
It's a nice house, or at least Kurt is pretty sure that it has been a nice house. It's big, and while it's not broken, it's still battered.
"It was my grandfather's," Sebastian says, effectively cutting him off.
"He built it himself," Sebastian says when they've walked up to the porch. "He refused to get any help with it before he died. Now it's just...No one wants to hire constructors, because he didn't want that, but none of us have time to fix it. It just...stands here."
Sebastian has his hands deep in his pockets and looks so defeated that Kurt just wants to hug him. Kurt doesn't know what to say, so he keeps quiet. He's a bit overwhelmed with the amount of trust he knows Sebastian is putting in him by showing him this. It wasn't what he expected when Sebastian asked him a few hours earlier, but he wouldn't change it for anything.
"You wanna see the inside?" Sebastian asks, breaking the silence. Kurt nods, and Sebastian pulls up his keys. "Come on, then."
Kurt follows him inside, and is surprised by how much better it looks than on the outside.
"It's pretty much untouched since he died," Sebastian says, flipping on the lights. "None of us wants to live here, but we don't want to sell it, either."
"My dad and his brothers. And me, I guess."
Kurt hums and takes a few steps inside, taking in his surroundings. It's obvious that it was an old man who lived here, but it's nice in a comforting kind of way.
"Hey, did you have your own room here?" he asks, suddenly eager to check out childhood Sebastian.
Sebastian hesitates for a split second before sighing. "Up the stairs, second door to the right. But you're not allowed to judge me!" he calls as Kurt hurries to the stairs.
"Depends on what I find!" Kurt calls back, stepping onto the landing on the upper floor. He turns right and puts his hand on the doorknob of the second door, holding his breath as he turns it.
"Dinosaurs," he says out loud, because he's too overwhelmed to shut up. Sebastian comes up beside him and nudges his shoulder playfully.
"Shut up," he murmurs. "I was five."
"And you didn't change it once since then?" Kurt asks, amused.
"Dinosaurs are cool."
"Yeah, totally, but...maybe not in abundance like this." It's dinosaurs everywhere.
"I only stayed here until I was twelve. Then I went to boarding school."
"Okay," Kurt says, still amused and humoring him.
"You've seen enough? You have enough to mock me for a lifetime now?"
Kurt steps closer until their sides are flush together. The implication of a forever makes warmth curl in his stomach and he bites his lip to keep his pleased smile down. "Yeah," he says, leaning his head on Sebastian's shoulder. Sebastian puts his arm around Kurt's waist, slow and tentative but warm and comforting.
"You want to go out? See the lake?"
Kurt nods. "Yes."
The property is big, but the way from the house down to the lake is short. They walk close but not touching, hands in their pockets.
"You spent your summers here, too?"
"Yeah. My grandmother taught me how to swim."
"My mother taught me."
They walk out onto the dock, the wooden boards creaking beneath their feet. Sebastian bends down to untie his shoes and then sits down on the edge, swings his legs over the edge and dips his feet into the water. He hisses at the cold but doesn't pull back.
"Come on," he says, looking up at Kurt. "It's nice."
Kurt frowns for a long minute before bending down to slowly untie his own shoes. He carefully folds up his pants, momentarily glad he's not allowed to wear skinny jeans at work because they would've been impossible to fold up. He sits down gingerly beside Sebastian and follows him, hissing and freezing when his toes hit the cold water, but he bears through until his ankles are submerged.
They keep quiet after that, just swirling their feet in the water, looking out at the lake and the forest on the other side.
"This is a really nice place," Kurt says after a while. He will regret sitting in the sun without sunblock tomorrow, but right now he can't find it in him to care, really.
"Yeah. I want to shape it up, someday. When I'm out of college and have time."
"What's wrong with now?" Kurt asks, because really, Sebastian doesn't have a job so he has all the time in the world right now.
"Right now I'm busy," Sebastian says with a pointed look. Kurt blushes and averts his gaze. "No, but...I think I want to live here," Sebastian continues. "In the summer, at least. Few weeks of vacation, a few weeks of working from home. Could be nice."
"I suppose," Kurt agrees, even though he can't really see himself living anywhere but the city as an adult.
"What would you want to do? If you could decide one thing to do with this place, what would you do?" Sebastian asks, nodding over their shoulders up at the house.
"Fairy lights on the porch," Kurt replies immediately. It's the one thing his dad doesn't let him do, and it's the one thing Kurt really wants.
"Pot calling kettle," Sebastian says, but he's smiling. "Fairy lights? Really?"
"They're nice," Kurt says solemnly, refusing to get defensive about this dream.
"Alright, if you say so."
Then there's silence, again. The sun is starting to set, spreading a warm glow over everything, and Kurt's skin is already tinted red. Skin care is going to be a nightmare for the next week. He's mentally cataloguing his different creams to figure out the best remedy for this, when Sebastian's voice breaks through his thoughts.
"Kurt," he says, soft and gentle and possibly a little bit nervous.
"Hmm?" Kurt says, acknowledging him, but still trying to figure out how much aloe vera he has left.
"Can I kiss you?"
All thoughts of aloe vera vanishes from Kurt's mind in a flash. He hears his own blood rushing in his ears, feels his lungs expand from the sharp intake of breath and goosebumps break out all over his arms and neck. Sebastian wants to kiss him. Sebastian wants to kiss him. Sebastian wants to kiss him. Sebastian-asked if he can kiss him, and the fact that he asked makes Kurt breathless all over again because Sebastian knows that this is Kurt's first kiss, the first that counts, and he doesn't want to just take it.
He realizes that Sebastian has waited for an answer and given up when Sebastian braces himself against the dock and moves to stand up. "Never mind," he mutters, and Kurt is abruptly shaken out of his trance-like state.
"No!" he says, too loudly, and Sebastian flinches, pulling his feet out of the water, but Kurt grabs his arm. "No, I mean-Yes. Yes, you can-definitely kiss me."
Sebastian relaxes, puts his feet back into the water. "You sure?" he asks, even as he's leaning in. Kurt nods, his breath caught in his throat. He's feeling hot in a way that has nothing to do with the sun and the look in Sebastian's eyes are too intense, so he closes his eyes and just waits.
It's agonizingly slow seconds before Sebastian's lips meet his, dry-chapped meeting soft and smooth, and oh god this is nothing like kissing Brittany. He's still gripping Sebastian's arm and he relaxes his grip when he realizes that his fingernails are digging into Sebastian's skin, but Sebastian doesn't exactly seem to mind. He leans further into the kiss, reaching up to put a hand on Kurt's neck, keeping him still and holding him in place. There's sunlight on his skin and the soft lapping of the water against the dock pillars, the smell of Sebastian, the feel of Sebastian's skin under his hand, their lips pressed together and moving and- Kurt breaks away with a soft sigh, his eyes fluttering open to meet Sebastian's gaze.
"That okay?" he asks. "Kissing a boy?" There's a teasing smile on his lips, and Kurt leans back in to kiss it away, because he can.
"Yes. Very okay."