This was written for Day 7 of the Warblers Week going on over on Tumblr - a marriage proposal. I was going to do a short little scene...

And then I kind of lost all control and it turned into this.

I've written a little bit of Huntbastian for the Warblers Week, but nothing this long. Plus, I haven't seen Glee in a long time and my knowledge of Hunter's a little hazy. So I don't know how well I've written them, particularly Hunter. But I hope I did alright.

Potentially crappy present-tense (I've gone through it, but I'm sure I've messed up the tense somewhere), swearing, themes of emotional and physical abuse, a really shitty relationship (at least to start off with), allusions to sex and whatnot. Nothing y'all haven't read before ;P

I really hope you all like this - enjoy!

The first time Sebastian asks Hunter to stay, they're both nine years old and running away.

They've been racing through the streets of Paris for hours now, never letting go of each other's hand in case they were separated. Twice they had to dodge someone they recognised – people they knew would be trying to find them and bring them home.

They didn't want to go home.

When the sun starts to set, they've run as far as they can and find a front step to sit on and rest. Sebastian tries to catch his breath, more terrified than excited, afraid that someone will still catch them and then they'll never see each other again. He can't lose Hunter – not his first and only friend. Hunter's the only boy who isn't scared of his parents. The only one who treats him the way he wants. They can't take Hunter from him now.

Hunter curls up against the step, hugging his bag to his chest. It contains everything they could carry – clothes, stolen money from Sebastian's parents, food. Everything they need to run away and live on their own. Sebastian looks over at Hunter, smiling, glad they've made it so far. But it's gone when he sees Hunter staring at him, miserable.

"I want to go home."

"We can't go home," Sebastian objects "Then you'll have to go to America and I'll have to stay here and we'll never be friends again."

"I'm cold. And tired. I want to go home," Hunter pouts and glares "This isn't fun anymore."

"But…" Sebastian's lost "Don't you want to be friends?"

Hunter shrugs. "Yeah. But I want to go home."

"You can't have both."

Hunter stares at the ground, and Sebastian can tell he's angry. But I know this is the best thing, he tells himself. They won't take him away.

He doesn't notice at first when Hunter gets up. It's only when he catches sight of him walking away down the street, bag over his shoulder, that he realises Hunter's leaving him. He stumbles to his feet and chases after him. He grabs Hunter's shoulder and stops him.

"Where are you going?"


"But…" Sebastian doesn't know what to do. He can't go home. "You can't. Please. Stay with me. We'll find somewhere to sleep and everything will be okay in the morning. Just stay with me."

Hunter looks at him, the anger melting and replaced with confusion. But then he rolls his eyes. "Come on Sebastian. Grow up. We can't run away forever."

"Yeah we could."

"No, we can't." He starts walking away again "Are you coming with me or not?"

Sebastian's torn. There's no point running away if Hunter's not with him. But he'll be in so much trouble if he goes home. He'll never see Hunter again. Either way, he'll never see Hunter again.

With a defeated sigh, Sebastian trudges after his friend. "Yeah. I'm coming."

When their parents pick them up from the police station, Sebastian knows his father's angry. He can see it in his eyes, even if he smiles at the policemen and thanks them for looking after his son. He knows he'll get yelled at, probably locked in his room. Maybe his father will hit him like he did before when he swore, when he started a fight at school.

But he sees Hunter's parents leading him away, and he knows that's the last time they'll see each other, and that was their last adventure, and that hurts more than the fractured rib he gets as punishment.

The second time Sebastian asks Hunter to stay, they're both eighteen years old and they're both different.

Sebastian knows Hunter's changed. But he also knows exactly who it is when he walks into the choir room for the first time. He'd never forget Hunter. Hunter forgot him though. It takes a few minutes of conversation for him to recall his childhood friend, and Sebastian refuses to admit that it hurts a bit.

Hunter's cooler now, but just as mature as he was when he told Sebastian they couldn't run away forever. Apparently he went to a military school, learned discipline and confidence and how to command. He takes over the Warblers so fast Sebastian almost misses it, but he doesn't mind losing his place as captain to Hunter.

Sebastian knows he's changed as well. Daddy issues, a fear of rejection and a long string of one night stands and flings will do that to someone. Maybe that's why Hunter doesn't remember him at first. But it doesn't matter. All he knows is that Hunter's back in his life and everything might just be okay for once.

But Hunter wants as little to do with him as possible. Outside of Warblers he ignores him, avoids him, blatantly refuses to talk to him. In Warbler meetings, Hunter works him harder than any of the others, shouts at him and calls him 'useless' and 'stupid'. At one point Sebastian passes out, and another time he punches Hunter in the face.

Halfway through senior year, they're having an argument in the relative privacy of Hunter's dorm room, and the boy who left him grabs him by the front of his shirt and kisses him like they've been doing it for years. Sebastian doesn't fight it – at least Hunter's acknowledging him now – and he gets fucked into the mattress.

It becomes a regular thing for them, something Sebastian clings onto. All he wants is Hunter to remember when they used to be friends, when they played together, fought and defended each other. He wants Hunter to be that person again, the one who ran away with him. But Hunter's the boy who left him and every other night, when it's all over and Sebastian's getting dressed to sneak back to his dorm, it hurts all over again. But he keeps coming back because one day, he might convince him.

Graduation comes. After the ceremony, Hunter drags Sebastian to his car and he doesn't fight it. He lets Hunter fuck him, lets him do whatever he wants to him, and when he's done and dragging his pants back up, Sebastian shuffles backwards, sits up with his back against the door and asks, "What's the plan?"

Hunter glances at him, slightly confused. "What are you talking about?"

"School's finished," Sebastian says, tugging his own pants back over his hips and doing them up "What are you going to do?"

"I'm going to New York," Hunter says with blunt finality "I'm going to study and work alongside my father. Why are you so interested?"

Sebastian's heart drops and skips a little. Hunter's going to New York, while he's flying out to Los Angeles tomorrow to do exactly the same thing – study and help his father out in his advertising agency. But they'll be on opposite sides of the country. Just as far away as he'd moved before, leaving him alone.

"What's up with you?" Hunter asks, not sounding like he really cared at all.

The word slips out before Sebastian can stop it. "Stay."


Sebastian swallows hard. "Stay with me. Don't just leave again."

Hunter stares at him like he's crazy – and he kind of is. It's a stupid thing to ask. "What the fuck? Wait, did you think this was something serious?"
Sebastian shrugs. He honestly doesn't know but he knows what he wants, and that's Hunter – any way he can have him. Hunter starts laughing and it cuts him deeply.

"Oh my God, Seb. I thought I made it pretty clear that this wasn't anything. This was for mutual benefit. I was horny, you were good-looking and easy to get. I thought you wanted it that way."

He's pretty sure nothing's ever hurt like this before. "Easy to get?" His voice cracks and Hunter raises an eyebrow.

"Uh, yeah. Everyone knows you're basically just a whore, Seb. You'll let anyone fuck you. I thought that was the point of this."

It got worse. The pain got worse. This isn't fair
. Sebastian coughs and clears his throat. He feared rejection and this was exactly why. It fucking hurt.

"Are you trying to tell me you… wanted more? You thought I liked you?"

"I don't know."

"You're really fucked up, Seb. I think you should get out."

Sebastian doesn't fight it. He opens the door and slips out, his knees weak. He hears Hunter get out on the other side and take the front seat. A moment later the engine starts up and Hunter drives away, and Sebastian's left standing in the middle of Dalton's parking lot, alone and cold and broken.

He doesn't realise he's on the ground and crying at his stupidity until a tentative voice asks him, "Do you need help?" He looks up and sees Jeff there, concern in his eyes. He's tempted to tell the blonde to go fuck himself, but he doesn't want to face his parents in his state and he needs a ride somewhere.

Jeff takes him home and lets him sleep on the couch. And when Sebastian gets on the plane to LA the next morning, he's both vindictively pleased and somewhat horrified to find out Nick's left Jeff because he thinks his boyfriend cheated with Dalton's biggest whore.

The third time Sebastian asks Hunter to stay, they're both twenty five and successful.

Sebastian's worked his way up the ladder quickly due to his name and already while he's still fairly low-level, he's got respect and that's something. He hates everything about his job but he's sure that it's his hatred that's fuelling him.

It's in Chicago, when he's sat at a bar alone and trying to drown out the worst of his anger, that a voice he'd recognise anywhere purrs in his ear, "Hey Seb."

A thrill goes down Sebastian's spine as Hunter slips into a seat next to him. He recognised him. Sure, he hasn't changed that much since school, but Hunter recognised him. He remembered him.

He'd had time to think about what had gone on with him and Hunter. It'd taken a while, a lot of soul-searching and even more fucking around, but eventually he'd come to an absolutely horrible conclusion.

He loved Hunter.

He knew it was stupid. He couldn't. He never fell in love. Hunter didn't love him.

But that was the only explanation he could come up with that made sense. So as soon as he'd realised it, he'd locked it away and done everything possible to forget Hunter. Half of LA's gay male population and a lot of alcohol later, and he was starting to feel confident that he could forget the boy.

But now here he was in front of him and he was lost all over again.

"Hey." He blinks, not sure what to say.

Hunter smirks. "What are you doing in town? You look miserable."

"My cousin just got married."

"Work conference," Hunter says as an answer to the unspoken question "Talk about a coincidence, huh?"


"You seeing anyone?"

Sebastian swallows. "No."

"You still… free?"

A part of him wanted to reach out and punch Hunter in the face, tell him to fuck off, that he wasn't some whore he could have whenever he liked. Not anymore. But really, it was a lie and a bigger part of him was thinking that if this was all he was going to get from Hunter, he should take it while he could.

"I guess so."

The look on Hunter's face was something akin to victory. Like he'd scored the impossible. And considering how he'd treated Sebastian the last time they'd seen each other, Sebastian figured it probably should have been. "How do you feel about tonight?"

"How do you feel about now?"

Hunter grinned. "Anytime."

Sebastian follows him out of the bar and they catch a taxi to Hunter's hotel. He knows he shouldn't want this but he just thinks to himself, this will be the last time. Savour it while you can.

Hunter knows more now, but so does Sebastian. Sebastian's always known more in every regard – academically, sexually, socially. It used to piss Hunter off back in school, when he wanted to be the one in charge. This time however, Hunter lets Sebastian take the lead – at least, towards the end. It takes him a little off guard but he doesn't fight it.

He stays the night and in the morning he wakes up, exhausted and cold, to see Hunter pulling on clothes. He glances over and when he sees Sebastian's awake he says, "Good, I was just about to get you up. My flight leaves in a few hours and I need to check out. You have to go."

It's like graduation night all over again. It's like that front step in Paris all over again. Hunter's leaving him. And he'd known all along it was coming, but it doesn't stop the hurt.

"Don't look at me like that. It's pathetic," Hunter says, but Sebastian feels like the words don't carry the weight he wants them to. It doesn't sound like he means it the way he did before.

"Do you have to go?"

Hunter sighs. "Uh, yeah, I kind of do. I have a job I need to get back to. So you're going to have to move your ass and leave."

Sebastian gets up and walks over to Hunter, not quite ready to leave yet. He's not sure if he ever will be. "Do you want me to leave?"

Hunter glares at him but hesitates before replying, "Yes. I want you to go so I can get on my plane."


"Don't start that shit again, Seb," he warns "I know exactly what you're going to say. And no, I'm not going to be with you. I won't stay with you. Because this isn't a thing. That was sex and this is you getting dressed and leaving." He tossed some of Sebastian's clothes to him. He doesn't fight it and just gets dressed like he was told. But he can't make himself move towards the door once he's done. He physically can't leave.

"Seb, go."

"I can't. I-I…"

He's not prepared when Hunter grabs him and shoves him backwards. The back of his knees hit the edge of the bed and he goes down, staring up at Hunter towering over him.

"Why do you have to make this harder?" Hunter growls "Why can't you just let this go? You knew when I asked that this was another one-time thing. Why the fuck do you keep doing this?"

"You shouldn't have asked me if you knew I was going to do this," Sebastian replies.

"I probably shouldn't have. I won't make that mistake again. Now, I've said it before. You need to leave."

He moves so Sebastian can get up, but he can't move fast enough towards the door for Hunter's liking. The man shoves him again and this time Sebastian hits the ground on hands and knees. A hand grabs his shirt and pulls him up to his knees and it's then that unwanted tears start to fall.

"Jesus Christ," Hunter snaps "Stop crying! Get a grip, will you?"

Sebastian registers Hunter's free hand moving and he flinches back – he knows he's not supposed to but he can't help himself sometimes. He tries to calm down, forces himself to take a deep breath so he won't have to take the hit but it comes anyway, and he gasps.

The silence in the room after the slap is deafening.

Hunter stares at him and lets him go quickly. "I-I… Seb… I didn't…"

Sebastian isn't crying anymore. He shakily gets to his feet and heads for the door, stabilising himself on the wall. It's only when he's out the door and in the hallway that he hears Hunter calling out, "Seb, I'm sorry!"

But he's heard that from his mother a thousand times and he didn't hear 'I want you to stay' so he closes the door and leaves.

The fourth time Sebastian asks Hunter to stay, they're still twenty five and invited to a wedding.

Sebastian hasn't heard from any of the guys from Dalton since he left – none had really wanted anything to do with him then, why now? So he's shocked to get a wedding invitation from two of them. He's even more surprised to see it's Jeff and Nick's wedding he's being invited to. He'd heard nothing of them once they'd split after graduation. It seemed they'd worked things out.

He had never thought he'd be back in Ohio again. He thought he'd left all that behind. But here he is, at a wedding he'd never thought would happen, looking around at the people he recognised and trying not to look too conspicuous. He figures most of them – the ones from Dalton – still won't want to be around him so he keeps back and watches them from a distance. He recognises Thad with a woman and a young girl, and he catches sight of someone who can only be Trent, chatting with a man whose smile is much more than friendly.


He turns and sees a blonde man walking towards him with a smile, a brunette on his arm looking a little more reserved.

"Jeff. Nick," Sebastian greets them with the slightest of smiles.

"I'm glad you could make it," Jeff says, clapping him on the shoulder "We weren't sure if you were going to show."

"I couldn't miss it after you asked so nicely," Sebastian rolls his eyes "And on that note, why exactly did you invite me? I don't recall our last memories of each other being very good at all."

The pair glance at each other, but it's Nick who answers, "To be perfectly honest with you Sebastian, it was you that made all this happen."

"I don't understand." He frowns, confused. Last he checked, he split them up.

"We were going through a pretty rough patch," Jeff starts to explain, and Nick continues for him, "I'd been thinking of breaking up with Jeff for a while. We were going different ways at the time – I was leaving the state to study, he was staying in Westerville. I didn't want to do long distance in case it just ruined everything for us. But I was too scared to break up with him."

Jeff smiles at his now-husband, though his words are directed at Sebastian. "You were the excuse he needed. And everything was alright for a few weeks after he moved. But then we realised that we still wanted to be together and in the end, I moved out to be with him and… here we are." He looks up at Sebastian, still smiling. "If it wasn't for you, we might never have worked out. So of course we were going to invite you to the wedding. It just sucks that we couldn't keep in contact with you. You're a hard man to find, Sebastian."

Sebastian shrugs. "I'm glad everything worked out between you two. You deserve it."

He means it, but the words sound a little hollow. Bitter. But if Jeff and Nick pick up on it, they don't say anything. Instead, Nick says, "Have you seen Hunter around?"

His heart drops to the pit of his stomach. "Hunter?"

Nick nods. "Yeah. He was an asshole back in school, I'll admit, but we kept in contact after we graduated and once he calms down a bit, he's actually pretty okay. He should be around somewhere."

, Sebastian thinks. Hunter's here. Just when things can't get any worse, they do. He tries to smile. "Maybe I'll see him. I should go – leave you two to it."

He ducks away before either Nick or Jeff can say anything to stop him, and he finds himself ten minutes later at the bar. The perfect place to drown himself. He's on his fifth shot of whiskey (he thinks) when someone sits down beside him and takes his sixth away from him.

"I think you've had enough, Seb. There are children around and we wouldn't want anything inappropriate happening, would we?"

Sebastian glances up at Hunter and sighs. He doesn't want to do this again. The scene stinks of Chicago and that's not something he wants a repeat of. Absently he rubs his cheek, a little lost. He's dragged out of his thoughts by a gentle hand pushing his away and replacing it, fingers brushing his cheekbone. He jerks away from the touch instinctively, the only thing in his mind being don't fuck up and get hit again, and he sees Hunter pulls his hand back quickly. There's a hint of shame in his eyes – or is that guilt?

"I wanted to apologise for… what I did," Hunter says, and it's the first time Sebastian's ever heard him either apologise or sound so nervous. He knows what he's referring to and brushes it off. "It's fine. I've had worse."

He didn't quite mean to say the last part and Hunter raises an eyebrow, but doesn't question him any further.

"How are you?" he tries instead. Sebastian shrugs. "Fine. What about you?"

Hunter smiles a little. "Same. Nothing's really changed."

There's a long, awkward silence between them before Hunter breaks it again.

"You seeing anyone?"

"Don't," Sebastian sighs. He knows where this is going. "Don't start this again, Hunter. I'm not going to do it. I can't."

Hunter shakes his head. "That's not what I mean. I'm just curious."

Sebastian stares at him, but eventually he answers the question. "No. I'm not seeing anyone. My father's trying to get me to date his partner's daughter though."

Hunter chuckles. "I know the feeling."

"So… you're single?"


They chat for a little longer and Sebastian starts to relax a little. He's enjoying the conversation they're having about Hunter's job in New York when suddenly someone shouts his name and he looks around to see Jeff signalling to him desperately. Frowning, he excuses himself and heads over to find that Jeff is waiting for him with a young girl of about twelve. She glares at him, arms across her chest.

"Sebastian, this is my niece Taylor. She damaged her knee a while ago and can't move very well, so she can't dance on her own. I promised her I'd dance with her but Nick needs me for a minute. Could you dance with her?" Jeff says in a rush, a pleading expression on his face.

Sebastian's dumbstruck. They haven't talked in years and suddenly Jeff's entrusting his niece to him? The girl doesn't look too thrilled about the whole arrangement and Sebastian glances down at the thick bandage on her right knee, half-hidden under her pale blue dress.

"Why me?" he asks. Jeff sighs. "You were the first person I saw. Will you? Just for a song or two – I won't be long."

He doesn't really feel like he can say no, so awkwardly he agrees. Jeff grins and pats him on the shoulder, quickly telling Taylor he'll be back in a moment and promises her a dance before dashing off.

The pair stand there uncomfortably for a few moments before Sebastian sighs and holds out his hand. "Well then?"

"I don't want to dance with you," Taylor says stubbornly.

Sebastian raises an eyebrow. "Why not? I'm a perfectly good dancer." And you're a little shit.

"Bet you're not."

"I think I'm a better dancer than you are at the moment," Sebastian shoots back, forgetting he's talking to a twelve year old. The girl stares at him, her eyes filling with tears and Sebastian panics. Jeff trusted him to look after her and he couldn't have her crying five seconds after he leaves. Quickly he bends down to her level and grabs her shoulders gently. "I'm sorry, I shouldn't have said that. Do you want to try dancing?"

Taylor glares at him and sniffs. "You're a horrible person. I'm gonna stand on your foot on purpose."

Sebastian sighs in relief. At least she's not crying. He stands up straight and offers her his hand again. Taylor takes it and holds out her other hand for him to take. Sebastian shakes his head. "Have you ever learnt to dance properly?"

Taylor narrows her eyes suspiciously. "No."

"Then I'll teach you. Put your left hand on my arm."

Frowning, she does as she's told. Sebastian lightly places his hand on her back and quickly explains how to move her feet. For a few minutes they practice, Taylor slowing getting the hang of the steps and Sebastian supporting her weight.

Soon enough a slower song comes on. "How about we go do this for real?" Sebastian asks. Taylor smiles and they head out to the dance floor. At first they're a little awkward but by the middle of the song, Taylor's laughing and clinging onto Sebastian to keep herself steady, and Sebastian's not sure when he last felt this happy.

They dance through the next song, and it's only when Jeff calls out for them that Sebastian leads Taylor off the dance floor and gives her a little bow. Taylor giggles and does her best curtsey before launching into her uncle's arms and telling him she wants to take dance lessons, does he think her mother will let her, can she dance with Sebastian again? Jeff laughs and fends off her questions, mouthing a thank you to Sebastian before taking Taylor back out to dance.

Sebastian watches them go, still smiling. It fades a little when he hears someone step up beside him and say, "I didn't know you were so good with kids."

"Neither did I," he replied, glancing at Hunter. He's surprised at what he sees on the man's face – a genuine smile, a touch of what he suspects is longing behind the shine of happiness in his eyes.

"You're a great dancer," Hunter says, looking straight at him and it takes Sebastian a moment to compose himself before he can speak. "That's what you get being raised the way we were."

The rest of the event passes and despite dancing with Taylor again a number of times, all Sebastian can think about is what's going to happen when it's all over. Hunter's acting strangely nice and he hopes it's not a ruse to get him to come back to his hotel with him again. Because as much as he wants to, he knows he won't be able to handle the next morning and he can't do that to himself again. But he knows he probably will go with him anyway because he can't fight Hunter.

Eventually it's time to leave and Sebastian makes a run for it. If he can get out of there before Hunter, he won't have to face the temptation. But just as he reaches his car, someone grabs his arm and he flinches away from the touch. He turns and sees Hunter, who lets go of his arm like it's shocked him.

"What do you want?" Sebastian sighs "Please don't ask me. Because if you actually ask me I'll do it and then we'll both resent each other tomorrow."

Hunter shakes his head. "I just wanted to let you know that I'm getting shipped out to LA soon. I've been put on a job there – special case, of course – and I just…"

He leaves his sentence hanging because they both know what it means. They'll both be in the same city for…

"How long?"

"I'm not sure. A couple of months at least."

He could have Hunter. For a few months, sure, but he could have Hunter and he wouldn't have to wake up in the morning to see him leaving. He wouldn't leave him. Sebastian swallows.

"Maybe we could catch up while I'm there?"

"Y-Yeah," Sebastian forces a smile – but soon it's not forced at all, as Hunter places his hands on his shoulders, pins him gently against his car and kisses him. Sebastian gasps before he suddenly can't breathe and he forgets Hunter's supposed to be leaving right now. He grabs at Hunter's arms until he lets go and then his hands grip the man's hair and the back of his neck.

Sebastian loves kissing Hunter. He knows if he bites Hunter's bottom lip he'll push back and kiss him harder. If he tugs on his hair he'll make a strangled little sound in the back of his throat and if Sebastian ever tries to dominate, Hunter will take back control quickly and forcefully, reminding him who's in charge. He loves it.

He doesn't want this to end. But too soon, Hunter pulls back from his lips and untangles Sebastian's fingers from his hair. His smile seems genuine.

"D-Do you want to get a drink?" Sebastian asks, breathless and desperate. If Hunter had just left after telling him about his temporary transfer, he could have lived with it. He could have waited. But right now he needs Hunter, he needs everything from Hunter, for as long as he's allowed to have it.

"I think you've had enough to drink." Hunter kisses his forehead and says quietly, "I'll see you in a couple of weeks when I get to LA. Okay?"

He tries to step back but Sebastian holds onto him. "Don't go yet. Not yet."

"It won't be long." Hunter gently pries Sebastian's hands off him and moves away. "If you give me your number, I'll text you when I get there."

Shaking, Sebastian does as he's told, repeating his number, and tries not to look too broken when Hunter smiles after typing it into his phone and says, "See you later, Seb."

He manages a shaky 'bye' before Hunter walks off. As soon as he's gone, Sebastian slides into his car and stares blankly at the steering wheel. He didn't get Hunter. But in a few weeks, Hunter would be in LA with him and everything would be okay then.

The fifth time Sebastian asks Hunter to stay, they're both twenty six and it breaks him.

Two and a half weeks after the wedding, Sebastian gets a text that just says:


He's in the middle of work and his concentration is shot for the rest of the day. All he can think about is seeing Hunter. When he's finally able to escape, he demands Hunter's address and as soon as he has it, he's off. He arrives at the upscale rental in an hour and Hunter's at the door waiting for him before Sebastian can shut off his car.

Sebastian's surprised at how easy it becomes with Hunter. For the first few days there's a little awkwardness, now that they're sleeping together practically every night (it would be every night if Sebastian had control, but Hunter's work consistently gets in the way). But soon enough everything's as easy as if they'd been doing it all their lives. Hunter gets up first, gets ready, wakes Sebastian so they can both be at work on time. At the end of the day, Sebastian ends up back at Hunter's. There's not a lot of talking, which is kind of good because then Sebastian can ignore the truth. There is a lot of kissing, smiles, touching, sleeping, sex – Sebastian can't believe he has all this to himself, that Hunter, at least for the moment, is his and no one can take that away from him. He's sure he's never been this happy before and it shows – his colleagues have started asking him if he's seeing someone, because he's always smiling now.

He doesn't question why Hunter wants this. He doesn't want to. All he needs to know is that Hunter wants him and that he doesn't leave. Every night when he shows up at the house, Hunter's waiting for him. Sebastian finally has something stable in his life, even if Hunter's not so stable himself.

They argue a few times. The first time is because they don't know how to act around each other when they're not having sex. Hunter's the one who starts it, and he's the one who ends it by losing his temper and punching the wall. But seeing Sebastian cower in front of him, waiting for that fist to hit him, clearly did something to Hunter because it never happened again. Nothing physical, anyway. They fight a few more times, over petty things, but it's just shouting and it always ends in the bedroom.

To start with, when Hunter wakes him up, Sebastian's scared he's leaving for good. But he never does, and it doesn't take long for him to start feeling secure about their arrangement. Weeks go by, Hunter's case doesn't close, and Sebastian gets used to waking up to his smile.

And then Hunter's case does close.

When Sebastian wakes up one morning, he looks up and expects Hunter's smile. But instead Hunter's already moving away from him, throwing clothes into suitcases absently.

"Hunt?" Sebastian asks groggily. He never used to call him that, but it slipped out one night and Hunter liked it.

"You should go, Seb. You'll be late for work."

Sebastian doesn't like how Hunter's shoulders are caved in, or how he won't look at him at all. He sits up properly and asks, "What's going on?"

"I told you last night. I closed my case. I'm done."

Sebastian blinks. "I don't understand."

Hunter swears, "Jesus Christ Seb, don't make this hard."

Confused, Sebastian slips out of bed, grabbing his pants off the floor and pulling them on. "Hunt, what are you doing? Why are you-"

Finally it hits him. It'd taken him so long because he'd grown used to the idea of Hunter not leaving. "I have to go home now, Seb." Hunter finally looks at him "My plane leaves in a few hours. Dad needs me back in New York."

"You're leaving…" He doesn't know what to say. Deep down, he'd known this was coming but it had crept up on him so slowly that now he was just left numb, not knowing how to feel. He couldn't even be angry yet.

"Yeah, Seb. Please, don't make this difficult. You knew this wasn't forever."

But I really wanted it to be, and that's what it felt like
. Sebastian swallows hard and his voice cracks a little as he says, "Why? Why do you have to go?"

Hunter looks at him strangely. "I told you. My Dad needs me. My job is in New York, not here."

"Do you… do you care about me at all?" He has to know. The numbness is starting to seep away and his heartbeat is painful against his ribs.

Hunter sighs and walks over to him. Gently ,he puts his hands on Sebastian's shoulders and looks him in the eye. "I think I do, Seb. But it doesn't matter."

The knife's in. Seb sucks in a breath, trying not to snap. There's no physical wound, no blood, but it feels just like he's been stabbed.

"I-It doesn't matter?"

"No. Not when I have to get back to my job," Hunter says.

Deeper. Sebastian coughed. "That's not… that's not fair, Hunter… it's not…"

"Seb, listen to me," Hunter commands, his tone leaving no room for argument. "These last few months have been great. I liked being here with you. But we both knew this wasn't going to last. We both knew I had to go back home once this case was over. I don't get why you're so upset, Seb. You knew it was coming."

He's twisting the knife. Sebastian can't look at him as he talks, averts his eyes and forces back tears. And when the man is finished, he really means to keep his mouth shut. But it spills out before he can stop it, and he hates himself for it.

"I love you."

Hunter takes a step back. Stares at him. Sebastian tries to burn a hole through the floor with his gaze, furiously berating himself.

"You… what… how long?" Hunter settles on a question and waits patiently for an answer.

Sebastian mumbles, "Since high school."

He only looks up when, after a few minutes of silence, Hunter swears. The man runs a hand through his hair, looking confused and unsure.

"Are you serious? You… you've been in love with me this whole time? Jesus, Seb, I… are you actually serious?"

Sebastian just nods, not trusting himself to speak. Hunter stares at him a moment longer before turning back to his packing. "I can't do this, Seb. I never signed up for this."

"You think I wanted to fall in love with you?" He knew speaking was a bad idea. His voice keeps cracking and he sounds so desperate. "I never wanted to love you, Hunter. You were the biggest asshole I knew in high school. But I couldn't fucking help it."

Hunter turns back to him. "How do you expect me to take this? You've just admitted you've been in love with me for years, and I've basically just been taking advantage of you! Come on Seb, why would you do this to yourself? You know I always have to leave!"

"You don't have to!" Sebastian shouts "You could always stay with me! You've always had that option, Hunter. I would have given anything to have you stay. It's not my fault you keep leaving."

"I never had a choice," Hunter shoots back, stepping closer "I couldn't just ditch my career because you asked me to! What would you do, if you were successful and doing well and someone asked you to give it all up?"

"If it was you, I would have said yes." Sebastian glares, a tear slipping down his face. "Because I love you-"

"Stop saying that!" Hunter shouts, loud enough to shut Sebastian up and make him flinch away from him. It seems he doesn't notice though, because he doesn't lower the volume and actually steps even closer. "You wouldn't have a clue what my life is like. You wouldn't give everything I have away for something that probably wouldn't even work! So stop asking me to stay. It'll only hurt you more."

The more he shouts, the closer he gets and eventually Sebastian drops to his knees as Hunter towers over him. He makes himself as small as possible – he's learnt a lot about defusing anger from his father. He would never entirely escape a punishment, but it would always be lessened if he got on his knees and apologised. Crying had helped if his mother was around. But he knows from Chicago that crying will only make things worse with Hunter, so he forces the tears back and says, "I'm sorry, Hunt, please, I'm sorry. I'll stop."

Hunter shuts up and stares at him in confusion. When he reaches a hand down Sebastian throws his arm up to block the slap he's sure is coming. But Hunter just grabs his arm and drags him to his feet.

"What are you doing?"

"I'm sorry," Sebastian says again and it's like he's stuck on repeat, because he can't think of anything else to say. "I'm sorry, Hunt, I-"

Hunter leans forward and captures his lips gently, pulling him closer. Sebastian sighs, relieved, but it's over too soon and Hunter steps back.

"I'm sorry, Seb. I have to go."

Sebastian sits on the end of the bed silently as Hunter finishes packing up his things. He's not sure where it comes from, but when the man grabs his bags and moves towards the door, he says, "If you go now, then I don't want to see you again."

Hunter stops in his tracks and looks at him. Sebastian returns the stare, the numbness returning. He doesn't recognise his own voice as he speaks.

"I can't do this again, Hunter. So if you walk out that door now, then you walk out for good. You don't come back."

"Seb, don't…"

"It's your choice, Hunter."

He closes his eyes. Hardly breathing, he waits for the sound of footsteps, or the door, or something.

The small click of the door closing rips him in half. The knife is torn out and he slides off the bed onto the floor, choking and breaking apart. He's never doing this again. He's never trusting anyone again, never falling in love though he didn't have the choice in the first place.

He's not sure how long he spends on the floor, and he's not sure how he ends up at work later. But somehow he does, and somehow the sun rises the next morning and somehow he thinks he might be okay.

The first time Hunter asks Sebastian to stay, they're both twenty nine and it's like the world makes sense.

Hunter's grown used to being alone. He never thought he'd be the one to settle down with someone and have a perfect, married life, and so far he's doing pretty well without a partner. He has a successful career, a substantial amount of money, a nice apartment, even a cat. He has everything he could want.

But for some reason, it doesn't feel like enough.

He hears Matthew let himself out. Hunter didn't pay him as much as last time because he was half an hour late, with an attitude he didn't want to deal with. Matthew's become almost a regular for him, despite the fact he's almost always high and as dumb as a post to boot. Hunter doesn't know why he keeps calling him back. He's got the prettiest eyes though, he has to admit – pale green, bright.

He's just starting to drop off to sleep when his phone starts ringing from his bedside table. Jerking back to consciousness, Hunter grabs it and glances at the number. It's unknown. Who the fuck is calling me at… He checks the clock. One in the morning?

He picks up the call anyway. "Hello?"

"Hello? I-Is this Hunter Clarington?"

Hunter frowns and sits up a little. It's a woman on the other end, someone unfamiliar. "Yes? Who are you? And excuse the language, but why the fuck are you calling me at one in the morning?"

"Oh!" The woman's surprised "Where are you? Wait, sorry, I should introduce myself first. My name's Emily Lowes. You may have heard of my father, James Lowes?"

"Uh… yeah, it sounds familiar…" It's way too late to be dealing with this "What do you want?"

"Do you know a Sebastian Smythe?"

It's like the air is knocked from Hunter's body and he has to take a moment to remember how to breathe again. He hasn't heard the name in years – not since the fight. He's purposely avoided anything to do with the Smythe name since he was given the ultimatum and he's tried his hardest not to think about Sebastian. Or about how long it took for him to come to the conclusion that Sebastian was the greatest thing to ever happen to him and he fucked it up.

"Hello? I'm sorry, I've made a mistake, haven't I?"

"N-No," Hunter stammers "I know Sebastian. I did, anyway."

Emily breathes a sigh of relief. "Oh good. Now, this may be an awkward question, but were you and Sebastian… involved?"

Hunter works his jaw for a moment to reply, but the words he wants to say don't come out. Instead he says, "I still don't know who you are."

"Oh, that's right, sorry. I… well, there's a bit of an explanation behind it… have you got time to listen?"

"Miss Lowes, it's one AM. I've got time," he drawls sarcastically.

"Of course. Well, it's a slightly convoluted story, but I'll do my best. You see, Sebastian and I, we're… we're engaged."

Hunter takes all of two seconds to process that before he's laughing, snorting into his free hand at the ridiculousness of it all. Sebastian, engaged? To a woman? This was some kind of sick prank call and he told Emily so.

"No!" she replied, sounding desperate "I know it sounds silly, but it's true. I've known Sebastian since he was nineteen. Our fathers are close friends and business partners you see, and they thought it would be a good idea for our families and for the companies if he and I married."

It makes sense. As crap as it sounds, Hunter has seen it happen before and he can easily believe the story. He just can't see Sebastian taking it lying down.

"I always knew Sebastian was gay, but I didn't say anything when our parents announced we were engaged. I didn't think it was fair. But, well, this is where it gets a little interesting."

"Interesting, you say?" Hunter laughs.

"I'm actually in love with someone else. I want to marry Sebastian about as much as I want to marry a potato – don't get me wrong, he's an incredibly close friend of mine, but I'm not in love with him."

He laughs again - he's beginning to like this woman. He has to bite his lip to keep from interrupting Emily's story with his chuckles.

"So I was talking with Sebastian, and I may have managed to pry out of him that he was still in love with someone else as well. He only mentioned your first name, but I did a little research, found out you two had gone to school together and… well, it made sense. He doesn't know I'm talking to you right now. He'd kill me. But I had to know… if you still loved him." Emily finished.

As soon as she mentions love, Hunter's smile fades. Quietly, he asks, "Who says I loved him?"

He could almost feel the eye-roll from Emily as she sighed, "He told me the stories. I cannot believe that you didn't at the very least have strong feelings for him. I've been told I'm very perceptive, Mr Clarington, and just from this conversation alone I can tell you still feel something for him."

Hunter chews on his lip, glancing up as Nemo jumps on the bed and drops into a heap next to his leg, purring. Absently he strokes the cat's fur as he thinks. He doesn't like how much this woman knows about him just from talking with him for ten minutes. He doesn't like the twisted feeling in his gut when he thinks of Sebastian. He doesn't like being sat in bed right now in New York, when he could be… elsewhere.

"Mr Clarington?"

"Please, Hunter," he says, mostly to distract both of them. But it doesn't work.

"The reason I'm calling is because Sebastian and I have agreed to end our engagement. We just have to tell our parents. But I know it would be immensely easier on Sebastian if he had someone there for him. I know I'm not good enough. He needs you, Hunter."

"Do you know why we're not speaking?" Hunter asks, his voice grating in his throat like it's trying its hardest to stay locked in.

"He told me you fought and he gave you an ultimatum."

"And I took it."

"Honestly? I don't think that matters right now, Hunter. Sebastian's one of my best friends and I've never seen him more miserable than he is right now. With me. In fact, I'm not sure if I've ever actually seen him happy. But the way he talked about you makes me think you could give him that. If you still have feelings for him, of course," Emily says.

Hunter doesn't know what to say. How does he tell Emily that he fucked up so bad that he can't go back, even if he wanted to? Does he want to? Sebastian wouldn't want him anyway – he already made that clear. But he can't help but want Emily's view of the situation to be true – that Sebastian needs him. He knows he can't go back and fix what he did. He can't go back and stop himself from leaving, if that's what it would have taken for this to be okay.

But he can tell Sebastian now, if he'll hear him out.

"Where are you?" he asks as he slips out of bed, looking around for some clothes.

Emily sounds confused. "What? What do you mean?"

"I'm in New York. I'm going to assume you and Sebastian are still in Los Angeles." He finds some pants and tugs them on, wedging the phone between his shoulder and ear to continue talking.

"Y-Yes, but… are you coming?" He can hear the veiled hope in her voice. He sighs.

"Yeah. I'm coming. Don't tell Sebastian. Can I text you at this number when I get there for the address?"

"Yes, of course! I won't tell him anything. But Hunter, I do have to say…" She sounds grave again, and Hunter pauses in the middle of searching his apartment for a shirt.


"I don't think it's a good idea for you to come if you're not going to stay with him," Emily says bluntly "If you're not planning on making something of this, then hang up right now and we'll both forget this ever happened."

"Miss Lowes," Hunter says as he finally finds a shirt "I've always come back to Sebastian. I don't think it was conscious, but I've always ended up back with Sebastian. After this, I don't think I'm going to get another chance. So I'm not wasting the opportunity I have right now."

"Good." He can tell she's smiling. "I'll be expecting that text from you, Mr Clarington. I hope I won't be disappointed."

"You won't be."


Hunter hasn't felt this exhausted in ages. He's hoping it's going to be worth it.

He's standing in front of the door of Sebastian's house, and he can't bring himself to knock. What is he supposed to say? Sorry I left, but I kind of need you in my life? He hasn't felt nervous in a long time, but his palms are sweating as he hesitantly lifts his hand and knocks twice. It takes a moment, but eventually he hears a familiar voice shouting that he'll get the door, and then it opens and Hunter's faced with every perfect inch of Sebastian Smythe.

Sebastian stares at him, jaw loose. Hunter manages a weak smile and a 'hey' – before Sebastian slaps him.

"What the hell are you doing here?" he growls. Hunter steps back, rubbing his face. "Seb, I'm sorry-" He ducks another swing and Sebastian glares at him. "I told you that if you left, you left for good. I am not going to take your shit anymore, Clarington. I've had enough. Find someone else to fuck up and leave me the hell alone."

His last name has never left such a sting before and Hunter swallows hard. He knows he screwed up bad, but he doesn't know how to apologise. He doesn't know what to say to make Sebastian not angry at him.

But then he realises that nothing he can say will stop Sebastian being angry. He has every right to be furious with him and hit him and shout at him. All he can do is try to say sorry without sounding like an asshole.

"Seb, listen to me. I'm sorry…"

"Don't fucking start. You've already apologised and it means jack. I don't want you here, alright? Get out."

Hunter reaches out, just to rest a hand on his arm, but Sebastian jerks back like it burns. "Don't touch me," he hisses "Go."

He starts to close the door and, panicking, Hunter slams his hand against the door to keep it open. He sees Sebastian flinch through the gap.

"Hunter, go away! I have finally got my life back together and-"

"Sebastian, I love you."

He barely even realises he's said it. But Sebastian hears him and stops dead. His weight against the door disappears and it opens properly to reveal Sebastian standing there, eyes wide.


"I do, Seb. It took me a long time to realise. Way too long. By that time, it was too late. I'm sorry." Hunter shrugs. That's all he can give. There's nothing else he can say and if that doesn't convince him, then he hasn't got a chance in hell.

"Say it again."

Hunter glances up at him. "I love you."

"Do you mean it?" Sebastian's voice is hardly above a whisper. Hunter smiles a little. "Yeah. I do, Seb. I'll say it as much as you want. I'll do whatever you need me to do to prove it."

"Are you going to leave?" The distrust in Sebastian's eyes hurts him, but Hunter knows he deserves it.

"Not if you don't want me to."

"What about your precious job?" He doesn't sound impressed.

"I've taken a week off." Technically he still needs to call in and tell them that, but he's Phillip Clarington's son – he could get away with murder. "I'll have to go back to New York to sort stuff out, but if you want me to come back, I will. Or you can come with me. Whatever you want."

Sebastian stares at him, incredulous. "You're not kidding?"

"No, Seb. I'm not going anywhere."

He half-expects the armful of Sebastian he gets but he still stumbles back a pace. He finds the other's lips and kisses him fiercely, tasting salt and anger. "If you fuck me over again…" Sebastian warns between kisses. Hunter chuckles and slides his hands down to Sebastian's thighs, lifting him up. His long legs wrap around him, arms around his shoulders as Hunter carries him into the house and kicks the door shut behind them.

"I'm assuming you don't want to whole street to see us," he teases, putting Sebastian back down.

"I don't fucking care right now." He's breathless, still angry but it's fading, and he kisses him again. His hands are all over Hunter's body, pushing and pulling like he can't decide what he wants first. Hunter gently breaks the kiss and says, "Calm down. You've got me now."

That's what breaks him. One minute Sebastian's staring at him like he can't believe he's there, and the next he's clinging onto him for dear life and shaking as he tries not to cry. Hunter rubs his back until Sebastian eventually calms down and just rests his head against his chest, sighing.

"I'm going to assume you're Hunter Clarington?"

The new – yet not unfamiliar – voice distracts them and both of them look up to see a pretty woman around their age standing in the hallway, with dark brown curls and a wide smile.

"That would be me." Hunter nods. Sebastian looks between them, confused.

"Don't be mad at me Sebastian, but when you were telling me about Hunter I went looking for him and… well, I found him."

"Y-You're here… because…" Sebastian looks up at Hunter questioningly.

"I'm here because she said you needed me, and I'm staying until you don't need me anymore."

Sebastian smiles and Emily clears her throat. "Well, I, uh, I think I'll… go out. I'll see if Jess is doing anything. Uh, I might ask to stay over at her place as well."

They move to let her through and she gives Hunter the biggest smile he's ever seen as she passes him. As soon as the door closes behind her, Sebastian pulls Hunter close to him and whispers forcefully, "Don't you dare leave me."

"I'm staying, Seb. I am."


Everything moves so fast over the next few months.

Sebastian tells his father he's not marrying Emily, and Hunter's scared when he comes home from the man's house covered in bruises. He knows why Sebastian flinches now.

Hunter has to go back to New York after a week to work out what's going to happen with his job. The first day he's back, he gets a call from Sebastian telling him he wants to move to New York with him, but he doesn't want to sound desperate. Hunter laughs and tells him it's okay, and within a month Sebastian's sharing his apartment, his bed and his cat. Nemo likes him.

Two months pass and Sebastian gets a job at an ad agency, one not owned by the Smythe name, and everything seems to be working out perfectly for them.

It's a lazy Saturday morning, three months after Hunter showed up on Sebastian's doorstep, and they're just lying in bed, both pretending not to be awake. Sebastian nuzzles his head under Hunter's chin, completely comfortable and happy. Hunter steals a glance to his jacket, hanging over the back of a chair, his heart racing as he thinks of what's inside the pocket. He'd meant to ask Sebastian the previous night when they'd gone out for dinner, but he hadn't been able to summon up the courage.

"What's up?" Sebastian mumbles into his boyfriend's throat, kissing it lightly. Hunter shifts him a little so he can kiss the top of his head.

"Nothing. Just a question. It can wait."

Sebastian lifts his head and Hunter smiles at his sleepy, confused face. "What? Just ask me now."

He hesitates for just a split second, glancing at his jacket again, before looking Sebastian in the eye.

"Seb, you always asked me to stay, but I never did. Even when we were kids, you asked me to stay with you and I didn't. So that's why I'm a little apprehensive about asking you this…"

Sebastian frowns and yawns. "Don't use big words, I'm tired."

Hunter smiles. "Okay. I'll keep it simple. Will you stay with me? Forever?"

There's a long silence as Sebastian process the information. His face changes from confused to realisation to – there it was. His jaw drops slightly and his eyes widen.

"Are you asking me… are you serious?"

Hunter slips out from under his boyfriend and out of bed, walking to the chair and grabbing the ring box from his jacket pocket. When he returns he drops down onto one knee and opens it. "I'm serious."

He swears Sebastian is about to have a heart attack.

"Seb? You okay?" he asks when all he gets is a strangled cough and an inability to breathe.

"Yes," Sebastian chokes out.

"Yes to…?" He has to make sure.

Sebastian still manages to roll his eyes while being completely overwhelmed. "Both, you idiot. I'll stay with you."

Hunter grins and takes the ring from its box. It's nothing incredibly flashy – white gold, an engraved pattern with some small diamonds. But Hunter's sure it could have been a child's plastic ring and Sebastian would still have the same awestruck look in his eyes. He slips the ring onto his finger and kisses the back of his hand.

"You never have to ask me to stay," Sebastian says as Hunter climbs back into bed and drags him down for some serious cuddling.

"Not anymore."