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Keeping them from meeting was never the long option, just something to keep him sane for now, a plan he had until after he graduated. Sebastian meant a lot to him, had become his favourite person in the world little over a year ago, and Cooper had that pesky habit of being well-liked for his face and hair and height. It wasn’t something his brother regularly noticed, how whenever he entered a room people tended to turn from Blaine to bask in his older brother’s energy, but he didn’t want Sebastian to be one of them.

He just really wanted Sebastian to want him for a while longer. Wanted him to not realise how much better he could do than Blaine.

That didn’t mean that, when Cooper announced that he was back in Ohio because of a hiatus on the one commercial that paid him, he didn’t want to see him at all. But he was willing to do anything to prevent the meeting that would likely ruin his extremely short life so far. Then again, he probably should’ve known better than to think Cooper heard a word he said.

“You haven’t seen Blaine Anderson anywhere, have you?” He hears Cooper before he sees him, the boom of his voice somehow much louder than before in Dalton’s corridors. He’s never hated the acoustics more. There’s no way of telling who he’s asking - it could be a freshman Blaine himself has never met - and he wants nothing more than to sink beneath the floorboards and hope for the end of this nightmare.

“Squirt!”

He could’ve ran when he had the chance, abandoned Trent to his awe and apologised when Cooper wasn’t roaming the halls of his high school, but it’s too late now. He turns on his heel, grimacing at how everything seems to stop for a moment, every teacher and student halting just to stare. It’s well and truly the worst he’s felt in years.

“Hey, Cooper,” Pushing the sentence past his tongue is like pulling teeth, the weight of his brother throwing an arm around his shoulder barely heavier than the unwelcome feeling swirling through his body. Jealousy. Envy. A hint of pride that, yes, he is related to the man everyone can’t take their eyes off. All of it hurts. “What are you doing here?”

“I thought I’d take you and that elusive boyfriend of yours to lunch,” Cooper says and, although he leaned in closer to Blaine to share their plans, he says it loud enough that everyone in a ten foot distance hears him. “Check that he was good enough for my Blainey. Where is he anyway?”

Sebastian’s in English Lit, taking the spare time they have before exams to get ahead of the programme, but he’s not going to tell Cooper that. He’ll introduce them at a later date, his graduation ceremony should work. Unfortunately, Trent doesn’t seem to have any pity for the fate he’s in store for should they meet.

“Trent,” he groans as soon as the words are said, deeply regretting agreeing to walk to lunch with the other Warbler. But Cooper is smiling at Trent, so nothing Blaine says makes any impact at all. Instead, “Blaine, your brother is the best-looking man in North America.”

After that comment, it’s surprisingly easy to pull Cooper away from his adoring fans to meet his boyfriend. Sebastian isn’t fond of fawning.

*

The temptation to lock himself in the restroom at the diner they’ve gone to and never leave is difficult to fight with, the logic that it would be less painful than everything happening right now seeming like a perfect argument. He just wants to get away from Sebastian’s prying eyes, even though they mean well, and far away from Cooper’s terrible irish accent whenever their waitress walks by. The only thing that really stops him running away is his boyfriend’s hand on his thigh.

“Blaine and I were famous around the neighbourhood for our duelling Simon Le Bon impressions,” Cooper says, pointing at Sebastian with the toothpick that had been between his teeth just moments before. If Sebastian is disgusted by it, the way Blaine is, he’s at least glad he kept it to himself.

“And I’m sure Blaine’s was perfect.” Sebastian squeezes his leg softly, letting him know that he’s on his side. It’s suddenly tempting to run to the restroom to cry. His boyfriend has always complimented him, mainly about how great his ass looked but the sentiment was there, but it's different when it’s to his brother. When there’s someone that truly prefers him to Cooper.

“He was actually pitchy most of the time,” Cooper says with such nonchalance that he can hear Sebastian grit his teeth. Blaine can feel the tension lock in his shoulders, in the muscles at the back of his neck, in his every bone and Sebastian can clearly sense it as well. He shuffles closer to the warmth of the boy next to him, clinging to the idea that this won’t end terribly. They only have ten more minutes.

“And your dancing always lacked a theme,” Cooper continues and that bolsters him somewhat. Clearing his throat, he says, “My theme was dancing.”

“People always say about the fingers being the eyes of the body but no one ever mentions that the toes are the ears.”

Sebastian laughs, deep and low and full of barely repressed anger. “That’s the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard.”

And he can see it coming a mile away, the second Cooper opens his mouth to say something more stupid. “Are you talking to me? Because I can’t tell if you don’t point your finger.”

He quickly gets up out of his seat when Sebastian’s hand squeezes tight around his thigh and his jaw ticks. He can’t have them argue, can’t have them detest each other when they’ve barely met because, if he and Sebastian make it for a long time, he can’t have his brother hate his boyfriend. It’s counter-productive.

“Dragging me into the bathroom, Anderson?” Sebastian says and, although his words are clearly supposed to be funny, his tone isn’t. “I’ve had a few dreams that started like this, you know.”

“Shut up, Sebastian.”

A sigh. An arm wrapping tightly around his waist. The thud of Sebastian’s heart when he rests his head on his chest. “I’m not just gonna let him put you down like that, killer. You’re the single most talented kid I know. And I’ve met me.”

He earns a chuckle there, in the joke woven into a serious conversation. It’s something he’s always done, on the few days Blaine’s temper rises to breaking point and it’ll take nothing but the wrong sound for him to lose it, and it never fails to make him laugh.

“He means well,” he tries to explain, muffling the words in Sebastian’s shirt, curling his fingers around his hips beneath the Dalton blazer. It’s warm and comforting and Cooper’s words almost make sense wrapped in his boyfriend’s embrace. “He’s just trying to make sure I know what I’m getting into if I choose to perform.”

“He doesn’t have to put you down to do that, though.”

“He means well.”

And he does, he’s never doubted that Cooper is just trying to offer misguided advice. But he also knows that Sebastian has a point, that the backwards logic that always ends with him doubting his worth, isn’t the right way for his brother, of all people, to go about encouraging him. So he nods when Sebastian sighs, letting the silence fall between them, just a few moments where they can be them again.

“Let’s go and pay for a lunch we could’ve gotten free at school.” Sebastian trails his fingertips down Blaine’s arm, taking his hand for as long as it takes for them to reach the door just mere steps away. It’s not much, not that they can do much in Ohio, but it’s all the things they haven’t said. It’s an I love you and I’m proud of you and you mean the world to me. He knows it because it’s the reason he lets it happen.

*

Cooper leaves the next day, messaging him about some big audition that he had to get back to L.A. for and it hurts all day. His brother ditched him again, sought out something bigger than Westerville and a brother too many years younger than himself and didn’t bother to say goodbye. It’s bittersweet this time though, not just something that makes him cry into his pillow for the three months afterwards, because Sebastian is there when the text comes through and he makes sure it doesn’t stay on his mind.

In fact, he makes sure it’s the absolute furthest thing from his mind.

*

Sebastian meets Cooper again over the Christmas holidays, sitting in his parents’ living room with Blaine cuddled into his side holding a mug of hot chocolate. They’re more polite to one another this time, possibly because it’s christmas time and possibly because his parents are in the room. The reasons don’t matter. All that matters is that he’s there with his favourite person in the world and a family that loves him despite who he is.

*

He’s as surprised as anyone when Cooper isn’t standing behind him when he gets married, poised with his groomsmen to celebrate Blaine getting married. Instead, he’s standing behind Sebastian, grinning like a madman and pointing at them both when he gives his best man speech at the reception.