A/N: Rufus Wainwright- Rebel Prince, guys. Now.


INTERLUDE

Time Leaps, Part One.


1.

October 27th. Steph's birthday. She blows out her candles in the dark and you're smirking when you whisper in her ear what did you wish for? She smirks right back and kisses the underside of your jaw, her pace slow, like a promise.

You sleep with her for the first time. It's. Great. Comfortable and natural and unhurried. You both laugh a lot in the process, but it's not a bad sign. There's something like easy closeness webbing between you and it soaks through your skin, making your muscles relax and your brain stop overthinking- and there's not many things that can do that. She doesn't take off her bra and the sheets bunch under your bodies uncomfortably, but her hair is long and silky when you run your fingers through it, her mouth is soft and pliant and here. You want her, and it feels bizarrely appeasing.

You throw your arm over your eyes and make a few strangled noises when you climax. She kisses you for the longest time afterwards and you eat cake in bed.

Neither of you says I love you like the movies and sitcoms had you fearing. It's probably because neither of you does, you think afterwards, while you're walking home in the dead of night. You suppose you should feel disappointed, but it's a weight off your shoulders, however cruel that sounds.

2.

You don't think of Sebastian, but then again, you do.

It's almost like he's always lurking around your brain, sneaky bastard that he is. If it had been him, you think lying atop the wrinkled sheets of your own bed –October 28th, cruel daylight creeping through the blinds- he would have made fun of that noise you made. He would have teased mercilessly about it afterwards with his bare knees stabbing the mattress and his crooked grin stabbing you. His hair would be falling in sweaty strands across his eyes, a buffer for their brightness, and you would have gotten mad-the kind of anger that's just embarrassment dressed in red. Maybe you would have hissed fuck you, Sebastian, maybe you would have tried to make a move for the bathroom, to splash some water on your face and search for your lost dignity down the drain. And maybe then he'd grab you by the arm, surprisingly strong as he is, tackle you back to the bed to straddle your hips and drag his tongue all over your body, teasing and teasing and teasing until you'd give him that strangled little moan again.

Yes. Maybe he'd do that.

You groan, bite your pillow and refuse to jerk off.

3.

On November 29th, your sister decides to take up art class on a whim. You don't know how it happens, but somehow Sebastian and you find yourselves waiting for her after class every Wednesday, sprawled on the bleachers, freezing your asses of because it's almost winter."It's not as cold as it was in New York, but still," you attempt to make smalltalk on the first day, rubbing your palms against your knees nervously. He could simply hum is that so? but he's Sebastian, so he curls to a ball –an irony, that, he's all angles and jutting bones- and tells you that merely the thought of New York makes him feel insignificant. And then there's silence. Half an hour later you take a deep breath and ask him why he doesn't take art since that's what he wants to do with his life. He replies that he has no idea what he wants to do with his life, but he's smiling when he says it.

You never go home together. You ride your bike and they walk.

4.

Today is the 9th of December and Sebastian nudges your ribs with the tip of his multicolored converse. You turn around arching an eyebrow in a way you hope says oh, forgot you were here and not I have been waiting for you to talk to me for the past 17 minutes. He is wearing a maroon sweater and black woolen gloves without fingers, and he's handing you his coffee without looking at you. You stare at his hand for a second of two; you have yet to get used to his random displays of familiarity, being as different as they are to the relationship you used to have.

He wriggles the cup in front of your nose impatiently and you reach out and grab it with a silent nod. You realize that the whole exchange was done wordlessly, and the thought is enough to make you smile, but you gulp the grin back down with a sip of coffee. It's far too sweet for your taste, but you were expecting it.

You don't even like vanilla latte. It's just an excuse to touch his fingers over the steaming cup.

5.

"Huh?"

"What's the date today?"

"Why?"

"I have to put a date on this." His pencil taps on the sketchbook. You crane your neck to sneak a peek and get kicked in the shin for your efforts. He never lets you see.

"Do you always date them?"

"Yes."

"Do you name them too?"

"Are you gonna tell me or will I have so ask someone else? Dom." Your hands twist together. Wow, hello, playing dirty.

"January. Seventh. Two thousand and-"

"I know what year it is."

You scoff. "Sure you do." You're in a brooding mood today. The sky is gray and intimidating and you sprained your ankle during practice and Sebastian's not talking to you because he's never fucking talking to you, always sketching sketching sketching away and sparing a word here or there, tossing you scraps and making you feel pathetic and dependant and like a fucking girl.

So you brood. Inwardly.

"Dom?" his pencil scratches the paper and it's annoying the hell out of you and if he asks you what the date is or what time it is you're gonna punch him, swear to God.

"Yeah," you huff, all irritation and boredom and making sure he sees it, hears it, knows it.

"Dae calls you Jin sometimes." You look up at him, surprised and caught off guard. Oh. Dangerous territory, that, your brain warns. But he's set the sketchbook down next to him, his legs are crossed and he's doing that thing again, you know, that thing where he's looking at you?

He's intrigued and you're flattered, flattered and careless.

"Yeah. She wanted to call me Jin but my father wouldn't let her."

His eyebrows are thin and dark, and when they come together it makes him look a lot younger, like a five-year-old frowning over a twenty-piece puzzle, focused and serious. You smile, can't help it, won't bother stopping it. There's no-one else here but you.

"Why? I like it."

"He said I look Asian enough as it is."

And just like that, it just slips out.

Sebastian's expression doesn't change. He nods and bites his lip thoughtfully, and you tear your eyes away from him, knowing that you've shared too much, names and fathers and vulnerabilities. You never intended to, you've never told anyone before, and it's unfair what he does to you, all this power that came from nowhere.

"Jin," Sebastian murmurs quietly, tapping his fingers to his jaw. "What does it mean?"

"Jin means treasure. Or truth. Don't know which meaning she was going for."

You dare a glance and find him smiling absently, not at you, not at anything that's here. His skin is really white, made whiter by the dark sky spreading wide behind his skinny shoulders. You want to touch his face and grin, you wanna whisper what are you smiling at but you stop yourself at the last minute.

"Jin," he says again, and shakes his head a little, looking all serious again. "I like Dom better."

"Yeah," you breathe, a riot in your ribcage, explosions and fireworks and fucking tsunamis. "Me too."

6.

It lasts three months.

On February 25th, your sister decides that art just isn't for her. You agree neutrally, grunting that it's none of your business. None of your business my ass, this means no more wasting time on the bleachers, no more shared smokes, no more making you uncomfortable and fidgety with his monosyllabic sentences. "It's none of my business," you shrug and you hate her a little right then, just a little.

"It's not my thing," she tells you, rubbing her hands together to fight the cold.

Sebastian picks up her sketchbook to take a look. His eyes flare and widen. "You think?" he mocks with a smile dancing in his eyes or his voice or both, you're not sure. It makes her laugh. She whacks him upside the head and calls him a bastard when he balls up one of her monstrous drawings in his fist. He bites her shoulder.

You zip up your jacket and shove your hands in your pockets, feeling like a third wheel or an extra, or, simply put, a nuisance. You say you're gonna go, they're waiting for you and if either of them asked who they are you wouldn't have a ready answer. They don't. She just tugs on your sleeve. "Dominic, come on," she says. "Your friends can spare you for one day. Walk home with us." She's wearing the red scarf that you got her for Christmas. Her grin is careless and as true as it's always been, and it strikes something in you that's bruised and raw, something like I have dreams about him I want him stop if you knew you wouldn't.

As you speed away on your bike and they take their usual way home, you tell yourself you hate him. You do, you decide, you hate him too, you hate him more, but it's not the same.

7.

March 2nd, you ask Steph to meet you at the bleachers after class. During lunch, over your mac and cheese, you stare at her half-smug, half-anxious, strangely expecting her to back away appalled and insulted, and tell you no, you're not taking me where you used to pine over your boy crush, Jesus, Dominic.

Sometimes you forget that people can't just dip in your train of thought and steal your secrets. Just Key.

Stephanie smiles over her Spanish textbook and hums sure babe, yeah.

You wait for her after class, you're irritable and jittery, something short of panicked, acting out scenarios in your head in which Sebastian shows up in his large gray hoodie and those faded skinny jeans you like, finds you making out with Steph right where he used to stub out his smokes with the heel of his shoe, right where he had pressed his thumb to your eyelid and called you Dom. And the possibilities are endless, it's so much easier in your head, Sebastian drops his books and walks away, reeking of hurt, Sebastian drops his books and walks up to you, jaw set and eyes narrowed, Sebastian punches you in the face like that first time, Sebastian climbs up the bleachers like the dangerous thing he is and presses his mouth to yours to show you how it's really done, what you really want.

"Dominic?" and suddenly Stephanie is here and Sebastian is not and you latch on to her instantly, kissing her deep and explicit, just the way she likes it. She fists your shirt and laughs. You laugh too, on reflex or defense. She pulls away to ask "wow, what is this?" with a playful glint in her eye that would have been consoling otherwise, but this time it's nothing but a weak substitute for what it should be, the fire behind Sebastian Key's eyes.

So you kiss her again and think that you should have put a mark somewhere, carved your names into the wood, as saccharine as that sounds-then she wouldn't have to ask, she would know you're thinking of messy bangs and narrow hips and crooked, evil grins that burn through flesh.

Steph sighs into your mouth and fits against you and all you're thinking of is his mouth, his bottom lip and how it would feel like to have it between your teeth and play with it, abuse it, bite down on it and leave your mark, split it in two with something other than a fist.

You pull away like you've been hit by lightning. "Oh God," you mutter, barely a word, barely a breath, really.

Stephanie laughs, with her clever eyes and her lovely face and her kiss-bruised mouth.

I'm sorry, you say. I'm sorry, so so sorry, I'm sorry.

She runs her fingertips along her bottom lip, and she's grinning, how can she be grinning.

"What are you sorry about, dummy, it didn't hurt at all."

She leans closer, and offers more words to reassure you, more pretty smiles to coax you into another kiss, and you go willingly, kissing her softly this time, gently, planting voiceless apologies to her skin and thinking in near desperation you don't know, you don't know, you have no idea how much.

8.

On April 18th, you break up with Stephanie for the second time after nearly a year of dating. It's just as calm and mutual as it was the first time, and you almost say we should do this more often. You get the feeling that you will, that this mature and emotionless breakup thing over coffee and pretzels is gonna happen again and again and again.

As you stare at her bus moving further and further away and finally disappearing round the corner, you think that your relationship with Stephanie is one of a safety net, something sure and solid and safe, and both of you are gonna fall back on it many times in the future. And perhaps down the line there will be a time when you'll fall and neither of you will want to bounce off again –a day when you won't be daydreaming about licking all the way up Sebastian Key's spine- and then it will become a real thing. Something to hold on to.

9.

A few days later, April 25th, you find him at your back yard. He's sitting on your swing, eating ice cream lazily like he's got all the time in the world. He's wearing black jeans that are so torn they barely qualify as there, his hair is longer and tied up, and the sun is obviously against you because it toys with him the same way it had that first day on the bleachers, when you had the black eye and he had the not-broken-nose-thank-God. Sunlight and Sebastian, it's just a combination made to kill you, some trap set by both Mother Nature and fate, a cruel way to do you in.

He doesn't smile when he sees you like he does when your sister walks out the door. He doesn't call your name or say hi. He extends the arm that's holding the ice cream.

He doesn't say a word. No want some? no have some no try it. He doesn't say a word and it nearly makes you cave, but then you remember that you're mad at him, even though you don't recall your exact reasons, other than you're absolutely right about them.

So you just shake your head –slowly, smiling, keeping eye contact- say I'll go get her, and turn to leave.

That's when Sebastian fires three shots.

"Dom?" goes the first blow and it's a through and through. Dom, Dom, not Dominic, Dom, only you call me Dom, rambles that starved part of your brain that just wants to kiss him-but that other part, the mature one, the one that broke up with Stephanie over a bitter cappuccino, beats the needy little Dominic up and clamps his mouth shut. "It's lemon," he explains firing his second shot and pointing at the ice cream with a move of his head –his hair is longer, it sways- and his green eyes are fully and awfully set on you and how fucking long did it take for him to do just that, simply look at you, and now he is and you'd give him everything, anything he wants even if it's something as insignificant and as hurtful as sharing his ice cream.

"Not vanilla. I know you don't like the sweet stuff."

The third shot is to the heart and it gets lodged there. You almost look down at your chest, expecting to find red staining your shirt and dripping down to the ground and all over your mother's lilacs.

And because it gets lodged there, and it hurts, because at that moment it's enough, it's too much, and you're this close to striding over to him to claim his mouth and taste the lemon straight from his tongue, the mature part of your brain takes over and mumbles something about your sister being in her room. He stares at you quizzically as you nearly kick your back door open to get in the house and as far as you can from him and his lemon-flavored ice cream.

10.

That same night you dream of tightropes and gaping voids. You find yourself strangely attracted to both.


A/N: Dominic pines and pines and pines. Oh, well. Hope you liked this chapter. And a huh-uge thank you to everyone who reviewed the second one, your comments mean a lot to me. Until next time.