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Passion part 5 by Fantasy Weaver


Note

1: I promise the build-up is worth it.

Passion

Part Five

Jasper wondered.

Sebastian had been working so much these last few weeks. The barber was wondering what his lover could be making. He usual got a hint or two at what the end result of his pieces were, but this? He had nothing.

As he was thinking about this, his hands were working thinning shears in his client’s hair. The man under the cape was the manager of a wine warehouse. The barber recalled the man telling him that people usually came to buy wine in bulk. At the moment, Jasper was, like Sebastian wanted, coaxing the man along to sponsor the upcoming art show.

"I don’t know," the client persisted. "We don’t usually sponsor the university art show. Heck, we don’t sponsor any art shows period."

Jasper tried to reign in the sneer that wanted to make its way to his face. "Didn’t you say that less and less people are coming to buy your wine?"

The manager looked at him askance. "What about it?"

"Well," Jasper started, a convincing tone to his voice, "if you sponsor the art show, you would get visibility, as they would include your logo on the pamphlets and posters, as well as serving wine from your warehouse at the showing itself."

This seemed to suddenly take the man’s interest. He hummed in contemplation but gave no further indication that he would consider it.

Jasper then DID let the sneer show, but tried to mask it with a pleasant tone. "I’m not forcing you or anything. Just consider it. After all, I’m sure my LOVER would forgive you." Jasper laughed in his mind. ‘Though I doubt I would’ he thought sadistically.

Perhaps it was the fact that mister manager was under the cape, at the mercy of the barber, that had him thinking twice about this decision. And was it him, or was there some sort of underlying threat Jasper wasn’t saying out loud when talking about his lover? Either way, he felt a sick twist of dread in his gut as the thinning shears thinned a little too much.

"Alright, I think I will sponsor the show. Like you said, it’ll give me visibility." And, the man thought, would spare him the barber’s wrath.

Jasper gave him a kind, pleased smile, but the aura of death and destruction was still quite present. "When I’m done getting this cleaned up," he said as he gestured at the man’s head, "I’ll give you the papers to fill out."

The storm of Jasper’s wrath had passed it seemed.

As his client left the shop, Jasper found himself laughing at his own antics. He didn’t think the man wouldn’t come back; he had too much ego for that. But still, using such tactics to get the man to sponsor Sebastian’s showing was little unorthodox. Perhaps he would need to calm down. After all, he didn’t want to scare his clients away for good.

The platinum haired man felt eyes on the back of his head. When he turned, it was to see Kent giving him one of his looks. The ones that said: "I won’t say anything, but I sort of disapprove."

Jasper scratched his chin in a nervous habit. "Sorry about that."

Kent shook his head and rolled his eyes heavenward.

XXXXX

Two months to go. Two months to go. Two months to go…

Sebastian kept repeating this to himself over and over. But even if he was repeating this, it wasn’t in stress.

It was in pure anticipation.

He had finished his first, and huge, canvas just a few days prior. Now he worked on one of the smaller ones. While he couldn’t bring the paintings home with him -due to a number of factors- he had still done a lot of his work at the apartment.

The drawings were one of the things he had done, but he had also written the performance, how the complete unveiling would go, and had posted a little something on the internet. That same thing had also been printed out and placed in busy places; malls, busy streets, restaurants, places like that.

He was already getting responses and calls.

Right now though, he was in his studio, expertly working his brushes on the canvas before him. Music blasted in his ears -if he concentrated hard at that moment, he would say the song playing was Blackheart from Two Steps from Hell- and his eyes darted back and forth from his palette, to the picture, to the canvas.

He was rudely interrupted and violently taken out of the zone by a hand tapping his shoulder.

Murderous intent flashed in his eyes as he yanked his headphones off his ears and sent a deadly glare to whoever had broken his concentration.

It turns out it was Leah, and Sebastian immediately felt guilty.

From his five foot eleven inches, her four foot ten frame seemed small and easy to break, but she was made even smaller by the intimidating aura that had emerged from Sebastian. She cowered before him. At this, the raven softened his hard expression.

Had it been Charlie, Vanessa or Alex, his stance would have stayed the same. But this was Leah; Leah was small, sweet and innocent looking (despite her being the same age he was). She had not an ounce of malice in her. This was what made Sebastian feel bad. She had probably not known about his "zoning," and thus, could not have foreseen his less than jovial mood at being taken out of his trance.

"Um, Sebastian, I’m sorry if I-" she started.

"It’s fine, don’t worry about it" Sebastian calmed her.

Leah nodded. It was then that the man noticed that she carried a clipboard with her.

"I guess you came to see if I’m advancing" the raven guessed as he turned his canvas away from the girl’s eyes.

The blonde girl didn’t try to follow the painting, knowing it would probably not make him too happy. "Yeah. Actually…" she hesitated.

"What?" the man asked with a raised brow.

"Well, Charlie, Vanessa and Alex didn’t really want to come see you, even if they’re supposed to…"

This actually didn’t surprise Sebastian. With what happened last time they came to take note on how he was doing, he had made it quite clear that they had no business snooping around his studio. It was essential for his installation to remain secret, if he wanted it to have the desired effect on the public.

Compared to the other three, Sebastian didn’t mind having Leah keep tabs on him. She was much less, what was the right term, "bossy" about it.

"It’s fine" Sebastian said. "What do you need to note?"

Leah pulled on one of her sweater’s sleeve and slid it up her arm to be able to write. "Um, since you don’t really want to say much about it…" she ventured, a tint of pink staining her cheeks, "maybe just say what percentage of the work is done?"

The taller of the two nodded. "About thirty percent is done. By the end of this week, maybe forty percent."

Leah noted this on the clipboard. "Thanks" she said cheerfully.

Sebastian thought that she would leave now, as she had turned on her heel towards the door, but she stopped herself halfway.

His brow furrowed. What was the matter with her?

"C-can I ask you something?" the girl stammered nervously, her face resolutely turned away from him.

Sebastian sat down on a stool for a moment. "Yes?"

She cleared her throat, obviously anxious. "I…I was wondering if-f um…"

With the way Leah was speaking -or rather, having trouble to- Sebastian had a feeling he knew where this was going.

"D-do you have a…" she caught herself before the word could fly off her tongue, but then it just blurted out of its own accord. "Girlfriend?"

Sebastian let his eyes widen at this sudden question. Whether he had anticipated this or not, it was still a bit of a shock to hear it actually said. She turned his way when he started chuckling a bit.

"No, I don’t" he said.

There was a light in Leah’s eyes that Sebastian was sad he would have to turn off. "R-really? Then-"

"I have a boyfriend."

"You- oh?" Leah’s words came to a sudden stop, and yes, her eyes seemed to darken as they looked at the ground in disappointment.

Sebastian stood up from his stool. "Yeah. Sorry. Besides, I’m not your type" he said with a smile.

Leah looked up at him with a questioning glance. "What do you mean?"

Sebastian just gave her a secretive smile. "You’ll find out at the showing."

Despite the disappointment of rejection, Leah still smiled. The sweet girl then nodded before leaving. Sebastian felt a bit guilty for having destroyed her hopes like that. But it was a fact; he was not her type.

With a sigh, he put his headphones back on his head and went back into his trance of deep concentration.

XXXXX

"Thank you for contributing to my piece" Sebastian said as he talked on the phone with someone who had seen his ads. "Would Wednesday be alright to come to my studio? There’ll be other people too." He waited a bit as the person on the other end of the line responded. "Alright, my studio is in the university…Ah, here I have the address!"

The raven gave the necessary details for the man at the other end of the line. When the exchange was over, they hung up.

Not but a minute later, someone knocked at his studio door. With a raised brow, Sebastian went to open the door. He had opened it a crack when he froze at who was there.

"Hi Sebastian. Thought I’d come by to see you" Jasper said in a jovial manner.

Jasper tried pushing the door open but Sebastian held it firmly in place.

"O-oh, is that so?" he stammered nervously. He couldn’t let Jasper in yet!

"Well? Can’t I come in?" he asked with a smile.

"Yeah, sure, in a minute!" Sebastian didn’t leave Jasper any time to think about it and slammed the door shut, firmly locking it in place. He couldn’t see Jasper’s face, but he was sure the barber had his mouth open in surprise.

With as much rapidity as he could muster, he stored his canvases in the back of the room and covered them with sheets. His drawings were hidden, his materials were stored, everything that had to do with his installation was hidden away.

When he finally opened the door again for his lover, the albino man had his arms crossed and had one brow raised askance. Sebastian tried to laugh his agitation off as the man entered his studio.

"Hiding things, Sebastian?" he asked teasingly, his tongue elongating the vowels of his name.

"Shut up" the raven quipped, a pale blush on his face.

Jasper had his hands in his pockets. With a steady stride, he walked around the studio, his red eyes scanning the covered canvases. Now, he was smart, he could say that, and he just KNEW that whatever was behind those sheets had to have something to do with the masterpiece his lover was making. However, he wasn’t mean enough, nor brave enough, to uncover them. Sebastian would never forgive him.

Sebastian was tense. Jasper had a smile on his face and that was disconcerting. He had a feeling the man would lift the linens away at any moment and his paintings would lay bare for all to see. ‘Please let Jasper have more class than that’ he begged whoever may be listening to him, be it a god or otherwise.

But the barber didn’t uncover the canvases, and for that Sebastian was grateful. Instead, he simply walked around, looking as amused as one could be. Eventually, he sat on one the chairs in the studio, and he looked at the smaller man.

"Can I get a hint?" Jasper asked, the cooing in his voice only making Sebastian more flustered.

Still, he stayed immovable. "Nope."

The barber laughed, and as he was wiping hysterical tears from his eyes, he conceded defeat. "Fine, fine. How about we get out of here so I can actually hang out with you properly?"

Sebastian smiled. "Sure. But only for lunch. I still have work to do."

With that, the couple left. The wave of anxiety had passed.

XXXXX

Grey eyes scanned the studio full of people. Seventeen people had seen his ad and had accepted to help. About eleven more had called him the day before. Sebastian was grateful; he would have enough samples.

He cleared his throat to get the guests attention. "Thank you for your help. I appreciate it." Not knowing what else he could say, as he had already explained why he was doing this, he got straight to the point. "Well, I don’t want to keep you here all day, so I’ll take the first volunteer."

A man presented himself before him. As they had been told, he sat down on a stool and waited for Sebastian to be finished with him. Then the next person came forward, and so on, for what seemed like forever.

Seventeen samples. Three of which could easily be split into two, which would make twenty samples. Plus the eleven more that were coming, which would count up to thirty one…

Yes. This would be good.

XXXXX

Another week passed, another canvas was finished.

Three to go, with one month and three weeks to spare. If he continued as he was doing, he would have a month to do the assembling. As long as Nicolas was still up to helping him, it would take twice as less time than he had originally planned.

Sebastian was so excited his hands were nearly shaking.

No. No shaking was allowed. He needed to be precise. Hyper-realism relied on precision, and a little shakiness could ruin everything.

Yes that’s right. Smooth it out. Smooth.

He had to stop connecting that word to Jasper, or it would be the end of him. All he wanted right now was his barber taking a clipper to his mane. ‘Not yet’ he told himself vehemently.

XXXXX

Sebastian cracked his back as he was taking his shower. His spine felt so much better now.

He mentally checked off everything that had been done that week. About fifty percent of everything was done. By next week it would be sixty.

Plus, his shipment of materials was due to arrive tomorrow at the drop off. He would need Nicolas’ van again to get everything, and his friend had been nice enough to agree on helping him unload.

Over the stream of the shower jet, the raven heard the door to the apartment opening. Looks like Jasper was home.

It didn’t take more than ten minutes for the man to enter the shower with him. Sebastian’s back was to the barber’s front. Arms wrapped around his waist, snuggly resting at his midriff. Jasper then rested his head of white hair on his shoulder, his cheek slightly itching him as the hairs of his beard dragged on his skin.

An exhale came from the barber. Sebastian lifted one brow, eyes closed under the spray of water. "Tired?" he asked, truly concerned for his wellbeing.

There was pensive hum from the other man. "I had a father bring his teenager in."

"And?"

His head shifted. "The guy was pissed after his son for some reason or another. He never actually said why he was mad. The kid was just balling."

"Did you do anything?" the raven questioned, lifting a hand to move his sopped hair out of his eyes.

The man behind him scoffed, a bitter sound of resentment. "Of course I did."

"What?"

"I sent the father out and took the kid to the back room. He told me he had punched a student at his school for harassing him and his father had been called by the principal. He hadn’t been too happy, obviously. So he had wanted me to give him a SHORT short back and sides as punishment." He paused.

Sebastian moved his head to the side to lean it against Jasper’s. "So what did you tell him?"

"I told him he did the right thing." Jasper didn’t need to open his eyes to know Sebastian was giving him a scowl. "You should know Sebastian; if you don’t say anything, the bullies just keep coming. You fight back and they get scared of you."

Sebastian softened his expression. Alright, Jasper did have a point there. After all, he himself had been bullied as a kid. "Then what happened?"

"The kid asked me to give him the cut anyway. I did, but I left it pretty long. His father had been okay with it. Then they left."

Sebastian could hear the tiredness in the barber’s voice as he told this tale, and knew without looking that the man needed to rest. Encounters like this always drained him. Perhaps it was because of his own memory of his first time in a barbershop. He supposed it was safe to assume he simply felt the need to help others in similar situations.

His mind associated this with his project, and how his personality was in resonance with what he was doing. It was just one more thing to add to the piece’s description.

XXXXX

"Careful!" Sebastian cried out as Nicolas and Scarlet nearly dropped what they had in their arms.

"Sorry! This thing is heavy" the blonde apologized, emphasizing what he had just said by groaning with effort.

As predicted, the raven’s shipment of supplies had arrived, and the quantity was staggering. Perhaps he should have controlled himself when buying those candles…Oh but it had been too tempting to buy loads of them. He couldn’t just be satisfied with one! The amount of stuff lent to him by different companies also made his eyes bulge in wonderment; so long as everything was kept new, he had no need to pay…apart from the safety deposit, but no matter. They had to bring everything to his studio.

It took about thirty minutes just to get all the boxes in the van. When they were done, there was barely any room left for them. Still, they managed.

"I think we have less props than this in our interpretation!" Nicolas joked. "What are you even doing with all this stuff?"

Sebastian grinned as he adjusted his seatbelt. "You’ll see."

Scarlet and Nicolas rolled their eyes. This was the usual response they would get when asking for details. Since they were going to help him, they guessed all would be explained in due time.

Once at the university, Sebastian made them park near the loading elevator. Usually students couldn’t use it, but he had asked the staff in advance for permission. One staff member was waiting for them as they arrived, and he even helped them unload everything.

As soon as everything had been brought to the studio, the three friends slumped in the chairs there. Scarlet wiped her brow, pushing one copper curl aside. She threw a glance at her raven friend.

"You’re insane" she panted. "There’s so much stuff. I’m dying here!"

Nicolas laughed at her state. "Hey, you agreed to help him, and you know how much Sebastian likes making things complicated."

Sebastian’s brow twitched in annoyance. "I do NOT make things complicated" he clipped.

The red headed woman cleared her throat, lifting her index for attention. "May I remind you of the last half of our senior year?"

Sebastian blushed. "You-"

"If I recall, a certain someone couldn’t bring himself to even LOOK at his present boyfriend because he was a barber. And you just LOVED barbers didn’t you?"

Nicolas aided her in her tale. "You just couldn’t go and talk with him. You had to wait FOUR months to go in the shop." He leaned his arms back against his chair, a grin on his face.

"Shut up, both of you."

The two laughed for a few minutes, taking in the pout and reddened face their friend was sporting.

"Come on!" the blonde grabbed his friend’s head and rubbed his fist over the black hair. "You know we’re just joking!"

Despite the unwanted ‘noogie’, Sebastian had to smile. He admitted; his sixteen year old fantasy had been quite the complicated thing, but it had been worth it in the end.

Just like his masterpiece would be.

Without further ado, the three adults unpacked, opened and inspected the bought items. The raven realized that at this point, Jasper could not, under any circumstances, enter his studio unannounced. There were just too many things to hide from view.

"Sebastian, I think you should open this one" Scarlet called.

The man approached the large box with curiosity. After inspecting the tag, he smirked. Of course Scarlet would leave him the honor of opening this package. It was his pride and joy after all.

Nicolas and the girl watched with amusement, and mild caution (let’s face it, Sebastian looked a little bit like a mad scientist right now) as the other took out the item. Or more like items, plural. They would have to put it together.

"It’s not up yet…" Sebastian trailed off, eyeing the pieces in his hands. "But it’s going to be perfect."

They continued working well into the afternoon, at which point Sebastian offered to go eat somewhere. They did, stopping to get some fast food, since none of them really wanted anything fancy.
"Ugh, my hair’s getting to be a pain" Nicolas groaned at some point, flipping his head aside to move the golden locks out of his eyes.

True, the man never let his hair grow too long. It had always been pretty short, a bit on the shaggy side, but the look worked well for him. Now it was laying on his head, longer than he usually grew it out.

"While you’re dropping me off to Jasper’s shop, just let him give you a cut" was what Sebastian suggested at his complaint.

Nicolas seemed to recoil at the idea, as he quickly said, "Oh no, it’s fine! Besides, I know what you guys are into, so that’s a definite no no!" He narrowed his blue eyes while pointing accusingly at his friend.

Scarlet scoffed, swallowing the last of her sub down. "Hey, Jasper’s only interest right now is what’s on Sebastian head…and what’s in his pants." Sebastian had no comment to offer. "Besides, you’re a turn off for anyone" she added cheekily.

"Very funny carrot head!" Nicolas countered.

Sebastian didn’t need to see Scarlet to know she was probably red with anger right now. "Say that again, I dare you!"

A few minutes later they were back in the van with Nicolas at the wheel. The other man turned to him. "My offer still stands. And besides, Jasper doesn’t get turned on while working, unless it’s…never mind. He won’t do anything to you. He’s a barber, and he does his job."

The blond sighed. "Alright, fine. I’ll let him cut my hair. But if he does anything-"

"Which he won’t" Sebastian interjected.

"Whatever. You get my point."

They arrived at the barbershop, found a parking space and entered. Even Scarlet went in to wait after them since Nicolas had been the one to pick her up.

Kent was the first to greet them from his place by his chair "which was currently occupied by an older client. "Hi Sebastian."

"Hi" the raven replied.

At hearing the sound of his lover’s voice, Jasper turned around from his chair to see the three adults. "You brought friends I see" the man commented.

"Yeah. Could you fit Nicolas in for a haircut?" Sebastian asked with a smile.

"Sure. Take a seat, I won’t be long." With that, he returned to working on his current client.

The three took their places in the waiting area. There was another man in his early sixties waiting for his turn, so they would probably have to wait a bit longer than expected.

While they were seated, it dawned on Sebastian that Nicolas had likely never been in a barbershop in quite some time.

"When was the last time you had your hair cut in a place like this?" Scarlet asked, thinking the same thing as the raven.

The blue eyed man scratched his chin thoughtfully, before answering, "I think the last time my dad had brought me to a barbershop had been, what, when I was eight? It’s been a while."

Sebastian watched him. "Are you nervous at all? Or is it just because it’s Jasper?"

He pulled a face at his friend, but sighed in defeat. "Yeah, I guess I am a little nervous, but nothing I can’t deal with. I’m not a kid."

"I beg to differ" their female friend muttered sarcastically. A blue glare was thrown her way while Sebastian refrained from laughing.

Kent finished with his client and had him pay. The older gent in the waiting area moved to the barber chair and Kent went to serve him. The cape was billowed out and tied shut. They moved on to the cut. While this was happening, Jasper chatted with the man in his own chair, every bit the charming gentleman.

Sebastian smirked to himself. His sixteen year old self really had no chance against such a charismatic man. How could he resist that dastardly smile, those smoldering red eyes, as hot as coals, or the high saturation contrast between those same crimson depths with the pure whiteness of the thick lashes surrounding them?

He had to admit, this man was a well deserved rest for any artist’s eyes. He was like one long drink of water to parched man -or woman- and had a personality to match. If he could permit himself to take the words of the girls in his high school class, Jasper was "boyfriend material." And the raven, with as much enjoyment as possible, had snatched the man as his. Or rather, their meetings had pushed them to yearn for each other with such intensity that being apart just wouldn’t do any longer.

Sebastian felt like his art classes had rubbed off on him a bit too much. Oh well…

After a while, in which the dark eyed man had let his mind wander, Jasper uncapped the man in his chair. Before making the guy pay, the albino barber met Nicolas’s eye and pointed to the chair.

"Take a seat, I’ll just be a minute" he demanded with a gentle sort of authority that only came from working as a barber.

Nicolas raised a brow while looking at Sebastian. It was subtle way of asking "what’s with him?" His friend simply shrugged his shoulders apologetically, his own way of answering "It’s just the way he is."

The blonde man made his way to the imposing chair with a barely perceivable wobble in his legs. Sebastian didn’t blame him for feeling even the tiniest bit stressed over getting his hair cut by the likes of Jasper. While the man was a nice person, there was no doubt that under his mercy in the shop, anyone would be shaking in their boots.

And so he watched, his grey eyes taking in every little detail that would unfold. Jasper came back to Nicolas and smiled at him in the mirror.

"In all the years Sebastian and I have been together, you’ve never been in my chair. I’m honored" he teased with a shake of the other man’s shoulder.

The blonde gave a smile of his own, though his was slightly more forced. "Yeah. Sorry about that…" he scratched the back of his head.

Jasper grabbed and unfolded a cape, shaking it out before bringing it to Nicolas’ neck.

"Well, we should make up for lost time, don’t you think?"

"Sure" was the uncertain reply from the man under the cape.

From where he sat, Sebastian tried not to laugh as Jasper tightened the cape around his friend’s neck, this last one nearly choking out a sound from the back of his throat. Now, time to ask the real questions: how much hair would Nicolas leave the chair with?




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