Title: (Dressed Up In Summer) And Tied With a Bow
Author:mybriefeternity (aka aspiringtoeloquence)
Word Count: ~6790
Spoilers: Through S3 to be safe, although it's wholly AU as of S2.
Summary: Sometimes, it’s the possibility of it that Blaine loves.
Author’s Notes: Written for the kbl_reversebang, for rocketssurgery ’s stunning art, which you can find here. I aimed for something young and summery to go with it, and am eternally grateful to Gladys, who helped me shape the basic premise of this, and let me take liberties with her original concept. I couldn’t have asked for a better collaborator. Thanks to whenidance, wordplay and hedgerose for letting me metaphorically flap my arms at them in the early stages, and for their solidarity and encouragement. a_glass_parade is responsible for making sure the whole thing made sense, reassuring me generally, and correcting what I’m certain were numerous grammatical errors. She is also responsible for pointing me towards the beautiful song from which the title is taken. It set exactly the tone I was looking for, and I can’t thank her enough (the song is linked below).
Also, this is an AU in which Kurt and Blaine never met in high school, but it was also mostly written before the finale, so you can expect a lack of deference to any end of season plot twists.
“It's a beautiful morning
Dressed up in summer and tied with a bow
Let's be courageous and face tiny dangers
Let's climb those fences
With signs that say don't”
- Simple Things by Amy Kuney
Sometimes, it's the freedom, the possibility of it - life, summer, everything - that Blaine loves.
He does well with schedules, with lists - part of him will always be a Dalton boy, and he likes a routine. But he finds beauty in freedom, in sometimes having nowhere to be except wherever he ends up. Sleeping in, staying up late.
Sometimes, he loves the lethargy that Summer can bring. Especially this summer.
It took him weeks to convince his parents that he should stay in the city after his internship ended, rather than go back to Ohio until the lease on the apartment starts, but the two weeks in May had been more than enough, especially with most of his friends still away at school.
He packs up his guitar case, makes sure to slip an extra pick in there this time, running his hands along the edges in movements so habitual he doesn't even notice them. He glances in the mirror - the sudden and sporadic humidity isn't helping his hair, but there's really not much he can do about that, so he lets it curl around his ears; lets the curls fall where they may.
Maybe the button down shirt is too much. He's taking a sweater, because it might get cool by the water when the sun starts to set, if he stays that long, but he doesn't want to look like he thought too hard about what to wear. That would be so much worse than -
"Wes?" he calls, straightening the collar of his white shirt nervously. "Wes, you out there?"
He hears a muffled grunt of acknowledgement from the direction of the couch, where he finds Wes surrounded by textbooks.
"Um. Do you have a minute?” There's silence, which Blaine takes as permission to continue. "What do you think of this shirt?"
"It doesn't make sense, Blaine," Wes replies, brandishing a pencil at him for a moment, then returning to his notebook. "It's completely arbitrary and the tort-"
"I feel like I should remind you again that I have no idea what that means. Still." It's a lie, because after hearing about them for over a year he'd finally looked the word tort up on wikipedia, but he isn't going to enable Wes' mania anymore than he can help. "And also that you don't start school for another month. After you move."
This tactic is successful in that it gets Wes to look up and glance forlornly around the room at the piles of boxes, the picture of desperation. "The movers will be coming."
"In three weeks, yes."
His mouth tightens in a way that Blaine remembers noticing in his first council meeting, when Jeff had suggested a Soulja Boy and BeeGees mashup. "There's so much to do."
"Well, when you defected to Columbia for law school you knew this would happen. Look on the bright side… at least when you live in New Jersey you'll have the place all to yourself!"
"I'll have to commute to the Upper West Side every day," he complains, not for the first time.
"Well, so will everyone else. No one who's a student actually lives on the Upper West Side, I don't think. Except in Gossip Girl. It isn't that much further."
The book flips shut. "Your optimism is aggravating."
"Aw, now, I know that's just the torts talking. You know that you don't have to read all of those before school starts. That's what school is for."
Wes shifts in his seat with determination. "The more I'm ahead, the less stressed I'll be."
Blaine clears the empty coffee cup sitting on the desk, mostly because the loneliness of it depresses him. "We're going out tonight, after you get off work," he informs Wes. "It is my sworn duty as the friend crashing on your couch to make sure you actually go outside. You know, to interact with people."
"Remind me why you're staying with me again?"
"Because you are a kind, generous soul, Wesley Montgomery."
Wes hums doubtfully.
"…and because I make really good waffles."
Wes makes a sort of half snort of acknowledgement, notices the button down shirt and gives a knowing lift of the eyebrows. "Going somewhere?"
"I just thought I'd -"
"Go play for your mystery guy."
"I'm not -"
"Yeah, yeah. The outfit's fine. He won't be able to resist your dapper and gentlemanly bohemian charm." Wes waves his hand, eyebrows furrowed again. "See you later, lover boy."
Blaine picks his guitar up from the sofa as he moves towards the door. "There is no mystery boy," he insists. "I'm just trying to -"
"Keep up with practicing, yeah, you've said. Tell him I say hi!"
Blaine purposely does not say anything along the lines of of course I don't talk to him, have you actually met me? because that would lend credit to Wes' theory, which is ridiculous. And he really can't handle Wes being more smug than normal.
He grabs his guitar case, keys, phone, and wallet, and yells a goodbye to Wes, who has re-immersed himself in a book on contract law. And then he's out in the sun, bouncing the seven blocks to the water, anticipation thrumming through his veins.
He can't get into the new apartment until the beginning of August. It's "two bedroom" in name only - both could easily be mistaken for closets - but it's less than three blocks from the subway, and only about eight blocks from school, so the location is seriously perfect... even if his parents will continue to complain as often as they can that they're paying the earth. His soon-to-be roommate, an economics major from his floor last year who seems like he'll be fine to live with, is back home with his family until right before school starts, and so Blaine had found himself a little at sea. After his internship was over, and with it the provided housing, he'd stayed on a couple of school friends' couches for a few days (he was a popular guest, because he could be counted on to make brunch on a regular basis). Then he and Wes had coffee, and Wes pointed out that his couch was free, the apartment was blissfully quiet since his roommate left in June to go to Europe and "find himself" (with a deadline for that, presumably, as he starts medical school in the fall), and it was actually pretty stupid that Blaine was couch hopping all over Manhattan when there was a comfortable one in Brooklyn he'd be able to stay on for as long as he needed.
As long, the former council chairman had added seriously, the foam from his latte giving him a slight mustache, as Blaine respected the absolute need for coasters and a low noise level when Wes was doing his preparatory reading. Blaine had smiled and vowed he would. He didn’t mention the foam, though. It suited him.
He's been spending a lot of time near the water in the few weeks he's been in Brooklyn. The first day he'd wanted to go exploring, leaving Wes to his Discovery Channel marathon (he'd already watched the series on Sharks, and when Wes was feeling morose, it was best to leave him be for a little while) with the intention of finding the Park. He'd gotten a little lost, distracted by people-watching, not really paying attention to the directions, and he’d ended up a few blocks south of it, at the river, at least, near a bus stop with his guitar.
He'd sat for a few minutes in front of the plexiglass-covered bulletin board, playing as the commuters boarded or waited for their buses, taking requests and enjoying the simple pleasure of a willing audience. (Well, except that one woman who had kept scowling at him. But she had gotten on her bus fairly quickly.)
He'd come back late the next morning, a restless impulse he couldn’t ignore.
And then there was him.
Blaine will maintain until his death to Wes - and anyone else who will listen - that the reason he goes to play by the water so often is that he enjoys people watching ("Of course," Jeff says, "it's the Williamsburg hipsters. Look into your future, Blaine"). And that's true. He does. But there is also a face he looks for, hopes to see on the three days a week it seems to regularly appear, ever since that second day, when he had looked up as a group of passengers stepped off the bus, and a bright laugh had caught his ear. And eye.
He didn't even really see him that day, not for more than a couple of seconds, and he'd almost written the whole thing off, the flash of smile that had caught his eye, as something he must have exaggerated, wishful thinking. He'd had to leave soon after, to meet some friends, and it had stayed at the back of his mind.
And then, two days later, the next time he'd gone back, he'd been playing (- you brought me to life now every February you'll be my Valentine -), when he'd looked up, met curious blue eyes, and...
Well, that was pretty much it, because it’s not like he was suddenly the kind of guy who knew what to do in a situation like that, except keep playing, and try to find a balance between casual glancing and concentration that didn’t make him seem creepy.
Monday, Thursday, and Saturday. These, he had worked out since that day, are the days when Beautiful Blue-eyed Vision of Perfection (not that he would ever call him that out loud) gets off the bus in the early afternoon - usually around 1:30 - and walks past where Blaine sits. Occasionally Blaine’s gone by the time he (presumably) returns, but most often he’ll be back by around 3. Blaine’s kind of worried that knowing that may make him some kind of stalker, but it’s not like he’s following the guy home, or anything. He just hopes to keep catching glimpses, is all. See him - on the days where he doesn’t seem to be in a rush - pause to listen to whatever Blaine’s playing, nod along with the music until he drifts off, or is dragged away by the chatty brunette that sometimes accompanies him (girlfriend? You never know...).
Sometimes, when he’s having that conversation with his parents on the phone again ( why aren’t you being more practical, Blaine, this music is all very well and good, but it isn’t something with a future, is it? ), it’s the memory of that, the appreciation of a listener, the confirmation that someone is hearing him, being moved by the music, that keeps him going. It anchors him, reminds him that this is something he’s good at, something that he feels worthwhile doing, even if it might be impractical or idealistic to pursue it. Some days, that’s what keeps him going.
It’s the memory of applause, sometimes, yes. But more than that, it’s usually the memory of a smile.
The best days are the ones when he smiles.
And then there’s the poster.
A couple of weeks after Blaine’s first foray into Brooklyn busking, there’s an addition to the bulletin board at the bus stop. Next to the painted over graffiti, garage sale flyers and invitations to various group meetings is a large, glossy poster, set apart by its quality, eye-catching. Special.
It’s of him, actually. Advertising a new musical being put on for a limited number of nights somewhere in the East Village, and he can’t help but be impressed by the quality. And the photograph.
He has no idea what the show’s about (when he finally gives in and Googles the synopsis just says, “A story of uniqueness, and discovering what it means to be you in a world where unicorns aren't supposed to exist,” but what does he expect from a musical called I Am Unicorn anyway), but it’s taking place in a converted store not all that far from where Blaine will be living - he knows he’s walked past there a few times, seen the makeshift marquee, although he doesn’t recall ever seeing anything like this - and not only because the James Bond pose, eyes seeming to pierce through the camera’s lens even though the black and white obscures the shade, seems to have quickly etched itself in his memory.
He’s tempted to go - just buy a ticket and watch this boy perform, if for no other reason than he seems so utterly intriguing. It’s important to support the arts, right?
But then he thinks no, that would be weird.
And so, every time, he determinedly closes the tab.
And then today, the boy doesn’t come by.
He plays for a half-hour longer than usual, in the hope that maybe he’s just running late, missed his bus (what if he’s late for work? What if he quit his job? He moved to Europe. What if he’s, like, a really mature looking fourteen year old, oh god-), but eventually he’s thirsty, tired, and should probably pick up some groceries on the way back to Wes’ apartment to pry him off the couch. He knows it isn’t the end of the world - he’s probably fine, and even if he doesn’t come by anymore, it’s not like this complete stranger owes him or anything - but he feels a little deflated at the thought that he has so few days left, days when he could actually theoretically talk to him (yeah, right), this boy who feels so important, so special.
He goes to the nearest coffee shop - a trendy new hipster paradise where the coffee isn’t nearly as good as the older cafe near his new apartment - and uses the few dollars he just collected to treat himself to a chocolate croissant with his medium drip. He’ll only live once, after all, and he has a private theory that this particular store must import their pastries directly from some heaven-based bakery, because no food should taste that good.
He can’t even wait to get out of the store, coffee and croissant balanced in one hand as he takes a bite, guitar case slung over his shoulder, a grateful nod to the resentful looking man in a suit who holds the door for him, and if he closes his eyes and moans a little as the buttery chocolate hits his tongue, well, who can blame -
His body collides with what proves to be a very solid, very human being outside on the sidewalk, and he opens his eyes, ready to try and drum up the expected New York combination of apology and entitlement (he has always had trouble with cultivating an edge of native disdain, he’s been told), when he manages to balance everything he’s holding and looks up and - oh.
“Excuse me,” says the person Blaine just ran into. Who also happens to be the person Blaine was only minutes ago melodramatically convincing himself that he’d never see again. He’s smiling a little wryly, softly, pulling the strap of his shoulder bag back into place, looks like maybe his hand wants to fly up to check his hair (it’s perfect, Blaine wants to say, you look perfect).
He means to apologize, he really does. After all, if his coffee had been a little fuller he might have ruined their outfits, or even burned him. But instead what comes out is what he’s been wanting to say for weeks, which is, “My name’s Blaine.”
His lips twitch slightly in response, and his eyes (they’re blue, so blue, and that’s another on the list of things that Blaine’s been dying to find out for sure; he’d never been close enough for long enough to really see) widen a little. “Kurt.”
“I’m sorry, I just meant - I’ve seen you around. I - I sometimes play by the water - my guitar - and I think I’ve seen you. You might not remember -”
“No,” he - Kurt - says quickly. “I do. Of course I remember. I really - I always enjoy listening to you.” He closes his eyes briefly. “What I mean is yes. And it’s fine, really. No harm done.” He smiles. “I must have gotten distracted -” he waves a hand arm towards the cafe window -at the prospect of caffeine.”
“I wasn’t paying attention. It’s my fault.” He takes a deep breath, because this feels like it’s an important conversation to do well. “I really like your poster, by the way. For the show, at the bus stop.”
Kurt blushes. “Oh, you saw that?”
“It’s striking. It looks really interesting... and professional. I didn’t know that theatre did musical workshops, or that kind of thing.”
“They usually don’t,” Kurt nods, shifting his weight to his other leg. “But it was part of the internship I’m doing for the summer, through school. I’d written a lot of the lyrics and the story, and I -”
Blaine blinks. “You wrote a musical?”
“It was partly for school. NYADA” he adds, like that makes it less impressive. “I sort of adopted it as my senior project, it’s actually an idea I’ve been-” He pauses, looks down briefly, laughs. “I’m sorry, you didn’t ask for my life story.”
Blaine has to actively stop himself from saying that actually, he wouldn’t mind. “I’ve heard really great things about NYADA.” He waves a hand vaguely. “I’m at NYU. And you wrote...wow. I mean...I’d really love to see it.”
Kurt laughs dismissively. “Well, the second workshop performance is on Friday. You have one more chance.” He tilts his head and lowers his voice conspiratorially. “There’s even a five dollar discount for anyone who uses the promo code ‘unicorn’.”
“Inside information? For me?” Blaine grins. “I’ll have to check it out.”
Kurt’s hand runs along the strap of his bag. “I’d love to see you there.”
It takes a moment for Blaine to realize that they’ve both fallen silent. “I suppose I should let you get to your coffee.”
A corner of his mouth tilts up. “Actually, I’m forgoing it today, but I appreciate your concern. I’m running a little late.” He steps to the left, wiggles his fingers a little in an adorable half wave. “It was nice running into you, Blaine.” Another tilt of the head. “Literally.”
Blaine knows his smile is immediate. “You too. I’ll see you...”
Kurt looks a little doubtful, but his smile doesn’t waver. “Bye.”
“Yeah, bye, Kurt.” He lets himself enjoy the name, feel the ‘t’ in his teeth. He has already turned to go, gotten one last look at the back of Kurt’s head, when he hears one last call - his name.
“Oh, and Blaine!” He turns. “I’m glad you play Teenage Dream. It’s one of my favorites.”
His smile sticks for the rest of the day, and every time he thinks of Kurt’s eyes, the sound of Kurt’s voice saying his name, it brightens all over again.
He goes to the show on Friday - of course he does, Kurt invited him. Wes refuses to offer help on wardrobe choices after the fifth combination, but Blaine reasons that Wes owns about ten of the same color polo shirt, so his opinion is of limited value anyway. He’s running late by the time he gets there, but makes it to the box office five minutes before curtain, and is settling into his seat just as the lights dim.
It isn’t a perfect show. Some of the group numbers are arranged oddly, and the latter half of the first act drags. The actor playing the teacher is affecting a distracting accent, as well as playing the role in a way Blaine finds a little creepy, and there are a couple of awkward scenes besides.
But Kurt - Kurt is extraordinary. His first solo is startling, center stage with lights dimmed around him, and it takes about a second for Blaine to realize that yes, that is him singing, and god, would be nice to hear it forever.
He spends the rest of the show clutching his cheap, photocopied program, slightly spellbound and wondering in the back of his mind if he’ll have the courage to have it autographed by the star.
“-probably didn’t even come, I wish you’d learn to let -”
“-don’t know that-”
“-last time, I don’t know why you’re so fixated on-”
“-was all you could talk about for the last few-”
“-not willing to put up with your crazy tonight, Rachel Berry, of all nights, so you can just -”
“Um, Kurt?” It had taken a few minutes to work his way through the lobby and work up the courage to say hello, but he was there now, encroaching on the conversation that Kurt seemed to be having with a member of the cast. Who, now that he was seeing her up close, looked sort of familiar.
Kurt turns, and his eyes widen. “Blaine! You came! Hi.”
He’s about to say something - of course I did, you invited me - but the girl claps her hands together. “Oh, so you’re the famous Blaine!”
When Kurt blushes deeply, Blaine learns, he turns pink even through the stage make up. “Blaine,” he says flatly, “meet Rachel Berry, my soon-to-be-late roommate. Rachel, meet Blaine...” he trails off.
“Anderson,” he supplies, and Rachel beams.
“Rachel,” Kurt hisses after a moment, “don’t you have to go greet your fans?”
“I really enjoyed the show,” Blaine offers, ignoring the appraising look he’s being bathed in. “Really, it was spectacular.”
Kurt’s frown evaporates. “Thank you so much. It’s good to have an audience, be able to see what needs work-”
“Blaine, what are you doing right now?”
“Because Kurt was saying earlier that he was hungry, so we were going to go get a bite, you know, but upon further reflection I think it might be best if I rest my voice.” She leans forward conspiratorially. “I have a very important audition next week, you know.”
“Rachel,” Kurt hisses again.
“Congratulations,” Blaine offers.
“The two of you should go get some something -”
“And Kurt tells me you’re a talented performer, Blaine, we really should talk-”
It’s at that point someone else from the cast grabs Rachel and drags her bodily across the tiny lobby, and Kurt offers whoever they are a grateful smile, biting his lip as he turns back to Blaine.
“I’m sorry about her, she doesn’t really know the meaning of the word tact.”
“So... would you like to get a cup of coffee, or something?” And yeah, he actually said that out loud.
He sees Kurt take a quick breath. “I’d really love that. If you’re sure it wouldn’t make getting back to Brooklyn too difficult...”
“Actually, I’m staying with someone here tonight.” Kurt’s eyebrows furrow a little. “What I mean is, I’m staying on a friend’s couch in the village, so I don’t have that far to go.”
Kurt rocks back a little on his heels, and it’s utterly charming. “Great. There’s a diner a few blocks over, if that works? The coffee’s mediocre, but it’s open, and it’s cheap-”
“Sounds perfect.” He sticks his hands in his pockets. “So, I guess you have to...”
“Change, yeah, I’ll be just a few - the cast will be meeting tomorrow for a post mortem, I need to remind them-”
“I’ll just... wait here.”
“Great.” Kurt turns towards the door briefly. “Oh, and Blaine... I’m really glad you decided to come.”
Blaine leans back against the lobby wall, not even caring that he’s sure his grin is ridiculous. “Believe me, me too.”
The coffee is terrible, but conversation flows, and they work their way through a large plate of french fries. Kurt is slightly horrified when Blaine dips his in a milkshake, but quickly sees the light. They talk about the show - Kurt confesses, through a mouthful of chocolate milkshake, that he spent his coffee budget for a few months on getting the posters printed up (“-you should have seen the shoddy flyers they were going to use, honestly-”), and Blaine explains why he’s been spending his summer busking in Brooklyn - well, the version where he hasn’t been entirely crushing on Kurt, anyway.
They discover they’re both from Ohio, and Kurt talks about his family, who came to the show’s first workshop last weekend, because his Dad has to be in D.C., and high school, not dwelling on things he says were difficult, but not avoiding them either. Blaine skirts around the subject of his family for a few minutes before he quietly confesses that the problem isn’t that he isn’t loved, it’s just that he isn’t really understood, and then he’s sort of appalled at the fact that not only did he voice such a cliched thought, but he did it in his first real conversation with this amazing guy who he barely knows (but wants to). But they keep talking, long after the fries are gone and the waitress has begun side-eyeing them, sharing little pieces of themselves, laughing and whispering until the sun is far closer to rising than setting, and they’re each trying to stifle yawns into their arms.
They exchange phone numbers before they part ways (“In case we find any more 24 hour diners to haunt, or something,” Kurt smiles nervously, and Blaine isn’t sure how he responds because he’s trying to concentrate on not screaming about the fact that he is getting Kurt’s phone number), and hug a little awkwardly on the sidewalk when they realize they’re going opposite directions.
By the time he’s at his friend’s apartment he has one text.
Thank you so much for coming tonight, and for the talk. It meant a lot. -Kurt
He collapses back onto the saggy leather couch and types back a quick No thanks nec. The pleasure was all mine. Thank *you* - B
And then, after a pause. Remember me in your Tony acceptance speech?
Before he settles into a peaceful sleep he gets one last message. I’ll always remember the little people. :P Goodnight.
He stifles his snort into a pillow, texts back a goodnight, and dreams of milkshakes with one straw, and looking over a table into eyes so blue he’d happily drown in them.
The next two and a half weeks are a flurry of texts, a lot of coffee, and adventures in the village with Kurt and, once, with Rachel, whose tenacity and warmth Blaine has to admire. Even if Kurt does threaten to push her off the Brooklyn bridge.
They each have a lot of free time, and while it feels like it should scare him, the ease with which they fall into being together, it just doesn’t. It can’t. As he looks at Kurt over his cup in their favorite coffee shop, in line at a sale, on his and Rachel’s comfortable old couch, it just seems like the most natural thing in the world.
It takes Blaine about a week after that first diner talk to realize that Kurt is well on his way to being his best friend.
He’s still insanely attractive; it’s not like that has changed. But he’s more than Blaine knew he was when he’d keep a lookout for him on the street. He’s talented, funny, sarcastic... prickly sometimes, more insecure than Blaine expects someone as amazing as Kurt to ever be... judgemental, unapologetically himself. He’s person Blaine finds himself wanting to text whenever he sees something, remind about marathons on Bravo so they can compare notes on old seasons of their favorite shows. He’s his best friend, and Blaine has a feeling that that’s supposed to be weird, that he’s known him for such a short time that all that shouldn’t be true, but...
Well, it kind of feels like he’s been looking for Kurt forever.
Kurt is using his notes from the workshop feedback and experience to retool I Am Unicorn, and he asks Blaine to help with some of the musical arrangements. He’d had help from a composition graduate student at school, but he’d all but dropped off the face of the earth, and Kurt sniffed that he’d found he could do better. They spend hours retooling the reprise of the opening song, One Day, and working with Kurt over a keyboard, watching him push forward with something he’s so passionate about, seems to feed Blaine’s own passion for music. By that time they’ve completely written the upbeat Act II duet ("Who Matters/You Matter!"), and Kurt has penned scenes to replace a couple of those that dragged. He’s also considering cutting and adding a few characters, something that Blaine’s a little wary of, but it is his musical, after all.
His brilliant, very much a work-in-progress, musical.
Blaine feels like a work in progress sometimes, so he can sympathize.
They argue over chords and their relation to the words, tone, whether to eat the leftover vegan casserole that Rachel left in the fridge or order Chinese. They doodle on each other’s pages, laugh themselves to tears, get so annoyed and tired that they agree to give up and watch Friends reruns instead.
Blaine is loving every minute of it.
Their first kiss happens on a Wednesday.
Blaine is unpacking his new apartment, hoping to get his stuff in place by the time his roommate arrives, knee deep in books and sweaters. Kurt, who had ostensibly come over to help organize his closet, is lying on his bed with a comfort probably unusual for someone who has known the owner for less than a month.
“No, Blaine,” he says over Blaine’s copy of the June Vogue. “No.”
Blaine makes a face at the sweater he’s holding. “I’m keeping it,” he announces finally.
Kurt rolls his eyes, lips tilted into a smile, and goes back to the magazine. Within half an hour he’s listless, the prospect of having to go home and pack for his week-long trip home hanging over him.
“Don’t you think it’s interesting?”
Blaine blinks his way up from the bookshelf that they reassembled earlier, missing something. “What?”
“You know, how we met,” he waves a hand idly. “I mean, if I hadn’t gotten the wrong directions to my voice lesson that first day...”
Kurt freezes. “Yeah. I mean... technically, when I went to Linda’s house, or to visit Rachel at work...”
Blaine doesn’t blink. “Yes?”
“That, um... route, with the bus might not actually be the fastest way to point B,” Kurt muttered towards the window, hand fiddling with a cushion. “It might be a few blocks... out of the way.”
“But you took it several times a week,” Blaine countered.
Kurt’s cheeks were pink. “Yes. Well, there were advantages that outweighed the extra walking.”
He bites his lip. “Are you really going to make me say this?”
It’s not like he doesn’t get what Kurt’s not saying, but it’s sort of nice to think about all the same. “I’d like it if you did,” he says simply, moving over to the bed.
Kurt looks up at him, mutinous until their eyes meet and his entire face softens. “I liked seeing you - hearing you sing. I kept going that way because I hoped you’d be there, and I was always happy when you were. There. Happy?”
His face is guarded, head tilted in embarrassment as he taps his head lightly against a pillow, and Blaine’s throat suddenly feels a little dry. Because this is Kurt, his best friend, who also happens to be the guy he’s been crushing on for most of the summer, and he’s lying on Blaine’s bed telling him that he went out of his way to keep glimpsing him this summer.
Telling him that he wasn’t alone.
And Kurt’s looking wary now, weight on one arm as he’s settled into a nest of clean clothes and cushions, eyes flicking over Blaine like he’s not sure that he should have spoken.
So Blaine says, “I kept playing because I hoped you’d walk by. And the -” he pulls his wallet off the dresser, pauses. “Remember the first time you stayed for a few songs, and you dropped a five in my case?” He pulls out a crumpled bill, rubs it a little between his fingers. “I wanted to... keep something... I don’t know, I...” He puts them down, trails off. “God, Kurt... the first time just heard you laugh, and I wanted to know you.” He hears Kurt take a shallow breath, takes one of his own and thinks courage. “The first time I saw your smile I wanted to be the reason.”
When Kurt says his name it’s more an exhale than a word, his hand moving to Blaine’s cheek.
And when Blaine leans in, and their lips meet, Kurt tastes like gum, lemonade, and the promise that whatever else this is - fate, coincidence, divine intervention, ‘interesting’ - it’s also completely, imperfectly, slightly desperately right.
As their faces move apart Blaine keeps his eyes on Kurt’s, looking for any signs as to whether they’re on the same page, kiss-wise.
Kurt’s fingers comb through Blaine’s hair, he hums happily for a moment, then reels Blaine in by the collar of his shirt for another and Blaine thinks Yes, please, thank you, yes.
Two days later they’re clinging to each other outside the subway station, fingers wrapped in each other’s clothes like Kurt’s leaving for war rather than five days in Ohio (“The war against classlessness,” Kurt sniffs over brunch, “my family and friends excepted, of course”). They technically haven’t had a ‘first date’ since they became an official them, between commitments, unpacking Blaine’s apartment, and packing what seems to be a third of Kurt’s closet into a suitcase.
Blaine’s already making plans for when he’s back, but it just seems cruel to have Kurt taken away from him now, when they just added this new level to what was already pretty spectacular. And he doesn’t just mean the kissing. Really.
“I’ll miss you,” he says for about the third time in as many minutes, and he knows that they are currently the couple that he and Kurt would, just hours ago, have deeply judged (and probably will again in another five days), but he can’t really bring himself to care about that just now.
Kurt seems to agree, because instead of saying something scathing about the insignificance of a week he pulls Blaine closer to the wall where his suitcase sits, strokes both hands through his hair, and murmurs “I know, I know, me too, I’ll miss you too.”
And seriously, it’s five days, they need to stop this.
“You have to go,” Blaine says, and while he knows it’s totally right that he isn’t going to the airport - they’re moving kind of fast in some ways, but that’s a little much - he briefly entertains an image of years from now, kissing Kurt goodbye in a crowded departure hall, hands intertwined.
“I do,” Kurt sighs. “I’ll text you when I land.”
“Have a safe flight.”
Kurt presses their lips together one last time; it feels so familiar, even after only two days.
“Mmm,” Blaine hums into the kiss. “This is not you leaving.”
“No,” Kurt objects into Blaine’s cheek, hands back in his hair, “I am. It is.”
“Have fun with your family.”
“I will.” A pause. “They’d love you.”
And that’s new, Kurt’s looking at him nervously, and people are spilling past in busy Manhattan. Blaine swallows. “I’d like to meet them someday, if...”
“Maybe at Thanksgiving,” Kurt smiles lightly, toying with his collar, tension gone. “Okay, this is me going now. Really, this time. Have fun tonight - don’t let Wes do anything I wouldn’t do.”
“I really don’t think that’s something to worry about.”
Another peck to the lips. “I’ll see you in five days.”
“Yeah, you will.”
And with that he’s part of the departing crowd, a perfectly coiffed head in a sea of humanity. Blaine touches his hand to his ribs briefly, takes in a deep breath.
Five days already feels like too long.
“Rachel is taking an extra music class,” Kurt informs Blaine at 8:17 on a Monday morning, smiling gratefully with tired eyes as he takes his coffee from Blaine’s outstretched hand.
“Good morning,” Blaine pecks his cheek. “That’s nice.”
“You would not be saying that if you had woken up to yodeling at five am.” He sighs, takes a sip, takes Blaine’s hand. “Hi. Thank you.”
He pulls him down the street. “Don’t ask. Just... really, don’t.”
“She really -”
“Not until I’ve got this in my bloodstream, please, I beg of you.”
They’re close to the station now, commuters pushing in a constant flow around them, and it’s familiar already - the comfort of taking the subway to class together, Kurt walking Blaine a little out of the station before catching his own train, meeting up for lunch at the park if one of them has a long break between classes - there’s an ease to it all that Blaine finds kind of shocking. Not that he suddenly is some kind of expert on how this works, or that there aren’t roadblocks... but being with Kurt - who remains his best friend - is right. That’s just something he knows, that maybe some part of him thought it knew while he was playing guitar by a bus stop in Brooklyn, hoping to catch a glimpse of the boy with a beautiful smile.
The smile which, albeit more confused, is being fixed on him now, as they wait for the train, and Blaine shrugs, leans into his boyfriend’s shoulder, and says “Sorry... daydreaming. What were you saying about Friday night?”
Two years later
“...okay, and that’s... done. And if she wants it rewritten again she can do it herself for once. And... sent. Blaine?... Blaine, are you awake?”
Blaine groans into the pillow. “No.”
“Well, that’s too bad.”
Kurt snaps his laptop shut, slides over to his boyfriend’s side of the bed. “Blaine,” he says softly, running a hand down the back of his grey t-shirt, partially under the sheets, “do you know what today is?”
“It is our first free day in about a month. No work, no rehearsals, no well-meaning friends showing up with audition materials and banging on the door at 7am-”
“She only did that once,” Blaine yawns, snuggling back into the pillow until his eyes snap open. “Wait, we’re free all day? I thought you had the-”
“It got moved to Thursday. I think Tyler wants to stage some kind of coup, he’s -”
Blaine pulls himself up to a sitting position, the sheet falling to his waist. “All day?”
Kurt smiles. “You should listen to me more.” He presses a kiss to Blaine’s hair, snorts when he finds himself trapped in his boyfriend’s arms. “Well, good morning.”
Blaine doesn’t respond, on account of the fact that his lips are exploring the skin below Kurt’s ear, grabby hands reaching for the hem of Kurt’s shirt.
Kurt smirks. “And where, exactly, Mr. Anderson, do you intend on this going?”
And Blaine smiles, curls his fingers into the fabric, lets them roll so that Kurt is looking down at him with that soft, sweet, slightly wicked smile, says (and means) ‘everywhere’.
There’s laundry to do, dishes to wash, papers to write, rent to pay... but for a few hours it’s them, their sheets, and there’s nowhere better in the world to be, giggles and breaths sucked in and everything to look forward to. Hard work, these easy moments, everything in between... There’s so much still to be done, still to have and mean and be.
And... yeah, sometimes it’s sheer possibility that Blaine loves.