I was a taller girl too, once. (regala_electra) wrote,
I was a taller girl too, once.
regala_electra

Fic: World Conversationalists (Glee, Kurt/Blaine, PG-13)

Fic: World Conversationalists
Author: Regala Electra
Fandom: Glee
Pairing: Kurt/Blaine
Rating: PG-13
Spoilers: Everything through 2x10 – A Very Glee Christmas
Word Count: 9,166
Summary: The misfires of communication as Kurt and Blaine fall in love. Now if only they can admit that to each other.
Author’s Notes: I have nothing but gratitude for ignited indulging me as I went from what I thought would be a 2K-long story I sarcastically labeled “blurt” and wound up becoming an epic in awkward conversations between two boys who should just kiss, dammit. I am indebted to fourfreedoms for a truly kick-ass and miraculous beta. Cheers. I promise, for my next fic, it will be shameless porn.

*



Don’t drown.

He meant to text more, to tell him not to get lost in the sea of blazers, not to shudder against the break of uniforms as they spilled into classrooms. These are simple instructions and probably a little overwrought but instead his hand slips and that’s all he sends: Don’t drown. Perhaps the shortened message is all that is needed.

Come lunchtime and he sees Kurt across the cafeteria, standing in line, brow furrowed at the salad bar.

“How’s it been?” He finds himself fiddling with his shirtsleeve and forces himself to stop, pushing the anxiety away, and keeping his face cautiously composed.

“Still breathing.”

“Not bad for your first day, huh?”

“Day’s not over yet,” Kurt says. Agrees.

He hopes.


*


“At first I thought he was sending me these mysterious messages, now I think he’s bad at texting.”

Mercedes laughs, her image distorting as Skype tries to keep up with their conversation and hand gestures. It’s almost as though she’s in the room if Kurt can delude himself into believing that. “No man of mystery, huh? Too bad. Has he asked you out yet?”

Mercedes,” Kurt says, feigning shock while inside his heart is doing a weird pitter-pat he’s been trying to ignore ever since Blaine first grabbed his hand. He falls too hard and too fast and he will not let it happen all over again. He’s lost too many things and he’s not losing—well, he’s not going to ruin anything. “We’re friends.”

We’re friends,” she answers, pointedly tapping on her necklace, a particularly awesome one Kurt discovered in a thrift shop and gave to her for her birthday last year. “He’s something else. Isn’t he?”

“No,” he says. Lies. “I don’t want to obsess over it.”

“Fine.” Mercedes is silent for a moment, allowing Kurt to realize how much she is totally letting him off the hook. The price of having a fierce diva for a best friend: they can work the guilt. “Okay, do you want to know what Brittany said today in Glee that broke Mr. Shue’s brain?”

Kurt only has to smile and Mercedes is happily telling him about the latest insanities he’s missed out on. Maybe one day it’ll stop hurting.

He hopes.

He worries.


*


“You’re quiet,” Blaine says because he’s been working on several great openers and defaults to the lamest (and safest) one possible.

“I know,” Kurt says, a little distantly. His iPhone is in his hand but he’s not looking at the texts that are obviously being sent out with stunning quickness.

“Your friends were amazing tonight. Really, Kurt. If the Warblers were to tie with anyone, then I’m glad it was with New Directions.”

Kurt’s laugh is short and sudden.

“What?”

“Nothing.”

“Kurt,” he begins, a gentle warning, all but begging for honesty.

“It’s just that...you’re so serious about it. My fr—New Directions, they were just relieved to tie, I think. Well. Most of them. Rachel’s probably revising her fitness regime at this very moment while watching every Warblers performance online to figure out how to destroy us.”

“Nothing wrong with healthy competition,” Blaine says, a pitiful offering.

“Emphasis on healthy. Baby divas can turn into anything. I’ve seen Whatever Happened to Baby Jane.”

“A masterpiece,” Blaine agrees, relieved that they can take this conversation to a lighter place, if Joan Crawford can be considered light considering her rather dramatic personal life. Just as he’s trying to figure out how to bring up Mommie Dearest without resorting to a cheap imitation of the classic line no more wire hangers (Blaine personally prefers Tina, bring me the axe! as far as overwrought deliveries go), Kurt abruptly changes the subject.

“I got a few compliments for you that I’m supposed to pass on.” It’s a weird way to put it, almost like Kurt’s teasing him, but that doesn’t make any sense. Unless the compliments are of the backhanded variety which wouldn’t be entirely surprising. Even at an all-boys school, there can be some shockingly catty comments bandied about.

“I did feel my ears burning earlier,” Blaine teases back and tries to ignore how utterly cheesy he sounds.

Kurt unlocks his phone, bringing up one text from, a girl named Tina, showing it to Blaine.

Making a small noise of approval, he says, “Too bad it’s a girl that approves of my ass.”

He’s rewarded with a very small smile from Kurt. The weird tension deflates, mercifully as Kurt relaxes into the bus seat, daring to almost slouch.

“Though I have no idea how she can see anything in these outfits.”

There’s a sharp, quick intake of breath and Blaine’s not sure which one of them did it. Because there’s gentle teasing and then there’s this, something treading on the very dangerous border of flirting, which Blaine has been trying desperately to shut down now that they’ve firmly planted themselves within the very set boundary of friendship. The place that they have been meant to be and should have been from the very beginning and it’s stupid to hope for anything different, to think that maybe there is a shot at more. It isn’t fair to Kurt and if Blaine keeps telling himself that he’ll believe it one day.

What Blaine ought to say is something along the lines of not that it hurts to sneak a look once in a while, huh? to make it a joke and keep things silly, because looking shouldn’t be anything to be ashamed of, but that can be taken in so many wrong (and totally correct) ways. So no, that is not going to happen.

“I guess if you were in charge of the Dalton uniform, you’d keep us more up-to-date on fashion trends.”

Kurt’s expression takes on a dreamy look. It’s kind of cheating, to bring up fashion in a conversation with Kurt. His mouth parts a little and he actually licks his lips.

Okay, this is turning out not Blaine’s brightest idea because now he starts thinking things he is going to forcibly quash down and deny because, again, no. He is not going there. Their friendship is too oddly delicate to destroy over a something as simple and irresponsible as a crush.

“As much as I do understand the appeal of a classic suit, and I do,” Kurt says, his voice almost husky and oh god, did Blaine just unleash Kurt’s sex voice? He is going to get hard next to his friend on the road back to Dalton and he is never going to forgive himself for being this stupid. “With a few alterations and a critical eye, the Dalton uniform could be so much sleeker and now. Don’t you agree?”

“Yes,” Blaine says dumbly and it’s like he’s a straight boy who has no idea what Kurt’s talking about, only he does and he’s just stupid with want and will agree to anything Kurt says.

Kurt puts his phone away in his pocket and says, his voice suddenly shy and hesitant, “Thank you, Blaine.”

“For what?”

Kurt doesn’t explain, only moving on to discussing shoes, a particular subject he has a lot of opinions on, but what Blaine really learns is that Kurt has a love affair with Doc Martens which Kurt claims, can be paired with any outfit for extra fabulous points.

It’s not until Blaine’s back in his dorm that he realizes Kurt was thanking him for the distraction.


*


Kurt might (okay: definitely) be bullshitting on this English essay, but deciphering symbolism was never his favorite task, and while he’d rather write a decent essay, it’s hard to concentrate when he’s thinking of the long weekend, of going home to see Dad and Carole and even Finn. To see Mercedes and really shop to his heart’s content because while the uniform, with a few subtle alterations and accessories, is flattering to his figure, he can feel the parts of his brain dedicated to style are suffocating. Retail therapy is a must.

Which is probably why he’s been editing the same paragraph until the word wheel looks less like a word and more like a mistake.

Blaine’s in the same study hall as well but Kurt has barely paid attention to him nor has he appreciated how the textbooks are piled into a neat little fortress around Blaine’s head as he naps.

No, Kurt is definitely thinking about home; that’s his only distraction.

Blaine has a tendency to doodle circles when he’s pretending to be awake during a cram session. Obviously the only polite thing to do is take away his pen and paper lest he actually scribble over the actual notes he’ll need once he wakes up.

The indentation of the notebook against Blaine’s cheek is unfairly adorable.


*


“Dresses made out of food are so tacky,” Kurt says during a Project Runway marathon. It’s not Blaine’s favorite show by far but it’s a sleeting Saturday with nothing else to do. His homework will be dealt with on Sunday, the Lord’s Slacker Day for those unfortunately saddled with weekend assignments. Plus he’s got Kurt’s next to him on the couch.

Blaine’s pretty sure he’s just listed everything in its proper level of importance. He watches Kurt’s nostrils flair as poor Jillian desperately whacks a licorice corset into being, her fingers pricked all over with her effort at sewing it to the bodice.

“I know a large segment of the girls at McKinley that would buy that outfit,” Kurt says as though he alone can sway the tide of bad fashion and his absence at McKinley will lead to an all-girl revolution of candy couture.

Blaine decides that should he ever need to mess with any of the straight guys at Dalton that he will suggest that is exactly what it’s like at McKinley: teeming masses of girls in near-fetish wear roaming the hallways. It would be cruel since a few of them have that glazed look of teenage lust than can only be remedied by the close proximity of their girlfriends. However it will be well worth torturing a few of the guys who might be making a few pointed comments regarding his friendship with Kurt so he tucks that little factoid aside.

“You say that like Red Vines are disgusting. At least it’s not something vile like brussel sprouts.”

“She’s making it out of Twizzlers, Blaine,” Kurt says, his voice full of judgment, “and I don’t really care.”

“About licorice? Everyone has a stance on licorice. It’s the love it or hate it candy of every childhood.”

Kurt takes a sweeping, mighty look at him and Blaine once again reflects on how very much they are invading each other’s personal space. Moving would be a good idea.

Neither of them move.

“Neutral.”

“Not even when someone’s only wearing licorice?”

“Well look at that tacky top!” Kurt sputters and then his cheeks flush, taking on the whole other meaning of Blaine’s suggestion. “Oh.”

“I will always take a pro-candy stance. Especially when the candy is interactive,” and Blaine realizes he might have gone too far when Kurt frowns and resettles his gaze back towards the television.

There’s an awkward pause before Kurt says, “Can we at least agree that skirt is tragic?”

Grateful for the subject change, Blaine heartily agrees.

It isn’t the only awkward moment that they’ll share. A couple of weeks pass and the end of the semester approaches and Blaine, in a move that he will later question so much as he truly cannot understand why he thought it could ever be construed as a good idea, will sing a duet with Kurt. It will leave them in that same position of awkwardness, a moment he’ll love and worry over during his Christmas break.

His only relief is that Kurt texts him throughout the break, inconsequential things mostly, as if Blaine hasn’t already stomped over the icy calm of their friendship and started a series of cracks that will undoubtedly leave them in a place neither of them want to be.

Remember when I texted you don’t drown? he types out before he backtracks, erasing the whole text. Instead he types, Happy New Year, Kurt.

It’s hours before midnight but he sends it despite that and tries not to cheer when Kurt responds back swiftly wishing him the same.


*


“And it ends with Avril Lavigne singing over the credits. Because Tim Burton’s contempt for the audience wasn’t obvious beforehand.”

Blaine smacks his left fist in his right palm for emphasis and it’s there that Kurt decides two things: Blaine must have a dark past as a former debate team member and that it’s time for the second round of passed hors d'oeuvres if Alice in Wonderland’s nominations are sending Blaine into such aggravation.

The Golden Globes party might not have been Kurt’s brightest idea. But it is the last time he’ll have a party in his basement bedroom before the new Hudson-Hummel family moves into a bigger house and he needed to make something of an occasion out of it.

It’s also that he’s getting actual face time (as opposed to weekly iPhone Face Time) with Mercedes and Tina. Sure, he’ll be dealing with an annoying commute back to Dalton the next day but he won’t be stuck driving back alone.

Blaine also is a fan of the tackiest, drunkest, most over the top awards show and well, Kurt couldn’t figure out a polite way to tell Blaine it was a girls only kind of party.

“Anyone need their drink freshened while we bring down the second round?” Kurt asks, slipping into his host role. After a polite chorus mixed with no’s and a couple of yes’s (Mercedes and Tina), he heads upstairs and they follow, claiming they want to help out.

Code for gossip, of course.

“He won’t be cuddling with you for the rest of the show,” Mercedes asks as they plate the second round of the hors d'oeuvres, careful with the delicate savory napoleons when Kurt clicks his tongue. “Will he?”

“We weren’t cuddling,” Kurt insists. “Blaine just needed to understand that it’s completely insane to praise Zac Posen after what he put Christina Hendricks in last awards season. I may have gotten a little enthusiastic in my argument but really, that garment was worked to death.”

“He does have a nice ass,” Tina helpfully supplies.

Kurt tries not to point out that it’s really unfair that Tina’s become the arbiter of male perfection but then she is dating Mike Chang. Who is totally not Kurt’s type (too quiet) but Kurt is also not blind, so, sometimes it’s hard to ignore how Mike’s body is ridiculous.

“Don’t say that,” Kurt says, voice a little strained because recalling several of Tina’s not so subtle comments about Mike’s body has lead him back to thinking about Blaine’s body which is completely ruining Kurt’s promise that he’d stop obsessing. Taking a deep breath, he finishes the plating and says, “Let’s get in there before Rachel scares him. Some more.”

“He hasn’t run out of the house screaming yet,” Mercedes offers as they head back downstairs.

Rachel’s voice, unfortunately, carries.

“And you see, my two gay dads, well, they wanted to have a child out of love, so that’s why I don’t think adoption will be right for me though I will probably have to employ nannies to nurture my children while I’m starring in a Tony-award winning show. What are your thoughts on adoption?”

“Um. I don’t know?”

“Kurt,” Rachel says, noticing him frozen halfway down the stairs. “Don’t you have any thoughts on parenting? I mean if you want to meet my dads and ask them how wonderful it is to raise a child, I could arrange that.”

“I can barely look after Pavarotti,” Kurt finally answers, after enjoying Blaine’s utterly panicked look a little too much. He’s spooked but clearly not about to run through a wall to escape Rachel’s usual insanity so it’s okay to savor the moment. “I think I’ll wait to think about children when a bird molting stops worrying me.”

“Oh, that’s just pets,” Rachel says dismissively and Kurt has to wonder if what Finn told him about Rachel going through adorable kittens as gifts is true. Finn, who is pointedly not here since he and Rachel are still at a very complicated stage of not dating that involves not being in the same house together.

He has no idea how they pull off performing the leads in glee and he’s not about to ask.

“Hey, Kurt,” Mercedes says behind him, “get a move on.”

“Sorry,” Kurt says, putting the loaded tray down on a side table. “I was too busy thinking about my children Judy, Elton, Liza and David.”

“You want four kids?”

David...?” Blaine asks, hesitantly.

“Bowie.” Kurt’s a little shocked he had to clarify. “As in David Bowie. And here I thought you were gay.”

“I loved him in Labyrinth,” Tina confesses, a dreamy expression on her face. Kurt smiles in response, because he knows exactly what part she loved. Or rather, what pair of pants.

“Well,” Rachel says, suddenly perky, possibly at the sight of the vegan-approved savory puffs Kurt has cooked, “As long as you don’t name any of your theoretical children Barbra, I think those are lovely names.”

Kurt hands her a small plate loaded with the best of the vegan treats. “You get a cruelty free sampler for that.”

Rachel smiles and Kurt wishes Rachel would be more like this: nice.

“Hey guys, Ricky Gervais is on,” Tina says, pointedly.

“I hope he makes fun of Johnny Depp for getting two nominations,” Blaine grits out.

A stunned silence falls as the girls and Kurt whip their heads to stare at him.

Blaine widens his eyes, realizing he has violated the ultimate rule of all girls and gay men alike: one does not disrespect the awesomeness of Johnny Depp.

“Have any of you actually seen The Tourist?”

“Well, no,” Mercedes admits as Tina hedges and Rachel quickly explains she was going to but it was Finn’s turn to pick a movie and he didn’t think it had enough action or aliens, the qualifier for any Finn-approved movie—and there her eyes start to water.

To spare the dramatics because there will be plenty fake-crying as the night goes on and actresses are just so shocked that they won Kurt says, “Wow. You’re bitter about Alice in Wonderland, huh?”

“The Fudderwacken dance scene,” is all Blaine says, his closing argument, and everyone winces in agreement. It took Kurt like an hour to find Johnny Depp attractive again after that travesty.

Conversation slowly returns after that unfortunate speed bump as they cattily make comments about the fake smiles plastered on actors who pretend to look happy at someone else winning, laughing at the awkwardness of Miss Golden Globe standing next to the winners, waiting to escort them offstage, and of course, appreciating the further drunkenness of everyone there as they try to look noble while Ricky Gervais mocks them to their faces.

It’s fabulous and Kurt only registers that he’s basically been fused alongside Blaine for the entire night by the time they announce the winner for best Musical/Comedy movie.

Fortunately Alice in Wonderland does not win.

Unfortunately, Blaine is so excited by that, he actually jumps up from the couch, dragging Kurt with him and embraces him in a bizarre victory hug-slash-dance.

If that was how the Fudderwacken was like onscreen, then Kurt could see the appeal. Alas.

It’s over quick enough but one glance at the girls is all he needs to realize how much they are going to be talking about that little moment.

Kurt sighs in defeat.


*


Blaine expects post-awards show fashion commentary but the ride back to Dalton is relatively quiet, the radio set low, droning on about traffic and news reports.

There are two giant to-go containers of coffee slotted between them and Blaine is careful not to take Kurt’s since he’s in a desperate need for sugar and Kurt’s Splenda-infused atrocity is just not acceptable.

“Rachel isn’t as terrifying as I thought she’d be,” he offers, his most diplomatic revision.

What he really wants to say is she told me I can’t ever break your heart. I told her we were friends and then she told me if I didn’t take marriage seriously, then I was doing a disservice to her fathers, and then she started talking about adoption, and then you said you wanted four kids and...is she always like that? And how are you so sure you want a family? We’re just teenagers. I don’t even know which college I want to go to yet, though Dad is pushing me to choose Dartmouth.

“Well, I made her agree to a truce. You notice there wasn’t much singing? That’s so you couldn’t scope out the competition.”

Kurt’s voice is slightly raspy in the morning. It’s more appealing than it ought to be.

Blaine smiles. “And you’re not the enemy?”

“Of course I am,” Kurt says, a little affronted. “I’m the worst. Mercedes is feeding me every song they might even think of to do for Regionals and I plan on destroying them—”

Kurt can’t bring himself to finish the joke, his hands gripping the steering wheel tighter.

“I’m sorry.”

It’s unnecessary to say so but Blaine’s indulging his selfish side. Because he is sorry, sorry that Kurt’s away from people who truly do care for him because Blaine’s stupid advice wasn’t worth a damn in the face of actual threats.

He sighs. “What for, Blaine? I thought the evening went well.”

“That’s because you won the Golden Globes pool, right?” Blaine asks, trying to lighten the mood. “I knew I shouldn’t have asked you about your picks for Best Supporting Actress.”

A mischievous expression that can’t help look a little too practiced slides across Kurt’s face. “Clearly you don’t understand the finer points of gambling. Never ask your competitors for help. I haven’t lost an awards show pool for the past two years running.”

“Should have known that,” Blaine says, trying for casual and falling somewhere towards ridiculously impressed. “Want to combine efforts for the Oscars?”

Kurt laughs. “First I’ll see how poorly you do for the SAG Awards.”

It’s quiet in the car for a while. At a stoplight, Kurt takes a long draught of his coffee. He’s been working on something to say, waiting out the light before he sets his coffee down, editing it down to perfection.

“I was joking about the baby names, you know.”

“Oh,” Blaine says, because he doesn’t know and doesn’t understand why he feels almost deflated at knowing that.

“Kids, I figured, being gay, I wouldn’t have a chance. Or that it would be impossible. Then I met Rachel. I don’t think I can spring another Rachel Berry-esque child on the world.”

“I can safely assure you that she’s one of a kind.”

“Your kindness is going to get you into trouble one day,” Kurt says, amused. “She might try to make you her gay best friend. That is a fate worse than—well I’d rather wear Walmart discount-bin clothes than be known as Rachel’s best friend. I’ve seen her bedroom. Her fashion only hints at what she considers stylish.”

Blaine fakes an exaggerated horrified expression to hide the shudder of fear that just went through his body. He isn’t scared of her. Well. A little, maybe, but that’s because she might tell Kurt that Blaine’s in love with Kurt, and he’ at most in crush with Kurt and that’s something completely different. It’s become a new mantra and he’s going to stick with it.

“I do like the name David,” Kurt says, returning to the subject at hand. “It’s classic. But it was a joke.”

The obvious undercurrent that Kurt knows how freaked out Blaine was by Rachel’s comments and is trying to make Blaine feel better about it only makes Blaine feel worse.

So Blaine decides to ruin everything by offering platitudes. “I know it’s difficult to think of the future now. But things are changing. Whether adoption or surrogacy—”

Kurt raises a hand from the steering wheel. “Stop it, Blaine. I’ll save worrying about kids when I have someone in my life that’ll worry too. When I’m not a teenager. It’s—it was stupid of Rachel to ask that. She fantasizes about her own funeral. It’s morbid.”

“More a sign of potential egomania.”

Kurt’s eyes are still on the road but it’s obvious he pities Blaine for his optimism on potential. “She’s terrible because she’s so frustrating. But I figure when she and Finn inevitably get back together, I should find something redeeming about her besides her voice. Don’t ever tell her I said that by the way. ”

“You like her.”

Kurt laughs. “You are scared of her.”

“A little,” Blaine says, regretfully. She’s a tempest in a teapot, only not a metaphor for something being overblown because he’s still kind of freaking out about what she told him. A small-scale earthquake? Something like that. “I did enjoy spending time with Mercedes. And Tina.”

“She showed you her pictures of Mike on her cell phone, didn’t she?”

Blaine decides a non-answer is the best defense so he just makes a noncommittal shrug. Tina certainly had every reason to be proud, however Mike is very much not his type as Mike is very, very straight. “His dancing was wonderful at Sectionals. Him and Brittany.”

“Yes, Brittany’s fabulous. I invited her to the party but she said—” Kurt’s face reddens a little, as though he hadn’t meant to say anything at all about her invite.

Blaine, because sometimes he can’t read an obvious danger sign, gently prods. “What did she say, Kurt?”

He’s being unfair, he knows. Using his gentle everything will be okay tone is overkill. Kurt smiles nervously as though that’s all he needs to continue on.

“She said she’s with Artie now and that she can’t make out with anyone who asks anymore.”

Blaine blinks. “I—that’s an interesting way of looking at a party invite.”

“Brittany’s…Brittany,” Kurt says simply. There’s more to the story but Kurt isn’t willing to share the details.

The rest of the drive passes by in relative ease. Blaine starts believing that things are not going to remain utterly awkward and he thinks about how now that it’s January, winter is nearing its end, and then he smiles because he realizes Kurt will be there, in the springtime, his favorite time of year.

He turns to look at Kurt at that moment, happy and smiling and realizes, oh.

It’s not a crush. A crush is easier than this.


*


There’s a difference between being in love with a friend and steadily holding that affection under lame denials. To actually do something about it will fracture one of the few good things that’s keeping Kurt going on a daily basis.

You have to see this place in the springtime he’s told. It’s like Blaine is constantly auditioning Dalton as an idyllic haven as though Kurt doesn’t already understand, as if Kurt’s some child who thinks he’s living a fleeting dream on the threat of reality knocking him back down.

Well he knows exactly how that feels and while his sense of preparation might not be gone, while he might indeed be waiting for the other shoe to drop, he isn’t stupid in living every moment as it exists in the now.

He’s also taking yoga as an alternate to gym and that’s really helping out. He naps during the meditation parts. It’s the only way he got through his brief flirtation with Kabbalah and it’s helped him when even a regular night’s sleep hasn’t ebbed the growing fear that he’s moments away from screwing everything up.

“You’re avoiding me,” Blaine says. He’s good at saying it so it isn’t an accusation, just a beginning to a frivolous conversation. There’s a friendly smile playing at his lips and as Kurt walks down and around Blaine, because really, accosting him on the stairs is kind of unfair, it throws him off. It makes him feel giddy that Blaine wants to spend time with him.

“Not avoiding. More like suffocating under the latest mound of paperwork that seems to have dropped on my head.”

Blaine laughs at that and while Kurt’s stomach flip-flops, which ruins the cool arrogance he’d tried to create with his casual denial of avoidance. He makes sure nothing on his face betrays what he’s obviously feeling. Sadly, he’s sure Blaine caught it because he softens his approach.

“You want to take a winter stroll in our awesome gardens?”

“Only if the president of the garden club is giving me the tour.”

“That was a dark time last year,” Blaine argues. “I was bored.”

“Knowing you have a floral fetish is endearing.” They stop walking as Kurt realizes the inappropriateness of saying that. Kurt wisely files “fetish” into his words not to say to Blaine mental drawer. It’s getting awfully full. “I meant, um, it’s nice to have someone who knows that there’s more to plants beyond green stuff and flowers.”

“I think you’re quoting someone,” Blaine says, sounding a little pained and his eyes close briefly as he shakes his head. “Don’t ever tell me who you’re quoting.”

“Deal.”

“Deal if you come take a walk with me?”

One day Kurt will learn to say no but today is not that day. Not when he’s looking into Blaine’s eyes. Blaine’s eyes have an unfair advantage. He’s not going to say they’re dreamy, because he’s pretty much gone past the starry-eyed phase of his doomed attraction. But. They’re nice eyes. And it’s not a big request. Walking. He does it every day.

“Fine.”

Blaine’s smile is also nice.

Kurt’s mind might have melted a little. He blames his classes and terrifying load of homework facing him and it’s only midweek so far.

Dropping off his satchel and books in his room, he pulls out his heaviest winter outerwear and his warmest scarf that doesn’t look absolutely terrible when contrasted with the Dalton regulation trousers that he hates more that anything. More than polyester leisure suits coming back. Or something…truly hideous. He’s not sure what’s worse than leisure suits but there are a few nightmares from the early 90s that could probably be considered.

He would change, but there’s Warbler practice a couple of hours and they have to be in uniform for that. Kurt’s this close to having erotic fantasies about his non-uniform clothing in his sleep. It’s starting to worry him.

The gardens, in theory, could be nice if Kurt isn’t too busy worrying that all the exposed parts of his body are going to fall off. Which is only his eyebrows since he’s effectively bundled up as he did sacrifice some style over substance and layered himself as much as possible and utterly lost any hope for a flattering silhouette. His scarf is wrapped and knotted around his neck and face. He’d have worn sunglasses if he could get away with it. Next on his list of purchases, a ski mask, one that he can improve (sequins are always an improvement) to not look like he’s planning a burglary.

This has been an unusually brutal winter. Kurt is dying, probably, but that’s okay because Blaine tugs him along as Kurt slowly turns to ice.

Blaine must be made of stronger stuff as he only has a scarf loosely tied around his neck and Kurt would hate him for it if Blaine wasn’t excitedly gesturing along the path to tell him where things will eventually be.

“You owe me so many lattes for this,” Kurt says, but it’s muffled, so Blaine can’t make out what he’s saying, and Kurt refuses to expose any more of his skin to the air in order to be heard. He actually had a dry skin epidemic last week and barely restored it to adequate levels of moisture. It was horrifying.

After ages (ten minutes can be forever if your shins feel like they might have turned into icicles), they head back indoors and Kurt quickly disposes of scarf, jacket, hat, and gloves on a nearby bench before Blaine’s even unbuttoned his jacket.

Blaine’s smiling a little oddly at him. “Your cheeks are so red.”

Before Kurt can say anything (and oh, he had a thing or two to say), Blaine’s got him in a weird hug, that’s carefully not at all about touching but also shockingly intimate.

It’s unfair how needy Kurt’s body is because if his body only listened to his brain, he might not make an indelicate gasp.

“Thank you for indulging me,” Blaine says against his ear. Blaine’s still chilled from the outside but Kurt definitely feels an odd rush of heat. Well. That’s just fantastic.

“You’re—you’re welcome.” Stammering, even lovelier, maybe Kurt will giggle next and he can feel every bit as idiotic as he knows he’s being. Over a hug that lasted maybe a couple of seconds.

Mercifully Blaine steps back and cheerfully says, “See you at practice.”

Kurt needs an intervention. Though his fingers slightly numb from the cold, he still sends out a S.O.S. text to Mercedes, all but begging her to come on Skype this evening, pushing their regular chat up a day.

She’ll know what to say.

He convinces himself of this and makes it through Warblers practice with only a few wistful looks in Blaine’s direction, because he truly is a wonderful performer, even with those weird faces he pulls at some of the more terrible lyrics they have to practice.

He ‘s on his laptop the second he’s in his room, signing on early, eagerly, and Mercedes is there even before the agreed time. She is the best.

When he spills everything, careful to make it sound clear how ridiculous he’s being, walking in a winter wonderland, I mean, honestly, are we living in a Hallmark card?, he expects Mercedes to laugh with him.

Instead she looks almost sad.

“Oh Kurt. You’re really in love with him, aren’t you?”

Tell me I’m being stupid, he wants to beg. Instead, all he can say, weakly is, “Blaine should be my friend.”

“Why?”

“Because—” He wants to show off his dorky flora knowledge in spring. He calls it his flora knowledge unironically. I want him to always be my friend. Because I love him and I don’t want to ruin that with him being gentle and understanding and telling me no. “I know he doesn’t feel that way.”

Mercedes bites her lip and shakes her head. “You’re being stupid. How do you know that if you haven’t even asked him?”

To ask him would mean that he’d know, there’d be no going back, and he already dreads what little he has revealed.

“Come on, Mercedes,” Kurt says, a little desperately, “Aren’t you supposed to tell me that boys are stupid and there are better things in life?”

“Oh no, if this is a romance intervention, I’m not letting you off the hook. You want to bitch about him sending mixed signals, that’s different, this is you being in denial.”

“I’m not denying anything!”

“Rachel thinks he’s got it bad for you.”

Rachel thinks anklets are going to make a comeback.”

Mercedes laughs at that and Kurt thinks he’s got her, she’s going to let him feel okay about his stupidity, and they’re going to talk about other stuff, and he’s going to make himself forget. It’s like that for rest of their conversation until, just as Mercedes signs off, she says, “Oh and I texted Blaine while you were showing off your new brooches.”

What? Why did you do that? What did you say?”

Mercedes can laugh evilly when she wants to and she signs off of Skype with said evil laugh.

That’s what Kurt gets for having a fabulous diva as a best friend.

He tries to finish his homework before passing out and he thinks he gets most of it done. Sleep comes to him and with that, dreams of Blaine.

Also a dream of a giant cackling cell phone chasing him down a maze, but that one surely doesn’t symbolize anything.


*


Blaine might be getting a little desperate. It’s not like going for a walk with Kurt is a particularly weird thing to do and he has noticed that Kurt’s been quietly freaking out about his workload. He was being a concerned friend.

It was a good distraction and Blaine can’t help it that he finds Kurt kind of adorable when he’s really bitchy. However his self-created denial crumbles at the reality that he took it too far with that hug. Too obvious and too needy but he let himself go there, to that incredibly selfish place, and he wanted to touch.

Then Kurt ran off immediately after Warblers practice and even though Blaine (not like he’s internet-stalking Kurt or anything, he had some research he needed to do online) saw that Kurt was on Skype for a long time, Kurt hadn’t said a word to him.

The text from Mercedes is simple and direct.

Kurt needs to talk to you, but he won’t, and it's driving him crazy and me crazy. Talk to him tomorrow. He'll try to avoid you, but you gotta make him talk.

Blaine had texted her back right away trying to clarify what she meant. The constant, nagging worry: Kurt hates it here at Dalton and is only biding his time.

That’s the easier fear.

What he really fears is that Kurt knows and it’s freaking him out and there so many possibilities. None of them good or maybe that’s Blaine’s pessimism speaking. That Blaine’s overstepping of the boundaries and his hesitance at trying to move their friendship into something else is going to ruin what Kurt might really want or that he never wanted anything from Blaine besides his friendship or he’s not ready or too many bad things.

Mercedes has never texted him before despite exchanging numbers. He doesn't get a response right away, which doesn’t allievate his worries over what she means. She sends him a brief explanation, much later, when Blaine’s ruined his hair by running his hands through it, a nervous tick he’d thought he overcome ages ago.

You and Kurt have needed to talk about this for a while. Don't worry. It's nothing bad. Kurt thinks it's the end of the world. But that’s Kurt. Maybe you're braver.

That is a low blow. Message received, and ow. He replies back to her, I’ll talk to him. Promise.

Blaine contemplates watching a really depressing movie before falling asleep to help numb him for whatever comes next.


*


Kurt’s plan the next morning is to don a disguise or play sick or a hundred improbable schemes, several of them directly ripping off Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. Although he could never ruin a car the way they did in that movie. Honestly, that was too far and he doesn’t care how cool it looks, no car is going to survive flying off the road and landing back on the ground without the suspension system needing to be completely re-hauled. He weeps for the shocks.

But he’s thrown away too many things, duet competitions, fleeting crushes that end in absolute mortification, has run away because he’s had no other choice, and today he’s going to face the music with grace and poise.

Naturally he trips on the way to his first class in the morning when Blaine suddenly appears around the corridor. Like a sneak attack only so much more unfair because Kurt had advance warning and he still is an utter fool.

Mercedes had texted him in the morning with a short warning: Don’t be stupid.

Smart, in Kurt’s opinion, would be deflecting this talk forever.

Blaine helps him up.

”I assume you got a mysterious text from a friend of mine,” Kurt mutters, a little ungraciously.

“That I did.” Blaine’s voice doesn’t betray anything and even when Kurt holds him in a steady gaze, he can’t read anything off of Blaine.

“Can we not do this?”

So much for grace and poise.

“No, Kurt,” and Blaine is irritatingly composed, like he’s speaking to a skittish colt. It kind of makes Kurt want to kick him in the shins to get a reaction out of him that isn’t practiced. “I really do need to talk to you about—well, hopefully we’re on the same page. I have to get to class. Can we talk after, I mean, during lunch? There’s a room off the senior commons.”

Oh good, so that way there wouldn’t be any public outburst that might be embarrassing. Attempting to steel himself, Kurt answers, a little coolly, “Fine. I’ll see you then.”

“And we’ll talk?”

Funny, it almost sounds like Blaine’s begging him to say yes. It’s not like Kurt has much of a choice to say no.

“Yes. We’ll talk.”

Throughout his morning classes, he ponders about escaping through the ventilation system towards sweet freedom, but dismisses it after research on his iPhone concludes that only a small child can fit through the standard ducts.

Kurt is decidedly not a small child, nor is he about to ruin any outfit by pulling off a Mission Impossible. Also with his luck he’ll land exactly where he’s supposed to be, only covered in dust and who knows what else.

He’s promised himself grace and poise and the least he can do is deliver on the poise.


*


Blaine spells his last name wrong on his history quiz so yeah he’s a little distracted. Crossing it out with a hasty scribble, he lets rote memorization take over and answers with the shortest paragraphs possible to guarantee a solid B.

Kurt was pissed. In all of his doomsday scenarios, for some reason, he’d never expected that. He expected sadness, maybe resignation, or fear, or something other than Kurt standing in front of him after a slight stumble clearly ticked off and not having what Blaine was saying. This leads Blaine to one of his most embarrassing quirks: he starts writing out multiple skits of possible outcomes.

After he finishes the quiz and hands it in early, of course. He’s not about to reveal his inner nerd on something his teacher will see.

To the notebook it is and he writes in his most cramped, miniscule handwriting, Scenario A: Ideal.

Hey Kurt, I like you.

I like you, too.

Great! I have a huge crush on you so—

Let’s make out.


Looking it over Blaine notes that he might be missing out on the conversation that leads to the kissing and other possible activities.

He’s a teenage boy, so of course he thinks about it approximately ninety-nine thousand times per minute. Or so he feels, but that may be due to his new impossible situation. What if Kurt doesn’t feel the same way? What if he doesn’t want this?

He abandons his pathetic exercise in futility and waits out the rest of his classes, bolting from his seat as soon as he’s dismissed. No matter what happens, he needs to beat Kurt there so he can at least pretend to have some semblance of composure.

But life doesn’t let Blaine plan every moment out just because he really wants it. Kurt’s already there, his satchel discarded on a desk pushed off to one side. His arms are crossed as he stands by the window.

“Thinking of taking a leap of faith?” Damn, he really wanted to go for smooth and he’s blown it utterly.

“Admiring the frozen, barren landscape. A friend tells me it looks better in April.”

“Kurt—”

“No, Blaine. I know I agreed that we’d talk or, I don’t know, I’d agree with whatever you think this is about, but I need to tell you this. I want things to be amazing, even when they’re not. I want to be loved and everything that comes with that, and I know how it isn’t easy because that’s my life and I—I’m not about to let you tell me that It’s natural to have a crush or that we’ll always be friends. After this, we’ll stop spending so much time together because you don’t want to send mixed signals and I can’t turn this off. I’m trying, I really am. And it sucks.”

Kurt steadies his breath, going ragged by the end, and continues, not giving Blaine an opportunity to respond, “If you know a way to get me to stop loving you without breaking my heart, I’d really appreciate it. Because I’ve tried.”

“I don’t know.” It’s out of his mouth before he can even process. He honestly doesn’t know. Because he’s treated himself as some kind of a noble hero for suffering through his attraction to Kurt, as if Kurt can’t have the same depth of feeling, like he hasn’t been punishing Kurt for not being able to say that to Blaine since they’d drawn up the friendship agreement and neither of them dared break it until penalty…of what exactly?

Kurt should be ecstatic telling him how he feels. Instead it’s like this. Waiting for the other shoe to drop.

“You can’t turn off how you feel about someone.”

“I know,” Kurt says, and his arms go down, clenched in tight fists, matching nicely with his clenched jaw. “Before you tell me I’ll get over it, I’d like you to at least, Blaine, if you’d only—”

“What, Kurt?” He says it so soft he’s not sure Kurt can hear him at first, the way Kurt’s eyes flicker off to the side, careful not to dare look at Blaine.

“Can’t you tell me how you feel? Even if it’s nothing.”

Lie. Every sensible thought he’s had over the past, what, months—his straight friends barely wait days to kick off a relationship, and it’s been months—but still, he should lie, really lay it on thick and fake and he should be Kurt’s worst friend in order to ensure that at least he’ll be his friend.

Then he won’t ever fear losing Kurt. He’s been afraid for so long and hated himself for it and it would be such a familiar, easy pattern.

Kurt says, “I’m taking your silence as nothing. Funny, I thought you’d have at least one last platitude to hand out. Screw it, Blaine. I’m done torturing myself.”

Slinging his satchel over his shoulder, Kurt’s about to storm out when Blaine blocks him, hand on Kurt’s wrist. Kurt whirls around, about to probably eviscerate Blaine via words when Blaine finally finds his voice, the stupid, hopeful one he’s been crushing down in the pit of his stomach so it’s only a bare whisper, “I can’t turn off how I feel about you.”

“What?”

“Kurt.” Blaine lets go of him, giving him every opportunity to run. If Blaine was in his position, he’d run. “I really didn’t want to put it in words. I didn’t think I could. But I lo—”

Kurt’s mouth is very warm on his and lingers for only the briefest of moments. They pull back from each other but not too far. They don’t have to keep the distance now.

“Was that okay?”

“I think talking about it won’t do me much good,” Blaine confesses, laughing weakly. He touches Kurt’s face because he can and he can’t speak at the sight of Kurt leaning into his hand, like he’s been starving that and he’s going to drink it in until he drowns. Finally Blaine finds his voice again. “Let me show you.”

Talking is abandoned since that’s been their worst strategy. Blaine kisses Kurt the way he’s been telling himself he couldn’t have. That he can’t have this is unimaginable now. He’s holding the back of Kurt’s head to deepen the kiss. He encourages Kurt to play off their height difference and doesn’t let Kurt miss how obviously freaking fantastic it feels when Kurt pushes him against a wall and he can wrap his arms around Kurt and mean everything, and more.

They spend a longer time than Blaine had planned, nearly missing the start of their afternoon classes. But then his plans are pretty stupid.

The obvious step to making out is manning up and letting things happen instead of forcing things to remain stagnant.

He’d write that down but he’s busy planning his next not-talking session with Kurt. If he’s grinning like a loon throughout the rest of the day, well, he knows exactly who to blame.


*


Mercedes texts Kurt around the end of glee’s practice and yes, Kurt still knows when the practices run.

What happened?

(Later, Kurt will find out Blaine texted Mercedes with a brief Thank you ;-) including the winking smiley face and honestly, Blaine’s lucky he’s got so many other checkmarks in the plus column because he’s so wretchedly dorky sometimes. But not now.)

Can I call you?

He doesn’t wait for a yes.

“Kurt?”

“Yeah. Yes,” he says, like that’s saying anything. “It worked. Or something. What did you tell Blaine?”

Her laugh over the phone makes Kurt miss her all the more. They should be having this phone call within walking distance of each other and then they’ll hang up their phones and keep the conversation going.

“Apparently it takes the fear of a best friend to get things started, huh? I’ll have to remember that in case you ever have to do the same for me.”

“You have no idea what I owe you.” It’s difficult to keep his pitch from a ridiculous level of giddiness but he got to make out with a boy he’d thought was going to gently turn him down and well, he does own Mercedes the moon or a very expensive, very thorough shopping spree.

“I think I cashed it in,” Mercedes says, after a strange muffled moment. “I just told Tina. And Rachel.”

What?”

“Sorry! But Rachel’s been telling me that Blaine’s never going to make a move because—”

“Don’t insult him—”

“Who,” Rachel’s voice cuts in and Kurt really has to wonder how the hell she managed to wrestle the phone away from Mercedes. Unless Mercedes has handed the phone to her willingly and that is even more worrying, that Rachel and Mercedes have been teaming up in his absence. “Blaine, your boyfriend?”

“Yes, Blaine, my—oh.” His boyfriend. He collapses against his bed, staring at the ceiling. “We haven’t made any declarations, or—”

“If you need me to talk to him, I will,” Rachel offers. “I have several songs that will be ideal and that I wasn’t planning to suggest for Regionals.”

“You’re too kind. How about you sing to Blaine when I’m mad at him?”

“Oh, a reconciliation song! I have a lot of ideas for that.”

“Rachel,” Kurt says tiredly, since he’s reached maximum Rachel Berry levels for the week, let alone this instant, “please put Mercedes back on.”

“Hey Kurt.”

“Don’t ever do that again.”

“Nah, next time you’re being stupid, I’m gonna do it all over again,” she tells him, cheerfully. “Your boy better treat you well. Or he’s got us to answer to.”

“Thank you,” Kurt says, and he really does mean it.

“I’m happy you guys figured it out. We all called it at Sectionals by the way.”

“We took bets,” he hears Tina shout in the distance.

“I won.”

“It’s cheating since you texted Blaine,” Rachel protests.

“Well, I’m glad to be a source of amusement.” Kurt means for it to sound bitchier but he’s can’t help but feel so stupid for ignoring how utterly obvious it’s been all this time.

“You know we love you.” That’ll all he needs to hear from Mercedes before he’s blinking back, well, not tears. When he opens his eyes, they are clear. But he still misses them dearly.

“Love you, too.”

“Hey, why are you talking to us? Shouldn’t you be with that fine boy of yours?”

Oh.

“I can do that now. Talk to you, later.”

“Much later,” Mercedes says and he listens to the chorus of them sending their love to him and he returns it in kind.

Before he can make his gallant run to Blaine, he opens the door and finds Blaine there.

“Um. I heard you talking on the phone. I didn’t want to disturb you.”

Kurt has never ever bothered to stop his eyes from rolling. He does it this time. Must be love.

“Idiot,” he says, because he can say that now and mean it with all the affection he’s been bottling up, “Come here.”

Ties are excellent for grabbing someone and tugging them closer, by the way. There’s an art to it but it’s even better when the ties come off and boy’s still there.

The kiss, though, that’s the best part.


*


“It’s not forever, a summer,” Kurt says because they’ve already had winter and spring together but the way Kurt says it, it makes his heart ache because it’s obvious what’s really being formed there in those airy words. The final goodbye, expected, because what couple makes it past high school, past separate colleges, past two different lives, let alone a summer holiday between the school year where anything can happen?

That is if Blaine was delusional and he’s so very not.

“Huh. I didn’t know you hated resorts. I thought you’d live for a ‘round the clock spa, myself. But if you don’t want to go, then I guess I’ll have to see to it and cancel the reservations.”

“Are you inviting me, I mean, are you saying…I could spend part of my summer with you—“ Kurt cuts himself off as the idea itself is too impossible.

“I’m saying that I don’t know what happens next.” Blaine’s screwed up so many speeches but this is one he’s not going to ruin and he hasn’t even practiced it. With Kurt, he isn’t afraid to leave his heart out on his sleeve. “But I don’t want anything to end because everyone else says that’s what happens. Yes, Kurt, I want you to come with me on vacation. I cleared it with my parents. You’d have your own room. You know, if that’s okay.”

It’s probably the most direct Blaine’s ever been and he’s sure he looks like a jittery dork, anxiously rubbing his sweaty hands on his jeans as he waits for Kurt’s response.

He shouldn’t have worried. Why wait for words when a warm mouth is the answer he’s been waiting for all along?

Kurt does say, yes, though. As long as he gets an okay from his dad and Blaine is pretty much willing to jump through fiery hoops to get to have uninterrupted (though somewhat supervised) Kurt time over the break.

Blaine waits to mention that he’d invite Kurt’s entire family along if he could have Kurt for however long. For forever, if it’s possible.

But it’s silly to wish for that. Still.

He hopes.

end
Tags: fic, glee fic, kurt/blaine
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