Fic: life tearing at the seams (Glee, Kurt/Blaine, PG-13)
Author: Regala Electra
Spoilers: S3, AU
Warnings: Language (including reference to homophobic slurs), Violence, discussion of a past event of dubious consent, reference to an implied threat of sexual assault
Word Count: 9,039
Summary: It’s amazing how the right distressed designer wear can be mistaken for something one of the dangerous kids would wear. Kurt Hummel, one of the outcasts of McKinley High, dreams of leaving Lima behind. Then Blaine Anderson transfers during Kurt's senior year.
Author's Notes: Title from the song Punching in a Dream by The Naked and Famous. This is my take on the Skank!Kurt AU trend started on tumblr. I originally called this fic Kurt's an outsider and Blaine's a joiner and together they fight crime. Alas there is no crime fighting to be had. I am extremely indebted to whenidance and icedwhitemochas for their support and much-needed constructive criticism. ♥
Surface is all that matters in high school, or so Kurt Hummel keeps telling himself.
Who cares that he sneaks into the Sound of Music sing-along a couple of minutes into its runtime (missing the first iconic twirl of Maria on the sweeping hills)? Someone does—it means something, it means a three-letter word that’s been levied at him since middle school and only increasing in freshman year of high school.
It means slushies to the face, being slammed into lockers, and those angry glares chasing him down hallways, so he becomes mighty familiar with the floors of McKinley just in case anyone might be affronted by him looking at them. By the time in early sophomore year when he’s tossed into a dumpster and gets hit in the throat with a random twisted metal frame (it winds up needing stitches and by senior year, it’ll be a faded three inch scar on the side of his neck), he decides to take on a new self-preservation tactic.
It’s amazing how the right distressed designer wear can be mistaken for something one of the dangerous kids would wear; how spending a Saturday attaching safety pins down both sides of a pair of pants suddenly becomes a message. It’s all surface, a uniform he puts on every morning and takes off once he’s home, before his dad gets home from work and it works.
He doesn’t join any clubs and keeps himself beyond joining the strained social circle with a few of the other stranded outcasts hanging out under the bleachers. The personal dramas of his fellow students pass him by; there’s some major conflict between the jocks and the loser glee club that seems to be a big deal and he ignores it.
Kurt bitterly tries to ignore how he’s been singing since forever, how he still practices when he’s alone in his house but he’s too unsure and he knows his type of voice is just another reason to be attacked and it had taken a good two months after the dumpster incident to even attempt to sing again. He does drily note that more than half of the glee club winds up consisting of football players and cheerleaders, so that’s one way to fix being a McKinley outcast. Whatever. They’re all losers and Kurt is biding his time.
(And if he makes out with one of the cheerleaders, Brittany, during the tail end of sophomore year because she mistakes his butch drag wear for proof that he’s straight, then that’s okay too. At least he got to ask her what boys taste like and while the answer was kind of gross, it doesn’t feel like he’s missing out on anything.
Except how it suddenly feels like he’s missing out on everything.)
Between sophomore and junior year, Kurt somehow (and certainly not by spending time in the sun) inadvertently finds blondish streaks running through his hair and after a quick visit to a faraway convenience store, dyes his hair. He didn’t exactly intend for the color he wound up with but after one of his fellow outcasts, Sheila, compliments his hair when she goes to Hummel Tires and Lube to bum some cigarettes off of him, he decides to keep experimenting with the dye.
(Kurt doesn’t really smoke, exactly, but he’s got a fake I.D. and there are enough gas stations that really don’t care and it’s a good in for the kind of people that appreciate wasting time under the school bleachers. They don’t give a fuck that he’s gay—not that he’s told them but they assume and their assumption is, of course, correct—so long as he keeps handing them free cigarettes.)
Junior year kicks off with a hot blonde guy that Kurt’s sucker enough to fantasize about for one moment. That’s all he allows himself—the dream of one day getting out of this rotten town is a better thing to pin his future on—and that almost crumbles when, after he blows off family dinner with his father to sneak into the Sound of Music sing-along (without giving his dad any hint of where he’ll be all night), he finds out his dad’s in the hospital.
He’s been playing such a good game that he forgot he’s just stupid, scared Kurt Hummel, always destined to lose everything. He confesses then while his dad’s in the coma—Dad this isn’t me, not really. I’m gay, I’m sorry, I’m not getting high or whatever you think I’m doing, I’ll be good, I’ll be anything, just come back to me.
It’s all desperate and pointless. So fucking pointless. For the first time in his life, he gets blackout drunk and wakes up in, of all places, Sheila’s bed. His shoulder and upper bicep are screaming in pain and it’s not until he glances over that he realizes he’s all bandaged up.
The tattoo’s totally hot, Sheila tells him. Didn’t think you had a thing for werewolves. But it looks badass.
It’s hungover and with his arm tender that he settles next to his dad’s hospital bed and lays it all out—there’s nothing he believes in but them, that it’s his whole context for believing that maybe there’s something good in this world.
At first he thinks he tightened his hand around his dad’s but then he realizes it: his dad’s hand flexing underneath his own.
He searches for one of the nurses, Carole, an E.R. nurse so she’s not technically supposed to be around but she’s checked in on Kurt while he was with his dad every now and again, having seen the state of Kurt when he’d first rushed to the hospital. It becomes real the moment he tells her that his dad’s awake.
It’s the first time a woman (like a mom) hugs him until things feel all blurry and warm.
Whatever noble idea he’d had of fixing his high school life ends when one of the hockey jocks, Karofsky, knocks him into a wall. Nothing feels as good as breaking into Karofsky’s locker late at night and dumping plenty of grease and motor oil over the (few) contents inside. It escalates until he’s got a black eye he sports proudly because Karofsky didn’t even get a chance call him the three letter words that haunts him every time any jock takes a decided interest in calling him out for being a freak.
(Kurt is thankful that he’d worn the pants with the chains dangling like forgotten suspenders. He’d barely managed to avoid getting real damage done before he came out swinging.)
They are mutually suspended after that little incident but his gets lifted after Finn Hudson, of all people, vouches for him, saying he’d seen Karofsky harassing him. Not that Finn exactly did it for purely innocent reasons, apparently his mom (Carole) and Kurt’s dad are sort of seeing each other (complete news to Kurt) and he’d heard from his mom that Kurt could apparently sing, so maybe Kurt would be interested in joining glee club?
Laughing in Finn’s face should have felt a lot better than it did. Maybe because the joke’s on him; by spring, his dad is sitting him down and asking what Kurt thought about a June wedding.
Kurt has wedding magazines stored in a steel lockbox like porn.
(He looks at actual porn on his computer using as many private browsing features as he can and wipes the history after. He’s not going to be able to touch a boy until he gets the hell out of Ohio, so it’s all he’s got. He tries not to think too hard that he managed to get a better tattoo while on a drunken bender than nearly every guy in porn but then, he’d never get a tattooed arrow pointing to his dick, so clearly he’s already doomed for having discerning tastes.)
He shrugs and says he just wants his dad to be happy and claims ignorance about helping with the wedding. He’d come out to his dad after he’d recovered enough from his heart attack and been surprised when his dad told him he’d known since he was three.
Of course, then his dad had then asked him if he was okay and Kurt had smiled and lied that he was doing just fine.
Senior year starts off with Kurt placing the McKinley school year calendar on the back of his door in his new bedroom. It’s his sanctuary, this new bedroom, filled with touches of red and warm tones amongst the stark white, the only place he can really be. Despite Finn being his new stepbrother and attempting a few awkward moments of brotherly bonding, they have absolutely nothing in common.
He’d had to come out to Finn before the wedding. (“Uh, I guess that’s okay, are you like, is that why you dress like that?” “What? No. Just don’t think I’m in love with you. And stop asking me if I want to join glee club, I don’t care if I sounded good in the shower. Why are you listening to me while I’m taking a shower?”) Which meant that going into his last year at McKinley, everyone definitely knows he’s gay, thank you very much, Finn Hudson.
He’d gotten a polite five page email/essay from Finn’s current girlfriend Rachel Berry both insulting and congratulating for coming out of the glass closet, talking in an overly familiar way about her own gay dads and asking if he’s ever want to start a GAYLESBAL of which she’d attached a flyer in case they wanted to spread the word the first day of senior year. He’d never been so happy to delete an email.
Fortunately, he has a new ally under the bleachers, Quinn Fabray, hot off of not winning junior prom queen (which went to Santana Lopez) and sort of spiraling in a not good way.
“At least when I got drunk, I got a better tattoo,” Kurt tells her as he hands her another cigarette.
Kurt laughs, thinking of how ridiculous they both are. Quinn had a damn fine year after the scandal of getting knocked up during sophomore year and Kurt’s got a loving dad and a new stepfamily and the world still has not a damn thing worthwhile for either of them. Of course, that’s when Rachel Berry comes sweeping in, attempting to save Quinn, one ridiculous speech at a time.
After Quinn scares her off, Kurt says, “Now having someone who claims she’s not popular trying to restore you to former glory? That’s ironic.”
“You don’t know me, Kurt.”
“You don’t know me either,” he points out.
A couple weeks into the school year, Kurt’s heading back to his fourth period class (he does not go to Mr. Schuester’s third period Spanish class unless it’s for a test, which he passes easily and since Schuester feels guilty, he lets him get away with skipping the regular lessons) when he stumbles into a walking advertisement for Brooks Brothers.
A really, really attractive walking advertisement. Like a wow, who knew this was my type, he’s shorter than me and it’s kind of hot attractive guy.
“Sorry,” Brooks Brother says to him. “I’m new here.”
“Whatever.” And then because he’s feeling charitable, “You should watch out for the slushies. They’re carried by the Neanderthals walking these hallways. Can’t miss them. Don’t want to ruin a four hundred dollar cardigan, right?”
“Um, thanks.” Brooks Brother has incredible eyebrows, even when he furrows them. Maybe especially when he does that. “I didn’t get your name. I’m Blaine.”
Wondering why the hell Blaine wants his name, Kurt pauses for a moment and finally gives it, turning quick on his heel to make it into class before the warning bell. It’s not a retreat. It’s just called being cautious.
Blaine has a really great smile, too.
Blaine attempts to talk to Kurt sometimes in the hallway, which is frankly pissing Kurt off. He doesn’t have the time and it’s not like he needs a cheerful new kid as a friend, one completely unaware of the high school hierarchy and way too interested in Kurt in a way that makes Kurt instantly suspicious.
What passes for honor classes in McKinley aren’t exactly taxing, but he’s overloaded his schedule on purpose so that he can at least be bored in classes that can be credited against his freshman college requirement courses. Blaine’s a junior, so the only class they share is Math (Kurt’s worst subject) and though he sits in the back, he notices Blaine twists around a lot in an attempt to catch Kurt looking at him. Which he doesn’t. Ever.
If he notices Blaine has an amazing ass, that’s simply what happens when admiring someone’s sartorial fashion choices; Blaine wears some outfits very well. There’s a reversible bow tie that he notices Blaine wearing one day that makes Kurt’s fingers itch with need to touch.
That night he paints his nails black as a distraction and inadvertently has Finn awkwardly attempting a conversion with him about “that Adam Lamb guy” and how “some gay guys are pretty all right.”
Kurt sarcastically asks if Finn’s begging for a makeover and the stammering response back kind of churns his stomach, because of course, Finn’s down with the gays, so long as Kurt’s not that gay.
Finn attempts to defend himself with, “Hey, there’s a new gay kid who joined New Directions. He’s pretty all right. And we’re down a couple of members after Mercedes left for the Trouble Tones, so if you were ever interested in it, well—”
“No, Finn. I’m not. Stop asking. Glad you’re so down with the gays. By the way, it’s Adam Lambert.”
It’s petty, but slamming his bedroom door shut in Finn’s face feels really damn good.
Kurt loses it the day Blaine catches him under the bleachers. It’s clearly straight after Blaine’s gym class, he’s dressed in the shortest shorts Kurt’s ever seen, the hair around his forehead curling a little despite the intense amount of gel shellacked on his head.
“Oh, is this a McKinley hangout?”
It’s clearly meant to be friendly and Blaine is so lucky that only Kurt’s around. Quinn is off plotting something that Kurt really doesn’t want to know about, and the rest of the usual suspects are off celebrating Ronnie’s negative pregnancy test with a trip to Cedar Point.
“What the fuck is wrong with you, Blaine?”
The polite smile Blaine’s been wearing vanishes and he instantly pulls back into a defensive stance. “I’m sorry?”
Kurt takes it as the question it is, “You should be. Aren’t you one of the glee kids? Why exactly do you keep trying to talk to me?”
“I’m sorry, I thought—”
“Don’t think. I haven’t seen you get hit with a slushie yet. You want to keep it that way? Stop talking to me.”
“I know your stepbrother,” Blaine blurts out. “Finn? He said you’ve been having a rough time, I’m sorry for, um, asking around, but Finn mentioned you, just that you were his stepbrother, that’s all. It was after I’d joined New Directions, and I was curious, so. I wanted to talk you for a while.”
Blaine stares at him, surprised. “I think you’re interesting.”
Kurt scoffs. “You don’t even know me.” He gears up to his full height, a total dick move. “So what, did Finn give you some sad story about his poor gay stepbrother and if he only had a friend, maybe he’d see the error of his ways?”
It’s interesting to see the shift of Blaine’s emotions across his face. How hard Blaine tries to bury the annoyance into utter neutrality, a mask of compassion that settles on his features like it’s normal.
Well. They all have to play their parts, after all. But Kurt’s not in the mood for a pep talk, it gets better is really fucking nice but he’s got a calendar counting down the days before he’ll find out if that’s ever true and hearing it now won’t do anything for him.
“Get your virgin ass out of my way, Blaine.”
Just as he pushes past him, he hears Blaine mutter, “I’m not a virgin.”
Kurt swirls around, and he doesn’t know why that’s the spark, but it very well is. “Well, congratulations. How awesome for you, bet he was everything you ever dreamed of.”
Blaine blinks hard and draws a shaky breath. “You’d be surprised.”
Kurt doesn’t know how to take that, so he doesn’t.
Two weeks later, all the guys of glee club are converged in his living room plotting something out for some ridiculous New Directions song and dance lesson. Including Blaine.
Kurt’s plans of settling in for the night and maybe wearing the extra long H&M cardigan he’d never dare to wear at school and watching An American in Paris are shot. Still he can put on the latest episode ofJersey Shore saved on the DVR and strips out of his leather jacket and denim shirt and tosses on a distressed short-sleeved button down shirt he doesn’t mind wearing after picking up a shift at the garage. Technically, he’s grown out of it as it’s tight on his biceps, but it’s not like he’s dressing to impress.
(He aches one day to do exactly that. While he’s found plenty of variation in assumed outside freak, he’s also had to bypass a few pieces because it fell decidedly on the “eclectic prep” side of high end fashion.)
Speaking of anything prep, he wonders if Blaine’s Rag & Bone sweater is off the rack or if Blaine also participates in the online shopping frenzy for amazing deals.
He forgot that Blaine’s never seen his tattoo until he wanders downstairs to grab a drink. Blaine’s in the kitchen as well waiting on microwave popcorn. Kurt catches Blaine’s expression in the microwave and sighs.
“I don’t think someone who wears vests from the boys department can comment on someone else’s appearance.”
“Why do you think I was going to say something rude? Unlike you, I have manners,” Blaine says, frowning at the popcorn bag as it slowly expands. “Don’t you have to be eighteen to get a tattoo?”
“I don’t really remember getting it, so I guess my tattoo artist didn’t really care. A fake I.D. can do wonders.”
There’s a flicker of a strange emotion on Blaine’s face before he shakes it off. “I guess so.”
“What, you’ve never snuck into an R rated movie?”
“I’ve been to Scandals,” Blaine shoots back, hotly.
Kurt raises an eyebrow. He’s heard of it, but there’s no way he’s going to do something stupid and go to some place where he could get into real trouble, not when he’s still living in his dad’s house. His dad’s I’m disappointed in you talk when Kurt finally revealed the tattoo he’d gotten had been enough shame for him.
“You and your boyfriend must’ve had an awesome time,” Kurt says, wondering why he feels a little mean saying it. It’s not like he’s ever going to know what it’s like having a boyfriend, not here at least.
Blaine bites his lip. He busies himself with pouring the popcorn in a large bowl, making a big production of it. “He wasn’t—he’s not my boyfriend.”
The Coke Zero is getting warm in Kurt’s hand so he puts it down on the counter. “What are you doing with the guys tonight?”
“No, forget it.” He heads back to his room, stopping himself from doing something stupid like offering to have a real conversation with Blaine fucking Anderson.
He doesn’t know why he expected her, but he did. The campaign ad featuring her had been the talk of the school.
“Aren’t you going to welcome me to the fucking tribe?” Santana slumps on the couch under the bleachers, shaking her head, puzzled. “Where are the others?”
“Found a better place to hang. It’s mostly just me here most days.” Kurt likes it that way, but then he hadn’t been amused when Ronnie started making comments on how she always knew Santana was a carpet muncher.
“Blaine fucking sang to me.” She takes the cigarette he hands her but doesn’t let him light it, instead pocketing it in her cheerleader jacket. “They all did but Blaine got Brittany to sing with him and they welcomed me and he had this whole opening speech prepared like he’s the ambassador to team gay. Brittany’s bi though so y’know, it’s fucking okay, no one’s gonna offer to rape her straight, so I’m just the odd dyke out.”
Kurt pats her knee and is surprised when she doesn’t hit him. He presses his luck. “Welcome. It really sucks.”
Santana is an ugly and loud crier. The front of Kurt’s shirt is damp from her tears.
He does two things afterwards. He finds Blaine and asks for his phone number, which Blaine is shockingly happy to give over. Kurt immediately texts Blaine with stop giving people bad advice you earnest asshole. In front of him. Just to make sure Blaine gets it.
Then he has a screaming argument with Finn about Santana’s outing that night. It lasts nearly an hour and his dad finally steps in and after hearing the details, color drained, gives the I’m disappointed in you speech to Finn and announces his decision to throw his hat (“not literally, kid,” he says at Kurt’s look) into the special election. “No one’s pushing any kids around, especially ‘cause they’re gay. No more.”
Kurt regrets already sending in his college applications because “successfully managed a special election campaign for U.S. Congress” would’ve looked real nice.
Sometimes he and Blaine have conversations via text now.
It’s not a big deal, except how it is, and Kurt sometimes doesn’t completely ignore him at school. He’s slipping, he knows he is, so when Blaine mentions he had to take the bus to school because his mom is using the car this week (apparently Blaine drives his mom’s car, mostly because his parents are away on business so much that they don’t see the need to get him his own car) and that he’s dying for a decent cup of coffee, Kurt’s sucker enough to offer to drive him after school.
“I like your car,” Blaine says while they’re waiting in line. “It’s very you.”
“Okay, so that’s an insult, or?”
Blaine smiles, this one that Kurt’s realizing is used expressly around him and he has no idea what it means. It’s not flirty, because he’s seen Blaine around his friends, he’s touchy and overly friendly with everyone; he and Brittany are particularly close and when Brittany’s arm isn’t linked with Santana’s, it’s around Blaine’s. According to Finn (not that Kurt asks for intel about Blaine from Finn or anything), Blaine and Tina are expected to take charge of New Directions once Finn and Rachel graduate.
He’s just too nice.
“No, it’s a compliment.” Blaine’s voice is very soft and frustratingly sweet. “You can accept it or not.”
Kurt shrugs it off and mutters something about how it was a birthday present from his dad. “It doesn’t have great gas mileage but it’s mine.”
It’s their turn to order and while Blaine expresses some surprise at Kurt’s request, he hides it well enough.
“Didn’t peg me for a mocha fan?” Kurt challenges Blaine when they find an empty table.
“So long as you don’t give me grief for excessive cinnamon abuse,” Blaine answers back. The loose, easy roll of his body hardens suddenly and then he says, to something behind Kurt’s back, “Sebastian.”
“Hey sexy,” and Kurt has to scoff at the tone, and then outwardly laughs at the guy behind him, dressed in private school gear (he knows Blaine used to go to Dalton but that’s all Blaine would say on the matter). He looks like a complete dick. So that must be Blaine’s boyfriend, or ex, whatever.
He’s moving over to stand (leer) over Blaine. “Who’s the gayface tryhard? Experimenting with some rough trade?”
Too bad Sebastian’s delicate schoolboy shoes aren’t enough protection for a solid hit from a pair of steel-toed boots.
“Oh, I’m sorry,” Kurt says, pitching his voice just a little more because fuck this guy. “Didn’t realize you were hovering that close.”
As Sebastian tries to regain his composure and says to Blaine, “So you’re screwing this loser now?”
Blaine’s face is absolutely furious, red coloring his cheeks. “How dare—”
“So what if he is?” Kurt demands hotly. “Really if you’re trying to win your ex-boyfriend back, I think roses work better than being an asshole.”
Sebastian smirks and leans over Kurt. “Oh, so I guess he’s just pining for you. Well, let me give you a hint, if you get Blaine drunk—fuck, Blaine!”
Bless Blaine’s aim. It’s a direct hit of hot coffee right across Sebastian’s crotch.
Kurt picks up his drink and before he can add to the coffee-tossing drama, grabs Blaine’s hand as well and marches out of the Lima Bean without a glance backwards.
In the car, Blaine’s still panting fiercely, coming down from the adrenaline high. His fingers are twisted in the seatbelt as he keeps shifting it across his chest. That’s all Kurt can look at before he exits out of the parking lot, eyes fixed on the road ahead.
“I’m sorry, I’ve never…I didn’t expect him to be there.”
“Why the hell are you apologizing?”
“Because. Because I hate him.”
Kurt waits until he’s stopped at a red light. “I know I only get to judge the guy on first impressions and all, but I don’t think you’re in the wrong there. He’s a dick.”
Blaine nods his head, his eyes watery as he blinks roughly a few times.
“Hey, everyone’s going to date an asshole or two, right? Not that I’d know, but, I see enough madness just from Finn. I think he’s going to propose to Rachel ‘cause she keeps yammering on about NYADA, which I’m not even sure is a real school.”
(Kurt's waiting for the early decision from NYU, but he also sent out several other New York City college applications as just in case options.)
“That would be a disaster,” Blaine says and then quickly corrects himself, “not that I’m judging Finn or anything, but—”
“It’s pretty stupid. Finn asked me if pork was vegan yesterday because he wants to cook her a romantic dinner.”
Blaine’s eyebrows have risen into perfect triangles and Kurt has to keep his eyes on the road before he does something stupid like blurt out how much he enjoys Blaine’s face.
“I can’t believe you aren’t asking me.”
“Asking you what, Blaine?”
“About me and Sebastian.”
“Is there a you and Sebastian now? Sounds like it was in the past and not my business.”
Blaine breathes a deep sigh and says no like it’s a balm. “We were sort of, though. Not really.”
Kurt pulls into Blaine’s driveway after double-checking with him about the directions. It’s a nice house and he tells Blaine so. “Okay. So you want to tell me the whole story. Tell it and I’ll take it to the grave.”
“I didn’t plan on switching schools.” Blaine’s staring at his house and then he closes his eyes like he can’t bear to look at it. “Sebastian, he um, he transferred to Dalton just as this year began and he, um, I guess he really pursued me? I have, I have an embarrassing story I’m not telling you right now about when I was a sophomore and had a crush that didn’t end well, but basically, I am really bad at picking up signs from guys. Sebastian was so into me, right from the start. I liked the attention and he told me about Scandals and how he wanted to show me a good time.”
“So you danced the night away and got swept off your feet,” Kurt supplies, attempting to selfishly spare himself of the details.
“He got me drunk and we had sex. Not that I can remember the details but getting dumped in front of my house with my pants unzipped is pretty memorable.”
Kurt sucks in a breath. “Blaine. You don’t remember it?”
“I remember wanting to be kissed. I’d never, I had really bad luck, or I guess I was kind of oblivious. So when he went to kiss me, I let it happen and when he asked for more, I didn’t say no.”
“But you don’t remember anything.”
“My mom driving me to a clinic the next day to get tested, that’s what I remember. Um. I just gave him a blowjob, I think, but I don’t know if there was a condom.”
“Jesus, Blaine.” At Blaine’s look Kurt holds up his hands. “No, it’s not that. I’m not judging you. It’s that Sebastian treated you like that.”
“Oh.” Blaine’s silent for a moment, considering his words. “I mean, I sort of asked for it.”
“Really? You honestly think that.”
He barely hears Blaine’s no but he does catch it and stupidly offers his arm in an awkward one-armed hug, hating how he doesn’t really mind Blaine’s head slotted into the curve of his shoulder. How Blaine rests against him like there’s nowhere else he’d rather be.
“After that, Dalton was just awful. Sebastian likes to brag and my mom was so mad, she went to the headmaster and after he did nothing, she asked me what I wanted to do. I didn’t want to be there. So. McKinley.”
“Out of the frying pan into the fire?”
Blaine’s laugh is a rough breath against Kurt’s skin. “Sort of. It’s not that bad.”
“Well, you are a joiner, they do love that. Despite being a member of New Directions, it can’t hurt being one of the leads of the school play, and what else?” Kurt’s teasing him, far more gently than he’s ever dared but Blaine seems to really need it.
“Asian club, Brainiacs, Robotics club, shut up, it’s awesome,” Blaine says at Kurt’s not-so hidden chuckle. “And Brittany keeps telling me to join the cheerleading squad but Coach Sylvester is kind of terrifying.”
“I’d advise you against wearing polyester,” Kurt says, tapping Blaine on the shoulder to let him detach but Blaine just brings his arm over and holds on to Kurt tighter.
“She also has a vendetta against curly haired people, or so I’m told.”
“How curly is your hair exactly?”
Blaine laughs again and Kurt really tries to quash that pleasant thrill of how it feels to make Blaine feel better. “It’s pretty awful.”
“I doubt it.”
Blaine makes a disagreeing noise in the back of his throat, somehow moving closer into Kurt. He can almost catch the faintest tinge of cinnamon radiating off of him. “This though? This is nice.”
“Um, well, I guess it’s nice to have a friend.” Kurt inwardly curses at himself for that unbelievable awkwardness, but he has no idea what else to say.
Blaine suddenly sits up, nervously pushing back hair that has not broken free from his forehead, like it’s a phantom presence. “Right. Yeah. I’m sorry I got you in the middle of that.”
“I’m sorry I couldn’t kick Sebastian in the balls,” Kurt tells him, quite sincerely. “Quit apologizing.”
Blaine jerks his head and opens up the passenger door. “I’ll see you around, Kurt.”
It’s a weird way of saying goodbye, but Kurt accepts it. “See you.”
Blaine starts avoiding him in the hallways, which is fine. The texts get rarer and then Finn starts acting weird at home, prompting Kurt to ask him if he proposed to Rachel and when Finn says no but then asks if Rachel would like yellow or white gold, Kurt winds up getting embroiled in that drama, pissing off Finn when says it’ll be real stupid to get married before he even graduates high school.
Then he gets a call from Santana in the dead of night saying she’s at the hospital. Because Blaine’s in the E.R.
Kurt doesn’t ever really break any major laws, but he does disobey every traffic law imaginable getting to the hospital in an unnatural amount of time. He gets filled in from Santana; apparently they were doing some kind of dance off with the Dalton Academy Warblers. (Honestly why does Kurt bother watching musicals when this sort of stuff is happening right under his nose?) Sebastian, now the de-facto leader of the Warblers, tossed a slushy in Blaine’s face.
“There was something in it,” Santana says, voice shaking with anger.
“How bad is it?”
“Real bad. Like. Fuck. I think Tina called his parents—”
“But they’re out of town.”
Santana tilts her head about to ask a question but thinks better of it. “Yeah. Exactly. Apparently his mom said some things Tina couldn’t even repeat about Sebastian.”
“There’s a history,” Kurt says, which is really all he can offer. “So no one’s allowed in, right?”
“Finn’s trying to get a hold of his mom so we can see him.”
“They’re in Columbus this weekend.” Kurt steadies his shoulders. “I guess we wait until he gets a room and then I break in.”
“You know this badass act? Never really worked for you.”
“Like I care right now.” He looks at Santana, all steel and fury, and unable to do anything and terrified of being found out. “It kept me alive.”
He breaks into Blaine’s hospital room in the middle of the night after everyone finally headed to their respective homes. Blaine’s asleep, the bandage around his eye enormous and kind of freaking Kurt out.
“I really hate hospitals. You should know that about me.” He sits next to the bed and finds that in every hospital room, the walls are equally depressing. “Damn it, Blaine.”
He says some other things too, not that it matters or makes him feel any better. He’s out of there before a nurse on the night shift catches him.
Blaine’s been out of school for a week and Kurt skips out early one day to visit him. That’s how he meets Blaine’s mother who takes one look at him and almost closes the door.
“This is from Santana,” he says, holding up a micro recorder. “She and Blaine are in glee club together. I guess Sebastian was more than willing to brag than confess his crimes.”
Mrs. Anderson takes it, her dark eyes still laced with anger. “And who are you?”
Mrs. Anderson blinks and then takes in another look at him, sweeping from his Doc Martens to the tips of his currently streaked purple hair. “You’re Kurt?”
Kurt feels a little like he’s been given the wrong pages to a script; of all the things he expected from Blaine’s mother, the genuine surprise without a hint of disgust is frankly freaking him out.
“Blaine’s talked about you,” she says after a long pause, opening the door and granting him entry to the foyer. “I did not expect—”
“I get it. Can you just, I don’t know, give that to the police or something? Blaine told me that Sebastian’s gotten away with stuff in the past, so this might help.”
“I sat across from that boy and his father as that child said my son was just as at fault as him and that if he was to be expelled then so would my son,” Mrs. Anderson begins, clutching the recorder fiercely to her chest. “And he looked so proper, of course.”
Her hand clasps his shoulder briefly and she nods once, short and hard. “I’m not fooled by a teenager with a bad dye job. Thank you. Did you want to see Blaine? He has been asking about you, texting bothers him and he didn’t want to just call you. His words.”
Kurt stares for a long moment before saying yes, of course he wants to see Blaine. She leads him to Blaine’s bedroom door and then says she needs to make a few calls.
Blaine ought to be completely strung out on painkillers and he still somehow managed to gel his hair. “Santana called me saying you were delivering the evidence,” Blaine explains, straightening the flannel blanket across his lap. “What evidence? Are you a secret detective? Like 21 Jump Street?”
“I’ll pretend you’re comparing me to Johnny Depp and not Channing Tatum,” Kurt jokes and tries not to laugh at Blaine’s free and boisterous laughter. “Wow, okay, so you got the good stuff.”
“No, it’s not that. I can’t believe you broke into my room.”
“Your mom let me in.”
“No, not now, duh,” Blaine says, flinging an arm out and patting his bed and Kurt gingerly accepts, sitting on the edge just in case he needs to bolt. Blaine’s hand aims for his knees and misses. It takes two tries for him to curl his hand over Kurt’s knee, thumb sliding over the top of the start of Kurt’s thigh. “At the hospital.”
“You were knocked out,” Kurt says, cursing himself when he really could have denied it outright.
“I was kind of out of it, yeah.” Blaine has to turn his head more than usual to really take a look at Kurt’s face. “But I heard you all the same.”
“God. Look, we stopped talking and the next thing I hear you wind up in the E.R. So I got worried.”
“I’m sorry about that. I just needed to handle Sebastian on my own. Obviously things got out of control.”
“Are you seriously apologizing for what Sebastian did to you? Because, Blaine, come on—”
“No.” Blaine holds up his hand and Kurt tries not to miss the touch. “I didn’t mean that. I meant, I was really embarrassed. I had to tell you all about Sebastian and you were so nice about it.”
Kurt frowns, wondering what path Blaine’s stoned logic has taken him. “I don’t follow.”
“God, I wish I could tell you how much I like you.”
“Well, that’s okay, you just did. I sort of like you too. I’m pretty pissed this happened and it’s not like I have any reputation so if you want to hang out more, we can. I’ll stop making fun of you being an overachiever.”
Apparently that’s the wrong answer because Blaine’s chin starts wobbling and Blaine actually has to bite his lip.
“Shit, I’ll make fun of you all the time,” Kurt says, scrambling, “seriously, like, what’s with all the fencing stuff in the room, that’s so preppy—”
“I used to fence.” Blaine pauses. “I really fucking wish I’d asked you out when I had the chance because I like you so much.”
Kurt jumps up from the bed. “Are you serious, Blaine? Like, are you hallucinating or like, do you love everyone right now? If Mike Chang was here, would you be asking him out?”
There’s just—there’s no way. No possibility. He and Blaine are friends, friends who have somehow managed to exist without gaining the ire of school for being two gay guys existing in their space, and Blaine’s never tried anything more, not even made mention of it. This seriously has to be a joke.
“See? I knew it. Sebastian was right.”
Considering Kurt wouldn’t trust Sebastian if he told him that the earth was round, Kurt is completely pissed off. “What the hell are you talking about?”
“He told me, on my last full day at Dalton, that everyone would be able to tell, that I’m just some—” and Blaine’s mouth works around a little like the word hurts him to say and then he bites it out, “whore.”
Kurt sucks in a breath. “Blaine. I’d never think that.” He comes back to the bed, this time kneeling, and takes Blaine’s hand. “Why would you think that about yourself?”
“I want to be liked so bad. All the time.”
“There’s nothing wrong with that.” It’s strange admitting that, the fact that he’s tried so hard to rebel against it, to free himself from wanting acceptance and here he is, trying to convince Blaine that it’s okay. “And hey, you know what? This time, Sebastian’s not getting away with anything.”
Blaine scoffs. “I don’t care about him. I care about—Kurt, what do you…are we just friends?”
It’s hard to work around the lump in his throat but he manages it, anticipation for once outweighing the part of him screaming about the consequences. “Do you want to be more?”
All Blaine says is, “Kurt,” completely broken and it’s impulsive and it’s stupid, it’s his first kiss with a boy but Kurt can’t think of a single thing to say or anything else to do but kiss Blaine, marveling at how perfectly his hand cups Blaine’s jaw. Everything fits together, the slide of their lips is a little rough but then it all settles and builds, and he breathes harsh and Blaine answers back in a moan, low and needy.
It’s long and god, Kurt wants more but he pulls back. “Maybe we should talk about this later.”
Blaine nods, his one visible eye shining.
“So. I’ll—” Kurt stumbles off of the bed, his legs not cooperating. He waves as he attempts actual coordination, his other hand on the doorknob as he exits Blaine’s bedroom. “So later.”
On the drive home, he berates himself thoroughly for so later.
Fortunately Blaine’s late scheduled follow-up surgery keeps Kurt and Blaine from having to start an awkward talk, one which Kurt expects to begin with I was high on painkillers and end with let’s be friends because really, that couldn’t have really happened. What if he took advantage of Blaine?
These thoughts plague him and even though days after his lips still buzz with the echo of Blaine’s mouth against his own, he pushes it all down, it’s not like he can do anything about it. He’s a few months away from graduating and falling for someone in high school had never been a part of any of Kurt’s plans.
He does take a few calls from Blaine and keeps to happier topics, realizing that Blaine’s weakness for reality shows can lead to a thirty minute conversation about the latest episode of Tabatha. It ought to be distressing how many things they have in common.
It’s nice and it’s not going to last long once Blaine’s no longer stuck on bed rest, so Kurt’ll take it.
Blaine’s taken to emailing him since it’s easier to work on a laptop than the small touchpad of his phone during the day and now he’s complaining about how his doctor isn’t sure if Blaine will get the okay to start taking off his eyepatch for a couple of hours a day to acclimate back to his regular vision. Kurt offers that maybe Blaine should just let Kurt bedazzle some eyepatches for him. He almost collides into Sugar Motta as she attempts to accost him in the hallway with a sparkly invite to her silly Valentine’s Day party.
“No singles allowed,” he points out, evading her pink, sparkly grasp as she tries to shove the invite into his jacket pocket.
“Well, I heard from a very cute boy that you’re so off the market and he wants to serenade you, so cowboy up.”
The floor almost feels like it drops out from underneath him. There’s no way it can—Blaine isn’t supposed to even be back in school until the start of next week at the earliest. It must be some kind of stupid prank. Or an attempt from the glee club to recruit. Rachel keeps a sharp tally on the numbers and Blaine isn’t sure if he’ll be ready for Regionals. “Really? And who’s that?”
“I’m not about to reveal your secret admirer. God, get with the program.”
Kurt spends the rest of the day muttering about being told to cowboy up from someone who would be thrilled to discover she’s a long lost Kardashian sister.
Whatever reputation he used to have has completely eroded. He ought to be pissed but it’s oddly kind of freeing.
He skips the party because he’s not a fucking idiot and he overhead Rachel asking if she could show up later and assist on vocals for Love Shack. Totally another recruitment tactic.
He calls Blaine but gets his voicemail and says he hopes he’s feeling better and that he’s free tonight, obviously, so maybe if Blaine was up to it, they could hang out. It sounds a lot better in his head as he rambles on and the voicemail message actually cuts out but he gets a quick email from Blaine saying that he can’t wait to see Kurt with a one-eyed smiley face at the end of the message.
Maybe it’s actually time to cowboy up and figure out what’s really going on between them. It is after all a night for it, in a weird way.
He drives over to Blaine’s and isn’t exactly surprised to find Mrs. Anderson opening the door. Mr. Anderson he has yet to meet, apparently he takes very long business trips, even when his son gets nearly blinded.
“Oh dear, did Blaine not tell you I was dropping him off at the party?”
“Oh, I guess he’s recovered fully, then?” Kurt attempts a polite smile, a little upset Blaine didn’t let him know he decided to meet up with his friends. “That’s good to know.”
Mrs. Anderson stares and then sighs loudly. “You two aren’t dating.”
Kurt reels in shock. Oh great, he’s now getting Blaine’s mother involved in his weird whatever with Blaine, excellent. “What? No. We’re friends.”
Mrs. Anderson’s mouth settles in a tight line. “Blaine thinks otherwise.”
“He does? Then um, why isn’t he here?”
“He seemed awfully excited that he was going to go out with you tonight.” Mrs. Anderson’s voice is gentle and it takes Kurt a moment to respond.
“I think there’s been a misunderstanding.”
“I think you’re right.”
He’s halfway to the party, when it hits him—Blaine’s going to serenade him in public. What they are—what Kurt hasn’t dreamed of letting himself mentally define them as being—that they like each other like that, it’s so silly and romantic and everything Kurt Hummel isn’t supposed to have now.
In public. That’s the part that makes him slow down as he gets closer to Breadstix (now renamed the Sugar Shack) and instead of turning into the parking lot, he keeps on driving. A boy is going to sing to him and then what? They’re going to dance? People are going to watch them have a moment together? Somehow that makes it all seem too good to be true and as badly he wants to be that guy, to come in and find Blaine there, probably dressed beautifully, god, Blaine had so much time to plan out a perfect outfit, and he’ll be flustered and he’s technically late already.
Running away though. That’s the easiest thing in the world, really.
Kurt has no idea how to deal with any of it, of the fact that Blaine is actually waiting for him, so he heads home, catching the tail end of his dad and Carole talking about their plot to convince Finn and Rachel to rethink their engagement.
“Thought you were going to be out,” his dad says but when he catches the look on Kurt’s face, his voice changes. “Hey, Kurt, you all right?”
He gets a single text in the middle of the night from Blaine: I don’t understand.
Kurt texts back: I don’t either.
“Was Sugar’s message too vague? I thought it might be that because my mom told me you showed up. Kurt, what happened?”
Kurt leans his head briefly on his locker before he turns around. “Let’s talk somewhere private.”
The bleachers are as good as anywhere, plus it gives Kurt a few minutes to choose his words. “Blaine, I’m graduating in a few months. And I really like you but—”
Blaine’s never really grabbed at him before but he does now, stilling Kurt with his hands on Kurt’s shoulders. “I know we only have a few months. It really sucks. But you kissed me. I’ve been too scared to and you finally did and you just want to be friends now?”
“Isn’t that for the best?”
Blaine’s mouth is on his, fierce and unabashed before Kurt can react. “Isn’t that for the best?”
Kurt shoves Blaine back, quickly scanning the area but they’re mercifully alone. “We can’t do this here.”
“So pick a place.”
“Blaine,” Kurt cries out. “I’m not going to make you a target.”
“I get made a target in plenty of other ways,” Blaine says, “You think Dalton was my first high school? I got beat up at the first and only school dance I ever attended because I went with another guy. Why—god, Kurt, I’ve been in love with you and sometimes I think you are too but then you keep pulling away.”
“You don’t even know me.”
It’s the dumbest thing that Kurt could say and Blaine laughs. “I know that you love Alexander McQueen and that you pull off a tattoo of an angry werewolf more than anyone should be allowed to. You’re wrong that Daniel Vosovic should’ve won the second season of Project Runway but absolutely right that Nina Flowers should’ve won RuPaul’s Drag Race. I know that you hate hospitals but you were there to make sure that I was okay. I know my mom’s worried that I might lead you on—”
“What?” Kurt says but Blaine ignores the interruption.
“Because, as she told me, he’s such a nice boy, despite the silly hair.”
“My hair is not silly.”
“No,” Blaine says, earnestly. “It isn’t. I like your hair.”
“Thank you,” Kurt says, baffled by the compliment.
“I know that you fascinate me. So why not, Kurt? What’s the reason besides the fact that I’m stuck in Ohio for another year?”
“Isn’t that reason enough? Blaine, you’re supposed to, I don’t know, it’s not supposed to happen like this.” All of Kurt’s rationalizations are crumbling and he can’t even gather the wits to chase after them, throwing out, “I’m going to NYU.”
“Congratulations. My mom travels a lot. Sometimes to New York. I should probably check out college campuses in the fall and I always wanted to go to school there.” Blaine’s eyelashes fan out when he lowers his gaze and then he looks up through his eyelashes. Wow, Kurt has never really seen the blatancy of Blaine’s flirt before this moment. “I really wouldn’t mind having a college boyfriend.”
“We haven’t even gone out on one date and you’re thinking about September?” Blaine said that word so casually, the b word, a word that Kurt, up until this moment, didn’t really allow himself to believe would ever really be applied to him. He wants it though. So desperately it ought to frighten him and yet the moment he looks at Blaine and sees that light in his eyes, it’s like he can see forever and it makes him feel safe. His resolve crumbling, he throws out one last defensive measure, his wavering voice giving away how much it’s a front, “What makes you think I want to be your boyfriend?”
“I’m kind of stupid about love. Really stupid. But I know you care about me. And I really hope I’m right.”
Kurt’s not stupid, though. He’s built so many self-preservation tactics that he’s managed to have a only a mildly crummy experience at McKinley and now he’s on the edge of rejecting a boy he knows he shouldn’t be with because of very fine reasons that he suddenly can’t remember.
“I don’t know what I’m doing,” Kurt admits.
“We could figure it out together.”
Kurt looks up, to that underside view of the bleachers he’s become so accustomed to and he blinks back something until his vision clears. “I think I’d like that.”
Blaine offers his hands, palms up and Kurt gladly accepts the gesture, his fingers sliding over Blaine’s palms as though their hands were always meant to fit together, not closing in on the distance between them as the warmth from Blaine’s hands is enough.
Lie. Total lie. He leans forward and meets home, the taste of Blaine’s mouth.
“So where do we go from here?”
“Well, I was supposed to be singing a very romantic song to this boy I like on Valentine’s Day. But I guess I have something of a curse surrounding that holiday.”
Kurt raises an eyebrow at that, wondering if it’s associated with that failed sophomore crush that Blaine never really went into detail about. “That’s what you glee kids always want to do: sing about your feelings.”
“Don’t knock it till you’ve tried it,” Blaine says, his tone light and teasing and he tips forward, planting an off-center kiss that lands at the corner of Kurt’s mouth.
Kurt quickly counters with a slow and deep kiss, making a thoughtful noise in the back of his throat so he can pull away just to hear Blaine groan. “I know Finn’s told everyone he’s heard that I can sing.”
“You probably have an amazing voice,” Blaine says and with that look in his eyes it’s very difficult not to promise Blaine a song every single day.
So, he doesn’t keep from making that. “Fine. I might offer up a song or two, strictly as an amateur.”
One that’s been practiced in secret for years but Blaine doesn’t need to know that right now.
“We could duet.”
Kurt mishears him and almost blushes and then smacks Blaine’s shoulder when Blaine catches his expression and realizes what Kurt thought he said. “Solos first. That’s how you show choir people do it, right?”
“Oh, I thought you weren’t ever going to join us.”
Blaine smirks and shrugs. “So you say now.”
“You are going to be the kind of boyfriend that wheedles for favors, aren't you?”
“No, I’m going to be the kind of boyfriend that kisses you now. Okay?”