Fic: on fire when he's near you
Word Count: ~11,000
Summary: The many misunderstandings of Kurt and Blaine.
Their first misunderstanding: it happens before they’re even officially dating. Maybe it sets the tone for everything else, Blaine’s not sure. If that’s the case, he thinks everyone should be so lucky; he and Kurt have a relationship filled with moments like this when they both feel so much that they can barely see straight.
It starts soon after they’re back from winter break when he and Kurt are standing off to the side during a five minute break in Warblers practice, and Carter is just staring at them. Blaine’s not even sure why he notices it but he does. He tries not to be obvious about watching Carter watch them but it’s weird. He turns back towards Kurt and smiles and tries to find a thread in the conversation to give him a clue as to what Kurt’s talking about but he can’t shake the bizarre feeling that Carter’s still watching.
After practice, Blaine waits for Kurt finish his conversation with David (and God knows what those two could even be talking about) before they head out to grab some coffee and Carter saunters up to him with a grin that makes Blaine uncomfortable. Carter’s normally a pretty decent guy but something’s off and it’s getting under Blaine’s skin for a reason he can’t quite place.
"Three months," is all Carter says and Blaine cocks an eyebrow.
"Is that supposed to mean something to me?" Blaine asks.
"Three months," Carter repeats. "You’ve had three months to seal the deal with Kurt."
Blaine stiffens. "Seal the deal?"
"Don’t be so crude," Carter says, rolling his eyes. "I just mean that you’ve gone three months and you still haven’t asked him out. And I’m tired of waiting."
Blaine can’t do anything but blink. "Pardon?"
"Blaine," Carter sighs, and it’s a bit too exaggerated for Blaine’s taste. "You’re not the only guy in this school with eyes."
He swallows. "I’m not sure what you mean."
Carter rolls his eyes again. "Playing dumb isn’t a good look on you, Blaine." He sighs and gives Blaine a look; it’s borderline pitying. "Look, you’re a good guy, Blaine, and I like you, I really do. But this is getting ridiculous. Kurt’s sixteen. I know you’re trying to watch out for him and be some kind of strong role model but seriously, he’s sixteen. He wants someone to like him and date him and compliment him, not act like some Obi Wan Gay-nobi."
Blaine’s eyes narrow but he keeps his voice level. "He needs friends, Carter. You don’t know the first thing about him."
He laughs quietly. "I know I don’t because I respect you and thought you two had something going on. But enough’s enough, man. If you’re not going to make a move, I will. If you think he needs a friend right now, that’s cool. Be his friend." He shrugs and gives Blaine a lopsided smile. "But I’m not interested in just friends. He's funny and he’s smart and he smiles at me during French and I know that you know that he’s certainly easy on the eyes."
And Blaine has no idea how to respond to that, nothing that doesn’t resemble a primate territorial display. So he’s quiet for a second and then says, "Don’t. Please don’t."
Carter’s look softens. "Are you going to ask him out?"
Blaine shrugs. "I want to. Eventually."
"Event -- dammit, Blaine, that’s my point. I’m sorry but I’m not waiting around for our senior year to ask him out."
"Well, word to the wise," Blaine says with an embarrassing amount of possessiveness in his voice. "He hates Star Wars references so you might want to leave those out. It’s too bad you don’t know things like that."
Carter sighs deeply, sounding so very put upon, and Blaine wants to hit him. Before he can give it any actual thought, he hears footsteps behind him and turns to see Kurt.
"Ready to go?" he asks Blaine brightly. He seems to notice Carter then and says, "Oh, are you joining us?" Blaine can’t tell if he's imagining the disappointment he hears.
"No," Carter answers, just as vibrantly. "Just asking Blaine here a few questions about you."
"Oh?" Kurt asks, eyebrow shooting up. He looks amused.
Blaine is definitely not amused. He doesn’t know what to say.
"I was checking to see if you were single," Carter explains, his voice still sounding so sunny and happy and oh god, flirty.
Blaine watches the tips of Kurt’s ears turn pink and he feels his stomach churn in response.
"Oh, really?" Kurt says and now his voice sounds more nervous than amused.
Blaine swallows. He’s watching someone hit on Kurt right in front of him and until this very moment he never thought about how awful it would actually be.
"Yes, really," Carter answers, giving Kurt a toothy smile and Blaine has the urge to yell out something about how his teeth are probably fake because Carter’s dad is a dentist and it’s just not fair to have that kind of advantage right now. "I told him I wanted to ask you out."
Kurt lets out a weird laugh and turns his gaze to Blaine. They stare at each other for a minute and Blaine can see Kurt’s not happy. His eyes are boring right through Blaine’s and the worst part is … Kurt looks disappointed but completely unsurprised. "You told him to ask me out?" Kurt asks finally. He keeps his voice light but Blaine’s not an idiot.
"No," he answers immediately. "I didn’t say that."
"He didn’t," Carter admits and both Blaine and Kurt startle, like they almost forgot he was there. "I was only checking with him to make sure you two were just friends."
Blaine looks down at his feet and shakes his head slightly, like he can’t believe this is actually happening. What a dick move, Carter, he thinks to himself. He thinks, You’re a dick and I really thought you were better than this.
He looks up to see Kurt giving the fakest smile Blaine’s ever seen in his entire life and says, "And that’s what you said? That we were just friends?"
And Blaine’s screwed. If he tells Carter that they’re not just friends, then he’s lying because he and Kurt have never had that conversation and it’s not fair to take that choice away from Kurt. Blaine’s pictured it in his head, sure, how that conversation would start. Maybe they’ll be outside in some snowy scene, cheeks pink with the cold Ohio winter, maybe they’ll be huddled over a reference book together in the library with hushed voices like they’re telling secrets, maybe they’ll be in Blaine’s room watching a Jersey Shore marathon, laughing so hard they cry. Regardless, that first talk about "us" and "we" and "together", it’s going to be a two-way conversation and certainly not something Blaine tells Kurt like he’s staking his claim in front of some dick trying to hit on him.
So his second option is to say, Yes, Carter (you dick), Kurt and I are just friends.
Blaine is definitely screwed.
He looks Kurt in the eye and says, "I told him we’re friends," and hopes desperately that Kurt hears the difference between ‘friends’ and ‘just friends’.
He doesn’t, Blaine can tell. Kurt’s eyes look sad but his smile never fades. "Well, Carter," he says, looking away from Blaine. "I’d love for you to join us. We’re just grabbing some coffee."
Carter gives Blaine a quick look, almost smug, before he turns his gaze back to Kurt and beams at him. "Are you sure? I don’t want to intrude."
Kurt scoffs. "You’re not intruding. It’s just coffee between friends."
Blaine flinches at the acid in his voice and yeah, Kurt’s moved from hurt to full-on angry in the span of sixty seconds. Awesome.
Carter takes a step towards Kurt and reaches out to pick off a piece of non-existent fuzz on Kurt’s lapel. Blaine resists the urge to gag. "Well then count me in," Carter says. "I could use some caffeine."
Kurt returns his smile and steadfastly avoids Blaine’s gaze.
He clears his throat. "Why don’t you guys go without me?" Blaine suggests. There’s no way he’s watching Carter hit on Kurt for any longer than he has to. These past ten minutes have been rough; any longer will be torture.
Kurt doesn’t say anything.
"I’ll catch up with you two later," Blaine tells them, already heading towards the door. "Hope you have fun."
It only lasts for two days but it’s the worst two days Blaine’s had in a long time. He pictures them huddled close in Carter’s room and wonders if maybe they’re rehearsing songs in private or watching lame chick flicks or doing any number of the dozen images Blaine’s got running through his head. He thinks about how maybe he’s been replaced because he hasn’t seen Kurt in two days and God knows Kurt’s got to be doing something with the time that he used to reserve for Blaine.
And then suddenly, Kurt’s waiting outside Blaine’s chemistry class with a latte and a small unsure smile. It’s the best thing Blaine’s seen in months and he returns the smile with a blinding one of his own. He immediately feels the pressure on his chest let up, feels himself breathe a little easier. Blaine doesn’t ask any questions; he’s not sure if he wants any answers right yet. He likes to think that maybe Carter made a few Star Wars jokes too many. He won’t find out the real reason until several months later when Kurt confesses that no, there wasn’t any drama, no fight, no big goodbye with Carter. He tells Blaine that there wasn’t anything, that was the problem.
It’s the first time Blaine realizes how lucky he and Kurt are; there’s so much between the two of them that sometimes they don’t know what to do with it all.
And sometimes these miscommunications, they start and end so quickly that it’s almost like they never happened at all.
It’s a handful of days after Valentine’s Day and they fall asleep on Blaine’s bed. It’s harmless; it’s only been a couple of weeks since they’ve been whatever it is that they are so they’re fully clothed and still pretty tentative.
Blaine’s body jolts him awake and it takes him a few minutes to realize that yes, he’s still got his blazer on, no it’s definitely not light outside anymore and yeah, that’s totally Kurt’s arm draped over his chest.
The green numbers on his clock tell him that it’s two thirty in the morning and it only takes a few seconds for everything else to catch up before he starts to freak the hell out.
"Kurt!" he hisses. "Kurt, get up!" He’s not-so-gently nudging him and trying to get his brain to slow down at the same time.
Kurt wakes up slowly and Blaine’s torn between enjoying this moment (this sleepy, mellow, absolutely adorable expression on Kurt’s face that Blaine’s never had the opportunity to see before) and shoving Kurt off the bed to wake him up good and proper so that he can get back to his own room and somehow miraculously avoid the inevitable shitstorm heading their way.
"What?" Kurt asks, his voice still sounding groggy. "What’s going on?"
At this point, Blaine’s tumbled out of his bed and he's frantically trying to find Kurt’s left shoe.
"You have to get out of here," Blaine pleads. "C’mon, get up."
Kurt sits up slowly and rubs his eyes. "Why? Is everything okay?"
"It’s two thirty," Blaine hisses. "As in three and a half hours after curfew." He finally finds Kurt’s wayward shoe sitting on his roommate’s empty bed and he grabs it.
"Here," he says, waving it in front of Kurt. "Take it!"
Either Kurt’s still not fully with it or he just doesn’t care that Blaine’s having a nervous breakdown. "Blaine," he tries. "Calm down, it’s fine."
"It’s not fine! It’s two thirty in the morning."
"Yeah," he says and he finally gets up off the bed and grabs his shoe from Blaine’s shaking hand. "I got that the first time. What’s with you right now?"
But Blaine’s barely paying him any attention; he’s too busy pushing him towards the door. "You have to get out, Kurt." He opens his door and peeks out cautiously. "Make sure no one sees you."
"Okay," Kurt says slowly, a puzzled look on his face. "I’ll see you tomorrow then?"
"Go," Blaine orders. "Make sure no one sees you, Kurt. Promise me."
"Fine," Kurt sighs, irritated. "I promise, god!" He’s shaking his head as he leaves and Blaine closes the door behind him very carefully.
He sits upright on his bed until he gets a text five minutes later.
From Kurt: kept my promise. Your secret’s safe
And Blaine has no clue what that’s supposed to mean but he doesn’t think to be too concerned about it until the next morning.
He takes a seat next to Kurt, who’s busy making something that looks amazing with some yogurt and fruit, and says, "Morning." He gives Kurt a bright smile but he’s too busy not looking at Blaine to notice. "Hope the rest of your night was uneventful."
Kurt makes a big production of looking around before turning his gaze to Blaine. "Me? Are you talking to me?"
Blaine gives him a confused look.
"So we’re allowed to know each other this morning?" Kurt asks, eyebrow arched. "We can be seen with each other?"
Blaine’s quiet for a few seconds. "Okay, so you’re mad." He tries to think of anything he could have done in the last two minutes to piss Kurt off but he comes up empty. "Are you mad?"
Kurt busies himself with stirring up his yogurt cup and Blaine assumes he’s not going to answer. After a moment, he seems to reconsider and lowers his voice. "Are you not -- out?" he asks hesitantly.
"Out," he repeats, waving his hand around for emphasis. "Like, out. To everyone here. Do they not know you’re gay or something?"
Blaine’s eyes widen. "Of course they know. What is that supposed to mean?"
Kurt tilts his head and thinks for another moment. "So it’s just me, then? You don’t want people to know about me?"
He chokes on his orange juice. "What are you talking about?"
"Last night," he answers quietly. "When you were begging me to sneak out of your dorm room and you made me promise not to let anyone see."
And like that, it finally clicks. He turns and straddles the bench sideways, almost pressing his chest against Kurt’s side. "Kurt you could have been suspended."
Kurt gives him a quizzical look and Blaine can help but laugh. "Did you even read the rule book? Like at all?"
"I skimmed it," he says defensively.
"Okay, how about the part about having unauthorized guests in the rooms after curfew?"
He crinkles his nose and shrugs. "It seemed pretty irrelevant. Honestly, what are the odds that I’m going to have a girl stay the night in my room?"
Blaine laughs again. "Kurt, this school is really serious about no discrimination. And to go back to what you mentioned earlier, yeah, practically everyone knows I’m gay, which probably includes administration and faculty. If they caught you in my room, it would have been awful."
Kurt swallows and looks a little embarrassed. "Oh. I thought…"
Blaine waits but he doesn’t continue. "What?" he prompts. "You thought what?"
He shakes his head. "Nothing. It was silly."
"Tell me anyway," he says with a shrug.
They’re both quiet for awhile. Blaine waits him out. "I thought maybe you didn’t want everybody to know about us," Kurt says finally. He looks uncomfortable and Blaine searches for words that won’t make it any worse.
He settles on blatant, embarrassing honesty. "The first time we met, I practically serenaded you. In front of people. In front of a lot of people." He leans in closer, his mouth inches from Kurt’s ear, and laughs quietly. "Everybody already knows about us."
Kurt meets his eyes then and returns his smile, casually lacing their fingers together. "Do you want some of my parfait?" Just like that, the mood has shifted.
"Parfait?" Blaine teases. "It’s just a container of Yoplait mixed with some day old fruit. Interesting how you try to make our cafeteria food sound sophisticated."
He shoots Blaine a haughty look. "I don’t try; I add class and you know it."
Blaine smiles and watches him. He eventually turns back to his own breakfast and tries to drink more of his juice.
These are the moments he looks back on; when they’re older and sharing their remember whens, these are what Blaine remembers. He remembers the perfect paradox of the boy he fell in love with when he was sixteen, the beautiful mess, his delicate strength.
"Don’t go," Blaine says softly.
He tries to get Kurt to look at him but he just stares at his hands folded primly on his lap. They’re sitting close together on a couch in one of the common rooms but Blaine has pretty much never felt farther away from him.
"Blaine …" Kurt says, trailing off. He sounds tired.
"I mean it," Blaine says. "Please don’t go."
Kurt sighs. "I’m not happy here. I know you know that."
"But you weren’t happy there, either. Is it … is it really better there?" Blaine asks, sounding totally confused. "You were bullied daily. You were threatened and you were alone. Is that really better than here? I don’t get."
Kurt sighs again. "I miss it, Blaine. I miss them."
Blaine quiet for a minute. "I can’t protect you there," he says softly.
"I don’t need you to protect me," he responds, almost sounding cold. "That’s not what I need from you."
Blaine touches his hand. "What do you need from me then?"
Kurt shakes his head, looking disappointed. "I don’t know. Be my boyfriend, not my bodyguard."
But Blaine’s never been in this situation; he doesn’t know what being a boyfriend right now means, doesn’t know what he’s supposed to do. "I don’t know how to do that," he says finally. "What does that mean?"
Kurt lets out a frustrated sigh and stands. "I don’t know," is all he says before he leaves the room, leaves Blaine sitting there.
Kurt avoids him for the rest of the day, won’t respond to any of his texts. Blaine starts to feel a little frustrated.
They’re all in the choir room later for Warbler’s practice and Blaine subtly and smoothly pockets Kurt’s cell phone from his bag. Kurt doesn’t look at him once and only smiles when they’re practicing as a group, ever the performer. In between songs, though, Blaine can see how tired Kurt is. He looks like he’s going through the motions, like he’s not even there. Like no one can see him.
Blaine wonders if he’s been seeing him lately. Because how did it get this bad and he not notice?
After practice, the room clears out quickly but Blaine hangs around and watches Kurt rifle through his bag, undoubtedly looking for his phone.
"Looking for this?" Blaine asks softly, holding the phone out for Kurt.
He's still bent over his bag and he looks at Blaine incredulously. "You stole my cell phone?"
He shrugs. "I didn’t know how else to get you to talk to me."
Kurt stands and smoothes out his blazer. When he looks back to Blaine he looks completely composed, eyebrow arched. "What do you want to talk about?"
"Come on," Blaine answers. "Don’t do this."
He lets out a dramatic sigh and sits gracefully on the nearest chair. "I’m not happy. I don’t … I don’t like my cage," he says softly. Kurt’s not trying to be hurtful by using Blaine’s own words against him and he appreciates the effort but it doesn’t change that they still hurt.
"Okay, not a good metaphor," Blaine responds as he sits in the chair next to him, angling to face Kurt. "I see that. Don’t look at this as a cage. Dalton isn’t a cage."
"But it is. You were right," Kurt tells him, sounding resigned. Their knees are touching and Blaine leans forward.
"It’s not, though," he argues. "You’re free to be you here, Kurt."
"No, I’m free to be gay here. I’m not free to be me."
Blaine stares at him, not sure how to respond.
"I miss my friends. I miss that club. I miss me."
"Kurt," he starts. And then doesn’t know how to finish.
He thinks of saying something about bailing on them this close to Regionals, trying to guilt Kurt into staying. But he can’t bring himself to stoop that low so instead he asks, "Have you made up your mind then?"
Kurt looks at him but doesn’t answer. Blaine knows him well enough to take that as a yes.
He leans back in his chair, officially frustrated. "I don’t get it. So you’re willing to give up your personal safety in exchange for your old wardrobe?" It sounds catty and that’s not how he means it but he’s just at a loss.
Kurt rolls his eyes in response and closes off a little. "This isn’t about my wardrobe. I appreciate your efforts to simplify the entire situation so that it boils down to safety versus fashion. Very classy."
"That’s not what I mean, Kurt," he says, sounding hurt. "You know that’s not what I mean."
Kurt’s quiet for a minute. "This is a cage, Blaine. It keeps everything bad out. And that’s what I needed. I needed somewhere to feel safe. And that’s what I got here."
"So what’s the problem, then?" he asks desperately.
"Because I’m stuck in here!" he answers and Blaine can clearly tell he’s upset. "I’m safe. And that’s it."
"What does that mean?"
"It means --" He pauses and Blaine can tell he’s looking for the right words. "This place means something different to you than it does to me. You found a place to be safe and a place to be included, to be a part of the team."
"And so did you," Blaine insists.
"I did," Kurt agrees. "But where I fit in, where I’m included, it isn’t here. I’m part of a team but it’s back in Lima."
Blaine’s heart rate picks up. He doesn’t like where this is going at all. "Give it some more time. You’ll fit in, I swear it."
"But I don’t want to fit in here, Blaine," he tells him. "I don’t want to blend in with everyone else. That’s what I’m trying to tell you. You and I want different things from this school. You like blending in here and I don’t want to."
"Blend -- blending?" Blaine stutters. "You think that’s all I’m about? Being part of the machine? Fading in to the background?"
"No," Kurt says simply. "I think you’re so much more than that."
Kurt shifts in his seat. "There’s only one person who gets me here, Blaine. There’s only one reason I’m still here."
Blaine swallows and tries not to think about how, only reason on not, it’s not enough of a reason to Kurt to stay. He tries not to think about how he just doesn’t weigh up against everything Lima can offer him. He tries not to think that Kurt would rather get his life threatened than stay here with him. He’s never felt so inadequate in his life.
He doesn’t say any of those things because they’re selfish and self-absorbed and terrible but they sit in the back of his head anyway.
"It’s like I told you months ago, it’s a different energy, Blaine. It’s not better or worse."
"You can’t believe that," Blaine sighs. "Or you wouldn’t be leaving."
"This isn’t easy for me, you know," Kurt says, eyes down.
Blaine doesn’t say anything. Everything’s falling apart.
"We’re different. You fit in here, I fit in there. I’m not saying one is better is worse."
Blaine’s stomach drops. "Wait. ‘We’re different’? Is this the beginning of a break-up speech?"
"What?" Kurt says, eyes wide. "No."
"Oh," he says on an exhale. "Okay."
"Why?" Kurt eyes him. "Do you want to break up?"
Blaine leans forward and meets Kurt’s eyes. "No," he answers empathically. "No."
Kurt nods. They sit in silence for a few minutes.
"So when are you leaving?" he asks eventually. He could phrase it differently, like maybe ‘When’s your last day?’ or ‘When will you be back in Lima?’ But he doesn’t. Because Kurt’s leaving, that’s the only way he can see it right now. Kurt’s leaving.
"I don’t know," he answers quietly. "Karofsky’s been gone since last Tuesday so …" He trails off and the implication is clear: he can go back whenever he wants.
Blaine frowns and thinks. He thinks about how Karofsky isn’t the only football player bully in that school. He thinks about how Karofsky was gone once before, too. And he thinks about how Kurt’s known about this since Tuesday. "You’ve been thinking about this since last Tuesday?"
Kurt doesn’t say anything in response but his shoulders give a small shrug.
"Wow," he says, shaking his head in disbelief. "That’s … wow."
Kurt just looks at him, eyes sad.
"And you didn’t mention it once?" Blaine continues.
"I’m sorry," Kurt says finally. "I should have told you, I know."
But Blaine just shakes his head and stops trying to keep the hurt out of his voice. "This isn’t about whether or not you should or shouldn’t tell me things, Kurt. It’s your life, you don’t owe me." He stands up and doesn’t take his eyes off Kurt’s once. This isn’t the time for a copout move like that. "But I’m your boyfriend and if you don’t feel like you can talk to me about things like this, well then I’m doing something wrong. You’re making a life-altering decision and didn’t feel like you could talk to me about it. I could have been there," Blaine explains. "I could have been supportive or a sounding board or something." He turns and makes his way for the door.
"Blaine," Kurt starts. Blaine waits but nothing comes next. He keeps walking.
Kurt tells the Warblers about his departure the very next day. Blaine assumes that their after-practice conversation and his subsequent dramatic exit played a part in the speediness of his transfer. He can feel the eyes of several of the Warblers on him during Kurt’s announcement but he keeps his game face on and gives nothing away. He doesn’t need their pity right now.
Kurt’s waiting for him outside when Blaine leaves rehearsal.
"Hi," he says cautiously.
"Hi," Blaine echoes.
"So that was quick."
Kurt looks at him apologetically. "I called my dad last night after --" He falters and Blaine can just tell he was going to say ‘after you walked out’. "After rehearsal was over," Kurt finishes.
Blaine nods. He’s trying to keep the emotion off his face but he never quite pulls it off when he’s standing in front of Kurt. It’s kind of maddening.
"Say something," Kurt says.
"Okay," he tries. "What should I say?"
"I don’t know, something," he answers, exasperated.
He says, "I’ll miss you," because it’s all he can think of on the spot.
Kurt blinks and looks annoyed. "I’m sorry, okay? I’m sorry I’m not staying, I’m sorry I’m leaving, I’m sorry I’ll be so far away." He sighs. "Is that what you want to hear? Is that what you want me to say back to that?"
Blaine lowers his eyes. "No. ‘I’ll miss you, too’ would have done just fine."
Kurt’s quiet as a few students pass them in the hall. Blaine waits. For what, he’s not quite sure.
"I’m sorry," he says again, this time sounding sincere. "This is hard."
"Goodbyes usually are."
"Goodbyes?" Kurt asks, eyes slightly narrowed. "I thought we weren’t breaking up."
Blaine gives him a confused look. "We’re not. That’s not what I meant."
Kurt straightens up and takes a few steps away from him, his mouth set into a firm line. He appears completely unruffled but Blaine can see the worried look in his eyes that he can’t quite cover up. "Really. Because that definitely sounds like you’re breaking up with me," he tells Blaine, voice cool.
"Well, I’m not," Blaine responds and he wonders if he sounds as miserable as he feels. "You’re doing a pretty good job of trying to push me way. The way I figure it, you don’t need any help from me."
"I’m not pushing you away," he says.
"Okay," Blaine replies, watching him.
Kurt rolls his eyes and turns on his heel. It’s his turn to make a dramatic exit.
He helps Kurt pack up his room but it’s mostly silent and awkward. They don’t talk about anything of importance and Blaine’s in class when Kurt’s dad comes to pick him up. They don’t say goodbye.
Blaine can’t take it anymore after only a week so he drives to Lima and they sit in Kurt’s empty living room while the rest of the family is out at lunch. It’s relatively anti-climatic and after an hour and an overuse of the words "I love you" and "I’m sorry", they’re fine.
For the first time, Blaine understands how there’s so much to lose when there’s so much at stake. All of these things stacked neatly between he and Kurt, the love, the want, the need, they’re all piled high like a mountain. It makes sense, then, that when they’re not hearing each other, when they’re not in sync, that it leaves a hole just as deep.
It doesn’t happen again for awhile, not until their junior year after Blaine’s been an official McKinley student for about two months.
"Coach Sylvester disapproves of your hair," Kurt tells him one morning before second period. "So she’s making me join the Cheerios again."
Blaine frowns because he doesn’t quite get the correlation of those two statements but it’s definitely not the first time Kurt’s confused the hell out of him before the third period bell even rings. "Okay," he says.
He promptly forgets the conversation until three weeks later when Kurt bails on their eight month anniversary dinner. "I can’t, emergency Cheerios practice, I’m really sorry, Blaine." And he looks genuinely apologetic so Blaine can’t bring himself to be too upset.
"Oh yeah, I forgot you were doing that," Blaine admits. "Well, okay, maybe this weekend?"
"Of course," Kurt sighs thankfully. "That sounds perfect." He gives Blaine a chaste kiss on the cheek and heads towards the gym.
And Blaine promptly forgets again until the pep assembly two weeks after that. And that’s the last time he ever forgets that he’s dating a cheerleader. It’s intense.
He's running late so by the time he gets to the gymnasium, the only seats really available are in the front row. He takes a seat next to the handicapped spot and gives Artie a small nod. He looks around for Kurt and it takes a few seconds to remember, oh yeah, Kurt’s a cheerleader.
Blaine startles when the music starts, some kind of dance club remix song that he doesn’t recognize. The cheerleaders start to file in and do flips and cartwheels and a bunch of other stuff that’s never really impressed Blaine all that much. He’s never quite understood the male obsession with cheerleaders and he flashes back to watching Bring It On and how it was one of the most boring two hours of his life.
But then everything kind of shifts because Kurt struts to the front as the cheerleaders in the middle part for him. He’s singing something but the music starts to fade out and all Blaine can hear is his own heartbeat because that is Kurt wearing a cheerleading uniform.
Blaine swallows thickly.
He can feel his palms get a little sweaty as he takes in the whole ensemble. The pants are skintight and really don’t leave anything to the imagination. His shirt clings to like, everything and the toned arms that Kurt usually keeps stealthy hidden are right there in broad daylight for everyone to see.
He tears his eyes away from Kurt’s body to look up at his face and Kurt is watching him. And then he winks.
Blaine swallows again and feels his heart rate pick up. This is not happening, he thinks. He’s getting turned on by a cheerleader in the middle of a pep assembly. God, what a cliché.
He watches Kurt swivel and turn and bend and do all of the things that used to leave Blaine so uninterested but his opinions on cheerleaders have changed in the past five minutes and now, yeah, he’s definitely interested.
Kurt’s looking at him again and gives him a smile but Blaine’s too frozen to return it. He gives what he can only imagine is a deer-in-the-headlights look because his eyes are wide and his face is flushed and oh god, is he sweating?
Suddenly, Blaine is hyper aware of Artie next to him and starts to wonder if Artie knows, if Artie can sense how ridiculously turned on Blaine’s getting during a pep rally. Blaine shifts uncomfortably in his seat and looks down at his hands. He’s usually so collected; this whole thing is kind of surreal.
Thankfully, the routine ends not much longer after that. Blaine sighs in relief and keeps his eyes on his hands. He's embarrassed and awkward and can’t wait to make a run for it when it’s all over. Principal Figgins takes the stage then and starts to introduce the McKinley football players. Blaine’s grateful, so grateful, because if anything can cool him down, it’s his principal’s voice and a bunch of overweight linebackers.
But then he feels someone take a seat next to him and out of the corner of his eye, he can see the red and white colors of the McKinley High cheerleading uniform. Blaine slowly turns his head and raises his gaze to meet Kurt’s eyes.
"Hey," Kurt says breathlessly. "How’d you like it?"
Blaine takes in his flushed face, his disheveled hair, his bright eyes and his brain just goes to places it should not be going to. Blaine’s eyes get wide and suddenly he’s having trouble swallowing again.
"I -- I have to go. Somewhere. I have to go somewhere," Blaine stumbles. And with that, he slides out of seat and practically runs out of the gymnasium.
He ends up in an empty classroom with mobiles of planets hanging from the ceiling, not even sure how he got in there. He sits in one of the chairs and tries to regulate his breathing. He feels ridiculous.
"Are you okay?"
Blaine jerks at the voice and then jumps out of his seat to turn around.
Kurt’s eyeing him suspiciously.
"What?" Blaine asks, sounding embarrassingly intense.
"What’s with you?" he asks, taking a few steps towards Blaine.
But Blaine takes a few steps back and Kurt freezes when he realizes that Blaine is backing away.
Kurt blinks. "You’re embarrassed," he says, tone flat.
Blaine thinks of lying to protect his rapidly deflating ego but decides against it. "Of course I am," he admits. "It’s humiliating."
His eyes narrow. "Humiliating? Wow."
Blaine tries to keep his eyes firmly on Kurt’s because he’s still wearing that damn uniform and Blaine’s already dug himself a pretty impressive hole.
"It’s just -- this isn’t who I am." He gestures to himself, flushed face and all.
Kurt’s eyes lower. "I didn’t realize you had such a problem with this." His voice is so sad and for the first time, Blaine wonders if they’re on the same page.
"Wait," he says. "What are you talking about?"
Kurt looks up again and gives him a frustrated look. "My boyfriend," he hisses, "finds me humiliating."
Blaine almost chokes in surprise. "What? No -- no, that’s not what I meant at all!" He moves towards Kurt then and grabs his hand. "Me," he explains. "I’m embarrassed about me."
"You?" he asks incredulously. "What are you talking about?"
Blaine lets out a surprised laugh. "Look at me, Kurt! I’m like a walking, talking cliché of a teenager!"
"You are a teenager," he responds, clearly annoyed.
"I know but I’m not usually this -- out of control. I like being composed. It’s like my thing."
Kurt narrows his eyes again and drops Blaine’s hand. "I still have no idea what you’re even talking about."
"Look at you," Blaine tells him, equal parts embarrassed and frustrated. "With your pants and your arms and that shirt."
Kurt looks at him blankly.
Blaine groans. "I got … excited, okay? In a pep rally. Because of a cheerleader. I’m ridiculous."
Kurt doesn’t say anything for a moment but they watch each other and Blaine feels his face start to heat up again.
"Are you saying you were turned on?" Kurt says in a low voice.
Blaine doesn’t say anything but he gives a small nod.
"Because of me?"
Blaine laughs awkwardly. "Of course because of you."
Kurt blinks a few times. "Oh." He sounds surprised.
"Why do you sound so stunned by that?"
"Kurt," Blaine says softly, "you do know how attracted I am to you, right?"
Kurt swallows and looks away. "Well, I know you like when we’re doing stuff," he answers, face reddening.
Blaine reaches forward to grab his hand again. "I like doing stuff because it’s with you," he clarifies. "You know that, right?"
"Sure," he says, in a way that clearly indicates he’s not sure.
Blaine sighs and pulls Kurt close. He sits down on one of the tables and tugs Kurt along with him so that he’s standing between Blaine’s legs. "Hey," he starts.
Kurt shifts closer and cocks his head, waiting with concerned eyes.
"Look, I’d really like to sit here and act like I’m incredibly self-actualized and mature and not the least bit shallow but it’s just not the case. Don’t get me wrong, Kurt, I love your sense of humor and your sarcasm and how incredibly smart you are and, you know, everything else about you that makes you you."
Kurt raises an eyebrow. "But?"
"But," Blaine continues with a small laugh, "But I’m also seventeen and … well, look at you."
He looks at Blaine like he’s still waiting.
"You’re beautiful," Blaine says softly. "I thought you knew that."
Kurt swallows and doesn’t respond.
"So when we’re, you know, fooling around, I’m not into it because you’re a guy and conveniently there. I’m into it because it’s you and you’re so absurdly gorgeous and I’m head over heels."
Kurt smiles at him then, face still a little pink. "Okay."
Blaine returns the smile and they sit like that for a few minutes. He's almost embarrassed at how goofy they look but he can’t bring himself to care.
"So you like my Cheerio uniform, huh?" he says and it comes out unfairly smug.
Blaine groans. "Just give me fair warning before the next performance. I’ll wear baggy pants."
Kurt laughs and the sound is so amazing that it gives Blaine butterflies, even after all this time.
They end up making out until the bell rings and they leave the room hand-in-hand. They’re still clearly flushed and Kurt’s hair’s not impeccably in place so Blaine’s sure they get some looks as they walk down the hall but he doesn’t pay attention.
Blaine thinks about how jealous his classmates must be. He knows how real he and Kurt are, how solid, and thinks that their classmates must be green with envy, even if they don’t know it yet. Sure, they have dumb fights and maybe they’re not perfect but they mean something. He watches everyone around him break up and make up at breakneck speeds, his fellow glee clubbers included, and Blaine feels so detached from them all. He watches as these couples all hit roadblocks and then implode but he and Kurt, they just get stronger.
It hits Blaine like a brick, a really awesome brick: he and his high school sweetheart are totally going to make it.
Blaine’s pretty convinced that Kurt needs new friends; he’s been pretty convinced of it for awhile. He and Kurt have a mild misunderstanding just after their one year anniversary and Blaine blames the whole thing on Kurt’s friends. They truly are terrible influences and even worse role models.
Blaine and Mike are alone in the choir room. It’s only a few weeks until Nationals and Blaine really doesn’t want to be the weak link in the choreography department. Being a few steps up from Finn and Sam doesn’t exactly give Blaine any confidence so his only choice is to get some help.
Mike’s trying to teach Blaine how to loosen up, which is definitely much needed, but all Kurt sees when he walks by the classroom is Mike standing directly in front of Blaine with his hands on his boyfriend’s hips.
Kurt clears his throat from the doorway and he and Mike turn around to face him.
"Well, hello," Kurt says, tilting his head.
"Hi," Blaine replies, smiling. He thought Kurt had Cheerio’s practice so his surprise cameo definitely puts Blaine in a good mood. "No practice?"
"Why?" Kurt asks, eyebrow raised. "Would you like some more alone time?"
Mike’s hands drop from Blaine’s hips.
"What?" Blaine asks. There’s a weird, anxious look in Kurt’s eyes and Blaine can’t quite figure it out.
Kurt takes a deep breath and blinks, giving him a fake smile. "Never mind. Sorry about that."
"Sorry about what?"
"Nothing," Kurt answers, still smiling. "You two have fun practicing. Call me later."
He walks swiftly out of the room. Blaine looks helplessly to Mike, who shrugs his shoulders in response.
Blaine decides to let it go and figures that if it’s important, Kurt will tell him. But then Kurt starts to act … odd. He laughs at every joke Blaine makes, even the really dumb ones, without any irony or sarcasm. He cancels on a couple of date nights with some flimsy excuses and a weird tone to his voice. But the most bizarre is how he’s practically flirting with the freshman kid in his afterschool French Club, the kid that Blaine’s gaydar hasn’t really figured out yet.
Blaine’s walking down the hall after his last class and sees the kid, Jordan something-or-other, lingering by Kurt’s locker. Kurt’s got a strained smile but he’s listening very intently and showing this kid a lot more interest that most people are privy to, Blaine notwithstanding. It’s definitely weird. Blaine’s not jealous; he knows where he stands with Kurt and he knows he’s got nothing to worry about.
Then Jordan touches Kurt’s arm and just leaves his hand there and yeah, for a second, Blaine’s jealous.
"Oh, hi," Kurt says brightly when Blaine approaches.
Blaine nods and smiles. "Hi to you."
Jordan eyes him and says, "See you tomorrow, Kurt."
"Je vous verrai demain!" Kurt answers with a high, forced laugh.
Blaine gives him a confused look. He’s not great at faking it or beating around the bush so he says, "Were you just flirting with him?"
"What?" Kurt asks, his voice sounding totally edgy. "Of course not."
"Kurt," Blaine says skeptically. "You’re a terrible liar."
He sighs. "Am not."
Blaine thinks about reminding him about the worst spy in the history of spies but he’s got more important things to focus on. "Come on," he says instead. "Let’s talk."
The walk into the empty geometry classroom around the corner and Blaine leans up against the wall, eyes focused on Kurt. "What’s going on with you? Should I be concerned?"
Kurt doesn’t answer for a minute, just worries his bottom lip and looks thoughtful. Blaine waits.
"Are we breaking up?" he asks quietly.
"What?" Blaine pushes himself away from the wall and makes his way over to Kurt. "What would make you say that?"
He shrugs. "It’s been a year."
Blaine waits and when Kurt doesn’t continue, he prompts, "Okay, and?"
"And -- and that’s a long time. Are you bored?"
Blaine lets out a startled laugh. "Bored? Why would I be bored?" But before Kurt can answer, Blaine groans. "Where are you getting this from? Because I’m going to go out on a limb and say you’ve been talking to your friends."
Kurt shrugs. "Maybe," he says defensively.
"Why would you do that?" Blaine asks, mostly to himself. "They have a track record of the worst advice ever."
Kurt doesn’t say anything but allows himself to be tugged towards Blaine, who pulls him in close.
"I don’t know what I’m doing," Kurt says into Blaine’s neck. "I wish I was better at this."
Blaine sighs. "You’re so much better at this than all of them combined, trust me."
Kurt pulls back to look at him skeptically. "They all have way more experience."
"Yeah," Blaine laughs. "It’s because none of them know how to have a functional relationship so they keep bouncing back and forth between each other. It’s really not healthy."
He sighs and untangles himself from Blaine to sit at one of the desks. "I just got worried when I saw you with Mike. I wasn’t thinking clearly, I suppose."
"Mike? Who’s straight?" Blaine asks pointedly.
"I said I wasn’t thinking clearly," he responds with a glare.
"Okay," Blaine says, taking a seat next to Kurt.
"So I went to the girls for advice," he continues. "Rachel suggested that I compliment you and laugh at all your jokes and basically tell you how incredible you are. Then Quinn told me that I should be busy a lot and act like I had a lot going on."
"Uh huh," Blaine says slowly. "Sounds like really intelligent advice so far."
Kurt rolls his eyes. "And pretty much all of them told me to flirt around to see if you were still interested."
"Of course I’m interested, Kurt. Don’t you think it’s a bit telling that out of all of your friends, we’re the only ones that have stayed together?"
He shrugs. "I said that but Santana said it was because you didn’t have any other options."
Well, Santana is bitter and vengeful and all-around truly awful on the inside, Blaine thinks of saying. "She’s just jealous," he says instead. "They all are."
Kurt smiles reluctantly. "You really think that’s true?"
"I do," he answers.
"Well, I think you’re delusional," he teases.
And Blaine realizes suddenly that he should check to make sure they’re both in complete agreement about where this is going. He realizes that oddly, they haven’t broached the subject before. "Kurt," he says seriously. He leans forward a bit so that he can take Kurt’s hands in his own. "I guess we should have talked about this before now. Where do you see us in a year? Two years?"
He gives him a quizzical look. "Like, do I think we’ll be the glee club power couple?"
"No," Blaine says, trying not to laugh. It’s too important. "I mean that we have a year left of high school. What comes after that?"
"Oh," he says, and Blaine can tell Kurt’s thinking the same thing that he is. He knows it’s not really probable that Finn and Rachel will stay together after high school, assuming they make it to senior year as a couple at all. If Sam and Quinn get back together someday, it’ll be more for political reasons around the time of prom nominations than out of love. And the rest of them, god, they bounce back and forth so quickly that it’s hard to remember who’s with who, let alone try and figure out who’s got what it takes to make it work.
Kurt looks awkward. "I don’t know," he admits. "I just always assumed …"
"What?" Blaine asks quickly when Kurt doesn’t continue. "You assumed what?"
"That we’d at least try," he says, sounding embarrassed. "Why, where do you see us in two years?"
Blaine gives him confident smile. "I see us in five years, Kurt. Ten. However many you prefer."
"Yeah?" he asks, smile spreading slowly.
"Yeah." He feels a little naïve admitting that out loud but he's not worried. He’s always so responsible and unruffled and mature and sometimes it’s exhausting. If he’s going to act like an idealistic seventeen-year-old for once in his life and believe that he and Kurt will endure, he dares anyone to tell him otherwise.
Blaine stands and pulls Kurt into him again, gives him a fierce hug.
"We’re longterm," Blaine whispers into Kurt’s hair.
"I know," Kurt whispers back.
He sounds so confident, so utterly sure, that Blaine almost wants to choke up at the thought that someone believes in him so much, believes in them.
Kurt has his moments of weakness, sure, and Blaine always tries to be there to reassure him or mellow him out. He knows how important he is to Kurt because Kurt never fails to show him, still looks at him with just as much admiration as he did that first day. It’s humbling and powerful at the same time.
Blaine wonders idly if Kurt knows how important he is. He pulls Blaine out of himself, doesn’t let him retreat inward. He wonders if Kurt can see that same admiration mirrored in Blaine’s eyes, that adoration.
In so many ways, he’s grateful that they’re such equals. Blaine knows how confident he comes off, how sure of himself, but he also knows that it’s Kurt that gives that feeling to him, Kurt that makes him so certain of what’s to come.
The worst happens during their sophomore year in college. They break up for three weeks (or more accurately nineteen days, as Kurt always corrects). Blaine barely recognizes himself which just makes him feel worse and even more self-conscious.
It’s a stupid fight but it escalates quickly. Kurt’s been getting testy with the amount of time Blaine’s been spending with his Bio lab partner and when that’s combined with the distance and their fast approaching finals, they both kind of snap.
"It’s Peter this and Peter that," Kurt snipes. "It’s getting a little ridiculous, Blaine."
And even though Kurt can’t see him, Blaine rolls his eyes. "Oh, I’m sorry, I was under the impression that sharing stories about our day was still okay, Kurt."
"What the hell does that mean?"
"It means that I listen to every story you tell me, Kurt. It’s what people in relationships do. They talk and they also listen."
"Oh screw you, Blaine," Kurt says. "Are you lecturing me on how to be a good boyfriend?"
"I’m not lecturing," he answers, not even trying to keep the irritation out of his voice. "I’m making a statement. All I’m doing is telling you about my day and you’re acting so put out by it."
Kurt lets out a dramatic sigh and Blaine can perfectly visualize it, even though he’s hundreds of miles away and having this stupid conversation via cell phone.
"You’re not telling me about your day," Kurt argues. "You’re telling me about Peter and about how amazing he is and how perfect and charming he is."
"Yeah, I definitely didn’t say any of those things," Blaine says. "You’re overreacting and it’s completely unfair."
"Unfair?" he asks, and Blaine almost flinches at how high his voice gets. "Are you kidding me?"
"No!" Blaine almost-yells. "I’m not kidding. I’ve never done anything, Kurt, anything at all, to give you a reason to not trust me, not once in the four years you’ve known me. So this is insulting. You’re jumping to conclusions and it makes me feel like I must be a pretty awful boyfriend if it’s just so easy to assume the worst about me."
"I’m not assuming anything! You’re putting my words in my mouth, just like always. And you’re the one trying to lecture me on how to be a better boyfriend so which one of us do you really think should be on the defensive here?"
"I’m not lecturing you! Why do you always say stuff like that when we disagree, treat me like I’m some sort of rigid teacher and not your boyfriend?"
It’s dangerous when they get to this, tossing around ‘always’ and ‘never’ but it hasn’t ever been quite like this before.
"You’re just being jealous, Kurt," Blaine tells him. "And it’s offensive."
"Ugh," Kurt groans, sounding disgusted. "That’s why I treat you like that. Because instead of maybe understanding why I’d be jealous when my boyfriend, who I haven’t seen in two months by the way, can’t shut up about his lab partner who gets to see him every day and go to trendy sushi restaurants with him and who I’m sure is probably ridiculously good-looking … instead of seeing my side on this, you act like some emotionless droid and tell me I’m being offensive."
Blaine will look back later and realize Kurt’s got a point. He’ll look back and realize how full of shit he is because there’s this kid -- this Tony -- that’s always leaving messages on Kurt’s Facebook wall, stupid inside jokes that Blaine doesn’t get and most certainly doesn’t ask about, dumb little winking smilies, ridiculous platitudes, and yeah, it drives Blaine insane. It doesn’t mean that he doesn’t trust Kurt, just that sometimes he gets bitter being this far away when stupid Tony gets to be so close.
But at this moment, all he’s hearing is Kurt accuse him of cheating, which yeah, isn’t even close to what Kurt’s actually doing.
"I’m a good boyfriend," is all Blaine can think of to say. "So I’m kind of resenting you treating me like I’m not."
"I’m not!" Kurt argues, sounding exasperated. "Stop putting words in my mouth!"
"You’re acting like you’re so neglected!" Blaine tosses back and it’s unfair because really, they’re both just stressed and irritable and lonely. Their voices are both starting to get louder and more intense and Blaine’s definitely glad his roommate is somewhere else. He doesn’t even remember him leaving.
"Oh I'm so sorry I'm not acting the way you want me to," Kurt says, voice dripping with sarcasm. "I don’t have much practice at this, my apologies."
Blaine sighs. "And what is that supposed to mean?"
"I'm just so new to this whole thing," he drawls. "I’ve only ever had one boyfriend so clearly I have no idea what I’m doing. The whole lack of experience and all."
Which is below the belt and Kurt knows it; Blaine’s been uneasy since day one that he’s Kurt’s first and only. It stresses him out and nags at the back of his mind that they’re sophomores in college and he’s literally the only guy Kurt’s ever willingly kissed. It’s like Blaine’s still waiting for the other shoe to drop after all these years, which is a ridiculous sentiment to have and they both know it.
"That’s low," he says softly but not without anger. "If it really bothers you that much, maybe you should go get another boyfriend. Get some of that experience you’re looking for."
Kurt’s silent and Blaine retraces what came out of his mouth, trying to figure out if he actually just offered an out to Kurt, if he actually just dangled a break-up in front of Kurt like a goddamn carrot. It’s been almost four years since they met on that stairwell and Blaine’s been around long enough to know that if Kurt feels humiliated enough, he’ll take that carrot and run, head held high and body rigid with feigned pride.
Kurt’s voice, when it finally breaks the silence, comes out hushed and stunned. "What did you say?"
"I -- nothing."
"You want to break up," he whispers.
"Kurt, come on, this is getting blown out of proportion. I didn’t mean that." Blaine swallows at the desperate note creeping into his voice.
"You wouldn’t have said it if you didn’t mean it."
"I say things all the time!" he tries. "It was stupid."
"I’m going to hang up now," Kurt says quietly.
"Kurt," Blaine warns. "Please don’t do this. We need to talk."
"I think we’ve talked enough," he says and his voice is shaky. "Good night."
Blaine stares at his phone in disbelief as it flashes ‘Call Ended’ at him. Fifteen minutes later, Kurt’s relationship status on Facebook has changed to Single.
He’s someone he can’t even recognize for the next week. He’s unfocused in class, barely eats his food, and doesn’t answer calls or texts. He’s miserable.
The second week starts off with Kurt posting a picture of him and some guy on Facebook, even changes it to his profile picture. They’re smiling and Blaine loses it a little, starts that whole Facebook stalking thing he’s heard so much about. Kurt’s status remains unchanged from Single, as small of a consolation as that may be. Blaine’s now one step past miserable, whatever that is.
His roommate finally says something halfway through the second week.
"Dude," he says. "You need to eat something." He watches Blaine warily.
"I’m fine," Blaine answers and waves him off, eyes still fixed on his computer monitor.
"Uh, you’re not fine," he tells Blaine. "I think maybe you’re having some sort of mental breakdown."
And Blaine starts to feel defensive because yeah, he’s clearly going insane but for the life of him, he never actually thought they would stay broken up. This is Blaine’s first everything: his first truly serious boyfriend, his first heartache, his first real breakup; he thinks that feeling this much all at once is completely called for.
"I’m not having a breakdown," Blaine assures him finally. "I’m going through a … thing right now."
"Yeah," he says, still eyeing Blaine carefully. "I know. But I mean, you guys dated in high school, right? You didn’t actually think you were going to stay together throughout college did you? It’s just, how often do high school relationships really last?"
Blaine finally turns to look at him then. "What the hell do you know?" he asks, voice calm and measured. It’s something he would usually just think and never say but clearly, his filter and his sanity and his composure and everything else good about Blaine are all tied up with some drama queen majoring in musical theatre three states away. It didn’t used to be that way so what the hell happened?
This is so goddamn ridiculous, Blaine thinks. He lived sixteen years perfectly fine without Kurt Hummel and now he can barely see straight without him.
And then on day nineteen, he snaps. He comes back to his dorm room after his European Lit class to check his Facebook and sees that seven minutes ago, Kurt Hummel changed his relationship status to In a Relationship.
His cell phone is out and dialing Kurt’s number before Blaine even registers he’s doing it.
It’s been three weeks since he’s heard Kurt’s voice and his heart aches.
"Are you kidding me, Kurt?"
He lets out a breathy sigh in response. "I am so, so sorry, Blaine. It’s tacky and pathetic, and god, I must look so desperate, right? And --"
Blaine cuts him off; all of the blood is rushing to his ears and he can barely hear Kurt over the constant thrumming anyway. "Three weeks? It only took you three weeks?"
"I know," Kurt says, almost pleading and oh god, he sounds like he might be crying. "I know, it’s so desperate but I’m sorry, I just don’t care. Three weeks was too much, I'm so, so sorry, Blaine."
"Seriously, Kurt? It took you three weeks to move on? Please tell me I’m missing something."
Kurt doesn’t say a word so Blaine takes that as a signal to keep going.
"Because that’s insane, Kurt. There’s no way you can’t see that. We’ve been dating for over three years and you’ve spent the past four in love with me, right? We only broke up three weeks ago! Three! And you’re seriously telling me that after four years you’ve met someone actually worth something after only three weeks?"
Kurt’s still quiet.
"Kurt?" Blaine whispers. He feels sick.
"I’m here," he answers, sounding unsure. "But, uh. I’m confused. What are you talking about?"
"Your Facebook status," Blaine mutters, frustrated. "Who is he? Does he know about me?"
Kurt’s quiet again for a minute. "Wait, who are you talking about, Blaine?"
"Your boyfriend," Blaine says. "The one Facebook is telling me you have?"
"I -- I don’t have a boyfriend," Kurt says slowly. "I’ve spent the last nineteen days, the longest nineteen days ever, by the way, pining away for my ex-boyfriend who I’m apparently pathetically helpless without, as I’m quickly learning."
Blaine thinks for a minute but nothing comes to him. "I don’t understand." He's beyond confused at this point.
"What don’t you get?" Kurt asks softly. "I’m pathetic and desperate and miserable without you, Blaine. And I’m tired of people leaving me stupid messages about how it’ll all be okay and I’m tired of them trying to set me up on blind dates and I’m tired of everyone telling me how awesome it is to be single. It’s not awesome, Blaine, and I don’t want to be single. And I’m not single, because I’m not over you, not even fractionally and I don’t even want to be over you. I’m not even going to try. So I changed my status so that everyone could see that yes, I’m still in love with the guy that dumped me and it’s totally creepy and pathetic and I’m sorry for looking like a stalker ex-boyfriend but I’m not sorry for not trying to move on because I can’t, Blaine."
Relief floods through Blaine immediately. "That’s the best thing I’ve ever heard," he says on an exhale. "God, I’m so glad to hear that."
"I love you," Kurt tells him, words falling out like he can’t say it fast enough, like maybe they’re in a race.
"I love you," Blaine echoes. "And I’m sorry. I’m so, so sorry. I’m such an idiot."
"You’re not," Kurt argues. "You’re perfect and you’re everything I want and I’m sorry if I take you for granted."
"You don’t, you never do that."
"And no more jealousy from me," Kurt promises. "I mean it."
"Me either," Blaine agrees. "And I’ll listen better, I swear."
They talk for hours, apologizing and whispering and falling over themselves to make unrealistic promises that are impossible to keep, ones that they break way sooner than expected. But they don’t ever come back to this.
It’s the first time that Blaine realizes how different he is without Kurt, like there’s a variation of himself out there somewhere, someone he was once or worse, someone he might have been someday. His subconscious tosses around words like ‘codependency’ and ‘damaged’ but he doesn’t let them settle in. He can’t see the harm in needing someone like this, of letting someone in so fiercely that it gives them the power to hurt so much. He can’t see the harm in it, not when Kurt lets him in so fiercely in return, gives it to him like a gift every single day.
And it’s not like they’re perfectly, magically on the same page all the time when they become adults, either.
"So you’re saying all of my ideas are terrible?" Kurt asks as he stands in the middle of the very unkempt nursery. It’s still empty but there are crib parts and paint swatches and random pieces of fabric everywhere.
"Oh my god," Blaine laughs. "That’s not even remotely what I said."
"That’s what I heard."
"That’s because you’re insane. When’s the last time you ate?"
Kurt narrows his eyes. "Don’t make this about me being hungry. I’m not irritable because of low blood-sugar level. I’m irritated because you suck."
He laughs again. "Okay, whatever. I’m making you a sandwich."
Blaine leaves the room and heads into the kitchen. He leaves Kurt be for about ten minutes then returns with a turkey sandwich. He finds Kurt sitting on the floor, staring at the wall and the four different colors painted on it. The four different colors of purple.
"I have to start all over again," Kurt says with a resigned sigh. "Why can’t you just do what I want you to do?"
Blaine takes a seat next to him and passes him the plate. "Because purple is ugly."
Kurt gasps dramatically. "It is not."
"It is," Blaine laughs. "And it’s not gender neutral."
He mutters something that Blaine can’t decipher. "Says who?"
Blaine turns to face him. "Says like, everyone in the entire world."
Kurt sighs. "Fine."
They sit in silence while Kurt eats his turkey sandwich.
"I love the way you’ve put our home together," Blaine tells him after a few minutes. "I hope you know that."
"I do," Kurt concedes.
"Good." He steals a bite of Kurt’s sandwich. "So that back there was just you being hungry and looking for a fight, huh?" Blaine’s smug but he knows he’s right. Better yet, Kurt knows he’s right.
"I didn’t say that," Kurt says and it sounds pretty damn unconvincing.
"Sure," Blaine responds, lying back and settling into the carpet.
Kurt follows suit and rests his head on Blaine’s chest. "Maybe I just like arguing with you."
"Maybe," Blaine agrees with a laugh.
They stay like that for awhile until they’re both on the verge of sleep.
"I love you," Kurt says on a sigh.
"I love you," Blaine echoes.
Because that’s what it comes down to, the one thing that they’ll always, always be perfectly clear on.