Pairing: Kurt Hummel/Blaine Anderson
Word Count: 4,051
Chapter: 2 (of 7)
Warnings: This chapter mentions canonical character death.
Summary: The evolution of Kurt and Blaine, from the back seat of a car at Mr. Schue’s wedding, to Bushwick, to I am a work in progress. (Or, the one where Kurt Hummel becomes Kurt Hummel-Anderson, a decade earlier than planned.)
(Read Chapter 1)
Also posted to AO3
Before Kurt knows it, Blaine is in New York.
It's amazing, and a little scary, and true to New York City form, everything happens really, really fast. By the time school starts up again that fall, Blaine is everywhere he looks. At his favorite coffee shop, at NYADA, in the hallways where Kurt used to call him between classes and complain about his teachers, Blaine is right there. They have the same teachers now that Blaine is a student, the same lunch spots, the same everything.
Blaine used to be his anchor, back in Lima, used to be the person who kept him sane, when the city got to be too much. Now that he’s here, it’s a bit disorienting - Kurt wonders what’s stopping them both from just being swept up in this city together.
Kurt feels guilty, too, because as crazy as New York can be at times, he really doesn’t miss Lima at all right now, and it’s not just because Blaine is here with him. He tries not to push the sharp, sick feeling he gets in his stomach when he’s reminded of Finn away, but it’s hard not to, sometimes. Hard not to bury it deep inside of himself, because otherwise the loss would be too much. He’s just not sure how he’d be able to handle everything else that’s going in his life right now if he didn’t set this aside.
One thing he is sure of, is how wonderful it feels having Blaine's arms - Blaine's whole body, most days - wrapped around him in his bed. Warm and soft and right there, without the threat of parental figures, or anyone else walking in and interrupting them. It feels right.
It feels like home, and Kurt has always loved the feeling of home. He loves that Blaine can finally be part of what that means to him here. He loves how safe he feels, how Blaine's arms create this kind of bubble around him, this sanctuary where no one can reach them.
It quiets Kurt's fears about living in New York, about school, about missing Finn, and marriage before thirty what on earth are they thinking because in the end, this is what he's always, always wanted. Freedom, and unconditional love. Someone who inspires him, in a city that inspires him, where they can both be themselves, all the time.
They’re both usually up well before now, but it’s Sunday, and last night had been a late night - an Almodovar double feature down at the Film Forum. He can feel Blaine's very much still deeply asleep breath against his neck as he tries carefully to extricate himself from his arms. Blaine barely moves as Kurt rolls out of bed, and tiptoes out of the room.
Rachel should have left an hour ago for the gym, and then rehearsal, and he has reading to catch up on - the latest issue of Italian Vogue (research, essentially). There's a little surge of excitement that flares up in his chest at the thought of actually being alone in his apartment for once. Sort of alone, anyway. It's not that he doesn't love being with Blaine all the time, because he does, but there are things that he used to do that he never seems to have time for anymore.
They're not terribly important things: curling up on the couch with a magazine, or his tablet and a couple of guilty-pleasure celebrity blogs, things that he wouldn’t necessarily carve out time to do, but that he enjoys, or used to enjoy, anyway. Turning on the TV and watching a random episode of Project Runway at the end of a long day, instead of referring to a more curated list of Quality Programming. Sure, House of Cards is a lot better than Keeping up with the Kardashians, objectively speaking, but... Kurt is learning that there’s a certain kind of spontaneity that’s lost, living with someone like this. Especially when you live with someone and two to three other roommates in a loft in Brooklyn with no doors to speak of.
He wouldn't trade this for the world though. It's him, and its Blaine, and they're in New York, living their dream. Well, he supposes maybe he'd trade this for a two bedroom in the West Village – just the two of them, with a balcony, and a storage unit in the basement, and a commute to midtown that didn’t take upwards of an hour on a good day. Maybe then he wouldn't feel so--
The thought disappears, because Blaine is suddenly wrapped around Kurt's neck. Well, most of him is, anyway. His arms drape around Kurt's shoulders from the back of the couch. His nose brushes against Kurt's earlobe, and when he starts dropping light kisses down his neck, Kurt feels his brain slide somewhere deep inside of him. Suddenly all he can think about are Blaine's lips, and how much he wants them on his, right now.
"Mm," Kurt grunts astutely, as Blaine joins him on the couch.
Their shoulders and thighs press against each other as Blaine leans in and kisses him, lazy and sweet at first and then deeper, as Kurt melts into the cushions. He breathes him in, feeling both of them come alive and awake in the space between their lips.
"You should come back to bed," Blaine says eventually. His voice is rough, and Kurt is already pushing himself up from the couch.
He loves how much he loves this, how turned on he is by Blaine's kiss-swollen lips, his crazy bed hair, the way his boxers frame his ass.
"Morning sex really is the best," Blaine says, around the time the sun has started peeking through the shades in the kitchen, casting a small sliver of light under Kurt’s bedroom curtain.
Kurt hums his approval into the space between them on the bed.
"Everything is the best with you," Blaine continues, and Kurt wonders if he's blushing, wonders how it is that he hasn't become desensitized to these random, heartfelt declarations of affection yet.
"I love being here with you."
Blaine stares straight into Kurt’s eyes when he says this, his face is so open and honest and bare, and Kurt suddenly remembers Vogue and the couch, remembers that before Blaine had come and seduced him back into bed, he'd definitely been hoping to have the couch to himself for a good long while.
He hadn’t wanted Blaine here with him; he’d wanted to be alone.
The feeling twists inside of him, until he flops over onto his stomach.
"I love having you here, too." Kurt knows that it's not a lie – he feels awful even thinking of using that word to describe it, but – the words don’t feel entirely truthful, either. "It sure beats waking up horny, and having to wait hours for you to drag yourself out of bed back in Ohio."
Kurt stares at Blaine, trying to reconcile the love he feels right now, the comfort, with the excitement that’d bubbled up inside of him earlier at the prospect of an empty couch and an hour or two to himself. It doesn’t make sense, both of those things existing in his head at the same time.
"That was one weekend," Blaine says with a sigh.
"I don't understand how anyone can sleep until noon. Ever."
Blaine laughs, and wraps an arm around Kurt's back, leans in so close that their noses are practically touching. "It was finals week."
Instead of reminding Blaine that he easily could have aced all his finals without even opening a book, and so by “it was finals week", he probably means that he was up all night helping Sam and Tina study - he just kisses him.
There's not much space between them to begin with, so there's not far to go, and within a breath he's turned his whole body into Blaine. The kiss goes from playful to something a little more urgent, and then to something a lot more urgent, sloppy, and needy and a little desperate, in the span of about twenty seconds.
And then Blaine is threading his fingers though Kurt's hair, whispering hey against his lips, and stroking his cheek with his thumb, and Kurt kind of feels like crying.
"I really do love having you here," Kurt says, swallowing hard past the lump in his throat that won’t go away. The way Blaine is looking at him, like he might cry is not helping at all. "I think part of me was always worried that somehow this wouldn't happen. And now it has, and… I don’t know. I don’t know what I’m trying to say. Please just ignore me."
Blaine smiles then, traces Kurt's cheekbone with his fingers, and pulls him close.
“I could never ignore you,” Blaine whispers against his neck, and they hold each other there for what feels like a long time, just breathing under the covers, warm and safe.
“And I know it’s not the same thing,” Blaine says, “but… I miss him too. We don’t have to talk about it if you don’t want to, but… I’m here. Okay?”
Kurt sniffles a little against Blaine’s shoulder.
“Thanks,” he says, when he can find his voice again. Blaine’s hand finds his, and when he threads their fingers together, and squeezes tightly, Kurt allows the warmth to spread, until whatever he’d been feeling, all of it fades away somewhere outside of this space where it’s just him, and Blaine, and the warm press of Blaine’s skin against his body.
"I feel like I should be thanking you," Blaine says after another minute. They're lying next to each other now, staring up into the high ceiling.
"For being here. For letting me be here with you. For being you."
"Well, I am pretty great." Kurt agrees, smiling because he can’t help it. "But I think it might have something to do with the company I've been keeping lately. You see there’s this fabulous guy who’s just moved into town…"
"Yeah?" Blaine’s quiet laugh lodges itself right in the center of Kurt’s chest. “Please tell me more.”
Kurt just smiles and closes his eyes, feeling warm and happy and loved, like he's exactly where he's meant to be.
Most of the time, New York Blaine is wonderful. Full of energy and encouragement and playful, happy feelings, but sometimes, he’s not.
Kurt isn’t sure when exactly it started, or if maybe it had always been there under the surface - this insecurity, this doubt in Blaine’s eyes when he looks at him. This constant need to make sure he’s on equal footing - with Kurt, with his classmates at NYADA, with the world, sometimes. It’s as if he’s constantly reevaluating where he stands. The slightest hint of an imbalance, and Kurt can practically see the wheels turning in Blaine’s head, the doubts creeping in.
And Kurt isn’t judging him, because he understands, he really does. It’s a new city, and a new school, and an engagement, and all of these things are stressful, in their own way. Kurt remembers how he felt a year ago, too - arriving here and suddenly feeling insignificant and small, swallowed up by the lightning fast pace of the city.
But Kurt doesn't know what to do when Blaine is insecure about them, about him. It makes Kurt feel like he’s doing something wrong, just by feeling okay about himself, about his place in this city, finally. It makes him defensive, and that really doesn’t help, it just makes it worse, every time.
They argue – over Kurt’s schedule, over Blaine’s inability to be on time, over which end of the platform to board the train from in the morning, over everything, really. Sharp words, rolled eyes, silences that stretch for hours, sometimes. The apartment, for all of its sprawling, open space, starts to feel very, very small.
“I feel like I’m being really accommodating here, Blaine,” Kurt says, but he can’t keep the frustration out of his voice, which sort of contradicts the point he’s trying to make.
He lets out a breath, stares at Blaine across the kitchen table, trying to reach him. Unfortunately, Blaine is decidedly not reachable right now. At least not by Kurt.
“But like I said, I’ve already rescheduled this rehearsal twice,” Kurt says.
Blaine’s eyes flash with anger - Kurt is sure that whatever this is about, it doesn’t really have anything to do with whether or not they end up having dinner tomorrow night with two of Blaine’s classmates that Kurt has barely even met. It’s frustrating, and Kurt is losing his patience by the minute.
“I’ll just go by myself,” Blaine says, and Kurt tries really, really hard not to roll his eyes.
Rachel turns up the music a notch in her room, like maybe she’s expecting an impending shouting match, and honestly, Kurt can’t really convince himself that it’s is unwarranted.
“I didn’t say I wouldn’t go.” Kurt tries to keep his voice calm, an olive branch.
“You don’t have to say it,” Blaine says, morosely, and that’s when Kurt just snaps.
“Jesus, Blaine! Do you think that for once you could stop putting words in my mouth? Could we, just once, have a civilized conversation about something? One that doesn’t end with you staring at me with that ridiculous kicked-puppy look on your face?”
He silently apologizes to Rachel. He’s sure she’s heard some version of this conversation half a dozen times over the past few weeks.
“Sorry,” Blaine says, not sounding sorry at all. “Next time I won’t bother asking you.”
“Oh my god.” Kurt stares at Blaine, wondering how on earth this person he is planning to marry could possibly be so clueless. “You can’t possibly think that’s going to work.”
“You, trying to guilt-trip me!”
“I’m not trying to--”
“What are you trying to do then? Piss me off? Because that’s definitely working.”
“I just…” Blaine is staring at him a little helplessly now, and damn it if it doesn’t cut through all of Kurt’s anger, and hit him right in the stomach. The tension between them deflates, just a little.
“What?” Kurt asks, and his voice is a little calmer now, maybe even quiet enough for Rachel not to hear every word. “Please, tell me what this is really about, because I know it’s not about dinner with Todd and Stephen. You don’t even like them that much.”
“I don’t know, Kurt. Maybe I just wanted to spend time with you. I feel like I never see you.”
“Blaine, you live here. We go to class together every--single--day.”
“I’m sorry,” Blaine says, and he looks like he’s about to say something else, but stops himself.
Idina Menzel’s soaring voice fills the silence. (They’re all going to her new Broadway show together next week, and Rachel’s been listening to the cast album since it came out, pretty much exclusively. Kurt’s a big fan too, but right now he’s just not in the mood.)
He sighs, and stares at Blaine, who looks like he’s about to apologize again. Sometimes when Blaine apologizes for things that he has no business apologizing for it makes Kurt angry but tonight it’s just making him sad. He reaches across the table, finds Blaine’s hand.
They’re quiet for a second. Kurt squeezes Blaine’s fingers, waits for him to squeeze back, which he does, after another beat or two.
“You should go to rehearsal tomorrow,” Blaine says finally, meeting Kurt’s eyes.
“I probably should,” Kurt admits, running his thumb over Blaine’s palm, his wrist.
“You were right,” Blaine says. “You’ve been really accommodating – I can’t expect you to change your entire schedule just because I’m here. I’ve been an idiot.”
Kurt shakes his head. “You’re not an idiot.”
“I’m fighting with you over something that’s not even important, so… Yeah, I am.”
“How you feel is important,” Kurt says. “I want you to be happy.”
“I am happy,” Blaine says quickly, sounding defensive, and maybe a little scared.
Kurt gets up from the table then, because he’s scared, too. Fights like this that erupt out of nowhere have always scared him, because he’s not sure what he might say that he won’t be able to take back. Or vice versa.
With Blaine’s arms firmly wrapped around his back, and Blaine’s breath against his neck, everything feels a little easier, a little more clear.
“I’ll reschedule rehearsal tomorrow,” Kurt says, and when Blaine starts to protest, Kurt stops him. “Let me finish. I’m rescheduling rehearsal, and you’re going to take a raincheck on dinner. We can order in from that new Thai place over by the park, and watch a movie. Okay?”
“Are you sure?”
“You’re right. We haven’t had much time to ourselves lately. I know my schedule has been crazy.”
It’s a textbook reconciliation, really, where both parties realize that they were wrong, and no one really has to compromise anything. He suspects that it shouldn’t really be this easy, but it feels like something, that it ends up like this, with Kurt stifling a gasp as Blaine’s tongue finds its way to his neck, his heart pounding in his chest and his blood rushing to all the right places.
“At least you guys can still kiss and make up,” Rachel announces a few minutes later as she walks into the kitchen, and then immediately turns to head back to her room when she sees the rather compromising position Kurt has gotten himself into, his back pressed against the refrigerator, and Blaine’s hands creeping up under the edge of his shirt.
And Kurt thinks that yeah, Rachel may really be on to something. Because this—Blaine’s cool hands against his stomach, fingers lightly brushing against his ribcage until he squirms, and has no choice but to bury his hands in Blaine’s hair, and crush their lips together… This has to be a good sign.
Blaine doesn’t settle in with time though, the way Kurt had hoped he would. He doesn’t become less anxious, or more sure of his place the longer he’s here. They’re fighting too much, and it’s wearing them both down. They don’t always kiss and make up anymore.
Going home has started to feel tiring and stressful, and before he knows it, Kurt is standing on the High Line, staring out over the Hudson River, asking himself questions that he really never thought he’d be asking himself, until it starts to feel like an ultimatum.
He doesn’t remember the last time he’s been by himself for this long.
He loves Blaine. He wants to spend the rest of his life with Blaine, but being with him in this apartment is really not working right now. And admitting that this is actually happening feels like admitting to a much bigger problem that Kurt just can’t reconcile with what he feels in his heart right now.
Because his heart misses Blaine and it’s only been three hours since he stormed out of the apartment to say god-knows-what to Elliott. Kurt had come out here under the pretense of clearing his head, though he’s not sure that’s what’s happening at all. The longer he’s here, the more ridiculous everything starts to seem.
They’d never really talked about whether or not Blaine would move in with him after graduation. He honestly doesn’t even remember which one of them mentioned it first – at the time, it hadn’t really seemed like there was any other option that made sense. If they had been making a huge mistake, or rushing into things, it certainly hadn’t felt like it.
They’re engaged, and living together – both of these things are not things that Kurt has ever questioned wanting. He thought New York would be the beginning of their happily ever after.
His dad told him once that no great romance ever came without a price, without some heartache. He’d told him this after he and Blaine had broken up last year, and Kurt had just sort of assumed that the break-up had been the price.
Looking back, he feels naïve. They were kids then, but they’re still kids now. He wonders why he was so convinced that everything would be perfect in New York. Kurt misses that anything can happen, it’s us against the world feeling he’d had saying yes to Blaine on a staircase at Dalton Academy.
He doesn’t know where that feeling has gone, but today, staring out at the river, as the sun sinks down over the city, he’s not sure he even knows where to look anymore.
“It’s going to be fine,” Blaine tells him, much later, and lying here like this, with so many inches of Blaine’s naked body pressed against his skin, still trying to catch his breath after what may actually have been the best make-up sex ever, Kurt is inclined to believe him.
“It’ll be good for both of us. You need to explore the city on your own, find your own groove,” Kurt agrees, as Blaine presses his nose against his collarbone, and lets out a long breath.
It’s essentially the same conversation they’d had earlier (after Kurt had returned from the High Line, and Blaine had finally come back to the apartment) only naked, and Kurt finds that being naked helps a lot. The knot in his stomach has loosened, and he doesn’t feel quite so much like crying, at least. This, really, is going to be fine.
Blaine will move out, and nothing else between them will change. They’ll figure out whatever this is that’s going on between them, and then he’ll move back in, or they’ll find their own place, together, and it will all be fine, just like Blaine had said. This will make them stronger.
“I’ll find something small,” Blaine tells him, his face still pressed to Kurt’s chest. “And then after the wedding, we’ll look for the perfect place together.”
“Bushwick is definitely not perfect.”
Blaine chuckles, and Kurt runs his fingers over his shoulder. There’s an uneasiness that he can feel creeping in to his body that he wants more than anything to keep at bay. Blaine picks up his head, and turns over on his back. Kurt props himself up on an elbow, still close enough that he can feel the heat from Blaine’s skin against his arm.
“You know, I probably should have told you that I can be a little crazy about personal space before you moved in.” It’s meant to be a peace offering, but as soon as the words leave his mouth, they feel wrong.
“You’re not crazy.”
“Come on, Blaine. I pretty much set myself up for that one, you can admit it.”
“I don’t want to.” And just like that, the knot in Kurt’s stomach is back.
“Sorry,” Blaine says, and Kurt hates the tension he can already hear in his voice. “Do we have to keep talking about this? I know I started it, but now I wish we could go back to the part where we just lie here, thinking about the amazing sex we just had.”
Kurt’s lips curl up at that. “It was pretty amazing.”
“It’s always amazing.”
It’s meant to be light, Kurt knows it is, but Blaine sounds sad, and a little defensive, and Kurt just lies back and stares up at the ceiling, wondering if anything will ever be okay again.
“I’m sorry,” Kurt says, because he is, because he wants to fix this, even though he knows that trying to fix this is exactly what got them here in the first place.
“There’s nothing for you to be sorry for, Kurt.”
“Well, I’m sorry anyway, okay?”
“Fine.” Blaine’s voice is quiet and small in the darkness. “But I’m sorry too. I really hope you know that.”
Kurt isn’t sure if he knows anything anymore, to be honest, but he tells Blaine of course anyway, before he reaches down and finds his hand. He squeezes it and runs his thumb over Blaine’s palm until Blaine looks at him. And then he kisses him, deep and slow, until the rhythm becomes something he recognizes, until Blaine’s hands are buried in his hair, until it feels familiar again.