Chapter One: Damn it, the loneliness.
Kurt wasn't going to lie to himself. He had amazing friends, and a fantastic father who would do anything for him, and a teacher that cared enough to confront him about his sadness (though, admittedly, not enough to do anything about it).
But damn it, the loneliness.
It was worse than having his heart ripped out of his chest (Finn, clearly) because it felt as if there was nothing there at all. It was this hollow cavity underneath his ribs that echoed with his own voice, solitary and alone.
With a shaky sigh he closed his locker, briefly casting a glance at Blaine's picture. It felt strange, looking at Blaine's face. They had met and talked at Dalton, exchanged phone numbers and Blaine had said "If you ever need me, call."
What he hadn't said is "whenever you need me, look at my picture."
And the very action of having a photo of someone who wasn't your boyfriend (wait, scratch that, they were barely even friends) in your locker was downright stalker-ish. If Blaine hadn't given him the photo himself, it would have been stalkerific.
The loneliness that crushed Kurt every day had lessened. That was true. But he was cautious. It was stupid to fall head over heels for the first (goddamned gorgeous) gay guy his age he met. With a furtive glance, he shot a look at the Neanderthal. Well, the only out gay guy his age.
Just the thought of that brute made rage boil through him. He took his first kiss that meant something. The first kiss with a boy. He had stolen it from him and Kurt couldn't even tell anyone (apart from Blaine, of course). More emptiness, more meaninglessness, more loneliness.
Kurt's head shot up to meet Mercedes' concerned stare.
"You okay?" she cocked an eyebrow. "You've been all hush-hush lately."
Kurt opened his locker again, hoping to distract himself with something inside.
"I'm fine, Merce. Really."
Mercedes didn't look convinced. In fact, she looked one hundred per cent sceptical. Kurt fiddled with his books. Pride and Prejudice fell out of his hands and he stammered, leaning down to pick it up. He stayed there for a while, crouched on the floor. It was disgusting, really. And dirty. And he was going to stretch out his new jeans. But it was also quieter, away from Mercedes' eyes.
Kurt shot back up so fast that his perfectly coiffed head of hair only narrowly missed his open locker door.
Mercedes was looking with a pleased smile at Blaine's picture, an eyebrow cocked again.
"T-That's no one. Come on, we're going to be late for practice."
"Is he your boyfriend?" she seemingly blurted out, the words escaping her mouth with a little too much excitement.
Kurt glanced at the word underneath Blaine's picture. Courage.
"No," Kurt admitted. "It's not like that."
"Either way," Mercedes hummed to herself. "He is fine."
"Thankfully he's playing for my team or else I'd be worried," Kurt joked weakly, the hollow cavity in his chest echoing sadly with a brief laugh.
"So you want him to be your boyfriend?" Mercedes asked.
Kurt simply closed his locker in reply, casting his best friend and small glance. He pursed his lips and raised his eyebrows slightly.
"We're already late. Come on."
On the way to rehearsals, their conversation over lunch the previous day flashed through his mind.
"He's an asshole," Blaine shrugged. "I can't believe he took something from you as special as your first kiss."
As Kurt rose to defend himself, Blaine self-corrected, "Well, your first kiss that mattered."
Kurt just looked sadly down at his sandwich. Blaine had been kind enough to buy lunch (kind, talented, gorgeous) but the options around McKinley High School were strictly limited to fast food or service station sandwiches. Which explained why they were sitting there at the cafe, eating service station sandwiches.
"I didn't say anything when it happened," Kurt explained. "I just stood there in shock. And he leaned in again and I pushed him away and he just stormed off. It was terrible. I really hate him."
"Leaving you speechless in all the wrong ways, huh?" Blaine took a sip of his coffee (long black, which was just too much of an innuendo to not chuckle at internally).
"Thanks for being here. Just seeing your face made me feel better," Kurt admitted shyly, sipping his own coffee.
A look dawned across Blaine's face and Kurt thought he'd gone too far. Of course this gorgeous, talented, proud, fantastic, kind, generous guy wouldn't go for such a weak little wimp. The thought of Kurt having a thing for him was probably a shock. Why would he even dare?
But no. There were no scathing remarks. Blaine just got his bag and rifled through it determinedly.
"I know it's in here somewhere..."
Kurt frowned and looked on as Blaine removed a piece of paper from his bag. He unfolded it and grimaced at what he saw before handing it to Kurt.
"It's my school picture, which always looks like a mug shot. But whatever. Have it. Maybe it'll make you feel better," Blaine smiled. If Kurt wasn't so sure that Blaine was unconquerable, he would have thought that the dark-haired tenor was blushing.
Kurt glanced down at the picture. Blaine's face stared out back at him, green eyes unquestioningly confident, framed by thick brown eyebrows. His mouth had the barest hint of a smile, lips curving slightly. It wasn't a mug shot at all.
It was perfect.
Kurt's head snapped up.
"What?" he asked, confused.
The entire Glee club was staring at him, Mr Schue looking particularly concerned.
"You drifted off for a second there, bud. You okay?" Schue frowned. Yeah, Schue could talk a good game. He could seem concerned and even feel the concern deep in his heart, but acting on it would never happen.
Kurt bit his lip. "Yeah, sorry. I'm fine."
Schue smiled, pleased with the answer Kurt had given him.
"Great. Okay guys, from the top!"
Blaine was lying in bed.
It would have been absolutely normal apart from the fact that Blaine never just lay in bed. He was never late for school (any more, at least), and yet the clock was ticking over to eight o'clock and he was still lying in his bed.
He had been awake since six thirty, when his alarm went off. But he remained still, unmoving, in his bed.
Okay, so maybe 'unmoving' was a bit of an exaggeration. He had moved, but only to periodically check his phone.
No messages. No missed calls. Nada, nothing, zilch.
After the debacle last week with that big guy at McKinley, Blaine had (quite literally) been waiting for the phone to ring. He had it planned out. It would ring, and he would pick up, and he would hear Kurt's tired, upset voice on the other end.
And Blaine would nod, and comfort him, and they would meet up, and talk, and... and...
Well, the thing was that Blaine really had no 'and'. Kurt hadn't called, so there was no need for an 'and' and it was, truthfully, really frustrating. Kurt was that sweet contradiction of completely inexperienced yet so sure of himself that made him an interesting person to talk to.
And Blaine was somewhat tempted to put his wealth of experience to good use...
What didn't help was that Kurt was, quite possibly, the absolute and perfect incarnation of Blaine's 'type'. It was as if this angel had appeared out of thin air and needed Blaine to guide him, which was perfect because it meant Blaine had an excuse to get close. But it was so imperfect because one wrong move could shatter the angel forever.
Blaine checked his phone again.
No new messages.
He let out a sigh and got up out of bed. Fantastic. Maybe he could still get to Dalton in time for second period. As he emerged from the bathroom, steam from his shower trailing him, he glanced again at his phone.
It was lighting up, and with it, so did Blaine's smile.
"Hello?" he answered, a tad too eagerly.
"Blaine?" Kurt's voice on the other end was soft. "Hi, it's-"
"Kurt, hi," Blaine smiled into the phone and sat back down on the bed. Suddenly, he felt incredibly inappropriate talking to Kurt wearing nothing but a towel, but it wasn't as if Kurt knew or anything.
"I have a problem."
"Anything I can help with?" Blaine asked.
"Well, the thing is that there's this dance coming up..."
Blaine's mind went fuzzy as he searched for a response. Yes, yes and yes?
"Sadie Hawkins, you know the drill," Kurt laughed. "Although I doubt they have girls' choice dances at an all-boys school."
So this wasn't an invitation. Huh.
"What's the problem?" Blaine managed to ask.
"Well, I need someone to shop with."
The words hung in line, heavy and weighted.
"For a tux," Kurt continued, as if Blaine was stupid. "I'm going with my best friend and while she's a fashionista in the best possible way, she knows El Zilcho about Armani. Think you could help me out?"
Blaine covered the receiver with his hand as he exhaled a shaky breath.
"Of course," Blaine ran a hand through his wet hair. "I'd be happy to help out a friend."
The final word hung in the line, too. Heavier and more weighted down than anything else. It felt like, in that one moment, Blaine had messed everything up. But Kurt just said thanks and hung up, leaving the morose beeping of the dial tone in Blaine's ear.
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