Winter Wonderland

Title: Winter Wonderland

Author: Jen

Rating: Teen

Notes: Spoilers for the entire first half of the second season.

"Blaine," David said tersely, sharing a concerned look with Wes from across the senior commons, "if you're quite done."

Wordlessly, Blaine stood at the far window, eyebrows pulling together as he watched a long figure in the distance. It was a such a sad contrast, a dark blue dot amidst a sea of white.

"Blaine," Wes tried, closing his calculus book, "you do understand we have a test tomorrow."

"Yes," Blaine said, obviously distracted.

David continued on for his fellow Warbler, "And Harrison was perfectly clear that it'll end up being a significant portion of our final grade. You agreed to study with us, but we're the only ones who appear to be studying."

The warmth of the commons was seeping into Blaine's bones, but it only served to remind him of the figure outside, and he remarked quietly, "I bet he's cold."

"He?" Wes asked David. David shrugged in return.

"Kurt. And it's been snowing for a while," Blaine continued. "His coat doesn't look very warm."

Wes rolled his eyes and dropped his chin onto his open palm. "You can't tell that from this distance. Now get over here and help us study. My mother has already made her obligatory call of threats about what'll happen if I don't maintain my GPA."

Blaine's hand rested against the window as his eyes followed Kurt's form, traipsing across the distant school grounds, likely heading towards his dormitory. The boy was tucked in on himself, his scarf flapping behind him in the wind.


Startled, Blaine turned towards his fellow Warblers and demanded, "Could the both of you calm down?"

"Look," David said, crossing the room to stand by Blaine's side. "We get that you don't want to make a move on the kid. He's new, he's still adjusting, and you said he had a pretty hard time at his old school. We understand. But you don't get to subject us to your stereotypical teenage angst while you pine away for someone who could be yours if you had the courage to say something to him. Anything. For god's sake, compliment him and then follow through."

"Courage," Blaine mumbled. "I used to tell Kurt that a lot. Not sure I believed in it, but he did, so that was what mattered."

David took Blaine by the elbow and brought him over to their study table. He commanded, "Sit."

"It's a little ridiculous," Wes confirmed, pushing his textbook at Blaine, "that you manage to sing one of the most romantic duets ever convinced with him, and then simply flounced out of there without letting him know there was a reason you made up that story about singing at King's Island."

Blaine's eyes narrowed.

Wes supplied, "Your roommate hates your pinning as much as we do. And really, you shouldn't talk to yourself. David and I are of the firm belief that Kevin hears everything, knows everything, and then tells us everything."

"It wasn't an outright lie," Blaine argued a bit weakly. "I did land a gig."

"With your sister," David said bluntly, "and you're not actually singing that song, because it would be creepy and incestuous and weird." With a sigh, he added, "You likely didn't need to make that story up to get Kurt to sing with you. You should have just told him you wanted to. The way he follows you around like a little puppy, and blushes every time you look at each other really says a lot."

Blaine opened the textbook and ignored the words. Instead, he said, "So, calculus?"

David tapped his pencil for a minute then said, "But more importantly, did you take into account the fact that he's going home for Christmas break the day after tomorrow?"

Wes nodded quickly. "That's right, I'd forgotten. You'd better get on it, Blaine, because it'll be two more weeks before you see him again."

"I thought you wanted to study." Blaine jabbed at the textbook.

"I bet you'd like to study him."

At that, Blaine glared at Wes who immediately raised his hands in defeat.

"Have you even thought," Blaine asked, "for just one moment, that I might be more comfortable, and for that matter that Kurt might be, with a slow courtship?"

Wes piped in, "So we're talking about this for sure now?"

David said, "There's a difference between a slow, romantic courtship, and running in circles. You're sending him mixed signals, and making all of us dizzy."

"I walk him to class," Blaine protested, flicking his finger out, then adding more as he listed, "and wait for him after Warbler rehearsal. I took him to see RENT at the local community theater. We went to dinner, and granted, Mercedes was present, but we sat next to each other. I've sung to him on numerous occasions, and after Sectionals we both came back to my room where there was, dare I say it, cuddling on my bed."

"Clothes on or off?" Wes demanded.

"Irrelevant," David said with a wave of his hand. "We really like Kurt, Blaine. He's a sweet kid, and even if we didn't like him, you're pretty infatuated with him, so we'd pretend to like him in any case. But he's kind of thick."

"Thick?" Blaine's eyebrows rose high. "He's thick? How?"

David's shoulder bumped into Wes' and he elaborated, "You said he was the only kid out of the closet at his old school, right? Well, suffice to say, when it comes to male attention of the romantic sort, he can be rather oblivious. Last week I saw Dylan Mitchell offer to carry Kurt's books for him, and do you know what Kurt said?"

Blaine shook his head wordlessly.

"He said they weren't that heavy and he could manage all on his own. In fact he offered to carry some of Dylan's books in return."

"Kurt is a very generous individual," Blaine said a bit snappishly.

"Jarred Thomas likes to undress him with his eyes in gym," Wes said. "It's completely awkward for the rest of us, and Kurt, he just smiles back at him, like he's making a new friend, completely oblivious to the underlying sexual innuendo."

Blaine shuffled down a little in his seat. "Excuse me?"

David included, "We also know for a fact that there are several other boys circling him at the present time, waiting to see if you're going to man up or back off. I hate to tell you, but they aren't going to wait around forever, but while they do, Kurt's going to go on not noticing, which gives everyone involved a headache-except him, of course."

"We're not saying he can't see the way the boys are pretty much falling over themselves for him, the gay ones at least," Wes finished, "we just think he's overlooking the reality of the situation. He's trying to make nothing out of something, and it should be the other way around, which is probably why he hasn't made a move on you, considering you're too much of a girl to take some initiative with him."

Blaine stood and said, "I'd just like to say I'm offended by several statements that just came out of your mouth."

"Are you going to start singing something from Dashboard Confessional now?" Wes asked curiously.

Blaine gathered up his bag. "Just for that, you two can study on your own."

David seemed agitated for a moment, then said, "I'll excuse your disloyalty if you put us out of misery, go find Kurt and tell him that you are, in fact, courting him. It would probably make him feel better, and I know Wes and I would have to hear less complaining from Kevin, and from the other Warblers in general. Also, for the record, during Sectionals, Adam was standing on the other side of Kurt for our group performance and he said it was quite the miracle that you remembered the words to the song, considering the amount of eye sex you were having with Kurt. Adam is past the cute stage of whatever crush you've got for Kurt, and he's apparently willing to sit out the next performance if that's what it take to get away from your shamelessness. He said you're like a thirteen year old girl, and Kurt's your Jonas brother."

"Or Beiber," Wes challenged. "Prepubescent girls love him too, right?"

"Beiber's a guy?"

Blaine took a deep breathe, then leaned in closer. Humor gone from his disposition, he relayed, "How I choose to, or choose not to pursue Kurt is none of your business, or Adam's, or anyone's but ours. For your information, there was more that physical abuse going on at Kurt's old school, and if you stopped to read the signs, like when Kurt flinches away when the other guys touch him, or the way he constantly looks over his shoulder in the hallway, you'd understand why patience is of the utmost importance. It's none of your business what Kurt went through, but you're going to respect him enough to let him go at the pace he wants. If that means he wants to skirt around what should be obvious to him, then it's what he's going to do."

"You're kind of thick too," David shot back. "Kurt isn't some twentieth century silver screen scarlet. Slow ballads and longing looks, coupled with brief touches aren't really a sure sign of anything these days. I'm not saying you should pull him into the nearest janitorial closet, but maybe, short of declaring your unending love for him, you could be a little more blunt."

Blaine pushed in his chair, clearly still unsettled by the entire conversation. "We're done talking about this."

Wes shrugged helplessly and David shared his sentiment. Together they watched Blaine leave the study area.

"So the intervention is a bust?" Wes asked.

"Maybe," David said with contemplation. "There's hope for him yet, about a day's worth."

"That sounded less than optimistic."

David settled his calculus book back in front of him, then told his friend firmly, "He has until the end of winter break. If he and Kurt aren't at least holding hands by that point, I'm going to pay Alex Damon to ask Kurt out, very bluntly, I want to add, in front of Blaine. I don't know about you, but all of this moping around and pretending like the sexual tension isn't thick enough to drown in, is making me more than a little irritable."

"I noticed," Wes assured.

"Come on," David groaned. "Back to studying. I think your mother called mine because I got a call from her about my GPA that sounds suspiciously like the one you received."

Wes shrugged. "Could just be a mom thing."

In all truthfulness, Blaine hadn't really intended to go after Kurt. He's just been so furious at Wes and David, and their meddling, that he'd stormed off in the first direction he'd picked, and with an intent not to speak to his supposed friends for the rest of the winter break. But somehow he'd ended up in Kurt's building, and then on his floor, and then in front of his door, hand poised to knock and stomach knotting painfully.

When he did work up the courage, and Kurt's voice invited him in, it was several more moment before Blaine could speak, taken completely in by Kurt's rosy, cold tinted cheeks, the soft paleness of his skin, and his state of undress.

"I can come back," Blaine assured, not sure if he ought to overt his eyes. While he'd seen plenty of boys in far less, there was something incredibly intimate by the picture Kurt made, dressed only in his Dalton slacks and white undershirt. Kurt's toes wiggled bare on the carpet as he assured Blaine everything was fine, and then turned back to the bag he was busily packing on his bed.

Kurt folded a pair of pants and questioned, "Aren't you and David and Wes supposed to be having an all afternoon study session in the library?"

"We had a fight," Blaine confessed, even if he wasn't sure that was exactly what it had been. Argument seemed too weak of a word, but they hadn't exactly come to blows, either, and for all their pompous rhetoric, Wes and David had been attempting to help.

That seemed to shake Kurt, who questioned, "You had a fight? The three of you are very close. I find that hard to believe."

"They're well meaning," Blaine said, drifting forward, entranced by the smooth slopes of Kurt's shoulders and the bare skin that he could touch if he dared to risk the ramifications. "But sometimes they stick their noses where they don't belong. They have a habit of toeing a line with me, and not quite caring when they go over, as long as it's to make a point."

"And the point this time?" Kurt asked with a half hum, his back turned to Blaine.

Instead of answering the question, Blaine drifted to his side and said, "I bet you're excited to be going home for such a long time."

Kurt gave him a half smile. "Not really, actually. I mean, I'll be glad to see my dad again, and Carole, and Finn, and everyone, but I have a feeling that Christmas is going to be weird this year."

"First year as a blended family," Blaine observed.

Kurt nodded. "Dad and I are used to doing things our way, but we have to be considerate to Carole and Finn now. That means making concessions, and Christmas was always my mom's holiday. She laid out how things were going to be, mainly to avoid chaos when Uncle Andy and Aunt Mildred inevitably came over and brought their children, and when Granddad and Nana showed up. Mom died, but her traditions didn't. My aunts and uncles and cousins stopped coming to spend Christmas with us, and my grandparents died, but dad and I preserved the way we opened presents, and Christmas dinner and everything surrounding it. It's stupid, I know, but it feels a little like letting Carole and Finn become a part of Christmas is going to change what it means to me."

"Not stupid," Blaine argued, taking a seat on Kurt's bed. He patted the spot next to him and smiled as Kurt settled in. "And I didn't know your mother had died."

"A while ago," Kurt said nonchalant.

"I wouldn't think," Blaine said honestly, "that accepting Carole into your life, would dishonor your mother, Kurt. You're happy your father remarried, right? You approve of Carole?" When Kurt nodded, he asked, "Then it stands to reason that your mother would want her to feel included in your family. And she is family now."

"You're right," Kurt said with a small nod.

Blaine suggested, "Maybe you should talk with her, and with your father about your anxiety."

"I'm not anxious," Kurt denied.

Blaine's head dripped onto Kurt's shoulder as he teased, "Liar. I know you better than that. You're tense. That always means you're anxious." A moment later he could feel Kurt stiffen, and Blaine regained his composure, clearing his throat and saying, "You'll be a lot less tense after the last of your midterms, and after the Christmas break. I promise."

"I'll hold you to that," Kurt mumbled.

There was an awkward feeling settling into the room, and Blaine took that as his cue to stand. "So I'll see you after the holidays, okay?" he asked, and then mentioned, "I'll text you."

"Sure," Kurt said a bit sadly, and Blaine couldn't help feeling as if he were responsible. The patronizing looks from Wes and David later that night did not help the situation.

They went their separate ways, and Blaine, though he sent plenty of text messages, and made several calls, felt a sort of distance from Kurt that was numbing. He was quite used to spending days at a time separated from his friend, and on the weekends they hardly ever saw each other, at least not when Kurt's father showed to pick him up and Kurt nearly flew to the car in a mad rush. But the two weeks comprising the winter break felt like an eternity, and it was a realization to Blaine who hadn't truly understood how dependant he'd been growing on Kurt.

So naturally the day before classes resumed, the Sunday in which students began pouring back into Dalton's halls, Blaine went looking for Kurt. Kurt's roommate was a tall boy that Blaine recognized from the school's water polo team, but was not personally familiar with. He told Blaine, "Kurt's already here, but I don't know where he is. He said something about breaking in the ice skates his stepmom got him from Christmas, so he's probably out by the baseball field."

There was a small pond, Blaine knew, situated just behind the varsity baseball field. It froze every year, and Blaine remembered several of the students took advantage of having a limited, but private space to skate on.

Blaine made a quick stop by his own dorm room after that, digging through his closet to find a pair of worn, but cherished black skates.

"You're pretty good at that!" Blaine called out to Kurt when he reached the pond, and watched Kurt glide across the frozen water gracefully.

"Ballet lessons," Kurt called back, skating over to him and skidding to a stop. "I begged my dad for ballet lessons when I was ten. I saw the Nutcracker that year in Columbus and I was absolutely convinced that it was my calling."

"No offense," Blaine said with a laugh, giving his shoe a cautious toe pick before stepping fully out onto the ice, "but you're not quite built to handle the role of the Prince."

Kurt made a soft sound and rolled his eyes, skating backwards a bit. "I wanted to be the Sugar Plum Fairy. She's the most brilliant character. I was awful at ballet, by the way, and my dad was pretty desperate to cheer me up, so he got me ice skating lessons instead. Those turned out much better. For a while I think he was convinced ice skating could be a gateway into hockey, but he wised up right around the time I started posting pictures of Johnny Weir on my wall."

"Of course," Blaine said, and this time he was laughing much harder. When the laughter passed he bowed once to Kurt, held out his hand, and then, when it was taken, pulled him along on the ice, suggesting, "If you wanted, we could give The Nutcracker a go, and you could play Clara instead."

Kurt made a face. "Clara? But the Sugar Plum Fairy is the most coveted role in the entire ballet. She's the perfect representation of grace, elegance and beauty."

"But," Blaine reminded, "in the end Clara and the Prince live happily ever after. They fall in love. They have their perfect ending. That's better."

"Oh," Kurt said quietly, knees locked together as Blaine continued to pull him along.

"Just a suggestion," Blaine reminded, letting his fingers tighten at Kurt's wrist, picking up the quick beats of his pulse.

"You're a pretty good skater too," Kurt observed.

"My sister," Blaine acknowledged, "she and I, as soon as it was cold enough for the ice to start to freeze, would rush out to go ice skating. We have an older brother, and he was never much for it. But she and I, we could spend ours out on the ice. We had a lot of practice."

"You have a brother and a sister?" Kurt asked. He reached out with his free hand for Blaine's shoulder, centering them as they curved around. It was the longest they'd been in contact and it send a flush through Kurt's body that showed all too easily on his face.

"Both are older," Blaine acknowledged, "and they're both in college right now, but I got to see them this past week. Our parents spent a lot of time working when we were younger, so we relied on each other for most everything. We're close."

Kurt said, "I only had dad, but I understand. He's my best friend. I guess a lot of teenage boys can't say that about their fathers, but he is mine. Mercedes is my girl, but it's just different with my dad."

Blaine nodded wordlessly, and then, in a brief moment of inhibition, he brought his hand up to settle on Kurt's waist, still clasping at the boy's hand with his other. He wanted to ask if the motion was okay, because the reddening on Kurt's face was only intensifying, but he remained quite, and Kurt seemed to lean a little into him.

It was a lot like perfection, in Blaine's opinion. He had Kurt, easily the most wonderful person to ever stumble into his life, in his arms, rewarding him with the largest smile possible, and letting himself be pulled along by Blaine without protest. Maybe his feet were already hurting from the skates, and it was too cold to have the wind on his face, but Blaine never wanted the moment to end. He never wanted to let go, and wasn't sure if he could.

Then, of course, he tripped.

It had been ages, years in fact, since he'd been on his skates, and he dug the tip of his shoe in too deeply to the ice. It stopped him immediately, sent him careening off balance, and then he was falling to the ice, taking Kurt with him.

He ended up on top of Kurt, braced above him barely, with his knees stinging from the harsh contact of the ice and his breath coming too quickly. Below him Kurt blinked a bit lazily, clear evidence that he'd hit his head in the fall.

"Did I mention," Blaine said, trying to gain enough traction to lift himself from the ice, or at least not fall forward onto Kurt anymore than he already had, "that I get distracted easily? And when I get distracted on the ice, I tend to fall. A lot. Sorry."

"Distracted?" Kurt repeated. "I gathered as much." His hands came up slowly to fist at the material on Blaine's jacket. He kept the older boy in place as he pointed out, "You're going to have to work on that. The Prince is far more graceful than this."

"But The Nutcracker isn't performed on ice."

Kurt gave a small shrug. "I'm not good at ballet. Compromise?" And Kurt looked so hopeful, his eyes wide, mouth parted.

This, Blaine realized emphatically, was the moment when he was supposed to kiss Kurt. He was supposed to man up, frame the side of his face, mumble something sweet, and then go for the gold. It was a disservice to men everywhere not to take the present opportunity. But Blaine, unable to shake the impending guilt of possibly pushing Kurt too far, too fast, managed to raise himself off the boy and stand. He offered a hand down to Kurt and said, "Whatever you want."

Kurt ignored the hand and got to his feet by himself. He settled his hands on his hips and murmured, "I'm going to kill Wes and David."

"I often share this sentiment," Blaine said. "But it would be a record of theirs to have annoyed someone so quickly after winter break."

"It's nothing," Kurt said, skating to the edge of the pond and stepping off.

"Kurt," Blaine called out, trailing after him. "What's going on?"

"Nothing," Kurt repeated gruffly. He bent forward and began to unlace his skates, a bag nearby containing his snow boots. "I have to get back and unpack."

Blaine caught Kurt's elbow and said, "I've done something to upset you."

Kurt turned back to him, and there was an expression of disappointment on his face so sharp that Blaine's breath caught in his chest.

"No," Kurt implored, "it's not you . It's me. It's stupid and I have to go."

Panic sprung to the forefront of Blaine's mind, and desperate to keep Kurt with him, he confessed, "Wes and David think I'm thick."

Kurt paused. "In what way?"

"They tell me," Blaine said, struggling to word himself delicately, "that I'm not always as clear as I could or should be. Apparently I have a lot to say, I'm just not very good at saying it. Also, my execution sucks too, I guess."

Kurt informed him, "I'm confused."

Throwing caution to the wind, Blaine blurted out, "I really like you, Kurt. I mean, I really like you as way more than a friend. And I thought I could give you all the space you needed, especially after the Karofsky incident, and that you would understand. Only David and Wes told me before winter break that I'm thick, and you're thick, and when you put use together you get a whole lot of miscommunication and awkwardness."

Slowly Kurt shook his head and said, "The only part I understood was that you like me. But I did like that part."

"I thought I was being clear that I was interested, Kurt. I guess I wasn't. I am, Kurt, and I just didn't want to push you into anything. I wanted you to be ready, and I was sort of hoping you'd come to me when you were."

Kurt gave him a bland look. "I'm fairly retarded when it comes to these issues, Blaine. My previous romantic encounters include making out with a girl who sometimes makes out with other girls, and being forcibly kissed by a moronic, possibly inbred jock. I … I like you too, Blaine, I just wasn't sure how to let you know." He finally concluded, "Wes and David are right. I am thick."

"So," Blaine said, drawing out the word a bit. "What do we do now?"

"We could always go out on a date."

Frowning, Blaine said, "I thought it was a date when I took you to see RENT?" He really had, because they'd sat together, Blaine had bought them refreshments, and afterwards Blaine had driven Kurt home where he had suggested repeating the outing at a later time.

"You didn't kiss me goodnight," Kurt said suspiciously. "I've seen enough movies. I know that's how it's supposed to work."

"Your dad waited up for you," Blaine reminded. "He was watching from the front window, all but glaring a hole right through me, and I was pretty sure if I so much as touched a hair on your head, I was going to loose that hand."

"He's not really that scary," Kurt confided. "Most of it is for show. And hey, like the both of us, he doesn't have a lot of experience with this liking thing. He doesn't know how to deal with us liking each other."

After a second, Blaine said, "Then I want to take you out. I want to take you out on a real date."

"What if I want to take you out on a date?" Kurt posed.

With a shrug, Blaine said, "I won't argue that."

"Okay," Kurt breathed out. "And this is where you kiss me."

But there was no time for processing of the statement, because once more Kurt had the material of Blaine's jacket in his hands and he was diving in for their very first kiss. It was sweet, and warm and soft and everything that kisses were supposed to be, and Blaine had to work very hard at not over enjoying it.

"Or," Kurt amended after that, "where I kiss you."

"Either or," Blaine said breathlessly.

Kurt, after establishing that he would be taking Blaine out first, then relayed to Blaine, "Maybe you could be the Prince after all. Karofsky, no doubt, would be the Mouse King."

Blaine let his arm hang loosely around Kurt's waist as he walked Kurt back to his dorm. "I would totally save you."

"If I recall, it's actually Clara who distracts the Mouse King long enough for the Prince to strike the final blow."

"Technicalities," Blaine assured. "None of that really matters."

"Oh?" Kurt asked, "why not?"

Blaine smiled at him. "Like I told you earlier. The Prince and Clara get their happy ending. Everything that happens before doesn't really matter because of that."

Kurt's lips were cold as they pressed against Blaine's cheek, but they were very welcomed.

Following that, Wes and David barely had the decency to withhold their gloating, for which Blaine forgave them for their earlier nosiness, and then found himself in their debt when they slipped him two tickets for the last Nutcracker performance of the year. Kurt's face lit up with delight at the prospect of the show, and Blaine received extra kisses for the gift while Wes and David were both very smug. Blaine let them brag after that.