Hello all! I come baring my latest baby. Originally meant as a one-shot, this story has grown over fifty pages on MicrosoftWord and it is still not complete. I had intended to write this before the new episodes aired because once they do, this story will become extremely AU. However, time constraints and the fact that this has grown exponentially beyond what I expected, I am now posting it in segments. The first twelve or so have been written and I will post them as soon as I receive them back from my beta.
Though this story may not seem like it at first, it is eventual Klaine. I just am taking cathartic pleasure in writing about Kurt's expansion as a human being both with and without Kurt. So yes, this is Klaine. It's just very Kurt!centric. I hope you all enjoy this as much as I am. :)
Disclaimer: I do not own Glee, Gershwin, Frank Sinatra, or anything else you may recognize.
And a big thank you to my beta, lextempus!
The first time Kurt kisses Blaine, it's a Thursday.
Blaine is in front of him, beside him, pressed up against him and he's so palpably real. Kurt rests his hands against the older boy's cheeks and feels for the first time the soft flesh that moves carefully beneath his trembling touch. Blaine tastes like water and warmth and boy, and it's the single most beautiful moment in Kurt's life until it slip-slides away, the cheeks taunt under his thin hands.
In time, Kurt will learn that kisses are supposed to be two-way. He'll learn that lips are supposed to move in tandem with his, that hands are supposed to caress equally, that kisses are give and take. But for the moment, he doesn't understand the loss of heat against his chest or the pressure on his arm as Blaine pushes him away gently.
Blaine whispers something so polite that it's not until the room is empty that Kurt realizes he's once again alone.
Although I can't dismiss the memory of his kiss, I guess he's not for me.
For the first time, Kurt thinks Gershwin might have failed him.
He sings out in the Warbler's rehearsal, each word honest and raw, and the moment drifts off as the final notes end in his throat. His fellow classmates stare at him in disbelief, but not any expression comparable to excitement or jealousy.
Discomfort fills the room, ricocheting off the walls and rebounding back to Kurt who burns ripe red under their confused stares.
It was just an apology song, he wants to tell Blaine. It's nothing different from when Rachel dedicated her songs to Finn or how Puck still stares at Quinn when he sings or how Tina jumps during her dances because she knows Mike will always catch her. Kurt's stomach twists and he just simply wants to be somewhere where he can express himself with song because he needs that. He irrevocably, desperately, intrinsically needs that.
Kurt doesn't have to look up at Wes's apologetic face to know that this is the last time he will ever sing solo at Dalton again. He can feel that fact vibrating under the stiffness of his uniform, deep in his bones as he walks to the stereo, ending the static that fills the air once the music cuts.
It's just as well, he concludes as the heavy sound of shined shoes against hardwood floors fills the reverberating silence left in the wake of his song. Boys file out of the room one-by-one, a perfect order of politeness, and Kurt is left, not for the first time, with the feeling that maybe Dalton isn't the right place for him.
Soon Blaine is the only one left in the room, his skin a contrast against the navy of his jacket as he stares at Kurt. Kurt watches with bated breath, though by now he's starting to give up on any notion of hope. Blaine opens and closes his mouth, the firm line of his jaw tight and boxed, and it's such a shame because Kurt always assumed Blaine inherently knew the right words and the correct answer to everything.
Kurt's never been good at reading people, and he knows he will never discern the look in Blaine's eyes.
Want is funny, Kurt thinks.
Kurt wants to kiss Blaine, wants to trace the pads of his fingertips along Blaine's perfect hairline and trail his tongue across the lines of Blaine's palms. He wants to pull Blaine's tie and bring the older boy a breadth of an inch away from his wanting mouth, to feel searing open-mouth kisses on his neck and close-lipped tender pecks on the inside of his wrist.
But more than that, Kurt wants to share his coffee with Blaine, something he's never wanted to do with anyone else before. He wants to count the errant curls that escape their gel hold, to connect the freckles neatly on Blaine's forearms. He wants to hold hands under the dinner table as he meets Blaine's family, a constant squeeze of reassurance as their knees knock awkwardly under the table. He wants to sing Blaine silly songs and write him foolish poems and wants Blaine to smile at him like he's the only boy in the world.
And Blaine? Blaine just wants to be friends.
Frank Sinatra certainly had it right, he muses to himself as he gazes out the window of the plaza onto the nighttime streets of New York.
Colors and lights flash both inside and outside the building as the Warblers sing and dance their celebratory success at having won Regionals. Kurt remains at the window, staring at the sparking apple juice in his tumbler glass and appreciating the refraction of light that casts amber spotlights on the polished floor beneath his feet.
A pair of leather shoes separates the light from the floor and Kurt brings his eyes slowly up the lean line of Blaine's legs and torso before beryl eyes settle on hazel. Kurt watches the dark lashes brush against the apples of his cheeks as Blaine blinks away the hanging questions that linger between them.
"You were excellent tonight."
I'm always excellent, Kurt thinks to himself, careful not to voice the words. So Kurt nods and returns the sentiment, his polite smile fading faster until he covers his lips with the tumbler in his hand.
According to Mercedes, Puck pulls a devastated Rachel off the ledge of the hotel they are staying at, Artie tries to convince a crying Brittany that she's still magic, and quite honestly, no one is happy about the outcome of the competition.
Kurt smiles bitterly at the irony of the statement.
When Mercedes texts back her congratulations to him, it feels like an afterthought. Which is a fairly accurate description, Kurt reflects in a self-deprecating way that is quickly becoming his default.
He responds with a thank you, but as he eyes the empty space beside him where Blaine isn't sitting and his empty knee where Blaine's hand isn't resting, he doesn't really think he's won anything at all.
Dignified cries of enthusiasm and congratulatory remarks ring out in the Warbler rehearsal room as the boys welcome their newest member, a thick boy named James who wants to ride on the coattails of the Warbler's New York success.
Seasoned Warblers comment as a monologue the traditions of their glee club, their words rehearsed and nearly word for word what Kurt recalls from his own initiation just a few weeks back. Until finally, all eyes fall to Kurt, a silent cue to move forward.
"Welcome to the group," he intones mechanically as he offers forth Pavarotti.
The cage is taken from his hands, and the sudden loss of iron in his grip makes him finally realize that there is nothing keeping him here.
He looks around the room and observes the boys in their sedated humor, their closed-off expressions. He notes how Wes smoothly returns to his chair, sitting like it's a throne, and David shuffles the new sheet music, some Top 40 song Kurt has probably heard to death on the radio. He eyes the dance corner cluttered with backpacks, a better use for the space as there is no dancing in Acapella. He sees the uniforms, the trained smiles, the leather-bound lining the walls, reminding him of the legacy and rules and the stifling nature of all it.
No, there's nothing to hold him down at all.
With all his metaphors for Pavarotti's existence in Kurt's life, it's no great wonder that Blaine notices Kurt's reaction to passing along the tradition.
He stands too closely, his voice light in Kurt's ear and his body heat radiating through the layers of starched fabric. Hazel imprints onto pale skin as he stares at Kurt, wondering if he's okay.
What is okay, anyway? Kurt doesn't know. He's tired of trying to define it and even more exhausted when it comes to obtaining it.
A cough in the doorway tells him Blaine can see the bareness of the walls, the way the suitcases on the stripped bed are full to bursting with Kurt's life packed away.
Kurt barely turns, just enough to spot the twist of Blaine's hands.
"I'm going back."
Those words hold weight that Kurt doesn't understand, but somehow it's easier to say than it is to feel.
He waits for Blaine to explain everything Kurt's doing wrong, but Blaine surprises him. It's dawning on him that Blaine will always be surprising him.
Blaine doesn't remind him of the bullying or ask how Kurt expects to handle it. He doesn't question the brash decision or why he's using such a harsh tone of voice. He doesn't bring to attention the loneliness etched in Kurt's features or the sharp motions of his belongings thrown into bags. Blaine doesn't accuse Kurt of being a diva who just wants solos and that's why he's leaving.
Kurt thinks maybe he expected that response because those were all thoughts that have been running nonstop through Kurt's mind since he called his father the day before.
The waning sunlight streams valiantly through the thick curtains, the light falling onto Kurt's shaking hands as he folds the last of his towels. He's painfully aware of Blaine's eyes on his form, watching the angled curve of his slim fingers as he handles the soft fabric.
"I had such high hopes," he whispers more to the towel than to the boy carefully edging closer to him, his measured steps silent against the carpet.
With eyes averted from the scene, he feels rather than sees Blaine gently tug the towel from his hands. No sooner than he faces the older teen with a questioning look does he find himself entangled in a hug, more intimate than he can remember.
He knows he should push Blaine away, but it's latent approval in its barest form and Kurt's slowly becoming a master at accepting the least amount offered to him.
He can feel the thud of Blaine's heart against his chest, his own heart keeping perfect time. Blaine's hands press against the small of his back and the small arch between his shoulder blades, and Kurt finds himself leaning into the gelled hair, the waxy scent filling his nose. His hands rest tightly around Blaine's middle and the two boys hold each other in the stillness of the room, the air filled with their shared, silent apologies.
"I just want you to be safe," Blaine whispers into the thin skin of Kurt's neck, sparking a shiver and elating his senses.
And in the hug, the embodiment of Blaine's courage, Kurt understands.
He's not running away from new problems. He's just learning to face the old ones.
When Kurt returns to McKinley on Thursday, he stands tall and cracked, no longer feigning strength.