Approximately right now:

His name is Jeremy Lincoln-Price, he's 6'2" and he's already in line to be the star of the lacrosse team, even though he's only transferred into Dalton something like five and a half minutes ago. (Okay, it was a month ago now, but still)

Blaine Anderson doesn't think much of him, really. As much as he loves being known for being in the Warblers and a lot of people think highly of him, being "popular" in Dalton doesn't mean as much as it does in public schools or teenage-romcoms in Hollywood. It just means he gets more waves in the hallway, that people smile at him more. He's not coveted or put on a pedestal or anything, he just exists in a happy place. Therefore, Jeremy's new-found popularity isn't anything, really. Curiosity for the new guy, is all.

He notices Kurt notice Jeremy the second time he sees the boy at school; it's lunch time and Kurt's unwrapping his sandwich with quick fingers, unfolding the wax paper neatly and laying out his low-fat chicken salad with lettuce and tomato on toasted rye, a sandwich which Blaine knows is Kurt's Friday treat, with the same gusto as he does everything. They're sitting with Thad and David and Wes, ignoring Nick's surly mood and trying to get excited for the weekend. Blaine is discussing whether or not he should make a trip to the mall when he sees Kurt's eyes widen.

Jeremy's tall, and he's got this shock of auburn colored hair and he's lanky, yet solid. He's got these bizarrely clear blue eyes and a ridiculously great smile and Blaine, he hates him suddenly, so so ridiculously much.


Jeremy doesn't sing, or play guitar, or piano, and isn't musically inclined in any sort of way. He's a sports guy; likes lacrosse and basketball but doesn't love football that much and Blaine finds all of this out when he's formally introduced to the other boy the following Monday, in the hallway at the lockers, as Lance's new roommate. Kurt's at his side, radiating warmth, and he's oddly silent. The kind of silent that makes Blaine uneasy, sometimes, because it means Kurt's thinking a lot, and being so stupidly smart, Kurt thinking a lot usually means he's processing. What he's processing is really up in the air; could be his classes, his next outfit, the newest tragedy to befall the world – but whatever it is, Blaine's distracted by Kurt's silence.

When Jeremy sticks his hand out to shake, Kurt grasps the other boy's hand warmly, and he seems to shake out of whatever headspace he'd fallen into instantly.

"Kurt Hummel," He says to the taller boy, who grins right back at him, a disgustingly sweet smile.

"Kurt," Jeremy says, as if he's tasting Kurt's name in his mouth. Blaine can only stand there, words stuck in his throat, as Jeremy unfolds his schedule out in front of Kurt and bumps his shoulder against Kurt's in a friendly gesture, "You're in my next class, right? French 102 with Mr. Dupont?"

Kurt smiles back, his real smile, the one that sometimes takes Blaine ages to coax out of him.

"Yep!" He replies, and Jeremy gestures in front of him.

"Then after you, my friend. I'm still stumbling around a bit and could use the help."

Blaine watches the two boys walk away silently and doesn't think about how Kurt didn't even look back at him, not even to say goodbye.


Three weeks earlier;

Blaine has a dream:

He's running through the halls of Dalton, sweat dripping down his sides, soaking through his undershirt, then his white shirt, then his blazer. His legs feel heavy; it's dim in the hallways for some reason. The lockers are all ajar, empty, there are cobwebs everywhere. It's like Dalton is a ghost town.

Even as he runs, Blaine doesn't understand why he is, but he can't stop. The sounds of his loafers hitting the ceramic tile floors echo powerfully through the hallway, and his chest feels tight and heavy. The gel he uses so frequently is running out of his hair, burning his eyes, into his mouth. His hair is plastered to his head, hands sweaty and damp. He feels like he's going to collapse but something's urging him to go faster, faster. Then the floor's dropping out from under him, and there's that random, terrifying sleep-falling sensation that -

He wakes up suddenly and finds himself on the floor, tangled in his sheets, Thad standing over him with a disgruntled expression on his face, half-hearted concern in his eyes.

"Dude, you just fell out of bed," He says, as if Blaine can't tell by the fact that he's sprawled on the floor fighting to regain some dignity that he has.

"Thanks, Mr. Obvious," Blaine grumbles, and his voice is rough with sleep and his arm is numb and he's still trying to catch his breath, like the marathon he'd been running in his dream had been painfully real. Thad half-heartedly tries to help him up but backs off without a word when Blaine waves him off.

"You okay?" He asks, climbing back onto his bed and crawling under the covers. Blaine sits up and then struggles to his feet, sitting heavily on the end of his bed. He nods at Thad and watches the other boy curl up on his side facing away from him. He's not sure how long he spends steadily watching Thad's breathing even out, but by the time he's shaken himself out of it and laid back down, his head is no longer fuzzy. He's awake, and it's 2AM and he's kind of pissed about it, actually.

He checks his phone out of habit, surprised/not surprised when he sees there's a text on there, received forty minutes ago, from Kurt.

in the 24/7 lounge reading a tree grows in brooklyn for class if you're still up and want to keep me company :0)

Normally he'd ignore the message and curl back up to sleep; Kurt's weirdly able to function on four hours without a blink and still be refreshed in the morning, but he's awake now, and slightly grumpy, and kind of irrationally annoyed at Thad and equally at his subconscious. So he shoves his feet into his loafers, tugs the oversized cardigan he only wears in his room on and shuffles out, pocketing his phone on the way. The lights in the hallway seem unnaturally bright and weirdly stressing, his eyes burning against the brightness as he creeps down the hall. As he walks past his hall mates' doors he hears soft sounds of life – a snore here, the swishing of a sleep machine, someone typing, soft talking. It comforts him a little, remembering he's not alone.

He's unsure if Kurt would even still be there, but he's not surprised when he is, curled into the farthest couch in the room in sweats and a really really nice sweater, one that Blaine is sure shouldn't be worn simply in a study lounge at insane hours of the night. His bed-ragged hair, Dalton Soccer tee and plaid sleep pants suddenly pales in comparison to how neat and fresh Kurt looks. As he stands in the open entranceway of the lounge he takes a moment to consider what Kurt would look like mussed up; hair out of it's perfect coif, shirt wrinkled. It seems so unlikely that Blaine doesn't consider it for more than a second, and when Kurt finally notices him there with a smile, Blaine doesn't hesitate smiling back.

"Oh hello stranger," He says, moving his bag from the couch next to him. Blaine falls heavily onto the seat next to him, crowding a bit into Kurt's warmth, ignoring the fact that he has a whole couch to stretch out onto. He winces a bit, suddenly feeling where he must've banged up his side in his fall, and sees Kurt's eyes darken in concern.

"What's with the face? Are you okay?" He inquires, placing a bookmark into his paperback and putting it on the arm of the couch. His eyes glance over Blaine's figure, looking for visual proof of injury or discomfort. Blaine just eases to lean on his side a bit differently, inching a bit more into Kurt's personal space. When Kurt puts an arm around him he doesn't think much about curling into his side and tucking his head onto Kurt's shoulder. He feels the other boy tense for a moment and he almost pulls away, but then Kurt's fingers tentatively touch the top of his head and he relaxes a bit. Feeling selfish, Blaine allows himself to be comforted, fisting his own hands into his own cardigan and sighing a bit.

"I fell out of bed," He whines, sort of sadly, and he feels Kurt's huff of breath, his slight laughter against his hair. He mumbles in protest, but Kurt's fingers are soothing even if his laughter hurts his pride even more.

"How'd that happen?" Kurt wondered, softly, and Blaine can feel him idly tracing a curl, and then tugging on it a bit. Blaine stares as Kurt's other hand, curled strong and masculine but deftly manicured and soft.

"Weird dream," He replies, and doesn't elaborate any further. He reaches across Kurt to pick up the copy of A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, staring at the cover for a moment, "I just feel like I met the sad excuse for a carpet in our room rather rudely. I'll survive."

He can't see Kurt's face but he can tell Kurt's got an expression curiosity on his face.

"Is that why I'm graced with your presence this early morning?" Kurt asks, and from where Blaine's head is laying against his shoulder, Blaine can feel Kurt's vocal cords resonate and vibrate against his skull.

Blaine's feeling weirdly needy all of a sudden, moreso than usual. He considers himself fiercely independent, but the odd, empty dream left him feeling bereft and alone; like he's grasping at ghosts. Kurt feels solid and warm against him, and while there's warning signs going off in his head – Danger: Leading Best Friend On As Usual – Blaine is being stupidly selfish. He wants to cuddle, dammit, and this isn't something Wes or David or Thad or even Nick would do, despite their total acceptance that he is gay.

He tucks his legs up onto the couch and curls further into Kurt, tucking his arm between Kurt's back and the couch and 'hmmming' a bit until Kurt's arm tightens around him. It's the most intimate embrace they'd ever had and even the air around them seems to notice it.

"I needed a hug," He hastily says, just under his breath. He runs his fingers over the book cover and closes his eyes for a moment, imagining New York in the 1930's, curled on a fire escape with Francie Nolan and her books. When Blaine had first read that novel, forced to by a tutor when he was 12, he'd daydream about sitting with Francie on that fire escape, sharing starlight mints and cool water. Betty Smith had something magical about her words, making Depression-era New York seem so romantic and charming.

He feels Kurt take a deep breath against him, feels Kurt's heart hammering under his ear.

"Sometimes I daydream about sitting with Francie on her fire escape and eating Starlight Mints with water," Kurt says out loud, and Blaine's sort of rocked to his core, "It all seemed so wonderful, in a small way, you know?"

Blaine doesn't know how to say that he thought that way himself, sometimes. He doesn't know how to wonder aloud if Kurt was attuned to him that they had the same irrational, bizarre daydreams. Instead, he feels weirdly moved by the moment he's in, his heart heavy and his breathing almost difficult. He feels Kurt's nose against the crown of his head, then, and feels Kurt's breath shudder against him, and they both are so fucking lost, for the moment. Blaine doesn't pull away, doesn't make excuses, doesn't say much of anything, except:

"I'm sorry, Kurt."

He's sorry for a lot of things, but mainly sorry because he's creating this moment between them, this moment that Kurt will undoubtedly think about. He's sorry for being such a selfish prick, for leading Kurt on, for loving Kurt's adoration but not knowing what to do with it. He's sorry for crushing Kurt's confidence and breaking his heart and doing it over and over and over again.

Blaine sometimes thinks, in his dark moments, that he might have been the worst thing possible to come into Kurt's life. Kurt was crushed by Karofsky – frightened and terrified – but he still had his spirit, regardless to how in shambles it was. Now Kurt's eyes don't sparkle as much, his smiles, so quick to come in the beginning, now needs to be coaxed out of him. Blaine feels like a failure. He feels like he's let Kurt down. He feels like he should let Kurt go – but he can't. He simply can't.

Kurt doesn't say anything to comment, instead choosing to brush Blaine's hair into some semblance of order, or try to anyway, before pressing his cheek to Blaine's head. They sit like that for a long time, quiet and contemplating, and Blaine – he never has the courage to speak up again.


The next day, Blaine wakes up thirty minutes late, has to skip breakfast and his hair is still a mess.

During his first class his phone buzzes in his pocket.

i can't do this anymore. let's steer clear of one another for a while, okay?

And that, Blaine guesses, is that.


By day three of basically avoiding one another, Blaine's going through Kurt withdrawal. He finds himself almost posting videos from YouTube on Kurt's wall, he finds himself wanting to text him funny quips. He stops himself from just falling to his knees to beg forgiveness, to tell him he's sorry and that it's not Kurt, he's just terrible at everything and incapable of love, and –

Instead, he finds himself at Breadstix on Friday night sitting across a booth from Rachel, who's very sweetly drinking a milkshake from a big frosted glass and looking up at him through her eyelashes with sad, sad eyes.

"This perhaps isn't the best way to get Kurt back into your good graces," She says honestly, and Blaine knows she's very very right, "In fact, I think this is probably the way to really mess things up."

"We're not here on a date." He says, mostly to make sure she's very aware of that. He knows she's not stupid, but it feels better to say it out loud anyway.

"Of course not, silly." She pushes the milkshake away from her and watches Blaine's hands as he picks apart a breadstick, crumbs littering the sticky tabletop. He wonders what he's doing really, what he's done, and how sitting with Rachel Berry in the cheapest, cheesiest McKinley High hotspot is going to get his best friend back.

"Listen, Kurt's crazy about you. He always has been. Gosh, you have no idea how sick I was listening to him go on and on about you – even after the debacle at the party."

If anything, Rachel's painfully honest, and he likes that about her. She shares that trait with Kurt (don't tell him that, though, Kurt would be mightily offended) even if Kurt has more of a tendency to keep feelings bottled up and Rachel explodes at the tiniest notion that she could be slighted.

"I'm not even sure why," She shrugs, again brutally honest, "While yes, you have certain physical attributes that make you appealing and you do have a pretty spectacular singing voice, you're woefully dull, sometimes, Blaine. You're also stupidly stubborn and not willing to see past your own opinions and honestly, that's not a very good trait."

Blaine almost quips back immediately, wants to cut her down just like she cut him down – because hello, there's the pot calling the kettle black – but he doesn't, because she's right. She's so so right, and that's it – that's why he doesn't deserve Kurt, even as a friend. Forget about learning to get past his own insecurities, forget about getting over his fears and seeing what's right in front of him.

"Quite frankly, he's too good for you."

With that, Blaine remembers why she and Kurt had been friends first. How silly of him to have the slightest bit of thought that maybe she would have been sympathetic towards him! Despite her misgivings and her talent for overlooking others' feelings, Rachel loves Kurt. They're this and that, but they get one another, even after all the bad things.

Blaine's avoiding her gaze now, instead quietly stirring the bubbles out of his sparkling water. He sees Rachel's small hand reach across the table, then, and she touches the back of his hand lightly. The gentleman in him can't help but look up at her, not willing to be a total asshole, and he's surprised to see softness in her eyes.

"Regardless of all that, he sees something in you. You just need to see if you can see that same spark and let yourself give into him. He deserves that. You deserve that."

Blaine turns away, blinking away the tears that have suddenly caught in his throat. Rachel Berry is an odd bird, someone perhaps more misunderstood than any of them, but sometimes she's just right.

This time she definitely is.


They still see one another in school, and there's no coldness, really, just this weird separation. They eat with the other Warblers at lunch, they'll sometimes walk with one another to Calculus (their one shared class), they'll talk about broad topics such as Vogue covers or the new Gaga single or the Warblers' set list. They don't talk for long though, and Kurt never sits next to him anymore, or texts him, or calls him. They don't take impromptu trips to Lima, or to see movies, and they certainly don't talk about feelings.

It's agonizing and at the same time, painfully bittersweet.

Jeremy Lincoln-Price arrives a week after winter break, three weeks before Regionals. He takes Dalton by storm – even teenage boys are prone to curiosity about the tall dark stranger types – and Blaine doesn't give him much thought at first. Just like any gay male he appreciates the cant in Jeremy's hips when he leans against the lockers and has heard from others that the taller boy is charming, but he doesn't really care all that much. They don't share any classes and he only sees him in lunch and occasionally in the hall.

So when Kurt's eyes linger, Blaine feels unsure. He feels like there's a rock in his stomach, and he wants to yell and scream at himself, wants write it over and over in his notebook : You have no right to feel like this, Blaine Anderson !

Even when Jeremy Lincoln-Price leads Kurt through the hall that day Blaine tries not to think much about it, despite the interested glances their friends are giving him. He feels like telling them all to fuck off, loudly and rudely and completely unlike him, but he doesn't. Instead, he texts Rachel and moments later he gets a response.

COURAGE !

Blaine feels stupid, so stupid, then.


He finds out two days later that Jeremy Lincoln-Price is as gay as they come, likes to do drag shows on the weekends, and definitely, definitely has his sights on Kurt. He spots the two of them standing on the staircase in the Main Hall that Friday. Jeremy's wearing eyeliner – EYELINER – and Kurt's beaming up at him, face red and undeniably sweet and charming. Jeremy looks like he's stepped out of some heinous sex riddled music video, like he should be writhing on a Adam Lambert set – seriously, where could he possibly going wearing jeans that tight with glitter on his face?

Blaine stands only a few feet away, feeling undeniably like a stalker. It's a testament to how Kurt's moving on that he doesn't even notice him there – a few months ago it'd felt like Kurt had had been so attuned to him that he practically could sense Blaine in the room.

Jeremy laughs at something Kurt says, Kurt does his patented little silly eye roll, and he watches as Jeremy's hand touches Kurt's elbow. Their conversation ends; Jeremy steps back, eyes still on Kurt, and disappears out the front entrance, leaving Kurt in his wake.

It's then, only then, that Kurt notices him there. The other boy's eyes don't give away anything, and he hopes his own are the same. They just stand there, staring at one another, before Kurt hops off the last step and heads in his direction.

He expects the other boy to walk past him without a word, but he shivers a bit when Kurt stops in front of him and grabs his forearm through his blazer. Blaine's sure his breathing's stopped, and his gaze connects to Kurt's again.

"I miss you," Kurt says, eyes losing their iciness. He feels Kurt squeeze his arm, and before he can say anything in return, Kurt's gone. Blaine belatedly takes a deep breath and he can smell Kurt suddenly, like sandalwood and summer and just Kurt, and he feels like an idiot closing his eyes against it, feels like a moron for wanting to run after Kurt and pull him into his arms and just breathe him in.

He must look devastated. He can feel it in his own face, the way his lips are downturned and his forehead hurts from frowning. He knows Kurt saw that expression and he wonders what it all means.


The email comes the next morning. It was received at 3AM, which means Kurt was once again using his night-owl tendencies to his advantage. Blaine's not sure what to think of it at first, so he leaves it half-read, showers, gets a cup of coffee, asks Thad to politely fuck off, and settles in his desk chair with his door locked and headphones on.

It reads:

blaine;

i had a dream about you last night; wherein the two of us were in the lima downtown mall walking in opposite directions from one another. this went on and on for what seems like forever, going in circles and circles and circles. that cute guy we saw at the apple store was there, too, (remember him? more your type than mine, although i'm not sure even now what 'your type' really is) standing in the doorway to the store holding up the new ipad, trying to get us to go in and buy it, every time we passed it. i kept trying to stop you as you walked by me, but you didn't see or hear me for some reason – you wore headphones, too, i think, but i also remember noticing those headphones weren't connected to anything. the mall was playing music by that band you like, the naked and the famous? i think they're called? anyway that one song you listened to over and over and over in the car that day was on, and i felt like i was in the twilight zone. i was so frustrated because you were so close and yet so far, i guess sort of like we have been lately.

by the end of the dream i was crying so hard that i woke up with a headache, and i found out from nick later that i had been actually crying in my sleep and that he was so panicked about it that he almost called you – and then remembered we weren't talking to one another, not really, so he called finn. who was so confused and that it was almost charming when he showed up at 2:30 in the morning, sleepily, with mercedes in tow. they're the ones sleeping now, in my bed as i type here at my computer. i'm not sure what i'm trying to accomplish here, except to tell you that i can't say i'm sorry, because i'm not. i'm not even sorry that we lost a few weeks as friends because i needed it, and i think you did too. i'm unsure if there's anything we can do, but even though you've broken my heart just so so many times, i can't let you go, not really. i'm the worst masochist there is, really, but it's something i won't be able to change about myself. love it or leave it, that's how i am.

i meant it when i said i missed you – i never wanted to say 'screw it' so bad when the new britney song came out and i realized i couldn't talk to you about it!

hugs,

kurt.

He hasn't been finished reading two minutes before he hits 'reply'.

Kurt:

Lima Bean at 3?

Miss you too,

Blaine

Less than fifteen minutes later, as he's mulling over whether he was a moron for not writing something more thoughtful in response to Kurt's long email, he gets a text.

be there or be square. now, how do i get finn to stop playing video games with nick and leave already?

Blaine can really only laugh.


It's a cold day, so when Blaine finally steps into the Lima Bean, he's grateful for the familiar smell and warmth of the place. Normally he and Kurt would take turns driving, but instead they meet one another there, and he's not surprised to see his friend at their favorite spot, a second cup of coffee already in front of Blaine's chair. He weaves his way through the afternoon crowd and he's met with the most brilliant smile. Before he can say anything, Kurt's up and out of the chair, enveloping Blaine in a sweet, sweet hug. Blaine hugs him back, breathes him in, gives himself the luxury of holding Kurt a bit too long. They hug for nearly a minute, and Kurt's face is a brilliant shade of red when he steps back.

"Well hello there stranger," He quips, reminiscent of the last time, sitting back down in his chair. Blaine settles across from him, unable to keep from smiling.

Their initial talking is a bit awkward, a little stilted, but it's not longer than ten minutes before Kurt has him nearly falling off his chair with his impression of Wes at last week's practice, and after that, his opinions on their biggest guilty pleasure's latest episode, Jersey Shore. When there's a lull in the conversation, they both take a deep breath, smiling crazily at one another. Blaine feels something click, feels something sweet settle over his shoulders, and for the first time truly considers what it'd be like to lean across the table to taste Kurt's smile. He imagines raised eyebrows and a small sound of surprise and Kurt's lips finally meeting his own. He imagines so much that he must have a far-away look in his eyes.

"Looks like I lost you there for a minute," Kurt says, smile faltering just slightly. Blaine's fingers twitch around his cup and he clears his throat.

"Yeah – God I'm sorry," He knows he's blushing. He feels exposed, like Kurt could have possibly seen his daydream, "What were you saying?"

"I was talking about Jeremy." Kurt replies, and Blaine zeroes in on the faint blush on Kurt's cheeks, on the way his eyes sparkle suddenly. Blaine's heart stops a little, stuttering in his chest. If anything, though, Blaine has always always been a great actor. His smile never falters, not even as Kurt continues and Blaine's carefully controlled wall of confused feelings, the one the he kept protected and tried not to think about, came crumbling down.

"What about him?" Blaine wonders, fingers tightening on his cup. It buckles a little under the pressure, and the lid pops off and clatters to the tabletop. He scrambles to save it from a tumble onto the floor; noting Kurt's little laugh. After making sure he didn't spill his coffee anywhere, he looks back up at Kurt, who has such an amazing expression on his face that even Blaine, in all of his heartbroken glory, can't help himself from smiling back.

"I think he really likes me. He asked me out the other day." Kurt finally says, and Blaine ensures himself that his smile isn't slipping by nonchalantly touching the side of his own mouth. He doesn't know what to say, honestly. He wants to tell Kurt not to date Jeremy. He wants to badmouth Jeremy and he wants to tell Kurt to date him instead, please, please -

But the truth is, despite how much Blaine knows he loves Kurt, he's still unsure if those feelings go beyond platonic. Sure, he felt empty without Kurt, but before that momentary slip less than five minutes ago, he had never even imagined kissing Kurt. Kurt doesn't deserve a friend that locks him into limbo, and he certainly doesn't deserve to have Blaine lead him on anymore then he's been lead on.

He wonders if he has Jeremy to thank for getting his best friend back. If Kurt hadn't found romantic potential elsewhere, would he have been comfortable enough to go back to being Blaine's friend?

"How does he make you feel?" Blaine suddenly asks, then immediately regrets it. He swallows thickly, watching Kurt's eyes get even more wistful.

"I'm not sure. I mean, it's nice to be admired, you know? He looks at me like no one has before. He has to stop himself from touching me. He's sweet, and he's motivated. He makes me feel good."

Blaine switches his Fake Smile up some more and locks eyes with Kurt.

"Of course it is, and you deserve to feel good, Kurt." He knows, and he knows Kurt knows, what's not being said here, "I'll always be happy if you're happy."

Kurt just beams back at him and Blaine feels so alone so suddenly, across the table from his best friend in a busy coffee shop that he has to turn away to blink back unwanted tears.


"Who's Jeremy Lincoln-Price?" Rachel says into his ear two days later, without even a greeting.

"Oh hello to you too," He replies sarcastically, cursing his decision to answer his phone. He closes his calculus book, peers over at Thad to make sure he's still got his earbuds in, grabs his iPad and settles onto his bed.

"No. No. Who's Jeremy Lincoln-Price?" Rachel continues, and he imagines her in her room, angrily painting her nails or scrap-booking or whatever else she does for fun, "When Kurt called Mercedes the other day, I could overhear his excited shrieking from two rows back, Blaine. Who is this boy and what happened to the conversation I had with you? I thought you were getting your act together, Anderson!"

Blaine winces a bit, closes his eyes against Rachel's shrill voice.

"We never came to any conclusion, if you remember correctly. You're on the same bandwagon as everyone else, thinking that he and I should be together but what I don't think you got from our conversation is that I'm not sure what I want, Rachel. I love Kurt – I know I do, but what is that sort of love, anyway? We're teenagers; there's no rush for anything. Most relationships that start in high school don't last, and I don't know if I want to sacrifice my connection with Kurt just so we can make out."

There's silence on the other end for a few moments, enough that Blaine thinks, at first, that perhaps the call had dropped and he'd ranted to nothing. Just as he's about to say something else to confirm Rachel's gone, she speaks up.

"You should hear yourself, Blaine Anderson. You talk like Kurt's going to be around all the time. Newsflash, buddy, he's not going to wait around for you, and even as friends you'll drift away. You'll go to different colleges, or you'll meet other people. This Jeremy guy is taking him away from you already. Think about it."

She hangs up then, and Blaine doesn't have the energy to even care. Instead he tosses his phone onto the floor, not even wincing when it makes a pretty resounding 'thump'. He clicks around on his iPad, finding himself on Facebook. Kurt's page is open before him, severely friends-locked and privacy hidden. Blaine knows he and Mercedes are the only two people that have full access to his page; to all of his favorites and even his most embarrassing photos.

Kurt's profile photo is one Blaine himself had taken in the hallways of Dalton, a couple of weeks ago. Kurt was in uniform, at his locker, peering around the door at Blaine with a sweet smirk on his face. Blaine had snapped the photo without asking, laughing when Kurt yelled indignantly about how that wasn't a very nice thing to do, Blaine Anderson!

Blaine stares at the photo for a moment, then closes Facebook altogether. He leans over the side of his bed, fingers scrambling for his phone. He almost falls off twice, but triumphantly snatches it and types a quick message off to Kurt.

Movies tomorrow maybe?

He sits in contemplative silence, but it doesn't take more than a minute for Kurt to reply.

would love to but jeremy and i are going out tomorrow after class :)

Blaine doesn't respond.


The next day, Blaine starts noticing Kurt. Not like, oh hey, there's Kurt- but oh hey, there's Kurt.

It's mostly because Blaine thinks he's going crazy, but he can't for the life of him stop looking at the long line of Kurt's neck as he leans back against the lockers in the hallway. He can't help salivate when Kurt unbuttons his first few buttons and loosens his tie in Warbler practice. He can't help but watch Kurt's fingers deftly type out a text message to whoever as Wes and David ramble on and on about Regionals.

That night is the first night he jerks off thinking about Kurt; imagines licking up that neck, imagines sucking a hickey into Kurt's collar and then enduring the wrath of the other boy for marring his skin. He imagines those fingers jerking him off quickly, a little inexperienced, as Kurt breathes and moans into Blaine's ear.

After he comes, Blaine feels flushed, ashamed, completely sated and so uncomfortable. He cleans himself up and perhaps cries a little, feeling foolish and so so confused.

The next morning, despite not really wanting to face Kurt, he waits at his friend's locker so they can walk to their first class together. He never shows, and when he sees Kurt and Jeremy walking hand in hand down the hallways later, the jealousy that surges up in his chest lights him on fire.

"What are you doing here, small fry?"

Blaine's unsure what ever possessed him to drive to Lima the next afternoon, but it could because he'd seen Kurt and Jeremy kiss, albeit chastely, outside Jeremy's Prius after school. Blaine listened to sad, emotional music all the way there, feeling foolish and childish and so so dumb.

Puck's comment makes the entire chorus room look up from their own distractions and it's not more than fifteen seconds before Blaine has himself an armful of Rachel, who's whispering non-sense words of concern in his ear. Her reaction is so visceral that Blaine himself knows his face must have been one of devastation, and he lets her unsuccessfully try to wrap him up in her small arms.

He doesn't realize he's crying until Rachel steps back and he looks up into the concerned glance of Mr. Schuester, who he'd only met once.

"Blaine, right? Are you okay?"

Mr. Schu is wearing a heinously colored vest and Blaine's torn between crying some more and laughing as Kurt's impression of the older male suddenly flashes into his head. Instead, it comes out as an undignified half-snort half-sob and he lets Rachel drag him to a seat. He suddenly finds himself surrounded by curious New Directions' members, half looking at him warily, half looking oddly lost. He'd only spent an evening with these people as his friends, with the exception of Rachel and Mercedes, but he feels good about being among them, like he's not so alone.

Blaine's never felt this way in his life. He's always been independent, vaguely aware that while he has friends, he's happy being by himself and never bothered that he's never really the go-to person for anyone.

Kurt changed that. He depended on Blaine, looked to him for answers Blaine really didn't have. He fought and pushed on Blaine's comfort zones until he was comfortably inserted into Blaine's life; didn't even blink an eye about over-stepping boundaries and asking questions until he was blue in the face and Blaine was irritated. It was only after Valentine's Day that Blaine realized that Kurt had succeeded in being Blaine's other half, even if it was only platonically. There's not a moment anymore that Blaine doesn't think Kurt should be there for.

New Directions are surrounding him in a semi-circle, all with curious looks on their faces. Rachel has a hand on his back, and Blaine steadily avoids Mercedes' narrowing gaze from across the way. Even Mr. Schue has pulled up a chair, but it's Finn that speaks up.

"Dude, I'm sorry you're sad or whatever, but if whatever this is has anything to do with you hurting Kurt, then I'm obligated to be on his side."

Blaine shakes his head, even as Puck pounds his fist into his other hand semi-menacingly.

"No, Kurt's happy. He's been seeing someone, actually. It's just me that's a mess, that's all." He says with a sigh, "I didn't know where else to go."

"He's seeing someone? Someone that's not you?" Tina asks, clearly boggled. Mercedes crosses her arms and looks at Blaine with disapproval.

"He's dating a guy named Jeremy. Who likes him. Who makes him happy. Who isn't you, because you never stepped up to the plate. If this is about that, then you need some reevaluating, pretty boy. I'm ain't gonna feel bad for you because you figured out how great he was too late and now you want him, or whatever. You need to back off."

"Mercedes!" Rachel admonishes.

"No, she's right. Sorry, Blaine, but you are sorta stupid not to have realized that Kurt was in total, like, love with you. Dude, you lost your chance." Artie speaks up, and Blaine looks from him to Brittany, who has a comically sad expression on her face. If Blaine's own expression didn't mirror hers, he'd probably laugh.

"I know," He finally says, "I lost him. It's all my fault. I'm just so sad about it, you know?"

Brittany leans across the circle and wraps her thumb and pointer finger around his wrist. He's unsure of the gesture, but he takes it as solidarity, of understanding.

"I'm sorry you feel that way, Blaine," Mr. Schue finally speaks up, "If you want, you're welcome to sing about it."

Blaine flushes, sort of embarrassed. He remembers Kurt telling him about how Mr. Schuester always encourages them to sing out their feelings, and he's oddly touched to be included. He also know that Regionals is also still next week and he's already taken up enough of their practice time with his personal rambling. He can practically feel Rachel vibrating next to him, the protest bottling up in her, but he is touched she's holding back for him.

"Thank you, Mr. Schuester, but I'll be okay. If you don't mind, though, can I stay for awhile and observe while you guys practice? I promise not to go running to anyone with secrets."

There's a hesitation there, but Mr. Schue must see how important it is for him to be away from Dalton for awhile.

"Sure, Blaine. Any friend of Kurt's is a friend of ours."

Eventually though, he's pulled out of his chair to join in an impromptu sing and dance along to Rihanna's Only Girl. He harmonizes with Rachel and even Finn, climbing over chairs and encouraged to leap around the room like an idiot, and when it's over, he feels so, so so so much better. He lets himself be enveloped in a hug by the girls and even, after some finagling, Finn and Puck and Artie and Sam, and he laughs so hard when Puck makes an awkward joke.

"Thanks for joining us today, Blaine." Mr. Schuester says, touching him on the shoulder, "You're welcome anytime. Good luck at Regionals."

As he's led out, arm in arm with Rachel, Quinn and Santana stop them in the doorway.

"I've seen the way Kurt looks at you," Quinn says, little and blonde and perfect, "You'd be stupid not to put everything on the line for that kind of love."

"The rest of us aren't exactly rolling in it," Santana continues, and there's something so sad behind her eyes, "So go for it, Tiny Tim. Mess up that coif of yours a little, stop being so damn stiff. It'll do wonders."

He's speechless, and by the time he figures out how to use his vocal cords, they're already gone and he's left with Rachel again.

"I never thought I'd say this, but they're right." Rachel says, tugging him along.


Regionals being so close means he gets to be around Kurt nearly 24/7. The Warblers have hours and hours worth of rehearsals every day, and Wes and David insist on the boys spending breakfast, lunch and dinner together to increase "teamwork and solidarity". There's some grumbling from the others, who have other friends outside of the Warblers and significant others and families, but Blaine's happy, even if Kurt isn't too happy.

They don't talk much about Jeremy, and Blaine doesn't hear much about their relationship from the others, either. He's unsure if it's just because Kurt has been quiet about it in general or this is just Relationship Kurt, which seems uncharacteristic because Kurt's the type to proclaim his feelings often and with vigor. Being a masochist, Blaine's oddly unhappy with these lack of details, because he has no clue how serious they are. At the same time, he's sort of grateful because it means he can spare himself the agony.

Kurt's also become a standard in Blaine's jerk-off material rotation. He'd stopped feeling guilty about it awhile ago, and only gets ashamed when he truly thinks about how Kurt's not only his best friend, but most likely another boy's boyfriend.

So, he covets the time when Kurt's stuck with the Warblers and unable to spend his evenings with Jeremy. He supposes he should feel guilty about that, too, but he oddly doesn't.

He's on his way to the cafeteria on the Friday before Regionals when Jeremy Lincoln-Price seemingly comes out of nowhere and steps right in his path.

"Blaine Anderson, right?" He sticks his hand out in front of him as if Blaine hasn't met him before. Blaine shakes it, even if it's only because he's dreadfully confused.

"Right, Jeremy- good to see you again."

Jeremy's got this bizarro grin on his face; completely fake. It makes Blaine's own patent Fake Smile slip a little, and he steps back.

"You too." Jeremy grins even more off-kilter. Blaine can see something building in the boy's eyes, but being so unacquainted with him, he's unsure what he's seeing.

"Is there something I can do for you?" Blaine finally asks, trying to sound totally polite. He's never had any personal issues with Jeremy, even after he's taken Kurt from him (okay, okay – he didn't exactly TAKE him, but details, details), and that's part of the problem. Jeremy's a seemingly good guy, well liked. Handsome, friendly, really sweet to Kurt, as far as he's seen or heard. Standing there in front of the other boy, though, he's painfully aware of how much shorter he is than Jeremy, and he takes a quick look around to see if any other students are around.

They're not.

"Listen, Blaine. You're a good guy, and you're Kurt's friend, and that's cool. But you need to back off. He's my boyfriend, and honestly the amount of time you two spend together is not awesome."

Blaine's super offended, partly because Jeremy just referred to something as not awesome and partly for the gall he has. For half a second he considers putting himself in Jeremy's position; if Kurt was his boyfriend and was spending 60% of his time with Jeremy, but he can't, because that's not the case.

"Hey, man – we're just friends. I've been best friends with him for awhile. That's all."

At that, Jeremy steps up closer and looks down at Blaine. Blaine's heart pounds, but he stands his ground.

"Oh I believe that – Kurt's told me there's nothing going on with you guys and I trust him, but it's not him I don't trust. It's you, and I see how you look at him."

Jeremy steps back then, and then there's an oddly lost look in his eyes.

"You had your chance. You missed out. Sorry, dude. Stay away from my boyfriend."

With that, Jeremy's gone, leaving Blaine in the hallway alone, speechless.


"But what are you going to do?" Rachel says later that night, when Blaine's snuck out of his dorm after curfew to call her. He's pretty sure he's conferenced in with Tina and Santana and Quinn and Brittany and possibly Mercedes too, but they haven't said anything and he's not in the mood to confront Rachel about it.

"Nothing, I guess. He's right," He says sadly, slumping against the bookshelf he's hiding next to.

"Fuck that," Santana speaks up, and there's the confirmation he was looking for, "Stop being so weak. Man up!"

"This is sad. I hate sad things." And that was Brittany.

"I'm giving up on you." Quinn.

"I don't know what to say." Tina.

"Are all the girls there?" He finally says, a little bitter. It's not fair to take it out on them, but he feels like the week's interesting entertainment; apparently nothing spectacular is going on at McKinley.

"Not Mercedes; she's not too fond of you at the moment," Rachel replies, and he can tell she's got a frown on her face all way in Westerville, "We had to basically sell our souls to keep her from telling Kurt about what's been going on."

He sighs, audibly.

"Being sad sucks." Brittany pipes up again.

"Yeah. Yeah it does."


"What were you doing at McKinley last week?"

Blaine had been sitting in the Warber's practice room, like the sad sap he is, plunking away at the piano, attempting to play anything that wasn't on the Regional setlist. The music was so ingrained in his head by then that he'd have to literally get amnesia to forget. The last thing he expects is to have a slightly annoyed Kurt up in his face, seemingly out of nowhere.

"Ugh, I thought the girls managed to get Mercedes to keep it a secret!" He replies, mostly because he's too in shock to say anything else.

"It was Finn, actually," Kurt continues, straddling the piano bench next to Blaine to force him to look at him, "But glad to know you've been having my friends keep secrets from me. Real nice."

Kurt doesn't sound angry, just weirdly resolved. Blaine feels guilty about it for some reason.

"It didn't come easily, though. He caved under the duress of me hounding him about it after he accidentally mentioned that you'd sang 'Only Girl' with them. Why did you tell me you were going? Maybe I would've liked to take the ride with you; visited them."

Blaine's throat is closing up a little, and he distracts himself my distractedly hitting one key over and over.

"You were out with Jeremy, and it wasn't exactly planned." He admits, finally looking at Kurt, who's gaze was haunting, hurt and painful. Blaine's heart breaks a little. Kurt opens his mouth to say something, closes it, re-opens it; he's floundering a little, Blaine can tell. He lets him struggle with it.

"Listen Blaine, I'm going to be frank and you can hate me or whatever but I think it's time we stop dancing around everything. I'm upset about you going to visit New Directions because they're my friends. You understand that, right? I don't have it in me to fight you for them, too. You've already stolen and broken my heart, I can't lose my friends to you too."

Blaine's head snaps up at these words, "I'm not trying to steal anything. I didn't know where to go. I didn't know who to talk to."

"If something was bothering you, you could've spoken to me, you know."

"No, I couldn't, because it was about you."

It flows out of Blaine's mouth before he can stop it. His eyes widen at his own words and he hesitantly looks up at Kurt, who's eyes are wide and unblinking. He doesn't say anything, just continues to look at Blaine with confused eyes, and Blaine once again feels terrible. Once again he's pulled the rug out from under Kurt, and this time he's going to follow through and lay it all out. He's risking a lot, mostly losing Kurt forever.

He wonders if it's going to be worth it.

"I hate that you're with Jeremy. I hate it, okay?" He admits, throwing up his arms in defeat.

"Blaine -"

Blaine puts his hand on Kurt's shoulder, close enough to brush his pointer finger against Kurt's neck, right where he's been daydreaming of kissing. Kurt shudders under his hand.

"I hate it because I want it to be me. I'm a horrible person, I know, and I've lost my chance and it's not fair to do this to you, but you should know that whenever you're ready – if you're ever ready, then I'll be waiting for you."

He's expecting Kurt to curse at him; to yell and scream. He's expecting, perhaps, for him to get sad and mad or even be indifferent to Blaine's declaration, confirming that Blaine's lost his chance and that's just too bad.

What he's not expecting, though, is Kurt's hand to come around his neck and for him to haul him into a kiss. It's unlike Blaine's imagination could have ever came up with, because it's real and it's Kurt. It's Blaine that makes the little noise of surprise, and it's Blaine that whines a little into Kurt's mouth when he goes to deepen the kiss. He's clutching desperately at the lapels on Kurt's jacket and inching closer and closer to the other boy, trying to get as close as humanly possible. They kiss sweetly and then not-so sweetly, tongues and teeth and God, real-life!Kurt is so much of a better kisser than dream!Kurt. Blaine knows he's moaning like a wanton whore, but when Kurt pulls away, he just moves those kisses to Kurt's neck like he'd been dreaming of doing. Kurt's fingers are curled against his neck, the pressure of them reassuring and powerful.

Blaine feels so relieved – and alternatively guilty and heartbroken. All this time lost because he was scared to risk Kurt's friendship, all this drama – he feels silly. Jealousy still courses through his veins, because while it seems Kurt has made up his mind, Jeremy had gotten a lot of firsts with Kurt that he wouldn't get.

"I wanted to be your real first kiss," Blaine finally whines, pulling away slightly from Kurt. Kurt's looking at him with swollen lips and mussed up hair and Blaine's tossed back to the night they'd spent curled up together in the lounge, how he'd wondered what Kurt would look like less than immaculate. Now seeing it in front of him he knows the answer: hot.

"Green isn't a very pretty color on you, Blaine," Kurt teases, kissing him tenderly for a moment. Blaine gets caught up in it, but lets himself be pushed back, "But if you must know; Jeremy and I never got past hand-holding and a peck on the lips. We weren't very serious, and if you remember from our very eloquent conversation in my room that time, I'm pretty conservative."

"I beg to differ," Blaine groans, eyes glued to Kurt's lips. Kurt flushes, brushes his thumb across Blaine's lips and colors even more when Blaine licks at his finger as it glides over his lip.

"It's true. We only went out a couple of times."

The lust and the overwhelming happiness had been clouding Blaine's mind, but at that, it clears a bit.

"But – he told me to stay away from you." He says, sliding his hand from where'd he'd been petting Kurt's thigh and wrapping his hand around his hip to scooch him closer. Kurt's eyebrows furrow in thought but lets himself be tugged until he's half in Blaine's lap.

"Jeremy did?" He asks, closing his eyes as Blaine kisses his cheek, then under his ear, then the base of his throat. Blaine nods against Kurt's neck and presses their foreheads together.

"He told me that you were his boyfriend and I needed to back off."

Kurt rolls his eyes and this is only the third time Blaine's really charmed by it.

"I think he's got his head screwed on wrong. I told him time and time again that I wasn't ready for anything serious."

"Nothing serious?" Blaine mumbles, pulling back a bit. He knows he must look a bit panicked, because Kurt's eyes widen and his hands press to Blaine's cheeks.

"Nothing serious – with him. Nothing serious with him."

Blaine's relieved smile must reassure Kurt, because he's got an armful of Kurt then, tucked all the way against him in a powerful hug. They sit like that for a moment, reminscent of their just-friendship, before Kurt pulls away and attempts to stand. Blaine's stronghold on him halts that, though.

"Wait, where are you going?" He whines a little, and he knows he must look petulant.

"To find Jeremy. I need to officially put an end to that."

Blaine tugs on his arm for another moment until Kurt falls back into his arms. They kiss again, sweet and soft.

"I feel like if I let you go I'll wake up and out all this will all be a dream and I'll be on my hard floor staring up at Thad's grump face. Don't leave, please."

Kurt grins sweetly, shaking his head a bit, allowing himself to relax against Blaine.

"Five more minutes." He replies.

"Ten."

"Fine, ten."

"Maybe fifteen."


The next day they'll come in second at Regionals, but Kurt and Blaine will have sung a woefully sad little song to one another that's simply a reminder of the heartbreak they'd put one another through. Blaine will apologize for his stupidity for what seems like forever, never truly forgiving himself for hurting Kurt, despite the amount of times Kurt will eventually get annoyed at him for saying sorry yet again.

Kurt will make the decision to go back to McKinley, and after a month of being so so mopey about not being glued to Kurt's side, the rest of the Warblers hand him a petition telling him he needs to transfer or they'll axe him out of the group. He's horribly offended by it at first, but after a discussion with Kurt and then Rachel, he realizes it's their way of telling him they care.

He follows just in time to join New Directions for Nationals. They go to New York and he and Kurt spend hours riding the subways. When Kurt kisses him in Times Square, amongst the sirens and the pedestrians and the tourists, Blaine realizes this is his life now.

Someday they might go to the same college, they also might not. They may break up, but thusfar they're the longest running couple in New Directions, and Blaine still can't imagine his life without Kurt, so they most likely won't. However, they make sense, and it's all that Blaine can ask for, for now, anyway.

No one ever said being a teenager would be easy, after all.