This is now:

It's right where he wants to be; curled up on a sofa, the boy of his most recent dreams' arm around his shoulder, pressed together in a way that can only be called cuddling. He's supposed to be doing his reading for English but he's too distracted by the press of Blaine's fingers, by the way his hair is escaping it's gel confines and just gently beginning to curl around his ear.

Well, at least Blaine seems like he's reading; his Kindle balanced precariously on a folded knee, his finger tapping the 'next page' button every few minutes. He seems woefully and sadly actually into his work, and Kurt just wants to distract him forever.

Instead he inches out from under Blaine's arm and away from his warmth, sliding off the couch. Blaine looks up then, with a protest already on his lips, his forehead starting to crease in a frown.

"Just going to get some tea," He says to halt Blaine's inevitable question of 'where are you going?', "Do you want some?"

Blaine's near-frown creases up into a smile.

"I'll take that as a yes. That peppermint one you like?" Kurt asks, rounding the couch to enter the kitchen. His hand traces the top of the couch as he goes around it, slowing for Blaine's answer. He looks over at Blaine when Blaine's hand catches his, and he flushes when Blaine kisses the back of his hand and smiles upside-down at him.

"Yes. Thank you," He rubs the back of Kurt's hand with his thumb for a moment and then lets Kurt go, and Kurt can tell Blaine's eyes are on his ass as he makes his way into the kitchen.

He smirks a little to himself and pulls two giant mugs from the cabinet.

But what if:

Kurt never goes to Dalton because he doesn't want to see his father's and Carole's honeymoon be a weekend at home watching bad monster movies on Syfy with Finn, who somehow finds himself ill with the flu after the wedding.

He opts out because he's stronger than this, stronger than Karofsky, stronger than anything anyone throws at him. He thanks his parents with vehemence, he kisses and hugs them both tightly, but he just can't do it. He's sorry, but he can't do to them or for them.

Blaine Anderson, the boy who'd quickly become his best friend, is still his best friend.

He's vexed, a little, when Kurt tells him how bad it's gotten with Karofsky, when he tells him that he's turning down an opportunity to go to Dalton, but he understands. After some thought, he's even supportive, echoing that he himself had never gotten a chance to stand up for himself, that he felt that Kurt's decision could only serve to make him stronger. (There's that word again, stronger.)

Kurt is thankful for Blaine's support even if his heart hurts in fear and longing for the curly haired boy that seems to get him even when he doesn't always understand him.

The texts continue and even if it's hard to find time, they still get together, but he's not there for the Warbler Gap Attack ("It was mortifying, Kurt. Utterly. Mortifying.") and there's no serenade in Breadstix and Blaine never makes it to Rachel's party, because she doesn't trust him and nearly has a meltdown when Kurt even suggested it.

But it's Karofsky's doing that brings them together, even if it's in a very different way, because this time Karofsky's got Kurt cornered behind the school and he's pressed him against the football storage locker and he's not just spewing hateful comments but he's reaching for Kurt's belt, too, even as Kurt fights him back with strength he didn't know he had.

It's Puck who hears his screams, oddly enough, as he smokes behind the gym, and it's Finn's arms that help him to his feet, and through his tears and shaking he watches Puck yell and scream and nearly beat Karofsky stupid until Kurt can find his voice to get the other boy to stop it.

Kurt never makes it to Dalton as a student but Blaine does drive down after this happens and is the only one that Kurt allows to touch him for weeks, and Burt lets the two curl up against one another nearly every night while Kurt finds himself again.

Karofsky's expelled for good and Kurt's damaged a bit but it's Blaine's soothing touch that brings him back. Eventually, when Blaine's lips touch his hesitatingly, Kurt wonders what it would have been like if he'd taken his father up on his offer, if he would have ended up where he was, in Blaine's arms. This Kurt finds he doesn't really care, though, in the end- because this is where he belongs.

Or if,

Blaine Anderson is given the option between Dalton Academy in Ohio, the Brearley School in New York and Horace Mann in Massachusetts and he almost almost almost picks Dalton because it's close to his house but in the end, Brearley wins because hello, New York City.

His parents have to re-finance their house and he has to qualify for financial aid and take three loans out and he's going to owe money for literally the rest of his life between that and college, but he doesn't regret it when he's in uniform and no one bats an eye about him being gay because this is New York. He goes to school with a handful of celebrity's kids, one heiress to the Hershey Corporation, and a pair of twins that are the nephews of Rahm Emanuel. He spends his weekends getting student rush tickets to Broadway shows with his friends and by the end of his first year he knows the subway routes better than some native New Yorkers. He gets to Spring Break in Bali because one of his friends' parents have a house there and they fly them all on their dime and Blaine is on honor roll and in choir and plays violin and guitar and piano at monthly school concertos.

His senior year he falls in love with Riordan Mitchell, who's literally a baron and is blood-related to the royal family in England, and the two make plans for college and the future. Riordan's all propriety and sweet accents and he only sort of judges Blaine for his middle class background. It's Riordan's parents that don't like Blaine; don't think he's good enough for their son, and it's eventually them that cause their breakup because Riordan can't face love versus money and family history.

Blaine's broken-hearted and bitter, for sure, turning away from some of his friends, at a realization that perhaps his dream-high school experience made him a little more jaded and swotty than he'd ever been.

He's in his first year at Columbia, crossing down the Lower East Side when he sees him, though – the tall light-brown haired boy with an impeccable, beautiful outfit on, scarf tied in a neat knot just below his chin. His eyes pierce Blaine, even across the street, and Blaine can't help but jaywalk to get to him, eyes focused on nothing but this boy.

It doesn't matter that this boy was holding a conversation with someone else, doesn't matter that he didn't know him and hasn't ever seen him. He gets a short snippet of sound of the boy's high musical talking voice before he steps in between him and the other person and sticks his hand out in front of him.

"Hi, I'm Blaine Anderson," He says, voice shaky even though he wishes it were smooth.

The friend, the one Blaine's currently standing in front of rudely, is chuckling in disbelief. The boy he's unreasonably enamored with, though, is gaping a little at him, color flushing into his cheeks and making him seem so much more human, touchable.

Finally the boy seems to shake out his shock because a warm, strong hand grabs his.

"Kurt Hummel."

It could've also been like this:

It's Thad that Kurt stops on the stairs that day:

"Thad Walters," The thin boy introduces with a guarded smile.

Thad, he recognizes Kurt as someone who's there to spy from the first moment, and unlike Blaine would've, he's not all that interested in catering to a spy, even one that seems to be doing it for more personal reasons.

So he makes an offhand remark about the Warblers, pretending as if they aren't such a big deal (they are). He makes a general gesture towards the lounge but doesn't take him there, and he doesn't look back to see if that Kurt boy follows him.

Later on, as he's singing behind Blaine he'll see Kurt, tucked in the corner with a look of awe on his face. When they finish and the crowd descends on them in congratulations, he sees the boy slip out; eyes perhaps darker and sadder than when he'd even first came in.

Thad doesn't say anything about the spy, because there's nothing to say.

Blaine ends up meeting Kurt at the Lima Bean completely and utterly by accident one day, two months later. Kurt had been sitting alone in the far corner, curled up on a bench with a book on his lap when Blaine had gone over to ask if anyone was using the spare chair at the end of the booth.

Thad, already sitting at the table on the other side of the coffee shop, waiting for Blaine, watches as the other boy puts a hand out to shake Kurt's.

"You're in New Directions, aren't you?" Blaine asks, and Thad watches with raised eyebrows as Blaine seemingly forgets his presence and slides in across from Kurt.

Two weeks later he spots them holding hands in that same booth when getting coffee with Wes.

This could've happened, too:

Kurt gives up on setting Ms. Hudson up with his father after his dad complains, loudly, for the third time about Kurt minding his own business. He knew it'd be a hard sell; given that his father never truly seemed over his mother, but he didn't think it'd be this hard.

He thought he'd have to poke and prod and cajole just a little and Burt would crumble, like he'd done a million other times.

Instead, he gets red in the face and tells Kurt to mind his own business and Kurt gives up on it, especially since Rachel is resilient in her own pursuit of Finn and it all seems moot anyway.

So it doesn't happen. He doesn't set them up and they don't really meet beyond once in the lobby at that years' Regionals with a buffer of Artie's parents between them, and Kurt, he's still bullied. He's still pushed around, but he's never kissed. His descent into bitterness is much slower, much more subtle. He meets Blaine backstage at Sectionals after he'd sung his solo, and his breath is taken away by the other boy; shorter than him but a strong personality. He smiles and Kurt's breath is taken away, and they shake hands and go their separate ways. Later, he watches Blaine perform and he cries a bit, because even though he knows nothing about this boy, he's smitten, and he's afraid of his own feelings because his last couples of crushes have led to nothing but heartbreak.

It's Blaine, though, who approaches him after the competition, all smiles and concerned gazes.

When they meet up for coffee the next day, Blaine's hand covers his on the tabletop.

"There was something in your eyes," He says, biscotti forgotten on the tabletop in front of him, "There's something so sad about you. I just have to know you."

Kurt can't help his tears then.


Kurt Hummel never joins New Directions.

Instead he stays chooses to use his clothes, his fashion, as his way to speak out. He wears whatever he wants whenever he can and he never becomes friends with Those Glee Kids because it's bad enough just being him.

He still gets tossed in the dumpster sometimes, but it's Rachel Berry, and then later, Finn Hudson and others that get the brunt of the Slushie Facials. In fact, them being in Glee club is what makes Kurt's latter years in high school not that bad at all in regards to being picked on. He keeps up on the gossip and drama concerning them, making sure to stay out of the way, and he keeps a low profile. Sure, his kilt creates a ripple and the day he rocks a top hat he's tripped in gym, but he's given a huge break by Rachel Berry and her band of Merry Misfits.

He feels weirdly indebted to them, in the end.

Because he can't indulge in singing at school he makes the perhaps-unwise decision to audition for the King's Island Christmas Spectacular his junior year. In the audition room there's a boy with dark curly hair and a blazer who looks like he just walked out of a Banana Republic ad. Kurt steers clear of him at first, unsure of the judgment he might endure by someone so conservative looking, but it's Blaine that actually approaches him.

"Is that the Vogue with Marion Cotillard on the cover?" Blaine says, after he introduces himself and sits down beside Kurt uninvited, "That's my favorite cover this year!"

Kurt smiles then, and it feels foreign on his face, misplaced, but it feels so so good.

Alright, and:

Kurt Hummel is 22 and walking down Sunset Boulevard with his favorite Marc Jacobs' sunglasses on. He knows he looks good in his skinny pants and favorite shirt and after spending 4 years in high school hiding himself and 4 at college finding himself; he doesn't shy from the stares (of appreciation) that he receives.

Silver Lake is one of the most pretentious hipster neighborhoods in Los Angeles and Kurt loves it – loves that it's a combination of dirty artist types and 20-somethings with too much money, loves that he can flirt with the barista, that he will see no less than two celebrities sitting at the tables around him.

He'd just walked out of an audition for a show about a high school Glee club (ironic, considering he'd avoided his own) and he feels good about it.

His coffee ordered, he waits to the side for it to be made.

"Medium drip!" The cute blond barista says, placing the red cup down on the counter. It remains unclaimed for a few minutes as the barista goes back to making other drinks.

Five minutes pass, still no grande non-fat mocha, when there's a touch on his elbow.

He turns, eyebrow raised, seeing at his side the cutest boy he's seen in quite a while (and he works in Hollywood). Curly hair slightly styled, a v-neck tee, jeans that fit perfectly and awesome, awesome bright green ray-bans. Kurt can't help it if his breath catches.

"Hi, I'm so sorry – I think I took your drink by accident," He holds up a cup and has this sweet grimace on his face, "I got too eager for my afternoon caffeine fix and totally swiped yours. A mocha, right?"

Kurt can't even bring himself to be annoyed by the guy in front of him, really, not when he looks like that.

"It's okay, it happens. Let's just tell Jared and he'll fix it." He reaches over to the counter and passes the medium-drip to the guy and then quickly gets Jared's attention. Jared's happy to remake the mocha when he's explained the incident and this curly-haired boy stands with him with a sweet awkward grin on his face while he waits for his drink.

"Let me buy you a muffin for this mess, at least," He says, pushing his sunglasses up, and Kurt is immediately captured by the sweet brown eyes, "A scone? A delicious raspberry filled pastry? A Cookie thing?"

Kurt can't help but smile back, feeling warm.

"It's okay, I think your name will do." He replies, putting out his hand. The guy seems even more flummoxed by his slip and slides the arm of his sunglasses into his tee-shirt to capture Kurt's.

"Blaine Anderson."

This is what really happened:

Kurt Hummel transfers to Dalton Academy because of a bully and is Blaine Anderson's best friend. They have their ups and downs (and even more downs) but they come out stronger in the end. One day a canary dies and Kurt, he sings about it, and he simply moves Blaine.

There's a kiss and some words and now they're at the Hummel-Hudsons' and Kurt is cautiously placing a giant mug of sweet peppermint tea in front of Blaine before absconding to the other side of the couch with his lemon.

"Thank you, babe," Blaine says with a sweet smile. Kurt watches as he leans over to blow on the mug for a moment to cool it before taking a tentative sip, "Delicious."

Kurt watches Blaine put the mug back down before he slides his own next to Blaine's and uses the movement to cuddle back into Blaine's personal space. This time Blaine discards his Kindle onto the coffee table and twines their legs together, tucking Kurt as closely to him as possible and sighing into the warmth that his boyfriend provides. They listen to one another breathe for a bit, revel in the touch of one another's skin, taking full advantage of their time together. It's only a half hour before Finn will come home, banging through the front door, possibly bringing Puck with him; it's only an hour before Carole comes home, eager to cook dinner and hear about their day. Right then it's just them, though, and they let one another's touch comfort each other for the time remaining, right now.

"Have you ever wondered if I hadn't gone to Dalton that day what would've happened to us? If we would have ever met?" Kurt says, and then feels silly for saying it. He doesn't want to seem needy, clingy; but it's so easy to sometimes when he's never had the opportunity to be like this, to be loved like this.

Blaine's quiet for a moment, and Kurt can feel Blaine's lips against his temple. There's a quick kiss pressed there before Blaine tips his chin up with a finger and presses his forehead to Kurt's.

"I'm not usually one that talks about fate- I think life is too unfair sometimes for it to be true." Blaine says, and this is a new side of Blaine that Kurt's come to know: a little bit bitter Blaine who was more jaded then he let on, but Kurt likes it. It's nice to be the optimistic one sometimes.

"But," Blaine continues, nuzzling his nose against Kurt's, "I honestly don't think there's a universe that we wouldn't have found one another somehow."

It's the sweetest most ridiculous thing Blaine Anderson has ever said to him, even more so than "you move me", but Kurt, always the romantic at heart, is broken by that simple statement. He's unsure of parallel universes and time travel and fate and all that Star Trek and other supernatural crap that Blaine loves, but he'll believe in this. He'll wish that all incarnations of Kurt Hummel has or will get to have Blaine Anderson in his life – the good and the bad.

He cries a little, and lets Blaine kiss his tears away, and when Burt comes in to find them wrapped up just like that in one another on the couch he doesn't even lecture them. They count it as a win.

Somewhere else, in another place, Kurt (perhaps a different kind of Kurt, maybe one that's stronger or quieter or louder than the one he is now) will cuddle up to his own Blaine and they'll wonder the same thing. Perhaps not.