Blaine Anderson is on the corner of 34th and 7th in New York City in the middle of January, bundled up in his favorite toggle-button coat and an emerald colored scarf. He's continuously jostled as tourists and pedestrians make their way through mid-town and past him into the depths of Times Square beyond. It's 7PM and many of these people are rushing to make their Broadway show on time, small children being pulled forgetfully right under other people's feet, recent purchases banging against hips and families clutching hands as they push through the crowd. Blaine, he's got his hands stuffed in his pockets, one wrapped around his phone, the other just clutched desperately into a fist. He can see his breath in front of him, see flurries start their slow descent from the graying, dark New York sky.
He looks almost desperately at every person rushing by him, looking for the familiar face, for the boy who'd said he'd meet him there. There's no one, not a single person that stands out.
He pulls his phone out to check the time. It's 7:15.
Blaine Anderson stands on the corner of 34th and 7th in New York City in the middle of January, alone. He's supposed to meet the boy who had been his high school sweetheart but he's a no show. Blaine, in retrospect, can't really say he blames him.
Once, not that long ago, Kurt Hummel was the kind of boy who played alone a lot. He'd sit by himself, color in his favorite coloring book in the shade while other kids ran around and played tag or Red Rover.
At home, his mommy would sit and drink tea with him, would help him with his teacakes and bowties. His dad would watch them, a smile on his face.
Later, when his mommy was gone and his dad spent a lot of time alone missing her, Kurt had learned to find solace in himself, in the things that made him happy, even if others didn't approve. At fourteen he joined a glee club with other misfits and found his footing, even if it was the hardest thing he'd ever have to do.
Blaine Anderson was the kind of boy who'd get lost a lot. Being lost manifested itself physically and emotionally and spiritually; at twelve, he'd literally wandered off during his father's annual father/sons camping trip and had gotten so distracted by the waterfall he'd stumbled on that he hadn't realized the panic he'd created until he'd heard the sound of dogs barking and found out the park had sent out rescue teams, his family almost completely prepared to find him dead in a gorge somewhere. At thirteen he'd stopped talking for a full month, only speaking when being spoke to and spending his time in his room with the door closed. At fourteen, he stopped believing in God when he was pushed down a flight of stairs in his third day of high school, bigger boys spitting in his face as he cried, names such as "fag" and "queer" ringing painfully in his ears.
Blaine Anderson was the sort of boy who feared, who loved, who lost, who cried and smiled, the sort of boy who shifted and learned things easily and stopped growing when he was sixteen, standing at a resolute 5' 6". He was the sort of boy that, at nine, put on impromptu concerts for his Momma in the living room, singing along with the Top 40 radio and making dance moves up from the top of his head, sliding on the hardwood floors in his socks and using a wooden spoon as a microphone. He was the sort of boy that stood tall even when he wanted to crumple, pushed back when pushed, and vowed when he arrived at Dalton Academy that he'd find his footing, for real, this time.
On the opposite corner of 34th and 7th, obscured by tourists, Kurt Hummel stands alone, watching Blaine physically turn inward on himself. He steps back, back, back until he's stepped right back into the subway station behind him. His phone in hand, he types out a quick message and sends it off before he could think twice.
They find each other at an all-boys high school in Ohio in the middle of fall. Kurt's a very bad spy from McKinley High School and Blaine's the leader of Dalton Academy's infamous Warblers. Blaine and the Warblers sing Teenage Dream and Kurt's life changes forever, without a doubt. He's introduced to a completely new world that day; one that is understanding and supportive and there's a boy, a boy with dark eyes and a sweet smile who had taken his hand and ran with him.
Later, Kurt will say he would never be able to remember a happy time before Blaine was in his life, partly because it's true. It sounds heinously dramatic but something just shifts in him when Blaine introduces himself to him that day.
It's not to say there isn't frustrating and dramatic times after he'd met Blaine, because truthfully he felt more heartbreak in his life after he'd met Blaine too- the realization he'd never be with Finn was a completely different kind of blow then when Blaine basically rebuffed his feelings around Valentine's Day. It never even compared to the pain of watching Blaine literally date Rachel, the girl who'd gotten his first crush, too. Later, it won't be forgotten, even against the backdrop of "you move me" and kisses over tiny canary coffins. He doesn't forget it, not at all, but he moves it into "life lessons" and promises to live and let live.
When Blaine smiles at him it's brighter than any heartache and Kurt Hummel can only see the light at the end of the tunnel.
Life is graduate school classes and rich boys with never-ending money from their parents and futures on Wall Street. Somewhere Blaine lost his footing, because sitting in an Economy class with twenty other money-hungry students would've never been his aspiration five years ago. Despite the constant droning of his professor and the din of the boy and girl behind him muttering to one another about the party going on this weekend, Blaine endlessly checks his phone for any message from Kurt that isn't "I'm sorry.". He keeps hoping a re-schedule would pop up, perhaps a true excuse. Nothing's there, though; not through his three hour class, not through his next two hour class, not through the night into the next day.
Blaine turns off his phone and rebuffs interest from other students on his weekend plans. He'd had dreams of grandeur, of making up with Kurt and catching up with his life; in teeter tottering back into friendship. If he's feeling particularly morose (as he is after he gets a paper back with a solid B instead of his customary A) he even lets himself go as far as imagining kissing Kurt again, about backing him up until he's forced to lay down on Blaine's bed in his studio downtown, of hearing those sweet moans come from Kurt's lips. Mostly, though, he imagines sitting across from him at the diner he loves down the street; paying for pancakes and talking him into sharing a piece of apple pie. It's so domestic and sweet he makes himself sick over it, nauseous and feeling mightily bad for himself.
That night he crawls in his bed, alone. Even his cat, woefully aloof during the day but a disgusting cuddlebug at night, doesn't want anything to do with him, choosing to curl up on the radiator instead to watch the snow fall through the window outside.
Blaine's all kinds of talented, it's sort of disgusting. He's musical by nature; his front-man show with the Warblers is only the start of it. He plays guitar and violin and the bass and piano. Anything with strings he can tinker with and play some sort of tune with if he puts his mind to it. He shocks the fuck out of Kurt one day when he picks up a harpsichord and plucks out a nameless tune with a breathless smile at Kurt's wide-eyed reaction.
To be fair, Kurt has his hidden talents, too - Blaine nearly falls over himself when he opens Kurt's sketchpad for the first time, mesmerized by the simple drawings that are utterly remarkable strewn amongst random biology notes and tic-tac-toe games with Mercedes. Blaine watches him, once, as Kurt holds a conversation with him but draws this little girl and her father sitting on the bench across from them in the park, watches as Kurt, with only a Bic pen and half-thought to his actions, draws the most beautiful picture Blaine's ever seen. Later, Kurt brushes it off as a 'doodle' and Blaine nearly walks into a wall, boggled by the ease Kurt writes himself off.
It's that moment, in the early springtime, as they walk slowly next to one another back to Kurt's car that Blaine realizes their potential, truly. Individually and as a couple. He'd never truly gave serious thought about what he could bring to the world with his talents, and he knows for sure Kurt hasn't either - it's sort of hard to when you're sixteen and the most important thing in the world to you at the moment is prom and bullies and singing competitions - but it's a realization that Blaine can't take lightly, not at all.
The next day, Blaine drinks a whole bottle of three-buck Chuck by himself and cries all day. He doesn't recognize himself in the mirror when he finally stumbles into the bathroom. Instead, he hates that he seems so pathetic; so childish.
He's not sure who he is, anymore. It's been four years and he's not sure how he's kept existing.
Blaine likes licking up Kurt's neck slowly, kissing him languidly until Kurt's positively thrumming under his hands, fingers clutched desperately in his sweater/blazer/shirt. He likes making Kurt moan, the reverberations of Kurt's vocal cords – the ones that woke up Blaine in the first place – against his lips as Kurt squirms under him, gasping, pupils blown wide in lust and hips pressing against his tightly, searching for friction that is barely ever enough through skinny jeans and Dalton dress pants.
He makes Kurt come for the first time the first week of summer, the Saturday after Blaine decides that in September he's transferring to McKinley. They're still clothed, pressing together frantically on Kurt's bed in the couple of hours before Burt and Carole will get back from work. Finn's still at school for some reason or other, but Blaine couldn't particularly care about Finn's whereabouts when Kurt's moaning against him.
They kiss languidly after it, feeling oddly grown up and oddly normal – neither of them thought they'd ever get to be like "normal" teenagers, fumbling through their first sexual encounters during the quick and infrequent moments that can be caught alone.
Blaine feels powerful in the same way that Kurt feels vulnerable; amazed that he's got the emotions and confidence of another person in his hands.
"Let's do that over and over again," Kurt mumbles sheepishly, his teasing, sarcastic tone slipping out despite he very much means his words. Even under him, warm and strong and thoroughly debauched Kurt is still that same boy who whispered dazedly, "I thought we were," after Blaine had stumbled into kissing him for the first time.
"Yeah, I definitely get the fascination, now," Blaine laughs, pressing a kiss into Kurt's clavicle as Kurt's fingers tangle in his hair. All they'd done was some dry-humping; no shirts even came off. Oh, the possibilities are endless to how this could just get better. Blaine shudders even with the thought of it, even as Kurt giggles madly into his hair.
Three weeks ago Blaine runs into Santana in a coffee shop three blocks from his house.
"Oh look who it is," She says when she sees him. Her eyes are softer now, a little more grown up, but she's still disgustingly pretty. She's wearing the highest heels he'd ever seen in person and she towers over him as she reels him in for a hug and a kiss on the cheek.
"God, Santana – you look incredible," He admits. He feels like a slouch in sweatpants and an unshaven face; he'd been cramming for finals and couldn't care less what he looked like. Next to her he looked like a pauper; he's surprised she'd even recognized him considering he'd looked at her twice as he'd come in and didn't even recognize her until she'd smiled.
"Yeah, well – you look like shit, Anderson." She's smiling and teasing, he can tell by her tone, but he knows she's being honest. It's one of the things he'd really always liked about her; even when her remarks were cutting and brutal.
"What are you doing around here?" He asks, as he gestures to an open table nearby.
She sits with a small smile, crossing one leg over the other, "I can't stay long, I'm sorry."
He shrugs, "No, no – it's okay, I understand. Are you living here, now? In New York?"
She half shrugs and he watches as she pulls her Blackberry out of her jacket pocket. She clicks around in between giving him flickering glances; it's literally the only gesture she'll do the whole time they sit there that reminds him of the old Santana.
"No, just visiting my cousins, actually. We're seeing a Broadway show tonight, hence the totally inappropriate outfit," She continues, gesturing to her heels.
Blaine's aware that she's basically fishing for compliments but he can't help but indulge her; she sort of deserves it.
"Yeah, yeah – you look gorgeous, really. Those heels are insane." He admits, running his hands through unruly curls. Her nails are perfectly manicured and painted a bright red, matching her lips. Her hair is long, wavy, down – and Blaine's aware every single person in the place is looking at her, most likely wondering what she's doing with the hollow-eyes homeless looking guy across the table. He sort if wishes, at that moment, that'd she'd brushed him off, rebuffed his offer to sit, even for a moment.
He and Santana were never the best of friends, but there was solidarity in being in Glee club, in having a common interest. When she'd come out at the beginning of senior year it'd been to Kurt first. She'd always been Kurt's, just like the rest of the group was. He'd become friends with them, sure, but Kurt had their collective hearts. He'd always known, from day one that if something, god forbid, had fallen apart with them they'd fall to Kurt's wayside. He'd known and he'd accepted it.
But the thing was that he and Kurt fell apart after high school, even after the strains of growing up had detached them both from the shadows of McKinley High. Some relationships fell into the shadows of the occasional email and facebook wall posts. They'd both accepted it and grown away, in some ways, away from their past and towards their future. They'd never rebuff their high school friendships but it'd never take precedent over a new friend, not unless it was dire.
So, he'd last seen Santana the summer after their sophomore year of college; the last year that the entire group was able to find it within themselves to make time for old friends. They'd all sat in the Hummel-Hudsons' backyard on the patio, under flickering torch lights in a comfortable silence that only old friends with little current common interests had. It'd been an evening of mostly reminiscing of the past, old inside jokes and talking about competitions.
When Kurt had walked him to his car later that night, after everyone else had left, he'd looked so happy and so heartbroken at the same time.
"That'll probably be the last time we'll all sit there together," He says, resigned. It's just simply a true realization, and Blaine just grips Kurt's hips in his hands and presses his forehead against his. He knows Kurt's right, but there's no use talking out loud, in confirming what he believes is true. It's just silly and heartbreaking, anyway.
So it'd been the last time he'd seen Santana although to this day they remain Facebook friends. He dutifully wrote on her wall for every birthday and 'liked' the statuses she'd posted that he thought were funny or true. There'd even been a quick back and forth on each other's walls a year or so ago, Santana inquiring about what he was doing, now, and if he'd liked it. All he'd gotten out of that conversation was that she, in turn, was living in Philadelphia as a cheerleading coach for an underfunded high school, and that she's single-handedly brought them to Nationals even after the whole city had written them off as trash. He'd admired her then and he admires her now, sitting in front of him with this quirk of a grin on her face.
"I am weirdly happy I happened to run into you," She finally says, after staring at him for a moment, "But if you tell anyone that, I'll have to kill you."
He chuckles at her acerbic tone, remembering Santana's quick wit and sharp words almost fondly. She still has that edge, he can tell, although it's obvious she's learned to navigate it properly and effectively. He supposes working with teenagers that were properly eerily reminiscent of her would do that.
"Yeah, it's bizarre. This is a huge city; so many coffee shops, what's the chances you'd stumble into mine?"
She raises an eyebrow, "Well I'd like to say this was some elaborate plan to make small talk with you awkwardly on the run, but it's not."
He chuckles again, sits back.
"Oh I know." He admits, even though when he'd first recognized her there had been the very briefest moment where he'd thought it couldn't have been a coincidence. They sit in awkward silence for a moment – Blaine wondering what to say, how to say it. He doesn't want to wander into the standard "So what's been going on?" conversation one normally has with people they hadn't seen in forever but he also doesn't not want to know, either, but in the end it doesn't matter, because she speaks up, first.
"No one's heard from you in awhile," She says, pushing her coffee back a bit on the table. She seems a bit sheepish – something uncharacteristic from any form of Santana, "Not that we're all running around talking about you. You dropped off facebook for awhile –"
And she's right; he did – for about six months, after Kurt and he had broken up their junior year. It was in a dramatic fit, the sort that screams for attention. It hadn't really gained much, in the end – a few friends from school inquired and nodded along with his, "Oh well I just need a break from it," nonsense, but his return after those few months was a whimper. He hadn't even known anyone really had noticed, but now he guesses they did.
"—and no one's heard much from you. I mean, I guess it's not like all of us are texting and calling each other all the time, because we're not, but – you know, you hear things when you visit home – gossip about people. It's all been silent on your front."
Kurt had been his tether to Lima, really, because Blaine himself had no interest in that place anymore. His parents had moved to Florida his junior year, right after he and Kurt had called it quits, so there had been no reason to go back. His friends from high school – the two he spoke to, anyway – (Wes and David) were both in New York now. It was easier to organize a brunch meet up or a happy hour plan when they lived a subway ride away. Lima is in the past for him now.
For Kurt, it'd never completely be in the past – Finn still lived in Ohio, he knew, and his parents did too. Burt Hummel will never be coaxed out of Lima, no matter how much his son encourages it, making their hometown further the Christmas/holiday destination.
It's funny though, because Blaine doesn't dislike or hate Lima, not even as much as Kurt ever did. It's just a simple resolve that there's no reason to ever visit, really.
"Eh I'm still around," He brushes it off with a wry grin, "I'm still on facebook, on email. I do my status updates. Nothing that interesting is going on with me, that's all. Still in grad school, still trying to be something I'm not sure I want to be."
He shrugs, as if it's no big deal, as if he currently wasn't really feeling like he was the loneliest person in the world (selfishly, though, he was), as if trying to get through each day wasn't feeling more and more like a chore.
He wasn't this person. He wasn't the super dramatic, angsty guy, he never had been and he never wanted to be. Unfortunately he was devolving into that person, rapidly, and he's starting to realize that it had started with the dissolution of his and Kurt's relationship all those years ago. He apparently was the type to fall in love rapidly and fiercely, and then dissolve slowly, painfully into depression about it.
It's been nearly four years and he's still missing Kurt Hummel every day.
He hadn't really realized it until now.
"Yeah, yeah, we all figured you were alive, at least." She rolls her eyes, crosses her legs, and scrutinizes him, "Well now that this whole encounter has been sufficiently awkward, I'll at least let you know what I've heard about Hummel, because there's no way you don't care about that."
Blaine can feel himself flushing, because it's sort of true. He's not really expecting Santana to have a lot of information; again, she was never their closest friend; but as mentioned before he's out of the Lima loop, and Santana has always been and will always be a shameless gossip. He doesn't reply so she apparently takes it as a silent agreement, so she leans forward.
"I don't know much," She confirms, "Just that he's in LA now. I think he may be working at a studio? Warner Brothers or Paramount or something. Not sure what he's doing, though, I just saw some comment Rachel had made on his wall when it came up on my feed. He saw Brittany, I know that, because she told me they'd gotten dinner a few weeks ago, but you know her – she isn't great at really retaining the details about anything."
He notes that she still sounds soft and fond at the mention of Brittany and almost wants to cry, like the big baby he is. Kurt being in LA, though, that's something he sort of knew, even if he hadn't had any way to confirm his suspicions (Kurt had been the one to de-friend him, actually, which almost stung more than the actual breakup).
He wonders what their lives would've been without Facebook, twitter, and social networking – healthier, perhaps, with real face-to-face conversations? Without Facebook he'd have about half the information Santana just gave him, maybe none of it at all. He'd maybe have moved on by now.
He sort of wants to hunt down Mark Zuckerberg, suddenly, and yell at him, a lot. It's irrational to blame a social networking tool for his own problems, but sometimes it's easier to be irrational then face reality.
"I also heard he's visiting New York in three weeks."
In the end, it's that sentence that changes everything.
At McKinley their senior year Kurt Hummel has a boyfriend that he walks proudly hand in hand with down the hallway. They're left surprisingly alone, with the exception of Blaine's 'initiation' slushy, but the jocks had decided this year to take the ignoring route instead.
By mid-year, the Glee club has rotated relationships so much that it almost comes full-circle – Finn's back with Quinn, Sam with Santana (despite her three month relationship and coming out with Brittany), Rachel single ("As usual," She says bitterly, as she stomps into the Hummel-Hudson house one afternoon, right past Kurt and up the stairs into his room, "I am single, and alone, and that's how it should be!" She lasts three days before she's whining over Finn again and the next time she tries to barge into his house he basically has to force her bodily back out the door – he's just not in the mood for it.), Mike and Tina together, Artie with Brittany. The only two that didn't play musical chairs to get right back where they started were Kurt and Blaine, who still sat next to each other happily and went on weekly Saturday dates and had a healthy sex life.
Their relationship isn't flawless, of course, and both of them are terribly stubborn, so it's not to say they don't fight; but they persevere. It's an occasional point of discussion in Glee, when someone's feeling particularly disgruntled about their own relationship they'll point out that "Kurt and Blaine are doing fine! How come we can't last that long!", and it'll turn into a conversation that's equally offensive and amusing. It happens once every month or so, like clockwork, and Kurt isn't even bothered by it, even if Blaine still is, depending on how his day or week has gone.
"Whatever, screw them," Kurt will say, as Blaine miserably tries to point out ever offensive thing Puck had said before Mr. Schue had stopped the conversation, "They just don't get it. They don't get us."
But the problem is that while Kurt seems settled and secure, Blaine doesn't get them, either. He doesn't understand why they work so well, why they fit like they do. They communicate, sure, and they're honest, but it doesn't happen all the time and it doesn't come easily. Sure, the two of them use inherently more common sense and aren't as blinded by some things then the rest of their friends, but they're all teenagers, and they all don't think clearly all the time.
So Blaine sometimes worries and can't sleep, because Kurt means so so much to him, means the world to him, and he doesn't get it – doesn't understand what's keeping them glued together to tightly through everything. He feels obsessive sometimes, the way that he thinks about Kurt and everything about him – physically, intellectually, and emotionally.
Later, when they're older and have been through much much more than this, Blaine will realize the reason why they'd been so secure is simply because it was them, and they loved one another, and that's all they needed.
It's bizarre to realize that your own high school relationship is the ideal relationship to have at that age, to even be able to look back at it, even after it ends, with a positive light.
It's bizarre and heartbreaking and incomplete.
So Kurt doesn't show up and Blaine stays in bed for days. Santana answers his text eight hours after he sends it.
Sorry, boo. These things happen.
It really only serves to make him feel worse.
It hadn't been her idea, per say, to contact Kurt, but she'd sort of implied it that night in the coffee shop before she beautifully exited his life, again. So he had, he'd emailed Kurt in hopes the email address was the same, saying very distantly and without much emotion that he'd heard Kurt was going to be in town and wondered if he'd be interested in meeting up for lunch. He'd signed it with just his name and cell number, in case Kurt didn't have it anymore. Two days later he'd gotten a simple response.
Meet me on the corner of 34th and 7th at 7PM this Thursday.
He responds just as promptly, just as empty.
I'll be there.
They look at colleges together but don't plan on purposely looking or applying anywhere together because they're both realists, both know that the future is unknown and it's not a great idea to put all of their eggs in one basket.
In the end, they end up in New York. Blaine at Columbia, Kurt at the New School. They live in freshman dorms but are always either here or there, sleeping in one another's bed as much as their roommates allow. They make friends together and apart and they persevere. By the time they visit home for winter break, even Mercedes can't believe they're still together.
"Boys, you're like the poster children for a healthy relationship," She teases, as she watches Kurt pick the cucumbers off of his salad and pass them to Blaine as Blaine takes the lemon slice off of his water cup and squeezes it into Kurt's before dropping the lemon into it. All of this is done without a word, without an inquiry. It must look ridiculous to her, but it's second habit to them.
They brush off her comment with a laugh; inquire about her own life in Chicago at school.
When they get back to New York they spend the rest of their break riding the subway and seeing shows and taking advantage of their roommates still being at home for the break.
New York is amazing. It's incredible. It's everything either of them had ever wanted.
Their Sundays end up devolving into snuggle and fuckfests, neither of them eager to get out of bed – so they don't, beyond going to the cheap café down the street for brunch. It feels weird, perfect, even if there are days when Blaine yells, and then Kurt yells back, and then it's screaming match, because both of them would be MORE worried if they didn't fight at all.
In the end, Blaine wonders if this is it, that Kurt is it for him. It's both an exhilarating and terrifying thought, that the man stretched out next to him is the only one he'll ever lie next to in his life.
They don't talk about it, though, they just keep moving forward, they keep using one another as a buoy, as strength, as a fallback.
Looking back, Blaine will realize what will eventually do them in.
But for now, they hunch over a book in the subway, reading together, or Blaine writes songs on his guitars and plays them for Kurt in search of an honest opinion, or Blaine attends Kurt's first year styling showcase and claps vigorously at the end.
It'll be another year and a half before they lose their footing, even if they don't know it yet.
New York City is tall and cold and it's impossibly depressing to sit in a crowded subway car and still feel so completely alone.
Blaine hasn't played his guitar or sang in nearly two years, since he'd been asked by a friend he'd gone to undergrad with to sing at their joint graduation party. Even then he'd only done it because she had look so devastated at his initial refusal. He'd ended up singing covers the entire set, all music that wasn't near or dear to his own heart, all stuff that delighted his friends but didn't matter much to him at all.
She thanked him in the end, eyes glassy from the alcohol she'd been consuming, her arms tight around him. He'd clutched her to him tightly, relishing in the closeness of another human being, feeling weird and cold and detached from everything. She'd pressed a plastic cup of wine in his hand – always so classy, for sure – kissed him on the cheek, and disappeared into the crowd. He'd left thirty minutes later, cup still full, with his guitar case in hand. It'd gone into his closet and hasn't been taken out since.
A little later he'd dug the "Kurt" box he'd put under his bed and takes out the sketchbook his ex had left there unknowingly. Inside are mostly doodles, some sketches of designs or even notes from classes, but in the very back is a still-life he'd done of the flower vase that used to stand in Blaine's window with whatever fresh and cheap bloom he could find on his way to Blaine's apartment. The vase stands empty now; Blaine had never been the one who'd kept up with the flowers, but the drawing is a poignant capture of what he'd had.
He gets a frame for it at the convenience store down the street and it gets hung up on his wall that night. Nearly three years later, it's still there.
He writes Kurt an email:
I stood in the cold, staring out into the sea of faces, hoping to see yours, smiling in my direction. I had these daydreams, so pathetic that they are, that you'd be happy to see me; that you'd maybe even hug me. We'd go to the Stardust Diner for overpriced diner food just to see the poor actors sing Broadway songs like we'd used to do every once in awhile, and over over-cooked burgers and salads we'd reminisce like the high school sweethearts we were, and then we'd devolve into talking about our lives now. You'd tell me about Los Angeles, the sun and the celebrities and whatever you're working on (I don't even know what it is, and it pains me to think that I barely know the smallest details of the person I'd lay with nearly every night, listening to him breathe in order to lull myself to sleep), and I'd tell you about graduate school and how much I sort of hate it, that it's this unhappiness that has made me long for you again, however selfish as that is.
I thought we'd feel awkward, sure, and you'd blush, and I'd stumble over my words, but we'd find some sort of rhythm, by the end of the dinner. I imagined some talk of the past, and maybe some of our separate futures; maybe even of a guy you may or may not be seeing these days.
It was all so innocent, my daydreams, that I feel foolish now. I should've indulged myself, allowed myself to really think about what I wanted, allowed myself to imagine kissing you again, learning you again, but I didn't, because all I wanted was to see your face, hear your laugh.
Sometimes I feel like my heart is hollow, that our differences doomed us not because we'd relied so heavily in one another, but because we never truly trusted one another the way we should've. I know you, Kurt, and I know that our parting must have torn you apart, in the beginning. You've always felt so deeply and so powerfully for such intense periods of time. You probably cried over me so many times then, and by now, I'm a memory, a period in your life you may or may not look back on as a learning experience.
But you've always also always known me so well, too, you've always known that I'm slow on the uptake that it takes me forever to come to realization, and that's what happened to me. I hadn't realized how vital you were to me until you were gone for a while, until now, really. It sounds so selfish, but it's true, so true. So while you've moved on, I'm mourning maybe even more than I had when we first broke up.
In the end, I just wanted to see your smile, Kurt Hummel, wanted to see your eyes and that beautiful expression of exasperation you'd get when you were trying to be annoyed at me, even for an hour. I have no right to have wanted it, but I did.
I didn't get it though, and that's understandable, but I haven't forgotten it, please don't think that.
It's a slow descent, and Blaine is oblivious, has always been that way. It took him forever to realize what he had in front of him in Kurt, and it takes him forever to realize what he had with Kurt has dissolved until they're grasping at straws.
The beginning of junior year was rough; business school was never Blaine's biggest interest but he's did it because he felt like he should. Despite Kurt's very strict words about reconsidering it when they were in their last year in high school, he'd gone for it.
In the end, business school is tough and cutthroat and not at all fulfilling.
Blaine Anderson has never been the sort of person that gives up though, he always perseveres, always pushes through. It's something he'd fortunately and unfortunately gotten from his father; stubbornness when in pursuit of a goal, even if said goal causes stress and unhappiness.
So junior year is rough and he doesn't mean to, but sometimes he's short with Kurt. In turn, Kurt's short with him too, because design school is almost, if not completely, just as cutthroat as business school. Free time falls by the wayside and they spend all of their time studying and completing projects and taking out their frustrations on one another.
Communication falls away, only translating through sex and yelling. They fall apart.
Blaine doesn't think much about it; rough patches happen and they're barreling through one of those. In fact, despite the fact that he's sick, so sick, of fighting with Kurt, he's sort of proud of them that this is the first time he's actually really feeling the strain, that they aren't the sort of couple who does this all the time. He's proud that they're working hard and they'll be grumpy and they'll fuck it out but they'll come through stronger.
He's happy until Kurt tells him he's giving up.
"I can't do this anymore," He says, standing in their tiny kitchen, arms crossed. Blaine stares at Kurt like he's never seen him before, because he partly doesn't think he has. He's never, not in their nearly five-year relationship, seen that expression on Kurt's face before. He looks resolved, defiant. He looks heartbroken and sincere.
He looks strong and weak and ready to give Blaine up.
Blaine's heart is certainly in his throat at this; he feels cold and stiff and like this has come out of nowhere. When he voices this, Kurt just smiles wanly.
"That's the problem, Blaine. You always live in a little bubble, don't see things until they're blowing up in front of you. That's always been you."
Blaine knows he must look like a gaping fish, sitting there with his mouth wide open and eyebrows furrowed.
"I told myself- since high school, since Karofsky, that I wouldn't let myself be miserable anymore. I told myself that I wouldn't ever let anyone do that to me again." He continues, and Blaine is so so offended at first, being compared to Karofsky, that he jumps to defend himself but Kurt is quicker, "Not that you're him, because you're not, but Blaine – I'm so unhappy. I just feel so unhappy all the time."
Blaine sees it now, really sees it – the bags under Kurt's eyes, the slump in his posture, the wrinkle in his clothes. It's not the Kurt he knows.
He feels tortured, weak. He's destroyed Kurt, while all along he'd thought they'd just been gliding through a rough patch together. Little did he know that he was traveling that rough patch alone and dragging Kurt through it messily.
"What – what can we do? I'll start trying to be more relaxed. We can spend more time just together, just the two of us." He suggests, and it sounds reasonable in his head and as it comes out of his mouth. There's no reason to think Kurt would say what he says next but he does, he says it, and it literally knocks the wind right out of Blaine.
"I think we need to take a break."
Blaine feels like he's in a bad movie; he's never thought people actually said those sort of things, but Kurt's there and he's saying it and neither of them are in any sort of movie. He feels blindsided, and he knows he must look it because Kurt continues.
"I don't know if it's us that's doing this to me, Blaine, honestly. Part of me thinks it's just me – New York is exactly what I thought it'd be and exactly what I didn't think it would be. I feel so trapped sometimes, and with school and you I feel like I can't breathe, not ever. Then I used to come home and you'd be there and all I used to feel was relief; that I could be okay, if I give it time, and now we just yell and scream and fight and fuck. There's nothing there. I don't know how I feel about you, anymore. I see you and I love you but you have just been in my life so long- "
Halfway through Kurt's little speech Blaine's brain has caught up with what's being sad and he's not shocked anymore, he's pissed. He's angry and he's fed up and he's being told by his best friend and boyfriend that he's not enough anymore. He's done with it because it feels selfish, what's coming out of Kurt's mouth, and Blaine himself doesn't think he's had a thought about anything in the past five years that didn't include Kurt in them.
What he realizes, though, is where they'd gone wrong, because for all of their comfort they'd stopped talking, they'd stopped communicating and Kurt's given up on it.
Blaine feels betrayed, he feels heartbroken.
"Please. Just stop." He finally says, and puts a hand up between them to dismiss Kurt purposefully. He knows it's a dick move but he has to do it, has to jump back and get his own words in.
"You're being a coward, Kurt. You're giving up us because we've started fighting more, and instead of trying to figure out what else in your life might be making you unhappy you're picking me and tossing me out without considering anything else." He stands at this, standing a few feet from Kurt, looking at those shielded eyes like he's never seen them before. He wants to reach out, but he doesn't; he can't.
"What else is there to give up?" Kurt throws back, crossing his arms over his chest and Blaine can see him visibly turn in on himself, so eerily reminiscent of the boy he'd once known, "What? It's school or it's home or it's my friends or it's you. I don't know about my school and I'm working on figuring out my friends but it's not so easy to give –"
Kurt stops himself, but Blaine knows what he's saying; knows what's remaining unsaid. It's not so easy to give those things up, but something's gotta go, and you're the easiest to let go.
Blaine's sick of this conversation, sick of the route it's taking, so he moves to leave before it can get any worse. He's halfway to the door when Kurt stops him.
"This is the problem with you, Blaine – you walk away. I'm breaking up with you, you know! This is it! You're not going to fight for me?" His voice is wavering now; Blaine can hear the tears in it. He closes his eyes against the sound of them; Kurt doesn't cry easily anymore and Blaine hasn't been the cause of his tears, maybe ever. When they'd fought in the past it was a lot of scathing remarks, a lot of personal digs. It was yelling and screaming and pushing one another with their remarks, but it was proof Kurt was still there, that he hadn't given up. The tears in his voice now was proof that it was crumbling right beneath their feet.
Blaine wants nothing more than to turn around and hold Kurt, to swear he will and beg him to reconsider his words, but he can't. It's his cursed stubbornness – he can't get over that Kurt wants him to fight for him but Kurt himself won't fight for Blaine.
"Like you're fighting for me?" He finally says, without turning around. He hears Kurt's broken sob and he nearly breaks himself but when his hand reaches out to touch the doorknob in front of him, he can't stop himself from turning it; from opening the door.
It clicks resolutely behind him as he exits into the hallway and he can hear Kurt really crying now, almost embarrassingly loud. He leans against the door for a bit, listens to Kurt get himself together; listens to him take deep breaths and make soft whimpering sounds until he's silent.
Blaine would be lying if he said that when he left that day he'd thought it was truly over. Part of him – if not most – thought this was another fight; perhaps the last of their big ones. This would be the turning point, this would bring them back to one another, finally, that the next morning he'd get a shy phone call or a text telling him to meet him at the café and they'd talk it through, then follow it up with make-up sex.
It never comes though. He never receives that text, or call. Two days later he walks into his apartment to find all of Kurt's belongings gone, the spare key left on the windowsill beside the vase with it's wilting lily in it. Kurt's removed him on Facebook and his phone calls go straight to voicemail.
And as it's all been said, Blaine floats on, because he doesn't know what to do, drifting lower and lower and lower and lower.
A week later, wide gray envelope falls out of Blaine's mailbox when he opens it. It thumps to the ground ungracefully and he strains to pick it up as he juggles a bag of groceries and his bag and it's only when he sees it has Kurt's very distinct handwriting on the front and no return address that he nearly gasps and drops everything all over again.
He hadn't heard back from that email and he'd talked himself into believing it'd hadn't been received by anyone at all in self-preservation.
He charges up the stairs to his fourth floor apartment, taking the steps two at a time and fumbling with his keys to get the door open as fast as possible. Mayer, his cat, meows angrily at him as he bustles into the apartment at lightening speed, nearly stepping on his tale in his haste to toss his stuff on the table. He rips the envelope carefully, even in his haste, just in case there's something inside that can be ripped in his rush.
Inside, braced against a piece of cardboard, is a drawing that must have come from Kurt himself. Blaine gasps at it, his eyes welling up in tears as he gazes at it in awe. Kurt's always been so talented, always had an eye for details, and this is the most incredibly heartfelt thing he'd ever seen.
It's a colored pencil drawing of Blaine himself standing on the corner of 34th and 7th amongst the tourists, hands in his pockets and eyes searching. If it wasn't such a poignant drawing, so true to life, Blaine might be embarrassed at the obvious eagerness in the drawing's eyes, but he can't be.
It means so much, this drawing. It means Kurt was there, most specifically, because he'd drawn exactly what Blaine had been wearing that day, down to the emerald scarf. It means he saw Blaine's forlorn expression that he wanted to be there, that he'd been eagerly waiting Kurt's arrival.
Blaine feels sad and broken and happy and exhilarated and disappointed. It's a beautiful portrait of a sad sad man, alone in the big city. It's beautiful and it just makes him ache for Kurt so so much.
He runs his fingers over it gently, fingertips gently brushing over the grooves the pencils had run into the paper. He can imagine Kurt's fingers deftly curled around those pencils, creating this work with Blaine in mind. He can see him leaning over a table somewhere in Los Angeles, mid-morning sunlight streaming in (because Kurt worked best during the mornings), and hair escaping his careful hairstyle and falling into his eyes. He wonders what Kurt looks like now; if he still wore his hair in the classic pompadour or if he's grown it out. He wonders if he's still dressed impeccably; still singing along with the radio in his shower, still drinking his coffee black with two sugars.
It's then that he realizes he's crying, and he quickly wipes his face with his fingers to stop any water from dripping on his drawing. It's only then that he feels a piece of paper come loose from the back that he turns it over.
There, stuck carefully on the other side, is a post-it note.
Let's try this again. Tonight, 7PM, 34th and 7th. Ellen's Stardust Diner and reminiscing about the past. Maybe we can find one another again; maybe I'll fight for you this time.
He gasps, dropping the drawing onto the table before reaching for the envelope. It's only then that he notices that there's no stamp, that Kurt must have dropped it off himself. A quick look to his microwave tells him it's 6:30. He drops everything unnecessary, winds his scarf around his throat, grabs his keys, and is out the door.
"Smile," Carole Hudson says, in what seems a lifetime ago. Blaine stands next to Kurt, arm around his waist, left hand clasped with Kurt's. His tuxedo is a bit stifling, he feels a little embarrassed under the scrutiny of Carole and Burt Hummel. A few feet away Finn is standing awkwardly behind Quinn. He looks like a giant next to her, even though she's wearing heels, and the four of them must look like quite a picture, Kurt and Blaine in all black with pink accents and Finn and Quinn in light blue.
"Closer, closer – " Carole urges, making some sort of gesture with her head. Both couples inch and shuffle closer to one another until they can feel each other's body heat, and it's all a little weird until they see Burt light up, looking almost a little wistful at them.
The flash is bright, and Blaine's sure he blinked, but Carole gets at least fifty more before they're basically pushed out the door, Carole pocketing her camera so they can take more photos at Rachel's house, where they were going to pose as a group on her porch.
Kurt's still tucked close to his side, and through Finn's pitiful whining and Quinn's stern voice, he hears his boyfriends sweet chuckle and looks over at him with a smile. Kurt's looking at him with this fond look, with this sweet sweet glance that Blaine feels a little flushed about.
"What?" He teases, slipping his arm around Kurt's waist as they're ushered towards Carole's car. He reaches forward and opens the door for Kurt as he hears Quinn admonish Finn for not doing the same for her on the other side.
"You're just wonderful," He says, and kisses Blaine on the lips quickly. Blaine leans into it for a moment, even ignoring Burt's pointed cough, before pulling back and smiling at Kurt.
"This whole night will be wonderful," Blaine promises, touching Kurt's temple with a quick fingers before he ducks into the car. Blaine himself follows, the four of them squeezed uncomfortably into a backseat meant for three until Kurt slides his leg over Blaine's and settles under his arm.
The night is wonderful, even if it's in every cliché prom way possible. They dance in McKinley's gym under bad disco ball lights, they drink horrible watered down punch and take a billion pictures.
Kurt and Blaine of then wouldn't recognize Kurt and Blaine of now, not really, but at the time it's exactly what they needed.
"I love you," Blaine says for the first time as they sway back and forth feet away from Rachel and Jesse and Mercedes and Sam. He's unsure of what makes him say it then, and feels a little embarrassed about it, but Kurt just looks so wonderful, smells so good, and is just so handsome under the lights and against the cheesy music. The look he gives him in return is sweet, incredible. He's never had someone look at him that way.
"I love you, too." Kurt finally says, and even if Blaine didn't necessarily expect it right then, it's a relief. He's suddenly hugged so tight, Kurt's sweet laughter in his ears that he's pretty sure he's tearing up. When Kurt pulls back to press a kiss to his lips, he lets himself cry a little, Kurt's fingertips capturing the tears as they slide messily down his cheeks. He doesn't need to explain; Kurt, just by his expression, understands.
It's picture perfect, even if they don't know what their future holds, even yet.
Blaine has a moment of déjà vu, standing on the corner of 34th and 7th that evening, hands in his pockets and scarf knotted neatly under his neck. This time the click hits 7PM and his search through the crowd ends after one sweep, because Kurt's there, feet away, just across the street, stock still amongst a crowd of kids scooting past him with linked hands. Blaine catches his eyes and smiles, charmed by the little heads bobbing past Kurt.
Kurt smiles back a little, making a 'what can you do?' gesture as he waits patiently for the group to finally make it past him. Finally, the light turns to 'walk' and both of them gravitate towards one another until they meet right in the middle of the crosswalk.
Behind them, Times Square is loud and noisy and bright, so bright. Blaine can see the lights reflecting in Kurt's eyes as he looks up at him.
Suddenly he feels Kurt's gloved fingers tightening around his and they step impossibly closer. There are people, so many people, pushing and maneuvering around them, occasionally bumping into them, but he only has eyes for the man in front of him.
"Hi," Kurt says. Blaine feels the familiar prick of tears in his eyes.
"Hi," He replies, tightening his fingers on Kurt's. He watches Kurt's eyes dart to his lips before he takes the leap himself and kisses him.
Kurt tastes sweet, cool, so much the same. It feels like coming home.
They'll be forced to part eventually, when the walk sign turns to red and there's a taxi honking at them to get out of the way, but for now, they re-learn what they've lost.
New York breathes behind them as they clutch each other closer. It's easy to feel alone in this city; but now that they've found one another again, Blaine doesn't think it'll be as much of a problem anymore.