Shiftings- Chapter 1

A/N: This starts the evening of THE KISS (sigh...give me a moment...I'm remembering the kiss...) in Original Song and goes from there. This little two-shot is just meant to be a fluffy, lovely, and sickeningly sweet portrayal of the ways – both internal and external and not broadcast by Fox– that our boys' relationship has shifted and evolved to finally bring them together.

Thank you to everyone who has reviewed so far - you've all been so encouraging, and it's been a real confidence booster.

I don't own Glee, nor anything associated with it. I don't even own my cat – he owns me.

Kurt Hummel couldn't sleep. He knew he should; Regionals were only days away, and he needed his beauty rest. Try as he might, though, he couldn't wipe the wide, silly grin off his face. He touched his lips for the hundredth time that night. Mere hours before, Blaine's lips had been there. Blaine's lips. Kurt yanked the spare pillow from beside him, thrust it over his face, and screamed into it, kicking his legs hard.

He still couldn't believe it had been real. Part of him was still convinced it wasn't. So for the hundredth time that night, he got up, turned on his bedside lamp, and went over to his vanity. He both saw and felt himself blush scarlet when he saw the small but distinct purple mark low on his neck, near his collar bone.

Yeah, it had been real.

And another thing that was real was that Blaine wanted him. Blaine lov- well, liked him, anyway. And the kicker was that it had happened when Kurt had finally stopped trying to impress Blaine. He had finally stopped trying to figure out how to change for him, how to seem as perfect as possible for him.

It had started, clearly, when Blaine had announced his intent to go on some charade of a date with Rachel. That was it, Kurt was sure of it. That's when Blaine had begun to fall from grace in his eyes. That fall only affected Kurt's feelings for the boy more painfully, though; as he saw Blaine's struggle, Blaine's desperate grasp at a single straw that represented a chance at normalcy, he only loved him more. He had wanted to hold and comfort him and tell him that he understood how much it can hurt. He had also wanted to strangle him.

But Kurt remembered one thing that had occurred to him, as he seethed alone in the Lima Bean after Blaine had stormed out. In some ways he, Kurt, was stronger than Blaine. Yes, he had fled to Dalton when things got too heavy at public school, just like Blaine had, but Kurt knew that he'd never mistake a drunken kiss for a real connection. He knew that he'd never pass as straight, and he didn't even try. Blaine can pass, he'd thought to himself. And on some level, he wants to. He's clinging to it. He's scared.

Then Kurt had rolled his eyes to himself and snorted into his coffee. Although if he really wants to pass, he probably shouldn't storm out of public places like a little fucking drama queen.

They had made up, of course, both pretty sheepish, both owning their own bitchiness in that little scenario. And it had faded into the background as they picked up where they left off, talking about everything (except how they felt about one another), ingesting way too much caffeine, growing always closer.

But something had definitely shifted, and Kurt was acutely aware of it, though he wasn't sure whether or not Blaine was. Blaine wasn't always the most observant little fucker, this Kurt knew, nor the most self-aware. So Blaine may or may not have perceived the change, but it was most definitely there. The playing field had leveled a bit. Kurt was no longer looking up to Blaine (figuratively speaking, of course), he was looking at him. He was looking at the beauty and the confidence and the insecurity and the imperfections. And Kurt realized that he hadn't really loved Blaine before, not really. He had idolized and adored him, but he hadn't really seen him clearly enough to love him.

But now? Now Kurt was falling. Hard.

The next time things shifted, it was Kurt who was the vulnerable one. Kurt who exposed himself, his fear and confusion around sex. It had hurt when Blaine had essentially told him he wasn't sexy – or so Kurt had interpreted it - and Kurt was shocked at his own response to that pain. He was shocked that he admitted how intimidated he was, how attached to unrealistic notions of romance, shocked that he had even let himself discuss the subject at all.

He most certainly was not shocked when he kicked Blaine out of his room. He didn't want to have that "conversation" with Blaine. Because he knew that Blaine had never had a boyfriend, but Blaine had never said that he hadn't had sex before. And Kurt was surprised enough that a boy as ridiculously foxy as Blaine was still single. He didn't even want to think about Blaine touching anyone else. Even the memory of him kissing Rachel had led Kurt- more than once- to rip the Xbox controller out of a startled Finn's hands so he could play a couple rounds of Grand Theft Auto until he calmed down.

So yeah, the topic of Blaine with another guy was definitely not up for discussion.

After Blaine had left his room, Kurt had curled up in a ball on his bed, humiliated, feeling very small and thin and pale and young. Feeling awkward as a twelve-year-old. He had not tried to impress Blaine at all, had laid himself open. He had not-so-subconsciously hoped that Blaine would reassure him that he was sexy. That Blaine would challenge him when he said he said he didn't have any sexual experience or appeal. Blaine hadn't.

But Blaine hadn't really said that he wasn't sexually appealing either, not really. He had just said that Kurt's "sexy faces" while performing weren't hitting the mark. After a little while, Kurt began to worry about what Blaine must think of him now. Kurt had totally dropped his composure, and it seemed he had blown what last little hope he had of ever being more than friends with Blaine. If Blaine still even wanted to be his friend after that bitchy little display.

Kurt sighed, and stared at his ceiling, and eventually picked up his phone to check the text message that had arrived a few moments earlier.

It was from Blaine.

I'm really sorry if I made you feel uncomfortable. I hope you're not too angry with me.

Kurt smiled. So maybe dating was out, maybe they were only ever meant to be friends, but Blaine still cared about him, still wanted his friendship, and that meant the world to Kurt.

I'm not mad. I'm sorry too. I shouldn't have reacted like that. It's just a really sensitive subject for me, I guess.

I understand. Are we all right?

We're just fine.

And again, that was that. Things had shifted, but again it seemed to be for the best. Kurt found himself even more comfortable with Blaine, despite the awkwardness of their non-discussion about sex. Not only was he seeing Blaine as more of a real person, but he was letting himself be more of a real person again too, the way that he had when they first met. Really, Kurt was over this whole Changing Himself For Other People thing. He still loved Blaine - unfortunately he only seemed to be falling more in love with him, but he had finally decided to just have his feelings and let things be. After all, it wasn't like he didn't have plenty of practice at this. He had never had a boy return his feelings before, and he had always managed to soldier on.

Without the pressure to impress, Kurt was more honest. More himself. More relaxed.

He finally told Blaine how he felt about his never-ending series of solos, instead of swooning like a little fangirl. That felt good.

Even more significantly, he showed Blaine – well, showed the entirety of the Warblers - his heart. He let down his defenses, and didn't even try to act cool when Pavarotti died. He lovingly pulled one of his most cherished possessions from a locked wooden box at the back of a hidden drawer in his vanity- it was an audio tape of Beatles instrumental music. He and his mother had sung to it together when he was very small, and he usually only took it out on her birthday and the anniversary of her death, so he could sing to her.

He wanted that tape to last as long as possible. But today he would take it out for Pavarotti.

Kurt didn't have to ponder too deeply to understand why the little bird's death was affecting him with such intensity. He knew that the bird had, on some level, represented him. Pavarotti had lived in a cage – safe, cared for, but entrapped. Life at Dalton felt similar; safe but stifling, and though Kurt felt content enough to spend some time healing in that soothing little den of conformity, he certainly wasn't going to let his true self die in a cage like Pavarotti had.

He was going to reclaim a piece of his individuality, however small and fleeting. Damn the Warblers, damn Wes and David and Nate and Jeff and Blaine, Kurt was going to do what he had always done in New Directions. He was going to walk in there, and he was not going to ask them for anything. Instead, he was going to tell them that he was singing a song for Pavarotti. For this little kindred soul. And they could harmonize in the background or they could shut the hell up, it didn't really matter either way, because he was going to do this.

And so he did.

He strode in, out of uniform, and he demanded a moment in the spotlight, and he let the tears flow free, to hell with impressing anyone, and he even got in a little jab at Blaine before he started, which was probably pretty bitchy, but he didn't even care anymore, because that was who he was and the bitch is back, and if you don't like it Mr. Anderson, you can take a long walk off a short pier.

And he sang. And Blaine saw him. And the next time that they were alone together, Blaine said beautiful things to him, and then Blaine kissed him.

Kurt slowly came back to himself, staring at the not-so-subtle hickey on his neck that Blaine had produced between kisses and nuzzles and half-assed, raced-through renditions of Candles the night before. They had forced themselves to practice the song just barely enough to feel justified in spending half the afternoon and into the evening wrapped around each other, melting into one another, burning to touch and sigh and gaze and hold without stopping for the rest of their natural lives.

Of course they'd had to stop. And now Kurt Hummel couldn't sleep. He didn't care. He couldn't wait for tomorrow. Because tomorrow he would get to kiss Blaine again.