Disclaimer: I wish! No, seriously, I do! So very badly.

A/N: Yay and update and it hasn't been six months since the last one! I'm so getting better at this! Just a quick note to thank you so very much for every review, every follow, every adds to your lists! My lil' fic and I are deeply grateful!

Thanks to my lovely betas: anddreammylifeaway and ttinycourageous. This was a hard one for me to go through but you were everything a girlfriend could ask for! *high five*

So, the rating went up because of some swear words (Blaine swears when he's heart-broken) and I angsted it up in this one. I hope you'll like it.

Part VII: Of good-byes and Princes

The morning after the gala, Kurt woke up slowly, reluctantly, as if the dream world was too good a place to leave, as if his heart was still there. He couldn't for the life of him remember why. He felt strange; heavy and not quite ready for the rest of the day which was quite unusual for him. For as long as he could remember, Kurt had always been an early and ready riser. He'd never had trouble chasing the fogginess of sleep away.

He buried his face in his pillow and allowed his mind to adjust and recall the events of the day before. He couldn't yet wrap his head around the fact that it all happened and that it had happened less than twenty-four hours ago. Opening his eyes slowly and squinting at the already darkening sky (March had never been a very decisive month), he allowed himself a smile. He let his lips stretch and stretch until they had almost slit his face in half, and he allowed the unaltered joy of it be the first thing he really felt that morning. He let it take over his body, contract then loosen every muscle, let it fill his veins in a dizzying rush, let it consume his soul and lift him off this lonely world, even if it was just for a couple of moments.

Eventful as the previous day had been (and goodness was it ever!) he still got to spend half of it with Blaine and the thought alone was enough to send him flying over the moon. They'd talked and laughed and danced and touched. His heart was singing and if this was to become a regular occurrence, Kurt thought he could actually write a bunch of musicals on his own. Sure, they'd be incredibly cheesy and not very deep in the plot department but they'd be glorious in their own way because how can anything inspired by feelings like these not be?

He didn't let himself get carried away. He knew his place and the past was heavy enough to never be forgotten but Blaine... Blaine. It was all he could think about. Blaine and the easy way he moved as if his body was never something he questioned. Blaine and that ridiculously lovely smile that could probably light up the whole of New York for years to come. Blaine the gentleman. Blaine the doctor. Blaine the most idiotically adorable drunk to ever exist. Blaine and his delicate heart. Blaine's mesmerizing, magnetic eyes and the way they captured everything without malice or cynicism. Blaine the artist with a voice smooth enough to leave Kurt breathless every single time he sang or spoke. Blaine the friend, without conditions, heart all in. Blaine and the way he touched people; always with respect, never quite realizing the impact those fingers had on the recipient of his attentions. (Kurt remembers his Ohio days, in the halls of McKinley, how even Santana seemed to thaw like ice under the August sun when Blaine patted her shoulder in reassurance and comfort. A feat that usually only Brittany and sometimes Quinn were able to manage.)

Blaine. Tattooed upon Kurt's heart and never ever going anywhere. The thought should have been depressing but it wasn't. It was just a fact of Kurt's life. He was Kurt Hummel, son of Burt and Elizabeth Hummel. He came from Ohio and after a few years of wandering around New York with only armor his dreams and his stubborn heart, he became an actor. He lived in The Village (both because of nostalgia over his earlier struggling artist New Yorker days and because he loved it). He had light brown hair and eyes that seemed unable to decide which color they wanted to be. He was currently working on his first musical with his best friend. He loved his family more than he could ever express. And his heart belonged to Blaine Anderson.

It wasn't as if he hadn't tried to move on. He wanted to be able to let go. He needed so badly to shake it out. It had been fifteen years, of course he wanted to be over his high school romance but there was a slight problem with that plan. It had never been 'just' a high school romance. It had always felt like more. There had been days when Kurt could have sworn their love could conquer the world. That it could be felt everywhere. That it had become an entity on its own, enveloping them and protecting them from any kind of evil. Kurt never thought that the worst of evils would come from inside their bubble of happiness. From him. He'd never thought that his need to protect himself could overpower that force.

And after all this time, after new friends, new lovers, so many new memories and battles, his heart still only responded to one cue. Blaine Anderson. So he went through life with the knowledge that no matter what happened and who he met (and he'd met some pretty interesting and lovely people) the only way for him to be truly happy was to be with Blaine. In any capacity. He'd never dreamed he'd be given the opportunity and that was enough to make him feel utterly ecstatic. Of course, for the sake of self-preservation and pretense (because who the hell could remain in love with their high school sweetheart fifteen years after the break-up?) Kurt never let anyone know any of this (sometimes he was so good with that lie that he almost believed it himself). From time to time, he used to catch Rachel looking at him as if she knew, as if she understood. She'd look at him with such despair and the need to fix Kurt's lonely heart; his throat would close up but they had never brought up Blaine. No one was fool enough to do that, not even Rachel.

There had been days when Kurt hated it. All of it. He hated himself and his stubborn heart for not wanting to listen to reason. He hated Blaine on principle because he'd gotten so deep into Kurt's blood; he couldn't get rid of him. He hated the memories and how their joys were dampened with guilt and longing. He hated his friends for moving on, getting their lives together and getting their happy endings every day. He hated the long nights, alone or with a new lover when the only way to keep from crying was to bite his lip until it was bloody. He hated the break-ups and their devastation and how hard he used to try to make it work and how now he just let it happen, let the relationships die before they could really start because despite his best intentions and best efforts, his heart was never in it.

It wasn't to say that he had never loved anyone else, because of course he had. He'd fallen in love several times and his heart was big enough to make room for new people. Mark, the history student with whom Kurt had spent long nights laughing about historical figures and trying to connect Kurt to the British Royal Family (because how could he not be royalty?). Everett, the dancer who had the body of a Greek god and the heart of a Disney Prince. Rupert, the casting director who'd treated Kurt like a normal person for once and had eyes the color of a summer storm. George, the lawyer, serious and busy and so sure of himself and life but always desperate for Kurt. He'd almost gotten married to George. They had been so different but they balanced each other quite naturally and the sex had been rather earth shattering but slowly and surely, like an abandoned flower in summer, their relationship had withered and he never got around to proposing. After that, he'd quite given up. Not intentionally; those decisions are never made consciously. Somehow, it kept happening and if Kurt was honest with himself, he had stopped trying to prevent it.

Most of all, though, he hated himself and the moment of weakness that had fated this half-life.

He had never been able to think about that day clearly. Not without feeling like the world was closing in on him, judgmental and cruel and furious. The first time he allowed himself to really think about it was two weeks ago, after seeing Blaine again for the first time. On that park bench, unable to move or make a decision, he had let himself relive that day. It had hurt, the pain so acute, his reflex had been to close his mind again. However, he'd done it, as if the pain could help. Healthy pain to begin the healing process.

As he lay on his bed, he tested it again. Let his mind open that box and pull out each memory like a fragile, explosive item.

Kurt remembered waking up, dreading the day. He knew it was going to be a painful good-bye (the idea of leaving home felt suddenly stupid and unsafe and devastating) but he knew that he was meant for greater things and sacrifice had never been something Kurt feared. So, he went downstairs, found his dad, Carole and Finn ready for breakfast. The sight of his family smiling sadly but encouragingly at him was like a punch to the heart but he powered through and prepared his special pancakes for the occasion. He made extra because it kept him busy at the stove and hid the tears from the rest of them. Later he helped Carole with the dishes and she was able to make him laugh telling him a story about Finn, a box of cereal and super glue but the laughter turned into tears and they fell into each other's arms. Their hands were wet and soapy but they clung to each other. Carole wasn't his mother but she had done such a fabulous job in turning them into a family, treating Kurt as her own. Her enormous heart healed wounds that he had never been aware of.

"I'm going to miss you," he whispered and she tightened her hold around him.

"Sweetheart, you are meant for so much. You are going to be fine, more than fine. You're going to shine so brightly, we'll be able to see you every day," she replied, her voice wobbly.

"Still gonna miss you."

"You won't have time for that," she joked but she rocked him from side to side, not quite ready to let go.

"I doubt that."

Later came the good-bye with his father. In his bedroom, left alone while Finn brought the last of his suitcases downstairs, the Hummels looked at each other wordlessly.

"C'mere," Burt grunted while opening his arms to his son and Kurt almost ran to him. He felt so young suddenly. All of his bravado and rationality gone, he was unable to imagine a world where he couldn't see his dad every morning and every evening. How could he ever be safe away from his father's safe embrace? It felt ludicrous that he could have ever thought of such a thing.

"I love you," Burt's gruff voice came from over his head.

Kurt squeezed his eyes shut and let it envelop him. This love that carried him through life and made him the man he was today. He was Burt Hummel's son and if that wasn't the best thing that could have happened to him, he didn't know what was.

"I love you, too."

"I'm so proud of you."

And that was enough to put him back on track. He was going to miss his father every minute, every step of the way but he had to go do something for himself. Show the world that Burt Hummel's son was deserving of his father's pride. So, he squeezed his father close for another five seconds and let go.

He went downstairs after washing his face and sat on the front steps of the veranda, watching Finn and Blaine put his packed life in the back of Blaine's car. They were talking quietly and from the way they kept looking at him every few seconds, Kurt knew he was the subject of their hushed conversation. His heart squeezed at the thought. His idiot brother and his ridiculous boyfriend, worried about him. His lips twitched into a smile and he shook his head at them.

Soon, they were done and Blaine bounded up to him, a sad sort of smile on his face.

"Hello, Beautiful," he sang as he dropped a kiss on Kurt's upturned lips.

"Good morning," Kurt sighed, his heart inexplicably heavier. He suddenly felt like he wouldn't survive this day.

"I'll go say hello to your parents," he said before going inside.

Kurt watched Finn settle down next to him on the steps and he was already so tired of goodbyes.

Finn kept his eyes on Blaine's car. He cleared his throat a couple of times and Kurt felt a tremor of amusement as he watched the big lug trying to make his mouth form words. He made his body relax and dropped his head on Finn's arm. (His shoulder was too high to aim for it.)

"Try not to eat all of ONU while I'm away," Kurt teased and it worked because Finn laughed.

"Try not to scare the whole of New York into shape before the weekend is over," he shot back and Kurt smiled through his sudden tears. He could hear Burt lecturing Blaine about gas and mileage and Blaine's quiet replies of reassurance. Kurt wiped his cheek dry and went inside to rescue his boyfriend. He stopped short on the doorstep of the lounge.

Blaine was in Burt's arms as if it was the most natural thing in the world and Kurt's heart felt suddenly too big for his chest.

"Be good," Burt said and Blaine nodded his head, chin bopping on Burt's shoulder.

Kurt didn't know what triggered the sudden panic. He could never recall. Maybe it was the way Blaine had smiled at Burt, trusting and lovingly, with all his heart. Maybe it was the text Finn got from Rachel at that exact moment and the frown of sadness that had marred his brother's face. Or maybe the weeks of subtle worry had finally caught up with him. All he knew was that he felt utterly too young for this. Too unprepared and unpracticed. His heart was beating so fast, he was surprised his father, Finn and Blaine or even the neighbors couldn't hear it. He felt like it was shaking the walls.

He couldn't do it.

He felt breathless and dizzy and sick and he needed to sit down before his body shut down on him.

He couldn't do it.

He felt so out of it that he only realized he was back in his bedroom when he dropped on his bed.

He couldn't do it.

He concentrated on breathing in and out. He tried not to think of goodbyes anymore but all he managed was to close up his own throat because how could he not think of goodbyes? He just lived through a bunch of them and they had eaten his heart out. He couldn't say another goodbye. Not to Blaine. Especially not to Blaine.

He'd been feeling like this for a few weeks now but nothing of this magnitude. Nothing like this clawing fear, gripping his gut and tearing his heart to shreds.

He couldn't do it.

Blaine and their relationship was the only pure and perfect thing Kurt could take with him. It couldn't change. It had to stay the same but Kurt knew in his heart that it would change. They were going to live on different sides of the country. They were building new lives for each other and in that moment, the precious relationship they had cultivated for the last two years became all that mattered to Kurt. He saw no way this long distant relationship was going to work, stay strong.

He was about to face a whole bunch of 'new' and the thought of Blaine becoming an 'old' was too much to bear. He realized that if he wanted to prevent horrible loss, he had to cut the ties now. Make it quick and clean.

He couldn't let Blaine become a sad memory. He was too important, he meant too much to Kurt.

"Hey," came a soft voice from the doorway. Kurt couldn't make himself move, couldn't even turn his head to look at Blaine. "You okay?"

Kurt could only shake his head.

Blaine came to sit next to him on the bed but Kurt couldn't bear the proximity. The smell of him and the warmth and the affection that Blaine radiated with every breath he took. Kurt bolted from the bed but finally turned to face Blaine.

The concerned frown on his face made Kurt's heart pulse with anguish. The thought of causing Blaine any kind of worry or pain was thoroughly crushing but Kurt had to do this, for both of their sakes.

He took a deep breath, made his gaze steady and said it, "We have to end it."

For a second, Blaine looked confused, his frown turning quizzical but as he eyes bore into Kurt's, understanding suddenly dawned on him and his face paled. "What?" he asked his eyes no longer warm but scared.

"We can't be together anymore," Kurt said. His voice was barely above a whisper but even he could hear the conviction of his tone. "I'm sorry."

"Of course we can be together. Kurt...," he was up now and the desperation in his eyes was clawing through Kurt's chest. Blaine tried to catch Kurt's hand but he dodged him. He couldn't let Blaine touch him now. "Kurt, we talked about this. It's going to be all right."

"No it's not! It's not going to be anything but torture and pain and missing you and I can't do that. I just... I can't. You're going to be so far away and you're... You're going to be amazing and...you-you're going to meet new people and I'm not going to be there for any of it and I can't believe I'm saying all this but it's the truth. I won't have my love for you be replaced by resentment... Please don't ask me to do that."

There was a heavy pause where they looked at each other in a strange mix of anger and pain that settled inside Kurt's guts. When he spoke, Blaine's voice was hushed from a kind of dryness that came from holding back tears.

"And you think this isn't going to be difficult for me?" Blaine's voice was suddenly edged with anger. "You think this hasn't been keeping me up at night for the last six months?"

"I'm not saying that. I just can't bear the thought of losing you!"

"Who says you're gonna lose me?" Blaine's voice was full on pleading then. "Long distance is manageable nowadays. We'll talk and see each other every day. You won't even miss me."

Kurt's breath hitched in his throat as he took that in. Not miss him? Did that mean that Blaine wouldn't miss him?

"Don't look at me like that," Blaine pleaded taking a step forward but stopped when Kurt took a step backwards. "I will miss you every second, you idiot," he smiled sadly. "Kurt. Where is this coming from? We talked about this. I thought you were all right. I thought we were great."

"Finn and Rachel broke up...," Kurt said remembering Finn's sad frown from earlier. "They love each other but they're being realistic."

"Don't!" Blaine spat. "Do not compare what we have with what they have. They love each other but their relationship is different from ours. We're stronger."

"Our relationship is perfect and I want it to remain so. I don't want to spoil anything. Can you give me that?"

At that moment, Kurt realized the extent of his selfishness but he was too far gone, now. There could be no backing down. It was for the better.

Blaine gripped his hair and looked ready to explode.

"This is ridiculous," he breathed.

"Can you guarantee it? Can you tell me that you're one hundred percent sure about our future?" Kurt could barely see through his unshed tears but he knew Blaine enough to recognize his moment of hesitation. He saw his eyes waver in their steadiness and he saw his anxious swallow and that was all Kurt needed. He felt his heart shrink to the size of a pea and wondered how he could still be standing through the pain. It really didn't matter if the doubt had been there all along or if Kurt's had planted the seed; it was there and it was all Kurt could see anymore.

"Can you guarantee it, Kurt?" Blaine's voice was thick and broken. "No one can predict the future but I am yours and you are mine and I love you. Can't that be enough

Couldn't it? Kurt's shattered, helpless heart whispered. He felt too full at that moment. Too much pain happening all at once and he was dizzy with it. He wanted so badly to be like Blaine. He wanted to be able to hope but fear seemed to be his only source of intelligence right then and it couldn't hope. It didn't let Kurt feel anything but like a little boy trying desperately to cling to his security blanket while going to sleep at a stranger's house.

"Please, Kurt." Suddenly, Blaine was there, his hands cradling Kurt's cheek so tenderly, Kurt had no choice but to melt into the touch. Blaine rested his forehead against his and dropped a kiss next to his nose. A sweet kiss, a kiss that promised love infinitely. A kiss that made Kurt's tears fall when he thought it would be one of the lasts. "You won't lose me. Whatever happens, you and me; it's a done deal. You are mine," he whispered achingly and when he brought his lips down on Kurt's, he let it happen. Selfishly, cruelly, unrepentantly, Kurt let Blaine kiss him. He let Blaine draw him close. He let him deepen the kiss, let him trace his lips with his sweet tongue. Let him take claim, let him burn through Kurt's soul.

When Blaine brought his hands to Kurt's shirt, he didn't protest. Blaine's movements grew more anxious, needier; bringing Kurt out of his stupor and soon they were both tumbling to the bed, struggling to get out of their clothes and when that became too much of an effort, they discarded only their pants. And while Kurt's focused all his thoughts on marking every second of their last time together, Blaine carried a chorus of 'Yes!', 'Mine', 'Fuck', 'So beautiful', 'Love you', 'Don't leave me alone' that would probably haunt Kurt for the rest of his life. Blaine kissed every one of Kurt's tears away and chanted his love over and over again, not realizing that Kurt's mind was already made up and this was only another memory to add to all the others. Memories that Kurt would cherish forever.

"I love you,' Kurt said later while Blaine was getting his pants back up. They had cleaned up and Kurt had sent a quick thank you to the Universe for the fact that his family seemed to be missing at the moment and hadn't heard them through the open door. Blaine looked up and he must have heard something in Kurt's voice because he face crumbled down.

"Please, Kurt. You promised! You said...You promised me you'd never say goodbye to me," his voice was wavering with a new flood of tears. His words went straight to Kurt's heart, like a bullet. The shot was so efficient; Kurt put a hand to his chest, expecting to find blood there.

"I won't let you become something tainted," he took a deep breath and kept his eyes on Blaine. Later he realized that he'd been trying to imprint every detail of his lovely face into his memory. Even angry and heart-broken, he was still the most beautiful boy Kurt had ever seen.

"So you're just going to give up?" Blaine voice was harsh with condemnation but it was everything Kurt deserved.

"I'm not giving up. I'm just trying to preserve what we have."

Blaine's face had gradually hardened through the argument and he was now glaring furiously at Kurt.

"Bullshit. You're just scared! You're a coward."

"Maybe I am," Kurt's voice was lifeless by that point. Nothing seemed to register beyond the despair in his chest.

"So, in your fucked-up logic you're breaking up with me so you won't have to lose me?"

He wanted to shout, 'It's not fucked-up! It's for the best,' but he didn't because that was too weak and childish. He just nodded and whispered another pointless apology.

Blaine looked away then, as if the sight of Kurt was one insult too many.

"What about what we just did? Was that just in the 'last one for the road' spirit?" he almost snarled.

Kurt's shame made his whole body flame up.

"I just needed you. I'm sorry." Except, he wasn't. He could never be sorry for that. He was however sorry (more sorry than any word could ever express) to cause Blaine so much pain. He felt numb with the need to fix this but he didn't know how.

"Don't I get a say in this? Don't I deserve more than this crap? Why... How is it alright for you to protect your heart but I can't?" Blaine's eyes were back on his and the sorrow Kurt could see there was life-changing. Kurt would never forgive himself for that look. "You make me fall in love with you, you make me transfer schools for you, you make me make plans with you and now you're just taking it all away? In the name of what?"

Despite his guilt and suffering, Kurt's spine snapped up in bristle defense.

"You're the one who decided to go to school on the other side of the country," Kurt yelled the last part. "You're the one who couldn't even look me in the eyes to tell me that you weren't coming to New York!"

"So, what? I'm planning a career for myself and that makes me the bad guy? Why aren't you coming to California with me? Why does it have to be all about you all the time?"

That hurt. It was never all about Kurt. They were always equal partners and if the truth was to be told, Kurt had always felt like he was the one left to the side. Blaine was always slightly more popular, more successful, more easily pleased.

"Well, you can't have everything," he said before he could think better of it.

Blaine's gasp was more visible than audible. The hurt registered so quickly on his face that Kurt had almost reached out to him. It was not true, Blaine didn't have everything and Kurt was taking away one of the only good things going for him. His face turned as cold as stone and he gave a resolute nod.

"Okay, Kurt," his voice was so politely indifferent, Kurt's eyes widened. "I'll say it for you then. Good-bye."

And that was it. Blaine was out of the house and driving his car away before Kurt realized he was taking his stuff with him. Later Finn had to go to Blaine's and get it all back while Kurt sat on his bed unable to move, breathe or even think. For the next few days he let things happen to him. He let his father drive him to New York. He let Julliard's freshmen orientation happen to him. He let his roommate happen to him. Nothing registered. Nothing mattered. A few days after he settled in New York, he received a package from Ohio. His dad had sent him his cell phone that he had deliberately left back home. It took him a whole week and people pestering him (namely his father and Rachel) for him to switch it back on. He was surprised that the device didn't crash down with the avalanches of texts and missed calls he found.

None of them had been from Blaine.

Kurt learned to live with the consequences of his acts. He taught himself to be strong on his own again. He made himself go to class every day, head held high, shoulders square and goals straight ahead. Of course, he hated himself so much at the time and missed his love so desperately, focusing on Julliard, his studies and his sore muscles was the best way to not lose his head. And while the first few months were the sheer torture of Blaine constantly nagging the back of his mind and settling more stubbornly into his heart, he learned to live with that too.

Over the years he came to realize that the only thing he really wanted to protect was himself. He knew Blaine, he knew how easily people loved him and he knew how very much he was going to succeed in every endeavor he took. Kurt couldn't face the possibility of becoming a burden, someone that only held him back. He wanted all of Blaine and he couldn't have him anymore. It was perhaps the hardest, coming to terms with the kind of person he was. Someone who was willing to sacrifice everything but not his heart even if it meant hurting people in the process.

And now here he was, not exactly back at square one but close enough. While he knew and accepted that Blaine would never be his love again, he would treasure the moments they shared as friends. He was excited at the idea of getting to know Blaine all over again. He knew Blaine the boy and he loved that boy but he wanted to get to know Blaine the man.

His thoughts were interrupted by his phone vibrating on his side table. He quickly dried his cheek from the tears that had fallen during his painful trail down memory lane and grabbed his phone.

From Santana:

So freaking Charming.

Kurt tapped his finger absentmindedly on the link below the words. When the page loaded and his eyes took in the picture from Perez Hilton's blog, he bolted upright on the bed. It was a picture of him and Blaine from last night. They were on the red carpet; Kurt's hand was on Blaine's shoulder as he leaned over it to whisper something into his ear. The title of the picture was: Broadway Prince's new beau? Hubba Hubba!

Kurt was going to kill that idiot in his sleep. Hubba Hubba? Who even said that anymore?

He remembered the moment the picture was taken. Blaine had been so star struck by Adele that Kurt's heart had melted and he'd felt the need to reassure him.

"Yes, Blaine! It's her. I'll introduce you later."

Kurt was unable to tear his eyes away from the picture. They looked good together. Comfortable and smiling easily. There was a strange kind of intimacy in the way they leaned into each other, without a second thought. He liked the picture but unfortunately he wouldn't be the only one. He was used to all of this: the press, the crazy speculations, the misguided idiocy and hypocrisy of the show business. He'd been dwelling in it for the last decade. Blaine had not and Kurt hoped this wouldn't be too much for him to handle. What if this changed everything? What if Blaine didn't want any of this in his life? Kurt could understand of course. Who in their right mind would want that?

His phone vibrated with another text.

From Tina:

You guys!


And another link. This time with the whole gang and Adam Levine. Blaine sandwiched between Finn and Kurt. His smile was genuine but it hinted to a little fear and it made Kurt smile. He understood Tina's inarticulateness. This was cute beyond words.

From Mercedes:

It's hard to stay mad at someone who looks like a puppy.

This time it was a picture that she took herself the night before of the Anderson siblings laughing together.

From Carole:

Call me!

From Santana:

Oh this is gun' be good!

The evil laughter was implied with the text, of course.

And thus his morning carried on. He showered and then answered his publicist nagging texts about the whole ordeal.

From Ruthie:

You could've at least warned me. Don't I deserve at least that consideration?

To which he replied:

Since when is my personal life up for discussion?

From Ruthie:

Since Mr. Handsome is completely unknown and swoon worthy.

To which he replied while rolling his eyes:

That is so far from the realm of professionalism, I can't even understand you any more Ruthie.

(He could tell her that Blaine was actually Mrs. Anderson's son and thus not a complete stranger but he wouldn't. That would teach her. Swoon worthy! Psh!)

From Ruthie:

A little warning would have been nice. Also, professionalism can bite my juicy bum. Have you seen those eyes?

He clenched his jaw and reminded himself that he was actually quite fond of Ruthie. He quickly typed a reply and left to make himself breakfast before he went too far and actually started looking for a new publicist.

From Kurt:

Do your job! I don't talk about my personal life. No comment, as per usual. Say hi to Jeremy for me.

(The last part was for his own benefit. Jeremy was Ruthie's husband.)

Later, as he rejoiced in the laziness of having nothing better to do than lounge on his sofa while watching bad reality TV, he got a call from Rachel.

"How's the hangover?" she asked morosely. She was clearly more affected than he was.

"I wasn't that drunk."

"Lucky bastard."

"Actually just cautious. It's never good to be drunk around you lot. Especially with Blaine-," he cut himself short but the damage was already done. He didn't know why he brought him up but it really couldn't be helped. Blaine was the theme of the day.

"Speaking of which...," she started slyly and he could hear the satisfied smile in her voice. He seriously needed new friends.

"Yes, Rachel. I have seen the pictures. Let's remain adults about all this and not make a big deal out of it."

She sighed. "I wasn't going to," and he could see the pout as clearly as if he was standing in front of her.

"Good because this is new for Blaine and it would be good if we could show him that it's not something he should fear," sometimes he felt like the only grown up left in their group.

"Well, maybe he should. I don't need to remind you that these people are absolute snakes."

No, she didn't but Blaine didn't need to know that.

"Well, we'll be his safe haven."

"Awww!" Rachel cooed and Kurt winced.

"Ugh! If you ever do that again, I'm erasing your existence from my memory," he drawled and she had the guts to laugh at him.

"Alright Grumpy. I have to go. Your sourness is making my headache worse."

Kurt smirked. "Good."

"You're a horrible person. I love you."

"Mhm. Love you too."

He went back to his television and tried not to fret over something that clearly couldn't be helped. Later he made himself lunch (a pasta salad and grilled chicken) and answered some of his friends' texts. Not Santana's; she was having more fun than was necessary. Her last text was:

From Santana:

Since you're obviously picture cataloguing your renewed friendship does this mean that videos of naked times are in your future?

Yes, he needed a new set of friends.

Just when he was settling into his office with the Glory Days script, he heard his phone signal the arrival of a new text. He rolled his eyes, ready to cut a bitch but he stopped short, breath stuck in his throat.

From Unknown Number:

I can't believe I met Adele last night.

And there was a picture, a personal picture, of Blaine and Adele, cheek to cheek and smiling brightly to the camera.

From Kurt:

She'll never recover. And hello! How's your head?

Kurt smiled as he added Blaine's number to his contact list. Somehow, the gesture seemed to concretize Blaine's return in Kurt's life. They had each other's numbers again. It was real.

From Blaine:



And my head's still on my shoulder but I wonder for how long.

It hurts, Kurt.

From Kurt:

Clearly, it doesn't slow you down.

From Blaine:

This ain't my first hangover, Broadway Prince.

Kurt's smile faltered and he replied with shaky fingers:

My publicist called you Mr. Handsome and "swoon worthy" this morning.

From Blaine:

Damn, still not a prince.

From Kurt:

Don't lose hope just yet.

There was a pause in the exchange during which Kurt wondered if he hadn't gone too far but he was reassured when he received:

Thank you very much for last night.

From Kurt:

You're welcome.

From Blaine:

How embarrassing was I?

From Kurt:

That is a secret between me and Drunk Blaine.

From Blaine:


Kurt laughed out loud at that.

From Kurt:

Are you okay, though?

From Blaine:

Are you talking about the fact that my mug is on every gossip blog in the webosphere and that my home phone has been ringing non-stop while my cell is flooded with texts from my clueless friends?

From Kurt:

Yeah… that.

From Blaine:

It's strange but I'm okay.

Hey! What are you doing this afternoon?

From Kurt:

I have to work.

From Blaine:

It's Sunday!

You're Boring, Hummel!

From Kurt:

A Broadway Prince never stops working.

From Blaine:

Well, this afternoon he's coming with me to my favorite bakery.

In that moment, Kurt was trapped between the need to shake his head at this man who obviously was still a boy at heart and smile because he actually just wanted to hang out with Kurt.

From Kurt:

Time and place?

A/N: Tada! I really hope you enjoyed it! Thank you all for sticking up with me and my silly ways. I will have an update soon, I promise. Thanks again to Sasha and Dee. You guys mean the world to me.