A/N: My thoughts after watching the Klaine scene in "New York" led to this – so spoilers for that if you haven't seen it yet (and if so, what are you doing here? Go watch it!). Enjoy.
Just breathe, Kurt told himself. Just keep breathing, move your hand normally - you're holding coffee after all and you don't want to spill it. Oh my god did he really just say that? He loves me? Oh wow he's still looking at me like that - that look that makes me melt every time. He really did say that. Oh I love him so much... oh! I need to respond...
"I love you too." Kurt said breathily, his face breaking into a smile, before he snapped out of the moment with the appearance of Sam and Mercedes. They chatted for a moment and then Blaine continued talking about his audition for Six Flags. Kurt kept up the light banter of conversation but he felt detached; the sound muffled somehow from the storm of delight taking place inside his mind.
He loves me, he loves me, he loves me! The mantra repeated over and over in his mind.
As they left the Lima Bean, headed to the record store, Kurt continued chatting with Blaine - he conceded that top 40 songs tended to be crowd pleasers, and Blaine performed them with aplomb, but suggested perhaps some accessible Broadway musical classics, or even Disney classics, would strengthen his repertoire. They kept chatting and debating as they walked through the stacks of sheet music at the dusty store.
All the while, though, Kurt's mind was swimming with memories, thinking back to the first time he saw Blaine - how he was struck, simply struck, with this beautiful boy who appeared out of nowhere, was kind, considerate, funny, and caused Kurt's heart to leap every time he thought of him. It was as if he'd had no choice - it wasn't just that Blaine was another out gay teen - rare as that was. From the moment Kurt saw him, even without knowing he was gay, the world around them seemed crashed and fade into the background. Kurt had eyes only for Blaine - with the intensity of an addiction - and something in the way Blaine looked back at him gave him hope that it could be real.
Those memories were the reason Kurt had been so taken aback by Blaine saying the three words he said at Lima Bean. Kurt had thought the words about Blaine in his head thousands of times, and had been on the point of telling Blaine almost every time he thought it. But he always stopped himself - it was too soon; maybe Blaine wasn't there yet; maybe he didn't quite feel the same way; maybe it would scare him away... the fear stifled Kurt's tongue while all he wanted to do was declare his love for Blaine and shout it to the world.
He wondered if his reaction at the cafe had seemed a little odd... or rushed. He'd been so paralysed by shock and amazement at first that when Kurt said "I love you" back he'd breathed it out quickly just to get it out without his voice squeaking or breaking up with the emotion of the moment. Blaine didn't seem to have thought anything odd about it - he continued chatting animatedly and had seemed very happy to see Sam and Mercedes randomly turn up at the Lima Bean - but Kurt's mind, in its dazed fog, couldn't be sure.
A thought stopped Kurt abruptly, while Blaine kept wandering down the aisle towards the musical scores. What if Blaine has carried on chatting easily because he's not sure of what he said - or not sure of what I said? Kurt pondered that point as Blaine continued around the corner, not having noticed Kurt was no longer a fraction of a step behind him. Kurt realised that he had been continuing to chat normally with Blaine although all the time his mind was elsewhere, processing what had happened. Maybe Blaine was just as unsure? Maybe he hadn't meant to say 'I love you' like that and the moment had just got away from him?
Kurt admitted to himself that their moment saying "I love you" hadn't been the most romantic (or at least not like in the movies or on stage) - they had been in a public place, unable to embrace, and while there had been music in the background it wasn't a great swelling score culminating in a long passionate embrace. Obviously it had been a wonderful moment, but the setting made it incomplete. He and Blaine needed to complete the scene, complete his dream in a more intimate setting.
"Kurt? What are you doing standing there like a statue?" Blaine had backtracked an appeared at Kurt's side. His playful tone snapped Kurt out of the fog, sounds and lights returning to their normal intensity as his consciousness reengaged fully with his environment.
"Hey are you ok?" Blaine moved towards Kurt. "I know you think a seminal Broadway classic would strengthen my audition repertoire but it's really just not me and I'm pretty sure it's not very Six Flags either." He reached his hand out to Kurt's arm. "Seriously Kurt," he asked again, "what's wrong?"
Kurt smiled and shook his head and body, clearing away the last of the fog. "I'm fine," he said, "and you're probably right" he sighed in defeat, "although I maintain Disney is definitely Six Flags and everyone loves those movies and those songs." He paused for a minute. "Can we..." he was amazed at how nervous and breathless he was suddenly feeling all over again. "Can we get out of here?"
"Sure," Blaine responded, surprised at the question. "I'll just pay for these," he waved a couple of music books in the air, "and we'll go."
Kurt felt his nerves fraying but he remained outwardly calm as Blaine chatted to the shop owner - charming as ever - before he finally finished paying and slid the books into his satchel. Kurt wasn't sure, but he thought that Blaine had glanced at him a couple of times, flashes of concern appearing on his features in between the light banter. His heart-rate seemed to rise exponentially as they walked out of the store and headed to Blaine's car. Kurt had decided what he was going to do. He was going to tell Blaine that he loved him - again. This time they would be in a private space, and there would be no doubt or uncertainty - for him or Blaine. This would be his moment.
Blaine hadn't tried to keep chatting, sensing that something was on Kurt's mind. As they settled into the car and Blaine turned the ignition, he placed his hand on Kurt's knee next to him and squeezed it lightly. "So where to?" he asked softly. Kurt looked around them. They were in the cocoon of Blaine's car but still in the middle of the town; life bustling around them. He needed somewhere private; where they wouldn't be disturbed. On a Saturday, that was a near impossibility in Lima, but then Kurt realised there was one place no-one would be.
"McKinley," he said. "I want to show you something."
If Blaine seemed surprised by Kurt's statement, he didn't show it. Instead he put the car into gear and drove out of the parking lot towards McKinley High. Upon arrival, they got out of the car and Kurt took Blaine's hand, leading him across the forecourt and to a side door to the left of the main building.
"This emergency exit doesn't lock properly from the outside and the fire code means they're not allowed to lock it from the inside," Kurt explained as he nudged it open, hand still clasping Blaine's, and led them inside.
The corridors seemed surreal without the day-to-day humdrum of a busy high school, and Kurt noticed for the first time how the light from outside bled through the high windows, shining on the lockers which in turn mirrored the light back onto the corridor, forcing them both to squint. He led Blaine to the auditorium, the heavy door closing with a low "boom" behind them as they walked in. It was pitch dark.
"This is kinda creepy all blacked out like this," Blaine said quietly, his heartrate increasing slightly as Kurt's fingers left his palm.
Kurt turned on the lights at the main control panel and they turned on, row by row, bang bang bang bang. On the final sound, a spotlight lit up centre stage in a perfect circle, the black floor shining by way of invitation. It was the only light on the stage.
"Come on," Kurt grabbed Blaine's hand again and they ran down the stairs and then up onto the stage. Once in the centre, Blaine turned towards the empty seats, shielding his eyes from the light and felt the familiar rush of excitement to be on stage.
"This is what you wanted to show me?" Blaine asked, a bit confused. "I've been here before you know - the benefit?"
"But you haven't been here," Kurt pointed to the floor beneath them. "I want to share this with you - sit down." The boys sat down, cross legged, knees almost touching, and faced each other under the spotlight. Kurt reached out both of his hands and closed his eyes as Blaine met him halfway with his hands. They held hands like that for a couple of minutes - as if in a meditative pose - their wrists resting on their knees; feeling the silent air in the auditorium surround and cushion them.
"You asked if I was ok before," Kurt broke the silence gently with his voice, soft and steady. He opened his eyes to see Blaine had opened his and was waiting patiently for him to continue. "I am better than ok Blaine." He continued, measuring his words to keep them from running together too quickly. "I said before that it's been a pretty good year for me, but I should have said that it's been a pretty good year for us. Before I met you... things had become difficult with school but even before then there had been something missing and I had been searching for something, someone, who would understand." Kurt felt his voice start to waiver and cleared his throat quickly. "As I've grown to know you, I've come to see we were in a similar headspace, even if our situations were different." Blaine nodded quickly, but said nothing.
"In the coffee shop earlier," Kurt continued, "you took me by surprise with what you said... In a good way," he added quickly, seeing a flicker of uncertainty in Blaine's eyes. "I mean, we were in such a public location and what you said seemed so out of the blue I even wondered for a minute if you meant to say it." He squeezed Blaine's hands sharply to stop him from interjecting. "Let me finish," he smiled a dopey grin at his boyfriend. "I most certainly meant what I said back to you, but I'm not sure if I said it or expressed it how I really wanted to - it was too rushed, I was too scared-" he stopped to take a couple of measured breaths before continuing, his voice low and gravelly. "And I'm still scared now, but I've never been more sure of anything in my life."
Kurt rose to his feet in one fluid motion, pulling Blaine up off the floor with him their hands never parting. He locked his eyes with Blaine's.
"Blaine," he said softly but clearly, his voice somehow filling the air in the auditorim. "I love you, with all my heart."
The air around them seemed to expand and then close in, a massive pocket of silent space contracting into a bubble around them. Kurt realised he was holding his breath and started to breath out silently, his eyes never leaving Blaine's. He then noticed a tiny spot of moisture forming under one of Blaine's eyes. He watched, in silent awe, as it formed into a tear and left Blaine's eye, slowly tracing down his cheek.
"And I love you, Kurt." Blaine's voice was almost a whisper, and he squeezed Kurt's hands even more tightly than before. "I meant it when I said it before, I mean it now, and I will continue to mean it more and more every time I say it - I love you."
The tear which had paused at Blaine's cheek ran slowly across the contour of his face to the corner of his lips. Kurt took a step forward, moving his hands to wrap them around Blaine's waist, as their lips met with a new type of kiss - surpassing any of the previous kisses they had shared. They deepened the kiss, pulling the other ever-closer until finally breaking for air, pulling their faces apart by a couple of inches only and keeping their arms wrapped around each other.
"So it's real then." Kurt said to no-one in particular, in wonderment. "We're in love."
Blaine nodded, and sniffed quickly while wiping the tears away from his cheeks. "Yeah," he replied in a whisper, "we sure are."
And they kissed again, the spotlight trained on them and only them, at the centre of the universe.