Learning the Lines


It's clear and warm and Blaine's sure he looks like a mess. His curls stick to his forehead and he's sweating, sweating, sweating. Suburban summer is winding around them; heat radiating from the asphalt, kids running through sprinklers, the smell of freshly cut grass and radios being played from open garages.

Across the street, Kurt's leaning under an open hood next to his dad, dressed as simply as Blaine has ever seen him. A simple grease-stained white tee-shirt and long shorts completes a picture that Blaine is riveted by, this boy he knows so well looking almost like a stranger in the summer heat.

Burt sees him first, standing next to his beat-up old car, keys in hand. The older man's hand goes up in a wave.

Blaine doesn't wave back.


Blaine Anderson stands on the outside steps of McKinley's courtyard and sings to Kurt Hummel more honestly than he's ever sung to anyone, ever. There's a bit of tears and clasped hands and a very sweet hug and Blaine clutches Kurt as close to him as possible for longer than perhaps is socially appropriate because, at sixteen, this seems like the worst thing that could happen to him, ever. He's happy for Kurt, yes he is – but he's also a teenager who's inherently selfish and he loves this boy, so why wouldn't he wants to sit next to him every day at lunch? Or wait for him at his locker? Or sit too close to him on the couch at Warbler practice?

But Kurt looks like he's at home here, under the cool Ohio spring, in the arms of friends and family. Even against the backdrop of curious stares he doesn't flinch, doesn't look away. He just folds into their embrace, looking cared for and perfect, and Blaine feels a little lonely, then. He feels hollow, because his own friends – they're lovely, and they're wonderful and so so supportive but there's no one to hold him in their arms like Finn holds Kurt, like Mercedes under Kurt's arm, like Quinn's lips on Kurt's cheek.

He retreats, fellow Warblers in tow, watching his best friend be welcomed back into a world he only knows a shadow of. It's the most bittersweet moment of his life.

"He's a little ridiculous as usual," Kurt's voice sounds tinny over the line; there's the typical school sounds in the background – slamming lockers, raised voices, footsteps. It's right after lunch and Blaine's huddled in the closest alcove he could find, hiding from teachers and chaperones. He can tell Kurt's doing similar just by the echo reverberating through the line; he's clearly leaning into his locker under the pretense of getting something out or looking for something.

They usually reserve phone calls to lunchtime, if they can get away with it, but upon Kurt's realization that they have exactly one four minute in-between classes moment that syncs up perfectly he's taken to attempting to see if they get a quick conversation in. It's only the third call, but Blaine knows even he himself is getting a little stupidly lax because he has been getting away with it and it's really only a matter of time before a faculty member spots him and confiscates his phone for the day.

Being caught wouldn't be the end of the world, but it would mean no texts all day from Kurt, so he's not too eager to test the waters.

Apparently Kurt's high from being back at McKinley is starting to falter. It's easy to romanticize a place when you're gone for long enough that even drama starts to seem appealing, but when you're submersed back in it, it stops being cute once again.

As usual, it's something Mr. Schue has done, and he can tell by the strain in Kurt's voice that he's getting fed up quickly. Blaine, all the way at Dalton, squeezed into what is essentially a sort of-closet, wishes he was there with Kurt to see his face, to commiserate, to squeeze his hand.

Instead, he listens, and makes sympathetic noises until he can hear the warning bell ding on the other end. Finally, Kurt frantically says goodbye and then there's no one on the other line. As Blaine slips his phone back into his blazer pocket he tries valiantly not to feel vindicated that Kurt's realizing McKinley isn't all sunshine and rainbows, but if he doesn't succeed, no one really needs to know.

Their visit to the Lima Bean the next day is skipped for an opportunity provided by Finn going to Quinn's for dinner and Burt and Carole working late – an opportunity that means the Hummel-Hudson home is empty. Blissfully empty.

Kurt's room smells like soft masculine spice from whatever his aftershave is and clean facial and moisturizing products and although it's only been a month since they've officially gotten together, five days since Kurt's returned to McKinley and two since he's seen him, Blaine honestly feels like he's Kurt-starved.

They're curled together on Kurt's bed and if Blaine could crawl right into Kurt's skin he would. They can't get close enough - Blaine's pressed his chest right against Kurt's, tucked his head next to Kurt's on his pillow, close enough that their noses are touching. Their legs are tangled and hips pressed tight together. One of Kurt's hands are tangled in escaping curls, the other pressed between his button up uniform shirt and his undershirt right at the small of his back. One of Blaine's own hands is trapped between their chest and the other is on Kurt's hip.

They just exist in one another's place for the moment – the obligatory recounting of each other's day having already happened. Blaine had listened with a smile on his face as Kurt told him about actually finally spotting Karofsky in the hallway wearing a beret (seriously) and in turn, Kurt listened to him talk about the prank Nick played on Thad.

They'd each complained about homework assignments and classmates and teachers, but now it's just them, together.

It's Friday and Blaine's curfew isn't until midnight and Kurt knows his family won't be around until at least 7.

Part of Blaine feels like perhaps they should be taking complete advantage of the free time alone; that he should have Kurt's shirt off at least by now, be sucking a spectacularly tacky hickey in his neck with his boyfriend's protests vibrating against his lips, but the truth is that he's fine where he is. He's fine wiggling closer and brushing his nose against Kurt's, pressing light kisses against his lips whenever he feels the need. He's fine breathing in Kurt's warmth and scent, in breathing in the same air.

"I miss you," He suddenly blurts out, and then immediately feels his face flush in embarrassment. Kurt's eyes widen and there's a hand on his cheek suddenly.

"I'm here," Kurt says softly. Blaine knows he means physically, but he also knows Kurt knows him enough to mean he understands. Blaine kisses Kurt then, feeling a little desperate and silly and Kurt accepts all of Blaine's emotions with equal fervor, kissing back just as hard.

Later, when Finn walks in on them with their shirts off and pants unbuttoned and his hand in Kurt's fly, it will be more embarrassing than anything Blaine's done before. But will be worth it, completely.

Blaine's always had an obsessive personality; always been an impulsive person. As a kid he'd be the one who'd spot a toy in the toy store and would positively not shut up about it until he had it in his hands. That's not to say he was the sort of kid who would through tantrums about not getting what he wanted, either – because he wasn't. He was simply focused and single-minded. If he wanted something, he would get it – whether it is being the angel child to his mother until she decided to reward him or do all of his chores perfectly for weeks to save his allowance, he would always get what he wanted.

Granted, being a teenager made him realize it doesn't quite work that way sometimes, but he still was strong-willed and persevered. When he transferred to Dalton and joined the Warblers he was obsessed with being the front man of the group – and he got it – partly because of his talent, partly because he trained himself to be that leader. When he wanted the brand new Lexus HS hybrid as his first car; a combination of saving, charm and the promise of it being his Christmas gift for the next fifteen years got it for him.

When he wanted Jeremiah, he went for it. Granted, this was one of those occasions wherein it backfired, but no one could ever tell him he hadn't tried.

Finally, when Kurt opened his eyes, when he looked up at him that day and realized; he knew he had to have him. So he did, he got him, and he was thankful for it, but the problem is that unlike every other time where he got something he really wanted (where he would still love the item or person – or position, he would stop being so obsessive), he just became that much more into Kurt – into missing him, into loving him, into not ever being sick of hearing from him.

He knows it's getting ridiculous, how his day revolves around a text or a call or stolen moments, and he knows it can't be healthy. He's terrified of stifling Kurt, of it all pushing him away, in the end.

What he doesn't know, at least at this moment, is that Kurt craves it – loves the attention doted on him by Blaine. He's making up for years of being beat down and afraid; of balancing being happy with being himself and fearful of what that means. He doesn't know that Kurt would gladly crawl into Blaine's skin too, if he could, that he eagerly awaits the texts and the calls and the moments.

Somewhere upon realizing this he and Kurt will have a moment – a moment wherein they're so so close and so so intimate that it's impossible to tell where one ends and the other begins – and Blaine will be so scared. He'll be scared of what it's like to realize that he's met the person he will spend the rest of his life with at sixteen. He'll be scared of the fact that it sounds ridiculous and yet completely correct. He'll be scared and he'll find out Kurt is scared and they'll be frightened together and of each other and it will be a culminating point in their relationship.

Right now, though, Blaine's alone in his bedroom, staring at the text sent to him from Kurt that is a picture of he and Mercedes on the plane to New York. They both look tired and worn but undoubtedly excited and Blaine feels a pang in his chest in an odd sort of mourning.

"Tell me everything," He breathes into the phone later that night, curled up under the covers. It's ten and Kurt's just got back to the hotel after spending the afternoon sightseeing with his friends and he seems so so far away. There's the sound of water running and hands being wiped on a towel as Kurt moves around getting ready for bed.

New Directions' performance is in two days and the next day was going to be mostly last minute rehearsing.

"It's amazing," Kurt says, sounding dreamy and wistful. Blaine's heard that voice before – it's the voice Kurt uses when he's talking about things he loves. He knows because he's something that elicits that voice in Kurt, sometimes, and it warms his heart to hear it. Now, though, it means Kurt's falling in love with New York and Blaine's not there.

Blaine closes his eyes and wonders what it'd be like to stand next to Kurt on the subway, hands pressed together on the railings. He wonders what'd it like to stand in the shadow of the Empire State Building, Kurt's presence at his side. He wonders what it'd be like to walk hand in hand down Broadway, excited for the evening's performance ahead of whatever show they'd bickered about seeing.

Kurt's speaking rapidly, excitedly in his ear about JFK and the van ride from Queens to Manhattan itself, about how he and Rachel and Mercedes had walked arm in arm down 5th Avenue, window shopping. He listens to how they went to Sardi's in midtown for dinner, and how Finn got lost from the taxi to their hotel ("How I don't know – it was like, half a block!"). Kurt was throwing around words like 'uptown' and 'downtown' and 'Hell's Kitchen' and 'Williamsburg' like he was already a native and Blaine was feeling it; feeling like Kurt was so so far away and that he was losing him.

He knows it's part of his obsessive personality; his compulsion to keep Kurt his, and he feels bad that he's not excited to hear about Kurt's adventures. He's just jealous, he knows, because this grand city will have Kurt someday and there's a possibility Blaine won't be in the picture.

"It sounds incredible," Blaine says, because it does. It truly, truly does.

"I wish you could be here," Kurt replies, and Blaine imagines Kurt's curled up on his bed in his hotel room, the only light being drawn from the moon outside the window, New York's skyline glittering beyond.

"I wish I could, too."

Blaine spends the next two days texting with Kurt and sighing over photos sent to him and avoiding the concerned gaze of his mother who has always been able to spot Blaine's moping from a mile away. Kurt calls him at 10PM, like he did the first night and Blaine schedules his evenings around it; makes sure he showers and gets ready for bed (even if he's not actually going to sleep after he gets off the phone with Kurt) and climbs under his covers with his phone next to him. When Kurt's ringtone goes off he lets it go for a full fifteen seconds as to not seem too eager before answering. They spend hours, mainly Kurt talking about his experiences - how he rode the 'F' train, how Finn talked him into eating a hotdog from a vendor ("Blaine, this guy was parked on the street - you know me, I wouldn't even normally touch something like that with a ten foot pole - but I mean, you only live once, right?"), what it was like to see "Wicked" live. He sends Blaine pictures intermittently through their conversation, photos of Kurt and Rachel and Mercedes squished together on a subway car, in the back of a taxi cab, of Rachel and Kurt drinking coffee and bagels outside of Tiffany's, of standing in Times Square.

It's agony, because he misses Kurt and he even misses the rest of New Directions and he longs to be in New York, but mostly he longs to be in New York with Kurt.

Blaine Anderson was six the first time he'd gone to New York City. He only remembers two things from that trip; the sheer amount of people and traffic (people, people everywhere, always - his mother's soft hand tight around his, urging him along quickly on the gum-laden streets, careful to not pull him under-foot of the non-stop pedestrian traffic), and the view at the top of the World Trade Center, being held tight in his father's arms as they looked out into the city beyond them. There'd been stretches and stretches of buildings, and even beyond that, water and boats and life. Blaine doesn't remember much of what his father had talked to him about; probably facts about the financial district, about the inner-workings of the buildings under their feet. It's not something even these days he'd retain for long, but he did remember the look of pure excitement even his father had.

It'd baffled Blaine; this city, because it lived and breathed right under him. He remembers thinking it was like a monster and that he could get swallowed up and lost forever. He'd clung to his Daddy's neck because of it, buried his face in his neck and turned away.

Later in his life his mother would tell that story with fondness, poking gentle fun at Blaine and telling whoever was there to hear the story that that was when they'd discovered Blaine's fear of heights.

A month after that trip, a confused Blaine Anderson, still truly too young to understand, watched on television as those buildings he'd stood on crumbled to the city below. As nearly an adult these days, he knows what really happened - knows and understands the horror. As a kid, though, he cried because it felt like the monster he'd always imagined New York to be was revolting and perhaps he was to be next to be swallowed up.

His fear of New York had been vanquished upon future trips with his family, and by the time his mother had taken him to see his first Broadway show at 10 he looked forward to the semi-annual excursions to the city. Sometimes it'd be him and both his parents, other times just he and his mother. He liked those trips best because it usually meant ice cream at Serendipity at least twice and long walks in Central Park and Broadway shows. They'd share a double bed and watch movies late at night with the sounds of New York coming through the windows - his mother would brush his unruly hair and tell him all about how as a kid she'd dreamed of living in New York. With his father it felt more like business - long lines to the tops of tall buildings, fancy restaurants with no kids' menus, taking a taxi instead of the subway.

New York had come to be a bittersweet part of his life; reflective of his greatest fears and his biggest ambitions. New York City always made him feel vulnerable and yet able to conquer the world at once; like he could reach his goals while also never getting close. Now New York had his Kurt in its' clutches, had lit an energy in Kurt that he hadn't seen, perhaps ever.

It's the first time Blaine has ever been jealous of anything; really jealous, the kind that vibrated under his skin. He felt silly and ridiculous and utterly at a loss. This is where his obsessing was going to backfire, because he's sure one day New York is going to come between him and Kurt somehow; whether it be for school, or life or simple logistics.

New Directions loses at Nationals and actually don't even place. To a group that's been daydreaming forever for this sort of opportunity, though, it feels like a huge, major loss.

They don't take it well.

Blaine drives to McKinley's parking lot to pick up Finn and Kurt from where the bus was dropping them off after getting back from the airport and Kurt, mouth twisted in a grimace, holds him long enough when they embrace that it makes Finn a little uncomfortable.

The car ride to the Hudson-Hummels' is pretty quiet, Kurt having clicked off the radio and Blaine's iPod upon buckling in. Blaine feels weird, sort of, doesn't know what to say. He'd already expressed that he feels they'd been robbed (and he very much did - he'd seen New Directions' set before they'd left and it was pretty fantastic) and he knows Kurt hates when people pander to him, so he doesn't want to seem like he's trying too hard. When they finally pull in and Blaine parks his car behind Kurt's Navigator in the driveway Finn's out of the car like a shot, disappearing quickly with a "Thanks Blaine," thrown over his shoulder. He and Kurt sit in silence for minutes.

"Thoughts?" Blaine finally says, tilting a bit in his seat to look at Kurt who has a grip so tight on the bag in his lap that his knuckles have turned white. Kurt finally looks at him, eyes horribly sad and hollow.

"Back in Ohio," Kurt sighs, and then looks back out the window where they can both see Burt standing in the front doorway, looking curiously at them. Blaine knows that tone. It's reservation, wistful sadness. It's Kurt missing New York already. Blaine doesn't know what to say. It continues to escape him, even as he physically searches for something to say, mouth opening and closing awkwardly.

Kurt looks at him, eyebrow raised, and he's about to say something when there's a sharp rap on the passenger side window. They both startle and Blaine hits the buttons on his door, unlocking and locking the doors three times, before finally getting the window rolled down. Burt is looking at them with a soft bemused expression on his face.

"Everything out here alright, boys?" He asks, looking steadily at Blaine before more softly at Kurt. Kurt nods, fumbles for the door latch.

"Yeah, dad. Everything's fine. I'm just coming in."

Burt steps back and pulls the door open for Kurt, reaching in to take Kurt's bag and slinging it over his shoulder. Blaine watches as Kurt embraces his father tightly. He looks away when it starts to feel like an intrusion and doesn't look back until he hears Burt tap the top of his car sharply. The older man is leaning in the open door, Kurt hovering a few feet behind him.

"You wanna come in for dinner, Blaine?"

Blaine thinks about going home, thinks about eating an awkward dinner with his parents and dodging his mother's thinly veiled concerned glances. He thinks about going back to his room to curl under his covers and to feel sorry for himself, to stare at his phone in hopes Kurt would call or text him, to wonder aimlessly if he's already lost Kurt to New York.

If pressed, Blaine will be the first to admit his confidence is worn like a mask and that he feels vulnerable more often than not, but truth be told, no one ever really presses him - or well, no one really pressed him until Kurt decided he wanted to crawl into Blaine's heart and park there. His relationship with his family has always been amicable yet distant - his father playing the part of the stereotypical father figure, his mother molding to fit a similar maternal parallel. Somewhere between Westerville High and Dalton she'd taken a giant leap back from being the mother he'd known.

He won't do what his parents did to him to Kurt, though, even if his own insecurities are surging through him. He looks past Burt at Kurt who's got a warm look in his eyes, a soft smile on his face. It's Kurt's hopeful expression.

"I'd love to come in for dinner."

The pictures from New York are uploaded onto Kurt's computer from his digital camera and are mixed in with the photos he'd had already (mainly from his father's wedding and a bunch from a particularly memorable Warbler outing right before he'd transferred back - the rest were cheesy couple-y shots they'd taken one warm Sunday afternoon when Kurt's family had been out - all photos of them cuddled together on Kurt's bed, on the couch - a million different variations of pretty much the same shot - Kurt kissing his cheek, Blaine kissing Kurt's, lips pressed together, silly faces, etc). His "My Pictures folder" screensaver suddenly seemed lacking in the Kurt and Blaine category, inundated with not only 'New Directions' in New York' shots, but also random photos of New York hotspots - Times Square and the Empire State Building and Washington Square Park – places that belong on the front of a postcard that Kurt now has witnessed first hand.

Blaine looks at the pictures as they appear, watching Kurt's animated expressions as he tells stories about each of them more than the pictures themselves. There's something soft in his eyes, happy, even if he's very obviously disappointed that they'd lost the competition.

"Blaine?" Kurt says finally, noticing Blaine's blatant stare, "Is there something wrong? Am I boring you? Is there something on my face?"

He's flushing under the gaze, a pretty pink color climbing up his neck and into his cheeks. Blaine's charmed by it, like he is with mostly everything else Kurt does, and he can't help but smile.

The words that come out of his mouth, though, he wasn't expecting, not at all.

"I love you." He says, and he doesn't even register his own words until Kurt's eyes are widening and forming a distinct shocked face. Blaine wants to reach out then, take them back, reel them back in. He's not sure if they're ready for 'I love you'. Blaine's not sure HE is ready for 'I love you'. He's been paranoid for the past week, in bizarro withdrawal boyfriend symptoms, missing Kurt like crazy, and he's just so smitten with this boy, so fearful of losing him, that he doesn't even think before he talks.

Kurt's got this adorable sheepish expression on his face and he's clearly grasping for words and Blaine's heart is pounding so so hard he can barely hear anything beyond the rush of blood in his ears.

"You don't have to say anything," Blaine finally says, mind catching up with him. 'I love you' is giant, tremendous pressure, and even if he knows that if Kurt doesn't say it back he'll be feeling even worse than he was before, he can't do that to Kurt – he can't force him to say something he's not ready for.

But – but then there's warm, large hands on his cheeks and Kurt's sweet laugh and a kiss on his chin. Blaine reaches out and gathers Kurt into his arms, as awkward as it is from where they're sitting, breathing him in; his spicy, yet light tasteful cologne, the warmth of his skin.

"I love you, too," Kurt says back, whispered right in his ear, and Blaine, he trembles all over with the force of it. He hears a noise, a broken, sad noise and doesn't realize it's coming from him until Kurt's pulling back and pressing his forehead against his, eyes locking. Kurt's hands are on his cheeks and suddenly there's tears blurring his vision and he's hiccupping and it's gross and messy but Kurt looks so perfect there.

"Hey, hey –" Kurt says, and his voice is getting higher because he's clearly worried about Blaine, clearly terrified about this reaction. What kind of significant other weeps after their boyfriend says 'I love you back', especially since these are no dainty tears of happiness? These tears are gross, ragged messy tears of everything ever. Blaine's heart feels heavy and light and dark and colorful. Kurt's there, holding him, kissing his cheeks, and he feels relief.

Next to them, the slideshow screensaver pops up, photo after photo of New York City in it's glory, a representation of all that Blaine fears he'll lose Kurt to, to what he is losing Kurt to.

Blaine dreams.

They're older – Blaine at least thinks they're older – Kurt looks sad, so sad. His eyes have bags under them and he's clutching some sort of paper in his hand, it's ripped edges crumpled into his long fingers. He's crying a little, Blaine can't really see because it's dark where they are, wherever they are. He's staring at Blaine with this tortured, ruined look on his face, like Blaine's an utter horrible stranger that's stolen everything he's ever known.

Blaine wants to reach out, but then – then –

They're on top of the World Trade Center (now extinct), and it's sunny and bright and there are tourists all around them, not seeing them. Kurt still looks ruined, is still clutching that paper in his hand. Blaine tries to call out; to ask him what's wrong, what he's doing wrong, but nothing comes out. No matter how much he tries to yell, to call out, nothing is being said.

Beyond them, Blaine can hear the rush of New York City; the horns honking, music playing somewhere, phones ringing in the building below. His heart is pounding again, like he's been running a marathon (or telling Kurt he loves him for the first time) and this time he reaches for Kurt. If he can't talk to him to find out what's wrong he can reassure him with touch, right? But Kurt recoils at his reach; recoils as if Blaine had went to punch him.

Suddenly everything shifts, clouds overhead, and Kurt's gone. This time when he reaches out there's nothing there, no one there, and he missteps and he's falling then – down, down, down –

Blaine doesn't bring up New York much after that; doesn't want to. Their discussion from before Kurt had left for New York seems too idealistic, too perfect. Blaine fears losing Kurt to New York while being WITH him in New York more than Kurt leaving altogether, so –

He just doesn't talk about it. He doesn't want to.

Summer rolls in quickly and with a record high heat for the Ohio area. The first week they're out of school Blaine's down to cut off jean shorts and flip-flops and v-neck tees, his hair curly and wild because the heat had literally melted the gel out of his hair the day before and that shit stings, so he goes without. The look is completed with a day's worth of stubble.

He's self conscious showing up at the Hudson-Hummel household dressed this way because he's usually very neat and composed and this boy he saw in the mirror on the way out to meet Kurt looks nothing like the boy from Dalton, the boy Kurt Hummel loves.

The truth is, though, that Blaine's a bit of a hot mess in the summer; lots of tee shirts and flip-flops and Converses with no socks (the horror!). He just loves the summer, always had- and energy should not be wasted getting dressed in the morning when there's a whole day of sunshine and warmth stretched in front of you.

Kurt's eyes are amused, though, when he opens the door for him wearing an impeccable pair of skinny jeans and a short-sleeved button-down shirt and hat.

"Oh hello," Kurt says, leaning in for a kiss on the cheek. When he pulls away, there's something a little dark in his eyes, "You're all scratchy."

Later, Blaine will find out just how much Kurt likes the stubble, even if he doesn't say it out loud, but as Blaine kisses the hollow of his throat, his facial hair scratching Kurt's sensitive skin, it's not moans of pain Kurt's pressing into his mouth. They make out for hours, literally hours, there in Kurt's air-conditioned bedroom with no one in the house. Blaine's feet are cold so he tugs Kurt over him, tangling their legs together, pressing cold toes under the hem of Kurt's jeans to press against his warm ankles. Kurt giggles at that, squirms a little, kisses him silly until it's not funny anymore and Blaine's warm all over, his breath coming up short and nothing but the taste of Kurt's skin in his mouth.

He's suddenly drowning in this, in Kurt, in the touch of his skin under his fingertips (when did his hand end up the back of Kurt's shirt?) in the taste of his mouth, of the sounds he's making. They're definitely both hard, the slow burn building in Blaine's belly as he grinds gently against Kurt, fearful of scaring him away but eager to be with him in every which way possible.

Blaine's overwhelmed and moved and empowered by this boy, this boy who is clutching the fabric of his tee-shirt in his hands, who's kissing him with confidence and hunger, this boy who loves him – because this Kurt, this Kurt with the confidence and the hunger – he's a new Kurt.

He's a post-Dalton Kurt, he's a Kurt that is not a result of their relationship but most likely the key component- stronger, with so much life and will and power. Kurt was a shell when he'd met him, a boy who flinched at a loud noise or when Blaine would touch his shoulder. He was more reserved, even when he clearly wanted to speak up, only becoming more animated and outgoing in the safety of certain people.

He's bigger than this, though, now – bigger than Ohio and McKinley and it really is Blaine's biggest fear he'll outgrow Blaine, too. In fact, Blaine's expecting him to outgrow him – someone like Kurt – he's better than a small-time Ohio boy with weird hair.

Blaine, though, he's not willing to give up this boy yet, and he's coming to a distinct realization that he's not sure if he ever will. Kurt's his, now, one of those things that he can't stop thinking about, that he can't stop holding onto. It makes him queasy sometimes, to know that his obsessions and his obsessive personality have extended to his boyfriend, because his boyfriend isn't an object or a favorite band or record or outfit or song – he's a person.

But as Kurt moans into his throat, fingers tightening on his hip, as he lets it spiral down down down, his hips pressing insistently into Kurt's, his fingers flirting underneath the waist of Kurt's too-tight jeans, he can't stop. He's so insatiable for this boy who takes up all of his thoughts, who clouds his sanity and makes him both tense and scared and irrevocably happy all the time.

He doesn't want to.

So he kisses Kurt harder, sucks on his bottom lip and tastes every crevice of his mouth (Kurt's been making homemade juices lately; he takes like kiwi strawberry and it's just so so wonderful) and grabs a handful of Kurt's ass as his boyfriend rides his thigh.

He learns that day the noise Kurt makes when he comes, sweet and much lower than his usual octave, learns the way he shudders and shivers against him, how pliant Kurt is after he collapses against him.

This wasn't the plan for the day – not at all. He figured he would coax Kurt out into the sun, maybe to the park or, if he can't be talked into being in direct sunlight for an extended period of time, the movies or mall. He hadn't expected to spend the entire afternoon in Kurt's room dry humping his boyfriend with the door open while his head was rushing with thoughts and needs for this boy, not at all.

Kurt's fingers still have a death grip on his tee shirt as they both pant together in the aftermath, and as he shifts a bit his thigh rubs up against Blaine's still-sensitive cock, which elicits a pretty embarrassing moan from his throat. Suddenly Kurt's giggling though, into his shoulder, his face buried between the sleeve and the comforter Blaine's laying on.

"Are you laughing at me?" Blaine says, his voice a wreck and he knows they must look like the epitome of debauched teenagers. Kurt leans up and rolls away to get up and Blaine can see the redness of his neck and shoulder from where he's got beard burn from Blaine's stubble.

"Maybe," Kurt says and Blaine watches as he gently touches his fingertips to the raw spots on his face. It's a quick touch, fleeting, really, but Blaine catches it – and he catches the soft hitch of breath Kurt tries to conceal as he turns away to disappear into the bathroom.

Blaine should move, he knows he should – he's sticky and his hair's a mess – but his glued to this spot, this moment. He can still feel the ghost of Kurt's touches on his face, twisted in his shirt, his weight against his legs.

From where he's laying on Kurt's bed, he can see Kurt's laptop open and the screensaver rotating. A photo of the Warblers goofing off, of Rachel and Sam in the choir room from some point at the end of the year, of the two of them and their silly self-taken pictures. The next four are of New Directions in New York City, in Central Park and Washington Square Park and Times Square.

Blaine looks away then; it's time to get up.

When Blaine Anderson was thirteen he started playing guitar.

Before that, piano had been pressed upon him from a young age; lessons with arthritic, cranky, Mrs. Wilson were at 8AM every Saturday morning (which is terrible for any kid, even ones who enjoy music), and by the time he was seven he could play nearly every piece put in front of him right away.

Guitar wasn't looked down on, really, in his house – just not encouraged. Guitars meant rock music and bands and were generally associated with loud music and his parents, even his father, just didn't want that around.

He started with an acoustic, though, a cheap one that he talked his mother into buying him for his birthday. It never did tune correctly and the strings it had broke way too often (and his mother never wanted to take him to buy better ones), but it served its purpose. By the end of the summer that year he could pretty much play the guitar as fluently as he could the piano. The guitar becomes this outlet; becomes one of his many fixations and one of the few that he doesn't grow out of. He loves the weight of the instrument in his lap; strong and yet fairly light, tangible but basically useless unless you have the skill to make good use of it.

He writes songs then, bad ones – cheesy love songs for boys he's dreaming of as he's coming to terms with his sexuality – of life outside of Lima and in faraway places. He asks his best friend at the time, Emily, a small girl who is one of the few that hadn't had her growth spurt or her period yet (something she's very self conscious of, and Blaine's touched she trusts him enough to tell him) to make him a guitar strap from the leather crafts she starts making randomly one day. By the end of the summer he has a personalized strap, made of soft deer leather that's been stained a cherry red with intricate black and white patterns painted on it. Emily was always the most beautifully artistic person Blaine's ever met, ever, and he's blown away by this gift.

He still has it to this day, even if the last time he'd "spoken" to Emily was when he'd written 'Happy Birthday' and her facebook wall and she'd 'liked' it.

He doesn't play his guitar all that often anymore, mainly because at Dalton he's told his voice is his greatest instrument and most valuable asset and he feels weird just lugging it around but summer means free time and Kurt and playing guitar with the McKinley boys in the Hummel-Hudson backyard on Saturday night.

Kurt's on his left side, next to Rachel and Mercedes and Quinn, watching him with curious eyes as he tunes. He can feel Kurt's eyes on him, calculating and wondering – because he'd only talked about playing in passing, had played it off. He knows he's got Kurt's attention and he likes it, likes to hear that their tuning is cutting off Rachel's tirade about New York (again – and Blaine's not in the mood for anxiety tonight, he feels loose and pliant and he and Kurt had escalated to hand jobs earlier, when the house was empty so he feels warm and so connected to Kurt) and that they have the attention.

"Didn't know you played," Puck says around his pick, where it's currently clamped in the corner of his mouth as he tightens the strings on his guitar. Blaine strums a bit, testing the sound.

"I don't often, anymore." He shrugs, and then winks at Kurt, who flushes.

They play a few covers, mainly quick songs that everyone knows and can appreciate. Blaine whips out an Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeroes song as the evening starts to wind down, after the handful of beers and wine coolers Puck had smuggled in start disappearing, and soon it's just he and Kurt as the rest of their friends scatter in pairs and in smaller groups around the backyard. Over Kurt's shoulder he can see Finn's goofy half smile as Rachel laughs – her real laugh, loud and crazy.

He unconsciously starts strumming to nothing in particular, feeling the burn on his fingers where his un-calloused skin is getting abused. His pick was stolen by Kurt what feels like hours ago and he can see his boyfriend playing with it now, the smooth plastic weaving in and around those long fingers. He's distracted by them, by the strength in Kurt's hand, a hand that was only a few hours ago wrapped around his cock. He can still feel Kurt's breath on his neck, the sounds of his moans in his ears.

They've only been getting off together for a couple of weeks and it's never more than frottage or hand jobs (although Blaine's been practically salivating at the thought of sucking Kurt off), but he feels addicted to it, to knowing that he creates that heat in Kurt, who's always so composed.

Even with messy curls and a five o'clock shadow he's knocking the breath out of Kurt, just as much as he's knocking the breath out of him. They've been together nearly five months and even though the sex-thing is new-ish, Blaine feels like it's supposed to be getting old now. Comfortable. Instead he still feels like his heart is in his throat when he looks at Kurt, still feels enamored and moved by him.

"What's going on with you," Kurt says, and it's not stated as a question, not really, the ending of it lilting and soft without the hard edge of a direct inquiry. Blaine's eyes are wide, he knows, because he can feel them. Kurt slides out of his chair and into Blaine's lap then, pressing his guitar against his chest, causing the leather strap Emily made for him so long ago to tighten between his shoulder and the back of his chair. He takes in a deep breath as Kurt invades his personal space, eyes blown wide in slight intoxication and lust. His fingers press at Blaine's clavicle, gently, and he leans over the guitar to nuzzle his nose into the spot where his jaw meets his neck.

Blaine slumps then, tightens his hold around this boy and groans low in his throat.

"You've been here and not here for weeks now," Kurt insists, warm against his neck. Blaine's grateful for this closeness, maybe even a little grateful for the couple of glasses of wine Kurt had consumed because it's loosening Kurt up.

Kurt's never been big on touching – not anyone. It'd even taken Blaine a long time to cross that barrier, even after they were dating. It was a very big day for him when Kurt didn't stiffen when Blaine had tried holding him. He hadn't been offended, not really – he knows that Kurt uses his personal space as a very physical boundary because of his past. Him being so physically close to Blaine at this moment speaks volumes, even if he's a tad tipsy; before this Blaine had reveled when Kurt was close enough to sit shoulder to shoulder with him in the Lima Bean.

"I'm here," Blaine insists, mouthing the bead of sweat that's rolling down the side of Kurt's neck. He does things like that, sometimes, and it clearly turns Kurt on just as much as it makes him laugh. This time Kurt's not amused and is clearly not letting Blaine's attempts at seduction distract him completely.

"Remember our rule, Blaine." He insists, leaning back to look Blaine in the eyes. His eyes are a stormy gray, very serious. Blaine indulges in them, in sweeping Kurt's face and eyes and nose and mouth with his own gaze, drinking him in.

"Sometimes I feel like I just want to breathe you in." Blaine says, and it must be the wine talking, really, because he's not sure that he's making sense at all, "Inhale you. Be a part of you. Forever. Always."

His voice is trembling, he sounds like a mess. The edge of his guitar is digging into his ribcage and making it difficult to breathe but he doesn't want Kurt to climb off so he presses his fingers into his hips and holds strong for a reaction, because he's pretty sure that sounded utterly insane.

Kurt's eyes widen and there's gentle mirth there, suddenly, like Blaine amuses him, like Blaine is a silly little boy with crazy ideas.

"Okay, Blaine. I love you, too." He presses a kiss to Blaine's cheekbone and leans back and starts sliding off of Blaine's lap. Blaine scrambles to keep him close but Kurt pushes him away gently, "I have to pee."

Blaine watches as Kurt retreats back into the house and wants to scream at him – wants to yell- to get his point across. This isn't him being silly, or ridiculous or overreacting. This is serious. He is literally obsessed with Kurt – literally wants to drown himself in him.

Instead he sits, guitar still digging into his sternum.

Blaine dreams.

He's in a subway car, packed elbow to elbow and shoulder-to-shoulder with people. So many people. There are recognizable faces (Sam Evans, Dave Karofsky, Thad Wilson, the lady who's always running the express lane at their local supermarket with the crazy red hair); there are plenty of strangers. The doors slide shut, then open again ("Please stand back from the closing doors, please."), then slide open again. Blaine's claustrophobic and desperate, looking at all the faces for Kurt, looking for his slender figure and his eyes. He grips the pole tighter, hand slick with sweat, and looks over just as the doors start to close again.

Kurt's there, on the platform, staring at him with a lovely, lovely smile. Blaine hears the 'ding', the signal of the doors, and starts pushing – trying to get out to Kurt before the train pulls away, but no one budges. No one moves. They all hold stock-still, oddly silent, and as he finally managers to maneuver around the people directly in his path, the doors have already closed. He stands there, mouth agape, as the rumble of the subway car's movement start under his feet and he presses his hands against the plexiglass windows in desperation.

Kurt's still smiling, and now it seems eerie, too eerie.

They spend a lot of time making out and getting each other off but there's also a lot of time where they can't – because being teenagers means you live with your family and when parents are involved it usually means the door stays open wide.

So it's not all sex and kissing, not really, even if Blaine invades Kurt's personal space as much as possible either way. They're curled together on the couch, Blaine reclining against Kurt's chest.

Blaine always jokes about how he's small, how's he's "fun-sized" and "hobbit-like" and "mini", but he's really not that short.

The average height for a male in the United States is between 5'9" and 5'10" and Blaine's 5'8", really just an inch below the average. He's slight though, small shoulders and more torso than legs, which makes him seem shorter. Underneath the boxy Dalton uniform he's got a thin waist and narrow hips and when he's not performing he takes up as little space as possible, a byproduct of his days growing up in a household where children should be seen and not heard.

That, combined with textbook defensive postures he'd started unknowingly doing after he'd been bullied all those years, means Blaine physically can fold himself into a tiny little spot, legs crossed, arms wrapped around his stomach, everything folded in tight.

Kurt on the other hand, isn't really a big guy, per say - he's average height but more legs than torso, so it makes him seem longer - (and thank God for his long legs because they accentuate the best of the skinny pants he wears), but he's broader than Blaine, in both the chest and shoulders, and his hands are bigger, which is something that is always makes Blaine feel weirdly warm all over.

So he likes being tucked close to Kurt like this, fingers entwined as they watch bad reality shows on rerun. If he'd been on his own, there's no way Blaine would consider any afternoon a good one watching the cast of Jersey Shore get trashed, but with Kurt it's an experience – not only because he's physically with Kurt, but because Kurt's wit and humor just adds something entirely to almost everything. No one looks at the world like Kurt does. Not a single person.

It's great, this warm summer afternoon on the couch – Finn's upstairs with Puck and they're banging around doing something. Burt's outside cleaning the pool, Carole's making finger sandwiches and fruit salad for a late lunch, and it's wonderful – wonderful until Kurt brings up New York. Again.

To say he's been avoiding talking about New York is an understatement, because he feels like it's all he does, really. He distracts Kurt with a kiss, with a story about Wes that he's sure he hasn't heard before, with talks about articles he's read online. Kurt seems put off each time, gradually more and more so, and Blaine knows it can't keep working this way; that his boyfriend is going to figure it out sooner or later.

And it seems it's going to be now that it happens.

"What's going on, Blaine?" Kurt says, and this time it is a question, a real question, with a bit of accusatory tone mixed in. He feels Kurt pull back from him and push him a bit more upright so they're facing each other, and he doesn't want to look at Kurt, because this isn't like the last time Kurt asked him about this – this is serious. Kurt has his serious face on and no amount of procrastinating on Blaine's end is going to make him give up.

"I don't really want to talk about New York," He says, not even attempting this time. It's not worth it, this anxiety in his chest. He knows he's being silly, crazy, even. It's just who he is. Who he's always been. Kurt's so tangible in his hands, in his heart, that he fears change. He can't help it and he hopes Kurt understands.

"Why?" Kurt's looking at him hesitatingly, and Blaine can almost physically see the walls come back up.

"I can't, I just can't. I'm not ready to talk about New York."

Kurt pushes back on the couch, and now there are literally two cushions between them. Blaine wants to reach out, close the distance, because this is the fear he has coming to life in front of his eyes. Symbolism, in the most ridiculous way possible.

"Not ready? Blaine, before I even went to New York all we did was talk about what it was going to be like; how we were going to graduate and go to college there, move in together. What do you mean you're not ready? Are you having second thoughts about us?"

He's scrambling now, not sure what to say, because the truth is that it's the exact opposite. He fears Kurt's eventually going to have second thoughts about HIM, about their relationship. Now that this conversation is going, though, Blaine realizes how ridiculous it sounds, how much it makes him seem needy and childish. The damage is done, though, because Kurt is pacing, arms across his chest – and if there's anything about Kurt that Blaine's come to know, it's that Kurt jumps to conclusions very easily.

"Blaine," He lowers his voice and leans in, eyes wide and accusing, "We basically have had sex. You know I don't take that lightly – and now you're telling me you're having second thoughts?"

Blaine's eyes dart to the kitchen, hoping that there are no overhearing ears in the vicinity. They aren't alone in the house – they shouldn't forget that.

"No, no, no – that's not it at all." He insists, and watches as Kurt halts his pacing. He's looking up at Kurt, then, at his hurt and confused stare, his bright blue eyes.

"Then what is it, Blaine? Do you not want to live in New York anymore? Because you knew that was my plan from the get-go."

Blaine's torn between being annoyed at Kurt for basically invalidating his feelings (what if he DIDN'T want to live in New York anymore? Maybe he changed his mind and wanted to live in LA or Atlanta? Of course, this isn't the case, but Kurt shouldn't attack him for it) or embarrassed by the fact that the more and more Kurt jumps to the wrong conclusion the more silly he's going to sound when he finally gets a word in.

"No, that's not it, either." He insists, and rises on the couch on his knees so he's more on level with Kurt's gaze.

"Tell me, then." Kurt's lips are twisted in this grimace that if Blaine wasn't so terrified by, he'd think it was utterly adorable.

"I'm scared. I'm scared of losing you. I'm scared of you realizing your potential and you meeting someone else and me just being left behind. I wasn't kidding that day when I told you I was obsessed with you, that you're all I can think about." He feels relief, and hope and like everything's lifted. What he expects is Kurt to call him silly, and ridiculous, and to collapse against him in relief, but – that's not what happens.

"Blaine." Kurt says, and when Blaine looks back up, his gaze is not met with starry-eyed charmed Kurt eyes. They're met with a steel gaze, one that shocks Blaine, "You know you're being ridiculous, I can tell. You do this to alienate yourself, to try and convince yourself you're not good enough or whatever's going on in that brain of yours. You can't do this. You can't keep doing this and expecting me to keep reassuring you. You know how I feel about you, but I'm not going to hold myself back because you're worried that someday someone or something may take me away from you."

Blaine's mouth is agape now, and he feels flushed, embarrassed. The worst part is that Kurt seems mad, hurt.

"I'm done living my life tip-toeing around. It's not going to happen. I'm not some car you really want or some sort of toy. I think you should leave and think about it and reevaluate our relationship and decide if this is something you really want."

Blaine's speechless, his heart pounding, his mind racing. He's not sure what to say to come back from this because Kurt's right, he's very right, but he'd never expected that sort of reaction, not ever. He stands then, avoiding Kurt's gaze, and leaves.

He doesn't look back.

Blaine sits in his car for a long time, a very very long time, once he pulls up to his house. He'd taken the ride in silence, Kurt's words tumultuously rolling over in his brain over and over. He's unsure of how to feel, of what to do. He's hurt by Kurt's words, partly because he knows Kurt was right, partly because he feels Kurt is dismissing his feelings. At the same time, he's desperate, because it's happening already. He's losing Kurt and it's pretty much his fault.

Blaine is at a precipice, at the ultimate standoff with himself.

He knows who he is. He knows that his obsessions, these phases, are a part of him. They've always happened and he sort of likes it about himself. It keeps him motivated to be a better person, and in this case, a better boyfriend.

On the other hand, he's never had a boyfriend before. He's never had a Kurt before. He has no idea if this is happening because it's his first boyfriend or because it's Kurt and that's confusing.

Kurt's right. He shouldn't have to hold back and not pursue his dreams and opportunities because Blaine is insecure in his relationship. He knows Kurt's better than this, better than Ohio. At the same time, this is Blaine. This is his personality. It's going to happen to some extent, forever, and Kurt needs to know this. Accept it. Maybe not like it, but love him in spite of it.

It's this determination, after all, that opened his eyes to begin with. Kurt just shined and Blaine opened his eyes and had to have him. If Blaine was any other boy he might've hesitated because of their past, because of their relationship.

He sits in his car for a long, long time. In the end, he cries a whole lot too.

Blaine dreams.

New York is an undeniable beacon for the most intense, creative and powerful people in the world. The streets are packed with all sorts of people at all times, in any given day, at any given moment.

Blaine's playing a guitar on the corner, open case in front of him. The song is sad and slow, not the sort of song he would choose for busking if he ever decided to do such a thing. No one wants to give money to the player with the sad eyes playing the sad song.

New York streams past him in all sorts of colorful characters. People with crazy hair color, with dogs, without dogs, with parrots, in business suits or ripped clothing or no clothing at all continue by him like a parade.

Kurt's there, then, in his best suit, the one from the photo of he and Rachel outside Tiffany's that day. He looks impeccable in his wingtips and his pompadour and Blaine stops playing to just stare at him, stare at him as Kurt stares at him like he's a stranger.

He steps forward but trips over his case, hitting the concrete hard.

When he looks up, Kurt's gone.

Two days ago Blaine Anderson had Kurt Hummel right where he wanted him – naked and stretched out on the bed, so much glorious, naked flawless skin laid out in front of him. Kurt's long legs are tangled with his own, covered with light, fine hair compared to Blaine's dark and compact legs. They're light and dark, two very different images. Shorter and taller, light brown and dark, brown eyes and blue, curly hair and straight hair.

Blaine's possessiveness extends to Kurt's body, to the way he looks sprawled out there, looking at Blaine with trusting eyes. He loves the freckles that dot his shoulders, loves the smell of his skin and the tilt of his hips on the bed and his expression of arousal displayed through hooded gazes.

He nuzzles his nose in Kurt's armpit, breathing him in, making Kurt giggle. One of his weird things, Kurt calls them, things that seem bizarre but really turn Blaine on – things like the inside of Kurt's elbows and the backs of his knees and the arch of his foot and yes, even the smell of his armpits, because Kurt smells like boy, sated clean-sweaty boy. Not body odor in a bad way, like he's been running a mile, but like his deodorant and lotions and Kurt.

Kurt's heart is pounding in his chest still, under Blaine's fingertips, and he can taste Kurt's come on his tongue, remembers the weight of his cock in his mouth, the way Kurt moaned and arched against him. He reaches down and presses against the skin in the juncture between Kurt's cock and thigh where he'd sucked a hickey alive before and moans at the hiss that reverberates in Kurt's chest.

"Come here," Kurt growls, grabbing his curls and yanking him up for a bruising kiss, his tongue pressing into Blaine's mouth and chasing the taste of himself. The thought of it makes Blaine moan against Kurt's lips, letting Kurt press him back into the mattress.

This is the closest they've ever been to one another, the most vulnerable. Blaine's heart surges in his chest for this boy who's striving to be his other half, who's got so much potential and power and joy.

This moment is the first in a long time where he doesn't doubt, he doesn't worry, and he doesn't make himself anxious. Instead, he lives in this moment; soaks in it, happy to give Kurt pleasure and get it in return. He's not thinking about New York or Los Angeles or anything else, just here and now in hopes of forever.


It's clear and warm and Blaine's sure he looks like a mess. His curls stick to his forehead and he's sweating, sweating, sweating. Suburban summer is winding around them; heat radiating from the asphalt, kids running through sprinklers, the smell of freshly cut grass and radios being played from open garages.

Across the street, Kurt's leaning under an open hood next to his dad, dressed as simply as Blaine has ever seen him. A simple grease-stained white tee shirt and long shorts completes a picture that Blaine is riveted by, this boy he knows so well looking almost like a stranger in the summer heat.

Burt sees him first, standing next to his beat-up old car, keys in hand. The older man's hand goes up in a wave.

Blaine doesn't wave back.

Kurt looks up then, grease stained and sweaty, looking all the while like some sort of bizarre angel royalty forced into peasant clothing, looks right up at him with a powerful stare that Blaine can't deconstruct.

Blaine watches as he says something Burt and then approaches him, careful to look both ways before crossing the street. He doesn't say anything until he's standing in front of Blaine, and up close Blaine can see the bead of sweat trailing down his temple; see that he has the slightest hint of stubble. It's encouraging, even if it's a little sad, to feel a bit relieved by it because it means their fight, their meager four day separation was hurting Kurt too, making him not feel like himself just like Blaine doesn't feel like himself.

"Hi," Blaine says.

"Hi," Kurt replies.

Something settles in Blaine's chest then, settles warm and perfect and feels content. They have a lot to work out, a lot to talk about. Blaine has a lot to work through; Kurt has a lot to accept.

He knows all of this, but he also knows it's all worth it.

One day, they'll conquer New York City together despite their troubles.

Today, they will conquer their differences, just like they've always been able to.