A/N: hey all! so i'm sort-of-kind-of-not-totally back in the saddle for writing but, my schedule permitting, i'm going to go ahead with my little angst monster i've been working on once i refine a few plot points. so, you ask: what the hell is this fic then? this little guy is a combo of 3 happy and wonderful things: klaine love, music, and holidays- consider it the cheery yin to my angsty yang of the fic im currently working on. So basically this is how its going to work: all of these chapters in this fic take place in the same story line but they're set up more like one shots; they all have lyrics for titles (because i love music too much to not do it) and they each fall on some holiday with blaine and kurt (this is set post-high school, p.s.)- i have the first two chapters and like half of the third ready to go for this guy but the angsty fella isnt quite ready... additionally, ive had some amazing opportunities roll my way in terms of writing recently so when im not working and out and about, my normal writing time has recently been dedicated to a project outside the fanfic realm so i might not be as good about posting in a timely manner but ill do the best i can! anyway, here is my little side project for your reading pleasure; hope you enjoy :)
Tonight's the Night the World Begins Again
The apartment was freezing. Not like, huh-I-should-put-on-a-pair-of-socks-and-maybe-a-warmer-sweater cold. It was glacial cold, as in Kurt could see his breath the second he got through the door cold. He hugged his arms around his middle as he checked the thermostat. It was set to the proper temperature. He toggled the dial a few times and banged the heel of his palm into it for good measure before wandering toward one of the heating vents. He shoved a chair against the wall and clambered on top of it. A little begrudgingly, he pulled one glove off to hold his fingers to the cold metal grates. Nothing.
He sighed, climbed down, and replaced the chair. He tried the light switch. Nope, not working. Great. He wandered out the door, prepared to knock on the door across the hall when he remembered neither Rachel or Finn would be home. He sighed and went back into his own apartment. It felt even colder. He wondered absently if the heat escaping into the hall from under their neighbors' doors would warm up their little home a few degrees. Was he willing to stoop so low as to leave the door open in hopes he was right? He watched the heat of his breath cloud the air in front of him. Yes, he would definitely stoop that low. He shoved one of Blaine's textbooks between the door and the frame and moved toward the kitchen, trying each light switch hopelessly. He flinched when the nearby church bells rang out to signal the hour. He was grateful it was only two. After eight, Kurt couldn't stand the noise of the damn things clanging on and on and on. Blaine thought they were lovely.
"Why's the door—ow—Jesus, it's freezing in here!" Kurt turned to see Blaine in the doorway, bouncing on one foot, the other cradled between his hands. He'd stubbed his toes on the textbook.
"You're home early." Kurt observed, giving up the fruitless search for working electricity.
Blaine had plucked the book up off the floor to stare at hatefully, "Yeah, they're assholes but they're not completely without souls. They just sent me home with a bunch of paperwork—why is this in the door?"
"The hallway's warmer." Kurt shrugged, "Did you pay electricity this month?"
"Nope; I thought you did," Blaine quirked an eyebrow and dropped the book down on the kitchen table.
"No—I had enough money to deal with either the bill or groceries last week. I opted for us not to starve." Kurt shoved his hands in his pockets.
"I'm just dead broke." Blaine replied with a grim smile; he flipped a switch up and down a couple times just to be sure they wouldn't work.
Kurt sighed, "What are we going to do Blaine?"
"I've got time today to go down to that Italian restaurant and play for tips." Blaine dropped his briefcase down on the couch, "That's something. And maybe we can borrow a little money from Rachel and Finn."
"They're almost as bad off as we are, and I doubt the Italian place is open today." Kurt slumped against the counter. He felt like crying, but he was too cold.
"Hey, what's the matter?" Blaine frowned and crossed the room to his lover, he slipped his hands around his waist, "They've turned the heat off on us before; I mean, it's never been this cold when they did it, but we've scraped together the money and we can do it again. Don't worry about it."
Kurt glanced up to meet Blaine's eyes. Sweet Blaine, always so optimistic. He couldn't tell him. He looked away and nodded his head, "I guess you're right."
"Of course I'm right." Blaine hugged him close; kissed him on the temple, "Wanna come watch me play?"
"You have to order something to be in there." Kurt reminded Blaine quietly. He didn't feel like reiterating his doubts about the restaurant even being open.
Blaine tilted his head, thinking, "Come sing with me then; it'll be fun."
"I don't think I'm really in the mood to sing, Blaine." Kurt sighed, resting his cheek against the rough wool of Blaine's jacket. It smelled like him.
Blaine fell silent for a moment and then released Kurt to stride toward their bedroom, "Gimme a second."
Kurt stamped his feet a few time to keep the blood flowing in his icy toes.
Blaine reappeared, his guitar case dangling from one hand and Kurt's sketch book cradled in the other, "Come on; grab the keys."
"Blaine—" Kurt tried to object. Blaine was always well intentioned but his ideas had a way of blowing up in their faces and he wasn't so sure he wanted to be a part of whatever scheme Blaine had conjured up in less than five minutes.
"You can stay here and freeze to death or you can follow me," Blaine called from the hallway.
He had a point. Kurt snatched the keys off the counter and trailed after him into the snowy streets. Blaine handed over Kurt's sketchbook and led them down a few blocks. He swung his guitar in one hand while he whistled out a little tune Kurt knew was some sort of Disney song, though he couldn't remember which one.
"You had to turn left there, you know." Kurt paused and motioned a thumb over his shoulder when Blaine continued past the block that housed the restaurant he used to play at when they had first moved out to the city.
Blaine winked at him, "We're not going to the Italian place; come on, it's just a couple more blocks."
Kurt caught up to him; prepared to demand to know where they were going, but then Blaine had caught hold of Kurt's hand in his free one; he tucked both of their hands into his pocket. Kurt decided to remain quiet.
Blaine stopped them at a brick-fronted building, tugging Kurt through the front door after him.
Kurt closed his eyes; savoring the heat. It warmed his cheeks and took the sting out of his ears and nose.
"Like it?" Blaine asked; clearly pleased with himself.
Kurt opened his eyes and gazed around. It was a coffee shop—the little hole-in-the-wall kind with couches and battered tables and local art on the walls. "It has heat and a lit up open sign. I love it."
Blaine laughed, "I come here to do paperwork sometimes; they have people playing all the time."
"You think they'll let you play?" Kurt glanced around. Much to his surprise, the place was decently busy, but there was no one at the mic in the corner.
"Sure as hell hope so," Blaine shrugged, "Go get a table—I'll talk to the manager."
Kurt did as he was told; he spotted a fireplace and selected the closest table he could find by it. He could see Blaine chatting with a young woman. He smiled to himself—if the manager was a female, Blaine would have no problem getting what he wanted. He could twist women around his little finger until they were reduced to giggling, blushing preteens.
Sure enough, Blaine approached Kurt a few minutes later, a grin on his face, "She said yes."
Kurt smiled and leaned back in his chair, "Why am I not surprised?"
"What should I play?" Blaine tilted his head, a boyish smile on his face. He hadn't had time to perform in a long time—his internship at the law firm had taken over most of his waking hours.
Kurt found his enthusiasm a little infective, "Surprise me."
Blaine looked thoughtful for another moment before another smile lit up his face. He straightened up and moved to the microphone without a word.
Kurt turned his attention to his sketchbook, he scanned through a few old drawings—plans for dresses and blouses he had never actually turned into anything tangible. He opened to a fresh page and stared down at it. His mind was as blank as the paper in front of him. All he could think about was how they were going to pay the rent that was due in a week.
You think I'm pretty without any makeup on
You think I'm funny when I get the punch line wrong…
Kurt's head shot up to stare at Blaine. Blaine was staring back, a smile on his face. Of course he would choose that song. And, of course, Kurt couldn't not smile back. He listened for a while; remembered being so incredibly young and dreaming of nothing but a boyfriend as dreamy as Blaine and a future in the Big City. He felt his heart sink a little; he had been so young; so naïve. He turned his gaze back down to the paper and started sketching out the outline of a jacket. Blaine played for hours, chattering at the patrons of the little café every once in awhile, laughing to them about the misfortune of his heat being turned off like it was nothing at all. Kurt glanced up from time to time to offer him a supportive smile, but otherwise immersed himself in his work. He didn't want to think about music; about singing; about performing.
Blaine only gave up the microphone when the guy scheduled to play for the night came in to take over. Kurt glanced up to see Blaine chatting with the barista, but then turned his face back toward the fire, trying to absorb some warmth to take home with him.
He could smell the familiar scent of Blaine behind him even before he spoke; he peered over Kurt's shoulder at the sketch, "I like that."
Kurt studied the drawing, "Yeah?"
"Yeah," Blaine touched a kiss to the top of Kurt's head, "Ready to go?"
Kurt shut the pad of paper and pulled his gloves on, "Sure; how'd you do today?"
Blaine shrugged, "I think okay; we can count at home. Here."
Kurt stared at the cup in Blaine's outstretched hand; surprised, "What's this?"
"Non-fat mocha. What? Did you think just because we can't afford it anymore I would forget your coffee order?" Blaine grinned, "Don't look at me like that; it was three bucks, it won't put us anymore in the poor house than we already are, and it'll keep you warm on the walk home. Take it."
Kurt realized he was still staring at the cup. He took it in his free hand and smiled at Blaine, "You're wonderful."
"I do my best." Blaine smiled, "Come on, let's get going."
They walked in compatible silence; Kurt sipped on his drink and felt he could moan out of sheer delight. It was true—they hadn't been able to go out for coffee since…when? Probably when Blaine was still an undergrad he was fairly sure; his parents had cut him off soon after that… He glanced over at the dark haired boy. His eyes were far off, a slight smile on his mouth. He touched the warm cup to his lover's cheek. Blaine's gaze drifted over to him, his smile widening, "What?"
"Just wondering what you're thinking about." Kurt returned the smile, taking another drink out of the cup.
"Nothing really. You." Blaine shrugged. It had started snowing; he tipped his chin up toward the sky.
Kurt watched him, "Don't even think about sticking your tongue out to catch one, Blaine Anderson. With the pollution in the air here you'll end up with some god awful disease and we can't afford a medical bill."
Blaine laughed, tipping his head back down, "You know me too well."
Kurt took another sip from his cup; trying to savor it slowly, but it was growing colder by the second. He remembered the nearly daily coffee dates he and Blaine had once shared. They had had one such date the day they packed up Blaine's car for the city. Suddenly, the drink just tasted bland to him. He used the little heat left coming through the Styrofoam to warm his hands.
"Home sweet home." Blaine sing-songed, guiding them up the three flights of stairs. He didn't trust the elevator for a second.
They stepped out of the hall into the shadowy, cold space of their apartment. Kurt flipped the switch by the door up and felt a gloom settle over him when nothing happened. He had forgotten about the power.
"It's like the fucking Arctic in here." Blaine dropped his guitar down and moved toward the kitchen, "Prop that book in the door again, would you? We can borrow the light from the hall for a bit."
Kurt complied; he glanced across the hall—the space under Rachel and Finn's door was dark. But that shouldn't have seemed surprising for the second time in a day; they weren't even in the City. They'd gone home to Ohio to see their families.
"Ha! Look!" Blaine pulled a cardboard box out from under the sink; it was filled with candles. He sat the box down on the table and began pulling them out; glancing at their labels, "Do you care if the apartment smells like grandma's sugar cookies, tropical rain forests, and cinnamon apple spice?"
Kurt wrinkled his nose and threw Blaine a withering look as he pulled open the cabinets to search out something for them to eat.
"We can switch out one of those for sun-dried laundry or autumn harvest… and how the hell does anyone know what sandcastles smell like?" Blaine was sniffing one of the candles, "Why do we have a sandcastle-scented candle anyway?"
"Your mom gave those to us as a going away present, remember?" Kurt replied. Dinner prospects were not looking good. The bread—as far as Kurt could tell in the half-dark—had something green growing on it, and the only potentially edible thing he had found was a box of Honey Nut Cheerios he couldn't remember buying.
Blaine had fallen quiet, studying the array of candles. Kurt felt an ache in his chest for him. He didn't like to talk about his parents, "Blaine, do you like Cheerios?"
Blaine shook himself from his silent reverie; he smiled, "I love Cheerios."
"Good, because it's either that or stale Wheat Thins." Kurt glanced at the row of candles on the table, "And, no, I don't care if the apartment smells like we're baking in a rainforest."
Blaine lit the candles and cupped a hand over the top of one. Kurt came to nuzzle into his side, watching the glow silently. He offered the open box of Cheerios.
Blaine popped a handful of cereal into his mouth, staring grimly at their breath clouding the air, "We're going to freeze faster than Leo DiCaprio in Titanic in here."
Kurt handed the box over to Blaine so he could pull the book out of the door and turn the lock. The bells clanged out nine heavy chimes.
Blaine studied the flickering light for another moment; he put the box down on the table and plucked two of the candles off the table, "Come on."
Kurt followed him with the third candle into the bedroom. He sat down in the middle of the bed, turning his face down to the orange glow, imagining he could feel some heat being emitted from it.
Blaine was in and out of the room three more times—first with the guitar case where his tips were still residing, next with the Cheerios, and finally he returned with the box of candles. He pulled out every single glass jar, every candlestick, even the little tea candles rolling around in the bottom of the box.
"Blaine, you're going to burn the building down." Kurt crossed his legs beneath him, still holding the cinnamon-scented candle between both hands.
"We'll go out in a blaze of glory then." Blaine replied, moving to light the candles on their dresser.
"That's a terrible joke; the cold is killing your wittiness." Kurt rolled his eyes.
Blaine seemed unfettered. He finished his project and sat down beside Kurt on the bed, "Pretty, isn't it?"
Kurt watched the dancing shadows on the walls; he smiled and put his candle on the nightstand, "Yeah, it is."
Blaine gazed around at his handiwork for another minute before tugging his guitar case up beside them. They wordlessly began counting. Kurt finished his pile first. He watched Blaine silently mouthing the numbers as he counted pennies. When he finally looked up, he smiled hopefully, "I've got sixty three thirty seven. What do you have?"
"Forty one fifty two." Kurt replied, trying to do the math in his head.
Blaine ticked off numbers on his fingers for a moment; he grinned, "That's almost one hundred and five bucks. We did good."
"You did good," Kurt revised, he sighed and caught one of Blaine's hands between his, "Look at your hands, Blaine."
Blaine glanced down at his other hand, the pads of his fingers were blistered and red, he smiled, "Played until my fingers bled; it's like you're dating a rock star, how do you feel about that?"
Kurt didn't reply, he traced his thumb over Blaine's fingertips.
Blaine shuddered and folded both of his hands over Kurt's, rubbing them to get the blood flowing in his icy fingers, "Jesus, I'm cold."
"We're currently residing in an apartment that could pass for Antarctica in case you've forgotten." Kurt replied, pulling his hand free to put the money back into Blaine's guitar case, "How much was the electric bill; do you remember?"
Blaine frowned, "One fifty or something like that…"
Kurt nodded slowly, "My Dad sent us a hundred a few days ago… we should be able to get the heat and lights back on in a day or two… but I don't know what we're going to do about rent, and—"
"Hush. No more money talk tonight." Blaine shoved the guitar off the bed and pulled the comforter back, "Come here."
Kurt slipped under the blankets—the sheets cold even through his clothes—but he was not finished speaking, "Blaine, it's not going to just go away. We have to be able to pay rent."
"I know we do, but we can't do anything about it right now, so stop worrying so much." Blaine pulled his sweater off and threw it on the floor before burrowing deeper under the covers and closer to Kurt. He looked thoughtful before slipping a hand under Kurt's shirt, running his fingertips along his ribs, "I can think of some things we can do to warm up."
"Not in the mood, Blaine," Kurt let out a long breath; pinched the bridge of his nose between his fingers, "and your hands are freezing."
"Kurt," Blaine slipped his hand back out from under the fabric of Kurt's shirt and hugged an arm around his middle beneath the covers, "You've been upset all day; what's wrong?"
Kurt swallowed hard. How could he not get it? How could he not see it?
"Hey; talk to me," Blaine kissed his hair, "Please?"
"This wasn't how it was supposed to be." Kurt finally whispered, the tears were hot, but they left cold trails down his cheeks. They settled in his ears as he stared up at the ceiling, unable to meet Blaine's eyes.
"What isn't how it's supposed to be?" Blaine sounded confused.
"New York, our lives; it's everything, Blaine!" Kurt felt like a lid had been released on the pent up hysteria that had been building in his chest for months, "I can't get work at all, you slave at an internship at a law firm you hate, your parents practically disowned you, we can't afford to go see mine, and we're living in a shitty apartment in a shitty part of town and we can barely afford even that."
"How was it supposed to be?" Blaine asked, tilting his chin up to study Kurt's face.
"Don't you remember what we wanted when we were kids, Blaine?" Kurt sniffled, "I was going to be on Broadway and you were going to be a musician and we were going to have this amazing New York City adventure. I dragged you out here without a clue as to what the hell we were doing, and then when you stayed after college to be with me and your parents cut you off, for some reason I still thought we'd be okay. I wanted this wonderful, amazing life for us, and just look where we are. We can't even afford to keep our heat on in the middle of December."
"We'll be okay." Blaine rubbed his hand gently over Kurt's stomach.
"How can you act like that all the time?" Kurt sniffled, rolling onto his side to look at Blaine.
"Act like what?" Blaine looked at him with sad confusion.
"Like your whole life didn't blow up in your face! Like I didn't destroy any hope of a relationship you could have had with your parents! Like this is exactly what you wanted." Kurt couldn't stop the tears. Yes, he was angry about his own life, but his anger was far outweighed by the guilt he felt for putting Blaine through it all. Blaine had wanted to go West—be by the ocean; the boardwalks; L.A. They wouldn't have had to worry about the heating bill in California. But Kurt had demanded New York and Blaine had happily conceded; packing up his car with their belongings without blinking an eye.
"I did get exactly what I wanted," Blaine smiled a little.
Kurt stared at him; it was his turn to look confused, "How can you say that?"
"You're right... I hate my job, we don't have any money, and this apartment is shit," Blaine glanced around the orange glow of their little bedroom before looking back at the boy beside him, "but I get to come home from work and, yeah, I don't have more than five bucks to my name and my apartment probably doesn't meet safety codes, but it doesn't matter. Even if I get berated at work, I know you'll make me feel better. Even if I don't have a dime to my name, I know you'lI come up with some amazing date for us to go on whenever the mood strikes you. Even if my apartment has hit or miss hot water and a funny stain on the kitchen ceiling, it's the place I get to make love to you; build a life with you. I have everything I ever needed because all I ever wanted was to be with you... The rest is all just details."
Kurt studied his face for a long time, tears slipping down his cheeks but now for another reason entirely, "Why are you so perfect?"
"Perfect?" Blaine laughed and pulled Kurt in close to him, "I am a hot damn mess most of the time; I'm just lucky to have someone who can ignore all that."
"I've been awful to you—you're right; we'll pull through like we always do…" Kurt peered up from where he had nested his head below Blaine's chin to meet his eyes, "forgive me?"
Blaine nuzzled his cold nose against Kurt's, "there's nothing to forgive."
Kurt pressed a kiss to his mouth; his jaw; his neck. How could he have ever forgotten his other dream outside New York? The dream of somebody to complete him, love him; know him entirely, "So what was your idea earlier, about keeping warm?"
He could feel Blaine's lips curve into a smile against the skin of his neck, he nipped at his collarbone, "I have all kinds of ideas."
Blaine was right. When Kurt collapsed back onto his pillow, Blaine's warm body curled behind his own; he was warmer. Much warmer. He was still catching his breath and he could feel Blaine's heart beating against his back. They said nothing. Blaine looped an arm around his middle; Kurt drew his hand up to his chest and held it there. The bell chimed twelve times.
Kurt brushed his lips across Blaine's knuckles, "I love you."
"I love you, too," Blaine placed a soft kiss on the back of Kurt's neck, "Merry Christmas, Kurt."
To Be Continued... (Up Next: Valentine's Day :D)