Sorry for the short update- this part was supposed to go with the next part, but since I haven't updated in forever I thought it best to publish something. A couple people messaged me asking if I'd abandoned the story, etc, but I don't check this site unless I'm updating so I'm very sorry for not replying! I had an exchange fic I was working on, and I just don't have much time to write, but I am sorry for leaving you guys hanging. Thanks for keeping this story in mind and for all the wonderful feedback you've left.
I just signed up for tumblr, since so much of the Glee fan stuff happens there, so you can follow me there if you wish. My username is animal-sweaters . tumblr . com :) I've allowed anonymous asks, so if you don't have an account you can still ask me a question about the story. I expect I'll be better about replying over there than on this site, and that way everyone can see the answer.
Now on with the story! I hope you're still interested!
The weather on Kurt's day off is distinctly perfect, sunny and mostly warm with a crisp breeze hinting at autumn. The air will start to turn sharp and bitterly cold soon, so Kurt optimizes his time with his favorite sort of weather by sprawling out in the grass, basking in the sun and purring. He reads for a while, but he's sketching by the time Blaine finds him in the early afternoon.
"There you are." Blaine comes to a stop next to him and looks at the giant willow tree Kurt is now leaning against. "Finn told me I might find you out here. Is this your secret hiding place?" Blaine rests his palm on the bark and smiles to himself, a secretive little smirk, and Kurt wonders fleetingly if Blaine can tell he's scent-marked the tree all over. He really does like the spot, and after years of marking it as his, no other animal comes near it.
He's being silly, he knows-as a human, Blaine would never be able to pick up on that.
Kurt leans his head back against the trunk of the tree to look up at Blaine. Today, more than most days, he feels utterly happy with his life, and there Blaine is, unbearably handsome and clearly infatuated with him, so why is Kurt depriving himself?
Sam makes me feel safe, Kurt tells himself, just as he tells himself every time he questions his relationship. Blaine is confusing and mysterious and never reveals very much about his life. For all Kurt knows, he could be involved in illegal (or at least immoral) dealings, and who knows if he would tell Kurt the truth about himself if they were to become involved. Kurt may discover he doesn't want to know more about Blaine, but by then it would be too late, and he would be trapped with some smarmy vagabond instead of his nice honest (slightly dull) boyfriend.
Blaine sits down next to him, leaning back against the tree but keeping his head turned toward Kurt. Kurt blushes and looks down at his lap, fiddling with his pile of drawings. Despite how little he really knows of Blaine, he can't deny that he craves his company. He has the feeling that Blaine would protect him from anything, but it's different from the comfortable security he feels with Sam.
"Why did you want to find me?" Kurt asks after a moment.
Blaine settles a closer to him, until their sides are pressed warm together. "I wanted to invite you somewhere tomorrow evening. I also wanted the chance to observe you in your natural setting."
"That's not creepy at all," Kurt says lightly. Blaine grins at him and bumps their shoulders together, clearly not offended.
"I just want to be friends, Kurt. Friends see each other outside of the tailor shop." Blaine nods down at the pile of papers in Kurt lap. "May I see them?"
"Sure." Kurt hands them to Blaine and then suddenly feels unsure of himself, wondering why his first instinct is to trust Blaine with everything he has "They're just- I was just sketching. I can do much better when I take the time." It's mostly rough sketches of trees and leaves, with a few disjointed ideas for clothing thrown in. Kurt's on a kick of drawing clothes on figures that are half human, half tree.
Blaine flips through them slowly, thumb brushing the rough edges of the handmade paper as he studies each drawing. He stops on a page Kurt's not too happy with, just a jumble of floral sketches, but Blaine studies it intently, trailing the pads of his fingers over the bottom. Kurt feels oddly self-concious when he realizes that what has Blaine's attention is not the smudges of charcoal, but the raised and crumpled edges of the paper.
"What's this?" Blaine murmurs. "I noticed it on a few of the others, but it's the worst here. Do you need a better paper supplier?"
"No." Kurt plucks a blade of grass and twists it between his fingers, not meeting Blaine's questioning eyes. "It's just a habit. I chew on my paper when I'm thinking."
"Oh," Blaine says, a surprised little breath of air. He ducks his head to meet Kurt's eyes, smiling, and Kurt stops fidgeting. "That's strangely cute."
"It's not." Kurt pouts, but Blaine just taps his scrunched-up nose and continues smiling, so Kurt relents. "If I get too lost in thought I end up eating it," he admits, low and secretive. Blaine laughs a little, then, but it's not mean spirited, and Kurt smiles down at his lap. "Just another benefit of being born a cat. Though it could be much worse, really. My sister eats wool and even charcoal if you let her."
Blaine's quiet for a moment, then he lays a hand on Kurt's knee and gives it a gentle squeeze. "That's the second time you've mentioned your sister. Tell me about her?"
Kurt lets out a long sigh and thunks his head back against the tree trunk. No one ever asks about Brittany; they think they already know all there is to know about her. "She works for Madame Sylvester," Kurt says simply.
"I know that. I've heard men talk, Kurt, but there must be more to it than that."
Kurt sucks in a harsh breath and closes his eyes. He'd been operating under the assumption that Blaine didn't know about Brittany, but if he does- if he knows how she acts and still doesn't expect the same from Kurt- then Blaine is an even better person than he'd imagined. Kurt exhales and opens his eyes, staring at Blaine, who looks the perfect mix of interested and concerned.
"When we were created, Mr. Schuester didn't know what to do with us. He had a weird comraderie with Madame Sylvester back then, and she offered to give us work in her brothel. He thought we were too stupid to help him in the lab. Not- not work like that," Kurt adds hastily, when he sees how upset Blaine is beginning to look. "We were only 11 or 12 when we became human, and we were kind of stupid, but only because we were still trying to understand the world. We moved into the brothel and helped with random duties for a while, but Brittany..." Kurt swallows and turns away from Blaine, staring at the soft green grass under his hand.
"She had her first heat," he admits, quietly. "She has a lot more feline instincts than I do, so I don't really understand what it's like for her. But she presented herself to some client, and of course he had his way with her, and she apparently was fine with it. Sue didn't even know it happened until the next day, and of course she was livid that the guy took advantage, but Brittany couldn't understand why any of us were upset. She started presenting to anyone she saw as a viable mating option, including the girls in the brothel, and I knew I had to get her out of there. I took her back to Mr. Schuester, and you know my adopted parents- they were old friends of his-they offered to adopt us, but Brittany just couldn't fit in there. She presented herself to Finn the moment we got in the door, and I just couldn't stand to be in the same room as her. I don't... I just can't understand the way she thinks about sex. She doesn't care who it happens with or the circumstances or anything. So she ended up going back to Sue, and I haven't talked to her since."
Blaine's quiet for a while, stroking his thumb over Kurt's knee reassuringly as Kurt reigns his emotions back in. "It bothers you, the way the clients treat her," Blaine finally says.
"Of course it does. They don't understand how innocent she is, that sex is this instinctual mating thing for her. She doesn't get how those men think of her, or how dirty the whole thing is. She just likes sex and thinks she has the best job in the world. It's awful."
"Would you want her to wake up tomorrow and realize how confusing and complicated her life is? Do you want her to understand that judgement?"
"No," Kurt says quickly. "As much as I wish she could see things from my perspective, I would never want her to think of herself the way I do."
"Blaine, I'm aware of how harsh I am about this subject and I don't want to get into some ethical thing here. I just want her to have the option of falling in love and having sex that means something, because I don't think she'll ever understand that it can mean something, and that just makes me really, really sad. She's beautiful and creative and she could do so many things, so why does she have to do that?"
"For now, it makes her happy, doesn't it?"
Kurt sighs heavily. "I guess it does. I wish it didn't."
"It might not always," Blaine offers, patting Kurt's knee. "She might just be waiting to meet the right person. And perhaps that other person will love sex just as much as she does, and be willing to have it in all sorts of morally unsound positions."
"Oh god," Kurt chokes out, stifling a laugh. "One can only hope." He's grinning, though, mood effectively lightened, and Kurt marvels at how even the most serious conversations feel weightless when he's having them with Blaine.
Blaine looks fondly at him for a long moment before reverting his attention to the papers in his lap. He flips past the flower sketches, lingering for a moment on each page, until he comes to a view of the city. "Oh, I love this one." Blaine glances from the drawing up to Kurt's face, smiling warmly. "Is that the view from up here? I didn't really look behind me as I was walking."
"Yes. I'll show you." Kurt rolls to his feet gracefully, though he winces a little as his knees straighten out. He'd been sitting down for too long. Blaine stands up and follows him out from under the canopy of the willow and around a few more trees until they reach the patch of grass Kurt had rolled around in earlier.
They're about a mile from Kurt's apartment and Burt's shop, where a few rolling hills mark the south west edge of the city. To the east is the sea, and Blaine whistles as he looks at the buildings sprawled out below them. Kurt has drawn this view many times, during different seasons, but with the trees all red and gold around them and Blaine standing next to him, it's the most beautiful he's ever seen his city look.
"I want to take you over there tomorrow-" Blaine points south of them, to the end of the coast where most of the dirigibles are anchored "-if you'll come with me. Some friends of mine have started meeting, sort of an airship salon. I think you'd like them."
Kurt hasn't had much occasion to visit that area. Airship flights are expensive, and he has nowhere to go on one anyway. He squints at the ships hovering above the city. A lot of the more affluent people live in that area, so Kurt's not surprised that Blaine knows them.
"Where does the ship travel?"
"It's stationary. The propellers are broken and it's an older model, so it would cost more to fix than it's worth. Arthur, the owner, decided to turn it into an entertaining space. It's really quite something. Will you come with me?"
Kurt rocks up onto the balls of his feet and studies the horizon, wondering how it would feel to look down upon it. "I suppose," he drawls out slowly, not wanting to give in too easily.
Blaine grins and scratches behind Kurt's ears, but the touch is gone before Kurt can enjoy it too much. He shakes his head, twitches his ears, and tilts his head at Blaine. "What should I wear?"
"Whatever you like. You always look impeccable."
Kurt sighs in exasperation; he should have expected that sort of answer. He notices that Blaine is still holding his drawing and looking at it, comparing it to the actual view. "You can have that, if you want it." It's one he spent a little more time on, and it's not marred by a single bite mark, so Kurt's not too embarrassed for him to have it.
"Really?" Kurt nods. Blaine rolls the paper up and holds it securely in one hand, bringing the other up to draw Kurt into a half-hug. "Thank you."
Blaine kisses his cheek and lingers there, just breathing for a moment and stroking his shoulder. Kurt leans into the touch, feeling warm all over. Blaine steps back after a chaste kiss to his temple and Kurt swallows audibly, letting out a little sigh as Blaine waves and heads back down the hill.