Summary: Chris and Darren are filming an emotional duet set to Cyndi Lauper's "Time After Time" for the Season 3 premiere episode of Glee when Darren literally falls behind, missing a step and crash landing at the bottom of the platform on the set. Everyone panics, but no one more so than Chris when he realizes just how bad his best friend is hurt. Darren finds himself needing Chris as he never has before which eventually leads them to some big decisions about the nature of their relationship and their future together. Criss/Colfer hurt/comfort, angst, fluff, and eventually romance. This will be a multi-chapter RPF that will focus on Darren's injury, recovery, and the emotional aftermath of this experience, all leading to eventual Criss/Colfer romance (because it is so obvious that these two crazy kids are made for one another.)
Warnings: Character Injury, Discussion of Medical Procedures, Sexual Banter in Later Chapters, Profanity
Disclaimer: This is RPF (real person fiction) primarily about Darren Criss and Chris Colfer. While they are both real, this story obviously isn't. It is a work of fiction. I don't own the Glee characters or the actors who play them but I sure wouldn't mind owning Darren Criss in real life!
Spoiler Alert: Takes place during the filming of Glee Season 3x01, alludes to Blaine/Kurt character moments from the show during Season 2 (so technically, mild spoilers for Glee through Season 2x22 "New York") as well as refers to events that happened on Glee Live Tour 2011.
Author's Note: Another CrissColfer RPF work-in-progress from LiveJournal (username: sarahannmac) that I decided I was ready to share with a bigger audience. This story was inspired by a couple of real-life events from the filming of Glee: the first being the insane set that the Warblers used when they performed "Animal" during Glee Episode 2x15 "Sexy." I loved the warehouse feel and the multi-tiered platforms, but with all those steep drop offs and levels, it felt like it was just one major accident waiting to happen. I felt the same way about Matthew Morrison and Neil Patrick Harris's "Dream On" duet from Glee Episode 1x15 "Dream On." In the Season 3 episode that Darren and Chris are filming in this fic, Blaine and Kurt's characters are auditioning for summer jobs as a performer at "Six Flags" an amusement park chain, something he alludes to during Glee 2x22 "New York." After doing a little research online, I decided that they were probably auditioning to work at the Six Flags Kentucky Kingdom in Louisville, KY since that is the closest Six Flags to Lima, Ohio (it's about 225 miles away). I pictured the set that is supposed to serve as the stage at Six Flags as looking like a cross between the set from the "Dream On" duet in Glee 1x15 and the set from the "Animal" duet in Glee 2x15 with platforms of varying levels, a small walkway bridge, and balcony overlooking the stage.
I also read a recent interview from the Huffington Post in which head choreographer Zach Woodlee discusses the numerous injuries that the cast members have incurred while filming on the show. In it, he talks about the "bruise wall" that he's created to document all the injuries that the cast has undergone while rehearsing and filming their myriad of dance numbers. So, between my worrying about the poor Warblers slipping and falling while performing "Animal" in a warehouse (with a foam machine, no less) and reading up on some of the injuries already incurred by Diana Agron, Lea Michele, Jonathan Groff, and Chris Colfer, I just couldn't help but think about what would happen if Darren managed to hurt himself on set. Sometimes it takes a traumatic experience like that to help you realize who and what is truly important to you, so I used this idea as the catalyst for slowly moving Darren Criss and Chris Colfer closer to a real relationship. Sorry for the incredibly long author's note, but hopefully it will be useful in setting up the story. Now, let's get to it, shall we?
"And you say, go slow. I fall behind. The second hand unwinds. If you're lost, you can look and you will find me, time after time. If you fall, I will catch you, I'll be waiting, time after time.I f you're lost, you can look and you will find me, time after time. If you fall I will catch you, I will be waiting, time after time."
Darren and Chris's voices swelled together in perfect harmony, crescendoing together effortlessly as they seamlessly lip synced the popular lyrics along with the backing track that they'd recorded together less than 24 hours earlier. Darren smiled slightly as he took in the blissful expression on Chris's face as he simulated a look of love and longing that perfectly summed up how his character Kurt was feeling as he watched his boyfriend Blaine Anderson completely in his element performing a heartfelt ballad to the love of his life. Darren felt a familiar warming sensation in his gut as he allowed himself a moment to bask in the glow of the love reflected in Chris's eyes. Or was the love simply the work of good acting, a sign of Chris playing the role of Kurt, love-sick teen? It was always hard for Darren to tell. Darren and Chris were best friends and shared a natural, relaxed, and easy chemistry, onstage and off. Lea and Ashley often teased Chris and Darren about their "mutual admiration society" and the girls weren't wrong in their assertion that Chris and Darren cared about and respected one another in a way that defied easy labels. Obviously, Blaine and Kurt were in a more clearly defined romantic relationship on the show, having said "I love you" to one another during the Season 2 finale episode, while the relationship that Chris and Darren shared was a bit harder to pin down.
FLASHBACK – FILMING OF GLEE EPISODE 2X16 "ORIGINAL SONG"
The line between Blaine/Kurt and Darren/Chris had first started to blur when they filmed their first kissing scene together last season. Chris had expected that the kiss would be fairly chaste and had been rather blasé about the whole filming process, given that he was old hat at filming kissing scenes, having filmed previous kissing scenes with Heather Morris and Max Adler. But Darren had arrived on set that day a ball of manic energy, nearly jumping up and down in excitement to begin filming. Chris knew that Darren was extremely comfortable with his sexuality and so he hadn't really anticipated that there would be a lot of awkwardness there, but he also hadn't been expecting Darren to show such anticipation and enthusiasm for the kissing scene either. They'd spent hours rehearsing and filming the kiss and the scene leading up to it and throughout the filming, Chris just couldn't get over how much Darren seemed to put into every take. Chris had felt bowled over and weak in the knees from the very first take by the pure passion that Darren infused into each kiss. Chris found his body responding in ways that he'd not expected to experience while filming a kissing scene, a process that tends to be clinical, rehearsed, technical, any anything BUT romantic.
At first, Chris had been all too ready to chock up his reaction to the fact that for the first time, he was filming a kissing scene with a guy who he found physically attractive. No offense to Max, but Chris wasn't lying when he'd said that Karofsky wasn't exactly his type physically. Plus, everything about that scene had been played as violent and the very opposite of romantic, leaving no room for Chris to enjoy the kiss or the experience, despite knowing that the reaction from fans of the show about this particular plot point would be very passionate. Similarly, while Heather Morris was a quite attractive girl and a good kisser, she was still female, meaning that Chris just wasn't particularly attracted to her. Plus, Chris had been filming his first kissing scene at the time and was nervous and giggly throughout the experience which didn't lend itself to a strong physical reaction.
But the scene with Darren had been different from the start. Just the line leading up to the kiss with Darren saying, "You move me, Kurt," had been enough to send shivers of delicious anticipation up Chris's spine. The character of Kurt was all wide-eyed innocence during this scene, with Kurt scarcely believing his good fortune that Blaine, Kurt's dream guy, wants HIM. Yet Chris found himself struggling to hold back, to make the kiss tentative and sweet as he knew Kurt would likely kiss Blaine for the first time when all Chris could think about doing was deepening the kiss, sucking Darren's bottom lip into his mouth while pulling their bodies closer together, needing, wanting, and tasting.
But while Chris had taken all these factors into account and had reluctantly held back as he kissed Darren, trying as hard as possible to kiss Darren as he knew Kurt would, rather than how he wished he could, Darren seemed to be unwilling or unable to hold back. From the very first kiss, Darren's body responded, pulling Chris's face closer to his, pressing a firm hand to the small of Chris's back as he deepened the kiss, his tongue experimentally delving into Chris's mouth. It had not exactly been the very PG kiss they'd rehearsed and blocked earlier, to put it mildly. Chris found himself fighting back a groan in Darren's mouth as he felt his Darren's tongue plunge further while Darren softly nibbled at Chris's bottom lip. The sensation had been immediate, electric, delicious, and unfortunately all too brief. They pulled away on cue and suddenly it wasn't Darren in front of him but Blaine once again, looking away shyly before tossing off his line. "Uhh, we should...we should practice."
Chris paused for just a second too long before delivering his next line, his thoughts racing as he took in the small, private smile Darren gave him as he pulled away from the kiss, his cheeks and neck slightly flushed and his eyes shifting rapidly back and forth between Chris's eyes and lips involuntarily. "I thought we were," Chris gasped out dizzily, his body immediately leaning in for the second kiss.
"Cut," called Bradley, their director for the episode, just as Chris and Darren went in for the second kiss. There was a brief stutter of a moment before both actors pulled away reluctantly from the second kiss. Chris could feel his cheeks burning as he pulled back, feeling Darren's eyes on him before he even pulled away.
"Chris? Next time, can you be a little quicker on your next line? You paused just a little too long on this take," Bradley explained. "Okay, let's set up to go again. We'll take it from Blaine's "you move me" line. Set back to one."
Chris nodded, his face feeling as if it was flaming now as he reset for the next shot, shifting his chair back to its original position and returning his hands to gluing sequins to Pavarotti's tiny casket. Darren caught his eye as he moved back to his original position while a hair and makeup person quickly straightened Darren's tie and smoothed down a wayward curl. Chris was amused to see that Darren was smirking slightly as he looked at Chris, a knowing look at his eyes that hinted at the fact that Darren was very aware of the effect of his kisss. Darren chuckled softly to himself, his eyes subconsciously slipping to look at Chris's lips again, noticing the slightly swollen bottom lip that had been between Darren's teeth only minutes earlier.
Chris took a deep breath and shook his head, trying to regain his composure. "Not cool, Darren. Not cool, dude," he muttered under his breath, loud enough for Darren to hear him but quiet enough that the crew milling around the set wouldn't hear what he had to say.
Darren raised his eyebrows in mock confusion. "Me? I didn't do anything," he said innocently. "You are the one that flubbed the line, Chris. If I didn't know better, I'd say you were doing it on purpose to get a few extra takes in."
Chris rolled his eyes. "Right...that was totally the blocking we rehearsed earlier," he stated sarcastically.
"Hey, you know I like to improvise. Plus, you didn't seem to mind it a minute ago," Darren all but purred to Chris softly. "But if you can't handle it, I can always go a little easier on you. For your sake, that is." Darren teased, the look in his eyes making it clear that the last thing on earth he wanted was to back off on the kiss.
"Really, Darren? Oh, it is on. Bring it. How do we decide the winner?" asked Chris intensely. He may not have been able to break Darren on the Glee Live tour despite doing everything in his arsenal to get Darren to laugh on stage, but this...this he could win. Darren and Chris still hadn't reached a consensus on who'd won the Glee Live bet. Chris had declared it a tie as neither actor had officially broken character on stage while Darren insisted he'd won the bet, taking Chris's swoon and dive roll across the stage as evidence enough that he'd gotten to Chris with the unscripted Klaine kiss during the Glee Live show in Dublin. Chris swore up and down that his dive roll across the stage was intentional, a tribute to Lauren Lopez's take on Draco Malfoy from AVPM as well as a last ditch effort to break Darren, to find something that would force him to crack a chuckle, but Darren wasn't buying it.
"Hmm, first person to get the other one to flub a line? I mean, I've already done it to you once so I'm one for one, but we won't count that since we hadn't officially declared the competition started," Darren answered cockily.
"Wow Darren, you really think that highly of your kissing skills, don't you? It's a deal. We need some ground rules though. You can't do something weird and completely off script like sticking your tongue in my ear. The rule is that we have to stick to the basics of the blocking, but can still use our...other skills within reason. Deal?" asked Chris, feeling a thrum of pleasure spread through his body at the thought of what he'd could do to Darren's mouth to get a reaction.
"Ear, huh? Interesting... Didn't know that was a turn-on for you. I'll have to file that away for further reference," said Darren cheekily. "Yeah, it's a deal. Bring it, Colfer."
Chris grinned up at Darren, his mind racing with the things he wanted to do to Darren's lips.
Chris and Darren were interrupted from their plotting and scheming by the sound of Bradley's voice. "Alright guys, we're set for the next take. Darren, we'll take it from your line. Quiet on the set. Roll camera, marker, and 3-2-1..."
Darren grinned at the thought of their blissful afternoon spent filming the rest of the scene. Technically, the bet had ended in another draw as both actors had somehow managed to choke out their lines in between passionate kissing. Darren had never had to concentrate so hard in his life to say a simple sentence of dialogue. Chris had really brought his "A" game. The things that boy could do with his tongue...well, he wasn't sure if they were even legal. But the kiss had done nothing to help Darren sort out his feelings for Chris, but had only confused him more. Darren found that his body responded to Chris in a very physical, tangible way. He just wasn't sure exactly what that meant, for him and for Chris.
The kissing scene that day had also opened up a world of new possibilities to Chris as well. Darren had been a very affectionate and physical individual from day one. It was one of the things Chris found most endearing about Darren. Darren never sat still for longer than a minute anyways, always finding excuses to pat a friend on the knee or bump shoulders or even lean in and rest his head against his friend's shoulder like it was the most natural thing in the world.. But something about the line they'd crossed that day while filming the kissing scene had opened up a new world of possibilities to Darren and Chris, physically speaking. Suddenly, pats on the knee became holding hands as they wandered the set halls together. A gentle shoulder bump became Darren resting Chris's head in his lap while Chris napped in their shared trailer. Darren seemed to find every excuse possible to be physically close to Chris, his body always responding automatically to the feel of Chris's warm hand in his, to the sensation of brushing a gentle hand through Chris's silky smooth hair, or to the warm weight of Chris's body as it rested in Darren's arms.
Darren cherished the moments that he spent physically close to Chris, and marveled at the sensation at how well his body seemed to fit to Chris's. But there was no guidebook for dummies that could outline the proper protocol for how a heterosexual male should handle having a crush on his gay best friend. This was especially hard given that most days, Darren wanted nothing more than to take Chris in his arms, kiss him senseless, and walk away from the media spotlight, at least briefly, so that Darren could work out his feelings for Chris away from the three-ring media circus that would likely result from even the smallest of hints about what seemed to be developing on set between Chris and Darren.
Darren's thoughts were racings, his mind working overtime as he continued to perform his solo on autopilot. "You say go slow. I fall behind," Chris sang in response, his light blue eyes wide and bright as he walked deliberately towards the center of the stage.
On cue, Darren jumped lightly from the balcony platform to the small bridge across the stage, his hands reaching towards Chris as he sang his line, "the drum beats out of time." Chris was closer now, standing center stage on a slightly elevated platform just below Darren, gazing up at him in adoration with a look that was equal parts Kurt and Chris as they began to sing the chorus together, their voices blending in perfect harmony.
"If you're lost, you can look and you will find me, time after time," Darren sang in unison with Chris as he slowly walked across the bridge, never taking his eyes off of Chris as he allowed the longing of the song to pull him forward.
"If you fall, I will catch you, I'll be waiting," Chris continued, watching as Darren reached the end of the bridge before executing a small hop meant to carry him to the center platform, landing him mere feet from Chris, both of them on equal footing as they sang the last line together. "Time after time."
The scene had been painstakingly blocked by Zach and Brooke to make the most of the vast new set. The idea was that Kurt and Blaine were shifting constantly throughout this duet, both casually unseating the other as they struggled to find equal ground, coming together by the song's end and singing in unison "time after time" as the lyrics echoed their dedication to one another.
This time, however, Chris and Darren did not end on equal ground as they had so many times before. Instead, Darren slightly overshot his landing, the force of his hop sending him just past the edge of the center platform on which Chris currently stood. In the half second it took Darren to realize that he'd jumped too far, he was able to register the pain that was to come. Below the center stage platform lay a sharp drop off of nearly six feet that led to the lowest level of the stage. But Darren scarcely had time to react to what was happening to him before the moment was upon him. Darren tried and failed to get his legs underneath him before he hit the lowest level of the stage, his right leg striking the unforgiving wooden floor at an awkward angle as his body was forcefully slammed into the stage, sending him harshly to the ground as his limbs crumpled beneath him.
End Chapter Note: One of the reasons I finally waded in and decided to attempt writing CrissColfer RPF is that I'm really enjoying trying to capture in writing the undefinable relationship that exists between Chris and Darren. To me, it appears to be more than a friendship but not as simple or clear cut as a traditional romantic relationship (in part given that Chris identifies himself as homosexual while Darren identifies himself as heterosexual). I think a lot of what seems to draw people not only to their relationship on screen but also to their relationship in real life is the rarity with which you see same sex best friends of opposite sexual orientations who are so comfortable with each other on a physical and emotional level and share such intimacy and chemistry without feeling the need to justify, explain, or define it to anyone else.
With that in mind, I heavily ship Criss/Colfer but try to ground my stories in reality as much as possible. Because in real life, there are obstacles to any relationship and the Criss/Colfer relationship is no exception. I hope to deal with some of these roadblocks in upcoming chapters, focusing on the media speculation, Darren and Chris's desire for privacy, and the extent to which a real relationship between the two of them might have the tendency to distract from the acting work they are currently doing as the characters of Kurt and Blaine.