Media: Fic

Title: To Fly. Oh, to Sing. (Within the Blue of Your Eyes)

Rating: R

Pairings: Kurt/Blaine, omc/ofc

Spoilers: none (AU)

Warnings: Foul language, mentions of past bullying, brief descriptions of panic, sexytimes

Word Count: ~13,000 (split into 3 parts for your convenience!)

Summary: Blaine Anderson had been alone back home in Seattle, with only his older brother for real friendship. But now he's in New York. His fresh start. And god, is that boy across the coffee shop hot.

A/N: This is sort of a companion piece to Tell Me Where All Past Years Are. It's set in New York this time and follows the missing seven months of Kurt and Blaine's relationship that Blaine didn't tell his brother about. It's a bit different from that story, I think. The style is different. It's told from Blaine's POV instead of an OC's, and it spans only a few months rather than approximately 25 years, so I suppose that's to be expected.

It's also pretty frickin' fluffy.

Title comes from a translation of the song "Volare," by Domenico Modugno, using only my own rudimentary knowledge of Italian.

Blaine Anderson needed a break. He was just over a month and a half into his first semester at NYU and was starting to wonder if he'd bitten off more than he could chew. Maybe he shouldn't have taken that MAP class marked "Writing Intensive." Especially not when he was taking Stats and Lit, too. God, what had he gotten himself into?

So, in an attempt to distract himself, he looked around the drab cinderblock walls of his dorm room and frowned. It wasn't the sort of place that really encouraged critical thinking. He'd tried to spice it up a bit with posters of his favorite bands and pictures of his family, and he'd kind of succeeded, but his roommate, a chem major named Tom Wang, had just about zero sense of aesthetic and had left his half of the room barren. It sort of ruined the "homey vibe" that Blaine had been going for.

And at that moment, Blaine just didn't give a shit about what the soul was, or whether he was a plum or an onion. Descartes could go screw himself. So Blaine saved the document on his computer (trying to ignore that he was still two thousand words short and that the paper was due in four days) and let himself fall to the left from his desk chair and on to the bed. Rolling over to his side, he looked at the picture of himself and his siblings that he'd taped up right next to his pillow. It had been taken in his backyard back home in Seattle a few weeks before he'd left for school. Ollie was leaning against the trampoline and looking at the camera, his longish hair pulled into a weird sort of bun, and his "beardish thing," as their mother called it was pulled up the way that meant he was truly smiling. Blaine sat on the spring cover right next to him, looking totally preppy with his slicked back hair and polo. Addie was jumping behind them, her long and curly hair almost obscuring her face as she flew. A few seconds after their father had snapped the shot, she'd pounced on Blaine and made him fall into one of the puddles that never drained because hello it was Seattle.

Oh, god, now he was getting nostalgic. He needed to get out of this room. If he didn't, he knew he'd just call Ollie and then everything would come out: he didn't really have any friends yet, his classes were harder than he'd expected, and New York was so much bigger than Seattle and it was just so unnerving sometimes and he just wasn't sure if he really belonged here. Wasn't this supposed to be his fresh start? Where he could go and be someone else without really being someone he wasn't because people didn't know him here? He wasn't The Fag or That Fairy Kid here. He was just Blaine Anderson, caffeine addicted Seattleite who didn't use an umbrella when it rained because no one did that back home. But if he was just Blaine Anderson, Seattleite, here, then why did he still feel like an outcast? Ollie didn't need to hear that.

Blaine needed to get OUT.

Five minutes later he was standing on the sidewalk of University Pl. outside the door to his dorm. Now what? South would just take him to Washington Square Park, and while he loved it because he could hide in the trees and almost pretend he was home (except not really because none of these were douglas firs or ponderosa pines), he needed somewhere new. So he turned to the right and wandered on. His feet carried him past cross street after cross street. He considered stopping into Le Pain Quotidien for a pastry of some sort, but he remembered how expensive it was and could almost hear his dad telling him that fiscal responsibility is of the utmost importance, Blaine; remember that and maybe you won't end up living in a complete dive like your brother. Blaine rolled his eyes at his head-dad. Ollie and Frankie's place wasn't that bad. Kind of.

He stopped halfway between 11th and 12th street next to some Asian grill. What was he doing? Where was he going? He looked around and saw a smallish coffee place across the street. Quickly glancing to his left for oncoming traffic, he dashed to the opposite sidewalk and tried to peer into the window of the place without looking like he was. He'd never heard of this place. But today was the day Blaine Anderson did new things because this was his fresh start, and damned if he was going to let it slip by. So he opened the door (it looked sort of like it belonged on a blue barn) and god did it smell heavenly. Blaine considered himself a bit of a coffee connoisseur at this point, and most of the places he'd been to around New York just didn't brew it up to snuff. Sure there were a hundred Starbucks everywhere, but he'd always been more of Tully's fan, and he was pretty sure they hadn't made it out back east yet.

Blaine could see himself liking this place. It had that sort Capitol Hill vibe, like maybe he could have a little bit of home without drowning in it. So he ordered himself a small drip and sat down at one of the tables in front of the exposed brick wall, wishing he'd brought a book or something so he didn't look so awkward just sitting there. He'd always brought a book everywhere back home.

Books had always been an escape for Blaine. He could loose himself in another world for a few hours and forget about the kids at school. He could relate to characters any way he wanted. If he was feeling sad, he'd pick up Frankenstein and feel so sorry for the creature. If he was annoyed with everything, Holden Caulfield was there to be annoyed alongside him him. If the world was really just too much, the fantasylands of Narnia and Middle Earth let him leave it. And if he was heartsick, Jane Austen would make him smile for a while—then he'd just get sad, because damnit, why were Colonel Brandon and Mr. Darcy straight? But still, he always felt better after an hour or so lost in those beautiful words. It was a catharsis.

Blaine looked up from his coffee and glanced around, hoping a stray copy of the most recent Vogue might be somewhere. It didn't appear so. But he was glad he looked up, because seeing that that boy on the other side of the shop was alone too made Blaine feel a bit better. At least this stranger had brought a book, though—his face hidden by the back cover. Now if only Blaine could see the title.

It was as though the stranger had heard his thought, because just a second later, he shifted slightly and Blaine saw As I Lay Dying printed across the cover. Faulkner. Impressive. Blaine nodded to himself in approval and looked more closely at the boy holding the book.

Holy Mother of God.

They did not make guys like this in Seattle. Sure, Blaine had seen attractive guys when he and Ollie would go busking on Capitol Hill, but they were usually with another guy. Or girl.

But this one. His skin was like porcelain and his hair was swept up off his face with just the right amount of body (Blaine appreciated good hair; he knew how stubborn it could be). It was his clothes that really caught Blaine's eye, though: a black button-up under a gray waistcoat, and tight black jeans tucked into white Doc Martins. The guy knew how to dress to impress, that was for sure. And he was reading Faulkner, for Christ's sake.

Blaine stood up before he realized what he was doing. He was halfway out of his seat when his movement must have caught the attractive stranger's attention. Their eyes met, and Blaine froze, awkwardly hunched in a half-sitting/half-standing position. Blaine cursed himself for having been caught staring, but let himself offer the stranger a small smile. The boy had tilted his head slightly and cocked an eyebrow at Blaine. Somehow Blaine couldn't tell if the look was scornful or amused. Maybe it was both. God Blaine probably looked like an idiot right now, still sort of crouched over his table with a dumb little smile and still just staring. He could feel his face get a bit warm, and he broke eye contact to look down at his coffee and stand up fully. He should really just leave before he made an even bigger fool of himself. That paper still needed writing, after all.

Blaine picked up his cup and turned to leave the shop, but something stopped him. This guy was really, really hot, and he had the perfect conversation starter clutched right in his hands. So Blaine turned again. The boy was still watching him with that odd look on his face, but damnit this was his fresh start and he had to learn how to really flirt sometime. Why not now? So Blaine put on a more charming smile and approached the boy's table.

The boy's other brow shot up as well, leaving him looking a little like that deer Blaine's dad had hit outside Sunriver during that family ski-trip to Oregon. Bad thoughts. No. So he pushed all gruesome memories aside and nodded to the empty chair.

"Is anyone sitting here?" he asked. The boy shook his head slowly and marked his page before setting the book down.

"No," he replied. His voice was higher than most and had a clear purity to it that made Blaine's stomach flutter. "I was waiting for my friend, but she's almost a half-hour late and isn't responding to my texts, so—have a seat, I guess?"

Blaine hesitated a second before pulling out the chair and sitting down. The other boy's eyes were really blue—like, the same color that Mt. Rainier looked on a clear day back home. Blaine bit the inside of his bottom lip for a second before smiling his charming smile again and holding out his hand.

"I'm Blaine, by the way."

"Kurt," the other boy said, taking the offered hand and turning the corner of his mouth up in what Blaine hoped might be a smile.

"Kurt," Blaine said, trying the name out on his tongue. He liked it. As a sort-of-musician, Blaine had an appreciation for sounds. Kurt was staccato. It was short, and had a definite stop. Blaine was about to say something along those lines when his inner book-nerd caught up with him and made its presence known before he could stop it. "Like Vonnegut?"

Blaine cringed internally, but Kurt just laughed, a tinkling sound that Blaine decided he also liked.

"No, like Hummel. Kurt Hummel," he said and took a sip of his coffee. "But I must say, that I wasn't expecting you to pull out hipster book references less than five minutes into our conversation."

"I'm not a hipster."

"Isn't that what they all say? So you're not going to make some obscure Slaughterhouse-Five reference now?" he asked, eyebrow back in an arch.

Blaine snorted. "No," he replied, "I don't even like that book. Non-linear narrative is kind of pretentious. I don't even know why that came out of my mouth; I'm not really a Vonnegut fan, but you have to admit Cat's Cradle was okay."

"I've never read any Vonnegut," Kurt said with a teasing smile. Blaine blushed.

"Oh, I'm sorry," Blaine said, gesturing vaguely to the book between them on the table. "I just saw your book, and I got excited."

"My book?" Kurt asked, seeming a bit startled and looking down. Then it was his turn to blush. "Oh, this. To be honest, I'm only reading it to seem a bit impressive. I have no idea what's happening."

"Now who's the hipster?" Blaine asked, again wanting to smack himself as soon as he said it. He didn't even know this Kurt. But something about him made him want to. "But seriously, if you're not getting this, then never try The Sound and the Fury. It's, like, a hundred times worse. I'm not helping my non-hipsterdom case, am I?" he added. Kurt shook his head. Blaine sighed and covered his face with his hands. God what was wrong with him?

"Nothing's wrong with you," came Kurt's voice, and Blaine's entire body stiffened.

"Did I say that out loud?" he asked. Kurt just smiled back at him, blue eyes narrowed in amusement. Blaine's heart sunk. That would teach him to take a chance ever again. "Okay, I think I've embarrassed myself enough for one day. It was nice meeting you Kurt." And then he made to stand up, intending to go back to his dorm and not resurface for at least a week, only to have a softsoftsoft hand grab his wrist.

"Oh, no! Please don't go. You'll have to forgive me," Kurt said, "I'm not used to boys approaching me." There was something sad and sincere in Kurt's voice that made Blaine sit back down and start fiddling with the lid of his coffee. There was an awkward silence for a moment and then a soft, "Why did you come over here?"

Blaine looked up at Kurt's face and saw that his brows were slightly furrowed, and his eyes guarded. Blaine bit his lip again and shrugged.

"Because New York is my new start and I think you're gorgeous and you were reading Faulkner and I thought that might give me something to talk about so I didn't turn into a rambling idiot like I am now."

It was silent again for a while before Kurt said, "New York is my new start, too," and gave Blaine another smile. This one was the first one, Blaine noticed, that reached his eyes, which had a new sort of softness to them. So he smiled back, a real smile. "So, I guess you like books?"

Blaine laughed, nodding, "I'm an English major."

They talked for a while longer, a little awkward, but nonetheless enjoyable, until Kurt's phone rang, sliding along the table a ways from the vibration.

"I'm sorry, I have to take this. But don't you dare leave," he apologized, and Blaine waved him off and glanced around the shop, not wanting to seem like he was eavesdropping. He totally was.

"Rachel! Where in the world are you? You're almost an hour—…I'm at the coffee shop you told me to meet you at. What do you mean, 'No, you're not?' Gray Dog's Coffee. Right on University Place…Yes, there's one on University Place! I assumed that that was the one you meant…Why would I think to go to the one in Chelsea when you asked me to come and there was one within walking distance of your campus? …Rachel, I can't deal with your crazy right now. I love you, but I have to go…For your information, I'm talking with a lovely young man I just met."

Blaine perked up at that comment, and thought he heard a squeal from the other end of the line.

"No, Rachel, I just met him. I'm hanging up now. Yes. Okay. I love you, too. Okay. Goodbye, Rachel."

Blaine turned to look back at Kurt when he heard the phone clatter back to the table. Kurt's expression was nothing short of frazzled.

"I'm sorry about that," he said. "She's my best friend but she's just made of pure crazy."

"'Sometimes I think it aint non of us pure crazy and aint none of pure sane until the balance of us talks him that-a-way.'"

Kurt just gave him a blank look and Blaine was actually going to punch himself this time, he was really going to do it, when Kurt blinked and pointed at the book on the table.

"That's from this isn't it?" he asked. Blaine smiled sheepishly. "I think I remember that." And as he stared at the dust cover in something like wonder, Blaine let himself blurt out what he'd been wanting to since about two minutes into their conversation.

"Kurt, would you like to go get dinner sometime?"

Kurt looked up with his mouth slightly open, and Blaine felt his own suddenly go dry.

"Are you asking me out?"

"Yes? I mean if you don't want to—"

"I'd like that."

"Okay."

And so they exchanged numbers and decided to just meet back at the Vietnamese place across the street at seven o'clock that same night. Blaine had to excuse himself shortly after under the pretense of trying to get some more writing on his paper done when really he just wanted to shower and try and pick out an impressive outfit for the evening. When he stood up, Kurt stood as well, and they did an awkward little dance before settling on a brief hug and shy, "See you later"s.

Blaine burst into his dorm room fifteen minutes later, causing Tom, who had apparently resurfaced from doing whatever science majors do, to jump and drop a glass-something to the linoleum floor. Great. Blaine shrugged off his cardigan and started scrambling around to gather his shower supplies. Thank god his floor had private bathrooms. He had just tossed his jeans into the hamper at the foot of his bed and was reaching onto a shelf for his face wash when Tom showed the most emotion Blaine had ever seen from him.

"Jesus, Blaine. What the hell's gotten into you?" he asked. Blaine, who had become accustomed to the simple and monotone what up?s and see yas, actually stopped to look at his roommate. Tom was just standing over the shattered whatever-it-was, hands out and palms to the ceiling, wearing the most startled and confused expression Blaine had seen in at least two years. Not since Addie had opened that giant old television box from him and Ollie a few Christmases ago to find a couple hundred tampons and nothing else. "Is there a fire, or something?"

"Did you just make a joke?"

"No. I'm serious. What's going on?"

"I have a date."

Tom just stared at him. Why didn't he get it? Blaine had a date. With a hot boy he might actually like.

"Okay?" Tom said slowly, like he might be addressing a dim child. "That doesn't explain why you came blasting in here and now you're just like standing there in your underwear."

"Yes it does!" Blaine half yelled. And now a slight panic was starting to set in. It settled at the bottom of his chest then bubbled hot into the pit of his stomach and up into his lungs. His vision narrowed and he was having trouble breathing. The hand holding his face wash began to tremble slightly, and his knees were suddenly a little weak. He collapsed into his desk chair and tried to get his breathing under control. "Yes it does!" he continued. "I've never been a real date with a hot guy who I could end up liking before."

"Okay, well. I'm not the gay dating guru. Maybe you should call your brother? Don't you usually talk about this stuff with him?"

"No, I can't call Ollie." Seriously. That would end in nothing but merciless teasing—which was exactly the opposite of what Blaine needed right now.

"Right. So. You look like you were gonna take a shower. So I'm gonna clean up this flask you made me drop, and then I'm gonna leave. Because I don't know what to do with you right now."

Blaine nodded, standing up and grabbing the towel off the back of his chair.

"Watch your feet," Tom said, and Blaine tiptoed to the bathroom. "And Blaine, it's gonna be okay, okay?"

Oddly enough, Tom's ineloquent attempt at comfort actually succeeded in calming Blaine down. By the time he was on the repeat step in his shampooing, his hands had stopped trembling enough that he wasn't getting soap in his eyes anymore. Blaine's thoughts had slowly morphed from what the hell did I do? to he agreed to go out, that has to count for something.

That tiny, tiny grain of positive thought got Blaine through the next four hours—a good half of which he spent rummaging through his drawers for something stylish but still him. It wasn't an easy feat, because despite Blaine's affection for high fashion mags, he didn't consider himself particularly fashionable. Ollie often told him he looked like he'd stepped out of a '50s black-and-white. Addie just called him an old man. Whatever his style was, it wasn't right for a first date. So Blaine put on his khakis and took off his khakis and put on his blue jeans then took them off too and finally settled on his pair of black jeans. Black was always chic, right? And his fitted green polo would bring out the green in his eyes or something, right? Top it off with his black cardigan and it might be passable. The full-length mirror on his closet door told him it wasn't exactly "fashionable," but it wasn't old man, either. Good enough.

Blaine arrived at the restaurant a few minutes early, but when he walked in, he saw that Kurt was already sitting at a table set for two. Blaine took a moment just to take in what he saw. Kurt had changed too, and those tight red pants were absolutely sinful. It made a nice contrast with the purity of his otherwise all-white outfit. At that moment, Kurt bent to the side in his chair to fish around in the bag next to him, and Blaine noticed just how fabulous an ass Kurt had.

A second of ass appreciation later, Blaine headed over to where Kurt sat. They shared somewhat shy hellos, and then, much to Blaine's surprise, Kurt presented him with a small pink carnation—far from a perfect blossom, but Blaine's stomach fluttered nonetheless.

"You got me a flower?" Blaine asked quietly, twirling the short stem between his fingers. "You're making me look bad, Kurt. You show me up in those clothes and now you're out-romancing me."

"Oh, hush," Kurt replied with a wave of his hand, but his rosy cheeks were a tad darker. "It was just sitting in a planter that I passed on the sidewalk on the way here."

"Well either way, thank you. A boy's never given me a flower before." And one hadn't. He and Tyler hadn't given each other flowers before the ill-fated Sadie's Hawkins. Kurt smiled and they dissolved into an easy banter.

It was nice talking to Kurt. Where Blaine was somewhat soft spoken and polite, Kurt was genuine and spoke his mind. His dry wit made Blaine laugh, and Blaine's enthusiasm made Kurt laugh, as well. They talked about school (Kurt went to FIT. That explained a lot). They talked about parents and step-parents and siblings and step-siblings. They talked about Seattle and the small city in Ohio that Kurt hailed from. They talked about Vogue and music and musicals. Kurt was delighted to hear that Blaine could play the guitar, and Blaine found Kurt's countertenor range quite impressive. Blaine again tried to convince Kurt that he wasn't a hipster, to which Kurt replied that he realized you weren't just pretending to like books to impress me when you quoted that line and then looked like you wanted to hit your face onto the table from embarrassment. They talked loosely about having to go see The Book of Mormon sometime, and Blaine could feel the butterflies in his stomach trying to fly up his throat at the thought that a second date just seemed to be a given.

Blaine wanted that second date. He wanted a third and fourth and too many to count. He and Kurt just seemed to mesh. He wouldn't go so far as to say that they were cut from the cloth (Kurt seemed like silk chiffon—expensive and delicate, but sort of fussy—while Blaine thought maybe he himself was just cotton—soft, comfortable, and people-pleasing, if a bit plain. But cotton went with everything, right?), but definitely from compatible cloths. They just worked. At least, he thought they did. And he hoped with all his might that Kurt thought so, too.

He remembered something Ollie had said to him the Christmas after he'd started dating Frankie. That they'd just had lunch and I knew, man. I just fucking knew, you know? Blaine hadn't known at the time, but he thought he might now.

And before he knew it, it was two hours later and he and Kurt had left the restaurant but Blaine didn't want to say goodbye yet, and judging by the fact that Kurt seemed to be hovering ever so slightly, Blaine wasn't the only one. So he held his hand out and Kurt took it with a small smile.

"Mr. Hummel, would you care to accompany me on a walk?"

"I would indeed, Mr. Anderson."

So they strolled down University Pl. to Washington Square Park and found themselves a spot on a bench near the chess tables. Blaine shivered a little in the cool October air, and was pleasantly surprised to feel Kurt press their sides together. They sat like that, hands still clasped, in a comfortable silence as they watched the other people in the park. Every now and then a loud and clearly drunk undergrad would stumble by, Kurt would make disparaging little comments about his or her "trashy party chic," and Blaine would laugh and squeeze his hand.

Too soon it was a quarter to 11 and they decided to say goodnight, because Kurt still had to ride the subway back to FIT and lord knows what sketchy business goes down on the 1 late at night. Blaine walked Kurt to the far end of the park and they both sort of stood there, not sure what to do. But god, Blaine really wanted to kiss this boy. He wasn't exactly sure of the modern protocol for kissing on the first date, but damn did Kurt's lips look like they'd be soft. So when Kurt reached up to adjust the carnation that he'd safety-pinned to the front of Blaine's cardigan, he took the chance.

And oh, Kurt's lips were really soft. They also weren't moving. Shit. That hot panic was starting to pool in Blaine's chest again when he heard a sharp intake of breath and felt a hand on his cheek. And then they were kissing. It was gentle, but had a weird sense of urgency that Blaine hadn't been expecting. When they pulled back, Kurt was wide-eyed and looking at Blaine with something like awe. Feeling suddenly embarrassed at how forward he'd just been, Blaine ducked his head and rubbed the back of his neck.

"Thank you for tonight," Kurt said, and Blaine looked up. Kurt was smiling, and it was reaching his eyes. Yes. "I'd like to do it again sometime. Soon. Very soon."

"I completely agree. Text me when you get back to your dorm?" Blaine asked, and when Kurt raised an eyebrow, he hastily added on, "Just so I know that some hobo didn't kill you on the subway, or something."

"Okay." And then Kurt was kissing him again. It was far too short this time, but the way that Kurt murmured goodnight against Blaine's cheek sent tingles down his spine—and to other areas, as well. The way Kurt's red pants hugged his ass and how his hips swayed as he walked away didn't help either.

They didn't actually see each other again for two weeks. Blaine had another paper for the Writing Intensive class, and Kurt had a few major tests in some of his Gen. Ed. classes. They texted and called one another though, and towards the end of those two weeks when Kurt tacked on a "3" to the end of one of his perfectly composed and grammatically correct texts, Blaine's stomach did a weird little dance. Apparently it spilled over into his feet, if the look Tom gave him was any indication.

But what did that little 3 mean? Addie put them at the end of every text she sent. Ollie used them purely sarcastically. Was this a "you're a really cool friend" 3? An "I enjoy your company and find your texts amusing" 3? Or was it what Blaine desperately hoped it was, an "I think you're awesome and I really like you" 3. If Blaine had sent it first, that's what it would have meant. Why couldn't he just read minds? That would be so much easier.

Whatever it meant, it had come at the end of a text on Thursday saying that Kurt would love to hang out tomorrow night! What were you thinking? 3 They both agreed that they were too exhausted to go and do anything so they'd ended up just hanging out and having dinner in Kurt's dorm. The bright red doors on the hall had startled Blaine, but he was even more surprised to see that Kurt's room was more along the lines of a studio apartment—but clearly meant for two people, with two single beds and desks. Kurt explained that his roommate was a graphic design major from Yonkers who went home almost every weekend and was also "painfully straight" (which Blaine supposed explained the rather large poster of a busty topless woman on one wall).

While Kurt made them some fancy sounding French chicken thing for dinner (Kurt seemed to be a Francophile. That might be difficult to explain to the very English Paul and Abigail Anderson. If it ever came to that, that is.) Blaine just sat at the tiny table in the center of the room, sipping cheap pinot noir Kurt had somehow gotten hold of to go with the chicken and listening to Kurt babble on about the first time he'd ever been to New York with his glee club in high school. It was endearing to see Kurt's eyes light up as he described breaking into the Gershwin with his friend Rachel, and then to see him double over in laughter at the memory of his fiery lesbian Latina friend scream at Rachel in Spanish after their club had failed to break the Nationals top ten.

Blaine wished that he had some fun high school stories to share, but somehow he didn't think that reading The Time Machine on the sidewalk while your older brother busked on a street corner was quite as interesting as illegally singing on a Broadway stage. Kurt had had friends in high school. Real, legitimate friends who protected him from his bullies. And for that Blaine was a little bit jealous. He'd had more friendly acquaintances in Seattle than actual friends. Tyler had been his friend, but after the dance, well, they'd drifted. Blaine's high school "friends" had given him pitying glances whenever his locker got graffiti scrawled across it, but they'd never gotten black eyes in a locker room brawl while defending his honor. It was strange, that Blaine could grow up in the closest thing to a "gay district" that Seattle had and never truly find a friend beyond his brother and his girlfriend, while Kurt came from back asswards Ohio and had everything that he did. How did any of that make sense?

"Blaine? Blaine, where are you right now?" Kurt asked from the kitchen. He looked adorable in his little gingham apron with spatula in hand, eyebrow cocked judgingly. What a bitchy face. Blaine decided he didn't like getting this face.

"Sorry," he replied. "Just thinking."

"About what?"

"Nothing important. Don't worry about it. How much longer until the chicken stuff's done?"

"It's coq au vin, Blaine, not 'chicken stuff.' And about 15 minutes."

To his credit, Kurt seemed to realize that Blaine's thoughts had wandered into darker realms than necessary for a second date, and spent the rest of the evening steering clear of discussing the past and trying to distract Blaine from his weird little funk. Blaine appreciated the effort Kurt put into trying to get him to laugh while they ate. But he especially appreciated the way that, after they'd taken a seat on Kurt's bed once the dishes were done, Kurt had lifted Blaine's wine glass from his hand and proceeded to press him into the mattress and kiss him senseless from above.

Blaine's mind went blissfully blank and for a while, the only world that existed was Kurt's face so close to his, and Kurt's lips parting, and Kurt's tongue gently sweeping against Blaine's own when Blaine took an opening to deepen it. Blaine had never made out before. But god it was good.

And when Kurt kissed Blaine goodbye around 11:30 and said, "Yes, Blaine Anderson. I'd love to be your boyfriend." Well. That was even better.

Thus began their courtship. Blaine would occasionally catch himself and Kurt doing those annoying couple-y things that tended to drive other people crazy: things like pressing their lips to the other's cheek and snapping a photo with their smartphones, or laughing at inside jokes at inappropriate times. They would explore NoHo or Chelsea while holding hands and smiling at each other like idiots. Once or twice, Blaine had simultaneously felt conflicting warm-fuzzies and self-hatred when he'd find himself kissing food or coffee or whatever from the corner of Kurt's mouth. Blaine had hoped to meet a guy he just clicked with, but he'd never pictured himself in a relationship where he'd feel comfortable doing cutesy stuff.

He had always seen himself with someone quiet and subtle and bookish. Someone like how he pictured himself. Kurt wasn't that. And Blaine liked him all the more for it. Kurt stood out where he had always attempted to hide, and more and more Blaine felt some of that unwavering confidence begin to rub off on him. He was finally getting his fresh start.

By December, Blaine wanted nothing more than to call Ollie and gush that his life seemed to going down his desired path at last. But something stopped him. Every time he picked up his phone to call home, some irrational part of his brain shouted at him that letting Ollie and Frankie and Mom and Dad know would make his relationship with Kurt so much more real and making things real meant that things could go really wrong.

Blaine knew he was being stupid. Kurt was very very real. His laugh was real. His smile was real. His life, his body, his designs, his voice, his lips, his cock. They were all real. But somehow, making Kurt Hummel's existence known to Seattle felt like a jinx. Like he was daring fate to take away his long-awaited happiness. Not to mention that if things between them did go badly, this way no one back home would be any the wiser; there wouldn't be anyone to know and Blaine could just pretend to be upset at the things he'd always been upset about.

So whenever he did talk to his brother, they kept it relatively safe: school and work and family gossip. When the subject of Winter Break came up, though, Blaine was forced to deviate from the topical comfort zone.

"What do you mean, you're not coming home?" Ollie shouted over the line. Blaine groaned and flopped back on his pillows. Kurt was sitting at Blaine's desk, sketching idly and smirking up at him now and then.

"I mean what I said. I'm staying in New York."

"But, dude, WHY? You already missed Thanksgiving; you can't miss Christmas, too. Who's going to toss street slush at Addie's head with me?"

"I don't know? Frankie?"

"Frankie can't aim worth shit."

Blaine pinched the bridge of his nose before he responded. "Look, Ollie, I'm sorry. I know I'm screwing up a bunch of traditions, but I don't want to go back to Seattle for three weeks."

"Why not?" Ollie asked, tone suddenly serious. When Blaine didn't answer, Ollie continued, "Blaine, tell me what you're thinking. I've known you for a long time. I know you've got some reason in your head for not coming home. And don't you dare feed me some bull about a workload."

Blaine took a second before saying, "I really like New York. No, let me finish. There are people here I like, and they like me back. I have friends now. Seattle beat me up. New York welcomed me. I don't want to go back." Blaine looked up briefly to see Kurt's eyes curious on him.

"Seattle didn't beat you up, Blaine. Some punk kid did."

"I know, but I just don't want to go home and get all depressed again when I'm actually happy now."

"I guess I can respect that," Ollie said. Blaine smiled. "But we're still going to miss you, man."

"I'm going to miss you guys, too. You'll have to do something really bad to Addie to make up for me not being there to help."

"I'll do my best," Ollie laughed. "Oh, I guess I gotta go, man. Frankie's saying something about our long-distance minutes." Then Blaine heard a muffled Hey, you little shit! from the other end. "Frankie says 'hi.' Say it back."

"Hi, Frankie!" Blaine called, hopefully loud enough for her hear through the receiver at Ollie's end. "I'll talk to you later, Ollie."

"Bye, bro."

Blaine hung up and dropped his phone on the desk next to his head, throwing an arm over his face. There was some shuffling from where Kurt was seated, and then Blaine felt his bed dip as his boyfriend lay down next to him and rested his head on Blaine's shoulder. He could smell Kurt's cologne and took a deep breath of the delicate woodsy musk.

"This one's your brother, right?" Kurt asked quietly. Blaine removed his arm from his eyes and saw Kurt's arm stretched in the air over him, pointing to the picture of Ollie, Blaine, and Addie in their parents' backyard.

"Yeah," Blaine nodded. Kurt hmm-ed and let his arm his fall across Blaine's chest.

"You seem very close. I wish Finn and I were that close."

"You haven't lived with Finn your whole life. Besides, I thought you said you got on fine?"

"Oh, we do!" Kurt said. "We're good friends. I love him like a brother. He looks out for me."

"Ollie's my best friend," Blaine said softly. "He looks out for me, too."

They were silent for a while as Blaine watched Kurt study the pictures on the wall, then Kurt said, "You know, with that beard your brother looks a little like the guy from That 70's Show."

"What?" Blaine asked, turning to look for himself. "He does not!"

"Sure he does!" Kurt said with a laugh. "The beard, the curly hair. It fits."

"No."

"Oh, fine. Some times you're no fun," Kurt huffed.

Now it was Blaine's turn to laugh. He pressed a kiss to Kurt's temple then whispered, "I can be plenty fun," which only earned him a smack to the chest and a bright pink blush from his boyfriend.

They just lay there for a while, cuddled against one another and enjoying the other's company. Blaine was drifting off when Kurt's voice piped up again.

"Is that your dad in the Oxford sweater?"

"Hmm? Oh yeah," Blaine said locating the picture Kurt must have been referring to. It was from that same ski trip where they'd hit the deer, and Blaine's mother and father were standing next to tandem bicycle and looking very pleased with themselves. "It's his alma mater."

Kurt lifted his head up and stared at Blaine. "Your father went to Oxford?" he asked.

"Yeah. Did I not tell you? My parents are English."

"No you did not, Blaine Anderson! This is so exciting! Where are they from?"

"Dad's from a little village in Kent, near Dover, and Mom's from Exeter. They met in London, got married, and moved to Surrey. Then Dad got a job at Microsoft and they ended up in Seattle."

"Did your mother go to Oxford, too?"

"Nah. St. Andrews."

"Wow," Kurt sighed, settling his head back on Blaine's shoulder. Then he gasped loudly and his entire body shot up. Blaine startled and stared at Kurt with wide eyes as he turned to look at him with hands over his mouth. Kurt let his hands down just enough to ask, "So does that mean you're British?"

"Um. Technically, yes. Mom and Dad wanted us all to have our citizenship."

Kurt let out a breath and Blaine began to feel a bit awkward under the intensity of his gaze. When Kurt finally spoke again, his voice was lower—that same voice he'd use when he was really turned on—and it made Blaine's stomach flutter.

"Oh, Blaine," he said. "You just got so much hotter." And then Kurt was sucking a spot on Blaine's neck. Blaine's brain nearly short-circuited and his groin stirred.

"Kurt," he gasped. "I'm not complaining, but you should know that I've oh never even been to England."

"Don't care," Kurt said against Blaine's skin. "Now I can say I have a British boyfriend. Don't even try to take that gloating chip from me."

"If this is how you treat British boyfriends, I wouldn't dream of it," Blaine said as Kurt's hand snaked up under his shirt, fingernails scratching lightly and raising goose-bumps all over Blaine's body. Kurt shifted so that he was half on top of Blaine, their legs slotted together. Blaine could feel Kurt's dick against his hip and let out a small gasp when Kurt shifted his hips and rubbed against Blaine's own.

"Where's your roommate?" he whispered in Blaine's ear, then rose up on his elbows to look Blaine in the face.

"At his friend's room in Third North. Studying or something," Blaine whispered back. Kurt gave a little smirk and kissed Blaine gently, letting his next words blow across Blaine's lips.

"When will he be back?" Kurt punctuated his question with a small grinding movement, causing Blaine to moan softly and cup his hands around Kurt's perfect ass.

"Probably around midnight," Blaine replied. Kurt glanced over at the clock on Blaine's desk and smiled.

"Almost two hours."

Blaine just hummed and leaned up to catch Kurt's lips in a kiss. His chest still did a little leap for joy every time Kurt kissed back.

Twenty minutes later found Blaine still on his back, shirt tossed somewhere on the floor next to Kurt's, and his pants halfway down his thighs as Kurt's lips worked over a different part of his anatomy.

They'd gotten off together for the first time just under a month ago, completely by accident. Blaine had been over at Kurt's for another home-cooked meal and a movie, and when the terrible action flick just got to be too much for either of them to handle, some making out. Blaine had been the one to push Kurt down this time, and his mind went blank just the same as it had the first time. Blaine wasn't even really aware that he'd been grinding his hips down into his boyfriend's until Kurt's back arched and he bit Blaine's lip particularly hard. Something about that bite had set Blaine off as well.

The aftermath had been awkward to say the least. When Blaine came to his senses, he'd scrambled off of Kurt and apologized. They talked about everything, but never really about this. Sure Blaine had thought about it, but he'd meant to bring it up in a few weeks. That's what you did when you were serious about a relationship. You waited a few months, right? So that your completely amazing boyfriend didn't think you were just interested in a convenient orgasm? God, that was the last thing Blaine wanted Kurt to think. Kurt was hot as hell, but that had sort of become an added bonus because Blaine had come to find that he genuinely liked Kurt. And now he'd lost his head and ruined it, hadn't he?

Kurt had been quick to assure him that no, it wasn't ruined and yes, he'd quite enjoyed it, too. Maybe it wasn't exactly what he had pictured getting off with another guy for the first time to be like, but he hadn't said to stop, had he? He'd gotten carried away, too, but that happens sometimes, Blaine. I promise to tell you if you're taking something too far if you do the same.

But they'd only been doing this, kissing and licking and sucking each other in this extremely intimate way for about a week. Blaine had done it to Kurt first, enjoying it not so much because of the act itself (it just tasted like salty skin, and his jaw had been sore afterwards), but because of Kurt's reactions. From the initial gasp when Blaine had first lowered his mouth over the head to the low groan and soft tug at Blaine's hair when he'd rolled Kurt's balls in his hand—that was what Blaine loved. And then a few days ago when Kurt had returned the favor for the first time, Blaine totally understood why Kurt had made all those delightful noises.

And now here they were: on Blaine's bed, Kurt's head bobbing as he sucked Blaine in earnest, and Blaine biting on the heel of his hand to keep from getting too loud. It was over much too soon. They hadn't been doing this long enough to build up much stamina, but as Kurt brought his face back up to Blaine's to kiss him as he jerked Blaine to his finish, Blaine thought it was sort of perfect.

They were each other's firsts in all this. The sometimes fumbling hands and too much spit made it real. It wasn't perfect, and so Blaine knew it wasn't a dream. And that made it perfect.

"If you say so," Kurt's voice cut through Blaine's post-orgasm haze. Blaine really needed to work on keeping his thoughts in his head. "I think it'd have been more perfect if I hadn't come in my pants. These were expensive."

As Kurt rolled off the bed and went to Blaine's closet to borrow some fresh pants, Blaine's phone buzzed and let out a little beep. Text message. Somehow he mustered up enough energy to pull up his pants then lift his arm and grab the phone. It was from Tom: hey pulling allnighter. gonna crash here 2nite. not dead. dont worry. Blaine fired back a quick okay, have fun just as Kurt reappeared wearing a pair of Blaine's jeans. They were looser than Kurt usually wore, and a bit on the short side, but some possessive part of Blaine let out a little cheer. Kurt sat down next to Blaine again and met his lips gently, and an idea niggled at the back of Blaine's mind.

"Who was that?" Kurt asked.

"Tom. He's pulling an all-nighter."

Kurt hummed and gave Blaine a small smile. "You're tired," he said. "I should get going."

"No, you should stay," Blaine said. Kurt looked like he was about to protest but Blaine cut him off. "I know for a fact that you don't have class until 1:00 tomorrow. You'll have plenty of time to get back."

Kurt's eyebrows furrowed. Yes. He was considering it. Proceed with caution. "Please, Kurt? We'll just sleep. And cuddle." Blaine put his face in what he hoped was a cute begging look, and Kurt sighed.

"Fine."

Blaine grabbed his face and kissed him, his smile getting somewhat in the way.

And cuddling really was all they did. Blaine lent Kurt some sweats and they curled up under the comforter, Kurt again resting his head on Blaine's shoulder and wrapping an arm across his stomach. Kurt fell asleep before Blaine, and as he mumbled something incoherent into Blaine's pec as he slept, Blaine came to the realization that he might be falling in love with this boy.

Falling in love means sticking together for a long time. And sticking together means that you eventually need to be introduced to The Family. Blaine still wasn't quite ready to open the can of worms that could result from telling the Anderson clan, but Kurt had apparently let slip to his own family that he was seeing someone. Blaine would have loved to meet Burt Hummel in person—to shake the hand of this man who supported his son so strongly and without question where Blaine's parents had sort of muddled nervously, but lovingly, along. But things just never went the way Blaine intended them to, did they?

Blaine would have much preferred not to meet his boyfriend's father over skype. It hadn't been too bad. Just unexpected. When they had set up the skype date, Blaine had assumed that Kurt would be in his room with some earbuds, not the living room with the volume on his laptop cranked as high as it would go. He never would have greeted Kurt with the "Hey, babe," had he known Kurt's entire family was hovering just outside the frame.

Blaine liked to prepare for major events. He'd get flustered otherwise and say dumb things. Thankfully these moments were declining in number around Kurt, but the fact that not only Kurt, but Kurt's entire family was seeing him be a bumbling idiot just made it worse. Mrs. Hummel had been sweet, offering a friendly smile that reminded Blaine a bit of Frankie. Finn was endearing in a sort of slow and innocent way. Mr. Hummel was intimidating. He didn't do much beyond greet Blaine and ask some perfunctory questions about Blaine's intent that made Kurt flush and Blaine stumble over his words, slightly. The pixilated stare didn't help, either. When they'd ended the call, Blaine had had to change his shirt, he'd been sweating so hard.

Later, over the phone, Kurt told Blaine he'd made a very good impression, and when Blaine had tried to apologize for being awkward, Kurt had reprimanded him.

"Honestly, Blaine, I don't know how you see yourself, but you're one of the most charming people I've ever met," he'd said dryly, and Blaine could almost see the eyes rolling. "You keep calling yourself a 'bumbling idiot,' but the only time I've ever seen you be anything like that was our first date. You're very smooth, most of the time."

When Blaine had responded that it was all an act, Kurt said, "Well you're the best damn actor I've ever met, then."

"I aim to please."

"I know you do."

Those four words sat, percolating in Blaine's mind into January. Kurt's tone hadn't been teasing. Instead they'd been, what? Tired? A tad bitchy? Oh god, had Kurt been giving him The Bitch Face over the phone? Somehow that was worse than getting it in person.

What had happened in that conversation to make Kurt get pissy? Hadn't he said Blaine had made a good impression on the Hummels? Kurt hadn't shown any sign of anger upon his return to New York—quite the opposite actually if that "I missed you" blowjob was anything to go by—but Blaine couldn't quite let it go.

So one Wednesday, on a not-really-date-night when they were both sitting on Kurt's bed—Blaine reading White Noise and Kurt reviewing his Econ notes—Blaine put his book down and steeled himself for what he dearly hoped wasn't going to turn into a fight.

"Kurt?"

"Hmm?"

"Kurt, can you look at me please?"

Kurt seemed taken aback by Blaine's tone, but he put his notebook down to his side and turned to face Blaine nonetheless. Blaine chewed the inside of his lip and picked at a loose thread on his trousers. Kurt's hand came to rest on top of his and Blaine looked up.

"Don't do that," Kurt said. "I like those pants on you. Now, what's wrong?"

Blaine took a breath and asked, "What did you mean when you said, 'I know you do'?"

Kurt raised an eyebrow. "You're going to have to be more specific than that."

"Over break," Blaine started, "after you skype-ambushed me with meeting your family."

Kurt blushed a bit but still looked lost.

"You told me I was charming then I said 'I aim to please' and you said 'I know you do.' And I know you meant it in another way because that was not your teasing voice, Kurt. Something about that made you give me the vocal equivalent of your Bitch Face-"

"'Bitch Face?' I beg your pard-"

"The one where you purse your lips to the side and lift your eyebrow. But seriously, what was that? Tell me what I did wrong so I don't do it again and upset you."

Kurt sighed, and his face shifted into a frustrated expression. "This," he said, gesturing vaguely towards Blaine. "This is what you did. This whole 'pleasing people' thing. Changing something about you or putting on airs so you don't upset anyone, Blaine, that's what upsets me."

"I don't understand," Blaine said, drawing his hand away from Kurt's and crossing his arms. "Do you not want me to make you happy?"

"Not if you're not being you!"

Now Blaine was even more confused. What the hell was that supposed to mean? He was him, wasn't he? Blaine Edward Anderson? How could he not be him?

Kurt put his hand on Blaine's knee and looked him dead in the eye. "I like it when you're you, Blaine. I like it when you make your pretentiously adorable literature references without realizing what you're saying. I like it when you play your guitar and sing me some cheesy Top 40 cover. That was the guy I wanted to introduce to my dad and Carole. Instead, I got Show-Blaine, who's so perfectly polite that sometimes I want to hit him to make sure he'd not a robot, because no human can be that on all the time."

"What do you want me to say, Kurt?" Blaine snapped. "That I'll try harder to be myself? How does that even make sense? That politeness comes easy, so I go with it. I like to make other people happy!"

"That's fine! But you should always try and make yourself happy first."

That hit Blaine like a punch. He'd thought he was happy—more so than back home, at least. Kurt made him happy. But, the more he thought about it, that was about it. He'd made a few friends here that he hung out with when he wasn't with Kurt. He hadn't been called any slurs since moving here. But maybe he wasn't "happy" (except when he was around Kurt, then he was definitely happy) so much as he was "not depressed."

"Blaine? What are you thinking?"

Blaine looked up into Kurt's eyes, wide and concerned and sososo blue. "I'm not sure I know how," he said, and suddenly there was a prickling behind his eyes that he tried to blink away. And then Kurt's arms were around him and Blaine rested his head on his boyfriend's shoulder.

"Well, let's think, okay?" Kurt said, rubbing small circles into Blaine's back. "What was one thing you did back in Seattle, besides reading, that was just for you? That you did just because you wanted to?"

"Busking with Ollie," Blaine said without a second thought.

"Busking? Really?"

"Yeah. We had this spot on 11th and Pike. We'd go there every Friday after dinner. We had a regular audience and everything. Made pretty good money. I used to write my own songs. Don't know why I stopped."

They were both silent for a while, Blaine just breathing in the scent of Kurt's cologne and Kurt rubbing Blaine's back.

"Well," Kurt finally said, "I think you should start again. Here. Washington Square Park. Saturdays before our dates. There are plenty of students and people there around then, and I'll even sing with you if you want me to."

Blaine looked up at Kurt again and said, "You'd do that? Give up some of date-day and sing with me?"

"Of course I would. I want to make you happy, too. And besides, you know I love to sing." Blaine hummed in agreement and buried his face back in Kurt's neck. "Did I ever tell you that I almost went to a performing arts school? I changed my mind last minute and ended up here." Blaine shook his head and traced Kurt's collarbone with his finger. "And I wouldn't really be giving up some of date-day," Kurt continued. "I'd consider singing together, or even just watching you sing, a date. And we have the night for dates, too."

Blaine kissed Kurt's neck and whispered, "Thank you."

Kurt kissed Blaine's head and whispered back, "You're welcome."

They had just been sitting there for a few minutes, cuddled against each other, when Blaine realized.

"I think I am in love with you," he said with a sense of awe.

Kurt pushed back a bit so they could look one another in the face. "You think you're in love with me?"

"Well, I'm pretty sure I am. I've never been in love before."

Kurt laughed and grabbed Blaine's face, pulling him in for a kiss. "In that case," he said, "I think I'm in love with you, too," and then Kurt's tongue was tracing Blaine's lower lip, and then Blaine was on his back (which he was beginning to notice happened quite a lot) and Kurt's hips were pressing against his own. Blaine threaded his fingers into Kurt's hair and ground his hips up, moaning a little into the kiss.

They probably would have gotten a lot friskier had Kurt's "painfully straight" roommate not walked in just then, throwing a ton of art supplies loudly down on the counter.

"Oh, shit! Sorry, Kurt. I forgot you were having him over. But I've got class at eight tomorrow morning, so I'm going to bed."

Then the roommate (Blaine couldn't remember his name right now, what with his brain all fuzzy) disappeared into the bathroom and Kurt rolled off of Blaine and onto his back with a groan. Blaine turned onto his side to face him.

"I guess I should go, then," he whispered into Kurt's ear, letting his lips brush the shell.

"Don't want you to," Kurt pouted, still facing the ceiling. "We just said we love each other. I feel like that should be followed by amazing orgasms."

Blaine smiled and let his hand drift down to Kurt's groin. He palmed there once, enough to gather that Kurt was only half-hard, then pulled his hand away as Kurt groaned again. "I promise I'll make it up to you this weekend," he said, placing a kiss at the corner of Kurt's jaw. "But for now, we both need to cool off a bit, then you can walk me to the subway station."

Twenty minutes later and Kurt and Blaine were standing in the freezing air near the steps down to the platform at 23 St., kissing goodbye softly. Blaine pulled back and tucked a stray strand of hair behind Kurt's ear.

"I should go. The C is supposed to be here in three minutes," Blaine said, his breath coming out in clouds as he made to head down the stairs.

"Wait," Kurt said, pulling him back in for one more kiss. "I love you," he breathed against Blaine's lips.

"I love you, too."

They smiled at each other until Kurt gave Blaine a gentle shove towards the stairs.

"Now you should go. And text me when you get back, so I know some hobo didn't murder you," he said with a small laugh.

Blaine was positive he had floated down the stairs to the platform rather than actually walked.

The next few weeks passed by in a happy blur. Blaine was in love with Kurt Hummel. And Kurt Hummel was in love with him. Blaine found himself oddly distracted, yet more focused than ever. He'd buckle down to get his work done up to snuff, but in less time so that he could spend more of that time with Kurt—who he was in love with—but then turned into an absent-minded klutz during free time without Kurt.

It was a little scary, that so much of Blaine's life revolved around this one person. But hadn't it been the same back home? The only difference was that Ollie was Blaine's brother and he wasn't in love with his brother. So it was a little bit scarier. Kurt could be gone one day. He could change his mind and drop Blaine, and Blaine would be crushed. He'd only ever opened himself up this much to one person, and that one person was stuck with him for life, tied by bonds of blood and somewhat overbearing parents.

But then, every time Kurt would give him that little smile, or brush a hand over his forearm, those thoughts would fly out of Blaine's mind like smoke through an open window. They'd swirl away and disappear, and Blaine knew that what he and Kurt had was real. It just had to be.

It had to be real because who would go busking with him near the Washington Square Arch when it was only 30 degrees and never once complain? Who would be crazy enough to stand there and clap so intensely when it had to be stinging his hands, or dance around in circles singing the other half of "Baby, It's Cold Outside" with him when it was really freaking cold outside? Why would someone do that if it wasn't for love?

Soon it had been a month since I Love You, and they'd gone out to as nice a dinner as two college kids could afford for Valentines Day. Blaine hadn't had enough money to buy his boyfriend a gift (the boy had expensive taste) but the single pink carnation he'd handed Kurt earned him an embarrassed smile and a kiss across the table. Kurt on the other hand, presented him with a new Marc Jacobs, Blaine, because your wardrobe is tragically designer-less sweater.

And so Blaine came to posses his first designer-anything, ever. He was touched by the sentiment, that Kurt would spend this much money on him, when he could have easily used it buy that new Dior scarf Blaine new he'd had his eye on. When he said as much, Kurt merely waved him off and said that there were millions of scarves in the world. It was odd, to be so happy that he was valued more than a piece of very expensive cloth, but Blaine had never felt more loved.

A few days after Valentine's, and a few more before Kurt turned 19, Blaine was laying on his bed reading for his Lit class while Tom was at his desk doing a lab write up. Blaine had been meaning to do something special for Kurt's birthday, something involving having the room to themselves, but he hadn't yet run it by Tom. Now was as a good a time as any. He stuck an old receipt on his page and put his book down.

"Tom?"

Tom didn't look up from his computer screen, but made that humming sound that meant he was listening.

"Are you doing anything this weekend?"

Tom still didn't look up but replied, "I don't think so. Chem test on Tuesday. Gotta study."

"Right. Okay. That's cool. Just wondering," Blaine said. Where was he supposed to go from here? He couldn't just come right out and say I need you to clear out on the 23rd because I want to try licking my boyfriend's ass and it'd be hella awkward if you were here for that, now could he?

Eyes still on his screen, Tom asked, "Are you trying to sexile me?"

Blaine's eye's bugged and he made a little choking sound. Shit, could Tom read his mind?

"'Kay, whatever. I'll crash on my buddy Kyle's couch. He's in Third North. His suitemates won't care. I'll text you on Sunday when I'm on my way back."

That Saturday night had been an adventure for both Kurt and Blaine. They'd been together in an entirely new way. Blaine's fingers had been inside Kurt, and while they'd done everything they could to make it as physically clean as possible, there was something so filthy-hot about kissing and licking Kurt there that had temporarily short-circuited Blaine's brain.

After, Kurt had said, "Ohmygod, I love you. Best birthday ever," and then he'd returned the favor. And Blaine so hadn't planned this and it wasn't even his birthday but shit. Yeah. Best birthday ever.

And then there were midterms, and they didn't even get to see each other for two weeks. During that miserable stretch, Blaine had the experience of meeting one Rachel Berry for the first time. Kurt had neglected to make introductions yet, stating that Rachel could be a bit much if not handled in small doses. Blaine thought it was a little weird, especially since Rachel and Kurt would be moving into an apartment together next year, but Kurt claimed it was for Blaine's own good. He was right.

Blaine had been back at Grey Dog's Coffee (this time with several books) sipping his usual drip and cramming for his Lit exam when a smallish brunette with a large mouth and even larger personality rapped him on the shoulder. She held out her hand and launched into an introduction before Blaine could even process what was happening.

"You're Blaine Anderson, aren't you? I'm Rachel. Rachel Berry. Kurt's best friend. I know it's you because Kurt showed me that picture of you two in his iPhone. That one where he's kissing your hand and you're all googley-eyed? That one. I've heard a lot about you. Kurt was right, you are very Gene Kelly-esqe, aren't you? Can you tap dance? Kurt told me you're a good singer, but I'm the musical theatre major, so I'll have to be the judge of that."

"Um. Yeah, I'm Blaine. Nice to meet you."

"Oh, good! Well, I've got to run. Big recitation tomorrow! We should hang out sometime. You're in Weinstein, right?" Blaine nodded. "Great. I'll get your number from Kurt and pop over some time. Nice to meet you!" She was gone as swiftly as she'd appeared, and Blaine fished his phone out of his pocket.

To: Kurt (2:53pm)

i met rachel berry. i have no idea what just happened.

From: Kurt (2:55pm)

Oh, God. I'm so sorry. Do I need to do damage control?

To: Kurt (2:56pm)

no nothing like that. she said she knew me from a pic on your phone. she's got a lot of energy.

From: Kurt (3:00pm)

Don't I know it. I promise to be there next time to buffer her for you.

From Kurt: (3:00pm)

I've got my Economics midterm in 30 min. Wish me luck?

To: Kurt (3:03pm)

of course! good luck, babe. you'll do great. i love you.

From: Kurt (3:04pm)

3

Their First Time was in mid-March, and it had been both wonderful and not wonderful at all. Wonderful because it was Kurt and Blaine loved Kurt and it wasn't perfect so it was perfect. Not wonderful because they both knew the mechanics of the deed, but neither of them really knew what they were doing. Blaine hadn't been prepped quite enough so it had hurt a bit, and no matter how good Kurt's fingers were at it, his cock couldn't quite find that spot that made Blaine toss his head back. They'd both gotten there eventually, but Kurt had apologized quietly, and Blaine could tell he was disappointed in himself.

"Hey, none of that," Blaine said, propping himself up on his elbow and brushing some hair off of Kurt's forehead. "I love you. I loved loving you. We both just need some practice, I guess."

"Practice, hm?" Kurt had asked, arching an eyebrow. "I think I can handle that." Then he'd leaned over and given Blaine a lingering but gentle kiss—in stark contrast to the clashing teeth and fighting tongues of a few minutes ago—and whispered, "and I love you, too."

So they practiced (and improved) and studied and loved. On one terrifying occasion, they fought—passionately enough that after Kurt stormed from Blaine's room, Blaine's RA had come to see if anything was broken—and hadn't spoken for four days. Blaine had spent the time moping and ignoring the texts from Rachel saying that it's hard, loving a drama queen, but you'll just have to accept it like Finn did before we broke up again. Kurt eventually caved and called to apologize, asking quietly if Blaine would come over, unless of course, he didn't want to, because Kurt would totally understand if he never wanted to see him again. Blaine had just responded with a soft, "I love you,"and ignored his sociology reading in favor of hailing a taxi to Kurt's room.

They met at the door with a tight hug, Kurt bending down slightly to press his face against the side of Blaine's neck. They shut the door eventually but just stood there, holding each other and whispering apologies and basking in the scent of the other one. Kurt eventually tilted Blaine's face up for a hesitant kiss, breathing those three little words over his boyfriend's lips, which responded with so much desire that they were both left gasping for air after a while. They made their way to the bed, this time with Blaine hovering on his hands over Kurt.

They both lost their shirts, but while Blaine was kissing down Kurt's chest and working open the zipper of his painted-on jeans, Blaine's phone rang.

"Ignore it. Please, Blaine," Kurt groaned.

Blaine sighed against Kurt's lower abdomen. "But it might be that woman calling back about the internship."

"If they want you, they'll call again," Kurt pleaded.

"At least let me check," Blaine said. Kurt made an exasperated sound, and Blaine leaned up to give him a quick peck before sitting up straight and fishing his phone out of his pocket. The screen was showing a smiling picture of a bearded young man with big letters spelling out OLLIE across the bottom.

Blaine pressed accept and snapped, "What?"

"Whoa, hey, no need to get snippy," Ollie's voice sounded a bit surprised. "I just wanted to call and let you know that Frankie and I are getting married."

"What? That's awesome! Congratulations!" Blaine said, grinning, the feeling strange because Ollie couldn't see it.

Kurt poked Blaine in the side and asked, "What's going on?" without bothering to lower his voice. Blaine shot him a look and waved wildly in his direction, hoping to convey, 'be quiet,' without having to say it.

"Do you guys know when yet?" Blaine continued, turning his attention back to the phone.

"June 2."

"June 2…wait, of this year? That's only a month away!"

"What's on June 2?" Kurt asked, voice still a bit loud and eyebrows furrowing as his propped himself up on an elbow. Blaine put a finger over his lips and shushed him. Kurt shot him The Bitch Face and Blaine glared back.

"Yeah, but we don't want to wait. Blaine, am I interrupting something?"

"Well, kind of, but this is a big deal! I mean, my brother's getting married!"

"Your brother…?" Kurt said through clenched teeth. "Blaine, give me the phone."

"What, why?" Blaine asked. Kurt made a grabbing motion toward Blaine's ear ("No! NO! Kurt!"), then raised himself up and used his very slight height advantage to pin Blaine down with his knees ("stop that! Ah, no!"), snatching the phone away before Blaine could dodge and then somehow locking Blaine's wrists with one hand above his head on the bed (Kurt, give it—!").

"This is Oliver, I presume?" He said into the receiver with a cool voice. Blaine heard some murmuring from the other end but before it could say much of anything, Kurt pounced.

"Okay, well I don't care if you are Blaine's brother or if you are getting married. You're being a major cockblock right now. As in, you calling just blocked my cock from getting sucked. So, congrats on the wedding and everything, but you can call Blaine back in the morning. His first class is at noon. Bye."

"No, Kurt, don't hang up the—!" but Kurt tapped the screen and dropped the phone to the floor. "Kurt! That was my brother!"

"I know it was," Kurt huffed. "Which is why I'm not to thrilled that you picked up when we seemed to be on the way to out first ever round of make-up sex!"

"You told him I was going to suck your cock!"

"Well you were, weren't you?"

"Yeah, but he doesn't know about us! He's going to think I'm a slut or something now!"

"So tell him," Kurt said with a shrug. "I know you've got this weird superstition that I'll leave you if you let anyone know, but I think I've proven over the last few days that I might get mad sometimes and need space, but I love you, Blaine. I'm not planning on leaving you." Then he leaned down and rested his forehead on Blaine's, watching his eyes. "I'm never saying to goodbye to you."

Blaine just stared back and slowly felt a grin creep onto his face.

"I love you, too," he said. "Now get back on your back."

Kurt lifted an eyebrow at that. "Why?"

"I thought I was going to blow you? Unless you changed your mind?"

"God, never," Kurt breathed, voice low and a little growly, then leaned in to capture Blaine's lips.

The next day, after an extremely awkward conversation with Ollie during which many topics Blaine had never wanted to discuss with his brother were discussed, Blaine had pledged that he and Kurt would be in Seattle two weeks later for a five-week stay. Kurt panicked a little about a lack of fashionable rainwear and Blaine just laughed.

"I know it's Seattle, but the summers are really beautiful. I promise."

Over the next few days, Blaine helped Kurt and Rachel move their things into their half-dumpy and extremely small new two-bedroom near the Flatiron District. Rachel's dads were helping out with the rent a bit, but Blaine had promised to pay them a couple hundred bucks for letting him use their living room as storage space for his things over the summer. Kurt and Blaine stayed in Kurt's new room for a few nights after classes ended, feeling very domestic and grown-up to be sleeping together in a bed that was actually designed for two people.

And then it was time for Blaine to go home for the first time in almost a year.

It was a six and half hour flight from JFK to SeaTac. Blaine had never been able to sleep on planes, and Kurt said that sleeping would muss up his hair. So they sat in silence most of the flight to avoid disturbing their fellow passengers who were actually attempting to sleep. Kurt was listening to his iPod and staring absently at the clouds out the window while Blaine was cradling his battered and much-loved copy of Pride and Prejudice. At some point, he'd stopped reading in favor of simply watching his boyfriend mouth the lyrics to whatever Broadway classic was playing. Kurt caught him a few minutes later.

"What are you doing?" he asked in an amused voice, pulling his earbuds out.

"I have been meditating on the very great pleasure which a pair of fine eyes in the face of a handsome man can bestow."

"That was amazingly cheesy."

"You loved it."

"I did."

Then Kurt kissed his forehead and laced their fingers together.

"I hope your family likes me," he said.

"I know my brother and sister will. And Frankie. God, Frankie will love you," Blaine laughed. "I'm not making any promises about my parents, though. They love me, I know they do, but I don't think they really know how to handle me being gay. They try so hard, though, so just go easy on the judging, okay?"

Kurt gave a small smile and nodded, leaning slightly into Blaine's side, then asking, "So, does Seattle have a nickname?"

"What do you mean?"

"Well," Kurt said, "New York is 'The City that Never Sleeps,' Paris is 'The City of Light.' What is Seattle?"

"Oh, you'll like this," Blaine said. "It's called 'The Emerald City.' Because of all the trees."

"Ooh. I do like that," Kurt sighed. "I'll have to buy myself a pair of Ruby Slippers."

Blaine laughed and the woman across the aisle from him gave him a very loud and very rude "Shhhhhh!" which just made him snicker harder.

An hour later, they'd touched down on the tarmac and pulled up to the gate. Blaine had called Ollie as they taxied to tell him which baggage claim their luggage would be on, then waited until most of the other passengers had gotten off before standing up in the aisle. As Kurt scooted across the seats to stand without hitting his head, Blaine bowed and offered his hand.

"Welcome, Mr. Hummel, to the merry ole' Land of Oz."