Alternate Title: The Three Feet Rule (Or Why Blaine Transferred to McKinley)
Full summary: Burt instates a simple rule in his house to both appease Finn and let Kurt have his sleepovers with Blaine: they can't be closer than three feet apart at night. Unfortunately, Blaine's both a sleepwalker and a cuddler. Poor Kurt.
Disclaimer: I do not own Glee or any of its characters; Ryan Murphy and Co. hold that honor. I'm simply writing this for fun, not profit.
Kurt had seen enough horror movies to know what it meant when a door creaked ominously inward at night. Rather than bolting upright and screaming hysterically, he was one step ahead of the cliche soon-to-be-murdered teenager: he rolled carefully off his bed and onto the air mattress below. Yes, he was violating the unspoken agreement that Blaine and he wouldn't sleep in the same bed together, but he knew that Burt would forgive him if it was to escape a serial killer. Blaine either slept like the dead or hadn't noticed the door creaking open. Kurt felt obligated to warn him that there was an ax-murderer around if need be. He waited in silence, listening for any signs that the intruder was coming closer and daring to wobble into a seated position to stare at the open doorway.
The empty doorway.
That's odd, he thought, clambering off the air mattress and approaching the threshold. He darted a few glances around himself to confirm that there wasn't some criminal lurking in the shadows, but there wasn't, just Blaine and him.
"Hmm," he mused, glancing back down at the air mattress where Blaine was still sleeping.
Except, Kurt saw immediately, Blaine wasn't sleeping there. The covers had been thrown into a haphazard pile, making it look like he was still there from Kurt's angle even though he was clearly missing. Padding quietly out of his room, Kurt tiptoed down the hall, intrigued.
Avoiding the carpet in the middle of the stairs, Kurt toed his way down the side, making sure not to creak on any of the steps. The living room was dark and quiet as he stepped down, nothing interesting in sight. Kurt squinted, looking for anything recognizable, and finally heard a murmur of sound coming from the kitchen. He sidled over to it, blinking owlishly in the dark, waiting for his vision to adjust. Before it could, he heard footsteps padding away in the opposite direction, followed by a trail of low murmurs.
He must have had a phone call, Kurt decided, groping blindly through the air for something that would resemble a light switch. He found it and half-blinded himself as light poured in the kitchen, his vision dotting as he blinked. There was a long shadow shambling back towards the living room, oblivious to the kitchen light. Slowly, not wanting to startle him unduly, Kurt walked back into the living room, spotting the shape pacing around immediately. There was little doubt who it was—the curly, sleep-ruffled hair was a dead giveaway, even if the height didn't already confirm it—but he didn't bat an eyelash at Kurt's presence, walking in slow circles around the couch, murmuring in a low voice.
It was then that Kurt noticed that he didn't have his cell phone or the house phone in hand, apparently speaking to nothing. Suspicion rose in him as he edged nearer, finally within grabbing range. He seized Blaine around the middle, halting him mid-stride, and it was when Blaine tried mindlessly to take another step that he realized that Blaine was sleepwalking.
"Okay, mister, back upstairs you go," he chided lightly, steering Blaine towards the staircase and giving him a little push as he darted back into the kitchen to turn off the lights. The rooms were once more plunged into total darkness, Kurt fumbling blindly around as he heard footsteps padding away from the stairs. There was a heavy thud from the other side of the kitchen and Kurt winced, hurrying over to the hallway where Blaine was sprawled on the ground. Amazingly, he didn't wake up, pulling himself sleepily to his feet and resuming his mindless trek, ignoring Kurt's presence entirely.
"Uh uh," Kurt said, grabbing Blaine around the middle before he could walk out of range. "This way."
Blaine made a small noise of protest and pawed at his hands, but Kurt was taller and stronger and managed to guide him towards the stairs again. "Up," he said, patting Blaine's hip like he was a horse. Blaine strained outward, trying to move to the left, but after much coaxing Kurt made him take the first step.
And it creaked—loudly.
Blaine didn't do anything more than stand there, staring blankly at the wall, before slowly climbing the stairs, every third one creaking. Kurt winced, hearing a door swing open from above, Finn's heavy footsteps unmistakable.
"Okay, hold on a second," Kurt whispered, stepping around Blaine and trotting upstairs. He briefly debated turning on the lights before deciding that that would only make Finn more liable to start swinging blindly. In the end, he settled on saying, "Finn, it's Kurt," from the relatively safe distance of three feet away. Finn jumped, the resultant thunk making Kurt wince as he thought about what would happen if Carole and Burt woke up. The scene was almost comical as his eyes adjusted, Finn at the top of the staircase gaping blindly down at him, Blaine turning and walking down the stairs below him.
What a mo—
Kurt hurried after him, but it was too late. Blaine had already face-planted in the carpet below.
"Dude, what are you doing up this early?" Finn asked in a whisper. "It's like three in the morning."
"Blaine's sleepwalking," Kurt replied, helping his boyfriend stagger back to his feet. "Help me out here, would you?"
Finn clambered down the stairs, not even bothering to keep the creaking to a minimum, and stood staring at the two of them for several long moments before shaking his head. "He would," was all he said as he hoisted Blaine over his shoulder in a fireman's hold and climbed back upstairs.
"Do—not—drop—him," Kurt interjected firmly, trailing behind to try and ensure Finn wouldn't. The taller boy grunted and kept walking, Blaine's head lolling on his shoulder.
At least it was an effective way to keep Blaine from wandering off, Kurt mused, as Finn walked over to his bedroom and promptly dumped Blaine on the air mattress. It let out a high wheeze of protest to the sudden weight, relaxing to its normal shape after a moment. Finn gave a triumphant grunt and asked groggily, "Need anything else?"
"I think I can handle it. Thank you, Finn."
"Uh huh." Finn tromped off, shutting the door behind him, and Kurt relaxed with a sigh back onto his own bed. He heard the air shifting around in the air mattress as Blaine moved, evidently trying to get up again.
"Go to sleep, Blaine," he told him.
Blaine shifted again, his weight tilting violently enough that he managed to roll off the mattress and climb to his feet.
"Blaine," Kurt hissed, scrambling off his covers to grab him before he could reach the door. "It's not time to wake up yet. Go back to sleep."
He wanted to wake Blaine up and tell him that he was sleepwalking and would he please stop so that Kurt could actually get some sleep, but he also remembered reading somewhere not to wake a sleepwalker. Sighing, Kurt dragged him back over to the air mattress, giving him a little push when he didn't move. Blaine slumped against him, unmoving, and Kurt stiffened in surprise before carefully guiding him back towards the mattress. Blaine struggled against him, trying to walk away. His efforts, though relentless, were still fruitless.
"Go to sleep," he ordered once Blaine was horizontal once more, crawling underneath his own covers. The bed below shifted and settled again.
Kurt let out a relieved breath and snuggled deeper into his pillows, thinking that Blaine had finally drifted off into deeper sleep again.
If only, if only.
Kurt was used to waking up with something warm nearby, having been to Rachel Berry's sleepovers. Therefore, he didn't panic when he first heard the slow, steady breathing nearby. Blaine was sleeping over and had probably rolled close enough to the edge of his bed that it seemed like he was right next to him. Eyes still closed, Kurt tugged the covers over his head, refusing to wake up when he knew that it was still early and he was tired and would the sun please go away now?
The fates weren't feeling obliging, however, and the sun continued to shine in his room, making Kurt groan as he shifted blearily towards a more upright position.
There was a mumble, then a weight settled over his waist, a heavier weight cuddling closer.
Kurt froze before opening his eyes and craning his head to look down at the air mattress. No Blaine. He slowly turned his head back to the side, staring at the ruffle-haired figure snoring quietly beside him.
"Blaine? Blaine, come on, wake up, you're in the wrong bed," he said, shaking Blaine's shoulder.
Blaine grunted and shifted closer, pressing his head against Kurt's chest and tightening his grip around his waist.
Kurt gave his shoulder another light shake, carefully prying his arm away from himself. "Come on, Blaine, you can't stay like this," he warned. "My dad will kick you out."
Blaine continued snoring, unperturbed.
"Blaaaine. . . ."
Kurt wriggled around, trying to scoot off the bed and maybe dislodge Blaine that way, only to hear a light knock on the door.
"Hey, boys, I'm making bacon, you two want any?"
"Um . . . sure!" Kurt chirped, pushing Blaine away. "Sounds great!"
"Oh, and Kurt, could you show me how to turn on the toaster oven on again? Carole does all this fancy stuff and I feel like I haven't been in the kitchen for ages. . . ."
"Just turn the dial to the right," Kurt replied, rolling his eyes as he scooted away from Blaine, who was balanced precariously on the edge of the bed. As long as he didn't roll over. . . .
Which he did, letting out a deep sigh and turning onto his other side.
It would have been fine if he had been anywhere else on the bed. Unfortunately, balanced as he was on the edge, he landed with a hard thud on the space between the air mattress and Kurt's bed. There was barely time for Kurt to register that Blaine had disappeared from view before he scrambled back upright with a start. Burt opened the door a moment later.
"What the hell was that?" he demanded. Blaine rubbed his eyes and the back of his head alternately in bewilderment while Kurt sighed.
"Blaine rolled off his bed," Kurt offered, smoothing his covers in a nervous gesture, trying not to appear too flustered. Blaine looked up at him sleepily, and then he scowled as he resumed rubbing his head.
"Right. Well. Kurt, toaster?"
Kurt nodded, quickly pushing back his covers and standing up, following his dad out of the room and leaving a very confused Blaine behind.
Sorry, he mouthed, since it seemed rude to have basically pushed his boyfriend off the bed without any sort of remorse.
"It's not fair. Why does he get to sleepover here all the time?" Finn sulked, balancing his game console in one hand as he dug through the blue-and-white wrapper with his free hand.
"Because Blaine is mature and doesn't have meltdowns every ten seconds," Kurt answered from the kitchen, grimacing as Finn tossed another Oreo into his mouth. He had been downing the snacks like there was no tomorrow since three, generously taking advantage of Burt and Carole's absence for some much needed alone time. Kurt and Finn weren't usually that rambunctious when left to their own devices, but accompanied by their friends, they tended to wear down the adopted Hudson-Hummel parents within six days or so, precipitating a night away from the boys.
"Rachel's mature," Finn protested through a mouthful of Oreo.
"Finn, for the love of everything holy, please swallow before you speak."
"Sorry," Finn mumbled, and then he swallowed. "But seriously, dude. Burt doesn't even let me bring her home for dinner and Blaine practically lives with us."
"Like I said, Blaine doesn't have meltdowns every ten seconds."
Finn snorted and shook his head. "Yeah? But you two could like . . . be making out or something. All the time." He shivered.
"Thanks, Finn," Kurt said dryly.
"You always swear at Rachel and me whenever we're making out," Finn accused.
Kurt rolled his eyes. "I'm impressed you figured that much out. I was speaking French."
Finn blinked, startled by the revelation. "You were speaking French? I thought you were using like—really fancy swear words or something."
"No, those were definitely French," Kurt corrected, rolling his eyes. "I can't believe you didn't even grasp that much."
"Hey," Finn muttered, "don't insult my intelligence."
"Oh, fine. You're brilliant, Finn. In . . . unorthodox ways."
"Yes. Very cool."
Finn settled back against the couch with a grunt of satisfaction, casting the empty Oreo box aside. "Well. Good." A pause, then: "Where is Blaine, anyway?"
"He's meeting with Wes and David. They're freaking out about getting their stuff together for college so he's helping out before they kill one another for sheer anxiety."
"Oh. They're seniors?"
"College freshmen now—but yes, they were seniors."
"Mmm. Must suck for Blaine."
Kurt shrugged. "He hasn't really said much. From what he has said, he's only been friends with them for a couple years, so at least he claims that it won't be too hard letting them go live their own lives."
"Without him," Finn put in helpfully.
Kurt nodded. "Without him."
There was another pause during which Finn shot down several zombies on Call of Duty 4, before he asked bluntly, "But he'll miss them anyway?"
"Oh, definitely. I just hope he doesn't stay in this denial phase too long or he'll be a wreck by the time his senior year starts."
"And yours," Finn added with a grin. "Ours. Weird, huh?"
Flipping a page on his Vogue magazine, Kurt shrugged again. "Honestly, I just want this year to be spectacular, and everything else will fly by in a hallucinogenic blur of college panic attacks and senior pranks."
"We should nail Schuester with something. Like, toilet paper the choir room or something," Finn suggested eagerly.
"Finn. We are not sinking to that level. If anything, you need to consult Puck and update your pranks, because I've seen your jokes in action and they are a hideous combination of middle-school adolescence and fifth-grade hilarity."
Finn blinked at him. "Did you just speak French?"
"Blaaaine. You can't sleep on my bed," Kurt whined, pressing his pillow over his face. "You're supposed to be on the other bed."
The other boy didn't respond, unless an unintelligible murmur counted, followed by a distinct receding of the blankets as Blaine grabbed them. "Oh, you're a blanket-hog, too? At last his faults appear," Kurt said sarcastically, yanking them back. He could be generous at times, but two in the morning was not one of them, and he was not up for dealing with Burt's reaction if he caught Blaine in the same bed as him. That was the whole point of the air mattress, after all. It was either that or the couch. When Kurt had nearly pitched a fit insisting that Blaine could not sleep on their couch, his father had relocated the barely-used air mattress into Kurt's room and held out his hands in a Does this work? way. Which was, ironically, the most say he gave Kurt in the matter, since he then laid out all the ground rules about what Kurt was and was not allowed to do.
Rule Number One: Anything that he wouldn't do in front of his late grandmother or imaginary five-year-old sister was banned. Kurt used Finn as his model and adjusted his decisions accordingly.
Number Two: Not an inch of skin below the neck that wasn't ankles or wrists could be showing at any time after nine o'clock, seven if they were in any proximity to each other.
And of course, Kurt's most problematic at the moment: the three-feet rule.
Finn was the unofficial enforcer during the day, which included all hours between seven a.m. and seven p.m. His father took over from then, which made it close to impossible for Kurt and Blaine to do anything more than stand or sit near each other for the most part. As long as they weren't fully horizontal, they were allowed to be pressed side-by-side, even though Finn always found an excuse to leave if they reclined at an angle on the couch together (not technically breaking Burt's rules). Blaine had suggested keeping the physical contact mostly to the morning, when Burt was either half asleep or else fully asleep and therefore not liable to correct them.
But this was definitely against the three-feet rule, and Kurt knew that after the Rachel Berry party, he was lucky to even be allowed to let Blaine sleep in his own room. The fact that Blaine was on his side, stealing all the covers, in his bed was going to give his father an aneurysm. Which would be completely not on, since Kurt was not going to have his father go through another near-death experience over something so silly.
Or not so silly, Kurt thought with a scowl, since it was losing him precious beauty sleep and also increasing the likelihood that Blaine would be banished from Hudson-Hummel sleepovers forever. He tried to gently coax Blaine out of his blanket cocoon, quickly realizing that his boyfriend was not going to surrender the covers any time soon. If anything, he seemed already to be in a deadened sleep, the blankets rising and falling rhythmically, completely unaffected by Kurt's half-hearted prods.
"All right," he said at last, leaning up partially on his elbows and lying flat on top of Blaine's back.
It was surprisingly warm and oddly comfortable. It still had the desired effect when Blaine started squirming and eventually freed himself from the blankets enough to blink blearily up at Kurt. "What?" he muttered, his eyes squinted and his hair rumpled and could he be more adorable?
"You can't sleep up here. You need to sleep down there," Kurt said, his voice softening without his permission. Stern, he told himself fiercely, you have to be stern or he's going to fall right back asleep.
Blaine continued to stare up at him uncomprehendingly, looking more than a little lost.
"Blaine. Go to bed. Over there."
Which, Kurt reflected, wasn't exactly the most effective command since he was lying on top of him.
Blaine seemed to have noticed the same thing—or else his half-conscious mind did—and murmured something indistinct before closing his eyes and nuzzling his face back into one of Kurt's pillows. "No," Kurt said, poking him between the shoulderblades. Blaine curled up, dragging a part of the blanket over himself protectively. "Don't go back to sleep. Blaaaine, come on."
Whether Kurt had ever had any real chance of negotiating with him or not, he knew that his opportunity had passed once Blaine started snoring again. There was simply no way he could wake him up—stop being so weak! He's just sleeping! It's not like he'll even care in the morning!—and so he settled for the next best alternative.
Well, at least this isn't going completely to waste, he thought, lying down on the squishy air mattress with a sigh. There wasn't much to say about it as far as luxury went, but it was a bed for all intents and purposes and that was what mattered to Kurt. He barely registered the faint, delicious scent of Blaine still lingering around the pillow as he buried his face in it, quickly dozing off himself.
"How did I get up here?"
Kurt cracked his eyes open, staring at the underside of his ceiling and wincing as he rolled over fully, the bed beneath him wobbling perilously. Blaine was sitting up in the middle of his bed, hair flyaway and curly as he scratched at the back of his neck. "This isn't . . . oh, hi, Kurt," he added, noticing his boyfriend on the floor. He squinted, apparently thinking hard, and Kurt could almost see the lightbulb going off as he blushed. "Oh, no, I didn't—"
"It's fine," Kurt yawned, covering his mouth with a hand belatedly.
Instead of being reassured, Blaine's expression only seemed more doleful as he woke up a little more, shifting around and gazing down at Kurt apologetically. "I'm sorry," he said honestly. Kurt had never noticed before how low and hoarse and sweet his voice was when he'd first woken up.
"It's fine. Really." Blaine opened and closed his mouth, and then he shook his head and climbed out of the bed, careful not to step on the air mattress below. Kurt rolled away from it, pushing himself up from the floor and brushing off.
"I, for one, have no idea how you can sleep on that every night."
Blaine laughed softly. Kurt's heart fluttered at the sound; that was definitely why sleepovers were a wonderful thing. "Whatever you say, Kurt. I'll go hang out with Finn for a bit; you can freshen up."
"Are you two decent?" Finn asked through a crack in the door. "Because I think the eggs are on fire and I'm pretty sure that's not part of the process."
Blaine leapt out of bed before Kurt could even straighten his shoulders, opening the door and shaking his head at Finn.
"No, they're definitely not supposed to be on fire," he said. Finn looked remorsefully down at his feet.
Kurt was about to tell Blaine that he would handle it, but the latter was already ushering Finn back down stairs. By the time he could even fully register what had happened, the duo had disappeared, leaving him alone in his room once more.
"Well," he said aloud. "At least it wasn't Dad this time."
He grabbed his stuff and headed for the bathroom, confident that his boyfriend could handle Finn's disastrous cooking attempts.
"Okay . . . never have I ever ridden a tricycle."
"Really?" Kurt asked, genuinely surprised, steepling his fingers and resting his head on them, elbows on the table. "I thought everyone did."
"Of course he didn't," Finn muttered through a mouthful of waffles, rolling his eyes.
"Finn, don't talk with your mouth full. So, what did you do?"
Blaine shrugged, toying with his own waffles. "My dad didn't really understand the whole process, so he bought me a bike when I was like eight or nine and showed me how it worked. Took me forever to learn. I think I spent five weeks just covered in scrapes from falling off it so much."
"Never have I ever gone to a circus," Finn broke in suddenly, swallowing hard. He had inhaled two waffles, so it was an impressive feat, even for him. Kurt and Blaine both stared at him before Kurt shrugged.
"Same," he said.
Blaine raised his eyebrows at both of them. "Really?"
Finn stuffed three more waffles into his mouth, shaking his head. "Corf h' haf."
"Finn, swallow and then talk."
It took several long moments of chewing, followed by a gargantuan swallow during which it looked like Finn was likely to asphyxiate on his breakfast. "I said, of course he has," Finn enunciated clearly.
"What was it like?" Kurt asked, looking determinedly away from Finn.
Blaine shrugged. "I don't remember. My mom took me when I was six and I apparently fell asleep halfway through it."
Kurt grinned, and then he leaned back and said, "Never have I ever . . . eaten a hotdog."
Blaine and Finn stared at him incredulously. "What?" they chorused.
"You're kidding," Blaine said.
"Dude, that's like impossible," Finn added.
"How could you not have eaten a hotdog?"
"That's like un-American."
"Inhuman," Blaine agreed.
Kurt rolled his eyes. "Well, excusez-moi, Messieurs 'We Have the Taste Range of the Average Canines.' I just never saw the point in eating one."
"You're crazy," Finn said.
"Totally," Blaine chimed.
Kurt shook his head at them. "And you both are terrible."
The fourth of July breezed by for Kurt in a maelstrom of celebration. Even Finn seemed akin to the Jolly Green Giant as he trampled around the house, eating celebratory dishes at all hours of the day and playing football during the rest. As a 'true American sport,' Burt didn't yell at him to come inside and do something productive, even though he still managed to on most occasions. For the most part, Carole and Burt handled the workings of the house, making sure that nothing was irreparably damaged in the cheer.
Still, Kurt thought, glancing morosely at the unoccupied space on the floor, there was a rather unpleasant repercussion with the coming of the fourth: Blaine had to go back to spend a few weeks with his parents in Cleveland. Whether it was their interest or the family's as a whole in seeing their precious nephew-cousin-grandchild, Blaine had left that Monday and only texted Kurt twice, once to say that he was halfway home and a second time to say that he was there and his phone was dying.
It had been three days since those texts. While Kurt was trying to be patient by not responding with immediate demands of why Blaine had fallen silent, he was still antsy and unable to sit still for long. In tribute to the holiday, he had cooked patriotic outdoorsy food, even whipping up a batch of hotdogs to humor Finn. (Who promptly ate the entire eight pack, buns and condiments included. Where he put it all away, Kurt didn't know or want to know.)
There was a certain quiet around the house that he wasn't used to feeling, even with Puck, Mercedes, and Sam dropping by regularly to say their fair share. Sam wouldn't be in Lima much long, either, with his family's decision to move to Indiana looming ever closer with each day. The official move day was only three days after the fourth itself, a fact that was not cheering Kurt's spirits in the slightest. That was the part of graduation and heading into senior year that he loathed: the prospect of moving away from friends and family. Granted, he couldn't wait to get away from the cultural damper that was Ohio, but he was still remorseful that he had to leave his dad and Carole behind in the process.
And Blaine, his subconscious reminded.
Kurt mentally shoved it aside, tapping his pen against his knee as he sat out in the backyard, scribbling away vaguely in French on his notebook. It was therapeutic to doodle in French: not only could he vent any left over feelings about Finn or Blaine or anyone else without them knowing, but the letters always made a more artistically attractive image when written in French instead of English. Sure, he was less likely to remember what he meant whenever he was too lazy to write the full, proper phrases out, but it was the thought of the idea that counted, not the accuracy.
Humming slightly to himself to fill the breeze-less silence, he wrote down several choices phrases about the whole college plan before his phone vibrated, making him drop the notebook in surprise. He'd left it in his side pocket, the sudden buzzz enough to disturb his pen as he wrote as well. Quickly digging it out, he nearly threw the notebook aside in his eagerness to read the message: From Blaine.
Finally, he thought, and then he clicked the 'view now' button.
Being smothered by relatives. How are you?
Kurt smiled as he flipped the phone open to its keyboard, typing back: Bored out of my mind. And then, after a pause, Kurt added, Missing you.
I know. I miss you, too. Mom's cousin showed up. She's a charmer.
Kurt mentally flipped through the short catalogue of people he'd deemed 'Blaine's relatives,' drawing a blank. I'm sorry you're not having fun, he texted back at last.
He could almost hear Blaine shrugging as the reply came.
It's all right. It's for two weeks and then I'm back in Lima.
Kurt lifted his eyebrows at that, wishing not for the first time that Blaine was right there so he could read his expression instead of the flat words. I don't see why you don't move here or something. You're more of a resident than Patches is at this point, he teased, deciding to take the more humorous route. If anything, it sounded like a laugh wouldn't go unappreciated, and when Blaine replied, it was evident that he felt the same.
Ha-ha. Wish me luck? I've gotta go.
Good luck. Love you.
Love you, too. Bye!
Kurt flipped his phone shut and pocketed it, and then he sighed as he realized that he didn't feel any better having talked to Blaine. If anything, he felt worse. How am I supposed to survive two weeks without him around?
Or, more accurately: How am I supposed to survive with only Finn around here?
It was bad, he knew, that he was already so attached to Blaine that the prospect of two solid weeks apart seemed unbearable, but he couldn't help it. Blaine was his first serious relationship, and he didn't want to mess things up any more than Blaine did. If they became too clingy too early on, or clingy period, then that could definitely spell trouble, and Kurt didn't want to jeopardize their relationship because, like siblings, they spent too much time together. Insofar Blaine had been a guest in their house and reluctantly Kurt had to admit that that was the best way to see it. A temporary arrangement that still gave them plenty of opportunities to have their own time and stray back into their own circles of life.
Rachel and Finn get to hang out all the time, his childish side sulked inwardly. And they haven't bored themselves sick of each other.
He paused, and then he laughed aloud at the ridiculousness of that statement.
Of course they have. They're both too self-absorbed to notice it yet.
Two days, three days, four days passed, during which Kurt found every excuse to hang out with his other friends, visiting just about every one of the Glee club members over the next two weeks. Sam he made a special point of visiting, even babysitting his siblings for an evening while he worked a night shift with the pizza runs. Mercedes loved having him to herself, a fact that Kurt couldn't help but admit made him feel disappointed in himself.
You have amazing friends that you blew off for a completely new one. Fair? I think not.
But then his mind's eyes gleefully conjured an image of Blaine laughing at something ridiculous Finn had said only six days ago, and Kurt sighed.
It's not fair. He shouldn't be so charming if he doesn't want to steal me away from my friends.
"Kurt? Earth to Kurt?" Mercedes rapped lightly on the side of his head with her knuckles, waving her other hand in front of his face. "You totally zoned out there."
"Sorry," he said, blushing. "I, uh . . . where were we?"
"I was saying that you haven't said much about Blaine, and I can clearly see why now," she said with a smirk. "Boy, you've got it bad. Think of this as a good thing. I mean, Marcus and I don't hang out all the time, and we're going strong."
It took Kurt exactly three seconds to register the content of that statement. When he did, he promptly did what any best friend would do: choked on his coffee and shrieked.
"Woah, slow down, Kurt, I don't speak fanboy. No dying on me here."
"Mercedes," Kurt panted, still half-choking, "would you please tell me how I did not hear of this the second it happened? Did you tell Blaine? Because if you did I swear I'm going to burn all of his blazers for not telling me beforehand."
"I didn't tell him, you didn't know the second it happened because Berry interrupted—she was staking the whole thing out or something to see if it went over well—and it happened a month ago so calm down."
"A month," Kurt croaked. "A month! You've had a boyfriend for a month and you haven't told me?"
Mercedes blushed. "Well, we weren't together-together until two days ago, soo. . . ."
"I'm so proud of you!" Kurt gushed, at last more excited than in danger of choking. "And I have to meet this guy. What's he like? Does he treat you well? Of course he does, that's such a stupid question—are you happy?"
Mercedes laughed, showing that she was enjoying his little tirade. "Kurt, I'm thrilled, and you don't need to worry about him, he's a great guy. And I've gotta admit—it's really nice to be in a relationship for once."
Kurt couldn't help himself then—he all but leaped from his seat and flung his arms around her. "That's great, Mercedes," he said, sitting back down in his own chair while she grinned at him. "That's . . . wow. I can't wait to meet him! Is he out of town or something?"
"No, he's just working," she assured, and then she added with a grin, "at your dad's car shop."
Again, Kurt choked on his coffee, this time wheezing loudly as he rasped, "You're joking!"
"Kurt, hon, please don't choke to death, I don't want to deal with your pissed off beau at the funeral."
Swallowing hard and taking a few more sips to help clear the worst of it, Kurt breathed deeply and laughed, still a little winded. "I'm good," he promised. "And you have to tell me how I didn't notice this before! Seriously, 'Cedes? My dad's car shop? Wait a minute—I could go there now and meet him!"
He leaped from his seat again, Mercedes yanking him down by his waist as he darted past, dragging him forcefully back into a chair. "I'll introduce you later," she assured with a grin. "But come on, tell me: why are you so down about your beau being out of town for a bit?"
Kurt's enthusiasm deflated at the mention of Blaine.
"I'm . . . I don't know. It already feels like we've been together forever and now that he's gone it's . . . weird. Especially knowing that I can't go to Dalton and find him or text him and say that I miss him."
Mercedes sipped thoughtfully at her own coffee, letting the silence linger between them. At last, she prompted gently, "Don't you think this might be a good thing, then? In the long term perspective? It's good to have some time alone. It reminds us that we're divas." She grinned at him; he smiled half-heartedly back. "Come on, Kurt. You weren't ever this depressed before because you were alone, and it's only been, what, six days? Maybe this is exactly what you two need."
"But we only have three months of summer, and then we've got senior year and I'll only see him on weekends and then we're gone and I'll probably never see him again."
He hadn't meant to say as much, his left hand gesticulating with his empty coffee cup.
"I mean, I finally meet someone I really like, and then I realize that it's senior year and how many people actually see each other beyond high school? I probably won't even remember Tina and Artie ten years from now." He shuddered at the thought. "What are the odds that Blaine and I have any chance of being together outside of high school? He's probably going to enroll in some big school on the west coast and I'll be off in New York and we'll never see each other again."
Mercedes tilted her head at him, expression quizzical. Kurt gladly took it as a signal to go on.
"I just . . . I don't want to waste what could be our last year as friends—and, well, boyfriends—so far away from each other. At least in Westerville we could visit each other, and I loved being at Dalton with him. But now that I'm here in Lima and he's down in Cleveland, it's like all the reality is crashing down. And I can't even handle two weeks away from him without being sentimental!" Kurt framed his face with his hands as he dropped it onto his palms, shaking his head. "I . . . I don't want to think about it. Can we please talk about something else?"
"So you're worried you'll never see each other again after this," Mercedes said, calmly ignoring his suggestion.
Kurt nodded miserably. There were no more words; he felt like he'd exhausted his entire range of feelings for the next week within the span of two minutes.
"Then why don't you make the most of it? Invite him to McKinley."
If Mercedes had suggested that he enroll in woodshop and sign up for a visit to the nearby sewage plant, then he could not have been more surprised than he was then. His mouth gaped open comically as he stared at her until she prompted him to close it with an airy gesture. He snapped it shut, staring at her in disbelief before shaking his head.
"No way. I don't want to put him through all of the . . . well, there's really no polite way of saying this, but crap that I've been through just so we can be together more often. And I thought you said spending time apart was good for us?" he added with a suspicious look.
Mercedes shrugged, twirling her coffee cup between her hands. "I'm saying that if he's so far away and you're both so miserable, why not relieve the problem and . . . you know, bring him here?"
"Because he won't like it here," Kurt quipped, rolling his eyes. "Dalton was practically built for him: it's academically challenging, the grounds are gorgeous, the Glee club there is actually cool, and he loves the people there."
Well, his mutinous subconscious supplied, the people that will still be there, once fall comes around. Which admittedly won't be much.
"Our Glee club may not be the most respected club in the school, but there's a lot of great stuff there," Mercedes retorted primly. "We're a family, Kurt, and that's the great thing about us. From what you've told me, his family's moving on, and it's going to be really lonely for him there. Besides, he might even be okay with taking classes here, especially if he's tired of being 'academically challenged.'"
"He'll want to do even better in his classes to have more to put on his college applications," Kurt said with a weary wave of his hand.
"You said Dalton's tuition was steep," Mercedes went on, undeterred. "What if his parents run into trouble and can't afford it any more?"
Kurt shrugged. "He already boards there. He could drop that program and live at home and treat it like a normal school."
"His parents live in Cleveland. How is he supposed to go from Cleveland to Westerville on a day-to-day basis without driving gas bills through the roof?"
"I don't know, 'Cedes, but I'm sure he'll figure it out," Kurt snapped. He took in her slightly affronted expression and shook his head again. "I'm sorry. I want to agree with you, because I think it would be amazing if he went to school with us—" where we could actually see each other more than on weekends and after school "—but I don't see it happening."
"Ask him," Mercedes said, her conviction clear. "I'm sure he won't deny you an explanation either way. And who knows—he might say yes."
Kurt rolled his eyes and stopped fiddling with his cup of coffee at last. "Either way, I want to see your boyfriend now, and I won't take no for an answer," he said, decisively changing the subject. He hopped out of his chair and grabbed her arm, pulling her up as well before she could protest. "Come on. I need a distraction, anyway."
Mercedes sighed but let him link their arms and lead.
"Okay, you never bake this much, and that's after that six-course dinner you cooked up for the fourth," Finn said, gaping at the array of desserts spread out over the counters. There were three dozen cupcakes, at least as many chocolate chip cookies, and a large quantity of sweets that Finn couldn't have pronounced even if he knew their names. He prodded a yellow cake gingerly with a finger. "Are you starting a soup kitchen or something?"
"No, I'm not, Finn," Kurt said, brushing his hands brusquely to remove the last traces of flour, even though it made his hair stick up slightly on end. Finn's gaze was drawn inevitably upward, staring at the uncharacteristic unkemptness of his visage.
"Did someone die?" he asked seriously.
Kurt threw one of the oven mitts at him. "No one died. And if you're not going to do anything useful, please leave."
Finn picked up one of the batter bowls and stuck his finger in the mix, popping it in his mouth. Blueberry muffins.
"I'm helping," he said, holding up the bowl. "Cleaning."
"Dude, why are you so upset? Did I do something wrong?"
"No, you didn't do anything wrong."
"Your dad? My mom? Puck, Rachel? Am I getting warmer?"
"Finn, I'm not playing games," Kurt snapped.
"Then could you tell me so I wouldn't have to keep guessing?"
Kurt stiffened as he continued rolling a doughy substance between his hands, sighing and sitting down heavily in an unoccupied chair. "Two more weeks," he said at last.
"Two more weeks," Kurt snapped, and then he visibly restrained himself from lashing out at Finn. "His parents are keeping him until the end of the month."
"That . . . sucks," Finn said lamely. He'd seen how couple-y Kurt and Blaine had acted when they were together, and even though he had grumbled and complained about it at times, he didn't protest the situation as a whole. He liked Blaine, and it was kind of nice having a person who was so much of a . . . well, guy around the house. Kurt was awesome and he would do anything for him, but Blaine was someone different, someone new, a gay guy who didn't need super-fancy stuff and really long-named fashion-wear to feel at home. The only thing Finn disliked about him was his height; he couldn't roughhouse with him like he could Puck or Mike or Sam without worrying that he would accidentally squish him or something.
Weird how Kurt crushes on me then dates a short guy, he thought, and then he shuddered. It was hard to think about those days when Kurt was still interested in him and he was desperately trying to find a way to tell Kurt that he wasn't interested and would he please back off? It had culminated badly and left both of them wounded, but fortunately it hadn't cost them their brotherhood or friendship.
"Finn? You still in there?"
"Yeah, I'm still here," Finn said, shaking his head to clear the unwanted thoughts. "Sorry, dude. I didn't realize it was going to be that long."
Kurt sulkily put his head in his hands, elbows on the table. "Neither did I. Apparently some relatives are staying for a while and his dad wants him to hang around and spend some quality time with them."
"Well," Finn hedged, "that's not too bad, then, is it?"
Kurt glowered. "They don't even know he's gay, Finn. Let alone has a boyfriend. It's just his mom and his dad, and the rest of his family is convinced that he's going to go marry some beautiful girl and pass on the Anderson legacy." He rubbed at his temples in agitation.
"Why doesn't he tell them that he's gay?"
"Parental advisory," Kurt said dryly. "They didn't want to stir the pot, and he's wrapped around their fingers in order to stay at Dalton and be allowed to be out and proud elsewhere."
"That really sucks." Finn scratched at the back of his neck with his free hand, putting another batter-coated finger in his mouth as he thought. "I don't know what to tell you, Kurt," he said honestly. "I mean, it sucks that he's stuck and everything but . . . what can you do?"
"What can you do?" Kurt repeated scathingly. Finn could detect a hint of a sniff in it. "They're going to smother him the minute high school's over," he fumed, his speech almost slurring with frustration as he continued. "They're going to find some pretty girl who fawns over him and he'll go along with it because his parents suggest that he fit in and the next thing either of us know he'll be announcing their happy engagement and then he'll be right back in the closet." He sighed heavily and sat, silent and unmoving, Finn blinking at him in surprise.
"I think you're getting ahead of yourself," he said. "First, Blaine knows that he's gay and he's not going to change that. Not for his parents, not for anybody." He held up a hand to hold off Kurt, who had opened his mouth to protest. "Second, it's one month. He's not going to abandon you just because his parents tell him it would be better if he found a girl. Which it wouldn't," Finn added firmly.
Kurt sighed again, and then he sniffed, shaking his head. "When did you get so smart?" he asked.
Finn shrugged. "Rachel," he said truthfully.
Kurt laughed softly.
"Come on," Finn added, grabbing his bowl of batter. "We should probably clean this up before our parents get home."
Kurt nodded in a weary sort of way, standing and reaching out to grab some of the cupcakes.
Two weeks down, two to go.
Kurt knew that he should have stopped counting, but he couldn't help it: it was supposed to be their summer, where he and Blaine were finally able to be cute and cuddly and couple-y with one another all the time. They were supposed to hang out and make out and do other stuff together. Their love was supposed to wax and wane poetically until, come senior year, they would meet a tragic end as a couple once they realized that their ambitions and lifestyles differed intolerably.
Of course, Kurt thought wryly, folding laundry of all things (and how far had he fallen to be reduced to folding Finn's jock shirts for entertainment?), their relationship wasn't the same as the average romance. He fully intended for it to last into their senior year, for one, even if the logistics weren't fully worked out yet.
To get Blaine at McKinley or to let him stay at Dalton, Kurt thought, inner Hamlet surfacing. That is the question.
And then: That was such a dry play. Especially the soliloquys.
Folding the fourth consecutive Finn shirt in a row, Kurt shook his head to himself. He needed a new hobby that was sufficiently exciting to distract him from Blaine and keep him entertained for the time that he was gone. His first—and most obvious—choices were all immediately discarded, since he only felt more inclined to call Blaine and have him come over if he worked on something with fashion or music. Kurt had only had the opportunity to convince him to go on one shopping trip thus far, bringing Rachel and Mercedes along as well.
At first he had worried that Blaine would quickly grow bored of the whole thing and want to leave, but he had been a good sport about it and, though it was clear from his half-owlish expression that he had little idea what any of Kurt's exceptional fashion advice meant, he had stuck through with it until Rachel finally bowed out. He even played along as unofficial bag-carrier and dress-up boy, since Kurt couldn't help himself but want to dress Blaine in fabulous outfits. Helping the girls find their perfect fits was entertaining, but putting Blaine in nice clothes was definitely an experience worthwhile repeating.
If he ever comes back to Lima, Kurt thought, folding one of his dad's shirts with a scowl. There was every possibility that Blaine's parents would suddenly realize that they only had one more year with their boy until he was off to college and living in the real world, completely outside their circle of influence. It was an ideal time to exert their parental authority over his decisions. With all of the things Blaine depended on his parents for, there was no question who would win an argument between returning to Lima and going to Dalton.
Blaine wouldn't give up Dalton, Kurt had to keep telling himself, because otherwise all he could think about was how nice it would be if Blaine actually did go to McKinley.
Stop it, he chastised himself. It's not going to happen.
Nonetheless, his subsconscious strayed back to the possibility, making it nearly impossible to ignore.
He might say yes, it kept insisting. He really likes you, too, and of course he wants to spend more time with you. What better way than to come to your boyfriend's school?
That's so selfish, Kurt's practical side refuted. You can't ask him to come to your school because you're lonely.
But what if he's lonely, too? After Wes and David and Thad are gone, who is he going to hang out with? Jeff?
Kurt picked up Finn's pile of laundry and set it outside his door, pulling out his phone and texting Mercedes.
Distract me, please?
Kurt couldn't sit still. It had taken four weeks to reach this moment, interspersed with the occasional text from Blaine saying that he was still alive and half-bored out of his mind. Usually the texts had abrupt endings, the cause almost always one of Blaine's relatives wanting to talk with him. Kurt could almost smile to think about how exasperated Blaine would be to have to keep ending conversations so suddenly.
Sorry, he would add, and Kurt would assure him that it wasn't his fault and that he would talk with him soon.
Finally, the day had come when he could talk with him, and that had Kurt squirming on the couch in excitement. He toned down his enthusiasm as best he could, tamping down any urges to check the door every five minutes to see if Blaine was there yet. He had said that he wouldn't be there until seven, and it was only six thirty, but Kurt wouldn't put it past him to arrive early. More frustrating was the possibility that Blaine might not show up until later, a fact which made Kurt want to go out and find him himself before he could be late.
"Chill," Finn said, playing Call of Duty for the hundredth time. "He'll get here when he gets here."
Kurt groaned. "Four weeks, Finn. Four weeks."
"And now he'll be here soon," Finn soothed, in touch with his inner zombie-slayer and thus at peace with the world. "So relax. You guys can freak out all you want once he's here." His brow furrowed before he added hastily, "Just not near me. I don't want to see any face-eating."
Though Kurt would have loved to berate Finn more eloquently, the doorbell rang at that moment, thoroughly distracting him. He leaped to his feet as though an electric shock had run through the chair, nearly tripping over his own feet in his haste to reach it. Burt sauntered in seconds after he grabbed the knob, yanking it aside. "Hi, Carole," he deadpanned, expression drooping immediately.
"Thanks for getting the door for me, Kurt," Carole said with a smile, bringing in an armload of groceries. "There's some more in the car."
Kurt sighed and tromped outside, grabbing an armload of groceries as well. Finn stayed firmly planted on the couch, engrossed in his game. Kurt couldn't help checking the clock every time he walked past it, a frustrated sigh escaping him as he realized it had only been three minutes since he had last looked.
I can't make it until seven, he thought petulantly, putting the bags on the counter. Why couldn't he have said six-thirty? Or six?
Because that would have been too easy, Kurt thought ruefully.
Re-situating himself on the couch as Carole set about making spaghetti, he resisted the urge to tap his foot impatiently, a gesture that he found both childish and distracting whenever someone else did it.
He'll get here when he gets here, he repeated to himself, trying to keep calm. He'll get here when he gets here.
Twenty minutes passed, Kurt fidgeting with anxiety, shifting back and forth every so often as he stared at the door. Finn had already eaten his way through a bag of popcorn, somehow managing to both shoot down zombies and pop the kernels into his mouth. "You should find something else to do," Finn suggested, "like, write a play. That way when he gets here you won't be . . . twitching."
"I'm not going to write a play," Kurt snapped back, inwardly grateful for the excuse to speak. "Just because I like Broadway musicals doesn't mean I'm going to write them."
Finn shrugged, swearing as his player died again on screen. "Just trying to help."
Kurt sighed. He wasn't actually mad at Finn, but it was hard not to do anything. Blaine was late. He was two minutes late, but Kurt didn't want to wait any longer. He'd already waited four weeks. Enough waiting.
The fates weren't favoring him as it took a full seven minutes before the doorbell rang again. Heart pounding, Kurt quickly walked over to it, eagerly noting that no one else rose to answer.
Barely able to resist throwing the door open, Kurt gingerly pulled it back.
And Blaine was there.
Blaine was there.
He gave Kurt a soft, easy-going smile, one hand balancing a duffel bag over his shoulder, his hair ruffled and his expression tired, but he was still Blaine.
"Hi," he greeted.
Kurt didn't answer. He stepped forward and wrapped his arms around Blaine and soaked him in.
Dimly, he noticed Blaine gripping him back almost as tightly, his forehead pressed Kurt's shoulder, his breathing a little ragged. When Kurt heard Finn getting up from the couch, he backed away, slipping the duffel bag off Blaine's shoulder and transferring it to his own.
Blaine opened his mouth to protest. Kurt smiled and backed out of reach, Blaine following and shutting the door behind him.
"Hey, kid," Burt greeted from the threshold to the kitchen. He thumped Blaine's back congenially as he passed, a smile on his face. Blaine offered a weary, "Hi, Burt," in reply, and Kurt's heart kicked up a notch again as he let it sink back in.
Blaine's here. Blaine's here.
He grinned, walking ahead of Blaine up the stairs, duffel bag in tow. It wasn't true, but at the same time, he knew that it was, in its own way. Blaine was home. Kurt's home. But that made everything perfect.
"So? How was it? Tell me everything."
Blaine smiled at him, but Kurt could see the fatigue at the edges of his eyes, the tiredness around his mouth as he sat down on the edge of Kurt's bed. The air mattress was already set up—Kurt had done that at four—but its shape shifted wildly if weight wasn't distributed evenly. Judging by Blaine's expression, if he laid down, then he probably was going to sleep first and talk later.
"It was . . . busy," he said at last, rubbing a hand down his face. "Lots of relatives. Lots of long, boring talks. Lots of running around." He shrugged. "Lots of everything, basically. Except fun. Very little of that."
"Hmm," Kurt mused, sitting down beside Blaine, thighs and shoulders touching. "What'd you do?"
"I spent a lot of time appeasing the family," he said with a shrug. "My dad wanted to have some more 'bonding' time, so we did a lot of things together. Bowling was kind of fun," he added, scratching his neck, jostling Kurt involuntarily. He sighed as he dropped his hand again, eyes closing. "Long drive. I forgot how long it was from Cleveland to here. Like . . . four hours."
"Poor Blaine," Kurt cooed sympathetically, rubbing a hand between his shoulder blades. Blaine hummed.
"Yeah, but it wasn't that bad. I mean, it was, but . . . it could have been worse. My dad has been so much better about the whole 'I'm gay' thing, so that's nice. He'll never be petitioning for gay marriage or anything, but he's not in the 'It's such an abomination' category either. My mom's always been neutral about it, so I don't have any grief from either of them. The rest of it gets . . . old. Yeah, I want to have a family as much as the next guy, but I don't wantsome pretty young woman." He wrinkled his nose in disgust. "Women are awesome, but I could never live with them."
"Well, the good news is, you don't have to," Kurt assured, trailing his hand down Blaine's side. "What else happened?"
"What didn't? I think my head's going to explode from all the college talk alone. And I have dozens of cousins now. My parents both came from big families," he added conspiratorially. "They've all been busy. It's weird seeing them again. Half are seniors, too, with girlfriends." He shrugged. "They think I'm too fickle to settle down with a girl so I date around. It's easier than explaining what's actually going on," he added apologetically.
"Hmm," Kurt hummed.
He hadn't mean to sound accusing, but Blaine turned and stared at him and immediately looked sorry. "Kurt, I didn't—I mean—I'm not ashamed—"
"It's okay. I don't think you're doing it because you want to," he assured.
Blaine still looked frustrated and sorry and tired, so Kurt did the only logical thing he could have done at that moment: he cupped Blaine's cheek and kissed him.
There was a moment when he thought Blaine might push him away and insist on apologizing more before he let out a long, low sigh and threaded his fingers at the back of Kurt's neck. Kurt savored the sensations, Blaine's hands, Blaine's thigh still pressed against his, Blaine's lips, Blaine.
Forever and a day passed before he pulled away, panting lightly for breath. Blaine followed his retreat, resting his head on his shoulder again. Kurt reflexively drew his arms up around him again, holding him loosely. It was warm and comfortable and perfect. That was why he had missed Blaine. That, and a million other reasons that he couldn't wait to re-explore. His smile, his laugh, his humor, his charm. All of it. He couldn't wait to introduce Blaine to Marcus or take Blaine shopping again or lie out in the grass and listen to Blaine talk. All of it, everything, was overwhelming when put together.
He breathed in slowly and heard Blaine doing the same.
And even though it was after seven, he didn't care if he was definitely less than three feet away from Blaine. This was perfect.
"Kurt, wake up."
"Burt's going to kill you."
"Don' care," Kurt whined.
Kurt yelped as he was lifted up, flailing in Finn's grasp. The taller boy grunted and tossed him unceremoniously in the middle of his bed, away from both the warmth and solidarity that had been pressed up against him. It felt oddly cold, even if the covers were warmer, being alone up there. Alone?
"There. Now go back to sleep. I can't believe you missed spaghetti. I ate your bread stick, by the way. It was good."
"Mmm . . . you're a jerk," Kurt yawned. "Ni-night."
"See ya. And you owe me, so consider the bread stick payment."
"'Kay," Kurt agreed sleepily.
There was a pause, and then Finn added, "Actually, I'll think of something else."
"Mmmhmm," Kurt mumbled, cuddling his blankets.
Finn sighed, his footsteps retreating from the room as the door creaked gently closed, the lack of a click making it apparent that it wasn't fully closed. Of course, Kurt mused tiredly, rule number four: the door remains open at all times.
Then, lifting his head sleepily, Kurt noticed that Blaine was lying on the air mattress, curled towards one side, his fingers grasping at a pillow blindly. A warm smile crossed his lips as he watched, a sense of rightness filling him. Blaine was home. Everything was good.
He didn't even bother yell at Blaine when he slipped into his bed around four in the morning, still fully asleep but very much interested in a cuddle. Kurt had a private laugh and let him. He might have even put his arm around Blaine in return.
This is perfect.
Kurt awoke at six a.m. when Blaine accidentally planted an elbow in his ribs.
Fortuitous, yes, since it meant that he could shimmy out of bed before his dad could notice his blatant disobedience to the three feet rule. Unpleasant, absolutely. Kurt grumbled and shoved Blaine's shoulder in retaliation, crawling out from underneath the covers and replacing them. Blaine hardly stirred, pulling his pillow closer and continuing to snore lightly. Kurt couldn't help but roll his eyes in fond exasperation. "You're ridiculous," he whispered, shaking his head and walking over to his vanity.
There were some things he would sacrifice for a lie-in with Blaine, but his Burt's wrath was not one of them. Thus, he decided that it would be easier to consider it morning and get ready. It was already morning, he thought wryly, even if it didn't feel like it. Six a.m. was too early to be up on a Saturday, especially one in the middle of summer.
Blaine seemed to be taking this sentiment to heart, completely undisturbed, and Kurt couldn't find the heart to wake him so they could commiserate together. For one, he was adorable: Kurt would have had more luck waking a sleeping puppy than Blaine morally. For another, Kurt had too much on his mind to want to wake Blaine right now.
Ask him. He might say yes.
He loves Dalton. Why would he leave Dalton to go to McKinley?
To be closer with you? Cut back on travel time, tuition cost, study time? Be part of a glee-family again?
The last surprised him, an idea that pervaded no matter how often he pushed it aside. Blaine had never been part of the New Directions. Even though Kurt had only heard a tiny portion of Blaine's experiences before Dalton, it didn't sound like his old school had even had a glee club. The Warblers were an a capella group, but they lacked the same dysfunctional-family charm that the New Directions had. Without Wes and David and half the other Warblers around to anchor him. . . .
Stop it. You're being selfish. All your reasons tie back to wanting Blaine to be with you more often.
Still, Kurt had to admit, it was a good point. He wanted to be with Blaine more often, and he would be lying if he wasn't worried that it would be the last year that he would get to spend with Blaine. He wanted his senior year to be memorable in a good way—he wanted it to be magic.
It was then, Kurt realized, that his decision was made. He couldn't go through his entire senior year with only the vague opportunities to meet with Blaine available.
He had to ask him. If nothing else, he had to ask him.
And so he did.
"Blaine, can I ask you something?"
It was so simple, Kurt thought, even though his heart was pounding and he was positive that Blaine wouldn't agree. All he had to do was invite Blaine for coffee the next morning (once he'd finally gotten up at around eleven, that was) and they were sitting at the Lima Bean like old times. He couldn't help but smile nostalgically at the duality of the situation: there he was, a McKinley high New Directions member trying to convince his Warbler boyfriend to transfer. The situation was almost laughably familiar, although Kurt knew he had a much harder case to sell.
The latter gave a nod of acquiescence as he lifted his coffee to his mouth and took a long sip, setting it down and looking concerned when Kurt didn't speak. "Something wrong?" he prompted at last.
Kurt jolted as though he had been awoken from a trance, smiling in a wavering manner. "No, not really. It's . . . hard to put into words."
"Take your time," Blaine said easily, oblivious to how involved he was. What if he rejects it outright? What if he thinks you're being selfish and stupid and breaks up with you? Oh, God—
Kurt purposefully stopped that unhelpful train of thought and steeled himself.
"Would you . . . ever consider leaving Dalton?" he asked, phrasing the question as delicately as he could.
Blaine raised his eyebrows at him, looking half-amused, half-confused. "Of course I would. We're both going off to college in a year, aren't we?"
"That's not what I meant," Kurt interrupted quietly, forcing himself to meet Blaine's soft gaze rather than stare down at the table. "I . . . would you leave Dalton before graduation?"
It seemed to dawn on Blaine then, a flickering of window shutters almost visibly closing him off from further interrogation. He pried the windows open again, looking wary and uncertain, before sighing and speaking.
"Kurt," he said, and then he smiled, which was both reassuring and worrying at the same time. Reassuring, since it meant that he wasn't mad, but worrying since it seemed to be one of those 'I'm sorry I have to be the one to break this to you' looks. "I'm not sure if that's really a viable option for me," he finished at last. "I mean . . . I could. It's a possibility." The shutters returned, and Kurt winced. He didn't want Blaine to feel defensive about this ordeal, but at the same time he knew that it was practically an inevitability, given Blaine's previous—and likely horrible—experiences with public schools.
"I'm not asking you to sign any transfer documents today," he hastened to assure, Blaine's expression relaxing fractionally. "I just want you to think it over. This is senior year, Blaine. And I know that it seems weird to be transferring with only one more year of high school, but . . ." he shrugged, and then he added boldly, "Don't you want it to be amazing? If you came to McKinley, it would be. . . ." He waved a hand around and ended up shaking his head.
"Amazing?" Blaine echoed.
There was a long pause as Blaine scuffed his fingertips absently along the rim of his coffee, his eyes dark and closed off, thinking. Kurt wasn't overly worried about it—he hadn't expected Blaine to cheerfully agree to it, let alone immediately—so he did his best to sit back in his chair and look relaxed.
Blaine tossed him a wry look, his expression a mixture of softness and consideration. "You don't need to look so stressed," he said quietly, ruining any of Kurt's delusions. "I do need to think about this. A lot. I mean, it's not just me involved, it's my parents and the Warblers and the rest of the school. . . ." He ran a hand through his hair, a nervous gesture, and Kurt clasped it once he dropped it back down to the table.
"Whatever you choose," he said seriously, "it doesn't change anything between us, okay? Unless it maybe makes us better."
A slow smile crossed Blaine's face as he nodded, briefly squeezing Kurt's hand back. "Thank you."
"So, has he said anything?" Finn asked, leaning against the counter and chewing contemplatively on a strawberry Poptart. Kurt shrugged, looking over his nails idly.
"He's still thinking about it." Which was true. Despite vague reassurances that he would have a decision soon, it seemed that all the progress Blaine had made on the topic was thinking about it. "It's a big decision, so I don't expect him to really know until it's actually time to go back to school."
"Yeah." Finn crammed the rest of the Poptart in his mouth. "So, what are you going to do about it?"
"What do you mean?" Kurt asked warily, not daring look at Finn. It was all too clear he was talking with his mouth full, and Kurt had no desire to see his predigested food being ground down into manageable pieces.
"Like—" Finn swallowed "—are you going to sit by and let him decide? Or ask him outright in like a week or two?"
"Probably sit by," Kurt admitted. "I don't want to pressure him," he added defensively when Finn looked unimpressed.
"Mmmhmm. Whatever you chose, dude, just let me know. I mean, I know the bullies and stuff are okay with you for the most part, but fresh blood always stirs the pot a little, you know? So . . . let me know."
Even though he felt like he had been punched in the gut at the reminder that Blaine would be facing potential harassment that came as a regular part of attending public school, Kurt nodded gratefully at the offer to protect him. He would probably need it at some point, even if the bullying had died down with the end of Karofsky's reign of terror. Blaine's status as new kid might warrant some preferential treatment that could reignite the entire ordeal all over again.
"Sure, Finn," he answered, silently wondering if it wouldn't be too unbearable to retract his offer before Blaine could make up his mind either way.
That night, however, he couldn't bring himself to warn Blaine about the potential harassment he might face at McKinley. The poor guy had been dragged around all day by Rachel and Mercedes to meet various people and generally catch up on things, something that Kurt had generously waited until the morning after his arrival to find out. Once he had been in Lima for two days, Rachel and Mercedes had seen it as their duty to learn what had happened during his four-week absence. Kurt was sitting on the living room couch, Finn downstairs with Puck and Sam playing some form of wrestling game, Carole and his dad out picking up some more groceries (the boys went through an amazing amount of food in a few days, even though Kurt mostly helped himself to more normal portions and Blaine barely ate at the house at all), he couldn't bring it up.
Why? Because Blaine had accidentally fallen asleep reclining against him, and Kurt couldn't even open his eyes for fear of waking him. His heart was racing, urging him to shake Blaine awake and get it over with, but he always looked so tired that Kurt couldn't help but let him sleep. Even his dad, the least perceptive of the family had commented on how exhausted he looked. Blaine had dismissed it as travel-fatigue and exhaustion from spending so much time with his relatives, who were, as far as Kurt could understand, wearing.
An episode of Grey's Anatomy was on—a re-run that Kurt had already seen three or four times before; nothing new—keeping the room from slipping into an uncomfortable silence. Coupled wih the light sound of Blaine's snoring, it was pleasantly inhabited, neither too loud nor too soft, interrupted only by the periodic jarring thud from below as the boys jockeyed to show off their testerone.
I'm so glad Blaine's not like that, he thought cheerfully to himself, running his hand up Blaine's back. He was a much more boyish person than Kurt was, as far as interests and habits went, but he also liked things Kurt did—glee, music in general, fashion—and was willing to put up with and even participate in those activities that he didn't necessarily love. He was a gentleman through and through, if one with a fun side as well. Outside of Dalton's esteemed halls he was . . . normal, Kurt supposed was the best word. He woke up on the wrong side of the bed sometimes and was cranky and bored and irritated like everyone else was at times. Even though Kurt knew that he should have found those flaws irritating like he did in Rachel and Mercedes and everyone else, in Blaine, it almost relaxed him in a bizarre way. Blaine was human, too, and he could get angry and frustrated and tired out, too.
Tired out seemed to be his preferred venue, an exhaustion that worried Kurt even though he knew that it was perfectly normal. He had no idea how much sleep Blaine had gotten while having relatives constantly barraging him to do other things. College applications alone could tire a person, but from what Blaine had said, it seemed like he already had his entire college career worked out. Combined with the long commute between Cleveland and Lima, Kurt could understand why his boyfriend was worn out.
"You're a troublemaker," he mused while Blaine slept on obliviously. "You need to quit breaking the rules or my dad's going to kill us both. Or maybe just you, but that would kill me anyway."
He shut his mouth to stop the babbling, but Blaine only mumbled something indistinct into his shirt before sighing deeply and cuddling closer. Kurt's smile brightened another few watts from sheer contentment, knowing now that that was why girls were so obsessed with cuddling. He didn't see why the boys weren't, but he had a sneaking suspicion that they liked it sometimes, too. It was so . . . nice. Safe. Protected. Warm. Comfortable. Even though Blaine was shorter than him, it didn't feel that way when he was lying on top of him, peaceful, dozing. He felt like a safeguard from everything, whether it was Karofsky's old bullying or the rest of the world that would hate them on principle for being gay. His own arms wrapped around Blaine's back completed the feeling of mutual protection, guarding as much as he was guarded.
I can't believe my dad doesn't let us do this normally, he thought, leaning his head down to rest it against the top of Blaine's. It's practically platonic anyway.
Once again, it all came down to fairness and Finn. There was no way that it would be fair if Blaine and he were allowed to cuddle and make out and be together all the time if Finn couldn't do the same with Rachel. Which, it was mutually agreed by the house's other occupants, was never going to happen. No one wanted to deal with Rachel Berry twenty-four seven, even if Finn's cavalier attitude insisted that they could.
Blaine stirred, shifting around and flexing the hand that was resting absently on Kurt's shoulder. He waited, motionless, as Blaine woke up more fully, lifting his head to stare at his surroundings, at last locking a sleepy, disoriented gaze on Kurt.
"Come on," Kurt urged, patting his hip. "Up you go. The bed upstairs is a lot more comfortable than me anyway."
"S'not," Blaine mumbled, whining in protest when Kurt sat up, dragging him up in the process. It took some coaxing, a fact that Kurt knew was a bi-product of Blaine's fatigue rather than his usual chipper personality, until at last both boys were in Kurt's room. Kurt steered Blaine towards the air mattress; Blaine needed no further direction to sink down to his knees and crawl on top of it. It was only seven thirty, but Kurt didn't bother try and wake him up for a couple more hours to have a more regular night's sleep. Blaine would probably sleep until eight or so in the morning anyway, and then eventually get himself on track within a week or so.
"Good night," he couldn't help but whisper as he shut the door partially behind him, closing off the hallway lights from the room. Blaine uttered a grunt in return, which could have been interpreted as a 'good night' if Kurt wished to believe it so.
He smiled and did.
"So, are you two, uh, decided yet?"
Kurt had to do a double-take to see that it was Burt in the threshold between the kitchen and the living room.
"Decided what?" he asked, dog-earing the page of the Vogue magazine he was reading.
"You know," his dad said, waving a hand airily. "Senior year. College. I still can't believe you're heading off to some university after this year."
"It's not immediate," Kurt soothed. "Still an entire year plus summer. That's a lot of time for you to grow sick of me yet." He smiled.
"Can't deny that. But everything's . . . okay? He's not treating you badly or anything?"
"Blaine is a complete gentleman," Kurt assured. "Trust me, Dad. He wouldn't do anything that he knows you would see offensively and pull out the shotgun for."
"I still have that," his dad said musingly. "Just keep that in mind."
"Just being honest, Kurt."
"Two more weeks."
"And you are . . . ?"
Blaine sighed. "Still undecided," he admitted, rubbing the back of his neck. "I'm sorry, Kurt. I hate to leave the Warblers behind. They're my friends." He gave a sheepish, almost apologetic grin and shrugged. "I wish I could just hitchhike over to your school, but it's really not that simple."
"I understand," Kurt said, his heart sinking to rest somewhere around his abdomen.
Blaine put his hand over Kurt's comfortingly, giving it a squeeze, oblivious to the other Lima Bean patrons around them. "Whatever happens," he said seriously, "nothing changes between us, okay? I'm not going to break up with you even if I do stay at Dalton."
"And if I break up with you?" Kurt proposed wryly.
Blaine arched an eyebrow. "I suppose that's possible," he hedged. "But I'd really hope—" He looked so painfully earnest that Kurt had to intervene before he got the wrong idea, rubbing his thumb over Blaine's knuckles.
"Blaine. I'm kidding."
Blaine smiled, his head drooping in relief. He gave Kurt's hand another squeeze. "It'll be okay," he assured.
Easy for you to say, Kurt thought sulkily.
"Of course," he said aloud.
The last fourteen days of summer flew by. Before Kurt knew it, he was picking out his outfit for the first day of school, half-amused, half-terrified at how quickly the time had gone. He couldn't believe that it was already his senior year. There was still so much he had to do, beefing up his transcript for college applications and doing every wonderful thing he could think of as a carefree senior among his top two priorities.
Convincing Blaine to come to McKinley, too, the secretive, mutinous voice in him whispered.
No, he thought, firmly squashing the notion. He won't come. He's already decided on Dalton.
But he was meeting Blaine for one last proposal today, and he knew that he had to convince Blaine to transfer. Somehow.
In the end, it was easy. He had started out teasingly, telling Blaine that he was being passive-aggressive in his latest endeavor to get Blaine to transfer. Blaine had bantered back easily, an easy-going smile on his face. There was something about the simplicity of the conversation that struck Kurt as profound: there he was, a year after he had entered the hell that his junior year had become (pre-Blaine, that was), sitting with his boyfriend in a coffee shop talking about the future.
"I just . . . I want my senior year to be magic," he said at last, and he knew in his heart that those words were his last on the matter. He had nothing left, no other heartfelt pitches to give or even desire to give them. Blaine would decide for himself whether or not he would transfer, and that would be that.
Kurt breathed in slowly, half-waiting for an answer, half-expecting an outright rejection, and he couldn't help that his pulse accelerated when Blaine reached over and gripped his hand warmly. There was something about holding hands with Blaine that felt so much more intimate that it ever did with anyone else, and Kurt gratefully gripped his fingers back, not needing words.
We'll be okay, it said.
He knew it to be true.
"Bad week, more like it," Kurt said, shaking his head as he shut his locker and turned to walk down the hall. He was surprised that Blaine would choose to visit him during school hours—usually Blaine only did that during Karofsky emergencies or other crises—but there he was, dapper as ever and still very much a Warbler. Kurt sighed inwardly, wishing that he could change Blaine's mind somehow but knowing that Blaine's decision had been made. He was still Blaine Warbler, and he always would be.
Kurt paused, and then he asked him outright about Warbler practice.
He could almost feel Blaine beam, and he swore his heart stuttered as the rebellious little voice in him whispered, Maybe he's not going to Warbler practice.
No, no, that was impossible, his rational side argued, Blaine wouldn't—
"For someone who loves clothes so much, I can't believe you haven't noticed that I'm not in my Warbler outfit," Blaine said, and if his voice sounded like a five-year-old who had just received Christmas presents four months in advance, then Kurt was definitely okay with it, because Blaine wasn't wearing his Warbler's uniform.
Kurt gaped at him, elation and shock spreading through him so quickly that he couldn't pin down either emotion as dominant. He lunged forward with a suppressed squeal and wrapped Blaine up in a hug so tight that he worried that he would crush him, breathless and exultant. Backing away, he fluttered about frantically, babbling while Blaine grinned goofily and shook his head, reassuring and calming.
He's here! Kurt's mind cried jubilantly, even as he nodded along with whatever Blaine said. He's actually here.
If he wasn't in the middle of a public building and didn't have a reputation to uphold, Kurt was certain that he would have squealed as loudly then as he had when he'd found out that Roberto and Allie had won The Bachelorette.
We need to stop doing this, Kurt thought musingly, as he listened to the steady, warm breathing of his boyfriend beside him.
Some day, his dad was going to catch them at it and insist on sending Blaine back to Dalton where physical distance would keep them separate where regulated distance could not. Allowing Blaine to stay at the Hudson-Hummel residence while his family worked out the final kinks of the transfer was already generous without question, but Kurt couldn't help pushing his luck when it came to this one silly little rule. He hadn't meant for it to be broken initially, but with Blaine curled up against him, warm and wonderful and finally attending McKinley, Kurt couldn't help the warm rush of satisfaction that welled in his gut, grateful for that one night seemingly centuries ago when Blaine had woken up, sleepwalking, and then cuddled up against him.
This is perfect, Kurt decided, wrapping his arms around Blaine's back and pulling him closer. The older boy murmured indistinctly, still deeply asleep, and melted into the warmth. Kurt smiled and didn't even bother glancing at the clock or the door or anywhere, closing his eyes and basking in the moment of him, of Blaine, of them.
Author's Notes: Hello, everyone.
Here I would like to mention that I adore everything Caitlin (Keitorin Asthore) is and that any resemblance to stressbaker!Kurt belongs to her.
Thanks for reading. I hope you enjoyed!