Blaine walks into school feeling lighter than he has since his transfer. Suddenly the giant Dalton-shaped hole in his heart is just that much smaller. He knows if his mom told him tomorrow he could transfer back and board at his old school, he would say no. No matter how hard it is at McKinley, no matter how many shoves or slushies, he has Kurt, and that will get him through it.

His smile disappears when he turns the corner and sees a familiar, hulking form down the hallway. With everything that had happened he'd forgotten about Karofsky coming back. He hadn't been thinking about it at all, and seeing him here all of a sudden startles Blaine enough that he almost drops his books.

He doesn't even think, just turns around and walks until he reaches the boys restroom. He locks himself in the handicapped stall and looks down, realizing his hands are shaking. He pulls out his cell phone and texts Kurt, cut homerm. meet me in the boys bathrm by rm 20, and waits, trying to calm down.

Several minutes pass before Blaine hears the door open. Blaine looks under the stall door gap, recognizes Kurt's boots, and pushes open the door. "Kurt…"

Kurt looks at him in concern and Blaine takes his sleeve, pulling him into the stall and locking the door behind them. "Blaine?" Kurt asks, and Blaine cuts him off with a kiss. Kurt doesn't even hesitate to kiss back, and Blaine loves him for it, kisses him until his lips feel numb and his hands stop trembling.

"Oh my," Kurt says with a surprised, flirty smile when Blaine pulls back, "what was that for?"

Blaine smiles bashfully and looks down. "Because I can?"

The restroom door opens once more and they fall quiet, Kurt's eyes going wide. Blaine just drags him close, whispers against his ear. "No one's gonna see us."

Kurt whispers back. "Kind of suspicious, two pairs of feet and all."

"No one will look," Blaine says, and kisses Kurt's earlobe, nibbles and licks until he has Kurt squirming. He's just about to casually slide his hands down to Kurt's ass, when there is the clear sound of someone peeing in a nearby stall. He shares a look of alarm with Kurt before hiding his face in the side of Kurt's neck to keep from laughing too loudly.

"What a mood killer," Kurt whispers, still giggling.

"What, the restroom doesn't have enough romantic ambiance for you? God, you're so high maintenance."

Whoever it is leaves, and they break apart, grinning. Blaine's smile dims, though, when Kurt starts to lean back in. "Um, there was actually another reason I asked you to come."

"Oh?"

Blaine lets out a breath. "I saw Karofsky."

Kurt doesn't look surprised, but Blaine can tell by the way his mouth tightens in a frown that Karofsky hadn't been on his mind, either. "If he touches you, text me."

"Kurt, you can't—"

"I just want you to tell me, okay?"

Blaine is reluctant to agree, not wanting Kurt to get in the middle of it.

"Blaine."

"Okay, I'll text you," Blaine says.

"Promise?"

"Pinky promise."

Kurt smiles a little, taking Blaine up on his offer and locking pinkies. "It'll be okay, Blaine. He's already on thin ice, if he tries anything I'll go to the school board myself."

"Oh god, I actually think you would," Blaine says.

"I only speak the truth," Kurt says, and Blaine rolls his eyes, thinking back to their movie marathon yesterday afternoon. Moulin Rouge had been Kurt's choice, but it was Blaine who'd cried like a baby at the end.

"You know," Blaine says, "there's still five minutes 'til first period."

Kurt grins wickedly, and Blaine wipes it right off his face with a kiss.

ooo

Blaine sees Karofsky a few times throughout the week, but Karofsky never comes near him. Karofsky looks, and that's unnerving enough because Blaine can see the threat in his eyes, a dark promise for more, but he doesn't try anything. Yet.

And then there's Kurt. Kurt sitting near him in class and texting him and always, always at the forefront of Blaine's mind. They sneak out at lunch, go to Blaine's car, parked as far back in the lot as possible. It's December and cold out, unwelcomingly frigid just as soon as you step out the door, but they have each other. They don't need to turn on the car and run the heater when they spread out along the backseat, warming each other with kisses and hands stuffed under each other's coats and shirts.

Blaine's friends start to ask where he is all the time, what's got him so happy when he stares off at nothing, smiling. He says he has a project in French he's working on, knowing none of them can question the validity of his lie because none of them take French. As for the second part, he evades, says it's nothing, they're crazy. He's the same as ever.

But Blaine feels like he's on pins and needles, his emotions swinging all over the place between Karofsky and Kurt and the upcoming Sectionals competition. By the end of the week he's so anxious about Sectionals that it's almost a blessing to have Kurt to focus on.

"You'll be there, right?" Blaine asks Kurt Friday night.

Kurt stares at him. "Blaine, you seriously need to ask?"

"I don't know, I kind of feel like I'm going out of my mind. What if I forget the lyrics? What if I bump into someone while I'm dancing? What if we lose?" Blaine throws his hands up. "What if the Warblers lose? I don't know which would make me feel worse—"

"Blaine, relax," Kurt says, taking his hands to still them. "Who used to lead the Warblers, hm?"

"I didn't exactly lead, there was a council—"

"You were their main soloist, correct?"

"I was their main soloist, yes."

Kurt's hands cup his face, looks him right in the eyes. "See? You know what you're doing. You've done this before. I'll be there, front row, and I know you'll be amazing."

Blaine smiles, finally, feeling as reassured as possible. He leans in to kiss Kurt on the cheek and stays there. "I don't know what I'd do without you."

"Masturbate a lot more, probably," Kurt teases.

Blaine bursts out laughing. "You're evil."

Kurt just hums quietly in response and kisses him good night. Kurt's lips are deliciously soft and Blaine lingers, he really doesn't want to leave. It's Kurt who has to usher him out, promising, "Tomorrow, tomorrow. I can't wait to see you."

ooo

Blaine is waiting for his toast when his father walks into the kitchen. He's wearing a suit and tie, impeccably dressed and groomed.

"It's just Sectionals, Dad, you didn't have to get that dressed up," Blaine says with a tiny smile, secretly pleased that his father would go to such effort.

His father's expression is one of obvious confusion, before it smooths out into something more dismissive. "Oh. I'm afraid I have to meet with a client today, I won't be able to come to your singing show."

His mother, it turns out, has a migraine and can't come either.

Blaine would like to be able to say he's surprised, but the truth is, his parents have missed more competitions and performances than they've ever attended, and things around the house have been so tense and uneasy since he came out that he should have expected it. Still, there was a part of him, some stupid, foolish part, that had hoped. It's his first competition with New Directions and he really thought this time would be different. He wanted it to be different, and tries not to feel the crush of disappointment that it isn't.

If there's ever a moment he feels like he shines, it's when he's on stage. If his parents could just see that, if they could just understand, maybe they would realize he is not a disappointment. Maybe they would see that he's going to be something great, someday. At least, he hopes so.

ooo

They get to the auditorium where Sectionals are being held a little late, so when they do arrive, they're sent straight off to their school's waiting room, which means no checking the crowd for Kurt and no meet-up with the Warblers. They get ready and practice, and finally they get the news that they'll be going last.

They're sent out into the auditorium to a block of designated seats to watch the other teams perform, and Blaine nearly trips over Rachel, because instead of watching where he's walking he's looking for Kurt in the crowd. He finds Kurt, not first row, but third row center, sitting next to Burt, and Blaine's whole face lights up. He waves, not caring who sees. He came, and he brought his dad. Burt actually wanted to come to something that his own kid wasn't even a part of. There is a mix of love and bitterness, but whatever he's feeling because of his parents disappears the moment the lights go dark. The Warblers are set to go on first, and Blaine sits up in his seat, staring eagerly at the stage.

None of his friends at Dalton would tell him what songs they were doing, or even who was singing lead. They teased him about being a spy and made up ridiculous answers, like, Jeff is singing Closer by Nine Inch Nails, which immediately made Jeff blush five different shades of red. Or, they're doing He Had It Coming from Chicago, or Lady Marmalade from Moulin Rouge. But it's Nick who steps out of formation, singing lead on a beautifully arranged acapella rendition of Uptown Girl, and Blaine's heart swells with pride for his friend. They follow with two more Billy Joel songs; Only The Good Die Young, and The River Of Dreams. When they finish, Blaine is the first one out of his seat, cheering. He jumps up and down, waving, trying to get their attention. Trent sees him first and tries to get some of the others to look over, and they're laughing and wave to him on their way off the stage. Wes would have killed them for acting so unprofessional, and the thought just makes Blaine smile all the wider.

The second group barely registers through the swirl of nostalgia and the sharp contrast of anxiety. Before he knows it, it's their turn. He and Rachel are singing a duet of Coldplay's Paradise, and she has the first stanza. Her voice rings out clear and true, and Blaine watches as she comes alive in a way he's never seen before, not even in glee club. She's amazing, and he can't imagine the crowd being anything less than captivated.

He joins her during para-para-paradise, and then it's him alone.

"When she was just a girl, she expected the world," he sings, looking out into the audience, finding a familiar face among the rest. "But it flew away from her reach." He extends a hand. "And the bullets catch in her teeth."

Kurt is smiling at him.

Rachel joins him, "Life goes on, it gets so heavy, the wheel breaks the butterfly." He looks to her, their voices harmonizing, filling the room. "Every tear, a waterfall. In the night, the stormy night, she closes her eyes. In the night, the stormy night, away she flied…"

Blaine finds Kurt again, and the voices of New Directions jump in. When the song ends, it leads into Yellow. There isn't much dancing involved, so Blaine has the opportunity to watch Kurt, singing to him, letting him know with his eyes and his voice, this is for you. This is how I feel when I'm with you.

They finish with Viva La Vida and inspire a standing ovation. It went perfectly. Perfectly. As they file back into their waiting room Blaine is still breathing hard, sweating lightly, so pumped with adrenaline and feeling like he could do anything. The members of New Directions are talking excitedly, all of them feeling like they have a good chance of winning. Blaine's pocket vibrates with a text from Kurt.

K: You were amazing. Can I come see you?

Blaine grins widely as he texts back, 'meet me back here after judging, i want you to meet the warblers. that ok?'

K:
See you then!

They wait for what seems like an eternity before they're called back on stage. The judge talks briefly about the sanctity of music or something, before announcing the third place winner. It isn't New Directions or the Warblers, and Blaine can't help but look over to his old group.

When they announce the winner it's New Directions and Blaine is swept up into the moment, his teammates crashing into each other with squeals and hugs and cheering. Blaine's heart soars. There isn't room for anything but joy in that moment, and Blaine soaks it up, swears to remember it forever.

Blaine spots Kurt waiting for him near an exit door as New Directions file off stage. He hurries over and wraps Kurt into a tight hug.

"You came," he says against Kurt's temple.

"You keep acting surprised. Am I really such a bad boyfriend?" Kurt asks, pulling back with a wide smile.

Blaine feels inexplicably choked up. "No. No, never."

"You really shined out there, Blaine." Kurt moves his hands from behind his back, producing a small bouquet of red roses. "These are for you."

"Kurt…" Blaine looks at Kurt and the bouquet in awe. He's never gotten flowers before, would never have even thought he'd want them, but his chest aches with emotion and he takes them so carefully, like anything but a delicate touch and they'll cease to be real. "Thank you."

Kurt cups a hand behind Blaine's neck and brings him closer, kissing him softly and lovingly, and every worry and bit of heartache that had been lingering melts away. Blaine pulls back only when it becomes a little too good, and smiles breathlessly up at Kurt. "Come on, I want you to meet my friends before they leave."

He takes Kurt's hand, the bouquet tight in the other, and leads him toward the Warblers' waiting room.

It was not so very long ago that Blaine had worried about how to come out to his friends at Dalton. In the end he'd chosen the lamest - albeit easiest - route, and changed his status on facebook from interested in women to interested in men. This was met with an outpouring of supportive and gently teasing comments, and a Skype call from a few of them to call him out on not telling them personally.

Blaine doesn't know what to expect when he introduces them to his boyfriend, but he doesn't have a lot of time to be nervous. As soon as he steps into the doorway, every head turns toward him, and then it's just madness as he's enveloped in a giant, raucous group hug. He loses Kurt's hand, and thank god Kurt had the presence of mind to take the bouquet from him, because he's being crushed.

"Oh my god, oh my god, stop, I can't breathe," he's saying, laughing and trying to hug everyone. Eventually the crowd of boys back off, laughing and talking and welcoming him "back."

Nick has an arm around his shoulders. "They stole our star from us, no wonder we lost!"

Blaine's face is ablaze and he shakes his head, face tipped down. "You were awesome, Nick. You guys blew me away."

There's a lot of excited chatter directed at him, but Blaine takes a step back and looks for Kurt, still standing there silently in the doorway. "Hey guys, I wanted to, uh, introduce you." He takes Kurt's hand and tugs him forward to stand by his side, smiling proudly. Kurt looks slightly terrified, but Blaine knows his friends and his heart swells up to be able to share this with them. "This is my boyfriend, Kurt."

Kurt's shy little hi is lost in an eruption of ohhhh!'s and catcalls and teasing and lewd and congratulatory comments. Warblers are patting him on the back and shoving at each other to shake Kurt's hand, and both he and Kurt are blushing, but it's a positive reaction and Blaine knows Kurt needs this. Kurt needs to see that not everything is going to be homophobia and hate. And maybe he needs it, too.

They talk to the Warblers for just a little while longer before Blaine gets a text from Rachel asking where he is. He bids a sad farewell, and there's more hugging and congratulations on being the cutest couple ever and congratulations on getting some and congratulations on winning. The Warblers sing them out oh goodbye, my love, I'm gonna cry, my love and Blaine and Kurt are both laughing when they leave the room.

"I can't believe it. An entire room of boys and no one so much as gave us a dirty look," Kurt says.

"They're awesome. Some people are just awesome," Blaine says, and takes the bouquet back from Kurt before he leaves. "Call me later?"

"Come over later," Kurt says with a wink, and gives him a quick kiss before sending him on his way.

When he rejoins New Directions he totally gets the side-eye about his flowers.

"They're from the Warblers," Blaine says, giving the first excuse that comes to mind.

Santana snatches a small card from the bouquet that Blaine hadn't even noticed was there. "To the brightest star in my sky," she reads. There's a moment of silence and Blaine is mortified, but then she cackles, "Gay!" and Rachel is yelling at her and someone makes a Gargler joke and Blaine grabs the card back from her, cheeks hot.

"It probably just came with the bouquet," he says, but no one's really listening anymore anyway.

The bus ride back to Lima is much more exciting than the trip to Sectionals had been, and Blaine gets caught up in it.

Moving from Westerville and leaving Dalton had been heartbreaking for him. He'd been miserable for the weeks leading up to their move, and even more so when they'd actually gotten to Lima. It took him a long time to feel like he really fit in, like he had a place here and he belonged. But looking around this bus, hearing the teasing and the in-jokes and the impromptu singing. The card and the flowers. He has never felt so much at home.

ooo

Kurt is sitting on the floor with his back against the edge of the bed, math book open and pencil poised. He's been working on equations for the last twenty minutes, and before that, science vocab. Blaine is done with his homework and slowly spinning circles in Kurt's computer chair.

"So," Blaine says.

"So," Kurt echoes, eyes on his paper.

"You know, the winter dance is coming up," Blaine starts to say. Kurt looks up, blue eyes wide. "Rachel asked me to go with her . As friends, of course. I said I didn't know. I wanted to ask you first."

"Oh." Kurt glances down a moment before looking back to him. "Of course. I mean, whatever. If you want to go." He shrugs.

"I guess. I just felt bad, she really wants to go and doesn't have a date. And it's not like we can go together."

"No, of course not," Kurt says, his words clipped and attention back on his assignment.

Blaine stares down at Kurt, trying to figure out his reaction. "You're mad," he finally says, a statement more than a question.

Kurt just snorts.

"Kurt, I can tell when—"

"I'm not mad, Blaine, I swear," Kurt says, looking up, irritation plain on his face.

"Look, it's not like I'm going to fall in love with Rachel Berry because I go to a dance with her."

Kurt snorts out a short laugh. "Did I say I thought that would happen?" he asks, and there's something in the way he says it that Blaine doesn't like.

"Then enlighten me, what's wrong?"

"What's wrong is that I'm trying to finish my homework and you keep twirling around in that chair and going on about this dance like I care and it's really getting on my last nerve," Kurt snaps.

Blaine goes cold all over and stands up. "Fine. Excuse me for thinking you'd care about something involving me."

He walks out. He doesn't even give Kurt a chance to say anything, he doesn't look back, he just leaves. He's just so angry. He didn't do anything wrong, he'd only been trying to talk to Kurt, god forbid. Only when Blaine gets to his car does he realize he overreacted. He also forgot his homework on Kurt's bedroom floor. He's too embarrassed to go back, and maybe Kurt needs time to cool down from whatever mood he was in, too. With a quick look at Kurt's bedroom window, Blaine backs out of the driveway and heads home, the radio off and car silent.

ooo

Kurt finds Blaine at his locker the next morning. When Blaine sees the way his eyebrows are drawn up in worry, the little downturned frown, he's honestly relieved. If Kurt isn't still mad at him then he won't have to prostrate himself across the hallway floor and beg forgiveness. He apologizes anyway, they both do, and the anxiety that has been building since last night seeps away. He wishes he could kiss Kurt right then and there because words are not enough, sometimes.

Blaine glances around, looking in resentment at each and every person preventing him from doing such a small, simple thing. He wonders if he and Kurt will ever be able to. If in college Kurt will be comfortable being out. Blaine has the sudden urge to cut classes for the day and go finish all his college applications, he will apply to every school in New York until one accepts him. But they haven't talked about their future much, not in a together sense. Blaine has been assuming the end of high school wouldn't mean the end of them.

But what if it does?

ooo

The week passes uneventfully. Nothing happens, but things are off in a way Blaine can't seem to pinpoint.

Blaine finds himself watching Kurt, wanting to ask what his plans are after graduation and if they include Blaine. Kurt would tell him if they did, wouldn't he? Maybe Blaine is moving too fast. They have only known each other for about three months, have been friends for even less, a couple not even half that, which seems crazy because it feels longer.

Kurt seems distant, more snappish than usual. When Blaine tells Kurt his parents are on a trip over the weekend and does he want to come over? Kurt simply agrees like Blaine has just invited him to the grocery store. Blaine would worry Kurt isn't interested in him like that anymore, but that is the one thing that hasn't changed, at least, every make out session is hotter and more frenzied than the last. Kurt seems almost desperate for it in a way Blaine doesn't think can be faked, but his hot and cold mood changes are confusing more than Blaine's libido. He tries to think of a way to ask about it, but nothing comes.

ooo

The Winter Formal, though the word formal is in the title, is much less of an event than Homecoming was. No one is as decked out, and Rachel is much more calm about the whole affair.

New Directions form their own circle on the dance floor. It's fun and all, but then The Way You Look Tonight starts playing and everyone pairs off to slow dance. Rachel loops her arms around his shoulders, but all Blaine can think is that she isn't who he really wants in his arms. He has his cheek resting against her hair, watching the room as they slowly circle, when he sees Kurt walk through the door.

He does a double take and nearly steps on Rachel's feet, because that is definitely Kurt in a suit, and wow, he looks amazing. Before Blaine has a chance to even head Kurt's way, Santana joins Kurt, taking his arm.

"What the hell?"

Blaine doesn't even realize he just said that out loud until Rachel stops dancing to look up at him. "What?"

"Uh—nothing…"

He continues dancing and watches as Santana drags Kurt over to the food table. When the song ends, Blaine politely excuses himself and makes his way over, mentally cursing the dense clusters of obnoxious classmates in his way. Kurt is gone when he gets there, leaving Blaine looking stupidly at Santana.

Blaine isn't as intimidated to approach her as he would have been when he first joined glee club. Ever since the shopping trip, especially, he and Santana have formed a bizarre, twisted sort of friendship. Or at least mutual tolerance, which, considering Santana's general attitude, is something to be admired.

He sidles up in the guise of getting punch. "Hi, Santana. You look beautiful." And she does, her hair piled high, wearing a long, black silk dress.

Santana spares him a sly smile. "Not too shabby yourself, Gaybler."

"Uh—"

"You know, if Rachel's going to be your beard, you could at least help dress her." Santana shoots a look off in Rachel's direction, making a face at the light blue and pink frosted dress.

"She's not my beard—and just because I'm gay doesn't mean I know anything about women's clothes."

"I never said you did, but you do have eyes. She's a little too old to shop at Kids R Us," Santana says.

"Well, look who you asked." Blaine's statement hangs in the air between them. He can't find an insult to even pretend to apply to Kurt.

"What? Are you kidding? Chipette over there practically begged me to go with him," she snorts, inspecting her cup of punch with a disgusted frown.

Blaine looks up, tries to hide his shock.

"It's cool," Santana continues. "I needed an excuse, anyway." She's looking off to some corner of the room. Blaine follows her gaze, but hasn't a clue what, or who, she's looking at. He sees his group of friends and returns the wave Mercedes' is sending him.

"Oh. Where'd— um, where'd he go?" Blaine asks, trying to feign nonchalance and failing pretty spectacularly.

Santana raises an eyebrow. "I don't know. Said he had to find someone."

"Oh…" Blaine looks around, wondering if Kurt meant him. Has Kurt come to see him? It seems so unlikely, but then why else? "Well. I gotta go, Santana. See you."

He slips away before she can say a word, and starts wandering the crowd, looking for Kurt. He's stopped by Rachel before he can get very far.

"Oh," she says, smiling, "for me?"

Blaine looks down at the cup of punch he's holding in confusion. He had completely forgotten he'd even grabbed it. "Oh, yeah. Here." He hands it to her with a smile. "Well—"

"Did you see the fight?" Rachel asks, an excited gleam in her eye.

"What?" Blaine squeaks, his mind flying to Kurt who is still nowhere to be seen—

Rachel cuts off his train of thought. "Finn and Quinn just got into a huge argument. I couldn't hear everything they were saying, but it sounded serious and he left and I don't know if he's coming back, but—"

Rachel continues on for several minutes, debating what the argument was about, what it could mean, should she go find Finn so he will turn to her in his time of need? Another slow song starts up and she takes his hands, dancing and occasionally asking what she should do. After Blaine tells her five different times to go find Finn, she finally does, heading out of the gymnasium.

Blaine continues his search for Kurt, and eventually concludes that there's no way Kurt can still be in the gymnasium. He feels like he's walked the perimeter at least twice. Eventually, he heads out, the music growing muted. There are a few small groups of scattered students milling around in the lobby. The hallways beyond are mostly dark, the lights turned off to indicate those areas are off limits. He jogs down one, nothing, heads back and tries the next. It's the choir room hallway along the side of the gymnasium, ending in doors that lead out to the parking lot, where he finds Kurt, standing near the doors, looking down at his phone.

"Hey," Blaine says, slows his steps and walks toward Kurt. Kurt looks up and Blaine can't read his expression, but doesn't think it's anything good. "I can't believe you're here."

"It was a mistake," Kurt says, tapping something into his phone.

"What do you mean?" Blaine asks with a frown, stopping a few feet away. He watches Kurt's profile for a long moment. "...Kurt?"

"You want to be out. You want to be open. I understand, Blaine. It's something I can't give you, so—"

"I didn't ask you to, Kurt. It's okay that you didn't come, I swear," Blaine says with a small shrug of his shoulders, arms loose at his sides, hands wanting to touch Kurt.

Kurt doesn't look up, and Blaine kind of wants to break his phone.

"Why did you come, Kurt?"

Kurt's jaw clenches. "I don't know."

"God, Kurt, could you put your phone away?"

He gets a sharp look for that. "I have to let Santana know I'm not staying."

"What? Don't leave yet," Blaine says, and takes a step forward. He just wants to know why, and he wants things to go back to normal between them. "You actually came here, didn't even come say hi to me, and now you're leaving already?"

But Kurt isn't talking.

"Kurt."

"I wanted you to ask me," Kurt says, eyes on his phone.

Blaine frowns, shakes his head slowly in disbelief. "You wouldn't have gone with me…"

Kurt drags his tongue along his lower lip and glances over.

"Right? Because I was under the impression that this was a secret," Blaine says when Kurt doesn't reply.

Kurt shrugs a shoulder, a helpless sort of look on his face. "I know." The vulnerability in his voice breaks Blaine's heart.

The music from the gym filtering into the hallway catches Blaine's attention. He takes a deep breath. "Dance with me."

Kurt's eyebrows go up, and he's looking at Blaine now, really looking. "What?"

"Dance with me," Blaine says, holding out a hand.

Kurt's mouth curls up in uncertainty and he places his hand in Blaine's. "Okay…"

Blaine pulls Kurt toward him, encircling Kurt's waist with his arms. They're close, and Kurt is warm and perfect. "I would have asked you if I thought there was a chance in hell you'd have accepted."

"I don't even know if I would have," Kurt says, tilting his head to rest against Blaine's. "I probably wouldn't have. I guess I just. Wanted."

"We should be able to, Kurt," Blaine says. "We're no different from anyone else."

Kurt doesn't answer. They turn, swaying to the music, and it's just like Blaine always imagined it should be. The thrill of Kurt's touch as the music swirls around him, heart racing. Kurt starts to sing along softly against his ear. "Maybe I didn't hold you all those lonely, lonely times, and I guess I never told you, I'm so happy that you're mine…"

Blaine smiles, closes his eyes against a small shiver, and joins in.

"If I ever made you feel second best, I'm so sorry, I was blind. You were always on my mind, you were always on my mind…"

Anyone could walk down this hallway. Anyone. But here Kurt holds him, dances with him. They turn a circle in the middle of the hallway, the two of them, the moon through the door's window their main source of light. They dance to the slow songs, to the fast songs. They take turns singing – both alone and together – never too loudly, doing their best to keep their laughter down so they don't draw any unwanted attention. Blaine isn't sure if it's because Kurt doesn't want anyone to find out, or simply because they have turned this into their own private party and don't want to share the feeling.

Blaine twirls Kurt and Kurt dips Blaine and they laugh and dance. When one of the songs ends, Blaine presses Kurt to the wall and kisses him, so delighted he can't keep it to himself any longer. Kurt tugs at Blaine's bowtie and kisses back. He kisses back.

Elated, Blaine pulls away with a widening grin. "I love you."

Kurt looks as stunned as Blaine feels, because he did not mean to say that. Blaine's fingers come up to cover his mouth as though he can retroactively keep the words inside.

"You do?"

As scared as Blaine is to openly admit it to Kurt, it's only from fear of rejection, or that it's too soon. But he won't take it back. What a thing to take back. Maybe it's too much, but he could never tell Kurt he doesn't love him.

So he nods, his hand slowly lowering. "You don't have to—"

"I love you, too," Kurt says in a rush, cutting Blaine off. He says the words like he's pushing them past his lips, and then he's close, hiding his face against Blaine's, cheek to cheek. "I love you."

Kurt is holding him loosely at the waist, and Blaine grips the sleeves at Kurt's elbows, holding on. "Kurt…"

"I hated seeing you with Rachel Berry, and I hated not being the one there with you. It's stupid, because I know it didn't mean anything to you, but I don't want you to be anyone else's but mine."

"God, no," Blaine says, turning his face toward Kurt's, nose to cheek.

Kurt shifts, skin against skin, until his mouth finds Blaine's. Blaine doesn't hesitate to kiss him. Their lips part in tandem, Kurt's tongue is warm and insistent, the press of their mouths possessive. There's something like a growl and Blaine realizes he doesn't know who it came from, realizes they can't do this here.

Blaine's voice, when it comes, is breathy and rough. "Let's go."

Kurt is still pressing kisses to Blaine's mouth. "Where?"

"I don't know. Somewhere we can be alone. My house?"

"Oh. Okay," Kurt says, somewhere from the vicinity of Blaine's neck.

Blaine pulls away with a laugh and Kurt just smiles.

They try the door at the end of the hallway, but it's locked, which means their only way out is through the front doors. They get a few curious looks as they walk through the lobby, but no one says a thing. Once they're outside in the open air they take off, running like they're bound for flight, hands linked and hearts soaring.

ooo

"When the world is puddle-wonderful," Blaine whispers as Kurt mouths at his neck, works at unbuttoning his dress shirt.

"Mm?"

"Huh?"

Kurt stops and gives Blaine a curious look. "Did you just say something about puddles?"

Blaine blinks. "I…did not realize I said that out loud."

"Someone spiked the punch, that's what all this has been about, hasn't it?"

"No!" Blaine smiles in embarrassment. "It's from this ee cummings poem."

"Cummings, hm?" Kurt's fingers continue on their mission to open Blaine's shirt. "Trying to tell me something?" Kurt smirks, stepping in closer. "You're so dirty, Blaine."

"Shut up," Blaine laughs.

"You're the one talking about coming," Kurt says in a sing-song voice.

Blaine is half-naked now and thinking about coming and so he can't be blamed for pressing forward and kissing any further words from Kurt's mouth. Kurt kisses back without hesitation and it's messy at first and just a little awkward because they are both so eager. Kurt's hands frame Blaine's face and hold him there, keep him still. Kurt presses him hard against the door and kisses him like he's starving for it.

Blaine understands, he understands completely, because he needs this, too.

He never imagined being with someone could feel this way, that passion like this was real. He had hoped, but after so many failed dates and his inability to want anyone beyond something platonic, he had wondered if there was something wrong with him, that maybe love of this kind was just an exaggeration. He feels it now like a physical ache, this need for Kurt, and it's scary and amazing, and to think Kurt feels even just a little of this for him? Blaine's heart is almost fit to burst.

Kurt is breathless and flushed when he pulls away. "I want to do everything with you," he says, kissing Blaine's face, lips moving down to his neck, kissing everywhere.

"I want you to," Blaine says, tilting his head back, baring throat and chest to Kurt's mouth. Oh, Kurt's tongue, little wet touches along his jaw, under his ear, over his Adam's apple. Blaine groans so Kurt's mouth will feel the vibration and Kurt moans softly in response, sucks fleetingly along his neck.

"We should—" Blaine gasps as Kurt's teeth worry along the side of his neck. "—Bed, Kurt."

"Yeah, okay," Kurt says, moves away only enough to lead them both over. Kurt sits on the edge of the mattress and stops Blaine from following, holding him by the hips, eyes on his. "What did you bring me here for, exactly?"

Blaine blushes and stutters, glances away. "To be with you."

"But," Kurt breathes, fingers giving the waistband of Blaine's slacks a light tug, "in what capacity?"

Blaine pushes through sudden nervousness and makes a face, something like a smile, he hopes. "Whatever capacity you want."

Kurt slides the button free with his thumb. "When I said everything, I meant it. I meant now."

Blaine's throat constricts, so he nods, words failing to express how much he wants this, too. With Kurt.

Kurt pulls Blaine's pants down, leaving him in his boxer briefs. He reaches forward, gently touches Blaine, eliciting a soft, pleading sound. Kurt's eyes flicker upward. "You're already so hard for me."

"Kurt—"

Kurt is palming him, almost kneading. Blaine leans into it with a groan, hands falling to Kurt's shoulders. At his touch, Kurt pulls his briefs down, leaving Blaine naked. Kurt doesn't stroke or jerk him, more like maps him out, palm and fingers skating along his skin, just feeling. Kurt's other hand reaches below, behind, along his thighs, everywhere. Kurt's hands are all over and it's all Blaine can do to keep from slumping into his lap, begging for more.

"I love this about you," Kurt says.

"W-What?" Blaine asks, fingers tight around Kurt's shoulders, head bowed.

Kurt gently squeezes his cock. "This. Knowing I did this to you, that this is because of me." Kurt strokes just once.

Kurt pulls him closer and slides to the floor. Blaine's hands trace up Kurt's neck to the back of his head, fingers disappearing in his hair. He can't think with the way Kurt's touching him and the things Kurt is saying. He can't think of one thing to reply with that isn't a moan or a plea for something more.

Kurt briefly nuzzles his nose and cheek to Blaine's stomach, kissing his way down along the sparse trail of hair until Blaine can feel his breath where he aches most.

"Drives me crazy," Kurt whispers, and presses his lips right to the underside of Blaine's cock.

Blaine gasps and his fingers tighten in Kurt's hair. "Holy shit…"

Kurt mouths at Blaine's cock, licks, sucks lightly against the shaft, not yet taking it into his mouth but it doesn't even matter because this is amazing. They haven't done this yet, at most they've explored handjobs and rubbing, but this is different. Wet and hot and Blaine had no idea this feeling was even possible, but he never wants to go back.

Blaine hears the sound of a zipper. Kurt shifts, and Blaine doesn't know why until he looks down between them and sees. "Kurt," he says, startled, "I can, for you—"

Kurt's hand is pumping himself, he's hard and the head of his cock is shiny with smeared pre-come. "No, I just—I need to this time. I'm so turned on, you're so—" He doesn't finish whatever he was going to say, moving instead to take Blaine back into his mouth.

Blaine whimpers, helplessly pushing his hips toward Kurt's mouth, saying his name in a broken voice. It feels too good, tight and wet and perfect. Kurt sucks at the head, lowers slowly, taking more and more into his mouth, down his throat until there's nowhere else and Kurt's hand hovers with nothing left to hold.

"Kurt."

Kurt moans in reply and moves back up, experimentally bobs his head, his hand returning to hold Blaine in place as he sucks.

Blaine's hands are fists in Kurt's hair, and he pulls a little without meaning to. He would be sorry except that Kurt makes these high-pitched sounds every time, and Blaine is craning his head to see, wants to watch Kurt's mouth around him, Kurt's hand jerking himself off. Kurt's mouth moves faster, his thumb sweeping along the sensitive underside of Blaine's cock and Blaine can't.

"Kurt—oh, I'm sorry, I—"

It's as much warning as he can get out. He comes with Kurt's mouth still around him, with Kurt's mouth still moving, working him through his orgasm. Blaine doesn't even know what sounds he's making, how hard he's pulling Kurt's hair, because there is nothing but heat and release.

Kurt swallows and pulls off, taking a breath and then letting out a strangled moan as he stands a little to lean against Blaine. Blaine can feel it hit his thigh, hot stripes of come. He can't help a moan of his own and tilts Kurt's head back with a hand still in his hair, the other clutching at Kurt's shoulder, brackets himself around Kurt and kisses him. Kurt's hands are on his hips now and Blaine can taste himself on Kurt's tongue, delicious and dirty.

They fall back onto the bed in a mass of sweaty, slightly sticky limbs, and neither of them can bring themselves to care. Kurt loses his pants and Blaine pulls a blanket over them. They take their time kissing and touching, exploring with hands and mouths and heated looks. Blaine is certain there isn't a single soul as beautiful as Kurt, and he tells him so in whispers and in as many ways as he can think of. Kurt tries to stop him with kisses, his cheeks flushed in embarrassment and love.

At first it feels like drowning, warm from the blanket and from Kurt, limbs heavy and head foggy with a mixed desire for sleep and for more. It tapers off little by little, touch by touch, focus sharpening and heat building. He's hard again and so is Kurt, Blaine can feel him against his thigh. It's almost surreal, to have this.

Blaine's fingers tease Kurt's nipples, Kurt's knead Blaine's ass. Kurt's mouth is a constant sucking pressure along his neck and Blaine doesn't even want to know what he's going to look like tomorrow. It's a distracting thought, so when one of Kurt's fingers dips down to touch where he has definitely never been touched before, Blaine can't help a surprised sort of yelp.

Kurt pulls back, eyes heavy-lidded, but concerned. "Okay?"

"Yeah, I—sorry, that was embarrassing. You can continue. With my butt."

Kurt grins and it looks almost wolfish. "You're cute."

Kurt moves his finger a little, rubs lightly at the opening. It feels good in a way Blaine wasn't expecting and he unconsciously leans in toward Kurt, tiny whimpers at each movement from his finger.

Kurt is breathing heavy and whispers against his ear, "Do you have lube?"

Blaine nods, rolling on his opposite side and away from Kurt to look in the drawer of his bedside table. He'd bought lube and condoms not too long after they'd gotten together. He didn't know when they'd use them, but he knew that eventually they would. Everything has been so fervent from the moment they kissed that it feels like a wonder they've waited this long.

There is no second guessing, Blaine is ready.

He turns toward Kurt with his hands hidden behind his back. "Pick a hand."

"Is this a modern version of playing hard to get?" Kurt asks, tapping his right shoulder.

Blaine produces his hand, opening it. "Behind this hand, lube."

"Do I have to answer a riddle to get what's behind the other?" Kurt asks, taking the tube and smiling.

"Yes, what's rubbery and ribbed for her pleasure?"

"Her? Is there something you're not telling me?" Kurt takes the packet from Blaine, sets it aside and leans in to kiss him, reaching down and giving Blaine's cock two slow, moan-inducing strokes.

Blaine opens the tube for Kurt, spreading the lube on Kurt's fingers for him. "Definitely not a girl."

Kurt looks down to his fingers. It's a goopy sort of mess, Blaine maybe used too much, but probably better too much than too little. "You're sure about this?" Kurt asks.

Blaine nods, ignoring the way his heart's pounding. "How do you want me?"

Kurt's eyes are dark, they linger and it's a moment before he answers. "On your elbows and knees, I think." Blaine acquiesces, and Kurt helps direct him. "Yeah, like— knees drawn under, yeah. Like that." Kurt moves behind him and Blaine hears him groan. "God, Blaine, I just want to—"

Blaine bites his lip, hands tightening in his bed sheet, and he lifts his ass just a little higher, presenting himself to Kurt. He just wants so badly. "Please, Kurt."

There's a groan and then Blaine feels the cool, wet touch of Kurt's finger. Kurt teases the rim again, swirls his finger, increasing and decreasing the pressure at random, making Blaine moan and squirm. When he isn't sure he can take anymore, Kurt's finger slowly pushes inside. It's hard to judge how far. Blaine can feel it moving, it doesn't feel bad, but it doesn't exactly feel good, either. It's a weird sort of pressure, but the idea of it, and god, the friction against that outer edge, that's turning Blaine on. That feels good, and he wants more, begs for it in little moans.

Kurt stretches him with that one finger for what seems like an impossibly long time.

"Kurt, more…"

"Okay," Kurt says, and his voice sounds shaky and jesus that's incredibly hot. Blaine wishes he could see, turns his head to look right as Kurt works another finger inside. It burns just a little, but Kurt looks up at him and the look in his eyes. There's nothing else, just this boy he loves, just them.

"You're so tight, Blaine, I—I'm gonna do another, okay? I read—"

But Blaine is already shaking his head, saying yeah, yeah, please, and there's this moment of emptiness when Kurt is adding more lube, followed by intense pressure of all three fingers entering at once. Blaine breathes and relaxes his body, head lowering a moment. Kurt's free hand is holding onto his hip, almost bruisingly tight, and it all just feels like a lot.

Kurt's fingers go deeper and start to slowly thrust, start to move with purpose. Blaine is cursing under his breath and Kurt is moaning low and Blaine wonders if he even realizes. Kurt curls his fingers, or, Blaine isn't sure, just knows it feels different, and then it feels amazing, so amazing he cries out softly, surprised by the sudden spike of pleasure.

"Wha—"

"Yeah? Did that feel good?" Kurt's leaning over his back in an eager sort of way, moving his fingers a little faster, massaging, and Blaine cries out again, claws at his mattress until his hands are fists in the sheet because holy fuck it's intense and strange and good.

"I love the sounds you're making, they're driving me crazy," Kurt is saying in a husky voice, practically draped over his back, licking and sucking at Blaine's neck, biting, mouthing his shoulder, moving his fingers over and over the same area and all Blaine can do is moan and try to remember to breathe.

The feeling ignites, flares, and Blaine almost screams, lets out this broken sob and he's sure he's come, he doesn't feel anything but he must have.

"Oh my god," Kurt says and his fingers are gone and he flips Blaine. Blaine lets Kurt manhandle him, position him. A pillow under his hips and Kurt's hands linger on his thighs a moment.

"Did I come?" Blaine asks weakly, mindlessly.

"No, it's—I don't know, that was just. Can I? Is it still okay?" Kurt asks, and he has the condom clenched in both hands. He looks wild. Blaine nods.

Kurt lets out a breath like relief and gets himself ready. Blaine watches in anticipation, that edge of nervousness back, but the way Kurt adds a little lube inside the condom and rolls it on, spreads more lube along his length, the precision and preparation for what they're about to do all feels very erotic to Blaine and there is a low buzz under his skin.

Kurt scoots up between Blaine's legs, holds onto his thighs, and everything at once seems sharpened. The blue of Kurt's eyes, the bow of his lips, the touch of his fingers and the pale expanse of his chest, just a light sheen of sweat.

"You're so beautiful," Blaine says, and it comes out in this broken, stupid way that's a little embarrassing, but Kurt smiles, glancing away.

"God, you have no idea how you look right now, Blaine."

"Kurt…"

"I'm afraid to hurt you," Kurt admits after a moment, hands stroking Blaine's thighs.

"Remember…remember, I'm a masochist? You said. Maybe I'll like it," Blaine says, smiles to show he's teasing.

Kurt looks like he's laughing but there isn't a sound. He touches Blaine's cock, teases the spot between the base and his balls and Blaine squirms.

"Please, Kurt…"

Kurt nods and leans in, and Blaine feels the head of his cock press up against his entrance. Kurt takes a breath and starts to push in, and oh god, oh god. It's nothing like Kurt's fingers had been, not even close. It's all intense, blunt pressure, and wow, he doesn't feel two seconds away from coming now.

"Blaine." And this time it's Kurt's voice that sounds broken. His face dips down close, and he's pushing slowly, so slowly.

Blaine closes his eyes, trying to keep the sounds threatening to break free down, but something hoarse escapes anyway, and Kurt stops moving.

"You okay?"

Blaine takes two deep breaths and nods. "Just keep—keep moving."

Kurt peppers a few sloppy kisses along his face, shifts, and the drag of Kurt's cock along his rim sends sparks up his spine, elicits a helpless whimper.

"Jesus, Blaine, you have no idea—"

Kurt stops, and must be in all the way. Blaine's hands are shaking, but sure, and bring Kurt's head down, kissing him, feeling a rush of aching warmth because this is Kurt inside him. Kurt, the first boy he's ever loved, who he's everything with, now. He wants Kurt so completely, his fingers tighten, body becomes impatient.

"More, Kurt. Need you," he begs against Kurt's mouth, lips still touching.

Kurt makes a sound of affirmation, and slides a hand up Blaine's thigh, slowly pulling back. The drag of his cock makes Blaine gasp, moan just a little. Kurt starts to thrust, slow, shallow strokes, staring down like he's trying to work out the best way to do this, eyelids heavy and mouth parted like it's the best thing he's ever felt.

"So tight," Kurt is whispering, and all Blaine can say is please, please.

Kurt's thrusts pick up speed, gaining confidence, and all at once that overwhelming feeling is back. Blaine keens, shaking pleas and attempts at coaxing Kurt for more tumble from his mouth, his fingers hold tight, scrabbling to find purchase on Kurt's body, hips jerking, wanting. Kurt is sweating, panting, rolling his hips with his eyes on Blaine's, face flushed and eyes dazed. Blaine can feel his desperation just as much as he can his own.

"Touch yourself," Kurt says, swiping his tongue over his lower lip.

Blaine groans from the sight of Kurt's tongue, the thought of touching himself in front of Kurt, and hesitates only a moment before complying. He wraps his hand around his cock, strokes fast, hissing in relief.

"Yeah," Kurt moans. "You're so hot, Blaine, so hot…"

Kurt re-adjusts, braces himself, and drags Blaine's hips higher, fucking into him a little faster. The movements are erratic as Kurt finds a new rhythm, but Blaine cries out, forgets to pump his hand because Kurt's cock is rubbing that spot inside over and over and it's too much, he can't anymore, jerks frantically and comes with a helpless shout.

Kurt cries out, cut short by something like a growl, and he pounds into Blaine, stills after several fervent thrusts, fingers clamped hard enough to make Blaine whimper. Kurt's coming, and Blaine reaches up to touch Kurt's cheek, Kurt's eyes flashing open and landing on Blaine's.

Blaine smiles and starts to say something, but Kurt cuts him off with a kiss, tender and drawn out. Blaine hums appreciatively, smooths Kurt's hair, cradles his face, lets him go only when he shifts away to pull out.

Kurt disposes of the condom, wipes up some of the mess with some tissues, and cuddles right up to Blaine, curling around his body. Blaine burrows into his warmth, kissing lazily at the underside of his jaw, the both of them still getting their breathing back to normal.

"Sorry if I was too rough, uh—"

"No, no, I—I might be sore or whatever later—I liked it," Blaine tries to explain, raising his face so he can see Kurt. Kurt is smiling, a sated, sleepy look on his face.

"I know it may sound cliché, but that was really amazing."

Blaine lets out a quiet laugh. "Would it be too cliché of me, then, to tell you I love you?"

Kurt smiles softly, dragging Blaine close for a kiss. "Then I'll finish this cliché-off. I love you, too."

ooo

They sleep for forty days and forty nights, until they're the last boys on Earth.

Or at least, that's what Blaine dreams. It feels true in a way. The world is quiet and still and Blaine has never been so sluggishly tired, so boneless and content to stay cocooned in blankets and Kurt's arms.

They wake sometime the next afternoon and kiss until morning breath is only a memory. They have sex again, just lube and their hands touching each other, kissing and stroking and watching each other's faces, marveling at the flush they bring to each other's cheeks, the swollen state of their lips. Kurt is more beautiful than anyone Blaine's imagination could ever conjure up.

Blaine comes with Kurt's name rolling off his tongue. Kurt's eyebrows draw up, his own orgasm given over to Blaine. Blaine takes it, worshipfully. He kisses Kurt, both of them still worked up, heavy breathing, quiet moans, and whispers to him that he's perfect.

Perfect, perfect.

ooo

Kurt says he'll ask his dad if Blaine can stay over, but Blaine doesn't want to push it, says it's okay. Before Kurt leaves, he sings to Blaine, "Wouldn't it be nice if we were older, then we wouldn't have to wait so long?" They're standing on Blaine's porch with snow falling around them, cheeks rosy, hands cold and breath showing in white puffs. Blaine smiles and holds Kurt's hands between his, joins in on the last verse, "Goodnight, my baby, sleep tight, my baby…"

Blaine watches Kurt drive away, and doesn't go inside until his fingers start to feel numb.

He has a hard time falling asleep in bed alone that night.

ooo

School is a reality check, but it doesn't feel as harsh as it once did.

Blaine's hand wants to reach for Kurt's in the hallway, and though things shifted over the weekend, as far as Blaine knows, Kurt still isn't ready to come out. Blaine well knows it isn't his place, or anyone else's, to make that decision for him. With two minutes to homeroom, now isn't the time for a discussion, so Blaine contents himself with walking alongside Kurt.

They share secret smiles all day, texts that don't say much but still manage to make Blaine grin. At lunch they steal away to the library, taking advantage of the fact that it is nearly deserted, and make out in the religious section in the back. Kurt is an atheist and Blaine knows he takes some smug satisfaction in their choice of location. Before they leave, Blaine sends a mental prayer up, asking forgiveness but he is so in love.

Artie accuses Blaine of taking roofies and Rachel gives him a full-out lecture on drug use. Someone mentions Vitamin D, whatever that means, but Blaine assures them he hasn't taken anything; he's just happy.

Blaine had no idea a person could be this happy.

The final bell rings, and Kurt is waiting for him as his locker.

Blaine greets him with a wide smile. "To what do I owe this honor?"

"Well, I thought I was driving a certain someone over to my house because it will be empty until around five thirty, when my father gets home."

Kurt's grin is positively predatory, and Blaine wants nothing more than to lean in and kiss it like mad. He stops himself at the last moment, smile disappearing when he remembers Rachel's announcement during homeroom.

"Crap, I can't. Glee got moved from tomorrow to today because of some football thing. It shouldn't take too long, though, and I can drive over when it's done?" Blaine asks, hopeful and apologetic all at once.

Kurt doesn't look annoyed, as Blaine expected, just thoughtful. "Can I come with you?"

Blaine's mouth falls open. "To glee club?"

"You've always been so adamant about me joining, so I've been giving it some thought…"

"Seriously?"

Kurt nods, a bashful smile on his face. Blaine is nothing short of astonished.

"You know I don't want you to for me, right? I mean, sure, it'd be great to spend more time with you, but I want you to because I think you would like it," Blaine says, stepping closer.

Kurt's smile gains confidence. "I know."

Blaine touches his hand, because he has to.

"Let's go."

ooo

The choir room is at the end of the hallway past the gym. This is the hallway they danced in not two days ago. Blaine points this out, and Kurt says he knows, his feet are still recovering from Blaine clomping all over them. Blaine rolls his eyes, about to snark back, when he feels the collar of his shirt pull back sharply and suddenly against his windpipe. He gasps and flails, but it's too fast and he's yanked backwards, unbalanced, and slams into the wall.

Blaine registers pain, Kurt shouting, but then there's nothing but the angry face in front of his.

"You're asking for it now," Karofsky growls. He turns to where Kurt is trying to pull his arm away to free Blaine. "What the hell happened to you, Hummel?" Karofsky's attention returns to Blaine. "You think you can turn everybody into a fag?"

"Wha—"

Karofsky shoves Blaine into the wall again before he can even form an answer. "Huh!?"

"Get off him!" Kurt screams. It's so loud Blaine looks away from Karofsky, missing Karofsky's fist until it connects with his face.

There's an explosion of pain, not in one place, not just his nose or his jaw, it's his entire head, and Blaine grasps at Karofsky to fend him off, but crumples to the floor. Blaine cannot see at the moment, can only hear Kurt's, "Don't touch him!"

When things have stopped spinning enough and the world around him makes a little more sense, Blaine hears it again, "Don't touch him—get the fuck away from him!" Kurt has gotten between Blaine and Karofsky, hands in fists and poised to lunge.

"He's mine."

Blaine stares in shock, too frozen to move, to help. He tastes the tangy salt of blood in his mouth and ignores it, because Kurt just said. He just said…

"You're sick," Karofsky says, voice pitched low in morbid wonder.

"I'm not the sick one and you know it," Kurt spits, words rushed from how heavy Kurt is breathing, how angry he is. "And if you ever get near him again you're done, Karofsky. He's mine and I mean it."

"Yeah, who's gonna stop me?"

"Me," comes a voice, at first unrecognizable to Blaine's ears. His face whips to the left, where Rachel is walking out the choir room door. Karofsky's face lifts at first, starts to smile, but quickly diminishes.

"We are."

The entirety of New Directions file into the hallway, standing between Blaine and Karofsky. Blaine can't see Karofsky's face, but it doesn't matter, because Kurt's attention is on him now. Blaine realizes he still hasn't gotten up, because Kurt is crouching down by him, mouth tight and eyes worried as they check every inch of his face.

"—Puck is not gonna be happy, you know Kurt's his boy," Santana is saying, but Blaine loses track again when Kurt's fingers touch cool against his forehead and jaw.

"You didn't have to say that," Blaine says, voice hushed, feeling his face heat up at the look in Kurt's eyes.

"I may not be ready to march with a rainbow flag, but," Kurt shrugs a little, self-conscious, "I'm getting there. I'm proud of who I am, and I'm proud to be your boyfriend."

Blaine smiles so hard he winces. "…Ow."

Kurt cringes in sympathy. "If he broke your nose I will break his dick."

Blaine huffs out a surprised laugh and it hurts. "Oh god, don't do that—"

"What's going on here?"

Blaine and Kurt both look up to find Mr. Schuester paused at the end of the hallway, coffee mug in hand, taking in the scene with an alarmed expression on his face.

ooo

With a dozen witnesses, a teacher on the scene mere moments after the assault occurred, Blaine's quite visible injury coupled with Karofsky's prior offense, and the school's no tolerance physical violence policy - Karofsky's expulsion is almost a sure thing.

Everyone insists on going to Figgins' office, Rachel the loudest of all of them. She storms in ahead of Schuester, threatening to call her fathers, members of the civil rights union, if the school doesn't do anything about Karofsky.

Everything gets explained, documented. The nurse is brought down to check Blaine for serious injury. He is fine. He is better than fine, really, because Kurt doesn't leave his side once. Blaine keeps looking at him in wonder. Kurt is risking everything for him.

Mr. Schuester announces that glee club is cancelled for the day, and Blaine nearly leaps from his seat in protest.

"No, Mr. Schuester. You don't have to do that on account of me."

"Blaine, I don't think—"

"Really, Mr. Schue. It would…give me something nice to focus on," he tries, glancing at Kurt.

Kurt was about to maybe join glee club, and Blaine wants it more than he can say. He doesn't want to wait another two days. He doesn't want to take the chance that Kurt will change his mind. Kurt is his boyfriend and now everyone knows. Now Kurt can do anything he wants.

"And we have a new recruit."

ooo

As if the confrontation with Karofsky wasn't enough to make Blaine's friends wonder, Kurt takes his hand on the way to the choir room. The walk back is quiet, but their curious looks say enough. Blaine doesn't feel like explaining just yet and is relieved no one asks.

Blaine lets go of Kurt's hand to take his seat. He sits in the first row, ice bag clutched to his jaw, eyes unmoving from where Kurt stops, front and center. Mr. Schuester speaks quietly with Kurt for a few minutes as everyone settles into their seats, the quiet chatter making it so Blaine can't hear what Kurt and Mr. Schuester are saying.

Mr. Schuester steps to the side, leaving Kurt standing ram-rod straight in place, gaze moving from person to person, everyone looking back at him. There is an undercurrent of trepidation, but through it, Kurt's head is held high. Blaine can hardly believe it, the courage it has to take to stand, utterly vulnerable, in front of a group of people who you've made hate you for years. Kurt is willingly exposing two of his deepest secrets to a room where the majority despises him; his sexuality and his voice.

Blaine is so moved by Kurt's bravery.

"Hi. I'm Kurt Hummel," he says when everyone is settled and silent. No one says a thing. Kurt's eyes flit along their faces. Blaine knows that despite Kurt being his boyfriend, they'll be hard to win over.

"I know I've been awful to most of you. You probably don't want me here, and I understand. I'm sorry for the things I've done and said, and I hope I can make it up to you before the school year is over.

"Someone important to me wanted me to join, so you can blame him for this." Kurt is smiling at him, and Blaine's nervousness ebbs away.

"I want to dedicate this song to him. To Blaine."

The piano begins to play, a slow and familiar melody, and Blaine's smile deepens. Kurt closes his eyes a moment, takes a deep breath, and begins to sing. His eyes meet Blaine's upon reopening, and Blaine's heart swells with love and pride. He knows it must show on his face from the way Kurt is looking back at him.

"Blackbird singing in the dead of night, take these broken wings and learn to fly. All your life, you were only waiting for this moment to arise…"