Title: Even Your Body Can Be Sold
Rating: M for themes.
Word count: 8,588
Summary: Blaine's used to be used and abused, until he meets Kurt. And Kurt breaks apart his neatly constructed world to teach him everything he never even knew his life was lacking.
Warnings/Spoilers: Based in part on the Sam/Blaine confrontation in 3x08 which has a vague allusion to later on. But nothing much really because it's very AU.
Disclaimer: I am in no way associated with Glee, FOX, Ryan Murphy or anything else related to the Glee universe.
No matter how long he was in this business, it was still the same thing, every day. He'd get a name and an address and he'd turn up and it would be a quick, boring, emotionless fuck for some guy who had been without for too long, he'd get some money pressed into his hand and then shoved out the door before it closed in his face.
There were only a handful of repeat customers, guys who either struggled to hold down girlfriends or who were conflicted over their feelings or who just really liked staring down at his face while they fucked him. Sam was one of those guys. Blaine wasn't quite sure which category he fell into, because he didn't seem like the gay sort of guy, but he was a regular, someone who Blaine could count on seeing at least once a week.
"You're a good boy, Blaine," Sam said, his voice patronising and condescending as the money changed hands and he pushed Blaine out into the corridor. Blaine stared at the handful of fifties and sighed, turning and walking away.
Things had kept going as usual, Blaine taking in enough money to keep him comfortable, until he'd knocked on a door and it had been opened by someone with blood-shot eyes and a dribbling nose.
"Uh...is this the right place?" he asked, rubbing the back of his neck.
"That's my name."
"Then yes, you've reached the right place. I... Come in," he said, standing aside.
Blaine bit his lip and stepped inside, glancing over the clean and tidy apartment. It was different from the usual digs. More upscale, fancier. There was a lot of white and the couch didn't look flea-infested and dirty, like it had been picked up from the side of the road. For once, he didn't feel uncomfortable being inside someone's place.
"You can...um..." Kurt shifted on his feet as he closed the door with a soft click. "Just take a seat or something."
Blaine linked his fingers together, sitting in one of the armchairs. He felt too clean for it. He felt like he was just going to seep filth and then Kurt's place would be tarnished with him. He'd never felt so guilty for his...way of life, than he did right now.
"Is this your first time?" Blaine asked as Kurt sat on the couch primly.
Kurt gave a nervous laugh. "I'm not a virgin."
"That wasn't what I was asking."
Kurt opened his mouth and then shut it again, looking at Blaine with wide eyes. "Oh. Oh. Um...yes."
Blaine nodded and leaned back. It wasn't the first time he'd been the first prostitute someone had slept with. Especially a male one. Although Kurt seemed to be someone who was gay, who had accepted it. He wondered what had led to the call, or why his eyes were so swollen, or why he looked so hurt, or why Blaine desperately wanted to wrap Kurt up in his arms and take away the pain and whoa, where had that come from? He didn't do cuddles or love because no one wanted it. They just wanted a quick screw and he was out. It was business.
"I...I don't really know what I'm doing," Kurt admitted, fingers twisting together in his lap.
"I thought you said you weren't a virgin?"
Oh, and if looks could kill, he'd be a fried Blaine, roasted to his chair.
"I broke up with my boyfriend a week ago," Kurt explained. "I just felt lonely. I didn't know what to do and I just wanted to talk to someone."
"Talk?" Blaine repeated, eyes widening. No one everwanted to talk. And he wasn't sure he could still charge for talking. It just felt wrong somehow.
"Yes, talk," Kurt said, ankles crossing as he sucked his lower lip. "Or just...sit there. Be company. Be a warm body in a room that has felt so cold for the past week."
Blaine didn't doubt it. The place had gone from clean and tidy in his mind to sterile, a place that Kurt had obsessively cleaned to rid any and all traces of his ex from all the surfaces.
"What made you break up with your ex?"
Kurt laughed bitterly. "He decided he couldn't handle me being so much of a diva. He thought I'd be more successful by now and he thought I was too much of a failure for him. He'd started sleeping with someone else and he'd decided that they were going to be his success and he was done with me."
Blaine frowned. "You don't seem like that much of a failure to me." He looked at a painting on the wall. "Your place is nice. Nicer than where I'd usually end up."
Kurt snorted. "I'm not sure if I should thank you for appreciating my ability to decorate and furnish an apartment."
Blaine shrugged and brushed his fingers over the fabric of the chair.
It felt a little like therapy, where Blaine sat and listened for nearly an hour as Kurt sobbed his way through story after story of his ex, Jonathan, and how they'd been together for four years and Kurt thought maybe they'd get engaged soon and now he was alone and he didn't know what to do with himself. If it had been anyone else, Blaine probably would have tuned them out but Kurt had a way of being engaging and Blaine found himself unable to look away, examining the little nuances in Kurt's behaviour. Before he would start on a sad story, the corners around his mouth would tighten and his lower lip would wobble. If it was a happy story, his eyebrows would raise and his eyes sparkled with the tears he wouldn't shed because this was meant to be happy.
Blaine hadn't charged him. It had felt wrong. It had felt really weird. And maybe somewhere he felt a little mad because he hadn't gotten any money and that hour could have been spent actually working and getting something but the tiny, grateful smile on Kurt's face when he'd seen Blaine to the door had reminded him that sometimes people needed more than just sex. That for some people, intimacy was in talking and feeling like you connected with someone, even briefly. And who was Blaine to take that away from Kurt? Who was he to charge for it?
He hadn't heard from Kurt in several weeks, continuing his weekly rotation of people's places, old and new. Sam had smacked his butt on the way out last week and he'd winced because it had hurt, okay? It wasn't easy being fucked so much but usually people paid for him to be a bottom and so he just had to suck it up and deal with it. And then he got a call from Kurt, asking for another 'appointment' and he'd agreed, scheduling it later, after he was done for the day, because he didn't want to have to apologise and leave Kurt to rush off to someone else.
And like last time, it was mostly talking. Kurt had encouraged Blaine to sit beside him and he'd felt a bit like a frightened deer sitting so close to someone and not doing anything. His life had become so incredibly physical, so mindless, that finding someone who actually wanted to just sit and talk made him realise how alone he was. He had no friends in this stupid city and Kurt was the only one who'd really said anything to him other than "Hi", "You're a good fuck" and "Bye". He'd been utterly startled when Kurt had touched his hand, face red as he'd looked at the rough nails on Blaine's fingers.
"You need a better moisturiser," he'd commented, thumb quietly assessing the damage to his skin.
"I don't use one," Blaine mumbled, what felt like butterflies erupting in his stomach. He hadn't been touched like this, he hadn't felt wanted in so long, like he mattered.
"You don't- Oh no, no no no," Kurt huffed, climbing to his feet and stalking away. Blaine watched him walk off and felt like he'd done something distinctly wrong until Kurt re-appeared, brandishing a bottle at him. "Use this before you go to bed, and then when you wake up in the morning. You should start seeing improvements within three days."
Blaine glanced at the cream bottle and felt his cheeks turn pink. "You don't have to give me your own moisturiser."
"It's fine. I bought it for you after the last time you were over. I noticed your hands seemed dry. I'm just glad I picked your skin type correctly," Kurt shrugged as he sat back down beside Blaine.
"You...you bought me something? After I was over last time?"
Kurt suddenly seemed to realise what he'd said and blushed. "Well, I...I was grateful, okay? I was thankful. I...I thought if I ever contacted you again I wanted to have something to give you. I hope that doesn't seem creepy."
Blaine smiled, his first genuine smile in so long he'd almost forgotten what it felt like. His hand touched Kurt's knee before he could stop himself. "Thank you."
Kurt stared at the hand and followed it up Blaine's arm until Blaine felt like he was scalding Kurt's leg and snatched it back. When the silence lagged for five minutes, he muttered something about needing to get home and nearly ran for the door. He'd never felt so awkward in his life.
He'd seen Sam again the next day, feeling cheap and used as Sam had thrown money at him, telling him what a good whore he was, telling him that this was all he'd ever be, and somewhere deep down, Blaine felt like he was wrong, that Kurt had made him felt needed for the first time in so long that maybe he could be something more.
He'd cancelled the rest of his day and gone to Kurt's apartment, and his heart had swelled when Kurt had opened the door, looking faintly disgruntled as he pulled it open before his eyes fell on Blaine.
"Blaine? What are you doing here?"
"I know I listen to you a lot but I just...I just needed someone there for me."
Kurt's face softened as he stepped aside once again and Blaine entered, taking his side of the couch automatically, even though it was only his third time here.
"What happened?" Kurt asked as his knees crossed beneath him beside Blaine.
Blaine shrugged, glancing at the glass coffee table which was so clean it didn't have a speck of dust. He wondered if that's all Kurt did. Cleaned. The place was always stunningly immaculate, with nothing out of place.
"Blaine?" Kurt's hand touched the back of his and once again he felt startled by the warm rush up his arm at the contact. "Talk to me."
Maybe it was the touch, maybe it was the gentleness in Kurt's tone, maybe it was holding everything in for so long that someone actually wanting to listen made the floodgates open and he was spilling words before his mind was even conscious of the thoughts behind them. He spoke of getting thrown out of home after he graduated high school, how he hadn't been able to afford to go to college for two years while he'd worked nearly eighteen hours a day just to save up enough to get him started, and then he'd fallen into this line of work and it paid so well that he'd gotten through college but now he had the media degree and nothing to do with it and no one would hire him and he still had bills to pay and needed food to eat and so he'd gone back to this and it was exhausting and when Kurt's shoulder was there and Kurt's arms were around him and he was clinging to the unrumpled shirt that Kurt wore, his heart broke as he finally found a place that he felt comforted and safe for the first time in...in possibly ever.
He cried until he thought he couldn't cry anymore, until his body hurt with exhaustion and Kurt had to slip his fingers around Blaine's arms to untangle their bodies. Blaine had whimpered softly as Kurt had moved silently away until he'd returned with a pillow and a blanket, holding Blaine to his chest and tucking the blanket around them both and lulling Blaine to sleep with soft melodies and quiet nonsense and a gentle petting to his hair that soothed him into slumber.
When he'd woken, hours later, completely disorientated at the thudding beneath his ear and the rise and fall of Kurt's chest, he struggled with the overwhelming sensation to just run. He wasn't used to this. He'd never had a serious relationship. He didn't know how to handle someone caring. He fought with himself while simultaneously relaxing into Kurt's hold, enjoying the breath fanning over his forehead as Kurt's arms tightened around his back. He'd be lying if he wasn't disappointed when Kurt had grunted and his breathing changed and Blaine knew he was awake. He peeked up, eyes still red as he met Kurt's.
"Hey," Kurt murmured, touching his cheek. And his eyes had closed because even just that, that one simple gesture which bordered on love and God they'd only seen each other three times, filled Blaine with more warmth than he'd felt in years. He felt like Kurt had woken him up from a dream Blaine hadn't even realised he'd gotten lost in, making him feel alive when he hadn't even realised he had been dead inside.
"I'm sorry I overloaded on you," Blaine whispered as Kurt's fingers continued to be feather-light against his face.
"I started it," Kurt teased and Blaine's eyes flickered open, the side of Kurt's mouth quirked and he found himself mirroring the shy smile.
Kurt shrugged awkwardly. "I guess I'm glad you felt like you had somewhere to go." The pad of his thumb curved over Blaine's triangular eyebrow as Kurt glanced at his wall. "My father once told me to always feel like I mattered, that I was important to someone, even if I didn't know it." He paused and Blaine could see all the words Kurt wanted to say but held back on. "And I...I think that...that you don't feel that. You don't feel like you're important because you let yourself be used and you've closed yourself off from people so long that you're like a closed flower that never got a chance to bloom." The blunt tips of his nails scratched softly behind Blaine's ear and he hummed with appreciation. "But you...if you ever feel like you don't matter, that you aren't important then...then remember this moment because...because right here, right now, you...you're special. To me. And...and I just...I wanted you to know that."
Blaine watched as the flush crept up Kurt's neck and made his face flame. Nervously, he pressed his lips together over Kurt's heart. It felt so strange for someone to open themselves up like this to him and yet he wanted to reciprocate, he wanted to give Kurt the world and take away his pain, like the first time he'd seen Kurt with his tear-swollen eyes and the sad twisting of his lip. He kept his eyes on Kurt as he shifted, hovering above Kurt and gaze switching back and forth between Kurt's eyes and his mouth.
"Blaine..." Kurt had sighed, and it sounded like a cautious warning and yet desperate encouragement and Blaine had closed his eyes and touched their lips together. Kurt froze and Blaine could feel how he'd tensed up and he quickly moved back.
"I'm sorry," he said, shaking his head as he threw the blanket off and clambered away. "I'm sorry, I don't know what I-"
His wrist was grabbed and he fell silent.
"Blaine, look at me," Kurt commanded gently.
And Blaine found he couldn't deny Kurt anything as he turned back, eyes trained on the floor. Kurt's hand found his cheek, tilting it until Blaine raised his eyes to meet Kurt's.
"I'm not rejecting you, Blaine," Kurt said carefully, and Blaine could see him biting the inside of his cheek as he swallowed words down and he wondered what Kurt really wanted to say. "I'm not turning you away. I...I know what you do and I don't want to just be someone else who you sleep with for cash if you...if you need a friend instead. I can do that. I can just...I can be here. And listen." He sighed and his fingers trembled against Blaine's face. "You're more than who you've turned into. And I can see that you've forgotten who you are."
"How can I forget who I was if I never knew who that person was in the first place?" Blaine questioned, voice shaking.
"Oh Blaine..." Kurt breathed, gathering Blaine into his arms as fresh tears bubbled over and escaped. Kurt's hands pressed into his back, his shoulder, the back of his neck, the small of his spine, the curve of his hip. Soft, flitting touches that soothed the cracks in Blaine's soul and healed wounds that had been oozing for so long, invisible injuries that he'd carried and no one had taken the time to notice in his life of speedy fucks and few words.
He was so caught in his thoughts that he hadn't realised the tiny, barely-there kisses Kurt was doing, lips against the curve of his jaw, his cheek, his temple.
"Shh," Kurt murmured, breath light and warm as he kissed the shell of Blaine's ear. "You're so special, so precious, and you deserve to know it. I'm not going to have sex with you. I won't unless we end up in a relationship and it becomes the next logical progression. I want to be your friend. I want to be someone you can come to at any hour of the night and remember that it's okay to be loved and to be needed."
Blaine choked on a sob as Kurt kissed his nose, their fingers lacing together where his hand dangled by his side.
"I'll be your friend. I'll be whatever you need, whenever you need it," Kurt continued as Blaine fought to stay standing and not collapse in a pile of broken pieces in Kurt's arms. "I'll love you where no one else does. I don't know why I want to do this. I…I feel like…It feels like you've seen me at my worst and I've seen you vulnerable and hurt and…and I don't want you to feel like that anymore." He paused and clutched Blaine tightly, suddenly afraid of baring his thoughts and fearing Blaine was going to run away. "I hope that's not too forward. I hope that's okay."
Blaine barely had to think about the offer. "It's so okay," he assured, clinging to Kurt's body. "Please. I need a friend. I've never had one before."
"Never?" And somehow Kurt believed it. Somehow it made sense why Blaine had turned up on his doorstep, looking so frightened and small. Somehow, he realised why he wanted to insert himself into Blaine's life, because he'd recognised the loneliness and abandonment in Blaine's eyes.
Blaine didn't bother answering as Kurt eased back onto the couch, curling Blaine into his lap and holding him protectively and Blaine hadn't felt so safe in so long.
When he eventually left to go home, he stamped down on the regret and tried to ignore the aching hole that grew larger as he walked further from Kurt's door. It was like he hadn't known what he'd needed until it had smacked him in the face, shattering the walls he'd surrounded himself with and infiltrating the parts of his heart that had shrivelled up and died and breathing new life into it.
It became harder after that to continue with his routine. Instead of accepting the money for being able to support his life, he began to feel ashamed of it. He used it as sparingly as he could, starting to develop an unhealthy addiction to coffee and toast because it was cheap and tasteless and he felt undeserving of better nourishment because he had turned into a whore and his skin felt increasingly too small for him. His skin began to be scrubbed raw as he became increasingly desperate to feel clean again. He slept on the floor rather than in his bed because luxuries were something he shouldn't accept. He frequently cried himself to sleep, the self-hatred suffocating him in waves. He avoided Kurt's calls because he couldn't stand to be seen so broken. He'd always been composed. He'd always managed to keep it together. And now he had fallen apart and he didn't want anyone to see that.
The days started to blur together as he slept badly and began to drink copiously. He fell back into his habits of self-destruction as bandaids to the real issues, denying himself the comfort that Kurt had provided. At some point, he stopped recharging his phone, rarely moving from the floor except when his bladder protested or his stomach complained too loudly to ignore. He clawed at his face, red streaks tainting his cheeks as the inner demons screamed to be acknowledged, as he fell harder and harder and harder into the pit of despair.
When he'd finally mustered up the effort to connect his phone to the winding charger cord and it flickered back to life, it erupted with missed calls from Kurt and buried beneath all the notifications was one voicemail message. His fingers shook as he dialled the number to retrieve it and the mechanical voice telling him that it had been left a week ago almost made him stop. He didn't want to hear this. He didn't want-
"Blaine? Hi, it's…it's Kurt. I um…I hadn't heard from you. I…I was worried." A pause. "I am worried. I don't know where you live. I don't know if you're okay. I just…just text me and let me know you're still alive or something, please? I keep checking the newspapers in case there's a report about someone being killed or injured and matching your description and I…" A gust of breath filled the earpiece and Blaine's chest constricted painfully. "I'm so scared for you. Please just let me know you're alive. I thought we were…I just need to know you're alive. That's all."
A soft beep and Kurt's voice was gone. The phone slipped from Blaine's hands, tumbling to the floor with a dull thud as the ache he had been trying to ignore for three weeks flared, gaping and huge and throbbing with a deep-burning agony. He fumbled for Kurt's name and hit the green button before he registered what he was doing.
"K-Kurt…" When had he last spoken? He didn't remember. He hadn't seen anyone in two weeks. Maybe it was then. He struggled to form coherent thoughts and make them into words that made sentences.
"Tell me your address. Tell me. Please. I'll come over. Please, Blaine," Kurt begged.
He knew his address. He could say those words. He did. His throat worked roughly as Kurt said he'd be over within half an hour and did he need anything? But Blaine was already spiralling, thoughts drifting as he surrounded himself with the blanket of familiar hatred and hurt. Kurt's voice sounded distant, disembodied, as it drifted through the speaker, mindless chatter that Blaine couldn't focus on, even though it was Kurt and he'd always been able to listen to Kurt before. When the talking stopped, he realised Kurt had hung up and he felt bitter thinking that Kurt was gone, Kurt had abandoned him, Kurt had left him alone like everyone else.
But then he heard the knocking, the calls of his name from the front door and he crawled into a hunched position, body aching as he lurched to the door and flicked the lock. He heard it creak on its hinges as he slumped back to the floor, too tired, too sore to remain standing.
"Blaine? Oh Jesus, Blaine."
And Kurt was there, Kurt was surrounding him with warmth and love and comfort and everything Blaine had denied himself for nearly a month. He was too exhausted to cry, too dead inside to feel, as Kurt held him so tightly that any tighter and he would have struggled to breathe.
"Blaine, Blaine, Blaine," Kurt murmured, over and over, his voice so soft and gentle and almost calling Blaine back to himself, reaching into the darkness and shining a light into the deepest recesses of his soul. His fingers danced over Blaine's clothing, clothing he probably hadn't changed out of in a week and probably stank and that he probably should feel guilty over.
"God Blaine, what have you done to yourself?" Kurt breathed, feeling the jutting bones of Blaine's ribcage, feeling the fragility of the man in his arms. Blaine, who had been so sad but okay barely a month ago, had retreated into himself so far that the light in his eyes was gone and Kurt wondered what had extinguished it. He cradled Blaine against his body, wishing he could magic a blanket around them or some food into Blaine's body or some hope back into his life. He was so far out of his depth in trying to help Blaine and he didn't know what to do, he didn't know how to help, so he just held him, cooing and singing and waiting, waiting until Blaine collapsed into unconsciousness against his chest.
He bit his lip as he shifted Blaine in his arms, carefully carrying him into the bedroom. He eyed the bed, stripped of sheets and pillows and blankets where they were strewn on the floor. He laid him down before gathering the blankets up and draping them around Blaine's worn out body. Blaine whined in his sleep, grabbing at air until Kurt pressed into his arms, hushing him with whispers. And Blaine settled as Kurt studied him closer.
The skin of his face was dry and cracked. His hair was thin and brittle and when Kurt ran his fingers through it, strands caught and were pulled out. He cringed as he shook the hair free and went back to rubbing circles between Blaine's shoulder-blades, which were so curved and exposed through the faded fabric of his t-shirt.
Time passed as Kurt stared at the bland walls of Blaine's bedroom, fingers rhythmic as they moved over and over against his skin. He felt Blaine stir and then Blaine was flinging himself away, stumbling over himself as he fell from the bed.
"No, no…you need…you're not…I can't…" His fingers shook as they closed over his ears, tears streaking down his face. Kurt felt his stomach twist as he climbed slowly from the bed, feeling like he was approaching a rattled child, a brutally injured pet who had lost the ability to trust in a comforting hand, instead believing everyone would hurt him.
"No…you can't…I can't…" Blaine's body trembled, his fingers so bony Kurt could see all the knuckles.
"Talk to me, Blaine," Kurt said, arms raised as he shuffled another foot around the bed towards Blaine.
"I'm worthless! I don't deserve this!" Blaine shouted suddenly, startling Kurt into stillness. "I'm nothing! I'm dirty and used and I deserve nothing!"
Kurt felt his stomach turning inside out as it suddenly became clear why he hadn't heard from Blaine in so many weeks.
"Is that why you were sleeping on the floor?" he asked. "Is that why you haven't been eating? Because you didn't believe you deserved it?"
Blaine's breathing was ragged as he scratched as his face with his blunt, chipped nails, eyes dark and wild and looking increasingly like a trapped animal.
"I can't do this, Kurt. I can't. I'm so broken. You can't waste your time on me. You shouldn't." His voice caught, strangled as he gulped. "Give up on me. Let me go."
"I don't deserve it. I'm nothing. I'm nothing, Kurt."
"No Blaine," Kurt whispered, only a few feet away as he controlled himself as tightly as he could. "You're not worthless. You're not nothing. You're so strong. You're so brave. You've fought so hard. Don't give up now."
"Let me go," Blaine pleaded.
Two feet to go. "No, Blaine."
"Let me go, Kurt. Please. Please."
"LET ME GO!" he screamed.
Kurt grabbed his arms, staring him in the eyes. "No."
And he broke, splintering into pieces as Kurt caught him before he hit the ground, sliding him onto the bed and supporting him as best as Kurt could. He had no tears, just dry, wrenching sobs which ached in a place he didn't even know existed. And it burned, God it burned to not have any of the tears or snot slicking his cheeks or his throat as he exposed his hurt.
Pushing aside his distaste for the handfuls of hair, Kurt carded his fingers through Blaine's dry and damaged hair, rubbing gently behind his ears and the back of his neck. Blaine sounded like he was in so much pain, so much agony as Kurt held him, humming and kneading his fingers into Blaine's scalp and skin.
It was probably half an hour before Blaine started to quieten, his throat dry and tortured and unable to stand the searing pain. His brain vaguely registered Kurt, Kurt humming, Kurt's hands. He tried to push away the cloak that veiled his mind in misery and listen to Kurt, and slowly, slowly his grip loosened, his body slackening as his mind slowed and he could think again.
Kurt pressed his cheek into the top of Blaine's head, hugging his body fiercely. "Hey," he murmured finally.
"Hello," Blaine replied, voice low and husky.
"How are you feeling?" Kurt asked, reaching for Blaine's hand and twining their fingers together.
Blaine shrugged, honestly not even sure, as Kurt kissed his hair.
"You're welcome to stay here as long as you need," Kurt said. "In my arms, I mean. I know it's your apartment. But…can I please ask that you take a shower? You smell atrocious."
Blaine snorted, a hint of a smile pulling at his lips. "I'm sorry."
"It's okay. I just…I'm finding it really hard to concentrate with how badly you smell and you need to eat but you can't go out smelling like you do."
Blaine wriggled free of Kurt's arms, stumbling around his bedroom and collecting the few clean items of clothing he still had.
"Take your time!" Kurt called as the bathroom door shut. He watched it briefly before realising what he was doing and heading for the kitchen. He found incredibly soured milk, green bread, and half a dozen empty bottles of vodka. He sighed, doing a quick clean up and disposing of the rubbish before Blaine exited the shower. He finally took the time to actually look around and realised that even if Blaine hadn't been living well the past month, he'd still kept the place relatively tidy. Maybe because he hadn't used it. There wasn't much around anyway. Where a couch and TV should have been there was just empty space. A small bookshelf crowded with books was cramped into one corner. The place just felt…it felt sparse. Like Blaine had never really moved in. He'd filled it with the essentials – a fridge, a bed – but skipped on items that made it feel like a home.
He chewed his lip, silently gathering dirty clothes into a basket and feeling like a mother who was going to do her child's laundry. He was going to insert himself into Blaine's life so thoroughly that Blaine would possibly grow sick of him, but it would be worth it to put Blaine back together. Because he would. Put Blaine back together. Kurt Hummel was nothing if not determinedly stubborn. He just hoped Blaine didn't mind being the latest broken bird he took under his wing to heal.
The rattling pipes ceased and Kurt surveyed the apartment, fixing the few things out of place that were obvious and then sitting on the edge of the bed nervously. He waited for Blaine to leave the bathroom, decidedly not thinking about Blaine drying off, Blaine naked, Blaine pulling on clothes, Blaine adjusting himself, until the door clicked open and Blaine exited, hair damp and curly, face sallow as he glanced around the room for Kurt.
"You're still here," he said.
Kurt stood, hands shoved into his pockets as he held Blaine's gaze. "I told you, I'm not leaving."
Blaine shrugged and mumbled something beneath his breath as he started searching through his drawers for clean socks.
"What was that?" Kurt questioned as he followed Blaine with his eyes.
"I…" Blaine breathed out in a huff, back turned to Kurt. "I said everyone else has left and it's only a matter of time."
He pressed himself against Blaine's back, sliding his arms around Blaine's gaunt frame, a kiss to the curve of Blaine's neck.
"I'm not going anywhere," he assured. "Never, ever, ever."
"What makes you any different though?" Blaine asked quietly. "No one has ever wanted me. My own parents didn't want me. I'm nothing, Kurt. Why don't you see that?"
Kurt sighed, twisting Blaine until he could see his face. He cupped his cheek, fingers curled behind his ear.
"You're everything, Blaine. I'll be your friend, I'll be whatever you need me to be for as long as you need me to be it." He watched Blaine's eyes, desperate to see he was getting the message through. "I'm not going anywhere. I'm not. I'm not your parents. I'm not…I'm not like anyone else you've ever known. I'll show you, Blaine. I'll show you and I'll prove to you I'm here to stay."
Blaine's eyelids drooped under the fatigue he was feeling as Kurt wrapped him up in a hug again. Now that he was clean, he could smell Kurt and his scent was so calming.
"Come on, you need to eat and there's nothing for you here." Kurt reached for his hand and tugged him towards the neat row of shoes by the door.
"Forget them, I don't think you have any that are clean," Kurt explained.
Blaine looked over his apartment as he slipped on his shoes. "Did you clean up?"
Kurt shrugged, face flushing. "A little."
Blaine kissed his cheek. "Thank you."
His fingers slid between Kurt's as he ventured out of his apartment for the first time in a fortnight and words weren't necessary as they found a small café not far from Blaine's and Kurt encouraged him to eat healthily and as much as he could. With Kurt's support, he found himself hungrier than he'd been in a while but remained cautious of the food, well-aware that his body would rebel if he forced too much food too fast.
Occasionally, Kurt would touch his hand or arm, brief touches of warmth as life progressed around them. It felt to Blaine like one of those movies, where the stars are in slow motion and fairly still as everyone else is on fast-forward, rushing with no discernable pattern. He found himself distracted by the people, wondering where they'd come from and where they were going, wondering if they were alone or had someone, or a family.
His gaze moved and fell on familiar brown eyes. He swallowed nervously and dipped his head in acknowledgement. "Sam."
"You look like shit."
Kurt tensed in his seat, glaring at his salad as if it had done something far more offensive than being dressed in a tasteless vinaigrette.
"Your observation is noted," Blaine said, too tired to want an argument.
"You're not worth anything looking like you do," Sam continued. "You won't get anyone looking like that. You're worth nothing."
"I think you need to shut up," Kurt said sharply, rising to his feet and making the table wobble. A waiter paused nearby.
"Who the hell are you to tell me what to do?" Sam sneered, turning his attention back to Blaine. "Can't even fight your own battles anymore? Tsk tsk, Blaine, I'm disappointed. You disappeared off the grid for so long I had to replace you." He sighed dramatically. "He's not as good as you."
"Yeah, well, I had enough of that," Blaine snapped, standing quickly and scowling.
"Had enough of what? Being a cheap, two-bit whore?"
Kurt was stunned into silence and faintly realised this was a conversation that should never, ever be being observed by a member of the public.
"Exactly that," Blaine said firmly, stepping close to Sam, looking smaller than usual next to the taller blonde. "I'm not someone who can be bought anymore."
"The hell does that mean?" Sam questioned.
"It means, I'm not for sale and you can't just use me like a toy and discard me like a piece of trash," Blaine growled, fingers balled into a fist.
"Blaine," Kurt said, voice high and desperate as he encircled Blaine's wrist with his hand.
Blaine trembled but stood strong as he stared Sam down.
With a dismissive snort, Sam turned on his heel and left the café. Blaine breathed out in a rush as Kurt turned a raised eyebrow to the waiter who scurried back to his job.
"Let's go. I don't have an appetite anymore," Blaine muttered, stalking from the café as Kurt hurriedly threw some notes onto the table and scrambled after him.
"Blaine!" he yelled, running down the street. "Blaine, stop!"
"What Kurt?" Blaine shouted, whirling around.
Kurt faltered for a moment before taking a breath to calm himself. "We're going back to my place and it's in the other direction."
"No, I'm going back to my place and-"
"Would you shut up? You don't have a choice here. You're coming back to mine," Kurt interrupted loudly.
Blaine glowered at him. "Fine. To yours then."
Whereas before they had walked in a comfortable, friendly silence, this one was filled with strained, simmering tension as Kurt unlocked his door and ushered Blaine inside. He closed the door and bit his lip as Blaine paced, reminding him again of a caged animal.
"What is it that you do?" Blaine asked suddenly, jaw tight as he ground his teeth together.
"What? For a job?" Kurt clarified. Blaine nodded. "I…I'm a fashion consultant. For various magazines. I…I help them choose models and clothing styles and spreads and covers."
Blaine nodded again and resumed pacing. Kurt wondered what on earth was going on in his head, seating himself on the couch and patiently waiting until Blaine had calmed enough to sit down.
Finally, finally, Blaine sat beside Kurt, fingers alternatively balling and flexing as he fought with the emotions still raging beneath the surface.
"What can I do?" Kurt said softly.
Blaine twitched. He didn't know. He didn't know what he wanted. He didn't know why he was so mad with Kurt. Kurt hadn't done anything wrong. Kurt had been there and supportive of him and held him together.
His eyes found Kurt's, the swirling mess of blue and green that radiated kindness and care and love and everything that Blaine had denied himself for nearly a month. And he realised that it was absurd, that if he stopped to think about it too long he knew he had nothing to compare it too, but he thought that maybe, maybe he had found someone who wouldaccept him, flaws and all, and who would love him regardless of them.
He crushed his lips to Kurt's, harsh and needy as Kurt's hands flailed for something to hold onto, a whine low in his throat as he pushed Blaine away.
"You said you weren't pushing me away!" Blaine whimpered. "You said you'd do anything!"
"Sex isn't the answer, Blaine," Kurt said, hands gripping either side of Blaine's face. "Not now. Not yet. I'm not going to fuck you to make you feel better and remind you of who you were. And I'm not going to let you fuck me and then run out of my life because you're scared of what it means." His thumb wiped the tear away that slipped from Blaine's eye. "I'm going to hold you. I'm going to hold you for as long as you need, until I can't feel my arms and you can't feel the hurt anymore. I'm going to hold you until you can hold me back because you want to, because you're healed enough to, not because you need someone warm to cling onto. I'm going to hold you because I can and because I want to. And you're going to let me, because you want it, even if you won't admit it to yourself."
He pulled Blaine against his chest, Blaine's body so much lighter than the last time they'd cuddled up on this couch as his fingers wound through Blaine's curls. He talked quietly about some of the latest shoots he'd been involved in, why he'd favoured red over blue for the new autumn feature of Vogue. He talked quietly until Blaine's body relaxed against his and he knew Blaine was asleep again. He settled back, propping one of the pillows beneath his spine as he held Blaine until he too drifted asleep, soothed by the warmth and the comfort and feeling strangely completed for the first time in nearly a month.
The damage Blaine inflicted on himself after nearly a month of poor sleeping and eating took nearly three months to repair. It was a tedious process, involving several fights and a few broken plates (Blaine's plates, which Kurt wasn't terribly sad about because they were hideously brown and boring) but they'd always managed to come back together, Kurt reconciling Blaine's frayed anxieties and soothing him back to a state of calm. And there were tears, many tears, as Blaine pieced together the parts of him that he'd distanced, pieces he loathed and was afraid of revisiting. But Kurt had held his hand, rubbed his back, talked him through it until his eyelids had drooped and his last thoughts were that Kurt had a magic power to relax him to sleep.
It didn't come without a toll on Kurt either. On nights where he didn't stay with Blaine or Blaine didn't stay with him, he tossed and turned and was irritable the next morning. He'd snapped at a few models and made a few wrong decisions for covers, criticising himself when he'd wandered past a magazine stand and recognised a shoot and wondering what on earth he'd been thinking to approve such a hideous combination of clothing and hair. Some days, the only times he ate was when he was with Blaine, encouraging him to eat as well. It was like a mutual healing process, where Kurt finally found someone who enjoyed listening to him as much as he enjoyed listening to them. When Blaine talked of things that were happier, his voice was so smooth, filled with a gentle lilt that comforted him deep within.
Admittedly, he didn't need nearly as much fixing as Blaine did. He'd had an accepting father, a supportive stepmother, a sometimes-stupid but helpful stepbrother. Blaine was alone. Blaine had lost his family years ago and the loss was clearly still raw as Blaine had covered it over with flimsy protection. And Kurt had pressed on, peeling back the layers of Blaine Anderson, stripping him down until he was bare and displaying all his emotional scars, trying to explain why Blaine was so much better than anything he'd been through, that his past could no longer define his present and that Kurt wouldn't let it define his future.
And now they were here, laying on Kurt's couch, limbs tangled as Blaine's fingers trickled over Kurt's spine. Kurt hummed softly, enjoying the thumpedy-thump of Blaine's heart beneath his ear.
"Have I ever said thank you?" Blaine asked, eyes closed as he relaxed into the couch.
Kurt smiled as he scratched his fingers over Blaine's chest lightly. "Many times."
"I want to say it again," Blaine said as his fingers coiled through Kurt's hair. "I want to say thank you. For just…for always listening. For being there when I didn't know I needed someone. You opened the door to me but you also opened your heart and…and I'll always be grateful for that."
"You sound like you're moving away from me," Kurt frowned, tilting his head up to look at Blaine's face.
"No, I…" Blaine glanced down, hazel eyes filled with a warmth Kurt had once wondered would ever return. His thumb brushed over Kurt's lower lip, parting his mouth slightly as he memorised the features of Kurt's face for the millionth time. "I just…I… How do you know if you love someone?"
Kurt blinked rapidly, thrown by the sudden change in topic. "I don't really know. I guess you just…you know. You miss them when they aren't there and you feel whole when they are. Maybe you know things about them they aren't even aware of. You care about someone in spite of their flaws and you accept them for who they are." Kurt chewed his lip as his gaze returned to Blaine's. "Why?"
"I…Because I think I…I love you, Kurt. I do. I think so. I've never felt this way about someone before and I…I don't want it to just be…be because you saved me and fixed me but because I…because I genuinely care. Because I want to stand by your side and hold your hand and never let you go." He caught the tear that escaped Kurt's eye and stared at it, enthralled. "Why are you crying?"
Kurt gave a breathy, nervous laugh. "Because I think I love you too and I've never been so scared of how I feel in my life."
Blaine hooked his hands under Kurt's armpits and shifted him up until their faces were level. He traced Kurt's face like he was seeing it for the first time. "I love you," he said, quiet but clear and determined.
Kurt felt his breathing stutter as he looked down at Blaine and he couldn't deny how his heart had sped up at the words. "I love you too."
Blaine smiled, wide and toothy, as he tugged Kurt down and kissed him. It had been the first time they'd kissed in three months and Blaine became aware of how much he had to make up for that lost time as he sucked on Kurt's lip and elicited a soft moan. He didn't care who topped, or who bottomed. He didn't care if they had sex. He just cared about Kurt, flaws and all, and for the first time in his life, he felt cared for and accepted for all of his flaws as well.
"I love you," he breathed again between kisses. "I love you. I love you. I love you."
Kurt's face creased into a blissful smile as he pressed his lips to Blaine's throat. "And I love you," he repeated, fingers bunching up in Blaine's shirt as they kissed again and again.
And that's all they did. Just kissed and touched with a gentle sort of reverence. Until Kurt had wilted against Blaine and they'd dozed off on the couch, a tangle of arms and limbs and feeling like two halves of the same whole. They were at peace with themselves and with each other, knowing that they were no longer two people but one. They knew sex didn't mean love or care or intimacy and they knew that even when the whole world felt dark, there was a tiny light that had flickered to life because of true love, unadulterated and untainted pure love caused by two people sharing their inner most secrets and being unyieldingly accepted regardless.
A/N: This was written for the wonderful seeleyboothfan on Tumblr who has grown to become someone I care about in a very short space of time. She demanded I write a fic based on the following:
I want a fic now where Blaine was a prostitute and Sam was a frequent customer. Blaine only felt he was worth what people would pay for him. But then he has a chance encounter with Kurt and Blaine walks away from the business. But Sam sees him one day and starts making comments about how worthless he is and wants to use him for sex and Blaine says "I'm not someone who can be bought anymore."
"What does that even mean?"
"It means I'M NOT FOR SALE."
I hope I did her prompt justice. I hope you all enjoyed this as much as I did writing it. I'm actually pretty proud of it for a change, which is a rarity for me. I feel rather accomplished.
Thank you for reading. Forever grateful for your time and if you would be ever so kind as to leave a few words in a review...xx