Disclaimer: I do not own Glee or any of its characters; Ryan Murphy and Co. hold that honor. I'm simply writing this for fun, not profit.
"Oh my God, it's the Gerber baby."
"Who?" Blaine whispered. He hadn't torn his gaze away from the performance—whoever these people were, they were phenomenal—but his Kurt radar was on full alert and he couldn't help but peripherally register the statement. Kurt ignored him, open-mouthed, as he explained something to Rachel in a hushed voice. Blaine leaned over a little, trying to discretely listen in, but Kurt tossed him a look that said, How are we supposed to compete with this? and then focused back on the stage without further explanation.
Blaine's answer to that was simple. He took Kurt's hand, gave it a hard squeeze, and promised silently, It'll work. Trust me.
They watched the performance build, Blaine occasionally smoothing his thumb across Kurt's knuckles, feeling his hand fidgeting with unease. It took him several moments before he realized that it wasn't just unease—Kurt was singing. He was mouthing the words alongside the lead performer, completely lost in his own little world. Blaine had to press a hand to his mouth to stifle a laugh; thankfully, Kurt wasn't paying him any attention. If Kurt lip-syncing during a performance wasn't the most adorable thing Blaine had ever seen, then he didn't know what topped it.
The best part: Kurt knew every word. He didn't slur or stutter certain phrases, didn't blunder through them with made-up words until he found the recourse once more. He followed his heart, his eyes riveted to the singers on stage, and he didn't miss a note. All soundless, and all impeccably beautiful. Wishing that he possessed half the natural ability to feel music like Kurt did—because Blaine loved music more than life but he loved the wild, spontaneous nature of it, bursting into song and singing until he could barely stand, laughing so hard he couldn't hear his own thoughts any more—Blaine surreptitiously watched him for the rest of the performance.
Kurt's lips curved perfectly around the words, like he was harmonizing with the girl on the stage rather than filling in some unwritten script, and the beautiful contrast between the unfamiliar notes and Kurt's soft expression was startling to behold. Blaine had seen Kurt sing in front of the Warblers and in front of the New Directions; he had heard him through rooms and doors and phones and even when it was them and a handful of other people; and he had sung with him in the car too many times to recall. But watching Kurt then—his thumb still keeping up its rhythmic distraction so as not to alert Kurt to his presence—Blaine thought that he had never really seen him sing before.
His head bobbed a little and his eyes were soft and his face was so, so open that Blaine felt like he could share secrets with him until his own throat was hoarse and Kurt would smile and keep singing, understanding completely and accepting and rejoicing because even if there were terrible things and they had both lost and suffered at times, there was still some good in the world, because there was music.
The song ended, and Blaine sighed as he resigned himself back to reality. He pulled his hand away from Kurt's to clap, noticing that Kurt only looked wistful at the performance's end, his eyes shining and his smile soft and sweet. For a moment Blaine was jealous of that girl on stage that was able to get Kurt to sing like that.
It wasn't her. It was the song.
It was in that moment when Blaine decided that he would find a way to make Kurt sing like that. He would.
Getting Kurt Hummel to lip-sync was a surprisingly mean feat. Largely because Kurt loved singing, full-voiced and beautiful, high and soaring and unmistakable. Blaine could tell that, besides that one precious moment of privacy, he had resigned himself to having to sing to be noticed, sing to be heard, sing to exist. So convincing him to not sing, to let the words flow without having to 'scream to be noticed,' so to speak, was more difficult than Blaine had originally anticipated.
For one, he couldn't use instrumental music, because that would only encourage Kurt to sing along even more. He couldn't use regular music, either, none of his stash of Top Forties that Kurt claimed he loathed but secretly enjoyed. (Blaine only knew because he had found several Top Forties' numbers on Kurt's iPod that he definitely hadn't bought and forced upon him, an amusing fact that had allowed him days of bragging rights in their unending—but still playful—cultural war.) All of it made Kurt's voice rise and sing out, always clear and calm and perfect.
Blaine loved it, and he relished every opportunity to listen, but sometimes, when it was quiet and just the two of them, he wished that he could capture that same awe that had been in Kurt's expression, the soft, reverent look that showed exactly how much he adored music.
So Blaine persisted, even when it meant inner frustration and desperation and disbelief. He wanted to see Kurt like that again—not even mouthing the words so much as in love with music—but he had no idea how to do it.
At last, on the third week since the performance with no more success, Blaine was sitting in the courtyard with his elbows on his knees and his chin resting on his cupped palms, a pensive expression on his face as he wasted away his free period. He didn't know why he was so obsessed with the notion of Kurt just lip-syncing—maybe it was some perverted interest he should suppress; at once, he eliminated the notion, knowing that the experience had not had anything sexual to it whatsoever—but he couldn't shake it.
He wanted Kurt to sing like that, even if it meant not singing at all. He wanted to hear that side of him, the silent, open side that wasn't afraid at all, was completely, utterly fearless of a crowd, that voiced no worries about 'dying on stage' or freezing during the most important part of the song. It was Kurt, the most secretive, beautiful part of him, and Blaine felt ashamed at the jealousy that burned within him every time he thought of how a Gerber baby could make him act like that and he couldn't.
Wanting to hug his knees to his chest and wait until a better solution came to him, Blaine stared at a sparrow pecking at the grass, trying to figure out his next course of action. At that point, it seemed more productive to drop the cause and do his best to live with the fact that Kurt would always have some reserves, some trepidation when he sang.
Blaine's heart ached at the thought, the awareness that there was a Kurt Hummel that was truly fearless and bold and beautiful underneath only igniting his curiosity, his desperation.
He wanted to see Kurt like that, happy, proud, so lost in his own simple pleasure that he didn't even notice if someone was criticizing him or rebuking him or judging him for his actions.
You're so greedy, Blaine chastised himself, rubbing his palms together to fend off some of the cold from the frigid November air. He had already received more of Kurt Hummel than anyone else in the world had and yet he still wanted more, all because of one girl he had never seen before singing a song. Maybe, he mused bitterly, things would have been better if they had never seen that performance, or if Blaine had never looked over and seen Kurt singing along. That way he would have been able to return to normalcy and pretend that he had never seen Kurt like that.
Yet he couldn't deny it and try as he might, he couldn't shake the longing to see Kurt sing like that again.
Pushing himself to his feet as he heard the bell ring for first period, Blaine shook his head to clear his thoughts, trying to re-focus on school work. He had to focus on that, because if he thought about Kurt all day then he would probably drive himself mad with the longing to find some way that would allow him to see Kurt sing like that again.
Maybe I should talk with the girl, he mused before dismissing the thought. She had brought it out of him, true, but it wasn't her, it was the song.
I need the right song, he told himself, shouldering his satchel and sliding through the crowd. That's all.
He couldn't find it.
Blaine tried, tried every song he could think of, even those he hadn't thought of but turned up on the radio on accident, but nothing brought out the same soft-sung euphoria Kurt had shown on the night of their sectionals' performance.
Knuckling his forehead, not wanting to succumb to the inner despair that he was so incapable of reading Kurt that he couldn't figure out what that magic combination was, Blaine walked down the hallways of McKinley slowly, wincing when one of the hockey jocks approached and, after a moment's thought, gave him an unfriendly shove towards the lockers. "Congrats on the win," he said with an unpleasant smirk.
Blaine didn't respond, looking after him in disgust before continuing on his path, jumping half a foot into the air when a hand settled on his shoulder. "Just ignore him," Kurt sighed, his voice sounding both plaintive and disappointed at once as he linked arms with Blaine after a moment.
"I don't mind him," Blaine lied, because it still hurt even though he'd already experienced bullying that should have permanently desensitized him to such minor altercations. The thought that the casual harassment still existed here was enough to bring down his mood considerably. He inwardly wondered if it would be better not to walk so obviously next to Kurt, to maybe walk beside each other but not actually touching since it was public high school and—
He'd run away once. He wasn't going to let bullies scare him away a second time, not when he had seen Kurt be so, so brave in the face of them and still survive.
Yet Kurt was the source of all his anxieties, and Blaine couldn't help but slide out of his grasp once they reached the choir room. "I promised Rory I'd meet him at the gym," he said apologetically, "see you soon?"
Kurt nodded, looking skeptical, before stepping inside the choir room with one last squeeze to his wrist. If you're sure.
Blaine closed his eyes briefly once he was out of sight. I want to see you happy like that.
Then he turned away and walked towards the gymnasium. When another hockey jock gave him a shove, he didn't even bother with an exasperated look, peeling himself off the locker and walking on.
It wasn't about singing, he realized. It was about seeing Kurt happy. There were so many levels to Kurt's happiness that it amazed him, every nuance and curve and striking difference between them like a new layer in some divine creation. It was the thought that he would lose a layer that was waiting to be fully realized, a side of Kurt that no one else noticed or cared to see, that bolstered him.
He would figure this out. He would.
"What's wrong?" Kurt asked, and Blaine started as he realized that he'd been staring off into space, sluggishly trying to come up with some solution to the nagging issue of why he couldn't let go of the fact that he wouldn't be able to see Kurt lip-sync again. He should accept that he wasn't perceptive enough to figure it out, that he couldn't find the lynch-pin that would make everything work. He should have, but he couldn't, and that was why he was sitting across from Kurt at the Lima Bean table with an untouched coffee and a vaguely despairing expression painted across his face. Kurt's hands felt inexplicably warm as they cupped Blaine's left, which made no sense, since Blaine almost always had warmer hands than Kurt. It was simply the way things were—Kurt complained that Blaine had all the luck when it came to winter by being so warm-blooded, but Blaine assured that he didn't mind being a space heater and Kurt quickly dropped the argument. Feeling the soft, smooth skin cradling his chilled knuckles, Blaine sighed and met Kurt's gaze, wondering if he looked like a wounded puppy. That was what Wes had always told him whenever he had been sulking or despairing or miserable.
"You look sick," Kurt said, his voice gentle and familiar as he gave Blaine's hand a light squeeze. "Are you?"
Blaine didn't know—he had been too focused on not being bothered by the jocks' continued harassment and the nagging desire to see Kurt sing again to really notice—but he shrugged it off and tried to tug his hand away. Kurt didn't let his go, though, and after sighing Blaine picked up his lukewarm coffee with his other hand and took a sip. The caffeine might have rejuvenated him on another occasion, but he felt worn and weary right then, too agitated to feel any of its soothing effects. Besides, the coffee was mostly cold and tasteless from sitting so long. Blaine wrinkled his nose as he set it back down on the table.
"Why are you being so quiet?" Kurt asked, his voice seeming to close the conversation to purely their sphere of influence, a small simple space beyond the influence of the other patrons at the Lima Bean. His eyes were soft and sincere, his head tilted slightly in the way that Blaine knew he was aching to know, to help if he could, and Blaine let out a quiet, bitter chuckle in response.
"Because I can't figure it out," he said simply, toying with the lid of his coffee cup while Kurt frowned. "I just—I can't figure it out." He felt his cheeks flush at the thought of trying to explain what he had seen on the night of sectionals to Kurt. Worried by the faintly determined air that crept into Kurt's gaze then, Blaine tugged his hand away and stood, unconsciously grabbing his coffee and pushing his chair in. "I have to go," he said, voice low and empty.
Kurt stood at once, wordlessly shouldering his coat, and only raised an eyebrow fractionally when Blaine stared at him. After a moment, Blaine accepted Kurt's presence and dumped his coffee in the nearest trash bin before hurrying outside, his arms wrapping around himself as Kurt silently ushered him towards one of the benches. Blaine didn't know why he complied—surely it would have been more effective to walk away, to abandon the awkwardness that would ensue by not letting it come to light in the first place—but he had spent too long trying to let it fade away needlessly, and besides, he had never been good at resisting Kurt's suggestions. Somehow, for all Kurt's claims that his 'puppy dog eyes' unfairly balanced negotiations in Blaine's favor, Blaine knew that Kurt held the upperhand regardless.
"Tell me what's wrong," Kurt said, his voice gentle as he sat down beside Blaine, letting him keep to himself but also letting their thighs and shoulders touch, knees bumping a little as Blaine shifted uncertainly.
"I—" he paused, grasping at words, before blurting, "I want to hear you sing, Kurt."
And he told him about the night, told him how magnificent and beautiful and stunning it had been to see him so open, and Kurt watched him with soft eyes and didn't interrupt, even when Blaine tripped over words and fumbled for others awkwardly.
At last, when his breath misted the air in front of him and the torrent was exhausted, Blaine said nothing, leaning back against the bench. It felt good to have it out in the open, he thought, good to finally acknowledge that seeing Kurt like that had moved him, as much as seeing him perform Blackbird had. Blaine hadn't even realized it until he was saying it but it was true. There were so many little things that Kurt did, so many quirks and habits that he had that Blaine had never thought would endear him that did. His singing wasn't just endearing, however; it was absolutely captivating.
Blaine was selfish. Once wasn't enough to truly appreciate it; he wanted more.
Kurt didn't respond for a long time, and Blaine worried that he had seriously overstepped his bounds and was about to pay for it, when at last he chuckled softly. Blaine felt like he should have tensed, should have braced himself for the imminent that's stupid speech, but he couldn't help but relax slightly at the sound.
Instead of chastising him, Kurt reached over and cupped Blaine's face, brushing their noses together briefly and then was not the time to get teary-eyed.
"You're so sweet," Kurt murmured, leaning back a little but keeping his hands in place, his smile soft and open and oh, that was what he had looked like, almost picture perfect, and Blaine could have gaped at how stupid he was. Seeing Kurt lip-sync when he thought no one was watching was beautiful, but this was beautiful, too, and maybe if he could see thishe would be okay, wouldn't even need the other to survive.
Leaning forward until his forehead was pressed against Kurt's collarbone, not caring if someone walked by and wondered about them, Blaine mumbled, "I'm sorry," and hoped that Kurt could hear him.
"No, honey, don't," Kurt said, his arms slung around Blaine's waist as soon as Blaine had moved, giving him a firm but gentle hug. "You have nothing to be sorry for. You don't," he repeated seriously when Blaine shook his head slightly. "Blaine, Blaine, please stop. I love that you're so sweet. I love that you care that much about me. And I don't want you ever to feel ashamed to tell me about things that are bothering you, even if it's not really a bad thing at all." Resting his cheek against Blaine's head, he added softly, "I think about you all the time, you know. I mean, I try and focus on other things but sometimes it's all I can do not to smile at the way you laugh and dance and smile."
"That's exactly how I feel about you," Blaine admitted in a whisper.
Kurt nodded knowingly. "Exactly. So is it wrong?"
"Then you have nothing to apologize for."
"But it's just so—" Blaine couldn't finish it, couldn't say stupid because it wasn't, not to him. Everything about Kurt was wonderful and trying to downgrade any of that would be unfair.
So he stayed silent, leaning into Kurt's warmth and feeling the reassuring breaths his own, the familiar thump-thump of a heart beat centimeters away.
"It's not silly," Kurt finished at last, and Blaine could have laughed at the echo of their conversation after the opening performance of West Side Story, where it had been Blainereassuring Kurt that he wasn't a hopeless romantic.
We both are, Blaine thought. Hopeless romantics.
And it was cold and the bench was vaguely uncomfortable but neither Kurt nor he moved, occasionally whispering something to the other, a promise, a secret.
I love the way you style your hair.
I love the way you grin with all your teeth.
I wish you'd spend less time with your skin-care products because you're already perfect.
I wish you wouldn't gel your hair so much because it's better that way.
At last, when the cold became too uncomfortable to ignore it they stood, Kurt first and Blaine trailing after. Kurt hummed along to the tracks on the way home as he drove, Blaine watching in mystification, a soft smile across his lips.
It doesn't have to be lip-syncing, he thought, closing his eyes to better absorb the gentle hum of Kurt's voice. It's just him. Being happy.
But it was more, because it was something only they could fully appreciate, something only they knew about regardless of how many people might have seen or might have commented.
It was their own little world, and Blaine needed no words to describe it.
Author's Notes: Hello, everyone!
I would love to hear from what you thought about this!