Just wanted to say that my computer got a virus last week. So if you reviewed the last chapter and I didn't respond, I'm sorry :(.
I hope you enjoy!
Kurt tapped the door frame gently as he came to stand beneath it, smiling ruefully. His best friend's brother was lying on his back, staring vacantly at the ceiling, his breathing heavy.
"How are you feeling?" he inquired softly.
Blaine's response was an unintelligible grunt-moan.
"That well, huh?" he glanced at Blaine's laptop and iPod, which had been discarded haphazardly on the floor. "Aren't you bored?"
Blaine blinked slowly and sighed. "I tried listening to music and watching TV on my computer, but it was making me dizzy." He adjusted his shoulders on the pillow and squinted at the doorway. "Where's Rachel?"
"She's downstairs." He lifted the dish he was holding. "We made you lunch and brought you a few other things, but she asked if I would mind bringing it up alone because she 'doesn't want to risk it for her audition on Thursday.' "
Blaine chuckled. "Classic Rachel." The chuckling, unfortunately, set off a stream of hacking coughs that caused Kurt to rush over and press a worried hand to his shoulder.
"Are you sure you're all right?" he asked. "You don't sound that great."
Blaine sighed and dropped his head back onto his pillow as Kurt removed his hand. "I need to remember not to laugh," he observed, briefly pressing a hand to his collarbone. "It's what sets off the coughing: I laugh, and then I cough."
Kurt grinned. "I'll try not to say anything too funny," he promised.
"I'm doomed, then," Blaine joked, winking at his friend.
Kurt sighed dramatically and lifted his chin and shoulders. "I don't know what you could mean," he protested with mock offense.
Blaine started to laugh before he remembered where that would get him and forced it down.
Kurt took in the change. "I didn't even last two minutes. Sorry." He lifted the tray that had been discarded on the bedside table. "Here." He placed it on Blaine's lap. "I'll leave you alone."
"No!" Blaine protested. "You're not bothe-I mean, stay. Please? I'm bored." He shrugged in the direction of his iPod. "I've been lying here alone, counting cracks on my ceiling for two hours. I need some conversation, or-something."
Kurt glanced around the room for a second, then dragged the desk chair over to the bed.
"What do you want to talk about?" he requested, dropping into the chair.
Kurt looked at him curiously. "Yeah?"
"When I was little, and I got sick, Dad and I used to make up stories. You know, he'd come up with the name of some character who lived in a tree house or a haunted mansion or something, and then I'd make up the name of his pets, and...not that I can talk very well, but, you know..." He gestured to his voice, which was much quieter and more gravelly than usual.
Kurt's reaction was hard to judge.
"I'm not saying that you-youdon't have to, if you don't want to, I was just..."
His friend laughed, dropped his head down for a moment, and held up a hand to stop the protests. "Once upon a time there was a boy named Michael who lived in a place called...Cantria . How's that?"
Blaine smiled back and lifted the spoon for his soup with a pleased nod. "Perfect. Michael lived alone in an apartment on the 155th floor, except for his dog, Finn, and his friend's cat, who sometimes stayed over, Rachel."
"155th floor," Kurt observed. "That's ambitious. Are these pets dating in this story, or...?"
"They have an on-off kind of relationship," Blaine explained, grinning as he lifted another spoonful of food to his mouth. "Nobody's ever really sure. I mean, this is Cantria. Lots of singers. And you know how they are about dating. Plus, cats named Rachel always tend towards the melodramatic."
"Fair enough," Kurt conceded with an amused nod. "Sounds legitimate." He continued with his turn. "Michael's favorite thing to do with his spare time, besides sing, is meet his best friend, Alex, Rachel's owner, in a tea shop down the street."
"And, naturally," Blaine added with a wink, "he always tries to beat Alex there to get their drinks. But she lives closer to the shop, so she always wins."
Kurt explained, "they have a running joke, because Alex always remembers that Michael likes herbal citrus tea with a little bit of honey, but Michael never remembers what Alex likes."
Blaine covered a quick cough and smiled at his friend. "Alex often tells Michael that she's worried, because if her best friend can't remember that she drinks green tea in the morning and black tea in the afternoon, she doesn't think anyone she's dating would have a chance."
"There's a big singing competition in Cantria every year, called the Cantria Cantus Contest," Kurt announced the title with bravado, "and the winner gets a year's worth of free tea from the tea shop."
"Both Michael and Alex compete every year." Blaine sighed in sympathy for the characters. "Neither of them has ever won. But this year, they think one of them might have a chance."
Kurt nodded sagely. "You see," he revealed, "Michael has a secret."
"A very big secret," Blaine embellished. He hesitated for a moment. "But not as well-kept as he thinks. Because Rachel-cats can talk in Cantria, right? Yes, they can-has figured it out from Finn, and she told Alex."
"He decides to tell Alex his secret, though, at their tea shop," Kurt added neutrally, his gaze catching Blaine's.
"He gets there early enough to beat her, that day, and, for the first time, has their drinks ready for them," Blaine finished as he attempted to set his now near empty soup bowl back on the bedside table.
Kurt considered his friend as he took the tray and balanced it more carefully on the bedside table. "Because it's not that he doesn't remember what to buy Alex, he's just never had the chance."
Blaine stared. "Alex was surprised and asked how he had remembered," he supplied.
"And that's when Michael told her what he'd wanted to say..." Kurt trailed off.
"He liked being her best friend," Blaine offered as the beginning of the thought. But he couldn't stop. "Of course, she already knew that. They'd been best friends for years. What he wanted to say was that he liked her as more than a friend. That he wasn't sure what she thought, but if she wanted, her boyfriend could remember what kind of tea she liked."
"I was going to say-I was going to say that Michael wanted to sing a duet with Alex at the annual competition." Kurt blushed. "But I suppose that works, too."
"Oh," Blaine blushed, too, and began to laugh quietly. When the coughing started a few seconds later, Kurt lifted himself out of his chair and helped Blaine sit up more, one hand tracing comforting circles into his back.
"Kurt?" Blaine whispered carefully, when the coughing had died down.
Blaine shot a glance at Kurt's lips, only a few inches from his own. "If I got you sick, would you be really really mad at me?"
Kurt blinked. "Why? It wouldn't be your fault."
"And if it were?" Blaine wondered.
Kurt looked confused. "How could-"
Blaine effectively cut off the question with a brief press of his lips to Kurt's forehead.
"Ah," Kurt managed after a moment.
"Is that a good 'ah', or a bad one, because I-I mean, that was not a good idea, probably, because even if you did-I'm sick, and that's gross, and-"
"Blaine," Kurt interrupted. "Blaine. Blaine."
Blaine finally fell silent, his eyes open with curiosity and a touch of vulnerability.
"Are you going to come keep me company when I'm sick tomorrow?" Kurt asked teasingly, running a thumb against Blaine's wrist.
Kurt's eyes sparkled. He leaned forward, slowly, his hands on Blaine's shoulders, and placed a lingering kiss on Blaine's lips.
"Mhm...remind me how we haven't gotten here before?" Blaine asked, blinking his eyes open slowly as Kurt leaned back from the bed. Kurt laughed lightly and ran a few fingers gently across Blaine's temple.
Kurt twisted their hands together. "We're stubborn," he offered.
"As stubborn as your pets with an on-again-off-again relationship, Michael?" Blaine wondered with a smile.
Kurt grinned cheekily. "Even more. And who says I was Michael?"
"That's true. Why should I be the girl?"
"Who said Alex was a girl? Wasn't me." He turned his chin to the side and furrowed his brow. "But while we're on that subject, did Rachel really tell you that..."
Blaine hesitated for a second, then nodded.
"And she learned that from Finn? How?"
"Believe me when I say that I do not understand the workings of our sibling's relationship."
Their eyes met for a moment.
"Don't laugh," Kurt warned with an affectionate smile.
Blaine sighed and squeezed Kurt's hand. "I'll try."