DISCLAIMER: I do not own Glee, Fox does. And Ryan Murphy. Title is from Macbeth for sheer ironic purposes.
Warnings are: brief mentions of sexual relations, some homophobia, slight angst.

Reviewers, I love you so much that I can't even form a comprehensible statement proclaiming my love and adoration right now.

I decided to jump on the deaf/blind!Blaine bandwagon. This story is in a rather snapshot format, so it cuts a lot and is a little jerky in most places because it's really about them growing up together and finding love where it's been all along. I also decided to keep with the original "Blaine is older than Kurt" thing because I felt like it fit better in a way with the plot. The song Kurt sings is "Take It All Away" by Ryan Cabrera.

endofadream [.] tumblr [.] com


My boyfriend is sweet. He's gorgeous, kind, smart, and indelibly caring. He can hold a conversation for hours without faltering and can convey a single emotion with just his eyes or his mouth. He likes sports and he likes fashion. We've known each other almost all of our lives and, to be cliché, have saved each other along the way. I've been in love with him since before I came out; maybe even since that day that we met in the park and I decided to change my whole life for him. Now, almost fifteen years later, he proposed to me. But he didn't do it conventionally. Instead, he got down on one knee and signed to me: I couldn't live my life without you being my ears. Will you marry me? My boyfriend has been deaf almost his whole life, and little did I know it, but just once chance meeting when I was a kid changed everything. We're getting married when I finish college and I can't wait to sign I do at the altar.

Blaine, my now-fiancé, my everything, the one who had me open my eyes and really see what the world is about and what beauties lay underneath the exterior give or take a few senses, gives me hope.

khummel posted this on Jun 21, 2027 3:15 pm


The day that five-year-old Kurt Hummel's life is changed begins like any other day.

It's spring; March, to be exact, the day a Saturday or a Sunday or a Tuesday for however much Kurt cares: all he knows is that it's pretty outside and his mom is taking him to the playground. She seems to be feeling better, getting over the strange ailment his dad had told him about a few months ago in a pinched voice. That voice always made Kurt frown and want to hug him, all while giving him the strange sense that he wasn't being told everything.

Like every five-year-old, he forgets, looks over instances where his parents share pained, worried glances across the table and at late hours of the night when Kurt's already tucked in and sound asleep, lulled there by his mom's sweet voice singing gentle lullabies and showtunes.

He doesn't know the whole truth, but it's obviously not too bad because parents can fix everything, right?

Already there are butterflies flitting about, the small yellow ones that flutter and hover above dandelions and clover and dance around the blades of grass. There's still a slight hint of chill in the air, in the brisk breeze that ruffles the flowers and Kurt's hair, but that's easily chased away by the sun. Everything smells new, clean, and Kurt briefly wonders if Mercedes will be here again today because she still has his pink Power Ranger.

It seems like half the population of Lima is at the park today, so Kurt is cautious when he and his mom walk across the parking lot to the jungle gym. He runs off a few minutes later with a promise to stay in sight and heads straight for the slide, the metal glinting the in the bright sunlight, calling to him like a beacon.

He knows some of these kids, like tough little Santana Lopez who's currently towering over a shy Dave Karofsky, demanding that certain patch of sand for her sandcastle. He speeds on past them because Santana, quite frankly, scares him and David's never said two words to him though Kurt often catches him staring in a way that he can't quite place, but it doesn't make him comfortable either way.

Kurt reaches the slide, excitement coursing through him like liquid fire, and his hands reach out for the dirty bars of the ladder heading up to the top of the slide when he stops. Off to his right, on the soft green grass on the edge of the playground area is a small boy that Kurt's never seen before. He has curly black hair that shines a million colors in the sun and he looks so lonely sitting cross-legged on the grass, no toys around him, no kids around him. In fact, most of the kids seem to be pointedly ignoring him.

Kurt cocks his head to the slide, contemplating, and makes up his mind when he sees the boy poke dejectedly at a fallen stick, picking it up and digging it into the green blades with half-hearted force.

No boy with hair that nice deserves to be left alone. Kurt steps away from the slide and makes his way across the rubber bark that makes up the ground of the play area.

When Kurt goes over to the boy he brightly says "Hi!" in the friendliest voice that he can muster: Mommy always said politeness ran the world. Kurt personally never saw it, not with those big, mean men that gave foreboding-sounding speeches every once in awhile on TV when Daddy would grumble and Mommy would watch intently and occasionally shake her head or give a small nod and smile of approval. "I'm Kurt." He holds out his hand.

The boy takes it cautiously. "Hi," he says, but his voice sounds funny, strangely garbled and too-loud even though the park is noisy and rife with excited children's screams; this loud seems to be for a different reason, something that stems beyond something adopted for the usual cacophony. He releases Kurt's hand and makes a few weird gestures with his own, fingers folding and flexing, eyebrows raised as he looks at Kurt intently. When he stops he lowers his hands, waiting.

"What?" Kurt asks, not impolitely. He cocks his head and stares at the boy, the boy who's beginning to look more and more dejected and embarrassed as every second goes past. "Did you want me to do that?" He does a crude imitation of the boy's weird hand movements, stumbling and biting his lip as he tries to recall them.

This makes the boy smile and laugh, shaking his head and Kurt decides immediately that he really likes this boy's laugh. It's pretty and nice and warm like winters in front of the fireplace. Shaking his head, the boy makes the gestures again, then adds something different. He looks expectantly at Kurt.

"I don't know," Kurt says, frowning.

The boy pauses, scrunching his nose up in thought, like he's trying hard to remember, and, finally, says, "Blaine." It, like his greeting, is loud and slightly disjointed, the letters slurred and thick-sounding. The boy—Blaine—repeats his first gesture and then also repeats his name.

"Is that your name?" Kurt asks, referencing the hand movements. Blaine nods excitedly and grins crookedly, looking happy that Kurt finally gets it.

Blaine does more gestures, these shorter, and when he's done he points at Kurt, as if saying you. Kurt doesn't need clarification to know that Blaine just gestured his name and that thought sends a pleasant jolt through his body, rolling around in his stomach.

It's something small, nothing huge or flashy, but it still feels special because he's never had anyone do this before. He's never met anyone before who talks with their hands instead of with their mouths.

"You're real cool," Kurt says, and though Blaine still looks sort of confused, Kurt's smile is contagious and soon he's grinning and laughing, and god, he has such a nice laugh; Kurt can't get over it. "You should meet my mom!"

At this Blaine looks a little apprehensive, paying close attention to Kurt's lips as he talks, and Kurt doesn't think too much of it because right now he wants to find his mom and show her his awesome new best friend and his unusual talent. He eventually spots her on a park bench on the other side of the jungle gym, book open on her lap and the wind blowing her long dark hair around her face. She looks up, tucking her hair behind her ear, and when Kurt waves she smiles, closes her book, and stands.

"Hi, Mommy!" Kurt exclaims when his mother walks over. "This is Blaine. He's my new best friend."

Elizabeth smiles warmly at Blaine, turning to face him. She crouches down. "Hello, Blaine," she says warmly. "And how old are you?"

Blaine shyly holds up six fingers.

"My, you're practically a teenager," Elizabeth says with a wink. Kurt giggles and says, "He makes all these cool gestures with his hands, too, Mommy. I tried to get him to talk but he talks funny."

Elizabeth's forehead creases and she asks, "What's your name again, honey?"

Automatically, like he doesn't even need to think about it, Blaine makes the same gestures he did to Kurt earlier, and Kurt watches with just as much fascination, head cocked to the side as Blaine's hands and fingers move in a way that almost screams elegance, like he's been doing this for years, like it's an art he's perfected.

"Oh," is all Elizabeth says. She turns to Kurt, then, face somber and serious, and she lowers her voice almost to the point where Kurt can't hear it. "Sweetheart, Blaine is… he's different, but I don't want you to think any differently of your new friend when I tell you."

Kurt peeks around his mother's shoulder, looking at where Blaine is biting his lower lip and scuffing at the dirt with the toe of his shoe. Blaine's looking back, searching for something, his own mom or dad maybe, and Kurt doesn't hesitate when he says "Blaine is my new best friend" like that's all the explanation needed.

Elizabeth smiles softly and places her hand on Kurt's shoulder. She chances a look back at Blaine, just a quick peek, before turning to Kurt. All traces of her usual carefree self have been covered by concern. "Blaine is… he's deaf."

Kurt thinks for a second, trying to remember why that word sounds so serious and heavy coming out of his mother's mouth. He vaguely remembers learning about it in class, about "hearing-impaired" and "visually-impaired" people being just like everyone else, only with a few differences that were out of their control. "He can't hear?"


"Then I'll just have to hear for him!" Kurt says. He smiles brightly and looks back again to see Blaine gazing at him, a somewhat nervous look on his face.

"I'm afraid that it isn't that easy, honey," Elizabeth says sadly. "What Blaine's doing with his hands, that's something called sign language. It's how deaf people communicate."

"Can I learn it?" Kurt's bouncing on his toes now, anxious to get back over to Blaine and ask him to teach him everything.

Elizabeth looks a little shocked. "Well, yes, but it's not easy."

"Can we get books on it?" Kurt asks. He's determined to keep Blaine in his life, and maybe he doesn't understand the daunting task ahead of him, but he somehow knows deep inside himself that he wants this more than he wants anything else. He's determined; he's ready.

A look of pride crosses over Elizabeth's face and she says, "Of course."

Kurt beams at her and runs over to Blaine, already excitedly speaking even though Blaine can't hear him. He's gesturing wildly, blue eyes sparkling, and Blaine's staring in awe. Elizabeth can't help but smile and watch appraisingly. She knows her son is a diligent person, already wise beyond his years while still retaining onto the boyish charm of youth, and helping Blaine out, just being his friend, is doing more than Kurt can probably fathom right now.

When Kurt takes Blaine's hand and leads him across the playground, Blaine lets out a shriek of laughter and Elizabeth's heart goes out for the boy trapped in a world of silence and the boy whose life is full of nothing but sound.


Learning the ASL alphabet is hard, a lot more difficult than Kurt thought that it was going to be. The rudimentary movements are the letters, him getting his muscle memory used to forming an A or an R with second-nature ease. That he picks up on pretty quickly and masters it within a month.

When he moves on to whole words, complicated hand movements that mean phrases, things a lot bigger and quicker than single letters, that's where he begins to struggle.

Atlantic Ocean is one of the first most complicated ones he learns. Even after watching the video tutorial, after analyzing and rewatching, he still falters, haltingly recreates the wave-like movements with his hands, forgets how many times and can never get into the spelling of letters as fast as he thinks he's able to.

It's a lot of work, a lot of Kurt pushed to the breaking point, tears in his eyes and a frustrated scream on his lips. It's a lot of Elizabeth gently coaxing him, coaching him through the tough words and phrases, of Burt telling him what a good job he's doing when he comes home from the shop and sees his wife and son sitting cross-legged on the floor, speaking without words, books open, their wheezing old computer pulled up to a window where a woman on repeat makes the same gestures over and over and over.

The work is tedious, but the look on Blaine's face when they meet at the park every week, the look of excitement and sheer happiness whenever Kurt shows him a new phrase he's learned, more complicated each week, is worth it.


Kurt gets teased on the playground when people find out that he's best friends with Blaine Anderson, the town freak, and it's mean, it's not fair that his classmates can be so acidic and judgmental toward something that Blaine couldn't help.

It's not fair, either, because Kurt's always been an outcast, always been picked on because of his voice, his looks, his aversion to mud and dodgeball and touch football and tetherball. When it's just him, fine, that much he can deal with, but when Dave Karofsky, the same little Dave that was taunted by Santana in the sandbox, shoves him down one day at recess and steals his bag of cookies his mom had packed, sneering and calling him a "freak like your freak friend," it cuts a lot deeper than Kurt's used to.

He comforts himself by signing a few choice phrases in ASL when Dave's back is turned. He's sure Blaine would have found it funny.


The only place Kurt and Blaine meet for the first few months is the park. Blaine is always by the sandbox, sitting in the grass and watching people walk around. Eventually Kurt meets Blaine's mother, Stella, who always takes him, and finds out that she's a sweet woman, short with Blaine's thick, dark hair and wide eyes. Hers are blue, though, a striking electric shade that makes Kurt think of worn fabric and clear Caribbean water.

When Kurt mentions that his mom is teaching him sign language, then demonstrates a few simple phrases that Blaine replies to like he always does, gap-toothed grin wide and genuine, Stella smiles watery-eyed and sweeps Kurt up into an unexpected hug.

"Thank you," she whispers, and her voice hitches slightly at the end. "Blaine needs a friend."

"Blaine's my best friend," Kurt says, the same thing he'd told his mom, and is rewarded with another smile, wide and toothy like Blaine's, though she isn't missing her front left tooth like Blaine is.

"I just want you to know that you're welcome at our house any time, Kurt," Stella says. "If it's okay with your mom." She looks over at Elizabeth, who'd joined them a few minutes ago, and receives a nod in return.

"Momma," Blaine says, appearing between the mothers, wide-eyed and looking a little upset. Kurt wonders what happened before he looks over towards the swings and sees two of the bigger boys from his class lumbering around. Again he's struck by the oddity of Blaine's voice, the too-loud volume and thick, unsure tongue.

Stella kneels down. "What, hon?"

Blaine signs something, and Kurt can only make out I and what he thinks is home. A knot forms in his stomach as he takes in the frightened look on Blaine's face, the hunch of his shoulders, and Kurt may only be five-going-on-six, but he knows a bullying victim when he sees one. And he just wants to make it stop. Blaine is awesome and really nice and he doesn't deserve to be picked on because he's small or because he can't hear.

A crease forms between Stella's eyebrows and she nods, straightening up, and when she drops her arm to her side Blaine quickly takes her hand and slips his between, molding himself close to her body and staring at the ground.

Stella's talking to Elizabeth, setting up playdates and when they can meet at the park again, and Kurt just barely manages to catch Blaine's eye when they depart.

He doesn't like the cornered-animal look that he finds.


Kurt had thought that his mom was better. She'd looked better, had laughed again and smiled and didn't seem pained or tired like she'd been looking for months. His dad had said it, the doctors had said it; even Elizabeth had mentioned how well she had been feeling.

It was all for naught.

Kurt is glad that Blaine can't hear him cry when his mom passes away a little over a year to the date that they first met. Instead, all Blaine does is hold him close in all of his seven-year-old wisdom and feel Kurt's shoulders shake with heavy sobs that mirror the wreckage that's become his world.

Against his neck Blaine mouths something, just the slight brush of lips over skin and the fine hairs. Kurt shivers a little but he doesn't know what Blaine mouthed. He never finds out.

He just wants to forget.


When Blaine tells Kurt how he became deaf, he writes it down in his neat, perfect handwriting, tongue poking out between his lips, pink and glistening wet in the summer sun, in the dappled lighting created by full green leaves hanging on the branches overhead. Kurt watches intently, watches the pencil move, scribble words and scratch out words, notices the way that Blaine's hand grips the pencil in sure fingers.

Blaine's fourteen and Kurt is thirteen but they feel older than they are and everything is eternal, from schooldays to summers and weekends spent in comfortable silence.

It had been an illness, Blaine pens down. Chicken pox. He'd gotten it when he was three and it had been one of the rarer, more severe cases that affected his hearing.

I still remember what it's like to hear, sort of Blaine writes down because Kurt's signing is getting there, but for extensive conversations they usually resort to whiteboards or notebooks. In the back of Kurt's closet is an old shoebox full of their notebooks, their conversations about nothing and everything. Some days he pulls them out, flips through the pages and reminisces, remembers days when they were young and it didn't seem like the world was against them.

I can still sometimes hear my mom's voice. I think it was really pretty, but what I hear now is sort of… distorted? Yeah. I barely remember how music made me feel, how happy and alive I felt when I was listening to it, but I try my hardest to. I wanted to take piano lessons and guitar lessons, but now…

Kurt rests his hand on top of Blaine's, looking up from the notebook paper. A sad smile is on his lips, eyes a little fuzzy and blurry from the tears building up. Blaine looks at him, mouth pulled down into a tight frown, his own hazel eyes glistening with an unshed film of tears. Kurt thinks that Blaine's heart hurts just as much as his does right now.

Sometimes, when Kurt is sick of writing, he speaks to Blaine. Blaine's mentioned before that he's gotten pretty good at reading lips from all the time he's spent watching people talk. It's easier in certain cases, and though Blaine rarely if ever replies Kurt feels better. He knows that Blaine's probably imagining what Kurt must sound like, maybe trying to remember what his own voice sounds like, only able to recall the boyhood version, not the way it sounds now, deeper with maturity but not to its full potential yet. Blaine doesn't say anything often, too embarrassed at the way his voice sounds, but Kurt enjoys the rare moments he gets when Blaine will respond verbally.

"You're still amazing, Blaine," Kurt says with that same smile stuck on his face like he can't get rid of it, like his muscles refuse to cooperate, squeezing Blaine's hand gently and feeling the warmth from this simple contact radiate through his body. "You're braver than I could ever hope to be." There's an undercurrent of something, a deep-down issue they're both not bringing up, but neither addresses it.

Blaine leans forward, rests his forehead against Kurt's and feels sweat-slicked skin stick together. He doesn't write anything else down. Kurt's content to listen to the birds, the rustle of the wind in the trees and brightly-colored flowers that line the edges of the Anderson property, and wish that Blaine could, too.


Isn't there a school for the hearing-impaired? Kurt writes out of sheer curiousity.

There is, Blaine writes back. My mom considered it, but that would have meant a transfer, and my dad's work wouldn't allow it. Besides, she's a pretty good teacher and managed to bring in a woman a few months after I lost my hearing to teach me sign language.

Did you learn to read lips on your own?

Blaine looks up and there's a glint in his eyes, something a little mischievous, and Kurt feels vaguely uncomfortable, heated around the collar, and when he licks his lips Blaine's eyes follow the movement intently. If Kurt didn't know better, he'd think that Blaine was… flirting with him. I find it very… easy to focus on lips, he writes. People are very expressive, but they're too busy talking to ever notice it.

But then there's you, he continues, pencil flying fast over the page as Kurt watches. All it takes for you is the slightest movement of a muscle in your cheek, or your lips, the glint in your eyes when you calculate something, the unconscious raise of an eyebrow as you contemplate. You're a very expressive being, Kurt Hummel. I like it.

Kurt flushes scarlet when he reads it, heart hammering inside his chest, pulse quickening. It's so innocuous, so innocent and Kurt knows that Blaine's just being honest, just being a good friend, but Kurt's so desperate, so starved for attention, for affection and physicality that he's willing to look past everything and jump to conclusions. It doesn't help that Kurt's been with Blaine since they were little; he's seen him grow up from gap-toothed little boy to self-confident teenager with unruly curly hair, wide expressive eyes, and a lithe, lightly-muscled body.

He's known about… it since he was a kid. Being gay, he means. He's never asked Blaine; never brought it up in fear that he'd lose the one light in his life. He knows how the other kids at school react to his urges: just a few months ago a group of boys from Westerville jumped a kid leaving a dance with another boy. One got away with a few scratches and the other was hospitalized for months.

Kurt doesn't want that to be him. But when Blaine looks at him with honey hazel eyes and that perfectly curly hair and that smile he always has ready just for Kurt, he can feel his walls crumbling and wonders if it'd be so bad for him to be completely happy for once and have a boy to hold hands with.

As if reading his mind, Blaine leans over and rests his hand on top of Kurt's, giving him that aforementioned grin, as if to say I'm here for you. Innocent, friendly, and everything Kurt wants and yet doesn't want.

Something squeezes at Kurt's heart at that moment and the smile he gives back is watery, faulty the longer he holds it out, and he doesn't write it, doesn't sign it, but he thinks I hope you always will be, because sometimes I need you more than you need me.


What's it like living in silence? Kurt asks one fall day when they're at Blaine's house, sprawled out on the floor of the den. A fire crackles in the fireplace, warding off the damp October chill, and Kurt has the Andersons' afghan thrown across his legs. He finishes his question and slides the notebook and pen over to Blaine.

Blaine reads it and bites his lip. Kurt's not trying to be rude, Blaine knows that. He's just curious, wondering what it's like to have oppressive silence always pushing, shoving in like a tight vice, a smothering heavy blanket. Most people wonder the same thing.

Blaine takes a few minutes to write a response, and when he's done he wordlessly—always wordless, always silence—slides the notebook back across the carpet, pen clipped neatly to the bent spiral binding. It's just one sentence, less than ten words, but when Kurt reads it he feels like he's been punched in the gut and his heart has plummeted roller coaster-style into his stomach.

It's like being trapped inside your head forever.

And all it is, unfortunately, is the truth.


The first time Kurt comes out, he signs it. It feels strange, gesturing instead of saying the words, but somehow it seems neater, cleaner, and a lot easier. Now it's out there. Now he can either be accepted or rejected, and in those tense seconds after lowering his arms to his sides, Kurt bets that if he were a nail biter, he'd have nothing left but bloody stumps.

Blaine just gives him a smile in return and a quick me, too. Blaine's confession is less extravagant, slightly less formal, but it still brings tears to Kurt's eyes anyway because, god, Blaine is so brave without even trying, so honest and Kurt's been envious of him since the day that they met.

He lets himself be wrapped into a warm hug, Blaine's arms strong and secure around him, and he does his best to blink back his tears. They've only known each other northwards of ten years but Kurt feels like Blaine's always been a part of him, will always be a part of him no matter what.

When they part Kurt sniffs and looks at Blaine to make sure he's looking back and says "Thank you" in a tiny voice, articulating clearly even though Blaine reads lips better than anyone Kurt's ever met in the various schools and homes he's visited with Blaine and his mom over the years. Blaine mouths back "Anytime" with his trademark wide, carefree grin and it could be like nothing's ever changed.

Kurt's fifteen and Blaine's sixteen, and still, after all these years, Blaine's touch never fails to excite him, entice and intoxicate and leave him with a running mantra of more I need more of you of everything you have to offer forever. Only this time, it comes with a name.

Blaine smells like Calvin Klein and Dolce & Gabbana and everything else all at once.

Kurt begins to wonder if he's in love.


Sometimes Kurt dreams about Blaine.

Most of the time it's just them, hanging out, reading magazines, but in these dreams Blaine talks, responds to what Kurt says with a bright smile and that beautiful, beautiful laugh that he doesn't know he has. In these dreams that are fuzzy at the edges, in danger of cracking at any second, everything's so normal that it hurts. Blaine's voice is deep, rough in the way that designer jeans are pleasant against your skin—at least for Kurt.

When they were kids, it was always them playing outside, running in the spacious, sloping backyard at Blaine's house. Everything was always bright, saturated with color and sound, from the wind to the birds to that laugh, and Kurt always awoke wanting more, dazed for a few moments while shaking off the dregs of sleep. At first he actually believed that Blaine could hear, that he was somehow cured, but when he ran over to see Blaine that day and was greeted at the door with a signed hello, he quickly learned to separate dreams from reality, which was, unfortunately, something he was all too used to.

As Kurt got older, so did the dreams. Soon they morphed from carefree, playful; all their afternoons spent hanging out doing a lot of nothing became a thing of the past. It transformed into darker, much more dimly lit. It involved hands and bared skin, noises Kurt didn't even know he could make. Teeth and tongues and pressing, pressing hardness and a delicious friction, coiling at the pit of his stomach, the base of his spine, and Blaine always moaning, whispering Kurt's name soft against his ear, the side of his neck as he kissed down and rubbed.

And that deep, rough voice dropped, dropped and stretched out and Kurt would awake with a too-loud moan and a sticky dampness in his boxers, with questions on his tongue but nowhere to voice them.

He'd clean up and never mention it, try not to think about it when Blaine would sign or write or do anything with his hands. He'd try not to notice the slope of his shoulders, the broadness of his chest and the faint muscle definition that he was beginning to develop.

He doesn't want to screw this up. If he loses Blaine, he loses everything.


It's raining Kurt texts Blaine one day when he's laying in bed and staring at the ceiling. Raindrops lash against the windows in harsh patterns, water spilling in rivulets down the glass. It hits the side of the house, the roof, and in his room Kurt feels safe, warm where he's cuddled in his blankets, with his room soaked in milky gray.

I can see that Blaine texts back a few minutes later, and Kurt can almost see the tight-lipped smile on his face, that one that he gets when Kurt points out something obvious. It's like he doesn't want Kurt to see him laugh, to give the inner workings of his mind away, but it's so much more than that.

Just wishing you could hear it, that's all.

I wish I could hear you.

Kurt flushes, his skin suddenly too-tight, too hot, and this is still sort of new, this whole flirting business. Blaine's his childhood best friend, his deaf childhood best friend, and sure, that title never bothered him before—Blaine's more interesting than half the kids Kurt knows and a much better listener, to use it ironically—but all he can think of now that they're older, that they've both come out and admitted their feelings, is how much of a challenge a relationship would be.

That doesn't stop him from wanting it, however. He wants to always kiss Blaine, always be there with notebooks smudged dark with ink and graphite, with ready hands that aren't quite as nimble but are still skilled nevertheless. He wants to be Blaine's boyfriend as well as his best friend.

No, you don't he eventually texts back, fingers shaky on the touch screen, autocorrect going haywire as he constantly keeps pressing the wrong letters. My voice is all high-pitched and not sexy. Puberty left me in its rearview mirrors.

I'll bet your voice sounds beautiful, Blaine texts back almost immediately, because you're beautiful.

He immediately sends: Kurt, next time we're together, can you just… sing something? Or talk? I want to lay my head on your chest and pretend that I can listen.

A pause, then:

I want to feel your heartbeat. The vibrations your voice makes.

The texts blur together in the cloud of Kurt's tears. There's absolutely no hesitation or second-thoughts on this. Yes.


A few days later they end up stretched out on Blaine's bed, the hourglass on his nightstand turned upside-down. The sand trickles slowly through the thin opening, collecting red at the bottom that grows larger and larger with each breath they take. The clock on his vanity ticks away the time, the only noise in the room besides Kurt.

Blaine's head is on Kurt's chest; Kurt's fingers are in Blaine's hair, scratching along his scalp and eliciting small noises of gratitude that Kurt wonders of Blaine is aware he's making. They're tangled up together, inseparable, and Kurt's humming something meaningless, notes strung together from whatever he can think of off the top of his head. He's acutely aware of Blaine's arm wrapped around his midsection, the other folded up against his side. A leg flung over his, strong thigh flexing, and it should be too-warm like this but it just can't be.

He pauses; stroking an absent hand down Blaine's back, smoothing out the wrinkles in his shirt as he goes. He bites his lip and contemplates, vaguely remembering Blaine telling him about the way he looked when he was contemplating something. He wonders what, exactly, Blaine sees sometimes.

Blaine shifts, rubbing his cheek against Kurt's chest as he goes, and with a hitched breath Kurt opens his mouth and begins to sing softly, choosing the first song that pops to mind.

"So much beauty in life, shining on the outside, empty on the inside; I get lost sometimes, blinded by flashing lights, distractions always in my eyes." Swallows, Blaine clutching impossibly tighter. "So I'm following the sound, the sound of my heart beating."

Blaine's taught him already that there's so much beauty in the world, so much that you don't need to see or hear; things you know are there but maybe just aren't conscious of them yet. He pauses to take a breath, and when that gets caught in his throat he pauses again, then whispers, even though Blaine can't hear, "You mean everything to me."

Blaine sighs in contentment like he's heard, bringing a hand up to stop Kurt's when it begins to smooth over his shoulder and down his back. He rests his palm on top of Kurt's hand and slips his fingers between Kurt's. A jolt like a thousand tiny sparks zigzags its way up his arms, raises gooseflesh and sends his heart into overdrive, pumping, pumping, pumping.

It's nothing; Blaine holds hands all the time.

But it's never felt like this.

Kurt sings and Blaine feels. This stretches on until the sand has long run to the bottom of the hourglass and the shadows begin to creep long, thin fingers into the room. It's absolutely perfect, and the sore way his body feels, cramped and stiff, neck arching and throat a little scratchy when they get up, is worth it.

After Kurt's shrugged on his coat and grabbed his keys, Blaine pulls him into a hug, pressing close and resting his chin to Kurt's shoulders. They stand there in the middle of the room, arms wrapped tight, chests pressing together as they breathe, breathe.

Like when he was consoling Kurt when his mom died all those years ago, Blaine mouths something unintelligible into the rough wool of Kurt's coat. Kurt never asks about this one, either. This time Blaine pulls back and says "Thank you, Kurt," and Kurt's never been happier to hear Blaine say those words aloud.

He leaves with a parting hug, lingering touching fingers and longing looks. Kurt feels Blaine's eyes on him until his car disappears down the street and he doesn't allow himself to wonder, doesn't allow speculation and most certainly doesn't allow a wandering imagination that heads to how soft Blaine's lips look and how great they'd feel against his.

He doesn't because they're best friends. Best friends don't do this stuff.

Best friends are each others' rocks, the shoulders to cry on and the place to vent. Best friends are always there and never judge and always listen.

And… best friends can also fall in love.


On a June day at the beginning of the summer between Kurt's junior and senior year, they're at Kurt's house, sprawled out in the living room in their usual comfortable silence aside from the clock on the wall and the gentle hum of the refrigerator in the kitchen. Blaine is on his back on the floor, pillow clutched to his chest as he stares at the ceiling. Kurt's sitting on the floor, back against the couch and book open in his lap.

He chances a glance up, checking to make sure that Blaine's still staring at the ceiling, and then he grants himself a rare moment to just look, to admire the tanned glow of Blaine's skin, both natural and slightly sun-enhanced, his broad shoulders covered by a plain light gray t-shirt. His head is turned to the side, neck stretched, fingers tapping out an absent rhythm against the floor.

In the middle of admiring the slope of Blaine's nose and the slight bump in the middle that Kurt really wants to kiss, his stomach growls and he's suddenly hyperaware of the time. It's closing in on one in the afternoon and neither of them has eaten yet. A panini from the café down on Main actually sounds delicious, and the walk is a short ten-minute one if they stroll at a leisurely pace.

He looks unsurely at Blaine again. He always hates making Blaine go places in public for something like lunch because even though Blaine seems to have no problem with people knowing that he's deaf, Kurt feels awful for things that he can't explain.

They'd gone to the Lima Bean a few times for coffee in afternoons when Kurt got off of school and went to pick Blaine up to hang out until his mom got home. It had been nice—wonderful, actually, because Blaine is an extremely affectionate person, and though all the arm-grabbing and huge smiles had Kurt coloring a pleasant pink, it was amazing to feel like he was part of a couple, a team. Blaine had signed what he wanted to Kurt—medium drip, no room for milk, bland compared to Kurt's mocha—and Kurt couldn't help but notice some of the baristas staring at them intently as they communicated.

And for once it had been nothing bad, not negative towards their sexuality or them in general, but Kurt couldn't help but feel judged somehow, pitied in the eyes of these girls, for having a deaf friend. How unfortunate.

Kurt's stomach growls again and he can't ignore it this time. He takes note of the page and closes the book, setting it down on the floor. The gentle vibration alerts Blaine, who shifts to turn and look at him with questioning eyes and slightly parted pink lips.

"Let's get lunch," Kurt says.

Blaine instantly perks up, scrambling into a sitting position. Kurt's verbal use is enough to spur him on. "Where?"

"That deli on main?" Kurt asks. "We can walk there."

Blaine nods, standing up and holding his hand out to Kurt with a grin. Taking it, Kurt hoists himself to his feet and ignores how absolutely perfect their hands feel together, like they were tailored to be that way.

Though heat creeps just around the horizon when they step out the door and into the sunlight, the weather outside still holds a pleasant coolness to it thanks to the breeze. Everything is rich green still and the bright blue of the sky hasn't given way to the hazy blue-white it gets around July and August.

Blaine always stays relatively close to Kurt when they walk places, whether from fear of not being able to hear people or cars approaching or an innate need to be close, Kurt doesn't know and doesn't ask, but what he does know is that he'll never complain about it. They don't talk about boyfriends often or even just relationships in general, and for that Kurt's glad, but he also wants to know if they'll ever have a shot at being together.

He remembers that one afternoon spent singing to Blaine, hands intertwined like they are now but somehow meaning more, meaning things neither have discussed. He remembers how Blaine had looked at him with unspoken gratitude and that had been it; they hadn't spoken any more of it to each other since.

But Kurt knows he's in love. He's spent so long trying to deny it that it's almost impossible anymore. He knows that the racing-heartbeat, fluttering-stomach feeling can mean only one thing, and he also knows that thinking that the sun shines every time Blaine so much as looks at him means that he's got it bad.

He just… he can't tell Blaine.

Luckily his train of thought is stopped by them reaching the diner. Blaine, ever the gentleman, steps ahead of Kurt and holds the door open, winking at Kurt as he walks through with a quick, mirth-filled "thank you."

The bell jingles above them and inside it's nice and cool and not too busy. Kurt's grateful for this, glad that there aren't too many people around to stare. There are just the cooks in the back clanging around and the waitress working the till, expression bored and zombie-like.

When Kurt approaches the counter she pops her gum and says flatly, "Good afternoon. How may I help you?"

Kurt glances up at the menu, then back to Blaine. What do you want?

A few seconds go by, Blaine's eyes roving over the choices, before he finally signs out Just a ham and cheese with mustard on wheat, please. Kurt nods and turns back to the girl.

She has an eyebrow raised, looking back and forth between the two, and Kurt huffs, rolling his eyes. "Spare me the pity or judgment," he snaps. "I'll have the veggie medley on wheat and he'll have the—"

He's cut off mid-order by the door clanging open and the sound of multiple male voices permeating the air.

"Thought I saw you walk in, Hummel." Fuck. Kurt flinches and hunches his shoulders, balling his hands into fists at his sides. Karofsky and the rest of his football morons.

"Well, it's a free country," he shoots back, turning to face them. Blaine is frozen on the spot, cowering, eyes tightly closed. They're still behind him, and though Blaine can't hear them Kurt knows that he can sense them. He wants to wrap an arm around Blaine's shoulders, pull him close, but that'll just provoke them more.

"And I see you brought along your little deaf friend," Azimio continues, cracking his knuckles. Kurt tries not to flinch because now Blaine's staring at him, pleading, and as long as Kurt stays strong and acts like everything's okay Blaine will believe him.

"His name's Blaine," Kurt says, taking a small step forward. "And leave him alone. He doesn't even go to school with you."

Please don't hurt him. He never did anything to you.

"And that matters because…?" And it's Karofsky now, big and menacing and absolutely leering at them. Kurt still doesn't like the way he looks at him. "Your little deaf buttbuddy spends enough time with you that he may as well be."

"Fuck you," Kurt hisses, feeling the red-hot tide of anger wash over him. He grabs Blaine's hand and tugs him out the door, letting it fall shut with a ding.

He feels like he's suffocating and his heart is still pounding, adrenaline still rushing, and just when he thinks he's in the clear the door opens again and it's just Karofsky who rushes out, mouth set in a fine line. "Where do you think you're going? I'm not through with you."

"Yes, you are!" Kurt shouts, voice shrill. "You need to leave us alone, Karofsky. We didn't do anything to you or your stupid half-brained cavemen."

Blaine's visibly shaking now, his bottom lip firmly between his teeth. His eyes dart everywhere, from the side of the building to Kurt's face and to Karofsky's flexed fist.

It happens in a second. Before Kurt can move Karofsky's hands are on Blaine's shoulders and he's shoving him so hard that Blaine loses his balance and falls backward onto the concrete, elbows connecting with a crack that has Kurt wincing.

"You—!" Kurt starts, but before he can finish his sentence Blaine is up and running, streaking down the sidewalk with tears rolling down his face, a choked-off sob echoing in his wake.

"Blaine!" Kurt shouts and he doesn't care about Karofsky or anything else: he takes off after Blaine, feet pounding the pavement and sun beating down on his head and shoulders as he sprints off in the direction of his house.

The front door is slightly ajar when he gets there, and when Kurt reaches it a high-pitched strangled sound emits from inside the house, heartbreaking, bloodcurdling, and gut-wrenching all at once, followed by a crash.

Kurt steps into the living room and sees Blaine crouched down on the floor, hands linked together on the back of his head. His elbows are scratched, blood trickling down his arm, some staining his forearm from running earlier. There's a pillow on the floor beside him and against the wall are the shattered remains of the vase that had been on the table beside the couch.

He's screaming. Not as loud as the one Kurt had first heard, but noises that seem ripped from his very skin; rough and guttural and terrifying. Kurt's never seen Blaine lose control. He's seen him get frustrated, angry, but never like this.

"Blaine." His voice is quiet when he speaks, forgets for a second that, no, Blaine can't hear him, so he settles for walking into the room and shutting the door behind him. The vibration of his footsteps alerts Blaine, who pauses in his rocking and the scream-sobs he's letting out with every exhale.

Crouching down in front of him, Kurt places a hand on Blaine's, holding it there until Blaine's fingers slowly unclasp and he lifts his head up. Kurt's heart breaks at the sight of his red, tear-streaked face, the haunted, broken look hollowing his eyes. He sniffles and lets out another sob, this one quieter, and he looks at Kurt with nothing but hurt in his eyes.

He's silently pleading make this better.

Kurt reaches out shaky hands, cups Blaine's face and rubs thumbs over wet tracks left by tears. "I'm so sorry," he whispers, voice cracking at the end. "Oh my god, Blaine, I am so sorry."

Blaine blinks, then jerks out of Kurt's grasp to stare at the floor, shaking his head. A sense of dread washes over Kurt as he stares at this shaking, broken shell of a boy huddled down on his living room floor like a frightened animal. Blaine isn't equipped to deal with something like this. His life is nothing but love; from his parents, from Kurt, from Kurt's friends and parents and stepbrother. He's never faced a public school or dealt with more than an offhand remark that he couldn't even hear.

"Blaine," Kurt says, sharper this time. "Blaine, you look at me right now." He takes Blaine's face in his hands, fingers cool on heated cheeks. When Blaine looks at him again his eyes are wild, unfocused, dark. "Blaine, you are perfect," Kurt says, enunciating every word just to be sure. "Okay? Screw what those stupid Neanderthals think. They don't matter because only you matter."

A whimper, soft like gentle summer rain, and then Blaine is unfolding, getting into a sitting position and Kurt's curling up next to him, wrapping an arm around his shoulders. They're still facing each other, looking, and Blaine's eyes are intense and his face is so close, lips right there, but Kurt can't make himself close the gap. Not yet.

"You're my best friend," he says, and Blaine cracks a small smile, gives a nod and mouths back you, too.

Kurt gives a shuddery laugh and untangles his arm, pulling back enough that he can move his hands. Deep breath in and then out, Blaine's eyes curious-bright on him; it's now or never, and he wants it to be now.

You are so special to me, Kurt begins. You've been there for years, from my mom dying to my first slushie facial and dumpster dive. I've never been gladder that I talked to a complete stranger before. Blaine smiles, all crooked grin, and that's enough to spur Kurt on. And I just… I want you to know exactly how special you are to me.

"Kurt?" Blaine asks in that thick, unsure voice of his, head cocked to the side. Wetting his lips, Kurt steels himself for whatever possible outcome and leans forward, closing the distance between them and swallowing the startled, involuntary noise Blaine makes when he presses their lips together.

He stays there until he can't breathe, until his lungs are screaming and his head is swimming. He licks his lips as he sits back down, and Blaine's eyes flutter open, mouth still held out in a slight pout, and that's all it takes to get Kurt's heart racing, pulse pounding.

Blaine looks beautiful because he is beautiful.

"I love you," Kurt's suddenly saying, then clamping his mouth shut with wide eyes. That hadn't meant to slip out.

Oh, god, I love you, too, Blaine signs back immediately, something akin to relief washing over his face. I love you so much, Kurt. I'm glad I can finally sign it to you.

Now it's Kurt's turn to stare at Blaine in incomprehension. What do you mean?

I used to mouth it against your shoulder is Blaine's reply. When you needed me. I was too scared to say it out loud. I didn't want you to reject me. And it's such an absurd statement—how could Kurt ever reject Blaine?

Instead, he says, again because he can, because he feels and Blaine does, too, "I love you."

And Blaine says back, grin wide, eyes sparkling, replies and still signs it: "I love you, too."

I'm never letting go of you, Kurt signs, and then the walls are down, everything finally crumbles down, and when they kiss again this time, hands twined around backs and knees slotted together, lips sliding languidly, tentatively as they learn and try to overcome their shyness, Kurt feels like he's finally found home without even searching for it.