Title: A Family By Any Other Name
Author: an-alternate-world
Rating: M
Characters/Pairings: Kurt/Blaine
Word count: 5,782
Summary: Kurt hadn't known what to expect from his first year at college. He thought it would be difficult with the workload and being apart from Blaine, but he tried not to have too many expectations. Even if he had, he couldn't have envisioned it like this..
Warnings/Spoilers: No spoilers because the story builds on the prequel, A Sibling By Any Other Name. If you haven't read that, you'll definitely want to because this probably won't make a heck of a lot of sense. As for warnings, ANGST ANGST ANGST.
Disclaimer: I am in no way associated with Glee, FOX, Ryan Murphy or anything else related to the Glee universe.

A/N: I don't usually put author's notes at the beginning but I just wanted to say a few things before we get started. Firstly, this story begins about six months after ASBAON finished, because I just want to skip the latter half of Season 3 because I can. Next, there is a lot of angst in this story. I'm not even kidding. If you thought ASBAON broke your heart, it's nothing compared to this. I fully expect I'll probably get hate-filled messages at how many times I make people cry. If it's any consolation, I've cried while writing it. So please, please know there's a lot of angst. I've tried to remove major triggers but just, y'know, handle this story with delicacy and care and if you need someone to talk to, I'm always here or on Tumblr and willing to talk. The other thing to take note of is that this is predominantly told from Kurt's POV and focalised through him. There are times that it shifts, and you'll see why when it happens, but whereas the original was Blaine's story, this is Kurt's.

Secondly, another thing I don't usually do is dedications because I feel sometimes it's tacky, but I truly owe a debt to Cass and Kate for hearing out my ideas, calming me down when I was grumpy with writer's block at parts, flailing with me, giving me their thoughts, and for being fabulous friends. Thank you.

And with that, hold onto your tissues and settle in. It's going to be a bumpy ride!

Burt harboured no illusions of what his son and his step-son were going to get up to in Florida for two weeks. He had hopes, maybe, but he knew they were in vain. Carole often heard his whispered rants at night as he worried and fretted, until she soothed him with a hand over his heart and a kiss to his cheek.

"How old were you when you started?" she asked once before she turned the light off.

"That's not the point! He's my little boy and-"

"And he's going to college in a mere month and a half," Carole hushed. "I'm sure your parents worried about you getting up to the exact stuff when you were Kurt's age. At least we know Blaine, we trust Blaine, we know he'll take care of Kurt and Kurt will take care of him."

Burt grunted as he wrapped his arm around Carole. "Those two are stupidly inseparable."

"You and Liz were just as inseparable when you talk about her," Carole pointed out.

Burt huffed. "That's not the point."

"You'll never relax about Kurt, I know that. But he'll be okay. They'll all be okay. He's going to New York soon. He's growing up, and you need to realise that and let him go."

"Does that apply to Finn too?"

Carole laughed. "Of course not!"

Burt snorted and cuddled her close. "Double standards, honey."

"Of course, of course."

Rachel squealed as she distributed the keycards to the other three and started pulling Finn in the direction of the elevators.

Blaine shook his head at his sister and slipped the key into his pocket against his phone. "Shall we?" he questioned, inclining his head to where Finn and Rachel were already disappearing into the silver contraption.

Kurt smiled and did an excited twirl towards the elevators. "We shall!"

Rachel and Kurt had each insisted on rooms far away from their respective siblings, for which Blaine and Finn had privately been grateful. Kurt pressed the button for the eleventh floor and rocked on the balls of his feet while gripping Blaine's hand.

"I love you," Kurt grinned, kissing Blaine's cheek.

"I love you too," Blaine said, squeezing Kurt's hand as they left the elevator and headed in the direction of their room number. Kurt swiped the keycard through the lock and shot a coy look in Blaine's direction before crossing the threshold and closing the door behind them.

He wandered through the room, skirting around the luggage bags and tumbling onto the bed.

"It's comfy," Kurt conceded. "Join me?"

Blaine laughed at the expression on Kurt's face and crawled onto the bed and over his body. "You've been joined."

Kurt snorted, wrapping his arms around Blaine's neck and kissing his cheek. "I can't believe we're really here."

"Me either. I thought your Dad would change his mind at the last minute and come with us just to be a cockblock."

Kurt giggled as Blaine pressed his legs on either side of Kurt's thighs and licked around Kurt's ear. "You know your sister is going to come and get us soon and be her own form of cockblock?"

Blaine groaned and rolled off Kurt. "Now that you've mentioned that, I'm never going to be able to kiss you until she bothers us."

As if on cue, there was a knock on the door and Rachel's chirpy voice saying she hoped she hadn't interrupted anything and would they make sure they were dressed and ready to go for a walk around the streets in the next five minutes. Blaine turned his head to look at Kurt who was smothering his laughter behind his hands.

"Fine, let's get going before Rachel bugs us again," Blaine sighed, tugging Kurt from the bed and slipping his shoes back on.

Being in Florida was both a blessing and a curse. It showed Kurt and Blaine what life would be like when they were living together, waking up each morning in the other's arms, content, relaxed and well-rested. They could take meandering walks holding hands and sharing kisses without worrying about jerks in Lima. They often started the day in the same way that it started – with sweaty skin and whispered affections and toe-curling orgasms. It allowed Blaine to flourish and accept himself, while Kurt got a light tan and a smattering of freckles across his nose.

On the other hand, Kurt was acutely aware that he was going to New York in a month and Blaine still had a year left in Lima. At times, he hid his face in Blaine's bare shoulder, tears sliding over Blaine's darkened skin as the anxiety over the next year crippled him. Spending so much time wrapped in each other's arms reminded Kurt of the many months he would have between visits with Blaine. Blaine tried not to think about it as much, hiding his tears by crying in the shower and putting on a brave face when Kurt's crumbled.

He often caught Rachel's pitying smile, or her own reddened eyes, and knew his sister was struggling with the idea of parting from Finn just as much as he was with Kurt. Finn appeared mostly calm and stoic given the rest of their emotions, tucking Rachel under his arm and dropping a kiss to the top of her hair.

Regretfully, two weeks passed too quickly for anyone's tastes and it felt like Kurt had barely danced into their hotel room that he was spending his last night with his body wrapped around Blaine's, sighing with pleasure as Blaine rocked into him and his blunt nails scraped down Blaine's back.

"I love you," Kurt breathed, tightening his legs over Blaine's hips and shuddering when Blaine continued to hit his prostate again and again.

A drop of sweat trickled down from Blaine's curls and splashed against his neck as Blaine worked him to release, clinging to Blaine's body as Blaine grunted against his collarbone and came.

"Love you, love you," Blaine whispered, decorating Kurt's skin in kisses and cleaning him with tiny licks to his chest. "Love you."

Kurt smiled sleepily and curled into Blaine's arms. "I love you too."

"For ever?" Blaine asked with a kiss to the back of Kurt's neck.

"For always," Kurt hummed, eyes drifting closed as he fell asleep.

Moving to New York was not so much an experience as an ordeal, in Kurt's opinion. Blaine had, of course, insisted on coming with him to help his boyfriend and sister. Finn had likewise insisted and travelled with Rachel. Not to be left behind, Burt and Leroy had driven two truckloads of things across state lines while the four teens had flown to New York to meet them.

Kurt had immediately dismissed many of Rachel's items as too hideous to put in a shared space, banishing them to the depths of her bedroom or sneaking several into a bag for Blaine to take back to Lima with him. Burt and Finn had demanded to be responsible for the heavier items, setting up the couch, fridge and beds. Kurt had thrown up his hands and relented, but swiftly bundled his step-brother out to make the constructed bed with Blaine until the majority of the furniture was in place and Kurt added small decorative pieces to make the new apartment feel more homey. Burt even shed a silent tear when he realised that this was going to be Kurt's new home, and he was going to be living here, thousands of miles from Lima.

Blaine snuggled up behind Kurt and rested his chin against Kurt's shoulder. "Are you happy?"

Kurt glanced around and decided that one of the pictures needed to change and a vase needed to move. "Yes and no. I'm feeling more content now that it feels like a home, but you're going to be leaving and I never want to let you go."

Blaine nodded his agreement as Rachel tossed another empty box out of her bedroom into the small corridor which Leroy scooped up and added to the pile to add to the recycling on the way out.

"I'm going to miss you, but you'll have Rach here," Blaine admitted, kissing the side of Kurt's neck.

"I'd swap her for you any and every day," Kurt frowned.

Blaine snorted and cuddled him gently. "I think I should be glad."

"You definitely should be glad," Kurt grinned, twisting his neck to meet Blaine's lips.

Burt cleared his throat just loudly enough to remind the two boys that he was in the room and able to see them. Kurt scowled at his father and Burt shrugged. Leroy laughed and searched on his iPhone for a local pizza delivery.

Burt and Leroy returned to Lima the following morning. Both Kurt and Rachel sobbed messily until Burt gave Kurt a final squeeze and whispered how much he loved Kurt and was so proud of him and stepped into the elevator. Kurt clutched at Rachel and Blaine's hands and tried to gain better control of his emotions. If this was his father walking away from him, he was going to border on inconsolable when Blaine left in a week. When one of their neighbours from down the hall looked at the four with a strange expression, Kurt realised they'd been standing outside too long and Finn pulled them back into the apartment.

To say that Kurt and Blaine didn't leave Kurt's bedroom that week would be wrong. Because they did. They left to go to the bathroom, eat, briefly walk around New York hand-in-hand, before retreating back under the covers of Kurt's sheets and trying to fulfil every desire. Rachel and Finn were hardly any different, although Blaine was extremely glad for the kitchen and living room separating the two bedrooms, as well as rather thick walls (Kurt had been adamant about such a feature when he had been looking at apartments online).

He rolled his hips again, clutching at Kurt's arms as he stared into Kurt's eyes, which were dark with arousal and creased with need. "I love you," he whispered between kisses, trying to give Kurt everything he wouldn't be able to in the next few months. "I love you and I'm never leaving you. You know where I am, I'm only a phone call away."

Kurt arched his neck into Blaine's mouth as he sucked tiny hickeys along a taut muscle. "It's just like when you were at Dalton and I could call."

Blaine nodded as he kissed under Kurt's jaw, breaking his gentle rhythm to thrust hard into Kurt, who moaned. "That's exactly what it's like, except I can't drive here in only a few hours," he murmured. "But I will listen for as long as you need. We can Skype. It's only a few months until I'll see you again."

A tear escaped Kurt's eye and dampened the pillow as he clung to Blaine's neck, mumbling his adoration into the sweaty curls on Blaine's head. It was slower than usual, far more tender, and as Blaine gradually worked Kurt's body until he was gasping with pleasure and pleading Blaine's name between breaths, he tried to sear every sensation into his memory so he would never forget what this was like. When Kurt finally came, falling apart in Blaine's arms with a shudder, he breathed deeply to try and capture the smell of Kurt and sex that filled the air and kissed Kurt sloppily until he came.

Kurt wiped himself off and Blaine disposed of the used condom before they cuddled together and tried to ignore that they were already both crying at the idea of being separated.

The only times Kurt could remember crying harder was when the realisation finally hit him that his mother was dead and she wasn't coming back and wouldn't ever make him cheese sandwiches that were cut into squares with the crusts cut off, and when his father had been in a coma back in Junior year. Somehow the pain was engulfing him and he struggled to breathe as Blaine cradled his body and reminded him over and over that it was just a few months and he was only a phone call away. When Finn wiped his eyes and carefully untangled Rachel from his body, he started trying to shift Kurt and Blaine apart, even as Kurt started wailing and clinging tighter.

"Kurt, come on dude. Blaine and I need to get to the airport," Finn grimaced. Rachel tried to insert herself into Kurt's hold as Blaine tearfully eased his body free.

"But I don't want you to go! I'll drop out of Tisch and come back to Lima!" Kurt sobbed, clutching at Rachel's blouse. "I don't want to be apart from you, Blaine."

Blaine's hands cupped Kurt's cheeks and wiped the steadily flowing tears away. "I will message you or talk to you on the phone or Skype every other day, I promise. Think of how fast these holidays have gone. The time until we see each other will go even faster. The time until I'm joining you here and we can live together in New York is sooner than you know."


"Shhh," Blaine soothed, kissing Kurt as Finn looked away and blushed. "I love you, okay. For ever, remember?"

Kurt smiled tearfully. "For always."

Blaine kissed Kurt's forehead and stepped back. "Come on, Finn. Let's make a run for it before I ditch my senior year and ruin the rest of my life."

Finn gave a wan half-smile as he grabbed their bags and Rachel hurried after him for a final hug and a kiss.

"I'll see you sooner than you know," Blaine assured before darting out the door and waiting for Finn in the elevator. Rachel gave him a wave as Kurt wrapped his arms around her from behind, clinging to her as his swollen eyes never left Blaine's until the elevator doors snapped shut and the months of distance began.

Kurt erupted into fresh sobs as Rachel dragged him back to the apartment, holding him and crying as well until they fell into an exhausted sleep in a tangle of limbs on the couch.

Being apart from Blaine sort of felt like he'd lost a limb. A limb that was vital to his existence, or an organ that he was suffering without. Rachel faired better, although Kurt attributed that to the frequent breakups and hookups she had experienced with Finn. She had practice at being separated from the one she loved. Kurt didn't. And so Kurt struggled.

As promised, he spoke to Blaine every day, whether by texting, calling or Skyping. The end of the holidays allowed the time to talk so much, but Kurt feared for when classes started and timetables conflicted and assignments mounted and it cut into his much-needed contact with Blaine. He was starting to realise he'd underestimated the pain the distance was going to cause.

He tried to get out frequently with Rachel, or rather, she'd pull him out of the house and steer him around various streets in New York. They'd seen Wicked twice already and scouted out some of the best coffee shops on the way to their respective colleges. Kurt had divided his course work between theatrical arts, fashion and writing through Tisch, even though Rachel had tried to say he should figure out what he wanted to focus on most. Blaine had encouraged the diversity and had said to Rachel that it gave Kurt more options, and that maybe she should consider it too. In typical Rachel-style, she'd scoffed and said she had figured out what she wanted most and was going to obtain it.

And he still talked to his father. The calls that had begun as daily though had already dwindled to every second or third day as Burt coped with the distance and tried not to smother Kurt from Lima. Finn texted him, although badly, and he tended to learn more from Rachel what his step-brother was up to via the calls she shared with her boyfriend. Sometimes, Carole would call him, or he would call Carole, asking about a tip for cooking something. But nothing hurt as much as being away from Blaine.

His first day at Tisch, was, in a word, terrifying. He was one face, one person, in a sea of hundreds of other students who seemed to know where they were going and what they were doing, walking with confidence and with friends. Kurt ached for Rachel's arm and her unfailing ability to hold her head high, or Blaine's quiet assurance that he could do this. He smiled faintly at the idea of Blaine's old 'COURAGE' messages and looked down at his timetable and then the map again.

"Feeling a little lost?"

He glanced up to see a boy with auburn hair and dark green eyes smiling at him.

"Yeah, just a bit. I think I'm meant to be in that building though," he said with a vague point at a building to his left.

"Here, let me take a look," the boy offered, glancing at the timetable. "Actually, you're in the building behind that one, but at least you had your directions right. I'm Connor."

Kurt smiled and shook the offered hand. "Kurt."


"As if you couldn't already tell from my hopelessly lost face!" Kurt teased.

"Very true, very true," Connor nodded, handing Kurt back his schedule and the map. "Don't worry if you get lost. Find someone who looks like they know where they're going and just ask. It's a reasonably friendly place to lost new kids. No one really admits it, but we all got lost at some point or other when we started."

Kurt laughed and shoved the papers into his bag. "Well, thank you Connor. Maybe I'll see you around some time and look a little less confused."

Connor grinned. "Or maybe you'll look a lot more confused and I'll sweep in and save the day again!"

"Maybe, maybe," Kurt said with an answering grin, before giving a wave and heading in the direction of the building he had his class in. The anxious twisting in his stomach had eased slightly and he walked with more pride at knowing where he was going. He was crossing the courtyard between the two buildings when he got asked for directions by a girl Rachel's size, and blushingly had to admit he was new too and had no idea where anything was yet so he really wasn't the person to be asking. She giggled and thanked him anyway, moving on to ask other people.

Kurt settled into the back of the classroom, glad he'd left the apartment so early otherwise he would probably have ended up atrociously late.

The classroom filled up and the class eventually started, and Kurt listened with keen interest, taking detailed notes as a few students around him lazed around with bored expressions and didn't even pick up their pens. He tried to file away their faces for future reference in case group assignments came up or someone asked him for notes. If they weren't even going to try, then he wasn't going to help them at some later date if they needed it.

After the class, he was approached by a blonde girl and another with vibrantly green hair, and he automatically called her Elphie in his head, regardless of what her name might be.

"Hi, we really wanted to say that we liked your coat," Elphie said with a smile. "I'm Ashley and this is Taylor."

Taylor gave a small wave and her cheeks turned faintly pink.

"We were going to try and find the food court and I wanted to meet up with my boyfriend, Drew. Do you want to join us?"

Kurt blinked at the suddenness of being included and wondered if this was what the real world was going to be like. No one had dared approach him in Lima, and even Dalton had been a kind of keep-him-at-arms-length school.

"S-sure," he stammered as he swallowed. "I um, I don't know anyone here. My roommate goes to NYADA so I'm still figuring out my way around."

Ashley cooed at the idea of NYADA, linking arms with Kurt and grabbing Taylor's hand to head in the direction of the food hall. She chatted about what she was hoping to do – fashion journalism – while Drew was more interested in stage design and management. Taylor shyly explained that she was testing out the idea of working behind the camera in production. Kurt felt it was truly fascinating that there were so many different people interested in different things, and listened avidly even though he didn't get many words in. Ashley definitely reminded him of Rachel, and he wondered if they'd get on well with their ability to talk incessantly or frustrate each other because neither would stop to listen.

With a squeal, Ashley let go of his arm to run across the quad and leap into a tall brunette's arms.

"That's Drew," Taylor whispered.

"I doubt anyone would fling themselves at someone with that much enthusiasm if they weren't together," Kurt said, his heart twinging a little in missing Blaine. Taylor blushed and they walked in silence over to where Ashley was babbling to Drew about her class that morning.

"Hey Tay," he greeted, brown eyes flickering to Kurt's. "Found a new friend already?"

"This is Kurt," Ashley introduced, bouncing on her feet. "He's doing like, everything this year because he doesn't know what he wants to do."

"Well, I have some interests," Kurt admitted but Ashley waved it away as Drew held out his hand. Kurt shook it, wondering if Drew felt a little threatened by how tight his grip was. Honestly, didn't Kurt scream gay, even in New York where everyone was meant to be loving and accepting?

Ashley grabbed Drew's hand away and continued in the direction of the food court, with Taylor and Kurt following behind them. She didn't say much, and Kurt couldn't figure out if she was just shy or was so used to her words not being heard over Ashley that she quietened instead. The more time he spent around Ashley, the more he felt she was like a Rachel clone. She chattered away constantly and a few times he caught himself trying to see when she breathed, because she seemed to be endless. Taylor smiled and nodded at the appropriate times, and Kurt wondered if she was truly listening or not. Drew kept glancing at Kurt, not quite threatening but it just felt incredibly odd and put him on edge.

He shared his number with Ashley and Taylor before departing to his next class for the day which was more devoted to performing than the theory he'd been dealing with that morning. Once again, he took a seat nearer to the back and dragged out a fresh notebook for the new class. He had just finished penning in the date when a body slouched into the seat beside him.

He glanced over distastefully, the smell of cigarettes coiling invisibly in the air, although his gaze lingered on the boy next to him.

"Something wrong with my face?" the boy asked, scratching at his eyebrow and eyeballing Kurt.

"N-no. You just chose sitting next to me of all places," Kurt replied, turning back to his notebook.

"Because you chose to sit up the back and I didn't want to have to go further into the room and clearly display that I was late."

Kurt shrugged disinterestedly, taking down the contact details of the course convenor who was talking at the front.

"I'm Tyler."

"Charmed," he said, wrinkling his nose at the smell and trying to pay attention.

"Charmed? Really? Are your parents hippies to call a boy something like that?" Tyler asked.

Kurt couldn't help the snort as he looked over at Tyler. "My name isn't Charmed. I was trying to indicate my total lack of interest in continuing a conversation with you."

Tyler's dark blue eyes glinted. "Pity. You look like you'd be an interesting person to know."

Kurt opened his mouth, except that any words he had dried on his tongue. Interesting? He wasn't interesting. Only Blaine had ever said he was interesting and he came from Lima. There was nothing interesting about him.

"Cat got your tongue?" Tyler said, leaning forward with a grin. "I thought you'd be one of those people who never shut up."

"Oh no, I met one of those this morning. She was lovely but I live with a girl that doesn't know how to be quiet and it was a bit much," Kurt responded.

"You live with a girl, huh?" Tyler said, eyebrow raising. "I knew you'd be interesting."

"We're not dating!" Kurt said, a little too loudly if the girl in front of them turning around to shush them was any indication.

"But you live with her?"

"She's my best friend from being a child and we went through high school together." Kurt twisted his pen on the paper and realised he'd missed copious amounts of notes already. "She's at NYADA but I didn't get in so I came here instead."

"Ahh, so you like performing then?"

"I'm doing a little of everything this year. Trying to figure out what I like best."

Tyler nodded and sat back in his chair. "So if you're not with your roommate, who are you with? You're too smoking to be single."

Kurt felt his face flood with heat and the tips of his ears burning. "I'm n-not-"

"Not with anyone?"

"Not smoking," he hissed, glancing back at the lecturer of the class. He hoped these notes would be posted online or something. It was only his second class and he was hopelessly distracted already by a boy that smelled and flirted and wore a leather jacket.

"So given that you picked that part to respond to, you have terrible self-confidence but are with someone," Tyler mused, glancing at his wrist watch before looking back at Kurt. "Pity."

"You're not seriously trying to pick me up in class, are you?" Kurt gaped.

Tyler shrugged. "You looked like you'd be interesting. I was right. Just because you're taken doesn't make you any less interesting." He paused for a moment before grinning. "In fact, it makes it more of a challenge."

"But how do you-"

"Charmed, you're wearing a fitted coat in the middle of the New York summer." Tyler stared down at the boots covering Kurt's feet. "And no one wears boots with an inch heel if they aren't gay."

Kurt sighed and crossed his arms over his chest. "Fine. But I still have a boyfriend."

"I'm not bothered by that," Tyler said easily, turning his attention to the lecturer. "Although for the most part, I'm just interested in making friends with other interesting-looking people."

Kurt couldn't help but feel the subtle compliments embedded in Tyler's blatant flirting were working to make Kurt feel a little warmer about himself, something he desperately missed from having Blaine's love whispered into his skin.

"My name's Kurt," he said finally.

Tyler nodded, looking over him. "I knew you'd have an interesting name."

Tyler insisted Kurt come with him and meet his friends when the class was dismissed an hour later. Although a little intimidated, Tyler had said they were still on campus so he'd be safe and not wandering off somewhere dark and dangerous, so Kurt had relented. And unlike anyone else he'd met so far, Tyler seemed genuinely interested in what Kurt was doing, where he was from and why he was at Tisch. They avoided discussing Rachel or Blaine as Tyler talked about being from Madison in Wisconsin but needing to get the hell away from his overly oppressive mother and a father that only dropped around when it suited him, which had become a lot less frequent after Tyler had told his father he was gay at sixteen. It felt like Kurt's first real run-in with someone who hadn't had the most supportive parents, with the exception of Santana because she'd still managed to live at home even though there was now the separation with her grandmother.

Tyler found his friends and introduced Kurt to Olivia, Josh and Cody, who all wore what Kurt could only deem as varying shades of black. He'd never really felt there was much variation in a colour so dark, but the group of four challenged his perceptions as he took in the differences in the shiny fabric that Cody wore to the matte leggings Olivia was sporting, and then the cotton t-shirt Josh was wearing. They were like Tyler though, taking an interest in what Kurt was doing and why he had chosen Tisch. While Tyler was more into performance like Rachel, Olivia was more into the archiving and preservation that Tisch offered. Josh was majoring in musical studies, playing the violin, piano and clarinet, and Cody was there for the photography and film department. It astounded Kurt at the range of things people were studying and made him really appreciate the diversity he was being exposed to, as opposed to Rachel who was surrounded almost exclusively by performers who were possibly as obnoxiously opinionated and self-assured as she was. Kurt sort of felt like this was a more accepting place to be, where he could combine different interests and forge his own path, rather than being boxed in to a tailored program he had little choice in and might bore or terrify him depending on the work.

Kurt soon discovered though that Tyler, Olivia and Cody smoked. They didn't pressure him into it but the smell floated in the air and Kurt hoped it didn't invade the fabric of his precious coat. Josh waved the smoke away from this face, admitting to Kurt that it didn't combine well with blowing into an instrument like the clarinet, but Tyler scoffed and said he was better at the piano and violin anyway so he should focus on those. Josh clearly flushed with the praise and Kurt felt like Tyler had such an easy way with words to try and make everyone feel better about themselves. After being surrounded by people like Rachel in Glee club, people who believed in their own self-importance and righteousness, or those who had tried to tear others down like Santana, it was refreshing to find someone who was more selfless in his words, encouraging those around him with statements that just felt natural rather than forced. Kurt tried to convince himself that it was that which was the appeal in continuing to hang around with a group of kids who smoked, and not because he was in desperate need of comforting words that he missed hearing from Blaine.

It felt like a hollow attempt at trying to convince himself though.

"So how was your first day?" Blaine asked as soon as the connection on Skype was made.

Kurt smiled as he propped up the laptop on his thighs and leaned back into the pillows. "It was good. I met several people and swapped numbers with a few of them. I wouldn't call them friends, but at least those I had contact with seemed really friendly and non-judgemental."

Blaine sighed wistfully as he adjusted the camera on the top of his computer. "And here I am, stuck in stupid Lima."

"You'll be here before you know it though," Kurt pointed out.

"I know, I know. You're just having all these fantastical experiences like when you went to Nationals there at the end of your Junior year, and it's something I want to share with you so much and can't." Blaine's forehead knitted into a frown. "I guess I'll just have to live vicariously through you and Rachel in the meantime."

"I'm not sure you want to live through Rachel. She keeps complaining that no one is as talented as her and they have a group project already."

Blaine laughed, his face creasing up and Kurt quickly took a screen capture to look at when he got homesick for Blaine. "Rachel will never believe anyone is as good as her because as soon as she admits someone might be better, it'll shatter her delicately built sense of esteem and entitlement."

"It concerns me though if she gets told someone is better than her, or she needs to tone it down," Kurt admitted. "A grumpy or sad Rachel is something I've never handled well."

"Just tell her to call me and I'll talk some sense into her," Blaine smiled ruefully.

"How was your day? Have there been any new recruits to Glee club?"

Blaine started talking about McKinley and Schuester's latest attempt at finding people to join by offering ridiculous incentives like more study hall periods or a tank of petrol that he'd personally pay for. Kurt found himself laughing at the ridiculous lengths the teacher was going to and how it was all in vain given that there still hadn't been any new sign-ups.

When Rachel got in and yelled that she'd picked up Chinese on the way back, Kurt regretfully had to let Blaine go so he could eat dinner. Blaine had blown him a kiss and made Kurt smile with words of love that he desperately missed hearing in person. He blew his own kiss back, giggling when Blaine caught it and smacked his palm to his lips.

"You've kissed me! That made my day all better!" Blaine grinned.

Kurt giggled harder. "You're such a dork."

"I know, but at least you love me regardless."

Kurt nodded, before he rolled his eyes at Rachel shouting at him again. "I definitely do love you. I'll text you before I go to sleep, okay?"

"Can't wait, love," Blaine hummed, breaking the connection so Kurt could get some food.

He padded into the living room, taking the container Rachel held out to him and sinking into the arm chair opposite her.

"Long day?" he asked, stabbing at a snowpea.

"The longest," she sighed, rolling her ankles. "I wish Finn was here to give me a foot massage. I feel like I've barely sat down since I left home this morning."

"Lots of movement work, then?"

Rachel launched into a discussion on her day and Kurt only half-listened as he nodded and murmured his agreement, before a stray thought struck him that maybe Taylor had known Ashley so long she could do the same. Hiding his smile with a mouthful of rice, he found that he could lose himself in the world of Rachel at NYADA and was secretly grateful that Tisch was so much more diverse.

A/N: If you missed the author's note at the beginning, for the love of all things holy, go back to the top and read it because I don't want to repeat myself.

Tentatively, I can say this story will have about twelve chapters that will total around 70 thousand words (the chapters are, on average, shorter than ASBAON). So, as I said, settle in. It's going to be long and bumpy and tearful.

ANYWAY. What what what are your thoughts? Does anyone have an immediate dislike for Tyler or Connor or any of the other OCs I introduced, or fell in love with any of them? Ashley's hair is based in part on a couple of friends I have, who like to dye their hair practically neon (although the Elphie reference is to Elphaba, who is the witch in Wicked if you didn't know)

So so so. What do you all thing? I'm super excited to be sharing this and I hope you'll enjoy taking the journey with me and I would adore to know your thoughts!

Love as always xoxo