A/N: Well you did it guys! Thanks to the lovely support here and on tumblr, I've decided to go ahead and let Blaine and Zach run wild in my imagination. I'm already super attached to both of them, as well as their dog Humphrey, and I hope you will get there as well! Please, please comment/review etc. because I adore your feedback and your ideas! Kurt was feeling a little neglected in the last chapter so he came out to play in this one :) You can find me on tumblr at daltonfightclub and as always, special thanks to Allie, Cait and Maria! xx

Disclaimer: I do not own any of the characters contained herein, but if Ry Murphs wants to give me a job at the writer's table then I'd happily accept!


Blaine woke slowly the next morning, his eyes half-hazardly blinking away the late winter light streaming through the bay window. It felt oddly familiar, waking up in a foreign place in a bed he never before called his own, unreserved in a way that's bred only from uncertainty. It was almost as if he knew this day would eventually come, every day another held breath, a few more chance encounters; every day wondering when his father would quit his poorly pantomimed charade and just let it break, let him break.

Now that he was here, in a bedroom that maybe one day he'd call his own, a house that someday would be his home, the day looked a little brighter, his heart a little lighter. It would take some time to adjust - and probably more effort than he cared to acknowledge - but waking up underneath the warm down covers in a dimly lit room, safe from the world and apart from his father, he almost felt the past fading as quickly as the day rose before him.

But it can't be that easy, he thought, to settle into a new life so distant from one once lived. It can't be, and Blaine didn't necessarily want it to be either. As much as he'd like to take back the years spent in silence, the nights without sleep, the conversations without words, he knew he couldn't because without those moments he wouldn't have the Warblers, or his voice. He wouldn't have Kurt, or his heart.

Yes, Blaine knew this sudden change might take time and adjustment, but for the first time in his life he felt okay. Not great, not bad, but okay. 'I can handle okay. I'm good at okay.'

That is, until he rolled onto his side, the covers falling away from his face and the reality of the day slapping him along with the brisk March air. He groggily rubbed the sleep from his eyes before grabbing his phone from the nightstand where Zach placed it with a couple of aspirin and a glass of water. 'Right, I'm at Zach's house,' Blaine reminded himself, letting the events of the previous night creep into his consciousness along with an overwhelming need to wash his mouth out with Listerine or soap - anything to get rid of the horrible aftertaste of years of disappointment. "Thank god for my brother," he mumbled through a sip of water, watching his phone power-up from it's own night's rest.

He scrolled through his messages: seven missed calls (five from Kurt, two from Wes, one from..Rachel Berry? He didn't even try to make sense of that one), nearly 25 text messages, mostly from Kurt. He scrolled down until he found the first unopened message -

(Received 7:30 PM): Are we still on for our routine tonight? I think it's time I introduce you to your new best friend, EsteƩ Lauder.

(8:43 PM): If it's too much of a hassle or if you're tired, we can totally skip it tonight!

(9:27 PM): Earth to Blaine? Is your phone dead or did you just climb back into the closet?

(9:45 PM): Okay that last one was a little mean. Maybe I can find a way to make it up to you? ;)

(10:12 PM):I knew it was too soon for suggestive texting. I swear I'll never do it again.

(10:13 PM): Unless you want me to?

(10:48 PM):Okay, now I'm starting to worry.

(11:00 PM): It's officially 30 minutes past our phone date. Are you okay? We don't need to talk every night, but..just let me know you're okay?

(7:30 AM): Just talked to Wes. Blaine, we are WORRIED.

(8:15 AM):Oh my god. You NEVER miss school. Ever. Should I come to your house? Oh my god.

(8:20 AM):Realizing these texts are pointless if you're lying dead in a ditch somewhere. PLEASE tell me you're not dead in a ditch.

(9:12 AM):Okay, nearly had a panic attack in second period. David took me to the nurse and they told me your brother called you out sick. Your brother? I don't know what happened but..don't keep me out? Glad you're okay. Call me when you're ready? xx - K

"God damnit."

Blaine fell back hard against the pillow; Humphrey, Zach's Bernese Mountain dog, lapped at Blaine's face. "Not now killer," he batted away the dog's snout, his eyes glancing towards the clock: 1:37 PM. His eyes wandered to a note taped to the back of the door. Stretching his arms over his head, he kicked his feet out from underneath the covers.

"Well Bogie, it looks like it's time to face the day." The brown dog anxiously wagged his tail, hoping for an early afternoon jog around the neighborhood. Blaine ignored the pup's playful nuzzles, grabbing the scribbled note instead -

Little B -

If you're reading this then you're probably alive. Congrats! I called you out sick at Dalton (don't count on this becoming habit), figured you needed the sleep. I have a trial today but I'll try to make it home ASAP. There should be plenty of food in the kitchen when you get hungry and I left a card on the table incase you want take-out. Get me some lo mein if you get Chinese! Try to relax and we'll come up with a game plan when I get back.

Breathe. Everything will be fine, you're home now.

I'm proud of you, Blaine.

Big Z

Blaine took a deep breath. 'I'm not going to cry. I'm not.' A mantra he'd come to know so well over the years, a lifeline before he left Westerville High, when the bullying still left bruises; a steady comfort late at night after fights with his father, fights that didn't leave his skin blue but still cut just as deep.

Now those same words, once reliable and steadfast, seemed like a lie, carrying with them defeat and remorse. 'It's okay to cry, Blaine..the walls are down, the truth is okay. It's okay.' He could almost hear Kurt's voice in the back of his mind, feel his arms wrap around his shoulders, breathe in that scent that he couldn't quite place now but hoped one day would be as familiar as his own.

"Kurt." Blunt, like it was the simplest truth that held all the answers. Humphrey barked insistently in agreement.

"I guess it's now or never, huh buddy?" Blaine scratched behind his ears, soliciting an appreciative whine in return.

1:50 PM. Kurt would probably be in the middle of calculus at this point, Blaine realized shortly after the ringing tone hummed through the speaker, there's no way he'll pick-

"Oh my god, Blaine!" Kurt whispered, "Hold on." Blaine heard a faint rustling on the other end, footsteps, a closing door.

"Hey." A simple word, the softest and sweetest Blaine's ever heard it spoken.

"Hey." His throat constricted, his mouth dry, his tongue grating like sandpaper over the already raw roof of his mouth.

"Are you..." Kurt paused, collecting his thoughts and maybe his sanity, "Are you okay Blaine?"

Blaine. Blaine. Blaine. He would be perfectly content to hear his name - and only his name - for the rest of his life, if it meant Kurt saying it like that.

"I...no." 'Well that definitely wasn't what I meant to say.'

"Ohh Blaine," Kurt sighed and for a moment Blaine could almost see him, leaning against a door in the front foyer, his arm clutching around his torso, eyes closed, lips pursed in disquiet. "What happened? Why did your brother call you out sick? I didn't even know you were close to your - Shit. I'm doing it again. I'm sorry I just..I was worried I scared you away already, like I was being overzealous or something, and then you didn't show up this morning and god, Blaine, I was just so god damn worried."

Maybe he should be upset (or at least concerned) that Kurt was unravelling at the seams because of him, but he couldn't help the smile that tugged at the corner of his lips. He cares.

"Kurt."

"Yeah?" Heavy. Tentative, revealing more than Kurt usually gave.

"It's okay. Really. I'm..I'll be okay. But..." he could practically hear Kurt's breath stop, even miles away, "do you think you would come?"

"Over. I mean," Blaine added slightly flustered after an uncomfortable silence, "come over, maybe after school?"

"Of course, I can, I mean..I want to. I really do. I can be there in-" he paused to check his watch, "Where? Where can I be?"

A chuckle. "My brother's house, I spent the-I'm staying. Here. I'm staying here. I'll text you the address?"

"Yes, good. I'll be there as soon as I can." Blaine sighed in relief, he knew it wouldn't be that hard but he cared.

"Blaine?" Soft, unsure.

"Yes Kurt?"

"I'm glad you called me."

"Me too, Kurt," he hoped Kurt couldn't sense the tears welling behind his eyes, "me too."

It was nearly three o'clock by the time Blaine finished his shower, rummaged through Zach's drawers for a pair of sweatpants that didn't completely swallow his petite frame and returned from a short (but productive) stroll around the block with Humphrey. He knew Kurt was a cautious driver, but he also knew Kurt had a particular proclivity for disregarding the rules whenever anything important was on the line ("It's not that I don't respect the rules, Blaine, I just so happen to believe that I'm above them"). It felt slightly presumptuous, to call himself among the 'important' things in Kurt's life so soon, but that was one of the few things Blaine had come to rely on these past few months: if nothing else, Blaine always knew he mattered to Kurt. He was cared for, he was important.

Okay, so maybe Kurt wasn't about to jump in front of a train or take a bullet for him, but Blaine thought maybe, just maybe, he may have been willing to skip seventh period English to make it to Zach's a few hours early.

Sure enough, just as Blaine was setting out a fresh bowl of water for Humphrey, the doorbell chimed through the house. The energetic dog bolted down the hallway, knocking into a side-table, causing a collection of coins, keys and old newspapers to scatter across the floor. Blaine scrambled to gather the various items and shoved them in the crate under the table. Kurt rapt impatiently at the door, the knocks increasing in frequency the longer Blaine clambered about the foyer.

"Just a second!" Blaine answered and oh, why is my voice hoarse?

Blaine barely had time to unlock the door before Kurt was pushing it open, throwing his arms around Blaine's shoulders, pressing his body close, nuzzling his nose behind Blaine's ear, engulfing Blaine with warmth and concern and whispers of "I'm so happy to see you," and "I was so worried" and "I missed you today." And just like that, Blaine felt like he was finally home.

A few moments later they settled on the couch, about a foot of space separating their anxious minds and overactive legs.

Kurt and Blaine were best friends, they'd been best friends practically since the day they met on that staircase back in November, but now they were so much more. They were boyfriends. Boyfriends who were still figuring out when it was okay to extend a hand, when an arm around the shoulder would be welcomed, when words would suffice and when they just weren't enough. They would learn, eventually, that 'boyfriends' and 'best friends' weren't mutually exclusive ideas, but for now Kurt twisted his hands hesitantly in his lap while Blaine nervously rubbed at the nape of his neck. He knew that the ball was in his court, that he called Kurt, that he would be the one to initiate this conversation. He knew that he needed Kurt but he didn't know how difficult it would be to tell him exactly how much.

Just as Blaine began to shrink back into his shell, quickly cycling through all the possible excuses he could make for himself ('I just wanted a change of scenery,' or 'my mom got a new cat and I'm allergic,' or maybe 'my parents just decided to go on vacation for an undetermined amount of time'), Kurt cleared his throat. 'Great,' Blaine thought quietly to himself, I guess there's no getting out of this one.

"You don't have to tell me, Blaine."

Blaine snapped his head towards Kurt, unsure if he really just heard what he thought he heard, if Kurt was actually giving him a 'get-out-of-jail free' card. He searched his face for what his ears apparently missed but was greeted by a calm, sullen expression. Blaine didn't quite understand.

"What?" Smooth, Blaine, really smooth.

"You don't have to tell me," he replied, taking extra care to emphasize each word. "You don't have to tell me why you're here, why I'm here...You don't have to tell me what happened with your parents - if anything happened at all," he added almost as an afterthought, pausing to gauge Blaine's reaction, noting how Blaine drew in a sharp breath and furrowed his brows just slightly. "You don't have to tell me. I would like you to, but I won't make you."

"But," Kurt added with a slight side-smirk, "I swear to that nonexistent god, if you so much as try to tell me that you've developed a sudden and life-altering allergy to something inside your house, I will walk right back out that door."

And that was it. That was enough to dissolve whatever walls Blaine had been trying to quickly build back up. This was Kurt. This was the same Kurt who knew Blaine so well that he could literally read his mind; the same Kurt that risked detention to leave school early for him; the same Kurt who trusted Blaine so completely that he cried in front of him the day they met. This was just Kurt, and what's more, this was just Kurt and Blaine.

So he let the words spill from his mouth, unbridled and fumbling, but always honest and trusting. As the memories tumbled across his lips and filled the room with hurt and disappointment, Blaine realized that he had never really told anyone these stories before. Sure, he once mentioned a family vacation to David, but conveniently left out the part where his father spent the entirety of the week drunk and the better part of each night berating Blaine for costing him a fortune in medical expenses. He probably told Jeff about Christmases spent at his Gram's house, but never made it to the part of the story where he walked in on his father and uncle talking about him, using those words, those words he refused to speak but could never quite erase from his mind. His brother called on his last birthday and Blaine told him about the new computer he received, failing to mention the obligations that came along with it ("It's just a few dates, Blaine. She's pretty, and one of the partner's daughters, and it's not like many other girls will want to date someone as..confused as you are. Give it a chance.")

The closest he ever came to telling anyone these stories was that chilly afternoon back in February when he walked into the Hummel's garage and felt himself nearly break into pieces in front of his best friend's father.

But that was different. That was for Kurt and Blaine said what was necessary to get the point across. But this - Blaine sitting on the couch with damp eyes and a raw throat, threatening to cross over a line of no return - this had nothing to do with Kurt and everything to do with himself and it felt absolutely terrifying.

"...And the look on my mother's face, it was just so blank, Kurt, blank and empty. She was standing there watching this person kick her son out of her own house and she didn't say a god damned thing. Not one word! She just watched me walk out the door like she'd been waiting for that moment for years. Like they'd talked about it or planned it or just knew that eventually they'd have enough of me and my choices."

"Oh my god," Kurt whispered, and Blaine couldn't tell if it was angry or sad or some muddled emotion in between. "I'm so..I'm so sorry Blaine, I had no idea. I never even thought to ask..I just, I should have known."

Blaine blinked away the new tears forming in the corners of his eyes to look long enough and notice that somewhere between the story of the vacation and last night's events, Kurt had also started crying.

"What are you talking about Kurt? This isn't your fault. There was no way you could have known, no one knows..not even my brother!" And then somehow the tables turned; Blaine let go of Kurt's hand, which had been clasped tightly in his own since the moment he started speaking, and enveloped him in a comforting hug, his arms gripping at the warm and wrinkled material on Kurt's back, his chin hooked over his shoulder.

"It's not that," Kurt tried to push Blaine back to see his face but Blaine wasn't letting go, not this time. "This isn't about me, I get that. It's just about you, Blaine. It's about all of this happening to you for years and no one being there, not your friends or your brother. And the two people you're supposed to be able to count on most? God, they did this to you. It's just not fair, Blaine! It's not fair and I hate them for doing this to you and I hate your Dad for calling you those names and I hate every moment that you've had to deal with this on your own because it means you were hurting and I just..I'm just so, so sorry."

Blaine's eyes burned, his head pounded, his body ached from the stress and the weight of years of memories streaming back into his consciousness. Blaine had never felt more bruised, more broken than he did in that moment with Kurt's arms around his waist, his mouth breathing hot and heavy into his neck, his shirt damp from a mixture of their tears. He had never felt more broken, but he'd also never felt more loved.

Some time later, they'd calmed each other down and peeled their bodies apart, blushing furiously when they realized just how desperately they didn't want to be apart. The house was quiet, the room hushed in a blanket of intimacy and vulnerability Blaine never thought he'd experience.

Maybe that's what it was, maybe it was that feeling that his body had just been cut open, his heart laying exposed between them, that caused Blaine to reach out and run his thumb over Kurt's cheek, his skin smooth, soft and heated underneath the touch. Maybe it was knowing that he had never been so open or vulnerable with anyone, that caused him to lean in and feel Kurt's hot breath ghost across his own lips. Maybe it was knowing that this was real and honest and Kurt wasn't just his best friend but his boyfriend, that caused him to press his lips against Kurt's, breathing and tasting and feeling everything that Kurt was willing to give him.

Whatever it was, even if it meant reliving those horrible memories over and over, Blaine never wanted to stop feeling it because nothing had ever felt so intoxicatingly and earnestly right in his entire life.

"Well you sure don't waste any time now do you, little brother?"

Blaine and Kurt jumped apart, their lips damp and slightly swollen, their cheeks blushing, (partly from the intrusion but mostly from the taste of each other, still innocent and novel).

"Oh don't stop on my account," Zach called out as he walked towards the kitchen, "looks like it was just starting to get good." He winked at Kurt before disappearing into the other room.

"Oh my god," Kurt whispered for the second time that evening, this time decidedly more embarrassed than angry.

"So, um," Blaine stammered as he stood up and mindlessly smoothed out the front his pants, "I guess it's time you met my brother."