A/N: This fic is based on a GIF set I found on Tumblr. I fell in love with it, and then my sister bullied me into writing. So, here we are.
Disclaimer: I owe literally nothing about this. The characters aren't mine, the AU idea isn't mine. I don't even know who came up with it, to be honest; but I can send you guys a link to the GIFs if you be interested. The title is adapted from Feel Love by Michael Van London. It's the end credit song for Struck By Lightning - I thought it was appropriate.
Kurt Hummel slips off his glasses and rubs his eyes hard. He should sleep more, he knows that. By all accounts, he should have stopped work hours ago and gone to bed, but anyone who knows Kurt could tell you that'd never happen; not when the new issue goes to print in precisely five hours and thirty-six minutes, if Kurt's clock is correct, and the idiot journalists (read best friends) he employees don't seem to understand the meaning of the word 'deadline'. He's been up since five this morning – yesterday morning, he corrects himself – and he's only just got every article in; even that required several threatening emails to some of the worst offenders. Some perverse part of his brain looks forward to this night every month, because it is the only time he gets to exercise the caustic, sarcastic part of his personality, the side of himself that is reined in ordinarily so that he can speak to strangers without being punched in the face. The only things more acerbically-worded than his emails to Santana Lopez, his primary music reviewer, are Santana's emails in reply.
But as much as he might enjoy getting to be himself for once, Kurt can't deny that he's exhausted. The bright light from the screen of his laptop stings his eyes and he can feel himself dropping over his in-tray. He tries to make it out of the building and into a cab, but in the end he doesn't even make it out of his office. He gives up the idea of going home and pulls the mattress out of the cupboard, curling up and falling asleep on the floor beside his desk.
Kurt's eyes flutter open as he hears the door to his office open and then close, the scrape of a mug being set on the desk, and a soft, expressive sigh.
He groans as he sits up, all his joints aching. He always regrets spending the night here. There's another sigh as he stretches, his face crumpled in pain; and he shields his eyes to glance up into the worried face of his friend and assistant editor, Tina Cohen-Chang.
"Please tell me you didn't sleep here last night," she says, sitting down and handing Kurt the mug of coffee to prevent him from scrabbling around for it one-handed, half-blinded by the bright morning sun.
"Oh, no, Tina, I turned up this morning with a burning desire to pretend that my spine feels like it's on fire. Of course I slept here – today's printing day."
Tina frowns. "I thought we'd spoken about this: you need to get stricter with them."
"I have," Kurt counters. "Everything's already in this month."
"Then why did you sleep here?" Tina asks. "Surely you could have gone home."
"I would have done, but Puck unfortunately thought that 3:00am was an acceptable substitute for 3:00pm, which was when I wanted his photos in, so I could check them against Mike's article. And you know I love nothing more than waiting around for photographs of scantily-clad female ballerinas to appear in my in-box."
Tina can't supress a snort at that. Kurt was lying a little when he said then he only gets to be sarcastic in emails: he is often wonderfully sarcastic around Tina and a handful of his other employees – the aforementioned Puck and Mike included – because he likes them. It's only strangers and people he can't stand to whom he is scrupulously polite.
Kurt grins, thinking that he's distracted Tina, but she catches him and frowns.
"I'm still not happy about you sleeping here, if you can call it sleeping," she says, lips pursed. "But I'll let it slide this once if you swear to follow these very specific instructions.
"Today, you will do no work. There's nothing for you to do anyway – Quinn and I can cope with any problems that crop up. So you're going to go out, have some decent coffee, maybe listen to some music – there's a bunch of street performers around at the moment, some of them are pretty good." She glares at Kurt when he doesn't say anything, and he nods quickly to show that he understands.
"Good. Then tonight, you're coming out with the rest of us. You're going to have a few drinks – maybe more than a few – and you are going to flirt with many boys. Tomorrow, you're not coming in before midday; and if you set foot in this building on Sunday I will make you regret it. Got it?"
"Good," Tina says. "Quinn will be helping me make sure you stick to that, and if you don't we'll phone your dad."
"Oh, I would," Tina assures him. "Or rather, Finn would. I think it'll have more weight coming from your concerned brother."
"When on earth did you become so diabolically evil?" Kurt asks. "In high school, you were shy and sweet."
"I blame your influence," Tina answers. "Now off you go." She gives him a little shove towards the door.
"Wait, no, I look like crap."
Tina laughs. "Kurt, trust me, you look gorgeous, just like always. I don't know how you do it, considering you got all of four hours sleep last night and you were sleeping on the floor, but you look perfectly fine." Kurt raises his eyebrows at her sceptically and she rolls her eyes. "I'm not lying, I swear. Now go!" She gives him one last push on the shoulder, and he stumbles out of his office for the first time in twenty-four hours.
Sitting in a small café a couple of blocks away from the office, Kurt quietly has a crisis.
He's not used to not being in control, you see. Actually, no, that isn't quite true: he's used to not being in control, but he can't stand it. In high school, he was so far from being in control of anything (he was the only person out of the closet in his school in Ohio, after all; and even in glee club, which he adored, Rachel Berry – now Broadway star extraordinaire – regularly stole the spotlight) that he wasn't even aware that the concept of 'controlling your destiny' existed.
But when he started college, he discovered that there are total strangers who are completely willing to accept him, exactly as he is; and that there are boys who want him and are willing to be upfront about wanting him. Sure, he hasn't found many recently, but he knows that they're out there. This realisation encouraged Kurt to take the reins, and he's never really let go since. That's all very well in his personal life, but at work it often results in him spending the night on his office floor. In Quinn and Tina, he employs two very competent assistant editors, but he knows he doesn't let them earn their wages. He can't seem to step back and simply observe; so today, having been forced to take the back seat, he's at screaming pitch already, and it's only been an hour since Tina threw him out.
He drains him coffee cup (so much better than the brownish instant muck he gets at the office) and slips out into the street. Maybe he'll take Tina's advice, go and see one of the street performers he saw on the way here. Or maybe not one of those performers, now he thinks about it – they'd been ropey at best. But a walk will help him clear his head, and he'll be able to find someone decent if he tries.
He wanders through the streets around the office just breathing deeply at first, allowing some of the tension in his shoulder to dissipate; but he becomes very bored very quickly – to describe this lot as 'ropey' is to be generous. He's just about to give up, to go and get more coffee, when he sees a man carrying guitar case who makes him stop dead.
He's not sure why he stops. At first, he thinks it might be because of the man's clothes, because, frankly, they should look foul – the jeans are fine, dark denim that's loose in some places and just tight enough in others (and dear God, you should not be noticing things like that this guy is a random stranger and probably straight to boot; you shouldn't be thinking about how nice his arse is); but he's teamed him with a bright pink shirt, checked with black, a purple t-shirt and, inexplicably, neon pink sunglasses. It should look hideous, pink and purple never work together, no matter what every seven-year-old girl in existence may think; but Kurt finds himself thinking that this man looks...cute. Hot, even. And his arse does look really nice.
The rest of him looks pretty nice too, now Kurt comes to look at him properly. He's a little shorter than Kurt is, and more stockily built. His biceps are defined - just enough to make them noticeable, but nothing over-the-top. (And that is far too much detail to describe a probably-straight stranger with, stop now while you still can.) His skin is clear, the colour of toasted almonds, and there is a light shadow of stubble across his jaw. (Kurt Hummel, since when have you thought stubble was sexy? This guys is a stranger and now he's looking right at you, abort, abort, ABORT.) His hair is insanely curly in a way that would look ridiculous on anyone else, but Kurt can only think that it is adorable beyond belief. (And now I give up, his brain screams at him.)
But for all that, Kurt still doesn't have a reason to stay; at least, not until a cloud floats across the sky to cover the sun, and the man pushes his sunglasses up onto the top of his head. And God, his eyes...the only adjective Kurt can think of to describe them is 'beautiful', as clichéd as that sounds, and it doesn't even really do them justice. They are warm, bright honey-brown, laced with flecks of clear, light green, and Kurt can't bring himself to look away.
Whilst Kurt has been studying him, the man has been staring right back at him, head cocked slightly to the side as if contemplating something important. In the meantime, a small crowd has built up around Kurt, chattering quietly as they wait for the man to start playing. he blinks and glances away from Kurt, a slight smile on his lips.
"All right, guys," he says, and Kurt sighs. His voice is musical even when he's only speaking, and it's deep enough for Kurt to imagine how it must reverberate through his chest if, say, he were to laugh. "Thanks for coming to see me today. My name's Blaine-" (Blaine. That's a nice name. Actually, it's perfect. He's obviously a Blaine) "- so how about we get started?"
The crowd calls its agreement and Blaine grins, swinging the strap on his guitar over his shoulders. "Okay, this is one of my favourite songs," he says. "Hope you enjoy it." Then he starts to sing, and the sound that comes out of his mouth makes Kurt gape. His voice is beyond belief - smooth and mellow like melted chocolate, sweet like strawberries, sharp like lemon. If a sound can embody sex, Blaine-the-street-musician's voice does. Kurt feels his knees go weak, and he nearly falls into the older couple standing next to him.
Pull yourself together, he thinks savagely. Probably straight, remember? He gives himself a little shake and tries to concentrate on the music. Blaine is clearly as talented as a guitarist as he is a singer, because he copes easily with this acoustic version of Teenage Dream by Katy Perry. Kurt's a little shocked by Blaine's choice of song - very few men would be comfortable singing something by a female artist, at least in his experience - but it has to be said, Blaine does it well, singing confidentially about being thought pretty without any make-up on. He grins right at Kurt as he sings the chorus, eyes intent, as if unaware that it isn't exactly considered normal to preposition random strangers with sex through the medium of Katy Perry songs. Kurt's eyes widen slightly in alarm (yeah, he thinks Blaine is hot, but woah) and he can hear the chuckle in Blaine's voice as the song draws to a close.
The crowd bursts into applause and Kurt joins them half a beat late - he's still trying to process things, after all. Blaine bows, wearing a smile that makes Kurt quiver. But no; he needs to leave now if he's going to get home, shower, change and get back to the office in time to accompany Tina and the others on their night out. He turns his back on Blaine, who is preparing to sing again, and weaves his way through the mass of bodies that has accumulated around him. He glances back as he reaches the edge of the crowd, and finds Blaine looking at him too, his expression confused and ever so slightly sad. Kurt's not sure what to make of that, so he waves, just in case Blaine's sad that Kurt specifically is leaving; then walks away along the street, trying to hail a cab.