Title: Dark Blue (4/13)
Summary: The story of how Kurt and Blaine broke up, found themselves and then found happiness.
A/N: Thank you so much, every single time, to everyone who is reading and reviewing this. Obviously this is a lot harder for me to write than all the porn and I am constantly umming and arring over what it is I am trying to do. So reviews on this mean the world to me. This chapter is probably the most difficult for me out of all of them. Just making Blaine and Kurt make sense has been an almost impossible feat but I hope half of what I'm trying to convey gets through. Enjoy it!
It's the last week of November and the weather in New York is just starting to turn chilly. The depths of fall have lasted longer than usual, or so the New Yorkers keep telling him, but now the winds have picked up and are blowing cold and harsh through the city. And then one morning Central Park is all orange and golden and the next it's washed into hues of blue and brown.
Kurt returns from Lima to emails and assignments and chaos; the few weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas are not nearly enough to get everything done. But it all rushes past him and around him without really touching him for the first few hours because all he can remember is Blaine. Blaine who hasn't forgotten him in the least, who still loves him and aches for him exactly the same way Kurt loves and aches for him.
Kurt sits on his bed and pulls his diary out and counts back the days from his last exam just before Christmas to now: less than a month. Then he counts the days between New Year's and Spring Break. Then the days from Spring Break to the end of semester.
He is biting his lip when he counts forward the weeks he'll spend in Ohio to the first day of the fall semester in 2013 and he's grinning as he tries to decide how early Blaine will want to come up to New York to explore.
Everyone here is so jealous I got to fly home and spend Thanksgiving with my high school sweetheart.
He sends the text during his lunch break while Rachel blathers on about her boyfriend troubles and the two other girls at the table nod sympathetically and agree that proper boyfriends are just impossible to juggle with college and social commitments and New York.
When Blaine doesn't respond immediately, Kurt's fingers move over the screen again:
Thank you for being my amazing boyfriend and reminding me why I wasn't chasing after all the cute New York boys.
His fingers hover but he bites his lip and grins and hits 'send'.
There's still nothing from Blaine and Rachel's voice has gotten progressively higher in pitch as her story continues.
I can't believe a few hours with you makes me miss you this much.
And then he stares at his phone and mentally wills Blaine to respond.
When Blaine does respond it's short and doesn't really make too much sense and it's after midnight. Kurt reads it the next morning.
Be happy you're back in New York.
After some consideration, Kurt tries to call but Blaine doesn't answer. He reasons Blaine much be in class. Next time he calls, he's sure to wait for the end of the day. Blaine doesn't answer again. Kurt waits, computer open on his bed, mindlessly looking through notes. When he sees Blaine pop up on Facebook he clicks into a chat and he calls.
Blaine ignores both and Kurt's stomach starts to knot. He lies back on his bed and wonders what has gone wrong. Why Blaine who was so in love with him a few days ago is once again pushing him away. Kurt tries to call him again and again over the next few days and the fear builds into anger and then back into fear. He calls Finn who calls Artie who confirms Blaine has been at school.
Not sick, just quiet.
Kurt sighs and gives up and buries himself in exam prep and the pre-Christmas rehearsals of the musical and the sudden onslaught of seniors who want him to change this, that and everything for their costumes. Last minute, of course.
Two weeks after Thanksgiving, an email arrives in his inbox in the middle of the day. It's from Blaine and it doesn't have a title and Kurt slips out of rehearsals to read it.
What happened over Thanksgiving was a mistake. It hurts too much.
The email says other things. Justifications and allowances that all contradict each other. Blaine says things he hasn't said since the night before Kurt went to New York.
Don't wait for me.
New York is more important than me.
But that one line: 'Thanksgiving was a mistake,' echoes in Kurt's brain and through tears he seethes and dials Blaine's number. Then again. He thinks he's probably called a dozen times with Rosie, another girl from the chorus line, finds him and doesn't quite know what to do.
In the end Kurt ends up snuck into Rachel's dorm room for the night, snuggled up pathetically in her arms and trying to work out what the fuck is going on.
He emails Blaine back the next day, level headed and watched by Rachel. He asks for reasons and explanations, asks if this is finally it for them, even though he knows it can't be, not after Thanksgiving.
Then he waits.
Blaine's grades slip for all of a week. He sits two fairly pointless tests just after Thanksgiving and he doesn't do quite as perfectly as his parent's expect. Which is problematic because his father is watching him write his college applications. Fill in the forms, structure the essays, rearrange his comprehensive list of extra curriculars. And grades slipping, important or not, upset his father.
His father asks him if it's because of 'that boy'. And Blaine can't do it, he can't lie or ignore it. Because it is tearing him apart. He screams at his father for the first time in years and gets only a slapped cheek in response. And grounded, not that that matters.
But he has known that what happened at Thanksgiving would only make the ache worse, for both Kurt and himself. Would make his grades slip and his stomach feel constantly empty and his temper flare. He had known all of that before they'd even hit the sheets. He should have been able to say 'No' but he couldn't, he had given in too easily and fallen.
And Kurt is back in New York and missing him and calling and texting and Blaine doesn't want to answer and make the ache worse. He doesn't want to answer and give him parents one more reason to dislike the love of his life. He wants Kurt to forget and keep going. Seven, eight more months? It won't be long.
He pulls away harder, willing himself to keep going, to not give up. He hides and runs. Buries himself in entrance essays and arguing with his parents about college.
Soon he'll have his acceptance letters and have to choose which college in New York to go to and how to tell Kurt's he's coming and see if they can stay in the same dorms, maybe even the same dorm rooms. He imagines that conversation with Burt and cringes while his lips curl up. Then he remembers how far off that is, how much time they still have apart and he feels nauseous.
He hates that Kurt is in New York feeling the same. He emails, trying desperately to get the point across, blinded a little by exhaustion and his parents and school and his entire world still being off kilter. And he promises himself that this will be it.
When Kurt emails back Blaine deletes it without reading, without breathing and then goes into his trash can and hovers until he feels light-headed. Then he deletes it completely.
Just wait a few more months Kurt.
Kurt flies in for Christmas even more exhausted than he was at Thanksgiving. Burt comes alone to pick him up from the airport and after grinning at each other and the quickest of exchanges, Kurt leans against the car window and drifts off to sleep.
Over the next few days the whole story of Kurt's first semester pours out. The trials and triumphs and plays and new friends. Everything that wasn't blurted out at Thanksgiving is told in a long, slow story that always boils down to New York and happiness. Kurt sleeps and eats more than he would in a normal week in the space of three days.
Then Carole asks him when he's going to see Blaine and he stares, lips twitching down and says, "I don't know."
They cross paths two days later. Entirely coincidental and at the mall and Blaine would slide around a corner and away but Kurt has seen him and is smiling on reflex. By the time they've crossed the food court and agreed on coffee and taken a seat, Kurt's smile is gone and his eyes are dark and stormy.
Neither one of them knows what this is and the conversation circles in the same holding pattern for too long.
"I just want you to be happy."
Eventually Kurt sighs and snaps. "You know this is breaking me apart."
Blaine stares and until that moment he didn't know but he'd suspected and now he bites his bottom lip until he thinks it's about to bleed. "That's why Thanksgiving was a mistake." Kurt sighs exasperated and changes the topic.
Blaine tells him about the college applications. How he's applying to so many places and the deadline is basically upon him and his essays still aren't quite perfect. Blaine slips into telling him how difficult things are with his parents, how this is all a sham and a waste and then he remembers himself and goes back to detailing the interview processes for scholarships at America's elite schools.
He asks Kurt about New York and Kurt turns his nose up and refuses to answer.
Santana has organized New Year's Eve at Breadstix. It reminds Kurt of Valentine's Day at the Sugar Shack except Blaine isn't going to show up and sing to him. Blaine is across the room talking to Quinn.
It's after eleven when Blaine makes his way across the room to where Kurt's sitting in a booth and slowly sipping a diet coke. "I'm sorry about the other day," is all he says.
Kurt stares at him and blinks slowly. "You're obviously under a lot of stress."
Shrugging, Blaine slides in across from Kurt. "I don't know anyone applying to quite as many colleges as me. And you know my dad."
Kurt nods and fixes him with his eyes. "What's your top preference?"
Blaine wants to say NYADA. Of course he does. Classes interwoven with Kurt's, catching the bus together, so many new mutual friends. He's not sure he's good enough though. Or that he could go to NYADA without his parents cutting him off completely.
"In New York?" Kurt sounds cautious but Blaine biting back on so much he doesn't hear it.
"My parents want me to go to Stanford, of course. They've wanted that since forever. Follow in dad's footsteps and all that." Blaine wishes Quinn or Rachel or Santana would come and sit with them, break up the conversation. "The entrance essays for these places are insane though. It took me three weeks to write the one I submitted to Harvard and then my dad basically rewrote it and he still said it wasn't a stand out."
Blaine runs his hand through his hair and Kurt thinks he looks tired. "But Stanford is the one my parent's are pushing. There's a scholarship interview in two weeks and my parents actually want me to fly all the way out there just for a ten minute pop quiz. This is on top of the two entrance essays and a list of extra-curriculars more comprehensive than most grad resumes!"
Blaine pauses and looks at Kurt and realizes this is the first time he's talked about college with anyone other than his parents. It's the first time he's said what he's thinking out loud and Kurt is just listening, quietly and Blaine feels more settled, more okay than he has in months.
New York though. New York is it for me. You are it for me.
But Kurt's eyes look sad and confused and a little bit lost and he won't push that on him because he knows but doesn't need to be reminded.
Across from him Kurt wonders when Stanford became an option and for the first time ever he misses New York. He doesn't know what is going on in his life here in Lima and when Blaine leaves Breadstix, saying he needs to get to his family's party, Kurt finds a corner and sends out New Year's Eve text messages. He texts Rachel and asks her how her dads are. And Melanie and asks her again if she really was as pleased as she'd seemed with the work he's done in the weeks before. And Michael and asks inane silly questions about how New York is right now, devoid of students and washed white with snow for Christmas.
Blaine gets the scholarship to Stanford. He can't quite believe it when they phone him on one of the last days of February to congratulate him on his impressive entrance essays and interview. It's more prestige than anything else but it means he has a place there in a law degree. He doesn't tell his parents but he knows what it means: he's going to get offered other places at other colleges. He is going to be able to pick.
Columbia, NYU, NYADA. He thinks they'll all send out acceptance letters. He reads back over his admissions essays, closes his eyes and rethinks his audition pieces and smiles. He will get offers for New York.
And him and Kurt, they're more than half way. They have slipped and slid to their lowest point and now it's a month until spring break and then a few months after that and they're on the rise again. Blaine fights the urge to email or call and tell Kurt that everything is going to be okay. Instead he fantasizes about parties and cafes and Central Park in the spring. He goes over the conversation he is going to have to have with his parents and debates how hard he should fight.
In the first week of March two acceptance letters turn up as well as the official paperwork for the Stanford scholarship. NYU and UCLA.
But NYU is the one that catches Blaine's eye and he stares at it. If everything else falls apart, if his essays didn't hold up to scrutiny, if his solo audition was terrible, he is still going to New York.
Kurt will be back in days for Spring Break.
It's real and close and Blaine can't wait any longer. He spends too many hours on facebook combing through the photos of Kurt at college, at lunch, wandering around New York. Everything is candid and Kurt's been tagged by people Blaine doesn't know yet. But it makes him jealous and excited all at once and he thinks it makes him a little bit selfish.
He is going to New York and now he wants to know what it is like. He wants Kurt to be ready for him. To have adventures and experiences planned out. He wants to lie across his bed with Kurt and talk endlessly about dormitories and the weather. He can have that now because it is so close and so real and he'll let himself be selfish and make them miss each other because pushing Kurt away has hurt too much and now he knows he can cling. Just a few more months.
Spring break, next week, he will tell him and everything will change.
It's the middle of March and Rachel and Finn have finally worked things out. Friends and ex high school sweethearts. It's still awkward but that's mostly just because Finn is always a bit awkward.
It means Rachel can deck out her garden in fairy lights and throw a party. She creates the event on facebook and Blaine watches as the rsvps start coming in. Santana, Tina and Mike, Quinn and her boyfriend from Yale are all coming. Artie's busy and Mercedes is visiting relatives. Sugar and several juniors that seem to look the same as her plus there's a bunch of other rsvps on the wall. A bunch of people Blaine knows vaguely from school, some names he doesn't even recognise.
Kurt finally rsvps the day before and when Blaine sees it his heart skips a beat. Kurt is flying in on the Friday night of the party but he says he's missed everyone too much and will come straight from the airport. So the anticipation builds and Blaine arrives at the party early and helps set up and then nurses a beer while Rachel talks at him.
When Kurt finally shows up just before ten, he is as stunning as ever. His skin glowing and his eyes bright and Blaine always knew he'd travel well. Destined to constantly be on and off planes for work and for fun, he's the kind of guy who can walk out of an airport and look like he just stepped off a fashion runway.
Worn-comfortable jeans and a thick knit dark grey sweater with a heavy black coat hugging his shoulders and his waist even though it's hanging open. Stunning. Taller and leaner and stretched out perfectly as he reaches to pull Santana and Tina into a simultaneous hug. He hasn't noticed Blaine hovering in the kitchen doorway yet and Blaine revels in the moment of observation, of knowing them being together again is close enough to touch, to acknowledge. Soon.
Laugh lines and teeth as Kurt smiles and says something, his voice audible but the words unintelligible. Then he sees Blaine and his eyes shine bright blue and his grin settles into a soft smile, as though he is at ease. But Santana is tugging at his jacket and saying something about the label and then there's Rachel, pulling focus and hugging him tight even though she probably saw him last week.
There's another twist of jealousy in Blaine's belly but he pushes it away and keeps smiling. In ten minutes they'll have agreed, they'll have ground rules and plans and Kurt will know Blaine is coming to New York to be with him. That it's all real now. Kurt will understand why Blaine pulled away and why it's all okay now.
It's twenty minutes. Blaine gets cornered by Quinn who wants to know if the rumors she's heard about his GPA are true, if he has really applied to Yale and Stanford and that his parents are looking overseas. She squeals and tells him all about Yale. About getting out.
Blaine nods and smiles and works hard not to tell her he's going to New York. That he's going with Kurt, doesn't she know that? Doesn't everyone know that?
And Kurt talks to Rachel and finds himself a soda and laughs loudly.
Then they're next to each other, smiling and it's more awkward than Thanksgiving because it feels like everything has changed. Everything has. They hug and Blaine wants to pull Kurt in tight and fit them together like he knows how but Kurt pulls back before he can and looks around the room.
Privacy, this would be easier with privacy. Kurt pulls Blaine away, down a corridor and into Rachel's old, untouched, bedroom. He clicks shut the door and has to dip his head and look to the side when Blaine crowds him backwards against the wood and leans in close enough to almost kiss him. Kurt looks at his mouth once and then won't meet his eyes but eases him back easily with his hands on his hips and a sigh. He still won't meet Blaine's eyes and there's a sudden sharp tug of panic deep in Blaine's stomach. Then Kurt says: "I need to tell you about someone," and Blaine's world falls apart.
A/N: Sorry about the cliffhanger? You can probably see what is coming though. I just really, really hope I've managed to convey the two characters well enough and all of their emotions and the reality that the are teenagers and flawed and confused. I hope it makes sense. Also, forgive me for any blaring mistakes about the US college system. Wiki and google will only get you so far.