And I Still See You In My Dreams
Somewhere in the UK, August, 1923
He was running through the vineyard again. Longing drove him, a sense of desperation, searching, searching without ever finding what he was looking for. His feet hurt, his heart hurt even more, but he needed to go on, to keep searching.
The song kept playing on and on inside his head; calling him. Pleading. Beautiful and sweet, but also sad, heartfelt. He ran and ran, but he could never find who was playing it.
Where was he? Where was the man with the sad amber eyes? He needed to find him, he needed…to get closer; to understand.
Kurt woke up with a gasp, as if the air was being squeezed out of his chest. The dream never changed, it never went away. Ever since he was a little boy, ever since he could remember, he'd been having the same dream, almost every night. It was almost like a friend now, something constant in Kurt's life. He was used to the dream, he knew every nuance, everything that was going to happen next, and he was so used to it, that the nights when he'd been tired from work and had dreamt nothing, he always woke up in the next day with a sense of loss.
The sadness, though, he never grew used to it. Every morning, Kurt woke up feeling sad, missing the dream and the sad amber eyes, and although he'd never seen its owner, he knew it was a man.
Burt found him in the kitchen, a cup of coffee in his hands.
"The dream again?" he asked.
Kurt only nodded, sighing.
"Son, you need to do something about it. I used to think it would get better as you grew up, but… " Burt trailed off.
"I know, father, I know." Kurt replied tiredly. "But I have no control over this. I can't stop the dreams."
"Oh, I'm not telling you to stop them," Burt laughed. "I'm telling you to find out what they mean."
"They mean I have excess of imagination, father."
"Always so skeptic, Kurt."
"You gave me all those books to read," Kurt replied, finally pouring Burt a cup of the strong coffee his father liked so much. "It is no one's fault but yours if I tend to believe more in reason than in everything else."
"And what explanation my skeptic son has to the dreams? To the songs you play on Mrs. Jones's piano without ever having one music lesson?"
"I was born this way. It just…is."
"Very clever, Kurt, very…how do you call it? Rational?"
"I can't explain my aptitude for music. But I can tell you it has nothing to do with anything that's not of this world. I'm sure there is a very normal explanation somewhere."
"So why don't you go search for it?" Burt insisted.
"And where should I start searching?" Kurt rolled his eyes affectionately. "Stop trying to find hidden meanings in everything, Father! You're a teacher, a man of science!" Kurt mocked Burt lightly.
"Science is always science, son," Burt gulped his coffee slowly. "No matter if it is written on a book or not."
Kurt smiled. "Father, I love you, but you will never make me believe in any of the science-that-is-quite-not-science nonsense."
"Science is as old as the world itself, no matter what science is. I'm just suggesting that you try to find the reason for your dreams or these odd things that tend to happen to you… elsewhere, because I'm sure you will not find it here."
"You seem so anxious to see me go, father."
"You now I'm not. I just want you to find an explanation… you say you feel the song in your dreams is calling you. Maybe you should find out where it's calling you to."
"They are just dreams," Kurt said stubbornly.
"They're not. They have a reason; I know that, as well as I know the sun rises every day. Whether you will like or believe the explanation you may find… it's a whole different matter.
"I don't want to leave you. Who would take care of you?"
Burt Hummel took his son's hand across the table.
"You hate this town, Kurt. If you truly worry about my well being, start taking care of yourself, son. You are everything I have. Seeing you happy would make me the happiest man on Earth. Don't you think I want a future for you? Something better than this place? Better than what I can give you?"
"Father…" Kurt felt a knot in his throat. They'd always had conversations like that, but recently they had started to grow more frequent than ever. "It was not your fault that you had to spend all of the family's money when Mother got sick. Now you work as a tutor, I work with Mrs. Jones, and between the two of us we make enough. We live a good life here, why change that?"
"Kurt, listen. The best thing I ever gave you is knowledge. It's all I had to give you, son, so I raised you in the only way I knew how: without prejudices, without judging others, all the while believing in honesty and in the good that is inside each human being. But you know that is not the way all people think or act. You are different; we both know it. And while I will love you no matter what, and never, ever judge you, son, most people will; especially here, in this small town. You're eighteen; you're a man now. Is this the way you want to live your life?"
Kurt blushed. Burt had always been able to read him. "I don't know if I could ever live my life the way I would like to. I don't even know if it's possible."
"Somewhere, it might be. Maybe you can't have everything, but you can get pretty close to it."
Kurt squeezed Burt's hand. "Father…It is foolish to leave everything behind and go chasing a dream."
"Don't do it because of the dream, then. Do it for yourself. I am sure there is something waiting for you somewhere. Maybe even someone, just like you, looking for someone to share his life."
The 'his' didn't go unnoticed to Kurt. If anything, he would always be grateful for Burt's unconditional love and understanding.
"This sounds completely crazy, Father. I would miss you, and I would worry about you all the time."
"But it's not. Don't worry about me. When you find your place in the world, send me a letter and I will go to you, wherever you are."
Kurt shook his head, disbelieving. "You are a dreamer, Father. And where should I go? I don't even know where to start."
"Dreamers were always the ones who change the world, Kurt. Never forget that. And for where you should start, I think London is as good a place as any."
London, September, 1923
Burt soon found a place for Kurt to stay in London. William and Emma Schuester lived in an old but comfortable house he had inherited from his old aunt, in the middle of the city. They had no children. William worked as a teacher and, to increase the family's income, they rented the many rooms of the house to the young people who traveled to London in an attempt to make their dreams come true.
William had gone to school with Burt, so when Burt's letter arrived, he was more than happy to take Kurt in. The room he gave the young man was small, but comfortable and clean; the window had a beautiful view and Kurt liked it instantly.
He spent the first two weeks getting used to the city. If he wanted to get a job, he needed to learn how to find his way around London without help. He bought the paper every day, trying to find something, because the money Burt had given him wouldn't last forever. But it seemed that London had no place for a country boy who had been home schooled, whose voice was always an octave higher than it should be, and who had only his good manners to speak for him.
Emma Schuester, William's wife, liked him immediately. She was still beautiful, but her head seemed to be always in the clouds. She liked to read mystery books, and could talk about everything supernatural-related for hours. Eccentric was a good word to describe her. The only times Kurt saw her focus on mundane things were the times she was cleaning the house. Emma could spot a grain of dirt miles away, and her kitchen shined more than gold.
Right in the first week, Kurt made a friend, Brittany. She was a very curious person. Since day one she had declared that she and Kurt were going to be best friends. Her head was in the clouds like Emma's, but often she said unbelievably sweet and insightful things. Kurt saw good in her as soon as he laid his eyes in her blond hair and her delicate features. She was an orphan, and she had left her hometown months ago in search for something better, but had not been lucky with a job so far. She helped Emma with the house to pay for her room, and she was the one showing London to Kurt.
They were in the park at the moment, arm in arm, faces red from the cold, walking happily through the beautiful gardens. On the other side of the street, mansions and buildings made a wonderful view. Kurt had never seen a building with more than two stories, and the sight never ceased to amaze him.
"I come 'ere every day, and I look at the ma'ams with their fancy dresses and el'gant coats," Brittany said. "Ev'ry afternoon they come to the park with their children, watch 'em play, sit on the benches and talk to each otha' "
"It must be good to live such a carefree life," Kurt sighed.
"One day, I am gonna live in a mansion like that," Brittany went on, pointing to the other side of the street.
"Then you will have to marry someone rich," Kurt replied smiling.
"Oh, I will never marry," Brittany said, carefree. "Marriage is not for me," she declared and Kurt did a double take, because here she was, saying again something that amazed him. "Look at tha' house, the blue one! I bet they even 'ave a pool somewhere."
Kurt turned his head and looked at the beautiful blue mansion, with white gates and a huge garden. It was, indeed, all that Brittany claimed it to be, but he couldn't imagine himself living in a place like that. Beside it there was a charming patisserie, with tables and chairs on the sidewalk, just like in the paintings from France Kurt liked to look at so much. And on the other side, there was another house.
It had three stories, but the upper one was more like a huge attic. Painted in a deep, reddish-brown, it had white doors and windows, and a grey roof. The property was huge and appeared to be very well cared for.
He couldn't take his eyes off the house. There was something oddly familiar in it, though obviously Kurt had never seen it before.
"Who lives there?"
"Oh, I 'ave no idea. I've been 'ere a lot, but I've never seen anyone leavin' or goin' inside it. It's strange, 'cause all the other houses, people are always comin' and. I think they like to show off."
Kurt looked at the house again. All the windows had their blinds closed. In the middle of a busy street, it looked lonely.
"Come on," Brittany pulled at his arm. "I will let you buy me some refreshment."
"Lucky me," Kurt half smiled, going a little reluctantly with her. He was curious about the house and he didn't want to leave, but she was already walking, so he sighed and followed her.
That night, when he dreamed of the sad amber eyes and the never-ending song, he was in a garden, searching, running. Turning his head, he could see the reddish-brown house, with its closed windows, and he woke up feeling lonelier than ever.
The first impression Kurt had of Santana Lopez was of a very serious, elegant and sophisticated young woman. She was wearing a light green dress that looked expensive, matching shoes, and a little hat with a thin veil on her head. But when Kurt and Brittany found her in Emma's living room having tea with her, she got up, introduced herself and smiled. Her smile didn't quite reach her eyes, but it seemed sincere enough.
She was in her late twenties, maybe early thirties, and she had a beautiful hair, cascading on her shoulders. Brittany seemed mesmerized by her. When she spoke, her voice was strong but polite, and although the tone was soft, Kurt felt that there was someone with a very strong personality and will.
"So, you're Kurt," she said, half-smiling, and she extended her hand for him to kiss, which he did without hesitation, because his father had taught him proper city manners, even if he'd never used them before.
Her little hand, with perfect, manicured long nails, was soft to the touch. "I'm Santana Lopez," she said, now greeting Brittany. "Emma was telling me about you," she said.
"She was?" Brittany asked, frowning. "I can't imagine what. There is nothing interesting about us," she concluded.
"Oh, I believe there is!" Santana said, all business. "I believe you two are exactly what I am looking for."
It turned out that Santana worked taking care of the house of a very rich man, but two members of her staff had just gotten married and quit their jobs.
"I need replacements. A butler and someone to clean the house, serve the food, things like that. Mike and Tina Chang were great, but they got married and she is with child, so their parents took them to live with them in Portland. Emma suggested you two took their places."
"I don't know…"Kurt said hesitantly. "I mean, I came from the country, Miss, and I don't think I would be a good butler without proper training."
"Oh, don't worry!" Santana said. "I can assure you my employer is a very good and honorable man, he never mistreated an employee in his life, and the payment is very good. You will receive training from me, but I believe he won't mind that you are untrained. Of course you'd be required to live in the house with us. But the rooms are very good; the left wing of the house is entirely for the staff, actually, so you'd be very comfortable there."
"Left wing?" Brittany's eyes went wide. "How big is the house?"
"Oh, you're going to love it!" Emma said, delighted, a dreamy expression on her face. "It's one of the mansions facing the park!"
Brittany squealed, looking at Kurt, and threw her arms around his neck. "Yes! Yes, Miss! We say yes, don't we, Kurt?"
"Please, call me Santana. So, Kurt?" she asked. "What do you say?"
Kurt wasn't anxious to be a butler, but he couldn't be picky; he needed to start supporting himself soon, so he could buy a house in the future and bring his father to live with him, and the fact that he was anxious to buy some nice clothes. He felt dressed in rags in the big city. Even if Mrs. Jones had given him some second hand clothes from her deceased husband, it only meant they were very old and out of fashion. Besides, if it was one of the big mansions near the park, he and Brittany could go for walks together on their days off.
"I will do my best not to disappoint you, Miss Santana. The answer is yes, of course."
Kurt's chin nearly hit the floor when, just three hours later, a car stopped in front of Emma's house. A car! A Ford Model T sedan, black and shiny, waiting for him and Brittany! The girl was so excited that she almost hugged the driver when she opened the door.
"I'm Finn Hudson," he said. "Miss Santana sent me to get you. Where are your suitcases? I hope you don't have many, or we will have to make two trips."
They didn't; only a suitcase each. Finn insisted on carrying them to the car, even though Kurt was perfectly capable of carrying his own, due to the fact that it was quite small.
Finn talked non-stop the whole way. Kurt was sitting beside him, with Brittany and the suitcases on the back seat. When they neared the house, Kurt and Brittany already knew everything about his life, from his widowed mother to his fiancée, Rachel, who sang like an angel and worked as a florist, but was going to be a star.
"I feel like a madam!" Brittany said when the car turned and suddenly the mansions and tall buildings were in sight again. "I can't believe we are going to live here! Can you believe it, Kurt?"
But Kurt couldn't answer. Heart beating fast, he watched as Finn took the car to a white gate, stopped and got out of the car to open said gate. When he got back behind the steering wheel, Kurt watched as the car went down a pathway covered in pebbles, and stopped again, near the front door of a familiar house. A three story house, brownish-red, with a grey roof and white shuttered windows.
"Welcome to Dalton!" Finn said with a broad smile.
Santana was waiting for them in the front door, this time dressed more simply but still nicely. "Come, this way!" she said smiling, opening the door so they could all go inside. "Finn, could you take their suitcases to their rooms?"
"Yes, Miss Santana," the tall boy said, carrying both suitcases inside easily.
"Are you tired?" the brunette asked. "I hope not, I'm taking you on a tour. There is no one home, just us, and it would be the perfect moment to show you around."
"Of course," said Brittany, because Kurt was still incapable of speech.
He was positively sure that he had never set foot inside that house, and yet something in it was oddly familiar. It smelled like something he knew but couldn't quite place. The high ceiling and expensive furniture looked barely used, the tapestry and paintings leaving no doubt that everything belonged to someone very wealthy. And yet Kurt had the feeling of knowing them, even though it was completely absurd, because he was a poor boy from the country and could never, ever have seen anything remotely resembling this palace before.
"Dalton has three stories, as you've already seen," Santana started to explain as she showed them the enormous rooms, equally decorated with extreme taste. "The first floor has the living room, the ball room, the kitchens and of course, the library. The second floor is where you will be staying. The left wing has all the staff rooms. The right wing is where the guests' rooms are; they are six, but you will not be required to clean them every day, except when we have guests, so once a week is more than enough."
Brittany nodded, trying to figure out how she would be able to clean everything; there was so much!
"Kurt, you will work as a butler, serving meals, opening the door, receiving guests. But you will also help Brittany with the cleaning, especially with the third floor's rooms."
"What's on the third floor?" He asked.
"You will see when we get there. Now, here are your rooms!"
Kurt supposed that, being the staff's quarters, the left wing's rooms were the smallest ones. Even so, it was as big as Emma's dining room, and that was saying something. Simply but tastefully decorated, with browns and blues, it had the most comfortable bed he had ever slept in, a fact that he and Brittany would confirmed to be true later. He loved the room immediately. Brittany's room was of the same size, but decorated in white and pink. She loved it.
"Well, I'm glad you like your rooms," Santana said. "My room is that door down the corridor; feel free to knock if you need anything. This room here is Finn's," she pointed to a door beside her. "Now, let's see Dalton's third floor."
"The house has a name?" Brittany asked.
"Yes, Dalton is a very old house, although it doesn't look like. The first owner named it, and the name stuck. I think he named it after his old school; he was a very important lawyer. When he died, his son kept the name and so did all the generations that came after him."
"Some mansions have names," Kurt said. "My father told me. But only the most important ones. I think it is beautiful."
"Still, if someone talks about 'Dalton', how will I know if they're talking about the house or about a person? This is very confusing, " Brittany said.
"Oh, Britt! Have you never heard of Wuthering Heights?" Kurt laughed.
"No…like a withering flower?"
"I don't think so, dear," Kurt said, hiding a smile.
He and Santana exchanged an amused look, as the brunette lead the up the stairs to the third floor.
"This floor has only three bedrooms and the office. There are two other bedrooms that are never used, so, again, you just have to clean them once a week," she said, pointing to two doors on the right. "This door is the master bedroom, and this other one is the office," she pointed to two doors on the left. "And I must beg you with extreme care with his things. Don't break anything, but if you do, don't hide it. Our employer hates lies more than anything, and I assure you there are no punishments in this house, and no one ever got fired for breaking things here."
"What is that door, Miss?" Kurt asked, pointing to a door on the farthest side.
"Oh, that is nothing," Santana said. "That room is not important, there's no need to clean it. It is always locked, so don't try to open it. In fact, you better forget this room exits."
Kurt shrugged. Okay, one less place for them to clean. "Miss, Santana, how many people live here?" he asked.
Her eyes got sad suddenly, but it was so briefly that Kurt asked himself if he had really seen it. "Only one, except for the staff, of course," she answered. "Only Mr. Anderson."
During the first week, Kurt didn't see anyone but Brittany, Santana and Finn. He suspected that Mr. Anderson was avoiding them, but Santana explained that he was in the vineyards. Apparently the vineyards were his passion, the family was famous for its excellence in producing one of the most famous wines of the country.
"They are absurdly rich!" Finn offered between bites of food. "I mean, he is. A mansion like that, and the man lives alone; it's a shame."
"Finn…!" Brittany admonished. "We shouldn' speak about him like that!"
"I'm not saying anything that isn't true! You should see him at night, wandering around the gardens, going to the greenhouse… He has trouble sleeping. It breaks one's heart, I tell you, it really does!"
"Maybe he likes nights more than days, the same way I like mashed potatoes more than baked ones," Brittany said. "Maybe he's sick."
"Oh, no, no," Finn said, putting such a huge bite inside his mouth that Kurt was afraid he would choke. "I think he has, um… nightmares. Or something like that. And he must have them often, I guess, that's why he avoids sleeping like the plague. Miss Santana doesn't like me to talk about it, but I hear him walking. Err… sometimes I come back late from Rachel's house, and his room is right above mine, so… I hear his footsteps." he trailed off.
"It must be very sad to live alone in a place like this."
"I wouldn't mind," Finn laughed. "But I would invite all my friends over and I would give a lot of parties. Mr. Anderson's friends rarely come here, because he's rarely at home. And when he is he is always locked inside the forbidden room."
"Forbidden room?" Kurt asked, his Interesting finally caught. He had been eating in silence until now, but something about Finn's sentence poked at something deep inside his mind.
"Yes," didn't Miss Santana give you the lecture about the room? Don't go in there, don't knock when he is there, even if the world is ending' and so on?"
"She said we should forget the room existed. She said no one ever goes there."
"If that's what she said, you better forget about it, then. But as for no one ever going there… Mr. Anderson goes there a lot. I wonder what's inside. There is a piano, because I've heard music coming from the room. Unless he has one of this modern gramophones and is playing records on it. He has a lot of them in the living room, but they never leave the shelves."
"You think he has a skeleton hidden in there?"
"Brittany!" Kurt almost left his fork fall. "Didn't you say we shouldn't speak about him like that? I doubt this is a haunted mansion."
"Haunted?" Finn shivered, "gee, I hope not. But honestly, I don't think Mr. Anderson is very good with people. I mean, he is nice and polite with us and all, but I don't think he really trusts anyone; except for Miss Santana, maybe. I think that room is his place to, you know… be alone, when things get too much."
Kurt felt a nagging feeling deep inside his chest. Not that he wasn't curious about the elusive Mr. Anderson, but the fact that the man seemed to be so lonely bothered him, somehow. It made him feel uneasy, restless, sad even. It was a bizarre feeling for someone he didn't even know.
"He has a dark past, you know."
"Finn," Kurt said again.
"But it's true! Only, no one knows what it is, except for Miss. Santana, but ask her and next thing you know, you'll be cleaning the roof. Mike and Tina overheard some talks here and there, and they said it seemed to be pretty huge. Something happened to him when he was young and—"
"Finn!" Santana's sharp voice startled them. "Don't you have work to do?"
Finn got up hurriedly, mumbling something about washing the car and fled the kitchen.
"I'm sorry, miss, we weren't—" Kurt started.
"I know, I know," Santana dismissed his apologies with a wave of her hand. "I'm used to Finn's big mouth. He is a good boy, but he loves gossip too much for my liking. Mr. Anderson doesn't let me fire him because Finn has a widowed mother to take care of. Even if Mrs. Hudson is more than capable of working."
If Kurt knew something about Santana Lopez was how protective she was of Mr. Anderson. One would think the man was a saint, judging by the way she talked about him, always with fond eyes, and always to praise one of his qualities. Kurt even thought she was in love with him for a while, but he soon dismissed the idea because he could see in her eyes that it was quite not like that. She took care of him, because apparently, no one else did.
Over his first week in the mansion, Santana taught Kurt how to serve dinner, how to serve coffee, tea and refreshments for guests, what to say and what not to say. He learned to open the door as a butler should, where to put the guests' coats. He also learned how to make Mr. Anderson's favorite coffee. Kurt particularly loved when she taught him to use the two-piece telephone, a fine thing very few houses had. Kurt had never seen one, not even Mrs. Jones had a telephone in her house. It was fascinating how you could talk to people, hear their voices and not be near them.
He also loved his uniform. It was elegant, black slacks, pristine white button-down, black vest, black jacket, and black tie. He even had white gloves, although he didn't need to use them all the time. In fact, Santana had told him that he didn't need to walk around the house with his complete uniform all the time. He could leave the jacket off, except, of course, when Mr. Anderson was home or when he had some guest.
They found out that Santana was the one who cooked when Mr. Anderson was home, because he loved her food. They learned that she had been working in the mansion for the past fifteen years, and that she had no one in the world, just a distant brother she hadn't seen in more than ten years.
Brittany and Kurt cleaned every room of the mansion - except the "forbidden room - at least once the first week, to be more 'familiarized with the place'. Santana helped them, showing that she had no problem doing the hard work when it was needed. It was very hard not to like her, even though she could be harsh sometimes. Brittany loved her; Santana Lopez was her new favorite person in the world.
The closed door on the third floor didn't bother Kurt at first, but then he started to dream about the same door, and in his dream, the fact that it was closed upset him a lot. Now that he was at the house, his dreams had gotten different; instead of running through a vineyard, - and wasn't such a coincidence that Mr. Anderson owned one? - Kurt now wandered alone through the house's corridors, except he still couldn't find what he was looking for. And the door, the closed door in the end of a dark corridor, defying him to open it and find out what was inside the room, where the song, his song, kept playing on and on.
It had almost been ten days since Kurt and Brittany had moved to Dalton. The Monday morning started uneventful; Brittany and Kurt started cleaning the library right after breakfast, and Santana left to do some errand and took Finn with her.
Around ten o'clock Santana busted inside the library, with Kurt's jacket in hand. "He's back! Blaine's back!"
"Mr. Anderson! Blaine! He's back from the vineyard and he brought two friends with him! Come, Kurt, Brittany, let's pick up some refreshments for them!"
They ran to the kitchen, Kurt's heart thundering inside his chest. What if he made some mistake, what if he wasn't good enough? He already loved Dalton, and he didn't want to leave any time soon.
Brittany had already made some orange juice for lunch, so she started pouring the juice into tall crystal glasses Santana had given her, while Kurt slipped on his gloves.
"They are still outside with the dogs," Santana said. "Mr. Wesley and Mr. Thaddeus came with him, apparently he found them in the train station. Come, Kurt, I want you to make a good impression."
"I'm a little nervous, Miss," he admitted. "What if—"
"Nonsense," Santana said. "Just go over there, act the way I taught you to. Serve the juice, and be polite. I already told Blaine that we have new employees, so he won't be surprised. You'll do just fine." She gave him a light pat on the arm and opened the back door, the one to the garden.
Taking a deep breath, Kurt straightened himself and went outside.
The sun was shining, but it was autumn, so it wasn't too hot. He could see three men ahead of him, near the old oak, all three talking animatedly. One of them had oriental traces, and this was the one talking the most. The other one was beside him, white skin, dark hair and eyes; this one was smiling politely, eyeing his friend with amusement, and Kurt wondered if that wasn't Mr. Anderson.
The third one had his back to Kurt. He was shorter than the other ones, but not too much, and all Kurt could see was his lithe but well built complexion and his dark, gelled hair. Near them, two Golden Retrievers ran around, chasing each other.
As Kurt approached them, the two men facing him raised their eyebrows, acknowledging his presence, but kept talking. The dogs also noticed him and came closer, sniffing him as if to decide if they would grant him access to the men or not. Only when they barked at him, the third man turned to face Kurt, immediately calling the dogs.
"Sebastian! Jeremiah!" the man said, to the dogs, "Leave him alone!" He gave a step in Kurt's direction and bended a little, petting the dogs. "I'm sorry, there is no excuse for their behavior. Maybe I indulge them a lot, but they're great dogs, you'll see."
'Oh, that was Mr. Blaine Anderson', Kurt thought, opening his mouth to greet the man and his guests. Except, Mr. Anderson raised his head and looked, really looked at Kurt and, 'Oh'. His dark hair adorned a handsome and masculine face. Strong jaw, impressive eyebrows and eyes -
Amber eyes. Sad, deep, emotional amber eyes. The song playing over and over inside his head. Running, searching, but never, never able to find him.
And now he was here.
The tray slipped to the floor. 'Miss. Santana won't be pleased with this,', a part of Kurt's mind thought, before his knees buckled and everything went black.
Kurt was in a big, beautiful place. It looked like a school, but one of those for extremely wealthy people. Strangely, he didn't feel out of place here. He reached a heavy wooden door and opened it without knocking. There were people inside, people that Kurt had never seen before, but he didn't question when they started speaking to him as they knew him.
"Thad! Wes!" he heard himself saying, and his voice sounded a lot younger. The boys he addressed were young too, no more than thirteen.
Two sets of eyes turned to him, along with a pair of sincere smiles.
"Hello, you!"greeted the taller one. "How was Italy?"
"The same as ever," Kurt found himself saying.
"Don't sound so tedious, Italy is great in the Summer," the other boy laughed. "Besides, you'll have a lot of tedious days here at school."
"I'm sure I will," Kurt said, rolling his eyes good-naturedly. His gaze landed on the other boy that was in the room, the one who had been talking to Wes and Thad when Kurt arrived.
He had dark, short but curly hair, really funny looking eyebrows and the most amazing amber eyes Kurt had ever seen, eyes that were looking at him curiously now.
"Oh, I almost forgot!" Thad said, patting Kurt on the back. "Come meet our new friend!"
The boy smiled and extended his hand for Kurt to shake. "Blaine Anderson."
When Kurt woke up, he was on his bed. Finn was hovering worriedly over him, Brittany's hands were on his forehead. He opened his eyes slowly, looking around and frowning. Why was he inside his bedroom, with everybody staring at him? Wasn't he supposed to be outside serving beverages to -
"What happened?"was the first thing that came to his mind, even though he could remember very well what had happened in the garden. He was in trouble. Big, big trouble.
"You fainted," Finn informed him. "It was really funny, the dogs started barking, everyone started yelling, Mr. Anderson carried you inside." Then turning his head to the door, Finn called, "Miss Santana! He's awake!"
Brittany's hand caressed his face. "Are ya feelin' better?" she asked.
Kurt could only nod, mind still fuzzy, but desperately trying to be alert, trying to think about something to tell Santana. He was dying of mortification. Mr. Anderson had carried him inside? Oh dear.
"Where is Mr. Anderson?" was all he could think of saying, because he needed to look at Blaine Anderson again and now if he really had seen what he thought he had seen. Part of him wanted it to be a dream, because then he wouldn't have embarrassed himself in front of his employer and friends. The other part of him just wanted to be sure.
"He's downstairs, talking to the doctor," Santana said, entering Kurt's line of vision.
"Oh no, he called a doctor?" Kurt's embarrassment was getting bigger each passing minute.
"Stay where you are," she said when he tried to get up. "Dr. Wesley Montgomery is a doctor. He and Blaine have been friends since they were children. He said you'll be fine, your blood pressure was a little low; you just need to rest."
"Oh my God," Kurt said again, face red with embarrassment.
Finn patted his arm. "It was really an awkward first impression, Kurt! Mr. A. got as pale as this wall, asking Miss Santana if she hadn't fed you."
"Finn!" Santana and Brittany said at the same time, while Kurt hid his face in his hands, groaning.
"Really, Finn!"Santana went on. "Please, go downstairs and tell Blaine that Kurt is awake. He can come up whenever he wants. Brittany, go get Kurt some water, will you?"
When they left, Santana sat on the bed next to Kurt and held his hand. "What happened, Kurt?"
"I… I don't know!" Kurt hurried to say. "I was fine, I can't explain what happened. Everything just…went black"
It was a lie, but what else could he say? He had the feeling that 'I fainted because I had just seen the same eyes I've been dreaming about since I can remember' wouldn't be a good explanation. She wouldn't understand. He couldn't understand, let alone explain.
"It is very kind of Mr. Anderson to come, but if he is going to fire me, couldn't he just let you do it, Miss?" Kurt asked, thinking that it would be kinder if Mr. Anderson spared him the embarrassment of being fired on their first meeting. But why would he? Kurt was just a butler; a bad one, apparently.
"I'm sure he's not going to fire you, Kurt," she said. "He was genuinely worried. And everyone makes mistakes. You have no need to be worried."
Kurt wasn't feeling so confident. He grabbed her hand when she made a motion to get up. "Can you stay here with me when he comes?"
"You have no reason to be scared, Kurt!" Santana said, almost laughing, as if Kurt being apprehensive was funny and absurd.
"Even so…can you stay, please?" he insisted.
"Alright. Let's get you settled, then," Santana said, adjusting his pillows. "I have the feeling you don't want to have this conversation laying down."
As soon as they finished arranging Kurt to a half-sitting position, they heard a soft knock on the half-open door.
"May I come in?" Blaine's voice said.
"Yes," Santana nodded at him when he opened the door.
Blaine took a careful step inside the bedroom, leaving the door ajar. "Are you feeling better?" he said, looking at the floor, clearly uncomfortable.
"Yes, thank you," Kurt replied with a low voice.
Blaine didn't take his eyes off the carpet. He could feel the boy's piercing gaze on him. He had no idea why it made him shiver like that. "Wes - Dr. Montgomery said you are going to be fine."
"I…" Kurt blushed, looking at Santana who gave him an encouraging smile. "Yes, I…"he trailed off.
"He thinks you're going to fire him. Blaine," Santana provided from where she was, standing next to the window.
"Oh, no! I won't fire you!" Blaine's surprise made him look at Kurt, and their eyes met -
Kurt's breath hitched.
So did Blaine's.
"Sebastian! Jeremiah!" Blaine said to his dogs, who had sniffed and now were barking at the poor butler. "Leave him alone!" He gave a step in the man's direction and bended a little, petting the dogs. "I'm sorry, there is no excuse for their behavior. Maybe I indulge them a lot, but they're great dogs, you'll see."
He raised his head and looked at the boy Santana had hired and -
He was…beautiful. That was the only word he could find to describe him. Perfect chestnut hair, pale and flawless skin, perfect nose. Such delicate features, and yet there was this strength about him…He noticed the boy's shock, when their eyes met, his gray-green-blue eyes widening almost imperceptibly, and God, his eyes! They made Blaine feel a little uneasy, and at the same time an electric current went through his body. What was happening?
And then the boy's eyes were closing, the tray was falling from his hands, he was falling too…
Blaine grabbed him before his head could hit the ground. Wes and Thad were calling for help, Finn ran to where they were, but Blaine was already lifting Kurt in his arms and running inside.
"Santana!" he shouted, "Where is his room?"
"Oh my God! What happened?" she ran in his direction, face pale and worried.
"It's the blue room!"
Everyone ran after him, Wes right behind. "Thad! Go grab my briefcase!" the doctor shouted.
A few minutes later, Blaine paced in front of the bedroom's door while Santana and Wes were inside with Kurt. He couldn't understand what had just happened. The boy seemed fine until they looked at each other and… had Kurt felt the same thing Blaine had? The current, almost like an electric shock, a strange vibration that started deep inside his chest and traveled everywhere?
He shook his head, cursing at himself. Of course not. How could Kurt feel something that was only inside Blaine's head? If he could just sleep properly, maybe his mind would stop with its stupid, useless wanderings. He couldn't have dreamed with Kurt's eyes, ever. Because he had never seen him before. He was just tired from the trip, and Kurt hadn't probably eaten properly that morning, and had fainted. Or maybe it was the heat. Yes, that was it, the heat.
"Blaine?" Santana's voice called Kurt back to reality. Kurt blinked, averting his eyes from Blaine's and looking at her instead.
Blaine was still staring at Kurt and he shook his head a little, pinching the bridge of his nose. "I - I will not fire you. Wes said you had low blood pressure, maybe low blood sugar. I am sure you are going to be fine. Um… Santana trained you, and she spoke very highly of you; I trust her judgment."
"Thank you, Mr. Anderson," Kurt mumbled, head still spinning from Blaine's stare.
"Uh…" Blaine looked at Santana, and after taking a deep breath, looked at Kurt again. "That's it, then. You should rest, there is no need for you to work for the rest of the day."
"Thank you," Kurt said in a small voice.
When Blaine and Santana left, Kurt felt tears in his eyes. What was happening to him? Had the stupid dreams he'd always had his entire life finally succeeded in making him crazy? Because it was impossible, it couldn't be…how could the sad, hazel eyes not be a product of his imagination? How could they really exist, and belong to his employer, of all people?
Kurt suddenly felt alone, missing his father more than ever. Burt would have helped him find a reasonable explanation for that, even though he was a romantic man and tended to mix science, religion and everything else he thought was interesting, like 'fate' and 'destiny'.
"Courage," he said to himself, but the words resonated through the empty bedroom and came back to him. He didn't know what to do, if he would be having this kind of reaction every time he looked at the man.
When the big grandfather's clock announced it was seven PM, Kurt was dressed impeccably in his uniform, sitting in the kitchen, waiting for Brittany to finish arranging the dishes on the tray. Mr. Anderson's friends were still at Dalton, and Kurt swore to himself that he would erase the first bad impression from their minds as soon as possible.
He squared his shoulders and carried the tray to the dining room.
Kurt wasn't surprised to see Santana sitting at the table with Blaine and his friends. He had already guessed that she was more a friend and less an employee to Blaine. She gave him a subtle smile when she saw him, nodding her approval at him almost imperceptibly.
"All of our friends are settling down, Blaine," Mr. Thaddeus was saying. "You're already thirty-three. When will you decide to leave this bohemian life of yours?"
"Only after you do it, Thad," Blaine joked, but he quickly averted his eyes from his friend, taking a sip of wine. "And you can hardly describe my life as bohemian."
"Yes, maybe hermit would describe you better. But I still think you should stop procrastinating and find a m - " Thad abruptly stopped speaking when he saw Kurt.
Wes coughed politely. "Um, Kurt? Is that your name?" he said.
Kurt was a little startled by being addressed, but he managed to calmly and efficiently put all the dishes on the table.
"Yes, Sir… Err…doctor." Kurt's mind gave him a sudden flash of a young boy laughing at him, one that looked like a younger version of Dr. Wesley. He shook his head to send the thought away.
"Are you feeling better?" Wes asked. "I thought Blaine had given you the rest of the day off?"
"Yes, sir," Kurt said, calmly. "But I am feeling completely well, sir. I appreciate your concern…thank you for taking care of…everything."
"Oh, it was nothing boy," Wes said.
Kurt deposited another bottle of wine in front of Blaine and for a moment, their eyes met. The familiar electric current went down Kurt's spine again, but this time he was waiting for it, and he just blushed.
"Err…thank you, Kurt," Blaine said, blinking a few times, but no one seemed to notice the little exchange.
The rest of the night was uneventful. Kurt waited with Brittany and Finn in the kitchen and, around ten, the guests left. Santana told them goodnight and retired to her bedroom. Finn went to the garden to close the gate and release the dogs, saying he was going to see Rachel and would come back later. Brittany had already cleaned everything and retreated to her room as well.
Kurt wandered through the house alone, turning the lamps off, closing the drapes. Everything was quiet, and Kurt, tired and not really wanting to think about anything complicated, went to his room to moisturize. He had bought amazing skin products downtown; it was wonderful what he could find in a big city.
After he changed into his pajamas, he turned his bedside lamp off and went to close the drapes, and his heart skipped a beat when he saw Blaine down there, in the garden. Blaine was looking at the sky, and although Kurt couldn't see his face, something inside him ached at the loneliness emanating from the man.
Kurt stood there, in the dark, watching as Blaine, leaning on the car's side, watched the moon and the stars for what it felt like hours, but maybe it was just a few minutes; Kurt couldn't say, because he'd lost track of time, watching.
Blaine looked as lonely as Kurt felt.
That night, the dream came again, like it almost always did. He was alone, his bare feet hurting from running, but the corridors were long and twisted in every direction, like a maze. He was lost, but he couldn't stop, his song was playing somewhere, calling him, he needed to get there, he needed to -
When he woke up, sweating and with eyes red from crying, for a moment, he could swear that he had heardhis song coming from the third floor.
Several weeks had passed. Weeks in which Blaine had tried to remain calm and collected, spending the whole day at the office and coming home for dinner. Not that he was avoiding anything, or anyone. It was just that his new employees… unsettled him. Maybe he just needed to get used to them. His new butler and maid had given Dalton another atmosphere, and Blaine wasn't sure what to think of that. He wasn't used to anything new.
Kurt and Brittany were a lot different than Michael and Tina. Where his former employees had been quiet and helpful, the new ones were different, noisier, and although they were very competent in everything they did, they had drastically changed the house's dynamic.
Kurt opened all the living room's blinds every morning, because 'the house needed some air'. Every time Blaine came down for breakfast, Kurt was there, cleaning and humming some tune and Blaine wanted to ask him to sing loudly, because he wanted to hear his voice. Whether it was just curiosity or something Blaine couldn't give a name to, it lingered in the air. But Blaine didn't dare, of course, that wouldn't be proper.
Then, Kurt would smile politely at him and go upstairs to make the beds, while Blaine went to the dining room to eat. And when Blaine went back to his room to change, his bed was made, the windows were open and there were fresh flowers on his bedside table. It was just a simple gesture, but one that never failed to make Blaine smile, and he wasn't used to smiling for such a silly reason; so it unsettled him.
Brittany was always in the kitchen singing along with Santana, whenever Blaine arrived. It was obvious that their friendship had grown very strong in such a short time. Now there was always noise and laughter at Dalton, and Blaine didn't know how to react to that. Not that it bothered him; it was just… different.
As the weeks passed, he realized that maybe he liked the noise just a little, because it was such a contrast from the austere atmosphere before. So, Blaine started to eat breakfast in the kitchen instead of the dining room. He liked to hear Santana singing; she almost didn't sing anymore. She would tease him later, she would say he was getting soft, but he didn't mind. He had never been a tough man anyway. She, on the other hand, had a newfound softness, so much that sometimes it was hard to recognize her. She seemed more relaxed, some of her always-present edge somewhat absent, and he almost envied her.
Blaine caught himself anxious to go home at the end of the day. It hardly ever happened. Dalton was his house, but it was hardly a home. But sometimes, Blaine stayed at the office until later on purpose, feeling that he needed to take his time and wait, for what, he didn't know. And the more he waited, the more he looked at his pocket watch and tried not to think about the reason he wanted to go home.
Of course, deep down he knew the reason had everything to do with his new butler.
Because, every time Kurt entered a room, it was almost as if the air itself shifted around him. The young rarely spoke, but when he did, his melodious voice would almost make Blaine ask him to talk more. Almost, but he didn't do it.
When Kurt's hand accidentally brushed his, when the butler was helping him with his coat, he caught himself wanting more, wanting to know if Kurt's hands were as soft as they seemed. But he never touched, and he never asked to do so. He couldn't, because it wasn't proper.
Kurt's presence made Blaine restless, and he couldn't explain what that meant, because he and the young man had only ever exchanged a handful of words. But since he had seen Kurt for the first time, since the electric charge of Kurt's gaze went through him, something had changed. Something had started inside Blaine's chest, like a feeling that everything would change. And he didn't like changes. Routine was comfortable and safe, while changes could destroy a man in seconds.
Blaine didn't want to think about what could be possibly starting inside his chest every time he looked at Kurt. He didn't want to examine this feeling too closely, because it was ridiculous. He didn't know Kurt. And hecouldn't know him.
Kurt was his employee, and a lot younger than him. That alone should be enough to make his stay away from Kurt's hypnotizing presence. And…Kurt was a man. People's judgment had already hurt Blaine once; he would not allow them to do it again.
So, he retreated to his room early in the nights, and when he thought everyone was sleeping, he went to the garden to look at the stars and imagine a whole different world, where people could be free to think and do what they wanted, as long as they wouldn't hurt anybody. Or he went to his private room, his sanctuary, and played and played for hours. He played the song.
He always wondered if Kurt could hear it.
Kurt loved Dalton. He had said he couldn't imagine himself living in a place like it, and now he couldn't imagine leaving it. Dalton was like a rare flower in need of care. If not tended to, it could look ugly and cold, even rough to the touch. But when well taken care of, it would bloom, and show all its beauty.
Every morning, Kurt would open all the windows, thinking of the first time he'd seen the house and how sad it had looked, with everything closed. When the sunlight shone through the windows in the mornings, he could almost see the house shining with life. He hoped Mr. Anderson didn't mind, because Kurt couldn't explain, but he wanted Mr. Anderson to like everything he did.
The man was nothing but polite, but he almost always seemed to be uptight, taciturn even. And Kurt couldn't explain why, but he had an overwhelming desire to see him smiling. Not that it had ever happened, but even so, the approving nod he gave Kurt sometimes made the young man feel happy, like he had done something great. So he opened the windows, put flowers on Mr. Anderson's bedside table, cleaned his office with extra care.
Blaine Anderson was gorgeous. Perfect. Kurt had never seen someone so perfect in all his life. And yes, he was falling for him, just a little.
Kurt wanted to know everything about Blaine Anderson, like what he used to think about when he was gazing at the stars at night, or why he was always alone, or why he spent so little time at home. He wanted to shake him out of the sobriety of his world, see what was behind the composed, neutral expression he wore.
But of course, he would no nothing remotely like that. This was not an ideal world, Kurt was just a butler, and it was better if he stayed in his place and pretended he didn't watch, from his window, when every night after dinner, Mr. Anderson went to the garden and spent too much time alone, lost in his thoughts.
Yes, definitely, it would be a lot wiser to forget why he cared so much about why his employer was always so quiet. It was better to forget why Kurt wanted to be close to Mr. Anderson all the time.
Mr. Anderson…Blaine…was Kurt's employer. Rich, sophisticated, older. Kurt was just a butler from a town in the middle of nowhere. And, of course, there was the fact that Blaine was a man. That was more than enough reason to make Kurt close his eyes and shake his head to send the thoughts away.
After all, it wasn't as if Mr. Anderson was like Kurt. Even if there seemed to be no ladies after the thirty-something bachelor's heart, that didn't mean anything. Kurt had yet to know a man who liked other men, like he did - not that he had ever been with anyone - and sometimes he doubted such a person existed. Logic told him it existed, but this person was probably hiding, like he was, because everything in this world was forbidden, everything that wasn't part of the norm was dirty and sinful; everything was about what was properand acceptable and what was not.
So, every day, Kurt observed Blaine from a respectful distance, he did everything to please him, he put on his best smile and tried to be the best butler in all London. And every day, he fell a little more for Mr. Anderson.
One cloudy afternoon, Sue Sylvester arrived in a blur of purple dress, blond hair, strong perfume and loud voice that left Kurt astounded. "I see Blaine got something new to adorn the house," she said, patting Kurt's cheek when he opened the door. "You're such a pretty thing! Can I call you Porcelain?"
She didn't wait for him to let her in; she just forced the door open and stepped inside, walking straight to the living room.
"Where is Blaine? Tell him to get that head full of gel here right now."
"What are you doing here, Sue?" Santana said from behind him, and Kurt took the opportunity to make himself scarce, retreating towards the kitchen.
"Santana. I see your manners haven't improved."
"I can be polite, when people deserve it. What do you want?" the brunette asked again.
Kurt, Finn and Brittany heard everything from the kitchen, because Sue's voice was loud and sharp, and Santana's voice wasn't low at all. They heard when Blaine's voice joined the two women, and the thing escalated to a heated conversation and finally screams.
As always, Finn offered an explanation.
"She's always after money," he said. "She is Mr. Anderson's - senior - second wife. Never got along with Mr. Blaine, and when the old man died, Mr. Blaine made her leave Dalton. Only, she never leaves him alone. He gives her money every week; I take the money to her myself. But she is never satisfied."
"Are they gonna scream for evah?" Brittany said when a particularly loud shout was heard. "I don't like her."
"She vowed to take all of Mr. Blaine's fortune from him. The old Anderson wasn't stupid, he must have felt that all she wanted was his money; he made a will, left everything to his son. She got a house, though, and it was more than she deserves, if you ask me. Mr. Blaine has no obligation to give her anything, but he does, 'cause he's her stepson and all, and she still wants more."
A few seconds later the door banged, indicating the unwanted guest's departure. Santana entered the kitchen fuming, her face red and angry.
"Kurt," she said, "Take some tea for Blaine, he'll be in his office. Some herbal, calming thing. And make one for me, too."
Kurt only nodded, and started to make some chamomile tea, with a bit of anis and peppermint. Santana went to a corner and started pacing the floor, muttering 'that woman' and 'how can she say something like that, I can't stand her threats'.
Minutes later, Kurt stopped by the office's door, at the third floor. The door was partially open, and he peeked inside. Blaine was sitting by his desk, elbows resting on the wooden surface, hands cradling his head. He looked tired.
"Mr. Anderson?" Kurt said hesitantly, and Blaine raised his head, revealing stormy eyes and a grim face. "I brought you some tea?"
"Come in, Kurt," Blaine said, polite as ever, even though his face showed anything but calm.
Kurt put the tea on the desk and turned to the curtains. "Can I close them? The wind is very strong; I think it will rain later."
"No, I like the wind," Blaine said. "Leave them open, this place is suffocating sometimes."
"Very well, sir," Kurt said. "If you'll excuse me," he turned to leave, but Blaine's exclamation stopped him.
"This tea is very good!" Blaine said, surprised."There's something different here; it's not only chamomile, is it?"
"Peppermint and anis, sir. I used to make it for my father, whenever he'd had a bad day."
"It's very good."
"Thank you, sir, "Kurt said, feeling the blush already coloring his face.
"Do you miss him?" Blaine asked suddenly. "Your father?"
"I do, sir."Kurt answered sincerely, noticing Blaine's genuine interest. "My mother died when I was eight, so it was always my father and I. He's… wonderful; he's my best friend, and I miss him very much."
"Do you have a family here, in London?"
"No, Sir. Mr. Schuester went to school with my father - they're both teachers - but I'd never met him before I came here. He and his wife are very good to me, though."
Blaine nodded, eyes seemingly lost in the distance, then focusing on Kurt again, while he sipped his tea. "My mother also died when I was a child. I was twelve, and four years later my father married Mrs. Sylvester. It was… hard. She's not a good person, and we never got along. When he died, I made Sue leave Dalton, but… As you saw, she didn't particularly like that I made her leave."
"I'm sorry, sir."
"Yes, I am too," Blaine said, almost to himself. "My father and I were great friends. Sue, she… tore us apart. After they got married, my father and I, we just… we barely talked anymore. I miss him."
Kurt didn't know what to say, so he opted for a sympathetic smile.
"I'm glad you get along with your father, Kurt," Blaine said, finishing his tea and giving the mug back to the young man. "Make sure he always knows how much you love him."
"I will, sir," Kurt said, before leaving Blaine to his thoughts again. He felt a strange emotion, now that Blaine had talked to him about his father, like he would talk to a confident, and for a moment, Kurt had almost felt like he could help. But of course, he couldn't.
Blaine seemed to be distracted for the rest of the day. It was understandable; after Sue's visit, even Santana was more impatient than ever. During dinner, Blaine barely touched his food, and only spoke briefly when Santana attempted to start a conversation. Kurt knew he was thinking about Sue Sylvester and her loud screams, demanding money, and he wondered if Blaine's advice about Burt had been because he regretted not saying it enough to his own father.
That night, Blaine didn't go outside because of the strong wind. He stayed in the living room alone, sitting by the fireplace, staring at the flames. Kurt hovered by the kitchen, waiting for him to go upstairs, even after Santana, Brittany and Finn went to their bedrooms. Blaine seemed lost in his thoughts more than usual, and Kurt stayed until the older man went upstairs. Just in case he needed anything.
Kurt wanted to help, but he didn't know what to do. Blaine seemed to be in other world, like someone had just switched him off.
It was the only explanation to why he left the door of the mysterious room open.
The rain that night was something Kurt had rarely seen before.
It was almost midnight. Lightning flashes crossed the sky, and Kurt shivered because of the loud thundering from above. He didn't like storms, but in Dalton they weren't really as bad as they were when he was in his small house. Dalton was solid, while Kurt and Burt's house in the countryard seemed to barely hold against the strong wind.
The noise woke everybody up, and they all left their rooms in their robes.
"Close the windows upstairs, Kurt!" Finn asked. "I have to go outside to calm the dogs!"
Kurt went to the third floor while Brittany went to the second one. The thunder resonated again, louder than ever. He could hear the windows banging because of the wind, and in fact, there were already several papers flying inside Blaine's office; the same place Blaine had insisted for the windows to stay open that afternoon.
"Jeremiah! Sebastian! Calm down, boys!" Kurt heard Finn shouting when he went to close the office's window. There was another clap of thunder. The poor dogs whined pitifully in fear.
Kurt picked up all the papers from the floor and put them on the table. That was when he hard another window banging. Frowning, he went to the corridor again. Hadn't he already checked all of the third floor's rooms?
Suddenly, he stopped. The mysterious room's door - Kurt refused to think about the room as 'forbidden', although it really was that - was partially open and sure, he could hear the noise coming from inside the room. Something clattered as he approached the door and took a peek inside. There was no one there. But the curtains were flying wildly, and there was water coming in.
Kurt bit his lips, contemplating if he should go inside or not, but when he saw more papers flying, he took a deep breath and went inside.
The huge windows were open, and the strong wind and rain wet Kurt's face and hair when he approached to close them. Part of him knew he should leave immediately, but still, he took a look around; not out of curiosity, but to survey the damage the wind and rain might have done.
The room was simple. Bare, even; sparsely decorated. There was a plush armchair, a sofa and a coffee table with a gramophone on top of it. Beside the sofa, there was a small bookcase with a few well-worn books. Over the fireplace, a few photographs gave a personal touch to the place.
There were three photographs. The first one was of a couple at a wedding and Kurt immediately knew they were Blaine's parents, because the man looked a lot like him, and the picture was very old. The second one was of the same couple, now holding a toddler with curly black hair, and Kurt smiled at little Blaine looking impatient, sitting on his father's lap.
The third photograph took Kurt's breath away.
There was nothing really special about it. It showed four young men, no older than fifteen, in school uniforms. Three of them he recognized as very young versions of Blaine, Mr. Wesley and Mr. Thaddeus. The fourth one made a chill run down Kurt's spine. Not in an unpleasant way, only… strange, hard to explain. He was lean and blond, had his arm thrown over Blaine's shoulders in a friendly gesture, and in his other arm he held his jacket. It was a happy picture, the four of them seemed relaxed, they were smiling. But the picture made Kurt feel inexplicably sad.
"Stop, Blaine!" he laughed, trying to keep his friend still. "Let the man take the photograph!"
"I can't, it's hot!"Blaine complained, laughing.
"I'm sorry, Sir!" he said to the photographer, who looked at them not so patiently. "Wes, Thad, help me out!"
"Quiet, Blaine," Thad said. "I don't want to look bad in this photograph, who knows who may see it, maybe a cute girl."
"Always a ladies' man, Thad," Wes laughed, but stayed in position."Blaine, if you think it's so hot, take off your jacket!"
"Like me!" Kurt said, "I don't have a girl to impress, so I don't care!"
"Neither does Thad," Blaine laughed. "It's just wishful thinking."
"Come on, Blaine!" Wes said, and turned to Kurt. "You are closer to him, you keep him quiet!"
Kurt laughed and threw his right arm over Blaine's shoulder to keep him in place. "Blaine, please," he said.
"Hold still, please, gentlemen!" The poor photographer said, and a flash exploded before their eyes.
Kurt shook his head, grimacing. Great. He was dreaming awake again. Maybe he should try to be a writer, so vivid were these dreams. Maybe he could write them all and turn this thing into a bestseller.
He was about to leave the room - because it was prudent and wise - when he saw it. In a corner, a beautiful black piano, the heavy lid opened, the keyboard exposed, as if someone had been playing and left in a hurry.
All coherent thought left Kurt as he approached the beautiful instrument. He couldn't and he didn't want to explain what he was feeling. Part of his brain told him to leave before someone came, but still, he sat on the bench and positioned his fingers over the keyboard, as if on a trance. He had missed this. So much. He had missed his piano, and his song.
Kurt started to play. The song echoed in the room, and filled his heart with joy, because he loved to hear it, it was special, it meant something special. Not even in his dreams the song had felt so right the way it felt now, because in Kurt's dreams he was always chasing something, always looking for the person playing it. Now, it felt right, it sounded perfect, played in this piano, on this house, by his fingers.
"What do you think you are doing?"
Blaine's angry voice startled Kurt, and he stopped playing, got up in a hurry and took a step away from the bench. "I - I'm sorry, I was - "
"Who gave you the right to come here?" Blaine's face was livid with anger and he took a single step in Kurt's direction.
"The windows - the rain, everything was wet, I was just - "Kurt tried to explain, but he couldn't go any further, no additional words came to his mind.
Blaine took another step and suddenly he was here, practically at Kurt's face, so close that Kurt could feel his warm breath on his cheek. Blaine grabbed Kurt's wrists in a vice grip, and it hurt. "The song. Why were you playing it? Give me the music sheet back now!"
"I - I don't know what you're talking about, Sir!"
"You're lying!" Blaine's grip on Kurt's wrists tightened and Kurt whimpered. "Give me the sheet back!"
"I didn't touch anything!" Kurt insisted his wrists already hurting from the pressure.
"How do you know this song? Answer me!" Blaine shouted.
"This song is mine, Sir, I swear I - "
"Enough! I won't tolerate another lie, Kurt! Why did you steal my sheet?"
"I didn't steal it, I can't read music! I can only play the piano, and this song is mine, Sir, I made it!"
"Stop!"Blaine finally released Kurt. His face was red with fury and he pinched the bridge of his nose nervously. "I don't want to hear any other of your lies! You stole my song, you - "
"Blaine!" Santana shouted from the door. "What is happening?"
"He stole my music sheet! Didn't you tell him to never come here? He was here, playing the piano like it was…! And the song he played…How else could he know it if he hadn't - he's been sneaking here and looking around and - that was song, Santana!" Blaine spoke with gritted teeth, looking at Kurt with rage.
"I swear, Miss, I didn't!"Kurt whimpered, holding his arms crossed in front of his chest. "I was just playing, and I'm sorry for touching your piano, Sir, but I didn't steal your song sheet! I can't read music, why would I steal it?"
"How come you were playing it? Why did you say it was yours?"
"Come, on, Blaine, you're scaring the boy!" Santana said, approaching Blaine and putting a restraining hand on his shoulder. "Kurt must have heard it once or twice while he was cleaning this floor, or several times even; you are always playing the damn song. Stop with the tantrum, you are not a little boy anymore."
"I - I'm sorry," Kurt said when Santana approached him and guided him out of the room.
"Calm down, Blaine," she said again. "Stop being paranoid, no one entered your precious sanctuary. Now go to sleep, or don't go, God, just don't scream like a lunatic anymore, it's completely unattractive."
Blaine glared at her and let her take Kurt from the room.
Santana led an astounded Kurt to his bedroom and stopped at the door. "Now, Kurt, go to sleep. We'll talk about this tomorrow."
"I swear, Miss, I didn't - I've never - " he said, and there were tears running down his face and his head hurt so much.
"That's okay, I'm sure there is a reasonable explanation why you were playing a song no one knows besides Blaine and I, and why you were playing it in his room, in his piano."
"I didn't steal anything, I swear."
"Shhh… stop crying. It's even less attractive that Blaine's shouts. Go to sleep, tomorrow is another day, we'll talk after breakfast."
"Y - Yes, miss," Kurt managed to say.
When Santana left, he sat on his bed and cried. He cried and cried almost the entire night, until there were no more tears left. He couldn't explain what had happened.
He could understand Blaine's anger at seeing him playing in his room, because he knew he wasn't supposed to be there.
But why did Blaine claimed that Kurt had stolen his song, when Kurt had made that song himself? He had made it, dreamed about it since he could remember; he had learned to play it in Mrs. Jones's old piano when he was still a kid. He couldn't understand why Blaine had accused him of stealing the music sheets.
He didn't know what to think. Did Blaine really have music sheets with that same song? How on Earth was it possible, since it was Kurt's song and no one else's? His head hurt so much that he didn't even want to think anymore. All Kurt knew was that he couldn't stay in Dalton, if Blaine had accused him of stealing - even if it was something so simple as a music sheet.
At five AM, when the sun started to appear on the horizon, Kurt had already packed. He only took what he had brought with him, which wasn't much. His suitcase was quite light, but it felt heavy in his hands, because Kurt's limbs felt like they weighed a ton.
He slipped a note under Santana's door saying thank you and goodbye, and that there was no need to pay him. He didn't want anything from Dalton anymore.
The streets were empty when Kurt closed the gate outside. The garden was beautiful in the early morning light, and Kurt's heart felt so heavy for leaving that he had to fight a new wave of tears that threatened to come. With one last look towards Dalton, Kurt sighed and walked away.
"Look what you've done."
Santana shoved Kurt's note practically under Blaine's nose.
Blaine read it without moving one muscle of his face. "So?" he asked.
"So, the boy went away!" she said, exasperated. "Now what?"
"Now we find another one to replace him."
"God, you're infuriating!" Santana grabbed Blaine's arm. "Do you really think that Kurt has been sneaking to your room without permission?"
Blaine didn't answer.
"You scared the boy so much that he flew, as if he was guilty at any other thing besides curiosity."
"He was playing my song on my piano," Blaine deadpanned.
Santana put her hands on her waist, impatient. "So? Did you see if he really stole the music sheet?"
For the first time, Blaine's face showed some emotion; something resembling guilt. "He didn't. I just checked. The sheet is locked inside the drawer, as always. No one has the key but me, so… no, he didn't steal it."
"So, your stupidity and bad temper made me lose a perfect butler. Not to mention Kurt is a wonderful boy."
"Oh?"Blaine said, lifting one eyebrow. "And how do you explain that he was actually playing the song? And that he claimed it to be his?"
Santana rolled her eyes. "I told you, he must've heard it on the numerous times you played it; they are many, you know. And as for claiming it was his… he was terrified of you, Blaine. Maybe you misunderstood…! Did you look at his eyes? He was trembling like a leaf when I led him to his room. You must have heard it wrong, you were beside yourself."
"Well," Blaine hesitated. "I was already in a terrible mood because of Sue's visit. You know she… unsettles me."
"She does that to everybody," Santana agreed. "But still, did you really have to scream at the boy so much? He was just curious. I know Finn would give his right hand to know what's inside your room, as if there's some hidden secret inside. Kurt is young, he was…"
"Playing the piano, my piano, and no one is allowed to - "
"God, not again, Blaine! You could have talked to the boy, asked him like normal people do, and I'm sure he would explain everything. Now he wouldn't be gone and you wouldn't be sulking."
"I'm not sulking."
"Yes, you are."
Blaine sighed, irritated. "What do you want me to do, Santana? I can't go to the boy's house and bring him back, can I?"
"Well, Blaine, now that you said it, yes. That's exactly what I want you to do."
Two days later, Blaine gave up and went. Santana was driving him crazy. And if he was true to himself, he missed Kurt's presence in Dalton. The house seemed empty and sad without the young man.
Maybe Blaine should hear what Kurt had to say about the whole incident.
Will Schuester looked at Blaine as if he was there to kill his dog. Not that Schuster had a dog, but since Kurt had come home with his suitcase and an expression that scared him and Emma both, - as if he was empty inside - Will felt very protective of Burt's son.
"I'm sorry, Mr. Anderson, but I don't think you should talk to Kurt. He's not feeling well," he said, eyeing Blaine with a serious expression.
"Is he sick?" Blaine asked, twisting his hat in his hands.
"Well, no, but… look, Kurt is my friend's son, and I promised Burt I would take care of him. And he came from your house looking like he had just been run over by a truck. I don't know what happened there, but I can tell it wasn't anything good. So excuse me if I hesitate to let you near him again."
"He hasn't left his room since he came," Emma Schuester explained in a soft voice. "Not even to eat. We're worried. His aura is blue."
Aura? Blaine frowned. "I understand, but…" Blaine shifted from one foot to the other. "I just want to talk to him, nothing bad will happen, I promise."
Emma looked at him with piercing eyes. "You've hurt him. But I can see you're a good person, your aura shows me you mean him no harm. It's…blue, just like his." She put a hand on her husband's shoulder. "Let him see Kurt, dear."
"Emma…" Will hesitated.
"Please, try to remain calm, Mr. Anderson," Emma addressed Blaine with kind eyes. "Have in mind that he's very distressed."
"Do you think it was a wise decision?" Will asked his wife, holding her close, as Blaine went up the stairs to Kurt's room. "We should have called Kurt here."
"Don't worry, my love," she said, kissing his cheek. "They need privacy; there is always someone down here. I have a feeling that something good will come out of this in the end."
"Kurt?" Blaine knocked at the door hesitantly.
After a few minutes Kurt came to open the door. His eyes widened when he saw Blaine, but he sighed and opened the door, motioning for the older man to step inside.
For a moment, no one said anything. Blaine didn't know where to start, but he needed to say something. The moment was already awkward as it was.
"I came here to take you back to Dalton," he said, already cringing inside, because it was definitely not a good start.
"And what makes you think I would go back, Sir?" Kurt said coldly. His eyes were puffy, with huge bags under them, and he looked pale and tired.
Blaine thought he had never seen someone so beautiful. And seeing Kurt so sad made his heart clench inside his chest.
"I mean," Blaine cleared his throat. "We need to talk about what happened."
"With all due respect, Sir, I have nothing else to say."
"Everyone misses you. Santana, Brittany and Finn - "
"I'm sure they will like whoever you hire to replace me," Kurt said, not looking at Blaine.
Blaine took one step in Kurt's direction, but stopped. "Kurt, listen, I…"
"Sir, I'm sorry, but the answer is no. I can't go back after everything that happened. You think I took something that belongs to you, and I don't see how you can let me inside your house if you believe I really did it - even though I didn't take anything." Kurt said, rubbing his eyes with his hands, and Blaine's eyes fell on Kurt's wrists.
His badly bruised wrists.
"I did this?" Blaine asked, finally reaching Kurt's personal space and on an impulse, grabbing the young man's hands to look at his wrists more closely.
Kurt flinched at this touch but didn't take his hands away. Blaine's touch left him suddenly dizzy. "I bruise easily. Too white."
"I'm sorry," Blaine said, eyes widening as he inspected the angry purple marks. "I - I never hurt anyone, it was…" he trailed off. "I'm sorry."
"I didn't steal your music sheet," Kurt mumbled. "I had never gone inside that room before, I swear."
"I know," Blain said softly. "The sheet was locked in the drawer, I saw it. You have no idea how sorry I am; I shouldn't have accused you."
"Oh," was all that Kurt said.
They stayed like that, Blaine holding Kurt's wrists, like the other night, only now he held them softly, absently rubbing his thumbs over the marks.
Kurt looked at his eyes and he felt how sorry Blaine was. "I'm sorry I played your piano without your permission," he said in a small voice. "That was wrong, to go inside your room, knowing you didn't allow anyone inside."
Blaine blinked after a minute - an hour? A day? He couldn't tell - and released Kurt, self-conscious. "I - um… it still doesn't explain how you know the song."
"I've always known it," Kurt declared simply.
"It's impossible. Someone gave me that song, written in a sheet, a long time ago. It's not even the whole song, it was never finished."
"Yes, it was."
"It's impossible, Kurt!"Blaine shook his head. "That song was given to me as a gift. You couldn't - "
"I don't work for you anymore, Sir," Kurt said, sighing. "What reason would I have to lie to you now?"
Blaine sighed too. "True."
Kurt sat on his bed and motioned for Blaine to sit down on a nearby chair. "I've known this song since I can remember. I learned to play it on Mrs. Jones's piano - she was my former employer, in my old town- and all I can tell you is that I know the song is mine, the same way I know my own name. It's just… there. I have no other explanation to give you."
"This is… surreal," Blaine said. "The song… it's been a little more than fifteen years since I have it, and… it was never finished, because the person who gave it to me died."
"Oh. I'm sorry," Kurt said, frowning, his thoughts strangely drifting to Blaine's fireplace and the photographs. "But it's finished. My song, I mean."
Blaine shrugged. "I don't know how to explain this," he said helplessly.
"Are you sure it is the same song, Sir?"
"Positively sure." Blaine said, serious. "Are you sure you've never heard me playing it?"
"I've heard you once," Kurt admitted. "And I thought it had been a dream."
Blaine and Kurt stayed in silence again, each with their own thoughts for a while.
"Maybe we should forget about this," Blaine said, looking at Kurt. "If there's an explanation, it will come to us sooner or later."
Kurt gave a little sigh. "Maybe you're right, Sir."
"Come home with me, Kurt."Blaine said. "We all miss you."
Kurt wanted to go back. Blaine calling Dalton 'home' stirred something inside the young man. Dalton was not his, it was Blaine's. But he felt at home there, like he'd never felt anywhere else before.
"I promise not to overreact again. I'm sorry for your wrists, and I'm sorry that I said you'd stolen the music sheet. I shouldn't have accused you like that. You have been nothing but competent and deserving of my trust. I'm sorry."
"It's alright, Sir. You don't have to apologize. I - I shouldn't even have gone inside the room. It won't happen again."
They gave a shy and awkward smile at each other. "Is that a yes? Will you come back?" Blaine asked.
Kurt gave him another smile, softer. "Yes."
Everyone was happy to see Kurt back. That night, after dinner, Santana went to the kitchen and had coffee and dessert while chatting with Kurt, Brittany and Finn. Blaine went to his office after coffee, claiming he had work to do. They all went to bed early, and Kurt was grateful for that, because he hadn't slept well while he was in the Schuester's house. The problem hadn't been the bed, but how much Kurt missed Dalton. That, and the circumstances that had led to his departure from the house.
It was surreal how much the whole think had affected him. Not only the fact that someone else claimed to know his song, but also the way Blaine had looked at him; like Kurt had betrayed him. His eyes had not only showed anger but also pain.
His dreams hadn't lessened one bit. If anything, now every night Kurt dreamed of Dalton's halls, of the song playing in the distance, calling him. And he walked, ran, searched everywhere, and there was nothing. Once he even reached the piano's room, but -
It was empty, looking abandoned, the piano in a corner, opened, as though someone had just left. Someone who had planned to come back, but hadn't made it.
And there was the song again, calling, always. Coming from everywhere and from nowhere at the same time. Kurt looked around but there was no one there.
He was alone. He was lost. There was only light now, white and blinding, and he couldn't find the other part of himself.
He woke up with a gasp, sweating. Somewhere deep in his chest, there was a strange feeling, of missing something, like a piece of himself was missing; like he had just lost a strong connection he'd once had. He couldn't explain and he couldn't shake the feeling off. Knowing it was useless to go back to sleep now, Kurt got up and decided to go downstairs. Maybe a cup of tea would make him feel better.
He stopped by the stairs, straining his ears when he heard music coming from the third floor. Some of the love songs Brittany liked so much to sing; only the sound was coming from a gramophone. If Kurt was a wise man, he would go downstairs. Make his tea and mind his own business.
But he knew that there could only be one person, at such a late hour. Blaine, in one of his many sleepless nights, locked inside his room, locked inside his thoughts. So Kurt went upstairs, because he had to. There was this feeling, an invisible string pulling him to the older man, and not all the rational thoughts of the whole world could explain that. All that Kurt knew was that, in that moment, he didn't want to fight the will to be close to Blaine.
He knocked timidly at the door, half-expecting to be ignored, and half-fearing to be yelled at. He was intruding, he knew it. It was not his place to go knocking on his employer's room in the middle of the night, not even to offer him the best cup of tea ever. It wasn't proper. Blaine wouldn't probably even listen.
But Blaine did. The music inside the room stopped and Blaine opened the door with an anxious expression, almost as if he had been expecting him.
Blaine looked at Kurt expectantly, and when the young man didn't say anything, he raised his eyebrows."Yes?"
"Um…" Kurt blushed, feeling ridiculous. "Do you… I came to see if you wanted a cup of tea, Sir."
"Oh," Blaine said, sounding almost disappointed. "No, thank you, Kurt."
Kurt nodded, in understanding. Maybe he had really overstepped. What on Earth had given him the impression that knocking on Blaine's door for such a silly reason would be a good idea?
"Do you want to come in?" Blaine asked all of a sudden.
"Me?" Kurt blinked in astonishment.
Blaine raised his eyebrows again, and the corners of his mouth lifted just a little. "I don't see anyone else here."
Kurt smiled, feeling foolish in his pajamas and robe. "Um, alright, then."
Blaine stepped aside to let Kurt in, but when he closed the door and turned to the young man, he looked uncertain. "I was, um… listening to some music. I have a little bit of a problem sleeping."
That was an understatement, Kurt wanted to say, but he attempted for humor, daring to speak to Blaine as he would speak to a friend. "Brittany and Finn would be disappointed to know there aren't any skeletons hidden here. Or jewels and money hidden somewhere."
Blaine let out a startled laugh, and Kurt suddenly felt stupid for saying that. "Skeletons?"
"Not that I would ever tell them that I was here, Sir!" Kurt hurried to say.
Blaine's laugh turned into a soft smile. "I shouldn't be surprised that they all talk about this room. I don't even know why I lock it. It's an old habit, from when Sue still lived here."
"They don't talk about it all the time, Sir!" Kurt said, thinking of Finn and his tendency to talk a little too much. "It's just that it's forbidden and, you see… they… we…"
Blaine smile again. "Relax. I don't mind. I guess that every old house needs a good mystery, and this room is Dalton's secret. Although, as you can see, I'd say it is rather disappointing. There is nothing secret here."
Kurt shrugged lightly, not quite knowing what to say and feeling a little out of place.
"This used to be my old play room. When I was a child, all my toys were here. Then, I grew up and the room changed. The piano came, and… I wanted to keep it safe. I started to spend more time here, just to be alone, you know?"
Blaine took a deep breath, running his hand softly over the black instrument. "When my father married Sue, I practically moved to this room, because it was the only place she never had interest in. She thought it was a basement, and the more I was away from her, the better. That is why it was always locked, so no one would come here, especially Sue."
Kurt looked at the room again, imagining it full of toys for little Blaine. He smiled.
"And when my father died and I managed to send her away, I just… kept coming here. Santana calls it my sanctuary, but it's just a room… only, it's mine, private." Blaine shrugged. "No one ever showed interest in it, so I never bothered to invite anyone in. I just kept it locked, as it always had been."
Kurt blinked. Was Blaine saying that he, Kurt, was the first person he invited in the piano room? No, probably not. Kurt needed to stop daydreaming about his employer like a school girl. It would only get him fired. "Would you play the song for me, Sir? Please?" Kurt asked, on an impulse. Apparently, there was something wrong with the connection between his mouth and his brain.
Blaine blinked a few times, as in shock, and after a few seconds of silence, nodded. There was no need to ask Kurt 'what song' he was talking about. Even though they had agreed not to talk about the subject anymore, Blaine caught himself wanting to play the song for Kurt. Grabbing a key from his vest's pocket, Blaine went to his desk and opened a drawer. He held a sheet of music almost reverently in his hands.
"I know the song by heart," he said, opening the lid of the piano and putting the sheet on place. "But I like to look at it. It was a gift, a very special one, and every time I play this song I just like to look at the notes and - "
"What's the name of the song?"
And Blaine sat on the bench and started to play. The song. Kurt's song. Kurt's eyes widened, because he already knew it was the same song, but now it had a name, and Blaine was playing it with the familiarity of someone who had been playing it for years.
Laughter. Pure, unadulterated, crystalline.
"Take it, Blaine, it's yours." Kurt heard himself saying, only it was not quite his voice.
Beside him, a much younger Blaine giggled. "A gift?"
"You can say that. One day, I'm going to be a famous composer, and you can say you were the first person I wrote a song to."
Laughter again. Blaine was laughing, and the sound was so beautiful that Kurt wanted to cry. Blaine looked so young, carefree, his curly hair cut short and free of gel, making him look like a little boy. "Alright," he said, and he extended his hand to Kurt, who promptly took it in his own.
"It's not finished, you know." Kurt said. "It's for your birthday. But I want you to have this sheet, and when the song turns into a masterpiece, you can sell it and have even more money."
"I'd never sell this; it's a gift, Collin. From you."
Part of Kurt wanted to correct him; his name was Kurt, not Collin. But it felt natural in his ears, so he let it be and concentrated on the feeling of Blaine's hand in his.
"Come, I want t play this part for you."
"Does this song have a name?" Blaine asked, walking behind Kurt to a well-lit room where a black piano waited on the center, imposing, giving the entire room a sophisticated look.
Kurt turned to Blaine and said, smiling, in that voice that was not his: "Dalton's Halls."
"You made a song about my house?"
"Oh, shut up," Kurt smiled. "I wanted to call it 'Blaine', but it would be too…"
Kurt opened his eyes and Blaine was in front of him, shaking his shoulder lightly. "Are you feeling alright?" The older man asked.
"Can I play the rest of the song?" Kurt asked, because it was the first thing to come to his mind.
"What?" Blaine asked, taking one step back.
"The song," Kurt insisted, "It is finished. It may be not entirely on paper, but it is finished."
"Kurt…" Blaine said, looking uncertain. "We already talked about this. I don't think that - "
"You can send me away again if you want, Sir," Kurt said, feeling defiant. "But I know this song since forever, and what you played is only a part of it. Let me play the entire song, Sir, please. Then you can judge if you believe me or not."
Blaine took a deep, tired breath. "Go ahead. Play it."
Kurt took Blaine's place at the piano and started to play. The music flowed, Kurt's fingers running through the keyboard precisely, like he had done so many times before. He played with his heart, pouring into it every single dream he'd ever had about the song that had always haunted him; the song that had always been his most faithful companion.
He didn't want to stop to think about the scene that had just played inside his head, and who was Collin, and why he had seen this boy giving the song to Blaine. This particular song. He didn't stop to think if he had finally gone mad and had started to dream awake, or sleep walk. It didn't feel like a dream, anyway. It had been more like a memory, even if that seemed so crazy that Kurt vowed not to tell anyone about this.
He just played.
And when he finished, Blaine was looking at him with eyes wide, face pale, expression haunted.
"I'm sorry," Kurt said, looking at the way Blaine clutched the sheet in his hands, knuckles almost white, hands trembling slightly. "I shouldn't - "
"How is this possible?" Blaine asked, astonished. "It's… perfect. It sounds exactly the way I always imagined it would sound."
Kurt didn't know what to say.
"How… When…" Blaine started, and stopped again, frowning as if to rearrange his thoughts.
"I've always heard this song in my dreams," Kurt started softly. "Mrs. Jones, my old employer, had a piano. Her daughter Mercedes always let me play, and this was the first thing I learned. I leaned to play other songs too, but I never really learned music, we could never afford a teacher. It was just there. Inside my head."
"It is amazing," Blaine said. "Someone very special to me gave me this song, and after a short time, died."
"I'm sorry," Kurt said.
"The piano was his too," Blaine continued. "When he died, his parents sold everything and moved to Scotland. I bought his piano and brought it here. He was going to be a musician, a composer," Blaine said, giving Kurt a sad smile.
"He?" Kurt asked, frowning, remembering in a flash - one day I'm going to be a famous composer -
"Collin," Blaine said. "He was my… my best friend."
Kurt spent the remaining of the night awake. He couldn't stop thinking about Blaine and Collin, and the scene that had played in his head out of nowhere. It couldn't be only his fertile imagination, because how could he know beforehand that Collin had given Blaine the song? And how did the name Collin pop inside his mind out of nowhere in the first place?
Why had he seen himself in Collin's place in the dream?
Because it had been a dream. It had to be. Kurt had always tried to be rational, he was an atheist, after all. He wasn't going to start believing in ghosts or anything like that. But this was starting to get harder and harder to explain without some other meaning, something that couldn't be of this world. He was sure that his father would love to know everything about this, and he would try to find supernatural explanations that would suit his romantic soul; things like fate and destiny, that for Kurt, were mere words.
Only, now these things he always saw as products of an overactive imagination or a dreamer heart, were happening to him, and if it hadn't been something like fate that had brought Kurt to Dalton, he didn't know what could possibly be.
He and Blaine had agreed not to talk about the song anymore. At least, not until they could explain what had really happened, where it had come from. They decided it was just one of those amazing coincidences of life. And life went on.
Two weeks later Blaine came home with a new gramophone record. "It's Louis Armstrong," he said. "I love jazz and the blues, don't you?"
Kurt smiled while he served the coffee, curious, but knowing where his place as a butler was. They hadn't talked too much since that night, but if Kurt had expected Blaine to avoid him due to the awkwardness of the whole situation, he hadn't. Blaine seemed friendly as ever, and Kurt reacted the same way.
The only problem was that Kurt was more than falling for Blaine now, and knowing it would never be reciprocated was starting to hurt.
Adding to that was Kurt's fear that, one day, he would go completely crazy. If only Blaine knew that Kurt had dreamed awake that day while Blaine was playing…Kurt decided not to say anything, because he didn't want to scare Blaine away just because he was an aberration. Just because he'd seen himself in a dead man's place, in a scene that probably been a product of his brain short-circuiting. If people started to think he was a lunatic, he would lose his job. And worse, he would never see Blaine again.
"If you're not too tired tonight," Blaine said to him after dinner, "you can come over, if you want. We could listen to the record together."
"I… yes, of course," Kurt answered, knowing exactly which place Blaine was referring to, and frankly, because he just wanted to go, even if part of him was telling him that he shouldn't.
And just like that, something that looked a little like friendship started to grow between them. Something completely natural, not forced at all. They seemed to seek each other's company without really thinking about it, and if Brittany, Finn or Santana noticed anything, they didn't comment on it.
They didn't tell the others that they were meeting, not because it was a secret - it wasn't a secret, there was nothing wrong with them meeting some nights just to talk, was there? But the others would start speculating about 'why Kurt?' - besides, it wasn't anyone's business if they happened to have the same musical taste and shared a passion for books. Blaine hadn't asked Kurt not to tell anyone, although Kurt suspected that Santana sort of knew. Kurt just liked to keep that part of the day - his favorite by far - only to himself.
Every couple of days, Blaine would find a reason to call Kurt to the piano room. And when he didn't, Kurt would knock on his door after everyone had gone to bed, with a sheepish smile and a cup of tea, claiming that the mixture of herbs would help Blaine to sleep. Blaine then would invite him in, and they would talk, listen to music, play piano together. Blaine loved to talk and Kurt loved to listen.
Kurt talked about Burt too, and about how he missed him. He could talk about his father for hours, and about everything he had learned with him. And Blaine always seemed interested in every story Kurt had to tell.
They had a mutual love for books, so Blaine would let Kurt read anything he wanted from his battered bookcase, and they would talk about the plots and how good this or that author was, until their throats hurt.
The fact that they were employer and employee, or that Blaine was older than Kurt didn't seem to matter too much when they were alone in the piano room. They got along just fine, it felt familiar to them. During the day, they were friendly towards each other, but polite, and Blaine treated Kurt with the same courtesy he treated everyone.
But when they were alone, it was as if another Blaine appeared: calmer, relaxed and a lot more talkative, even if he hardly talked about himself.
Kurt liked to think that Blaine enjoyed his company, at least a little, because Blaine would smile softly at him, like he cared . And Kurt would smile in return, because how could he not? Blaine was like a magnet, and even if the idea of them being friends was ludicrous, Kurt liked to think it could be true one day.
There was tension, sometimes. Like when their fingers brushed by accident and an electric current would startle Kurt. He was grateful that Blaine hadn't noticed how Kurt kept stealing glances at him. But if there was one thing Kurt was finding really hard to do, was not looking at Blaine.
He hoped Blaine would never notice. He didn't dare thinking what Blaine's reaction would be if he ever realized Kurt had these sort of feelings for him.
Then, one day, Blaine caught Kurt singing.
He had finally asked Kurt to please clean the piano room - and that had finally earned Kurt looks of admiration from Finn and Brittany, while Santana merely lifted an eyebrow and gave Kurt a secret smile, as if she knew something Kurt didn't. Kurt was distracted, cleaning the bookcase, the windows open, the afternoon light giving the room a beautiful atmosphere, making it look even cozier. Kurt was cleaning and singing, and suddenly Blaine was behind him.
Kurt stopped in mid sweep, the duster in his hand, mouth hanging open. Blaine was looking at him strangely, like he had seen something he hadn't expected.
"You have a beautiful voice," Blaine said, after some time, while a flustered Kurt excused himself and fled, not even closing the windows, and leaving Blaine frowning behind.
No one except for Burt and Mercedes had ever heard Kurt sing. How many people would hear a countertenor and not judge? He knew his voice was… unusual, and in school he had been mocked about it. He had hoped it would change when he got older, but he was already eighteen, and now he knew it would always be like that.
Kurt tried not to think about Blaine's reaction at hearing him singing, and that night, he disappeared inside his room early and tried to sleep without thinking that Blaine had probably thought he was even stranger than he already felt.
The next day, Blaine knocked at Kurt's door when he got home, late afternoon.
"They say warblers have the most beautiful voice among all birds," he said, showing Kurt a cage where a yellow bird jumped here and there. "Your voice is equally beautiful, Kurt, so I thought you two could make each other company."
"Oh, goodness," was all Kurt said, taking the cage from Blaine's hands.
"This is Pavarotti. Take care of him. You're very alike, because your voice is one of the most beautiful sounds I've ever heard."
"I thought you hadn't - "Kurt started.
"You thought I hadn't liked it? That's why you ran?"
"It's too… high. The tone -"
Kurt blushed, feeling like his chest had been flooded with warmth. "Thank you," he said, indicating to the cage.
"Kurt," Blaine said, giving a step in Kurt's direction, and suddenly stopping, as if he'd had a second thought. "You don't have to thank me. It is a gift from…" Blaine took a deep breath, "a friend to another."
"Friend?" Kurt asked, unable to hide the stupid smile on his face.
"If you want to," Blaine said, almost shy. "I know you work for me, and this is rather… I don't want you to think you have to be friendly towards me just because I'm your employer, but… I like your company. And if you want to, I'd like to know if… we could… be friends."
"I'm so happy to be your friend," Kurt said to Blaine when they sat on the garden's bench.
"Me too, Collin," Blaine smiled calmly at Kurt. "You're the only one I can really talk to. Thad and Wes are great, but - "
"I know," Kurt said, frowning a little, lost in thought.
"Hey, where is this new piano of yours? You haven't showed it to me yet," Blaine complained, almost pouting.
"Ask your father if you can come to my house after school. I'll show you, it's in the living room, the most beautiful piano I've ever seen."
"Yes, I know, you only said that a hundred times," Blaine laughed.
Kurt blinked twice, and felt his heart beating so loud, he thought Blaine would listen. "I'd like that very much, Sir."
"Hey, no, no," Blaine shook his head, looking at Kurt with soft eyes, "If we're going to be friends, you'll have to call me Blaine."
Kurt clutched at his left leg, looking annoyed at the dog that barked and growled at him.
"Sebastian!" Blaine said, looking at the dog, which immediately came near its owner and put his head in his lap, expecting some sort of petting. "No, no, go to your house!" Blaine said, pointing to the garden. "Bad boy! Leave him alone!"
Sebastian put his tail between his legs and went, and if he was human he would have looked sad, disappointed. But when he passed Kurt he snarled at the young man again.
"Are you alright?" Blaine asked.
"It didn't even scratch," Kurt said, thankful for the material of his pants. "I don't know why this dog doesn't like me."
Blaine laughed. "I bought both dogs together, but they are completely different. Jeremiah doesn't like me too much, he doesn't even like when I feed him, but he's obedient. I like him; he's quiet, a good company. Sebastian, on the other hand, follows me everywhere, almost to the point of inconvenience. Sometimes he embarrasses me, because he is always snarling at my guests. He never disliked anyone who lives here, though. Well, except for you, it seems."
"Well, it's clearly just me. He's friendly towards Finn and Brittany."
"Or maybe he's bored. I know how much they hate the city, you should see them running at the vineyards. They look like children," Blaine said, looking at the dogs affectionately.
Kurt didn't think he would like to see Sebastian running anywhere. Well, perhaps if he'd run to the middle of the street and a car came and - "stop, Kurt," he thought, "it's just a stupid dog". But the dog didn't like him, and the feeling was mutual.
Sebastian was annoying, always jumping around Blaine like a clown. Jeremiah was slightly better, because he was indifferent to Kurt.
Kurt grabbed Pavarotti's cage. "I think I will take him inside. It's getting cold."
It had been a beautiful afternoon, and Kurt had taken Pavarotti to get some air, after he finished his chores. Blaine had come to the garden with the dogs, like he always did after work, and Sebastian had tried to bite Kurt as soon as the butler got near Blaine.
"Um… Kurt, I was thinking… The dogs are getting restless in the city. They need, uh… fresh air, and it's been almost two months since I was at the farm. I'm planning on going there for a week or two, and Finn usually goes with me, so… would you like to come too?"
"Me?" Kurt asked, his mouth hanging open. "To the vineyards?"
Blaine laughed. "Why do you always say that? Yes, of course it's you, I'm inviting you to come to the vineyard, to the farm, with us."
December was definitely not the best month to go to a farm, Kurt decided. The cold seemed to seep into his bones, even though the train cabin was warm. Blaine read the newspaper for a while, but ended up dozing off, while Finn - who was fast asleep as soon as he sat down on the comfortable chair - snored like a truck. Kurt tried to read, but he couldn't shake the anticipation out of his head.
This vineyard, Kurt wondered, could it be like the one in his dreams? Because if it were, Kurt would definitely give up trying to explain rationally what was happening to him these past months - or maybe his whole life. Maybe it was time to stop looking for explanations and just go with the flow. He was different, that was all.
As it turned out, the vineyard looked a lot like the one from Kurt's dreams. But maybe all vineyards looked the same, who knew? As the car Blaine had rented went on the bumpy road that led to the farm's house, Kurt could see on both sides of the narrow road, vast plantations of grape-bearing vines that seemed to go on and on forever. He felt a rush of emotion suddenly, feeling that he was exactly where he was supposed to be.
"Kurt? Is everything alright?"Blaine asked, concerned, when Kurt took a deep, shuddering breath.
"Yes," Kurt hurried to say. "It's just the cold."
"Well, it's December. I'm surprised it hasn't snowed yet."
The dogs slipped outside the car, barking excitedly, as soon as Finn opened the back door. They ran to the front of the farm's house, a big imposing two story building with orange roof and peach walls. It looked even older than Dalton, but solid and cozy. Kurt loved it.
A man in his mid-twenties came to them, smiling broadly, while Jeremiah and Sebastian jumped around him.
"Afternoon, boss! Hiya, Finn!" He greeted, clasping Finn's hand.
"Hello, Rory," Blaine said, smiling too. "How is everything?"
"Oh, the cold's been merciful this year," he said, petting Jeremiah on the head.
"This is Kurt," Finn introduced, "He's the new butler."
"Hello," Kurt said, shaking Rory's hand firmly.
"Rory Flanagan. Came from Ireland, found my little piece of heaven here in boss's vineyards," The man said, and Kurt had to smile at how natural it sounded that Rory called Blaine 'boss' unceremoniously and no one batted an eye about it. "Let's get your luggage inside, shall we?" Rory said, smiling friendly at Kurt. "Go inside, boss, Quinn has just made that soup you like so much, the one with mushrooms."
Blaine didn't need to be told twice. "My favorite," he said, rubbing his hands and smiling at Rory and Kurt, "And with this cold, it's perfect!"
A big, fat man with a serious face approached them, a cigarette dangling from his mouth. "Need help?" he asked Rory.
"Yep, take the heavier one, Dave!" Rory said, while he and Kurt took a suitcase each and left the heavy trunks to Dave and Finn. "Dave Karofsky," he explained. "Good man, only a little grumpy. He's my right hand. Not an easy task to take care of all this," he indicated the plantation with his head. "Pretty girl in the kitchen is Quinn, my girlfriend. Gonna get married to her next summer."
As they entered the house, Kurt's jaw dropped at how beautiful it was inside. Heavy, wooden furniture, looking solid and expensive, but without the luxury of Dalton; wooden floor, white walls, high ceiling. The house was gorgeous.
"This place is wonderful," Kurt murmured, as they went upstairs, Finn and Dave panting behind them, each struggling with a heavy trunk.
"Wait till sunset comes, man, and take a look at the vineyards from the second floor balcony. A sight you'll never forget."
Rory took Kurt to what would be his room. It was small, with a bed that looked very comfortable, if not smaller and simpler than the one at Dalton's, and a dresser. "The rooms are small here, even boss's. His old man liked it better this way, said it was cozier. He stopped coming when he got married again, wife hated the countryside, and then he died…"Rory trailed off. "I think boss would live here all the time, if he didn't have to go to the city so often. Lots of properties to take care of, you know."
That night they all had dinner together. Blaine sat at the head of the table, Rory by his right side, Quinn by his left. For Kurt, it was like meeting Blaine all over again, because he seemed to be a whole different person here.
It was amazing how relaxed Blaine looked, how at ease he seemed to be with everything and everyone. Blaine was a very simple man, which was very unusual for someone so wealthy; he treated his employees like they were his friends. Kurt liked to think that Blaine was like that because that was just his way of treating everybody, not because he had no family left in the whole world.
Over dinner, Kurt caught himself looking surreptitiously at Blaine, while the older man talked with Rory and Dave about everything related to the plantation, about the books and papers, and how everything needed to be taken care of if the snow really came. He couldn't not look, because the light of the candles reflected in Blaine's eyes and the amber in them danced, making Kurt want to look at them closer.
The food was delicious. They had Quinn's famous soup along with homemade bread and butter, and Blaine opened a bottle of the wine he produced. Kurt didn't drink alcohol, but the wine was truly good, tasting sweet and feeling like silk as it slid down his throat.
"You don't need to help me," Quinn said for the hundredth time after dinner, when Kurt was drying the dishes. "Why don't you go to the back porch with the others?"
"They're talking about rugby," Kurt replied. "Sports aren't really my thing."
Eventually, he decided to join them when coffee was ready. Quinn went with him, sitting near Rory. Kurt kept mostly in silence while the other men discussed who would win the championship this season. The wine had made him restless, face flushed, although he wasn't drunk at all. If anything, his senses seemed sharper.
Once or twice he caught Blaine looking at him, but then the older man would turn his face to the other side, taking to Finn or Rory, and Kurt was left wondering if he had imagined the whole thing.
It was late and Kurt couldn't sleep. Every time he closed his eyes, he could see himself running through the vines searching for something he couldn't find, and that feeling of missing something so much it almost hurt, deep inside his chest, was always present. He finally gave up sleeping, because if he did, he would have the stupid dream, as always, and he was getting tired it.
The front porch was dimly lit, and when Kurt opened the front door, a heavy wave of cold assaulted him. He was protected, though, with a heavy coat, scarf and gloves. Despite the biting cold, the night was beautiful, the sky clear and the stars a lot more visible than at the city.
Kurt sat on one of the rocking chairs and looked at the sky, letting his mind run free and the silence of the night enveloped him like a cloak.
"Show me the constellations, Blaine," Kurt asked, and when he turned his head to the left, Blaine was there, smiling at him, his boyish face so close to Kurt's that all he had to do to touch him was raise his hand. "Why do you look at the sky so much? Come on, I want to know what you think about when you look at the stars."
"What do you want to know about them?" Blaine asked, smiling. He always smiled whenever they were together.
"Everything," Kurt murmured. "Do you know all the names? Of all the stars?"
Blaine giggled. "Silly. It's impossible to know all the names, there are too many."
"Even so," Kurt said. "Tell me about them; I like hearing your voice."
He listened in awe while Blaine pointed at the stars and told him the constellations' names. They were both lying on the grass, and it wasn't cold anymore; it was a warm, summer night, and the night sky was beautiful. They were young, free, and the world was at their feet.
"Collin? You're not paying attention anymore, are you?" Blaine said, and Kurt noticed that he hadn't been paying attention for some time.
Kurt smiled at Blaine and slowly interlaced their hands together. "Do you think we are strange, Blaine? For… feeling like this? I mean, I want to spend every time I can with you."
Blaine sighed and squeezed his hand. "I don't know. It doesn't feel wrong when we're together, talking, like we are now. It feels nice."
"Yes, it does," Kurt conceded.
"I mean, we are friends, aren't we?" Blaine asked.
Kurt looked at him, but then felt is face so hot that he had to look away. "Is this all that we are?"
Blaine sighed again. "I don't know. I really don't think anyone would understand our friendship."
"Neither do I."
"It's not anyone's business, anyway," Blaine said. "Even if we don't understand it, we can feel it, and that's enough, isn't it?" Blaine's voice sounded anxious.
"It's more than enough, Blaine," Kurt said in the voice that wasn't his, trying to give Blaine the reassurance he needed for himself.
"Good," Blaine said, looking at the stars again. "Sometimes, I'm scared, though. I…I like you a lot, Collin."
"Blaine?" Kurt said, looking at Blaine's profile, barely lit by moonlight.
"Mmmm?" Blaine asked, distracted.
"I like you a lot too. Don't worry…I'll never say goodbye to you."
"Kurt?" Kurt heard Blaine's voice again, but it sounded distant, different, older.
"I'll never say goodbye to you," Kurt said softly.
And then Blaine was there, in front of him, holding Kurt by the shoulders and shaking him a little. "What did you just say?"
"What?" Kurt said, blinking several times, realizing he was at the front porch, in a winter night, with an older Blaine looking at him like he's seen a ghost.
"Kurt…?"Blaine sounded alarmed. "What did you just say now?"
"I - I don't know," Kurt lied, self-conscious. "I was dreaming, I guess."
"Your eyes were open."
"Maybe I sleepwalk," Kurt retorted, a little irritated.
"Kurt, this is not - Where did you hear it? How did you - "
"I don't know!" Kurt finally lost it. "I was here, looking at the sky, and then I wasn't anymore, I was dreaming, and you were there and - "
"I was there?" Blaine asked, very serious. "In your dream?"
Kurt felt his whole face on fire. Had he just admitted to his employer that he had been dreaming about him? "It was nothing," he insisted.
"Kurt…"Blaine kneeled in front of Kurt's rocking chair. "Tell me… what is happening? You looked…dazed a few minutes ago."
"I don't know."Kurt sighed. "I'm tired. I think I'll go to bed now."
Blaine released him and got up, walking to the other chair and sitting on it. "You should go inside," he agreed tiredly. "It's cold, you're going to get sick."
"Yes," Kurt said, sighing heavily. "I'm… sorry if I upset you in any way."
"Kurt," Blaine got up and suddenly he was there, near Kurt again, seeming to forget everything that was proper about personal space, and Kurt could smell clean soap on Blaine's skin and wine on his breath. "Why are you apologizing? You did nothing wrong."
"You seemed upset… what I said, I don't know where it came from. It was just a dream, it doesn't mean anything."
Blaine looked at the floor, shoulders hunched. "It was just… it sounded a lot like something someone said to me a long time ago. It meant a lot at that time, but now…" he shrugged. "Never mind, it's just a memory. I am sorry for over reacting. It seems I do this a lot."
"I have these dreams a lot," Kurt confessed, praying to whomever would be listening - even though he believed no one would - that Blaine wouldn't think he was crazy."Usually when I'm sleeping, but… sometimes they come when I'm awake." He didn't add 'since I met you' because it would sound much more inappropriate than the whole situation already was. Them, being here, in the middle of the night, alone and talking to each other like -
"And what are your dreams about?"
Kurt took a few steps back, needing to put some distance between him and Blaine, because the other man's proximity made it hard for him to think clearly. Was he really about to tell Blaine every little secret about him? And how would he explain that he had just had another 'dream' about Blaine and Collin. And that he'd seen himself in Collin's place again, his hand in Blaine's -
Oh goodness. This was crazy, Kurt was going crazy.
Or maybe he had fallen for Blaine so hard, that he was dreaming about him all the time… seeing himself as Blaine's best friend, seeing them in situations that would never happen, because Blaine would never look at him like he had looked at Collin in his dream.
And now he was imagining that there had been more than friendship between Blaine and the blond boy. This was bordering obsession, and oh God, Blaine would soon see how crazy Kurt was and he would never want to see him again.
"I need to go," Kurt said, turning away from Blaine, but Blaine's hand caught his, making his breath hitch, making everything stop.
"Kurt, wait, don't go," Blaine asked softly, eyes glistening, almost pleading. "We don't need to talk about this if you don't want to. Just… stay here, keep me company. We can just, you know, talk."
"I like when you talk; I like hearing your voice," Kurt said without thinking, the sentence seeming to come from deep inside his mind, from another time. Oh no, not again.
Then Blaine's eyes widened again and he took a deep breath. "Kurt - " he took one step in Kurt's direction, still holding his hand.
"I have to go." Kurt pulled his hand free and left the porch almost running, because if he didn't, he would throw himself at Blaine's arms, and how stupid would that be? His heart was beating so fast that he thought he was going to faint.
This couldn't be happening. It couldn't be true. But it was getting harder and harder to deny it. He was totally in love with Blaine. It couldn't be worse, because they were so different, and besides the obvious social barrier, Blaine was older, and they were both men. He had gone to London to find another life, a better one, and instead he had found unrequited love.
Where was the happiness of falling in love for the first time in his life if this love could never happen, would never be? Would Kurt have to shove everything to the back of his mind, and learn how to pretend to feel nothing when Blaine came near him? Would he have to learn how to hide what he was feeling, hide who he was, or even distance himself from Blaine, because nothing good could come from that?
He didn't want to fall in love with his employer. But there was nothing Kurt could do now; he knew it was already too late.
Back, on the front porch, Blaine hid his face in his hands and squeezed his eyes shut. Why on Earth was everything so hard?
Since he had met Kurt, it had felt like suddenly, there was light in Blaine's life again. He felt comfortable around the young man, like he had known him forever. Spending time with Kurt was the best part of Blaine's day.
At first, Blaine dismissed the effect Kurt had on him, saying to himself that it was just his willingness to help Kurt that made him want to be near him all the time. Yes, the young man was gorgeous, perfect even, could sing like an angel, had a wonderful personality, his wit and well-humored sarcasm one of the best things in him. But then what? He was young, alone in a big city. Blaine wanted to help him. Nothing more, right?
But… who was Blaine kidding? He could lie to everyone but himself. Kurt affected him. A lot. Kurt moved him, like no one ever had before. Not even -
Blaine shook his head. He was being inappropriate, he knew. Kurt was his butler, he worked for him. And he was so young, the innocence radiating from him in waves. He was the most beautiful person Blaine had ever seen, but… He. Had. To. Stay. Away. Blaine was older, for God's sake! Wasn't he supposed to be wiser?
Even if Kurt was like him, even if Kurt was a man who liked other men, he was still far too young to know what he wanted, right? Blaine himself hadn't known, not until it was too late and he'd lost the one person who could understand what it meant to be like that.
And yet, when he'd held Kurt's hand, he had felt… warm inside, complete. And he'd seen Kurt's reaction to his touch; the young man was not immune to his presence.
Was he seeing too much? Had he just made a fool of himself and scared Kurt, invading his personal space, making him feel uncomfortable? Had Blaine misunderstood Kurt's eyes on him? Or worse, was Kurt feeling like he had to accept Blaine's advances - and oh God, Blaine wasn't really crossing any inappropriate invisible line here, was he? - because he worked for Blaine?
This could not go on like that. He could not go on like that. He'd have to forget about this, even if it would be hard seeing Kurt and having to keep distance. Blaine had loved before -or so he thought, because it had barely started, and it had been ripped off from him, taken away forever. He would not, could not do it again. It would bring him nothing but heartache.
The next day, and the days that came after that, went smoothly, like nothing had ever happened. Kurt and Blaine tried to stay away from each other, but it didn't last an entire day. They quickly realized that it was impossible not to be close, and they friendship and easy light banter continued as always. Like an unspoken truce, like something they had agreed to do - they just forgot about everything and just were.
Kurt would spend the mornings with Quinn, helping her with her chores, while Blaine and Rory poured over the books, making sure everything was going well with the business, and Finn went to the fields with Dave, Jeremiah and Sebastian.
After lunch, Blaine would take a nap, and then in the late afternoons, he and Kurt would usually take a walk around the property. Kurt had never seen so many grape vines in his life, and the soles of his shoes wouldn't last much, if they kept walking like that. But he loved Blaine's company, so he wasn't complaining.
At night, after diner, they would all go to the porch to talk and have coffee. Finn had brought his old guitar - who would have thought the man could play? - and Rory and Kurt alternated singing. Blaine would join them now and then, but he always claimed his voice hadn't been made for singing, something Kurt thought was a terrible lie, but he didn't push.
Every time Kurt sang, he could feel Blaine's piercing gaze on him. Like he could see Kurt's thoughts. It was thrilling and terrifying, feeling Blaine's eyes on him, like he wanted to know Kurt's secrets. Maybe it was just curiosity on Blaine's part, but for Kurt it was everything, the spark that was always there.
Christmas was coming in a little more than a week, and everyone was excited about it. Rory and Quinn would come to London to spend Christmas with them at Dalton, because they had no family in the UK. Dave would stay to take care of the vineyard; his family lived in the village nearby.
Kurt tried not to be very enthusiastic about it, because he missed Burt, but he was dying to see the Christmas lights in the city. Its decorations for Christmas were famous and he'd always wanted to see them.
It was on their last day at the vineyard that the fire started.
Kurt had been once again at the front porch, late at night, thinking about everything and nothing at the same time, when he heard the screams and saw the light and smoke coming from the left. It wasn't near, but he could already see Dave running in the house's direction, waving his arms and screaming desperate. "Fire! Fire!"
Kurt ran inside, fast as a bullet and woke Rory up, then Finn and finally Blaine. They all ran to the porch, seeing, with horror, that the fire had already spread a little due to the wind.
"I don't know how it happened," Dave was saying, almost crying, "The plantation, I…I was smoking, and then - "
"Get the axes!" Rory shouted to the other employees who had already gathered around the house. "Quinn, we need water!"
Kurt followed her, along with all the women and some of the men, to get the buckets and start the water pump. Finn, Dave and Rory had already an axe each, and were running to where the fire was.
"No, boss, you stay!" Kurt heard Rory shouting at Blaine, when he came with a bucket full of water. "You are going to get hurt!"
"My vineyard, Rory! Mine! You think I will stay here and not try to save it?"
"But - "
Blaine turned to Kurt and grabbed the bucket from his hands. "Get more water," he said to him, "I'll come back to get it."
Kurt nodded and ran to the kitchen again, while Blaine followed Rory to the fire.
Two hours later and they were still fighting the fire like crazy. Kurt was exhausted, like everyone else. They had finally started to extinguish the fire, the wind mercifully lessening a little. The flames, from where Kurt could see, were much smaller, but they still needed to keep fighting them, and there was a lot of smoke now. Kurt's feet hurt, and his arms were almost numb from so many heavy buckets of water he had carried for Blaine to take to the field.
He was at the porch, another full bucket in hand, waiting for Blaine to come get more water. Finn was beside him, equally exhausted, drinking some water, face almost black from the grime, ready to go and fight the flames some more.
"Finn! Finn!" Rory came running in their direction, eyes wide and panicked. "Did you see where boss went?"
"I thought he was with you!" Finn shouted, getting up and running down the steps to the front of the house. Kurt, heart thundering in his chest, followed him.
"He went after the stupid dogs!" Rory said, exasperated. "I thought you had them tied at the backyard!"
"You think I would think of the damn dogs with all this fire?" Finn shouted. "Oh, God, where is he? Why did you let him go?"
"Where is Blaine?" Kurt almost screamed, panic starting deep inside his chest.
"I told him not to go, we were working side by side, and he shouted something about that stupid Sebastian, but I was busy, there's a fire out there, you know? And when I looked again, he was gone."
"There's so much smoke," Kurt breathed out. "Oh, God, Blaine…"
"Damn!" Finn said. "Let's go, we need to find him!"
Kurt followed them without hesitation. "I'm going with you."
"Are you crazy?" Finn yelled. "It's a furnace out there! What if you inhale too much smoke and - "
"What if Blaine inhales too much smoke?" Kurt asked, desperate. "I'm a man as much as you are, Finn; I can take care of myself."
"Let him go, man," Rory said tiredly, "we need all the help we can get."
They ran in the direction of the flames, and the heat was unbearable. If Kurt hadn't been so desperate to find Blaine, he would never, ever go near a firebox like that. There was smoke everywhere, and so they spread, each in one direction, looking for Blaine. Kurt didn't even care when Finn yelled for him to be careful.
Kurt ran through the vineyard barefoot, calling for Blaine, hearing the shouts of the men fighting the flames in the distance. There was too much smoke, and he put his scarf around his mouth and nose, trying to breathe more easily. It was almost like in his dream, where he ran desperately looking everywhere, and never found what he was looking for. Only, it felt much worse, because Blaine was out there.
The thought of Blaine lost, possibly hurt, terrified him like nothing else ever had. He heard a bark, but he couldn't tell the direction, and desperation started to take him. What if Blaine had died?
The more he ran, the more smoke he inhaled, to the point where he began to get dizzy. "Blaine!" He shouted again, straining his ears for an answer, any answer. "Blaine!"
There was another bark, this one near him, and turning his head, Kurt saw one of the dogs. He approached the animal, but it disappeared between the foliage, and Kurt followed it, hoping to find Blaine soon.
Back at where Finn and Rory were, Blaine finally appeared, Sebastian trailing behind him. "I can't find Jeremiah anywhere," he said to the men, tiredly. "He just vanished."
"You scared us, boss," Rory said, putting one hand on his chest in a relieved gesture. "Don't do that again!"
"Where's Kurt?" Finn asked suddenly, looking around.
"Kurt? Isn't he at the house?" Blaine asked, nostrils flaring.
"You disappeared, boss," Rory explained. "He wanted to come with us and look for you…couldn't stop him."
"Oh, God, no," Blaine said, eyes wide.
"We split, he went in that direction," Rory pointed to where there was still fire.
"And you let him go just like that?" Blaine screamed.
"He was frantic, there was nothing we could have - "
"Just shut up, Finn!" Blaine snapped, before disappearing between the vines again, shouting Kurt's name.
"Blaine!" Kurt didn't have much more strength to run or shout. The smoke had lessened mercifully where he was, or maybe he'd just ran away from it. The dog - it could only be Jeremiah, because so far it hadn't tried to bite him - faithfully by his side, barking all the time, as if calling for Blaine too.
"Kurt!" he heard suddenly, coming from the right. He darted to the voice's direction, heart beating fast. It was Blaine's voice, he was sure of it. Blaine was alive. Kurt ran as fast as he could when the voice called again. "Kurt!"
"I'm here!" he answered, relieved that it was really Blaine calling him.
And suddenly he was there, in front of Kurt, white shirt almost black with dirt, but mercifully, beautifully alive and in one piece.
"Kurt," Blaine said, sounding as desperate as Kurt felt, and then he was holding Kurt close, his arms around the young man, hugging him tight as if his life depended on it.
"Blaine," Kurt returned the hug with equal strength, and nothing in that moment mattered, nothing was more important than Blaine there, near him, holding him, safe. "Don't ever do that to me again. I was so scared!" Kurt murmured, voice muffled by Blaine's shirt.
"So was I," Blaine said hands clutching at Kurt's back. "Are you alright?" Blaine's eyes checked Kurt's face for any injuries. "You shouldn't have come; it's dangerous; what if something had happened to you?"
"I had to find you. What if you had died in the fire, Blaine? What would I do?" Kurt asked, desperate, not even caring that he was practically confessing his love for Blaine in the middle of a fire, dirty and full of grime and with a stupid dog watching everything.
"I - Blaine choked, loosening the hug to look at Kurt's eyes. "What if I'd lost you too?" he asked, unable to register the fact that he had just told Kurt that he needed him.
"I told you," Kurt whispered, suddenly remembering something he had already said, but at the same time hadn't, "I'll never say goodbye to you."
And then, like something that was meant to happen for a long time, they were kissing. None could say who had started it, and it didn't matter. All that existed in the world, right now, was them, this moment and this kiss.
It felt natural, real, right, like pieces of a very familiar puzzle finally - finally - fitting together.
They didn't move for a long time, lost in each other, in the many kisses that followed the first one. They stayed there, standing in the vineyard, smoke around them like a curtain, leaving the rest of the world oblivious to what was really going on.
After what had felt like forever, they had finally stopped kissing, and just stared at each other.
"We should go," Blaine said, looking flustered, his hair in disarray, making him look a lot younger. "Before they send a search party."
"I know," Kurt nodded, knowing he sounded stupidly dazed.
Blaine gave Kurt a little smile, took Kurt's hand in his own and turned to go, following the voices that could be heard from the left. He released Kurt's hand right before they left the plantation, though, and gave Kurt an apologetic grimace. Kurt - although he understood it perfectly why - couldn't help but feel his hand strangely empty.
The fire was extinguished eventually, although they had lost almost one fourth of the grape vines. But no one had died, and except for a few workers who had inhaled a lot of smoke, everyone remained unharmed.
It was almost dawn when they came back to the house. Kurt trailed after everyone almost obediently, so tired that he could barely think, helping in what he could, but feeling like part of him was disconnected from everything else.
He was still floating.
Blaine had kissed him.
He didn't know what to think of it, so he decided to occupy is mind with something else. He decided to take a long bath, and it felt like he would never be able to take all the grime off him. He still didn't know if they were really going back to London that day - that had been the plan, but then the fire had come. So he packed, because he wanted to be ready and because it gave him something to do. He didn't want to rest, but he ended up sleeping for several hours when he finally sat on the bed, head resting against the wall.
He dreamed of Blaine kissing him, and it was the first time in all his life that one of his dreams actually made sense; it was the first time he dreamed of something that had really happened. He woke up with a sore neck and stiffly shoulders, but he didn't mind, the dream with Blaine still very much vivid in his mind.
Now that the adrenaline had left his body, all he could think was that Blaine had kissed him. In fact, they had kissed each other, because Kurt recalled perfectly that he had reached for Blaine at the same time Blaine had reached for him.
It had been wonderful. Everything he had wanted his first kiss to be - well, kisses, because there had been several.
Looking at the clock, he noticed it was almost dinner time - he had slept half the morning and the whole afternoon - so he went downstairs feeling guilty and looking for something to do to help.
But everyone was just as tired as he was, and still a little in shock, and dinner consisted in bread, cheese, cold meat and wine. No one spoke too much, but they kept stealing relieved glances at each other, and Kurt caught Rory counting them silently, as if to assure himself that everybody was there, alive and safe.
Kurt tried not to look at Blaine, he really did. But Blaine kept looking at him too, and Kurt was getting antsy, anxious to talk to him. Seeing everyone together at dinner, Kurt realized that, although he and Blaine had kissed, no one knew about it. No one could know about it, so Kurt couldn't change the way he talked to Blaine, or stop calling him "Sir".
For the first time, he didn't think about the kiss itself, but about what would happen now; if it really had meant something, or if it had only been because of the moment, the fire, the fear.
He knew he was in love with Blaine, but he wondered what the kisses had really meant to the older man.
He didn't have to wait too much to find out.
Everyone went to bed early, and Kurt, having slept a lot already during the day, went to the front porch again. He hoped to find Blaine there, and maybe they could talk about what had happened.
He was right, Blaine was there. Only, when he turned his face to look at Kurt, his eyes looked so lost that Kurt felt like a bucket of cold water hard just been thrown over his head.
"We need to talk, Kurt," Blaine said, and the sad tone of his voice made Kurt even more worried.
"Did something happen?" Kurt asked, although he knew that was a very stupid question.
Blaine shook his head helplessly, as if he didn't know what to say.
Kurt took a deep breath and prepared himself for what he knew was coming. "You regret it," he said to Blaine softly.
"No," Blaine hurried to say, but then he rubbed his face with his hands. "I don't know. Maybe."
"I'm sorry that you feel like that," Kurt said, sadly. The kisses had been one of the best moments of his life. He decided to be honest, because in his opinion, he had nothing to lose - beside his job, but that was nothing compared to losing his heart. "But I'm not sorry it happened."
"I - " Blaine started, then stopped. "Kurt, I… you're so young, and maybe you don't know yet what you want… You were scared, the fire and everything, and it is natural that in a stressful situation like that, you acted on an impulse."
"Are you trying to excuse my actions or yours?" Kurt snapped. He wasn't going to hold back. If they were going to talk about this, Kurt would treat Blaine as an equal, just this once, his position as Kurt's boss be damned. He couldn't talk about what had happened in any other way. "I'm young, yes, but I'm not stupid, and I know exactly who I am and what I want."
"You don't understand," Blaine snapped too, looking at the ceiling, exasperated.
Kurt sighed. "If you are having doubts about yourself, or…second thoughts about what happened, I understand, because trust me, I know it is not easy to be like this and have to stay quiet about it. But don't try to tell me how I feel, because I am my own person, Blaine."
"I'm not having doubts," Blaine whispered. "I know who I am and what I want. Just like you."
"Oh." Kurt felt a little hope rising inside him again, but Blaine's next words killed it.
"But we can't."
"You know why," Blaine said, exasperated. "We're…"
"Men?" Kurt asked, defiantly. "Or is this because I'm no one and you are - "
"It has nothing to do with position or money! God! Is that what you think about me?"
"I don't know what I think, because you're keeping me in the dark here. If you want it, we'll never speak about this again after today. But I want to know why, because what we shared was something very special to me. And I want to know if it was special to you or if you were the one acting on an impulse."
"It was an impulse," Blaine admitted. "But I wanted it to happen."
Kurt closed his eyes, a little relieved, because at least it had been special to Blaine too.
"But it can't happen again," Blaine said with finality.
"No one needs to know," Kurt whispered, hoping he could sound less desperate, because this sounded final, like a goodbye. "We don't need to tell anyone."
"It's not the way it works, Kurt. It can't happen again."
Kurt nodded slowly, feeling his chest heavy. "Alright. But you didn't tell me why, and I deserve to know."
"We're men, and this should be reason enough," Blaine said, sounding so lost that Kurt's heart ached for him. If only his own heart wasn't already breaking. "But most of all, I… I don't want anything bad to happen to you because of that."
"What?" Kurt blinked. "Is that why?"
"Yes!" Blaine said heatedly. "No!" he said immediately after. "God, there are a lot of reasons, Kurt, this is just one more, and I'm sure you know it very well. Do I really have to explain to you what could happen to us if anyone found out?"
"No," Kurt said, defeated. "But, Blaine… I told you, no one needs to know…"
"And you think that would stop them?" Blaine almost shouted. "You don't know the world out there, Kurt. People are cruel. They hate people like us, they hurt us, and if anything happens to you because of that - "
"Nothing will happen, I can take care of myself!"
"You think you can, but you can't, Kurt. You can't. You think I didn't see it happening already? I know what they can do, and I can't let it happen again."
Kurt shivered at Blaine's words. "I'm not a helpless child," he tried to reason, and when Blaine just shook his head in dismay, Kurt frowned. "You just said you know what they can do… who are they? What did you see, Blaine? What happened?"
But Blaine was looking past Kurt's shoulder, like he was lost in thought.
"No one will hurt you. Not because of me."
"Blaine…" Kurt tried to argue.
Blaine took a deep breath, his face suddenly resolute. "You will leave tomorrow with Finn. The train leaves at eight; be ready. I'm not going with you. I need to see how much damage the fire did, anyway, and… it's better if I stay."
"Can't I stay? I could help…"
Blaine shook his head again. "You need to go."
Kurt swallowed back the tears that were already forming. "Why do you want me to leave? Do you want me to leave Dalton too?"
Blaine's eyes widened. "God, no," he said, running his hand through his hair, loosening some curls from the gel. "I just… we need to put some distance between us, Kurt."
"Distance?" Kurt asked, feeling his chest tighten. "For how long?"
"Kurt, I need to think. You need to think."
"No, I don't," Kurt said, stubbornly. "I know what I want."
"Just… stay at Dalton, Kurt. Please… you can't stay here."
Kurt's jaw tightened. "What if I want to leave? Go back to my town?"
"Will you?" Blaine asked, suddenly sounding alarmed.
"You're my employer, but you don't own me. If you need distance, very well, that's what you'll have."
"Kurt, please… stay at Dalton," Blaine asked. "Don't be stubborn - "
"And wait while the almighty Blaine Anderson decides how he wants to live his life and mine?"
"It's not like that." Blaine's eyes were pleading now. "I just need to - "
"I don't care," Kurt said, sounding every bit as defeated as he felt. "I'm going to finish packing."
He waited until he was safe in his room before the first sob came.
Blaine stayed awake until late the day Kurt and Finn left. And the next day too. In fact, sleep eluded him, because every time he closed his eyes he saw Kurt's sad face, tears almost spilling from his beautiful blue eyes, as he said goodbye to Rory and Quinn.
He barely looked at Blaine before getting inside the car. All Blaine got from him was a whispered 'goodbye, Sir,' as Kurt avoided his eyes and hurried after Finn.
And everything only got worse on the third day, when Blaine finally slept from exhaustion, because then he dreamed of Kurt's kisses and woke up literally aching inside, feeling as if the whole world had just vanished and he was completely lost in the dark.
He knew he would never feel those kisses again, and it hurt.
He went morosely through the days, and walked along the destroyed part of the vineyard with Rory, as the other man assessed the damage and talked almost non-stop about everything that would need to be done to recover what they had lost in the fire.
It wasn't as if Blaine's finances would suffer because of the fire. Sure, it would take some time for the wine production to be at full speed again, but in the end, they would recover. Blaine's many properties would give him all the money he would need to put the vineyards running again in no time. But nothing seemed to matter, neither the damage, nor the knowledge that they would recover. Nothing seemed to take him out of the stupor he had gotten himself into since Kurt had left.
Christmas was coming and, although this had never been a particularly happy time of the year for Blaine, he knew Santana was planning some kind of lunch on Christmas Day, and he had promised to be there. He knew that Quinn and Rory wanted to go too, but he couldn't make himself make a decision.
Santana didn't waste time in making the decision for him.
She arrived two days before Christmas, and Blaine's shocked expression made her snort.
"You need to shave," was the first thing she said when she arrived. "You look like death warmed over."
"What are you doing here?" Blaine asked, going to the porch - his favorite place by far, because it reminded him so much of Kurt and… God, he was pathetic - and knowing she was following him.
"Trying to put some sense into that thick head of yours," she said, her piercing gaze on him all the time.
"About what?" he feigned ignorance, already knowing that with Santana Lopez, it wouldn't work.
"Something happened between you and Kurt, and you're going to tell me what," she informed him, and Blaine knew that she was the only one whom he could talk about that to. "Then, I will drag you back to London so we can have our Christmas."
"Did he tell you?"
"He didn't have to. And I doubt he ever would. It was obvious as soon as I saw him."
"Then, you can give up," Blaine said, annoyed. "Nothing you can say will make me change my mind."
"Oh?" she said, grimacing. "So you don't care that the poor boy has been walking through the motions like a zombie, or that he hasn't been sleeping right nor eating, and he has these huge dark circles around his eyes and - "
"Enough!" Blaine snapped. "Please, Tana, just stop it," he asked more softly. "It's already hard without knowing that he's…"
"Suffering?" she asked, her tone softening too. "Yes, he is. Now tell me what you did to cause that."
Blaine sat down, slumped, on the nearest chair, as if the notion of Kurt suffering was too much for him. Santana walked to where he was and slowly ran one hand through his hair.
"What happened, Blaine?"
He took a deep, sad breath, and raised his head to look at her. "We kissed."She nodded, in understanding. "And?"
"And it was wonderful," Blaine said, but the sadness in his face didn't change.
She tried not to roll her eyes. "And, of course, you sent the poor man away because you know it's not going to work," she said, matter-of-factly.
"You know me so well," he said, attempting sarcasm but quite succeeding.
"That's because I've watched you sabotaging every potential relationship you could have had along all the years I've known you. I've seen the way you treat every one - every man - who tries to get closer to you."
"This time it's worse, believe me," Blaine said, leaning into her hand, still in his hair. They had been friends for almost twenty years and were now completely comfortable with each other.
"Care to tell me why?" she asked, but he didn't answer. Santana frowned, and tilted his head up, so she could see his eyes. "Blaine?"
He sighed. "This time it felt right. It never felt like that before. It's like I've just found someone I didn't even know I had lost."
"So, it's love, then," she declared.
Blaine's eyes widened at her, and his breath hitched. "Maybe," he admitted.
"Judging by the way he's behaving since he went back, he returns the feeling."
"I believe he does, yes," Blaine admitted, remembering Kurt's pleading eyes and the way he'd said 'no one needs to know', like he would do anything to keep Blaine close to him.
"And yet you sent him away," Santana said, smirking. "And if I know you well, you will start spending so much time avoiding him from now on that the poor man will have no other choice but quit and you'll never see him again."
Blaine sighed. "Maybe it would be better this way."
"Oh!" Santana snapped, releasing him and throwing her hands in the air, exasperated. "You are infuriating, Blaine."
"I'm doing what is best for everyone," he insisted.
Santana took a deep breath, as if losing her patience, and kneeled before him. "Blaine… you are a big coward."
"What?" he asked in disbelief. "How can you say that, Tana? You know what happened, hell, you practically saw it happening!"
"Yes, I did. And it was horrible. I'll never forget it, and I know you will never forget it. I know how traumatic it was for you and how devastated you were, but Blaine…it's been eighteen years. Don't you think it's time to move on? "
"Why, so I can see everything happening again?"
"If you don't stop feeling guilty your life is going to be miserable forever."
"But it was my fault!"Blaine said, eyes shining with unshed tears.
"No, it wasn't. You two were young and were discovering something new together. You were just trying to be happy, Blaine. Blame the ones who did that atrocity, not yourself."
"You don't understand," Blaine said, shaking his head. "And I thought you would; I thought you would be the only one to understand."
"All I'm doing is begging you to have courage and do what your heart wants. I want what's best for you, I want to finally see you happy, Blaine."
"No," he said, resolutely. "If I give in and start something with Kurt, I… I won't be able to let him go, ever. I've only known him for five months, and yet, it feels like forever."
"And why would you want to let him go, Blaine?"
"You really don't know? God, Tana, I don't believe you! The reason why we can't be together will always be there, looming over us, and eventually, one day, we will let our guard down, someone will know, and…the same thing can happen to Kurt. He can be - "
"Stop," she said, irritated. "You don't know that. Since when can you see the future?"
"I can't," he admitted. "But I remember the past very, very clearly."
"You are being stupid. You just need to be careful."
"I thought I was being careful eighteen years ago. Tell me, what changed since then? How do people see us, how they react once they know? What they do when they find out someone is…homosexual?"
"Not everyone is violent," Santana reasoned.
"Sure. A handful of tolerant people will change the world," Blaine replied with sarcasm.
"Your friends know and they don't care."
"You, Wes and Thad," Blaine snapped. "Maybe Finn and Rory… But who else?"
"So, you'd rather live denying the way you are forever."
"It's better than to live hiding forever, like this is something dirty. I'm not going to live like what I felt years ago, like what I am feeling now is something I should be ashamed of."
"God, Blaine, don't you see? You are already acting like you are ashamed! You're hiding here and Kurt is miserable back home! Is this what you want?"
"Oh, and you're so out there, in the open?" Blaine finally snapped, got up and started pacing. "Tell me, Santana, does Brittany knows you're in love with her? Or you think I don't know you as much as you know me?"
Santana's eyes turned ice cold. She glared at Blaine and walked very slowly in his direction, then stopped in front of him.
"Yes, she does," she said, voice almost quivering, but not quite. "And you know what, Blaine? She feels the same for me. We are together; it's already been a month."
"A month?" Blaine asked, eyes widening.
Santana nodded. "I know we have to keep it behind closed doors, and believe me, I hate it that I can't hold her hand or kiss her when we are in public. It's not perfect, but I really like Brittany, and I deserve to be with her, because there's nothing wrong or dirty in the way I feel for her. I really want to be with her, Blaine, so I'd rather take any happiness I can get now, because tomorrow is tomorrow, and I can't spend my like thinking about what ifs."
Blaine just shook his head sadly, looking at the floor.
Santana put her hand on his face softly. "When I met you, we were still children. You're an adult now, and you must do what you think is best for you. But Blaine… try to think about what Kurt wants to, because you're not alone in this, remember?" She sighed. "I wish you nothing but happiness, but you have to fight for it, because it won't fall on your lap."
With that, she turned to go, getting inside the car that, Blaine hadn't even noticed, had stayed waiting for her in front of the house.
"Is this champagne?" Kurt asked.
"No, silly; it's only sparkling cider.
"Well, I like the bubbles anyway," Kurt said, smiling.
Blaine poured them two glasses and they sat on the grass, listening to the loud music and conversation that came from Dalton's ballroom.
"I'm glad you're here," Blaine said to Kurt.
"This is the best night of my life," Kurt said, "Being here with you is everything I could ever want."
"Mine too. Christmas hasn't been a happy time for us since Mother died.
"And yet there is a party in your house," Kurt pointed to Dalton, laughing.
"Just because he wants to impress the wine connoisseurs," Blaine sighed. "I shouldn't be complaining… he's a great father."
"Well, at least we will have the New Year's party at the club next week."Kurt looked at Blaine hopefully. "You're going, aren't you?"
"You are going, Collin, so I wouldn't miss it," Blaine smiled, grabbing Kurt's hand and squeezing it a little.
Stupid dreams. They had gotten worse, and Kurt woke up aching, missing Blaine more than everything. Dreaming about him only made the distance worse.
Christmas Eve came and went. Kurt spent it on Mr. Schuester's house with Brittany - who took Santana with them - and during the whole night he could feel Emma's eyes glued on him. Sometimes she frowned, sometimes she gave him a soft smile. And when she hugged him as he was leaving, she whispered in his ear 'don't give up, honey', and Kurt had never felt so obvious in his whole life.
Blaine hadn't come.
The next day would be Santana's lunch at Dalton, and when Kurt woke up, he wondered what time Rory and Quinn's train would arrive. He doubted Blaine would come with them, but he couldn't stop hoping, so he put on his best suit - he wouldn't dress as a butler during Christmas, Santana had insisted.
Santana and Brittany spent the whole morning in the kitchen. The turkey was huge and smelled wonderfully, and the two women exchanged warm and affectionate looks all the time. Kurt was happy for them - he had already suspected they were together but Brittany had told him two days ago, when Santana suddenly had decided to spend the day out.
He suspected that Santana had gone to the vineyard that day, to try to bring Blaine back, but she had come back looking tired and sad, and even though she didn't say anything to him, he just knew that Blaine wasn't going to come back.
Blaine had said that he needed to put some distance between him and Kurt, and it had stung like an open wound. But during the first days, Kurt had held on to the hope that Blaine would change his mind and would come back. He obviously hadn't.
Kurt knew they would never be able to have an open relationship, but he was willing to try anything just to be close to Blaine. It wasn't only because they had kissed, but because Kurt couldn't deny anymore that being with Blaine made him feel whole and happy, like nothing else ever had. Blaine felt familiar, safe, perfect. Just Blaine's mere presence could put Kurt at ease, feeling like everything was right in the world.
Apparently, Blaine didn't feel the same. And it hurt.
Around eleven, Rory and Quinn arrived at Dalton, hands full of presents and huge smiles on their faces. Kurt didn't miss the way Santana looked at Rory expectantly, but the man just shook his head no, and Santana's eyes traveled to Kurt sadly.
He knew she knew. She had suspected something was wrong as soon as he had been back, but she hadn't asked. Seeing the way she looked at him now, Kurt knew Blaine had told her. But he couldn't bring himself to care.
Because Blaine hadn't come.
Lunch would be served around two, and everyone was in the kitchen, talking happily. Even Finn had come with his mother and his fiancée, a short girl with a wonderful voice and a huge ego, who alternated between singing Christmas songs - that no one had asked her to - and talking about herself and how famous she was going to be one day.
"Why don't you go to your room, Kurt?" Brittany suggested. "I'll call you when lunch is ready."
Kurt excused himself, grateful for the opportunity to be alone, because it hurt too much to be around them when he felt so miserable. He just wanted to sleep and dream of Blaine, because it was the only way he would feel closer to him, even if he knew he would wake up feeling worse.
Instead, he wrote a letter to his father, telling him how homesick he felt. Burt had always been his best friend, and Kurt had never felt so alone.
"Let's go outside? There are too many people here," Blaine grabbed Kurt's hand and headed to the huge door that led to the gardens.
Kurt trailed happily behind him, content just to be in Blaine's presence."I love New Year's Eve," he said. "The beginning of a new year, the chance to start again, and do it right this time…"
"And why would you want to start again? Would you change anything?" Blaine asked, suddenly stopping by the door.
Kurt looked at the beautiful gardens of the club. Empty, of course, because it was cold outside. Still, he wouldn't let pass the opportunity to be alone with Blaine, when said opportunities were so rare.
"Collin?" Blaine asked, sounding uncertain.
Kurt smiled at him. "Not this. Never this," he said, and they stepped outside.
A knock on his door startled him, and Kurt realized he had slept, after all, sitting by his desk, his head resting on his folded arms. He blinked several times and looked at the clock, seeing it was already two. Brittany had finally come to call him to lunch.
It wasn't Brittany. Blaine was there, in front of him, his triangular eyebrows arched in an anxious expression.
"I'm an idiot," he declared.
Kurt had his mouth hanging open, heart beating so fast that he feared it would go out of his chest. Indeed you are, he wanted to say, but what came out of his mouth was, "You came."
"Kurt…" Blaine took a step forward. "I am sorry. I acted like the big stupid scared man I am and I…" Blaine gulped, trying to find the right words. "Can you forgive me? I only wanted to protect you and I ended up hurting you - and myself - in the process."
"What do you mean?" Kurt asked, because he couldn't believe his eyes. Or his ears. And he didn't want to misunderstand this, he wanted to be sure he wasn't in one of his stupid dreams. Blaine was sorry, but for what? For sending him away or for kissing him? "I need to know for sure, Blaine, because - "
Blaine opened his arms in a helpless gesture, but he was smiling timidly. "I am yours, if you still want me."
"I do," Kurt nodded, feeling dazed and paralyzed, because surely, he had to be still dreaming. "I want you."
"So…" Blaine's eyes softened, and he held Kurt's face with his hands.
"What made you change your mind?" Kurt whispered, already dizzy by Blaine's proximity.
"Let's say that Santana gave me a piece of her mind. But…it was mostly you. The way I feel about you, about us. I was acting like a coward Kurt. I missed you so much! I want all the happiness I can get, and I want it with you. And if you still want me, I promise to fight for us."
Kurt could only stare at Blaine's amber eyes, feeling like he was drowning in a pool of warmth. "Blaine…" he whispered.
"I am going to kiss you now, alright?" Blaine whispered very softly, mouth already ghosting over Kurt's.
"Alright," Kurt barely murmured.
And Blaine did.
Christmas day was something Kurt would never forget. When he and Blaine arrived at the kitchen together and looking a little disheveled, everyone was laughing and chatting, and suddenly they stopped to look at them.
"Well, it didn't take so long," Finn finally said, looking at the way they were standing side by side, after a few seconds of silence.
"Finn!" they said almost in unison.
Santana rolled her eyes and smiled. "Let's go to the dining room, shall we?"
Blaine raised his eyebrows at Kurt and tugged at his sleeve a little, giving him a soft smile that said that everything was okay. The women busied themselves with the plates and bowls, while Finn carried the enormous turkey to the table and Rory and Blaine started to open the bottles of wine.
Kurt stood there watching, marveling at the silent acceptance they'd just gotten. It was apparent that everyone already knew that there was something going on between him and Blaine, but instead of disapproving looks, all he got were soft smiles, and even a little wink from Rachel, Finn's fiancée.
Finn was the one that surprised Kurt the most. The man obviously couldn't control his tongue to save his life, but Kurt was pleased to see that under the giant who couldn't walk without knocking on something - it was a wonder he was such a good driver - Finn had a huge, kind heart. Besides, if Blaine trusted him, so did Kurt. Finn had been working at Dalton for some time, so Kurt relaxed.
Kurt had already realized that Blaine, maybe because of the way things were - being different and needing to hide it from the world - had tried to surround himself with open-minded people. People who wouldn't judge, so at least inside his own house, Blaine could be the way he really was.
And Blaine wasn't only the serious person he showed everyone. He could also be funny and open, Kurt saw during lunch, when Blaine laughed the whole time and didn't stop chatting with everyone. He told jokes and laughed at the way Rory and Finn fought for the last baked potato. He ate with gusto, twice, complimenting Santana and Brittany's food. He held Kurt's hand under the table, and winked at him when no one was paying attention.
It was wonderful that nobody seemed to care about the way Blaine and Kurt looked affectionately at each other. Nobody seemed to look at them differently than before. Kurt suddenly missed Burt again. His father would really like these people.
"A moment, please," Blaine said, clinging with is fork at his glass. Everyone stopped and looked at him expectantly. He smiled, and it was so broad and sincere, that Kurt's heart ached a little, like he was seeing it for the first time.
"I just want to thank each one of you for being here," Blaine started. "Thank you for spending your Christmas day in this house; it means a lot to me that we're all together. For those ones who don't have families - well, like me - please, know that this house will always have a place for you. You are more than just employees; you are also friends, people that I truly care about."He lifted his glass of wine in a toast. "Merry Christmas."
Later, Blaine brought his gramophone from the third floor room and they all spent the afternoon eating sweets and listening to music. Blaine had so many records that Kurt needed Rachel's help to decide which ones they would listen to.
He sat on the rug near Blaine, who was on the sofa, his back resting lightly on Blaine's leg. It seemed so natural to simply stay like that, that sometimes Kurt caught himself reaching for Blaine's hand, but always ended up aborting the gesture. Even though he knew they were safe, this was home after all, he didn't want to push his luck so soon.
Around eight PM, Finn decided to take Rachel home, and Rory and Quinn - no doubt tired from the trip - went to their rooms to sleep. Santana told Kurt not to bother cleaning anything, and she and Brittany went to their rooms too.
Kurt stayed with Blaine in the living room, while the last Bessie Smith's record finished playing. "I love 'Down Hearted Blues' so much," he said to Blaine.
"It's a song about heart ache and unrequited love," Blaine said, smiling, while he pulled Kurt to the sofa with him. "I hope you don't relate to the song."
Kurt sat beside him, their arms touching. "I don't. Well, not anymore," he smiled at Blaine, resting his head on Blaine's shoulder.
The song finished playing and Blaine got up. "Let's go, it's a beautiful night."
"It's cold," Kurt protested.
"Put on your coat, then," Blaine said, sounding so cheerful that Kurt didn't have the heart to deny him anything.
The garden was dark, and Blaine walked around with familiarity, pulling Kurt by the hand, until they reached the old swing under the oak tree. Blaine stopped and turned, resting his back on the tree trunk and pulling Kurt with him, both facing the distant gates. He encircled Kurt with his arms when the younger man shivered.
"Cold?" he asked.
"Mmmm," Kurt admitted, nodding a little. "But this is nice, I don't want to go back inside."
"I like to come here," Blaine said softly.
Kurt sighed happily. "I know. I used to look at you every night, from my window. You come here a lot."
"You did?" Kurt couldn't see Blaine smile but he could feel it in his voice. "So you were spying on me?"
Kurt gave a soft giggle. "At first I was curious, but then…you looked lonely. And I always wanted to know what you were thinking when you looked at the stars, why do you looked at the sky so much."
Blaine stiffened suddenly and Kurt froze. "Did I say something wrong?" The young man asked, frowning.
Blaine took a deep breath. "No. It's just that… sometimes the things you say…I've - I don't know how to say this, but - I've heard them before."
"Where?" Kurt wanted to know. "It doesn't matter; it was a long time ago. I was different; another Blaine," he said, his hold on Kurt's waist tightening. "Young, naïve and stupid."
"Can I tell you something?" Kurt asked, a little hesitant. Would Blaine think he was insane?
"It has always been like that with me, Blaine. Dreams, strange thoughts that just pop inside my head, asleep or awake, this…déjà-vu, always present. The… the song, I've always dreamed of it, and I always knew how to play it, even though no one taught me. But it's not just that…"
"What do you mean?"
"Sometimes, I… I am looking at a photograph, or an object, and this… this feeling of having already seen it before just comes out of nowhere and overwhelms me. This city, it felt familiar since I arrived. But it started to happen more frequently here, at Dalton."
"Really? What, exactly? Tell me what you feel, Kurt."
"I've been having these… flashes, like someone just put a moment I've never lived, inside my head. Sometimes it feels like I'm intruding someone else's memories. This… name keeps coming in the flashes, in the dreams, and - "
"Collin. You said he was your best friend?"
Blaine's breath hitched. "Collin?" he asked, turning Kurt slowly in his arms, so he could look him in the eyes. "You… hear this name in your dreams?"
"I'm not going crazy, am I? Because sometimes I feel like I am there with him, and… Blaine, it doesn't feel like a dream anymore. Maybe I'm just going mad, hallucinating or who knows what, and what if I end up in a mental institution?"
"You are not crazy," Blaine said vehemently. And after a few seconds he added, "Maybe you're psychic?"
Kurt patted Blaine's arm lightly. "Stop that, you're sounding like my father. I don't believe in these things."
Blaine gave a little shrug. "Well, maybe you should. Collin was my best friend and he died many years ago." The sadness in his voice was unmistakable.
Kurt stopped breathing for a second, but he wasn't surprised by Blaine's admission, because deep down, he had always known. "You cared about him a lot, didn't you?" he asked softly.
Blaine closed his eyes, and held Kurt closer, his chin o Kurt's shoulder. "He was much more than my best friend. He was… my first love, Kurt."
"What happened to him?" Kurt wanted to know, although he already knew that too.
"He died, I told you." Blaine said in a whisper. "He felt the same way about me, but…We were never really together, because before we even had the chance to start anything, he just…"
"I'm sorry," was all Kurt could say, hearing the sadness in Blaine's voice and feeling an overwhelming need to fix this somehow. If Blaine didn't want to go into details about Collin's death, Kurt wasn't going to insist.
"It was a long time ago; we were very young, only fifteen when he died."
"Oh, Blaine…" Kurt said, caressing Blaine's jaw with his fingers.
Blaine shook his head, as if to clear his thoughts. "So, I'm thinking that… maybe you're psychic or something, and because you and I share this… connection, don't we? Since the day we met?"
Kurt nodded and Blaine went on. "Maybe, I don't know, you're picking some energy from Dalton and…" Blaine shrugged, "You know, broadcasting the energy waves or whatever, and turning all this into… visions?"
"Oh goodness, now you're calling them visions," Kurt rolled his eyes. "I'm not a radio, Blaine, I can'tbroadcast, and neither can you. But alright, let's say you're right, and I'm… psychic. Do you really believe in that? Because I don't."
"Hmmm… not really," Blaine snorted a little. "I hope you're not seeing ghosts," he joked. "I've never heard that Dalton was haunted."
"Stop that!" Kurt grimaced. "And if I'd had to choose, I'd rather see a ghost than having visions, because…what if I'm crazy? Some kind of aberration?"
Blaine laughed softly. "You're perfect, I'll never think otherwise. But Kurt, if this is bothering you, we can, I don't know, talk to someone about it."
"You mean a doctor? Or a ghost hunter?"Kurt snorted. "No, thank you. These…flashes I've been having are frequent enough, but they don't bother me." Kurt shrugged. "They don't interfere too much with my life; I told you," It was a lie, Kurt knew, but he didn't want to admit he was worried. "I've always been like that."
"I wonder why you started seeing Collin in your dreams, though," Blaine said, almost to himself. "I mean, he was here a lot, but my mother and father lived here and you don't feel their energy, so…"
"Blaine," Kurt rolled his eyes. "I don't communicate with ghosts. I don't hear whispers and strange noises and I definitely don't see shadows anywhere. Will you please stop that?"
Blaine laughed a little. "Alright, alright, I'm sorry, I just got carried away. But Kurt, I insist, if this thing really starts bothering you, we can look for someone who can help explain what's going on."
Kurt grimaced. "You really sound like my father; he would love you."
"I hope I can meet him someday."
"You will," Kurt said with finality. "He's my best friend and he loves me just the way I am."
"Good," Blaine said. "Because I'm not planning on letting you go."
"Who said I want to go anywhere?"
Blaine touched Kurt's forehead with his own. "Merry Christmas, Kurt," he whispered.
"This was the best night of my life," Kurt said, "being here with you is everything I could ever want."
Blaine frowned, Kurt's words once more making tiny warning bells sound inside his head, like a distant echo of something. But then Kurt kissed and he didn't think about anything else.
They spent a perfect week together. Blaine went to work in the mornings and he and Kurt would spend the whole afternoon together. They even went to the park, cautious to keep a prudent distance between them. Santana and Brittany went with them a couple of times, Blaine and Santana walking arm in arm and Kurt and Brittany - also arm in arm - behind them. Once they stopped at the café on the other side of the street and had a wonderful time, the four of them, together, eating pastries and laughing like carefree children.
When New Year's Eve came, Kurt noted that Blaine was quieter than usual, but whenever Kurt got close to him, Blaine's face would be illuminated by a big smile, so Kurt didn't worry too much about it.
This time, it was just the four of them: Kurt, Blaine, Santana and Brittany, and the girls cooked a delicious dinner that they all appreciated while Blaine's favorite records played at the living room. The gramophone hadn't returned to the third floor since Christmas.
There were going to be fireworks at the park, so the girls decided to go and watch, while Kurt and Blaine stayed to watch from the garden. Dalton was so close to the park that they would have a good view, and they preferred the privacy they would have, staying home.
They sat on a blanket near the tree, each one protected with coats, gloves and scarves, and Blaine brought a bottle of French champagne and two glasses. They drank slowly, savoring the taste of the expensive liquid, alternating with small kisses.
Kurt had never felt so happy.
"Tomorrow is my birthday," Kurt said quietly.
"What?" Blaine sat up suddenly. "Kurt! Why didn't you tell me?"
Kurt shrugged a little. "I stopped celebrating it when my mother died."
"How about we celebrate this year?" Blaine asked, kissing Kurt's hair and snuggling against him again.
"Do you mind if we don't?" Kurt asked. "Being here with you is all the celebration I need."
"Alright," Blaine said, "But at least you're getting breakfast in bed."
Kurt blushed, because did that mean they would spend the night together? They hadn't been intimate yet, although they spent a lot of time with each other. They talked, they listened to music, they cuddled a lot, they kissed… but that was all.
Kurt felt suddenly nervous. It was amazing that someone so perfect like Blaine could want him. Blaine's nose was red from the cold, and his red beanie made him look young and funny. Kurt knew his own cheeks were red, so he teased Blaine lightly and was teased in return. This is how love is supposed to feel, he thought, feeling his heart swelling every time he looked at the man beside him. He felt complete, at peace.
It would be midnight soon, and Kurt felt a little dizzy from all the champagne and the happiness. He hadn't admitted to Blaine, but he had never seen fireworks in his whole life; he felt excited as a little boy. Life could be really perfect sometimes.
The fireworks would start any moment now, so Blaine rested his head on Kurt's shoulder and together, they looked at the park expectantly.
The first loud bang was heard, and sparkles of white light exploded in the sky.
Kurt clutched at Blaine's arm, making the other man wince. Blaine looked at Kurt, the start of a smile on his face, ready to ask if Kurt was scared, but he stopped, alarmed.
Kurt was livid.
His eyes were glazed, and his other hand - the one that wasn't leaving bruises on Blaine's arm - was holding his stomach. He looked absolutely terrified.
"The shot!" he gasped, his hand clutching Blaine's arm even more.
"What?"Blaine looked around, but all he could see were the fireworks and the people at the park. There was no one in the garden with them.
"The shot!" Kurt repeated. "The shot, Blaine," he pleaded.
Blaine was smiling at him. So perfect, so beautiful. "Let's go outside? There are too many people here."
"I love New Year's Eve," Kurt said, following Blaine outside. "The beginning of a new year, the chance to start again, and do it right this time…"
I love new year's Eve," Kurt whispered, in a daze.
"Kurt?" Blaine shook his shoulder lightly, sounding worried.
"Would you change anything?" Blaine was standing by the door, and the lights from the room illuminated his face. Kurt felt his heart ache with love for him
"Collin?" Kurt heard Blaine say, but he was looking at him.
Kurt smiled at him. "Not this. Never this."
"Never this," Kurt repeated, beside Blaine, the fireworks still exploding and making him cringe.
"Kurt," Blaine shook him again, completely lost. What was going on?
But Kurt was trapped inside his own mind.
"Everyone is inside," Kurt, no, Collin said, holding Blaine's hand, turning to him suddenly and grabbing his face with both hands.
"And we never kissed," Blaine whispered, almost as if they were reading each other's thoughts.
"There is always time to remedy that," he said, ghosting his mouth over Blaine's.
"Here?" Blaine looked around.
"Everyone is inside," Kurt released Blaine's arm and held his face between his hands. "We never kissed; there's always time to remedy that."
"Oh my God," Blaine's eyes went wide, suddenly understanding what was happening. "God, Kurt," he said, putting his hands on Kurt's arms, trying to take them away from his face. "Wake up."
"Kiss me, Blaine," Collin said, and Kurt felt his eyes closing while Blaine's lips pressed gently on his.
"You…" Blaine said when they separated. "You're perfect."
"I love you. I don't care what happens or who knows, I want to stay with you forever. I want us to walk hand in hand and dance together, I want us to be brave and face everything, and show everybody that this can't be wrong."
"I want us to walk hand in hand and dance together, I want us to be brave and face everything, and show everybody that this can't be wrong." Kurt's eyes closed and he smiled. "I will never love anyone but you."
Blaine's eyes were full of tears now, and he held Kurt tightly, so scared that he thought his heart would stop. "Wake up, Kurt. Please, wake up!"
"I will never love anyone but you," he said, and Blaine was kissing him again. Softly, tentatively, learning, and he had never felt so free in all his life.
"What the hell are you doing, your perverts?" came the strong voice from behind them.
Kurt flinched in Blaine's arms. "We're not perverts!" he shouted.
"KURT!" Blaine shook him harder this time, and miraculously, it worked. Kurt blinked several times, looking at Blaine as if he hadn't seen him for a long time. "Blaine?" Kurt said with a tiny voice, focusing on Blaine's wet eyes. "Why are you crying? Did something happen?"
Blaine held him so tight that Kurt's air faltered for a second. "God, Kurt, God…" he said, and there were more tears falling from his eyes. "You scared me so much, I thought that - God, Kurt, I couldn't wake you up."
"Was I dreaming again?" Kurt murmured, feeling tired and drowsy, trying to remember the dream and realizing that he couldn't remember anything. "I lost the fireworks?" he asked, snuggling closer to Blaine, his eyes closing again.
"Come on, Kurt, let's get you to bed," Blaine said, wiping his tears with the back of his hand. He got up and extended his hand to Kurt, who held it and let himself be led upstairs.
Blaine made Kurt change his clothes and tucked him in bed, but he barely motioned to go, Kurt held his hand. "Stay with me? My head hurts so much…" he pleaded, his eyes already closing with exhaustion.
Blaine sighed tiredly and nodded. He hadn't planned on going anywhere, but he had intended on spending the night at the armchair, guarding Kurt's sleep.
"Come," Kurt tugged tiredly at his sleeve, and Blaine removed his shoes and jacket and climbed on the bed beside Kurt.
The young man immediately snuggled closer again. "Goodnight, Blaine," he said with a content sigh. "I want to stay with you forever," he declared, and the echo of those words tugged at Blaine's heart again, making it literally ache.
Blaine didn't sleep that night.
He spent the whole time watching Kurt's perfect face, marveling at its beauty, and every time Kurt frowned in his sleep, Blaine's hand caressed his hair, his face, and Kurt's face would relax again.
He wanted to protect Kurt from anything, take care of him and never let anything bad ever happen to him. But remembering what had just happened in the garden filled him with fear and dread. Because how could he protect Kurt from his own mind?
He needed answers; they needed to know what was happening. Kurt had said he was used to it, but judging from what Blaine had witnessed, these… moments could be traumatic. He never wanted to see Kurt going through that again. There was no way someone could get used to something like that.
The morning came and Kurt slowly opened his eyes, smiling when he saw that Blaine was still there with him. "You stayed," he said in wonder.
Blaine kissed him softly. "Always."
They stayed in silence for a few seconds, until Kurt looked at Blaine and frowned. "You didn't sleep," he said, noticing Blaine's tired, red eyes. "Do I snore? I - I've never slept with anyone before and - "
Blaine smiled, in spite of everything. "Relax, you sleep like an angel."
Blaine sighed. "Kurt, what do you remember from last night?"
Kurt thought for a moment. "I… we were waiting for the fireworks and I… God, I can't remember. Did I drink too much champagne?"
"Something happened and… I'm not entirely sure it was a dream," Blaine explained.
"Well, then it wasn't," Kurt shook his head slightly. "I always remember my dreams, Blaine. Always."
"But this one was… different. It was traumatic, and… unusual."
"Traumatic?" Kurt looked at Blaine's eyes and saw fear in them.
"Kurt, we need to find help. What happened last night, it was no ordinary dream."
'I don't need help, and if you're going to start that psychic thing again, you better stop," Kurt said stubbornly. "I don't want to talk about this, because I will only feel weirder than I already am and - "
"I'm serious, Kurt. Something happened when the first firework exploded." Blaine interrupted him, looking at his eyes, very serious now. "The fact that you don't remember it makes me even more worried, because when it ended you were drained."
"Blaine, I just have a little headache, nothing more. Maybe - "
"No, Kurt. God, you don't even remember the fireworks! I couldn't wake you up! You kept talking, in a daze, you looked almost…God. You looked possessed or something."
"Possessed?" Kurt's eyes widened. "Blaine, are you even listening to yourself? This is complete nonsense!"
"I'm serious," Blaine insisted. "Kurt, we need help. We need to know why you have these visions. What you experienced yesterday…"
Kurt looked at Blaine expectantly, but the older man seemed unable to continue. "What, Blaine?"
"Collin's death," Blaine whispered. "What you experienced last night, it was something that actually happened. I was there, and you said the exact words… I believe you saw Collin's death last night. He died with a shot to his stomach, eighteen years ago, on New Year's Eve."
The first day of 1924, Kurt's birthday, was spent lazily, as every holiday should. Kurt and Blaine stayed in bed - after the breakfast Blaine made for him - cuddling and talking until almost noon, and Blaine decided not to press about last night's event again, because Kurt had gotten pretty shaken after what Blaine said. Blaine felt shaken himself.
Not that he minded if Kurt was psychic; or that he was really contacting Collin's ghost or whatever; it wouldn't change the way he felt. But if Kurt were going to experience death scenes like that - and worse, feeling like he was the one dying - Blaine was really scared for him. He needed to find help, if only he knew where to start looking for it. He had never believed in anything remotely supernatural, but he was an open-minded person, and after what he had seen with Kurt, anything was possible.
He knew Kurt was scared of being insane, and that was enough to make Blaine scared too.
Kurt was still more tired than usual, still with a headache, and Blaine caught himself speaking alone while Kurt had dozed off again. He kissed the young man's temple and, slowly, so Kurt wouldn't wake up, left his room.
He saw Santana leaving Brittany's room at the exact same moment.
She raised an eyebrow and smirked at him, the amusement on her face evident. "I get it you had a good night?"
Blaine sighed. "Unusual would be more accurate."
"Why?"she smiled. "It's past noon, Blaine. If you hadn't noticed yet, you spent the night in Kurt's room."
"Well, you spent in Brittany's."
"Shut up, there's nothing new here," she slapped his arm lightly. "You two, on the other hand, are a new item. Better be ready for the teasing."
"Nothing happened last night," Blaine closed his eyes. "And… I need someone to talk to, Tana. Something happened yesterday… something that - "
"Come," she said, pulling him by the hand to her room.
He told her everything. From the way Kurt flinched at the first loud bang of the fireworks, to the way he repeated Collin's exact words from the day he'd died. Blaine would never forget them. He also told her about the song again, how Kurt could play it perfectly, and with a final that actually matched the beginning Blaine had on paper. And the way Kurt sometimes said things Blaine knew he had heard already, a long time ago.
Santana listened to everything calmly. "So, what do you think?"
"I don't know what to think."
"Maybe he's channeling ghosts?"
Blaine gave her a humorless laugh. "But why Collin's? I mean, why not someone who actually lived at Dalton?"
"Maybe Collin is trying to make contact with you through him?" Santana asked, although her tone was skeptical.
"Do you really believe in things like that?" Blaine asked back, exasperated.
She shook her head. "No. Do you?"
"Um… no. And neither does Kurt. He thinks he's just going crazy, or I'm exaggerating what happened. But what I saw yesterday… I'm telling you, those were Collin's last moments, I have not a single doubt about it. So, I don't know what I believe in anymore. I'm open to suggestions," he said, helplessly.
Santana sighed. "We need to find someone who can help."
"But who? I can't go around asking if someone can help me with my psychic friend."
Santana's eyes lightened suddenly. "I know someone who might help. Get ready, we're going out."
Emma Schuester listened attentively to everything Blaine had to say, while William hovered nearby, looking at them with caution. This was Burt's son they were talking about, after all.
When Blaine finished talking, Emma looked at him, her piercing eyes almost drilling holes into Blaine's. "Your aura is the same color as Kurt's," she declared. "You really care about him."
Blaine nodded, because he didn't sense any kind of prejudice in Emma's words, and because, well, he could be just a man seeking help for his friend, couldn't he? "Yes, Ma'm, I do."
"I don't think Kurt is seeing or dreaming about ghosts, Mr. Anderson," she said. "I don't sense any vibrations in him that indicate that."
"Please, call me Blaine."
"Very well, Blaine," she said, smiling kindly. "Kurt is a very special boy, he has a lot of light inside him, I saw it as soon as I put my eyes on him."
"He is special, yes."
"Are you a religious person?" Emma asked, narrowing her eyes.
"Um… no, Ma'm, Um… my parents were, but I… although I believe in God, I have my own opinions and convictions about Him."
"Good," she said. "You are going to need an open mind to deal with this, Blaine."
"I think Kurt is neither psychic nor communicating with ghosts. And he is definitely not sleepwalking. He is what I would call an old soul, just like you. I can feel it in your auras, you know."
Blaine only nodded, mesmerized, wondering if this woman was real. All this talk about 'auras' and 'old souls' were leaving him antsy. And it didn't make too much sense to him. Not that he doubted it, per se, he just thought that if Emma really believed in everything she was saying, well, good for her. But he… well, he had a lot of doubts. Especially when he could see her tarot cards on the coffee table. Where the hell had Santana brought him?
"And I believe," Emma continued, "that I know exactly the person who can help him. " She looked at her husband, arching her eyebrows. "Dear? Can you help me here?"
William Schuester hesitated a little. He and Emma looked at each other and, in that look, Blaine saw silent messages being exchanged. William nodded to Emma, almost imperceptibly. "What would you be willing to do to help Kurt, Mr. Anderson?" he asked, stopping in front of Blaine, and he looked so intimidating that Blaine actually gulped.
"Anything, as long as it doesn't hurt him. Please, Sir, I just want to help. If you can help in or if you know someone who can…"
"We do," William said, looking at Emma, "I know a doctor who can help him deal with those dreams of his."
Blaine gulped again. "A doctor? Do you think Kurt is sick?"
"We don't know anything, dear. You can say that my sixth sense suspects of something. But I am sorry, Blaine," Emma said, "This is something very private. Kurt has to know first and then decide if he wants you to know."
"And," William added, "Kurt will have to agree with what we have in mind, because it won't be easy for him."
Dr. Noah Puckerman was actually a real psychiatrist, who had graduated summa cum laude from medical school. He had a practice in one of the most luxurious buildings in the city, and money was never a problem for him.
But as the years progressed, he started to realize that some of his patients needed more than science and medicine could offer, and in some cases, all the drugs in the world couldn't make them feel better.
An open-minded man, he decided to specialize in hypnosis. That was when he really started to question his beliefs.
"You can get up now, Kurt," he said to the young man as he sat on the gurney inside the doctor's office. "Nurse Shelby will take you to my therapy room so we can talk."
Kurt nodded, a little nervous. The doctor had spent almost an hour talking to him, wanting to know every possible detail about Kurt's dreams and taking especial interest in the ones he had when he was not sleeping.
Then Kurt had gone through a complete physical examination, during which the doctor and his nurse kept making him talk all the time. Then Dr. Puckerman had asked everything about Kurt's life. Now it was time for the verdict.
"Kurt," the doctor said as soon as Kurt sat down in front of him. "I see no reason for thinking you have any kind of mental disease. You are in excellent physical condition, and, judging from the time we've spent together, I don't think you are a case for psychiatry."
"But there must be something wrong, doctor," Kurt insisted. "I had never dreamed awake before I came to this city, and this last episode - which I can't remember, and I always remember the dreams - left me feeling sick and weak for days. It never worried me before, but now it is getting worse. If I am not going crazy, then what is it?"
"From what Mr. Anderson described earlier to me, you were in some sort of trance," the doctor said, "in which you seemed to live a very traumatic experience."
"I can assure you that, aside from my mother's death there was nothing traumatic in my life. And she had been sick for a long time, so my father and I, we knew it would happen."
Dr. Puckerman seemed to think for a while. "You came to me recommended by a good friend. Schuester is a great man. I promise to do everything I can to help you."
Kurt sighed in relief. "Thank you, doctor."
"But I have to tell you: there's nothing I can do for you with regular medicine."
"Oh," Kurt said, the initial relief leaving him.
"Don't worry, I'm no ghost hunter, and I really believe this is not the case. But I believe we have another option. You can call it alternative science, if you want. Kurt, I would like your permission to hypnotize you."
"And you said yes?" Blaine asked for the hundredth time.
"Yes, Blaine, I did," Kurt answered, trying not to roll his eyes.
"And he said you will be safe."
"Yes. I told him I want to you to come with me. It's not common for someone else to watch, but I asked him and he's going to make an exception."
"You want me to go to the session with you?" Blaine arched his eyebrows.
"To the session," Kurt nodded. "He said there's something stuck inside my mind, wanting to get out, and that is why I keep having these dreams and flashes. Once we find out what it is, he can help me to get rid of this, or at least make it less intense."
"And how does that explain the fact that you're experiencing facts from another person's life?" Blaine asked skeptically.
"That is why I asked you to come with me," Kurt explained. "You were there with me in New Year's Eve. And you were also there with, um… Collin, when he… well, Dr. Puckerman wants to make me remember the moment once more."
"And make you go through all that again? Are you both insane?" Blaine got up and started to pace inside Kurt's room.
"We need to know if it was really a moment of Collin's life or just a coincidence, mixed with the fact that my overactive brain now is giving me trances." Kurt sighed. "The doctor said that I didn't remember it this time because it was so traumatic that my brain shut down the memory to protect me. But my body felt the trauma, hence the physical exhaustion."
Blaine threw his hands to the air, impatient. "And you want to do it again!"
"It's the only way, Blaine. I gave him my permission; I want him to do it so I can move past this."
Blaine sighed, finally stopping in front of Kurt. "I just want you to be safe," he murmured.
"I will be, the doctor promised. And you will be right there with me," Kurt said, getting up and stopping in front of Blaine.
"I don't want that to happen again. You were so… helpless, terrified, and I couldn't help you… and when it ended, you could barely stand on your own."
Kurt threw his arms around Blaine's shoulders, allowing the older man to pull him close. "You will be there with me. I will be safe."
"I don't want to lose you," Blaine sighed, the fear evident in his voice.
"You won't," Kurt declared vehemently. He was afraid of what could happen, of course. He was scared that the doctor was wrong and these visions would become more and more frequent, distancing him from reality until he went completely mad. "I'm scared too," he whispered, holding Blaine close.
Blaine kissed him gently, trying to communicate how much he loved him. "No matter what happens tomorrow, Kurt, we will always be together. I will never leave or allow anyone to take you away from me."
Kurt smiled, because what could be more important than that? He was in love and he was loved in return. It made him feel invincible. He and Blaine could overcome anything, as long as they were together. "Stay here with me?" he asked.
"Of course. Tomorrow is a big day," Blaine said. "I'll stay until you sleep."
Kurt looked deep inside Blaine's eyes. He loved this man, and in that moment he knew that this feeling would stay with him for the rest of his life. "I don't want to sleep," he whispered, staring at Blaine's deep amber eyes. "I want to be with you."
It took a few seconds for Blaine to understand the real meaning of Kurt's words, but when he did, he blinked, almost in shock. "Are you sure?"
"Yes," Kurt said, but then a flicker of uncertainty came. "That is, if you want this too… I don't want to be too forward and - "
"Shhhh…" Blaine cradled Kurt's head between his hands. "I told you: I'm yours. I want to be with you too."
The kiss started tender, a simple brush of lips, and they held each other, wanting to be closer. When Kurt couldn't suppress a small moan, Blaine immediately deepened the kiss, his hand on the back of Kurt's neck, holding him gently in place.
Kurt felt like he was floating. His heart was beating fast and he couldn't control it. He didn't even want to move, afraid to break the kiss, wake up and realize that he was dreaming. He couldn't believe that this wonderful man, whom he loved so much, was here, in his arms. It was overwhelming to know that Blaine wanted Kurt as much as Kurt wanted him.
They broke the kiss, still not daring to do anything else. Blaine looked at the young man, silently asking for permission to go on. Kurt held Blaine's gaze and smiled, kissing his lips softly, trying to make him understand that yes, he wanted this, he wanted to feel Blaine closer and lose himself in Blaine's arms until they were one. Blaine's face lit up with a smile and he returned the kiss, resting his hands possessively on the small of Kurt's back.
"I love you," Blaine said, and he started to unbutton Kurt's shirt slowly, trying to give Kurt time to say no. He wanted Kurt more than anything, but he would give him all the time he needed, because it was Kurt's first time and Blaine wanted it to be perfect.
As more skin was exposed, their breathing grew heavier, because it was hard to control how much they wanted each other. Kurt's skin was perfect, Blaine realized, as his movements became more urgent and soon Kurt's shirt was slipping to the floor.
Kurt's trembling hands started to unbutton Blaine's shirt too, and he marveled at Blaine's tanned skin and the firm muscles. He felt something fluttering inside his chest, a warm feeling that traveled to his stomach and made residence in his lower belly.
Blaine's hands went hesitantly to the first button of Kurt's pants, and he stopped, looking at Kurt's eyes once more, questioning him in silence. Kurt nodded, smiling softly, and put his hands on the belt loops of Blaine's pants. He was nervous, but he wanted to be Blaine's more than anything, so the younger man copied his movements and soon both men were facing each other dressed only in their underwear.
"Blaine, I'm…" Kurt started when he felt Blaine lowering his underwear carefully, until it was on the floor too.
"Shhhh…" Blaine calmed him. "You're perfect, Kurt. You're the most beautiful and perfect thing I have ever seen."
That gave Kurt courage to take Blaine's underwear off with hesitant hands, and Blaine, feeling Kurt's nervousness, helped him a little.
Finally they were both naked, facing each other. Kurt's eyes roamed over Blaine's body and he saw how hard he already was. He closed his eyes for a second, overwhelmed by the beauty of the man he loved and his obvious desire for him. Kurt had never felt so vulnerable in his life, but at the same time, he felt powerful for being able to elicit a reaction like that.
Blaine's hands were like fire on Kurt's skin. He traced every inch of Kurt's back and torso, then his arms and shoulders, stopping at the back of Kurt's neck again. Kurt arched his neck, giving Blaine better access, and Blaine started planting little kisses on Kurt's ivory skin, smiling a little at Kurt' soft gasps. He could hardly believe how much he wanted Kurt, how he needed him close all the time, and he knew he would do anything to keep this wonderful young man by his side, where he belonged.
Kurt trembled under Blaine's touch, head spinning madly, amazed that a simple touch could turn him on like that. It wasn't lust - although the lust was there - but something deeper, stronger, something that showed Kurt that he was where he truly belonged.
Blaine broke the kiss and eyed Kurt again with such intensity that Kurt's heart almost stopped. No one had ever looked at him like that; like he was everything that mattered. Silently, he took Blaine's hand and walked a few steps back until they reached the bed. Blaine followed him, eyes glued to his, and when Kurt finally sat down and slowly lay on the bed, Blaine silently followed him, their hands still intertwined.
Although there were no clothes separating them, the initial urgency was gone now. Blaine's hand traveled slowly to Kurt's back and the young man gasped when the hand went lower. Kurt closed his eyes and threw his head back, exposing his throat once more, and Blaine shuddered, because it had to be the most beautiful thing he had ever seen.
Hearing his name on Kurt's lips like that, with so much desire and emotion, made Blaine shudder again. The things this man could do to him amazed and scared him at the same time. He had never allowed himself to feel like that before, but he didn't regret it, because it was as if he had been waiting for Kurt his whole life.
"Blaine…" Kurt said again, this time pleading
"Kurt…" Blaine closed his eyes, trying to control himself, or this would end too fast. He took a few breaths and opened his eyes again. "Tell me what you want."
"I want you," Kurt breathed, unable to find the right words.
Silently, Blaine stretched his arm until he reached the bedside table's small drawer. He retrieved a small bottle. As Blaine started to prepare Kurt, the young man gave a small whimper, wanting to close his eyes and lose himself in the feeling, but he couldn't, because Blaine's intense gaze on his hypnotized him, making him feel loved and safe. And very, very turned on.
"Are you okay?" Blaine asked, when he felt that Kurt was ready. Kurt could only nod, because he didn't trust himself to speak.
Then Blaine pushed slowly inside Kurt, inch by inch, until everything was Kurt and all he could feel, smell, hear and see was the love of his life, around him and leaving space for nothing else. He kissed Kurt slowly, feeling so overwhelmed with love and desire that any sudden movement would be too much. Kurt's hand searched for his, palm sweaty and hot, in a silent indication that he was fine. Only then Blaine started to move, at first just a little, barely thrusting inside, taking his time, wanting this to last forever. But soon increased the pace, and Kurt grabbed his shoulders, fingers leaving marks on Blaine's skin.
"I love you so much," Kurt said between gasps, unable to remain silent.
That finally broke the dam. With a guttural moan of his own, Blaine started to thrust faster and deeper with each thrust, and suddenly it was an avalanche of movement, sweat and love, a giant wave crashing around them, drowning both men in a spiral that became impossible to stop, until Kurt opened his mouth in a silent gasp, stars exploding behind his eyes. Blaine swallowed Kurt's moans with a deep kiss and everything went black for a moment with the strength of his own release.
There was nothing left to say after that, because nothing was good enough to describe the beauty of that night.
"Kurt, are you comfortable?" Dr. Puckerman asked.
Kurt nodded. He was lying on a soft couch, head resting on one of the side arms on which an even softer pillow had been placed. He felt nervous but yes, he was as comfortable as he could get.
"How about you, Mr. Anderson?"
"Everything is fine," Blaine said from the armchair on the farthest side of the room.
"Very well," the doctor said to both men. "The hypnotherapy session can help Kurt to unlock any feeling or memory from deep inside his mind; something that somehow might be interfering with his life. We will bring this memory or feeling to the surface, and by doing so, Kurt will be able to deal with it and let it finally go. Do you understand, Kurt?"
"The session is about to begin. Kurt, I can assure you that you will be completely safe, even if some unpleasant memory comes to you. And Mr. Anderson, I will ask you to not interfere or try to talk to Kurt under any circumstance, even if you see him distressed. I will be in control of the whole situation, so you both have nothing to fear, gentlemen. And remember, nothing that will happen or will be said here will ever leave this room."
Kurt and Blaine nodded mutely to the doctor and then their eyes met, trying to send an invisible message of 'courage' to each other.
The doctor sat on a chair right beside Kurt, facing the younger man. All the blinds were closed, and the dim light coming from a lamp on the doctor's desk, gave the room a cozy atmosphere.
"Now, Kurt," Noah Puckerman started in a very soft voice, "I want you to stare at the spot in the middle of my forehead. The more you stare, the more you feel your body relaxing."
Kurt did as he was told, and his body started to relax slowly.
"The sound of my voice is also relaxing, and it is making your muscles relax more and more. You're allowing everything to relax and all the worries are far, far away. You are in peace. Your eyes are becoming heavy, your eyelids are heavy."
Kurt's eyelids fluttered closed.
"I will count from five to one, and when I finish, your eyes will be so heavy that it will be impossible for you to open them. Five… Four… Three… Two… One. You are completely relaxed now. You are sleeping deeply, Kurt, but you can still hear my voice and answer my questions."
Kurt remained quiet, eyes closed, breath even, completely asleep.
"Tell me your name," the doctor asked.
"Kurt Hummel," Kurt answered, but his face and his body didn't move an inch.
"What are you doing now?"
"I am sleeping."
"Kurt… you are now standing on top of a staircase with twenty steps going down. You start moving slowly down on the stairs now. Each step leads you more and more into your past. Remember, you are safe and secure, nothing bad can happen to you. Now move down the steps, I will help you count them. Ten…Nine…Eight…Seven…Six. Stop for a moment, Kurt. Look around you. Can you tell me where you are?"
"In a park," Kurt answered after some time, his voice slow and heavy with sleep.
"And how old are you?"
"Are you alone?"
Kurt frowned a bit, and then smiled softy. "My mother is with me. She is talking to Mrs. Jones. I like Mercedes a lot."
"Who is Mercedes, Kurt?"
"My best friend. We play at her house and she lets me use her piano."
"Do you take piano classes?"
Kurt shook his head almost imperceptibly. "No. I always knew how to play."
"And what is your favorite song?"
"The one I made when I was dreaming."
"Do you dream a lot?"
"Every night. With the song, with a huge field of grape vines, I'm looking for someone but I can't find."
"Who are you looking for?"
"I don't know."
Doctor Puckerman looked at Blaine, whose eyes seemed to be glued on Kurt. Kurt had already told him about the misunderstanding with the song, so it was important to establish that Kurt had always had that inside his mind. At five he'd already dreamed about it. The doctor knew that this could only be coming from some time before that, before 1911. He had witnessed things like that so many times that there was no more doubt in him: Kurt's dreams came from another place; from another time.
He remained quiet for a few seconds, allowing Kurt to breathe and stay calm. He needed to find the point that was triggering the dreams, and why now it was getting more frequent when Kurt was awake.
"Very well, Kurt. Now, I want you to go a few more steps down the stairs. Go slowly, you are calm and at peace. You can stop if you see an event you consider important. Remember, everything is fine and you are completely safe."
Kurt breathed deeply.
"Are you there?" The doctor asked.
"Tell me what you see."
"A school. It's very big, and made of stone."
"I would like you to allow the year now, to come to you. Tell me the year that we are examining."
Kurt seemed to think for a while. "1904," he breathed.
"How old are you?"
"What is happening now at the school?"
Kurt frowned a little. "There's this boy." Then he smiled softly. "I like him."
"Can you describe him to me? Are you friends?"
"No, but I hope the other boys introduces us." Kurt's smile broadened a little. "His hair is messy… curly, and his eyebrows are funny, but he is… beautiful."
"Can you tell me his name?"
"I don't know."
"Now, Kurt, I want you to turn around and go up just one step on the stairs, and as you do that, you will go just a couple of years in the future. Can you do that, Kurt?"
Kurt frowned. "Yes. But…"
"What, Kurt? Something happened?"
Kurt's frown deepened. "My name is not Kurt."
"And what is your name?"
Kurt breathed deeply again. "Collin Shepherd."
Behind the doctor, Blaine gasped, and Dr. Puckerman turned to the man to ask him to stay quiet. But he was livid, white, like he had just seen a ghost.
Collin Shepherd was Blaine's best friend in the whole world, and from the moment they met, Blaine just knew that he and Collin would be friends. Collin was extremely well-mannered and wealthy, but there was always something wild about him, something defiant that Blaine found fascinating.
As they started to know each other better, he found out that Collin was funny and was always smiling, and his presence alone made Blaine smile too. Together with Wes and Thad, they made one of the most popular groups of school.
As they grew older, though, Blaine and Collin started to realize that there were some things they didn't have in common with the other boys, though. Like their complete lack of interest in girls. At fifteen, Thad and Wes started to talk about them all the time, but Blaine and Collin didn't care about girls, so they started to spend more and more time together.
When they held hands for the first time, both knew they were more than just friends, but they couldn't give a name for what was happening to them yet. All they knew was that they wanted to be together, and if they started hugging each other more, they didn't talk about it, because it felt good to be together and they accepted it as a normal thing for them.
Thad and Wes were the ones who talked to them about it for the first time. Not openly, because the subject had always been such a huge taboo. But they asked them to be careful, because although they didn't mind, - they were friends and would always be, no matter what -people didn't like nor treated well boys who liked other boys. In fact, their lives would be a nightmare if they let other people know. No one would ever accept that.
Promising they would be careful, Blaine and Collin started to see each other every day, their conversations getting more philosophical, questionings, dreams and confessions coming easier to them. They acknowledged that they loved each other, but didn't know how to act or what to do about it. All they knew was that no one could ever know, but at that time, they didn't care. They were young, they were in love, they were going to conquer the world and show everyone how wonderful love could be. They had all the time in the world. Society be damned.
The first time they kissed, on New Year's Eve, Collin was shot and killed.
Blaine closed his eyes and took a deep breath, but his heart was beating so fast that he got dizzy. He tried his best to calm himself, though, because he didn't want the doctor to ask him to leave. And after what he had just heard, there was nothing that would take him from this room now. He knew what was going to happen, the worst night of all his life right there, in front of him, with Kurt trapped inside it. It was a nightmare.
Seeing that Blaine had apparently calmed a little, Dr. Puckerman turned to Kurt again, who had remained motionless, looking like he was sleeping peacefully.
"I'd like you now to move forward in that lifetime, to a time when a very important event took place. Can you tell me what year is this?" he asked with a soft voice.
"Please, describe this event you consider important to me."
"I composed a piano song for Blaine."
"Did you give it to him?"
"Yes. But I kept the last part."
Kurt smiled. "I finished it today. I think I will play for him on his birthday." Then Kurt frowned a little and turned his head to one side.
"What's happening?" Puckerman asked.
"There are too many people here. Blaine wants to go outside."
"Where are you?"
Kurt seemed to be concentrating for a while. "At the club. There's a party."
"Is it a special celebration?"
"There are white balloons. It's New Year's Eve."
Blaine's sharp intake of breath was heard again, but this time Puckerman didn't stop. "Are you two going somewhere?"
"Blaine's taking me to the gardens. We want to be alone."
The doctor waited for a few seconds. Kurt started to breathe faster, but remained calm. "What is happening now?" the man asked softer.
"I want Blaine to kiss me. No one will see, everybody is inside the ball room." Kurt smiled broadly. "I love him."
Puckerman felt as if he was intruding a very private moment, and he was indeed, but he knew it was necessary to go on. From what he knew, this moment was crucial, the moment Kurt had relived, a few days before, that had left him and Blaine so shaken.
"Oh," Kurt said, and he frowned again, but this time there was worry in his face.
"What is happening?" the doctor asked, noticing that Kurt's breath was even faster than before.
"There is a man…he saw us kissing. I don't like him."
"Do you know him?"
"He… I think that he…he works at the club. Gardner." Kurt's voice began to falter. "He said we're perverts."
"Is he threatening you in any way?"
"He said that we deserve to die… that… that…" a tear went down Kurt's face. "That he will send us to hell where we belong."
"Kurt, remember that you are safe - " Puckerman started.
"No!" Kurt's face showed anguish now, fear. "He has a gun… I…I am scared. Blaine is holding my hand tight, and he is pleading - please, sir, don't -"
For the first time, Kurt moved something other than his face. His right arm clutched at his stomach suddenly and his face contorted in pain. "It hurts!" he shouted.
"Kurt!" Blaine shouted too, earning an angry 'shut up, or you'll have to leave'from the doctor
"Kurt!" Dr. Puckerman said, his voice sounding like an order. "Calm yourself!"
The young man quieted immediately, but his face was still showing the pain he was feeling.
"Now pay attention, Kurt. Concentrate on my voice." The doctor started to speak quietly, almost whispering now. It sounded comforting. "You are floating now, you are calm and at peace. You're not in pain anymore, and there is nothing bad happening to you. You are safe."
Kurt started to breath slower each passing second and a serene expression appeared on his face, as if he was sleeping once more.
"Do you feel safe?" Puckerman asked.
"Yes," Kurt breathed.
"And the pain is gone?"
"Good. Now, tell me where you are."
"Floating," Kurt murmured calmly, as if nothing had happened.
"Can you see anything?"
"Can you describe it to me?"
"There are people down there; they are kneeling next to someone on the ground. There is blood… someone is dead, and they are crying." Kurt's voice was just a faint whisper now.
"Do you see anything else?"
"Yes. Ahead of me… there is this light."
"Can you tell me what it is?"
"I don't know. But it's very bright, and it wants me to go. It's so peaceful and beautiful…I'm starting to float towards the light now." But then Kurt made a face, frowning a little, and his breath hitched almost imperceptibly, like he had just heard something.
The doctor sensed the change, although the young man remained calm. "Remember, you are in peace now. What is happening?"
"I can't go to the light… no - I don't want to go."
"Blaine is down there…he…he is crying. I don't want to leave him. I can't go. We haven't had enough time."
"Can you hear him crying?"
"I can see him. He is saying my name, calling for help, pleading for me to stay. He doesn't t know I'm not down there anymore. I have to go back, I…Blaine needs me. I promised I would never say goodbye."
For a few seconds no one said anything. Kurt remained unmoving, the doctor's eyes never leaving him. Blaine's hands were grasping the armrests of his chair so hard that his knuckles were almost white. The silence stretched for a full minute now, and Blaine fought hard to keep control.
"Kurt?" Dr. Puckerman said softly. "Can you hear me?"
"Where are you now?"
Kurt tilted his head to the side a little. "There's… a vineyard…but then it changes into a long corridor. There are many twists and turns. I am walking, and I can hear my song playing somewhere. I'm trying to find him."
"Blaine. I'm looking for Blaine. I promised him I wouldn't leave."
"Do you know where to find him, Kurt?"
"No." Kurt's voice assumed a sad tone, but then he said with a stronger, more determined voice. "Not yet. But I will."
The doctor took a deep breath. There was nothing more he needed to know "Very good, Kurt. Now, allow yourself to drift and clear your mind. You will remember everything that we've talked about today concerning your dreams and your visions, and the events you just saw. Over the next few days, all the thoughts and images will start to be at peace inside your mind. They will help you understand what happened to you will not be disturbed by visions anymore. Do you understand?"
"Now, I am going to count from one to five. You will start to wake up slowly, and you will feel completely calm and safe. One…Two…Three…Four…Five. Open your eyes, Kurt, you're awake.
The drive home was quiet. Kurt and Blaine sat on the backseat together, hands clasped tightly, but not really looking at each other. Finn drove carefully, aware that something big had just happened, and if once or twice he looked at them from the rearview mirror, it wasn't to pry, but because he was truly worried.
Blaine and Kurt were lost in thought. The doctor's explanation for what they had just experienced seemed unreal, something coming out of a fantasy book. And yet, deep down, they knew it was true.
"I will try to explain this in the best way I can," Dr. Puckerman had said when the session ended, "and let you judge if you will believe in it or not. I hope you have an open mind, gentlemen. You can call it an alternative science if you want, and I know that for the skeptical ones this will sound unreal. Remember, I've been working with conventional medicine too, for a long time, and I know how to deal with mental diseases. However, this is not the case. But in my long experience working with cases like this, what I'm going to tell you is the only explanation I have for what we all saw today."
He arched his eyebrows, as if defying the men in front of him to doubt his words. "Kurt, these visions you've been having - and now we all agree they were always about Mr. Collin Shepherd - they're not because you're psychic. You're not 'catching vibrations' of his spirit and turning them into visions or anything like this.
"Of course, not," Kurt agreed. "The visions about him started here at Dalton, but the dreams, I've been having them since forever, and he was never there. And there's the song…"
Beside Kurt, Blaine shifted on the chair, anxious. "So… what other explanation do you have, Doctor?"
"Well, Kurt… I can say without a doubt that you were Collin Shepherd in your previous life."
"What?" Kurt and Blaine said together.
The doctor nodded. "You were Collin, and you came back for Blaine, because your soul couldn't bear to be apart from him."
"That's not possible," Kurt said, shaking his head.
Blaine just looked at the man, mouth hanging open.
"I take my work very seriously, gentlemen, my reputation depends on it. I would not tell you something I didn't believe in. This is not the first time I see something like this happening."
Kurt and Blaine just kept staring at the doctor, shocked, faces clearly showing disbelief.
"We can do it again," Puckerman said. "The regression therapy. Just to clear your doubts."
"Um…I don't think I want to see Kurt going through that again," Blaine said.
"Well, then… Let me ask you something, Kurt…when were you born?" Puckerman raised an eyebrow at Kurt.
"January, the 1st, 1906."
"And when did Collin die?" the doctor asked Blaine.
"Uh…" Blaine looked at Kurt and their eyes widened at the same time. "He was… shot right after midnight, on December 31st. I mean, technically it was…January. The 1st, 1906."
Dr. Puckerman raised his eyebrows again. He did that a lot. "You still have any doubts?"
"But - but why would something like that happen?" Blaine asked, incredulous. "I mean, how can it be possible?"
The doctor looked at the men very serious. "Kurt, Blaine, you are what we call twin souls, or, the two halves of a same soul. It can also be called twin flames or twin rays."
Kurt and Blaine exchanged an incredulous look. The doctor smiled calmly at them. "The twin-soul concept is not new, you know. Plato described it 2.500 years ago. Each soul was separated in two halves, but the division was painful, the yearning for completion inside each half making them search each other endlessly. Our souls have roamed unbalanced, incomplete, looking for each other, and we'll continue to experience this life after life until we find our other half."
"So…" Kurt said, making a vague gesture between him and Blaine. "You believe we are…"
"Two halves of a same soul, yes. And you finally found each other, as Blaine and Collin, only to be separated again by death. So your soul decided to come back against all the odds, Kurt, still in Blaine's lifetime, determined to find Blaine, because you had promised not to leave him. Because your soul couldn't bear to stay away from his."
"This is unbelievable," Blaine said.
"You saw it yourself, Mr. Anderson. Do you think Kurt could have faked everything that happened here today?"
Blaine shook his head slowly. "No. There were things, memories, details he couldn't have known, unless someone had told him or… he had been there."
"And you, Kurt…I know you remember everything. Can you really deny it was you? Can you deny that all the dreams and flashes you've always had, match exactly what you know about Collin's life, your previous life?"
Kurt breathed deeply. "No. Somehow I feel like it…like it really happened. With me."
"Because it did. It was you." When both men kept staring at him, Puckerman sighed. "This subject has been studied for a long time, these concepts are nothing new. Only a twin soul would come back, right after leaving the body, like you did. It was… a desperate gesture, Kurt. The moment you saw Blaine crying, pleading for you to stay… your soul couldn't deny him anything, because he's your other half. Simple as that."
"You call that simple?" Kurt asked, still in a daze from the information.
"This is hard to believe," Blaine agreed, his voice betraying his shock."You're talking about reincarnation."
"Of course I am. Gentlemen, this is very simple. All you have to do is think about the first time you saw each other. I'm sure there was some kind of recognition there, or immediate attraction, you call it the way it suits you better."
"I fainted," Kurt said, going suddenly pale with the realization. "When I saw his eyes, I… I'd always dreamed about eyes exactly like his."
Blaine gulped, remembering the way he felt an electric current going through him the first time he saw Kurt. "I felt something too. Like a shock, when I saw him for the first time."
"Recognition. Of course, it wasn't conscious, but it was there," the doctor said to them. "Some people call it love at first sight, but in your case, I firmly believe that somehow, you remembered each other."
They stayed quiet, still looking at the man.
"But the most powerful evidence, besides the regression therapy, is the song Collin wrote for Blaine and that was already inside your mind when you were born, Kurt. Did you two really think it was just a coincidence? Believe me, things don't happen randomly like that."
Kurt nodded slowly. "So I was born with the song inside my mind, and the whole time it wasn't even mine?"
"Kurt, I want to make clear that, although you and Collin share the same soul, you are not him. You are a whole different person, and the vestiges of your previous life - like your love for music - and even the dreams… were just tools your soul used to help you find Blaine still in this lifetime. So yes, the song is not really yours, but at the same time, it is, because you and Collin share the same essence. Only, you are your own person, and now that your soul is aware that you really found Blaine, the dreams will slowly diminish, until they are very few, or even stop."
Kurt sighed. "This is insane, but at least I'm not the one insane here."
"So, there is your answer, gentlemen." Dr. Puckerman said triumphantly. "You are twin souls. I suggest you make good use of the time you have together in this life."
When they arrived at Dalton, Kurt was feeling so tired that Blaine practically carried him to his room. His eyes felt heavy and his whole body felt like there was a ton of bricks pushing it to the ground. His mind, though, felt strangely blank, as if all the thoughts had vanished.
Once more, Blaine helped Kurt change and tucked him in bed, but this time, Kurt didn't ask him to stay, he just closed his eyes and drifted to sleep immediately. Blaine remained sitting by his side, running his hand through Kurt's hair, until finally he thought it was time to go. He liked to take care of him.
When he tried to get up, Kurt's hand gripped his, so he accommodated himself next to the young man as best as he could, and tried to rest a little. He too, felt tired, his head in a turmoil, and he just knew that sleep would not come to him. But Kurt's proximity gave him peace, and a few minutes later, he was snoring softly beside the young man.
Blaine woke up a few hours later, feeling surprisingly rested, but Kurt didn't move, aside from an occasional sigh as he adjusted his head on the pillow once in a while. Blaine tried to stay in bed with him, but he felt too restless, anxious even. He knew Kurt needed to rest, the doctor had said his body would need time to keep up with everything that had happened, but he could barely wait to talk to him.
Lunch came and went, and Blaine woke Kurt up to give him some soup. Kurt ate reluctantly, and only because Blaine insisted. His eyes were still half-closed, his whole body still feeling heavy with tiredness. He slept again as soon as he finished eating.
The afternoon hours passed slowly, and Blaine did everything to occupy his time. He read, he took the dogs for a walk, he contemplated going to work for a while, but soon gave up, knowing he wouldn't be able to concentrate.
Santana eyed him curiously and worriedly, but she knew him well enough not to ask. She knew he would go to her if he needed.
At night, and Blaine decided to return to Kurt's room again, to check on him.
Kurt was sitting on the bed, back resting on the headboard, seeming to be lost in thought. He looked peaceful. When he saw Blaine, he smiled and extended his hand to him. Blaine walked to where he was and sat on the bed, facing Kurt. Their hands remained linked.
"How are you?" Blaine asked.
Kurt tilted his head to one side, thinking about the question. "Fine, I think. Considering everything that happened…"
"It is a lot to take in," Blaine said.
"Do you believe in this, Blaine?" Kurt asked in earnest.
Blaine sighed. "It's still hard to believe, but, strangely… I do. If I hadn't been right there with you and someone else told me this story, I - "
"You would've laughed," Kurt finished for him. "So would I. But now that I remember, it feels like it's true. And if I'm really not crazy, then I have to admit that this is really happening. It was really me, it felt like me. I was there, I was him."
"I never thought I would believe that…you know, that we live one life after the other; that this life isn't all that we have."
"This is scary, don't you think?" Kurt asked in wonder. "Knowing that our souls will always search each other through time?"
"I think this is amazing. Because we will never be apart, because we will have forever. We just…have to get used to coming back. Not that we'll remember, but still…"
Kurt sighed. "Well, don't expect me to turn into a believer from one moment to the other. I'm not going to start praying. I still have my doubts about God. But… someone, or something, allowed me to come back to be with you again, and for that, I'm grateful."
"I'm not religious too. I can't believe in any religion that tells me I'm going to hell for being the way I am. But I believe in God, and if He makes no mistakes, I am exactly the way I was supposed to be." Blaine shrugged a little, "All I've always wanted was someone to share my life with. I thought that would never happen."
"I can't imagine myself without you anymore." Kurt asked, smiling softly at Blaine.
"We were drawn to each other since the first moment. No wonder I could hardly take my eyes off you."
"No wonder I fainted the moment we met."
They both laughed quietly. That had been quite dramatic.
"It might take some time to get used to this," Kurt said. "That something like that can really happen… that I really came back to find you."
"I know. And… God, Kurt, you could have been born anywhere, on the other side of the world, and we'd never meet This is…I don't even know."
"My father would say it's Fate," Kurt declared.
"Fate," Blaine agreed. "Your father seems to be a wise man."
"Wait…" Kurt's eyes searched for Blaine's ones, suddenly worried. "Will you start seeing Collin now, every time you look at me? I want you to love me for me, Blaine, not because you know that he and I…"
"Kurt," Blaine said. "You heard what Dr. Puckerman said. You are not Collin. You are completely different from him, in fact, physically and in personality. You are not a replacement, and you will never be."
Kurt nodded, but Blaine could feel Kurt still doubted him a little.
Blaine sighed and looked at Kurt resolutely. "I loved him, he was my best friend, it's true. His death was one of the worst moments of my life. We had barely realized our feelings. We were young, we thought we would have time… But he died, Kurt. It hurt like nothing else I have experienced, and because of that, I decided to never let anyone get too close. I was convinced I would live and die alone. I… I've met some people over the years, but… none of them made me care enough, no one made me want to try again. Until you came."
Kurt's uncertain face turned into a smile, and it was so bright that the whole room seemed alive.
"Do you know what I see when I look at you?" Blaine asked, getting closer, until their foreheads were resting against each other. "I see a beautiful, perfect and fierce young man, who caught my eye in a beat, who captivated me and made me want to get out of my shell. A man I can't stop wanting close to me all the time, someone I hope to grow old with. I see the man I love, and it's you, Kurt Hummel, no one else."
"Blaine…" Kurt murmured, but he couldn't think of anything to say, aside from the only conviction he had. "I will never love anyone but you."
"Neither will I," Blaine whispered, and he kissed Kurt with love and care, taking his time, because finally, now they had all the time in the world.
The early morning sun illuminated the room bit by bit. Kurt was awake, his fingers tracing random circles on Blaine's bare shoulder. His pale hand against Blaine's tanned skin made a beautiful contrast, and Kurt couldn't take his eyes off it. He was happy and feeling at peace for the first time in his life. He felt complete, and invincible, because he had defied death to find the person he loved.
Kurt Hummel still didn't believe in God. That would take some time, if it ever were to happen. But he believed in love. Not in love like a general, abstract thing. But as a power so strong that could take a soul from wherever it was and make it search for its other half. That he could believe, because he could feel this power inside him.
They had spent the entire night learning each other, exploring, feeling, and sometimes just talking. It had felt like heaven. Not that the first time they'd been intimate wasn't wonderful, but last night, everything had seemed more intense, like they were seeing each other in a new light.
Blaine was still asleep and Kurt knew he had to get up soon. In a few hours, it would be time to get out of the bubble he and Blaine had put themselves into, and face the real world. Kurt would have to put on his butler uniform and pretend nothing had happened, while Blaine would go to work and come home for dinner, like any regular day. And Kurt wouldn't be able to greet him with a kiss.
They still hadn't talked about it, but they would have to, soon. The whole 'twin souls' thing had already been too much to take in. But they would soon have to discuss the impact of their relationship on their lives, because it would always be hard, no matter how they chose to examine it.
It wasn't only the social barrier, but that still counted. Blaine was rich and influent. Kurt was a no one from a small town in the middle of nowhere. He would never agree to live with Blaine and not work. He would never be a kept man, and he knew Blaine would never suggest something like that. The problem was, Kurt workedfor him.
Which, of course, led to the other topic. Kurt didn't want to be a butler forever. He wanted to study and eventually, find a better job, so he could have his own house and bring his father to live with him. But this would mean leaving Blaine, leaving Dalton's safety. Kurt and Blaine could never live together, unless Kurt remained at Dalton, working for Blaine, their secret protected inside Dalton's walls and Blaine's small circle of friends.
Society would never allow them a happy life together, as equals. If Kurt ever left Dalton, how would he and Blaine be able to explain if someone ever saw them together? A rich and a poor man would never visit each other, would never be seen together, would never be considered friends.
People would start talking, and it could lead to suspicions, they would look for reasons for their friendship, and then… someone could suspect, and they would start talking more. Homosexuality was still forbidden as it had always been. The word wasn't even spoken out loud, and there were already offensive terms to describe it.
Rumors would ruin Blaine's reputation and his business would go downhill. He had never married, after all, and he was over thirty now. Even Kurt's reputation would be affected, and how would he ever get anywhere in life, if people would judge his character and consider him dirty, a pariah, without ever giving him a chance?
He sighed, contemplating Blaine's profile. Nothing in this life had ever come easy for him, but he would never give up on Blaine. Not now that he knew what he had done to find him. They would find a way to be together. The only thing Kurt knew for sure was that he would stay with Blaine, whatever it took. If he would have to hide for the rest of his life, so be it. But he would never let the love of his life go.
It had been almost three months since the session with Dr. Puckerman, and they had fallen into a pleasant routine. In the mornings, Kurt would wake up earlier than Blaine, - they slept together in Kurt's bedroom now - get dressed and go downstairs to help Brittany and Santana with breakfast.
Blaine always came down for breakfast ready for work, and the four of them would eat in the kitchen, along with Finn, who would gladly have all of Santana's coffee and the wonderful pastries from the coffee shop nearby if they didn't pay extra attention and buy enough to feed an army.
Kurt would take Blaine to the door and help him put on his coat, - and didn't that look like something a perfect housewife would do? Oh well, he felt so cliché - kiss him goodbye and watch from the window while Finn drove Blaine to work.
Only then Kurt would put on his butler uniform and start doing his chores. He was still the butler, after all. It didn't make him feel uncomfortable, not really, but really, if he stopped to think about it, he was sleeping with his boss. It was a lot more than that; they were in love. But he doubted people would see it like a love story if someone ever found out.
They liked to play a little with the whole boss/butler thing. Kurt was sure Blaine secretly loved it when Kurt called him "Sir", especially in front of others. Kurt felt a thrill every time that happened, knowing he had Blaine shared something that was just theirs.
Blaine would come home late in the afternoon, and they would often take Pavarotti to get some air in the gardens, the dogs running happily everywhere, barking excitedly at their owner's presence. Sebastian still didn't like Kurt. The feeling remained mutual.
After dinner, when Kurt had already helped Brittany with the dishes and everything was as clean as it could be, Kurt and Blaine had the rest of the day to enjoy each other's company. And they spent every moment together. If Blaine had brought some work home, Kurt would sit on a comfortable armchair in the office near him and study while he worked. Kurt was trying to learn French by himself, and he was doing very well, in his opinion.
The piano room didn't stay locked anymore. Kurt and Blaine alternated playing and singing now, and Blaine bought a new gramophone, because Santana didn't let him take the old one from the living room anymore. Now, there was always music at Dalton.
Santana and Brittany followed a similar pattern, but Santana always took Brittany with her to the market in the mornings, and they would come back and spent the whole day cooking and laughing together. Kurt envied them a little. The social barrier between them was smaller, and no one would bat an eye at their friendship.
Both were Blaine's employees, so they could be friends, be seen together and no one would question them. Kurt was sure that Santana would always live at Dalton, and he believed that Brittany was perfectly content to be a maid and live with her forever.
Dalton was like a cocoon of safety, and for now, Kurt was content to live inside it and just enjoy Blaine's company; the life he'd always wanted beside the man he loved - and who loved him back, how amazing was that? But he knew that one day, the real world would come inside this bubble, and he feared what would happen then.
Reality came in the form of an unwelcome visit. It was a harsh awakening.
It was Sunday afternoon. Kurt and Blaine were alone at Dalton. Finn had taken the day off, and the girls were having tea with Emma.
Technically, it was Kurt's day off too; only, he had chosen to spend it in bed with Blaine. They had woken up late and spent the whole morning in bed. In fact, they only realized how late it was when Blaine's stomach rumbled loudly.
"Oh, I think someone's hungry!" Kurt teased.
Blaine blushed. "What time is it, anyway?" he grabbed his pocket watch from the nightstand. "God, it's already four!"
"Let me get us something to eat," Kurt said, getting up and putting on a silk robe he had bought downtown. It was beautiful, with oriental drawings and, in Kurt's opinion, really classy.
"Come here, give me a kiss," Blaine said, pulling Kurt to the bed with him.
"No, no, no, if you want another kiss, you'll have to earn it," Kurt joked, kissing Blaine anyway.
"What can I do to deserve your kisses, Mr. Hummel?"
"Come with me downstairs. Let's investigate if we can find any leftovers from breakfast."
Kurt pulled Blaine up, made him put on his undershirt, and together they went down the stairs, barefoot and laughing at the fact that Blaine's hair, free from the gel, was in every possible direction, the curls wild and beautiful, in Kurt's opinion.
Sue Sylvester-Anderson was standing in the middle of the living room, looking at them with a raised eyebrow and a scowl on his face.
They stopped mid-step, still hand in hand, paralyzed by the surprise and by the realization that their secret had been discovered by the worst person possible.
"Well… what do we have here?" she said, walking slowly in the men's direction.
"Go upstairs, Kurt," Blaine said, squeezing Kurt's hand tight.
"It's too late to protect him, Blaine," she said, teeth showing in a sarcastic smile. "Although I must say you have a very good taste in men."
"How did you get in?" Blaine growled between gritted teeth.
"One of your stupid employees left the gate and the door open. Probably in a hurry to get far from this den of iniquity."
"Sue…" Blaine warned.
"Don't start, Blaine," she looked like a shark about to feast on fresh meat. "You're not in a position to treat me like that."
"What do you want?"
"I came here originally for money, I'm practically dressed in rags, I need the new spring collection. But now," she smiled again, this time broader, "I think we should talk. I think I deserve a lot more, and you better start treating me with a lot more respect, Blaine."
Beside Blaine, Kurt was petrified. He could barely breathe; all he could think was that now they were going to lose everything. His hand, still in Blaine's, was the only thing keeping him anchored. He could feel Blaine trembling with fury, his amber eyes dark, menacing.
"Go upstairs, Kurt," Blaine said again, but now his voice had a slightly pleading tone.
"Yes, yes, go upstairs, Porcelain. I assure you this conversation will be unpleasant for someone so delicate. Tell me, are you even of consent age?"
"How dare you - " Kurt started, but Blaine pulled him by the hand.
"Kurt, please," this time it sounded like an order.
"Oh my, Porcelain can bite. You like them wild and young, Blaine?"
Kurt could barely feel his legs as they carried him up the stairs. Inside his room, he got dressed like an automaton and sat on the bed, like a statue, his mind running a thousand miles per hour. They'd almost had everything; and now all could be lost forever. Blaine was alone, facing that woman's wrath, and there was nothing that Kurt could do to help him.
"That's such a fascinating discovery," Sue said, looking at Blaine with a glint in her eyes. "I always thought you were the boring type, dear, but I can see you have a… how can I put this? Oh, yes, a darker side."
"Why don't you tell me what you want so we can be done with this?" Blaine said coldly.
"Oh, please, don't spoil my fun! I waited for so long for an opportunity like this, to finally find a flea in the perfect Blaine Anderson, and you want to cut my moment of triumph short?"
"The faster you tell me what you want to forget what you saw, the faster you can get it." Blaine's voice didn't betray his nervousness, although he knew he was in Sue's hands.
"You want to buy my silence, little boy? You think you can really buy it?" She approached him slowly, and he had to force himself not to take a step back. "What I want is your head in a golden tray, honey. I want to see you ruined, discredited, your false moral patterns drowning, your face so buried in dirt that no one will ever forget that you are a pervert.
Blaine's heart felt like it had stopped. There was nothing he could do to placate this woman, and now he would lose everything, including Kurt.
"What would people say if they knew that the respectable Mr. Anderson indulges himself in sodomy with young boys, no less, inside his own house, the house his ancestors built with hard work? Oh, add to that the fact that he works for you. I wonder how much you're paying him, if sleeping with the boss is required of him. I wonder if someone would ever want to have business with you, if someone would ever look at your dirty face again."
"You don't understand and I don't expect you to," Blaine wanted to punch her, but he couldn't, so he clenched his fists so hard it hurt.
"You've treated me as a nuisance since your father died. You made him write a will leaving me only a stupid house! You keep sending me money in small amounts, so I can never forget that you are in control! You little, pitiful, sorry excuse for a man! You and that idiot, glorified maid, always making me feel unwelcome in a house that was my husband's; a house that should've been mine!"
"You always hated Dalton, Sue."
"But I could've sold this mausoleum for good money, Blaine. So I wouldn't need to beg you for crumbs every time I want a necklace or a new car!"
Blaine was tired. This wasn't going anywhere. "Look, Sue, all I want to know is what you want to leave me alone. If I lose everything, you will lose too, because I am the one who gives you all the luxury you don'tdeserve. You should think about your terms and tell me what you want."
"I'll do more than that, Blaine, just to show you how compassionate I can be. I don't want you to think that I'm a bad person just because I'm your step-mother; you're not Cinderella, after all. I'll give you twenty-four hours to gather all your papers, to show me all your documents. You will show me all your possessions and I will chose whatever I want. Or… your dirty little lifestyle will be in the papers at the gossip column first thing on Tuesday."
"We could run away," Kurt offered timidly, already knowing that it wasn't an option."
"She would find us," Blaine answered tiredly while he paced the room. "If I know Sue, she will never give up; she'll never leave us alone unless I do what she wants."
"And… even if you give her whatever she wants, Blaine… how can we trust she won't say anything?"
"We can't. The danger will always be there."
"Maybe if I go away - " Kurt started.
"No!" Blaine paled, stopping in front of Kurt. "That will never be an option."
Kurt, sitting on the sofa, looked at Blaine with eyes full of tears. "If I leave, the primary reason for her threats would be gone; no one would believe her if there were nothing for them to see."
"If you leave, you will take my life with you, and that will kill me." Blaine kneeled in front of Kurt and held him tight. "Just give me tonight to find a solution. I will think of something. I promise you, Kurt, we will never be apart again."
Kurt couldn't hold back a sob. "I don't want to ruin your life…!"
"You don't understand, Kurt. You are my life. I'm not giving up on us."
Kurt spent the night in the living room, because he couldn't bear to sleep alone. Santana stayed with him, while Brittany slept in her room, happily oblivious, and Blaine locked himself in his office.
Blaine had told Santana everything, including the conclusion the psychiatrist had reached about him and Kurt. She had never been one to believe in such things, but being Emma's friend, she had already heard a lot of unusual stories like that. Besides, Dr. Puckerman was a respected doctor, and no one would question his conclusions, even if they seemed to come out of a novel.
"I always hated that woman," Santana said angrily.
"What do you think Blaine will do?" Kurt asked with a very small voice. "Is there even something he can do?"
"I have no idea," she said, shaking her head in dismay. "Blaine's family left him a lot of money and properties, but he always worked hard to make justice to his father's legacy. Now he has to give that disgusting woman whatever she wants? It's unbelievable."
"It's all my fault," Kurt lamented. "If I hadn't - "
"Don't," Santana snapped. "It won't solve anything. You are in this together, Kurt. Blaine is smart, he'll think of something."
"I still think I should leave."
"Don't say that again in my presence if you want to live. If I have to tie you to the kitchen table, Kurt, I will."
"This isn't time for jokes, Santana."
"I'm not joking. Look, I saw what happened to Blaine when Collin died. I saw how he turned himself into a hermit, going through the motions like he wasn't even there. Then you came, and I saw how you made him happy,alive. If you leave, it will kill him. Blaine will never recover from that."
"Neither will I," Kurt whispered.
"Kurt, you told me that you've already come back from another life to find Blaine. That's unbelievable, but you did it. Now it's his turn to show what he is capable of doing to stay with you. Trust him."
Early in the morning, Blaine came down the stairs in his best suit, carrying a briefcase. He accepted the cup of strong coffee Santana gave him, and kissed Kurt's temple tenderly.
"Do you know what you're going to do?" Santana asked.
"Yes," Blaine said resolutely, "and the first thing is, I'm not going to wait for Sue to come back this afternoon; I'm going to her house now."
"And…?" Kurt asked.
"And I want you to calm down. I'm sure she'll accept my proposal. You trust me, don't you?"
Kurt nodded mutely, hugging Blaine tight.
"So, stay calm and wait for me, I'll be home soon," was all he said before closing the heavy door behind him.
"Everything?" Sue asked in disbelief.
"Except for Dalton, the vineyard and the jewels that belonged to my mother," Blaine said.
"And the buildings? The other houses in Europe? The money in Switzerland?" Sue asked, practically salivating.
She gave a short laugh. "You really care about that boy," she snorted. "It's unbelievable what people can do out of fear. If I didn't know how coward you are, I'd almost be inclined to believe it's really love."
"That's not your business, and I don't care what you believe," Blaine's icy tone could transform the room into a huge ice cube. "I have a request, though, one little condition I want you to accept and leave it properly registered."
"And you think you're in position to demand anything?" She smiled. "If I didn't know your secret, I would think you are turning into a man."
"As I said, all you have to gain if you ruin my life, is the satisfaction of seeing me poor. But since I'm the one who supports you, maybe you should think twice, because what I'm offering is a lot more than you've ever had, and my request won't be any sacrifice to you."
"And what is your request, little boy?"
Blaine took a deep breath. "That you leave London. You can choose from other countries on Europe, and there's a beautiful house in New York. If you want glamour, New York is where you'll find it, and money will never be a problem. I'd like to be informed - in advance, of course - if and when you decide to come to London for a visit."
"Can it be done legally?" she asked.
"I'm sure my lawyers will think of a way to do it. As soon as you've signed the document, everything I own, except what I've already specified, will be yours."
Sue tilted her head to one side, pretending to think hard about Blaine's proposal. Then her usual shark smile was back. "You got yourself a deal, Blaine."
"Very well, then. I expect everything to be ready in a week or so," he said, walking towards the door and not bothering to say goodbye. "My lawyer's office will contact you."
"Ah…Blaine?"she called, when he was at the threshold. "I'm so sorry your maid will have to leave… now that you're going to be poor. Maybe if you send Santana to me I can get her a job cleaning my toilet."
Her suggestion was met with the loud bang of the door when Blaine left.
"Marriage?" Santana shrieked. "Are you out of your mind?"
"No, I've never thought about anything so much," Blaine declared. He looked at Kurt, who was sitting by his side on the sofa, their arms linked, and the young man nodded at him.
Santana opened her mouth to speak, but Kurt interrupted her. "Please, listen to what Blaine has to say. We've been thinking about this for days."
She nodded, reluctantly.
"Tana, you're my best friend," Blaine started. "I've known you since we were five; our families were friends. Remember how they always used to joke that we would get married one day?"
"That's not reason for you to actually do it, Bl - "
"The only reason you came to work for us when your parents died and the bank took everything you and your brother had, was because Sue was already my stepmother, and she wouldn't allow my father to take you and Tony in."
"I know," Santana said impatiently, her feet tapping on the floor. "She made me clean everything in the kitchen twice, and it was never good enough. But why marry me, Blaine?"
"Because, among other things, I need you to be safe!" he said, exasperated. "I don't have half the money I had before and… I want to secure your future."
"You don't have any obligations towards me, Blaine. You know that," she said, voice very low.
"I know," Blaine's voice turned softer. "But you were there all the time, when Collin died. When my father died. When I told you I liked boys, not girls. When I just wanted to give up and you didn't let me; how many times, did you help me, Tana?"
"So, it's out of gratitude?" she snapped, stubborn as ever.
"It's because I can't protect you anymore, dammit! You're my best friend and I want you around! Please, think about it. This way, half of everything I own will be yours, even if it's not that much anymore."
"And what about Kurt?" she asked, still not convinced. "What will happen to him? I don't believe you're going to give up now."
"Never," Blaine said, and he and Kurt smiled softly at each other.
Blaine and Kurt had spent days talking about this, trying to analyze everything as coldly as possible. They would do whatever it took to stay together, and living apart from each other was not an option. Only, in order to do that, they would need a plan for their lives, one that would also include the people the cared about.
Blaine's only income, from now on, would be the wine production, so he would need his reputation intact. One thing was to lose his properties - they could all blame Sue's ambition for that. But to be discredited and have his morals questioned - and they had no doubt Sue would do it - was a whole different thing.
Kurt wanted to have a future too; he wanted to study. No one would take him seriously - and that would be only one of the things that could happen - if they knew he lived with a man. Besides, they knew that Santana and Brittany wanted to be together too, so they'd found a solution the night before. Now all they had to do was… convince the girls.
Kurt took a deep breath. "In fact…" Kurt said, turning to Santana, "as Blaine said, this is not the only reason for his proposal. And, well, I was hoping that…Brittany would give me her hand in marriage too."
"What? You two are definitely crazy," Santana said.
"No, we're not!" Kurt said in earnest. "It's perfect, don't you see?"
"All I see is you hiding who you are behind a fake marriage."
"True. We get married, so no one will ever question any of us, and we get to live in the same house, all of us, together. So I think we're not the only ones benefitting from this," Kurt said, sounding very sure.
"Kurt's going to be my business partner," Blaine explained. "I could give him and Brittany half the farm as a wedding gift. This way, he and Brittany would be protected financially too."
Santana smirked. "You can call it the way you want, you can try to sell this to me and paint it in beautiful colors, but deep down, this is you, being afraid of living your life the way you want to."
Blaine sighed. "Tana, you may be right. But…I'm not letting Kurt go. I just want to live with him, and this plan, it would allow us to live together; Kurt and I and you and Brittany."
"You do realize you'd be living a lie, right?" she asked.
Kurt nodded. "We do. But we're willing to do anything to stay with each other. Maybe, someday, people will be allowed to love whomever they want, but it won't be in this lifetime. We've already lost too much time; if we'll have to hide forever, so be it. For me, nothing is worse than being away from Blaine; everything else I can accept and adapt; but staying away from him… I just can't."
Brittany hadn't said anything until now. She was sitting quietly, beside Santana, apparently not even paying attention. Then she surprised everyone. "I think this is a good idea! I'd be honor'd to marry ya, Kurt!"
"Britt?" Santana looked at the blond girl, incredulous.
Brittany put her hand delicately on Santana's arm. "I just wanna be with ya, Tanny. I 'ave a feelin' this is gonna work. Don't ya wanna be with me?"
Santana's eyes softened. "Of course I do."
"If we stay together, it's gonna work, I'm sure! We've got the best friends in the world. We gonna be very happy, ya'll see."
"Do you really think it will be enough? That no one will ever find out and, this way, we'll be… safe?" Santana asked, eyeing Blaine.
"I don't know. But I'm willing to try," he answered. "We're blessed to have friends like ours, but… there will always be a risk, I think."
"The question here, Santana, is…" Kurt looked into her eyes, "How much would you do to stay with the person you love?"
She nodded. "Anything."
"So, do you agree?" Blaine asked. "I know it may sound as the easiest way, and I never thought I would be the one to suggest a convenience marriage, but…that's the only way we can stay together."
Santana looked at him for a few seconds. There was nothing easy about the fact that Blaine had just given up all his money to stay with Kurt. Then she smiled at Brittany. "Yes, I agree. I want to live with you too, Britt, and if that's what it takes for us to be together, and for people to just let us live our lives in peace…I'll do it gladly."
Kurt raised an eyebrow. "Then, let's start planning our weddings, ladies."
The civil marriage was at the farm. Only Finn, Rory, Quinn, Burt, Wes and Thad were present. It was a simple ceremony, and when it ended, Blaine signed the papers giving half the farm to Kurt and Brittany as a wedding present.
When the judge left, they all sat together to have dinner, and it was delicious, as always, but there was no commemoration. Quinn made one of her famous apple pies for desert, and that was it. Just like a big family, happy to simply be in each other's company.
Burt had arrived a week earlier; he'd left the countryside as soon as he got Kurt's letter, telling about everything - including the wedding. He looked at Blaine with a serious expression when he first saw him, and let him and Kurt explain, once more, everything that had happened since Kurt's arrival at Dalton. Later, he and Blaine went for a long walk at the vineyard and stayed there for hours. Kurt bit all his nails, nervous, but when they came back, they were smiling, and patting at each other's backs. Burt had accepted Blaine's invitation to live at the farm with them.
When everyone went to sleep, Kurt and Blaine went for the bedroom they'd be sharing from now on. They changed and got on the bed, lying facing each other, their legs and hands intertwined.
"You have no idea how much I love you," Blaine said softly.
"If it's as much as I love you… then I do. I still don't believe you gave up all your fortune so we could be like this."
Blaine smiled softly. "I don't regret anything. Money is just paper, but this…this is real, and I never thought I could have this. I thought that… love was for other people, not for me. But you, Kurt… you changed everything."
Kurt kissed Blaine's nose. "I know our life is not going to be easy, but I don't care. All I want is you, forever."
"Come here," Blaine said suddenly, kneeling on the bed. "Come," he insisted, pulling Kurt until the young man was kneeling in front of him. "Take off your ring," he said, while he took his ring from his left hand.
"Blaine, what…?"Kurt looked at him with a puzzled expression.
"We're going to say our vows," Blaine declared, as if it was the most natural thing in the world. "We couldn't say them at the ceremony, but… this is important, Kurt."
"Alright," Kurt said, amused. Blaine was older than him, but he could be so adorably silly sometimes. Right now, he looked like a little boy, eager and anxious, looking at Kurt with a dopey smile on his face.
"Well, I go first," Blaine said, and he took Kurt's ring and held it, looking at Kurt deeply in the eyes, amber staring at blue. Kurt giggled a little.
"Kurt, you make me complete. I never thought I could feel so much love for someone. I never realized how lost I was until you came into my life. You gave me meaning again, a reason to live." then Blaine pushed the ring on Kurt's finger. "I promise to be with you forever. Whatever happens, I will always be here, and I will never, ever, love anyone else."
By now, Kurt's amused expression had turned into a whole different thing. He had tears of happiness in his eyes, and his sweet smile showed Blaine everything he needed to know. He held Blaine's hand and put it over his own heart, so Blaine could feel how fast it was beating.
"Blaine," Kurt started, holding Blaine's ring, "I've always been yours, even before I'd realized it myself. What we have is stronger than anything, even death. You make me feel loved, strong and happy like I've never been before." He pulled Blaine's ring on his finger. "I promise to love you forever, with everything that I am."
They sealed their promises with a kiss, but it was a lot more than that. As they moved together, in perfect synchrony, skin on skin and nothing else, they knew it was only the beginning. It was the start of a journey through a new life, one that they would finally live as one, like it had always meant to be.
Anderson's Vineyard, 1925 - a year later
The work is hard, but the vineyard is doing fine. Because of the fire the previous year, Blaine had lost a few clients - some deadlines couldn't be met - but now they are all returning because, frankly, the wine's gotten even better than before.
There are four houses at the property now; Kurt and Blaine live in the main house, Santana and Brittany have a house of their own, just like Rory and Quinn - now a married couple. Burt has his own house too, a charming little cottage near the main house.
So yes, they all work a lot, especially during the harvest. But Kurt couldn't be happier. He's studying to be a teacher like Burt, so he spends part of the year in London.
Blaine alternates between both houses - Dalton and the farm - because he needs to be at the vineyard a lot more than before, but he misses Kurt too much. Whenever he goes to the city, Santana and Brittany go with him, and Dalton is alive again. Finn now takes care of Dalton, and he lives there with his new wife, Rachel, who still insists she'll be a star some day.
Spring, summer and part of autumn are spent at the vineyard, but winters are always spent at Dalton. Kurt loves to walk at the park arm in arm with Brittany, dressed in the elegant winter coat he can now afford if he works hard and saves some money. It's comforting to know that Blaine and Santana are walking right behind them.
Kurt still likes to play the piano, but he still can't read music. He doesn't want to learn; instinct always worked better with him. Sometimes he wonders if part of Collin still lives inside him, but then again, if they have the same essence, maybe there really is a part of the boy hidden somewhere. Kurt doesn't mind; Collin was the one who brought him to Blaine and he will never forget that.
Blaine's hair is free of the gel now. His curls, cut short, give him a boyish look that Kurt adores. Blaine and Burt now take frequent walks alone through the farm, right before sunset, talking nonstop like old friends, and Blaine confessed to Kurt that he loves Burt as a father. Kurt couldn't ask for more.
Kurt still has his old dreams sometimes, but the first thing he sees when he wakes up is Blaine, so he always wakes up smiling, tangled up in his lover's limbs. His first thought in the morning and his last thought at night are of Blaine, and it will always be this way.
Kurt has no idea how many people ever get to find their other half, but he's found his, and knowing they will keep being together until the end of time brings him so much peace, that he's almost warming up to the idea that there might be someone up there looking out for him and Blaine - but just a little, because he'll never let go of his convictions.
They live a lie, and they're well aware of that. But for now, it's all they can do. Nothing else matters when they're with each other. If he had to go through everything again, he knows he would, because nothing can compare to the fact that he loves and is loved in return.
Maybe, when people are more tolerant, many, many years from now, two boys will be able to live together and just be happy, and even get married, for all the world to see. Kurt likes to think this will be possible some day. Maybe someday people will see love for what it is: a feeling between two people, not a thing to put a label on.
But for now, Kurt is happy to lay his head on Blaine's chest at night and listen to the strong beat of his heart, knowing that nothing will ever be able to touch them. Not even death.
He is running through the vineyard again. Longing drives him, a sense of desperation, searching, searching, needing to find what he was looking for. His feet hurt, his heart hurt even more, but he needs to go on, to keep searching.
The song keeps playing on and on inside his head; calling him. Pleading. Beautiful and sweet, but…sad, heartfelt. He runs and runs, wondering if he will ever be able to find who is playing it.
Where is he? Where is the man with sad amber eyes? Kurt needs to find him, he needs…
And then the man is there, but when the amber eyes look at him, they're not sad anymore. The man smiles, and opens his arms, a silent invitation.
Kurt sinks into the embrace, feeling safe, complete, loved.
"Oh," the man, Blaine, says, "There you are. I've been looking for you forever."
"I will try to describe this power (of love) to you, and you shall teach the rest of the world what I am teaching you.(…) The original human nature was not like the present, but different: neither male nor female, but beings with both attributes (…) Terrible was their might and strength, and the thoughts of their hearts were great, and they made an attack upon the gods; the gods could not suffer their insolence to be unrestrained. At last, Zeus discovered a way: men shall continue to exist, but cut in two (…) both parts separated, diminished in strength and increased in numbers. After the division the two parts of men, each desiring his other half, came together, entwined in mutual embrace, longing to grow into one again, (…) the desire to one another is implanted in us, reuniting our original nature, making one of two, and healing the state of man. (…) Each of us, when separated, is always looking for his other half."
Written 360 B.C.E.
Westerville, Ohio, November, 2010.
Kurt walks down the stairs slowly, cautiously, wondering once again what made him agree to come; he has no idea what he is doing here. His life feels turned upside down, anger and hurt mixing with fear and confusion, and part of him just wants to turn around and flee, go to the safety of his house and never leave again.
People pass him without paying attention, and Kurt is grateful for that. He knows he is not fooling anyone, not really, but he tries to maintain an air of superiority when he looks at them, hidden behind his black glasses.
Someone catches his eyes, though. Running down the stairs, the boy is nothing more than a blur when Kurt first sees him.
"Excuse me," Kurt says without really thinking. "Can I ask you a question? I - I'm new here."
The boy turns to him, and Kurt has the distinct impression that he double-takes and his eyes widen, just a fraction. He extends his hand to Kurt without hesitation.
"My name is Blaine," he says, and oh God, his voice is beautiful.
Kurt opens his mouth to say 'I know', but catches himself before he can do something so stupid, because he doesn't know this boy. Instead, he smiles hesitantly and says his own name, while they shake hands. "Kurt."
The boy smiles, and that makes Kurt smile too. "So, what exactly is going on?" he asks.
"The Warblers," the bow answers enthusiastically. "Every now and then they throw an impromptu performance at the senior commons. Tends to shut the school out for a while," he adds, and his tone is friendly, conspiring almost.
Kurt looks at all the boys going to the same direction, all of them talking loudly. "So, wait… the glee club here is… kind of cool?" he asks.
"The Warblers are like… rock stars," the boy says, eyes never leaving Kurt's.
Kurt raises both his eyebrows, because the guy doesn't sound like he's exaggerating. And then…
"Come on," Blaine says, grabbing Kurt's hand, and no boy ever did this before. "I know a shortcut," Blaine adds, while he tugs a little.
Kurt opens his mouth again, but no word comes out and next thing he knows, he is walking, almost running, hand in hand with Blaine, through a corridor.
He looks around, noticing how beautiful, how luxurious this school is, and part of his brain registers that Blaine is still holding his hand. Kurt eyes Blaine with the corner of his eyes and what he sees catches his breath. The boy has a beautiful profile, and he looks so confident, so at ease holding Kurt's hand, that Kurt simply lets go and enjoys.
Someone - a boy - took his hand voluntarily and is leading him to a place he doesn't know, in a school that isn't his, where he's clearly a spy. And Kurt couldn't care less. The hand is warm on is, and suddenly he feels anchored, with something very much like hope inside his chest. Maybe everything will be alright.
For a second, he has the impression that there's a song. Soft and beautiful, like fingers caressing a piano keyboard. But maybe it's all in his head, so he lets the song play while Blaine holds his hand and they glide through Dalton's Halls together.