Disclaimer: I do not own Glee or any of its characters; Ryan Murphy and Co. hold that honor. I'm simply writing this for fun, not profit.

Hate-watching Treme wasn't the same without Kurt.

Blaine had even made the mistake of inviting Sam over one lonely Monday night to see if that would somehow spark a conversation. For twenty eight valiant minutes, they had made a patchwork attempt at understanding the shows idiosyncratic complexes. When that had failed, Sam had hopped off the bed, padded over to the duffle bag he had brought along, and pulled out the Dark Knight trilogy. Blaine hadn't protested the change of pace, enjoying Sam's commentary almost as much as the movies themselves. It was easy to forget that Sam wasn't Kurt when he prattled off endlessly about the different characters, seated next to Blaine on the couch as they alternately ate popcorn.

That was Monday, though, and it had been almost four weeks since Kurt and he had broken up.

At first, Blaine hadn't known what to do. He'd tried distracting himself when texting and calling Kurt hadn't worked, throwing himself into the activities he had at McKinley. He threw out dozens of proposals for fundraisers and dances, helped design costumes after school for various events, and even single-handedly baked three hundred cookies for the quasi-annual McKinley cookie sale (a rousing success, for once; Puck's recipe had done its work). Even with Marley, Artie, Brittany, and Sam assisting, the process had taken hours, a brief snafu on the money count quickly resolving itself once Artie found the earnings Brittany had stored in an empty cookie container.

All in all, Blaine had thought that it might work. That if he worked hard enough, he might be able to move on without a hitch. That he could accept that Kurt was in New York and therefore out of reach, and focus on his own life instead, building himself up slowly towards the person that he wanted to be. Maybe he couldn't see his boyfriend for another year, but maybe it was for the best - for both of them. Kurt needed the freedom to explore and get to know New York without outside interference, just as Blaine needed time to start developing his own path forward as well. For too long, it seemed, he had focused solely on high school. Having transferred twice and successfully formed a niche for himself both at Dalton as well as McKinley, the separation from Kurt had jump-started his desire to look at his future more seriously. For a time, he was so invested in searching all possible options that he almost forgot about Kurt and New York entirely.

And then he went to search NYU and accidentally typed NYA. NYADA articles appeared by the hundreds, their official web site front and center among the search results. Wordlessly, Blaine clicked on it, scanning their programs and comparing its campus to the living arrangements he'd already considered. It wasn't a school that took its applicants lightly: resumes, transcripts, portfolios, videos, even live performances were all requested in the application process. Blaine remembered Kurt slaving over his own portfolio, a project designed to test NYADA students' creativity and ability to showcase their own talents without outward guidance. Some performed and recorded themselves, others made discs of their music, some even composed new songs entirely. Instrumentalists weren't uncommon, and cinematographers were also present in the mix. In the end, Kurt had chosen the relatively safe option of recording himself performing a wide variety of ranges, sometimes leaping from one end of the spectrum to the other in a single breathless bound. His song selection had worked marvels with his voice, and ultimately, Blaine had felt confident that he had done the best that he could with his circumstances.

The thought of Kurt's anguish when the NYADA letter had come back at last - We're sorry - made Blaine's heart clench as he closed his laptop, hurrying off to his next class instead.

For two and a half weeks, he had been able to almost forget Kurt. He focused on his studies, taking twice as many notes as he needed and spending long hours pouring over textbooks he'd practically memorized. When he couldn't bear to look at his fellow New Directions without being painfully reminded of Kurt, he stopped sitting at the Glee club table at lunch, preferring to spend his free time in the locker rooms or library instead. He found ways to stay busy, requesting the use of the auditorium to work on choreography with his loyal bands of Glee clubbers as often as they would tolerate. On the days when they had other obligations or interests, he worked with the Cheerios, throwing himself into the routines. Sylvester didn't notice: she pushed them harder than ever, refusing to quit until they had completed any given routine seven times perfectly.

Even with competition right around the corner, Blaine barely noticed when week three arrived.

On the third Thursday since Kurt and Blaine had broken up, Finn had been standing in the center of the auditorium, hands clasped together loosely in front of him, entire stance weary. A quick survey found the rest of the room equally footsore and unmotivated: all were seated, with Blaine and Finn alone standing, Finn in the center of their ring, Blaine behind his chair. He waited for Finn to say something, anything, his knuckles turning white around the chair edge before Marley finally piped in: "When are Grease auditions?"

"Tomorrow," Finn said.

With a wordless nod of mutual approval, the Glee clubbers stood, gathering their materials and disembarking without another word. Finn didn't raise a single protest, watching them leave before turning on his own heel and walking off, gathering the papers off the music stand before leaving. Blaine barely noticed as the rest of them filed out, Marley giving his shoulder a single brief squeeze in passing. They were gone a moment later, all of them, including the two new members Blaine hadn't even bothered single out in their little circle to greet. Schuester had always been responsible for officially welcoming members, anyway; his secondary congratulations was only optional.

The auditorium had been dark, then; dark, quiet, and utterly devoid of life besides his one small speck of existence. Gathering up his own satchel, he stood, Cheerios uniform making him feel oddly out of place on the stage. He slowly folded each other the chairs, stacking them back on the rack where they belonged. Scanning the empty floor for a long, silent moment, he turned out the last of the lights and wordlessly stepped out of the room.

Whether it was exhaustion, hunger, or pure, unadulterated loneliness, he had seen Kurt seated in the shadows, blue-grey eyes boring into him calmly. Blaine swallowed, wanting to say something, desperate to make amends, but when his thumb slipped and the lights came on, Kurt's specter was gone.

And that was when he began to break down.

The applause reached Blaine distantly, his eyes lingering over the hundreds of empty seats in the auditorium instead. At last, once the final claps of approval had rung out and silence reigned, Blaine met the judges' eyes, a soft, rueful smile on his face.

"That was really great," Finn said brightly, an unsubtle nudge from Artie making him straighten in his chair. "Great job, Blaine."

"An unusual choice, given that was originally performed by Sandy," Artie added critically. "But still - fantastic. Given my artistic liberties, we could integrate it as a duet - "

"I don't want to play Danny."

Artie visibly paused, sitting back a little heavier in his chair. Finn blinked. "Dude, you just auditioned for him."

"I auditioned for Sandy, actually," Blaine corrected, hands clasped in front of himself.

Finn and Artie exchanged a look.

"You want to play Sandy?" Artie asked, almost delicately, though he was clearly restraining a strong urge to protest the decision. Blaine couldn't help but smile a little more at the mingled hesitance and curiosity in his expression, already trying to work through the result, eager to please and utilize any circumstances to the best of his ability.

"Sandy's a girl," Finn said, not unkindly.

"Wade's auditioning for Rizzo," Artie countered, turning to face him briefly. "If we can let him - "

"Her," Blaine cut in gently.

Artie turned to him again. "Her?"

"Unique?" They stared at him blankly for a moment, matching blushes when they understood the point that he was making Blaine laugh. It made his stomach sink a little to realize that, in spite of all her appeasements and concessions, Unique definitely struggled to remain a separate entity from Wade. Whiplash was part of it: even the Glee clubbers had lessons to learn and differences to embrace. He certainly hadn't welcomed Unique with open arms; it was hardly his place to be calling either of them out on it, but he'd seen Marley and Unique talking quietly in a corner of the hallway just before he'd entered the auditorium and felt compelled to say something.

Artie picked up the slack first, breaking his reverie. "Oh. Well. Yes. Her. If Unique wants to audition as Rizzo, then Blaine - "

"I don't want to be in the musical."

Dead silence.


"You - "

"You just auditioned," Finn insisted, while Artie gaped in wordless disbelief. "You have to."

"Not everyone who auditions gets a part," Blaine pointed out.

Artie visibly restrained himself from his first comment, instead saying calmly, "We need you. Your vocal talents alone - "

"You have Marley, Jake, Ryder, Brittany, Sam, Unique," Blaine rattled off calmly. "All of whom deserve a fair chance."

"We need you," Artie insisted. "Something. Anything."

"You could be an understudy?" Finn suggested.

Blaine shrugged. "Fine with me."

"Angel," Artie blurted. Finn and Blaine turned to stare at him. "Teen Angel. It's perfect."

Finn looked at Blaine, who looked between the two of them once more and inclined his head. "Fine. Teen Angel it is. I'll understudy any character you'd like."

Artie relaxed, Finn nodding in satisfied agreement beside him. "Great. Thanks for coming."

Blaine left the auditorium without another word, watching as Marley and Unique eyed him skeptically from their corner. "So, how'd it go?" Marley asked, sidling up to him and linking their arms instead. Unique eyed him distrustfully, wordlessly walking inside the auditorium, the door banging shut behind her. "She's nervous," Marley apologized softly. "Especially with the whole . . . Rizzo."

"I know." Blaine squeezed her arm once lightly. "Have you auditioned yet?"

"I did this morning," Marley replied, a smile on her face. "Except, you know. Results aren't posted until Monday, so . . . I still have three days to wonder if Kitty will sneak the part out from under me."

Blaine blinked once, twice, stupidly. "Kitty?"

"Yeah, didn't you hear?" Correctly inferring that he hadn't from his baffled expression, Marley hummed sympathetically, pulling him away from the doors over to the announcement board. "Jake and her were dating," she explained in a low voice, gaze sweeping the empty hallway briefly before she relaxed and leaned up against the board, releasing Blaine's arm. "Except then Jake . . . ." She blushed, just a faint pinking of her cheeks that Blaine might have missed had he not been as close.

"You two are dating?" he asked, amused.

"We're not dating," Marley said, still blushing. "We're . . . we've gone out a few times, and seen each other between classes, and - "

"Have you kissed him?" Blaine asked dryly.

Marley's cheeks turned red. "Please don't tell Kitty, I just got over her complaining about the fact that Jake and I had a study hall together."

"So, who's with who?"

Marley sighed. "Jake and I . . . we see each other, but . . . Kitty's gotten really defensive lately, and Jake continues to appease her, so . . . I would say I'm the odd one out here." She smiled ruefully.

"You don't have to be dating someone to be happy," Blaine pointed out, a dull twinge of regret making his stomach twist a little.

She eyed him doubtfully, saying nothing for a time. At last, she added quietly, "I'm sorry. About what happened between you and Kurt. If it means anything - "

"It's okay," Blaine interjected gently, giving her hand a placating squeeze and tugging her back over toward the auditorium, Unique's voice reaching a crescendo from within. "Kurt and I . . . ." He swallowed, abruptly at a loss for words.

We're going to work out.

We're meant for each other.

We promised that we weren't going to let this ruin our relationship.

"We'll figure something out," he said at last, grateful for the distraction when Unique burst through the doors.

"Look out, motherfuckers, Unique is back."

"Unique!" Marley chastised, casting an anxious look around the hallway for any sign of teachers before laughing. "Did it really go that well?"

"We are going out. Let's get out of here," was all Unique said.

Blaine turned to find Sam or Jake or even Tina when Marley linked their arms again. Without a chance to protest before Unique was propelling them down the hallway, Blaine shook his head slightly in amusement as the girls bubbled about their plans for the rest of the day.

It was nice, in a way. Certainly easier to accept that there was a hole in his heart than to try and mend it.

And if he had to endure having his fingernails painted light blue, at least he made Marley grin and Unique cackle.

Author's Notes: Hello, everyone!

I want to point out the fact that in this, Blaine waited the extra week to see Kurt. (Why? Blaine didn't cheat on Kurt here, so he had no reason to visit him earlier to confess that he had cheated on him.)

Canonically, Kurt and he broke up on October 4th, 2012. Here: October 11th, 2012. Four weeks later from October 11 is November 8th, 2012.

Therefore, this chapter covers the hiatus after The Break Up and the episode The Role You Were Born to Play. We still have parts of Glease, Dynamic Duets, Thanksgiving, Swan Song, and Glee, Actually to catch up on before this syncs up with canon.

I hope to update at least once more before Glee returns, and then catch up quickly from there.

Thanks for reading! I hope you enjoyed.