I own neither Glee nor The Great Gatsby.

"He knew that when he kissed this girl, and forever wed his unutterable visions to her perishable breath, his mind would never romp again like the mind of God. So he waited, listening for a moment longer to the tuning-fork that had been struck upon a star. Then he kissed her. At his lips' touch she blossomed for him like a flower and the incarnation was complete." – F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby

Four months into Blaine's sophomore year at Dalton, he catches himself staring at his roommate's kaleidoscopic eyes yet again as they roll toward the ceiling in exasperation.

"The Great Gatsby's a classic, Blaine," Kurt huffs, "it's practically the Art Deco literary lovechild of Cary Grant and Coco Chanel, and you won't convince me otherwise, no matter how many hours into the morning you belabor your ill-conceived point."

Blaine leans over the spread of English notes littering Kurt's bed, abandoned hours ago, to entwine his fingers with Kurt's. Too tired to push their beds together, they had collapsed onto the same one after a prolonged debate about the content of their English midterm.

He says nothing.

Kurt yawns and continues. "I know you think the parties don't do enough to further the story, but it's the parties that are the story. It's about how so much complexity can be hiding beneath the simple veneer of ostentation and youth. Fitzgerald is brilliant-the way the characters, Daisy, Tom, Gatsby, that drive the romantic subtext of the novel are so convoluted and flawed, and the parties…"

He's waiting for that moment when Kurt will say something completely spontaneous and beautiful, divorced from that careful layer of polysyllabic words and cultural references. If he lets Kurt sort his own thoughts out, he knows that moment will come. Nothing inflames him like the written word, whether song lyrics or prose, and it's the reason Blaine's so enchanted by him. It's the reason why he hasn't switched out of his honors English class-being an A student at Westerville Central High School, he has learned, does not at all equate to being an A student at Dalton-despite his lack of interest in the subject. Kurt buzzes with thoughts on anything and everything they're reading, frequently stopping to frantically scribble down a note on his book or his organizer or even his arm when etiquette dictates he wait to start speaking again.

Kurt's eyes are pale crystal blue at half-past three in the morning on December 15th. Blaine remembers this because they seem to take in the depths of the universe before they lazily wander back. Blaine wriggles a little closer to the feeling of warmth and home as Kurt's eyes close and he speaks in a whisper so quiet that Blaine feels trusted with a secret, with a part of Kurt that has never existed for anyone else.

"The parties are a lot like Daisy. It's strange how something can be so lovely, so singularly important, and so worthless."

Blaine receives a 91 on his English midterm and kisses Kurt for the first time a day later.

Months pass in shared smiles and quiet, thoughtful exploration, finding Blaine bringing coffee to Dalton's debate office one April morning. Balancing a tray of quadruple-shot lattés with one hand, he gently pushes the door open to find Wes and Kurt poring over documents, shadows hanging beneath their eyes, on the uncarpeted wood floor. Sebastian is passed out on the dark leather sofa in the back corner, his left hand still grasping a manila folder.

"Power napping? Or did he not make it?" Blaine half-whispers, handing off two of the coffees.

"He passed out around three," Wes scoffs. "This may be his first Tournament of Champions, but this weekend is crucial for all of us."

"We're good, Wes," Kurt murmurs, not even bothering to look up from his work, "we're going into this as a second seed and Greg and Sebastian have been picking up great this whole year. I'll bet you an autographed copy of Pink Friday that Oakmont's team is sleeping right now thinking they've got this in the bag."

(Wesley Kim may be slightly partial to Nicki Minaj, but only from an academic perspective. Singing along to Super Bass in the shower helps him improve his speed and enunciation when debating, that's all. Really.)

Wes' head snaps toward the door as it creaks open again, Greg Jenkins, Sebastian's debate partner, entering the office with wet hair and fresh clothes.

"Think we should wake him?" he asks, jerking a thumb toward Sebastian. "It's already 8:15."

Blaine departs so Wes can have ample room to sputter about timetables and bus schedules, but not before leaving a gentle kiss and a soft "You're brilliant, you've got this" with Kurt, who simply smiles and nuzzles into Blaine for a moment.

Kurt video messages him on Facebook just three days later from his hotel room. He's never looked so exhausted, but his eyes shimmer even brighter than the massive trophy sitting next to him.

Blaine has seen footage of Wes and Kurt at tournaments, and it's strange, to say the least. Kurt's voice takes on a life of its own as he rattles off facts and statistics and philosophies and careful, cutting rebuttals, each line followed by a twanging gasp so he can dive right into his next point. He knows it's pretty standard for advanced debaters, but he much prefers those rare performances when Kurt sings a childhood song in his lovely, clear voice late at night.

("I thought about joining glee club when I was a freshman," Kurt explained one night months ago. "But the teacher was creepy even by McKinley's nonexistent standards. I figured at least with debate I'd be encouraged to stand up to people." Blaine had met most of the New Directions when a Sectionals run-in with one Miss Rachel Berry at the concessions stand exploded into accusations of spying and subterfuge, and thought that Kurt wouldn't have been able to stand most of them, anyway.)

Blaine finds out pretty quickly that a sophomore-junior pair winning the whole tournament is actually a very big deal. Wes, being a year older, already knows where he's applying for college, but soon enough debate coaches are contacting Kurt, too. When the two of them keep winning smaller competitions that fall, Kurt gets called out of their AP chemistry class one morning. He rejoins Blaine at lunch with a business card and an expenses-paid trip to Harvard on his next break between tournaments.

Sebastian and Blaine aren't really friends. Blaine knows a fair amount about the other boy-the international school in Paris, transferring to Dalton for the debate and lacrosse programs. He knows that Sebastian may put on whatever cool and cocky face he pleases, but really he's about as stressed on a day-to-day basis as Wes gets when Warblers performances and debate tournaments fall too close together. He knows that he vanishes from Dalton on those rare weekends when he doesn't have to travel for debate, obviously nursing hangovers when Monday mornings come around.

Still, they aren't really friends because Sebastian tends to flirt with unavailable guys like Blaine when he's stressed, which is really all the time now that they're juniors, instead of boxing like Blaine or drawing like Kurt. One Friday afternoon before the debate team leaves for a big tournament in California, Blaine walks into the office meaning to give Kurt his iPod for the plane, newly updated with a playlist of their songs, only to find Wes and Kurt popping Greg's Adderall pills, Greg lighting a joint, and Sebastian downing something in a shot glass. Blaine only really finds it in him to be surprised at three of them.

Kurt creeps back into their dorm room at three in the morning a few days later. He's wiping at his eyes and starts when he sees Blaine awake and waiting for him.

"Kurt, baby, what happened?" Blaine murmurs, getting up from his bed to wrap his boyfriend up in a hug.

"I just…the plane was delayed for two hours and it was Sunday night and I still have that essay to write for AP English and that China paper Mr. Reeves already gave me an extension on and fuck, it's Monday now, and I can't keep missing Monday classes because of debate because I need to get into college because otherwise I'm going to live on the streets and argue with the other homeless people really well so they'll beat me up and I'll have to sell all my McQueen!" Kurt's voice grows increasingly higher and more hysterical. Blaine holds him there for a minute or two, hushing him as he bursts out crying, rubbing his back slowly. He starts singing one of the songs he put on Kurt's iPod, thinking of just the two of them escaping Dalton for just a little while and Kurt's smile making its way back to his face. He misses it.

Kurt calms down slowly and Blaine carefully strips his boyfriend to his briefs, redressing him in his sweatpants and an old Warblers t-shirt. Walking them both back to Blaine's bed, Blaine helps Kurt in, reaches to his bedside to turn off his alarm clock, then lays down beside him, holding him close to his heart and wrapping their legs together, wanting Kurt just to know that he's there.

"We won," Kurt whispers a few minutes later into Blaine's chest. "Greg and Sebastian came in second. I just feel like I can't do this any more but if I'm not talking, then nobody's listening."

Then they're seniors and Wes is off at Yale and Greg has a nervous breakdown so Kurt and Sebastian stay on the team as partners to help coach two sophomores who are looking more and more promising by the day. Blaine and Kurt make love for the first time on their two-year anniversary. Blaine's never felt so happy in his life, and it's almost like Kurt's floating away from him as they come down together.

"Come back," Blaine murmurs, smiling down at Kurt as his boyfriend's dark green eyes glide back to meet his.

"Thank you," Kurt responds with a gentle smile. Blaine's not sure what he's being thanked for, but that thought leaves him quickly as Kurt leans up to kiss him slowly.

Robert Anderson looks a lot like his son, with the same dark curls and olive-tinged complexion. He extends his cold right hand, Yale class ring freshly polished, for an almost painful handshake whenever he greets Kurt. Kurt has known the man for over two years but he never gets any less intimidating.

"I hear Harvard's offering you a full scholarship," the older man says brusquely. "Congratulations, son. I have a colleague in the political science department who I'm sure would be happy to advise you on internships and finals clubs."

"Thank you, sir," Kurt responds, careful to make direct eye contact with his boyfriend's father. "I'm not entirely certain of where I'll be going just yet, but I'm incredibly honored by both Harvard's offer and your own."

"You've worked hard and this is the reward," Mr. Anderson continues imperiously. "Don't be a fool and throw it away. Unless you're worried about the classes? Harvard saw something in you; they'll take good care of you."

"Kurt's brilliant," Blaine interjects. "He'll do just fine."

Then it's spring and they're fighting.

"People don't go to Dalton to go to art school, Kurt. You're throwing away an opportunity that the other boys would kill for."

"I can't do it, Blaine. I can't just go to some soul-sucking stiff-necked university and pretend I'm meant for academia when the only thing they want me for is debate. And you're only this upset because there won't be another Anderson going to Yale this generation and suddenly everything isn't being handed to you for once."

"You're smart, Kurt, you're brilliant. But right now you're being incredibly stupid. This isn't about me, it's about you turning your back on the greatest gift of your life because…what, you're a little tired of debate? Everyone's tired of high school, it's why it's high school."

"I don't want to be brilliant. I just want to be yours."

Kurt spends a lot of his summer crying in his room and can't even summon up the energy to harangue Burt about his diet. He packs for Parsons with a heavy heart and catches himself in daydreams about what his life would be if he'd accepted Harvard's offer and never let his stress doodles become anything more than that.

Blaine would still be in it, for one thing.

The first month in New York is wonderfully dizzying. Kurt is so caught up in classes and internship searches and his work study job at the Parsons design library that he only thinks he sees Blaine's face in a large crowd once a week or so. But after Burt's second heart attack and an abbreviated trip back to Lima to organize a funeral, Kurt takes out most of his college fund to buy an apartment near the Garment District. He converts the kitchen into a small sewing room and learns to work through his body's pleas for breakfast and lunch.

His advisor at Parsons surprises him one afternoon after he's officially dropped out. By then he has almost completed a winter collection, but for the custom shoes he knows he won't be able to afford without finding another job in addition to night shifts waiting tables at a bistro.

"I know someone who can help, if you'll let me take the sketches to him," Dean insists, sending off an email to his contact at Vogue: I have something brilliant for you.

Three weeks later, Kurt has thirty free pairs of shoes to his name and a Vogue editor furiously scribbling down notes as the first looks from Burt & Lisbeth's winter collection prowl down the makeshift runway in an old fabric warehouse.

Sitting in a college library, Blaine thinks of a boy he last saw that summer when he broke his gentle heart. On a whim, he opens up a new tab on his laptop, typing his name into a search engine and wondering what the boy could be up to at design school. He finds a Vogue article but a day old gushing over a mysterious new designer.

When one of his friends from a business lecture class drags him away from his work with offers of music and free beer at one of the frat houses, he catches himself wondering if Kurt's eyes stayed that vibrant green, shimmering with anger and tears, for too long after Blaine broke up with him.

At first Kurt believes the Vogue review will be the extent of the publicity he gets for his first line—after all, he's heard the stories; fashion's incredibly hard to get into and producing one successful show means nothing if nobody's listening. Then he gets home one night from waiting tables, opens up his old laptop, and finds an email from a press agent in Hollywood.

Interesting, Kurt thinks, as he sits down to read the message in full.

Just over two months later, Jennifer Lawrence is wearing a custom Burt & Lisbeth gown to an award show.

"Impeccable," Joan Rivers gushes on E!'s red carpet program. "The designer's a new one to the red carpet, but I think it's safe to say we've found a great one."

Sebastian can't say he's been paying too much attention to what his old Dalton classmates are up to. He's playing lacrosse at Amherst and taking courses in their law, jurisprudence and social thought department because he doesn't know what else to do.

Secretly he's always enjoyed photography, but he knows there's a slim chance of it ever paying his bills.

He's leaving one of his law classes one Thursday morning, thinking of going to the gym for a quick workout, when his professor realizes that she still needs to return the ten-page paper she'd graded that week.

"C+. Strong thesis but shaky grasp of Smith's ideology," is scrawled on the back of Sebastian's paper in black pen.

Fuck it, Sebastian thinks. Now what?

Blaine dates a few guys in his second and third years of college.

Their eyes are all wrong.

Kurt's name explodes and he finds himself no longer able to justify working without an assistant. He hires two, a pale, authoritative bleach-blonde girl who worked for McQueen himself on dresses and a quiet, somewhat older tan and dreadlocked man with years of menswear experience.

He talks to them when he has to and pays them generously. It's a bit of a stretch for him at first and there are two weeks when he survives on a granola bar a day, but soon his fourth collection shows and he's opening his first real store and money starts pouring in.

Sebastian starts writing opinion pieces for his college newspaper in his second year and is promoted to editor-in-chief in his fourth. He ends up majoring in English and taking photography classes on the side. He decides to go to New York when he graduates by throwing a dart at a map of the United States and exclaiming that fuck this, I'm not going to New Jersey.

He spends most of his nights with nameless men from the best gay clubs in the city and finds out pretty quickly that it's hard to live in New York for too long without a steady source of income. He calls his father and complains that he isn't good at anything. Never one to mince words, the elder Smythe responds, "You can write and you can take pictures pretty damn well if that diploma of yours says anything. I can get you an interview at GQ since your mother has an old friend who owes her a favor, but after that you're on your own, kid."

Blaine has a paid internship at a New York law firm lined up the summer after he graduates. He's always been eager to learn and meet new people, and that fall they hire him for entry-level work. He decides to apply to law school so he can have the big corner office one day instead of delivering paperwork to it.

He gets accepted to Columbia and Washington University in St. Louis and decides to stay in New York. A small romantic part of him can't ignore the way his ex-boyfriend's name is lighting up the city and hopes to see him one day at a coffee shop just like the one they used to love in Ohio.

Then one day he's taking a walk around Midtown to clear his mind and he runs into one of his old classmates at a dark but cozy little coffee shop except it's not Kurt, it's Sebastian, on his way home from work. They catch up for a few minutes and trade phone numbers. It's good to see a familiar face.

That weekend Sebastian takes Blaine out for dinner, then brings him back to his apartment. They fuck. Sometimes Sebastian thinks it's all he's good at.

Blaine graduates summa cum laude from law school because his textbooks are a welcome distraction from daydreams about Kurt's eyes. He stays with the same law firm as the assistant to a commercial real estate lawyer, then gets his big break a few months later when she announces that she'll be taking maternity leave in just a matter of months. He's hired as a temporary replacement to help handle the department's work load and turns out to be pretty good at interacting with clients and wading through lease documents. By the time she comes back to work, he's been hired onto the team as well with an office of his very own.

He still sees Sebastian a few times a week. He's the closest thing to a friend he has in the city. It's funny, they both pretend to be functioning adults with their clean-cut suits and stable jobs (though hearing that Sebastian was a photojournalist did admittedly come as a bit of a shock to him), but Blaine's pretty sure they're still lost little boys trying not to blink at New York spinning around them.

Blaine's still frustrated in his attempts to track down Kurt, and if the fashion gossip blogs he's resorted to reading are any indication, the man has seemingly vanished from New York altogether. Then one day Sebastian meets Blaine for drinks after work one day with a new assignment for GQ: a feature piece on Kurt that will take him to all of his hideouts.

"You don't understand, Blaine, the little public school pauper is disgustingly loaded," Sebastian drawls after a sip of merlot. "He's got apartments and workspaces in the Upper East Side, London, and the French Riviera."

"Nobody seems to know where he is half of the time or how he comes up with these collections," Blaine remarks. "Won't it be interesting for you to get the first look?"

"He's a clothing designer, not a god. I'm not holding my breath for this to be anything more than a fluff fashion piece."

Four days after Sebastian has left for his two-week assignment, Blaine is drinking coffee, revising the terms of a contract, and waiting for a sudden downpour to pass when he thinks that maybe he should miss him.

Sebastian leaves New York with a camera, a notepad, and a curious ambivalence toward the subject of his article. He returns with a promotion.

The article is published two months later in the September issue and is almost immediately talk for the morning broadcasts. Blaine spends the night at Sebastian's apartment for the first of three times that week. Returning to bed after a trip to the kitchen for a glass of water, he is distracted by a framed layout of the article hanging in his office alongside Sebastian's other GQ pieces. He hadn't been able to bring himself to read it, but those deep gray eyes pierce him and arrest him where he stands.

In fact, even now he cannot bring himself to read the article, because there's Kurt, sitting at a table in some cold modern apartment, hunched over slightly to hold his head up in his left hand, elbow propped up on glass so fine and clean that it looks like nothing's holding him up at all. A black pen floats in his other hand, ink staining the tips of his fingers, and Blaine realizes that even all these years later, Kurt still jots down stray ideas on whatever surface he can, as his left sleeve is rolled up a pale, gaunt arm to reveal scribbles of bodice structures, a note insisting crimson and robin's egg and, deliberately inscribed and angrily crossed out, that same handwriting creeping up his wrist toward his palm hissing, you are worthless.

He looks impeccable as always, face clear and glowing, hair coiffed in his latest style. But his eyes, staring straight ahead, are so dark and wild that Blaine feels he should look away from this private moment between Kurt and his thoughts. Blue, Blaine insists, they're pale blue and clear like crystal, just how you like to remember them.

He's still thinking about the turmoil in Kurt's eyes, how thin he's becoming, how unhappy he's becoming, a few minutes later when he feels Sebastian's hand on his shoulder. He turns around slowly, reluctantly, to see Sebastian scrutinizing Kurt under the glassy frame.

"As much as it pains me to admit this, I get it now. He's fascinating, really. So brilliant and so sad."

Blaine is walking back from lunch with a client one Thursday when he is flagged down by one Rachel Berry-she wasn't going to change her last name just because she'd married another actor, she insisted, she was a star-and coerced into stopping at her apartment to catch up.

Rachel sets a cup of chamomile tea in front of him. They're through the basic lines of questioning by the time he finishes his drink, Rachel starring in a new musical about a small town in California that's about to open on Broadway after months of positive reviews for the original off-Broadway production, Blaine a real estate lawyer following his time at UPenn and Columbia Law.

She looks at him shyly for a moment before speaking again, and Blaine knows what she's going to ask before it happens, as Rachel Berry is many things, but shy is not one of them. No, he hasn't been in touch with Kurt, and he'd heard from Tina that there was a McKinley reunion happening in a few months, but Sebastian seemed to think Kurt was working on a novel as well as his summer collection so he wouldn't expect that Kurt planned to join his old classmates.

He never figures out why she was so intent on connecting with Kurt when the two of them had never been friends in the first place. Rachel was ambitious; perhaps she wanted a custom gown for her new show.

It's funny, everyone seems to assume Sebastian's parents are cruel or negligent because he partied a lot in school. In fact, they're two of his favorite people in the world just because they're constant. Emily Smythe, née Beaupré, is a gentle, endlessly patient woman who raised her son bilingual. She's a travel journalist, and a lot of Sebastian's early memories from growing up in Paris involve weekend trips to the French Riviera. Johannes Smythe, his father, moved the family over to Ohio when he was hired as the state's attorney. He works hard but he's a truly witty man who always makes sure to get home in time for dinner.

The two of them surprise Sebastian with a visit one weekend when Johannes has a slight break between cases. Emily tells her son to dress up, and the family goes to Le Bernardin for dinner.

"You look happy, my love," Emily observes, smiling softly at her son.

"I have a meeting with my editor next week. She says it's good news."

"That's my boy. And I'll bet you didn't even sleep with her."

"Johannes!" Emily scoffs. "No, my lamb, it's more than that. I think I know that look. Have you met someone?"

Sebastian may have been a chronic misbehaver for much of his life, but he's never been able to lie to his mother. "I…I have, yes. Or I guess I've rediscovered someone I used to know."

"How lovely!" his mother exclaims. "Tell me more. Tell me everything."

Kurt doesn't write a novel. Instead, a few months later, he shows his summer collection in a SoHo warehouse attired as a massive old library with pieces named Estella and Romeo walking to a minimalist piano track. The critics eat it up like always, but it's his finale, a gorgeously ethereal white gown with some of the most intricate pale embroidery ever seen on the runway layered over stark black boning, almost an iron armor under the layers of silk and tulle, named Daisy, that seems to have the entire fashion world talking.

It says more about Daisy Buchanan, about Fitzgerald's classic work, than a thousand of Blaine's sophomore English midterm essays ever could.

Some time around then, Blaine notices that Sebastian has been disappearing for days on end, always coming back a little quieter, a little more thoughtful.

"What ever happened with you and Kurt back in high school?" Sebastian suddenly asks him one evening over Thai takeout.

Startled, Blaine almost knocks his beer over as he puts it down. "He didn't tell you? I thought you were friends back then."

"Debate partners for a year, maybe. Friends…it's not like I had a lot of them."

"You'll think it's stupid," Blaine insists, refusing to look directly at him.

"You're avoiding," Sebastian snaps. "Come on, tell me."

"I…my father thought Kurt was insane for turning down Harvard for Parsons. He told me he'd never go far in the world burning bridges like that and I needed to find more…appropriate friends."

Sebastian stares at him like he's trying to solve an immensely frustrating puzzle, then fires back, "That's what happened with your father, Anderson. What happened to you?"

Blaine can't figure out how to begin answering that question. Sebastian kicks him out of his apartment and somehow it feels permanent.

Kurt wins both the CFDA Womenswear and Menswear Awards for the fifth year in a row. Blaine and his coworkers close a huge international lease for a retail development in Dubai. Sebastian gets hired by the New York Times as its new arts editor and GQ throws him a lavish farewell party.

Blaine only means to stop by for a minute to leave Sebastian's spare key with his old assistant (he'd never been to Sebastian's office, they weren't like that, but he'd heard enough impassioned phone rants when deadlines drew near to know that he needed to find an Allison). And he does find her after asking around for a minute or two, a short red-haired girl in huge black heels it hurts him to even look at. But it's only when he's on his way out that he hears two hushed voices, painfully familiar, trailing from an empty office.

"-shouldn't have come, it's your party, I'm so sorry, it isn't your fault I'm such a fucking train wreck." Kurt?

"Don't. Don't you even try this, sweetheart. I told you whatever you need, whenever, and I meant it." Sebastian.

"I don't even know what I need, I'm sorry, I should just leave."

Blaine hears the floorboards creak.

"It's okay, you're here and I'm here and I'm not letting you go. And that's it. Forget about everything else for a while, it's just you and me."

He's nauseated and captivated all at once and realizes he's listening in on something that's meant to be private and tiptoes to the other side of the hall where he can catch the elevators back out. But the screen covering the office window ends a few inches short of the wall and he still catches a glimpse of Sebastian clutching a smaller, trembling figure with messy chestnut brown hair to him like his life depends on it.

Kurt and Sebastian.

Blaine goes back to his apartment and drinks a glass of the first thing he can find, some bottle of scotch Sebastian gave him as a housewarming gift a few years ago. It burns his throat going down but he can't bring himself to care. He pours himself another glass and takes it to his office, meaning to work on revising a contract, but ends up sitting at his desk, crying over the second glass, and falling asleep with his head lying on top of the desk.

He wakes up groggy and sore a few hours later, the vivid dream flooding his mind. He's back in his dorm room at Dalton with Kurt and they're talking about Gatsby. He sits back up in his chair slowly, stretching his neck.

There are three of us, Blaine thinks. So maybe Kurt's with Sebastian right now but it's really a sham, what we had…what we have is true love, right? Like Daisy and Tom and Gatsby.

With that thought, Blaine drags himself to bed and sleeps without dreaming for another few hours.

"Can I ask you a question, Kurt? Entirely off the record?"

"You can ask; I may elect not to answer."

"Clearly you're a very private person, but it doesn't seem to me that you're a very happy person. Why all this solitude and isolation?"

"Fashion is a very emotional process. Anyone who says he never feels the sum of his life's experiences when he's designing is a liar. My darkest thoughts and feelings have always been my muse."

He pauses. "It's just like how you always used to take a shot of Courvoisier before a major tournament; you fed off the rush of it all. I thought you might understand. I think it's why I let you do this interview."

"But do you ever think about putting yourself out there, opening up to people, maybe even being happy?"

"They don't want me, Sebastian. Nobody does. They want Kurt Hummel."

The GQ interview is still the only one Kurt has ever given, so when he suddenly announces that he will be taking a hiatus after his next show, the media runs wild with speculation.

Blaine gets mad the more he listens to people talking about it on the radio, so he decides to take an early morning walk through Central Park. His apartment on the Upper West Side isn't too far from the Great Lawn, and he ambles his way along footpaths for a while until he finds himself in the Conservatory Garden on the east end of the park. It's fairly quiet for once, but then he spies a couple sitting on one of the benches tucked away behind a hedge and his feet are propelling him there without second thought.

"Kurt? Sebastian?"

Because it's them, Kurt resting his head on Sebastian's shoulder and Sebastian gently clasping their hands together.

"B-Blaine." Kurt starts to draw away from Sebastian, but the other man hushes him and keeps their hands intertwined.

"God, it's all I'm hearing on the radio, what are you doing, Kurt? Being with him? Letting him trample you like this? Daisy, he's Daisy and I can save him. I love him.

"Anderson," Sebastian growls, "What we have is none of your business. Just the fact that you put him up on a pedestal and told yourself that's enough, that's what love is, doesn't mean you understand."

"You're stifling him; you don't know the first thing about love," Blaine insists. "Why else would he be 'taking a break?' He has a gift and you're making him throw it all away!"

"You're wrong, I'm setting him free. And if you can't see that, I'm not going to bother talking to you any more." He lowers his voice as he turns to Kurt. "Come on, sweetheart, it's okay, we can go now." He helps the smaller man up and they begin to walk around the hedge.

"Kurt!" Blaine interrupts. "Kurt, come on, say something, stand up for yourself!"

Kurt's eyes, now a green that pierces him deeper than the colors of the garden, turn to meet his slowly. "I was saying something, Blaine," he murmurs in that soft voice. "I thought I was screaming it, but you still weren't listening."

"How lovely!" his mother exclaims. "Tell me more. Tell me everything."

Sebastian pauses for a moment, taking a sip of wine and contemplating how to even begin telling her everything. "Do you remember my senior year at Dalton when I had a new debate partner? Kurt Hummel, the one who'd won two TOCs with Wesley Kim?"

Emily's eyes widen. "Kurt Hummel, as in Burt & Lisbeth's Kurt Hummel?"

Sebastian smiles unconsciously. "That's the one, but he's so much more than that, Maman. He's a lot like you, really, funny and sweet and sensitive. I'm sure you'd love him."

"Will we be meeting this boy any time soon?" Johannes asks pointedly. "If he's putting that dopey look on your face, he's welcome in our house."

Sebastian winces almost imperceptibly. "We're…a little complicated right now. Not like that, Dad," he asserts when his father raises an eyebrow at him. "I know he's it. But Kurt…he's had anxiety issues since high school and the way Wes put so much pressure on him as a debate partner didn't really help. He was just kind of going through the motions by the time we were seniors and his stupid ex-boyfriend was putting even more pressure on him to be perfect, to go to Harvard, to put on a good face to meet the parents."

He pauses. "And Kurt's an orphan, his father died just a month after Kurt started Parsons, and he didn't have any close friends from Dalton because of debate and his stupid ex-boyfriend breaking up with him for turning down Harvard and he makes these beautiful clothes because he still hurts all this time later and he's just waiting for someone to hear him."

Sebastian coughs slightly to clear a lump forming in his throat, then says his last piece. "Mom, Dad, you know how I was in college, how I got a little lost along the way and just sort of stumbled into New York without a real plan. But I think I was meant to be here because I need him and he needs to be needed."

Blaine sits with his head in his hands for a long moment on the abandoned garden bench, feeling that he's being unnecessarily obtuse and already knows what Kurt was saying, but chooses to ignore it. He pretends he can still smell Kurt where he was clinging to Sebastian on this bench, and suddenly a memory of his voice floats through his head.

"I don't want to be brilliant. I just want to be yours."

They'd both been so distraught that day. At the time, Blaine figured Kurt was just being irrational and clinging to him in the stress of a possible separation.

" a lot like Daisy,"

"you're brilliant,"

the pills,

"if I'm not talking, then nobody's listening,"

"Kurt's brilliant,"

the stupid self-serving fights,

"you're smart, Kurt, you're brilliant"

"you put him up on a pedestal"

Blaine's heart seizes up. Oh, he realizes, this is how it feels to lose him all over again. For a moment he wants to reach out into the furthest stretches of New York City and beckon toward Kurt's Upper East Side penthouse, like Gatsby reaching helplessly toward the green light of Daisy's dock, but then the garden is slowly filling with people and it's a stupid analogy, anyway. Kurt was always better with words than Blaine. And Kurt was never Daisy. He was lovely, he was singularly important, but he was never worthless, only severely deluded into thinking so by the specters in that cold glass apartment.

When Kurt's last collection walks the runway at Fashion Week, Sebastian's sitting in the front row.

And when the tent is emptying out, Sebastian feels a tug on his left hand, and Kurt's there, saying, "Let's go, let's get out of New York for a while."

And the two of them sneak out through the backstage doors, Kurt for once insisting that his assistants can handle the cleanup.

And they end up at Kurt's villa on some quiet little peninsula in the French Riviera.

And there's no food in the refrigerator so they just drink champagne for dinner, promising to go to the market tomorrow.

And they go up to the garden on the roof because they're too exhausted from travel to do anything.

And Sebastian spreads a blanket out on the stone ground and they lie there together.

And Kurt burrows into Sebastian's side and half-whispers, "Maybe we could invite your parents out here some time."

Because wrapped up in Sebastian, gazing up at the stars with his mother's old acoustic songs playing softly through his garden speakers, he's just Kurt, with none of his aspirations and accomplishments and brilliance, whatever the hell that means, and just Kurt is enough.