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.
Blaine smiled. Soft. Assured. His fingers danced over the piano keys skittishly, finding his rhythm. The rest of the patrons at Callbacks barely spared him a sideways glance, giving him privacy to fumble until he found his footing. It was in those back-stage moments, those seconds where he would be fumbling with a tie or adjusting a stray hair behind the thick veil of a curtain, that Kurt first saw the fine trembling in his fingers. It looked almost natural, heartbreakingly smooth as his thumb and forefinger stroked the length of his instrument lovingly. He had an air of distinction up there, a stage presence that Kurt had recognized from the first moment when he sauntered up to a pack of navy-blazered boys and sang.
Kurt knew before his mouth dipped open, before his fingers settled into a familiar rhythm, what song he would sing. His eyes misted slightly as he clasped his hands together on the top of the small round table. Rachel and Finn, huddled close to each other on the other side of the table, were also smiling, but it was a different language. Theirs were warm and open, inviting, beckoning the world to admire what they had shown it. Their intertwined fingers had the grace to fit together loosely, Finn's palms almost engulfing Rachel's tiny ones. He cradled her, his arm draped around her shoulder, and for one moment Kurt felt a surge of jealousy.
Soon, he reminded himself, already picturing Blaine and him curled up together in his bed, warm and sweaty and giggly and sated. It would take some persuasion to get Rachel and Finn out of the apartment for a suitably long period of time, and some healthy blackmail for Rachel to not tease them about it in the future, but Kurt was willing to take the extra measures if it meant that he could be with Blaine again. Be with him, not merely hear his slightly crackly voice over the phone or see his soft, static-y stare through a Skype connection. He wanted to feel warm skin and bare hands, soft lips and an eager body underneath his, above him and around him and cradling him as they both came down. He wanted it so much that it was an exercise in politeness to even come out here tonight, to show Blaine around town instead of simply ravaging him in his new apartment.
They would talk about simple things first, Kurt knew. He would tell Blaine all about his tutelage under Isabelle Wright and her staff so far, how his brief experience as a barista in Lima had actually helped him in New York when it came to fetching their coffees in the morning and afternoon. He would ramble on about the fashion industry's plans for the future, how certain trends dictated the overall current and he was involved in the rip tide, the one thread that influenced them all. He would lovingly relate his plans for the future, his dreams of becoming the next Alexander McQueen and enrolling in NYADA for the spring semester and ultimately attaining the notoriety he had been striving for since the beginning.
By then, they would be curled up in the ridiculously comfortable armchair Kurt had arranged in the corner, sipping water from one of the blue bottles that he had stored in the fridge and sharing soft, susurrus opinions about each other's clothing choices. Conversation would dwindle away into nothing more than trifles, then, Kurt listening and talking in equal parts. At some point, they would stop speaking altogether, intertwined and connected and there.
Kurt didn't know exactly which steps would be taken then, who would lead, who would follow. He only knew the low, burning warmth in his chest that had nothing to do with the warmth of the bar and everything to do with the boy seated on stage.
Man, he corrected himself silently, though Blaine's posture seemed to be curving inward, almost collapsing on himself. It was a strange sight. If Kurt hadn't known better, then he almost would have said that he was nervous, that he didn't want to be there, that he was terrified of performing in front of a crowd. His natural ease on a stage burned like a low ember, held close to his chest and shielded partially from view. Kurt would have beckoned him over to their table and told him that he didn't have to perform for him if it made him uncomfortable, but Blaine's fingers were picking through the notes easily, now, and as they gained speed, matching the tempo he was used to, Blaine straightened, closing his eyes and drawing a single deep breath before opening them.
They were damp already, and Kurt felt a lump in his throat as the first crackly "You," broke over the microphone.
"Make me . . . feel like I'm livin' a . . . teen-age dream. The way you - turn me on."
It was mesmerizing. Captivating. Heart-wrenching. Kurt couldn't look away. Silently, he wished that everyone else would. It seemed wrong for them to watch Blaine perform, the sole spotlight in the room illuminating the tear tracks on his face. The harsh glare seemed only to emphasize the shadows around him, setting him a world apart from the rest.
"I can't - sleep. Let's . . . run away . . . and don't ever look back, don't ever look back."
Kurt's smile fell away as he met his gaze, silent, unerring. If the bottom had fallen out of Kurt's world, then he could not have been more shocked, more terrified of what he saw there. His fingers unconsciously gripped the table hard; he was barely aware of the gesture as Blaine sniffed once, barely audible but for the microphone in front of him.
"My . . . heart . . . stops. When you look at me. Just . . . one touch . . . and baby, I'll believe."
His voice cracked. Kurt's heart broke.
"This is real . . . so take a chance and - don't ever look back, don't ever look back."
Abruptly, Blaine stepped away from the piano and fled. The rest of the room remained frozen, stunned by the performance. Kurt's heart felt like it was going to burst out of his ribcage as Blaine shoved the door open and vanished into the night air. He was scrambling through the bar a moment later, ignoring Rachel's soft, "Kurt!" behind him, shoving the door open and scanning the streets, ignoring the way the bitter October air cut through his clothing.
He saw Blaine sitting on a bench three blocks down, hunched over himself, his shoulders convulsing with silent cries. Kurt felt sick at the sight, slowly pacing towards him and ignoring the passerby that bustled past him as he walked. He was barely aware of the name that fell from his lips as he stopped in front of him, but he seemed almost hyper aware of the way Blaine jerked to his feet, his gaze glassy and his cheeks red but his eyes still so, so lifeless.
There was no spark. No warmth.
Anguish. Anguish was the closest thing to what was there.
Kurt was following him as he walked before he had consciously processed it, following him into Battery Park. His heart was pounding, trying to force its way out of him by whatever means necessary. The urge to vomit was so strong that he wondered if the bloody, mangled organ would come up if he doubled over and heaved in the bushes. Maybe that would make the pain gnawing at his chest disappear. He felt shivery and unbalanced as he followed Blaine. He couldn't understand why he hadn't stepped forward and stopped him, grabbed his arm and pulled him close and held him until it was okay, until they were okay. He couldn't understand it because he didn't understand what was happening, why Blaine was like this, why their teenage dream was crumpling around them.
Drawing in a shuddering breath, he stopped in the middle of the path and Blaine stopped with him. "Tell me," he said in a strangled voice.
"Tell you what?" Blaine's voice was raw, hollow. Kurt didn't know if he wanted to scream or sob. The resignation ached.
Forcing himself to step up to Blaine, to cup his cheeks and look at him and feel him trembling, Kurt whispered, "Tell me what I did wrong."
For a moment, Blaine stared at him blankly, horrified. Then, soft, insistent, frantic: "Kurt, you - you didn't do anything wrong, nothing, you -"
Kurt recoiled, wrapping his arms around himself, holding himself. That was it, then.
"Kurt. Kurt." Blaine looked at him beseechingly, one hand reaching forward imploringly even as he stopped himself, staring at him. "You didn't do anything wrong."
"Please stop pretending that there's nothing wrong," he whispered, tears beginning to cloud his vision. "Dammit, Blaine, stop pretending."
Blaine drew in a deep breath. Dragged a hand through his hair. Stared at Kurt, arms trembling slightly as he visibly restrained himself from stepping forward and hugging Kurt. Kurt had to close his eyes at that.
"It was going to be okay, Blaine," he said through gritted teeth. "We were going to make it work, remember? Why. . . ." He swallowed, suddenly unable to stay it.
Why isn't it working?
"You said it would be fine!" he burst out, unable to help the slight note of hysteria in his voice as he rounded on Blaine because there was still that sad, resigned look in his eyes and no, no.
"You said it would be fine if I left! You wanted me to leave!"
"We would be okay. We'd - we'd talk on the phone and - and text and Skype and - "
Kurt swallowed. He clamped a hand over his mouth as a quiet sob burst out of him, harsh and jarring. Shaking his head violently, needing to get out get out get out, he turned and walked away, trying to keep himself upright as bitterness threatened to cripple him.
Why didn't he say anything?
Why didn't he say that it wasn't working?
Why didn't he say that we weren't working?
Kurt didn't know, and he didn't dare stop to consider it.
He needed to get away. Get away before they ruined it irreparably. Get away before they broke it. Broke them.
We're not broken, he insisted fiercely, even as he crumpled against the side of a fountain, sitting on the ledge heavily and shaking, unable to stop. Blaine just needs to . . . he needs to think. To figure it out.
It was just a song. It didn't mean anything.
It was just a song.
But even as Kurt thought it, he knew it wasn't true.
Maybe you need to tell him how you feel.
In the best, most honest way you know how.
Author's Notes: So.
Here are all my acoustic Teenage Dream feels.
I might be persuaded to write another chapter for this. Otherwise, I'll fix it separately in a one-shot.
Review to let me know?