Hello readers!

This fic was written for Beyond Dapper's Blaine Big Bang. If you don't know what that's about, look it up on Livejournal or Tumblr, you won't regret it! There has been some really great works this year, and it's still going on for a couple of days more. About 30 fics already posted, all completed and all of them 25k+... doesn't it sound like heaven?

For this one, I owe a huge thanks to my beta, the amazing secret_chord25, and one just as big to volsura, who created the incredible art that accompanies this fic. You guys can check it out on volsura dot tumblr dot com / post / 33658510338 / blaine - big - bang - 2012 - tumblr - lj - october - 15 (stupid restriction on posting links...)

Also, all my heart to my dearest Vanilla, who is the Kurt to my Blaine and somehow manages to keeps me sane.

And as always, every and all feedback is welcome, either here or on my Tumblr account.


Chapter One

Immediately upon entering to the coffee shop, Blaine was greeted with the smell of the best caffeine in the city. He smiled.

It was probably his favorite place in all New York.

Valdez was a medium-sized coffee shop, which Blaine thought would get way more customers if they actually advertised they sold coffee - it was excellent. The place, though, was a large basement under a residential building, with no windows to the outside and only a small sign at the door with the name of the shop and a little Colombian flag next to it. Once he heard the baristas jokingly say that most of the neighbors thought they were drug dealers and ignored the place like the plague.

Blaine could see the reason they would think that, since the establishment was kind of hidden and the people coming in and out of it could be pretty eccentric. He himself had found the shop on accident, one afternoon when it was pouring down and he was desperately looking for a place to take cover. But when he'd actually gone inside, he'd find himself in the nicest and most comfortable café, filled with mismatched antique furniture and attended by the warmest people. The baristas were all Colombian (or at least Blaine thought they were), and they all had this relaxed, happy feeling about them.

Though the place was never completely full, it was never empty, either. The customers were mostly students who would bring their books to study while drinking their coffee, and Blaine loved the way they sort of looked like they were all friends even if they didn't know each other at all. There were also a few large sofas in the shop, enough to fit four or five people at the time, and Blaine frequently saw how it could be filled by people who didn't know each other but felt comfortable enough to share the space.

And beyond the excellent coffee and similarly great biscotti, there was another reason Blaine liked the shop so much.

True, he hadn't seen him until about a month later after coming regularly for his coffee, and would have kept coming anyway, but he would be lying if he didn't admit that he now made a point of coming certain days and at certain hours when he figured he'd most likely run into him as well.

And to think the only thing he knew about the guy was his name.

Kurt. He had to be the most handsome and stylish guy to ever grace the streets of New York. He was always impeccably dressed and looked absolutely mesmerizing when he studied. Blaine should probably have felt embarrassed about the number of hours he spent pretending to read his book and drink his coffee while fixedly watching every gesture in Kurt's face and every movement of his body.

Blaine liked to sit close to the cash register so he could listen to Kurt's lyrical voice giving his coffee order. As he was also a regular, the baristas knew his name already and would greet him happily every time he came. Blaine would sometimes get butterflies in his stomach just by hearing one of them say "Hi, Kurt; what can I get you today?"

Kurt always asked for a large non-fat mocha, sometimes adding biscotti or a cookie to his order, and would then sit on one of the corners to memorize a new play. Well, at least Blaine was almost sure they were plays, because Kurt would mouth the words as he read them over and over again until he could tell them without looking at the book. He would sometimes make little expressions along with it, like furrowing his brows if the character was supposed to be mad, or smiling if it was supposed to be happy. Blaine would watch, enthralled, wondering how just one guy could be so attractive.

Not that Blaine was being creepy or anything. He was just very observant.

The thing was, Blaine could never quite work out the nerve to talk to Kurt. Even when Kurt would catch him staring and Blaine would act like he was so deep in thought that he was just looking wherever, he could never suck it up and go introduce himself. He just got so nervous; afraid he would say or do something stupid. The time when he sang to a GAP employee and made the biggest fool of himself reared its ugly head every time, and he just couldn't do it. Besides, Kurt was gorgeous. And even if Blaine wasn't ugly himself, Kurt was probably way out of his league. He probably had an equally attractive model boyfriend somewhere and wouldn't look twice at someone like Blaine.

Still, Kurt continued to spend a lot of time in the shop, and as the weeks went by, Blaine figured he would have seen a boyfriend already if he existed. And if Kurt was available – well, that most likely wouldn't last, because he was beautiful. So Blaine should probably make a move, because then at least he could tell himself he tried.

The chance came to him one morning while he was getting his first caffeine boost of the day before he ran to school. Kurt was in front of him in line, and even if Blaine could only see his neck and the back of his head, he was working very hard on not blushing.

"Non-fat mocha?" asked Catalina, Blaine's favorite barista. She had tanned skin and big brown eyes and always looked at Blaine like he was a strayed puppy she wanted to cuddle. Sometimes she gave him free cookies if he came late at night before they closed and it looked like they wouldn't be able to sell them anyway.

"Please," Kurt confirmed, opening his messenger's bag. He ruffled through it once, then twice. Blaine heard a whispered 'shit' before Kurt spoke normally again. "I'm so sorry, I think I forgot my wallet… ugh, now I have to go back… just, can you cancel that order?"

It was as good an opportunity as Blaine would ever get. He jumped into action before he could talk himself out of it.

"No need to cancel; I can pay this round." Blaine stepped forward and smiled to Kurt, hoping he didn't look as weird or sound as shaky as he felt. "A medium drip, Cata. And the mocha, too." He extended a ten-dollar bill to Catalina, who smiled widely and took it, repeating the order to her co-workers.

"Oh, you don't have to do that. Really, it's not necessary," said Kurt, trying and failing to stop Blaine. He looked embarrassed, and Blaine just grinned.

"That's fine. I can't work properly if I don't drink my coffee in the morning, and I've seen you a lot around here, so you're probably the same," Blaine offered, walking to the other side of the counter to wait for his drink, Kurt behind him.

Blaine had a second to panic about saying too much. Was it too forward to say he had noticed him a lot before? Would he come off as creepy?

"Well… thank you," Kurt said with a smile, following Blaine to wait for their drinks. "I'm Kurt, by the way."

"Blaine." His grin widened upon thinking that now, he could 'officially' know Kurt's name, even though he'd known it for almost a month. They shook hands for a second, and Blaine wondered if there was something alive in his stomach trying to eat him, with all the fluttering and twisting going on. Those feelings could not be normal.

"I've seen you around a lot, too," Kurt noted. "Next time it'll be my turn to buy you coffee, ok?"

Blaine's heart made a small jump. Was it stupid to get so excited over something so little? Kurt was probably just being nice.

"You don't really have to," Blaine assured him. "But if you do, I would never turn down free coffee."

Ask for his number! his conscience screamed. This is your chance – get his number!

Kurt smiled, his gaze flitting to the baristas behind the counter. It didn't look like their orders were finished yet, so he turned again to Blaine.

"So, what do you do when you aren't buying caffeine drinks to total strangers, Blaine?" he asked with a playful smile. Blaine blinked off his surprise that Kurt was still talking to him and replied quickly.

"I'm majoring in psychology in NYU." He wondered if telling Kurt he was also doing a minor in music would help them bond better, since Kurt was obviously in some drama school. "What about you?"

"Second year at Tisch. Makes it a little out-of-the-way to come here every morning, but the excellent coffee makes up for it."

"Exactly. Don't you ever forget that," put in the barista behind the counter with a wink, extending their orders. They took them gratefully and looked at each other again expectantly. Naturally, it was right then that Blaine remembered he was in a hurry to get to class.

"Well…" he started. Ask for his number. Now is the perfect time; just ask him.

"It was really nice of you to buy me coffee. I have to go now, but I promise I'll make it up to you whenever I see you again," said Kurt.

Just ask for his number. It's the perfect opening – ask for him and maybe ask if he wants to meet tomorrow. He always comes on Wednesdays, so he'll be here anyway. It'd be a date.

"Anytime. Kurt-"

"Thanks again. I'll see you soon!"

He was out of the door before Blaine could say another word. He stood there for another couple of seconds cursing internally, but he had to get going as well.

Still, he had talked to Kurt. He had finally talked to Kurt, and though they weren't exactly friends or anything yet, he had said he would get Blaine coffee, and Blaine could work onto making it a date. He could try to get Kurt to sit with him every time they ran into each other, which he would make sure was often enough, and eventually they could turn into friends, and maybe then more than friends, and then-

Wow, stop. You barely exchanged more than five phrases.

Blaine sighed, but smiled. He was closer to Kurt than he had been half an hour before, and that alone was enough to put him in a good mood the rest of the day.

Blaine looked the time on his cell phone and sighed. Cooper was late again. They were supposed to meet more than half an hour ago to get dinner at their favorite pizza place, but Cooper hadn't made it yet. Blaine would have been more exasperated if he wasn't already so used to it; now, he just wondered why he bothered to always be on time.

He wondered if he should text again. Cooper had texted ten minutes before saying he was almost there, but Blaine knew his "almost there" could mean up to half an hour of waiting. Why did he put up with this, again?

"Hey, sorry, little bro. I met with this guy who wants to start lessons and time just flew." Cooper slid into the booth with an apologetic smile, reaching out to put an arm around Blaine's shoulders. Blaine almost told him off for being late, but there was really no point; Cooper would probably always make him wait. He just didn't give punctuality too much importance, at least not when Blaine was concerned, probably because Cooper was comfortable with being his chaotic self with his brother.

"Whatever. You'll have to buy me dessert," Blaine replied, finally smiling, too. They walked down the street towards their pizza place, Cooper keeping his arm around his brother. He could be a rather touchy-feely kind of person, and when he was with Blaine, he always made a point of initiating contact in some way. Blaine remembered that things hadn't been like that before, when he thought Cooper was like his parents and just didn't care about him. But ever since the visit he'd paid to Westerville during Blaine's junior year, when they managed to actually talk about their feelings, Cooper had become almost overly tactile. Blaine remembered how they found themselves singing about their emotions in Dalton's music classroom, admitting they felt like strangers, and how Cooper had hugged him for almost five minutes later, saying he wanted to remember the feeling so he could use it on his auditions. The thought that he probably touched him so much now because it made him remember would always make Blaine smile.

Even if life in New York was a bit different than Blaine had expected, it was by far the best thing that ever happened to him. He'd been uncertain about where to go after high school, mainly because he sort of hated feeling like he was leaving a house where he felt so alone just to head some other place where he'd be alone again. New York had been his top option, but Los Angeles had been pretty up there too, just because it was the place his brother had been at the time.

Blaine still didn't know if Cooper had looked for it or if it was really some beautiful coincidence, but just a couple of weeks after Blaine admitted over Skype that he was thinking about New York (because as much as Cooper and him had a much better relationship at that point, he didn't know if his brother wanted a tag-along who was ten years younger living with him), Cooper had made a trip to Westerville to announce that he had decided to move to the Big Apple. He had gotten an offer for an assistant professor job for the New York Film Academy, and "as much as real acting is my passion, I figured that imparting my wisdom to wannabes is worthwhile in its own way. And the pay's good."

Blaine had breathed the biggest sigh of relief that day.

Cooper had first headed to the city about three months before Blaine graduated and found a place big enough for both of them, thanks to his last commercial gig and a few well-placed contacts. The apartment also had a spacious living room, which now Cooper used to give private acting lessons, a side-job that was working surprisingly well for him.

"So this guy I met, he's actually a drama student, but he came to that seminar Rosy and I gave last week, and said he was so impressed he wanted to try some film acting, just to see if it works for him as well as theater, you know? Keeping his options open. So we were arranging a schedule, because he wants to have two classes per week since finals are still far away and he can manage the time. He's really talented, you know? In a very out-of-the-ordinary sort of way, but I think that's actually a good thing. To be distinguishable, right? I told him as much and he seemed really thankful that I said it. So yeah, he's coming home for lessons on Tuesdays and Fridays, which will make it a little crowded because I still have Stuart earlier those days and Madison on Wednesdays and Rebecca on the weekends and probably another girl who contacted me yesterday, but I still don't know. I hoped you wouldn't mind? I've got takeout covered for this Friday, don't worry."

Blaine couldn't help but smile wider at his brother as he rambled. Cooper talked too much and could be rather obnoxious, but he'd grown more caring over the years.

"It's fine, Coop. Using the living-room for your lessons was the excuse you gave me for not letting me pay my share of the rent, so the least thing you can do is actually use it."

Cooper dismissed him with a hand gesture. "Not need to spend your trust fund if I have it covered. You're a smart guy, Blainey. You can keep studying your psychology-thingy up to a master's and I bet you'll be the best of them. And I could totally recommend you when you graduate. By that time I'd either become very famous myself or taught my fair share of Grammy-nominees, so I'll have a wide number of connections. You could get a master's in counseling famous people! You know, like a specialist to analyze the craziness of high-profile media entertainers?"

Blaine laughed. It wasn't like Cooper was and idiot, per se, but he had a habit of saying whatever came to his mind, no matter how little sense it made.

"It doesn't really work like that," Blaine said, shaking his head. "I mean, I guess I could specialize in working with famous people, but you'd do it more out of experience than out of any theoretical knowledge."

"Well, if I recommend you, you'd get tons of experience." And even though Cooper's logic wasn't very likely, Blaine just nodded and went along with it.

Even if they didn't always understand each other, Blaine saw Cooper as the most important person in his life, and after years of growing up in a home where the best description to everyone's relationship was "indifference," Blaine just appreciated the feeling of someone actually caring about him or his future.

Friday afternoon found Blaine sitting at the Valdez again, his second cup of coffee in hand and his feet tapping nervously on the floor. Come on; it was Friday and Kurt always came on Fridays. Why hadn't he made an appearance yet?

If Blaine was honest, he was starting to panic a little. He knew it was stupid – it had been just three days – but he hadn't bumped into Kurt again, even when he'd stayed in the coffee shop for longer than usual. He had to bear Catalina's knowing winks every time he asked for a refill, and on Thursday night he saw her whispering to her dreadlocked co-worker while looking at him, only to have the guy come offer him some cookies before they closed with a smirk that matched Catalina's.

But even though he practically lived in the café these days, he must have had horrible luck and missed Kurt, or Kurt hadn't come back. Even though it felt absurd, Blaine started wondering if maybe Kurt had stopped coming because of him. What if he had been too forward that last time and he had scared him away? Surely Kurt didn't want a creepy guy hitting on him when all he wanted was to relax with his drink. And as much as three days did not make a long time, Blaine was pretty sure Kurt used to come every day before, so his absence was noticeable.

Blaine knew Kurt's coffee times on the week fairly accurately, but he wasn't as lucky on the weekends. Preferring to sleep in when he had time and to visit other places, Blaine didn't really visit the shop on Saturday or Sunday, so he didn't know if Kurt did. Would it be worth it coming back tomorrow and spend his whole day waiting if it meant he could finally get coffee with Kurt?

Frustrated, he sighed and looked at the hour. It was early enough that Cooper would probably still be giving lessons, but he didn't feel like staying anymore. On the other hand, being in the apartment while Cooper and his student of choice where there didn't appeal him, either.

The truth was, Cooper's lessons made him kind of uncomfortable. It wasn't only that he didn't really agree with his brother's techniques – sometimes the students would give him very dirty looks for daring to be home, even if he remained in his bedroom until the class had finished.

Cooper was a good actor – overall. Blaine knew he could do wonderful things, especially if he had a competent director at his side. But every time he had to be spontaneous, Cooper would focus on minute things and make them as over the top as he could. And Blaine knew it was because that was just the way Cooper's mind worked. He wasn't bad; he just missed a lot of the bigger hints while trying to place emphasis on the smaller things.

Like, after Blaine's 'incident' at his school dance, Cooper went home to spend time with him, but while all Blaine wanted was comfort and someone to lean on while his body healed, Cooper, for some reason he couldn't fathom, obsessed over the fact that Blaine's friends and classmates should have his home address because "they'd definitely want to visit or send flowers." Blaine spent the next week trying to make Cooper understand that ever since he'd come out, he didn't really have friends, and that giving his classmates his address would turn to be more dangerous than rewarding, and that Mom and Dad had offered to pay for a private school so that he would never have to see them again. Cooper kept insisting, and every time Blaine had to explain it again, it was like adding salt to his wounds. He'd kept wondering if Cooper had been doing it on purpose.

Blaine had said goodbye to Cooper after that visit feeling more alienated from his brother than ever. Now, Blaine knew he had been too hurt to be able to recognize Coop's intentions, because all his brother had wanted was to make Blaine feel better by having lots of people supporting him. "Why would anybody not love you and want to send you flowers?" he remembered Cooper asking several years later when the topic came up. "It's the first thing I wanted to do. Apart from seeing you, that is."

It was sweet that Cooper had refused to believe his classmates didn't adore him like some kind of Disney-idol, but it didn't change the fact that the way he had treated things was completely wrong.

Another big example was Cooper's failure to tell Blaine that he liked men as well. He wasn't gay, exactly, and his few serious relationships had actually been with women, but he'd had flings with other boys, as Blaine had found just after he moved in with him. Blaine thought it was something he should have mentioned long before, if only to make less awkward the time Blaine came out to him, but after questioning his brother, the only answer he could get from him was that "it would be unfair to deny guys the chance to be with someone as amazing as me."

It made Blaine wonder if Cooper even knew the reason why he had had such a difficult time back in high school, because didn't he realize how big a difference it would have made for Blaine to know he wasn't really alone? And it wasn't even like Cooper didn't tell him because he feared any sort of bad outcome, either – Blaine was sure Cooper hadn't told him because he didn't realize it was important.

Really, Cooper too often failed to notice the obvious things while focusing on the needless, and it showed in every aspect of his life, including his teaching. So even if he was awesome as an assistant professor (the professor he was working for, Rosy, was a wacky, brilliant lady who excelled on making Cooper's abilities surface, which was reason enough for Blaine to appreciate her), he was rather… misdirected as the main teacher. It usually led to his students not taking more than a month of lessons with him, once they figured it wasn't some modern way of teaching that made the whole thing so ridiculous.

Except, of course, when the teaching itself wasn't the reason the students wanted to meet Cooper.

If Blaine hadn't seen it with his own eyes, he wouldn't believe the amount of people willing to pay to spend time with a person they wanted to date. (Or fuck. It really depended on the student.)

Madison, for example, only wanted to sleep with Cooper. She had that 'conquest' look to her eyes and was really fighting for it, if three months of meetings were any indication. That other girl, Sarah, who had just stopped taking lessons last month, was more of a typical sort, looking for a long-term boyfriend to introduce to her parents and friends. And Stuart, the guy who came every Tuesday, would probably accept either.

It wasn't like all the students Cooper got had the hots for him, but Blaine couldn't deny it was a factor. For god's sake, he had eyes and he was gay – he could see his brother was exceptionally good-looking. He just didn't understand how so many people would think they had a chance if they spent enough time with him, never mind that they had to pay him.

Then again, he would probably jump at any chance he got to spend time with Kurt. Hell, he had spent the last three hours in a coffee shop just in the hopes of running into him. If he thought his brother's students were silly, he himself was downright pathetic.

With that last thought, Blaine left the Valdez and started walking his way home. It was movie-and-takeout night anyway, so he shouldn't be late, and he was feeling a little creeped out by himself anyway, thinking about his obsession with Kurt. Should he try to get over him? Was there even anything to get over with? Did his waiting at the Valdez rank the same as Coop's student's pay-for-a-possible-date?

In Cooper's favor, though, he neither slept with any of his students nor tried a romantic relationship with any of them. Blaine was sure it was more due to the fact that he didn't realize his students liked him, but he thought it very professional of his brother either way. He sort of hoped Cooper would never realize his student's motives – he always looked so proud of his lessons that Blaine would hate the disappointment it would bring him.

His train of thought was cut short when he realized he was already in front of his own door.

He tried to listen through it to see if there were any voices. If there was a lesson going on, chances were he'd be able to hear it, because Cooper's lessons tended to get loud. His brother had a thing for shouting, like he thought the louder it was, the more emotion and intensity it brought to the acting. Blaine thought it was nonsensical and had debated with Cooper over and over about how silences could be just as powerful. He wasn't sure if Cooper ever listened to him, though – it was hard to know when Cooper was paying attention and when he was lost in his own world.

The apartment appeared to be silent, so Blaine guessed the lesson had probably ended early. He sighed, relieved – he could just relax for the night now.

"Hey there, shrimp," Cooper called out as a greeting. Blaine just rolled his eyes, leaving his keys on the small hook at the side of the door. Cooper had called him 'shrimp' when they were kids and still living in their parent's house. The pet name had faded off once Cooper had left and the distance between them had started growing, but when they started living together, the pet name made a comeback as well. Blaine didn't complain much about it – his parents had never had a pet name for him, not even 'honey' or 'sweetheart' from his mother, so he kind of liked Cooper's. Even with the implications that he looked like a crustacean.

"Hi Coop," answered Blaine, looking into the living room as his brother fathered some papers together. "Just finished?"

"Yep, wrapping up," Cooper confirmed, leaving the papers in a neat pile. Blaine nodded, taking his jacket off, but he only got halfway before he was suddenly wrapped in one of Cooper's arms while the other messed violently with Blaine's hair.

"So s'up, little bro? Had a nice day?" laughed Cooper, his arm holding tight while Blaine tried to get off.

"Cooper! Cut it out; we're not kids anymore!" Blaine huffed, although he started laughing a bit as well. Cooper had never really grown up, but Blaine had fun with him anyway.

They struggled a while longer, Blaine pushing Cooper and Cooper holding Blaine by his neck, both of them used to this kind of rough-housing. Except this time, Cooper let him go so suddenly that Blaine tripped on the end of the carpet, landing painfully on his ass.

"Ow! Coop, what the hell?" he demanded –

Until his eyes traveled upward and he saw a third person on the room. A gorgeous, skinny jean-wearing and with-perfectly-coiffed-brown-hair person.

Blaine's eyes grew wide and his brain went blank.

"Found the bathroom?" Cooper asked like nothing had happened, stepping innocently away from Blaine.

"Yes, thank you." Kurt looked somewhere between apprehensive and amused. Blaine could only stare, wondering if he'd gotten so infatuated with the boy that he was now hallucinating.

"Blaine, this is Kurt, the student I told you about the other day," Cooper called from the table, where he was gathering papers again. "Kurt, this is my little brother, Blaine."

Kurt's expression softened, brightening into a pleasant smile. He walked to Blaine, extending a hand.

"Blaine. Small world, huh? Need some help?" And just then, Blaine realized he was still on the floor. His face went red, but he accepted Kurt's hand and stumbled to his feet. Even in such a confusing moment, he managed to wonder if Kurt's hands weren't the softest things on Earth.

"Thank you," Blaine muttered once on his feet, trying to fix his rumbled clothes and messed hair. God, his hair – it must have looked absolutely dreadful, thanks to Cooper. Was it some sort of joke, to have him meet the boy he was crazy about when he looked like an idiot?

There was a pause, and Blaine felt like he should say something else, acknowledge Kurt in some way. To think that he'd spent hours in a coffee shop coming up with things to say to Kurt if he ever had the chance for conversation – and right now, all of them escaped him. Although, if he was honest, he would've never dreamed of finding Kurt in his own living room.

"I didn't expect to meet you here," Kurt finally said, when more time had passed and Blaine remained (stupidly) silent. He wanted to kick himself. Kurt was undoubtedly thinking he was some sort of moron who didn't even know the basic social protocol of greeting people.

"Yeah, well, seems like my brother is your new teacher," was all he managed to say, and then wanted to kick himself again. Great, Blaine, just go ahead and repeat the obvious over and over again.

"Hey, you guys know each other?" Cooper asked, joining the conversation. He walked to them and offered Kurt the papers he had been gathering before; Kurt smiled brightly and took them.

"Um, yeah, kind of. We go to the same coffee shop," Blaine offered, looking at Kurt's smile and feeling a little lost. It wasn't like they actually knew each other. Blaine knew a lot about Kurt, but only because he was a heartbeat away from becoming his stalker.

"Yes; the other day I forgot my wallet and Blaine was nice enough to pay for my coffee," Kurt said, and this time, he directed his smile right to Blaine. He suddenly forgot to feel like an idiot because god, when Kurt smiled like that it felt like angels had started to sing.

"Such a gallant little guy," said Cooper with a smile, and although he seemed to say it affectionately, Kurt's chuckle made Blaine burn with embarrassment. He had never wished for his brother to disappear like right now.

"Letting someone go the whole morning without coffee is not right," Blaine said defensively. Kurt smiled to him again and nodded in agreement, which was enough for Blaine to stop brooding.

"You caffeine addicts," laughed Cooper. "Well, Kurt, I'll see you next Tuesday, then?"

"Definitely," answered Kurt, sliding his papers into his messenger bag and putting on his jacket. "I'll make sure to go over these."

"Great. Let me get my keys and I'll walk you outside." Cooper rummaged around in his pockets, running to his bedroom when the keys didn't present themselves. Blaine wondered why they bothered to have a hook at the side of the front door if his brother never used it.

"So Blaine," started Kurt, and he immediately had all of Blaine's attention. "I still owe you for that coffee. I was really busy these past few days, but I'm sure next week I'll be back to the Valdez."

Blaine smiled and felt his stomach flutter. This meant Kurt wanted to see him, right? He was probably being nice again, but maybe he could be just a little bit interested-

"So, maybe I could repay you on Monday?"

Blaine smiled and started to nod right when Cooper came back with his keys in his hand and a triumphant smile. He motioned to the door, and Kurt spoke again, more quickly.

"Ten or eleven-ish. I'll be there studying for a while, so if you can, come whenever. If you want to."

Blaine felt twists of happiness all over his body. "Yeah! Of course. I'll be there," he managed, almost forgetting how to breathe and fighting his smile from splitting his head in two.

"I'll see you then," said Kurt before following Cooper to the door. Blaine remained in the same spot, grinning like an idiot, until he heard Cooper's steps returning. Then he retreated to his room and proceeded to giggle into his pillow.

He had a date with Kurt.

Okay, even if it probably didn't count as a date, Blaine had to try and make his best impression, right? He spent all weekend debating with himself about what to do, what to wear, what to talk about, and if there was even the smallest chance he could really turn the meeting into a date. How did you showed a guy you wanted to date him without coming on too strongly? Blaine didn't want to freak Kurt out.

And what if Kurt wasn't interested at all? He was handsome and charming and amazing and breathtakingly gorgeous, and Blaine was… well, Blaine. He was all right, he guessed, but surely not as outstandingly good-looking as to date a guy like Kurt. In that matter, he sometimes envied Cooper, who was obviously the handsome one in the family. He'd had a lot more luck with love interests, at least back in college when he was more interested in them.

Then again, while Cooper was easy to be attracted to, he was much harder to relate to, character-wise. Blaine's brother was funny and amusing, but he was also clueless and obnoxious in a way that could make him seem rather… well, like an asshole.

Blaine knew, on the other hand, that his own personality was a bigger asset than his looks. He knew he was nice, and he knew how to charm people, how to be polite and thoughtful, and he always tried to be a good friend. So he probably had a better chance at trying to become Kurt's friend first, if he wanted to get closer.

With that in mind, Blaine chose a passably-normal outfit on Monday, trying his best to not look like he was trying to impress Kurt. He did make sure he was all groomed up and used a little more cologne than normal, but overall, he looked ready for a normal day of classes.

Blaine spent awhile mulling over what time to go to the coffee shop. He didn't want to get there too late, but if he got there before Kurt, he'd probably look too eager. He thought about waiting for Kurt with coffee already bought for both of them because then Kurt would have to schedule another coffee meeting to repay his coffee, but he was afraid it'd come off as too obvious.

In the end, he arrived at twenty minutes after ten because that was the time he came most Mondays anyway, since he had classes in the afternoon. He was nervous, of course, but decided he should try and behave normally. He wanted to impress Kurt, but he didn't want to play being someone he wasn't.

When he stepped into the café, Kurt was sitting at the table near the counter where Blaine usually sat. He was facing the door and so spotted Blaine instantly, smiling and waving at him. Blaine returned the smile, feeling like he floated to Kurt instead of walking those final steps to the table.

"Hi! I'm glad you could make it." Kurt motioned to the chair in front of him. Blaine got his coat off and sat down, half of him praying to not say anything stupid but mostly just soaking in Kurt's presence. It was pretty ridiculous, the power that this almost unknown guy seemed to have over him.

"Coffee, Kurt. Nobody says no to coffee," Blaine said. He couldn't go wrong in trying to bond over caffeine with this guy. Kurt laughed, the most adorable dimples appearing on his face.

"I'm with you right there, although it saddens me to say that not everyone shares the feeling. Apparently 'coffee's too bitter' for some people," Kurt said, rolling his eyes.

Blaine looked at Kurt, horrified. "Seriously? Coffee is the best thing that happened to mankind since the Chinese invented silk."

Kurt smiled. "Well, different tastes and all that."

"Yeah, you're probably right. I mean, my own brother isn't a big fan. He goes for coffee with me if I insist, but he always gets one of those sugary concoctions that barely tastes like it," Blaine said, his expression fond. He's still amused over Cooper's insistence on drinking chocolate milk on mornings instead of coffee. Maybe the excess of sugar is the reason he's always overly energetic on any given day.

"Really? That sounds… very much like him, actually." Kurt smiled fondly too. Blaine frowned a little. He didn't know Kurt and his brother knew that much about each other.

"Medium drip and a cinnamon cookie," said a voice from the side, and Blaine found the dreadlocked barista placing his usual order in front of him. Kurt smiled at the guy.

"I hope this is fine. Felipe said you always ask for the same thing in the mornings, so I asked him to bring it over when you arrived. I didn't know when it'd be, and I didn't want your coffee to get cold."

Blaine smiled at Kurt's thoughtfulness. God, he couldn't believe five minutes into this meet-up he already liked Kurt even more than before. He thanked the barista, who winked at him before returning to the counter. Somehow Blaine was sure he and Catalina would be gossiping about this at the first opportunity.

Blaine took a sip of his coffee, letting the taste calm him before starting to worry about looking like an idiot in front of Kurt. But he actually found himself a lot more at ease than he'd been in his living room last Friday. Maybe it was because he'd been caught off-guard then, because drinking coffee in silence with Kurt didn't feel uncomfortable at all.

Still, if he wanted to gain "friend" status here, he had to start a conversation. He noted Kurt's book on the table and figured it was as good place to start as any.

"So, you're a drama student, huh?" he said, happy to see Kurt focusing on him right away. "Tisch has a really good program. You must be really talented."

"Well, my first choice was NYADA, but I didn't get in," answered Kurt. There was a small frown on his brow, and Blaine worried about starting the conversation the wrong way, but the frown was gone almost as soon as he'd noticed it. "Tisch is really good, though. I'm really enjoying it."

"Hmm; well, NYADA does have a big reputation, but I always thought the talent is more in the person than in the school, you know? Cooper says you're great," Blaine remarked. Kurt seemed to light up with the comment, and Blaine felt a wave of warmth soak his body. Was it wrong if his new goal in life became to light up Kurt's life?

"He said that? We've barely had one class together," Kurt said, but he looked pleased with himself.

"Oh yeah; he was happy to start lessons with you. He takes his students very seriously."

Kurt hummed in acknowledgement but didn't say anything else. Blaine sipped his coffee again, letting Kurt to his thoughts for a little while. He looked adorable with that small smile on his lips.

"He's an interesting person, your brother," Kurt commented a moment later. "He seems really enthusiastic about what he does."

"Yeah, Cooper…" Blaine laughed a bit, thinking about his brother. "I guess 'enthusiastic' is the only way he knows to approach things. It's just the way he is. At least with the things that interest him."

"Really? What other things interest him apart from his acting?" Kurt asked, sounding overly nonchalant.

Blaine took a breath to answer him – and that was the moment it hit him. He looked at Kurt's face, eager to hear about Blaine's brother, and his stomach made an incredibly unpleasant flip.

Blaine did his best to keep his voice from shaking while he told Kurt about Cooper's recent love for teaching and his guilty pleasure of following famous people's lives on E!. Kurt seemed to note his hesitation on talking about his brother and quickly turned the topic to his own guilty pleasures and asking Blaine about his, but even Kurt's excitement to find about Blaine's love for musicals didn't manage to lift his spirits.

Kurt liked his brother. Kurt was pursuing Cooper. Kurt was one of the sadly misguided students who thought they'd have a chance if they only had enough time with him. And if the way Kurt managed to turn the conversation to Cooper every few minutes was any indication, he had decided becoming friends with Blaine was a good ploy to get closer to his goal. The fourth time Kurt managed to ask offhandedly what Cooper thought about the topic they were discussing, Blaine felt like he would start crying if he kept it up. He ended up lying about having a study meeting just so he could leave.

Kurt seemed discouraged about that, but it didn't stop him from suggesting they get coffee more often.

Blaine agreed with no intention on following through. The last hour had showed him that Kurt was not only gorgeous and fashionable, he was smart and funny and downright fascinating. He was everything Blaine could ask for in a guy, and he was interested in his fucking brother. He probably saw Blaine just as a way to get information about him.

Blaine felt cheated by life. For a couple of days, he had been in nervous heaven, thinking he had a shot with Kurt, and it turned out he'd never ranked as more than a pawn.

Blaine returned home and sulked until it was time for his afternoon classes.