Welcome to my new story! I never really planned writing this, but the idea wouldn't leave me alone, so I sort of just sat down and wrote it. It started (as most of my fics) as a one-shot and it's now a multi-chapter. I've finished it months ago, and I plan to update weekly, as usual :)
Title is from Nick Carter's song (don't judge and go listen! :P) and I obviously don't own it, just like I don't own any recognizable characters.
Huge thumbs up for my amazing beta, Wutif, for her endless help.
I hope you like it!
Kurt Hummel always walks with his head up, because he's Kurt Hummel, Broadway star and fashion icon. He simply assumes nothing will get in his way, so he doesn't bother watching where he steps. Normally, his feet (never wearing anything but the most expensive designer shoes) are only in touch with the New York sidewalks for a brief moment before he's getting into his BMW, or his limo, if he's going to some event. But, no matter what, Kurt Hummel always walks with his head up.
Except for that night.
He had just climbed out of his car and was rushing towards his apartment building when he nearly tripped. For a moment, he thought the cause for his near fall had been the thick snow and the icy edges of the sidewalk, but then he noticed someone was sitting between the steps that led to the front glass doors and a big pot with a miniature tree in it. The man (because it was a man), was wrapped up in a ragged black coat. His head was covered with a multi-color beanie and he had his face hidden against his knees, that were pulled up to his chest.
Honestly, for a moment Kurt thought the guy was dead.
He didn't know why he stood there staring instead of continuing on his way. There were lots of homeless people in New York and Kurt knew he couldn't stop for everyone. So he didn't. He would, every now and then, drop a few bucks into someone's hat or guitar case, but they usually didn't make him stop and really think about them. He couldn't explain why this time his stomach had twisted in astrange way that he had never felt before…
"Why are you staring at me?" A quiet voice said and Kurt started at the sound of it. He realized a pair of bright hazel eyes were looking back at him, peering from between the beanie and the coat.
"I-I'm sorry," Kurt murmured, uncomfortable, but still not moving. "I didn't mean to stare."
The guy blinked at him, slowly, as if he was too tired to care. "I won't stay at your pretty building entrance forever, I swear. I just want to get warm for a bit."
"I…" Kurt cleared his throat. "I think there's a shelter? A few streets from here?"
"It's full," the man answered dully. "It always is when it's as cold as it is tonight."
Kurt stood there, still looking at him, and the man fidgeted. After a couple of seconds, he started standing up with difficulty, his muscles evidently stiffened with cold.
"Fine, fine. I'll leave."
"I-I didn't mean to…" Kurt started, but the other cut him off.
"Yeah, of course you didn't mean to," he said roughly. Now that he was standing, Kurt could see he was a few inches shorter than him and his face was covered with stubble. The coat looked even thinner now that he was on his feet. "Everyone always acts as if people like me were a plague. I'm sorry that my misfortune is ruining your day. It wasn't my intention to taint your little piece of paradise with my dirty presence…"
"No, please…" Kurt said, mortified. He looked around, but there weren't many people in the streets. Not at this time of night, not with the bitter cold.
"I'll stop discomforting you now," the man mumbled, bitterly, turning around to leave. His shoes didn't match. One was an old white Nike and the other was a black rain boot. "Have a good night."
Kurt bit his lip. He didn't know what he was doing. He couldn't explain the weird feeling setting inside of him, pushing its way up to his mouth until the words escaped, shocking him and the stranger at the same time. "Wait!" His heart was beating wildly. What was he doing? "You don't have to go."
The man blinked at him, confused.
"You… I…" Kurt tightened his own coat around himself. It really was freezing. "I have an extra room."
Oh my gosh, what are you doing? He could kill you in your sleep and rob your apartment. You can't just let this guy spend the night…
He could die. It's so cold. There's nowhere he can go…
There's lots of people like him. You can't shelter all of them in your apartment.
No, but even one makes a difference anyway.
I've lost my mind.
"You're… what?" The man seemed even more confused.
"You can stay," Kurt said, more firmly. "With me. In my guest room. Tonight."
A hesitant, amused smile appeared on the man's face, but there wasn't any real humor behind it. "You're kidding, right?"
Kurt straightened up. "No, I'm not."
The smile disappeared and he frowned. "Why would you do that?"
Kurt started losing his patience. He really wasn't used to answering questions. At least not since he had stopped living with his father. "Look, I'm offering you a place to stay for the night. Will you accept my help or do you prefer to stay here in the cold and freeze to death?"
The hazel eyes were full or uncertainty and Kurt realized that under that angry, frustrated exterior, the man was vulnerable. Maybe he wasn't used to being offered help. Maybe he was used to have the world turn its back to him.
It seemed pretty obvious.
"Are you sure?" The man asked, taking a step towards Kurt, slowly.
"Yes," Kurt said, sounding more convinced than he actually was. "I'm going inside. You can follow or you can stay out here. Your choice."
Kurt walked to the front door. Part of him was hoping he had somehow scared the other guy away, but the other was silently begging him to follow him into the building…
The doorman rushed to open the door for Kurt as soon as he saw him approach. "Good evening, Mr. Hummel."
"Good evening," he said in return.
"Out! You can't come in here!" The doorman exclaimed then and Kurt turned around to see him trying to close the door in the other man's face, who looked terribly embarrassed as he took a step back.
"He's with me," Kurt muttered.
"With… you? I'm afraid I don't understand, Mr. Hummel," The doorman frowned at him and stared at Kurt as if he had lost his mind.
And maybe he had…
"This gentleman is my guest," Kurt answered.
Reluctantly, the doorman let the stranger in and followed him and Kurt with his gaze as they walked towards the elevators.
The guy was rubbing his hands up and down his coat, as if he was trying to clean it up a bit. Kurt could see a slight blush hidding under his stuble.
They entered the elevator and for once in his life, Kurt was grateful for the annoying music constantly playing on the speakers. He punched the number 20 on the panel next to the doors and waited as they were taken to the highest floor.
"I'm Blaine, by the way," the other man said and Kurt looked up at him.
"Kurt," he smiled slightly. This was even more uncomfortable than he had expected.
The elevator opened with a soft ding and they both exited. Kurt's apartment was warm and beautifully illuminated and Blaine's eyes went big when he noticed how huge the place really was. It was mostly decorated in white, with splashes of red here and there, in throw pillows on the couch or portraits with family pictures. One of the walls was entirely a window that showed the skyline of New York as if it were an enormous piece of art, and maybe it was. It sure looked a lot more beautiful to Blaine from inside in the warmth.
Blaine felt uncomfortably out of place there as he fidgeted with a loose thread on his coat. He felt that he was dirtying the place just by standing there. It had been such a bad idea to come up to this guy's house…
"So, uhm," Kurt took his warm cashmere designer coat off and hung it in a closet by the door. It was already full of coats of multiple colors and styles and Blaine wondered what it'd feel like to have so many warm beautiful clothes at his disposal. "Have you eaten anything recently?"
Blaine shook his head, shyly.
"Okay," Kurt started walking across the living room and entered the next room. It was a huge, beautiful kitchen full of shiny appliances. "I'm sure there's something here we can have for dinner…"
Blaine's eyes went even wider when Kurt opened the fridge. He wasn't sure he had ever seen that amount of food before. He wasn't even sure he knew what half of that stuff was…
"Oh, I know! I'm in the mood for some chicken marinara. What about you?" He turned back to Blaine with a questioning glance.
"I… sure, yes," Blaine replied, still looking around like he was looking for the quickest way out of there.
Kurt eyed his dirty clothes for a moment. "Would you like to take a shower while I get dinner ready?"
A shower. The word tasted like nectar in his mouth.
"I'd actually love that," he smiled hesitantly.
"Follow me, then," Kurt walked out of the kitchen after nudging the fridge closed again. They walked down a long hallway. There were so many doors that Blaine wasn't sure he would remember where they were going. How was this an apartment? It felt like a mansion.
"Your house is amazing," Blaine whispered in admiration.
"Thank you," Kurt answered in a tone that seemed almost bored, as if he was used to receiving compliments for everything. "This is the guest room," he added, pushing a door at the end of the hall opened. "It has its own bathroom. There's a closet in there with clean towels and everything you could need." He opened another door, which turned out to be a small walk-in closet. "My brother left some clothes here when he visited last time, I'm sure… oh, here they are!"
He handed a pair of jeans and a hoodie to Blaine. They looked gigantic.
Kurt stood there awkwardly for a minute. "Well… take your time. I'll be in the kitchen. Come and join me when you're done."
Kurt left the room quickly, closing the door behind him. He made sure to be all the way back in the kitchen before he exhaled loudly, leaning against the counter.
"There's a strange man getting naked in your guest room," Kurt muttered to himself. "What the hell were you thinking?"
Kurt was never impulsive. Not when it came to things like this, at least. Maybe when he was on stage, maybe when he was in front of the cameras… but not with strangers he found sleeping on his doorstep. Never.
This could only end badly.
He decided to start working on dinner to keep himself busy. He had just put the chicken in the oven when he heard steps that indicated Blaine was out of the bedroom.
When Kurt turned around, he had to put a hand on his mouth to stiffle his laugh. Blaine looked ridiculous in Finn's clothes. The hoodie hung from his shoulders and it was so long it looked like a dress. He'd had to roll up the pants several times so he wouldn't step on them.
"Uhm," Blaine mumbled, looking down at himself. "I think your brother's a lot bigger than me."
"Clearly," Kurt chuckled. Then he cleared his throat and took his attention back to dinner. "This will be ready in ten minutes. Can I offer you something to drink?"
"Some water's fine," Blaine said as he stood awkwardly in the middle of the kitchen.
"Take a seat," Kurt said, pointing at the stools around the breakfast bar. Blaine obliged. Kurt put a bottle of water in front of him and Blaine started drinking eagerly. Kurt forced himself to stop looking at the way his throat moved when he swallowed. "I hope you like chicken. I can make a salad if you…"
"Why are you doing this?" Blaine asked suddenly, fixing him with a serious gaze.
Kurt frowned. "Well, I haven't had dinner, either, so…"
"No," Blaine shook his head. "This. Inviting me into your house."
"I… don't know," Kurt admitted, leaning against the counter and deciding to be honest. He rubbed his temples, exhausted. It had been a long day. "It's really cold outside. No one should be out there all night in this weather."
"You'd be surprised by the number of people out there right now," Blaine said sadly as he let his eyes wander to the nearest window, staring at the outline of the city and its lights.
Kurt didn't know what to answer to that.
"Thank you," Blaine smiled, but it wasn't a smile that reached his eyes, not really. "You could've walked right past me, but you didn't. Thank you."
Kurt felt himself relaxing a bit. Just because the guy was homeless didn't mean he was an ignorant, dishonest beast. Maybe he wasn't going to get robbed and killed, afterall.
When the food was done, they ate mostly in silence, sitting at opposite sides of the breakfast bar. It was obvious Blaine was starving. He tried to eat as delicately as possible, but he kept shoving chicken and bread and salad into his mouth like there would be no tomorrow. Kurt wondered briefly when was the last time the poor guy had eaten properly.
Blaine caught him staring as he paused to grab his water again and his face reddened. He reached for his napkin instead and wiped his mouth clean. "I'm sorry. My manners are a little… rusty."
"It's fine," Kurt said gently. He tried to focus on his own food, but he had lost his appetite. He felt like he had to try to make some conversation, but… what could he ask Blaine? How did you end up living on the streets? What do you all day? No. anything he could think of to ask was plain rude.
"So, uhm…" Blaine seemed as uncomfortable as he felt. "Have you lived here long?"
"Three years," Kurt answered, putting his fork down and sipping some water. "Have you been, uhm…?"
"Living in the streets for long?" Blaine quirked an eyebrow at him. "Almost four years, I think."
"That sucks," Kurt said, unsure of how he should respond to that.
"Quite a lot," Blaine stared at him for a moment, studying Kurt carefully. "Look, I know what you must be thinking right now. You're probably regretting that you let a total stranger into your apartment and you must be scared I'm going to rape you or steal your stereo or something…"
"Oh, well, cut straight to the chase…" Kurt shifted awkwardly on his seat.
"I just want you to know that I'm not going to do anything like that," Blaine said bluntly. "I may be homeless, but I'm not a bad person."
"Okay," Kurt nodded, trying not to show how immensely relieved he felt.
"Okay," Blaine nodded, too, and went back to eating.
When the food was gone, Kurt started cleaning up, but Blaine stopped him, begging him to let him do the dishes, at least.
"It's fine, really," Kurt said, smiling. "I have a dish washer."
"Still," Blaine insisted pleadingly. "Let me do something. Anything, to pay you back."
Kurt sighed, but let Blaine take care of the dishes anyway. He didn't use the dishwasher, he put the plates in the sink and washed them by hand, thoroughly. Kurt sat on his chair again, watching him. He couldn't help but wonder what kind of life Blaine had lived and how he had ended up where he was now.
When Blaine was done, he turned to Kurt as he dried his hands. "I'm gonna let you do whatever you do at night and I won't disturb you. And I can be out of here before you wake up, too…"
"Don't worry about that," Kurt said and once again his mouth was moving quicker than his brain. "Uhm. I mean… you can sleep in. I don't have anything to do until noon anyway, so I'll be here all morning."
"It's fine," Blaine smiled at him, a bit shy again. "Have a goodnight, Kurt. Thank you so much for letting me stay here."
Kurt watched him pad down the hall and he stood in the middle of the kitchen long after he heard the guest bedroom's door closing behind Blaine.
Kurt was embarrassed to admit later, that the first thing he did the next morning, was check that everything was still where he had left it. Maybe Blaine's words had sounded convincing, but he was still a stranger and Kurt couldn't just trust him. Once he made sure nothing was missing, he slipped into his en-suite bathroom to take a long, relaxing shower.
He was finished getting dressed in his bedroom when he heard a clashing noise that startled him. He ran out of the room and down the hallway as fast as he could considering he was only wearing one shoe, as he held the other as if it were a weapon.
"Stupid, I'm so stupid," Blaine was mumbling, as he kneeled on the kitchen floor, picking up the pieces of broken china that less than a minute earlier had been a plate. He was so frantically picking everything up that he didn't even notice the sharp edges digging into his skin and making his fingers bleed.
"Stop, stop!" Kurt exclaimed, kneeling beside him.
"I'm so sorry, Kurt," Blaine said, not looking at him. "I-I'll pay for it, I swear."
"It's German china, Blaine, the plate alone was like two hundred dollars…" Kurt answered, reaching for the trash bin to throw the pieces in. He heard Blaine gulp next to him. "Don't worry about it, though. It's just crap I buy when I can't sleep late at night. That's the bad thing about having a credit card and an Internet connection, if you ask me."
"I'm sorry," Blaine repeated, completely desolated. "I-I just wanted to try and make breakfast for you as a way to thank you for letting me stay and it just slid out of my hands, I don't even know why…"
"Blaine, really. It was just an accident," Kurt smiled reassuringly at him.
"There must be something I can do to make it up to you…" Blaine looked at him with pleading eyes.
"Just take a seat and let me look at your fingers," Kurt replied. "You're bleeding."
Blaine sighed shakily and stood up. He took the same seat where he'd had dinner the previous night and stared down at his hands. Kurt went to get his first aid kit from the nearest bathroom and then walked to Blaine.
"Are you usually this clumsy?" He asked, teasingly.
Blaine managed a tiny smile. "Only when I'm nervous."
"Why are you nervous?" Kurt frowned at him as he started cleaning the cuts, making sure there were no slivers in them.
"I really wanted to do something for you, even if I can't do much," Blaine looked so sad it was devastating. "There was a strong blizzard last night, I don't know if you were still awake when it happened… but… you probably saved my life. If I had been out there last night…"
Kurt wasn't a person very keen on physical contact, especially not with people he had known for less than a day. He wasn't even very affectionate with his boyfriends (boyfriends was such an unsuitable word… dates was more like it). So he wasn't sure exactly what possessed him to suddenly wrap Blaine in his arms and squeeze him in a hug.
Blaine was clearly surprised too. He gasped and let his own arms hung limply at his sides for a moment before he carefully surrounded Kurt with them, too.
When Kurt realized what he was doing (oh my god, I'm hugging the homeless stranger that spent the night in my apartment), he pulled away. His face was flushed and he cleared his throat, avoiding Blaine's eyes.
"So, uhm. Breakfast," he muttered, moving away and walking to the counter.
"Yes," Blaine blinked for a second and then tried to shake the confusion off. "I'll make it, if you want…"
"No, it's fine," Kurt grabbed a bag of bread from one of the pantries and slipped a couple of slices into the toaster before going to the fridge. "I usually have some toast and coffee. Is that okay with you?"
"You don't have to give me breakfast," Blaine said with wide eyes. "I wasn't going to make it so I could eat, too… I just wanted to…"
"Blaine. Do you like toast and coffee?" Kurt arched an eyebrow at him, amused.
Kurt pulled the milk, butter and cream cheese out of the fridge and then grabbed another plate to put the toast on. He busied himself for a few minutes, humming softly and almost forgetting Blaine was there, since the other man was very quiet. When he turned around, he found him standing by the window and looking out at the steady fall of snow. His eyes were incredibly sad, but he shook it off and masked his real emotions as soon as he heard Kurt putting the plate and the cups of coffee on the breakfast table.
"Everything alright?" Kurt asked gently.
Blaine raised his cup and let the strong, comforting smell of coffee fill his senses for a moment. "Yeah."
The silence between them was tense. Kurt couldn't read Blaine's expression. He had no idea what was going through his mind. And he didn't know why he wanted to know so badly.
When the cups and the plate were empty, Blaine took a deep breath and stood. His eyes were bright and his mouth was a tight, straight line.
"Thank you so much for your kindness, Kurt," he said so sincerely that Kurt couldn't help but smile a bit. "You have no idea how much what you did means to me. I'll put on my clothes again and I'll leave. You don't have to show me the way out. Thank you so, so much."
Kurt couldn't understand why his heart was thumping so hard in his chest. He was almost breathless as he watched Blaine walk down the hall.
He had to be crazy for what he was about to do.
"You don't have to go," he said.
Blaine turned around, his thick eyebrows all the way up in his hairline. "What?"
"It's still horrible outside," Kurt pointed towards the window. "Where would you go?"
"I can go get in line for the shelter," Blaine shrugged. "If I go now I might be able to get a bed there tonight."
"You might?" Kurt repeated. "Does that mean that you could spend the entire day waiting in the street to get a place to sleep and you might not even get it?"
Something flashed in Blaine's eyes. "That's the way things are."
"Just… stay," Kurt stood up and walked towards Blaine, stopping just a few steps away. "Please?"
As he waited for his answer, he took a moment to really look at Blaine, to notice the details he hadn't seen the previous night. His hair was dark and curly and little too long. Under the stubble, his jaw and his cheekbones were a little prominent, which probably meant Blaine needed to gain weight. It was hard to tell when he was engulfed in Finn's clothes.
Blaine seemed to be at some sort of crossroads. His eyes moved from Kurt to the window. He didn't want to impose Kurt any longer, but that snow outside… he had spent many days and many nights out there in the cold, and he was never exactly eager to have that happen again.
"One more night," he finally agreed.
Kurt smiled, obviously relieved. "Great." He looked up at the clock. He still had a couple of hours before he had to go, but he needed to make a few calls. "I'll be in my office. You can watch TV or read some magazines if you want… just let me know if you need anything, okay?"
Blaine nodded and Kurt walked down the hall to his office. He didn't close the door. He was probably being overly-caring, but he sure wouldn't be overly-stupid.
There was a knock on the office's door around an hour later and Kurt looked up from the screenplay he was reading to find Blaine standing there awkwardly.
"Sorry to interrupt, but the doorman came to deliver a package for you," he said timidly. "I hope you don't mind I opened the door for you."
"Not at all," Kurt smiled at him and Blaine entered the office to hand the package to him. "Thank you, Blaine."
"You're welcome," Blaine turned around to leave but something caught his eye and he stopped suddenly. "Oh, my god… is that a Tony Award?"
Kurt followed his line of sight. Blaine was staring at the shelf were Kurt kept some awards, photographs and other memorabilia from the different acting jobs he'd had since he started performing on Broadway. "Yes, it is. Do you like musical theatre?"
"I love it," Blaine hesitantly walked to the bookcase to take a closer look. "I… I didn't know you were on Broadway." He looked over his shoulder, shooting Kurt an apologetic smile. "It's hard keeping up with the entertaiment business news sometimes."
"It's okay," Kurt stood up and walked to him. "I'm fairly new to the business, I guess."
"But it looks like you've been doing so much already…" Blaine's eyes were wide and impressed.
"It doesn't seem like it to me," Kurt picked up a picture from the first play he had ever been in. It had been cancelled after the first week, but he'd had such a great time there. "There's so much I want to do still. All of this feels like it's just the beginning."
"You must be very good," Blaine's voice was warm and kind and Kurt smiled at him. They stayed silent for a moment. "Your life must be very exciting."
"It is, sometimes," Kurt shrugged. When he was still back in Ohio, he had imagined something different, though. But he didn't tell Blaine that. "I don't really go to all the parties and events. I like my privacy."
Blaine nodded. He looked in awe at the shiny awards for another moment before he seemed to snap out of his daze. "Alright. I won't bother you any more. I'll let you keep working."
He was out of the room before Kurt could even answer.
Kurt tried to concentrate back on what he had been doing, but it was hard. Blaine had him intrigued. He had the feeling that Blaine was a lot more than what he could see with his own eyes. The way he looked at things, the way he talked, the way he seemed so completely lost all the time. And it had to do with more than just not having a place to live. There was something else.
What Kurt couldn't explain was why he was so fascinated with the stranger in his house.
So there it is! I can't wait to know what you think about it, so please share your thoughts with me :)
Until next chapter!