Disclaimer: None of it is mine
AN: Odd as it may seem, this was kind of inspired by an episode of How I Met Your Mother, namely the episode 17 of season 5, "Of Course", which also explains the title. And once more, not Christmas-related at all. Well, technically set around December, but not even that is essential.
Summary: Future!fic, in which Blaine tries to get over Kurt, Kurt tries not to pine, Cooper has a brief stint as the voice of reason, and it all works as well as should be expected.
Also, who's Dylan?
Sometimes Blaine wondered if he could pinpoint the exact moment his life had gone wrong. Granted, it was quite the melodramatic habit, but he had lived with Cooper for five years, it was impossible to stay completely free of melodrama. Also, it was much easier to ponder the past than to figure out just how to deal with the present. And it had to be said that this particular present wasn't even particularly bad. He was in New York, he was a recurring actor in Redemption, a quite successful TV show that was now in its second season, he had just finished a promotional photo shoot and was currently having coffee with an attractive writer at Vogue.
Granted, the wrong one, but it still wasn't that bad.
Dylan had started at Vogue in March, though it had been a few weeks until Kurt had introduced his new coworker to his best friend and roommate. Blaine would like to say they hit it off well, but really, there hadn't been much hitting. Dylan hadn't registered on Blaine's radar in a different way than any other coworker of Kurt he had met. Yes, they had common interests, they were both gay and Dylan was handsome, but still, Blaine hadn't given much thought to him. He had just come to New York and had been very busy with his new job at Redemption, so his social life hadn't been that active. If Kurt hadn't taken pity on him, and suggested they'd move in together, Blaine still probably wouldn't have met anyone besides the other cast members. Even so, he had more acquaintances than friends, not that that was a completely new experience for him...
"Wow, you're a million miles away, aren't you?"
Blaine looked up. "What? Sorry," he said, "just... lot on my mind." Which was a lie, there was only one thing on his mind, but he really wanted to avoid thinking about or even discussing it. His gaze fell onto Dylan's empty cup, then his own. "How about I'll get the next round and then we try this again?" he suggested.
Dylan chuckled. "Was the shoot that bad?"
Blaine laughed and shrugged. "No," he said, "I'm just a bit tired."
"Long night?" Dylan asked.
Blaine's smile wavered, but he got himself under control quickly. "You could say that," he admitted, "I'll just get the coffee, okay?"
He didn't wait for an answer and left the table. It had been a long night, and there hadn't been that much sleep, but neither was what occupied his thoughts. The morning on the other hand...
Before he could fall back into brooding he collided with another person. He looked up ready to apologize when he realized just who he had run into. The weight that had been on his mind ever since waking up seemed a bit lighter and he felt the beginning of a smile form on his face.
"Hey," Kurt said, avoiding his eye, "I thought you had a shoot."
The smile wavered. "Yes, but I'm done for today."
"Oh." Kurt still wouldn't meet his eye, instead he looked around in the coffee shop.
"I dropped by at Vogue earlier, but they said you weren't there," Blaine said, trying to somehow get Kurt's attention.
"I was busy," Kurt replied. "Um, I was just... I have to go back."
"You didn't even get coffee," Blaine remarked looking at his friend's empty hands.
"I... Look, I have to go. I'm really busy right now, I'll probably come home late, so... I'll see you then."
"Kurt, wait!" Without thinking Blaine had gripped his wrist and stopped him. "Can we please talk?"
Kurt stiffened visibly. "About what?"
"Last night," Blaine said, trying to sound braver than he felt.
Their eyes met for a second only, then Kurt looked away again. "There's nothing to talk about," he said, his voice sounding slightly hollow, "it was a mistake."
And wow, Blaine wouldn't have expected that to hurt this much. "That's been nine mistakes so far by my count."
Something in Kurt's face hardened, and when he spoke again his voice was scathing. "I wouldn't know, I haven't been keeping tabs."
Blaine stared at him, but before he could say something, Kurt sighed dramatically. "Just forget it," he said, a bitter edge in his voice, "besides, I don't have time for this. Some people have to actually work."
He turned around and left without looking back. Blaine stared after him. Why did it sting so much?
He automatically stood at the end of the line, wondering just what he had expected. Maybe he should have just left things alone. Really, he hadn't gotten a clue from waking up alone for the ninth time? It obviously didn't mean anything. So he'd had a relapse with his ex-boyfriend. It happened. For some people more than once. Nine times over the course of ten months was probably a bit unusual, but so was moving in with your ex, so there might be a correlation. The point was, it didn't mean anything. Or, well... it obviously didn't mean anything to Kurt.
And that right there was what was wrong with Blaine. Because any normal person would have moved on after seven years. So why couldn't he?
When he returned to their table, his thoughts were still on Kurt.
"Everything okay?" Dylan asked.
"Yeah," Blaine replied and smiled apologetically, "I told you, I have lots on my mind."
"You always seem to have. Is there any way to save you from your head?"
Blaine sighed. "I wish."
Dylan looked at him as if he was contemplating something. "So, did you hear that Il Nimbo reopens on Friday?"
"Is that the Italian place that burnt out?" Blaine asked.
"Well, not completely out, but yeah, that's the one." Again, Dylan seemed to think about something before he continued to speak. "You know, my cousin and his wife had a reservation. But now she's having some family thing, so they're flying back to Michigan. Anyway, he asked me if I wanted to take the reservation. So, I was wondering..."
"What are you doing Friday?"
And... wow. Maybe he really should have seen this coming, but he felt completely blindsided. His first instinct was to decline. How on earth should he go through an actual date when he couldn't even get through a meeting at the coffee shop without thinking about Kurt all the time.
There was that voice at the back of his head. Maybe it wasn't such a bad idea. Maybe this was exactly what he needed. What was it Santana had always said? "The best way to get over someone is to get under someone else"? Why not try that? Kurt would never be an option again, and did he really want to stay alone and pining forever? Where was the harm in just trying?
Some of the worst decisions of his life had come from ignoring his conscience. ...of course, back then the voice of his conscience hadn't sounded like Cooper.
Still, Blaine found himself smiling and answering, "Having dinner with you."
The smile on Dylan's face was blinding. Blaine quickly brought his cup up to his lips and tried to look enthusiastic.
Just what on earth had he just done?
What on earth was he doing?
Kurt's pencil flew over the paper in harried, aggressive strokes, but his mind was still in that coffee shop. Blaine really had the worst timing of anyone on this planet. Now he wanted to talk. Of all these "accidents" the one he wanted to talk about was of course when Kurt was drowning in work and had to deal with a new supervisor from hell. That was the time Blaine chose to talk.
And say what?
With a sigh Kurt put down the pencil and looked at his sketch. He wouldn't be able to use this at all. Unless he was going for a Halloween theme, and... no.
What was there to talk about? They were friends, and that was all they had been in years. Maybe there had been a window of opportunity for them to get back together, but that had closed years ago. Even now they probably would hardly be in contact if Blaine hadn't been cast in a show that was mostly shot in the New York area. They were friends and roommates, and Kurt was fine with it.
So maybe he slipped up occasionally. But that didn't need discussing. They could just ignore it happened, just like they had the other nine times.
He remembered the way Blaine had looked at him earlier and felt a pang of guilt. But no matter how much Blaine might want to talk things through, Kurt was sure he couldn't take it. And really, he couldn't imagine what Blaine had wanted to say. Like there was any chance that suddenly after all these times he now realized that they might mean something...
"Oh, you have got to be kidding me."
Kurt looked up in irritation. He had been to distracted to notice his supervisor entering. Richard was an upstart who made no secrets that he got his position through contacts rather than accomplishments, and about half the people that worked with him had either been fired or quit on their own. Kurt still wasn't sure just what he was being punished for by being transferred to Richard's team.
"Look, Kurt, I get it, you're a writer here, you're not usually paid for designing, but if you can't deal with a few simple designs for this, maybe my team isn't the right place for you. Though I do wonder if there is place anywhere in this building. I mean... This?"
Kurt gritted his teeth, silently counting to ten. "It's just a sketch."
"Generous statement," Richard said snidely, "but how about you leave the sketching to your free time and focus on the designs we actually need."
Kurt gripped his pencil so hard that he was surprised it didn't snap. "I'll be done before the dead line."
"Better be." Without another word Richard left his office, leaving the door open. Kurt stared after him and not for the first time since he started this project he wished he could actually set things on fire with a look. Mostly that hideous monstrosity Richard called a blazer, no regrets if its owner burnt with it. God, he couldn't wait to go back to working for Isabelle. Just how long was that woman planning on being on her honeymoon anyway?
Kurt's first impulse was to throw his cup at the next disturbance. But there was still coffee in it, even if it was the crappy office coffee, and there was no way he'd waste it. Instead, he glared up at his coworker Dylan, who was right after Richard on his list of people he really didn't want to deal with at the moment.
"Hi, Dylan." There, his voice only sounded half as icy as he would have liked. It wasn't that he disliked Dylan, he was a nice guy. He also had a massive crush on Blaine, so right now Kurt really didn't feel up to talk to him.
"Was that Richard?" Dylan asked.
Kurt tried not to roll his eyes. "Yes, and he was as happy as usual. So, if you don't mind? I'd like to keep my job." He took out another piece of paper and tried to remember just what the design should have been.
"Wow, that bad?" Dylan asked, ignoring the obvious dismissal.
Kurt looked up again - no way would he dignify that with an answer - only to see that Dylan was grinning broadly, nearly bouncing on his feet, his whole posture daring him to ask just what had made him so happy. And god, Kurt was seriously tempted to ignore it and just concentrate on his sketches. Then again, it would be nice to have at least one interaction today that didn't make him feel completely antisocial.
"Fine, spill it."
And in one breath it was out. "Blaine agreed to go out with me on Friday!"
The pencil broke with a snap in Kurt's hand. Next time he'd take antisocial.
The sound of the door opening made Blaine look up at the clock. He tried to calm himself down. There was no reason to be nervous. Just his roommate coming home from a long day at work. And yes, their encounter earlier had been... well, a disaster, actually, but they could get over that, right? No reason to be nervous. Nothing to feel guilty about.
Oh god, he actually felt guilty, didn't he?
He looked up to see Kurt enter the kitchen. He really looked exhausted, though his face was schooled into a neutral expression.
"Hey," Blaine said, not sure how to approach him. He hated it when things were awkward between them.
"Hey," Kurt replied, a bit distant, but the same unsure tone.
"How was work?"
Kurt shrugged. "I had better days."
They were silent again for a moment, neither of them sure just what to say.
"Um... are you hungry?" Blaine finally asked. "It's just lasagna, but..."
Kurt looked at him directly, and for the first time today held his gaze, but Blaine couldn't figure out just what was going on in his head. Finally a soft smile formed on Kurt's face, though there was a hint of sadness.
"You've been waiting up just to offer me lasagna?"
"It's with vegetables," Blaine said.
Kurt blinked, then chuckled lowly. "Well, in that case..."
And just like that, things felt normal again, or well - more normal. Kurt smiled and went to his room to take off his coat while Blaine served their dinner. This was better. This was familiar territory - slight awkwardness, then falling back into their routine. He could deal with this.
When Kurt returned, they ate in silence, but it felt more comfortable than loaded. Nice, even. Kurt looked too exhausted to make conversation, anyway, and Blaine was happy enough just watching him.
"It's good," Kurt said after a while, a sly smile on his face.
Blaine laughed, slightly rolling his eyes. "It's your recipe," he said.
Blaine moved his hand to take the carafe with water at the same time as Kurt did. Their hands brushed for only a second, but they both flinched back as if burnt. Their eyes met, surprised, and Blaine couldn't help but feel caught.
"So, um, work. Your work. Today. Bad day?" Blaine wasn't sure just what exactly was coming out of his mouth, but he desperately wanted to prevent another awkward silence.
"Um, yeah. Work. It was... work, you know," Kurt said, just as rambling, "Richard is being..."
Kurt raised an eyebrow. "Not the first word I would have thought of, but yeah. That too."
"I'm really sorry you have to deal with him," Blaine said.
Kurt sighed, eying his plate as if he was considering something. "So... I talked to Dylan."
Blaine froze. There was a sinking feeling in the pit of his stomach. Suddenly he wasn't able to meet Kurt's eye. "Oh... you did," he said, "um... yeah, I ran into him after the shoot."
Again, he tried to tell himself that there was no reason to feel guilty. It was completely within his rights to go out with someone who was interested in him. And it wasn't as if Kurt cared... was it?
Hopefully, Blaine looked up. There was a weird, restrained expression on Kurt's face, but Blaine had no idea what to make of it.
"The restaurant is a good choice, but you might want to stay away from their soup, it was always too spicy back before they had to close." It was chatter, aimed to cover nervousness, but why would Kurt be nervous?
"You don't mind, do you?" Blaine asked. God, please mind...
Kurt was silent for a moment and Blaine felt himself hold his breath, and damn, he already was starting to hope again, but then Kurt shook his head and looked at him, a not all convincing look of confusion on his face.
"Why would I?" he asked.
Blaine gulped and looked down at his plate. "No reason," he said, but it sounded hollow even to himself. Very subtle. Of course Kurt knew what answer he'd been hoping for. At least he was trying to let Blaine down gently. Maybe this was the right moment to be grateful for small mercies.
"Besides, you could be... really good together," Kurt continued, his gaze completely focused on his plate now. "He likes you a lot."
"Yeah," Blaine said, "I guess."
He wondered how much of that was Kurt actually thinking that they'd be a good match and how much it was just an attempt to get Blaine with anybody so he'd get over Kurt. Well, Blaine had made his intentions obvious enough earlier...
He looked up to find Kurt looking at him with concern in his eyes. He tried to mask just how miserable he felt and smiled. It wasn't very successful. Kurt looked as if he wanted to say something, but then he shook his head.
"Um, I'm really tired," he finally said, "I think I'll call it a night."
Blaine nodded, nearly grateful for a chance to escape the awkwardness. "Yeah, of course, you must be exhausted. Go to sleep, I'll clean up."
Kurt nodded, a weird smile on his face. "Thank you for dinner," he said softly. And after a moment of hesitation, "Good night, Blaine."
"Good night," Blaine whispered.
His life was such a mess.
Saturday morning, Kurt was sitting at their kitchen table, staring at designs that wouldn't come together.
Usually, when something in Kurt's personal life was broken, he buried himself in work. No matter how much he had wanted - needed, maybe - to get into NYADA or how much he loved performing, it didn't give him the contentment he felt at his job at Vogue. Of course, usually he worked with Isabelle, who could not only be relied on to distract him but also offer friendly advice when needed.
Now he was working for Richard, and if he tried to escape Richard-induced stress, he usually ran into Dylan of all people, who stopped by at Kurt's office at least twice per day to ask such important things like if Blaine liked flowers, if he'd be interested in drinks after dinner, what kind of tie he should wear and did Blaine mention him, maybe, at all?
Kurt ignored the last question, though he did wonder every time just how thrilled Dylan would be to hear that Blaine hadn't brought him up once, even if that might be out of consideration of Kurt's feelings. Maybe he should have told Blaine that yes, he did have a problem with that date, but how would Blaine have reacted? Would he have canceled the date? Or would he still have gone through with it and just felt bad about it?
That train of thought didn't lead anywhere. Kurt hadn't spoken, Blaine had gone on his date, and Kurt had left to spend the evening with Rachel who was currently busy convincing the world in general and everybody she ever met in particular that she was doing extremely well as single, thank you very much, and especially you, Finn. It shouldn't have surprised him that this wasn't the best way to distract himself from his own problems and he had come home before midnight. In retrospect, he probably should have stayed with Rachel. He didn't see much of her, not since she had moved in with Brody back then and he suddenly needed a new apartment as well as a new roommate. Not that that had gone particularly well for Rachel, either. So it would have been nice to catch up with her a bit more. And more importantly, Kurt wouldn't have spent half the night trying to hear when Blaine finally came home. For the record, he didn't.
Kurt stared at the design. Something was missing and he just couldn't figure out what.
His thoughts were interrupted when he heard the door to Blaine's room open and steps coming closer. A moment later, Blaine himself peeked into the kitchen. He looked tired, and his smile when he saw Kurt seemed uneasy.
"Morning," Blaine said.
"Hey," Kurt said, trying to cover his surprise, "do you want coffee?"
Blaine's only answer was a sound that reminded Kurt way too much of a groan to deal with.
"Sit," he said, "no way I'll let you handle our china like that."
Blaine chuckled lightly but did as instructed and just waited until Kurt put a cup of coffee in front of him. Kurt watched him as he took a first tentative sip and a look of pure bliss appeared on his face. It was a beautiful sight, and Kurt felt a surge of possessive happiness at the thought that he was the one allowed to see it, not Dylan.
Oh god, did Blaine bring him home?
He must have made some noise at that thought, because Blaine looked up at him, concern in his eyes.
"Are you okay?" he asked.
Kurt nodded quickly. "Fine, completely fine." He turned back to their coffee maker and busied himself with pouring a cup for himself. "I didn't hear you come home last night," he said, trying to sound nonchalant.
Blaine chuckled softly. "No, but I heard you."
That actually surprised Kurt. "When did you get home?"
Blaine shrugged, looking at his cup as if it held the answer to everything. "About eleven," he said, "we just had dinner and a drink."
Frowning, Kurt sat down opposite him. This wasn't what he had expected. He had been sure they'd hit it off, Dylan had asked him about clubs they could go to after dinner...
"Any reason for that?" Kurt asked.
Blaine shrugged again. "Not really. It was just... I don't know, I'm sorry." He sighed, then he looked up. "It was... nice. He's great. I just don't know, if I..." He stopped then.
"If you what?" Kurt asked. Of course he didn't want to hear an epic love story between Blaine and anyone, but he couldn't help being concerned at the tone in his voice.
Blaine shook his head. "Don't worry, it's fine. It wasn't quite what I expected, to be honest."
"What did you expect?" Kurt asked, cursing how his voice got a bit higher at the question.
Blaine really looked at him and Kurt's breath hitched. He opened his mouth, but he didn't seem to be sure what to say. Eventually, he looked down with a certain shyness that Kurt couldn't quite place.
"More, I guess," Blaine admitted.
And that really was unexpected. With all he gushing Kurt had to endure during the week he would have even bet that Dylan would have gone for too much, not too little. Maybe he'd lost his nerve, which Kurt usually would feel grateful for, but Blaine looked like it actually bothered him.
"Hey," Kurt said, putting a hand on Blaine's hands that were still holding his cup, "don't worry about it."
Blaine sighed. "Maybe something's wrong with me," he said softly.
"Don't," Kurt said immediately, "there is nothing wrong with you."
Blaine looked at him, his face now completely unguarded, and Kurt felt reminded of that incident at the GAP years ago, when he had actually encouraged Blaine to go after Jeremiah. And once more, he put his own feelings aside for his best friend's sake.
"Maybe it was just nerves," he said, tightening his hold on Blaine's hand, "this could really work out. So... you know, give it some time. Next time will work out better. There will be a next time, right?"
Blaine looked down again, and now he looked downright defeated. "I guess," he said without much enthusiasm.
"It will be fine," Kurt insisted. Monday, he'd talk to Dylan. And then maybe he'd find a therapist to figure out what on earth was wrong with his brain.
Three weeks later Kurt still had no answer to that, though he could write whole essays about what was wrong with his life. While Richard still held the first place on that list, Dylan was quickly gaining ground. He still came around regularly to ask Kurt for advice on what he should do about Blaine. It was as if he couldn't decide on a single date without checking with Kurt what Blaine would think about it. But while it filled Kurt with a twisted sense of pride that he was the undisputed expert on dating Blaine, he couldn't help but wonder just why he used that knowledge to help someone so clearly clueless. Sometimes he imagined how easy it would be to sabotage the whole thing by giving Dylan the wrong piece of advice. But that hadn't even worked in high school with Rachel. Besides, he couldn't stand seeing Blaine upset. So he swallowed his own feelings, and told Dylan that yes, Blaine did like sushi, no, that concert was a bad idea, and most frequently, no, this was not "too much".
Personally, he wasn't sure why Dylan was so worried about doing too much or appearing to eager. Did he really think he needed to play hard to get? When Kurt remembered how disappointed Blaine had seemed after their first date, he felt angry. They weren't in high school anymore, why bother playing silly games? Why play games with Blaine?
Kurt sighed and took his cup to his lips, only to find it empty. Great. That meant either working on low caffeine or braving the way to the coffeemaker which would most certainly end up in another round of dating counseling for helpless Dylan.
A sound alerted him to a text on his phone.
They'll drown me in green goo. What am I doing here? -B
Kurt snorted. Apparently Blaine had finally gotten the script for his next episode. With a grin he texted back. At least they won't kill you. ...right?
It only took a few seconds for an answer.
Kurt couldn't help but smile. It definitely helped getting him out of his last bout of self-pity. With new determination he took his cup to get more coffee.
His good mood actually held until he reached the machine. Then, of course, his luck had to run out.
Kurt gritted his teeth but nevertheless produced a wide smile that anybody who never met him possibly might have believed to be sincere. Well, anybody who never met him and Dylan.
"So, I've been thinking, there's this new Emma Stone movie, do you think Blaine would like to see that this weekend?" Dylan asked.
The smile on Kurt's face actually got some sincerety now. "Actually, he's already seen that one." With me, opening night, suck it, he managed not to add.
Dylan's face fell. "Oh... do you think he'd like to watch something else?"
Kurt sighed while he waited for his coffee to be done. "Dylan, how long have you been dating him now?"
"And how often have you been at the movies?"
"And did he like it?"
"I... think so. Yeah, defintely more than that new club."
Kurt tried not to roll his eyes. "There you go. You'll be fine. Just stop overthinking everything." He added some sugar to his coffee while he pondered whether this was enough to qualify for sainthood.
"Thank you, Kurt, I wouldn't know what to do without you."
Kurt was proud of himself for keeping down the snort. "Trust me, I know."
"But it reminds me," Dylan continued, "I've found a karaoke bar, do you think Blaine might like it?"
Before Kurt could answer - or throw his coffee at Dylan, he hadn't quite decided yet - there was a melodic, smooth, and very loud voice booming through the room, while still oozing charm.
By the time Kurt had turned around, he was already enveloped in a crushing hug.
"Hi, Cooper", he wheezed when he could breathe again.
Cooper took a step back and gave him a blinding smile while he closed his hands in front of his heart, then gave the hint of a bow and announced "Namaste!"
"What are you doing here?" Kurt asked.
"Promotion! My new movie's coming out soon and now they send us through talk shows," Cooper explained, while he put an arm around Kurt's shoulders, took his cup and drank from it. "Mmmh, your coffee's always the best. Now, how's my favorite future family member doing? I heard you're stressed?"
Kurt sighed. "We're not even dating, Cooper," he said trying to convey an irritation he didn't feel.
"Bah, details," Cooper said, "or matter of time, or whatever. Anway, do you know the secret to winning over asshole bosses?"
"Should I point at them?" Kurt asked, a sardonic note in his voice.
"Awww, you listen to me!" Cooper laughed. "See, that's why I like you!"
Kurt rolled his eyes. "Not that I'm not happy to see you, but I kind of have to get back to work. And get a new cup."
"Oh, don't be so serious. Gives you wrinkles," Cooper said, pointing at the corner of his own right eye.
Kurt's hands started to twitch upwards, but he got himself under control and instead turned to the coffee maker.
"So, who's this here?" Cooper asked, for the first time noticing Dylan. "Admirer? Please tell me you're not going the inspire-jealousy-route. Cause that's what happened in the last rom-com I starred in, and trust me, it's not a good idea."
Kurt's grip around his new cup got firmer. "Actually, this is Dylan. He's dating Blaine."
Kurt had to turn around. And as he expected, Cooper's incredulous expression was priceless. Dylan's look of discomfort wasn't that bad either.
"Wait, is he an ex-boyfriend?" Dylan asked Kurt. "...that's kind of awkward..."
"This is Cooper, Blaine's brother," Kurt explained. "And surely you must have heard of Dylan?"
Cooper silently shook his head. "Blaine never mentioned you."
There was a flash of hurt on Dylan's face and Kurt couldn't help but feel bad. "Well, he hasn't mentioned you, either," Dylan said.
And okay, this wasn't that funny anymore. "Well, Blaine's been really busy lately. He did some modelling, Redemption is shooting again, I think today he's meeting some of the other cast members at Puzzles about that benefit gala the network is holding..." He stopped when he noticed the way both Cooper and Dylan looked at him. "...and apparently he never mentioned that to either of you." Dylan was right, this was awkward. "Well, I guess he's just kind of bad at communicating at the moment. Anyway, I have to go back to work, sorry, Cooper."
"Oh, no, don't be. I just wanted to drop in before I have a talk with my dearest brother," Cooper said, and now he sounded a bit distracted. "I'll probably see you later."
"It was nice meeting you," Dylan tried, but both Cooper and Kurt had already moved to leave the room.
"Trouble in paradise?"
Blaine sighed but didn't look up from his coffee. He wouldn't have any problem with staying at Puzzles for another coffee or two, or maybe until the bar part of their regular hangout opened. Their meeting had gone well and most of the others had left. Only his on-screen sister and star of the show, Jolene, had refused to take any hints. "What are you talking about?" Blaine asked, half rhetorically.
Jolene snorted. "Are you kidding? You've been sulking all week. Any trouble with Not-your-boyfriend?"
"His name is Kurt," Blaine said, "and I'm not sulking."
"You're such a mess," Jolene said, shaking her head, "this was the time to say that you have an actual boyfriend now."
Blaine sighed again. "It's... complicated," he said.
"Lousy acting, Anderson," Jolene replied.
Blaine wasn't sure what to say. He felt like he needed to talk to someone about this... thing he had going with Dylan. Usually he would talk to Kurt about his problems, but that wasn't a possibility right now. Then who could he talk to? Jolene was kind of offering, but he wasn't sure how close they were. Maybe he should call Sam. They didn't see each other a lot since Blaine had left LA, but Sam always had been great with relationship advise...
What ripped him out of his thoughts was the sharp pangs of a rolled up newspaper hitting his head several times, each word accompanied by one word.
"What. Are. You. Doing?!"
Blaine turned around and finally managed to get a hold of the newspaper. With irritation he stared at his brother. "Cooper, what the hell?"
"You and I have to talk," Cooper said and fixated him with a stern look.
"Here?" Blaine asked. So far any instance of Cooper "having to talk" had ended up in some kind of disaster.
"Oh, don't mind me, I was leaving," Jolene said. "Bye, Sulky! Bye, dreamy brother!"
"Bye, Not-Buffy!" Cooper said and waved, while Jolene left Blaine to his fate.
"So," Blaine said, figuring that avoidance wouldn't get him anywhere, "to what do I owe this latest madness?"
"Riddle me this, squirt," Cooper said, "who is Dean?"
Blaine was too confused to protest the nickname. "I don't know, who is he?"
"Don't play dumb, I just talked to your future husband-"
"Kurt and I are just friends," Blaine protested, though the words tasted just as bitter as always. Cooper didn't seem to care about this interjection.
"Stop preoccupying your mind with the present and start to focus on what really matters." Cooper made some more melodramatic gestures while he took a seat opposite Blaine at the table.
"Okay, you're being crazy again," Blaine said.
"Anyway, when I was talking to Kurt, he introduced me to Dean, who you by the way so far completely failed to mention."
Blaine still needed a moment before he understood. "His name is Dylan," he said after several seconds.
Cooper waved dismissively. "Who cares about his name? Obviously the problem here is you!"
"Gee, thanks..." Blaine muttered.
"Hey! I'm serious here!" Cooper actually sounded a bit less melodramatic now and put a hand on Blaine's arm. "Look, I'm trying to help you. Well, originally I was just trying to find someone to entertain me for a few days while I'm in New York, but now? I think you need help."
"And what gives you that idea?" Blaine asked, though he could probably find a dozen points of evidence. Not that he expected anything accurate from his brother. What he did expect was a spiel about how Cooper was now the expert for personal relationships since he played some guru in his last movie and did he see the ratings of that rom-com he was in once?
Instead, Cooper actually looked at him seriously. "Let's see, the last time you visited I had to spend a whole night listening to your drunk sobbing about why Kurt doesn't love you, the only guy you ever talk about is him, and now I hear that you've been dating someone for weeks and not once did you mention the guy." And now Cooper was back in character, lifting his index finger and pointing it at Blaine as if he was about to stab him. "Do you know who you have mentioned?"
"What's your point?" Blaine asked.
Cooper dropped his hand to the table and looked at him incredulously. "Isn't it obvious? You're in love with Kurt."
Blaine sighed. He felt to exhausted to keep up any facade. And hey, he had wanted someone to talk to. Cooper definitely wasn't the person he'd chosen, but he was here, at least he cared, and just maybe he'd understand.
"Of course I am," he said, "and where has that gotten me?"
"New York," Cooper replied immediately, "on the cast of the best returning show of the year - the only reason you auditioned for it was because it's shot around New York and you could see him. And now? You're living with him, you-"
"We're just roommates, Cooper." Blaine put his forehead into one of his hands. "Look, I'm glad I'm here, and I love New York, and I love my job, and I'm so glad to have him in my life, but..." He stopped, unsure whether he should continue.
"But what?" Cooper asked, his voice surprisingly soft.
"It hurts," Blaine admitted. "I'm glad we're friends, but that's all it is, and it's kind of killing me. I just can't get over him, Cooper. I don't know what's wrong with me, but I just can't. And he's made it so clear, that he's not interested in anything more. Honestly, I've slipped up so often, I kind of feel like I'm lucky that he even still wants to be my friend, and-"
"Wait, what do you mean by slipped up?" Cooper interrupted. "Are you talking about your heart-eyes? Cause I'm pretty sure by now he just has accepted them as your normal face."
Blaine rolled his eyes. "You're so helpful."
"No, honestly, what did you do?" Cooper asked. "Did you say something? Did you leave your diary lying around? Scribble Blaine + Kurt on your shopping list? What?"
Blaine sighed. "We had sex."
Cooper looked at him as if he had completely lost his mind, which coming from Cooper was quite the accomplishment. "You had sex. ...how exactly is that you slipping up? Because that sounds like it was at least a mutual slip-up."
"If you ignore the part where it doesn't mean anything to him," Blaine said.
"Kurt. He explicitly told me it was a mistake and that it didn't mean anything."
Cooper visibly deflated when he heard that. "Oh."
"Yeah," Blaine agreed.
"Wow, I'm... Blaine, I'm sorry," Cooper said.
Blaine shrugged, though by now it was pointless to pretend it didn't matter. "It's not like this is news," he said. "It's been seven years. You'd think I would have gotten the message by now."
Cooper seemed to think for a moment before he spoke again. "So, this Derek-"
"Dylan," Blaine corrected him half-heartedly.
"Whatever. But what's up with him? Is this some jealousy plot?"
"What? No!" Blaine stared at his brother in shock. "I wouldn't... I'd never do that!"
"Okay, calm down," Cooper said holding his hands up in appeasement, "but you must admit it looks weird. Here you are, completely in love with Kurt while dating another guy. I mean, he's not that remarkable, but it's not exactly fair to lead him on..."
"I'm not," Blaine said, "and I'm not trying to make Kurt jealous. Kurt even encourages me to go out with Dylan."
Cooper gave him a weird look. "Yeah, let's ignore what's wrong with this statement and go back to my original question. What's up with that?"
Blaine sighed. "I'm trying. Maybe I just need to date somebody else to get over Kurt. And I like Dylan. We have a lot in common, and it's nice, spending time with him. I just need some more time to actually fall for him."
"You have dated other people in LA," Cooper said, "how has that worked?"
"It wasn't that bad," Blaine protested.
"Of course not, but with them you didn't have Kurt right in front of your eyes," Cooper said.
Blaine hated it when Cooper was right. "I'm trying, okay?"
"But how is it working?" Cooper asked.
Blaine hesitated, then he shook his head. "Not really that great," he admitted. "I'm just waiting to feel something. And sometimes there is something, but it's just so fleeting, and every time I try to hold it, it's gone. And I can't tell Kurt. I think he's really rooting for this to work, so things can get less awkward between us." He sighed. "I'm really trying," he repeated.
"Blaine..." Cooper looked at him nearly as upset as Blaine felt. "You do realize that you shouldn't have to try this hard?"
Blaine nodded. "I know that. But what else can I do?"
Cooper frowned. "Are you sure you want to try with Daniel?"
"Dylan," Blaine said. "And yes, I do."
Cooper sighed. "Okay, first of all, I honestly think you shouldn't. My professional opinion as relationship expert is that you should break it off with the guy before anybody gets hurt."
Blaine looked up at him. This was scarily sane, coming from Cooper.
"But," his brother continued, and there was the familiar pointing again so Blaine knew he was back on track, "if you insist, then there is only one thing that can save you now."
"What's that?" Blaine asked intrigued.
Cooper looked around if anybody was listening in on them which made Blaine roll his eyes, then he bowed forward, beckoned Blaine closer and whispered, "A super date."
Blaine blinked at him. "A what?"
Cooper sighed theatrically. "A super date! Seriously, what do you know?"
Blaine looked at him skeptically. "And what exactly is a super date?"
"It's the power of seventeen dates put into one amazing super date," Cooper explained.
"That sounds like it's from a rom-com..." Blaine said.
"Sitcom, actually. I can sing the song to you, if you want to?"
"Anyway," Cooper continued, "the idea is to have one date that is so absolutely amazing that she - or he... well, you in your case, can't help but fall in love instantly. ...or, you know, the perfect opportunity to get into someone's pants, but I assume that's not an issue." The look on Blaine's face made him groan. "Seriously?"
"It's only been three weeks, that's not that long," Blaine protested.
"For a rebound relationship? Hell yeah, it is!" Cooper looked at him as if he wasn't sure they were actually related. "Alright, so that's definitely a point on your super date schedule. Also, dinner, obviously, and some sort of show... maybe not Broadway, something more intimate. And dancing. Oh, or ice-skating, you can't go wrong with ice-skating. ...well, unless the other guy can't skate, then it might not be the best idea."
"Shouldn't you be having this talk with Dylan then so he can plan this super date for me?" Blaine asked.
"I doubt it would work, especially since you already know that there will be a super date," Cooper said, "but I have a better plan. You see, dearest brother of mine, I have a conviction."
Blaine nodded. "I know, that's what makes you so scary."
"A conviction," Cooper continued more forcefully, "that we care the most about the things that we invest in the most. So, in order for you to develop feelings in the depth you need to get over Kurt, you have to invest quite a lot. That's why you are going to organize a super date."
Blaine hesitated. "Do you really think it could work?"
Cooper nodded emphatically. "If this won't help you, nothing will," he proclaimed. He really did sound convincing...
And really, Blaine figured, what did he have to lose?
"Super date..." he said, just to test again how the words sounded. "Okay, I'm in."
Kurt was explicitly concentrating on his designs. He was not going through his memories to find every single moment where he could have prevented that... thing between Blaine and Dylan. He wasn't preoccupied with the question where Blaine had suddenly picked up so much enthusiasm. He was not thinking about Blaine!
He might be thinking about Dylan and about how he wanted to punch him in the face. Seriously, what was wrong with that guy? He kept whining at Kurt about how he could impress Blaine, if Blaine liked this, or that, and in general seemed like he was absolutely infatuated. But for some reason he completely failed at showing Blaine that he cared at all. There could be no other reason for Blaine to be so reluctant to talk about their relationship. That or he was still trying to spare Kurt's feelings... But then why was he planning a super date?
Kurt had done his research as soon as Blaine had mentioned that it was Cooper's idea - that spelled disaster. At first he had found an old sitcom where it was used by some sleaze as a short cut into a reluctant girl's pants, and Kurt had quickly left the site, unable to reconcile that idea with Blaine of all people. Then, he had found an entry about it on Cooper's website, that apparently completely missed the point and saw a super date as a shortcut to envoke love. Considering the source, Kurt assumed with relief that this was the definition Blaine was using. Still, he couldn't help but wonder just how Dylan acted around Blaine on their dates that Blaine felt he had to take to such desperate measures to win his love.
...and he was not thinking about this, goddamnit!
He was concentrating on his sketches. Not on how he was starting to have serious doubts about whether he had made a mistake in encouraging Blaine to go for Dylan. He had been trying to be a supportive friend, not a pining ex. But now that he had watched them for a few weeks, Kurt was sure that they weren't even that good together. Or at all. Dylan was nice, but he was a pushover, and that was not what Blaine needed in a boyfriend. Kurt loved him, yes, but even in high school Blaine had his bouts of insanity, most notably the GAP attack or his superhero phase, and five years living with Cooper had only made things worse. Dylan would probably just go along with anything. Well, if he was done playing whatever game he was playing.
So maybe Kurt just didn't want them to be good together. Maybe he was jealous about seeing Blaine with another man - not that he actually had seen that much of them together, now that he thought about it - but he also was worried. He had seen Blaine crushing and he had seen Blaine in love. What he hadn't seen was Blaine being this... subdued about a guy, and he absolutely hated it.
He should talk to Blaine. Obviously, he had no right to interfere, and he wasn't planning to. If Blaine told him that he was happy with Dylan, Kurt would immediately go back to being a supportive friend. But until he was sure that this wasn't hurting Blaine, he couldn't just ignore it any longer.
The question was just when he should talk to Blaine. Their super date was tonight, and Kurt wasn't sure if he should really bring it up before the date.
A shadow fell over his designs and made him look up. Oh great. Richard.
"Kurt, do you have a moment?" Richard's voice sounded like ice, but his smile was wider than Kurt had ever seen.
He was so dead.
Blaine was looking at his reflection, but he didn't actually see it. His hands were still resting on the fabric of his bow tie after straightening it. He didn't really feel it, though. His outfit was great, his hair was... not a disaster at the moment, flowers would be waiting at the restaurant... it was still early, but he was ready.
He was so not ready.
Shouldn't a super date mean more? Would it mean more at the end of tonight?
Did he even want it to mean more?
This was the worst idea he had ever had. He should cancel it, right now, even though that annoying voice at the back of his head - right now sounding like a mixture of Kurt and Cooper - told him to man up and go through with it. But... he couldn't, could he?
He had to. He nodded to himself, but still didn't feel convinced.
He heard the door to their apartment open and breathed out in relief. Kurt was here. He would know what to do or to say to help Blaine go through with this. Or maybe just seeing him would be enough, just to remind Blaine why this had to work, of what he couldn't lose...
Of course, the first look at Kurt just reminded him why he couldn't go through with it.
A second look made him realize that this was so not the issue right now.
"Kurt?" Blaine asked worried, took several long steps to get to his friend who looked simply distraught, and put his hands on Kurt's arms. "What happened? Are you okay?"
Kurt was shaking, and without hesitation Blaine slipped his arms around him and pulled him into an embrace. "Kurt? What's wrong?"
"I'm losing my job."
"What?!" Blaine froze. No, that wasn't possible. "But... why? I mean... you've been working so hard. Honestly, you've barely been home during the last few weeks."
"Because Richard is a bastard," Kurt said. His voice was cold and he was nearly spitting out the words, as if he was clinging to his anger to hide how it scared him. "And he hates my designs. The clients will look at everything tomorrow and if they're not content, I'm fired."
"But your designs are amazing," Blaine said in protest.
"No, Blaine, they're really not, that's the problem!"
Blaine didn't flinch at the scathing tone of voice, just held him closer. "I've seen them, Kurt, they were perfect."
Kurt sighed and his shoulders slumped. "Not for this project. He's right, Blaine, the clients won't like them, and I just can't figure out what to change to get them right."
"But... Richard can't really fire you, can he?" Blaine asked.
Kurt shrugged. "He definitely thinks he can," he said, "so maybe it's true. It's just..." He sighed, shaking his head. "It's been one of those weeks, you know?"
Blaine smiled sadly. "I think I have an idea," he said.
Kurt bowed his head. "I should be going over my designs, but I've been doing that for hours, and it didn't get me anywhere. I kind of just want to curl up with hot chocolate and cheese cake and watch a Disney movie or something..."
Blaine couldn't help but smile at him. God, how could he ever even think about moving on from this man?
"How does Little Mermaid sound?" he asked.
"We don't have cheesecake," Kurt said.
"You just didn't check the freezer thoroughly enough," Blaine replied, "I know it's not the same as fresh cake, but it's better than nothing."
Kurt actually laughed at this and Blaine felt as if he could fly, but suddenly his friend's face fell. "Too bad you can't join me."
"Why not?" Blaine asked.
"Your date?" Kurt said.
Blaine blinked. Right, the date. "That's not happening," he said without thinking.
"What?" Kurt stared at him as if he had grown a second head.
Yeah, what? "Um... canceled it," Blaine said, "I mean, Dylan. He... he canceled it. Some... family emergency? Yeah, he can't make it, so I'm... you know, free. For Disney."
For a moment Blaine was sure Kurt could see through his rambling. There was even a flash of anger over his face, but then it disappeared and Kurt smiled at him softly.
"I guess we can just wallow in misery and Disney together," he said.
Blaine nodded. "Yeah, that sounds great." And really, it did. The planned date was elaborate, but he still preferred spending the evening with Kurt. Granted, it was the opposite of what he was supposed to do...
"Or you know, we could go on the date."
...Okay, no, this was the opposite of what he was supposed to do. Blaine felt all blood drain from his face as he realized what he had just suggested. He hadn't just asked Kurt out on a date, had he?
"Excuse me?" Kurt stared at him just as disbelieving as he felt.
But well... what was the point now? He might as well go through with it.
"You know, there's still the reservation on my name, and tickets to a play, and well, why let it go to waste?"
Kurt looked at him with hesitation, as if he wasn't sure what to say.
"Don't tell me this wouldn't distract you from your stress at work," Blaine said. "Come on, Kurt, one night off - don't you deserve that?"
There was resolve in Kurt's face now. "You're right," he said, "we both do."
Blaine tried to suppress the flutter in his chest at these words. They did, didn't they? And this was even more than he could ask for. This was the one thing he'd allow himself. One more night with Kurt, one night to forget all the "shouldn't" and "can't"... he could go back to normal afterwards, but just one night... what harm could it do, really? And with that thought he allowed the warm feeling to spread.
"Alright, let's do this," he said softly, taking Kurt's hands. He saw his own smile answered on Kurt's face. Yes, this was definitely the right thing to do.
"Give me twenty minutes," Kurt said breathily.
Blaine nodded. "I'll be waiting."
The second Kurt had disappeared into his room, Blaine crossed the living room and stepped out on the balcony. He had a phone call to make, or things would end up incredibly awkward.
Maybe Kurt should be feeling bad. He probably should forcefully remind himself that this was in fact not a date. This was just a friend trying to help him out.
In a charming little Japanese restaurant, during a high-class candlelight dinner, while looking at Kurt as if he was the most amazing thing he had ever seen.
Oh, to hell with it. Blaine had been right, he deserved one night. With a smile, he took Blaine's hand in his. Their fingers intertwined immediately. This was right, this was what it should have been all along. And if he was honest with himself and saw the expression on Blaine's face for what it was, not what he expected or had resigned himself to, he felt the same.
"So, you mentioned a play earlier," Kurt said after their waitress took away the dishes of their main course, "any chance you tell me what is?"
"It's not that special," Blaine said, looking down nearly bashfully, "it's a small stage production of Miss Saigon. Jolene's brother is the assistant director, so she gave me the tickets. It's small, not like the one you missed in Columbus, but the reviews have been pretty positive, and-"
"Blaine." As emphasis, Kurt held his hand firmer. "You're rambling."
Blaine laughed. "I really am, aren't I?"
"It's okay, I've learned to live with that," Kurt said, still smiling, "and I'm sure I'll love the play."
"But only after dessert," Blaine said and winked at him. "I know it's not cheesecake, but maybe you'll still like it."
Kurt looked at the plates with what looked like honey covered dumplings their waitress was putting in front of them just now. "Well, I might make an exception," he admitted.
Blaine watched him intently as he tried the first of the dumplings and his smile became even more sparkling as he saw Kurt's surprised look of pleasure. "I knew you'd like them," he said.
Kurt swallowed the sweet dough and tried not to let his breath hitch. It couldn't mean anything, but he suddenly remembered that the menu had been pre-ordered. Then why did it feel as if it had been tailored to Kurt's tastes?
But no, he wasn't thinking about this now. Tonight, he would just sit back, enjoy and bask in the adoration in Blaine's eyes.
By the time they left the theater, Blaine knew that this was the best date he had ever had. Kurt's face was glowing and he was still talking about the death scene, but all Blaine could do was watch him, the happines in his eyes, his voice, the relaxed way he carried himself...
Yes, Blaine was hopeless, but right now he simply didn't care.
He stopped Kurt by taking his hand, automatically intertwining their fingers. "There's one more thing," he said smiling at him, "if you're up for it."
And Kurt gave him that look, as if he couldn't understand how this was reality, as if his breath had been taken away, and Blaine was the one who did it. It was a look he hadn't seen since high school, that he never had expected to see aimed at him again, and it felt... incredible.
"Lead the way," Kurt said, his voice actually breathless, and yes, this was what being on top of the world felt like.
Wordlessly, he did, until Kurt suddenly gasped for breath. "You're insane," he said, staring at Blaine incredulously.
He felt a blush spread on his face as they stood in front of the carriage. "Too much?" he asked. Well, it couldn't be an operation planned with Cooper's help if there wasn't at least one thing that ended up over-the-top.
"A bit," Kurt admitted, "but where are we going?"
Well, at least it hadn't scared him off. Smiling, Blaine helped him up into the carriage and followed, taking his hand again. "Skating," he said.
This was his favorite part of the plan. During a winter episode of Redemption they had shot at a small, a bit hidden skating rink, and Blaine was sure Kurt would love it.
As it turned out, he did. It had been a while since they'd gone skating the last time. Usually they tried to go several times a year but this time between work and other obligations they just hadn't found the time. It was worth the wait, though, flying over the ice with Kurt by his side, never letting to of his hand. Blaine couldn't have said how long they spent on the ice. It could have been hours, but really, he didn't even care.
All he knew was that they stopped eventually at the first boom of a firework.
"Blaine..." Kurt said, staring upwards.
Blaine looked at him with approximately the same expression of awe. "I swear, I had nothing to do with this." He wasn't sure whether it was a coincidence, or if maybe Cooper had decided to throw in one more idea, but right now, did it really matter?
They both looked up at the sky, then - finally - at each other.
And suddenly, their lips met, moulded together as they belonged, and Blaine pulled him as close as he could, putting a gloved hand onto Kurt's cheek. They broke apart and just looked at each other, dazed and unbelieving, but Blaine still couldn't take his hand off him as if he was scared breaking the contact might break the connection.
But there was that look on Kurt's face, as if he was thinking - feeling - the same, more of that glowing happiness and Blaine felt as if his smile would split his face.
"Would you like to get a drink?" Blaine asked, his voice barely above a whisper.
"No," Kurt replied, "no, I want you to take me home."
Before Blaine could wonder whether Kurt wanted their date to end, he had bowed forward and put another quick, soft kiss onto Blaine's lip.
It felt like home.
With a smile Kurt let his hand draw circles over Blaine's bare back. This, right here, was where they both belonged. He could feel Blaine's breath ghosting over his skin, felt his arms around his own torso. He dropped a kiss onto Blaine's forehead.
It took him a few moments to realize the grip Blaine had around him tightened, and how Blaine had nearly buried his face against Kurt's chest.
"Blaine? Are you okay?" Kurt asked softly.
The answer was a shaky nod, but Kurt could tell something was wrong. "You can tell me... what is it?"
Blaine's breath shuddered and Kurt couldn't help but hold him closer, a surge of protectiveness in his chest.
"Please stay," Blaine whispered.
Kurt blinked away the sudden moisture in his eyes. "I will," he whispered, "will you remember?"
Blaine lifted his head, confusion in his eyes, but this wasn't the time for that discussion. "Don't worry, love," Kurt said instead, "I'll stay."
This morning Blaine woke up with his head on Kurt's chest, with Kurt's arms closed around him - and to the sound of his phone.
He quickly and carefuly peeled himself out of the embrace to answer it before Kurt woke up. Still, he couldn't help but feel elated.
He had stayed.
Too bad that a few minutes later Blaine had to realize, that he couldn't. With a sigh, he grabbed some clothes, then turned back to his bed. He bit his lips at the sight of Kurt in his sheets. God, he could get used to this. Addicted, even.
He sat down at the bedside, softly shaking Kurt's sleeping form.
"Hey," he said and smiled when Kurt's eyes finally opened.
"Too early..." Kurt muttered and tried to turn away.
"You can go back to sleep in a moment," Blaine said and bowed forward, placing a kiss on Kurt's forehead that made him smile.
"What is it?" Kurt asked.
"I told you about that benefit thing the network is holding, right? And about that performance our cast is going to shoot? Another act has canceled, so we're up today."
"You have to go?" Kurt asked, gripping his arm ineffectively as if to hold him there.
"Sorry," Blaine said, "I really have to. But you can just stay here and catch some more sleep, okay?"
Kurt hummed something, then shook his head. "Nah, I have to go to work," he said. "Just... ten minutes?"
Blaine laughed softly. "I'll set the alarm for you," he said, "but really, get some more sleep." He hesitated for a moment, then kissed him softly.
"Break a leg," Kurt muttered smiling, then let his head rest on the pillow again. He was out only seconds later.
This was probably the best day he'd had in months. With barely concealed triumph Kurt met Richard's eyes as the clients left his office. This morning Kurt had gone over his sketches. Finally they looked like he had wanted them to look from the beginning on, and while Richard still wanted to throw them into the trash can, the clients had shown taste. Granted, as project manager Richard would still be the one getting credit for everything, but to hell with him. Kurt was sure nothing would bring him down from this high too soon.
"Looks like that went well."
Why did he keep tempting fate? "Dylan." Kurt gulped and suddenly all the guilt he had ignored yesterday came flooding in. "I... I thought you had a day off?"
Dylan shrugged. "Not much to do with it, have I?" he asked. "So... this went well?"
Kurt nodded and tried to look normal, but he could practically feel the blood drain from his face. "They liked the designs."
Dylan nodded and smiled a bit awkwardly. "Look, Kurt, can I ask you something?"
Kurt nodded shakily. "Yes, sure, what is it?"
"It's about Blaine," Dylan continued.
Of course it was. For a second, Kurt had the overwhelming urge to apologize, but then he caught himself. Who exactly did Dylan think he was? He had been playing games with Blaine's feelings for weeks, and then he had canceled on the super date - not that Kurt had gotten the impression that Dylan had known just what significance it was supposed to have for Blaine. The point was, it wasn't Kurt's fault that Dylan had screwed things up with Blaine.
"What about him?" Kurt asked instead with a slightly hostile note in his voice.
"Please be honest with me, but... he's not really into me, is he?"
Surprised, Kurt raised an eyebrow. "Did he say that?"
Dylan shook his head. "Not explicitly, no. It's just that vibe I'm getting from him. And then yesterday..."
"Well, I guess not every code can be as subtle as 'having a family emergency', can it?" Kurt said, trying not to sound too bitter on Blaine's behalf.
Dylan rolled his eyes. "Yeah, tell me about it. I really don't know who he was trying to fool there." He suddenly blinked at Kurt. "He didn't actually have an emergency, right?"
"Blaine," Dylan said as if Kurt was insane. Kurt for his part felt as if someone had pulled the floor from underneath his feet.
"Wait... Blaine told you he had a family emergency?"
Dylan nodded. "Honestly, to me it sounded like he just didn't want to go." He sighed. "I really thought we could work out, but... I've been trying for weeks now, and nothing's come from his side. Well, except that date yesterday, but he canceled that." Dylan shrugged. "Look, can you tell him... I don't want to crowd him. I really like him, but I don't think this is working out. So, tell him, if he wants to call me, he has my number. But I don't really see any point in this if he's not interested."
"Right," Kurt said absently, "I'll... I'll tell him."
Dylan's smile as he left looked a bit forced, not that Kurt could blame him.
This changed everything. But hadn't Blaine complained that Dylan was the one who seemed distant? Kurt tried to think back on what exactly Blaine had said. Hadn't he said he would have expected more from Dylan?
...no, wait. He just had expected more. But what if - and with what Dylan had said, and with Blaine being the one who canceled their date - he had expected more from himself? But why would he?
Kurt thought back to last night, how Blaine had held him, asked him to still be there when they woke up...
No, enough of that. He couldn't read Blaine's mind, and he had the suspicion that trying exactly that had thrown both of them in this mess. No more assumptions. Tonight they would talk.
The first thing Blaine noticed when he entered their apartment that evening was the smell of dinner. Curiously, he peaked into the kitchen, where Kurt was still busy with several pots.
"Five minutes," Kurt said without turning around, "get out of that coat and sit down, I'll be out in a moment."
Blaine stopped for a second, just watching him, and he felt himself smile and forget the whole stressful day. This right here was what mattered, the two of them, happy and at home, and...
"Out of the coat, now," Kurt said absently, "you're dripping all over the floor."
Blaine laughed. "Aye, sir," he said and followed the instructions.
Half an hour later, their plates and glasses were empty and they sat across each other, comfortable, content, and if this could be the rest of his life, Blaine would be never ask for another thing ever again.
"That was amazing, Kurt. But... what's the occasion?" Blaine asked.
Kurt shrugged. "Oh, nothing. I just thought you might need somthing nice."
Blaine frowned. "What do you mean?" he asked.
Kurt looked at him with a sly smile. "Well, with that family emergency you've had..."
Blaine's eyes widened. "Emergency?" he asked. Oh god, it was Cooper, wasn't it, he had done something incredibly stupid again and... and Kurt was grinning at him, so no, that couldn't be it. And suddenly he realized just what Kurt was talking about. "Oh."
"Yes, oh." Kurt nodded in agreement. "I ran into Dylan today, and he mentioned that family emergency that unfortunately kept you from your date yesterday. Nothing too bad, I hope?"
Blaine gulped. This was so not how this was supposed to go. He opened his mouth trying to find a way to explain himself to Kurt, to apologize to him - but then he saw the amusement in Kurt's eyes.
"You're not angry?" he asked.
Kurt shook his head. "No, I'm not. Though I have to admit, I'm a bit confused. What exactly is going on in your head, Blaine?"
Blaine laughed. That was the million dollar question, wasn't it? "Honestly, I don't even know half the time," he said and Kurt nodded as if he agreed with that statement, "but yesterday... I just couldn't leave you alone like that. So I said the first thing I could think of, and then I had to cancel on Dylan. But..." He hesitated. But really, what could he lose by telling him the truth now?
"Kurt, when I saw you this upset... there was just no room for anything else. I couldn't think of anything more important than making sure you were okay and feeling better. And I've tried so hard to develop feelings for Dylan, but when I saw you like that, I couldn't even remember he existed. I couldn't think of anything, just you. It's..." He sighed. "Kurt, I've been trying so hard to get over you. But the truth is," he looked up at that, hoping he could somehow make Kurt understand, "I can't move on from you, and honestly - I don't want to."
Kurt nodded, looking at him seriously. "Good," he said.
"Good?" Blaine repeated.
Kurt now took his hand into his. "I don't want you to. And I can't do it either - get over you."
Blaine opened his fingers so their hands could intertwine. "Then... do we even have to?"
Kurt smiled softly. "I hope not," he said, "if you still want us to be together-"
"I love you," Blaine said, the words coming over his lips as naturally as breathing.
There was that look again, that mix of adoration and disbelief, and a smile formed on Kurt's face. "I love you, too."
Blaine wasn't sure he ever felt this happy.
Kurt chuckled. "There'll be so many 'I told you so's, it's not even funny," he said.
Blaine imagined those he'd get from Cooper alone. He grinned. "But it's worth it, right?"
Kurt's eyes sparkled and he leant forward, his lips nearly brushing Blaine's as he answered.
And really, Blaine thought, as he closed the distance between them, nothing else mattered, anyway.