Disclaimer: I do not own Glee or any of its characters; Ryan Murphy and Co. hold that honor. I'm simply writing this for fun, not profit.
"Does this mean we're together?"
Kurt knows that he's taken the whole 'I want you to be back in my life in a more-than-friends way' suddenly, but he's tired of living in a situation where everyone around him enjoys happy, loving relationships with no strings attached except him. It baffled him, at first, the concept that two people could be emotionally invested and even physically intimate with one another without the weight of romantic ties.
Half the people at NYADA embrace the idea easily, dating two or more people at a time and giving themselves over to each and every one without letting crossover occur. Even Rachel - though Kurt will deny to his dying that she ever had any real influence on his dating life - has Brody and, from their midnight conversations, Finn dangling on a hook, and neither seems to particularly care. It's frustrating, knowing that aside from the sycophants and Adam - Adam who's sweet and compassionate and nice but they're still pointedly not-dating, too - he has no one to cuddle him or love him or take care of him when he needs it. He has no one, really, aside from one Ms. Rachel Berry (and, more recently, Santana).
Not exactly viable romantic options. He might have sunk low to the point of wistfully considering asking one of the sycophants to come over and see where that led, but he hasn't reached that, either, and he knows that he'll have to sacrifice a lot more than a few taste preferences in order to make it happen.
It happens when he's sitting with Adam for coffee the day before he's expected to leave for Lima, Ohio, for Mr. Schuester's big wedding. Adam's talking about something that he lost track of around 'Oh, I almost forgot, we're having rehearsal this week at - ' Kurt nods attentively, stirring his coffee cup without drinking it until at last Adam pauses and asks, "If it's not right, I can send it back for you," even knowing full well that he hasn't even tasted the coffee.
Kurt shakes his head, hastily assuring that it's fine as he lifts the cup to his lip and drains half of it in a single go, his heart skipping a beat as Adam smiles crookedly at him. He doesn't know why it's so hard to reach out to him, why he balks at the thought of reaching out and clasping their hands, but when Adam closes the distance between their hands and intertwines them, Kurt doesn't protest, either. He squeezes Adam's hand, making eye contact and losing his train of thought in the process.
Adam is nice. Adam is sweet and compassionate and, dare he say it, romantic. He's older, too, with a bit more maturity under his belt and a lot more experience in the real world. For years, Kurt always thought of Blaine as the most mature gay man his own age that he'd ever met, and that hasn't changed, except . . . well, Adam is different. Adam is change.
"Do you want to come over to my loft this weekend?" Kurt blurts out, unthinkingly.
Before he can withdraw the offer or apologize for making it, Adam is beaming, saying softly, "I would love to. What time were you thinking?"
Kurt represses a shiver, his heart beating frantically in his chest as he tries to decide what he wants, what he needs.
"Friday," he says at last. "How about Friday night at eight?"
Adam smiles, giving his hand one more squeeze before scooping up their empty coffee cups and saying, "Sounds perfect. I'll see you then." He sashays off without another word, leaving Kurt staring after him in giddy disbelief.
He doesn't know where it's going or what they'll do and what they even could do - Adam isn't Blaine, they haven't exactly covered so many bases before that it's almost breathtaking to think about how intimate they can be with each other before even a hint of a blush appears on either of their cheeks at the thought - but he's excited, for a change. Excited for something new.
Maybe, with their date night to look forward to, visiting Lima, Ohio again won't be as difficult.
It seems strange that night as he passes the hours restlessly packing and unloading and re-packing his things that it was so easy. To ask him. Not for a coffee, not for a theater date, not even for a quiet study date in one of NYADA's grander halls where it's only them and they can hear each other breathe - but an actual, real date. One where, if they so chose, anything could happen.
Kurt doesn't know Adam's reservations. He flushes at his own boldness to think that he would actually want to do half the things that Kurt is currently considering. Maybe he really is as nice and sweet and standoffish as he seems, and he'll stare at Kurt when he offers. He worries his lip for the better part of an hour, trying to think of the most comfortable way to broach the idea, that maybe they could enter a realtionship with -
No strings attached.
The idea thrills him, in its own way. It makes him pause and sit down hard on the edge of his bed as he realizes that he doesn't need to make every romance in his life some grand, epic journey from friends to lovers to soul mates. It isn't like he has the scorn of people looking down on him for having sex before marrying, after all; he almost chokes on a laugh at the thought. They'll look down on him regardless of what he does, despising his lifestyle and his choices no matter what he chooses. It's all about him, really, his preferences, his desires. Rachel already expressed hers by dating Brody while attempting to reconnect with Finn: she's moved on from being Ms. Lonely Girl to Ms. Empowered.
Kurt wants that. He wants to feel loved again, needed again, wanted in a way that doesn't require long days of wondering if it's okay to hold Adam's hand today or if it's okay to kiss him on the cheek or the mouth or - ooh.
He wants that.
He needs it. He's suffocating, drowning in a sea of people that barely like him at best and despise him at worst. He doesn't want to bring a random stranger home, not someone like the sycophants, who would probably agree to do it just to avoid a Midnight Madness showdown. No, he wants someone that he can feel comfortable with, that he can mess around with without wondering if maybe he's only second rate to them.
Because he looks at Adam, and he's dazzled by the radiance of his affection. He's blown away at home much Adam wants him already. Maybe not in a sexual manner, but ... maybe.
It tantalizes him, and by the time he boards at La Guardia airport the next morning he's most tired and cranky and two-coffees short of being able to handle Rachel's monologue. He snaps at her to text Brody or Finn and leave him alone, and after bristling indignantly at his snappishness, she turns aside and does just that.
Kurt doesn't remember the flight, sleeping through everything but the departure. He feels a little more alive when they pick up lunch, crunching down on a club sandwich and three coffees as he listens to Rachel prattle on and on about her plans for the weekend. Santana widely avoided their table, preferring to get an early start on the drive back home while they stopped for lunch. By the time Rachel shuffles Kurt along, too eager to wait any longer, Kurt's awake enough to feel . . . excited.
It surprises him, at first, to realize that he's actually excited to be home. He hasn't been home since he left, and even though he loathes Lima with every fiber of his being, there's something oddly . . . nice about it all. Reassuring. It's not the same as it once was, he notes immediately, looking upon buildings and streets and even people that he's known since childhood and seeing how very different they all are from New York. It's not home anymore, not really, but it's a retreat, an escape from the almost claustrophobic nature of New York.
As soon as they reach the Hummel-Hudson house, Burt sweeps him up in a hug, ignoring the way that Kurt protests that he's going to exacerbate his medical condition if he isn't careful. Carole chimes in somewhere from the kitchen that it's fine, she's looking after him, and Kurt can't help but relax a little at the familiarity of it. This hasn't changed, and if he's been lonely and sad and torn at times, at least he still has them in his life.
Rachel and Finn exchange a few quiet words and tentative smiles before she's out the door, their conversation lost on Kurt's ears. He looks around, wondering why something appears to be missing, and asks without thinking, "Where's Blaine?"
There's a tense, awkward silence for all of three seconds before he hurriedly chimes in, "We're, uh. We're going to Mr. Schuester's wedding together."
He's stunned at his own bravado, reassured when Finn says that he was staying after school to work on a Glee club project.
Kurt nods and sticks around long enough to be considered polite before excusing himself to meet up with Mercedes while she's still in town at the Lima Mall.
And he would have, of course he would have, except -
Well. There he is. Cute as ever.
Kurt approaches the table cautiously, watching from behind as Blaine sketches out something, his brow furrowed in concentration. His heart aches a little as he sees the tell-tale red-and-navy satchel at his side - Kurt's stuffed his own matching one to the bottom of his closet, pulling out a slightly older brown leather one to avoid using it - but he doesn't let himself back out of it, doesn't let his fears overcome him as he steps around so he's standing by the opposite side of the table.
Blaine looks up, briefly, his entire body jolting in surprise as he lurches to his feet, staring at Kurt incredulously. "Kurt - "
"Do you mind?" Kurt asks gently as he slides into the vacant seat across from his now emptied one. Blaine sits back down slowly, staring at him, and Kurt can't help but stare back, trying to say without words what he needs, what he wants.
What do you need?
It's so simple, but the sole thought that comes to mind is: I need you.
"Will you come to Ms. Pillsbury's and Mr. Schuester's wedding with me?" he asks, holding out an upturned hand across the table.
Blaine doesn't even blink before taking it, giving Kurt's hand a light squeeze. "You - you want to - "
"I want to," Kurt agrees, deliberately vague, and watches a tiny flush creep up Blaine's cheeks. It's adorable, in a way, but it also make Kurt's heart ache, knowing that even the simplest things are hard to say now, knowing what's happened before.
"I'm tired of second-guessing myself," he says at last, knowing that there's a deeper meaning Blaine can't possibly know. Unless he, too, has taken a more open-minded approach to relationships and started dating again in Kurt's absence; judging by the sheer amount of paperwork in front of him and a few absentminded comments about Tina's crush on him, Kurt doubts it. "Will you be my date to the wedding?" he asks formally, looking him right in the eye.
Blaine nods once, saying, "I'd love to," without once breaking his gaze.
Kurt smiles, dizzied and a little overwhelmed at it all - what about Adam, what about Adam briefly flashes before his mind before he haughtily, almost shockingly retorts, What about him? - but also more confident than he's ever felt with a decision.
He knows this is right. Somehow. Both of them.
Because he doesn't know what it will be, whether Adam and he will actually go all the way or just fool around, or whether Blaine and he -
Blaine and he.
It's an extraordinary concept, after everything that happened. After all the months of agonizing over the heartbreak that came with Blaine cheating on him. He still hasn't forgiven him for that, he realizes with a start. He wants Blaine, but he doesn't trust him like he once did, assured that they really would spend the rest of their lives together, as friends or otherwise.
This . . . this is different. It's new. It's exciting. Being able to make choices about their future that have nothing to do with romance or obligations or should we really do this?
He reaches over casually and picks up Blaine's coffee with his free hand, taking a long sip and smiling a little as he sets it down. "I'm impressed. I thought you'd never switch from your drips."
Blaine shrugs a little, staring at Kurt like he's never seen him before - like he's never seen someone like Kurt before - and Kurt flushes a little under the attention, averting his gaze for the first time.
He lets go of Blaine's hand and stands up with a quiet promise to pick him up at two for the wedding tomorrow, a wordless nod his only response.
Scurrying out of the Lima Bean as quickly as he can without actually bolting, he can't help but feel giddily anticipatory.
And in some way, it doesn't surprise him when the entire ride over they're tense and restless and quiet, why the first thing either of them do when they stop is turn to look at each other and Kurt leans across the console to kiss him, slow and easy, cupping his cheek so he can pull him closer. Blaine makes a startled noise and goes with it, kissing him back, groaning a little as Kurt pushes even closer against it.
"This doesn't - " he hastens to assure as he pulls back, needing to be clear, needing to know that -
"I know, I know," Blaine hurries to assure, sliding his hands down Kurt's arms. "Please, Kurt, just - "
Kurt skitters out of the car, Blaine doing the same on the opposite side before somehow they're both in the back seat and Kurt's straddling him and kissing him and it's the most -
It's amazing. It's perfect, a breath of fresh air after so long apart, and Kurt groans shamelessly into it, surrendering himself, not even caring that -
We're not together, this is just -
It's just -
"Bros helping bros," Blaine offers, because he wants it just as much as Kurt does and if they're not ready, not able to put a name on it yet, then -
So be it.
As Kurt listens to Blaine's breathing deepening that night, his head tucked on his cheek and his fingers gently stroking the smooth skin along his side, he can't help but think that maybe this really is right.
Maybe he needs to give up the expectation of a romantic reunion and ultimately soul-mending journey towards trust again and accept that that can never be, that this is what they have now. And what they have now is glorious. It's amazing. It's mindblowing.
As he drifts off to sleep with Blaine warm and secure underneath him, he can't help but think that he still wants more.