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.
"Shouldn't you be getting ready for Adam?" Rachel asks, shedding her coat and draping it over the back of a chair as she steps into the loft.
Kurt blinks blearily, startling upright in his chair, his cheek smushed slightly from where it was resting against the table. He lifts his arm until his watch is at eye level, yelping at the time.
"It's six fifty!"
"I would have woken you up sooner but my train was late," Rachel explains as she fluffs out her hair, clicking over to the stove and turning it on, filling up a teakettle with water. "Are you sure you're all right?" she adds, looking at him skeptically as he attempts to smooth down his hair.
"I'm great, I'm fine," he assures, scrambling out of his seat. "Santana's not in the shower, is she?"
Rachel arches an eyebrow at him, answered by a single vibrant line of, "I heaaard that you settled dooown, that you found a giiiirl and you're married nooow."
"Fantastic," Kurt huffs, already pacing the loft in frantic search of one of his nicer outfits. His hands shake as he pulls off his shirt, heedless that Rachel is standing around the corner as he pries open one of his drawers and starts rummaging through his available shirts. Pulling out a red button down, he stuffs his arms through the sleeves and quickly buttons it up, relaxing as he pulls out a pair of matching black pants and shucks off his own.
"Nice legs," Rachel calls dryly as he shimmies into the pants. He ignores her as he picks up one of his moisturizing creams and smooths it over the backs of his hands, capping it and shoving it into his nightstand as he smooths his bed covers, tidying up the area as he goes. He spritzes his wrists with some Marc Jacobs cologne in passing, his anticipation propelling him through the motions of cleaning the room without pausing to acknowledge his fatigue.
He fell asleep at the table after six hours of taking calls for Isabelle in the morning and three hours of classes in the afternoon. In spite of the ice settling in on the streets early on, classes prevailed, teachers arriving in full form to conduct their classes. Kurt walked briskly between train rides, tucking his hands under his armpits and ducking his head as the wind started to gust.
He entertained the thought of cancelling their date with Adam that night out of concern that the weather might impede his travel. Adam insisted that he had handled worse storms swimmingly, and Kurt took his word for it. Perhaps his own eagerness to finally show someone that wasn't a family friend or his boyfriend around the loft had a part in it.
Glancing at his watch again, he almost wishes he had cancelled. The mild headache that had been plaguing him for the better part of the morning and spiking around lunch returns full force after his impromptu nap, and even his rush to finish off preparations can't completely disguise the ache in his skull. His mouth is drier than usual, too, even though he attributes that to mild dehydration. He doesn't bring water bottles to his desk at work, and unlike the students enrolled in dance courses, doesn't see the need to bring them to school, either. He's starting to see the appeal, throat painfully dry as he fluffs up the pillows on the couch.
Santana belts out another chorus from Someone Like You from the shower just as someone knocks on the door. Kurt scurries over without thinking, drawing a quick breath to compose himself and plastering on his brightest smile as he pulls the door open. Brody offers a slightly baffled smile in return, a handful of daisies in his grasp.
"Oh, those are darling," Rachel coos, stepping around Kurt and smiling at Brody as she wraps her arms around his waist. "Where did you find them?"
"I picked them up at the flower shop on the way," Brody explains, smiling back as he leans down for a quick peck.
"Hold up," Kurt says, his voice rising slightly in disbelief as he says, "Brody's here?" Then, more politely, he adds, "I thought you were staying with your parents."
"I was," Brody says, stepping inside so he can shrug out of his coat. "Family emergency. They're in Kentucky for the weekend." He clasps his hands together, looking around the loft. "So, did you already eat dinner or - ?"
"You can't stay here," Kurt blurts, even as Rachel grabs Brody's upper arm, rolling her eyes at Kurt as she tugs him off towards the kitchen.
"He's fine, he's only here for tonight and then he's staying with Sheila."
"Family friend," Brody adds, sliding into a chair and folding his hands, resting his chin on them. "She lives in Queens."
"Fancy," Kurt mutters, scowling, as he pulls out his phone when it vibrates. His stomach drops as soon as he sees the name, dreading the worst when he pulls up the message.
Adam: Running a little late. I'll be there in fifteen minutes.
Breathing a soft sigh of relief - at least he isn't cancelling - Kurt pads off to prepare their movie night marathon, pointedly ignoring Rachel's cheerful conversation with Brody in the kitchen area. He's learned that it's easier to get along with her when he doesn't challenge every little thing she does, but he still struggles to fully accept that her boyfriend lives with them on a semi-full time basis. He's also fairly certain that Santana's presence is the sole force keeping Brody from living with them full time.
At least he isn't too incorrigible when he keeps his clothes on. At times, he can even be sweet and sort of gentlemanly, offering to cook meals and do laundry in order to pull his fair share more.
Kurt doesn't want him to have a share, though. Already he's regretting letting Santana live with them. It isn't that he doesn't like Santana, but between Rachel and her, it's a full time occupational hazard being caught in the middle. He starts wearing ear plugs, sometimes dozing off to his iPod or his white noise machine instead. It helps, but burrow though he might underneath the covers, he can't fully escape the glare of a lamp left on as one or the other works.
It does take time to adjust, but at least he thinks he finally has a handle on the situation, enough so that he's comfortable inviting Adam over for the night. He's already arranged the couch so that Adam won't have to sleep on the floor. His ears pink at the thought of inviting him to sleep in his bed; he has to remind himself that Adam probably isn't that open-minded for not even being in a committed relationship and would feel awkward and uncomfortable as Kurt's friend. Even with the unexpected complication of Brody, he isn't worried: doubtless he'll just share Rachel's bed.
Scooping up his papers off the table and tucking them back in his satchel - he couldn't focus on Caravaggio's finest works half-asleep anyway - he sets it against a wall and tucks his hands in his back pockets, surveying the room in brief, wordless approval. It isn't perfect - Rachel's half could certainly use improvement, and Santana's corner is still largely in the works - but it's enough. Adam knows that he lives with two other roommates, and he himself knows from firsthand experience what that can be like. Of course, both of Adam's were male, but still.
Wincing as his head gives a particularly painful throb, he pads over to the cabinets, ignoring Rachel's cheerful inquiry about his course schedule as he pulls out the drawers. He frowns as he makes it through their medicine cabinet, realizing that they're out of aspirin and ibuprofen. Briefly, he entertains the idea of telling Adam that he needs to stop by the drug store to pick up some more. Or, worse, asking Adam to do it for him; the thought of fighting against the biting wind again effectively shatters his own resolve to do it.
He ignores the urges, instead pouring himself a glass of water and downing it in three long gulps, hoping that it'll curb the worst of it until it abates on his own. He's dealt with worse at McKinley, anyway; he can handle a headache for a few hours. Once Adam settles in and gets comfortable, he can take a Nyquil and let it work its magic.
He doesn't have a cold, he reminds himself stoutly, pulling out the bottle and setting it aside. He just hasn't been feeling in top form for a few weeks, a lingering heaviness that made his return to New York all the more bitter. He hates that he hasn't been able to shake the feeling of loneliness and abandonment. After seeing his dad and Carole and Finn and his old friends again, he almost hesitated to leave, tempted to resign his wayward career in New York and return to the comforting familiarity of Ohio.
The thought of attempting to strike it out on his own in his dad's tire shop or working at a local coffee shop (or even taking charge of the Glee club in Mr. Schuester's absence like Finn had) kept him from doing it. He clamped his jaw shut and offered a painfully bright smile whenever temptation arose, resisting.
Still, it was hard. He liked having Carole around to do his laundry and wash the dishes without needing to be asked. She only shooed him away whenever he insisted that he could do them, offering him a fond smile whenever he came and left at her command. He also liked having Finn around to catch up with the latest Glee club happenings from an outside perspective. He'd learned from his own time as part of the New Directions that firsthand accounts from members were unreliable at best.
He loved having his dad around, a comforting nearness that soothed some of his anxiety about his health. It helped him sleep better, being surrounded by his family. He even put on a couple pounds in the process, some of his near painful leanness disappearing. Carole was largely at fault for that; her meals were simply too good to turn aside, regardless of how many courses were involved.
And then there was Blaine.
Kurt almost stayed just for him. He could tell that Blaine would have accepted in a heart beat, even if he wordlessly begged Kurt not to give in. There was something about it all, a certain gentle resilience to settling for comfortable mediocrity, that solidified Kurt's conviction. Their conversations were brief but poignant, filled with thoughts of what had happened and what was happening and we still have fifteen minutes, that's enough time, let's just -
A sharp knock on the door startles him back to the present. Kurt hurries over to it, holding his breath as he slides it open and sagging in relief when Adam's bright, beaming face appears. "Well, don't you look dashing," he says, stepping inside when Kurt shuffles back to let him. "Sorry it took so long. It's snowing like mad out there."
"I hear you," Brody calls, lifting a glass of water in wordless salute. Adam smiles at him, too, but it dims before brightening as he looks back at Kurt.
"So, Mr. Hummel, what have we planned for the evening?"
He knows, of course, about their movie marathon, even if they hadn't fully fleshed out the logistics of it. After some maneuvering, they squeeze on to the couch next to Rachel, Brody on her other side as Kurt clicks through the settings on the TV.
Santana joins them mere moments before Footloose starts, her hair draped over one shoulder as she settles in on the arm chair.
Brody crunches away on a bowl of popcorn for half the movie, Kurt's nerves edging upward as he tries to ignore him and focus on Adam.
Adam who is incredibly close and warm and relaxed, pleasantly comfortable against him. Adam who darts fleeting sideways looks at him just to catch his expression, smiling and returning his gaze to the TV whenever Kurt catches him. Adam who doesn't once complain about the others or the fact that it isn't their private date night, instead just letting Kurt lean against him and gently leaning back.
It's nice, peaceful, and for a time Kurt forgets about himself and drifts, occasionally responding to Adam's queries with murmured responses. His limbs are heavy with exhaustion - it's been an exhausting week, between NYADA classes and Adam's Apples and his internship at Vogue to contend with - but he manages to keep himself from leaning too obviously against Adam until Rachel springs up from the couch in search of tea.
He blushes as he realizes just how much he's been leaning against the other man, hastily pulling away and coughing into his sleeve the moment he straightens. It doesn't end there, a short series of barking coughs escaping him even as he tries to suppress them. Adam wordlessly rubs his back through the coughing fit, frowning when he comes down from it. "Are you all right?" he asks, pulling his arm away when Kurt nods and sits up a little straighter.
"I'm fine," he assures, patting Adam's arm once in consolation as Rachel returns with two mugs of hot chocolate. Brody kisses her once in thanks before taking a sip, snuggling back in on the couch as Kurt scrolls through the settings, freezing when he comes to Moulin Rouge.
"Oooh, I love that one," Rachel says, cuddling up to Brody's side as he opens his arms to her and leans against the arm of the couch. "Let's do that next."
Kurt says nothing, heart pounding as he presses play, reminding himself that it's just a movie, it doesn't matter, it doesn't mean anything.
Just because Blaine and he watched it (a half dozen times) together doesn't mean that he can't watch it with Adam solely for entertainment's sake. Rachel and Brody never watched it with Blaine and he, after all, and their presence helps calm Kurt, reminding him that it isn't the same, that everything doesn't have to be about Blaine.
He can move on. He's more than capable of it. He's already moved on, he decides firmly, curling an arm around Adam's and resting his head on his shoulder. It feels wrong, at first: he's so used to Blaine's on his own that he's half-tempted to lean back against the couch and ask Adam if he wouldn't mind imitating it.
Adam isn't Blaine, though, and he keeps the thought firmly in mind even as Adam wraps an arm around his upper back, just a little too high to mimic the way Blaine always used to. It means that when he starts tracing gentle strokes across his spine they don't have the same effect as when Blaine rubs tiny circles against the small of his back, unwinding some innate tension from him as he does so, but it's still nice. It's still comforting. It's still what he needs.
He surrenders himself to the feeling, the occasional cough wracking through him as he presses his sleeve against his mouth, blushing and stammering out quick apologies each time. When Adam tilts his head and kisses his temple once lightly to affirm that it's okay, he blushes scarlet, tempted to bury his face against his shoulder if only to avoid having to admit how much the simple gesture disarms him.
He manages to focus on the movie long enough to get caught up in it, barely aware of Brody and Rachel's quiet chatter dying off as he drifts off to sleep, breath evening out.
Between one blink and the next, he's standing on the roof of their apartment, shivering in the cold night air as he tucks his hands under his arms. He's alone, it seems, until suddenly his gaze alights on a figure halfway across the roof, dressed in a suit and smiling broadly. His heart leaps to his throat as he watches, Blaine's voice resonating softly between them as he starts singing, pulling him forward inexorably. He tries to remember what lays beyond the door at his back, what compelling force tries to draw him away, but he can't, approaching at a steady, slow clip as Blaine keeps singing.
It isn't what he expects. It isn't the magic balm he's been hoping for, a song to ease all the aches and pains in his soul that still linger after their break up.
But it's powerful, and irresistible, and as Kurt stands across from him and sings, he can't help but think that it's magical. It's breathtaking.
When the last note dissolves, Blaine smiling softly and turning away from him, already fading away, Kurt wants to call after him, to pull him back, to bring him back, even if he knows he can't.
He jerks awake when Santana throws a pillow at his head, Adam sheepishly pulling it aside and adding, "I didn't think she'd actually throw it," as Kurt rubs at his eyes.
"Finally," she adds, rolling her eyes as she leans back in her chair. "You missed your gay wedding song, by the way."
Kurt chokes. Adam pats his back again soothingly.
"Blaine and I - we never - "
His sputtering only earns a wry smirk from Santana as she holds up her hands defensively, feigning boredom as she turns back to the screen. "Whatever. We're not rewinding."
Kurt can't focus on the rest of the movie, though, agitated that he fell asleep during Come What May, perhaps one of the most moving scenes in all of romantic film history. He knows that it isn't the true source of his frustration - he's seen Moulin Rouge enough to not be disappointed at missing a scene for falling asleep (as he's done enough before in the past) - but it still leaves an uneasy feeling in his gut that has nothing to do with his former queasiness.
He decisively shifts away from Adam, leaning against the couch and ignoring the guilty twinge in his gut as he resists the feeling in his gut that he can't just ignore Blaine's presence in his life. He can and he will, because he can't accept that Blaine cheated on him.
He doesn't know how it happens, but one moment he's excusing himself during The Rocky Horror Show for a Nyquil after another extended coughing fit, the next, jerking upright in his own bed, hacking into his sleeve. It takes him a moment to reorient himself in the dark, fumbling for his light switch before spotting a note on the night stand. He leaves the light off as he plucks it, ignoring the achyness in his arms as he unfolds it and reads:
Thank you for the invitation tonight. I'd be more than happy to meet with you again some time when you're up to it. Feel better soon.
He groans softly to himself at the realization that Adam's gone, flopping back on to the bed and shivering as he pulls the covers up tighter to himself. He hopes that he was at least partially conscious when someone guided him into bed; he doesn't want to think about being carried. It's bad enough when Finn does it. He doesn't think he could live down the mortification if Brody or, heaven forbid, Adam did it.
Blaine was never strong enough to, always gently coaxing him back to awareness and guiding him into it or, whenever he couldn't, making him as comfortable as he could. Throat tight, he pulls his phone off the nightstand and shoots off a quick text to Adam before pulling up a message for Blaine.
He hesitates for a long time, not knowing what to write. He almost shuts the phone off and rolls over to attempt to go back to sleep without writing anything. After a moment, he types out slowly, I miss you.
A beat, and then: I miss you, too.
Kurt smiles in spite of himself, adding, I don't miss your cold.
Oh, no. I'm so sorry.
You owe me.
He waits, half-expecting Blaine to respond that Kurt insisted on kissing him a mere three days after he recovered from a bad chest cold. After twenty seconds or so of silence, he shifts uneasily, already trying to compose a more eloquent, apologetic text when Anything appears.
Name it and it's yours, Blaine replies. Anything.
Kurt bites his lower lip, closing his eyes briefly. When he opens them, all he writes is, Skype me tomorrow, and Blaine responds with a simple, Okay.
Then, after a beat: I love you.
Kurt breathes out slowly, some of the ache in his chest abating as he writes back, I love you, too.