Kurt doesn't know what he expects when he finally changes his relationship status on Facebook. He supposes he wants someone to tell him he's making a mistake, that moving on too fast isn't what's best for him.
But it's been five months. He's had enough time. And yet...
It takes Blaine three hours and fifteen minutes (not that Kurt's been counting) to "like" his post. Kurt knows for a fact he's on Blaine's list of favorites, meaning any significant updates are sent to his phone. He would've seen it immediately.
Kurt wishes he didn't care this much.
Aside from a few scattered Facebook comments and irrelevant texts, Kurt doesn't hear from Blaine for eight and a half days (again, he isn't counting). When his phone rings and Blaine's face pops up on the screen, he's a little embarrassed by how quickly he jumps up off the couch from his spot next to Adam and hurries off into his bedroom.
"Hey!" Kurt says cheerfully as he answers the call and flops down onto his bed. He thinks about how they haven't really spoken properly since the non-wedding, and how talking now doesn't really feel as awkward as it should.
"Hey," Blaine responds distractedly. Kurt can hear him typing furiously on the other end. "Question. Holiday Inns in Manhattan – good idea or bad idea?"
"Affordable hotels anywhere in this city are a bad idea," Kurt says, rolling onto his stomach. "Especially when you have free accommodation in Bushwick. You're coming to New York and you haven't told me?"
Blaine laughs softly. Kurt can hear him typing again.
"Well, NYADA isn't holding auditions anywhere in Ohio or really anywhere in the Midwest this year," Blaine explains. "So I had to sign up for a slot next week in New York. I mean, Chicago was an option but it filled up fast. So...surprise!"
"I guess Rachel and I scared them away. And you can just stay with us, silly. Seriously. Rachel and I had to camp out in hotels while we were apartment hunting and it's something I don't wish on anyone."
Blaine hesitates on the other end, followed by a deep sigh. Kurt's heart feels like it drops down to his stomach.
"What? Spit it out."
"Isn't that kind of inappropriate?" Blaine asks so quickly all of his words sound jumbled up. "And weird?"
"Ok. What are you talking about?"
"Not for us," Blaine clarifies. "I don't want to – you and Adam just started dating and, I don't know, how would you feel if Adam was like, 'my ex-boyfriend is coming to town and he's going to crash at my apartment'?"
Kurt hesitates. 'Indifferent' isn't the right answer.
"Adam knows we're still close," Kurt says instead. "He knows you're my best friend. Thanks to Santana, he also managed to deduce we...at the wedding, so there are no surprises. Everything's out in the open." Including the fact that he is still very much in love. So maybe this wasn't the greatest idea. But it was Kurt's apartment. He could do whatever he wanted. And he knew Adam wouldn't mind.
"Yeah," Blaine says uncertainly. "That doesn't really make me feel better."
"If he's uncomfortable with it – which he won't be – I'll take full responsibility. Also, he wasn't mad about the wedding. I mean, we weren't exclusive. He was far more understanding than I would've been. It's probably a British thing," Kurt waves his hand dismissively. "I don't really get it."
There's a long pause on the other end followed by a resigned sigh. "Fine. I'll stay with you in Bushwick. But if things get weird, I'm bailing."
When Kurt tells Adam, it goes just as smoothly as he expects. He's a pretty agreeable guy, which Kurt appreciates. He only has one small doubt.
"I don't really see how this helps with the whole 'getting over him' goal," he says as they set the table for dinner. He gives Kurt a little smile.
"Baby steps," Kurt reminds him, returning the smile. And he guesses this is the part where he's supposed to cross the room and give him a reassuring kiss. But he doesn't.
When Blaine and Adam meet, it's weird. And Kurt doesn't like it. At first, they're both far too nice to each other and Kurt literally has to leave the room a couple times because the whole situation is just freaking him out.
When he comes home from class one day, Blaine and Adam have matching cups from the coffee shop down the street in hand. They're sitting at the kitchen table, conversing like old friends. Kurt gives Blaine a sort of panicked look when he enters the room, but he forces himself to sit down with them. Running into his bedroom to hide would probably just make this situation even more strange.
Kurt is alarmingly close to cracking a terrible joke about his current boyfriend cheating on him with his ex when Adam blurts out:
"Kurt! Did you know Blaine has an audition for LAMDA?"
"Is that a theme park?"
Adam frowns deeply, clearly offended, and Blaine suppresses a smile as he stares down at the tabletop.
"No," Blaine answers, barely able to stop himself from chuckling. "It's the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art. I just got the invitation in my e-mail today. Some people from admissions are coming to the States to hold auditions for the American applicants."
"It's a fantastic school," Adam says. "I would've gone there myself if I hadn't wanted to live in New York so badly."
Kurt isn't really sure how to process this. But he does process it. Very slowly.
"So it's the London...in the country you're from," Kurt says, his eyes flickering over to Adam.
"Yes. England," Adam says helpfully.
Kurt says the first thing that comes to mind.
"Well, you can't move there. Your hair won't agree with the weather, Blaine, it rains too much." He's really only half-joking, but it results in the two other boys bursting into a fit of laughter. Kurt doesn't even try to join in.
"Adam," Kurt says quietly. "Could you give Blaine and I some privacy?"
He looks at him pleadingly. Adam gets it. With a quick nod at Blaine, he leaves the room.
"You just made things weird," Blaine hisses at him from across the table.
Kurt rolls his eyes and shakes his head. "So when were you going to tell me you applied to a school in London?"
Blaine freezes up. He doesn't meet Kurt's eyes when he finally replies. "It was sort of a spontaneous decision. I didn't really think anything would come from it."
"Blaine, tea gives you a stomach ache and all the American TV shows air, like, a year later than they do here. It's a terrible, terrible place."
Blaine stares back at him for a few moments before closing his eyes. He seems tired, almost.
"Listen, Kurt," he says softly. "I applied to a lot of universities. I wanted options."
"But NYADA is still your first choice."
Blaine furrows his brow the way he always does during difficult conversations. Kurt doesn't like where this is heading at all.
"NYADA was my first choice. For a long time. Back when we were talking about living in New York together, and up until recently when I still thought we had a chance." Blaine gives him a sad smile and looks at him earnestly. "I think you moving on with Adam was the wakeup call I needed. I think I was...naive enough to assume you'd always be available and just...there. And I'd move to the city and we wouldn't be able to stay away from each other and sooner or later things would be the way they were. And looking back, that was stupid of me. Because, really, how long was Kurt Hummel going to stay single in New York City? Especially when I gave him no reason to."
There was no way Kurt could respond to this honestly without giving himself away completely. Everything Blaine was saying was true – he hurt him deeply. There was no reason he should want him now or ever. Except for the tiny fact he was still madly in love. And as horribly as Blaine hurt him, there was something to say about the constant ache that followed their breakup. An ache that had nothing to do with the pain of cheating.
"What I've been doing," Blaine continues, and Kurt focuses in on him again, "hasn't been healthy. But more importantly, it hasn't been fair to you. I love New York, just like I love..." he stops himself and skips the last word. "But I think a fresh start is in order."
Kurt doesn't know what to say. He's perfectly numb. So, he says just that.
"I don't know what to say."
"You don't have to say anything now," Blaine assures him. "Or ever. But I hope this doesn't change anything between us. I'm assuming everything I said is something you've been waiting to hear. Maybe not the potentially moving to another country part, but I hope you understand why New York isn't the best choice anymore."
"You're still my best friend," Kurt responds. Because it's the only thing he can say right now that's completely honest.
Blaine gets accepted to six out of the eight schools he applies to, including NYADA and LAMDA.
"London is the only place – I mean, aside from New York – that has a thriving theatre district. I don't know, Kurt, I could really see myself living there," he tells him over the phone one evening. And he sounds genuinely happy. Excited by the idea of moving three thousand miles away.
"Yeah, well, the West End is responsible for Love Never Dies, so. That monstrosity never set foot on a Broadway stage. Just putting things into perspective for you."
Kurt can tell that Blaine never knows if he's joking whenever he makes these little jabs at London. He always just laughs awkwardly and continues on. Tonight is no exception.
"You'll have to come visit me," Blaine says. "If I go, I mean. Adam lives in Essex, right?"
"I'd have to plan it during a week when it doesn't rain. So, no, I'm never going to come visit you."
"Kurt," Blaine laughs. "You were scarily obsessed with Will and Kate's wedding, and remember Pip, Pip Hooray? And your boyfriend's British. You should be jumping at the chance to come visit."
"Yeah, well, maybe I've become one of those New Yorkers who thinks every other city is dumb."
"You want to go to Paris too badly to be one of those New Yorkers," Blaine reminds him fondly.
"Ok, don't bring Paris into this," Kurt says. "I'm going to hang up on you now."
"Fine," Blaine laughs again. There's been a lot of laughter on Blaine's end of this conversation, and despite everything, that does make Kurt happy.
The next day, Blaine accepts his spot at LAMDA.
Apparently Blaine thinks it's best to move to London over the summer to acclimate himself to the city before classes start. Naturally, Kurt thinks it's a terrible idea. Well, it's actually a good idea. But it just means the time they have left together is drastically decreased. To the point, in fact, that they can't even schedule a weekend together before Blaine's flight.
It freaks Kurt out. Sure, he has an English boyfriend who has a ton of frequent flyer miles. He could be in London at the drop of the hat if he wanted to. But then he would have to leave London eventually. And Blaine would stay in London. And that simple realization causes him to do something completely and utterly ridiculous, so he's glad when Adam approaches him first.
"What would you say if I told you I had a one-way ticket from JFK to Dayton International so you could stop the love of your life from boarding a plane to London Heathrow? Well, O'Hare first."
Kurt should be shocked. But he just smiles. In another world – a completely different world. A parallel universe, perhaps, where Blaine or any sort of reincarnation of him didn't exist – Adam would've been a great fit for him.
"What would you say if I told you that I admire your attempts at being a very well-intentioned boyfriend, but I already purchased that very ticket? I was going to tell you, by the way."
Adam cracks a smile.
"Then I would say 'godspeed.'"
Kurt really could not have asked for a better rebound.
When Kurt lands in Dayton, he can't find Blaine anywhere. Sure, he could just call him. But what sort of surprise would that be? After a few inquisitive texts, he finds out he's already gone through security. Without a second thought, Kurt purchases a ticket at the counter with his dad's credit card and makes his way through the airport himself. He is in so much trouble. But he can't bring himself to care.
Blaine's flight doesn't leave for another hour, so unfortunately there's no dramatic race through the airport like he'd hoped for. Which he figures is for the best, because what good would he be if he was incarcerated?
He finds Blaine sitting at his gate, his feet resting on his suitcase and some stupid book about the United Kingdom in his lap.
"I heard there are more sheep than people in England," he says as he steps in front of him. "Which is cool if you're into sheep, I guess, although maybe a little overwhelming if you're indifferent."
Blaine looks up at him. And suddenly a warmth spreads through Kurt's entire body.
Blaine, with shaking hands, shoves his book into his carryon and stands up to face Kurt. He can practically feel the other man's heart pounding in his chest.
"I'm pretty sure that's New Zealand. And I'm pretty sure that's an urban legend," Blaine says, his eyes wide and the corners of his mouth turned up into a hesitant smile. "Kurt..."
"I didn't just come here to talk to you about sheep," Kurt insists before grabbing Blaine's hands. They're still shaking a little, and Kurt is relieved he still has that effect on him. "I know you've spent a ridiculous amount of money on this plane ticket, and god knows how much on your student visa. You probably paid a couple month's rent on your apartment or flat or whatever they're called and your suitcase is packed and your classes are scheduled and everything is set up for your new life. But I'm asking you to reconsider, anyways. And I know I'm probably too late. And I swear to God, Blaine, when – if – you come live in New York you can stay in our apartment for free until you reach in rent money whatever thousands of dollars you spent on this move. Please. I just used my dad's credit card to purchase a plane ticket at an unspeakable price and he'll probably murder me if he finds out I wasn't even able to talk you down. I'm hoping the punishment will be less severe since he loves you so much."
When Blaine doesn't respond, Kurt brings him in for a kiss. It's short and urgent, and Blaine barely has time to return it before Kurt pulls away again.
"I need an answer now. It's a lot to think about, I know, but we can think about it after you've answered!" Kurt says. At least, it sounds reasonable to him. "I know this is the part where we're supposed to kiss passionately. But I also wanted to very dramatically call your name and run into your arms just as you were about to board your plane. We can't always get what we want."
"Kurt," Blaine breathes out, shaking his head incredulously. "The answer has always been 'yes.'"
"Right answer," Kurt laughs out loud, tears springing to his eyes. "Oh – thank God this worked." Then again, this was them. It had been a fool-proof plan from the start. He looks around. "Now, how do we get out of here without actually boarding a plane?"
"First things first," Blaine says, cupping his cheek. "I think you owe me a passionate kiss."
Kurt puts a hand on Blaine's chest and cocks an eyebrow. "Only if we get to act out my scenario later."
"Deal," Blaine grins, and pulls him in.