He groans before he sprints, squeezing himself through the sea of little kids until he reaches the center where Jason is being held back from Cynthia Phillips, who is on the ground, tears already pouring down her face, with scraped hands held out.
"Jason! What did you do?!" He gasps, and the kid looks at him with such anger in his eyes, like Blaine has just betrayed him completely. It breaks his heart. He never wants to see that look in a kid's eyes again, and certainly not Jason's. He sighs and calms down, kneeling in front of him "Jason. You know I have to send you to the principal and call your dad, right?"
Jason looks at him for a long time before he pulls his foot back and kicks Blaine's crotch, making him gasp for air and dear life. He tries to keep the tears of pain off his eyes and get his voice back, just so he can say "Principle. Now." He watches the other teacher hold back her laughter as she grabs Jason's hand and pulls him along.
On shaky legs Blaine stands up and turns to Cynthia. "Are you ok?"
She sniffles "No…!" as if it's the most obvious thing in the world.
God, this girl annoys him so much. Almost as much as her mother. "It's just scraped hands, Cynthia. I think you'll live." And then, because he knows Cynthia Phillips, he says "You're coming with me to the principle, too."
"W-what?! He pushed m-me!"
"And you're going to tell me he wasn't provoked first?" Blaine eyes her sternly before turning on his heel and saying "Come on, I'll take you to the nurse first."
He walks briskly to the nurse office, tells her to take Cynthia to the principle once she's done and then practically jogs to the office, cell phone already in hand.
He's about to press 'dial' when he reaches his destination and overhears Mr. Figgins' secretary "Thank you again, Mr. Hummel. I'll see you soon, then." With a defeated sigh he pockets the phone. He was really hoping he'd get to make the phone call himself. Kurt's probably freaking out right now.
"Where's the kid?"
"Already?" He gasps "Shit." He says before he knocks and pushes the door open "Principle Figgins? May I?"
"Joanne, you can go now." Blaine says unceremoniously, purposefully ignoring the small kid on the chair opposite Figgins "I got this."
She gives him a tight smile, clearly disliking how Blaine's completely overstepping her, but he couldn't care less, right now. "Sure." She stands and leaves, while Blaine flops down.
"Do you know what happened, Anderson?"
"No. No one does." He adds as his eyes flicks towards the door Joanne's just disappeared through "I heard the commotion and went over, just as Joanne did. Cynthia Phillips was on the ground with scraped hands and says Jason pushed her."
"Is that what happened boy? Did you push Cynthia?"
Jason is as stoic as he is silent. Blaine feels his stomach twist. He needs to talk to Jason alone.
There's a knock on the door and the nurse walks in with Cynthia in hand.
Figgins sets to interrogate her instead. She's much more vocal, telling them about how hard Jason pushed her and Blaine can see the way Jason is clenching his little jaw, and fisting his little hands while she describes the way she was just talking to him and then he pushed her for no reason at all.
Blaine clenches his own jaw and takes a deep breath before saying "Principle Figgins. A word with you? Alone?" Figgins nods and tells the kids to wait outside. The door's barely clicked closed before Blaine turns back to the older man "She's lying. She provoked him. I'm sure of it."
"He was perfectly calm this morning. He's been an exemplary student for the past couple of weeks, he hasn't given me any trouble at all. He was calm this morning – sad maybe, but perfectly calm. But he wasn't angry. He wouldn't have hit her out of the blue. I know Cynthia – she likes to push people's buttons and she does it well."
"She's never been in my office before."
"Because I don't send students to your office unless I absolutely have to! I've had to shut her up way too many times, and she used to pick on Shania last year, Timothy, the year before. I know Cynthia. I've had her parents come talk to me plenty of times, but they always excuse her saying she's just young, and she'll grow out of it. I can't do much except her send her to the corner when she does it in my classroom."
"He used violence. Physical violence. I cannot tolerate that."
"I understand that. I'm not saying he should be excused. I'm saying she should be punished too."
"There's no way to prove she provoked him."
"Are you serious?!" Blaine gasps, before running a hand through his hair "I guess it's my fault, then. I should've just sent her to your office every time she was mean to another kid. Even if you say you think we should be completely autonomous in our disciplinary actions, right?" he says harshly and watches the man cower an inch down his chair "So, just because she's not physically violent she's not going to learn the consequences of her actions? Rest assured Figgins, I will send her and any other kid who ever lets out a single bad word towards another classmate ever again to your office, from now on!" He says before standing up "Now if you'll excuse me I need to speak to my students, while you figure out Jason's punishment."
He stands and turns to leave before Figgins haults him "Wait. Send her in. I'll talk to her."
He gives the man a tight smile "Thanks" he says before walking outside "Cynthia." He says gesturing for her to go inside. She looks at him warily as she goes inside. Two years in his classroom is apparently enough for her to know he doesn't really fall for sweet gold locks and innocent eyes, when he has her sit in the corner at least once every two weeks for badmouthing a classmate. With a sigh he makes a note to talk to her seriously, too – maybe if her parents don't want to teach her how to be nice, he should: it would be pretty hypocritical of him to go out of his way to help Jason so much and not do the same for her. He closes the door after her before turning to Jason, and sitting next to him. "Hey buddy." He says to no response "That's quite a kick you got there."
"Wanna tell me what that was all about?"
"What did Cynthia say to you?"
"I won't tell you."
"Why were you upset this morning?"
"I won't tell you! Go away. I don't like you!"
"That's not an answer."
"Yes, it is."
"No. It's really not." Blaine smiles "I think you still like me. I think you want to tell me. I think you need to tell me."
"Because I'm your friend. Because I trust you to tell the truth, and you trust me to believe you." He says softly, laying a gentle hand on the boy's shoulder "I won't even tell the principle Figgins you kicked me."
"I won't, I promise. I know you only did it because you were really angry, and I know you won't do it again. I just… buddy, I just need to know why you were so angry at me!"
"Was it because I assumed it was your fault? You know, that was wrong of me, it really was. I'm sorry about it."
The boy remains silent, but Blaine can see the ice melting.
"Do you accept my apologies? Can we be friends again?"
Jason shrugs, trying to look unaffected before he adds "You said you'd call my dad."
Oh. Fuck. Blaine keeps doing that, doesn't he? "I meant to say daddy. I'm sorry. But… what if I had wanted to call your dad? Why would it be so bad?"
Jason looks away, locking his eyes on his fidgeting hands "I turned eight yesterday."
"My dad forgot." He says quietly "He didn't give me a present, or a card… he didn't even call me to say happy birthday. He just forgot. Or… or… or he hates me. I don't know."
"Oh." The words get caught in Blaine's throat even though he knows he should be saying, but it's really hard putting them together. Jason looks completely heartbroken.
"Daddy kept saying he would call, he was sure. Daddy keeps saying that. Daddy keeps saying dad loves me. But… dad never does. Dad left and he never calls… and I think he doesn't like me… I think… I don't want him to know I'm bad because… I don't want him to hate me more." Jason says, he voice breaking a little and his chin trembling "And yesterday daddy was really, really upset, too. He thought I was asleep, but I heard him on the phone, talking to dad. He was really angry. I never heard him like that. I don't… I don't like it when he's like that."
"Oh, sweetie. You… he… I'm sure…"
"I didn't know what to do to make it better." Jason says carefully "I waited until he wasn't screaming anymore to go in his bedroom. He was crying, Mr. B. I don't like it when my daddy cries. He hasn't cried in a long time, too – I thought it was over. I don't want him to be upset because of me."
"I'm so sorry, Jason." Blaine gasps, wrapping an arm around his shoulders and pulling him closer "He wasn't upset because of you. You did nothing wrong, buddy. I promise."
"I did now." He says with the smallest voice "They called him, didn't they?"
"Yes. They had to. What you did today was very bad, Jason. He needed to know."
Jason just sighs dejectedly before sniffling. Blaine immediately moves to kneel in front of him, catching his shoulders in his hands and ducking to meet the boy's eyes.
"I'm so sorry." The boy mumbles "I didn't… I didn't… but she called my daddy the 'f' word, and I know it's not a nice word."
"The 'f' word?!" Blaine prompts, blood turning cold in anticipation.
The boy nods "She said her mom said my dad was a… a… a that word and that he was trying to seduce you… she says her mom thinks he's probably a-a man-whore like the rest of them."
"Oh my god!" Blaine gasps "Oh my god. Oh my god." That bitch! That fucking bitch, saying those things in front of her children!
"I'm sorry I pushed her, but she was being mean!"
"Jason, sweetie. Those are terrible things to say about someone, and she definitely shouldn't have said them. The f word isn't a good word at all and neither is man-whore, or whore, for that matter. Those are very bad words that you shouldn't ever say, ok?"
"Are they worse then… shit? Or fuck?" he whispers the last words.
"Much worse." Blaine nods "because they're mean and hurtful. They're names bad people call others when they want to hurt them."
"Does Cynthia hate me?"
"Cynthia doesn't know you enough to hate you, buddy – she just… she just heard her mother say things and I doubt she even knew what those words meant, ok?" Jason nods sadly and Blaine sighs, squeezing his shoulders a little more "She was being mean, and Principle Figgins is talking to her right now, and I'll call her mom too, Jason. She's not… I… What she said was very, very wrong, and it's not true, ok?"
"But what you did was also wrong, buddy. You never, ever hit other people. No matter how mean they are first."
"What do you do, then?"
"You hold your head up and you walk away. The worst thing you can do to bullies is ignore them."
"It was really hard to ignore her." Jason mumbles.
"I know, I know. And next time you'll be better, though. You'll be smarter. You'll do the right thing."
Jason just looks at him with big blue watery eyes "I don't want there to be a next time."
"Oh, buddy, me neither."
The principle's office door is opened and as Cynthia slips out Figgins calls out for Jason. Blaine squeezes his shoulder in encouragement. He watches as the boy slips inside, before he tells Figgins' secretary to call Cynthia's parents, and finally he turns to the little girl.
"Cynthia. Jason told me what you said to him. That was… very wrong. And I'm really sorry he pushed you and hurt you, but what you said was also very, very ugly."
"It's true, though! My mom says so!"
Blaine tries not to say something stupid "And I'll also be talking to your mom. I don't know what the rules are at your home, but in this school there are certain words that aren't allowed. We don't call other people names, no matter what. We treat them with kindness and respect."
"He's a freak. He's always alone."
"Cynthia!" Blaine chastises "If you call him things like that no wonder he wants to be alone. You're not being very nice to him, are you? Be nicer to him, and you'll see he's a very nice boy, too. That's all there is to it. You have to be kind to people, and treat them well. Being mean and calling names won't do anyone any good, especially you."
She remains silent.
"You know why I send you to the corner so many times, right?"
"Bur the other kids are so stupid-"
"They're not. Cynthia, you have to stop this. You're a smart, beautiful girl – you don't need to be mean to kids to get others to like you. If you're nice, they will at once." Blaine's going to continue his lecture, but the sound of hurried footsteps interrupts. He turns to see Kurt practically running towards them. "Wait here." Blaine tells the girl before jogging to meet Kurt.
"Where's my son?" The man says at once, only stopping when Blaine's hands hold him in place.
"Wait." Blaine pleads "Wait a sec, Kurt. I need to talk to you before you get in there."
"My son just pushed a little girl, Blaine! I need to get in there and ground him for life."
"Please hear me out!"
"I'm not going to let you fake a report card for him again!"
"It's not like that, Kurt! He was provoked."
"That's no excuse!"
"It is!" Blaine counters, holding the other man in place "Cynthia Phillips called you a fag in front of him. Told him you were a man-whore."
"I…" Blaine sighs and rubs a hand over his face "Mrs. Phillips shared her views on you with her family, and you know kids. They're like sponges, they pick up on everything. And she was teasing him, and he got angry."
"Oh my god."
"He was upset about yesterday, too, Kurt. He doesn't… he heard you on the phone… and he knows you were crying. He's… afraid of upsetting you. He doesn't want you to be upset because of him anymore. And he thinks he's dad left for LA because he hates him. You should… he looked so sad… he's so sorry, Kurt. Please don't bite his head off."
Kurt looks like a deer caught in headlights before he finally manages to stutter "I… I need to go find my son, Blaine."
Blaine just nods and steps aside. He barely remembers to follow him as Kurt falters, noticing the girl, sparing her a glance before he pushes the office door open, not even asking the secretary for permission. Blaine pushes the door shut just as Kurt walks over to his son's chair and picks him up in his arms "Hey sweetie." He says softly. Jason looks surprised and confused, before accepting his father's embrace and tucking his head into his chest.
"Principal Figgins, right?"
"I would've hoped you'd have waited for me to talk to my son." Kurt says sharply. It's something to behold: Kurt's anger, Kurt's protectiveness towards his son. "I was under the impression that was the usual procedure."
"Yes, well. Everything happened too fast."
"Regardless. Anyway. My kid was provoked."
"He pushed a little girl."
"I know. And for that he deserves whatever punishment you see fit. But I need to know that the kid who called me a f-… a… huh, a fag to his face will face consequences for it."
"I was not aware of that." Figgins hurries to say, color draining slightly from his face "Are you sure?!"
"Yes." Blaine says, voice sure. Of course she wouldn't have told him the whole story.
"She told him she'd called him a name. That was all. I didn't… Are you absolutely sure? Jason, is that true?" The boy in Kurt's eyes looked at the principle, clearly holding back his tears before nodding "Blaine, could you ask Mrs. Harrow to call Cynthia's parents?"
"I already did."
"Oh." Figgins nods, clearly still stunned by the whole thing "Then, hum, we'll just wait for them, and talk to them as well. Obviously the use of that language will have repercussions."
"Good." Kurt says shortly "Is my son being expelled?"
"No. It's his first offense. He'll get off with a warning and detention once a week with Mr. Anderson for the rest of the term."
"That seems ok to me. Have a good day Principle Figgins. I'm taking my son home now." Kurt gets up and leaves, boy in his arms, just like that. Like Figgins, Blaine gapes after him before he catches himself and practically runs after them. He doesn't run much before he catches up to them in the middle of the corridor, Jason standing and Kurt kneeling in front of him, with a sad smile, holding his small hands in his larger, stronger ones. Blaine doesn't know what to do, so he just stands there, a couple of feet away, feeling completely intrusive.
"I'm sorry daddy!"
"It's ok, sweetie."
"Aren't you mad?"
Kurt cringes before he smiles "A little. I won't lie. I hate the thought of my son hitting other kids. But I don't hate you. I could never hate you. I only love you. Always. I love you from here to the Moon. From here to Pluto even! Kiddo, I love you more than anyone else in this whole wide world."
"Honey. I'll always love you! No matter what! Even when you do stupid things, ok?"
"And I wasn't upset with you yesterday."
"You were upset with dad?"
"Because of me?"
"No. Because of him. That's all. I was upset with him, no one else. It has nothing to do with you, sweetheart."
"You were mad because he didn't call me."
"Exactly. Because he didn't call you. It's not your fault."
"I… I don't want him to call me, though." Jason says after a moment of silence and Blaine watches the way Kurt looks absolutely taken aback to hear that "I don't, daddy. I don't wanna talk to dad anymore."
"What? Why not?!"
"He hurt you."
"He made you cry, daddy. And he just left. And… You're happier now. You don't cry so much. You only cry when he does something bad – and he does that a lot. So. I'm mad at him, and I don't want to talk to him ever again."
"Oh, honey, sweetie, I… He's your dad. He loves you. And whatever mistakes that he made… it's between him and me, not you."
"Yes, it is!" the boy counters "You're my daddy and I don't like it when you're sad. I don't like it when people make you sad. And I don't like people who make you sad." Jason announces, puffing out his chest "He makes you sad."
"He's your dad."
"He's still your dad."
"He still left."
Blaine watches as Kurt takes a deep breath, struggling for words, so he finally steps over and kneels and gently squeezes Jason's shoulder "Jason. Sometimes grown-ups make really, really stupid decisions. They make mistakes that really hurt other people. It's not their intention, but they do. That doesn't mean they don't love those people. Your dad loves you even if he hurt you."
"He didn't hurt me. He hurt daddy. I don't know how. They won't tell me." He adds with a pointed glare towards Kurt "But he did."
"Ok. And you have the right to be mad at him for that. But you shouldn't stop talking to him."
"Why not?! He stopped talking to us."
"He's just really busy." Kurt says softly.
"That's a lie. I don't care about him. All he does is lie!" Jason cries, eyes brimming with tears again.
Blaine is lost for words and Kurt is too. They exchange worried glances before Kurt finally sighs "Do you want to go see Dr. Pillsbury?"
"And ice cream."
Kurt sputters out a laugh "Sure, sweetie."
"Ice cream first."
"Sure." Kurt says before standing up and holding out his hand for his son.
"See you tomorrow, Mr. B." Jason says "You're really cool."
"Oh thanks!" Blaine laughs "You're pretty cool, too. I'll see you tomorrow."
Kurt looks between the two with a fond smile before turning to Blaine and sighing "I'm surrounded with coolness."
"You're pretty cool, too, don't worry." Blaine winks.
"Yeah, daddy, you're cool too." Jason pipes up, completely missing the exchange of looks between the two adults, or the way that Kurt's flushing and biting his lip "Now let's go get some ice cream!"
Blaine stares after them as Jason tugs Kurt away – completely missing or choosing to ignore the way Kurt keeps looking over his shoulder to meet Blaine's eyes.
Once Cynthia's parents arrive, five minutes later, he sits down with them and Figgins and he has a very serious, and at times, very frustrating conversation about it and isn't appropriate family conversation, and promises to make sure any more language like that from Cynthia will have very serious consequences – not just for her, but for her parents.
By the time he gets back to class (Joanna taking care of his kids while he's busy) he's got a splitting headache and is exhausted from fighting with ignorant assholes. He wishes that would be enough to call social security, but he knows better.
Blaine's phone buzzes in the middle of his class. He doesn't check it until lunchtime, and he's sitting with Tina and Sam, both of them sharing war stories on kids' fights and horrible parents. He checks out of the conversation as he texts and eats at the same time.
"I'm sitting in a coffee shop, crying my eyeballs out and trying to be discreet and graceful about it, while my son is in a therapist's office. When did my life get so fucked up? Anyway, I wanted to thank you so, so much for being the coolest teacher in the whole wide world."
"(If you ever need someone to talk about without the need to be discreet or graceful, I'm a good listener) So, (this is me hoping to lighten the mood) did he tell you about the part he kicked me in the goods?"
"I'd never felt that kind of pain before in my life. He has a mean kick."
"I think I made him angry when my first instinct was to tell him off."
"I mean, I guess I could've asked 'what happened?' instead of 'Jason what have you done?'. He just looked so betrayed."
"You know this is kind of fun. Me just saying anything and you replying with the same word every time."
"HE DID WHAT?!"
"Oh! There's a variation!"
"Seriously! Blaine. He did what?!"
"I don't think I'll ever have kids, now."
"Shit. I'm so sorry! I'll take away the TV for a month!"
"Don't. It's fine. It barely hurts anymore."
"It's not fine! He pushed a girl and he kicked you. AND you let me take him out for ice cream?!"
"So did that get you to stop crying?"
"So you were just trying to distract me and he didn't really kick you?"
"Oh no. He definitely kicked me. Right in the merchandise."
"Fuck. Blaine! You should've told me."
"It's fine. I talked to him about it. He won't do it again. And I kind of promised him I wouldn't tell, so…"
Blaine is surprised when his phones buzzes with an incoming call instead of a text.
"I have no idea what do to…" Kurt sighs.
"It was just a bad day, Kurt… Don't lose yourself in it. Just, start over from today and don't... make a big deal out of it." Blaine says softly, springing from the lunch table and completely ignoring Tina's wide eyes and Sam's grin as he leaves his plate half eaten and goes back to the privacy of his empty classroom.
"I don't just mean today… I… I'm completely lost. No one ever told me how I'm supposed to deal with all of this. Getting over my husband… that was… that was easy. I was over him in two months… I barely ate any ice cream at all, and I only watched Bridget Jones once. But… my son? My son hating his dad? Telling me he doesn't even want to talk to him? How do I stop that? Why don't I wanna stop it? Why does it make me feel better? I'm the worst father in the world…"
"Kurt, stop that. You're not the worst father in the world. It's a messy divorce, things get complicated. But Jason is a smart kid, a strong kid, and he'll be alright. If today has taught us anything is that he can actually stand up for himself, not just from Cynthia, but…"
"I know…" Kurt mumbles and maybe there's a smile in his voice "He's a Hummel, so he's got that covered. Nobody pushes the Hummel's around."
"I told you he took after you."
"Blaine!" Kurt chuckles.
"And I still mean that as a compliment."
"Blaine…" Kurt sighs and there's a long stretch of silence before Kurt breaks it "Blaine, I-"
"I'm sorry. I don't… I know you… I… this was… I'm going to… I have class, and I'm sorry for that. It was inappropriate."
"I'll go now. Goodbye, Kurt, have a nice day."
"Huh, you too, Blaine, I… thanks for everything, again."
"No problem. Anytime." He says before he hangs up and drops his phone like it's burning his hand.
Stupid, stupid, stupid Blaine and his stupid mouth and stupid feelings. He bangs his head on his desk, because maybe he can force his head to forget about Kurt and his amazing eyes, and about Jason and what it would be like to take the two of them to the movies and get ice cream afterwards, giving Jason a piggyback and holding hands with Kurt. He groans because will he ever stop falling too deep, too fast?
He only barely notices when the bell rings and he tries to get back some semblance of normalcy before kids start streaming back inside.
The next day they have tests. Maths in the morning and English in the afternoon. At home, Blaine is happy for the pile of tests to grade, as he definitely needs the distraction. It works up until the point where he grades Jason's. At first it's nerve-wracking, then it's awkward and finally it's completely… unbelievable. He reads both three times before he's sure about it.
He'd toyed with the idea, yes, but now he's sure he needs to do it – even if it means calling Kurt to school again, and talking to him after that humiliating phone call.
That's how he finds himself in the principal's office, awaiting Kurt's arrival, Jason waiting patiently outside after Blaine assured him nothing bad was happening.
Kurt arrives soon enough and looks at Blaine with a quirked eyebrow. Blaine can't even help the smile that spreads over him.
"Mr. Hummel, please sit down!"
Kurt does, on the chair next to Blaine's and smiles shyly "Did Jason do something again?"
"Oh no. Quite the opposite. Mr. Anderson?"
Blaine gave both men a tiny smile "The truth is, I've been noticing Jason's work since he started here, and it's been consistently great. I checked his file from his previous school and it was a good report, too, but… huh, we had some tests yesterday, and I was reading his and it was… it was good. Like unusually good." He explains "I didn't say anything until now, because I wasn't sure, and I thought maybe you helped him out with his homework, or something – which is fine and encouraged!" he adds when Kurt opens his mouth to speak "But these tests were taken in class, and there were other exercises too, of course… and all of it, especially his written work, is completely above average. I was thinking, we should run a few tests and… I think he could benefit from skipping a year."
"Skipping a year?"
"Going straight for fifth grade once this year stops. I could use my weekly time with him to advance his studies, get him caught up with the fourth grade."
"Are… Wait? Really?!"
"Yes. Most of his disruptive behavior in my class stems from clear boredom. He's annoyed that I'm teaching something so easy, and he's even more annoyed when his classmates have trouble catching up to it. I really think it would do him good." He smiles, having made his case.
The conversation is easy, and with Kurt's blessing, Figgins promises to call in experts so they can assess the situation better.
As they leave, awkwardly telling each other to go first – Kurt finally doing so, and Blaine following him out –, Kurt pulls him aside, hand at his elbow.
"Blaine." He says, barely above a whisper "Just so you know…" he looks to make sure no one is listening to them "I don't care if it was inappropriate, Blaine. We had agreed that… inappropriate was good, remember?" He says before letting his hand trail down Blaine's forearm and skim his hand, as he steps back and away, leaving with a soft, tempting smile. "I'll see you tomorrow!"
"Tomorrow?" Blaine frowns, resisting every urge to walk after him.
"Ms. Chang called to ask me for help with the sets for the school play." Kurt says with a smile "So, I'll see you tomorrow." He turns to where his son is sitting "Come on, Jason, or you'll be late for the appointment with Dr. Pillsbury."
"Oh." Blaine says stupidly as he watches them leave.
Blaine loves painting the sets (painting he can do – it's only drawing that has him failing miserably). Tina knows that, he'd agreed to help with those weeks ago. Tina set this up. He hates Tina. Tina and her bright idea of getting him in the same room with Kurt while they work in ratty old clothes and get paint all over themselves and look ridiculous and… probably adorable.
He loves Tina.
He tells her that over the phone as he looks over his wardrobe and tries to decide which clothes are bad enough to ruin, but good enough to look acceptably good in. Old jeans and white T-shirt it is.
Tina is enthusiastic about it, and Blaine is, like always reluctant. The voice in his head is still loud, no matter what Kurt himself says. Kurt is a dad. Kurt has just been through a divorce. Kurt should not be an option.
The next day, however, it's very hard to remember that when, after classes, he walks into Tina's practice room, set pieces spread all over, cans of paint and brushes stacked neatly on a table, he has to contain a gasp as Kurt is already in there, talking to Tina in ridiculously tight jeans and a worn black T-shirt that says NYADA.
Blaine tries no the gape too much as he approaches them, his class in tow.
Kurt swirls around and Blaine blushes and doesn't miss the way Kurt looks at him, suddenly feeling scantily clad in his sleeveless NYU shirt (it was his workout tee and he'd cut the sleeves to get rid of the sweat stains) "I didn't… I didn't have anything else." He explains.
Kurt just smiles "It's very fashionable. And flattering." He adds in a whisper.
"Well!" Tina interrupts and Blaine nearly pulls a muscle on his neck turning to her too fast "Let's distribute this, shall we?!"
Sam and Finn are helping, too – having arrived a little late – and so each adult takes five kids, dividing the sets between them.
Blaine thanks god he gets little Jimmy on his group – the boy's hyperactivity keeps him from getting too many chances to loose himself in looking at Kurt, and Kurt's, tight, tight jeans stretching over his ass, or the paint on his arms making every stretch of muscle shine, or his colorful smile each time he talks to a kid, or the tongue peeking out whenever he's concentrating really hard.
"Mr. B!" Lilly calls him out of his reverie "I don't know how to make a cloud…!"
"I'll show you, sweetie." He says with a smile, thankful for the distraction.
He hops to her side and crouches down next to her, taking a brush, wrapping her fingers around it and then wrapping his hand around hers. He explains the movements as he makes them, making sure she's got the hang of it before he lets go and smiles broadly "That looks very cool!" he tell her as she continues and she beams up to him before going back to her painting. He refrains from ruffling her hair – his hands are painted a deep shade of multi-color by now – and looks up to see if anyone else needs help.
His eyes lock on Kurt's, instead, who's smiling fondly and Blaine can't help smiling back, he does try to hide it, ducking his head and his hand fleeting from pinching the bridge of his nose to scratching the back of his neck, and then Kurt's clear, tinkling laugh fills the room. Blaine startles and as he lifts his head every kid around his bursts out laughing.
Kurt stands, taking a cloth and wiping his hands on it before walking over and kneeling in front of Blaine "You got paint all over your nose, Mr. B."
"Oh!" Blaine reaches up to touch it, only to stop himself before he could look like yet a bigger idiot. Instead he feels his heart hammering out of his chest when Kurt lifts the cloth to his face and starts wiping gently at his nose.
"It's not coming out…" Kurt squints "the cloth's too dirty, actually, it's just making it worse."
Kurt just chuckles and scrunches up his face.
"Oh well, don't worry about it." Blaine says, making sure his hand is still sufficiently dirty before his wipes it across Kurt's face "At least that way we can match!" he laughs, as Kurt just gasps.
The kids' laughter is absolutely infectious and everyone is roaring, while Blaine can just about make out Jason's voice saying "Oh my god! He's so dead!" before he collapses in giggles.
"Mr. Anderson!" Kurt gasps before he flat out plunges a random brush in a can and wipes it across Blaine's face, catching him wide across the forehead.
"Kurt!" Blaine gasps "There are kids watching! Think of the example you're setting!" Blaine gasps, and takes the opportunity of a completely gaping and fuming Kurt to get his hand on a can and splash it in full dripping glory to his cheek.
"Alright! Alright!" Tina calls, coming between them "That's enough!"
"That is not enough!" Kurt says at once, looking purposefully at Blaine, who's grinning, smug with victory.
"Yes, it is. You're going to start a paint war, ruin all the work we've done! And get the kids into it, too!" She warns, concealing her amusement way too well and managing to be sufficiently intimidating "Now, go to sink and wash your faces!"
They look sufficiently chastised as they stand and walk to the sink; Blaine waiting patiently while Kurt splashes water and scrubs furiously at his face. He offers a towel with a smile when Kurt finally turns to him, water dripping all over. Kurt snatches it from Blaine's head, hiding his own smile with a poor excuse for a scowl. Blaine can't help giggling before he bends over the sink and does the best he can at washing his face. He closes the tap before stretching his hand for the towel – he receives it, as well as a bump to his hip that make his knees buckle a little and he fumble for balance. He catches Kurt's chuckles as he walks away, having disappeared into the sea of kids by the time Blaine's done drying his face.
It's even harder keeping his eyes from straying after that, but practically every time they do he founds Kurt staring back, and it's even harder keeping himself from returning coy smiles.
Once everything is satisfyingly painted and he's finished returning kids to their respective parents and politely smiling and commenting on the ruined clothes, he returns to help Jason finish washing the brushes off. Kurt's with Tina, putting lids back on the paint cans. "So, did you have fun?!"
"Yes. But my daddy's going to be mad at you, you know?"
"Because you put paint on his face! He hates it when people put things on his face."
"Oh my…" Blaine pretends to worry.
"I do hate it when people put things on my face." A voice startles them and Blaine turns to face Kurt "But I may forgive Mr. B if he apologizes properly."
"I'm sorry…?" Blaine offers with a slight smile.
"Tse, tse. Try again." Kurt says dismissively before he wraps his arms around Jason and lifts him up "Let's go, little guy! You need a bath! With bleach!"
"Doesn't he need to apologize?!" Jason says, but wraps his legs around Kurt's hips and his arms around his neck, nonetheless.
"Oh, the wound's still fresh. He can apologize later." Kurt shrugs before giving Blaine a pointed look "Now we need to go, because daddy hasn't worn these jeans since college and he forgot he used to be anorexic then, so he's pretty sure circulation south of the equator has stopped by now."
Blaine can barely contain his snort and watches as they leave "Bye Mr B!" Jason calls over Kurt's shoulder.
"Bye Jason! Have a nice weekend!"
On his way home Blaine passes by a florist shop and something inside of him snaps because in less than a minute he's calling Tina.
"Are you still at school?"
"Yeah, just about to leave actually."
"Can you go to my desk and check Jason's file for his address?"
"Why?" she teases.
"I need to apologize for the paint war." Blaine says simply.
"I'll want details." Is all she says before she hangs up. Three minutes later he gets a text with the address, so he turns to the smiling lady behind the counter and says "Do you deliver?"
He beams and picks an unpretentious, but beautiful bouquet of colorful daisies, adds a pretty card and scrawls I'm sorry! :) over it. He leaves the shop with a spring in his step. Tina is right. There are no laws against it. And he shouldn't waste something special just because the circumstances aren't perfect.
An hour later he receives a text saying.
"Apology accepted. So, so accepted."
On Saturday he rings Finn to wish him a happy birthday and gets himself talked into a barbeque. It's not exactly hot, but it's warm enough that it might be pleasant, so he says yes and quickly dresses himself. It isn't until he's on his way over that he remembers Finn is Kurt's brother, and so Kurt will probably be there. His wardrobe choices suddenly seem completely wrong.
With a deep breath he climbs out of the car, clutching the wine bottle in his hand for dear life.
A smiling Rachel who lets him in and graciously thanks him for both his presence and the wine opens the door. He meets Finn soon and hugs him, slapping his back and laughs and congratulates him. Finn's kids pop out of nowhere with shouts of "BLAINE!" having apparently grown a ridiculous amount since Blaine emergency-babysat them last year. At that Jason comes sprinting and wraps his arms around his waist "Mr. B! You're here!" he says and beams up at him "Awesome! Come! I need to show you my bike! I got it last week on my birthday and daddy let me ride it all the way here!"
"Cool!" he gasps letting the boy drag him away and exchanging helpless, amused looks with Finn and Rachel. They reach the bike and Blaine is sure to be appropriately enthusiastic "Wow! That is such a cool bike! I love red! I'm so jealous! Can I ride?!"
"No!" the boy giggles "It's too small for you!"
"Oh shoot." He sighs "Are you a good biker?"
"I'm the best!"
Blaine can't help the laugh that escapes him at that.
"Do you want to come draw with me?"
"I can't draw. You know that."
"I'll teach you, come on, Mr. B!"
The kid drags him away again and Blaine really doesn't have the heart to tell him he was supposed to be here to be with the grown ups and not the kids – and even if he did, he wouldn't. Jason is terrific, when he's not angrily kicking your balls.
They settle down on a small table crayons around them. Jason is actually pretty good at it. Blaine is hopeless. Blaine is attempting his second house on a hill (while Jason was pretty much drawing the shit out of a race car), when he feels someone watching them and he looks around to find Kurt leaning against a table with a beer in his hand, surrounded by two couples, but looking directly at Blaine. He raises the beer towards Blaine in a toasting gesture before mouthing Hi. Blaine gives him a small wave and smiles before Jason's voice pulls him back to their table.
Blaine frowns at the question and tries not to laugh too hard "What?"
"Not Mickey's dog, I know that one. But… You know how you were teaching us about the moon and the solar system. I told daddy I love him from here to the moon, like he tells me all the time, and I told him how far that was and Daddy said he loved me from here to Pluto. What's Pluto?"
"Oh, it's… huh… it's like a planet, but not really. Well, it used to be a planet, but then they decided it was too small to be a planet and they said it couldn't be one. It comes after Neptune. You remember Neptune, right?"
"Huh-huh! But why did they think that? Why can't it be a planet just because it's small?! You're short and you're still awesome."
Blaine actually laughs at that, the height jokes having long since stopped stinging as much – and this time it came with a pretty cool compliment from a pretty cool kid "You are absolutely right. Personally, Pluto used to be my favorite planet, so I will always think of it as a planet. So…"
"Oh." Jason says and then he goes back to his drawing like nothing ever happened. It's another while before he speaks again "Daddy says I'm meeting with some people on Monday. He wouldn't tell me what it was about but I heard him on the phone with Uncle Finn. He said they're going to see if I'm like… super smart of whatever."
"Is that true?"
"If I am… a-are you going to stop being my teacher?" Jason asks, his voice small and fearful. Blaine has a hard time controlling his smile at that.
"No! No, buddy! Not this year. If it turns out you are, we're going to start spending your detention learning a bunch of new stuff so you don't have to take fourth grade, and you'll go straight to fifth."
"Oh. Ok." He says, going back to his drawing. They sit in silence for a while before Jason looks up again and says "My dad is a lawyer, and he's super smart. He went to Harvard."
"Do you think if it turns out I'm super smart too he'll come back?"
Blaine's not quite sure what to say to that and he wants to slap himself when "I thought you didn't want him to come back." is what comes out.
"I don't!" the boy says at once before shrugging and munching on his lip "but… I… I'm just wondering… do you think so?"
"I don't think it works like that, buddy." He says softly.
"Do you think he left because he thought I wasn't smart enough?"
"Jason, your dad didn't leave because of you. And he certainly didn't leave because you weren't smart enough! You're plenty smart! I would know, I'm your teacher!"
"Even if those men on Monday say I'm not super smart!"
"Jason…" Blaine sighs, pulling his chair closer to the boy so he can look in his eye "Remember that first talk we had? The first real talk we had? When I told you people don't have to be good at everything?"
"Well, they don't have to be… geniuses either. You don't have to be super smart. If you are that's great, if you're not that's great, too! Just like being small shouldn't make Pluto any less of a planet, no matter what other people say. It's still a planet, and it's still a kickass planet." He grins as Jason seems to be catching on to what he's saying and he takes the boy's hands into his for emphasis "Listen, no matter what happens on Monday, no matter what they say about you, the truth is that you're Jason, and Jason is pretty awesome, whether he is super smart or not. You don't have to know everything, you don't have to get every problem in class right – you don't have to always be right, Jason." Jason eyes him carefully as if he's trying to understand Blaine's words, so Blaine takes his hand and squeezes before he says "No matter what, I'll still be proud of you."
"Because all that matters to me is that you try to get the right answer and that you work hard for it, and that I know you do. And because you're a really nice kid. Never underestimate being nice, Jason – nobody likes a meanie, ok?"
Jason gives him a brilliant smile.
"And because that is a really awesome drawing. How do you do that?!"
Jason laughs "I don't know… I just do."
Just then they're interrupted and Blaine's nose is filled with the fresh smell of aftershave and cologne when Kurt crouches by the table "Jason, sweetie, your cousin's were looking for you. They wanted to play hide and seek."
"Oh! Cool!" He gasps before sprinting off.
"I'm so sorry he kidnapped you!" Kurt sighs standing and offering Blaine a hand to help him up from his mini chair "He just adores you. Every time I pick him up from school, there's a full hour of him telling me all about the awesome things you did that day. Two hours if there was a song that day."
Blaine tries no to blush as he laughs "I'm sorry…?"
"Oh, no! I quite enjoy it." Kurt says with a smirk.
Before Blaine can say anything close to flirtatious a large, black woman stops to stand next to them "Hey! Kurt! Are you going to introduce me to your friend, here?!" she drawls.
"Oh!" Kurt gasps and smirks before allowing Blaine a better view of Mercedes and introducing them "Blaine, this is my friend Mercedes. Mercedes, this is Blaine Anderson, my son's teacher, who is gay."
"Oh." Mercedes deflates at once with an eye roll "Figures. Every time." She mumbles and Blaine exchanges a glance with Kurt who's clearly biting back a laugh "Every singl-wait. Oh!" she gasps, suddenly much perkier, looking between the two of them with a grin "Oh! Oh!"
"Oh?" Blaine frowns, while a red-faced Kurt who's not laughing anymore suddenly has his hands on Mercedes's shoulders and is pushing her away.
"I will catch you later, Blaine!" he calls while Mercedes cackles and parrots his words in a teasingly infatuated tone.
He catches Blaine later when Kurt's coming out of a bedroom and Blaine out of the bathroom. "Hey…"
"So… Jason is staying the night with his cousins, and Finn and I… oh, and Noah and Sam, I guess, were going out for drinks later tonight… Did they tell you?"
"Huh, I think Sam mentioned, but I didn't… I didn't think you'd…" Blaine looses his words a little bit once he noticed exactly how close they're standing.
"I am… so."
"So…?" He prompts, his eyes completely glued to Kurt's.
"Come out with us?"
Kurt's lips twitch with a smile and Blaine can't hide his own, stepping a little closer before he can realize what he's doing.
"KURT! YOUR SON JUST ATE DIRECTLY FROM FINN'S BIRTHDAY CAKE!" Rachel's voice calls from downstairs and Kurt hangs his head with a deep, miserable sigh while Blaine does the same with ill-concealed laughter "WITH HIS BARE HANDS!"
"I swear to god." Kurt mutters before he turns on his heel and disappears down the hall.
Blaine follows him downstairs after a while to find a furious Kurt holding two small but very messy hands, covered in cake and icing. Blaine looks around to find the birthday cake missing a good chunk.
"Tony dared me to do it!" Jason cries in self-defense.
"I don't care if Tony dared you to jump off a bridge! You are not having any more cake! In fact you aren't having more cake in two weeks! In this family we are civilized and we wait for the cake to be cut, and we use a knife to cut it, and we eat it in a plate with a fork – or a spoon at the very least! We are not savages!"
Everyone around them is clearly suppressing laughter. Blaine thinks he can see Kurt doing just that too, as he finally turns around and drags a chastised Jason to the bathroom.
"I love you from here to Pluto, daddy…" he thinks he hears Jason meekly say, and he has a hard time not collapsing with laughter.
"Blaine, dude!" Finn puts an arm around his shoulder and pulls him away from the spectacle with a wide grin "Dude, a bunch of us guys are gonna hit the city tonight for a few drinks and actual party, you should come!"
"I – yeah! Sure!"
"So, I'm going to head home and change to something more… you know, and… I'll meet you where…?"
"Oh, we'll pick you up! Kurt's the designated driver. He never drinks." He beams before pulling Blaine in for a quick "So, thanks for coming and I'll see you later, dude."
"Yeah, see you later."
At home Blaine wonders how one dresses for a date that isn't actually a date, but a perfect excuse for one.
He decides to go for form fitting jeans and burgundy dress shirt, less gel on his hair and his best pair of shoes. He eats a few bites of leftovers before Sam calls him telling him to get his ass to the car. He grabs his leather jacket – yes, he's that desperate – and leaves quickly, snatching up his wallet, and his keys.
He doesn't get to look at Kurt properly because he gets stuffed in the back seat next to Sam, and a big bulking guy that must be the Noah Kurt had been referring to. He stretches his hand across Sam and says "Hey, I'm Blaine. Blaine Anderson!"
"Hey, Noah Puckerman. Puckzilla. Yo." He says as he bro fists Blaine's hand instead of shaking it.
Blaine just smiles and chuckles while he retrieves his hand.
"Please excuse Noah. He thinks he's still in high school." Kurt says from the driver's seat.
Noah rolls his eyes before saying "I told you, only Berry's allowed to call me that, and it's only because she's always called me that, anyway."
"Yes, but then I wouldn't annoy you as much as you annoy me."
Blaine bites his cheek to keep himself from chuckling and enjoys the snark that flies between the two as they move through the city. They finally park on a street lined with bars and pubs and Blaine follows the rest of them as they go straight into one that says "OPEN MIC" on its door. Blaine recalls Jason telling him about his dad's friends all being good singers.
They take up a fairly large booth – Blaine is practically pushed into sitting next to Kurt by a very nonchalant Sam. Once Sam scoots in next to Blaine he leans in close and smiles "Don't worry, bud, I got your back. I'm your wingman!"
Blaine gives him a look before leaning back and saying "I don't think I need a wingman, Sam, but thanks. Do you?"
"Get Kurt to give me her friend's number…?"
"Which friend? What about that girl you went on a date with last week or something? You were in love!"
"I was. She… didn't call me back. So. And… Mercedes."
Blaine raises his eyebrows and smiles "Mercedes?!"
"Yeah." Sam beams, excited.
"I'll see what I can do." Blaine bumps their shoulders before turning to Kurt who's ordering his non-alcoholic drink. He smiles, waiting for the waiter to turn to him and he orders his own, very much alcoholic – he could use the liquid courage tonight (although he's pretty sure he'll keep it at one drink and only get that nice, soft buzz; too much courage would be a bad thing) "So…" he turns to Kurt "What about that NYADA T-shirt? I know my Broadway, and I'd know if you worked there… I know Rachel does – she's phenomenal, by the way, but… I never saw you on any stage."
Kurt beams "I can't believe you noticed that!"
"Oh, but I did. I considered Broadway, remember? I told you that. I looked into NYADA before I changed my mind. They were very… exclusive."
"They are. I went there. I graduated there."
"Yes, but you're right. I'm not on Broadway. Or… any stage, really. I got a couple of small parts after college and my stage career, although cut short, was actually starting to pick up. But I missed my old intern job at more than I expected. I took a break from the stage, went back to Vogue, didn't miss the stage, stayed at Vogue. My old boss was so thrilled that when she decided to move on to bigger and better adventures she gave me her position. So here I am, running ."
"Wow!" Blaine gasps "You gave up a Broadway career?! That's… That takes guts."
Kurt shrugs "Shortly after that I got married anyway, and… when I started wanting kids I knew the Broadway schedules were pretty impossible for that, so it really was for the better."
"You never regret it?"
Kurt receives their drinks from the waitress, hands Blaine his and sips his own "No, not really. I got all the stage I need in my shower. Do you?"
"I never had a career to give up in the first place."
Kurt gives him a pointed look before rephrasing "Do you regret not pursuing it?"
Blaine shakes his head as he takes a sip, swallowing before saying "Definitely not. I still sing, though – all the time. I just… do it for myself."
"And for your students." Kurt smirks and Blaine nods with a grin "Jason says you're amazing. But then again he says everything you do is amazing. You know you're making my life pretty hard, right? I can't compete with the awesome Mr. B!"
Blaine laughs "It's probably the novelty. He'll get over me soon enough. Don't worry."
"Yes, well, he still loves Ms. Chang the most, so… she's got us both beat."
"Oh, you can't tell her that." Blaine urges "She'll never shut up about it."
"I won't, but she probably knows. I mean, he blushes every time he says her name."
Blaine chuckles and takes another sip before shrugging "I don't know, I was pretty clueless the first time it happened to me. It wasn't until it was Valentine's Day and the girl came up to me with her card and flat out asked me to be her boyfriend that I noticed. Turns out, everybody knew but me." Kurt laughs into his drink "In my defense, it was my first year teaching!"
"I bet it happens every year." Kurt says teasingly.
Blaine blushes before saying "Not this year, no."
"Oh… I wouldn't say that." Their eyes are locked and Blaine can feel a tug to lean in closer, sees the way Kurt licks his lip and the corner twitches up in the ghost of a smile "Let's sing a duet…"
Blaine refuses to be turned into a puddle of jelly so he makes his voice drop as low as it can, and he flicks his eyes towards Kurt's lap before smirking and saying "I'd much rather dance."
He feels a small sense of victory and pride as he watches Kurt exhale and his eyes become slightly clouded as he says "Or that." and he takes Blaine's hand and turns to push Finn and Puck out of the way, so they can move to the dance floor – on the way out of the table Blaine barely manages to down the rest of his drink.
Before they're completely immersed in a crowd of dancing bodies Blaine still catches Finn's surprised tone "What?! Are they like…?"
"Dude?!" Sam's voice trails after them "Are you blind?!"
Blaine chuckles until they reach a fairly good spot, and then Kurt's hands are on his waist, holding tight and pulling close. Blaine refrains from gasping out "Oh my god!" but he does sigh, long and heavy before he lets a hand settle on Kurt's firm chest and another around his neck. The music isn't perfect, but it's enough of a pretext to move in slow, deep movements that bring their bodies closer by the second. Once they're flush against each other Blaine can finally feel the alcohol in his system, and between that and the fact that he can't smell anything except Kurt, he's not sure he can decide if that's good or bad.
One of Kurt's hands move to cradle the back of his hair, fingers splaying and carding through his curls, tugging slightly, making Blaine practically moan as drops his head against Kurt's shoulder, and let's his hand grip Kurt's shirt a little tighter as his hips move against Kurt's. He slides his hand through the back of Kurt's shoulders, and settles it over the back of his neck, nails scratching slightly as he moves to cup his jaw.
"Jesus, Blaine…!" Kurt pants, pulling back slightly so he can look into his eyes "If you keep doing that I'm going to get hard." He laughs nervously and even in the dark dance floor Blaine can see he's blushing. It's hard wrapping his head around the fact that the person turning him on so much right now is the exact same that blushes and giggles like that. It's hard wrapping his head around the fact that he doesn't have to choose between either, because Kurt is perfect – Kurt is everything he's ever wished for. Kurt with his bright, eager eyes, his blushes and his teasing smirks.
He wants to lean in and kiss him – press their lips together and find out if Kurt's lips are as amazing as they look – but instead he shakes his head. "I can't."
"What?" Kurt frowns, and just like that they've stopped dancing.
Blaine drops his hands from Kurt's body and runs a hand through his head "I'm sorry, Kurt, I want to, but I can't do this. I can't be your rebound guy. I'll just…" he takes a deep breath, not even sure he wants to say it but he does anyway "I'll just end up falling for you and then I'll get my heartbroken when you decide you're over me, so… I can't. I'll just… I'll just go now."
"What?! Blaine!" Kurt calls after him, but he doesn't stop, barely pausing to leave some money on the table as he rushes out of the bar and hails a cab.
He ignores all of the texts he receives afterwards – most are from Kurt but there are a lot from Sam and a couple from Finn. He switches the phone off and, as soon as he closes his apartment door, he discards his clothes and gets into the shower.
He spends his Sunday watching TV and dozing off at hour long intervals. He regrets it. He regrets it so much. He shouldn't never have left, he should have stayed and talked to Kurt. He should have just told him what was wrong and listened to Kurt's answer. But now… Now he'd made an ass of himself, Kurt probably wouldn't ever talk to him again, let alone want to hear him out or go out with him.
After two in the morning, in a moment of insanity he texts Kurt.
"I'm so sorry."
Horrified he goes to sleep before he can do anything worse.
In the morning it's particularly hard to get out of bed, but he manages, and takes a long shower – he even shaves.
Back in school he tries not to look too miserable when Jason comes in and instead he smiles. The boy smiles brightly back. It's, therefore, safe to assume Kurt hasn't trash talked Blaine, yet.
"Ready for the meeting after school?" Blaine asks softly.
"Yeah! I'm going to show them how smart I am!"
"Awesome!" They high five.
"I read all about Pluto yesterday, Mr. B! It's my favorite planet, too! I've decided I want to be an astrophysicist so I can prove Pluto is a real planet. At least that's who daddy says studies the planets. I thought it was astronauts. They're cool, but I'm glad I won't have to wear those funny suits or go on the rocket ships. They look cool, but I'm kind of scared of flying, anyway, and I'm really scared of heights." He says in a fast sprint and Blaine can tell just how nervous he actually is.
"That is very cool, and you'll be a great astrophysicist." He gives Jason a small hug and then tells him to take his seat.
It's not the best lesson Blaine has ever given – he's distracted, and slightly exasperated. But at the end of the day it's the best he can manage and he's pretty sure he just needs an ice cream and a Disney movie and he'll be fine by tomorrow.
He bids every student but Jason goodbye for the day, and then takes his hand and takes him to Figgins' office. The men that came to talk to Jason are already there and waiting, and he introduces himself to them. He's about to suggest they use their classroom when he sees Kurt approaching through the glass door.
Trying not to cower under the desk or something, he braves through it as Kurt steps inside and shakes everyone's hands including his. He can't bring himself to look up, though, and he wonders if Kurt did.
"So, maybe you'll want to use my classroom?" Blaine says, clearing his throat.
"Yes, that would be great. Show us the way?" one of the men says.
Blaine, Jason, Kurt and the two men walk in silence, nervous energy buzzing between them. Before they go inside they turn towards Kurt and says "We'll talk to you afterwards."
"Of course." Kurt nods, and the two men slip inside with Jason, leaving the door half open.
Blaine walks to one of the chairs on the hallway, next to the opposite door, and drops onto it with a sigh.
Kurt's voice is soft and hesitant, and while Blaine is still looking at the floor he watches Kurt's feet come into view with slow, careful steps. He chances looking at his face and he finds him smiling gently.
"Hi…" Blaine offers with a cringe.
"Hey." Kurt says sitting next to him "Can we talk?"
"Y-you want to talk to me?"
"I thought you'd be mad at me."
"My ego might be bruised, but it'll live." Kurt shrugs. There's a stretch of silence where both of them seem to be looking for words, and then Kurt finally sighs and says "You wouldn't be the rebound, Blaine." Blaine turns to look at him, confused and Kurt half smiles "I've had my rebound. It was a friend, an old friend. He's had feelings from since… since high school, really, and I never wanted anything romantic with him… but when all of that shit went down he was there, and… my self esteem was pretty low, and… the way he looked at me, Blaine, was like I was his personal god, or something. It was so… and sure the sex wasn't great but at least he wanted to sleep with me, right? But then one day I was doing laundry and his clothes were there with Jason's and mine and I was horrified. What the hell was I doing? I was living with someone because he thought I was a dream, and… well, it was like I woke up from a trance, and I realized the situation had to end. It wasn't fair to anyone, and especially to Jason."
"So, yeah, I've had my rebound. And I've had time after that, too. I've rebuilt my self-esteem from scratch, I got over my feelings for my ex, I've accepted myself as I am, single or not. I don't want or need another rebound, and you'd never be that. Sure you make me feel good about myself, but… I want you, too. I like you as much as I like the way you make me feel – or the way it feels when you smile at me, and… well. I'm rambling now."
Blaine gives a half chuckle "It's ok. I like it. I think it's cute."
Kurt gives him a smile "And I know what freaked you out, and maybe it should've freaked me out too. To be honest I didn't – I wasn't – I never planned for things to get so intense so fast. All I wanted was a dance. And then I wanted to date you – slowly. I wanted to go to dinner with you, and then have coffee a couple of times, and then at least two movie dates, and then another dinner, and then dinner at my place, afterwards you'd get to know my friends and we'd go out with them a few times, and then just us two to dance some more, and then, finally, a weekend afternoon with Jason and I, where we'd get ice cream – or hot pretzels because it'll be winter by then – and we'd come over to my place and Jason and I would cook you dinner, and then you'd stay the night. But all of this would take at least two months, because I want to take things slow, and make sure you are not a rebound."
"Oh." Blaine gasps "Really?"
"Really." Kurt nods "I really like you, Mr. Anderson, and I would never let myself use you for something like a rebound. I want something real, something that lasts, and I want that with someone like you. Well, I want that with you."
He smiles, and Blaine can feel his own eyes wide open and glued to Kurt's in awe. He beams "I'd really like that." He says, his voice barely above a whisper as he contains his enthusiasm.
Kurt bites his lips carefully before leaning closer and nudging Blaine's shoulder with his own, Blaine shifts enough so that he can face Kurt, and their knees touch. Taking Kurt's hand in his, in a leap of faith, he leans closer until their noses are touching and Kurt's eyes are so close to his that they're verging on blurry. He waits, smiling and waiting for Kurt to close the rest of the distance.
When he does his eyes slip shut at once, and he barely holds a sigh as soft lips press gently to his. It starts off appropriately innocent for a first kiss in a school hallway, but then Blaine can't hold back his sigh anymore and he breathes, and his hand cups Kurt's neck, keeping him close, closer. Kurt shuffles towards Blaine's body too, his hand caressing Blaine's cheeks, thumb running over his jawline with both eagerness and heat.
They pull back with a deep breath, and Blaine's relieved to see he's not the only one blushing as he beams, and Kurt, chuckling, drops his head to Blaine's shoulder.
"So," Blaine says carefully, conquering his blush "how does Wednesday work for you?"
"That dinner. Think you can manage Wednesday?"
Kurt looks up beaming and kisses him again, smiles meeting in a half giggling kiss.
- a year and half later-
A Different Kind of Picture Perfect
By Blaine Anderson
Dedicated to all the Plutos out there. Different doesn't mean better or worse. It just means different, and everyone is different one way or another – we are equal in our difference and it's in that that we find so many things worth discovering and writing about.
Special, special, special thanks to Jason and Kurt.
Jason for giving me someone to write for. Kurt for teaching me how to do it. Both for inspiring me from the first to the last word.
I'm sorry you had to read its every version.
Thank you for being my very own perfect picture, I love you both from here to Pluto.