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Darren Criss chest in flannel
Title The Bones of You
Author Stoney
Rating PG-13 - NC-17, clearly marked chapter headings when R and above
Spoilers Through a casting spoiler for 3.15, pure speculation after that
Word Count [ 6772 /148,000]
Summary It's been over 5 years since Kurt and Blaine broke up after Blaine's graduation from McKinley. Blaine is working on his M.Phil (masters) in Cambridge, UK, when a well-meaning friend sends him a link to a video. And everything in his life changes.
Warnings Blangst! Irritated Hungarians! Drunken, flirtatious Irishwomen! Shakespeare abuse! Get a cushion for your tushion, it's a long one.
A/N Title and concept from the beautiful song, The Bones of You by Elbow. The incomparable flaming_muse has held my hand and pushed me to make this work for three months, now, and saved it from the recycle bin more than once. If you like it, thank her. :) I know I do.

MORE NOTES BELOW THE CUT. (posting sched, etc.)

1. You can dl at the AO3, where this story is also hosted (sans music and images).

2. I have a scrapbook for this, too!

3. Music! This story has a soundtrack! [TRACKLIST HERE] COVER ART - if you like that sort of thing - for your music files can be found here. It's also the image in each of the e-files. :)

4. BLAINE IS AN AMERICAN LIVING ABROAD. He is still an American, and speaks as one. This is a work of fiction, etc. etc. thank you. :)

Chapters 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17...21

* * * * *


* * * * *

Blaine Anderson was struggling to get all of his things together to make it to a lecture on time; he sidestepped his flat-mate, who was also racing to get out the door. Blaine didn't have to look up to know that Janos was still irritated with him from the night before, but Dfor the life of him, Blaine couldn't figure out why. He had practiced his pronunciation of “cheers” in Hungarian from the online language videos he'd bookmarked, excited for the first night with Janos finally joining the group for celebratory drinks. Blaine was sure he'd gotten it right; at the pub he'd checked his hand where he'd even written the word down, just in case. “Egészsegedre!” He was positive that he had the right accents in there. Mostly positive. Well...pretty sure. His hand had been kind of sweaty and the ink had smudged just a bit and he'd already had a few beers.

It wasn't as bad as when Blaine had first met the guy and wanted to give him a proper Hungarian greeting. He had taken Janos' hand in both of his, saying, “Kézi csókolom!” That hadn't gone over well at all. Blaine thought he was using a formal greeting, not realizing that it was only a greeting you give to an elderly person. And particularly a woman. Janos had promptly informed him of his mistake. Then Janos had learned that Blaine was gay and had spent the first few weeks avoiding any eye contact.

It had been seven awkward weeks living together and, from the look of things, would continue to be awkward. Janos grabbed his coat off the rack by their front door, knocking Blaine's wool pea coat to the ground. He didn't bother to pick it up, Blaine noted. Janos muttered “Viszlát,” as he raced out the front door, the cold wind whipping the research papers that Blaine had been trying to straighten into a jumble all over the floor.

“Son of a...” Blaine sighed and gave it up as a bad job for the time being. He was running late and having one of those mornings where he continually fell a step behind at every turn. He'd slept through his alarm, forgotten to buy more coffee yesterday and evidently had said something to piss off Janos last night, who was still holding a grudge. But then, Janos was easily pissed off, Blaine was realizing, so he simply dismissed that for the time being, too overwhelmed by the sheer number of things going wrong already. He had a no-caffeine headache slowly building on top of everything else.

Blaine was just having a bad morning, full stop.

He clicked on his email client on his laptop, making sure there were no changes in the day's schedule before heading out the door. Finally, something positive: a new email was there from “Montgomery, Wes” – someone he'd not been able to connect with in a couple of months. Wes was in the States, busy with his final year of study for his law degree and about to sit the Bar exam; Blaine was in the UK busy with his final year of getting his graduate degree in social-psychology. Drifting apart happened, unfortunately. So much of his former life seemed to have slipped out of his hands, and he knew that most of that was on his shoulders. He had put his head down and plowed through his undergraduate degree in three years only to look up and realize that while he was finishing school early, he had let people that had been important to him fall by the wayside.

Great. Another thing to feel bad about. He made a mental note to sit down tonight and send a long email back to Wes, catching him up on everything happening in Cambridge. Blaine clicked the link and saw that Wes had emailed him an embedded video with a note, “Hope this makes your day better.”

Blaine could use a feel-good something. He was just beginning his final year for his M.Phil at Cambridge, and the research, while engaging and everything he had hoped he would be studying at this stage in his academic career, was steadily kicking his ass. He felt that as an American student he had a lot to prove. He was constantly behind on sleep, trying to stay on top of his reading and research.

Probably a dog dancing or something; he loves those.

He put the day's lecture and scheduled conformity experiment out of his mind by clicking play and then pause to allow the buffer to catch up. The internet hated their building, a cold stone affair common in the city. At first it had been amazing to be living in a bit of history. Then winter set in, and Blaine missed good ol' American sheet-rock and insulation.

While he gave the video a moment to load, he tapped the stack of papers on their edge to straighten them muttering his day's schedule to himself under his breath. He clicked play once the stack was to his satisfaction, and the screen filled with an American morning show. Blaine rolled his eyes at the overly peppy hosts and moved to grab his satchel to get the research papers safely stored, figuring that he'd listen to whatever whistling dog or stupid human trick was about to come on as he packed up to leave for the lecture.

And that's when he heard it, a beautiful voice that was painfully familiar. God, that sounds just like... He dropped the satchel – the papers thankfully stowed away – and turned to his computer screen. It felt like time had stopped, that it took him forever to see proof on the screen that he'd heard what he thought he had heard. That's when he saw him.

Blaine immediately forgot that he needed to get to the lab, that he had a mountain of work ahead of him, that he'd not even eaten yet. Kurt. Kurt was on his computer screen, singing. And if he'd thought Kurt had a beautiful voice as a teenager, that was nothing to how he sounded now. Clearly his time at NYADA and whatever he'd done after had developed his voice into something truly special.

Blaine gripped the computer with both hands, his face close to the screen, breath trapped in his aching chest. Kurt was in the middle of the studio, hands clasped in front of him, eyes closed and head tilted slightly as he sang a song Blaine wasn't familiar with. He didn't care; he was transfixed by the line of Kurt's long throat, how the waistcoat he was wearing accentuated the breadth of his shoulders, the small smile on his face as he sang. It was Kurt, but now so much more than the captivating boy he had loved all those years ago.

Memories came rushing back to Blaine, tumbling over each other as if trying to assert their dominance. Kurt performing across the stage from him in their Dalton uniforms as they sang to one another. Kurt's Adam's apple bobbing as he swallowed nervously before pushing open Blaine's bedroom door after opening night for West Side Story. Kurt's head thrown back, laughing at something his dad said at Family Game Night, eyes sparkling with warmth as he turned to look at Blaine. A warm, sunny Saturday just before Blaine had graduated McKinley High when Kurt, home from his first year at university in New York City, had managed to spend the night when Blaine's parents were gone for the weekend.

That was it, that was the day that would forever be branded in his memory. Blaine's hand running through Kurt's thick hair. Kurt, eyes closed and still sleepy, turning his head to press a kiss to Blaine's inner wrist. Kurt falling back asleep and Blaine's arm going numb and how nothing on earth would have made him move and wake Kurt. Because he had known even then how precious and fleeting the moments were, even if the two of them didn't want to admit that things were changing, that life was moving too fast for them to keep up. That they were still kids and had no idea how hard life gets when you're finally on your own. He'd had that entire Saturday with the person he loved in his arms, unable to accept that it might be the last time he would get that opportunity.

Blaine swallowed around the lump that had risen in his throat at the first sound of the voice that belonged to the one person he'd ever loved. He clicked on the pause button, trying to catch his breath. Kurt was frozen mid-action on his screen, turned to the left as if he was acknowledging the hosts of the show. Why was he on the Today show? Why did Wes send him this? He scrolled back up to read the message of the email.

Hope this makes your day better.

Blaine attempted a laugh; it came out more strangled than sardonic. He noticed the clock in the lower right-hand corner of his computer screen. “Shit,” he muttered, flipping the screen closed and jamming it roughly in his satchel. He would deal with this later, whatever that meant. For now, he had about three minutes to get fifteen minutes away. He stepped out onto the slick stones that made up the walkway to his flat and pulled the heavy wooden door shut. The icy cold wind cut through every layer he had on, and he tried to stop thinking of how beautiful Kurt's collarbones had been with the midday sun shining on him at two in the afternoon on that warm and lazy Saturday, him spread out on Blaine's bed, smiling as if he wasn't about to shatter Blaine's heart into a million pieces just a few hours later.

* * * *

“...determinants and consequences of adaptive and maladaptive parental behavior are the data needed in order to progress forward when confronted...”

Blaine had a few dirty looks directed at him as he slipped into a chair in the back of the lecture hall. Well, yet another black mark for American students, I guess. One of his heroes in the field he was studying was giving today's lecture; he'd looked forward to this for weeks. And yet he could barely focus on Dr. Lamb's real world experiences in forensics psychology as his mind continued to bombard him with vivid memories, things he hadn't allowed himself to think about for years.

The look of utter surprise on Kurt's face as Blaine moved in to kiss him for the first time. How ashamed Blaine had felt later that night for not realizing sooner just how wonderful Kurt was. The bewildered happiness on Kurt's face when he'd realized Blaine had transferred to be with him during Kurt's senior year of high school. The devastation in Kurt's eyes when he'd lost the student body election. How important it had made Blaine feel that Kurt had come to him for comfort that day; how Kurt had held onto him, needing him and no one else. The first time they'd made love, how trusting and happy they were. How long and elegant Kurt's fingers were. How their hands looked when they laced them together.

Blaine was getting angry with himself. He had dealt with this years ago. Hell, before he moved to England two years prior he had packed up all of his extraneous things and sent them home for his parents to add to all of his trophies and report cards and whatever else no one could quite bring themselves to throw away. It had been a relief to add to the other stored memories trapped in their expansive attic, to put those things out of his mind and thousands of miles away instead of letting them crowd space in the back of his closet and his broken heart, choking him every time he came across a memento from back then.

In that shipment was his framed picture from junior prom with Kurt wearing his crown proudly. God, he'd been so amazed by Kurt that night. There was a small bundle of handwritten letters from Kurt's first semester at university, tied together with a bit of blue satin ribbon. It hurt just knowing they existed, knowing that those feelings so earnestly expressed by the boy he'd loved (and the letters he had written in turn, filled with his own longing and dreams for their future) had changed. Jammed into the box as a last minute thought was a heather-green Hummel Tire & Lube t-shirt that he'd foolishly worn to bed every night that first semester when Kurt was studying in New York.

He pushed all of that aside, frustrated that a song he didn't even know was capable of setting off all of these reactions in him, forcing him to remember things he had worked very hard at forgetting. He didn't want to think about the person singing the song. He wanted to be focused on his studies. Well, he would just make himself focus. This was important, not ghosts from the past. He'd done it before and he could do it again.

He set his jaw, and listened to Dr. Lamb describe a session with a twelve year old who had almost committed suicide from bullying by his peers. The session had turned out to be very productive and led to change in the boy's school in Manchester, fortunately, and Blaine scrambled to take notes on various processes and tactics used with the school administration and the local government, knowing they would come in handy one day.

As Blaine walked to the research center once the lecture was over, he gave his brain permission to mock himself. The first paper of Dr. Lamb's that he'd read was the summer before his freshman year at Brandeis. The psychologist had worked with an Irish boy in high school – delicate features, a dancer, and out – that had suffered horrible abuse by both his classmates and working class father. It had sparked a renewed interest in the “It Gets Better” campaign circling the western world at the time. Blaine had told himself that he was interested in the case for the obvious reasons: he was gay and he knew how difficult it was to be out as a gay person in a conservative place. He ignored the fact that the boy bore a striking resemblance to his former boyfriend. Consciously, at least.

When he'd arrived at Brandeis, excited by the close proximity of a cultured city like Boston and all the potential the school year held, he'd seen a flier on a bulletin board that Cambridge's Dr. Lamb would be a guest speaker at the Heller School for Social Policy on sexual harassment of LGBT people. It dovetailed so perfectly with everything he'd worked on his senior year of high school that he gladly skipped an audition for the theater department and sat in on the lecture, eyes wide and mind soaking up all of the ideas being presented.

His father was very happy by Blaine's decision to switch majors from Theater Arts to Social Justice and Social Policy. “It'll give you more options,” his father had said over the phone that night. “You can sing for others and go hungry, or you can have a career that feeds you and sing for yourself.”

Blaine told himself that he simply wanted to have a hand in making the world a better place. Hadn't that been his mantra since Dalton? He had so desperately needed someone to be there for him when he was struggling with his own identity that he'd make a point to be there for people when they were struggling. Like how he'd been there for Ku--

He laughed bitterly at himself. His entire academic career was based on a person he thought he'd never see again. It's taken you five years and two countries to finally figure this out? But that was unfair, he'd known why he'd begun to pull away from music and broaden his extracurriculars as his senior year of high school played out. It was just that once he and Kurt had severed ties, he had taken great pains to convince himself that Kurt had simply been a catalyst for him finally making a choice. That the desire to focus his life on specific things must have been buried deep within his psyche all along.

What a load of garbage. It had always been about Kurt.

* * * *

Fall, 2012

”You have to be kidding, Blaine.” Disbelief dripped from every syllable of Kurt's voice. “Didn't we learn our lesson after I came in fourth in a three-man race? People wrote in 'Slushie' as a viable candidate. This is just a bad idea.”

Blaine was glad he hadn't contacted Kurt on Skype to tell him the news; he was pretty sure his face would show how crestfallen he was. He cleared his throat. “I thought you would be happy about it. Proud, even. Kurt, I'm trying to fulfill the promise you made last year. It was a good one, one I believed in.”

“I know it was a good idea; that's why I ran on a campaign of anti-bullying. But Blaine...” Kurt sighed. Blaine could imagine him rubbing his hand over his eyes in frustration. Kurt tried again, his voice softer, missing the earlier hint of condescension. “Blaine. You and I both know how pigheaded the student body of McKinley High is. They don't care about bullying; it's practically a school-sanctioned sport. It's their own personal NASCAR. I think it's okay to accept that Lima is jam-packed with the blissfully ignorant.”

“Well, I disagree. I think they've just been too afraid to stand up to the status quo. I really think you laid the groundwork last year, and I want to build on that.” Blaine couldn't understand why Kurt wasn't being totally supportive. It had been
his campaign message, after all.

“Oh, Blaine. I think you're setting yourself up for disaster, and I just don't want you to be hurt. I can't see how this can end in anything but disappointment for you, and I don't want that to happen. But you know that I'll be here when you need soothing after your loss. Trust me, I know how this story ends: with a student body hopped up on pixie-sticks and defaced unicorn posters.

“But I
have to tell you about a class today where...”

Blaine sighed and sat back against his headboard, frustrated yet again by the distance between the two of them. How their lives were slowly pulling away from each other as Kurt became more and more enamored with the city, his school, and all of the possibilities stretched out before him. Blaine felt that his life was in a constant state of limbo with nothing to look forward to but Kurt's trips home for the upcoming holidays or the months down the road when Blaine finally graduated. He was beginning to feel that he had nothing to offer Kurt of interest. There were so many people that Kurt was surrounded by in New York that could sing, perform, dress well, be an eager listener. He felt small and provincial next to the glamour and excitement that came from living in the greatest city on earth.

And it wasn't that Kurt made him feel insignificant. It was that Kurt barely had any free time with his demanding schedule, and Blaine felt guilty when he wanted to have a long conversation about the latest assignment in Glee or relay the details of Tina's latest ensemble. Kurt surely saw far more interesting things.

If he was being honest with himself, there was a small part of him that was bothered by Kurt not noticing that Blaine was feeling so trivial by comparison. At first, Kurt was too awed by his new life and in telling Blaine every exciting thing that was happening in New York to show much interest in the boring day to day moments of life at McKinley High. Blaine couldn't blame him, and so didn't push. It
was boring. That's why they wanted to get out of Lima. But Blaine couldn't yet, and he worried that Kurt would get tired of waiting for him to finally join him.

Blaine had hoped that running for Senior Class President on Kurt's very own slogan would be something that could unite the two of them, but once again he'd apparently zigged when he should have zagged. He couldn't understand it. And instead of being supportive and encouraging like Blaine had hoped, Kurt had been...well, dismissive. After all, Kurt had bigger things happening in his life. New York things. Things that had nothing to do with his lame high school boyfriend back in Nowhere, Ohio.

Later that night, while lying in bed, Blaine tried to let go of the earlier feelings of hurt. He didn't want to be upset with Kurt. He didn't want to have a knot of worry eating away at his insides about Kurt's new friends, Simon and Geoffrey. Geoffrey. And Kurt had pronounced it “JOFF-rey,” as if it was the most clever thing. No. No. He was
not a jealous person. He wasn't going to start being a jealous person. Being jealous implied that he didn't fully trust Kurt, and that just wasn't true. Kurt was simply happy to have new friends that liked music and performing and fashion. Blaine was happy for him; he knew how hard it had been over the years for Kurt to connect with people.

He was happy for Kurt. He was. He was just feeling sorry for himself.

Blaine had gone to sleep that night staring at the black and white poster from Kurt's original campaign that he'd pinned to his ceiling, wanting Kurt to be the first and last thing he saw each day.

* * * * *

Blaine went through the motions of collecting data during the experiment on conformity that he and his research partner were working on that year. Blaine had dubbed it the “Three Men Make a Tiger” project and one of his fellows, Moira, shortened it to TMMaT, or “team mat.” Blaine would be the first to admit that he had not been anything close to resembling a team member today. He was constantly distracted. Moira at one point elbowed him, muttering, “Pay attention, Yank.”

Shaking himself a little, Blaine straightened in his chair and focused on recording reactions, slightly ashamed of himself to be called out by someone for not being diligent. His team had devised a series of photographs of people, people who were dressed unobtrusively – office workers, teachers, shop owners – and people who matched stereotypes of homosexuality – women with severe haircuts, men dressed in flamboyant outfits, and the like. Groups of three were shown the pictures together, all people chosen at random, and Blaine's team recorded their reactions when presented with the images and asked two questions: Is this person gay or straight? Would you be comfortable in close proximity to this person? After the group completed the test, the real test began: every photograph was of a person that identified as LGBT. The group's reaction to this were what they were studying.

Blaine sorted through the cards until one photograph jumped out to him. A slender young man dressed in pair of skin tight trousers, his pale brown hair styled in a severe pompadour, a pale pink sweater hanging off one shoulder and an almost coy look on his face. Blaine had chosen that particular person at the local LGBT center, thinking it would be a perfect example of how inoffensive a more flamboyant gay man could be. A sort of “See? See how charming and handsome and lovely? What is there to be offended by?” example. Surprisingly it had turned out to be one of the more polarizing images, that and the photograph of a muscled woman with her breasts bound by an elastic bandage, staring defiantly back at the camera with her thumbs hooked through her blue jeans' belt loops.

He stared at the picture, not seeing the rounded cheeks of the young man whose name he didn't know, but superimposing high cheekbones and a full bottom lip and a tiny cleft in the young man's chin.

Did he really think he was fit for a degree in psychology? Blaine scrubbed his face with both hands after putting the testing media away. What was the old saying, cobblers' wives go barefoot and doctors' wives die young? Apparently people who studied the mind and behavioral patterns were idiots. Hm, he'd have to work on the phrasing, give the saying more zazz.

Later that day he shouldered his way through the front door of his flat, shivering as he unwrapped his thick scarf and peeled off his coat. It was always freezing in this house. Ohio was no small shakes when it came to heavy-duty winter, but something about the cold in England sank right into your bones. Janos looked over the screen of his laptop and jerked his head towards the small kitchenette. “Coffee is made.”

Blaine sighed gratefully. “Thanks for picking some up.”

Janos grunted, his eyes darting back to the screen after watching Blaine move towards the other room.

All right, that's enough.

“Janos?” Blaine leaned his weight onto his hands at the counter that divided the two rooms. “I've offended you somehow, and I can't for the life of me understand why. If you don't tell me, how will I know to not do it again?”

Janos stared at him over the top of his laptop with a distasteful look on his face. “I am not interested in...a relationship like you want, Blaine Anderson.”

Blaine gaped at him, his face all confusion. “I don't– Okay.” He huffed out his breath, running a hand through his hair. He'd had odd roommates over the years; the guy that hid food in his bed “for emergencies” was definitely the weirdest but this was quickly moving up the list.

Shaking his head, Blaine said, “Hey, I get it. Not everyone has to be the best of friends, but just because you don't want to be friends with me doesn't mean we can't be friendly, right? Or...” He trailed off, hoping Janos would jump in and stop him from rambling.

Janos crossed his arms in front of him and glared back. “I told you when I moved in that I am a Catholic.”

“Yeah? And?”

“I do not do those things that you do. You are your own person; it is not for me to judge you. But I am not going to do those things with you.”

Blaine was utterly gobsmacked. If he was wearing a mustache I'd know for sure that I've stepped into Bizarro World. “Janos? And I mean this will all due respect: what the fuck are you talking about?”

Janos crossed his legs and looked back at Blaine coolly. “Clearly you desire me. But you cannot have me.”

The sheer force of the laugh that exploded out of Blaine should have made the windows rattle in their casing. Blaine clapped a hand to his mouth, trying to stifle the noise at the look of anger that flashed across Janos' face.

“Janos, I don't know where you got that idea but it never even occurred to me. Honestly.” He rubbed the back of his neck, smiling. He noted that Janos was the one looking confused so Blaine said in a teasing tone, “And just because I'm gay doesn't mean I want to hook up with every guy I meet. Sorry, you're not my type.”

“What is this? Type?” Janos looked at himself and Blaine took a moment to really look at him as well. Huh. Janos was pretty attractive. Well built from soccer – football, Blaine tried to remember - not too tall, but not too short. He had that pretty-boy fraternity-type look about him. Not that there was something wrong with that, it just wasn't something Blaine was attracted to. Janos had a terrible personality, practically nonexistent. Blaine definitely favored someone that lit up a room when they entered, someone that was engaging and interesting. Someone witty and fun. Janos was none of those things.

Laughing a bit before responding, Blaine said, “It just means that I am not 'wanting to have you,' as you so pointedly put it.”

Janos settled back in the armchair, studying Blaine's face. “But you tell me things like a man does when they desire a woman. And you honored my...backside, my asshole last night. I cannot have that, Blaine Anderson. This to me is unacceptable.”

Blaine bit his bottom lip for a moment, waiting for his brain to finally put the pieces together. “I wanted to try and make you feel at home by learning some Hungarian, but I'll be the first to admit that my accent sucks. That's why I got some links off the web to show me how to pronounce conversational phrases. Here...”

Blaine pulled his laptop out of his bag, set it up on the counter and fired it up. He loaded the page in question; Janos, curiosity evidently getting the better of him, wandered over to stand behind Blaine and look at the screen.

“This is the website where you think you are learning my language?”

Blaine craned his neck to look behind him before furrowing his brow at reading all of the fine print. Nothing looked weird. “See? It's free-translations-for-lovers-of-hungarian dot com. What's wrong with that?”

Te műveletlen Amerikai...” Janos rubbed his face with both hands then shook them at the ceiling. He pointed at the URL on the screen, his free hand on Blaine's shoulder, pushing him to look at the monitor. “Yes. For lovers of Hungarian. Hungarians. Me. I am Hungarian, Blaine Anderson, so you are telling me you love me by using this.”

Blinking at the screen for a minute, he felt his entire face heat and flood red. “I am going to kill David,” he muttered. Blaine turned around, realizing how close Janos was standing to him. He feinted left then darted around him to grab his cup of coffee. “So...are we okay?” Blaine made thumbs up with a questioning face at Janos. “Are we cool?”

Janos eyed him, then nodded once, tightly. “We are cool, Blaine Ander-”

“Blaine. Just call me Blaine. You don't have to be so formal.”

“Okay. I will do this.” Janos turned on his heel and flopped back in his chair, his demeanor completely relaxed now. He picked up his own laptop and began typing speedily. “I am telling my teammates that you do not want to be with me sexually, so they do not need to find me a new place to live.”

Blaine spluttered into his mug. “You told your team I was hot for you?”

Janos shrugged. “Now I tell them other. This is good, yes? Now we both do not have to find new roommate to live with.”

“You know what? I think I'm gonna call it.” Blaine looked at the clock on his computer. “Time of death, 9:48 PM. This day is officially dead to me.” He scooped up his computer and his coffee and walked straight to his room, shutting the door with his heel. If it slammed a little, it's just because it was a heavy wooden door, and he wanted to make sure it closed. He wasn't trying to slam the door.

He set his mug on the small, wobbly table next to his bed, tossing his laptop carelessly on the duvet. Reaching behind his head, he tugged off his sweater and polo in one move, dropped them to the floor and kicked them towards the corner. He toed off the heel of his shoes, flipping them off his feet and towards the discarded clothes. He crossed his arms and stood at the window where half of the panes of glass were wavy from years of gravity pulling on them, looking out into the dark and shivering a little as the cold seeped through the panes.

He turned back to his bed, seeing his laptop, fingers itching to bring up his email. He told himself that he didn't want to watch the video again. He didn't. What good would it do? Open more hurt, unlock more memories that didn't matter any more. Except...he needed to email his professor. So he'd send the email and that's it. He pulled on a shirt and flannel pants to sleep in, piling the blankets over his cold limbs.

After deleting some spam, the email from Wes was now at the top of the screen. He closed his eyes for a second and opened the message. His index finger hovered over his mouse as he worried his lip. He clicked play and waited for the video to load again. He opened a new tab and typed “Kurt Hummel” into the search box on Google. Several news articles were listed.

Wow. I'm really out of touch.

Blaine clicked back to the video and fast-forwarded beyond the inane banter of the hosts to the point where Kurt began singing. Now that the shock had waned (by only a tiny amount, if he was being honest with himself) he was able to really absorb what he was seeing. Kurt still had his amazing vocal range, but the control over it was even more impressive. His shoulders looked a bit broader, his neck was still impossibly long, the handsome angles of his face made him look masculine and yet he was still, well, pretty.

No, that wasn't the right word. You called things that were delicate and easily broken pretty. China dolls were pretty. Satin dresses were pretty. Kurt was beautiful. He hit pause right as Kurt was looking directly in the camera and Blaine's heart thumped in his chest with such an ache that it radiated out to every corner of his being.

He rested his head against the crumbly plaster wall behind his bed, just looking. A part of him was filled with such happiness. Kurt had made it. Kurt had made it. Everyone was realizing how amazing he was. Is, he corrected himself. How amazing he is. He had fantasized about these moments years before, how he would bring Kurt flowers, finding just the right color of red and yellow as a nod to Kurt's gesture way back when. How he'd wrap his arms around him, spinning him in a circle, so delighted and just plain happy for Kurt. It usually was accompanied by Kurt's Tony Award acceptance speech, but a performance on National Television was pretty great, too.

He came crashing down from the elation of those memories. He wasn't there to do any of that. Didn't have the right to do any of that.

He checked the email one more time, looking for a clue from Wes. Why would he send this to Blaine? As a reminder of how stupid he and Kurt had been when they were teenagers? Wes was the furthest thing from a jerk, so this made no sense.

“Keep-vid dot com.”

Blaine hadn't noticed the URL typed in after the video. A quick Google search and he found it. While he installed the program (Well, Wes was right about that much, he definitely would want to watch it again and not be at the mercy of the internet in this abominable Edwardian stone block he called his home) he clicked back to the news articles.

“Understudy's Dream Come True!” was the title of one listed on the NY Post's Theater section. “David Falchurch, star of yadda yadda,” Blaine read, “inexplicably broke his leg in the closing number of the musical written by blah blah that specifically highlights his vocal range....”

Blaine skimmed the article looking for information about Kurt. “...understudy Kurt Hummel stepped in for the Saturday performance while production decided on whether they would be closing the show until Falchurch had healed.

“As the saying goes, 'The show must go on,' and so it did to wildly positive reviews. Hummel is being referred to as the Cinderfella– ” Blaine groaned. “ –story for modern times. With his vocal range exceeding even the jaw-dropping range of his predecessor, and his angelic looks more fitting for the part of Shakespeare's Fair Youth, the powers that be behind the show should consider dropping Falchurch completely and sticking with the real deal. The standing ovations after performances have become a test of endurance, it seems. New York is smitten. Let's see if we can't hold on to this gem as long as we can.”

With a start at the Big Brother-feeling it induced, Blaine noted that the ads on the web page featured Kurt dressed in a simple linen period shirt on the cover of a Playbill. He clicked the image and realized after a moment that he was searching for available tickets after the Michelmas Term let out the first week of December. Three short weeks away, and he was free for more than a month...

What, I think I'm just going to show up? This is stupid. This is also sold out. Damn it.

He couldn't find anyone that had any tickets. He tried to tell himself how great that was, because it meant that Kurt was shooting up the ladder to success. He worried his bottom lip with his teeth as he wracked his brain, trying to think of how he could get to New York.

What am I doing? The last thing Kurt would want to see would be me. Hmm, still? I mean, I'm happy for him. I wanted this for him, and it's the right thing to do to let him know that. Sending flowers or a note would be too impersonal.

His mind flashed to a letter, the first one Kurt had sent from NYADA, one that he had read every night for a week before going to sleep.

* * * * *

Dear Blaine,

That sounds so...formal. Well, I suppose it doesn't get more formal than a hand-written letter, but don't you love getting things in the mail? That was a huge hint, by the way.

I already told you about my room – I'm calling it The Glorified Broom Closet – and my roommate when we spoke this afternoon on the phone, so I just wanted to tell you in this, my first letter from New York City, that I love you. I miss you. I know, we promised that we'd be strong and not mope, but I'm not moping. I'm just expressing how I feel, in case there are times when you worry that I don't love you completely. Because I do.

I spent the better part of the day walking through the city, imagining your hand in mine, me showing you my favorite cafe (I haven't found it yet), the place where I love to sit and watch the people (so far they all get very mad when I stop in the middle of the sidewalk), and showing you how on each and every corner of this city I could pull you to me and kiss you. I could wrap my arms around you. I could hold your body against mine when I did it. No one would care. Or, if they did, they would get over it.

I could say out loud in each and every place we go that I love you.

And I do. More importantly, I will.

I can't wait.

Yours, Kurt.

* * * * *

Blaine had wanted that so badly. He'd had dreams that last year at McKinley of the very things Kurt had described. Park benches with hands held together, laughing and kissing and being together. A new coffee shop where they could kiss and talk and love each other. He had wanted all of it so desperately.

Kurt had loved him completely, had wanted nothing but a forever in which the two of them were together. Blaine had wanted that, too.

He opened a new tab and began looking at plane tickets from London Heathrow to Columbus, Ohio.

[TBC - here]

Language notes: (My husband speaks Hungarian, so there might be a dialect he uses from the area where he lived that differs from those in Budapest, etc. - Eastern border near Transylvania, for those curious. :D )

Egészsegedre = wrong way meaning “in your butt”
Egészségedre = correct, meaning “to your health”
Sviszlát = Later; casual see ya.
Köszönöm szépen = thank you very much
Köszönöm szeretlek = thank you lover
Ön is amerikai ostoba... = you ignorant American

I AM SPOILER FREE. Please keep me that way?


( 108 comments — Leave a comment )
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Apr. 2nd, 2012 06:15 pm (UTC)
oh my GOD you wrote a new fic
I'm crying and I haven't even read it

*gets comfy and reads*
Apr. 2nd, 2012 07:03 pm (UTC)
*gets comfy and reads*

I like a person that follows directions. :D (Your butt will thank you for it. Maybe not today, but oooh, there are some monster chapters coming.)
Apr. 2nd, 2012 06:52 pm (UTC)
OMG 146,000 words?! A new chapter every day?! I so don't have time to read this right now - except its you so of course I totally will :)
Apr. 2nd, 2012 07:02 pm (UTC)
OMG, this story is a SWEEPING EPIC TALE OF LOVE LOST AND WANTING TO BE FOUND. Just make sure when you do get a chance to read (and I hope you do!) that you sit somewhere comfy. ;D
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Apr. 2nd, 2012 07:11 pm (UTC)

So proud of you. SOSOSO proud.
Apr. 2nd, 2012 07:18 pm (UTC)

I am so GRATEFUL to you. I seriously would write nothing without you. TRUE STORY. <3
Apr. 2nd, 2012 07:14 pm (UTC)
Augh. Your prose has such a presence, an immediacy.

I can tell that when you get to the actual breakup scene, I am going to be weeping into my keyboard.
Apr. 2nd, 2012 07:19 pm (UTC)
I would like to buy you a pony. Please send me a PO Box that it can fit in.

(I'll just say this: the breakup scene gave me a 2 day migraine. *sadfaces* GAH. I just don't like the idea of them not being together, I'm a total wuss that way.)
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Apr. 2nd, 2012 07:22 pm (UTC)
Loving this!

I am so excited to read the rest of it!
Apr. 2nd, 2012 07:39 pm (UTC)
Thank you! For both statements! *bites nails*
Czarina Salazar
Apr. 2nd, 2012 07:35 pm (UTC)
aww i can't wait for more chapters <3
Apr. 2nd, 2012 07:39 pm (UTC)
Hooray! Thanks for reading!
Apr. 2nd, 2012 07:41 pm (UTC)
Oooh I love your writing! I don't have a LJ so I have to post anon. Sorry. I have a feeling I'm going to lose a couple of hours reading this. :D
Apr. 2nd, 2012 09:21 pm (UTC)
Comments are love, regardless of being anon or not, so thank you!
Apr. 2nd, 2012 07:57 pm (UTC)
I am so happy the world has another fic from you. This is shaping up to be all kinds of awesome! Really happy it's being published once a day, too!

Also? I love how you've made certain aspects of this so *English*. I don't know if you've ever been to England in the winter, but it's really like you said. Maybe a lot more rainy, but the cold really can catch you and chill you straight to the bone if it's biting outside. And also, how you even used a word like 'duvet', which I don't recall seeing in many America-based stories. It's attention to detail like this that really sets you apart from the other authors out there.

I am really looking forward to seeing where you go with this. And also just to see how flaily my comments can get to you!

Apr. 2nd, 2012 09:23 pm (UTC)
Once a day, that's my thang. :D

I wanted to be accurate wherever my folks end up, so I'm SO GLAD that it's feeling like that part of the world. (I've done some traveling, but not to Cambridge specifically. Fortunately my beta/editor lived there to catch me when I strayed. :D)

Get flaily, I love it! <3 <3 <3
Apr. 2nd, 2012 07:58 pm (UTC)
This is such a great start. Blaine's feelings are giving me feelings and I cannot wait to see some of Kurt's motivations and why they broke up...
Love it :)
Apr. 2nd, 2012 09:23 pm (UTC)
Hooray for all the feels! Oh, you're going to get a BIG dose of feels tomorrow. BIG dose. :)

Thank you so much for reading!
Apr. 2nd, 2012 08:14 pm (UTC)
This is fascinating, I love the premise of Blaine going in a totally different direction and Kurt actually making it. I'm really intersted to see how it develops. It's a really exciting tease, especially the plans to fly back!

One thing though. Somewhere in there you mention Blaine's 'final year' of his MPhil? The thing is, Cambridge MPhils are all twelve months max, it's the way it's set up because they're usually a straight research degree, especially in something like SPS.
Apr. 2nd, 2012 09:25 pm (UTC)
So glad you're interested in the story so far!

I will say that accuracy is HUGE for me. I do know that most of the MPhils are designed to be finished in one year (and a lot of people do it simultaneously with a DPhil) but I am almost sure that the particular field I have Blaine in is one of the rare 2 years.

...and if not, please handwave so I don't sob?
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Apr. 2nd, 2012 08:34 pm (UTC)
Ahh great start. And new chapter every day? LOVELY. Now I have something to look forward to after work every day for a lot of days, and that makes you my favourite person of THIS day. I'm not feeling very eloquent tonight, so I'm just goma say I LOVE THIS and I can't wait for tomorrow.
Apr. 2nd, 2012 09:26 pm (UTC)
New chapter every day! I get so antsy waiting on fics, I don't want to do that to anyone in return. :)

I will take that eloquently put "love this" and be very pleased to have it!
Apr. 2nd, 2012 09:03 pm (UTC)
LOVE this so far. Please tell me you're planning to post an e-book file once you've posted the completed work? I loved reading "Where There's Smoke" on my Kindle. :)
Apr. 2nd, 2012 09:27 pm (UTC)
Thank you!! And yes, an e-book file will be made. Also, you can download the whole thing in a multitude of formats (including mobi) on A03, so I'll have a link to that as well. :)
Apr. 2nd, 2012 09:17 pm (UTC)
Can't even express how excited I am for this, epic long love stories are my absolute favorite, and WTS is just so amazing and you're already done and you're posting every day and I just couldn't ask for better news... rambling because I'm HAPPY!
Apr. 2nd, 2012 09:28 pm (UTC)
oh my god, I am SO GLAD that someone isn't going to brain me for how long this is. I have to go for realism, which made this take FOR-EV-ER. :)

Thank you so much for reading!!
Apr. 2nd, 2012 09:25 pm (UTC)
Just, yay.
Apr. 2nd, 2012 09:28 pm (UTC)
LOL - thank you! Yay's good for me. :D
Apr. 2nd, 2012 09:56 pm (UTC)
Wow, that first chapter completely drew me in. It all flowed very smoothly, especially when you hinted at the break-up. It gave the whole thing a sense of foreboding - everything that is about to happen in the now echoing what was about to happen after the build-up of Blaine's senior year. And mh, damp Western European winter weather, I can feel you in my bones too - you set the perfect mood.

I really wonder how it'll go on (so I'm happy the fic is finished and will be posted regularly - thank you for that :) )

Also, poor Blaine! Do not trust the internet to learn a foreign language. Next time, use an Assimil Method book or something.
Apr. 2nd, 2012 10:13 pm (UTC)
OH I AM SO GLAD. Your first paragraph - basically what I'm going for as far as the mood, etc. Yay!

I will only post a fic once that final chapter is written - it's hard (want to get it out of my head and in others) but I know how much I hate waiting for updates...

<3 (He should have gotten a Rosetta Stone! :D)
Apr. 2nd, 2012 10:32 pm (UTC)
Oh, I am so looking forward to having a lovely chapter of this to read every day. I have so many questions I'm waiting to see the answers to... And of course the inevitable meeting!

(One tiny, tiny nitpick... the word 'campus' sort of jarred for me - I live 15 minutes from Cambridge. There isn't a campus, the university is scattered all over the city.)
Apr. 2nd, 2012 10:38 pm (UTC)
So glad you're looking forward to it!

(And noted - in the US, even massive sprawling University grounds are still referred to as the "campus" if it's University-owned land. I'm still an American at heart, it seems. :D)
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Apr. 2nd, 2012 11:10 pm (UTC)
Oh god this is so fantastic. Painful and painfully funny--I ADORE Janos already. I cannot wait for more.

Also, I just thought it pertinent to let you know, having a dash in your tag on Tumblr makes it untrackable. Tumblr puts dashes in its tags automatically where there are spaces, so adding the dash in there cancels it out automatically, and nothing will come up when people click on the tag. If you just have it as "TBoY Klaine" rather than "TBoY-Klaine", people should be able to track it (as I will be!). Found this one out through experience tagging my own fic, oy.
Apr. 2nd, 2012 11:22 pm (UTC)
I am SO GLAD that you like Janos!! He means well, he's just...well, he's never lived with anyone like Blaine before. ;D

Oh, that is SO GOOD TO KNOW about the dash, thank you!! I'll fix that right away. THANK YOU THANK YOU. <3
Apr. 3rd, 2012 12:18 am (UTC)
ack! wonderful! this is gonna be one awesome 3 weeks! :)

Janos is hilarious! “Clearly you desire me. But you cannot have me.”

Apr. 3rd, 2012 12:29 am (UTC)
I love that you love Janos! He's just old school and a little rough around the edges. ;D

So glad you're enjoying it so far! Thanks so much for reading.
Apr. 3rd, 2012 12:33 am (UTC)
I LOVE THIS ALREADY!!!! I saw it when i was at work this morning but it was crazy filled with some interesting calls (ever schedule an appointment for soemone you know is drunk? It's hillarious!) so i didn't have time. BUT THIS! oh this was worth the wait!
Apr. 3rd, 2012 12:34 am (UTC)
Oh, hooray! So glad you think so! And ha, you've had a hell of a day, it seems!

Thank you so much for reading and commenting, I'm so happy to hear that this story is engaging. *dances*
Apr. 3rd, 2012 12:55 am (UTC)
YOU'VE POSTED IT!!! ***commences flailing***

Gah - you have made me the happiest person on the planet!!

What a great premise for the story. Love Blaine's fail-tastic use of inappropriate Hungarian phrases! I cannot wait to find out what lead to the breakup on that idyllic Saturday afternoon and how these two crazy kids find their way back to each other.

I cannot wait to spend the next 3 weeks or so falling in love with your writing again. Get ready for more of my epic chapter comments!! Its gonna be a fun ride!! xo

Apr. 3rd, 2012 01:01 am (UTC)
I DID! I almost waited, but I said Eff it. :D

I am so happy everyone is laughing at the Hungarian fail (my husband was happy to contribute, lol) because there is so much angst, we NEED LEVITY. <3

If I don't get epic comments from you, I feel like I have FAILED. You are the benchmark for amazing comments. <3

(Yay! So glad you're enjoying it so far.)
Apr. 3rd, 2012 01:47 am (UTC)
jfeiwpafewa yes. yes. New stories from you are the best way to spend my cold-bed-stricken night (really - EVERY night is a good night for your fic...)

I spent two weeks last summer in London (and got to see Darren!) and just gives me all the feelings!

Blaine get your ass on that plane and see Kurt! Broadway!Kurt is the best. I can't wait to see what happens when they meet up again.

Also I love Janos. Just throwin' it out there.

Sorry if this is not coherent - i have lot of cold medicine right now... :)

Anxiously awaiting tomorrow... and the next twenty-some days!
Apr. 3rd, 2012 01:52 am (UTC)
Oh, I'm sorry you're sick! Well, if you can stay lucid, I have LOADS of reading material for you. :D

I am so, so happy people are laughing at/with Janos. Poor guy, he's just pretty and dumb. :)

<3 I hope you get to feeling better (and thank you for reading!)
Apr. 3rd, 2012 02:04 am (UTC)
oooo new nice long fic to read? YAY! Love your Blaine's inner turmoil!
Apr. 3rd, 2012 02:09 am (UTC)
So glad you do, huzzah!! Thank you for giving this monstrosity a chance! ;)
Apr. 3rd, 2012 02:16 am (UTC)
Yay! I'm so excited about this new story. WTS came out when I was on my winter break (I'm a teacher) and this week is my Spring Break, so I'm so excited that I get to read leisurely in bed or on the couch each day (at least for the first chapters).

I love the story so far and was cracking up at Blaine's Hungarian errors (honoring his backside LOL). And yay for Wes for sending that video, and knowing that's just what Blaine needs, even if Blaine doesn't know it. I'm also really liking Blaine's research, great material they are working with.

So much love so far and I can't wait for the rest and I love that it's NOT a WiP :)
Apr. 3rd, 2012 02:44 am (UTC)
Ha, I keep timing it just right for you, huh? :)

My husband was SO HAPPY to be a part of the writing process, let me tell you. I think we spent as much time on him getting just the right insulting phrase as I did mapping out Cambridge for eateries. *head desk* So glad Janos is working!

Thank you thank you, and I'll see you in the morning. :)
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Apr. 3rd, 2012 01:07 pm (UTC)
Only a fan for a month! Why, that means there's a treasure trove of fic just waiting for you! And thank you so much for enjoying WTS, I'm glad to hear it.

(You can yammer, yammer = excitement, excitement = happiness, happiness = I didn't write something awful. :D)

I will leave no plot threads dangling, I promise (re: Janos) and thank you THANK YOU for procrastinating with me. Ha.
Apr. 3rd, 2012 04:17 am (UTC)
I sometimes wish I were a stronger woman. When I saw this kblj posting I may or may not have jumped and screeched a little.

Either way, you can't prove it.

Tears fall from my human eyes that you're writing another mosterlong and so far looks to be fucking amazing fic.

AND it's a future!break-up fic....oh my 'lanta
Apr. 3rd, 2012 01:08 pm (UTC)
HAHAHAHA, I will make it MY LIFE'S MISSION TO PROVE IT. If only for my own edification. ;D

So, so glad you're enjoying this so far, I hope that carries through! <3 Thank you so much for reading!
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( 108 comments — Leave a comment )


Are You Actually

Reading this? I'm just curious. Because that's really detail-oriented of you. Feel free to stop reading. But you can see that there's more here, so are you going to keep reading? Really? That's pretty dedicated. I'm impressed. No, really. I'm not being sarcastic, why do you get like that? See, this is the problem I have with your mother - yes. YES. I'm going there. It's time we put all of our cards on the table.

I love you, why are you doing this? After all we've been through? You don't have to be like this. You know, still reading. You could be baking a pie. And then sharing it with me.

Time Wot It Is

October 2014
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