Title: Where There's Smoke [4/12+]
Rating: PG-13 generally, but moving to NC-17 in places (will point out, accordingly, for those averse)
Pairing: Kurt/Blaine, Wes and David friendship, mentions of former Finn/Rachel
Word Count: 8100/100,000
Warnings: None, really, aside from future mentions of homophobic treatment by a parent (I never use slurs. Never.)
Summary: Fireman AU, set 7 years after graduation. Kurt is Kurt, except that he never met Blaine Anderson. Blaine grew up in Brooklyn with his mother and firefighter father. Rachel and Kurt have graduated NYADA, Kurt gained a Masters from Tisch, and now they're in their first post-college apartment together ready to tackle their dreams. Unfortunately, Rachel never learned how to properly cook and almost sets their new house on fire. Enter Dreamy McFirepants.
A/N: This wouldn't exist without the most amazing editor a person could ask for, flaming_muse. Any remaining errors fall squarely on
A/N 2 And now there is artwork! Whoa. That is too cool! By mandolinmonger. OVERWHELMED. Very very grateful! But...wow!
Previous Chapters: [Masterlist + One] [Two] [Three]
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“And then I have to meet with the West Village Film Fest group at 3 o’clock, so that's--” Rachel closed her eyes and counted under her breath. “--four clients, plus my agent that I have to meet with today. Ugh, I am going to be crossing the whole damn city all day today.”
“That explains the shoes....”
Rachel shot him a warning look. “Listen, these sneakers are far more comfortable for walking than a pair of pumps, and some of us will willingly sacrifice looking stylish for the sake of not ending up with feet covered in bloody blisters that will have to be soaked in Epsom salt all night.”
“That's disgusting, but it's a fair point.” Kurt looked over the fold in the paper at Rachel jamming papers and files into her bag. He had a short window of time today for Finn to get to the apartment, bring the remaining bits and bobs Kurt had kept in storage in Lima over the years, and then get Finn out before he ran into Rachel.
He checked his phone; Finn had texted a half-hour ago that he'd left Puck's house in Wilkes-Barre and would be there by noon. He'd have enough time to get everything sorted, take Finn for a thank you lunch, and shove him off before Rachel got back. Plus, he needed to spend an hour or so making sure his outfit was just right: not too casual, not too thinky, but enough to leave Blaine breathless with anticipation. He'd spent the morning narrowing his options down to two themes, with a subset of four color palettes.
Rachel raced over to him, planted a quick kiss on his cheek, and called out as she headed out the door, “You better be here when I get back; I want to see how he looks when he comes to pick you up!”
Kurt laughed and toodled his fingers at her. He squinted at the paper, and seized his pen. “43 down is 'ardor' which means 52 across is 'radiant.'” He tapped the end of his pen against his lips, then laughed. “So this one is 'scorching' and last one, 'intense.' Well, let's hope so, puzzle.”
It was okay to believe in fate when it was in your favor, right?
It was nearing 1:30 and still no sign of Finn. Kurt had called at 12:45 wondering where he was. Finn sounded completely confused and scared, saying, “Can't talk, dude, some old man is flipping me the bird and trying to say something to me.”
“Finn,” Kurt shouted, “you don't have to respond to him! In fact, don't!”
He heard Finn yell out in fright, heard the phone drop and Finn shouting, “I hate this city! I'll call you back when it won't kill me!”
Kurt should have insisted on making Puck drive with his brother; Puck wouldn't have been intimidated by aggressive drivers. Kurt kept himself busy unpacking the last of his workbooks and getting that space in order to pass the time.
Finally, his phone buzzed in his pocket, a clip of “I Gotta Be Me” signaling Finn.
“Hey, bro, sorry about that, but these people, like, do not care about right of way. I waved thanks to someone behind me after I merged, and they totally thought I was flipping them off. I thought I was going to get shot. She was a mean looking old lady, too. I don't know how you do it out here.”
“Finn. Where are you?”
“Um, driving up some street called...um, Clinton? Cool, like the President.”
“Stick to the instructions I gave you; you should be here in a couple of minutes. But pull over and call me if you get lost.”
He clicked off the call and opened his front door, waiting on the stoop. He could hear his upstairs neighbors stomping around on their small balcony, and rolled his eyes. He kept his eyes trained on the end of the block, willing Finn to hurry up and get here. As it was, they probably wouldn't be able to spend any quality time together, not with Rachel due back soon.
He saw Finn's truck turn onto his street, and he gave him a wave. Finn parked in the free space one house up and lumbered out, giving Kurt a quick hug. “Seriously dude, driving in this town sucks.”
“That's why everyone uses public transportation. Thanks for coming out here, though.” Kurt looked over all of his stuff in the back of the truck; nothing looked damaged, which was a relief. “How's Puck?”
Finn started to catch him up on Puck's life in Pennsylvania, where he had moved to stay close to Beth and Shelby. Finn hoisted a garment rack out of the back of the truck one-handed when Kurt heard, “GO BLUE!” from the balcony over his apartment.
Finn dropped the rack on the sidewalk and squinted his eyes at the tenants that lived upstairs. “GO BUCKEYES!” Finn yelled back.
Kurt was horrified. “Finn, please stop shouting things at my very large, very angry looking neighbors.”
Finn shook off Kurt's hand and cupped his mouth to holler, “Who got the Heisman?”
What on earth did that even mean?
One of the men upstairs pointed a massive set of barbeque tongs towards Finn. “Yeah, at least we don't have to live down the shame of Tressel stinking up the school.”
“You better shut your mouth, or I'm going to come up there and shut it for you!”
Kurt, almost in tears, pulled on Finn’s arm.
“Finn, oh my god, would you stop threatening my neighbors?!”
Finn tossed off a last, “Yeah, that's what I thought,” pulled his shirt out from his chest and pointed at it with his free hand. Kurt noticed that Finn's red shirt was covered in the Ohio State football team's logo. Emblem? Whatever they called those things.
Football, for the love of-- “Finn Hudson!”
“Man, that sucks that you have to live under some jerks,” Finn scoffed, grabbing the garment rack again and adding a duffel bag. “Freakin’ Michigan.”
Kurt stood stock-still, not understanding anything that just happened.
“Come on, man, you told me I had to be out of here by 3:30.”
Kurt shook himself and grabbed an end table and bubble-wrapped lamp and followed his completely insane brother into his house.
After Finn’s fifth glance at Rachel's door, Kurt finally addressed the eight hundred pound mini-Barbra not in the room. “She's not here. Um, I didn't tell her you were coming; I hope that was okay.”
Finn shoved the last box into Kurt's workspace and leaned forward, holding on to the top of the door frame. “That's probably for the best, huh?” He looked sheepishly at Kurt. “Is she... you know, she doing okay?”
Kurt washed his hands off in the kitchen sink. “She is. It wasn't easy, these past few months. She was a horror show to live with,” he rolled his eyes. “But she understands. She knows that you're happy back in Lima. That's the most important thing to her, you being happy.”
Kurt hung up the hand towel and motioned at the sink. “Finn, if we're going to eat, you have to wash your hands.”
“Ooh, do they have those hot dog carts around here?” Finn asked, automatically obeying Kurt. “The last time I was here for Rachel's graduation show thing, she wouldn't let me get one.”
“That's because they're soaked in filthy water and are essentially disease torpedoes. You are not going to eat one, and no, they do not have any in my neighborhood.”
“Well, let's get something, then, because I'm starved.”
Kurt grabbed his keys and wallet and headed to the door. “There's a burger place around the corner, they're really good.”
Finn smirked. “They have veggie burgers, then?”
Laughing, Kurt nodded. “Yes they do, but I'm just going to get a salad. I have a date tonight.”
“Ooh! What's his name?”
Kurt pinked and shoved at Finn's arm. “His name is Blaine, and he happens to be a fireman.”
“Wow, dude, that's so cool! He let you drive one of the fire trucks yet?”
“Don't be absurd,” Kurt laughed. “This is our first official date. Besides, there probably are rules against that sort of thing.”
Finn was properly fattened up in no time, thankfully. He didn't need to know that Kurt had picked that particular restaurant because of their speedy service; they were pushing it, time-wise. Kurt was amazed to see that Finn still ate like a growing teenage boy. When Finn's burger, “The Everything But,” came, it practically filled the entire plate. Kurt felt full just looking at it. Finn was excited about “frings,” a basket filled with French fries and onion rings. And he ate all of it.
“I don't know whether to applaud you or call an emergency cardiologist,” Kurt had gaped as Finn swiped the last bite through the drops of sauce on his plate.
Finn laughed and protested as Kurt paid the check. Kurt rolled his eyes at his step-brother. “You're helping me, so I get the food.”
On the short walk home, Finn told Kurt a story about one of the guys at their dad's shop getting tangled up in the lift because of his overalls. Kurt started laughing, but Finn stopped in mid-sentence when they were within a few doors from Kurt's place.
Rachel was standing on the top step of their stoop, her arms thrown around David's neck, kissing him.
Kurt panicked and looked up at Finn. Kurt was trying to wrap his brain around her getting home too soon, her being home and making out with someone on the front porch in broad daylight, and Finn seeing all of it.
“Well, Kurt, you were right. She's clearly over us. She looks real happy.” Finn turned around and walked off in the opposite direction.
He could just kill her. Oh, he didn't mind that she was moving on, they both needed to. He just minded his brother seeing it when Finn wasn’t a hundred percent about the break up yet. He glanced over at his house and saw David walking off and waving goodbye to Rachel, who was blowing him kisses. She ducked inside for the briefest of moments and came out with a file folder, stuck it in her attache, and briskly walked to the other end of the street towards the bus stop.
Kurt heaved a massive sigh and pinched the bridge of his nose. He turned to Finn, who was nowhere to be seen. “Finn!” Kurt walked briskly in the direction he thought Finn had gone and found him under the canopy of the neighborhood bodega, idly riffling through a box of fruit outside.
“It's...one thing to know it's over,” Finn said, pain written all over his face. “It's another to see it with your own eyes. Why didn't you tell me she was seeing someone?”
Kurt ached to see his brother looking so sad, just ached for him. “She's not...I mean, it's new. They really just started going out within the past week, Finn, a couple of dates, that it. But it’s what you told her you wanted for her, right? To finally move on and make her life here?”
Finn looked down at his shoes, scraping the toe over an ancient piece of gum that had long since fused with the sidewalk. He gave an almost imperceptible nod.
“Well,” Kurt sighed, looking over his shoulder. “She's gone, now. I guess she left something at the house, I don't know. But I saw her leave. Alone,” he added, when Finn looked back up, misery fighting to gain control over his face. “She left by herself. Hey, didn't you say that you and Puck had some big tournament tonight?”
Finn looked off at the middle distance. “Yeah. It's just something on Xbox, he set up a chat room with some of the old guys, and we were going to blow each other up all night.”
Kurt dragged Finn down the street and motioned with his head for them to head back. “Sounds exactly like what you need tonight. Explosions, shooting people in the face, whatever it is you boys do.”
Finn chuckled a bit. That's a good sign, at least. They got back to Kurt's place quickly. Finn excused himself; he had a two and a half hour drive back to Puck's. Kurt's phone buzzed and skittered on the counter where he kept his keys and wallet. He checked his watch. 3:45, and he still had to change his shirt and restyle his hair.
What's your address? I don't have access to dispatch records. ;)
Kurt smiled, bit his thumb, and sent the address with a similar winky face.
Finn came out of the bathroom, Kurt gave him a look involving a raised eyebrow and several years of admonitions; Finn walked back in and washed his hands.
“It's just gross, Finn. You're a grown man now.”
Finn walked down the first few steps outside and paused. “And sorry about earlier. Getting upset.” He shrugged one shoulder and looked off towards his truck, not moving yet.
“Come here.” Kurt waved him over and gave him a proper hug, even swaying side to side like Carole did. Finn buried his face in Kurt's neck for a moment, shuddering briefly. “Hey, hey, it's going to be okay. You know you did the right thing.”
Finn nodded against Kurt's neck and softly said, “Just...it hurts.”
Someone cleared their throat. Kurt looked up and saw Blaine. Blaine, with a bottle of wine wrapped up with a bow. Blaine, with a completely hurt and confused look on his face.
“I...got off early. I thought I'd maybe surprise you. Huh. Silly me.”
Kurt pulled away from Finn, horrified. “No, no, this is my brother!”
Blaine looked between the two of them, and Kurt knew they looked nothing alike. This was one of the few times it would be helpful for him to remember to drop the whole “the only steps in this family are the ones at the door” mantra Burt had pounded into their head almost a decade ago.
“Step-brother. Can you imagine me trying to walk on those ski-boats he calls feet?”
“Sorry, Finn. Um, this is my friend Blaine.” He gave Finn a significant look and motioned with the tiniest of head jerks towards Blaine.
“Huh?” Finn looked like he was trying to puzzle something out, then the pieces snapped together. “Oh! Fireman Blaine!”
Unbelievable. Was it going to be like this every time he met Blaine? Awkward and Kurt doing something ridiculous?
“Blaine, this is my step-brother, Finn. He drove out here from Pennsylvania to bring me a few of my things that have been in storage.”
Blaine shifted uncomfortably on the walk. “Oh, if you have family in town, we can reschedule....”
Kurt rolled his eyes and tugged at Blaine's elbow to get him to come closer to the front door. “Don't be ridiculous. Finn was literally on his way back; he has big plans with some old friends, right?”
Finn grinned, looking between the two of them. “Hey, you're a fireman, right?”
“Oh, is that the way you're supposed to say it? Sorry man, I didn't know.”
Blaine closed his eyes briefly and smiled, all gentility. “It's fine; we get that a lot.”
“So...do you have the Ghostbuster's pole?”
Blaine actually laughed at that. Kurt wanted to listen to that sound forever; it made the hairs on the back of his neck stand up and pleasure shoot down his spine.
“You mean a fire pole? Yeah, we do, but it's not used much since we shoved the offices upstairs and put all the rec rooms downstairs.”
Kurt filed away that Blaine's office was secluded from the other men. Focus, stop jumping ahead.
“Next time you're in town, have your brother bring you by. I'll even let you slide down it, if you want.” Blaine leaned in towards Finn, as if spilling a secret, “It's totally fun.”
“Sweet! That's cool, Kurt, I'm glad you're dating such a cool dude.”
Flames may have actually shot from his eyeballs, Kurt wasn't sure. “God, Finn. Anyway,” he sing-songed, “I'm glad we got to hang out a little bit. Be careful driving back, and thanks for bringing me my things, I really appreciate it.”
He one-arm hugged Finn and practically shoved him to his truck. He heard Finn chuckle to himself. Oh, Finn wasn't always as naïve as he pretended; Kurt had learned that years ago.
Kurt whirled around to face Blaine, feigning disappointment. “So! You came a little early, hmm?”
Blaine smiled and blushed as well. “Yeah, I have an impulsive streak that usually gets me in trouble.”
Kurt motioned towards the front door with one hand and replied, “Impulsive is fine with me. But jumping to conclusions, not so much.”
They both waved at the truck as it drove away.
“Your brother is really tall. Like, really tall.”
Kurt paused by the door to allow Blaine to enter first. “My dad thought about cutting half-circles at the tops of all the doors in our house, to help with all of the ducking.” Kurt leaned back against the wet bar, smiling. “And what's that in your hand, Captain?”
Laughing, Blaine rubbed the back of his neck with his free hand and held the bottle out to Kurt. “A little house-warming gift.”
“Well, aren't you just the charmer,” Kurt grinned, taking the bottle. “Thank you, that's so thoughtful.” Kurt rummaged through the cabinets until he found a crystal bucket. He pulled a tray of ice cubes from the small freezer and emptied them into the bucket. He examined the label; it was a really nice bottle of Viognier, perfect for a warm summer night. He put the bottle on ice. “We'll let that chill and maybe have a glass later?”
Kurt settled Blaine into a chair with a selection of magazines as he excused himself to change clothes. He pulled on a fitted grey-blue shirt that accented his lean frame and complemented his eyes and a pair of designer jeans in a dark wash. He checked his hair in the mirror, and tiptoed to his bedroom door, opening it just a crack. Blaine was sitting comfortably, one foot resting on the other knee, wholly engrossed in the latest issue of Vogue.
Kurt smiled to himself, rested his hands on the edge of his vanity and sighed at his reflection, “Well-dressed, handsome, brings a house warming gift, and he likes Vogue. He's...perfect.”
He stepped out of the room and called out, “Well? Shall we?”
Blaine went still, taking him in. He laid the magazine down and stood, his eyes raking over Kurt's frame. The intensity in his gaze was heady; not unwelcomed, just not something Kurt was used to.
“You look terrific.”
Kurt clasped his hands and tilted his head, saying coquettishly, “You're not so bad yourself.”
Blaine made a shallow nod with his head and waved a hand towards the door. “Mind if we just walk for a bit? There are a few places I want to show you.”
“I'd like that.” Very much. And there are a few things I'd like to show-- Hey, take it easy, the night's young. In fact, it's not even night.
They left the house and walked around the neighborhood, traveling an ever wider circle as Blaine pointed out which grocer to avoid, who had the best Thai, and so on. Every now and then their hands or shoulders would brush against each other as they walked, thrilling Kurt every time. Once he glanced over at Blaine to see him flushed and smiling after putting a hand on Kurt's back to guide him around a crowd of people.
Kurt's face positively ached from smiling. Not that he was complaining.
They talked about the usual things: where did you grow up, what's the latest book you've read, have you seen such and such movie, and with an ease that spoke of comfortable companionship. There were no awkward pauses, no time when Kurt thought Blaine was a little weird for liking something or was a secret bigot, or any of the other horrible things that can happen when you're just getting to know a person.
After the waiter at the bistro took their order, Kurt leaned back in his seat, happy that Blaine liked sitting outside. It was gorgeous, blue skies with a few high clouds and pleasantly warm.
“So I've noticed something about you,” Kurt said, forcing a suspicious look on his face as Blaine laid his napkin across his lap.
“You don't like talking about your job.”
Blaine went still.
“I just want to make sure of something, so I don't stick my foot in my mouth,” Kurt continued. “If that's a topic that's off limits, just say the word. We can talk musical theater and French film – you do like French film, don't you? - all night, if you'd prefer.”
Blaine huffed out a small laugh. “Well, I don't know that I can say that I love French film, I've only seen a handful. I liked what I saw, though. And...” he trailed off, looking out at the passers-by on the street. “I think my job has taken over enough of my life; I don't want it to take over the pleasurable parts as well.”
Kurt smiled into his water glass, taking a delicate sip. “Oh. Well, then. Point taken.”
“Besides,” Blaine said, nudging Kurt's foot under the table. “There's plenty of time for all of that to come out, right?”
“Oh, is there, now?”
Blaine laughed as the waiter arrived with their food, giving Kurt a smug-looking grin. Kurt didn't mind the interruption; he'd find a way to get Blaine to expound on “plenty of time” at some point, he decided.
And if Blaine didn't want to have his job take over the pleasurable parts of his life, then that just meant that Kurt had to focus on making sure that part of his life was satisfactory and fulfilling, didn't it?
They both decided the food lived up to the hype. Blaine took the check, leaving Kurt protesting. “I asked you, Kurt. You can get the next one, if you'd like.”
Kurt sighed back into his chair, grinning. Already saying there would be a next time was a very good sign. “Okay, I would like that.”
It was still early evening, and they weren't ready to call it a day yet, so they took a walk to a nearby park. Blaine was very interested in hearing about Kurt's family. They both took a seat on a bench, close enough to hint at their attraction to each other, but neither quite ready to make that commitment to physicality just yet.
Blaine noted, “You don't talk about your mother. Just Carole.”
“Oh.” Kurt shook his head, taken aback for a moment. “She died suddenly when I was eight. It was just my dad and I for so long, and then Carole and Finn joined our family. Everyone I'm close to knows about her, so sometimes I forget there are other people who don't.”
“What was she like?”
One thing that Kurt enjoyed most about Blaine, he was finding, was that when Blaine asked a question, he really listened. It wasn't artificial courtesy, he genuinely wanted to know. It put Kurt at ease; his voice grew soft, his eyes looked off, and memories of bedtime stories and spicy-ginger perfume enveloped him.
“Keep in mind that I was really young when she died, so most of my memories are how I felt about her. I look a lot like my mother, but I have my dad's eyes. She was fun, loved to laugh. Apparently I inherited her laugh, as well. My dad was always the serious one, still is,” Kurt said, smiling at Blaine. “But she just.... I don't know, she was just full. Filled to bursting. With happiness, love, fun.”
And he felt Blaine take his hand and cover it with his own. It magnified those warm feelings from his past and turned them into something hopeful for the future.
“She sounds wonderful.”
Kurt turned to look at Blaine, so much closer now. His whiskey-colored eyes were looking right into him, searching for something. Kurt's breath caught in his chest. “She was.”
Blaine looked down at their hands and entwined his fingers with Kurt's. Warm, firm, and it felt like a missing piece of Kurt was snapped back into place after a long absence. Blaine absentmindedly stroked his thumb back and forth sending tiny tremors up Kurt's spine.
“Wes tell you that my father died?” Barely a whisper, and Blaine didn't bother looking Kurt's way for confirmation. “He was, uh, he was a good man. Well-respected.”
It was Kurt's turn to take Blaine’s hand into his. He laid Blaine's hand on his knee, palm up, massaging both of his thumbs over the rough skin. Kurt watched the action, not looking up when he asked, “But?”
Blaine exhaled slowly, murmuring contentment at a particular spot on the edge of his palm as Kurt stroked. “But. He was a hard man, too. I never knew where I stood with him. You know...hmm.” He shifted on the bench, aligning his thigh to Kurt's, shifting his torso so that his chest was almost resting on Kurt's shoulder. Kurt briefly noticed that the sun was setting, but for him the only things that existed were the two of them in this moment.
Kurt had the impression that Blaine was building up to something important and most definitely painful. He waited patiently, happy that he could at least offer the small comfort of his attention and caring.
“I don't know if he was ever proud of me. If he was ever glad for just a moment that I followed in his footsteps. Some of the guys at the station that knew him best say he did, but if he doesn't say it...”
Kurt twined his fingers with Blaine's; he turned to Blaine and answered softly, “Then how do you know?”
“Right.” Blaine searched Kurt's face. If it was approval, Kurt had plenty to give. Blaine raked his fingers through the hair over Kurt's ear, sliding his hand down Kurt's neck to squeeze his shoulder.
'There's something about you,” he murmured.
Kurt could barely take in breath; they were so close, every nerve ending was on edge, tingling with want of more contact.
“Excuse me, can you help me find something?”
They were snapped out of their reverie by an older woman trying to find an address. Kurt blinked, and pulled himself back together, smoothing his shirt front and trying to normalize his heart-beat as Blaine pointed out the directions for her, walking her forward a bit to show her the way.
“Thank you,” she said, smiling sweetly.
Blaine sat back down, a little further back than Kurt would have liked. He was still smiling in a way that made Kurt's toes curl, so that was a positive. Kurt looked down at Blaine's hand, inhaled deeply and took it in his. Blaine gave it a squeeze and tugged Kurt to his feet.
“Why don't we go somewhere else where we can talk some more?”
Kurt bit his lip. “Sure, that would be lovely. Is there anywhere you had in mind?”
Swinging their hands a little between their bodies, Blaine asked quietly, “Is it too presumptuous of me to ask if we could go back to your place?”
Swooning. This is what they mean by that word. “Not at all. We do have that bottle you brought, after all.”
They didn't talk much on the walk back, but that was fine by Kurt. The sun had set completely, and Kurt loved that this “tour” was turning into something he found hopelessly romantic. They held hands the whole way.
When they walked into Kurt's home, Blaine excused himself, giving Kurt the opportunity to send a frantic text to Rachel.
DO NOT COME BACK FOR SEVERAL HOURS. You owe me.
Kurt found two wine glasses and the bottle opener. His phone buzzed and skittered.
Kurt smiled and switched his phone to mute.
Kurt was very glad that his apartment wasn't large enough for a full-sized couch. As the evening continued (and the wine bottle emptied) they moved progressively closer to one another, sharing little moments both sweet and painful from their past. The time Kurt had come out to his father, when Blaine had to his mother. How Kurt's father practically rolled his eyes as if to say, “No joke, kid, you just figuring this out?” How Blaine's mother had smoothed his hair back and asked him, “But are you sure?” in a nervous and unhappy voice.
How Kurt had been shoved and kicked and mocked and tossed around all through grade school, but had come out on the other end free of the bigotry and hate, free to be himself and be proud of it. How Blaine had mostly coasted through school on his charms and looks, was well liked, but never well loved.
They both had their knees curled up under themselves, shoes having been removed some time previously. Kurt had his arm on the back of the small sofa, fingers drawing circles into Blaine's strong shoulder and down his arm, trailing back up to do it all over. Kurt knew that he'd been lucky. His father supported him fully, as did Carole and Finn. He'd had his share of heartbreaks, his own troubles, but Blaine seemed so completely alone.
Once the floodgates opened, Blaine couldn't seem to stop talking. Kurt didn't mind in the slightest; he felt as if he was being bestowed a gift – trust.
“There were never any names called in the house, my father didn't mean--” Blaine picked at the edge of the sofa cushion near Kurt's thigh. “It's just that I felt like they were always hanging in the air, if that makes sense.”
Kurt ran his hand down Blaine's arm to give his hand a squeeze. His heart ached for Blaine, and he was reminded once again how lucky he was to have Burt Hummel for a father. “You wanted respect.”
Blaine's breath hitched.
“You deserved it, Blaine. He didn't have to march in a Gay Pride parade, but he should have let you know he respected you, that you mattered to him. I'm sorry for that.”
Blaine laid his head on Kurt's arm at the back of the sofa. “Why do I feel so comfortable with you?”
Here was someone so kind, so interesting, so easy to care for, and he was interested in him. It made Kurt's head spin. It led him to be more bold than he had been in the past; Blaine seemed to be offering something that Kurt had been searching for, and something about him made Kurt feel safe enough to ask for it. He cupped Blaine's cheek, lightly running his hand down the cord of muscle in his neck and laid it flat on Blaine's chest. Blaine trapped Kurt's hand with his own, forcing Kurt to move in closer.
“I don't know,” Kurt said softly. “But I feel the same with you.”
No quips to lighten the mood, no sense of fear that this would go horribly, horribly wrong, Kurt just felt solid. Safe. Wanted. They leaned in at the same time, meeting in the middle with a soft kiss. Kurt pulled away, stroking Blaine's cheek with the back of his fingers, asking “Is this all right?”
Blaine answered with a more forceful kiss, holding Kurt's face as his lips answered yes, yes. Kurt kept his hand on Blaine's chest but circled his other arm around Blaine's waist, wanting to be closer, to feel as much as he could. He slanted his head, deepening the kiss, thrilled by the small noises Blaine made when Kurt clutched a handful of Blaine's shirt to hold him close, closer.
Blaine eventually pulled back, his eyes fixed on Kurt's lips. Kurt's breath caught, worried that Blaine wanted to stop.
“What did I do,” Blaine murmured, lightly tracing his lips over Kurt's, ghosting along Kurt's jaw, “to have this, you.” He pulled back again, thumbs stroking along Kurt's cheekbones. Kurt felt both light-headed and solidly affixed to every point in his body that was touching Blaine's.
Blaine lifted Kurt's hand from his shirt and held it, clutching it to his chest. Kurt had wanted romance, had dreamed of finding a man that was a gentleman, was kind and handsome, and somehow the very embodiment of what he'd been searching for had come to him, lights flashing, to make sure he got the point.
Kurt brought their foreheads together, saying, “Are you sure you're not just some dream I'm having? Wait, don't tell me if you're not.” He kissed Blaine again, murmuring “Five more minutes, dad,” pleased when he felt Blaine smile against his mouth before kissing him again.
Arching his back, Kurt pressed their chests together as he wrapped his arms around Blaine's neck. “I've wanted to do this since I met you,” Kurt whispered in Blaine's ear, burying his fingers in Blaine's soft curls. He traced along Blaine's temple with his mouth, trailing sweet kisses along Blaine's cheeks, over his eye-lids, and one soft kiss to his rosy mouth. Something about Blaine brought out a tenderness in Kurt, he wanted to both hold him in his arms and make him feel whole, and push him back on the sofa and get to know him much, much better.
Blaine finally broke the kiss, resting his head on the back of the sofa again and looking up at Kurt with half-lidded eyes and a faint smile. “Really, what did I do?” Blaine asked again, a tender expression on his face as he drew patterns with his fingertips on Kurt's chest.
Kurt exhaled a small laugh, not understanding the question but hardly caring about anything other than the waves of elation washing over him. It wasn't just the kissing; it was something about who Blaine was, how Kurt felt with him. Blaine felt like...more. It was more than a nice date with a nice man, more than sweet kisses with someone that found him attractive, more than just this moment.
Breath stuttering, he leaned back against the arm of the sofa, taking one of Blaine's hands with him and tangling their ankles together. Kurt wanted to laugh, he wanted to flash-forward years to when they were older and happy together, wanted to not stop kissing him ever, wanted to relive every moment from today.
“You know, Captain, you're pretty good at that.”
Blaine ducked his head, chuckling. “Well,” he said, glancing up at Kurt with ridiculously thick and long lashes, sending Kurt's heart into a tailspin. “You're not too bad yourself.”
Blaine tugged on Kurt's hand, bringing him back for another languorous kiss, shifting their bodies so Kurt's weight was on his. Kurt felt heat pooling in his abdomen, radiating out to every point that connected to Blaine's body. Blaine, his hand still entwined with Kurt's, brought their hands over his head to drape along the arm of the sofa; Kurt settled between his legs so he could kiss Blaine more fully.
Blaine made small noises at the back of his throat any time Kurt's mouth strayed to his neck, behind his ear, his temple. It was almost too much, the rush of want filling him, so he pulled back, tracing Blaine's hairline with his nose, breathing in the faint smell of Blaine's shampoo and the underlying smell that was just him.
“Please say that it's not just me,” Kurt asked, burying his face in Blaine's neck, trailing kisses and nibbles up and down the thick column.
Blaine, who had been running his hands in soothing patterns up and down Kurt's back, stopped and circled his arms tightly around Kurt, holding him close. “No, it's not just you.”
Kurt moved to his side, propping himself up by his elbow, his fingers gently smoothing back Blaine's hair. “I just...,” he exhaled, closing his eyes for a minute to brace himself. “I don't normally bring men back to my apartment on the first date. Then again, I haven't had a first date in some time.”
“Idiots,” Blaine murmured, kissing the inside of Kurt's wrist.
Oh, he was falling hard. It was both thrilling and terrifying. Kurt raised his eyebrows at Blaine, waiting.
“Oh. Well, no. I don't normally do this either. And it's been a long time for me, too. Maybe...” Blaine trailed off, and Kurt felt that he was looking right into him, looking for something. “Maybe I was supposed to wait. For this. You.”
Kurt blushed to his roots and dropped his forehead against Blaine's neck again. He huffed out a small laugh. “You know, from anyone else that would sound like such a line.”
He felt Blaine stiffen; Kurt raised his head and saw Blaine with such a sad expression that he cupped Blaine's cheeks and kissed him softly once, twice.
“It's not,” Blaine insisted.
Kurt wedged himself between the back of the sofa and Blaine's warm body, both of their legs tangled and dangling off the short love seat. He laid his hand over Blaine's heart, fingers flexing, feeling the well worn cotton of Blaine's Polo. “I know.” He caught Blaine's eye and repeated, “I know. That's...well. I feel a little out of my depth, here. That's all.”
“You're not the only one,” Blaine chuckled, drawing his fingertips up and down Kurt's arms, sending shivers up Kurt's back, prickling his scalp. “Any idea of what we do now?”
Kurt laughed then, a good laugh that came from some place inside him where joy hadn't found an outlet until now. “Well, I can think of a few things, but they all require a few more dates. Call me old fashioned.”
Blaine held him closer, kissing his hair. Kurt could feel the warmth of his breath ruffling it. “I like that about you. I'm a little old fashioned, too. I want to get to know you more.”
Kurt settled in further, closing his eyes and enjoying the feeling of being held, of being with someone that was so good and wanted him.
“I...I worry about you and my job, though,” Blaine said.
Kurt played with the front placket of Blaine's shirt, toying with the smattering of dark hair curled in the small amount of bare skin he was showing. Blaine's job was something they had to talk about, he knew that. He had knots in stomach, immediately fearing that Blaine wouldn't want to pursue anything from the tone of worry in his voice. “Because of the hours? Or the danger? Or is it the horrid poly-blend trousers? Because I'll be honest: I never thought I'd date a man that wore synthetic fibers, it's going to be quite a challenge.”
Blaine's chest bounced up and down with his laugh. “Yep. Funny, too.”
There was that “too” again. Kurt smiled into Blaine's chest, savoring the warmth for a moment longer. He sat up, pulling Blaine to sitting as well. He took Blaine's hands, thumbs running back and forth over the backs where there was a light dusting of dark hair just beyond Blaine's wrists.
“Really, though. Tell me about it.”
Watching their hands for a moment, Blaine opened and closed his mouth a few times, as if trying to find the right words. Part of Kurt felt foolish to have such a serious discussion about a potential future with this man he was just getting to know, but another part – and fortunately it had a stronger voice – thrilled that Blaine wasn't immune to whatever it was that was happening between them. Kurt had had crushes in the past, he'd imagined that he loved or could love others, but the feelings he had at this moment made those look foolish in comparison. He felt exhilarated, of course, like his heart was flying, but he also felt solidly affixed at the same time.
“We die, you know. And...it's terrible when it happens.”
An icy chill crept down Kurt's back, and his hands shook for just a brief moment; Blaine noticed. He gave his hands a squeeze and released them, resting his elbow on the back of the sofa and tucked the other in between the cushion and his body, closed off. Kurt wanted to grab him, pull him back, hold on and never let go. He did none of those things, however. He tried to really think about this. It was hard when Blaine was sitting there, hair rumpled, lips swollen and pink and close enough to pull back for more kissing.
“Is--” Kurt asked, slightly nervous. “--is that how your father died, Blaine?” He reached over then, he couldn't help himself, and cupped Blaine's cheek, stroking his cheekbone with his thumb. “Is that why you don't talk about your mother?”
Blaine closed his eyes, holding Kurt's hand in place before kissing his palm. “Yes. And...yes.”
“Do you want to tell me about it? So that--” Kurt bit his lip wanting to choose carefully. “--so that I can understand?”
Head tilted and resting on his hand, Blaine just held Kurt's gaze, jaw muscles working. “No,” he breathed, “but I feel like I need to, at some point. Mostly, I just don't want to fall any hard--” Blaine blushed, smiling, and sucked his bottom lip between his teeth. “I don't want there to be any illusions. I really like you, Kurt. I've not felt this...hopeful, like I'm waking up, in honestly, I don't know how long. You're making me want to try--”
Kurt felt as if his heart would pound right through his ribcage. No, Blaine definitely wasn't immune to whatever it was between them. But. We die. “You want to try, what?”
“This,” Blaine answered, pointing between the two of them. “I've not even dated since, well, since before my father died. But you have to know, Kurt, that anytime we get a call, that it could be it. That's--” He sighed, running his hand over his face, and looking so lonely Kurt couldn't hold off his impulse any longer. Kurt slipped his hand behind Blaine's neck, bringing their foreheads together, needing to touch him.
“I'm not going to say that's not a terrifying thought.” Kurt knew he sounded desperate and afraid, but he wanted to let Blaine know that he was trying to understand. “But you don't always. It's not always the worst thing. After all, you got a call that brought you to me.”
They kissed then, both needing the connection. It was too much, Kurt thought. Oh, Blaine was more, all right. But he needed to be clear that with all of the wonderful things Blaine had going for him, there was the other. We die, you know.
“I think I could do this all night, holding you,” Blaine whispered.
Kurt laid his head on Blaine's shoulder. “That would be nice.”
“But,” he sighed, kissing Kurt's forehead. “I know that it's getting late, and someone told me a few days ago how important their beauty sleep was.”
Laughing, Kurt leaned back. “I don't want you to go, but I understand. I think I have a lot to think about.”
Blaine looked as if he was closing off again, hurt creeping back into his eyes, so Kurt leaned in, breathing softly along his lips. “I want to make sure this is as worth it as I think it is.” He kissed Blaine, just a gentle press of his lips, but he felt Blaine sag back against him, kissing back.
“I wasn't kidding about doing this all night, but I'm on shift tomorrow, so I really should get some rest, too.”
Kurt nodded, pulling Blaine to his feet and wrapping his arms around him. Kurt swayed and walked them to the front door, still holding Blaine in his arms. He reached behind and turned the knob to open the door, planting a final kiss on Blaine's neck. “Sorry. I wasn't finished doing that, yet.” Kurt knew he had a silly smile on his face, but he couldn't help it. Blaine made him feel ridiculously happy. Definitely something to think about.
Pausing in the doorway, Blaine looked back at Kurt, smiling as well. “I don't think I am, either.”
Kurt needed to make a point of holding on to things when he was around Blaine, because he was about to swoon yet again. I could get used to seeing that smile. Kurt sighed, “Good night.”
“'Night, Kurt. Call you later?”
Blaine hopped back up to the top of the stoop and lightly kissed the corner of Kurt's mouth. “Sweet dreams.”
Kurt reminded himself to exhale. “They will be.”
He stayed in the door, watching Blaine walk away. And it's terrible when it happens.
So much for his sweet dreams.