Summary: sometimes kurt misses mckinley high, in the way that he misses his distant relatives two weeks after thanksgiving. 3700 words.
Sometimes Kurt misses McKinley High, in the way that he misses his distant relatives two weeks after Thanksgiving. When things go from hectic to calm in one easy transition, and when calm isn't what's normal, how it starts to feel empty. When he pushes aside the bright red sweater with the buckle in favor of the white button-up and striped tie, a simple variation of the same outfit he wore yesterday. When someone makes a stupid joke in the cafeteria and Brittany's not around to misconstrue it.
What he doesn't miss is being shoved into lockers. His tray being tipped over at lunch. The smell of the dumpster, the icy bite of a red slushie down the collar of his shirt.
He doesn't miss the people who made his life a living hell for the past two years, but he does miss the people who helped to make it a little more tolerable.
Blaine meets him at his locker every morning, 7:22 on the dot. He says it's because Dalton's a large school, and it'd be easy to get lost. He volunteers to show Kurt around, even after it's obvious Kurt knows where first period is, knows how to get to the second floor. He makes a big deal out of straightening Kurt's tie each day, rolling his eyes like he can't believe Kurt still hasn't gotten it right, but smiling like he's kind of glad he hasn't.
(Kurt knows how to put on a tie. It's the five minutes he spends yanking on it every morning—making sure it's crooked or backwards or not nearly tight enough—that takes a while to get used to.)
Three weeks after his first day, Kurt shrugs his backpack off and rummages around for his things, and Blaine appears at his elbow like clockwork, taking each book Kurt pulls out like they'd arranged this, like it's normal. He reads each title carefully and then balances them under his arm.
“Damn, new kid,” he says, after the fourth one, his eyebrows arched. “Going for a world record?”
Kurt presses his lips together and looks at Blaine. “McKinley wasn't exactly the Harvard of northwestern Ohio. I've got a lot of catching up to do.” He reaches for the last book and then hangs the backpack in his locker, taking a second to straighten it. “By the way, I have a name, you know.”
Blaine smiles. “I know you do.” He shifts the books around so they're pressed against his chest and adds, “I bet you have a cell phone number, too.”
If his mouth wasn't already dry from the sugar-free wintergreen lifesaver he's taken to popping in just before school each morning, then it certainly goes dry now. He forces the corners of his lips to stay down. “I do,” he admits, after a second. His neck is burning.
The bell's about thirty seconds away from ringing. Blaine closes the locker for him and then steps in, closer, like he's going to tell him a secret. Instead, he balances Kurt's books with one hand, and digs through his pocket for a spare piece of paper and pencil with the other.
“Can I have it?” he asks, and, with fingers trembling, Kurt writes down the seven digits.
Blaine calls him that evening.
A boy's never called him before, at least not just to talk. Not like this. He excuses himself from the living room and takes the basement steps two at a time, but then he has to give himself a ten second leeway so he doesn't sound all flushed and out-of-breath. But he can't let it go to voicemail, either, so he picks up on the second-to-last ring, breathing in through his nose, a quiet, “Hello?”
“Hey,” Blaine returns, and then, “This is Kurt, right? It would really suck if Kurt gave me a fake number. Please, say this is Kurt, I don't think I can handle that sort of humiliation this early on.”
Kurt laughs despite himself. “Yes, this is Kurt. If I really wanted to torture you, I would've given you Rachel Berry's phone number instead.”
“Mm, that'd be mean.” Blaine's heard all about Rachel by now. He knows about Mercedes, and Mr. Schue, and Finn and Puck and Quinn because he asks about those things. He asks about them, and he listens. That's one of the greatest things about him.
“Besides,” Blaine adds thoughtfully, “she's a cute girl, but nowhere near as cute as you.”
Kurt accidentally bites down on his tongue. A boy's never call him cute before, either.
“So even if I thought you'd given me a fake number, I would've taken my chances. I think it'd be worth the risk.”
There's a place downtown where the Warblers go most weekends, some sort of bar that doesn't exactly have a reputation for being clean. “We like it because they don't card,” Wes explains after school.
“Usually,” Blaine corrects him, tugging fondly at Kurt's tie. “Usually they don't card. But since you look like you're about twelve years old...”
Kurt frowns at him and peels his tie away. “I do not.” He digs through his bag for a mirror; he'd been styling his hair a little differently this week, but he didn't think until now that it made him look like a child. “I'm a solid fifteen at least.”
They head towards the parking lot. Wes is parked up front and he leaves them with a short wave and a 'see you later,' but Blaine walks Kurt to his car. He almost always does. “Besides, you pull off the innocent thing well.”
With his back pressed against the car door, Kurt glances down at his shoes. At least he has semi-freedom with those, as long as they're black or brown or navy. “I'm not that innocent,” he says.
Blaine reaches across him and pops the door open. It's not a romantic gesture, Kurt doesn't think. He's just nice. “We'll see about that,” he says, making sure he's in safe before closing the door and winking.
“What's your dad like?” Blaine asks on the phone one night.
Kurt's draped on a couch, letting his legs dangle over the arm. This has become a ritual of sorts. The last thing he does, after homework and before brushing his teeth. Sometimes it's just a quick conversation, a five-minute discussion about French homework or dinner, but sometimes they're on the phone for hours, hours that seem to pass in seconds. He never gets tired of talking to Blaine. They never run out of things to talk about.
“He's... he's hard to explain,” Kurt says after a minute, chewing on the inside of his cheek in thought. “You'd have to meet him to really understand him.”
“Is that an invitation?”
Kurt's tried to stop blushing over the phone, because it's pointless and stupid and there's not even anyone there to hide it from, but sometimes he can't help it. Blaine says things like that—things that catch him off-guard. Even now.
“Do you want to meet my dad?” he ventures, because he's not sure if he's joking. He's not even sure if he wants him to be.
“Well, it's probably only fair. I'm sure he's dying to meet the boy who's kidnapping his son every night at 9 o'clock sharp.”
“It's not actually kidnapping if you're not even here in person.”
“Then I guess we'll have to change that.”
Kurt sits up and plants his feet back on the ground. He's starting to feel a little dizzy. “We eat dinner every Friday night at seven,” he says, after a pause. Hoping that he's serious about this.
Blaine hums into the phone. “Hang on, let me check my planner—” He doesn't even let an entire five seconds pass before he continues, “Yep, looks like Friday at seven is open. You're lucky, I'm usually completely booked; I'm very popular, you know.”
“Oh, I know,” Kurt says, rolling his eyes goodheartedly. “I'll make sure to thank my lucky stars.”
“You better,” Blaine says, and then, “Ah, crap, it's my turn to do the dishes. I've got to go. I'll see you tomorrow. Goodnight, Kurt.”
He tries to pretend like he's not disappointed. “Night,” he says, sitting there for a long moment, still clutching his phone, but then he finally gets up and goes searching for his father, so they can get a head start on planning the menu for Friday night.
Blaine looks different when he's not in his uniform.
Kurt had secretly been worried that when the jacket came off, he'd replace it with something old and raggedy like it'd come straight from Puck's closet or, God forbid, a Hawaiian print, but when he shows up on Kurt's doorstep he looks... well. He looks amazing. A button-up shirt that matches his eyes, sleeves pushed up to his elbows, and jeans that actually fit.
“Hi,” Blaine says, giving him a once-over when he pulls open the door. “You look great.”
Kurt smiles. “I was about to tell you the same thing.”
“I brought cookies.” He holds the plate up, freshly wrapped in clear plastic. “Well, technically, my mom baked them. And I said 'Mom, I can't bring cookies, I'll look like a five-year-old,' and she said, 'You have to bring something or else you'll look rude,' and it's generally a really bad idea to argue with my mom, so.” He shrugs. “I brought cookies.”
It's hard not to think about how adorable he is. He'd told himself this afternoon that he was going to make a point of not thinking about how adorable he was, but there he is, being adorable. He can't help it.
“Thanks,” Kurt says, taking the plate from him. “My dad's in the living room.”
He turns and starts towards the hallway, a little nervous about this collision of his two worlds, but then he's jerked back to reality by Blaine's fingers intertwining with his. Startled, he looks up, but Blaine just tosses him an easy smile.
“For good luck only,” he assures him, giving his hand a little squeeze. “This is a big moment for me, you know.”
“How insensitive of me,” Kurt says, trying to pretend he's not blushing, that his palms aren't sweating. “Is there anything I can do to make this easier for you?”
Blaine kicks open the door with his foot. “Tell me how wonderful I am.”
That draws a laugh out of him and Kurt stops, taking his hand away—because there are people on the other side, his family, and this isn't how he wants to introduce Blaine to them—but not before patting him lightly on the chest.
“You're wonderful,” he promises, and then he leads him inside.
Kurt doesn't lie to his dad very often, but when Blaine pulls in the driveway and honks twice, and Burt hollers from the kitchen that he wants to know where Kurt's going, he hesitates for a half-second before calling back, “Mercedes' house! Just for a few hours,” and escapes out the front door before his face can give him away. Burt liked Blaine—in fact, he liked him a lot, laughed at his jokes, listened to his stories. It's just that he'd asked Kurt if he was gay, and Kurt said yes, and he'd asked Kurt if he liked him, and Kurt said maybe, and so getting out of the house tonight without a barrage of questions seemed unlikely. This was easier.
He'll feel guilty about that later, but for now, he's too excited about the prospect of a night out with Blaine. With a boy that won't glance over his shoulder every five seconds to make sure no one's mistaking their relationship for something that it's not. With a boy that won't purposely lag a few steps behind when they walk down the street.
“So I have something to confess,” Blaine says, when they're safely on the road.
Kurt lifts his eyebrows. “Oh?”
“I'm not taking you to the bar.”
That had been the original plan. The plan Kurt knows about. The one he'd been nervous about for three days straight, because what if they wouldn't let him in? He didn't even want to drink—he just wanted to go somewhere and be accepted. Have a night out for once. But apparently that's not happening.
Blaine checks his rearview mirror and switches lanes. “Nope.”
“Why not?” Kurt asks, tugging lightly on his seatbelt. Maybe Blaine didn't think he'd be able to make it past the front door, either.
“Because...” Blaine hesitates for a second, and then switches the radio off. It's silent, but a welcomed kind of silence. A comfortable one. “Because I wanted to take you somewhere a little bit classier.” He pauses again, and then lets his eyes flicker over to Kurt. “For our first date.”
He releases the seatbelt and leans back. He has to bite down on his bottom lip to stop himself from doing something stupid. “So you're saying this is a date?”
“I am.” For the briefest moment, Blaine looks unsure. He never looks unsure. It's unbelievably charming, and then it's gone. “If you want to be. Because I want it to be. And I really hope you say yes, because I've already got our second and third dates planned out in my mind.”
Kurt surprises himself with his own bravery. He reaches across the gearstick and softly places his hand over Blaine's. “Yes,” he says. “I want it to be a date.”
Blaine looks relieved. “Good,” he says, and he twists his palm around so it's pressed against Kurt's, and then he laces their fingers together and sets his attention back on the road.
Their seventh-and-a-half date takes place in Kurt's basement, because they're both jobless and it's not easy to eat at Breadstix every week. Kurt's on the couch and Blaine is on the floor below him, propped up against his legs. He says he's letting his hair grow—but only for Kurt, because he doesn't quite believe he's as capable of a fro as he says he is—and it's hard to resist touching it. There's a movie on, but neither of them are watching it. Even though it's one of Kurt's favorites. He's seen it a dozen times.
“Hey, so,” Blaine says suddenly, twisting around to look at him. “I kind of called you my boyfriend today.”
Kurt stops combing through his hair and mutes the TV. “You did?” he asks, his stomach doing a little somersault.
“I did. It was an accident, but it just slipped out and... I thought it felt right.” Blaine never looks ashamed about doing the things he does, wanting the things he wants. Kurt loves that about him. “So I thought... I should ask you, if I said it again, and it wasn't an accident... would you be okay with that?”
The word 'boyfriend' is so completely foreign to Kurt that he has to close his eyes and let it run through his brain three or four times before it sticks. He decides immediately that he likes it, the way it sounds, the way it feels.
But he likes to mess with Blaine a little, too. “That depends,” he says coyly. “What do I get out of it?”
At this, Blaine crawls up on his knees and pins Kurt's legs to the couch with his arms. “Oh, baby,” he says in a low voice, “you can have anything you want.”
Kurt's mouth goes inexplicably dry.
Blaine breaks character after a second and laughs. “Come here,” he says, and he tugs Kurt forward by the collar of his shirt for a kiss, short but sweet and sort of sloppy, and before he pulls back he kisses him a second time, and then a third.
But the fourth kiss, he's no longer kneeling on the floor, but halfway in Kurt's lap, one arm curled around his neck.
They only break away when the basement door swings open; Burt's not going to walk down there, but he likes to remind them that this is his house, and they're not alone. Kurt feels a little flushed and warm, and he presses his face against Blaine's shoulder and smiles. He can't stop smiling.
“So you never answered my question,” Blaine says after a minute. He slides his arm around Kurt's waist, pulling him closer.
Kurt doesn't need to give him permission, but he does it anyway. Saying it out loud is even better than saying it in his head. “You can call me your boyfriend,” and Blaine kisses him again, lighter this time, just a peck. “You can call me anything you want.”