had it with being your kid sidekick (sotto_voice) wrote,
had it with being your kid sidekick

Fic: comes and goes in a minute

Title: comes and goes in a minute
Fandom: Glee
Rating: PG-13
Characters: Kurt Hummel/Blaine Anderson
Summary: Valentine's Day has never been Kurt's favorite holiday, but after a chance encounter this year in New York, he might have to change his tune.
Count: 6493 words
Notes: For spookykat in the kurt_blaine fic exchange; originally posted here. Thank you to ruffwriter for the lightning fast beta. ♥ Title from "Make Someone Happy" by Jimmy Durante.

Kurt hears the familiar voice when he is in the middle of weighing the preservatives in one pint of Häagen Daaz against the doubtless freeze-dried “real strawberry chunks” in the other. He's skimming nutritional facts, ice cream in each hand and the freezer door propped open against his hip, when he begins to realize that something is bothering him; something that isn't the way that the artificial cold is doubtless wrecking the effects of the facial that he got over the weekend, and isn't the supermarket muzak playing tinnily over hidden speakers.

He frowns into the commercial freezer, his chin rising as he tries to work out what got his attention. Someone shuts another freezer door several feet away; there are bored-sounding voices behind him, a supermarket associate trying to explain the difference between free-range and organic to an irritated shopper. Kurt shakes it off and glances down at his cold hands again – then a girl's laugh rings out and light-but-loud footsteps thunder past, and Kurt rolls his eyes at the freezer shelf full of ice cream (years of city living have led him to the inescapable conclusion that people really need to learn to control their offspring) and goes back to studying his all-too-cliché Singles Awareness Day dessert options.

“Carly,” calls a voice over his left shoulder, and Kurt's head snaps up.

That can't possibly be right.

Real life doesn't work like a John Cusack romantic comedy (and not the good ones, either; the ones from the nineties).

But the guy crosses behind him – Kurt hears him and catches a distorted reflection in the metal shelving – and says, “Carly!” again, and Kurt knows: his life is a late nineties rom-com costarring Kate Beckinsale.

(Kurt is Kate Beckinsale.)

He slowly, carefully turns his head, and finds himself staring at the fogged-up freezer door. He raises his hand and – with a grimace of distaste at what this is doing to his merino wool fingerless glove – uses his fist to wipe a peephole in the condensation. The blurry figure down by the frozen pizzas leans over and scoops up a smaller figure; the little girl shrieks with giggles as she's tossed. Kurt can't make out much through the smeared glass door. The man is wearing a black coat; the little girl is in purple.

“Where do you think you're going?”

It's been seven years and there's a streaky freezer door between them, but Kurt doesn't have to see his face to recognize the laugh in that voice.

It's absolutely ridiculous and unbecoming, and certainly not befitting the youngest associate artistic director in the history of Atlantic Stage 2, but Kurt immediately, instinctively tries to shrink deeper into the freezer. His fingers are going numb with cold and his facial is almost certainly wrecked by now.

Carls,” says a new voice, and a blur in a camel coat rushes out of the snack aisle.

There were boys, after Blaine; men, after that. European men, to be precise – Kurt took full advantage of a year spent studying abroad in Paris. The general idea was to forget about Blaine after the distance between Chicago and Los Angeles became too much. They cut off all contact – de-friended on Facebook, deleted each others' numbers (and pretended they didn't have them memorized), and stopped talking to each others' friends. Kurt spent four months thinking that they would talk again after it hurt less, two months realizing that it wasn't going to hurt less, and then about a year coming to terms with the fact that they were seriously over and that they had definitely broken their promise about always being friends. Kurt moved on, he really did, but it's not like he hasn't occasionally wondered where Blaine is and what he's doing.

Who he's with.

Kurt's mental picture has tended to place Blaine in Chicago, right where he left him. In Kurt's mind, he's at the top of his class in his final year of law school at UChicago or Northwestern. Blaine's relationship status depends on Kurt's current state of despondency. On a good day – which, honestly, is most days – he hopes Blaine's happy and he leaves it at that. On a night after another bad date and too much bordeaux, Kurt pictures him in an upscale Chicago apartment with a broad-shouldered model of a live-in boyfriend who wears bespoke suits and probably fosters kittens or something equally irritating in his spare time. (It is, Kurt is perfectly willing to admit, a ridiculously detailed, extravagant fantasy, and an unlikely one at that, but his mind takes vicious delight in torturing him when he's at his most lonely.)

It has been seven years and he can confidently say that he is no longer in love with his first boyfriend, because that would be both pathetic and bizarre – two adjectives that emphatically do not describe Kurt E. Hummel – but there's still a dull, tired ache in Kurt's chest when he pictures Blaine laughing and happy with a handsome blond in a fedora.

One place that he never pictured him was in the supermarket three blocks from Kurt's apartment, with a man and a child.

That dull ache is back with a vengeance now.

“Where was she?” asks Camel Coat Blur. His voice sounds terribly young, but he's taller than Blaine and holding out his arms for the girl to be passed over.

“She decided,” Blaine says, and Kurt can hear the wry smile in his voice even from here, “to follow the yellow tiles until they led her to the Emerald City.”

If Blaine were alone, it would be one thing. Kurt might consider saying hello. But he isn't alone, and this isn't a green-eyed monster speaking, no matter what kind of disbelieving, pitying look Ms. Rachel Berry would shoot him if he tried to tell her that. Kurt hasn't spoken to Blaine since they were 19 years old; he doesn't have any kind of a claim on him, or any serious interest. It's not like they know the first thing about each other, anymore. No – the real reason is that popping up as an ex-boyfriend in the middle of a family outing isn't particularly appealing.

Maybe, Kurt thinks, if he stands in the freezer for long enough, they will pass him by, and then his shoulders straighten indignantly at the thought. This is absurd. He's in his own neighborhood, in his usual grocery store, in his city. He can turn and walk to the cashier.

The moment that he decides this is, of course, precisely when a disbelieving voice says, “Oh my God, Kurt?”

Kurt seriously considers pretending that he doesn't know how to speak English, but he rejects the idea as untenable. Primarily because he'll give himself away the moment that he opens his mouth. He takes a deep breath, replaces one pint of ice cream so that he can close the freezer door, and then projects his very best surprise-face. It's like a show-face, only infinitely more nuanced and challenging. “Blaine?

Blaine looks – good. Shocked, but good. Very, very good. He apparently still favors those heinous beanies that Kurt always mocked, a few dark curls escaping the hat over his forehead. He's wearing a burgundy scarf wound around his neck and has matched it to a long, sleek black coat with a wing of a raised collar. His face looks a little fuller than Kurt remembered it, a little older, but his slow, stunned smile is all too familiar.

“Oh my God,” Blaine says again, practically bouncing on his feet (brown loafers, Kurt notes automatically, with a pair of dark wash jeans), and then he's coming forward, and Kurt is surprised to find himself returning Blaine's hug as fiercely as it is given. Blaine is warm and solid against Kurt, and he still uses the same aftershave.

“What are you doing here?” Blaine demands as he steps back. From the smile on his face, you would think that their last conversation hadn't been a drunk dial six years ago that ended with both of them in tears. “I thought you were in L.A.!”

Kurt shoots him a politely disbelieving look, and he says, “I moved. People occasionally do that.” Blaine half-laughs, his grin still at an absurd wattage, and he shakes his head ruefully. Kurt continues: “What are you doing here?”

“I moved,” Blaine says with the proverbial twinkle in his eye, and Kurt rolls his eyes. (Blaine lives here? Blaine lives here. There goes the Chicago penthouse with cathedral ceilings that Kurt has been picturing for the last five years.) Blaine's smile tempers into something calmer. "You look good, Kurt."

Kurt is a 25-year-old man; he is no longer allowed to flush at compliments, especially when they're true compliments. He knows he looks good. He is grateful that he'd stopped at the store on his way home from work rather than going back to the apartment, getting good and sulky about his lack of a date on the most pointless holiday of the year, and then going to the store, as he'd originally been planning. Instead of a sweatshirt with the neck ripped out, he's wearing charcoal gray skinny-leg suit pants, a forest green Vivienne Westwood sweater, heavy motorcycle boots, a frothy white scarf, and the tan Gaultier dress coat with wide lapels and white interior detailing that Kurt has basically lived in all winter. His hair has swooped exactly the way he likes it, and he's perfectly shaved. The entire effect is professional with a more-than-generous hint of Kurt's own design sensibilities.

It's also all very well-fitted, and Kurt suddenly remembers that his late growth spurt continued after he and Blaine broke up, and that he's a good two inches taller now and has broader shoulders, even if he does still look (in the face) and sound like a 12-year-old.

That may account, anyway, for the funny way that Blaine is looking at him.

Kurt says, sounding far too breathless for his liking, "You too."

Behind him, Camel Coat obnoxiously clears his throat. Kurt glances back at him for the first time and finally realizes that he's tall and lanky, but young. Very young; he can't be older than 17 or 18, with a riotous scarf in every possible combination of stripes and colors (it's burning Kurt's retinas), and a mop of unruly dark hair. He's eyeing Kurt with the practiced disinterest of the American teenager. As for the girl riding high on his hip, her arms wound around his neck – Kurt is terrible at judging children's ages (Kurt is terrible with children in general), but he thinks she may be five or six years old, and she is peering at him over the boy's atrocious scarf. He can see black curls and big brown eyes and freckles; she is tightly clutching a bag of Cheez Doodles.

“Right,” says Blaine, “sorry – Kurt, meet my niece and nephew, Carly and Hunter.”

Niece and nephew.

Kurt saw Blaine with a teenager and a toddler and he couldn't have thought of niece and nephew?

While Kurt is internally castigating his flair for the dramatic, Blaine says, “Guys, this is Kurt. We knew each other in high school.”

“You knew each other in high school, or you knew each other in high school?” Hunter asks, bored mischief in his face.

How droll. Kurt would be more than happy to set the record straight, so to speak (he may not be the best with small children, but he can handle one smart-mouthed teenager), but he remembers a mention or two of Blaine's brother's wife and her ridiculous feelings on the range of human sexuality. He keeps his mouth shut and contents himself with arching the coolest of eyebrows at the boy.

Blaine says a mild, “We dated, Hunter, yes.”

Hunter looks both a little disturbed by Kurt's eyebrow-raising skills and by the fact that his commentary hadn't incited any kind of a reaction, which he'd presumably been expecting. His parents must be quicker to offense.

Kurt politely asks, “Is your family visiting this week?”

“It's school vacation,” Blaine explains, proving that he still has that habit of sticking his nose into conversations that he isn't a part of, and answering for people.

“Mom and Daddy went to a play,” says Carly, with the tone of something that has been repeated often tonight. “We're hanging out with Uncle Blaine. It's a secret.”

Kurt shoots Blaine a startled, dubious look.

“No, no,” Blaine laughs; “their parents totally know they're with me. The secret part,” and he points at Carly as if to remind her, “is what we're doing.”

Kurt eyes the three of them with no small bemusement, arms folded, and then he leans in and asks in a low voice, “And what are you doing?”

Hunter cracks his very first smile. “All the stuff Mom didn't want us to.” Carly happily smacks her brother with her bag of snacks; he hisses in protest as she whacks him again and keeps wiggling, and he puts her down.

“We stopped for Cheez Doodles,” Blaine says, answering Kurt's raised eyebrows. “Their mom's a health nut.”

“Cookies!” Carly shouts with a hop.

“We're going to Madigan's next.” Blaine offers a hand down to Carly and she slaps him a cheerful high five. Kurt still isn't necessarily a big fan when it comes to small children, but it's an adorable moment. “I figured they couldn't leave New York without trying those classic black-and-white cookies.”

“You have a very strange idea of essential New York experiences,” Kurt tells him.

"Do you have a better idea?" Blaine asks, only just shy of a challenge, and Carly stops zooming around (seriously, she's making a zooooom! sound) right beside Kurt and tilts her head up.

“I like your scarf,” she tells him.

“Thank you,” Kurt says, equally serious. They stare at each other for several seconds, then she wings off down the candy aisle.

“Crap--” Blaine mutters, starting to go after her, but his nephew claps him on the shoulder and says, “I got this,” and trudges off after the toddler.

“That's the least bitchy thing he's done all afternoon,” Blaine says with some wonder, and Kurt laughs. “Were we that grumpy when we were 16?”

“Oh God,” says Kurt; “don't make me answer that,” and they grin at each other.

Blaine is the first one to crack, glancing away, and Kurt thinks: here it comes. The awkward weight-shifting; the dreaded so – how have you been? He has wondered, over the years, what a conversation with Blaine would be like, and he always comes back to this part. The awkward part.

So it takes him completely by surprise when Blaine looks up again and, while he's not smiling anymore, there's nothing more complicated than pleasant interest in his expression. “So what are you doing here?” he asks.

Kurt's mouth opens and closes, and then he manages, “My roommate said something about traditions and commercialization and proud singledom; it primarily sounded like a plea for ice cream.” It serves as a sudden reminder that Kurt is still holding that pint of ice cream. He hurriedly opens the freezer door and puts the melting pint back.

Blaine laughs softly. He was always good at laughing at things that Kurt said and did without laughing at Kurt himself. “I mean in New York.”

“Oh.” Kurt grimaces. “Right. Well!” Now he is getting awkward. “I'm the associate artistic director for an off-Broadway theatre company.”

“Nice,” Blaine says appreciatively. “You decided not to stay in L.A. after school?”

"I couldn't properly regulate my sun intake," Kurt says matter-of-factly, and Blaine smiles like he's startled; like he forgot how much Kurt used to make him laugh. It's kind of understandable, given the way that the final month of their relationship went. "What about you?" Kurt turns his tone as breezy and this-isn't-weird-at-all as he can manage, and tries to forget that they're standing halfway between a wall of ice cream and the frozen tater tots.

"Law school," says Blaine, who somehow manages to make it sound like something to be bashful about. "It's my second year at Columbia."

By Kurt's calculations, Blaine should have been a year or two ahead of that by now.

He determinedly doesn't ask.

"That's wonderful." Kurt can feel himself going stiff, and the harder he tries to stop it, the weirder this moment becomes. "I've heard -- excellent things about Columbia." He laughs. It's his nervous trill of a laugh. He doesn't know how to stop this moment from derailing. It's like X-Tina at the 2014 Grammys. It's that bad. "Lots of good things."

"Thanks," Blaine says, and he looks about as suddenly uncomfortable as Kurt feels.

Kurt has never been so glad to see a sulky teenager in his life as he is when he sees Hunter come around a display of calorie-filled fried snacks, leading Carly by the hand. "Can you please tell her the Emerald City isn't real?" Hunter demands, clearly frustrated. Carly stares up at Blaine with enormous eyes.

Blaine visibly hesitates; Kurt doesn't. He gasps, pressing a hand over his mouth, and says, "Wash your mouth out with soap."

Hunter shoots him the most baleful of baleful stares, and Blaine immediately follows Kurt's lead. "Come on, Hunter; not cool, messing with your sister like that."

“I told you it was real!” Carly announces triumphantly.

"You are so lame," says Hunter, and he pulls a tiny headset out of his coat and slips it over his ear, presumably to start listening to music or calling a friend. He turns away from them in disgust.

'Charming,' Kurt mouths lightly to Blaine, who grins, and they look at each other for a couple seconds -- Carly watching them with bright, interested eyes -- before Kurt coughs.

“Well,” says Blaine, and before Kurt can stop himself, he awkwardly echoes, “Well.”

“It was really great seeing you,” Blaine starts, and then Hunter is muttering something that sounds suspiciously like, "Jesus Christ" and Carly interrupts.

“Can Kurt come?” she asks.

"Um," says Kurt diplomatically.

"Kurt can come!"

"I'm -- I'm sure Kurt has plans, Carls," Blaine begins, after the faintest of stumbles, and Kurt knows that he should agree; that this is potentially very, very pathetic.

But what comes out of his mouth instead is, "Actually, I don't."

"Their mom is really strict about only doing stuff that's a 'learning experience,' " says Blaine, complete with ridiculous air quotes.

"Seriously?" Kurt asks, hand on the strap of his bag as they walk down the sidewalk behind Hunter, who is stoically allowing himself to be dragged along by his sister's enthusiasm. "What have they been doing all week?"

"Museums," Blaine says, and Kurt thinks that's not so bad and pulls an equivocating face. "Homeschool activities in the hotel room." (Kurt frowns.) "Math problems."

"I think that may officially count as child abuse," Kurt announces, and Blaine makes a choked noise like he's trying not to laugh because this is his brother that they're talking about, but it's genuinely funny.

"Guys, stay where I can see you," Blaine calls ahead, through the crowds of pedestrians rushing past on all sides and over the sounds of engines and car horns. "Please?" Fifth Avenue at 6:00 in the evening isn't the easiest place to be walking; particularly when -- as Kurt happens to know -- there is an absolutely unreal sale at Bergdorf Goodman. Hunter raises his hand in a half-hearted wave without even glancing back at them; Kurt isn't sure if the gesture means okay, okay or Jesus Christ leave me alone, Uncle Blaine.

"But, uh, yeah," Blaine says to Kurt, though he's keeping a wary eye on the back of Hunter's curly head. "That's why I thought I'd take them to some stuff their mom would never be cool with." Kurt catches a quick glimpse of Carly through a brief gap in people's legs. She's looking around so much and so fast that her hair is flying, and she's waving her giant cookie in the hand that isn't holding onto her brother.

"That's very sweet," Kurt says, and then is aware all too late of what he just said. "I mean -- how much she's enjoying it." A woman hurrying past in a killer pair of Louboutins smacks his bag with her knee. They glare at each other as she passes, then Kurt steps in closer to Blaine and pulls his bag more tightly against his side. "Is this going to get you uninvited from Christmas dinner?"

"Probably," Blaine admits. "I'm kind of expecting it to. But it'll be worth it."

Kurt is forced to agree that it probably would be worth it, when Carly gets her first look at the giant teddy bear outside of FAO Schwarz. She claps her hands together, cookie crumbs flying, and shrieks loud enough that it seems to echo above Fifth Avenue for several seconds.

"So -- the object is to make as many cliché New York stops as possible over the course of an evening, am I right?" Kurt asks politely, complete with jazz hands as he says 'New York.'

"Fun New York stops," Blaine corrects, frowning at him, but Hunter is laughing for the first time since Kurt has met him; he looks like he approves of Kurt's skepticism. The line waiting to reach the cash register slowly shuffles forward. Blaine is still making a face at him, so Kurt should really probably curb his cynicism, but he can't; (A) it's an essential part of his nature, and (B) he is currently standing in an enormous toy store, surrounded by running children and enormous stuffed animals and something that sounds very much like "It's a Small World" playing on repeat over the store speakers. The fact that he is here at all, Kurt thinks, speaks volumes.

Whether it speaks volumes to the connection that he still feels with Blaine, to his humanitarian streak, or to how sad and pathetic this is, he isn't sure.

"Fun New York stops," Kurt repeats, and he is going to widen his eyes a fraction at Hunter when Blaine looks away, to see if he can make the teenager grin again, except then something has grabbed his knee. Kurt looks down.

Carly stares up at him, wrapped around his leg. The teddy bear that is almost as big as she is, which Blaine is buying because he's a ridiculous but adorable push-over, whaps the back of Kurt's boot. "--Hello," Kurt says, unnerved, and then the line shifts forward. "Could you – the line is moving."

She laughs, but she stays put.

Kurt looks up. Hunter is flicking through a candy display, and Blaine has walked ahead and is just laughing. "A little help here?" Kurt demands.

Blaine's grin only broadens. "She wants a ride."

"Her feet are on my Edward Green boot," Kurt hisses, and Blaine gives a wide, expansive shrug -- a what do you want me to do about it; P.S. this is hilarious gesture, if Kurt has ever seen one -- and turns away.

Kurt flicks a glance over his shoulder. The two women waiting behind him, eyeing the large gap between him and the next person ahead in line, do not look amused. Kurt narrows his eyes at them, then sighs huffily and steps forward, dragging his leg, and thus Carly, with him. He's no weakling, but Carly is heavier than she looks. She giggles, though, as he swings his leg and then hobbles up to where Blaine is waiting for the next available cash register, so it's not all bad.

"Is this a regular occurrence?" he asks Blaine, who apparently finds this uproarious.

"It's one of her favorite games," he confirms, still laughing. "It just means she likes you; right, Carls?" Carly nods emphatically. "You should totally be flattered."

Kurt considers muttering something about how he should be flattered but his boot is flattenned, but Carly lets go of her octopus-grip on his leg and she hops off his foot to put her bear on the counter. Kurt's boot doesn't look like it's too badly damaged apart from the faint shoe-prints, so he can probably let this go, he decides.

It doesn't hurt that, as the salesgirl processes his card, Blaine smiles at Kurt over Carly's head and Kurt can feel his stomach simultaneously tighten and try to flip-flop.

This was the worst idea he has ever had.

"So," he says briskly, rubbing his gloves together as the four of them troop back out into the cold and the car horns. "Where to next?"

"I'm actually kind of out of ideas," Blaine admits, pausing just outside of the store entryway. "Coming up with appropriate places to take a five-year-old at seven o'clock on Valentine's Day is a little tough." Kurt glances down; Carly is cuddling Mr. Bear and chattering to Hunter, and doesn't seem to be bothered by the fact that Hunter is just grunting an occasional response.

"If I may?" Kurt asks, and Blaine nods at him, bemused. "I have a suggestion."

"You're sure you don't have plans that we're disrupting?" Blaine asks, his eyes steady on Kurt. "Not even a date?"

Kurt knows fishing when he hears it. His heart thuds against his chest. "Please," he scoffs. "You of all people know how I feel about this Hallmark excuse for a holiday."

Blaine's smile flashes very, very brightly. "I didn't have one either," he says, and that, combined with the look on his face, tells Kurt everything that he needs to know.

"This was a really good idea," Blaine says, leaning on the rail beside him. The entirety of New York City is spread out in front of them, blazing lights and tiny streams of slowly-moving taillights as far as the eye can see, and Kurt hunches his shoulders and smiles even in the face of a cutting blast of wind.

"I know," he preens, and Blaine laughs and lightly bumps their shoulders together, like he used to all those years ago in the common room at an all-boys' school.

"I'm glad you're still really modest," Blaine says.

"I'm glad you're still a remarkable ass," Kurt retorts, and he manages to maintain a straight face for all of five seconds. Blaine doesn't even last that long.

"You said a bad word," a voice informs Kurt from the general vicinity of his knee, and he glances down guiltily.

"One that you should completely ignore," Blaine tells Carly, reaching down to tug her hat more securely around her ears. She bats ineffectually at his hands with her mittens. "Want to come up and see?" he offers, extending his hands like he's going to pick her up, but she shakes her head and dashes off across the observation platform, over toward her brother. "Hunter!" Blaine calls, pointing at Carly, and Hunter turns away from the skyline and clearly sighs, but nods and scoops Carly up as she runs into his arms.

"He's very good with her," Kurt says, as Hunter settles Carly on his back and then points over at the glowing Chrysler Building, quietly talking to her.

"They're great kids." They watch in surprisingly-comfortable silence as a distant plane's lights blink, soaring far overhead. Kurt is all too aware of Blaine's warmth just a few inches away. "And I love them to death," Blaine says, like he never paused, "but does it make me a bad person if the more time I spend with them, the less I want kids of my own?"

Startled, Kurt laughs. "Not a bad person," he says, after a few seconds of thought. "Just an honest one." He flicks his eyes over at Blaine and finds him smiling. "--What?" Kurt demands.

"No," Blaine says immediately. "You're going to make fun of me."

He rolls his eyes. "I'm not going to make fun of you."

"You just did," Blaine points out. "I saw that face."

"I got it all out of my system," Kurt insists. "I won't laugh." He pulls a dramatically serious face and then points at it to illustrate.

He laughs. "Fine, fine! This is just--" He clasps his gloved hands together over the railing; glances around at the city lights and the brightly lit observation platform, and at Carly clutching her teddy bear. "It's kind of Sleepless in Seattle, isn't it?"

"You mean aside from the teenage chaperon," Kurt says dubiously. "And all of the Japanese tourists."

"This is why I didn't want to say anything," Blaine says, laughing.

"It's a good movie," allows Kurt; "and an appropriate comparison, given the Holiday That Will Not Be Spoken Of," and when he feels his heart flutter at the sarcastic, amused little bow that Blaine gives him, he finally stops trying to fight what he's been feeling all night. Some of that must make its way to his face, because Blaine's smile abruptly drops and they just look at each other, the wind tearing between them and stinging at Kurt's eyes.

"You could be Meg Ryan this time," Kurt says softly, not daring to breathe.

Blaine's smile is small and slow, the kind of expression that used to belong to Kurt and Kurt alone. The five seconds before he answers are agonizing. "I really think I'm more of a Tom Hanks everyman, if that's okay with you," he says, quiet, and Kurt feels like a 16-year-old standing in line at the Lima Bean again, but with the weight of added experience and with a whole lot more hope.

"I can live with that," Kurt says loftily, but he reaches out and rests his hand in the crook of Blaine's elbow, and he knows Blaine can see the way he's smiling.

"Can I call you?" Blaine asks, his voice low enough that -- in combination with the wind -- it's keeping this private conversation actually private despite how crowded the platform is.

"Pen," Kurt orders, and Blaine narrows his eyes at him, but pats himself down (coat pockets, jeans pockets) before producing a pen from the inside of his coat. He hands it to Kurt, who promptly grabs his hand as well as the pen and pulls off his glove. He tucks the glove between his arm and his side, and then he turns Blaine's hand palm up and cradles the back of it in his own palm. He doesn't dare glance up, for fear of totally losing his hard-fought cool, but Blaine's hand is warm under Kurt's exposed fingers. Kurt writes his phone number in giant, careful letters across Blaine's skin.

"Old school," Blaine's voice says. "You could have just programmed it in."

"I could have," Kurt agrees, finishing the last number 'two' with a flourish. He caps the pen and offers it and Blaine's glove back to him. Their fingers tangle a little too long and too intricately for it to be an accident; Blaine smiles up at him. "Call me," Kurt says, and Blaine lightly squeezes his arm and promises that he will.

He receives the first text before he is even out of the Empire State Building elevator.

It's the best Valentine's Day that Kurt has ever had.

Blaine kisses him 45 minutes into their second date, after they've been shoved together at the bar by the press of the crowd, and Kurt thinks thank God because he isn't sure he could have made it through the rest of the evening with is this a date or is this not a date hanging over his head. Blaine cups his hands around Kurt's neck and knows not to go anywhere near his hair, and they kiss gently, lazily, relearning each others' mouths. It's like coming home.

Kurt takes Blaine home after their sixth date. He frantically texts his roommate while Blaine is in the men's room at the theater; he does it so fast that he's not even sure if the predictive screen got his message right. When they stumble into the apartment, though, there's no sign of Ryan or of the explosion of sparkles, sequins, and feathers that had been all over the settee when Kurt left. Kurt pours them both a glass of wine.

They last an impressive ten minutes before they have their hands all over each other, and then they don't quite make it to Kurt's room.

Blaine flops into Kurt's sinfully comfortable bed and groans something that sounds like, "Hrnnsfadlemrm" into Kurt's pillow. It's utterly incomprehensible, but it sounds content.

Already half-asleep, Kurt rolls over and tucks himself up against Blaine's side, perfectly happy to enjoy the slide of damp skin. He presses his cheek against Blaine's shoulder. Blaine turns his head on the pillow so that he's facing Kurt.

"What," Blaine asks, "no inspired commentary?" He lifts a hand and starts rubbing light fingers across Kurt's scalp. Kurt has, by this point, officially given up on his perfect coif.

"I'm pretty sure you weren't speaking English," Kurt says, peaceable and sleepy, without opening his eyes. "I'm not required to respond to anything that isn't in English or French." Blaine keeps stroking his hair and his lips brush Kurt's forehead. Kurt is impossibly tired and sated and warm and happy in the moment; he feels like he could melt into the mattress.

Something somewhere in the room chirps. Kurt cracks an irritated eye. He finds Blaine up close, still red in the face with his hair wild, looking at him with a little bemusement and an impossible amount of fondness; enough to make Kurt's breath catch in his throat. Kurt sighs to disguise the way that he suddenly has to press his lips together to avoid blurting out something very, very premature. "You haven't seen my phone, have you?" he asks dubiously.

Then it chirps again, and Kurt furrows his eyebrows and sticks a hand under the pillows. He comes out with his phone. They both stare at it.

"How did it--?"

"Absolutely no idea," Kurt says, checking the touch screen. There is a message from two hours ago; Ryan demanding to know if his sexile is over yet. Kurt busily texts back: y but step on my thom browne jacket & die.

He starts to set the phone aside, but it flashes again, improbably fast. From the immediate response, Ryan has to be bored out of his mind. dude. seriously?? on our LIVING ROOM FLOOR?? f you, im staying at sarahs.

When Blaine laughs, Kurt realizes that he has been reading over his shoulder. Kurt turns a beady-eyed look on him, which Blaine promptly ignores. "You can tell Ryan that the apartment is a gay sex-free zone," Blaine says, leaning in and kissing his cheek, then rolling back across the bed. "I'll rescue your jacket from his ignorant feet while I'm up." Kurt frowns at his back -- as nice of a back as it is -- because he seems to be on the verge of getting up and searching for clothing.

"And where are you going?" Kurt questions archly, catching his arm.

"Home?" he suggests. He's still sitting up but has angled toward Kurt, sitting on one leg. He looks gloriously debauched (and glorious in general, Kurt feels), a red mark low on his collarbone and his lips puffy.

Kurt decides: "No," and he pulls him down into a kiss. Blaine doesn't put up a fight; he's laughing until their mouths meet. Kurt wraps his arm around Blaine's warm, solid waist, and, after a few seconds more, Blaine gives up laughing or any semblance of resistance. Kurt hums in triumph and licks into his mouth, and Blaine makes that sound low in his throat that Kurt first fell in love with at the tender age of 17.

They're both improbably half-hard again, tangled up in each other and in Kurt's 800 thread count sheets, by the time that Blaine rests his temple against Kurt's. He complains, "Kurt. I have class in the morning." He can't be that put-out; he kisses across Kurt's cheek to the corner of his lips.

"That's what you get for pursuing higher education," Kurt says, ruthless and higher than he'd like, and Blaine laughs with a soft huff of breath against Kurt's mouth.

"I mean, I guess I could stay," he says. His eyes look dark. "If you want me to."

Kurt lets his smile curve up quiet and slow and sleepy, and he cups the side of Blaine's face in his hand, and before he can quite stop himself, he hums the opening line of "Make Someone Happy."

Blaine watches him for several seconds, leaning into his touch, and then he rolls onto his side and reaches across Kurt to turn out the light. The room plunged into darkness, he pulls the covers up over both of them. "Make just one heart the heart you sing to," he croons, low enough that even Kurt can barely hear him; it's more of an exhalation than a full-throated sound. The bed rustles as he settles down. Kurt wants to laugh -- because somehow, despite all of the artists and theatre students and desperate actors he's dated over the years, no one but Blaine has ever sung to him in bed -- but he contents himself with smiling like the lunatic that Blaine turns him into.

"One smile that cheers you, one face that lights when it nears you," Blaine sings to him, and Kurt runs his thumb across Blaine's cheekbone and feels Blaine's face shift with his smile.

Editing lyrics on the fly without consulting each other isn't easy; Blaine sings "One guy you're ev'rything to," while Kurt comes in with, "One boy you're ev'rything to." Kurt remembers the teenage boy who sang his feelings because he was afraid to speak them, and while they're not perfectly in tune now – he knows what they're saying to each other.

Their heads share the same pillow, the distant sounds of traffic from three stories below almost enough to drown out their voices. Someone is shouting drunkenly on the sidewalk. Kurt's blinds aren't fully closed and illumination streams in from streetlights and headlamps, patches of color moving across Blaine's cheek and nose. His ear and forehead are in darkness, but Kurt can make out enough of Blaine's face to see his naked, unashamed adoration as he watches Kurt.

"Make someone happy," Kurt whispers huskily, their noses almost touching; "make just one someone happy," and Blaine rests his hand over his heart.

Notes: "Make Someone Happy," aka "that song that played at the end of Sleepless in Seattle." Both areyoumymemmy and genarti successfully guessed my identity while this was still anonymous. ♥ Written for the prompt: Blaine and Kurt have grown up and gone their separate ways. But sometime in the not-too-distant future, one Valentine's Day in New York, they happen to run into each other. Fluff ensues.
Tags: fic, glee
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