Word Count: ~1,900
Fic Summary: Their love story begins in the morning, on the bus to work.
A/N: I asked for prompts and ca_te gave me the following: "Blaine sees Kurt on the bus every morning, one day he gathers enough courage to speak to him." It was meant to be a three-sentence fic, but The Boys had other ideas and it got wordy. In fact, there might even be a sequel soon-ish. We'll see.
Blaine has been taking the same bus to work every morning for months, ever since he started his new job. It's a good job, even if it's not his dream. That, he is still working on. Until he'll make it, though, he's happy having a job that doesn't suck and pays the bills.
It's five months after he's started, five months of running down to the bus stop every morning, headphones on, book in one hand, coffee in the other. Five months of waiting, getting on the bus, finding a seat, reading until he reaches his stop. The same routine day after day, shoving the book into his bag as he approaches his stop, throwing away the empty paper cup once he steps off. Nothing ever changes, but Blaine finds it calming instead of boring most days.
It's something he can count on, his very own morning ritual.
Until one day, he looks up just in time at the stop after his own, sees the man get on, look around, take a seat, one row ahead, just across the aisle.
That is the day everything changes.
That is the day Blaine's morning bus ride turns from routine to something to look forward to, even if he doesn't know it yet.
Blaine keeps holding up his book, pretending to read, but keeps watching the man out of the corner of his eyes, studying as much of his perfect profile as he can see from his awkward angle.
Blaine knows the people who take the bus with him in the morning; with some slight variations, they are the same people every day.
There's the old guy who always reads the sports section, lips mouthing along to the words on the page.
There's the lady with the feathers on her enormous hat who carries her miniature dog around in an expensive, over-sized handbag.
There are the three kids, two boys and a girl, who keep copying each other's homework during the ride.
There's the young woman with the kind eyes and shiny black hair who seems to get a little more pregnant each day, and Blaine finds himself looking around for her every morning, wondering when she'll stop going to work.
There are more of them and Blaine knows their faces, some of their voices, most of their habits.
But this man – he knows he has never seen him before. He's good with remembering people, recognizing faces. But even if he were not, he just knows he wouldn't have been able to forget this stranger's face in a million years.
He is beautiful, breathtakingly beautiful.
And it's not just the styled hair and the fabulous clothes, even though Blaine appreciates those.
It seems to come from inside of him, a light, an energy, a magnetic pull that makes the letters of Blaine's book blur in front of his eyes until he gives in and turns his gaze back on the stranger instead.
He's stunning, so much it makes Blaine almost miss his stop for the first time in four and a half months.
Today, Blaine forgets to put the book back in his bag, doesn't throw away his coffee cup, which isn't empty yet anyway. He realizes when he steps into the office, sets the cup down on his desk.
It's still full.
He hasn't even touched his coffee this morning and yet he feels a buzzing in his veins, more intense than caffeine has ever accomplished.
He switches on his computer, waves off his coworkers when they ask him what he's smiling at.
All day, he can't get the beautiful stranger out of his head.
He's been hoping for it, but it's still a bit of a surprise when he looks up at the stop after his own, sees the man from yesterday get on the bus again.
His heart leaps in his chest and he lifts up his book to hide his grin. He'd been thinking of the man when he was making dinner the other night, had smiled himself to sleep with the memory of his face, all the while wondering if he'd been real. Wondering how much beauty he'd added to the reality of him in his head over the course of the day.
He is pleased to see this morning that the stranger is every bit as stunning as he'd remembered him. Possibly even more so.
Again, he takes a seat across the aisle, but a few rows in front this time. It means that Blaine is left to stare at the back of his head for most of the ride except when the man turns his head every once in a while.
Blaine doesn't mind. Even the back of the stranger's head is gorgeous.
After a week, Blaine comes to expect to see him every morning.
It's become a part of his routine, except that nothing about it feels routine or boring.
He feels weird admitting it even to himself, but after more than a year of being alone, of only having his daydreams for company, those twenty minutes of stolen glances every morning are the highlight of his mornings, sometimes his days.
And then a few weeks down the road, the man misses three days in a row, just doesn't show up, and Blaine can't help the way his heart sinks each one of those mornings when the bus slows at the stop, opens the doors, then closes them again without anyone or just the wrong people getting on.
He feels ridiculous – for being disappointed, for looking up anyway to see if maybe he just missed him (as if that were possible), for worrying about why he isn't there.
Maybe he's sick, Blaine thinks. Maybe he takes a different bus now, a sad little voice in his head chirps up, and he silences it quickly.
He doesn't smile quite as much during those three days.
The man is back on the fourth morning and Blaine almost breathes a sigh of relief, smiling up at him without thinking as the man is looking for a seat.
The man notices, looks surprised, a little taken aback, but then offers a tentative smile in return before slipping into an empty seat two rows ahead.
Blaine bites his lip and fights back a wide grin, willing his heartbeat to slow. They're strangers on a bus. Nothing more.
And yet, as he looks back up to stare at the carefully styled hair, the soft curve of the man's shoulders that are just visible over the backrest of his seat, he's suddenly hit with the realization that it's not enough.
He doesn't want to be strangers anymore.
But he has no idea how to stop.
He tries, he really does, over the next few days.
He smiles at the man every time he steps on the bus, pulse speeding up and his face flushing every time he gets an answering smile in return.
He keeps trying to catch his eye when they're sitting close enough together.
He considers 'forgetting' his watch and his phone so he'd have an excuse to ask for the time.
Blaine isn't shy. He makes friends easily enough, he's well-liked by his coworkers, he knows how to talk to people. But around the handsome stranger, he suddenly can't remember the right words.
Then, one day, the bus is so packed, the only seat left empty is the one next to Blaine and he spends the entire way to the man's stop silently praying that no one else will get on, please, please, please...
He's so relieved when there's no one else at the stop, feels his palms start to sweat as the man looks around, notices the only empty seat and sits down next to Blaine.
Look up, Blaine tells himself, say something, but nothing comes to mind.
He wracks his brain for a conversation starter, but the man is texting someone and Blaine doesn't want to interrupt and finally, he reaches his stop.
“Excuse me,” he mumbles, and the guy looks up, shoots him a quick, quiet smile and gets up to let him through.
Arriving at the office, Blaine hangs up his jacket, sits down in his chair, starts his computer, and bangs his head against the surface of his desk.
“Stupid,” he mutters under his breath.
Next time, he promises himself.
But the next few days, everything is back to the way it always was, Blaine sitting in the back and the man a few rows in front.
Nothing comes up, there's no opportunity for Blaine to do anything, and he's actually contemplating just walking up, holding out his hand, putting on his best smile and laying it all on the line.
“Hi, my name is Blaine. You are the most beautiful person I have ever seen and I'm pretty sure I'm in love with you. Can I have your number? And your name for the wedding invitation, because if I misspelled it that would be embarrassing.”
He suppresses a groan and rubs a hand across his face, earning him a concerned look from the old lady with the shopping bags in the next seat. “Are you okay?”
Blaine nods. “Just a headache, but thank you.”
See? he tells himself. You can talk to her. Why can't you talk to him?
It's a Thursday when it happens.
The man is juggling several bags, a box of donuts and a paper coffee cup, looking more stressed but no less gorgeous than ever.
His eyes fall on the empty seat in front of Blaine's and he heads straight for it, dropping his bags onto the seat and moving to sit when the bus takes off with a sudden jolt.
He stumbles, coffee sloshing out of the cup and landing on his no doubt expensive jacket.
“Shit,” he curses under his breath, starts rummaging through one of the bags with one hand, holding the cup far away from himself with the other.
Blaine, who always gets extra napkins with his coffee, quickly retrieves the the small stack he has shoved inside his jacket pocket, handing them across. “Here,” he offers.
The man looks up, surprised, but his lips curl into a relieved smile when he takes the offered napkins. “Thank you so much. You're a lifesaver,” he says and starts wiping the stain off the fabric.
Blaine sits mesmerized, realizing this was the first time he's heard the man's voice. It's as beautiful as the rest of him. “No problem,” he answers. “Your jacket is dark enough, no one will notice.”
“Oh god, I hope.” The man sighs, discarding the used napkins. “I have a meeting in an hour and my boss is a little particular about these things, and I didn't get the jelly donuts she wanted...” he stops, giving Blaine an embarrassed grin. “Sorry. You don't care about that.”
“No, I do!” Blaine just manages to refrain from slapping a hand across his mouth, clears his throat instead. “I mean, I can't even see the stain anymore. I'm sure you will be fine.”
“Thank you. You know. For the napkins. And the moral support.” The man smiles and there it is again, the same thing Blaine has noticed the first time he ever saw him. It's a brightness that comes from within.
“Any time,” Blaine promises, thinks it over quickly, holds out his hand. “I'm Blaine, by the way.”
The stranger hesitates for just a second before he takes Blaine's hand, his own warm and soft and perfect against Blaine's palm. “Kurt.”
For the second time in months, Blaine almost misses his stop.
For the first time since he started taking the bus, it's someone else who reminds him he's there.