what a crazy random happenstance (alianne) wrote,
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Fic: Ad Libitum (chapter 5)

Title: Ad Libitum
Rating: R (yup. It went up, just like I promised. :) You're welcome.)

Summary: What if Kurt and Blaine had never met in Ohio? What if Blaine, just starting his first year at NYADA, instead happens to run into him in a hallway of a performance school in New York? This is a story about how they meet, and everything that brought them there, and everything that happens from that point on.

A/N: Okay, first of all, I realize that there are things hinted at in this chapter (and previous chapters) that you're probably wondering about. And we're getting there. Soon. :) Also, everyone who has been reading so far: THANK YOU. I love you all! Special thanks to ca_te for being my own personal Gmail chat cheerleader for this fic. And to mixed_berryjam for being the best beta I could ask for. <3 I love everyone in this baaaaar!

And now, onto the chapter.



**

Jess is already waiting for him when he comes out of his morning class, and Blaine smiles at her and accepts her quick hug before they make their way to the dining hall.

“Is Damian joining us?” Jess asks. “I've tried to text him, but my phone is an unreliable piece of crap and I don't know if he got it.”

Blaine shakes his head. “He has to meet with the vocal coach, I think. Or he just doesn't like us anymore.”

Jess sighs dramatically. “Oh, great. Is it because of my hair?” She twirls a strand of faded blue around her finger, pouting. “I just never have the time to re-dye it. Stupid fucking classes. And it's so boring alone and I never know whether I've got everything covered or if it will look weird...”

“Do you want me to help you?” Blaine offers. He doesn't really have any plans tonight anyway, aside from studying.

“Oh, would you?” Jess jumps excitedly. “See, this is why I always wanted a gay best friend.”

Blaine laughs. “Happy and only very slightly offended to be your own personal stereotype. I could come over to your room around 7?”

“Yup, that works for me.”

They round a corner, and run almost directly into Kurt, who's reading something on his phone.

“Hey,” Blaine greets.

Kurt looks up, his face lighting up for a second before his smile turns forced. “Hi,” he says, gestures with both hands. “I have to -” and with one little nod, he basically speedwalks away from them.

“See you,” Blaine says quietly to Kurt's retreating back, then sighs and hangs his head.

“What the fuck was that?” Jess asks, confused. “Don't you, like, know each other?”

Blaine shrugs, walks on, but Jess quickly catches up and hangs onto his arm as she falls into step beside him. “There's a story there and I need you to tell me. Is he being a jerk? Do I need to kick his ass? I will totally do that for my new gay best friend.”

“No, no.” Blaine shakes his head. “You don't need to do anything like that. And there isn't a story there. I bet he was just in a hurry.”

He knows Kurt wasn't in a hurry. This has become a strange sort of pattern they have fallen into, and he doesn't like it. He doesn't like it one bit. He also doesn't know what to do about it. Every Thursday, they have yoga together. Every Saturday, Kurt gets up early to come all the way to campus to help Blaine with his dancing. During those times, they hang out, they talk, they laugh, they go for coffee more often than not when they're done. But every single time he runs into Kurt outside of those set dates, Kurt never really talks to him, barely even acknowledges Blaine's existence. And it hurts. It always hurts until Kurt shows up at yoga or for their dance tutoring and is so nice and so Kurt and so much the boy Blaine wants so desperately to become friends with. The boy Blaine likes in a way that goes a little beyond friendship, if he's being honest, but that's his problem, not Kurt's.

So, yes, there is a story there. But since he's not even sure himself of what that story actually is, he prefers to not even attempt to put it into words for Jess.

“You know I'm not going to let this go, right?” Jess asks, squeezing his arm a little.

“You might as well,” Blaine tells her. “Really, it's nothing. He helps me rehearse for dance class, that's all -”

“That's the dance dude?” Jess turns back, craning her neck as if she's trying to look after Kurt, who is probably long gone by this point. “Oookay, hobbit, you're so telling me what's going on there. I mean, you're always happy as a puppy, but it's literally disgusting every Saturday after your little tutoring session. And -” she looks at him, assessing him in a way that makes him a little uncomfortable. “...right now you look like a puppy whose favorite toy got taken away. What's up with that?”

Blaine laughs, trying to shrug it off. “You're insane. Stop psychoanalyzing me. It's nothing.”

Jess relents for the moment, but Blaine has the feeling she's not really done talking about this. Once she gets an idea, she can be unbelievably stubborn.

He finds he's right when he goes over to her room that night to help her dye her hair. It's Friday, they don't have class the next day, and even though Blaine has to get up fairly early for dance tutoring the next day, he agrees to stay over to watch a movie once they're done.

He's a little nervous sneaking into the girl's dorm bathroom with Jess, because, well, he's a guy, and also he figures you're probably not allowed to smear blue hair dye all over the meticulously cleaned dorm bathroom sinks. But when he voices his concerns to Jess, she simply laughs at him.

“What are they gonna do, expel us?”

He shrugs, still uncomfortable as he looks around to make sure no one sees before he quickly pushes the door open and hurries inside, relieved when Jess locks it behind them. “Well, maybe not that, but...”

Jess pinches his cheek. “You're so cute when you're worried,” she says as if speaking to a child, and he rolls his eyes at her.

“Excuse me for not being a notorious rule breaker like you are.”

“It's fine, I can teach you,” she promises, and grins at him.

Later they sit on her bed, Jess's hair a vibrant blue again, watching Juno on her laptop. Blaine can feel her side-eyeing him, and he knows what she's thinking. He keeps quiet, hoping against hope that she will decide to be a decent human being and just forget about it. Of course, he has no such luck.

“So,” she starts, twenty minutes into the movie. “I believe there was a certain story you wanted to tell me?”

“I'm pretty sure there wasn't,” he answers, focusing on the laptop screen.

“Don't be an asshole about this, come on,” she practically begs. “I can tell there's something going on between you and Mr. Perfect Hair, and we're friends. Friends are supposed to talk about these things!”

He sighs, shaking his head. “It's nothing. I swear I'd tell you if there was something.”

“Do you want there to be something?” she asks, and Blaine slumps back against the wall, lifting his shoulders in a quiet gesture of how the fuck am I supposed to explain this.

“We have yoga together. He helps me with my dance steps. He gave me his number. And he's really nice, I just think – I don't know. He's a year ahead of us. He probably just doesn't want to hang out with a silly little freshman.”

“Uh, he kind of does, though, doesn't he?” Jess gives him a confused look. “Like, every fucking Saturday.”

Blaine nods, because yes, that's what has been confusing him too. Kurt is never cold to him when they do hang out. And for the first two weeks after they had exchanged numbers, he had texted back politely and kindly every time Blaine had invited him to join them for karaoke or lunch or whatever. Even if he had always refused. After a while, Blaine had stopped asking, because it had just seemed like Kurt wasn't interested. It's the open and friendly way Kurt behaves toward him when they do hang out that just simply confuses the hell out of him. He doesn't understand. It's like Yoga And Dance Kurt is a completely different person than Public Kurt.

“Maybe he doesn't want to be seen with me or something.” It doesn't seem a likely scenario. Kurt is too nice to be like that. It's the only explanation Blaine has been able to come up with, though.

“In that case, he's a giant jerk and doesn't deserve to hang out with you,” Jess decides.

“He's not a jerk, though,” Blaine says. Because it's the truth. It doesn't make any sense.

“Kind of sounds like he is.” Jess shrugs.

“You don't know him,” Blaine explains. “He's kind and smart and funny and just so … I really enjoy spending time with him …” he breaks off, not knowing why he's defending him. It just seems like the thing to do. He just wants to figure this out. He doesn't have to be friends with Kurt, but he doesn't want his friends to think that it's because Kurt isn't good enough to be a friend.

“Ohhh my god,” Jess exclaims. “You totally have a crush on him.”

Blaine can feel himself blush, stares at his knees. “It doesn't matter,” he mumbles.

“Maybe he has a crush on you too and he's just shy,” Jess muses.

“He's not shy.”

“You should totally ask him out!”

Blaine sighs audibly. “Weren't you there this morning? I don't think he'd say yes.” At least not Public Kurt, he corrects in his head. When they're dancing, when they go for coffee after yoga, which they still do, it's an entirely different story. There are moments – moments when he truly believes that he'd have a shot with him. Which is a terrifying thought when he remembers that he doesn't know the first thing about dating and has a tendency to horribly misjudge things.

“Oh, Blainey Bear,” Jess says, throwing her arms around him. “He might! Turn on the prep school boy charm and sweep him off his feet.”

“Trust me, that's not a good idea,” he says. “The last time I tried that, I got someone fired.”

“Well.” She sits back on her heels, chewing her bottom lip, obviously thinking up a plan of action for him. “Aside from the fact that I absolutely need to hear that story as soon as possible – how did you get guys to go on dates with you in the past? I mean, why is it so different with him?”

Blaine pauses, thinks quickly. He's not sure he wants to tell Jess about … anything, really. On the other hand, he can't lie about this. Not to someone who he's hoping to be friends with for quite some time. Lies are exhausting and he has never liked lying. “I … haven't,” he admits. “Dated. In the past.”

Her eyes go wide as she looks at him in disbelief. “Fuck! But you're so hot! And cute as a cupcake with rainbow sprinkles! Are you fucking serious?”

He feels really uncomfortable now. “It's just … it never … happened. Like.” He swallows. “Ohio isn't exactly the best place to be out and even though I was, it just … it was difficult.”

Jess shakes her head. “There wasn't anyone? Like, ever?”

“Not really?” he answers. “I mean, there was a guy I had coffee with a couple of times, but that didn't work out. And then there was … his name was Sebastian and he was -” he thinks about how best to phrase this. “He was … I guess he was interested. Very obviously interested. And we did hang out a few times, he took me out to a gay bar, we danced, and -” he doesn't want to get into what that night became, doesn't even want to think about it. It still makes him feel so cheap. “That's all. It never really went anywhere after that.” Because he didn't want it to, was too ashamed to even look at Sebastian for weeks after that night. He doesn't tell her that. He's never told anyone about that.

“Okay.” Jess tilts her head, obviously thinking about this. “In that case, we need a plan. A good one. I'm working under the assumption here that you like this guy?”

Blaine forces himself to laugh and shake his head. “Seriously, let's just watch the movie, okay?”

“But -”

“It's okay. I'm okay. It's nothing.”

Jess just looks at him. “I don't believe you. You know I don't believe you.”

But at least she lets it go for now.

**

The next morning, he meets Kurt by the kiosk with the good coffee, just like they've done every Saturday for the past five weeks since they started this.

Kurt is already there when Blaine arrives, holding two cups of coffee and smiling when he sees Blaine.

“Hi,” he calls, his voice cheerful and his eyes so warm, and Blaine feels his palms tingle and his heart skip a beat at the joy on Kurt's face. This is the boy he likes. The boy he stopped to ask for directions. This is the Kurt he loves hanging out with.

“Hi,” Blaine says back, accepting the paper cup Kurt offers him. “You really didn't have to,” he adds.

Kurt just laughs. “It's no big deal. I was here early and, yeah. It's no big deal.”

“Thank you,” Blaine says.

Kurt grins, almost shyly, and walks next to Blaine as they make their way toward the dance studios. “So, any plans for the weekend?”

Blaine thinks about it, really thinks about it. And he figures one more try can't hurt. He'll give up soon, but he wants to figure this out, figure Kurt out. “No, actually. Nothing specific. Karaoke got canceled since half the group has the flu, so I don't know. What are you doing tonight?” He takes a deep breath, he can do this. He's been rejected before. He'll get over it. “Do you maybe want to hang out? We could go to karaoke by ourselves.”

Kurt doesn't look at him, instead seems very interested in the architecture of the administration building they're walking past at this moment. “I can't, I'm sorry. It's a friend's birthday party tonight, I already said I'd go.”

“Oh, of course.” Blaine sighs. He feels like such a bad person, doubting Kurt's story, but he can't help it. He does. “Maybe some other time, then.”

“Yes, sure.”

They find an empty studio easily enough, and it's so much fun dancing with Kurt, Blaine just can't stay mad at him. He was never really mad at him to begin with anyway. Whatever is going on with Kurt during the week, it doesn't matter when they're dancing.

“You're getting really good at this,” Kurt compliments as Blaine spins him, then wraps his arm around his waist and lowers him into a dip.

Blaine grins excitedly. “This is so much fun! I wish I could just practice with you all the time and never go back to class.”

“Ms July does have a tendency to suck all the fun out of dancing,” Kurt agrees as Blaine returns him to a standing position. His hands linger on Blaine's shoulders for just an extra second and it's not really a big deal at all, but it reminds Blaine. Of all the things that still confuse him about Kurt.

He keeps quiet, keeps dancing. But it stays in the back of his mind all morning, nagging at him until his feet stop working properly.

“Are you okay?” Kurt asks, concerned, as Blaine stumbles his way through a series of steps he had down perfectly from the start.

“What? Yeah, sorry, distracted,” Blaine answers. Dammit. He really has to focus and stop acting like a naïve little prep school boy. Still, Kurt is so nice and helpful and even flirty at times with his lingering hands and those smiles he throws at Blaine and it makes Blaine feel … all over the place. Like he wants to hug Kurt and grab and shake him until he tells him what his deal is. He hates when he gets like that, feels like a stupid innocent teenager again. Even if he's not that innocent, not really. He's … in this weird in-between place, and he has no experience that counts and he's just this stupid half-virgin who can't control his feelings and he needs to get over this. Now. “I'm okay, let's do this again.”

Kurt nods, takes Blaine's hand to place it on his hip. “Okay.”

It's when they're done and Blaine is changing his shoes and Kurt smiles at him all open and friendly and asks, so innocently “Want to go get coffee?” that Blaine blurts it out, because he's tired and sweaty and so, so frustrated by now.

“Are we friends, Kurt?”

Kurt looks shocked, taken aback, and Blaine feels part sorry and part embarrassed, because, okay. That was a really weird thing to say.

“I – Of course we are!” It sounds honest. It sounds surprised. And Blaine wants so badly to believe it. But...

He nods. “Okay. Just -”

“Why? I mean, I thought...”

“It's just …” He feels even more stupid now. It sounds so childish, saying it out loud. “When we run into each other, like, outside of yoga or these dance sessions?” He waits for Kurt to nod before he continues. “It always feels like … like maybe you … don't. Want to, uh, talk to me.”

Kurt's mouth falls open and his eyes go wide, his face pale as he digests what Blaine said. “Shit,” he finally manages. “No, no no no. That's not … I'm not …”

“It's okay, it's -” Blaine shakes his head, smiling apologetically. “I'm just being weird, here. Forget it. That was weird.”

“No.” Kurt walks over to him, stops a few feet away, runs a nervous hand through his sweaty hair. “Blaine, I … I'm sorry. I didn't mean to … I didn't mean to. Make you feel like I was ignoring you or something. I was just, the past few weeks were … I'm really sorry. We are friends! I'm sorry I haven't been acting like it.”

“Kurt, I didn't mean to make you feel bad.” Blaine takes a step forward, feeling awful now. He should have kept his mouth shut. “I was just wondering, and I tend to lose my filter when I'm tired. And I haven't been sleeping well.” He knows that now they're both making excuses, but he just wants Kurt to smile again. He just wants himself to stop acting like a damn five-year old.

“I just don't want you to think that I'm … that I'm doing it on purpose when we run into each other,” Kurt explains. “I wasn't aware that I was being an asshole. I'll be better from now on.”

“It's fine,” Blaine says.

“Can I buy you another coffee?” Kurt asks, eyes almost pleading. “To make it up to you?”

“No,” Blaine says. Kurt's face falls and he adds quickly, “you can let me buy you coffee.”

“But I …”

“You said you wanted to make it up to me?”

“Yes, but I don't see -”

“Kurt?” he interrupts. “I really want to buy you coffee. If you're my friend, you'll let me do this.”

Kurt laughs, bright and beautiful, and nods. “You're ridiculous. Yes. Yes, okay, you may buy me coffee.”

“Yay,” Blaine exclaims, quietly, and grins. Maybe they have a shot at becoming friends yet.

**

Kurt is almost grateful to find Santana home when he returns home that day. She's still in a standoff with Hayley, even if he knows they've been having sex fairly regularly. They just don't want to live together right now, and it just seems natural for Santana to stay with them for the duration of her weird not-break up.

He showers, changes, then sits down opposite her at the dining table where she's painting her nails.

“'sup, Lady?” she asks, and he decides not to be offended. Coming from her, it's almost a compliment anyway.

“Can I ask you something? From one giant bitch to another?”

She snorts. “You're about as much of a bitch as a Disney princess. But for the sake of this exercise, I'll let you pretend.”

He rolls his eyes at her. “Thank you, I guess. Even though I'm not sure that one was actually a compliment.”

“Whatever.” She shrugs. “This is about that cute piece of ass you've been dance tutoring, isn't it? Because usually you look kind of high as a kite when you come back and today you look like you woke up and found that all your favorite lady sweaters were gone.”

He's really trying not to get offended, but it's proving to be difficult. Still, he knows that she's probably better to talk to about this than Rachel. “I guess I've been kind of … mean to him? Lately? Without meaning to. Like,” he sighs. “Ignoring him outside of dance and yoga and stuff.”

“Um, why?” Santana asks. “That sounds stupid.”

“It kind of was,” he admits. “I just … didn't want him … to like me.”

“Why would you – Oh. Oh, good lord. Tell me you aren't serious.” She looks at him incredulously. “You're certifiable.”

“I'm not good at … that.”

“At people liking you? How can you possibly be bad at that? That doesn't even make sense.”

“You know what happened with -”

“Yeah, I know. You dated, and you broke up. Kurt?” She looks at him, something like concern visible in her eyes. “Just know that I say this with love. But … get the fuck over it already, okay? It happens.”

“It was horrible,” he insists. “I was … you know what happened, you know how selfish I was -” He throws up his hands in frustration, wanting her to understand. “Hell, you were the one who pushed me to break up with him because you said what I was doing wasn't fair to him. You know it was all my fault.”

“You were being kind of a dick to him,” Santana agrees. “But I don't see what that has to do with your little secret dance partner.”

“I did the same thing to Chandler. I thought I could do it, and I made them think I could do it, and then I had to tell them that I couldn't. I hurt their feelings. I hurt them. I don't want -”

“But that just happens, you know?” Santana sighs. “People who date break up sometimes. That's just life.”

“No.” Kurt shakes his head emphatically. “No. You don't get it. I'm not made for it. Okay? I'm … I can't use other people to figure out all this stuff, I need to be sure what I want, I can't … I can't experiment with people's emotions, it's so unfair -”

“You're such a drama queen!” Santana actually raises her voice at him, and he shrinks back a little in surprise. “Do you know how many people I have dumped? Do you think it makes me a bad person?”

“You don't string them along for weeks before you gather the courage,” he says quietly. “And you thought you wanted to be with them. It's the intent, don't you get it?”

“You didn't want either of them?”

“At the time I thought I did,” he answers, feeling so tired, so tired.

“Then you did nothing wrong. God. You're so … naïve.”

It hurts, more than any of the nicknames she throws at him. Because it's true. He's naïve and stupid and it hurts people. Which is why the next time he does this, the next time he lets someone think there's a possibility for more, he needs to be sure. He can't go through any of that ever again.

“And I still fail to see what any of this has to do with the dance guy. Unless -” she smirks at him. “Oh, I see.”

“What?”

“You hittin' that?”

“What? No!”

“Do you want to?”

He shakes his head at her. “I can't believe you.” He gets up from the table to retreat to his corner of the apartment. He's decided he rather wants some peace and quiet.

“Kurt,” she calls after him, and he looks back at her just because he knows she'll follow him if he doesn't. Also, when she uses his name, he knows it's important. “Don't worry about it, okay? Liking him doesn't have to be a bad thing. Just … don't lie to yourself about what you want. And don't lie to him.”

He smiles. It does sound like good advice. “Thanks, Satan.”

“You're welcome, Ladypants.”

**

Kurt thinks about it. He lies awake that night, going over everything in his head, all his worries, all the residual shame his last attempts at having a love life like everyone else have left him with. It's just … he's so very bad at it. And it's not even that he thinks of Blaine as a potential … something. It's not that. Sure, he's cute, he's smart, he's … kind of amazing, really. But he probably has so many options. He doesn't need Kurt.

He remembers Chandler, sweet and funny and ridiculous, and all the silly texts back and forth until Kurt had caved, texted back, yes, let's go for coffee.

He remembers sitting through a handful of awkward dates, remembers the compliments, remembers getting a glimpse of what he'd always wanted, remembers kissing Chandler and … not feeling a thing. He remembers lying awake at night, thinking about what it meant. Thinking about all the things it didn't mean. And he remembers the hurt in Chandler's eyes when he'd told him it wasn't working. He had never felt more awful in his life.

All the dumpster tosses, all the slushies and hurtful comments, they all paled in comparison to the quiet yet insistent discomfort and shame he had felt upon putting that hurt look on someone else's face. Because he knows what rejection actually feels like, he'd only ever been rejected before Chandler came along.

Chandler's life hadn't been much different from his own. He had dreamed the way Kurt himself had dreamed, he had hoped for a shot at a normal teenage experience the same way Kurt had. Kurt, who had seemed to return his attention.

Kurt knows they would never have stayed together. He knows they only ever attempted it because, well, because their options were somewhat limited in Lima, Ohio. Still. Dashing someone's hopes, breaking someone's heart – he had hated himself all the way home and well into the next month. He still hates himself sometimes. Because … he had known from the start. That it wasn't real. He had just … he had wanted it so much, too much. He had hoped that maybe – they could get used to each other. He knows that's not how it works. He just hopes that Chandler found someone better. Someone so much better than Kurt.

He had sworn to himself to never indulge like that again. To only do what he knew was right.

And then he had moved to New York. He had started at NYADA, finally, after working in his dad's garage and the Lima Bean for a year while all of his friends went off to amazing places.

New York, after Ohio, had been overwhelming. The city, college … boys. Suddenly, there had been options. So many options.

Like Adam, who had kept showing up again and again, between classes, in the dining hall. Always nice, always interested. It had taken Kurt weeks. Weeks of innocent flirtation, weeks of Rachel telling him to 'go for it,' even if he had never quite figured out what it meant or how to do that. And, in the end, he had given in. It had been so flattering, for once, to have someone pursue him like that. And he'd seen his friends do the same thing a million times, effortlessly, or so it seemed, flirting and going on dates and breaking up and dating someone else. If they could, then so could he, he had told himself.

And for a few months, everything had been great and new and exciting.

With Chandler, things had never moved beyond hand-holding and kissing. And Kurt had been thrilled to finally get some real experience, and Adam had been fine with moving at Kurt's speed. Which was slow, but it hadn't been a problem. Everything had been easy and wonderful. Until a few weeks after their six-months anniversary, when Adam had told him he loved him and Kurt had known with frightening clarity that he didn't feel the same. That he never could feel the same.

So he hadn't said it back. He's not sure what he said or did that night. He just knows that after that, things had never been the same. He had started making up excuses to get out of date nights, he had taken hours to answer texts. He had thought about breaking up with Adam so many times, but … he hadn't known how to do it.

In the end, when even Santana had started telling him he was being a total jerk, he had just told him. That he didn't feel the same. And it had been awful. There hadn't been a fight, there hadn't been any drama. Maybe with drama, it would have been easier. Instead, Adam had just looked at him, so sad, murmured “I know.” And that had been the end.

Kurt had felt horrible for not being heartbroken. He had felt horrible for once again putting that look of hurt on someone else's face.

He had always believed that he knew his own heart. It turns out that maybe he doesn't. That maybe he's just as naïve and innocent as Santana always tells him he is. He knows that people break up. But he hates that both times he had tried dating, he had been the instigator of the break up. That both times he had ended up hurting someone nice.

And both times, he had thought he could do it, make another person happy. It's all he wants, happiness. For himself and someone else. He wants to make someone happy, and instead he brings people pain.

This is why he's afraid of getting close to someone again, this is why he keeps brushing off Blaine when they run into each other. He's afraid of leading him on. He thinks he really likes Blaine, but if he's learned one thing, it's that he can't trust his own heart when it comes to those things. In fact, the very feeling that he likes Blaine is the very reason he was ever even afraid of accidentally leading him on, and that is such a fucked up thought, it makes him roll onto his stomach to groan quietly into his pillow. He's such a mess when it comes to these things.

However, he realizes he's been behaving stupidly childish. He's pretty sure that Blaine doesn't even think of him this way. And he really wants to keep hanging out with Blaine, be friends with him. He'll just have to be very careful not to send any wrong signals. He can do it. He doesn't ever want Blaine to think that he doesn't like him. He has already, unintentionally, hurt him by being distant toward him.

So he makes a plan. To run into Blaine the next day at school and talk to him, about classes, the weather, whatever. Just to be nice. If he's just very careful, it will all be okay. It's his problem. Not Blaine's.

**

Over the next few days, Blaine notices a remarkable change in Kurt. It's almost like the first week they had known each other – they walk down the halls together, they talk, they get coffee. He's not as distant anymore, even though he's still guarded. But then, Kurt is always guarded. This is nothing out of the ordinary.

They even have lunch together on Wednesday. Jess is there too, and Kurt's friend who he's seen him with a couple of times, a somewhat exhausting but nice guy named Michael who can't shut up about a history major from NYU he recently started dating.

“ … and, I mean, it's not like I don't appreciate winter clothes, don't get me wrong. But seriously, you should see John's arms. It's an actual crime to hide them in sleeves.” He notices Jess grinning into her salad and nods his head emphatically. “No, really. I'll introduce you sometime, and you'll understand why I mourn the demise of summer. Some people shouldn't be allowed to wear anything but tank tops all the time.”

Blaine catches Kurt's gaze and Kurt rolls his eyes at him and grins, almost conspiratorially. Blaine grins back. Everything is good.

They leave the dining hall together, and Michael, who seems to have taken a liking to Jess, immediately hooks his arm through hers, moving onto a detailed description of John's legs. Jess looks back at Blaine, obviously looking for help, but Blaine just shrugs as if to say nope, you're on your own here and falls into step beside Kurt.

After yoga the next day, they get their usual cup of coffee.

On Friday, they don't run into each other at all, but it hardly registers with Blaine. They'll hang out Saturday morning, after all.

He makes a point of being early the next day, so that he can buy coffee for Kurt this time. Kurt accepts it with a smile and they chat easily on their way to the studio.

Blaine is feeling restless and a little silly today, so their tutoring mostly turns into a dance party, little technique and a lot of jumping around. He has compiled a CD of all his favorite songs to dance to, and he sings along loudly and making his most ridiculous show faces, happy when Kurt joins him after the second song.

We will never be never be anything but loud,” he sings directly at Kurt, who practically shouts it back at him, his face flushed and hair in disarray.

This is the best tutoring session they have had so far, Blaine decides.

“What has gotten into you today?” Kurt asks, laughing a little breathlessly as Blaine takes his hands and spins them in a circle.

“I have no idea.” Blaine beams, feeling great. “I've had a really good week.”

“I can tell.” Kurt just goes with it, behaving as ridiculously as Blaine does, and their hour of dancing seems to fly past.

“God, now I'm really hungry,” Blaine remarks as they exit the studio.

“Same.” Kurt presses a hand to his stomach. “Early lunch?”

“Sounds perfect,” Blaine agrees, and follows Kurt to the dining hall.

“I never thought I'd be living off dining hall food so much,” Kurt admits over a large plate of fries.

“Why's that?” Blaine asks.

He shrugs, pretending to be embarrassed. “Oh, you know. I had all these plans of being this well-organized, successful adult who goes for a run every morning, goes to class, cooks his own healthy meals, goes out with equally grown-up friends and falls asleep on a text book at night. I had this whole montage featuring me in my head. But when I got here, it was mostly just … chaos.” He laughs. “It's stupid.”

Blaine shakes his head at him. Kurt is one of the most organized people he has ever met. “Yeah, I guess this place has a tendency to make you lose control over things like a sleeping schedule or regular meals. I kind of pictured it the same way, though.”

“I kind of like that it's different than I thought,” Kurt admits. “I mean, not everything here is the way I imagined, but it's still – it's so much better than Ohio in so many ways.”

“Definitely,” Blaine agrees. “And the chaos is part of the fun. Even if I have to admit that I'm still somewhat adjusting to it.” It's the truth. This is so different from his Dalton days. It's still a little much some days.

“You seem to be doing okay,” Kurt says, smiling warmly.

“I hope so,” Blaine says, smiling back.

**

Jonas is out that night, sleeping over at his boyfriend's place.

It's the first night in months that Blaine has a room to himself and he decides to just stay in for once. Watch something on his laptop, maybe go to bed early. He hasn't done that in weeks. There is always something going on.

In the end, he ends up laying on his bed in his sweatpants, listening to some music and just letting his thoughts drift. He's fairly happy with the way things have gone so far for him. He has settled in well at NYADA, he has great friends, and he likes his classes. He's also really tired.

He drifts in and out of sleep, fragments of dreams drifting to the surface of his consciousness whenever he blinks his eyes open.

Until he wakes up from a particularly pleasant dream and finds himself lying on his stomach, lazily rutting against the mattress. He sighs, rolls over, lets his hand drift down to cup himself where he's already very hard in his pants.

He never has the time these days, and when he has the time, he has no privacy. It's been a while. And tonight, he actually can. And, god, does he want to. Needs to, actually, he finds as he presses down with the heel of his hand and liquid fire shoots up his spine. It's been too fucking long.

So he sinks deeper into his bed, fumbling his pants down with trembling hands. His teeth clench to muffle his groan as his right hand wraps around his aching cock, left hand pushing up his shirt so it won't get stained as he begins working himself too fast, too dry, too furiously. He knows he has time, but that's exactly the point. He can let this be quick. He can always go again later, take his time.

It feels amazing, and he has to be careful to stay quiet, he knows the walls are thin and it's not that late, everyone in the adjoining rooms is probably still awake. But now that he's started, he can't stop. He needs this, and he needs it now.

He's a healthy young man, he has urges, and he's had to ignore them so many times over the past weeks … Sometimes he jerks off in the showers after everyone has gone to bed, but then it's rushed and just to take the edge off. He likes the thought of an entire night to himself.

He tightens his fingers the way he likes it, thinks about a different hand around him and this time he can't muffle the moan that escapes his throat.

This is so wrong. But.

It's so hard not to think about him, his hips, the fluid-graceful movement of his body as it dances, walks, exists...

He can't... he can't... Kurt is his friend, he's his friend, he can't use him like this, it's wrong, but he can't...

His hips come off the bed to push himself harder faster through the circle of his fist and everything curls too tightly low in his stomach, want and desperation so thick it's almost tangible, and he can't...

Kurt's lips, his hands, his legs, his beautiful beautiful voice, that smile that crinkles the corners of his eyes, muscles in his back shifting under Blaine's hands when they dance together, and it's the dance, it's the stupid dance, it always turns him on so much.

He shoves a fist into his mouth to silence his noises as he comes too quickly, too hard, all over his hand and stomach, pleasure like a sharp knife in his gut until his muscles give out and he slumps back into the mattress.

Chest heaving, skin tingling with the aftershocks of orgasm, he doesn't know if his face burns more from coming so hard or from shame. Because god that was wrong. It's the dancing, it does things to him.

Oh god. He's such a creep for doing this. But Kurt and everything he does and they way that he moves and his arms, oh god those arms...

He keeps his eyes shut, heart still racing and little shocks running up his spine. He hasn't come this hard in a long time. And he knows, he knows it's not just because he really needed it. It's Kurt.

Beautiful, sweet, amazing Kurt, who is his friend.

And Blaine decides to not only buy him coffee when they meet the next time, but also the largest slice of cake he can find. Kurt won't know what he's apologizing for, but maybe it will at least make Blaine feel less guilty.
Tags: fanfiction: glee, fic: ad libitum, pairing: kurt/blaine
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