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Kurt thought they’d done the hard part. They’d lived through a whole ice age of separation, with no promise of ever holding one another again. Then the world thawed.

Now they’re together in New York and they’re starting on a future they dreamed of at seventeen. These days should still be their endless summer - all ease and air, all sex and dancing around the loft in their underwear. Kurt doesn’t want to talk about claustrophobia and boundaries, about violence and about fear. He certainly doesn’t want to live through them. He should be able to open his eyes every morning and only see sunlight, and music, and Blaine stretching out in front of him for the whole day.

 

**

It’s late afternoon on a Tuesday. They have the loft blissfully to themselves. Blaine’s dark head is bent over his books at the table.

Kurt values this kind of undemanding afternoon together. But these days Blaine looks small. He looks beaten down. Kurt watches him and has to press back on a quick cold spurt of anger. They’ve talked about this. Blaine can’t afford to be helpless. No one can.

This is Blaine. Kurt doesn’t walk away. He sits down at the table and lets one finger move up Blaine’s bare arm.

Blaine lifts his eyes from reading The Tempest. “Hi,” he says sweetly then takes a tiny breath as he goes on. “Hey so I wanted to ask you, do you think you can get next weekend off? You could swap shifts with Dani or Thea?” He rubs a hand over his mouth. It’s a well-worn gesture. Nervous. Kurt recognizes Blaine’s movements with nearly as much familiarity as he recognizes his own. He’s not sure whose fault it is that Blaine isn’t comfortable here.

Blaine continues, “The thing is, I want to take you to Connecticut. I want to go to Connecticut. Together.” The hesitancy in him is making Kurt’s skin too tight.

Kurt’s first instinct is to say no. Thank you. No. He’s exhausted. His knuckles are broken. He still feels the bruises press against his ribcage when he takes a deep breath. Obviously he can’t leave. He can’t run away from New York when he hasn’t had a chance to prove he can take her on again in all her ugly, incredible glory.

And he’s angry all the time. Always. Right under the surface. With everyone, with Rachel, with the guys who bashed him, but especially with Blaine. Blaine is so close, close and increasingly fragile. It’s terrifying. Kurt can’t imagine how he’ll cope with all that in a hotel room that is only theirs. He hates that Blaine could turn into the enemy.

Blaine meets Kurt’s eyes and there’s a swift silent exchange between them. Kurt wants to leave. It hurts, holding tight to himself and not knowing what Blaine can see.

Then Blaine drops his head. And, oh Kurt loves him and has no idea what to do with him.

At length Blaine continues. Kurt holds himself still and lets him. “My parents sent some money, to help out after you were- after. I found this hotel.” He nods, looks up and there it is, his usual clear heart and wide eyes. “It’s a historic house on a marina. It’s a day spa too. There’s a hot rock massage. And a massage named in honor of Katharine Hepburn. And there’s a facial for gentlemen. They even have a gym.”

Blaine presses his lips together as he stops speaking. It’s clear to Kurt that what he’s asking is significant. Blaine’s drawing Kurt in, offering everything Kurt would enjoy. But underneath that he’s offering to let Kurt get closer. In however small a way, he’s making this effort to trust Kurt with himself, even now while Kurt is so brittle it turns cruel in an instant. While Blaine still feels weak and undesirable. It’s a messy kind of bravery.

“I’ll talk to Gunther,” says Kurt. “I think we can manage that.” He tamps down on his fears. The hotel sounds breathtaking. He imagines a facial, a massage, their own hotel room and plenty of time to explore one another anew. Perhaps there’s hope in this.

They borrow Elliott’s car for the weekend. Blaine drives as the city opens to the sky.

**

A masseuse is arranging heated stones against Kurt’s spine. The steadying weight and the heat touch something deep inside him. He wants to melt into the massage table, it feels so good.

He opens his eyes. Beside him Blaine is lying on his stomach. His body is golden and as beautifully put together as ever. Kurt takes a slow breath and looks his fill.

Blaine’s eyes are closed; his face more relaxed than it’s been in weeks. Kurt can almost see his body loosen as the heat seeps through to his bones. It’s achingly sexy, having Blaine’s warmed skin and pliant muscles just out of reach. Since he first had the right to touch, Kurt has never not wanted him. It’s his constant companion, sweet and terrible. He can’t understand how Blaine doesn’t see that.

When Kurt’s eyes make it back to Blaine’s face, Blaine is looking back at him. Kurt wants to stop looking, pretend it was a momentary glance. Even here, with all the romance of their first weekend away together, he can no longer be sure that his touch will be welcome. Kurt does understand the vulnerability of sex. He can imagine curling away from someone you don’t trust to hold your heart safely. But even through their most painful days, underneath it all, he has somehow felt safe when he’s had Blaine in his bed.

Across the space between the tables, Blaine smiles a tiny promise of a smile. Kurt thinks he knows what that means - he’s always known what that meant before.

As they walk out of the spa Blaine takes his hand. “Let’s go back to our room.”

“I’d certainly like that,” Kurt replies.

**

Blaine drops the room key into a bowl on the tv table. For a long moment they face one another, neither taking a step. There’s several feet of space between them.

Kurt’s tired of this whole back and forth, even in the silence. It’s like they’re negotiating an entirely new relationship over and over. It’s unfair. It wears him out.

He sighs audibly.

“This isn’t easy. I know I’m not-” Blaine starts, running his hands across his belly. He wraps his arms around his body like there’s something to protect himself from.

“Fuck, Blaine,” says Kurt. He clips the words. “You’re as attractive as you were when I met you. More. You have to see that.”

Blaine smiles tightly and shifts back. Kurt doesn’t know if he’ll ever get it right. He wonders for a second if he’ll ever be dazzled by Blaine’s effortless beam again.

“I just-”, Kurt almost groans. He stops. He doesn’t even know what he ‘just’. He doesn’t want to be less than he is so that Blaine can like himself again. Maybe he just hopes there’s a solution somewhere, mixed up in all the love and frustration. There’s no way to say, “I think you’re incredible and I love you and just please stop.” There’s no way to say, “I’m terrified and I thought I might be broken forever and I wish you weren’t caught up in that.”

I love you doesn’t seem to last forever.

“Look,” says Kurt more softly, “I’m just throwing this out there.” He steps closer, right into Blaine’s space, and Blaine’s breath catches in his chest. Kurt bites his lip. He wants this man so much. It might be impossible not to want him, but Kurt also chooses to do so. “You’re concerned that one day I won’t need you. Okay, maybe you’re right. But to be honest I don’t think much of that kind of need. I think I should be showing you how much I want you.”

Blaine says, “Kurt,” on a breath.

Kurt drops his hand to the top button of his shorts. “This isn’t only for now,” says Kurt. “I want to show you tomorrow and next week and always.”

“You’re going to resolve this,” Blaine waves both hands vaguely, “with sex?” But his eyes sparkle a little and Kurt lets the relief of that touch his smile.

“I’m definitely not against trying.” His fingers drop to the second and then third button on his fly.

“Let me,” says Blaine suddenly. He touches Kurt’s hand to stop him undressing himself, leaves Kurt’s shorts half unbuttoned and pulls Kurt’s top over his head. He pulls Kurt to him by the waistband of his shorts. Kurt kisses him then breaks away. He puts on knee on the bed and looks back at Blaine. Change goes both ways. Even three months ago he couldn’t have done what he’s about to do.

“Take a look in my bag,” he says. “You can find my dressing gown rope and that skinny scarf I bought at the markets.”

He doesn’t look back as he shifts onto the bed. He lies down on his back, reaches above his head to grab the bars of the bed head. His shorts are loose on his hips.

“Kurt,” says Blaine. Kurt looks at him then. There’s this flicker of something quick and uneasy in Blaine’s face, something hungry.

“I want you to tie me up,” says Kurt. He hopes Blaine doesn’t notice how his voice shakes. “Please, Blaine.”

Blaine moves, turns to Kurt’s bag, bends tidily to search through it. Kurt keeps his breathing steady as Blaine returns.

“Are you sure?” Blaine asks as he kneels on the bed beside Kurt’s shoulders.

“No.”

“Kurt, this is the kind of thing where consent is very important,” says Blaine in his careful very-special-episode voice. His eyes are black with want. Kurt doesn’t let his amusement show on his face. “I’m not going to tie you up if this isn’t something you’re completely-”

“This isn’t a question of consent, Blaine,” Kurt says. “I- I don’t think I need to be certain all the time. I want this. More than that, I trust you with this. Only you.”

“Oh,” says Blaine. Then he says, “Kurt,” again and Kurt feels the power in giving his trust. He resists teasing Blaine, resists asking Blaine to please hurry up and tie him up already, and lies still and waiting.

Blaine’s hand brushes Kurt’s. He wraps the tie about the bedpost then loops it over Kurt’s wrist. Kurt keeps his eyes on Blaine and pulls against it. Blaine was probably a boy scout or one of those tiny sailors. The tie holds.

Kurt takes a shaky breath. Don’t fight, don’t fight, runs through his head. Don’t fight him.

Blaine ties the other wrist.

They’re quiet, save their breathing. There’s a different kind of tension, deep and thick between them. Kurt can’t drag his eyes away from Blaine.

When Blaine reaches to test the ties, Kurt lets his mind go blank for a moment.

“Are you okay?” asks Blaine.

Kurt’s laugh is breathy. “That’s supposed to be my line,” he manages.

“Not for now, it isn’t,” says Blaine. He’s sincere and beautiful above Kurt. “Are you okay?”

“I’m okay,” says Kurt. “Yes.” He watches as Blaine undresses to his briefs. Their eyes meet again and he feels his own breathlessness slip into desire.

Blaine kneels back on the bed at Kurt’s waist level. His gaze runs over Kurt’s bare torso and down to his open shorts. It feels like a caress. Blaine leans to kiss Kurt and as he does so he runs his hand up Kurt’s thigh, brushes over his cock where it’s trapped under his boxer briefs in the opening in his shorts, traces across Kurt’s stomach and chest.

Kurt can only arch into it. He tips his head back and Blaine’s hand wraps firmly about his jaw. Blaine’s lips brush against Kurt’s neck, press humid against his collarbone.

Kurt shifts his hips forward, lifts them up from the bed seeking contact.

“Slow down, I’ve got you sweetheart,” Blaine murmurs against his shoulder. “I’ve got you.”

“Kiss me,” says Kurt and Blaine does, fervent and deep. He kneels back onto his heels. Kurt can’t help himself as he whimpers and lifts his head to chase Blaine’s lips. He can only raise it a certain distance though, before he has to let it drop back to the bed. Blaine traces two fingers across Kurt’s lips, lets Kurt suck on them for a moment. With the other hand he reaches down to free Kurt’s pulsing cock. Kurt groans.

“Still okay?” asks Blaine.

Kurt licks after Blaine’s fingers but forces himself to focus for a moment. “Very.”

“Good.”

Blaine takes time removing Kurt’s shorts and underwear, using one hand to help Kurt lift his ass from the bed as he slips them down. The air is cool against Kurt’s skin. The clothes are tangled around Kurt’s feet when Kurt stops him.

“Leave them,” he says. He clarifies, “Leave them around my ankles.”

 

Blaine pauses. “I don’t know, Kurt. Is it too much?”

“You have to trust me,” says Kurt. “You have to trust that I’m right here with you.” He doesn’t know what he’s doing really, but he welcomes the way this feels. He has nowhere to move. His only choice is yes or no.

“Okay.” Blaine nods. “Okay.” He reaches down and wraps a fist around Kurt, pumps his cock gently but firmly. His thumb traces the vein that runs up its underside. Kurt lets it happen, wriggles with pleasure then pushes up into him, mindlessly seeking more.

Blaine loosens his hold. “Don’t chase this,” he says. “Let me give you everything you want.”

Kurt sighs and forces his body to relax, surrounded by Blaine’s fist and the soft bed below.

After a time, Blaine releases Kurt’s cock and lifts a leg over to straddle him, sliding his knees out against the bed covers until there’s no space between them. Through his briefs Blaine’s cock lines up against Kurt’s. He presses his ass down against Kurt’s balls. His thighs are spread about Kurt’s hips. Kurt relishes the texture as Blaine begins to rub and thrust against him. Blaine curves his body to kiss Kurt, and Kurt opens his mouth, craving more. Their breathy moans escalate as ecstasy builds and shatters between them.

Blaine carefully undoes the ties, pressing kisses to Kurt’s wrists and face. Kurt feels pliant and biddable in a way he has long felt he had every reason to avoid. But here with Blaine it doesn’t feel like weakness. He knows his strength, recognizes how much he can survive. This feels daring; it feels like determination.

*

Kurt blinks awake. It’s early evening. He listens to Blaine’s gentle breaths beside him.

They’ve passed through a storm, maybe. Another brutal storm. Kurt doesn’t kid himself. This isn’t over; it won’t be the last one. Much as he’d like to try, Kurt’s pretty sure he can’t use sex as a weapon against all of them.

Blaine stirs in the bed, opens his eyes. “Hi” he says. He reaches out and runs a hand across Kurt’s shoulder to rest against his neck. “I think it’s almost time for dinner.”

Kurt nods. They brought suits. The restaurant here is too good to miss and this is the kind of place in which you dress for dinner. He rolls over into Blaine and kisses him fervently.

“Go shower,” Kurt says. “And make yourself even more dreamy than you always are. I want to lie here and watch the ceiling for a few more minutes.”

Blaine looks at him swiftly and turns to slip out of bed.

“Blaine,” says Kurt. “I just need a moment here holding on to what we just did together. It was phenomenal.”

Blaine’s smile is dazzling. It’s like starlight. He walks to the bathroom, keeping his eyes on Kurt right up until he closes the door.

From the shower comes the sound of Blaine singing. Kurt doesn’t know the song, but Blaine’s voice is at its incomparable, untroubled best. Kurt could listen to it endlessly.

****