Kurt wakes to the pale grey of early dawn and a full bladder. Rubbing grit from his eyes with stiff fingers, he tosses back the comforter and swings his legs over the edge of the bed.
The bathroom is still steamy when he enters, the mirror opaque with fog, and it smells of wet skin and body wash. Kurt brushes his teeth methodically, and finds his hearing aid in the sink drawer. When he puts it in, everything suddenly sharpens. A truck horn blares outside, the shower head is dripping, and somewhere in the house there is music. Kurt pads downstairs.
There's coffee percolating in the kitchen. Kurt pours himself a mug, black and rich, and stands by the window just holding it as he watches the pale light wake up the world. The heat of the mug seeps into his fingers, easing the arthritic ache ever-present there.
The muffled song changes through the wall, not distinct enough to pick out lyrics or even instruments. Kurt follows the notes - something slow and synthesised, though he can't place it to a decade yet - into the den. It's still dark, shades dawn and west-facing, but the lamp is on and Blaine is golden in the light. He's put his easel up, blank canvas balanced on its shelf, and there are an array of paints spread across the table. Blaine is wiping the smears from his thick glasses with the soft cotton of his sleep shirt. He looks up, myopic, when Kurt steps on the creaky floorboard.
"Hey," he says, voice still raspy with sleep as he slips on his specs and smiles. Kurt presses a kiss to his weathered cheek as he passes, and receives a soft stroke down his back in response. He settles onto the sofa with a sigh. On the coffee table rests Blaine's sketchbook, open to a half-finished picture that - studied closely - is little more than a few arcs of colour. From a distance, taken as a whole, it looks almost like a flamenco dancer's dress as it whirls out.
"Painting the music again?" Kurt asks; he can almost make the connection, the flare of the rose-coloured frock like the curl and wail of the synthesiser.
"Just warming up," Blaine says. The playlist shuffles to something so hideously Top 40 Kurt actually flinches, twisting down the volume on his hearing aid in a hurry. Blaine laughs at him. "This was number one at the weekend!" he says, louder to be heard over the racing drums. Kurt flaps a hand at him until, finally, Blaine switches the noise off.
"You young'uns and your 'music'," he grumbles. Blaine snorts. He circles behind the couch and slides in on Kurt's left, warm and solid and right there.
"I am three months younger than you," Blaine points out. Up close, the lamplight catches Blaine's morning stubble and sets it to glimmer like silver stardust over cheek and chin.
"Then there's really no excuse for that sort of thing being on your playlist, is there?" Kurt says. He sighs when Blaine rubs his nose up across Kurt's ear to his hairline, where he places a kiss to mark his place.
"You can thank the Accident granddaughter for that," Blaine says. He rests his head against Kurt's bony shoulder. His hair is soft and damp under Kurt's chin, not so thick or curly any more but still so suitably Blaine. Kurt places his mug on the side table and takes Blaine's hand in his own, thumbs kneading at the locked joints and misshapen bones hidden beneath veins and liver spots.
"Well, husband mine," Kurt says, after long moments of peaceful quiet with only the rising birdsong to reach them here at the back of the house. "What do you want to do on the first day this year?"
"I could paint you," Blaine murmurs. Kurt supposes that must have been his intention, since the easel is set up, but Blaine sounds decidedly un-eager now.
"To clarify, so we avoid the debacle of last year, you do mean paint a picture of me on canvas, right?" Kurt says. He tilts his head to look down, catching Blaine's slightly wicked smile.
"I thought painting '59' all over you was a perfect way to spend last year's first day," he says. Kurt rolls his eyes.
"Of course you did. And that it happened to be edible paint was just fortunate, as you hadn't had breakfast."
Silence again, but as always, it's easy between them, just the sharing of body heat and breaths and the soft stroke of skin. The wrinkles have built up over time - despite Kurt's furious denials, he's come to accept defeat - but this, them, has never altered.
"I could play for you," Kurt offers, quietly. "If you'll sing. I could play."
The guitar sits in the corner in its bag, out of sight and mind most days. It's one of the few things that Blaine hasn't managed to adapt. Losing music that way, unable to pluck notes out of the air with his fingers ... Kurt has strummed that guitar for Blaine until his own fingers bled, to give him a little bit of the music back.
"Later," Blaine says, and curls closer, one heavy leg resting over Kurt's own. Through the slats of the blinds Kurt watches the sky lighten on the first day of their newest year.