Actions

Work Header

Until My Dying Breath

Chapter Text

It doesn’t happen every night.

Blaine thinks that might make it worse, in the end: the uncertainly. The way his stomach twists up into tight, tension-filled knots as it gets later and later, his ears on edge for the slightest shift of movement outside his apartment door. It doesn’t always happen at the same time. There’s no way to be sure.

Most nights, the phone rings instead – and some nights, nothing happens at all. Some nights he sits and waits on the couch, back rigid and waiting with every nerve frayed and thin until exhaustion finally overtakes him. Blaine will wake up the next morning, stiff and sore and poorly rested, and realize that nothing happened. That he has at least a few more hours before the dread, horrible and thick, starts to creep up inside of him again.

But tonight...

It’s past one in the morning when he finally comes. No padded footsteps can be heard from the outside hall; there is no warning for his arrival at all. He never makes any noise if he doesn’t want to.

The long, dragged scraaape of sharp fingernails running down the wood of his doorframe is what alerts Blaine of his presence. Scratch, scratch, scratch on the wood of the door.

“Blaine,” the high, sing-song voice drifts through the door. Beautiful and musical and terrifying. The fingernails continue to scratch. Jagged, harsh noises amid the beauty of the voice. “Let me inside, Blaine. Just open the door and let me in, I know you want to.”

Terror, raw and hard and unstoppable, fills Blaine’s entire body like an electric shock. When there is still uncertainty, no way to tell whether tonight will be the night, Blaine tends to find himself just wishing he knew for sure. As soon as that voice first starts to call to him, however, he would do anything to have that ignorance back. It’s a hundred times worse, hearing him right outside. Sounding playful and seductive, and ever-so-slightly admonishing.

There is a shadow beneath the door of a figure outside. Lips pressed together and hands shaking, Blaine remains silent.

“Why won’t you talk to me, Blaine?” asks the voice, sounding slightly pouty. The fingernails scratch down the doorframe in a hard, fast scrape. “I can hear your heart beating from here, you know. It’s so fast. So scared.” The scratch, scratch, scratch of the nails. “If you let me in, you don’t have to be scared anymore. It’ll all be over. Don’t you want it to be over?”

A tiny, choked out noise escapes from Blaine’s throat without permission. The scratching stops; outside the door, the figure makes a happy noise in the back of his throat.

“We can’t play this game forever, beautiful thing,” he purrs, and the scrape is lighter now – perhaps just one nail down the doorframe. “Can’t keep teasing me like this.”

The nails are back now, rough and loud and sharp as they drag down the door.

Blaine squeezes his eyes shut against the noise, wrapping his arms around his own shaking torso as fear pounds with his blood in his veins.


--


“The library will be closing in fifteen minutes. Please make your final selections and proceed to the front desk.”

The cheerful drone of the pre-recorded female voice over the intercom manages to wrench Blaine out of his absorption with the thick, dry text in front of him on the table. He blinks at the surprise of being jolted away from contract interpretation and remedies for breach, noticing for the first time that there is darkness outside the windows. Which is ridiculous, though, because the library closes at eleven o’clock on Wednesdays, and he can’t possibly have been here for five hours without noticing.

A quick glance down at his watch – expensive and handsome, a present from his parents when he finished his undergrad – proves that the automated recording is correct. The tiny hands remain firm in their assessment that it is, in fact, only a few minutes before closing. The slight buzzing from the dim lights that he had managed to tone out with his tunnel-vision reading and note-writing drifts gradually back into Blaine’s awareness. He moves to straighten up in his seat, and his back cracks loudly in the silence at having been hunched over and stuffed into a sturdy wooden chair for several hours without moving. For the first time, Blaine registers just how sore and achy his body is.

Stiffly, Blaine saves the fifteen pages of typed notes and then backs them up on his keychain thumbdrive (he learned years ago about the horrors of computers crashing the day before important assignments are due) before quickly e-mailing a copy of them to himself just in case, not even bothering with a header. It only takes a few moments to shove the unfairly large textbook into his book bag along with his laptop. Running a hand through his messy curls, Blaine grabs his jacket from where it hangs over the back of his chair to put it on, slings his book bag over one shoulder – and heads for the exit.

The New York University School of Law Library has a thick, musty air about it that never seems to go away no matter how thoroughly the staff claim to clean it during break. The age of its stacks and halls is palpable; there are imprints of a thousand students’ fingerprints on pages and the ghosts of worn footsteps on the floors. The building itself is antiquated and respectable; practically the Platonic ideal of what an old-world library should appear. The study chairs and tables are thick and wooden, with low-hanging overhead lamps designed to resemble chandeliers in the upper levels. On the ground floor, little green-glass table-top lamps dot the desks in a way Blaine had always thought only existed in period films before he arrived here. The shelves are all solid and dark, lined with row after unfathomable row of leather-bound books. Just how many books reside within this building – the sheer number of documents, newspapers, archives, and heavy texts housed within such a compact space – has left Blaine feeling weak-kneed and slightly sick on more than one occasion.

Heading toward the exit, Blaine catches himself glancing around idly for other students; tucked away in study rooms, perhaps, or emerging from dark corners. He doesn’t see anyone, though; they must have not toned out the first few closing announcements the way he did. Blaine might just be the very last student here tonight.

What’s surprising about that, Anderson? Blaine asks himself sardonically, nodding to the lone librarian at the front desk on his way out. It’s almost eleven o’clock on a Wednesday night. Even the other Law students all have places to be. Except for you, of course.

Except for me, he thinks wearily, pushing the front door open. Blaine winces as the chill of the night air hits him, fresh and brisk and smelling of city in autumn. It had been sunny when he left his apartment. Blaine clutches the brown corduroy of his jacket around him a little bit tighter in a pointless gesture of resistance against the cold as he heads to the nearest station to catch the subway home.

Sometimes, on nights like these, it’s hard for Blaine to love his life the way he knows he should. When his Law school friends, driven just as out of their minds as he is by revision and frantically cramming tort and procedure and civil liability into their heads, invite him to come along with them for drinks and he just can’t accept, can’t say yes because he just doesn’t relate to them in some important way and it’s like trying to fit a square peg into a round hole. When he’s on his way home to a well-kept, empty apartment that his parents pay for in the Upper East Side because he had to stay somewhere at least a little respectable.

When he can’t help but feel that he’s putting on a face – just putting on front of politeness and consideration to everyone he meets because no one he knows cares even a little bit about who he actually is.

As he walks down the steps, and swipes his Metrocard, and slides into the first train heading in the right direction, Blaine finds himself wishing. In that absent way that doesn’t mean anything, the what-if-I-maybe that could never come to pass. He’s come too far at this point, has to remind himself that he’s too close to completing something extraordinary for regrets or melancholy.

Regardless of actual intent, however, Blaine finds himself sitting in the not-too-crowded subway car and wishing he had fought harder for music when he came out of high school.

It isn’t that he doesn’t enjoy law. He does – he had to, in order to get through his undergrad and pass the LSAT with a high enough score to get him into one of the most prestigious Law schools in the country. Blaine is good at throwing himself entirely into whatever he puts his mind to, and the show of the court room has always managed to hold a certain appeal to him. But even though Dalton Academy had done a wonderful job preparing him for the strenuous academics of post-secondary, it had also nourished a profound love of music within him. He’d had piano lessons for as long as he could remember, but the joy of performing – of getting onto a stage, opening his mouth, and making a whole crowd of people happy – had been something else entirely.

His parents had never pressured him into Law, exactly. They’d both let him know that they wanted him to be happy more than anything else, to find something he was good at and shine. But his father had repeated that a career in the arts is so unstable, Blaine, do you really want to live the rest of your life like that? And his mother had said wouldn’t you rather have something solid that you can count on, darling boy, for when you have a family?

And after a while, it had seemed like the logical thing to do. The smart thing. The grown-up decision, no more fooling around.

For the first few years of his undergrad, Blaine had made an effort to go to open mic nights occasionally. On the small stages of cafés, he would always feel more like himself than he had all week at school: belting out the most recent pop hits with a twist, making people laugh and smile and boisterous applause filling up the tiny venues. But school had picked up in his third year, and it had become more and more difficult to ensure those nights happened. And now... god, it’s been years since Blaine performed in public. He wouldn’t know where to start, even if he did have the time.

Blaine knows that he is living a dream; going to a prestigious school, living in his own apartment in New York City.

He tries his best to ignore the every-so-often realizations that it just doesn’t happen to be his dream.

The subway car rumbles around him like a sleeping lion as it slides along, shaking every so often in a way he doesn’t even notice anymore. Blaine has been living in New York for almost five years now; knows its faces, it places, its people. When it lurches to a halt at his stop, Blaine disembarks and walks to the station a block away to transfer on autopilot; although he lived in dorms for the first few years, he’s been living in his apartment for almost two years now. He knows the route there and back like the back of his hand; could probably do it in his sleep, if he had to. (Sometimes, on those days when finals are rushing toward him like an oncoming storm and it’s all he can do not to break down and cry like a child, staring at his inadequate notes and the dozens of textbooks and so much to dohe might explode, it feels as though he has.)

He rides the train, avoiding eye contact out of habit, and thinks.

All together, it only takes him a little over half an hour to get to his home stop. The chill of the late-night air hits him again like a slap in the face when he ascends to the top of the stairs. It isn’t too far a walk home, thankfully; his stomach is twisting in the realization that it hasn’t had anything to eat since lunch, and he can’t wait to get inside and turn up the heat.

Adjusting his heavy bag, Blaine is just walking turning a corner when something catches his attention out of the corner of his eye. Movement in the small alley off to his left, a stifled shout. He freezes in place mid-step, ears on edge. Another muffled noise – shuffling feet, a muffled cry – jolt across his perception like a shock of lightening. A horrible suspicion is starting to grow inside his chest; no matter how long he lives here, it never quite manages to stop hitting Blaine that he isn’t in Westerville anymore. Without thinking twice Blaine turns around, backtracks, and peers into the dimness of the alley.

His vision is obscured with darkness and the shadowed light from the streetlamp, but the outlines of two figures struggling is clearly discernable below the distinct silhouette of a fire escape. At a glance, Blaine can tell that one of the figures is large and brutish, and that the other is slender and small. Even with their arms entangled, it’s immediately obvious that this is in no way a fight of equals: one of figures is maybe only half the size of the other. The burly one lets out a sharp, grunted noise as the two of them thrash about violently in the dark.

What happens next occurs too quickly for Blaine to fully process his own actions. One second, he is standing in frozen shock – and the next, he is running into the fray.

“Hey!” Blaine shouts, voice barked out and commanding. Adrenaline is rushing through his limbs, making his head foggy and brightly clear all at once. “Hey, stop it!”

Blindly, hoping to hell the other guy doesn’t have a knife (or oh, god, a gun), Blaine stands his ground. No matter how stupid this move might have been, it’s too late to back out now – and there’s no way n hell he’s leaving the girl alone in here and walking away. Blaine doesn’t own mace or even a pocket knife, but he grips the strap of his book bag with white-knuckled fingers as he stands off against the shadowed people.

Immediately, the smaller figure stops struggling, freezing up – and the big guy pulls away from her with a shouted noise. As the man tumbles back, he steps into a patch of light from the streetlamp. It’s a large man, as the dim light had hinted, wearing a hooded sweatshirt and a pair of jeans. He’s shaking, beady eyes darting between Blaine and the girl in the shadows with a look of absolute terror. Something twinges in Blaine’s mind – even though the guy should be scared of being found out, Blaine is still fairly certain he’s bigger than the two of them combined. He dismisses the thought as irrelevant, gripping the strap of his book bag in what he hopes to be a threatening manner.

But the man doesn’t charge at either of them. Instead, he stumbles back, lets out an unsteady, wordless shout – and proceeds to speed past Blaine and run out of the alley and into the street as fast as his feet will take him.

Time hangs in the dimness of the night, and Blaine’s heart is pounding in his chest. His body is thrumming and awake and on edge with adrenaline, muscles stiff and still clenching the strap of his bag so hard it hurts. But after a few long seconds, the moment seems to break. The tension rushes out, and Blaine lets out a sharp, nervous exclamation of laughter that fumbles its way across the night air.

“Oh, god,” he pants in dazed relief, letting go of his bag strap in order to clutch at his chest. His face feels flushed, and his glasses are askew on his face. Nervous laughter dries up as he re-registers the person with him, and worry floods his chest. Heart pounding in his ears, Blaine takes a step toward the figure in the shadows. “Are you okay?” he asks. “He didn’t hurt you, did he?”

The figure slowly steps out of the shadows and into a patch of light, and shock ripples through Blaine’s chest as he realizes that it isn’t a woman at all. It’s a young man, not possibly a day older than eighteen and probably even younger: the slender lines of his body had confused Blaine in the dark. He’s fully clothed, which is a relief for reasons Blaine doesn’t want to dwell on; dressed in a snugly-fitting blue button-up shirt with no jacket, jeans so tight they’re positively sinful, and tall black boots.

The breath leaves Blaine’s lungs as though winded when he takes in how obscenely beautiful this boy is. Delicate and fey, with sharp lines to his body as though he’d been cut out of stone. Skin so pale it hurts, from the sweep of his cheekbones to the tiny amount of skin exposed by the buttons left undone on his shirt. His hair is swept up into an artful mimicry of unkemptness. There is a sweet curve to his mouth, and his eyes – oh, his eyes. Stunning blue, and shining impossibly bright through the dark.

For the briefest of moments, Blaine thinks he sees a hint of red twisted up in the blue of his eyes – but it must be a trick of the light, because it’s gone in the very next instant.

“Oh,” says Blaine stupidly, trying not to stare. The boy is stunning in an unnatural way that reminds him of models and film stars; the kind of people to be found splayed across advertisements and television sets, not in a place like this. Trying to suppress the flush growing in his cheeks, Blaine gives his head a firm shake. This is neither the time nor the place, and certainly not the circumstance. “I’m sorry,” Blaine tries again, “but – really, are you okay?”

All at once, the way in which the other boy is staring at him hits Blaine square in the chest. The boy is breathing in deeply through his nose, looking unsteady on his feet as he tilts his head and looks. The blue of his eyes drag up and down the length of Blaine’s body as though seeing a miracle – as though seeing something that can't possibly exist. The sharp closeness of his gaze makes Blaine feel oddly exposed, on display. He fidgets under it, not knowing how to respond or what to say.

The boy stares at him, unspeaking, for a long moment; his hands are shaking against his sides. Carefully, his eyes dart to the street where the attacker had run off, and then back to Blaine.

And slowly – very slowly – he smiles.

“Thank you,” he says at last, and his voice is higher and clearer than Blaine had been expecting. Practically angelic when matched against his particular type of beauty. His voice contrasts sharply with the slight grime of their surroundings. The boy cocks his head to one side, eyes locked on Blaine, and Blaine feels something painful clutch inside his chest. “I don’t know what I would’ve done if you hadn’t come along.” He lifts his arm up and extends one long-fingered, pale hand in Blaine’s direction, never once breaking eye contact. “I’m Kurt.”

Blaine stares down at the hand for a half second longer than strictly necessary, but before long he can feel a relieved smile tugging at his lips.

“I’m Blaine,” he says in return, reaching up to take Kurt’s hand in his to shake it. Kurt’s grip is firmer than he expects it to be, the skin softer – and slightly cool to the touch. “Oh, god, you’re freezing,” exclaims Blaine in horror, letting go of Kurt’s hand to lower his book bag to the ground and strip off his own jacket. It’s cold, but he’s warm with the rush of remaining fear and adrenaline – and besides, he isn’t the one who almost got assaulted just now. He holds it out for Kurt to take. “Here.”

Kurt stares at the brown corduroy without saying a word. After a moment, however, he takes it gratefully and slides it over his own shoulders. It’s the smallest bit short on him, fitting around the shoulders but loose around his waist. It looks good, Blaine thinks. He rather suspects that most things would look good on Kurt, but the fact that this is his jacket makes something heated rush through his fingertips.

Suddenly, Blaine cannot help from letting out a nervous choke of a laugh.

“I’m sorry,” Blaine rushes to explain, feeling slightly hysterical. “It’s not you, I swear, I just... I haven’t been in a fight since high school.” Another nervous giggle. “And I lost that one pretty spectacularly. That was... I have no idea what to do now.”

“That’s fine,” says Kurt, smile tugging at the corners of his lips. “This isn’t a situation I’m too familiar with either, I promise.”

“Do you want me to walk you home?” asks Blaine quickly, a rush of genuine concern making masculine protectiveness follow quickly in its wake. It’s late at night, after all. There are people who could look at Kurt, with his slender arms and small sharp features, as an easy target. Blaine knows the odds are against Kurt running into another person as eager to take advantage of him in so short a timeframe, but he doesn’t feel willing to risk it after what’s already happened tonight.

The other boy pauses for a moment to think, still staring at Blaine as though he is some kind of marvel. It makes sadness and anger at the world twist in Blaine’s stomach, that the idea of someone helping Kurt without expecting anything in return is obviously so foreign to him. After a moment, however, Kurt nods.

“I live pretty far from here,” says Kurt, inclining his head toward the street. “But... how about I walk you home, and then I can hail a cab from there? That way, neither of us goes unescorted.”

“Okay,” Blaine nods enthusiastically, feeling relieved for more reasons than one as he picks up his bag and starts to walk them toward the entrance of the alley.

Kurt follows him out into streetlamps and the hundred little lights of the city at night; illuminated, his features appear even more sharp and lovely. Although long years of university have taught Blaine to save his contacts for days when he won’t be reading tiny print for hours on end, and that physical appearances are worth a whole lot less around midterm season, Blaine suddenly very much wishes he’d had time for hair gel and contact lenses this morning. He practically feels dowdy in comparison.

Together, they begin to walk toward Blaine’s apartment. Blaine goes for a quick step at first, unsure if Kurt would rather not be out on the night streets for any longer than absolutely necessary tonight. To his mild surprise, though, Kurt keeps the pace slow; when they finally fall into sync beside one another, they’re practically strolling.

They can’t see the stars –never can, in the city – but it’s a beautiful night anyways. Crisp and slightly foggy, red and orange leaves from the decorative trees mingling along the sides of the road. A few cars and cabs pass them by every so often, but this neighbourhood is usually fairly tame on something as mundane as Wednesday night.

It’s cold, without a jacket, but Blaine doesn’t mind. He ignores the gooseflesh rising along his arms and tries to suppress the shiver threatening to run through him.

“So,” Blaine begins, trying to keep his eyes in front of him and not on the beautiful boy beside him. “What brings you around this part of the city so late if you live far away?”

“I was over at a friend’s house and decided it would be fine to walk back,” explains Kurt evenly, shrugging. He wraps his slender arms, swimming in the jacket sleeves, around himself; Blaine can see the muscles of his back moving beneath the fabric. “Apparently not.” He looks over at Blaine, eyes piercing. “What about you? Why are you out and about? A party?”

Blaine cannot quite manage to contain his snort of laughter.

“Um, no,” he explains quickly to Kurt’s delicately raised eyebrow. “I’m doing my post-grad at NYU Law. I take it pretty seriously, so I don’t have too much time for fun stuff. Not that I wouldn’t want to!” he hastens to add as Kurt’s expression grows ever-more amused. “It’s just... hard to find time, sometimes.”

“Law school,” pronounces Kurt grandly, enunciating the words as though they are foreign to him. His eyebrows have flown firmly up into his hairline. “I’m impressed. I admit, though, I wouldn’t have guessed it. What specialization do you want to get into?”

“Civil litigation,” Blaine rails off quickly, because this is the question everyone always asks, even though you don’t have to declare a specialization like you would a Major program in an undergrad degree. “I enjoy embracing conflict and controversy, and feel I possess the necessary interpersonal and negotiation skills for the job.”

There is a pause -- before Kurt lets out a high, musical laugh. Blaine blinks.

“I’m sorry,” says Kurt, covering his mouth with his hand and doing a bad job of hiding his smile. He doesn’t appear to be mocking Blaine, or being cruel. He’s just... laughing. “It just – it just sounds like you’re reciting that out of a book, or something.”

The tension in Blaine’s body relaxes, and he can feel a goofy grin stealing over his face against his will. “I sort of am,” he admits sheepishly, reaching up to rake a hand through his untidy mess of curls. Beside him, Kurt moves so that they’re walking a little closer. As they turn the corner, Blaine’s heart races a little at the proximity. “Well,” says Blaine at last, mustering as much pomp as he can. “What would you have guessed, Mr. All-Knowing-One?”

“Hmmm,” Kurt hums deviously, raking his eyes up and down Blaine’s body pointedly. Blaine feels his face grow warm, and again he mentally kicks himself for deciding that today was allowed to be a casual day. Kurt leans in close to inspect him, inhaling deeply as he does so. His eyelids flutter in the smallest possible way, and he shivers. “I’m thinking... maybe a teacher? Wait, no. Painter. Dancer? Soul of an artist, definitely.”

“I used to sing in high school,” Blaine admits, and something almost-painful twists in his chest. It shouldn’t hurt, thinking about that. Except it sort of does. “I played the piano, too. I don’t do either of those very much now, though.”

He can feel Kurt’s eyes burning into him stronger than ever, and when Blaine looks over to return the look as they walk he finds Kurt’s expression frozen into something almost sad.

“I used to sing too, when I was younger,” says Kurt slowly, tilting his head to one side. His eyes are so blue as they look at him; it makes prickles of excitement tingle in his fingertips. Blaine would feel uncomfortable under the intensity of the stare, but it feels... nice. Not awkward in the way it should, since the two of them have only just crossed paths a few short minutes ago.

The words hit him after a moment, however, and he raises an eyebrow.

“Younger?” he asks sceptically. “You can’t be more than... what, nineteen?” In this situation, over-guessing is probably safer than under-guessing. Kurt’s eyes twinkle.

“I’m a little bit older than I look,” he says covertly, as though disclosing a big secret, and Blaine laughs out loud.

Much faster than should really be fair, Blaine thinks, they arrive at the entrance to the grey-stoned building he lives in. He slows their pace to a standstill, and Blaine is almost positive he’s never been less happy to see his own building. There are a couple of people on this stretch of road: a couple with a small dog out for a late night walk, a man carrying grocery bags. Blaine’s building doesn’t have a doorman, however. He makes an awkward gesture toward the doors.

“Here we are,” says Blaine stiltedly, wishing he could conjure up some of the gentlemanly charm that always makes girls seem so happy with him. All that he’s coming up with, however, is nervousness. Kurt moves so that they are standing in front of one another in front of his door, looking him right in the eye. Blaine starts to subconsciously lick his lips, but catches himself mid-movement and stops himself.

“It’s late,” says Kurt quietly, glancing up at the building and back down to Blaine. He bites down on his lower lips he looks Blaine up and down. “You should be getting back to your... girlfriend? Boyfriend?”

“What?” asks Blaine stupidly, before realizing. “Oh. No! No, I don’t have – I mean, if I did it would be a boyfriend, but...” Kurt’s eyebrows have flown up into his hairline again, and his lips are pursed in amusement. “I live alone,” he finishes in a rush, feeling a flush creeping down his neck. He’s so bad at this, shouldn’t be bad at this but he always has been. Romance has never been his strong suit, as much as he used to enjoy pretending otherwise when he was younger.

Not that this is romance. Kurt was almost assaulted tonight, he’s fragile. You should ask for his number to call and meet up for coffee sometime, not...

But Kurt is already leaning in, reaching out a hand lightning-quick and sliding it to rest on the small of Blaine’s back. Blaine feels himself inhale sharply, feeling as though his entire body is vibrating as the other boy pulls him close with a surprisingly strong grip. Blaine’s eyes begin to flutter closed, and his lips are practically buzzing in anticipation of being kissed. But Kurt doesn’t press their lips together; instead, he angles his head slightly to the right – and ghosts his lips over the side of Blaine’s neck.

“I –” Blaine begins, but is cut off by a soft press of lips against the sensitive skin. Kurt still feels slightly cool to the touch, but his breath is slow and warm against Blaine’s skin. The gentle brush of lips is soft and firm and perfect against the curve of his neck. Blaine gasps as Kurt noses along the skin, their bodies pressed close together, and the tiny helpless noises he can hear coming out of Kurt’s throat are going straight to his cock. He reaches up and grips a hand tight into the fabric of his own jacket on Kurt’s shoulders, shuddering because this is somehow so much more intimate than kissing and they’ve only just met but it feels so good. Kurt’s hand clenches hard at the small of his back, and –

And suddenly, Kurt jerks violently away and out of Blaine’s grasp, looking wild-eyed and tense as he stumbles back. Blaine stares, breathing hard and shocked at the sudden shift, before realization hits him. He averts his eyes to the ground guiltily.

“I’m so sorry,” he chokes out, shaking his head and staring fixedly down at the pavement. “I shouldn’t have let that happen, you’ve – you’ve had a rough night and it would be taking advantage, I know.” Blaine runs a shaking hand through his messy hair in agitation, squeezing his eyes shut in mortification. “Let’s just – we’ll hail you a cab, okay? And we can think about all this another –”

But when Blaine opens his eyes and raises his gaze, Kurt is no longer there.

The sidewalk in front of him is completely empty; the space vacant and hollow in the night air. Blaine’s mouth falls open and he blinks in surprise, words catching in his throat. He hadn’t heard the slightest sounds of movement or running away, but it is as though no one had been standing in front of him at all.

He looks around ineffectually for a few moments, but Kurt is nowhere to be found.

Disappointment and shame well up hard and strong inside of him, squeezing at his heart and making it feel as though his stomach has gone hollow. Somehow, despite everything, he’d managed to fuck this up after all. He should have jerked away as Kurt started to move in: given the other boy the proper time he needed to figure everything out. But it had all felt so good, and right, and...

Blinking hard, Blaine bites down on his lip and tries his best not to feel discarded. As the cold air burns against his naked arms and face, he tries to ignore the missed opportunities weighing down his mind like sandbags. He has no idea where Kurt lives, or even what his last name is: there’s absolutely no way Blaine is going to be able to find him now.

Feeling surreal, Blaine lets out a heavy sigh. Trying his hardest not to go over everything he could have done differently, he pulls his keys out of his jeans pocket and lets himself into the building.

It isn’t until he reaches his own apartment, after having travelled four floors up to get there, that it occurs to Blaine that he never got his jacket back. 

 

--

Blaine’s apartment door stands almost right next to a large glass-panelled window on the edge of the apartment complex; the view isn’t the best in the city by any stretch of the imagination, but it’s nice to wake up on early morning days with a blast of sunlight. Tonight, however, it feels as though the night sky and buildings outside are staring at him as he turns the key in the lock and pushes his way inside.

As soon as the front door is closed behind him and the light switch is flicked on, Blaine lets his book bag slide off his shoulder and onto the floor with a muted thud. Feeling suddenly thick and sleepy, he slumps back against the door and plucks off his square-framed glasses one-handed, scrubbing his other hand over his eyes. He feels wrung-out; exhaustion is settling heavily onto his limbs after the unexpected anxiety, excitement and eventual crushing disappointment of the evening. There is a dull, unhappy feeling settling low in his stomach. Empty and aching.

Loneliness.

It’s been far too long since Blaine has had anyone special in his life – or anyone in this city who counts as more than an acquaintance, even. And Kurt had seemed interested. Had walked close to his side, and asked him if he had a boyfriend, pressed his body close and ghosted his lips over Blaine’s neck...

Blaine has no idea where he went wrong, how he fucked up. The cluelessness makes him feel guilty and cheated and lonely all at one. He briefly considers giving Wes or David a call, but it’s already late and his stomach keeps persistently reminding him of how very, very empty it is. Letting out a bracing sigh – because tonight was strange and wild and unexpected, but he still has to eat – Blaine locks the front door and heads into his bedroom.

The apartment that has been his home for almost two years is small enough to be considered cramped, but clean and comfortable despite the lack of space. The floors are a shiny fake hardwood that’s easy to clean, and the walls are a crisp white. The bedroom is small and the kitchen is smaller, and occasionally it gets a bit chilly in the middle of winter, but for an apartment in New York he knows that he’s got himself a good deal. There are a few photos scattered around in frames, but not as much art on the walls as he would like. Blaine always tells himself that he’ll go out and scour the flea-markets one of these days to find a few more pieces to liven up the blank whiteness of the walls, but it’s hard to find time or be bothered when it’s just him.

Squeezed into the tiny space between the foot of his bed and his dresser, Blaine shucks his jeans and underwear. He strips off his v-neck sweater and undershirt in favour of a pair of worn plaid pyjama bottoms and a shirt he’s had since high school.

Turning on the radio in the kitchen makes the space seem a little less empty, and he manages to hum along as he rummages around to see what he can make that doesn’t take much time. There isn’t a great deal other than condiments inside his fridge – he’ll need to go grocery shopping on the weekend – but a jar of pre-made tomato sauce and a half-empty bag of pasta are discovered lurking after a brief search of the cupboards and shelves. Blaine isn’t entirely incompetent in the kitchen; living by himself has forced him to learn at least a few tricks. But it’s hard to put in the effort for anything fancy when it’s just him, and it’s late, and all he really wants to do is go to bed.

Dinner gets made and shovelled mechanically into his mouth – it’s just fuel in order to make it through school tomorrow without falling over – and in no time at all Blaine is rinsing out the bowl. He heads into the bathroom to splash some water over his face and brush his teeth before finally tucking himself under his comforter and flicking off the bedside lamp. Back aching from finally being given a rest, Blaine waits for sleep to pull him under.

... except that as soon as he’s curled up in bed with the lights out, the thoughts of Kurt he’s been trying to suppress flood back into the dark behind his eyelids.

Blaine groans, pressing his face into the mattress and trying to force the thoughts away. But no matter how hard he tries to keep his mind blank, Kurt keeps nudging along the edges of his mind. The sharpness of his features, graceful way he’d held himself as they walked. The way Kurt’s body had felt pressed up against him on the sidewalk outside; the solidity of his body, the persistent brush of his lips against the curve of Blaine’s neck...

He can feel himself getting hard, and the tight heat of arousal is mingling with sharp shame twisting in his gut. A short mental battle with himself ensues, you’re never going to see him again fighting with so there’s no harm in just this once, is there? for long minutes as he squirms uncomfortably beneath the covers. But in the end Blaine lets out a defeated sigh, bites down on his lower lip, and slides his hand under the waistband of his pyjama bottoms to take himself in hand.

It’s been far too long since Blaine has been with anyone. There was never anyone in high school – not very many out-and-proud gay kids in small-town Ohio – and although he’s had a few relationships since coming to the city, none of them have ever lasted longer than six months. It’s just been a bit of a dry spell, he tells himself, as he pushes the pyjama bottoms down and begins to stroke. That is why he manages to get so worked up so quickly. It has nothing to do with the beautiful boy he met on the street tonight, or how otherworldly he’d looked bathed in the glow of the lamplight.

He doesn’t need to tease himself or work himself up – doesn’t need to. Fingers curled tight around the heat of his cock and working in practiced movements, Blaine allows his mind to wander. To trail freely over the image of Kurt as he jerks himself off, the slide of his hand making the tight pressure at the base of his stomach build and spread. He thinks about blue eyes framed by sweet lashes, the smallest hint of collar bone that had been visible at the opened neck of Kurt’s shirt. The press of his lips against Blaine’s neck as Kurt had fisted his hand in Blaine’s shirt, pressed up against him so close and snug against him.

Feeling flushed beneath the covers with sweat starting to bead along his forehead, Blaine speeds up his hand and starts to thrust his hips up into his own touch. Squeezes his eyes shut tight and presses his face into his pillow as he guiltily lets himself imagine how Kurt would look with those so-tight clothes peeled off of him, lengths of soft pale skin bared and just desperate for Blaine’s touch. What Kurt would look like, flushed and wanton with his pale eyes dark with need and mouth half-open in wordless cries of pleasure, or how he would sound. With that beautiful voice shaky and high as he tilts his head back and cries out into the air, please and more and oh god, Blaine in frantic keening whines with his pale hands twisted tight in the sheets.

It’s been so long since anyone had touched him the way he wants Kurt to touch him, hot and close and needy. The guilt is ebbing away now, being replaced with want and need and been too long. He tries to imagine that it’s Kurt’s hand on him instead of his own, confident and sure and long-fingered as Kurt straddles him and looks down with a wicked grin on his face, twisting his hand so perfect so right. The idea is so incredibly hot that Blaine’s whole body feels as though it’s coming to life, swelling with desperation, and he can’t stop himself from letting out a choked, needy groan.

He’s already close, so close, the tell-tale tingle starting to spread to his fingers and toes as his whole body tenses up, hand working fast under the covers and heat pooling at the base of his spine. An image of Kurt’s perfect lips stretched prettily around his cock drifts into his head, sly blue eyes locked on his as the wet heat of Kurt’s mouth slides down and takes him all in, swallowing him down, and that’s all it takes. Blaine comes with a choked off-groan, the tight heat uncoiling and spreading out and rolling through him as he jerks his hips up erratically into his own hand. He works himself through it, gasping in hot air as he feels stickiness splatter over his hand and stomach as little aftershocks of sparked pleasure jolt through his tingling limbs.

It doesn’t take long for the fantasy to be replaced by the stark emptiness of the room and the reality at hand.

Opening his eyes to the darkness of the room as he begins to come down from his orgasm, chest rising and falling in uneven breaths and muscles just starting to relax again, Blaine suddenly feels very much alone. His breathing seems incredibly loud in the silence, and the blissful high of a few moments ago is quickly edged away by self-awareness of how sticky and sweaty he is.

Feeling a flush of shame spreading along the back of his neck, Blaine reaches over with his unsoiled hand and flicks on the bedside lamp. The room floods with light as he awkwardly throws his comforter aside, reaching for a tissue from the bedside table. He tries his hardest push down the guilt at jacking off to a stranger he’d only known for less than an hour and will probably never see again as he wipes the evidence of his transgression away before balling up the tissue and throwing it into the trash can.

By the time Blaine flicks off the light and rolls back into the covers, the strangeness of the day has simmered down into an uneasy buzz in the base of his stomach. And soon enough, even that is drowned out by the heaviness of his eyelids and the new looseness in his limbs.

Blaine’s last thought before he falls asleep is of blue eyes staring at him from out of the shadowed alley, mesmerizing and sharp from out of the dark of the night.


--


Two days later, a few people Blaine knows from his Contracts class manage to wheedle him into coming out for Friday night drinks. He accepts, grateful for the company even if this particular group is a bit competitive and slightly too pretentious for his liking.

It’s a fun night, though, and the lounge they go to is all shine and chrome and overpriced cocktails that taste like fruity things. Blaine begs off around ten o’clock when most of the party starts loudly discussing and comparing how they think they did on their last exam, which always makes him feel uncomfortable and twitchy. They wave him off as he sends them his most charming grin, grabbing his book bag and sliding on his black overcoat as he heads out into the evening. The fabric is a bit heavy for the weather, but until he makes time to go shopping for a replacement jacket it’s all he’s got.

When Blaine arrives home forty minutes later, however, there is someone waiting for him.

A combination of tunnel-vision and having his iPod earbuds in almost makes him miss the figure leaning up against the side of his apartment building. Fortunately, however, he happens to glance up – and it’s Kurt. Kurt, who Blaine had been sure he would never see again; who had twisted himself up in Blaine’s dreams for the past two nights.

For a moment, Blaine assumes that the two drinks he had at the lounge have affected him harder than he thought. He feels himself freeze mid-step as he stares, nearly making the person behind him on the sidewalk crash into him. He apologizes automatically, quickly yanking his earbuds out and making the female lead singer’s voice cut out abruptly.

Kurt’s back is pressed up against the stones of his apartment building, legs crossed in front of him slightly farther away from the wall. He looks just as stunning as the last time Blaine saw him: he is dressed in tight dark jeans tucked into what appear to be a slightly more stylish version of Doc Martens, with a deep green long-sleeved shirt and a pale scarf wrapped around his neck. His posture is casual, and it takes Blaine a few seconds to realize that Kurt is staring right back at him.

“Hi,” blurts Blaine in surprise, barely able to comprehend what he’s seeing. He fumbles to turn off his iPod for several excruciating seconds, taking a few steps toward the other boy in order to get out of the way of people on the sidewalk. Kurt looks him up and down, a smile tugging at his lovely mouth.

“Hey,” says Kurt at last, the corner of his mouth twisting up as his eyes trail over Blaine’s face. “You look different.”

One of Blaine’s hands flies up, grazing over the slight stiffness of his hair: he actually had time to bother with gel and contact lenses this morning. He lets out a nervous puff of air; it’s not quite cold enough to see an impression of the breath in front of him. “This is the real me,” explains Blaine, gesturing to himself. He attempts to send the other boy a grin over the excited confusion bubbling inside of him “The guy you met before was slept-in-twenty-minutes, had-an-assignment-due-that-day Blaine. Terrible guy. Sloppy. I pretend not to know him sometimes.”

Kurt laughs, pushing himself away from the wall, and for a long moment the two of them stand in front of each other. It’s slightly awkward, but Blaine can’t stop the excited tingling in his fingers as he stares at Kurt’s carefully neutral face in front of him. After a moment, the other boy tilts his head to one side and holds something out toward him. It takes Blaine a few seconds to realize that it’s his brown jacket from last time.

“I didn’t even register that I still had this; I’m sorry about taking it. I was in the neighbourhood tonight and thought I’d take a chance that you’d show up,” says Kurt matter-of-factly, looking apologetic but sure of himself, and there is something so incredibly appealing about how confident this boy is. Even two nights ago, after everything that had happened, Kurt had remained secure in himself until the very end of the evening.

“Oh,” Blaine murmurs quietly, reaching out to take hold of it. Kurt’s hands linger on the fabric for a few seconds longer than necessary before he lets go. “Thank you. For returning this, I – I’d kind of assumed it was a lost cause.”

“Yeah,” says Kurt quietly, reaching up to lay a hand over Blaine’s forearm. The touch sends shivers up his arm even through the layers of clothing, and anticipation is beginning to swell and grow even as he tries to keep his cool. “About that... I’m sorry I ran off so suddenly, before. I just got a little... overwhelmed. And I hope you don’t think this is weird, since we’ve only met the once, but... I really like you, Blaine. I’d like to get to know you better. If you want that.”

“I –” Blaine begins, cutting himself off because for a moment all his brain can process is streams of capital letters and exclamation marks. Kurt is still looking at him questioningly, still and elegant with his hand still rested on Blaine’s arm. Blaine presses his lips together excitedly, trying his hardest not to grin like an idiot. “I’d love that,” he finally manages to get out, and Kurt beams at him and gives his arm a firm squeeze.

“Great,” smiles Kurt quietly, and for a moment the two of them just look at one another. Kurt glances down the sidewalk after a while, then back up to coyly meet Blaine’s gaze. “Would you like to go for a walk?”

It’s a little chilly outside, and Blaine’s book bag is full of heavy texts on procedure and precedence. The strap is digging into his shoulder a little bit, and it really would be more comfortable to head upstairs and drop it off in his apartment first. But Blaine can’t let go of the absurd notion that, if he leaves Kurt alone for just a second, the other boy might disappear into the night again.

“Sure,” he agrees, smiling hard and making Kurt’s chest puffs up in obvious pleasure. Kurt chooses a direction and leads them down the road together.

They stroll down the sidewalk, their shoulders just close enough that they keep brushing against one another, and Blaine has to suppress the ridiculous urge to reach down and take Kurt’s hand. Despite the chill, Kurt declines when Blaine offers him the spare jacket.

“I don’t get cold very easily,” Kurt explains, shrugging delicately as they walk together along the street. Blaine nods, hastily stuffing it into the top of his book bag. He’s not entirely sure where they’re headed, but he’s completely willing to do this on Kurt’s terms as long as he gets to keeping talking to this anomaly of a boy.

“Tell me something about yourself?” asks Blaine at once, feeling eager. Kurt’s face and hands and voice may have been flitting through his dreams for the past two days, but he still knows absolutely nothing about him. “After you left the other night, I realized that I kinda monopolized the conversation last time. Very rude, and... I’d like to know more about you, too.”

“Would you now?” asks Kurt deviously, and there’s a twinkling of amusement in his eyes. As though the question is somehow funny. “Ask me anything.”

“All right. Last name?”

There’s the slightest of hesitations before Kurt responds. “Hummel. Yourself?”

“Anderson. ‘Hummel’ almost sounds German.”

“It is,” says Kurt, staring off into the distance ahead of them as they walk. Several cars pass them by before he continues. “I’m from Austria, originally. English isn’t even my first language, can you believe it?”

“Really?” Blaine asks excitedly, tucking his hands into his coat pockets. “That’s so neat, though! You don’t have an accent at all!”

“I’ve lived here for a long time,” says Kurt in amusement, smiling. “I can speak French too, actually. I’m a multi-talented person, what can I say?”

Without any kind of hesitation, Kurt reaches over – and places his hand in the small of Blaine’s back as they walk. It’s such a small gesture, but remarkably personal , and it makes Blaine stand up straighter in surprise before settling into the touch. The certainty of it is pleasant, comforting. Blaine has spent so long putting on the facade of being in control – first in high school, and now at university – that he’s almost completely forgotten what it is to let someone else take charge. The touch forces them to walk closer, too, which is a very pleasant side effect.

This is totally a date, thinks Blaine in delight, letting himself lean into the steadiness of Kurt’s hand. I’m not even building this up in my head, this is definitely a date!

“What is it that you do?” Blaine manages to ask, trying not to let this new distraction weigh the conversation down. “Are you a student?”

“No, I started working pretty early. I came to the city after my dad died.”

“Oh,” says Blaine, lowering his voice and feeling abashed over his earlier excitement. “I’m... I’m so sorry to hear that, Kurt.”

Kurt nods, the blue of his eyes seeming to darken with some suppressed emotion. “It happened a long time ago,” he says softly, looking down at the ground and shrugging his shoulders. A piece of hair drifts out of place and lands against the curve of his cheek, and for a moment all Blaine can think about is reaching over and brushing it behind his ear.

The pressure on the small of his back is increasing; guiding them to a small bench. Without really having noticed at all, Blaine realizes that Kurt has led them off the main roads. It’s quieter here, with fewer people bustling past them. In fact, there doesn’t seem to be anyone on this particular street at all.

They sit down on the bench. The metal is cold to the touch even through the seat of his pants. Kurt takes a seat quite close to him, turned to face Blaine as they speak.

“What about you?” asks Kurt, cocking his head to one side – and the way the lamplight plays along the edges of his pale face makes quiet longing spark along Blaine’s spine. “Why did you choose to come to school here; do you have any family nearby?”

“Kind of,” says Blaine, shrugging, and burying his hands in his pockets to keep them warm. “We used to live in Ohio while I was growing up, but when I got into NYU my mom and dad decided it would be a good idea to keep close. They live upstate now, in Albany. My dad sometimes has business in the city and it’s still small enough for my mom, so it worked out pretty well for them. It’s... nice having them closer, I guess, but I still don’t get to see them very often. It’s a bit of a long trek just for dinner, you know?”

“Of course,” says Kurt, voice hushed and gentle as he edges slightly into Blaine’s personal space. Leaning in just that little bit closer, that little bit more. Blaine can feel the palms of his hands beginning to feel clammy. “And... friends?”

“I have friends,” says Blaine distractedly, licking his lips as Kurt inches closer. Kurt’s eyes are heavily lidded, lashes splayed and gorgeous every time he blinks. “I just... they don’t know me as well as they could, I guess.”

Slowly, moving carefully as though concerned about frightening Blaine away, Kurt reaches up a hand and trails his fingers over Blaine’s cheek. His fingers are slightly cool to the touch, skimming gently and leaving a trail of shivering sparks along Blaine’s skin as he does so. Blaine can feel himself shivering, angling his face into the touch.

“Are you lonely, Blaine?” Kurt asks, quiet words and slow breath ghosting over Blaine’s skin. He’s so close now, only inches away, eyes dark and private. He trails his gaze from Blaine’s eyes, down to his mouth, and back up again. “You don’t have to be lonely,” Kurt tells him, voice low and compelling, before he cups Blaine’s cheek properly and moves in to close the space between them.

The kiss is harder than Blaine is expecting, more intense; Kurt leans right into his space and holds him close as he presses their lips together. Blaine hears himself makes a small noise at the back of his throat before he surrenders to Kurt’s touch, eyes fluttering shut and allowing Kurt to take the kiss deeper. Kurt hums in satisfaction as he opens Blaine’s mouth with his own, pressing his tongue into Blaine’s willing mouth and learning, taking him. He lets himself be pressed up against and kissed with hard intensity, Kurt’s hand sliding around to the back of his neck to hold him in place. When he reaches with a shaking hand, Blaine’s hand comes into contact with Kurt’s arm: he clenches his hand in the fabric of his shirt to keep himself grounded against the dizzy, blinding spin.

It’s heated and deep, their bodies moving in a synchronization Blaine has never found in a first kiss before. Letting out a shaky groan, Kurt presses in even closer; worrying his teeth along Blaine’s bottom lip and leaving him gasping before sucking it gently in wordless apology. Blaine presses up into every touch, every movement as Kurt claims – there’s no other words for it, claims – his mouth, gasping in surprise as he feels Kurt’s hand trail down from his cheek to his neck, nails scraping gently along the skin and making Blaine’s head swim with the sharp hint of pain amidst the pleasure. It feels good, so good; there is heat pooling in the base of Blaine’s stomach, making him arch up into the touch with needy desperation. Somehow Blaine has lost all control of this, has never had any control over this since that day in the alley, and it’s all he can do let himself be kissed and kiss back in return.

When Kurt finally pulls away, both of their lips are shining. They’re both breathing harder than usual, and Blaine’s hand is still clenched along Kurt’s arm. Kurt leans their foreheads together for a long moment, hand playing with the shorter hairs at the back of Blaine’s neck as Blaine breathes hot air wantonly against his lips and tries to blink himself out of his daze. Looking faintly smug, Kurt closes his eyes and inhales through his nose, trailing his hand over the side of Blaine’s neck as they sit together in the calm of the moment.

“Hey, faggots!”

The shouted words are like a slap to the face, and Blaine jerks himself away from Kurt instinctually as fear explodes in front of his eyes. He spins to look and sees a heavy-set man shuffling down the sidewalk towards them. The expression on the man’s face is one of utter disgust.

“I don’ need to see that shit on my way home, ‘kay?” the man slurs, his voice heavy with alcohol and anger as he walks toward them.

Even in one of the most diverse cities in the world, there is always intolerance to be stumbled upon. Blaine’s faced it before – sour looks from little old ladies while on dates with old boyfriends, the occasional shouted insult while walking hand in hand down the street. But right now in the dark with the two of them alone on an empty street, it’s somehow much more real. More frightening. The man is a great deal bigger and more muscled than either of them, and for a second the memory of he and his date being cornered against a brick wall outside the school gym by four guys, all of them laughing and swearing and coming in closer is all that Blaine can see. He stands up quickly, tugging at Kurt’s arm for him to follow.

“We’re going,” says Blaine as he stands, trying to sound as calm as possible for both Kurt’s sake and his own. He raises his other hand in a gesture of surrender. “We’re leaving now, it’s fine.” He tugs harder at Kurt’s sleeve, because Kurt doesn’t seem to want to move. Blaine understands if he’s frightened, especially after the other night, but right now they have to go.

“You’d fucking better be going, cocksucker,” growls the man, pointing an unsteady hand in Blaine’s direction and taking a few stumbling steps toward him. Blaine winces at the slur, his stomach a twisted knot of dread as he tugs harder at the sleeve of Kurt’s shirt.

“Leave him alone.”

The words are cold and lethal on the air, spoken clearly in a high, beautiful voice – and it takes Blaine a few seconds to realize that they’ve come from Kurt. He looks down at Kurt in disbelief for the first time since the drunk’s arrival, and his mouth falls open in shock at the look on Kurt’s face. His eyes are narrowed dangerously, and his posture is ramrod straight. His head is cocked to one side, and the gleam in his eyes must be insanity because Blaine has no idea why he’s doing this.

The man lets out a barked laugh, tripping over his feet slightly. He’s completely gone, Blaine realizes, so trashed out of his mind that he can barely walk straight. Wearing a nice shirt and a coat, but with his tie all loosened and sloppy around his neck. If Kurt would just move, they could probably run right past him and still get out of this okay.

What'd you say to me, you fuckin’ twink?”

At last, Kurt stands up in a smooth, quick movement. Relief floods Blaine’s chest, only to be replaced almost immediately with frightened confusion. Kurt’s face is hard, and his face is twisted up into an ugly expression. Without even looking, he reaches out and places a hand flat against Blaine’s chest and pushes him firmly a few steps away.

“I said,” enunciates Kurt slowly, his delicate eyebrows furrowing together in an angered expression, “to leave him alone. Or I promise you that you’ll regret it.”

“Kurt,” mutters Blaine frantically, real fear clenching at his chest. “Kurt, please –”

“Teach you a lesson, y’pussy bitch –”

What happens next occurs so quickly that Blaine is barely able to process the exact series of events.

The man starts to drunkenly charge at him, fists raised in the air and letting out a wordless shout. Blaine braces himself, moves to grab Kurt’s hand and run

But lightning-quick and with the force of a car colliding with a human body, something barrels into the man and pins him with a horrific crunch against the brick wall behind them. Clipping Blaine’s shoulder hard as it goes, and the force of it sends him crashing to the ground with a strangled shout of pain. His head collides forcefully with a nearby trash can as he hits, and for a second all Blaine can see are lights flashing in front of his eyelids as blunt pain pulses along the side of his head.

He manages to drag his eyes open again when he hears someone start to scream.

Somehow – Blaine has no idea how, or why, or what on earth is going on – Kurt has the man slammed up against the brick wall. Tiny Kurt, little Kurt, whose entire body language is channelling power and speed and ferocity as he keeps the man easily in place even as he screams and shouts and in strangled cries of fear. And Blaine can’t figure out why, doesn’t realize what the man is screaming about until his vision comes into focus and he stares up from the ground and oh god

— Kurt’s face. There’s something wrong with his face.

That smooth, angelic face has been distorted into a creature out of a nightmare. Twisted and deformed into something monstrous, enormous sharp teeth visible from his now wide open jaw. The blue of his eyes is completely gone, completely drowned out by a murky dark red.

Blaine tries to scream but he can’t, voice frozen in his chest and mouth hanging open in wordless terror. He is paralyzed, stuck in place, completely helpless to even take his eyes off the scene in front of him. Unfathomable horror is rolling over him in sick waves, grounding him in place. It’s impossible, this is impossible, can’t be real can’t be real can’t be real

The monster – it can’t be Kurt, isn’t Kurt, even though it’s his size and shape and has his twisted face – growls low in its throat, glaring at the shouting man with murder in its eyes. It grabs one of the man’s forearms with one clawed hand, takes hold of his shaking hand with the other – and snaps the man’s wrist backwards as easily as though he’s breaking a twig.

The man howls in agony as his wrist is broken, the crack of it loud and terrible, and Blaine lets out a wordless shriek of horror and scrabbles at the ground to push himself away. The man is sobbing now, begging and crying and writhing in anguish, but the monster doesn’t hesitate. It lets the man’s hand fall to his side, grabs the other hand and – snap – repeats the process, breaking his other wrist instantaneously.

Blaine whimpers, the terror so hot and real that he can’t move as the man shrieks, both broken wrists falling down to his sides. He starts to slide down the wall, but the monster doesn’t let him; grabs onto his shoulders and keeps him pinned firmly in place, legs dangling helplessly below him as he starts to pass out from the pain. Cocking its head, the monster spreads its mouth wide in some sort of macabre mockery of a grin – before crashing its mouth down onto the man’s exposed neck, ripping into the flesh with its teeth. Blood blooms hot and red; the monster wraps his lips around the wound and sucks, drawing the liquid into its maw.

Spasming helplessly as he’s drained, the man gurgles as the monster drinks. No more shouting, not fighting anymore; the man’s mouth and eyes are widen open as the life gets sucked from his body. Just as his eyes begin to flutter shut, however, the monster rips its mouth away from his neck. There is blood dripping down its sick face as it stares at the man, broken and drained but still barely breathing.

It reaches up with both hands, grabs the man’s face – and wrenches, snapping his neck and letting his body fall to the ground with a heavy thump.

The world comes back to itself as the man’s body hits the ground – dead, dead, oh god, it killed him, he’s dead – and the only thing Blaine can hear is his own gasping breaths in the cold of the night. His heart is pounding so hard it fills his whole body. He is literally numb with fear as his hands push at the ground, frantically trying to remember how to move his legs when the monster turns around and faces him.

And its face – its horrible, inhuman face – is shifting. So quickly and seamlessly it’s almost impossible to notice the change as bones and muscles meld back into place. Becoming normal, becoming human once more as the red fades from its eyes – and Kurt is standing in its place. Slender and beautiful, his lips and chin smeared with the bright red of the man’s blood. Blaine can only stare from his position sprawled backward on the hard pavement, petrified, hot white fear clenching at his chest and not letting him move. His heart feels compressed and small in his chest.

Reaching up to straighten his hair where it has become untidy from the struggle, Kurt stares down at him with those blue eyes so familiar from Blaine’s dreams. He looks hard and unyielding, face frozen in an unreadable expression.

“Well,” says Kurt in that high, musical voice of his, tongue sliding out to catch some of the blood smeared across his lower lip. He reaches up a hand delicately in an attempt to swipe away the rest of it, but a bright red smudge remains shining at the corner of his mouth. His eyes narrow dangerously. “Isn’t that inconvenient.”