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Until My Dying Breath

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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.” 

Chapter Text

--


Sprawled backwards on the hard pavement with his heart hammering rabbit-quick in his chest, all Blaine can do is stare with wide-blown eyes at Kurt standing a few feet away. The man’s body – his corpse, oh god, throat ripped out and wrists and neck snapped and dead dead dead dead dead – is slumped on the ground against the brick wall, Blaine knows, but he can’t look. Can’t take his eyes off Kurt-not-Kurt even for a second, because if he does he’ll be dead, Kurt will kill him, and he’s so scared that his whole body is numb with it.

Blaine tries to push himself backwards, digging the heels of his feet into the pavement and pushing off as he scrabbles back with his hands, but his body is clumsy and uncoordinated and he can’t seem to make his arms and legs work in tandem. His mind is spinning, whirling, because if even if he manages to stand and run away he’ll have to turn his back and the second he does he’ll be dead and played with and consumed. Like the man slumped in a pile a few feet away, the body a dark shadow on the ground.

In front of him, Kurt is standing with rigid posture and his face very, very still. His pale hands – the ones that had snapped the man’s neck like it was nothing, oh god – are raised slightly into the air beside him, palms forward, and even terrified out of his mind Blaine can see the careful way that he’s holding himself. Kurt’s expression looks strained, placating – and ever-so-slightly put upon, as though things haven’t panned out the way he was hoping. (Of course they haven’t, he was going to kill you on that bench and now he has to kill you like this and you’re dead, oh god, you’re dead. )

“Blaine,” says Kurt in a slow, wary tone – as though he is speaking to a small child.

Instead of calming him, however, the word has the exact opposite effect. A small, involuntary whine of fear escapes from Blaine’s throat as the monster – Kurt – addresses him by name. Entire body rigid and hard with terror, Blaine’s hand gropes blindly backward along the pavement until it encounters something long and thin, softer than concrete. It takes him a few seconds to realize what it is, but when he does it sends a tiny burst of courage through his chest. He wraps his hand around it, clenching tight.

“Blaine,” Kurt enunciates again, taking a slow and careful step forward. He’s looking right down at him, the whole of his lithe body strong and certain; there is still a smear of blood, bright red and shining, along the corner of his mouth. Blaine scrambles to his feet unsteadily, clutching the object tight in his hand. “Don’t be –”

But the rest of the words get cut off when Blaine grabs the strap with both hands, swings hard – and slams Kurt right in the face with his heavy book bag.

It collides with a loud crunch, the textbooks inside crashing into Kurt’s face as hard as Blaine can swing them. It’s probably the surprise of it more than anything that sends Kurt reeling backwards, but Blaine doesn’t wait to find out how much time he’s bought himself. He lets go of the strap and the bag goes crashing to the ground; he doesn’t even bother to look at it. The momentum of the swing already has him going, running running running as fast as he can in the opposite direction.

Blaine throws himself down the road, running harder than he ever has in his life. It doesn’t take long before his lungs are screaming at him, heart pounding and coat too heavy and awkward as he speeds down the darkened street. The frantic thump-thump-thump of his heart in his ears is all Blaine can hear as he throws himself around corners and down sidewalks as fast as he can possibly manage. Beneath him, his feet are numb and floating and completely detached from the rest of his field of perception; he can barely even feel it as they slam into the ground in a hard and frantic rhythm of terror. He has no real idea where he’s going, only away, and all he hopes is that his body can hold in there for just a few more seconds, for just a few more feet –

Any second now, he’ll feel the sharp crunch of a hand digging into his shoulder and tugging him backwards. Clawing at him and biting him open, pulling him into the shadows screaming and crying. He can practically feel it, the phantom pain of being tackled down and ripped apart and sliced into. It’s coming, it’s coming, he knows it is, can taste his own certainty that every moment is his last.

But the pain doesn’t come. Instead, he flings himself around another corner with his limbs feeling weak and shaky with fear – only to realize that this is his road. He must have been subconsciously retracing the route Kurt took him on for their walk, because his apartment building is right up ahead of him, he can see it.

Go go go get away so close, he thinks desperately fast in time with the throbbing of his heart, pushing himself harder as the building gets closer. The tiny part of his brain still clinging desperately to rationality makes him shove a hand inside his pocket and tug out his keys as he sprints, barely able to breathe as he attempts to determine by touch which one will unlock the main door. Almost there almost there almost there

Blaine hits the glass doors full-on, slamming his shoulder hard from the momentum as he tries to unlock the door with shaking hands. For a terrifying moment, the bright flashes of jagged panic make his hands so numb that he almost drops the keys – but he doesn’t, holds on, manages to just barely get himself inside and throw the door closed after him. Dashes hard, can’t look back over his shoulder, not even for a second because if he does Kurt will be there. Right there in his wake with his face twisted up and horrific and nightmarish, speeding after Blaine to catch him and kill him and rip him open.

He barely even registers the four flights of stairs up – stairs in case of emergency, not the elevator, elevator traps you – doesn’t even register the breath clawing at his chest or the slam of his feet on the concrete steps in his frantic certainty that he’s not going fast enough, can’t be going fast enough.

Despite everything, Blaine somehow manages to speed down the hallway, unlock his apartment door, and fling himself inside. He throws himself against the closed door, pulling all three locks across with hands that are trembling so hard he can barely wrap his fingers around the metal slides. It’s not enough, he knows it’s not enough, watched Kurt snap someone apart with his bare hands and a door isn’t going to be able to stop him. If he tracked Blaine back here... if he can find out which apartment number is his...

I’m going to die. The realization is oddly absent, distant; and Blaine can’t focus on whether or not it will hurt or how Kurt will do it, because all that matters is that someone else knows. He reaches into his coat pocket and quickly dials 9-1-1 with unsteady fingers. There are bright strikes of pain going off in his muscles, in his head from where he struck it against the trash can, but none of it matters.

His thumb is just hovering over the ‘send’ button when something hard crashes into his front door. Blaine stumbles back, sweating hard and breath coming in shallow gulps as he stares at the door with wide eyes. There is a pause – before something pounds against the feeble wood.

Blaine!” comes Kurt’s voice through the door, high and angry and barked out. He sounds furious, the beautiful musicality of his voice twisted up and strained. “Blaine, let me inside.” The fast pounding makes the whole door shake again; Kurt is slamming his hand against it, Blaine realizes, stepping back and watching in horror. Waiting for the door to collapse, to burst inwards in a shower of splinters. “Open the door! Invite me in, Blaine, tell me I can come in.”

Nine-one-one, what is your emergency?” asks an efficient-sounding woman’s voice in his ear.

“Police, please, I need the police,” Blaine rushes out, voice cracking, clutching the phone to his ear in a vice-grip. The words sounds high and frightened to his own ears.

No. No, Blaine, don’t you dare,” Kurt shouts from outside the locked door, and another slam resonates through the wood. For a moment, Blaine is certain that he’ll wake people up – that people will come outside and see him – before he realizes that this is New York. All of his neighbours have probably heard far worse. They almost definitely know better than to poke their noses out during a loud and potentially dangerous hallway shouting match.

Why hasn’t the door given way yet? The thought is brief and distant, however, because the woman is asking him what his emergency is in that same calm, professional voice and he thinks she might have asked him a few times now. Can’t focus, can’t keep it all straight.

“There’s a man outside my door,” Blaine breathes into the phone, trying to keep his voice low. It doesn’t seem to work, though, because somehow Kurt can hear him from outside.

“Blaine,” comes Kurt’s voice from outside, except it is no longer raised in anger. He sounds eerily calm, certain. Measured and careful in controlled rage. “Blaine, if you bring police here, you know what I’ll do? I’ll go and wait outside and rip out their throats when they get here.”

The woman on the phone is asking him a question, but the bottom has dropped out of Blaine’s stomach with such speed and ferocity that he cannot comprehend the words anymore. The phone almost slips from his hand as he stares at the white-painted wood of the front door with unseeing eyes.

It’s such a thin barrier between him and Kurt. Between him and the monster who had absolutely no hesitation in killing a man tonight, in snapping his bones and sucking him empty. Blaine’s legs feel weak and spindly beneath him.

“You think I wouldn’t do it?” hisses Kurt’s voice, high and quick and cruel. An image of the man outside, slumped in an empty pile of bone and flesh on the street, flashes bright and hot in front of Blaine’s eyes. The ease with which Kurt had taken on someone three times his size with no trouble at all; the way his face had twisted up like that, oh god. “You think they can fight me? I’ll kill them, Blaine, I won’t even hesitate. And it will be your fault.”

Sir?” the woman’s voice is asking him over phone’s speaker, voice low and professional despite the content of the conversation. “Sir, are you at liberty to speak? Can you tell me your address?

Mouth dry and suddenly hollow inside, Blaine licks his lips – and finally responds. “No,” he intones, voice sounding empty. “No, I’m – I apologize. I made a mistake. I’m sorry to waste your time.”

When Blaine presses his thumb down on the ‘end call’ button, it feels very much like signing his own death certificate. All at once, the unsteadiness of his own body hits him in a powerful way; how badly he’s shaking, sweat dripping down the back of his neck and stomach clenched so hard it hurts. He abruptly realizes that his legs are actually physically incapable of holding up his own weight as they buckle beneath him, sending him to his knees on the shiny false hardwood floors. His phone falls to the ground with a clatter.

There’s my good boy,” hums Kurt sweetly from the other side of the door as Blaine kneels gasping on the ground. There is a hint of that coy, seductive lilt is back in his voice. It juxtaposes sharply against the long, terrible scrape of what can only be nails running down the doorframe. Drawn-out and whining, making Blaine wince.

“Now,” says Kurt quietly, and Blaine can practically envision the slow smile across his face. “Do the smart thing, Blaine, and invite me inside.”

He shudders, because Kurt is so close. Only a few feet away, just separated by a few feet and a couple inches of wood, and Blaine is so utterly vulnerable. He doesn’t understand why Kurt doesn’t just force his way inside; what’s keeping him from breaking down the door and taking what he’s wanted from the beginning. No part of the night makes sense, nothing at all, and Blaine’s entire world – his entire reality – is coming crashing down around his ears.

“You... you threatened to kill the police,” says Blaine in a small voice, unable to move from his crumpled position on the ground.

Images are buzzing through his mind, hard and unforgiving and too fast to make sense of. Kurt’s beautiful face, twisted and distorted and wrecked until it wasn’t even human anymore. The man struggling against the wall, hands bent backward at unnatural angles and flopping uselessly as he tried in vain to fight back. The pink of Kurt’s tongue as it darted out and licked the blood from his own lips as he stared down at him with icy eyes.

Blaine chokes at the image, shaking his head hard. “You murdered that guy outside, you – you tore out his throat. What... what are y—?”

“What do you think?” purrs Kurt deliciously, and the high scrape of one nail down the wooden frame is loud in the silence.

There is a word, loud and clear in its unspoken certainty, on the tip of Blaine’s tongue. Fully formed and impossible, dancing at the corners of his mind. But he can’t say it out loud, can’t make it real, because it’s ridiculous. Impossible; children’s tales and Victorian romance novels and black and white movies, not here and now. Not him.

But there isn’t another explanation.

A musical, tinkling laugh drifts through the door.

You know,” comes Kurt’s voice happily. “Don’t pretend.”

Blaine shudders – long and hard and through his whole body – but mentally bolsters himself. The lawyer-in-training part of his brain is collating and rationalizing hard and fast, wheels spinning in his mind. He tries to calm himself down with the only conclusion that makes any sense: for some reason beyond his comprehension, Blaine is safe in his apartment. He has to be. If Kurt could come inside, he would have done so already. Would have splattered Blaine’s blood across the floors and furniture and drapes, but he hasn’t. For some reason that he cannot wrap his head around, Blaine is safe so long as he stays inside.

So he might as well try to get some information out of the monster waiting at his door.

“Why me?” asks Blaine quickly, forcing the words out into the air. “What do you want from me?”

A low, pleasurable noise floats through the divider between them.

Everything,” whispers Kurt. The word a drawn-out exhalation of heat and certainty, and it takes all Blaine has not to gag at the idea of what everything is to a monster like him. Kurt laughs again, chiming and sweet. “I had all these plans, you know. It was going to be romantic for you. Candles, and flowers. Whispered words as I took you to my bed and had you. And then, at that very special moment...” His voice cuts off into a hummed noise of pleasure. “It would have been perfect. Something to cherish. I’m very upset that it’s been spoiled.”

The words hit Blaine in the stomach with another blunted impact of revulsion – and, inexplicably, betrayal. He had been playing right into a trap, he realizes dully, comprehension making sickness twist in his stomach. Kurt had been playing him from the very start, leading him along like a lamb to slaughter. Worst of all, Blaine had been happy to follow Kurt wherever; to throw his hands up into the air and let that beautiful boy have whatever he wanted. It would have been easy. An image of himself, glassy-eyed and naked, staring up from blood-soaked sheets makes him recoil and cringe.

An image of the man from the street, twitching helplessly as Kurt’s teeth tore open his throat, comes into Blaine’s mind. That would have happened to him.

“You didn’t have to kill him,” says Blaine tonelessly, shaking his head in disgust. “That man outside – we could have walked away, you didn’t have to –”

“He insulted you.” Kurt’s voice is suddenly dangerous, low and hard and cold in a way that makes it feel as though Blaine’s heart is being squeezed by an icy grip. “He threatened you. Of course I had to kill him, Blaine, keep up.”

The laugh that escapes Blaine’s throat is ugly, hard. Unsteady in a way that belies how very close to passing out he feels. His knees feel sore from kneeling, but he doesn’t think he’d be able to stand if he tried. “So, what?” Blaine asks, bitterness and disbelief saturating the words. “Only you can kill me? That’s – that’s ridiculous.”

There is a deadly pause; Kurt doesn’t say anything in response to that for a long, long while. Silence seems to flare up in the absence of his voice; the buzzing of the fridge and the tick-tick-tick of the living room clock the only things to fill the void. He can hear the very light sound of his breathing just outside the door, however. It’s slow in a way that Blaine never really registered before. Drawn-out and unhurried even in excitement, eerily steady. Inhuman. There are a hundred signs that Blaine should have noticed before now.

Except... he had no reason to. No possible notion that anything like this could ever happen in real life, let alone in his life.

Finally, Kurt speaks. “I can hear you, you know,” he says, the sound of a single nail scraping down the door frame accompanying his words. He sounds contemplative. Quiet. “The blood pumping in your veins, the heart in your chest. I can smell you, too. Your fear. You’re so frightened the air is thick with it, Blaine, it’s intoxicating. Do you have any idea what that does to me?”

Dull horror isn’t enough to make him speak. Blaine determinedly presses his lips together, staring down at the floor and clenching his hands on his thighs.

“You smell so good to me, Blaine. So good.” Kurt hums; it would be a pleasant sound if everything about this situation weren’t so wrong. “You can’t hide from me forever, you know. All it does is make me want you more.” There is a sliding sound, as though Kurt is stroking his hand over the flatness of the door. “Goodnight, beautiful thing. Sleep tight.”

And, just like that, Kurt is gone. No more too-slow breathing outside the door, no more scrapes of nails upon wood. There are no footsteps leading him away, either. Just... silence. As though the nightmare has broken.

Unsteadily, Blaine forces himself to his feet. He steps forward, presses an eye up nervously to the peep hole – but no one is there. It’s just an empty hallway.

When he pulls away from the door, however, it shifts strangely as his weight moves away. As though there is something heavy pressing it inward, just below his view.

Feeling as though a bucket of ice water has been poured over his head, Blaine hears a small whine escape from his throat. He doesn’t want to know what’s pressed up against the door from outside. Can’t look except he has to, curiosity horrific and giant-sized and straining at his mind. Awful images are pouring through his head: the corpses of his neighbours thrown up against his front door, the body of the man outside. Blaine has to know, he has to. Even if just for a split second.

Telling himself that there must be something other than two inches of wood keeping Kurt outside – because nothing makes any sense otherwise – Blaine steels himself. He bites down on his lip, tenses himself up as he unlocks the latches, and pulls the door open in one quick movement.

And his own book bag flumps over idly as the door moves inward, slumping into his apartment in an unremarkable pile of brown material. Blaine stares at it uncomprehendingly for a long moment before remembering. Using it to get away from Kurt in the street, smashing it across his face before leaving it abandoned on the sidewalk.

The realization of exactly how it made its way back to his apartment makes him feel weak in the knees.

The bag looks normal, and he can’t see anyone in the hall. Part of the strap has fallen just over the threshold to his apartment, too. With one great tug, he snags the strap and pulls the bag inside as quickly as he can before slamming the door shut with a too-loud bang. After re-locking the door, Blaine checks through the bag once, twice – but there is nothing different about it. Nothing tucked inside for him to find; no secret note or piece of body to discover within its pockets. It’s just his book bag, full of textbooks and notebooks and topped with his own jacket.

Feeling very small and very, very scared, Blaine collapses onto his couch, buries his face in his hands – and tries hard to not to fall to pieces.


--


It takes Blaine five minutes of silent panicking with his head buried in his hands – trying desperately hard to think think think think think come on – before he can even begin to work his way through the senseless horror of the evening and come up with any kind of useful idea. He strains his mind, eyes squeezed shut to ignore the innocent-looking book bag slumped on the floor, and shoves away the terror. It won’t help him now, not when he needs to figure this out.

When it finally occurs to Blaine what he needs to do, it’s so achingly obvious that he jolts his head away from his hands with a sharp inhalation of breath and mentally chastises himself for being so stupid.

Without wasting another moment, Blaine shucks off his heavy sweat-damp coat, flings it over the back of a chair, and stands up to do what needs to be done.

He’s trying to scare me, Blaine reassures himself in a determined rush, trying not to examine the knot of betraying terror that is still wrenching inside of him. Thick and solid; as though he’s swallowed something he shouldn’t have and now the weight of it is pressing at his insides. Trying to make me panic, but I won’t. Going to do the right thing, the smart thing. He can’t trick me into waiting in here like some helpless animal in a cage.

In high school, David had forcibly dragged both he and Wes through his ridiculous and months-long scary movie fixation. The both of them had grinned and rolled their eyes as they indulged in their friend’s peculiar obsession, but it was always hard not to get wrapped up in them once they were actually playing on the screen. The tension-filled music, the sudden shocks as things jumped out at the screen; the screams and yowls of the victims as they met their gruesome ends. It hadn’t helped that they’d always watched them in the basement of David’s house with the lights off, the three of them piled on a couch together and forgetting to eat their popcorn whenever the suspense began to build.

More than anything, though, Blaine remembers the mantra David would almost always begin to chant under his breath by the half-way mark. Rocking back and forth on the couch cushion next to him, staring at the screen in a mixture of alarm and frustration.

“Go to the police, you idiot, oh my god,” David would groan, throwing popcorn at the screen as Wes sent him dirty looks over Blaine’s head. “Why doesn’t anyone ever go to the damn police?”

Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice...

Hands only the slightest bit shaky with his newfound determination, Blaine leans over and plucks his discarded phone from off the fake hardwood floor. Because he knows what he needs to do. There are professionals out there who are much, much more qualified to deal with any of this than he is. The police will have guns, and tasers, and all the right know-how to put criminals like Kurt down. Blaine may be helpless inside his little prison of an apartment for now, but he can still reach out for help.

Kurt’s only bluffing, Blaine tells himself firmly. Trying to keep him scared and weak because he can’t get inside the apartment and he doesn’t want Blaine calling for backup. Because he knows he can be beaten. And the thought – the mere idea – of leaving Kurt free to roam around the city, killing other people as he likes, without even trying to report him... it makes Blaine feel sicker than he does already.

There’s only one of Kurt. They’ll have strength in numbers on their side, and weapons, and Kurt won’t stand a chance. The reason he had been furious at Blaine for trying to call them before is because they can take him down, they must be able to. They’re the police, they’ll know what to do. Blaine is so completely out of his depth, and that’s when you’re supposed to call in the people who know what they’re doing.

Without giving himself time to think about what he’s going to say, Blaine dials the three little numbers and hits ‘send’.

“Hello?” says Blaine, not even waiting for the operator to finish her sentence. He rushes out the words as confidently earnestly as he can, but the tremor is still apparent in his voice; it makes him sound wrung-out. Good, he thinks, that can only make things easier.

“Yes, I need your help. There’s a monster out there who looks like a man. He’s thin and pretty and looks weak, but he killed a man in front of me tonight. Tore him to pieces with his bare hands. Don’t hang up, I – no, I don’t think he was on drugs, and I’m not prank calling you, I swear. He’s strong, stronger than you can imagine. Send people who know what they’re doing with weapons to East 82nd and 3rd; you’ll find the body of a Caucasian man with blood all over him, I promise. I – no, I can’t. I’m sorry, I. I have to go. Be careful.”

When he hangs up, cutting off the operator’s voice mid-word, Blaine stares at the screen of his phone for a long minute. There is a dull pang in his stomach; the knowledge that he’s done all he can possibly do weighing heavily on his insides. An anonymous tip had seemed safer than leaving his name, just in case, and he can’t be sure that Kurt is even the creature’s real name.

But it should be enough. They know now, at least. People other than him know, and will be on the lookout. Doing their jobs and keeping people safe.

Placing the phone onto the coffee table, Blaine lowers himself back slowly down onto the couch. His entire body is buzzing with dull anxiety; the room is floating with it, choking him. Blaine has no idea what to do now that he’s made the call; he feels numb and unreal, and going to calmly get ready for bed seems ridiculous after the horror of the evening.

And so he sits and waits in silent vigil on the couch, muscles tense and back straight, half expecting to hear that voice again at any moment. To hear Kurt, playful and sharp right outside his door. Taunting him with that beautiful voice of an angel that slides out from between those wicked lips.

But it’s been a long day, and it keeps catching up with him. The impossible has happened, nightmares have come to pass, and Blaine’s entire world has been turned upside down in the space of no time at all. Minutes pass as he sits there, on edge, but it takes so much energy, being afraid. Takes every ounce of concentration and focus to keep himself alert and ready. The fear is no longer hard and sharp, but viscous and fluid inside as it stirs gently inside of him. He leans back against the cushions, blinking hard.

He tries to stay awake; he really does. But exhaustion creeps insidiously as the fear still hums and rests in his stomach; dragging at his eyelids, pulling him down and stealing up on him as Blaine eventually closes his eyes and gets tugged under by the sluggish lurch of sleep.


--


Everything is hazy and warm and swirling around them in the dimness of the bedroom, shocking heat rising up in the base of Blaine’s stomach and making him keen helplessly against Kurt’s mouth as they kiss. Kurt’s hands tighten frantically in Blaine’s hair at the noise, pulling Blaine closer until their bodies are lined up deliciously right. It’s right after their third date, and Blaine’s whole body is buzzing with want as he presses back against the column of Kurt’s body. He had spent the entire walk back here reeling from the excitement at having Kurt invite him back to his apartment after the movie’s credits began to roll. Wondering if it meant what he thought it did, or if he was over-stepping himself.

Apparently, though, the invitation had meant exactly what he thought it did. From out of the corner of his eye, Blaine can see that the bedspread and heavy curtains of Kurt’s bedroom are a deep rich red that speaks of romance and closeness and intimate moments. The many tea candles dotted throughout the room flicker and dance, sending shadow and warm light across their bodies as they tangle together. He holds tight to Kurt’s forearms and lets himself be kissed, leaning up into it as his head swims and blurs.

“Fuck, you’re gorgeous,” Kurt rumbles against his lips, catching Blaine’s bottom lip between his teeth and tugging it, worrying at it. Blaine gives himself into the touch freely, whimpering at the hint of pain mixed with pleasure as his eyes flutter shut at the feeling of it. “Love the way you smell, Blaine, god. Want you so badly—”

“Do you want –?” murmurs Blaine, cutting off into a groan as Kurt moves his lips to Blaine’s neck. Sucking over pulse points and working the sensitive skin with a desperation that makes Blaine buck helplessly against him and slide his hands around to clutch at Kurt’s back. “I – we don’t have to, but if you want –”

Kurt bites down so hard it hurts, drawing Blaine out of the words before he can finish them. Blaine can feel his own breathing coming hard and fast and hot into the room, and it’s all he can do to fist his hands in the back of Kurt’s silky shirt and gasp.

“Let me,” Kurt growls, backing Blaine towards the bed with steps so quick it almost makes Blaine stumble backward. He clings to Kurt’s shoulders. “Please let me, Blaine, I need it. Need you, need to be inside you –”

“Oh, god,” says Blaine weakly, blood pounding hot and heated through his body. They haven’t done this before; haven’t done anything before except heated kisses in almost-public places after their few dates. Have never even had the chance to get one another off. By all rights, it should feel like too much. Except that Blaine is so hard it’s almost painful, and the idea of Kurt stretching him open and pressing inside, exposing him and filling him up in that oh-so-intimate way... “God, yes, please.”

The smirk that drags across Kurt’s lips is so self-satisfied and pleased that it should be insulting, but all Blaine can feel is the aching hunger of want. He wants this, needs this so badly; has ever since that day in the alley when he first looked into those bright blue eyes and fell. They’ve known each other for less than two weeks and it should be too soon – Blaine isn’t a prude, enjoys sex and getting off and being close with the boys that he dates. But he’s always waited at least a month before doing this with anyone, staved off the desperation with fingers and mouths and held on to make certain before jumping into anything.

But Kurt... god, Kurt is so much more than anyone Blaine’s ever dated. Than anyone Blaine’s ever known. Blaine wants to have everything with him, and there’s no way he can wait any longer when they can have this right now instead.

Blaine wraps his arms around Kurt’s shoulders and kisses him, and it doesn’t take long for Kurt to take control. Dragging their mouths together in a sloppy slide of lips and tongues and desperation. It feels as though Kurt is opening him up, learning him from the inside as his hands slide up the back of Blaine’s shirt. Running them along the heat of Blaine’s skin before dragging his nails over the expanse of his back in a gentle scrape, and the shock of the touch makes Blaine shiver and moan.

With inhuman speed, Kurt pulls away from the kiss and slides the shirt up over Blaine’s head. Throwing it on the ground and leaning in to press hard, fast kisses against Blaine’s lips as he reaches down and begins working at the buttons of his fly. Blaine’s own hands clench in mid air for a long moment before he regains his senses enough amid the swirl and heat of the touches to reach out begin to fumble with the buttons of Kurt’s shirt.

They undress one another fast and rushed, too focused on mouths and hands and touch to be elegant or restrained. Kurt is more out of breath than Blaine has ever seen him before, looking wild-eyed and dishevelled every time he pulls away long enough for Blaine to get a look at him. His light skin is warmed and heated in the dim light as clothes are stripped away, and more and more of that beautiful paleness gets exposed.

There is a franticness to Kurt’s every touch and look and gesture that Blaine has never seen in him before; every time they’ve spent time together, Kurt has practically been the epitome of cool composure and control. It makes Blaine’s stomach twist deliciously with the heat of being wanted.

It doesn’t take long before they’re both undressed and Kurt’s hands are running over his chest and wrapping around his shoulders as though trying to memorize him. And Kurt naked is... oh, god, he’s perfection. Every line of his body is streamed and sharp, and his cock is dusky and elegant and beautiful just like the rest of him. Hot breath coming in short pants, Blaine reaches down between them to wrap a hand around Kurt’s erection. Squeezing at him experimentally, making Kurt groan and buck and suddenly the world jerks around them and Blaine’s back is colliding hard with something soft and firm.

He groans as he realizes that Kurt has shoved him onto the bed and climbed on top with wicked speed, grinding their hips together and making Blaine throw his head back and clutch at the sheets as he sucks in air and bucks his hips back.

Yes,” says Kurt, dark and heated and private as they writhe together on the bed. “Yes, that’s right. Going to be so good, okay?”

“Please,” Blaine gasps out, leaning up to kiss Kurt but mostly pressing his lips against the corner of Kurt’s mouth. The slide of their bodies so perfect and male, all friction and shocks of sharp heat sparking up his spine.

Kurt pulls away, and Blaine tries to follow – to make Kurt feel good, to wrap his lips around Kurt’s cock and swallow deep and drive him crazy. But Kurt wordlessly presses a hand to his chest and shoves him back onto the bed with a short growl, eyes heated and with his hair coming loose and unstyled around his ears.

“Can’t wait,” says Kurt heatedly, that beautiful voice low and commanding with finality. “Can’t wait anymore.”

Everything is going so quickly – so much in no time at all like it’s barely even real. Blaine opens his mouth to speak, but the words catch in his throat. “Okay,” he says instead, nodding helplessly and feeling the flush of desperation spread over his face. “Okay.”

Without another word, Kurt reaches over to the bedside drawer. He opens it and plucks out a small container of lube, and the rush of need Blaine feels when he sees it makes him squirm. His hole feels sensitive and exposed already with the anticipation, of knowing what’s going to come next. Everything is shuddery and jagged and exposed, and they haven’t even started yet.

Uncapping the bottle, Kurt squeezes a large dollop of liquid onto his fingers and deposits the container back on the bedside table. Without breaking Blaine’s gaze, eyes hot and primal, he shifts himself down so that he’s kneeling between his legs, pushes Blaine’s knees up – and reaches down to press a finger against Blaine’s entrance.

It’s been a while since he’s done this, and Blaine hisses at the touch before his body remembers what it feels like. But it’s only a second before the touch shifts from surprising to hot and teasing – not enough, just a hint – and when Kurt’s finger begins to press inside, he’s already groaning and pressing back into the pressure.

“You’ve done this before,” says Kurt quietly, pushing the first finger inside of him. Slowly and surely but with minimal resistance, because Blaine’s body recognizes this touch. Knows what comes next, how good it can feel. He nods feebly, eyes squeezed shut and breathing hard at the welcome intrusion. Even one finger feels big inside after so long without, the stretch and press of it so lovely inside.

“Eyes open,” Kurt warns in a dark voice, and Blaine wrenches his eyes wide. Kurt is looking down at him hungrily as he slides his finger in and out – and then crooks it, making white hot pleasure flash in front of Blaine’s eyes, and he groans and twists with it still pressed inside. Kurt slides his finger over that special place teasingly, tauntingly for a little while. Coaxing little noises out of Blaine’s throat as he presses himself back against, drawing it out for long enough to have him whining – before pulling back and adding another. Blaine groans at the perfect stretch, pressing his ass back into the touch.

“Know how to take my fingers so well, Blaine,” says Kurt, blue eyes dark and flashing as he begins to slide them in and out. He cocks his head to one side. “How many people have seen you like this? Open and exposed and so desperate for it?”

“I – I don’t –” Blaine’s words are cut off into a hard groan as Kurt begins to rock his fingers in earnest.

“Was their touch as good as mine, beautiful thing?” One hand on Blaine’s hip as he works up a hard rhythm, making Blaine’s toes curl. “As special?”

“No – no one like you, Kurt, please.” The words are true, more true than Blaine can believe, and he has no idea why he ever bothered with anyone else when there was Kurt out there somewhere, so much better than anything else. Smirking, Kurt pulls back and presses a third finger inside, and Blaine can’t stop himself from shouting out loud. It’s not enough lube, and too much too fast, but that just makes it better. Kurt’s fingers burn and stretch and slide inside of him, driving him halfway mad.

And Kurt just stares, watching his face with incredible focus. As though looking at something too captivating to possible be real. He sees Kurt inhale deeply through his nose a few times, shuddering hard as he makes hot pressure rack across Blaine’s body.

When Kurt yanks his fingers out, Blaine jerks and gasps at the sudden emptiness. It’s too much, he needs Kurt, needs to be filled so badly –

But even amid the heat of the moment, his whole body tenses and freezes as Kurt grips his thighs. As he positions himself to press inside – bareback, without a condom, and something important twinges in Blaine’s mind.

“Kurt,” he says breathily, shaking his head. He licks his lips. “Condom – we need –”

“Have you ever been with someone without one?” Kurt asks, voice calm except for the ragged edges as he squeezes his fingers into Blaine’s thighs. He only looks the slightest bit flushed, but Blaine can feel his whole body shaking with desperation.

“I – no, but –”

Kurt leans up to kiss him then, a hard press of mouths with his teeth biting down hard on Blaine’s lips. He has to press him back into the bed almost bent in half in order to reach, hands clenched tight on Blaine’s legs. It’s a claim, a punctuation, and when he pulls his face incrementally away and stares right into his eyes Blaine is breathing hard and glassy-eyed.

“Then we’re both safe,” says Kurt firmly, and Blaine almost wants to protest again but his eyes are blue and deep and captivating as he stares right back at Blaine, seeing inside of him and knowing and taking and having. He finally nods weakly, and when Kurt kisses him again Blaine can feel the grin pressed against his lips.

They separate after a moment, and Kurt positions himself again with another smear of lube to his cock. Blaine can feel him there, pressed big and blunt and hard against Blaine’s entrance. He’s never done this without a condom before and it’s nerve-wracking and strange to the touch, skin instead of the slippery slide of latex, but it’s Kurt and that somehow makes everything okay. And when Kurt begins to push inside, every other thought flies out of Blaine’s head at once.

“Fuck,” he hisses, head falling back onto the pillows as Kurt’s cock slowly inches inside. He feels so big, stretching Blaine open as he buries himself inside. Filling him up so perfect, so right, the paleness of his skin trembling in an obvious effort not to slam himself in all at once. “Kurt –”

Kurt takes a deep breath above him, pushing and pushing until he’s fully seated inside Blaine’s body, as deep as he can go. They’re all pressed up together, skin sliding with sweat, and he feels so big and real and the press and burn of it is all Blaine can experience.

When Kurt pulls out and then rocks back in again, it feels as though Blaine’s whole world is ending.

The shock of the slide is white hot and thrumming, his ass gripping and clenching at Kurt’s cock as the other boy pushes back inside again. In, out, working up a rhythm and pushing it harder. He fists his hands into the deep red sheets, head falling back and exposing his neck at the sudden heat of it; Kurt doesn’t for him to adjust or build up the speed slowly over time, just finds the pace he wants and takes. It’s rougher than Blaine usually likes it but so good, instinctual and base and ruthless in a way he’s never had with anyone else before, ever. He pushes back into it as best he can, but Kurt holds his legs firm; controlling the pace and speed as he takes his pleasure in Blaine’s body.

Above him, Kurt’s angelic face is twisted up into a picture of intensity and want as he rocks his hips, dragging in and out with practiced ease. He looks hungry as he stares down at Blaine’s face, raking his eyes over his lips and eyelashes and the flush of his cheeks as Blaine writhes and keens beneath him, making him feel even more bare to the world as he drags his eyes greedily over every feature. Everything is skin and need, and Blaine can’t even think for how impossible good the pressure of it is inside.

Every few strokes Kurt’s cock brushes against the place inside that sends electric shocks from Blaine’s spine to his fingertips, making him groan and whimper and gasp out meaningless words into the air. Kurt’s so big, so much, so perfect. Blaine tries desperately to rock his hips back into every thrust as Kurt starts to move faster – and groans, the stretch and slam amazing as Kurt begins to pound into him without pretence.

“You’re so good,” Kurt growls, hips slamming against him a Blaine squeezes and writhes beneath him. “So perfect. Can you come, Blaine? I want to see you come.”

It should be too soon, Blaine knows; but the tight coils of heat are already clenching in the base of his stomach. He whines in desperation as he nods, trying his best to keep his eyes open so he can keep watching he way Kurt looks as he fucks him. He’s beautiful, so beautiful it hurts as he watches Blaine with heated eyes. Kurt lets go of his thigh with one hand, reaches down between them – and Blaine keens as he wraps his hand around Blaine’s cock.

“That’s it,” whispers Kurt harshly, hand roughly jerking Blaine’s cock as he pounds into him. His eyes are dark, the red around the edges so hot and bright in the candle light. He licks his lips and leans in close. “Come on, Blaine.”

His hand is squeezing just right and the rhythm is so fast and unyielding and perfect, and Blaine can feel his whole body clenching as he starts to go over the edge. Eyes fluttering as liquid heat spreads through his whole body, clenching down hard around Kurt’s cock and spasming hard as his orgasm hits, bright and hot and so much. Kurt’s eyes flood with a deep red as Blaine jerks and gasps beneath him, coming so hard around the sweet pressure as Kurt presses his face into Blaine’s neck and –

pain, real and sharp and slicing as Kurt’s teeth puncture deep into his neck. Blaine screams in shock, tries to pull away but Kurt’s too strong, holding him easily in place as he keeps fucking into him and tears his throat open. Sucking hard and it hurts, hurts so much as Kurt ruthlessly seals his mouth around the wound and drinks as he keeps on fucking him, his cock slamming in harder than ever but he can barely even feel it over the searing agony in his neck.

Blaine’s hands are clawing weakly at Kurt’s chest, his arms, anything to get him away the terrified panic fills everything makes it impossible to think. But suddenly the other boy is strong and hard and sharp, holding him in place easily and making his head swim and he can’t get away

The world is fading out around the edges, getting dimmer and weaker as Kurt bleeds him dry. He feels Kurt pound into him hard a last few times before stilling, hot wetness splashing inside as Kurt groans against his neck and sends vibrations through the bloody wound. He’s scared, so scared, but the world is getting smaller and darker and he can’t keep clinging to it anymore.

The last thing Blaine sees as his eyes slide closed is Kurt, pulling away from his neck – but it isn’t Kurt. There’s a monster there instead, face all wrong and twisted and horrible. Bright red eyes and the face all wrong, all wrong. Sharp teeth and blood dripping down its chin in messy streaks, grinning with a mouth that holds too many teeth and cocking its head before it shoves his face back into Blaine’s neck, bites down hard


— before Blaine jerks awake on the couch with pain still throbbing in his neck and a scream on his lips, clutching at thin air with his heart pounding in his chest so hard he can barely breathe as he gasps and chokes and wet heat slides down his face.

His hand flies up to the side of his neck, knowing that it’s mangled and torn and stringy and wet with blood and sinew and flesh because he can feel it running down his neck, and it hurts so much and the world is spinning from blood loss and pain. But when the shuddering tips of his fingers actually make physical contact with his neck...

Nothing. The skin there is hot and slick sweat, but it is smooth and unbroken. There is no wound. No blood. The pain of it is still gouging twisting searing even as Blaine’s mind registers that he isn’t physically hurt. Not at all, not even a little. His body is shuddering with the post-orgasm twist that had been cut off abruptly by pain and horror, and there’s a dull ache between his legs. He gasps, and chokes, and clenches his hand in disbelief.

And slowly – gradually – it all begins to fade. Dimming at the edges, slipping through his fingers as he clutches at the side of his intact neck and breathes.

It must have been a dream, he tells himself. Just a dream – but more... real than any dream he’s ever had before in his life. So vivid he can still feel the sharpness of the pain even though he knows it to be false, can still see that monstrous parody of Kurt’s face leaning over him as though it’s a genuine memory.

Can still feel the tingle of killed pleasure, making him feel guilty and horrified and sick to his stomach.

Breathing hard and his whole body shaking, it occurs to him that he has been dreaming about Kurt every night since the night in the alley. The ones before now had been shockingly sharp and immersive, as well – he’d assumed it had been suppressed attraction and frustration at not being able to see the other boy again. But that...that had been tenfold as intense as the first few dreams, and so much more real.

Feeling profoundly unsettled and unsure of himself, Blaine slides a hand gratefully over the smoothness of his own neck one last time. He feels weak with relief.

It doesn’t last long, though, because the parts of last night that weren’t a dream are swiftly coming back to him as well. Blaine’s heart plummets into his stomach as it all comes back to him – the snapping bones, that monstrous face, the man twitching and shaking as blood bloomed from his neck, calling the police –

Calling the police.

Oh, god.

Blaine knows intellectually that he’s just shaken up from the horror of the dream, but all at once Blaine needs to know. He scrabbles around desperately in search of the remote control, feeling tense and queasy with an anxiety over this that hadn’t been there last night. When he finally manages to locate the remote tucked between the cushions of the couch, he flicks on the television turns to the first local news channel he can think of with bated breath.

He stares at the screen, barely blinking, for long minutes as the two newscasters talk about sports, traffic, the weather. It isn’t the fastest way he can find out what he needs to know, but it’s all he can manage right now. His stomach is clenching hard, and Blaine has no idea whether he wants to hear something or doesn’t. He sits, and watches, and waits.

The tension in his posture is just beginning to relax – the tiniest hint of calming down from the frantic rush of fear upon waking – and he’s just about to flick the television set off and check the internet for information when the pretty blonde newscaster switches stories and his blood runs cold.

... in other news, for those of you just tuning in: two NYPD officers were found murdered near the corner of East 82nd and 3rd in the small hours of the morning. Few details are available at this time, but the official statement has indicated that an anonymous tip brought them into the area. Gang violence is suspected. Shockingly, the bodies of both officers were partially exsanguinated upon discovery. The following image of a message discovered at the scene contains gruesome imagery, and is not appropriate for all viewers.

As the screen switches pictures, it feels as though the world is literally being tugged out from under him. Because there, in front of him, is a picture of writing smeared across concrete. The words are the sick brown of dried blood; the message has clearly been made by someone dipping their hands into it and painstakingly taking the time to craft each individual letter. It must have taken a great deal of time and patience to get the writing as smooth and well-formed as it is. And a great deal of blood.

DON’T TEST ME, PRETTY

The words of the newscasters consulting with some kind of expert over potential meanings of the message are drowned out by the cluttering smash as Blaine drops the remote onto the floor with unfeeling hands. He barely makes it to the trashcan in time before he’s retching, clinging to it through the full-body heaves as he vomits helplessly into it.

Chapter Text

For the next few hours, Blaine can’t think. Can’t speak, can barely breathe for how empty he feels. Sick and stupid and guilty, so guilty. So incredibly guilty that it strains at his chest and weighs him down and hurts like a wound every time his mind drags him back to them, to what he did. To the two police officers whose lives he handed over like a sacrifice for his own sorry skin.

Leaving the apartment isn’t an option. Intellectually, he is aware that he must be safe in here. Or at least as safe as he possibly can be after last night. If Kurt was capable of forcing his way inside, Blaine knows with a sureness that echoes down to his bones that he... that it... wouldn’t have hesitated. Would have torn apart the door, the walls, the whole building in order to get to him.

Not that Blaine deserves to be safe, not anymore. What he deserves is for Kurt to tear into him like he did those police, ripping into their skin and draining them dry and smearing his hands in their blood for fun. Blaine traded their safety for his own life, made the worst kind of devil’s bargain. He doesn’t warrant the protection of his apartment anymore, not after what he did. Not after what he caused.

They were innocent. Innocent workers doing their jobs, trying to protect the people of this city. And Blaine sent them right into the monster’s lair like the stupid, stupid idiot that he is. They would never have had a chance, he knows that now. Even armed with guns and strength and training, how could they face up against something that could snap a man’s wrists backwards as though it was nothing? How could they go up against a creature that shouldn’t exist – can’t exist – and have any hope of coming out of it alive?

Fucking idiot. Fucking naive, selfish idiot.

There is a dull, throbbing ache in Blaine’s chest that won’t go away. As though something is pressing against his insides. He feels cold, almost. Dull with self-hatred and sickness as the minutes tick by and the sun moves across the sky in an infinitesimal drag, time stretching out and distorting into the single longest day of Blaine’s entire life.

He spends hours watching the media coverage of the murder, eyes glued to the set and unable to force himself to move. It is as though a heavy weight is pressing down on him, keeping him in place. Making him watch for the people whose lives he ended. One of the murdered officers had children, he learns. He wonders how old they are. He wonders how they found out.

Around four o’clock a statement comes on from one of the officer’s wives. She is a pretty woman in her mid-forties; brown-haired and slender and wearing a dark blue button-up for the press release. In the middle of her brief statement about unspeakable tragedy and his lifelong commitment to the citizens of this country, her bottom lip begins to tremble. When the words catch in her throat and she breaks down, her face gets washed out by the bright white flash of a hundred cameras.

That same picture of her, face crumpled and sobbing into a torn Kleenex with mascara smudged and dark around her eyes, gets circulated for the rest of the day. Round and round and over and over, that same still photo of immeasurable grief and suffering.

Every single word and picture and statement impacts his chest with dull resignation; horror and guilt that Blaine simply cannot experience anymore. He can’t feel it, not really; his mind is thick, swimming in a daze of sickly regret that won’t break. New pieces of information register like an echo or a whisper or a flash, another rock atop an already insurmountable mountain.

The initial shock and sickness wears away, after a while. Boiled down and shoved deep inside, because how can one person feel this much? How can someone go on living with so much pain and fear and regret eating at them from the inside out?

The right thing to do – the moral, upstanding, honourable thing to do – would be to open the door and leave. To walk out into the middle of the road, throw his arms up into the air and start yelling for Kurt to come and get him. To bare his throat to the air and damn the consequences, because he’s already messed so much up. Already ruined so many lives with his own ignorance.

The human need to survive, however, is a funny thing. It must be stronger than he is, because Blaine can’t make himself leave the sanctuary of his home.

It is fear of pain and death and suffering that keeps him inside, cowardice and weakness, and Blaine hates himself for the protection even as he refuses to budge. He tries to tell himself that Kurt doesn’t deserve the satisfaction – doesn’t deserve to win so easily, to make the sacrifice of the two officers he got killed be in vain – but that reasoning is weak at best.

Deep down, Blaine is aware that fear for his own life is what keeps him tucked up inside much more than pride ever could. The knowledge sickens him.

After his fifth straight hour of watching local news, Blaine finally manages to force himself up from the ground. On autopilot he showers, changes into new clothes, eats a few mouthfuls of leftover pasta from the fridge. (He’s running out of food, though, already had to go shopping yesterday. Can’t hide in here forever.) When the dizziness he hadn’t even realizes was there during his hours-long trance is gone, Blaine takes a deep breath – before sitting down and opening his laptop in order to research a creature that shouldn’t exist.

It has been made very, very clear to him that looking for help in the usual places is completely out of the question. That he’s going to be alone, in this. Seeking help can only get other people – maybe even people he loves – killed; Kurt wouldn’t hesitate in tearing down Blaine’s world in order to get at him.

So what Blaine needs more than anything else, now, is information. He desperately needs knowledge and facts and answers if he wants to have even the slightest hope of finding a way to escape the monster that has set its eyes on him.

Some part of him half-expects to find the information right away; easy and straightforward and all laid out for him in one place. Perhaps a chart of strengths and weaknesses, or a list of debunked myths to give him an idea of what he’s up against. Some secret-but-not-hard-to-find site brimming with everything he could possibly need to know about vampires.

The reality, of course, is nothing quite so idyllic.

The entire process is frustrating, and fruitless, and his initial foray doesn’t reveal anything even vaguely authentic-looking. Despite the shower and food, Blaine’s mind remains determinedly dull and frayed with self-hatred and guilt and slowly simmering anger. The words on the screen barely even register half the time, his concentration is so completely shot to hell.

But the words he does manage to process... it’s all ridiculous. Useless, fake information. Everything is fetish clubs and ridiculous-looking covens with pictures of people dressed up in elaborate Victorian-style Halloween costumes with coloured contact lenses. Blaine finds pictures from television shows and movies, and excerpts from books so ridiculous he’s never even entertained the thought of opening them, and long rambling Wikipedia articles with information so vague and changeable and diverse that there is absolutely nothing to be learnt. Searching “real vampires” results in hopelessly hokey amateur websites that look as though they’ve been designed by a twelve-year-old, and “vampire lore” gives him lists of literary tropes a mile long – less than half of which sound like anything close to something resembling Kurt.

All of it makes Blaine wish desperately hard for a well-stocked room full of books. Real books, proper books written by respectable people who know what they’re talking about. Each one musty and old and full of actual information that means something, not the fetish fantasies of a million teenagers sprawled out across the pages of the internet. A proper online archive would be acceptable, too, though. Peer-reviewed articles and citations and facts, but there’s nothing of the sort to be found. Which – of course there isn’t, it’s absurd and ridiculous and completely unbelievable and if Blaine hadn’t seen it with his own eyes...

A few items and phrases pop out at him – their repetition notable, or something that sounds similar to something Kurt has done or could explain one of his actions – but overall, the experience is little more than an exercise in failure.

Entranced by his pathetic attempt at research, Blaine sits and reads and refreshes and digs as the day wears on. He works for hours, perched on the couch as the sun creeps slowly and steadily downwards outside his window. Tucking itself behind the tall buildings as the outside world begins to fade and darken and deepen into something much more dangerous. Much more sinister.

There is absolutely no guarantee that Kurt will be summoned by the darkened sky, no matter what the steadily increasing anxiety in Blaine’s chest attempts to tell him. That element could be a myth, or a wives’ tale, or something thought up to discourage little children from sneaking out late at night. It doesn’t necessarily mean anything that Blaine has only ever seen Kurt with his features dimmed by dark and lit by streetlamps. Conceivably, it could be a coincidence.

There are no coincidences, says the critically-trained part of Blaine’s mind. Only patterns waiting to be spotted.

It would be something straight out of a classic monster movie, if it turns out to be true. The kind of films that are so ingrained into Blaine’s consciousness through popular culture osmosis that he can’t help but let them influence his perception. He doesn’t want to let the possibly fictitious ideas of famous filmmakers infiltrate his head too much, however: doesn’t want to get sloppy or cock-sure and get himself killed by thinking he knows everything from watching a couple of black and white thrillers.

But the fact remains that he has only ever seen Kurt at night.

It makes Blaine feel hopeful, because it’s impossible for him to stay in here forever. He needs to go out at some point for supplies, at least. As much as Blaine likes to pride himself on having a fairly decent lifestyle considering his youth, his fridge is very much a student fridge. All condiments and nothing of substance, not enough to live on. Takeout won’t keep him healthy, and he can’t let himself waste away when he’ll need all the strength he can muster.

But completely aside from that... he has a life. Family, friends. A goal. An education he’s put thousands of hours and hundreds of thousands of dollars into. The thought of dropping all of his hard work without a backwards glance – abandoning it all in the dirt like it doesn’t matter, like all that time didn’t mean anything – leaves him feeling queasy and rudderless and perhaps even more scared than he is of Kurt himself.

Regardless: at the very least, Blaine will need to leave the apartment in order to get food.

And at best, he can try to run.

If Kurt doesn’t come until after dark, Blaine decides, that will just have to be enough of a confirmation for him. If it’s true that Kurt can only chase him during the night, and he can’t find any way to fight him? Then perhaps the worst case scenario will be to pack a bag and pick a direction and run as fast as he can at daybreak one day when Kurt least expects it. He stores away the idea to think on for later.

The sun sinks down lower, and lower, as the sky edges out into a husky, cloudy grey-blue. Sliding into night as the lights of the city prickle out loud and clear against the darkness.

Eventually, Blaine can no longer stand to put on the farce of research; he’s so anxious it hurts, and he hasn’t been able to comprehend the words in front of him for over half an hour. He closes his laptop, picks up the sturdy wooden chair that is the only other seating in the living room besides the couch, and walks it over to rest in front of the door. He sits down, takes a deep breath – and waits.

He tries his hardest to smooth his emotions over, to not feel anything. Not now, not when he doesn’t know whether or not anything will come of this. In case Kurt doesn’t show. Blaine’s emotions are strapped down and held back until further notice. Everything is pushed back and held fast just in case this all comes to nothing.

It is only twenty minutes after the sun has fully dipped below the skyline, however, that a noise comes from outside. The tiniest shift in the air, almost a change of feel more than it is a sound, and then –

“Hello, pretty.”

It’s Kurt’s voice, unmistakable for the tone just as much as for the content of the greeting. The sweet tones drift through the thin wood of the door, high and cooing on the stillness of the air, and Blaine tries not to jump in his seat at the sudden shock of it. No footsteps, no real indications of arrival. Just... Kurt, there in an instant, dark and teasing and right on the other side of his door.

Blaine has never realized just how thin the door is, either. He’s always been able to hear his neighbours coming and going without ever having to strain his ears, yes, but this. He can hear Kurt’s breathing. Slow, and deep, and tinged with excitement. All at once, Blaine feels frozen in his seat from the horrible intimacy of it. The closeness, even though he can’t actually see Kurt’s face.

There is a deep inhalation of breath from outside, followed by a tiny noise of amusement. “You waited up for me, Blaine. How sweet.”

The words are like a slap to the face that sends all the suppression and empty numbness of the day flying out the window.

Stay calm, Blaine tries to tell himself, but even in his own mind the voice is shaking. This is what he wants. He’s trying to get a rise out of you. He can’t go out in the sun, focus on that instead.

But it doesn’t help. All of the anger, the frustration, the helplessness and sickly guilt swell up hard in Blaine’s chest. His fists ball up at his sides as wrenches himself out of his frozen state, getting quickly to his feet and making the chair scrape unpleasantly against the floor.

“Stop it,” hisses Blaine, eyes fixed on the door. As though Kurt can meet his gaze through its solidity. “Don’t you dare, you’re – how can you be so casual about this? You murdered them.”

“I told you I would,” says Kurt calmly, a smile in his voice. “I was just following through with my promises, lovely one. Isn’t that a good thing?”

The gentle scrape of nails on the doorframe cuts off Blaine’s response before his mouth can even form words, that awful sound hitting him right in the base of the stomach like a Pavlovian response.

“... I see you got my note,” whispers Kurt, voice low and husky in some parody of intimacy.

Blaine shudders, shaking his head in disbelief. “You don’t even care.” At his sides, his hands clench into fists. “They had families. You ripped those people out of their lives, and it doesn’t even matter to you. You... you think it’s funny.” A small noise of disgust escapes from his throat. The word on the tip of his tongue is overblown and overdramatic, but in this moment nothing else feels more apt. “You’re evil.”

“I’m not evil, Blaine, I’m just not human. There’s a difference.” Kurt makes a fed-up noise in the back of his throat. He sounds flippant, dismissive. The door shifts and creaks as though weight is being pressed against it from the outside. Kurt, leaning his weight against it casually.

“Enough about me, though,” Kurt says, voice returning to its usual conversational highness. “Let’s talk about all of the things you’ve been doing that I find hard to swallow.”

“What are you talking about?” asks Blaine, trying to sound contemptuous. It comes off sounding more uncertain than anything.

The door creaks as Kurt’s weight shifts while he chuckles, high and clear and awful in the night.

“An anonymous tip, Blaine? Really?” More chuckling, trailing off into something sinister. “What are you, twelve? Have you been getting all of your strategies from television shows? Silly boy, don’t you know that they record anonymous tips? They can trace them. Find their way back to you lickity-split, and slap a pair of handcuffs on those lovely wrists for sending two people to their deaths.”

Blaine opens his mouth, but no words come out. Horror is winding up slowly in the pit of his stomach, and he mentally chastises himself again for being a complete idiot. Of course he knew that, of course. That was common knowledge as far back as middle school; the reason you didn’t prank call the police, because they could find you later.

But no one has called him today. No one at all, and it’s a high-profile case. Wouldn’t someone have tried to get a hold of him by now if they had his number?

“You’re lucky I’m here to watch out for you, pretty thing,” Kurt continues smoothly, a self-satisfied tone to his voice. “The deaths might be making front pages, but it seems people are a bit more hesitant to talk about the unexplainable break-in into dispatch last night, or how their entire night’s worth of records somehow got wiped. Very embarrassing. Doesn’t really inspire confidence in the system.”

It feels as though a bucket of cold water has been dumped over Blaine’s head. His breath slams hard in his chest, a choked exclamation getting lost in his throat.

“You didn’t,” Blaine whispers, horrible suspicion clenching at his chest. “You couldn’t, you – they’d know. God, please – tell me you didn’t hurt anyone else, please –”

“No one else died, if that’s what you’re wondering,” answers Kurt in a bored tone of voice. The idle scritch-scritch-scritch of a hand up and down the door. “A few people got knocked around. What does it really matter?”

“You’re lying, they have cameras, they’d know –”

“I’m not very photogenic,” Kurt jeers, enunciating the words slowly and huffing. “Honestly, Blaine, what did you think was going to happen when you made that call? Tell me, honestly, I’m dying to hear.” He puts on a simpering tone. “Did you think the police would swoop in and save the day and make the big bad wolf go away again? Did you honestly think there wouldn’t be repercussions?” He laughs, high and sneering and biting. “You’re a privileged, stupid little boy.”

“Shut the hell up,” snaps Blaine, righteous fury and anger and guiltguiltguiltguiltguilt making him bolder than he is. “Stop it, stop talking.”

“Why?” asks Kurt. “Hitting a little too close to home?”

“You’re a monster,” says Blaine with conviction, lips tight and heart pounding in his chest. “You’re a creature out of a storybook. A nightmare. You don’t know anything about me.”

“Don’t I, now?”

“You don’t –”

“What brand is your coat, Blaine?”

There is a pause.

What?” chokes Blaine, feeling thrown off and wrong-footed and confused. “I don’t – what does that have to do with anything, you’re –”

“The heavy black one you had on last night. What brand is it?” There is a steadiness in Kurt’s voice that doesn’t shake even with the ridiculous content of the sentence. He doesn’t say anything else, just waits silently for Blaine to respond as though it’s a question that matters. As though he hasn’t killed three people, and wants to kill another. Wants to kill him.

I don’t know, ” says Blaine incredulously after it becomes apparent that Kurt is not going to speak until he responds. He throws up his hands in the air, furious and lost and irritated. “What does it matter what –?”

“I’m guessing you got it as a present,” continues Kurt smoothly, sounding almost haughty with certainty. “From a family member, probably a parent. On Christmas, or your birthday, or something else completely typical. And you were grateful because it could keep you warm, and it looked nice, and it meant that the person you got it from cared about you. Does that sound about right?”

“I... what?” says Blaine quietly, feeling cold and blinking at the accuracy. “How...?” But Kurt cuts him off before he can continue.

“That coat is from the Marc Jacobs 2015 winter line, Blaine. It’s designer, and expensive, and a status symbol you’ve been throwing around without even realizing it. It cost over seven hundred dollars, but I bet you never even checked the label, did you?”

“I... I don’t...” he says weakly, feeling very much at sea.

“Privileged and stupid, I could tell from the first moment I laid eyes on you.” Kurt laughs, a hint of something playful and almost... affectionate?... seeping into his tone. “Don’t be hurt, beautiful thing. I find it endearing despite my better judgement.”

There is a small, wet sound that Blaine’s ears can barely pick up, and all at once he realizes that Kurt is licking his lips. When he speaks again, his voice is darker. More heated.

“And...” Kurt murmurs softly, stroking a hand over the wood and humming in the back of his throat. “... I think you know just how much I’d like to lay eyes on you again, lovely one. So warm and bright and human, Blaine. So mine.”

A long silence hangs in the air, after that. Heavy and impenetrable and full of too many hidden implications and secret meanings for Blaine to fully understand.

“Why do you say things like that?” asks Blaine eventually, shaking his head and inhaling deeply. His voice sounds small and shaky to his own ears.

It is impossible to maintain the heat of his outrage; it slips through his fingers like water, pouring out onto the ground and impossible to retrieve. He can’t talk to someone like this, there’s no point. Kurt evades and mocks and doesn’t take anything seriously, and it’s like trying to argue with a brick wall.

“You...” Blaine begins, swallowing hard and crossing his arms in front of himself. “You kill people, and mock me, and then act as though... as though you like me. When all you want from me is... is....”

He can’t bring himself to speak the words out loud, though. Can’t talk about killing and being killed because it makes him remember the dream. Makes him remember how it felt to be trapped, pinned down beneath Kurt on the bed with his throat torn into and spilling out hot blood as Kurt lapped it up. The way Kurt hadn’t stopped fucking into him as he drank. The splashing heat deep inside, Kurt’s groans as he sucked at the wound and Blaine’s world went dizzy and everything hurt before it started to fade and dim and dull around the edges.

“Of course I like you, Blaine,” says Kurt, sounding low and carefully neutral in a way that makes Blaine shiver. “I like you more than you can possibly imagine.”

“Then leave me alone,” whispers Blaine pleadingly, feeling so alone and twisted up and with no idea of what to do. He lets out a shaky breath, raking a hand through his messy curls and blinking hard. His glasses feel more fogged up than they should for the temperature. “Please, you just – you killed people, and hurt them, and I – I can’t –”

“Don’t be upset at me for doing what comes naturally, sweetheart,” says Kurt quickly, seeming to shift effortlessly from coyness to ice. “Blame yourself for making it happen.”

“No,” says Blaine, trying to bite the word out with force and spite and hatred – but it gets lost in his throat, choked up, and winds up coming out as little more than a whisper. A plaintive denial, reedy and weak and childish. Guilt flares in his chest at the reminder, searing and awful and unfathomable inside of him. He wraps his arms around himself, blinking hard and shaking his head. “No, no, no –”

“You did,” insists Kurt, complete conviction dripping from the words. He sounds dangerous, and sure, and ever-so-slightly amused. “You knew this could happen and you called them anyways. Sent them right to the beast without a hope. You were the one who killed them; I just did the heavy lifting.” His laugh dances on the air, high and chiming and sharp. “You’re so selfish, Blaine. I love it.”

“Stop it. Stop it, please...”

“You are, though. Isn’t that wonderful? So very selfish, pretty thing.” Kurt hums, mocking and insidious. “I like that about you. You try to act so nice and kind with those big puppy-dog eyes, but underneath it all there’s something ruthless about you, isn’t there?”

“Don’t.” Blaine is begging now, voice quiet and his face screwed up and hot. The guilt is a ball of terrible heat inside of him, hot and flaring and he doesn’t want to look at it. Doesn’t want to have to think about it because he knows it’s his fault. He feels so small, turned in on himself, and he has never felt more utterly helpless and exposed. More vulnerable. Not even out in the street, or running away, or during Kurt’s hissed threats last night. He swipes a hand over his eyes to smear away the wetness before it can slide down his cheek. “I didn’t mean to, I...”

Blaine tries to suppress the sob, but it’s no good. It’s all too much, too awful, and he falls back into the chair feebly as it all swells up in his throat like bile. Everything is blurry and twisted up and tight, and he hates himself so much for this. For not being able to be strong. His face feels wet.

“I’m sorry,” Blaine hears himself say out loud, voice small and scared and useless. He has no idea who he’s talking to; the dead police officers, the dispatch workers, himself. Kurt. He can’t shove the tears down fast enough, now. Can barely feel them over the horrible buzzing in his ears and the terrible, terrible blame sitting heavy in his stomach. “I’m sorry, I’m sorry, please...”

“Shhh,” Kurt murmurs in a hushed, private tone. The strange noise of comfort seems to roll off his lips as easily as anything else. The slide of his hand over the door is clearly audible; smooth and soft. Tiny circles, like a person would rub into someone’s back. He almost sounds... sad, but no, that’s not it. Not quite. “Shhh, beautiful thing, it’s okay. It’s all okay.”

For a stark and sudden moment, all Blaine wants to do is throw the door open and step outside. To let Kurt shove him up against a wall and sink his teeth in, to make him hurt in the way he hurts inside. To kill him right here, right now, because he deserves it more than those poor people ever could.

“I had to teach you a lesson, pretty one,” coos Kurt soothingly, and he must be pressed right up against the door because he sounds so close. Blaine flinches, squeezing his arms tight around himself at that term of endearment again as though to physically ward it away. “I had to show you what happens when you don’t play by the rules. If you bring other people into this, Blaine, they get hurt. They die. You don’t want that to happen again, do you?”

“No,” Blaine assures him quickly, feeling so completely defeated it’s almost like not feeling anything at all. He shakes his head, curls twisting weakly around his ears. “Please.”

There is a long, considering pause.

“Good boy,” murmurs Kurt in approval, and Blaine crumples.

His head falls into his hands in defeat at the sweet, rewarding words that are wrong, so wrong, so awful. Kurt sounds so gentle, so calm, so kind. As though if Blaine let him inside, he’d scoop him up in his arms and hold him close and whisper gentle reassurances in his ear. As though he would card his hands through Blaine’s curls and kiss his forehead and hold him close.

And Blaine wants that. Wants to be held more than he’s ever wanted anything in his life. He’s more alone than ever, and completely helpless, and Kurt sounds so understanding...

“Please,” says Blaine, voice thin and straining. “It’s... it’s not fair. You’re – you’re everywhere. Outside, in my head, in my mind...”

“Am I, now?” asks Kurt too quickly, his voice losing its comforting edge and at once filled with sudden sharp interest instead. He sounds intrigued, and leading, and very much pleased with himself. Blaine winces at the mistake, mentally kicking himself for giving something away that he shouldn’t have. Wake up, he tells himself sharply. Get a hold of yourself.

Part of him had begun to think that Kurt had been somehow giving him the dreams on purpose somehow, channelling something into his head during the night, but... Kurt had sounded pleasantly surprised at the information. Self-satisfied, like the cat who got the cream. Blaine almost expects gloating, but Kurt doesn’t say anything else. Just makes a soft, fascinated noise and lets silence fill the space between them.

It lasts for so long that Blaine almost starts to think that Kurt has left without saying goodbye – but as if on command, the sound of one nail being pulled twistingly down the doorframe jolts him out of the quiet and back into the present.

“You don’t have to feel this way, you know,” says Kurt softly – and the comforting tone is back again, schooling back into place. There is something almost apologetic in his tone. “You don’t have to feel bad anymore. Or lonely. It can all be over, Blaine, I promise. I can make it quick – almost painless. Or at least as painless as it can be. But...” He trails off, making a low noise in his throat. “If you keep doing this – running, and hiding, and making me wait... it’s just going making things more difficult.”

“For you,” says Blaine quietly, spite twisting up into the words. His mouth twists into a grimace.

“No, beautiful thing. For you.” The scrape of the nails is absent, as though Kurt has realized the habit and is forcing his hands to remain still. In a moment of stunned comprehension, it occurs to Blaine to wonder if Kurt is even doing it intentionally, or if it’s just instinctual for him to do whatever he can to frighten his prey. Blaine imagines Kurt leaning against the door, lips almost pressed up against it with his eyes squeezed shut in concentration. “All you have to do is invite me inside, and then you won’t have to worry about any of this again.”

No.

The determined, ever-so-human part of him that isn’t drowned out by fear or hopelessness or guilt clings tighter as a result of the speech. Holds on fast to life out of instinct, out of being afraid and helpless and backed right into a corner.

Mind racing, Blaine clings to what he now knows. For whatever reason, Kurt can’t come out during the day – which means that Blaine can run. Get in a cab in the morning and go as fast as he can to the airport, buy a ticket out of here. Leave this city in the dust without a trace, find a way to transfer to another school to finish his degree. Staying with his parents is out of the question – Kurt knows their city, and he can’t believe he let slip so much about himself before it all, what an idiot he was – but Wes in Massachusetts will probably let him crash without too much notice. He’ll tuck himself away, far away. Get himself out of here before Kurt can find a way to catch him.

Wrapped up in his own desperate thoughts of escape and run and hide, Blaine doesn’t respond. And after a few minutes, Kurt lets out an amused laugh.

“We can do this for now, if you want. I’ll play the game. But know that if you run, Blaine – if you try to escape, or go get help, or leave? I will chase you.” The utter conviction in that high, clear voice gives Blaine chills that shake him right down to his centre. Blaine isn’t sure if he actually does suck in a quick breath of air, but Kurt continues on anyways.

“I’ll never stop, and I’ll never slow down. I won’t let anything get in my way. I could find you anywhere; it wouldn’t even be a challenge, lovely one. I would enjoy it.” Kurt lets out an almost sensual moan, deep in his throat, and it makes un-memories trail along the edges of Blaine’s brain.

The scrape of a single fingernail trailing fondly down the doorframe scratches along Blaine’s ears.

“I was hoping we could do this the easy way, Blaine. Nice and simple and straightforward, but no. You have to be stubborn. It’s one of the things I love best about you.” Kurt makes sound in his throat, and his tone hardens. “But it is happening, pretty thing. Whether you want it to or not. I can do this for years, Blaine. The waiting, the following.” He hums. “How long can you last?”

And with the slightest sound of shifting fabric outside in the hallway, Kurt is gone. No more voice, no more nails. Just the emptiness of the space, hollow without the monster to fill it up and make it far too real.

Shaking, Blaine lets out the breath he didn’t know he was holding in. The walls of his apartment feel tight and small around him. He lets out a gasp of relief, trying very hard to ignore how much like a sob the noise comes out as.


--

That night slips by in a horrible swelter of vivid images and cold sweat.

It’s unfair – wrong, even, that the days keep coming and going in the face of this world-ending revelation. That monsters exist, and Blaine is a hunted man. It feels as though the rest of the world should slip away, but it doesn’t. Time continues to try to march on in the face of the impossible.

Blaine tries. He goes through the motions of existing as best he can, tries to fill his days with some farce of meaning. But nothing can take away from the truth of it. The rawness of the fact that Blaine has no idea – none at all – what to do.

There’s no way he’s making the mistake of trying to reach out for help again. (God, no, never again, not after the officers with their drained little bodies and the words on the concrete and the widow on the news with her running mascara and the terrible guilt that pounds in his chest every time he thinks about it, can’t think about don’t think don’t think don’t think.) If Kurt had been trying to teach him some kind of twisted lesson, then damn him if it didn’t work. Blaine has been made very much aware that Kurt will not hesitate in crushingrippingbleeding anyone who gets in his way.

He’s alone. Completely alone, and helpless in all of the worst possible ways. Trapped in a cage like a prisoner awaiting execution. Kurt has every advantage over him, or at least all the advantages that count. He’s stronger, and knows more, and can track him down if he tries to run. If everything Kurt says it to be believed – which is impossible and wrong, but all of this is too close and real and possible not to take at face value – he can wait for things to start going his way far longer than Blaine can.

The idea of years – years spent like this, hiding and frightened and waiting to be caught – leaves Blaine feeling weak-kneed and pointless, like it’s just a matter of time. Like the clock is ticking down until he fucks up, leaves himself defenceless. Until everything ends in a sick twist of blood and pain and purred satisfaction from the monster that won’t leave him alone.

He can’t rationalize out how his life turned into this. How everything got twisted from normal to unthinkable so quickly. How he went from thinking in terms of two, three, five years from now to being unable to force his mind any further ahead than a few days.

Nothing exists past that.

Nothing can.

But Kurt can’t go out when the sun is up. Before, he had hardly noticed full-length window in the apartment hallway just outside his door. Floor-to-ceiling and without curtains or blinds, it lets golden sunlight stream into the hall just outside his door. He had barely even been aware of its existence, before. Now, he suspects this quirk of architecture and location might just save his life.

On Sunday morning, Blaine leaves the house for the first time since that night on the park bench. He goes because he has to, because there isn’t another option. Because there’s almost no food left in the fridge and he needs to eat, stomach growling hard and panging to show that he’s human and alive and desperate to keep on surviving. Because trapping himself between four walls every day for the rest of his life is utterly unfathomable. Because if he ever manages to get out of this alive, he can’t just miss days or weeks of classes and flunk out of grad school. He doesn’t know who he’ll be if he isn’t a lawyer, and his parents will never forgive him, and he can’t just let it all go to waste.

Because if there is a way to stop Kurt – to face him down, to challenge him, to fight – it isn’t to be found in here. And one day, eventually, he’s going to have to go out to discover it. He might as well start now.

When he takes a deep breath and steps outside, Blaine is more than half expecting for Kurt to come charging from nowhere like something out of a nightmare. His theory about sunlight could be wrong, after all; could be made up of nothing but coincidence and old wives’ tales. His whole body is half-tense from the suspicion that he’ll be slammed against the wall before he can even think; pinned there, struggling and screaming as Kurt rips into his throat and bleeds him dry.

But none of it happens. Kurt doesn’t come.

And so, walking as though in a dream, Blaine slowly exits his apartment and walks out into the brightness of the autumn sun.

He buys groceries, first, at the supermarket a few blocks away. Fresh fruit and produce and enormous packages of ground beef and chicken to divide up and freeze, but also food built to last. Pasta and pre-tinned sauce, dried jerky, an enormous bag of rice that his mother would be proud to see him have in his kitchen. Cans upon cans, the likes of which he imagines would have stocked the pantries of Cold War fallout shelters. Tins of tomatoes and asparagus and mushrooms and baked beans, pre-made soup and ravioli and tuna. Can after can, all piled into his shopping cart; storable food, easy food. Food to survive a siege.

When Blaine goes through the checkout, the girl at the till gives his scores of preserved food a sideways eye that makes his face grow inexplicably hot with embarrassment. He stammers out something about stocking up his emergency kit, and how important it is to be prepared. She raises a critical eyebrow, not seeming to buy it for a minute, and he twists under her ambivalent look. She scans his items and announces his total in a bored-sounding voice while an eager young man fills his cloth bags to the brim.

The total is huge, but that doesn’t matter. His parents won’t even look at the record, most likely; after five years in the city, they trust him to figure out his own finances without making too much of a mess of things. He silently thanks his past self for always being so fucking reliable. (All those years, and so fucking reliable, and this is where it gets him.) It takes four big cloth bags to carry his groceries in the end, and every single one is heavy. The three-block walk home takes him almost twenty minutes.

When everything is put away again – with his kitchen looking more well-stocked than it ever has been before, his mother would be so proud – Blaine ventures out one more time in search of weapons.

He doesn’t know what has the potential to work, exactly: the information his internet searches have revealed is all contradictory and cliché by turns, nothing that couldn’t be made up by someone with an overly active imagination. But the new reports on the news about dented bullets being found at the scene of the police officers’ murder let him know that guns, at least, won’t be too much of a help.

Instead, Blaine tracks down the first likely store that sells knives and buys a few. As long as his forearm with solid handles, things that are designed to look decorative but still have decent blades. If push comes to shove, they probably won’t change anything: Kurt is so much stronger than he is, and maybe faster, and an outright physical confrontation probably could only end one way. But the last thing Blaine wants it to go down without any fight at all, hands in the air. He’ll do what he can if it comes down to that.

Afterwards, his new blades still wrapped up and tucked into his book bag (the one Kurt touched, the one Kurt returned to him, why would he do that why why why why why), Blaine heads to a hardware store and purchases six two-inch-by-twelve inch blocks of wood and a whittling knife. Just in case.

That night, Blaine thinks – really thinks – about refusing to wait up for him. About taking a sleeping tablet, or something. About trying to force himself to sleep without hovering like a lapdog for Kurt to arrive. His guilty conscience won’t let him try it, though. A determined voice in the back of his mind warns him that if he isn’t there, Kurt might pound on the door and scream until one of his neighbours opens their own door to yell at him to shut up. They might take a step outside, and then –

It would be all Blaine’s fault.

It doesn’t help, either, that his body physically rebels at the idea of intentionally sending it to sleep. He’s tried staying up for as long as he can to avoid the dreams, but they just keep coming. Every night like clockwork, and so utterly real they leave him gasping and sobbing and twisting in the sweat-soaked covers, begging for mercy and satisfaction and death in the same breath.

There’s something else, too. Something sick and awful and insidious that twists at the corners of his brain and slides along his thoughts. As much as he tries to shut it out and deny it, there is a tiny part of Blaine that wants to hear Kurt’s voice; to be close to him despite everything. It’s insanity, complete insanity, but Blaine can’t make it stop. Can’t smother the part of him that keens and yearns and craves the sound of Kurt’s voice, the touch of his hand – even with everything he knows Kurt would do to him, if he had the chance. It’s like an infected wound inside his head, or a fragment of madness that has embedded itself inside his brain and can’t be removed. It feels wrong, and awful, and not him – but he can’t make it go away.

He has no idea if Kurt has done something to him – put something into his head, twisted him up and broken him inside. Maybe he just has some kind of death wish, he can’t tell. Can’t separate the parts of his brain that are terrified of Kurt from the parts that want Kurt, and it’s driving him slowly insane.

In the end, Blaine winds up perched on the couch with his head in his hands long into the night. Sitting and waiting with every nerve on edge to hear the tell-tale scratching at the door, or the first few sly tones of greeting.

When Kurt finally comes, it’s well past midnight. He says a few things that Blaine barely registers before he’s off again, quick as lightening, back into the night. It is as though he was never there but for his impression left on the hallway like a stain.

It turns out that a whole day’s worth of time to prepare himself for the beauty of Kurt’s voice does nothing to make Blaine feel any less unsettled to his core at actually hearing it. He shivers, and winces, and dreams of bright red eyes and monstrous faces and soft, sweet hands.


--


More than anything, Blaine goes to class on Monday morning because he can’t think of anything else to do.

It’s ridiculous, being worried about school when something wants him dead and bloody and helpless and every night is spent brimming with horrible, life-like dreams that leave him gasping and hard and clutching at his neck when he jolts back awake. But there is simply only so much time Blaine can spend, reading through quasi-respectable journals on folklore he can access through his student ID and desperately hoping for something to jump out at him.

He’s already sent a few e-mails off; asking veiled questions with hand-waveable implications to official-sounding ‘experts’ on folklore and literature, but while he waits for responses there is little he can do but sit in his apartment, staring at the walls and going slowly mad. Trying to catch himself up with assignments and revision is something to keep his mind off everything, at least, even if his concentration is completely shot to hell.

He only has one evening class, on Tuesday and Thursday nights from four to seven. It’s the only one he doesn’t try to drag himself to. It would be nothing less than a death sentence.

Apparently he looks like shit, because everyone seems to ask him if he’s doing all right in every single one of his classes. Fear and uncertainty and lack of sleep must be showing in his face; tangled curls and heavily bagged eyes hidden behind glasses, a complexion more pale and haggard than he’s used to seeing when he looks in the mirror. Even though Blaine feels as though he’s been eating more than usual, externally he looks as though he’s lost weight. His skin looks... gaunter, stretched tighter across his face. It makes him look weak.

Nothing from any of the classes registers properly in his brain, though. While everyone around him leaves each lecture with pages upon pages of notes tucked away in their notebooks or on their computers, Blaine only ever emerges with a few paragraphs of scribbled chicken scratch nowadays. Messy, half-formed notes with the margins full of doodled pictures of distended hands with claws, eyes with heavy lashes, and twisted glimpses of a face that he doesn’t remember drawing.

Blaine tries to live his life. He does. But very day leaves him feeling more worn; frayed, like old rope. He’s coming apart at the seams, and he can’t help it. Can’t do anything to keep himself together.

The first night Kurt doesn’t come, Blaine jerks awake on the couch having fallen asleep waiting. He blinks groggily at the light streaming in through the sheer curtains in confusion, whole body sore from the awkwardness of his position on the couch.

The incredible realization that Kurt didn’t come – that maybe Kurt has actually lost interest, that he won’t be coming back – hits Blaine like a punch to the chest. He goes through the entire day feeling heady and on edge with near-exhilaration, practically buzzing with hope and desperate optimism that maybe – maybe – it’s all over.

It all gets crushed into tiny pieces, however, when Kurt shows up that night.

“Really, sweetheart. I do have a life, you know,” Kurt hums in amusement, a long nail scraping down the doorframe. There are faint lines grooved into the woodwork, now. Blaine has seen them during the day. If he ever gets a chance to move away, he won’t be getting the damage deposit back.

“As much as I’d like to spend every night with you, Blaine, some nights you’re just going to have to find a way to cope on your own. I’d never abandon you, beautiful thing. I’d hoped you’d know that by now.”

After that, the rest of the days grinds by in a slow slide of uncertainty. Stunted and dulled and throbbing like an open wound, time creeps in a slow mockery of what real life should be like. Restless sleep plagued with sick, heated dreams and nails dragging down the wood and all the empty time in between. Gaping and open, with nothing to fill it, because nothing is real outside of when Kurt is around to put his world on edge and make his blood pound in his veins and sick terror clench at his chest.

The rest of Blaine’s life is left barren and tense and hollow, a shade of everything it used to be as he waits for something to go wrong.


--


The music is old-fashioned and understated around them, drifting over their heads and twisting pleasantly around the columns and tables of the hall. Across the table from him, Kurt is sitting with his legs crossed in an almost feminine fashion. His back is straight in his seat, an elbow resting on the table with his head cradled in his own hand. He looks good, Blaine thinks; hair coiffed up into something intricate and from another decade, like a man out of time. Around them, the pleasant conversation of well-dressed men and women dances in the air.

“Really, though,” says Kurt, head cocked in interest as he holds Blaine’s gaze across the table. His bright blue eyes sparkle beneath sweet lashes. “I’m curious. What is it that you’re so scared of, Blaine?”

Humming in contemplation, Blaine picks up his knife and fork and cuts off a piece of food to give himself more time to find the right words. The plate in front of him has pork, he realizes. Crispy leaks piled on top like a crown, the small round of meat is set in the centre of a large, elaborate dish where it rests in an attractively plated underlay of puréed potatoes. It’s fancy and elaborate, the relatively small amount of food drowned out by the expanse of white plate that highlights its beauty.

Blaine picks up the small piece of meat with his fork, swirls it in the potato pureé, and gracefully lifts it to his mouth in the way he has been taught to keep in reserve for formal occasions since he was eleven or twelve. It tastes delicious, the homey warm flavours playing over his tongue as he chews. It’s nice.

All of the food is nice here, he knows. Although he isn’t quite sure how, exactly, he knows that. Blaine doesn’t think he’s ever been to this particular restaurant before.

“I’m not sure,” says Blaine at last, shrugging slightly as he rests his cutlery back down on his plate. He reaches over to take a sip of wine from his glass – white, to match the pork. It’s tart and pleasant, but it serves to make him aware that Kurt doesn’t have any food or drink in front of him. Not even an empty plate; no wine glass. Just a stretch of bare table cloth beneath his elbows.

For an odd moment, Blaine wonders if he should be frightened. He shakes the thought away quickly enough, though, dismissing it as soon as it occurs to him. There’s no reason to be scared: he’s with Kurt.

A few tables over, a woman wearing a full-length evening gown throws back her head and laughs happily at her companion.

“I suppose... the pain of it frightens me, for one.” Blaine takes another bite of his dinner, then straightens the cuffs of his shirt. There are silver cuff links glinting from between the fabric, which is strange. He didn’t think he owned cufflinks. “How much it would hurt. I don’t... I don’t want that.”

“Beautiful, I keep telling you,” lilts Kurt, shifting so that his fingers are twined together and arched with his chin resting delicately on top. He gives Blaine a fond look; eyes sliding over his face, his slicked down hair. Kurt is well-dressed tonight in a way that Blaine has never seen him before. A crisp white shirt beneath an attractive waistcoat, an old-fashioned pocket watch chain leading into his pocket. His collar is left unbuttoned and open, exposing a delicate length of pale neck as he tilts his head. “I can make it so it doesn’t hurt so badly. I can even make it good, if you’ll let me – most of it, at least. You know that.”

Blaine himself is well-dressed too, he notices. He glances down at himself to confirm: sure enough, he is decked out in a well-fitted grey shirt, black slacks, and a jacket. The bright red of his own tie stands out, shiny and seductive against the darkness. Without having to check, he becomes aware that there are matching red suspenders hidden beneath the fabric of his jacket. He hesitates.

“I know,” says Blaine slowly, nodding and shifting slightly in his seat. Something heavy is settling in his chest; a sadness tugging at his heart even as he tries to ignore it. “But...”

The entirety of the hall around them is attractive and well-lit and lovely, red and gold highlights making the smooth white of the marble floors and columns stand out. Leafy green plants with exotic flowers are dotted around in ornate pots, and everyone at the tables around them is well-dressed and chatting contentedly. The music has shifted to something on the violin, sweet and slow and heady.

“But I’m scared of everything being over,” Blaine admits quietly, eyes falling down to the tablecloth. Even asks he speaks about the fear, however, he can’t actually feel it in any way that matters. It’s dull inside; empty and distant. An idea that he can talk about calmly and discuss but not actually experience for himself. Far away. “My parents, my friends... my school. I was supposed to be a lawyer, and now... now I won’t be.”

It doesn’t surprise him at all, somehow, when a hand slides overtop of his in the middle of the table. It’s ever so slightly cooler than his own, but the skin is unbelievably soft to the touch. Blaine glances up. Sure enough, Kurt has reached across the table and is, for all intents and purposes, holding his hand. A thumb swipes over the flesh of Blaine’s palm, making illicit shivers run up and down his spine. There is an unreadable expression on Kurt’s face; in the twist of his lips, the lines of his forehead.

“I don’t know who I’ll be, if you take all of that away,” Blaine whispers, biting down on his lower lip. Kurt’s eyes follow the movement casually, his thumb still tracing unknowable patterns over Blaine’s hand. Blaine lets him do it; doesn’t pull away.

The quiet conversation of the men and women around them seems to have died down somewhat; either that, or Blaine just can’t hear them anymore over the buzzing in his ears.

“This doesn’t have to be the end,” murmurs Kurt, bright blue eyes locked with Blaine’s own. He couldn’t look away if he wanted to; Kurt’s eyes are in fixed in his mind, imprinted on the walls of his brain and never to be scoured away.

“It doesn’t?” asks Blaine in confusion, blinking against the heat of Kurt’s stare. Kurt shakes his head, tongue darting out to lick his lips as he looks down at their twined hands on the table.

“I like you like this,” Kurt admits, sliding his hand up from Blaine’s palm to his wrist. He pushes back his cuffs, stroking over the thin skin there. It’s stretched tight over the bones and veins and sinew beneath. “Complacent. Coherent. It makes for much better conversation.”

“Oh,” Blaine gasps, more at the touch than the sentiment, his breath catching at the tender strokes of Kurt’s thumb over his wrist. It’s sending shocks of heat and pleasure up his arm and down his spine, fuller and brighter and more than the simple touch should be capable of. There is heat pooling in his belly at the light, barely-there brushes.

“I think, though,” Kurt continues, fingers moving up to deftly undo and remove the cufflink one-handed. He places the small metal fixture onto the table. “That I would be disappointed if you gave up so easily. It’s all I want, of course. But... it’s more, like this. Better. Like teasing myself when I’m already desperate for it.”

Smoothly, Kurt’s other hand reaches across the table. In understated, calm movements he rolls back Blaine’s sleeve to fully expose the skin of his wrist. The lines of the rolled-back cuff are neat and even, carefully arranged by Kurt’s steady hands. It makes Blaine shiver; makes his mouth feel suddenly dry.

“I –” Blaine begins unsteadily, but Kurt cuts him off with a firm look. His fingers trail absently over the underside of Blaine’s bare wrist.

“And I’m sorry,” says Kurt after a moment. Evenly, in a neutral voice. His well-shaped eyebrows furrow together lightly in some internal thought. “Because I don’t think you’re going to let it happen like this, beautiful thing. I think you’re going to fight, and hide, and make everything so much more difficult than it has to be.” He smiles, and for a moment Blaine thinks he sees something almost sad in his eyes. “But it is going to happen. No matter what, Blaine. It’s only a matter of how and when.”

Blaine opens his mouth to speak, to say something in return – but Kurt is carefully guiding his arm across the table with gentle hands. Bringing Blaine’s wrist up to his mouth, his fingers barely having to brush over his hand in order to keep him in place. Kurt leans down so that his nose is maybe only an inch away from the thin skin – and inhales, long and deep and careful. Kurt’s eyes roll back in his head in pleasure before his eyelashes flutter closed, moving in closer so that his lips are ghosting over the sensitive skin. Blaine inhales sharply, his whole body reduced to that single perfect touch. Anticipation is twisting at his insides, making him tremble and strain and hold still and steady –

Before Kurt opens his mouth and bites into the delicate skin, making Blaine shout out loud and his head fall back from sudden spike of pleasure-pain jolting through his entire body. He doesn’t try to wrench his arm away, though, or escape. Just lets Kurt take what he wants, like an offering. Giving himself fully over to him.

It hurts, the slice of skin being torn open and blood being sucked back between Kurt’s sweet lips. The pain is dull and sharp all at once, and it draws breathy gasps and whimpers easily out of Blaine’s throat. Kurt seals his lips around the wound and pulls it all in, drawing Blaine deep into his body and keeping him there, cherishing him. His face should be twisted up and gruesome but it isn’t, the hint of bright white fangs the only suggestion of something out of place. Kurt is just as beautiful as ever instead, the angelic lines of his face twisting into pure bliss as he drinks Blaine down.

And amidst the sharp pain, the sharp touch is making Blaine’s whole body light up with waves of heat and pleasure. He gasps, hips straining up mindlessly in his seat and head tipping back as shocks of sweet pressure twist through his body; building up and building up and making him groan wantonly and shake as Kurt drinks, and drinks, and drinks him down.

They’re in the middle of a public place but no one seems to be looking at them as though anything is unusual. Everyone just keeps chatting and talking and continuing on with their meals and conversations as Blaine arches up and moans and the world begins to swirl and dim and careen off helplessly into shocks of pure heat and need and surrender until –


— until Blaine wakes, gasping and crying out in phantom pleasure, hips bucking up into an invisible pressure as his wrist and whole arm lie aching from the sweet ecstasy of being drained.

The world comes back to him slowly, in pieces. Gasping out wordless noise with his limbs tangled up and twisted in the sheets, pupils blown wide and blinking away the cold sweat threatening to sting at his eyes.

For several long, horrible moments Blaine can feel the slick, hot wetness of blood soaking into the sheets beneath his outstretched wrist. But when he actually manages to wrench his eyes over to look, there is nothing. No gaping wound, no torn out skin. He is intact, and whole, and alive. Still alive.

The stickiness between his legs, however, is real.

The heat of humiliation flushes up through Blaine’s face and sweeps over him in a burst. Now that he’s aware of it, he can feel the afterwards buzz along his skin; the very real uncoiling of heat in his stomach, the shiver of the betrayal of pleasure going through the final shudders through him.

Feeling sick with shame and embarrassment at his body’s reaction to the dream, Blaine kicks off the sheets with numb feet and climbs awkwardly out of bed. He strips off his pyjama bottoms and balls them up without looking at them, shoving them into his laundry basket and quickly squeezing over to his dresser to get himself a clean pair. Any kind of pleasure that might have lingered upon his waking is completely gone, now. Washed away by the heat in his face and the sticky shame roiling in his stomach.

What’s wrong with you? Blaine asks himself in horrified disbelief, shuddering at the memory of the flaring heat and sweet drag of the blood leaving his body. Of how good it had felt, watching Kurt wrap his lips around the skin and pull.

He collapses back onto the bed, sitting with his head in his hands and still feeling weak and shaky. Eyes squeezed shut and fingers running through his bed-mussed curls, breathing heavily and trying to bring himself back into the real world.

It’s been over two weeks, now, since Kurt first came knocking at his door – and Blaine is nowhere close to even having a coherent plan put together. He exists from day to day, going to class and eating and reading and sometimes even sleeping, but he can feel himself wearing thin. The exhaustion of being frightened, frightened all the time... it’s overwhelming. Blaine almost feels like a ghost, sometimes. Drifting through life without any impact of meaning, only ever coming to life with the scratch of nails along his door.

Or the dreams. In the dreams, Blaine feels more alive and aware and awake than he does during the rest of his existence.

It doesn’t help that only a few of the people he’d e-mailed with coded words and hidden meanings have responded to his questions and concealed pleas for help. To his disappointment, all of them so far have replied with entirely innocuous, innocent answers that show a complete lack of comprehension of his actual predicament. It’s not real to them, he’s realized. Not real and present and a threat in the same way it is for him. They’re nothing but scholars, studying old legends and stories to comment on how terribly interesting it all is, or the meaning of it all in the context of national identity at the time, or any number of things that are no help to him at all.

Blaine is completely on his own in this; a single man against an onslaught of oncoming tanks.

He wonders how long he can possibly hold out for.

Sitting there on the bed, head in his hands and allowing himself to drift in the hopelessness, it takes Blaine far too long to wonder what, exactly, woke him up.

At first, he had assumed it was the dream. The sudden, rushing heat that wrenched him out of the fantasy world and back into the coldness of reality. But the more Blaine lets his mind drift back, the more a half-waking memory nudges at the edges of his brain. Something... loud. A banging noise that had stolen into the dream and carried on as he awoke, but that he’d forgotten with the shock of waking.

A pounding at the door.

Feeling suddenly cold and very, very awake, Blaine reaches out for the bedside table to grab his glasses. Plucks them up and slides them on with shaking hands before he snags his smartphone off the tabletop and goes to check the time.

He has been meaning to buy a proper alarm clock for ages, but has never managed to find the time to bother. His phone works perfectly well, and it’s not as though there’s ever anyone to impress. It even has an ‘alarm-only’ function that puts any other kind of alert on silent except for the loud beeping noise he wakes up to. Blaine flicks it onto that particular setting every night without even thinking about it; has been woken up by pointless ‘I love you :)’ texts from his mother or ridiculous long-distance calls from David that could all definitely wait until he’s properly awake.

This is why, when he hits the side button to light up the display to check the time, what he sees makes him feel as though the room has been pulled out from under him:


You have:
7 missed calls
4 text messages


He’s shaking hard, fingers clumsy has he hits the button to skip the calls and check the text messages. There are no voicemails, but everything is from Unknown Number and there’s only one person that it could conceivably be.


From: UNKNOWN NUMBER
November 9th, 2016, 2:36am
Pick up the phone, pretty. I want to talk.


From: UNKNOWN NUMBER
November 9th, 2016, 2:40am
Don’t test me, Blaine. Pick up the damn phone.


From: UNKNOWN NUMBER
November 9th, 2016, 2:44am
Understand that I am not messing around. If you don’t pick up the phone right now, you’re going to regret it.


From: UNKNOWN NUMBER
November 9th, 2016, 3:02am
Fine, then.

 

Heart pounding too hard to hear, Blaine checks the time. It’s half past five, and a quick check of the windows shows that it’s still completely dark outside. Autumn sun, late to rise.

The banging on the door.

Blaine doesn’t hesitate, throwing himself out of bed and scrabbling at the door handle in order to get into the main room. The fake hardwood is cold on his feet but that isn’t why he’s shivering, full-body tremors that make it hard to stand up. He throws out a hand and turns on the overhead light with too much force, scanning frantically around the living room for some sign of him, for Kurt, leaning on the counter or perched on a chair and waiting for him –

But there is no one there. The room is as empty as it has ever been. Blaine stands in his sleep clothes, breathing hard, completely alone.

Relief floods through him, hard and desperate and real, and it feels as though something real and painful is clenching at his heart. Blaine chokes out a grateful noise, clutching at the fabric of his shirt and breathing. He lets out a tiny, weak-sounding laugh at his own idiocy. Kurt can’t come inside. It’s a fact, not something changeable; most all of the lore he’s managed to look up agrees on this point. There is no way Kurt can possibly get inside Blaine’s home without an invitation from someone who lives there.

He’s safe.

Blaine lets out another, heartier laugh as the rush of frightened adrenaline begins to ebb out of his limbs. He is just about to turn around to go back to bed, however, when out of the corner of his eye he catches sight of a small piece of paper on the ground by the door.

His blood runs cold.

Coming closer on unfeeling feet, Blaine looks at the scrap of paper. It’s clearly been slid right underneath the doorframe, tucked into Blaine’s apartment like a love note. It looks... innocent. Unfeeling, he slowly reaches down and picks it up.

The note is on nice stationary; heavy and cream, someone trying to impress. But that isn’t what he notices. Instead, Blaine’s attention is completely focused on its contents. There are no words on the paper at all. Instead, there is a single drawing of a simple, childish heart. Well-formed and neat, the shape clearly drawn with an ordinary red pen.

It doesn’t make any sense at all. Blaine stares at the note for almost an entire minute, running over every possible meaning in his head... before his eyes drag up to look at the door one more time.

It’s still dark out. Kurt could be right outside, and Blaine doesn’t know for sure what could happen without the door between them. But he cannot help himself. He’s a man in a trance, moving before his sluggish brain has any hope of catching up with his body. Slowly, knowing that it’s a stupid idea and terrified of what he’s going to see, Blaine reaches up and unlocks and opens the door.

Kurt isn’t there.

Instead, there is a box.

White and thick and fairly small, the box is completely ordinary. The sort of thing you could ask to have clothes wrapped up in, if you were buying them from a department store and giving them to someone as a present. No ribbons or bows or intricate patterns; just a box with a removable top, sitting right outside Blaine’s door. It must have been left only a few minutes ago, if the banging sound is any indication.

Fingers feeling numb and head distant, Blaine scoops it off the ground and brings it inside his apartment without waiting for anything else to happen. He closes and locks the door behind him, staring down at it as though it might explode. It’s heavy.

When he removes the top, it takes Blaine far longer than it should to realize what, exactly, is inside.

It doesn’t look anything like the surgical, sanitized images he’s familiar with from Valentines cards trying to be edgy or the diagrams they stared at in high school science class. It’s a little larger than a human fist, sitting inside the box as though it belongs there. There’s a large cluster of tube-like things attached to the top, broken off in wrong places and slumped wetly. It isn’t even really red, although it is dotted with bright red slicks that are soaking steadily into the bottom of the box. Instead, it’s mostly white: there is a thick layer of what Blaine realizes after a long moment is fat clinging to the outsides. It’s veiny. Fresh.

A human heart.

And a note, on that same creamy stationary, tucked up next to the heart itself. Clearly legible despite the fingerprint smears of something bright red overtop the words:


She screamed when I tore it out of her.
I didn’t have to do this.
Pick up the phone when I call, sweetheart.

- X


When the box slips from his hands and tumbles to the ground, Blaine watches it fall in a haze of incomprehension. It overturns when it hits, sending the contents onto the floor with an audible squelch. The world tips, and Blaine is on the floor as well. Slumped down in a puddle of limbs and shaking too hard to think or breathe, with a hand clamped over his own mouth to muffle the scream that wants to escape from his lips.

Chapter Text

--

It’s late at night on Blaine’s familiar route home from the subway, no stars in the sky and his feet impacting softly with the pavement as he walks. His book bag is heavy on his shoulder, and the night air is fresh and dark and enveloping around him. The buzz and hum of the city is muted, turned down, everything more still and quiet than it should be.

There’s something familiar about this. Like déjà vu but not quite; a word on the tip of his tongue, eager to be spoken aloud but not quite able to remember itself.

He’s just turning the corner, feet following the path his body has committed to memory without being told, when a noise jumps out at him. The sounds of struggle just to his left, tucked into a dark space and calling out to him. Blaine turns sharply, and all at once there is an alley there where he could have sworn there wasn’t one before. Dark and dank and not right, none of this quite right, but it doesn’t matter because there are two figures struggling in the half-light of it.

And Blaine knows this part by heart, somehow. He’s done it before.

Don’t, he wills himself desperately, a sudden rush of clarity and focus and perspective bursting along his senses. Don’t, no, stop it. This is where it starts, you don’t have to – don’t --!

But –

“Hey!” Blaine hears himself shouting, lips forming the words and sound flowing from his mouth like water he can’t hold back. He isn’t in control anymore, is screaming in his mind to run away as fast as he can, to getawaygetawaygetawaygetaway. But his body is acting out the scene without his permission; his consciousness with its sick knowledge of what comes next trapped inside the head of a puppet acting out a play. “Hey, stop it!”

Inside, Blaine frantically tries to clamp down on himself, to slam on the brakes of his own body – but it’s no good. His feet are already speeding him into the alley, toward the two men with his hand ready squeezed tight around the strap of his book bag.

It is like watching dominoes crash into one another, toppling down and down and down around him. Blaine runs in, the two people separate, the burly man wrenches back with a sickly pale look on his face. Like stage directions, one after the other, and the man is giving him a terrified look and fleeing the alley as fast as his two feet will take him.

He’s leaving me here, yells Blaine inside his mind in outrage, thrashing at the restraints of his physical body as proper awareness of the man’s actions clicks in his mind for the first time. He knows what he is and he’s fucking abandoning me –

But when Kurt turns to face him for the first time, the whole world shifts and jars and twists at the edges. Blaine’s stomach lurches at the sensation, stumbling back with wide eyes at the change.

What should happen next, some distant part of head knows, is that smile. The sick, false twist of lips and the parade of deceit and trickery as Kurt puts on a show of being human for god knows what reason. To mess with Blaine’s head, or get himself closer, he has no idea. Blaine remembers how this goes, has it memorized down to his core.

It doesn’t happen, though.

Instead, Kurt’s eyes narrow. With inhuman speed, he rushes forward and slams Blaine against the solid brick wall so hard his head snaps back against the bricks with an audible crack. Pain bursts in front of his eyelids, bright white and jagged and dizzy as his vision swims with stars. The book bag slides off and onto the ground as Kurt holds him there, pinned by the shoulders, and it hurts. The pain of it drags him back from the way the world is dimming and fading at the edges, and Blaine blinks hard to bring everything back into focus.

At once, he wishes he hadn’t.

Kurt’s face is inches away from his. Close, too close, with his beautiful features twisted up into something ugly and awful and ruthless. He looks as sharp and otherworldly and breath-taking as always, but the danger emanating off of him in waves makes it impossible for Blaine to feel anything other than stark terror. He thrashes hard, trying to buck Kurt off so he can run and hide and livepleasegodlive, but agony rips through his shoulders and he can only scream into the night.

Impossible pain is bursting where Kurt is gripping him, and Blaine howls as blood pours out of the wounds and soaks up into his shirt. It’s hot and wet and slippery, and Kurt’s hands are stretched and distorted and slicing into the flesh and sinew with sharp claws even as his face remains angelic and sweet and unmarred.

There isn’t any point in struggling anymore. All Blaine can do is sob and twitch and flinch away as Kurt leans right up close, inclining his head and inhaling deeply at one of the two open wounds at Blaine’s shoulder. Smelling the blood, dragging the scent up into his nose and eyes rolling back like it’s some kind of grotesque drug.

“Oh, there you are,” sneers Kurt, that beautifully high voice dancing on the night air as Blaine whimpers and trembles in front of him. The claws clench hard into Blaine’s shoulders, excruciating and all-consuming, and Blaine cries out in agony. He blinks, and the innocent face is gone, replaced by the twisted features of the monster in front of him. Growling, Kurt (the monster is Kurt, Kurt is the monster, they’re the same) moves in so that their faces are right up in front of each other, his lips ghosting over Blaine’s as his hisses the next words. “I’ve been looking for you forever.”

And then he’s crashing his mouth into Blaine’s neck, teeth shredding skin and ripping him open as Blaine convulses and sobs beneath him. He can feel his skin separating from his body, sinew and bone crunching as Kurt takes and takes and he’s dying, Blaine is dying, everything blacking out and pain and terror and –



The sound of Blaine’s ringtone, harsh and grating and set to full volume, wrenches him out of the dream with a gasping drag of air and a full body spasm that sends one hand crashing into the side table with enough force to almost topple the whole thing over. It cracks against the wood and makes him suck in a sharp breath of pain as he grabs at the edge to steady it.

The room pitch black and Blaine’s whole body is shot through with adrenaline as he pushes himself up, frantically throwing himself sideways to grope semi-blindly for his phone. The lit screen and the loud, screaming ringtone in conjunction with how vital it is that he answers quickly allow him to find it even in a darkened room without his glasses on. He hits the ‘accept call’ button with shaking fingers, brings it up to his ear as quickly as he can.

“I’m here!” Blaine rushes out in desperation, whole body rigid with panic, trying to get the words out as quickly as he possibly can. Can’t risk taking his time, has to let him know. He snags his glasses off the bedside table blindly, shoving them onto his face too quickly in order to reach out and turn on the lamp. The room floods with warm light; the glasses are still skewed on his face, and the all-consuming pounding of his heart in his ears is all he can hear. Which is terrifying because he has to talk to Kurt, Kurt has to be listening. “I’m here, I’m picking up, you don’t have to do anything, please don’t do anything –”

Why, hello to you too.

Kurt’s voice purrs at him smoothly over the line, vague sounds of traffic and life and the city and people around him in the background. It sounds as though he’s walking somewhere, the always-slowness of his breathing edged up almost imperceptibly at the small exertion. He can hear the smug, pleased tone in Kurt’s voice at the speed at which Blaine picked up; at how obviously frightened he was at what would happen if he didn’t. When Kurt speaks again, there is faux-concern dripping from every syllable.

Having a good sleep?” Just how innocent he sounds catches Blaine off-guard at first; young and sweet and genuine, almost. The slight twist to the words is the only hint at their underlying meaning.

In any case, there isn’t anything Blaine can say to that. He doesn’t say anything at all, instead; just breathes into the receiver in desperate gratitude, trying to calm his body down from high alert. The fog of sleep has been destroyed all at once; banished by the rush of fear he’s been expecting for days now.

He runs a hand through his curls and straightens his glasses instead of trying to respond, and the hot pounding in his chest beginning to simmer down into something slower. Less fight-or-flight. Blaine is not relaxed, not by any stretch of the imagination. But the frantic terror of moments before is lessening; shifting into the state of ever-present anxiety and buzzing nerves that has become the normal state of being for him over the past few weeks.

It’s been three days – three whole nights – since the heart was left outside his doorstep, and this is the first time that Kurt has made any move to contact him since then. Three nights without the tell-tale scrape of fingernails down wood, or the sing-song voice outside his door, or even another phone call.

His absence hasn’t been a comfort. Instead, it had served to reduce Blaine to an utter mess in record time. Desperately searching news sites and watching local channels for hope of some news of the woman who was killed – and waiting. Staying up until all hours of the night waiting for to hear that unmistakable voice, staring at the phone and willing it to ring. Blaine has been on edge and desperate to hear from Kurt for so long now, because at least then he would know. The sudden withdrawal after such a gruesome message had been almost impossible to bear.

The worst part had been Blaine’s uncomfortable realization on the second day of silence that Kurt was been treating him like a badly-behaved child with a time out. A way to say think about what you did, not a real chance at letting him escape. If he tried to run, Kurt would follow.

Kurt would always follow.

His absence has also made Blaine very much aware of the fact that, unless Kurt chooses to contact him, he has absolutely no way of reaching him whatsoever. Kurt is entirely, one hundred per cent in control of how and when they speak; even when Blaine had desperately wanted to yell, to scream, to find Kurt and ask him why, he’d had no power to do so. He had been left for three whole days, helpless and stranded in the cage of don’ts and can’ts that Kurt had made for him.

The sickest part is how much relief he feels now, hearing Kurt’s voice in his ear. Because at least now Blaine knows for sure; isn’t left floundering, not knowing what he can or can’t do. It’s all wrong, and backwards, and awful, and it makes shame and guilt coil feebly in his chest.

After a minute, Kurt continues on as though Blaine has responded, making a high, amused noise at the back of his throat.

Are you pleased to hear from me, Blaine?” Kurt asks, voice high and curious and playful. More sounds in the background. The chime of keys. A door opening, closing. Street sounds gone. Inside now. “I’m definitely pleased to hear you. It’s been so long, beautiful thing. ” There is a pause, followed by a small, self-satisfied noise. When he speaks again, the words are full of something darkly seductive: “Did you like my present?”

The memory of the woman’s heart, tucked in a box and touted like a gift, hangs between them without being spoken aloud. The slick fat hanging off of it, the smell as he had opened the box. Blaine feels something tighten in his chest.

“Don’t,” Blaine murmurs quietly, shaking his head and breath hitching slightly in his throat.

He had got rid of the present as soon as the sun had risen; the whole box wiped free of his fingerprints and wrapped in three garbage bags, one inside the other inside the other like Babushka dolls. Taken down to the basement of the building and tucked under a pile of refuse in the large, industrial-sized garbage container. He’d scrubbed the floor of his apartment with watered down bleach for twenty minutes when he got back upstairs.

Blaine lets out a shuddery breath. “That... that wasn’t fair,” he says, and the words come out soft. Almost child-like.

Are you feeling a little less stubborn now?” Kurt asks without heeding Blaine’s words, and there is a hardness beneath the apparently casual question. Unrelenting and rigid at the core, much like the man himself. There is the barely audible bing of an automated noise in the background of the call. An elevator, perhaps. “Avoiding me only gets people hurt, pretty. I thought we’d established that already.

Blaine takes a deep breath. “Last time,” he begins, hands twisting in the sheets at his sides. “Last time, when you... when you left it outside. I wasn’t ignoring you. I was asleep, I wasn’t ignoring you.”

There is a pause.

Hm. ” The single syllable is so terribly neutral that Blaine has no idea how to interpret it.

“Because I wouldn’t do that,” Blaine continues, keeping going because he needs to say it. Out loud, to someone who isn’t himself. The words have been sitting, stewing inside of him for days and nights and they feel heavy and awful in his stomach.“I’m not stupid, okay? I wasn’t... burying my head in the sand, trying to hide. And I’m not what you said, I’m not – I’m not ruthless. I know what you’re capable of, I wouldn’t risk –”

Do you, now?” asks Kurt sharply, and Blaine winces and presses his lips together. Now that the adrenaline has worn off, his mind is experiencing a resurgent struggle to make the shift from sleeping to waking; the dull fuzziness of the night is clinging to the edges of his head.

Blaine inhales carefully, running a hand through his sleep-tousled curls.

“It wasn’t fair,” he says again softly, staring down at the blue of his sheets and trying not to think about the woman whose heart he had held in his hands. She is an indistinct shape in his mind; voiceless, without any sort of appearance or even a name. And Blaine doesn’t understand how the idea of her can hurt just as much as the officers whose information he’d desperately soaked up and horded close to his chest when he knows absolutely nothing about her. Who she was, or where she came from, or what her dreams were.

All he knows is that her life shouldn’t have ended like that. Hard and painful and cruel, and because of some stupid kid she’d never even met before. It isn’t fair, and it isn’t right, and it makes him feel sick with himself for still existing.

Intellectually, Blaine knows that he is not responsible for Kurt’s murders. He’s doing everything he possibly can, and it isn’t enough, no. But he isn’t actively doing anything to hurt anyone.

That logic sits ineffectual and empty in his chest despite his own voice of reason.

There is another bing in the background, followed by the sound of doors sliding open. Almost certainly an elevator, and high up as well. A top floor of an apartment, maybe. A high-rise. But that isn’t anywhere near enough information on its own for him to be able to track Kurt down, not in New York City of all places. He hears Kurt begin to move down the hallway.

Well,” Kurt says breezily, after a long pause. “My game, my rules. Maybe now you’ll make an effort to be a little more alert when I try to get your attention.”

A frustrated sound worms its way out of Blaine’s throat, and he slams a hand ineffectually down on the mattress beside him. Ridiculously, he imagines throwing the phone across the room in a childish gesture of anger. He never would – there are too many lives on the line – but the temptation is very real.

“You don’t even think about them at all, do you?” Blaine asks harshly, marvelling internally at the fact that he can feel something as simple and everyday as irritation with the kind of monster he’s talking to. “It never even occurs to you to think about the people you kill.”

Of course not,” Kurt says simply, and Blaine can hear the chime of keys as they turn in a lock on the other end of the line. “They don’t matter, they’re not anything, why should I care –?

“I’m not worth it,” Blaine insists, voice hitching in frustration and grief and self-hatred. There is a persistent stinging at his eyes, and he swipes the back of his hand over them. He blinks at the wall across from him, feeling very much small and alone even in this cramped space. “Please, just – I’m nothing, like them. I’m not worth chasing, please. I’m not worth killing for.”

Nothing comes from the other end of the line for a long, long minute. Blaine can hear the sounds of a door closing in the background, movement, settling. The shuffle of what can only be a coat being removed. A noise that could perhaps be someone sitting, perhaps lying down; it’s impossible to tell.

When Kurt finally speaks again, he sounds tense and stilted, with his voice drawn taught like a rope. “You might be like them,” he admits, and there is something almost weighing about the word. “I’ll admit that. But you are most certainly worth chasing, lover.

“I’m not your lover,” Blaine mutters, shaking his head.

I am in your dreams, though, aren’t I?” Kurt responds immediately, with heat in his voice, and Blaine’s breath catches in his throat. He pauses, fingers tingling and eyes wide in horror as the shock of the words resonates over the line. After a while, Kurt lets out a breath. “Now. Don’t be stupid on purpose, and stop trying to trick me into feeling something for squishing bugs under my shoes.

“Why are y–?”

Stop arguing about this, sweetheart, or I’ll go out and kill another one, ” he says calmly, and Blaine’s blood runs cold. He clenches his hand around the phone, fingers shaking from the effort of holding it steady. “You’re being contrary, and it’s annoying, so stop. Now.

Mouth dry, Blaine gapes as though struck across the face. He desperately searches around for words; tries to make sound come out from between his lips. A tiny noise escapes instead, so he gives his head a firm shake and tries again.

People are counting on you, and you’re gambling with their lives. People are relying on you. Play his game. Do what he wants.

“Okay,” babbles Blaine apologetically, raising his free hand in the air in a gesture of surrender despite the fact that Kurt cannot see him. “Okay, I’m stopping, I’m sorry. Please.”

There is a pause.

That’s better,” Kurt tells him after a minute, sounding almost rewarding, and it occurs to Blaine to wonder why on Earth Kurt is so desperate to talk to him anyways. It’s not as though their conversations through the doorway have ever been particularly stimulating, for one thing, and he’d been under the impression that Kurt had no real interest in anything he had to say until the missed calls a few days ago.

It doesn’t make sense, just the same way that nothing Kurt does makes any sense, and Blaine can feel his grasp at the world slipping with every passing hour.

Blaine grasps at something to say to fill the silence. “... how did you even get my phone number, anyways?” he asks, trying to make some other kind of conversation but sounding more than a little petulant in the process. Kurt lets out a sharp laugh that resonates harshly over the line.

Oh, pretty, ” Kurt sighs, sounding amused and condescending at once. “Word of advice: when you have someone stalking you, you should probably double-check your Facebook security settings. And not have any personal information up on your profile. Your Aunt Amabel said hello on your wall, by the way.

There is a beat.

“What?” Blaine asks in disbelief, barely able to keep himself from spluttering. “But. You’re not – you’re a—” He shakes his head, feeling stupid and small and caught off-guard. “You use the internet? But. It’s all... new. And stuff.”

I was around when television was new, silly, and I don’t exactly eschew that either, ” Kurt teases him in an almost playful tone, and they’re talking. Actually talking, having a conversation like normal human beings. It feels tremendously surreal. Somehow, the pull of Kurt’s personality –his being—is still drawing him in, even when he’s not physically close, and Blaine wants to talk with him like this.

It’s discomfiting.

Strange.

Until it occurs to him what, exactly, Kurt said a few minutes ago.

Stop arguing about this, sweetheart, or I’ll go out and kill another one.

It has taken far too long for Kurt’s words to properly sink in, but when they do something cold and hard and awful clenches around Blaine’s chest. He falls back against the pillows, feeling very much as though the breath has been knocked out of him.

“Wait,” Blaine whispers, terrified to ask. “Another one?” He sounds horrified and stilted to his own ears, but he has to know. “Did you... did you just...?”

Kurt doesn’t say anything for a drawn-out minute, but the silence isn’t an angry one. It’s charged, excited. Pleased. Eventually, Blaine hears a small sigh of pleasure on the other end of the line.

I love hearing your voice, you know, ” murmurs Kurt approvingly, the wet lick of lips audible in Blaine’s ear. “You said you used to sing, and I believe it. I very much want to make you sing, one day. ” He laughs, an amused little noise high up in the register – and the horrible duality of it always shakes Blaine to his core. That delicate voice, the beautiful face. The monster underneath.

I’ve missed hearing your dulcet tones for the past few days, pretty, ” Kurt admits, and Blaine’s heartbeat is thrumming along his skin. “But I figured you needed the space.” There’s a beat before he continues, voice twisted round and pleased with himself. “And...yes. To answer your question. I did.

Blaine sucks in a breath, eyes squeezing shut. The dull blow of devastation impacts his chest at the death of some nameless person he’ll never meet. It hurts, he discovers, not only when he doesn’t know the person’s name or face, but even when Blaine himself isn’t the cause. It still feels like a personal failure; for not being able to find a way to stop Kurt from doing what he wants. For not finding a way to kill him and stop all this before it could go any further.

He was young, ” Kurt continues smoothly, and no. Nonononono, please no, Blaine doesn’t want to hear this. Doesn’t want to know, but he can’t stop listening; is hanging on every word as though his life depends on it. “Well-dressed. Good-looking. Not as pretty as you, though, dear. Don’t be jealous.

“Kurt...” Blaine implores quietly, squeezing his eyes shut and curling into himself on the bed.

Shhh, beautiful, it’s okay, ” murmurs Kurt softly, sweetly, and Blaine shakes his head wordlessly and bites down on his bottom lip. “He begged very nicely when he realized what was happening. It was a shame to shut him up, and oh, how he struggled. I got blood all over my new shirt, though, which was more than a little bit irksome.

Humming in a low tone, Kurt sounds much less flippant when he speaks again:

He wasn’t you, Blaine. I wanted it to be you. I want them all to be you.

“... please...” Blaine whispers, not caring that he’s begging, not caring if it’s pathetic if it will make Kurt stop talking about this.

His whole body tenses up, however, and the pleading words are cut off at the unmistakable sound of a zipper being pulled down. Blaine’s eyes fly open, wide and shocked and oh god oh god oh god.

I’ve been thinking about you, ” Kurt’s voice breathes into his ear, dark and heated and private. There is a rustle of fabric, a shift of movement; Blaine feels his face heat up with the uncomfortable flush of embarrassment at the realization of what, exactly, Kurt is doing. “There are so many things I want to do to you, Blaine. I think about it all the time, lovely. I linger.”

“I can’t—” Blaine chokes out, face red and hot and suddenly feeling sweaty with humiliation beneath the blankets. He wants to pull the phone away, turn it off, shut it down, but he can’t. He’s frozen like this, unable to move, unable to think but for the tiny noises he can hear Kurt making over the tininess of the line. Kurt should be the embarrassed one because people don’t do this, it’s not right, but Kurt isn’t human and he sounds confident and sure and it makes Blaine’s palms sweaty.

Don’t hang up, ” Kurt orders him firmly, but his voice is hitched with something that Blaine can’t think about too closely without wanting to bury his face into the covers and hide. In the background, he can hear the muted slide of skin on skin.

But Blaine couldn’t hang up if he wanted to. Against his will, pieces of the past few weeks’ worth of dreams are slipping back across his vision, back into his mind like through cracks in a wall – like pressure points being touched. Stealing behind his eyelids and worming their way into his chest, making him shiver and close his eyes and hate himself for not being able to tune it all out.

 

Kurt, seated on a grand winged armchair with Blaine on his lap impaled on his cock, his back to Kurt’s chest as he rocks himself up and down in tiny movements as Kurt drinks from the side of his neck, languid-slow and lazy, the drag of the blood leaving his body making Blaine twitch and moan and squeeze around the hardness filling him up so perfectly as he does all the work and gives Kurt exactly what he wants

 

I can hear you breathing, ” Kurt whispers in his ear, and Blaine shivers as he tries to shake away the memory of the dream.


Kurt’s own breathing is growing heavier and quicker, fast for him, and Blaine squeezes his eyes shut against it. His whole body feels tense and coiled tight, and he licks his lips absently. “You can hear what you do to me, beautiful. How you make me feel.

 

they’re kids, only teenagers, rutting around in the back of a car with Kurt sprawled on top of him, sucking a hickey deep into the skin of Blaine’s neck as Blaine groans and arches into the touch helplessly. Except then he keeps going, teeth slicing in and pinning Blaine down as he starts to whimper and scream soundlessly as Kurt keeps him pinned to the back seat and grinds their cocks together as he drinks

 

Would you believe,” Kurt gasps, and Blaine tilts his head back and looks up determinedly toward the ceiling at the lewd noises Kurt is making over the phone, at the horrible dream-memories and noises that are going straight to his cock as much as he hates it, he hates it, doesn’t want feel this way, why does he feel this way? "That I used to be all prim and proper about this? About sex. Back when I was human, I mean. I – nggh, fuck– used to be so awkward about it. "


Kurt groans breathily into the phone, and when Blaine closes his eyes he can practically see him: that angelic face twisted up in pleasure like Blaine has seen it so many times in his dreams, graceful hand twisting around his cock and thrusting his hips up into his own touch in desperate little movements. Blaine’s face is burning with humiliation and stupid arousal and it’s like something is twinging inside his brain, bringing these feelings to the surface at the command of Kurt’s voice.

But I’ve lived long enough, now, to know that this is all there is. Sex and death, sex and death, all wrapped up in a –” he hisses, keening slightly, “— in a pretty bow, that’s all life is, Blaine, god

 

Kurt slides away from where he’s feeding from a blissed-out Blaine’s shoulder to slide up his body to kiss him, just kiss him, sliding their mouths together as the slick coppery wetness plays over their tongues and Blaine groans and opens his mouth wider, letting Kurt claim his mouth and smear their lips with his blood

 

In his ear, Kurt’s breath is coming hard and fast and ragged; he’s keening slightly, voice high and strangled as he chokes out the tiny noises. Blaine can hear the quick slide of skin on skin, and Blaine’s whole body is tensed up and flushed and he’s going insane.


Kurt,” Blaine chokes out, hard and quiet and in tatters into the receiver, and apparently that’s all it takes. In his ear, Kurt exclaims out a high, wanton noise of pleasure as Blaine squeezes his eyes shut and clenches his hand around the phone so hard his fingers go white.

The sound of laboured breathing lasts for a little while afterward as Kurt recovers, practically purring into Blaine’s ear in satisfaction. Between his legs, Blaine’s treacherous cock is hard and wanting and desperate to be touched, to find the same relief that he’s just heard Kurt experience firsthand, and his body is betraying him and Blaine can’t understand why he has to feel this way. Why it can’t just be simple, and easy, and black and white.

After a long minute, Kurt’s voice makes a satisfied little noise into Blaine’s ear.

Mmm, ” he says happily, letting out a little contented sigh that makes Blaine shiver. “Thanks for that, lover. Sweet dreams.

And without any other warning, Kurt hangs up.

The empty noise of the disconnected call rings in Blaine’s ears, shocking and incomprehensible as he pulls the phone away from his ear to stare at it in disbelief. He blinks. Bites down on his lips as he looks unthinkingly at the screen, barely able to believe what just took place.

Something awful is tugging at Blaine’s chest; curling around his heart and pushing at his insides, making him cringe and the heat of arousal flee from his cheeks. His cock is still hard and wanting between his legs, but all Blaine can feel is used. Balled up and thrown away, discarded. He blinks hard, putting the phone and his glasses back on the bedside table and turning off the lamp unsteadily.

The room floods with darkness. Blaine rolls onto his side, tries to ignore the treacherous heat between his legs, and wishes he could hate Kurt as much as he hates himself.

--


A week after that first proper phone call, Blaine wakes up after a fitful night’s sleep and shuffles his way out into the living room, rubbing at bloodshot eyes.

The previous night had been a long one. After a long wait, Kurt had finally arrived and scratched at the door. Had talked and talked in that sweet, cooing voice of his as he went over the details of a young architect he had killed the night before outside a club in Manhattan. Chatting animatedly about how the man had tasted, how he’d given up so much quicker than Kurt had expected. On and on and on as though conversing about the weather as Blaine had leant his head against the door and tried to block out the sound of his voice, eyes squeezes shut and details filtering into his mind despite the effort.

Last night had been the third time Kurt had described one of his kills to him. It’s turning into a habit, now. One more thing to look forward to in the pathetic shell of Blaine’s life: hearing the finer points of snapping necks and the nuances in the way people taste, or the things Kurt looks for in the people he hunts down and murders. Every single time, more than anything Blaine just wants to stick his fingers in his ears and cry.

He doesn’t, though. Lets the words drone over him instead, sitting numbly at the door and waiting for him to get bored and leave so he can finally go to sleep, get some rest.

After Kurt had finally left him alone at four in the morning, though, it hadn’t been the end. Instead, the rest of the night had been spent submerged in dreams so real they had made Blaine arch up and whine and almost sob from the happiness of them. Dreams of a Kurt who is caring, and shy, and loving, and kind taking Blaine to bed back in his bedroom back in the house he grew up in Westerville. Dreams of love-making so tender and careful and intimate and real, so real.

When he woke, shouting and practically crying from the intensity of it, Blaine had pushed his face into his pillow and shuddered at the crushing disappointment of being back in the waking world. With a Kurt who wants to hurt and rip and kill him instead of love him and cherish him. At how unfair and awful and pointless the sick waiting game of his life is.

It had taken him almost ten whole minutes to calm down enough to breathe normally again, after that. And true sleep had been a long time coming. It is very fortunate that Blaine doesn’t have class until eleven o’clock today.

Even with the late start, however, he’s finding it almost impossible to find motivation to leave the apartment. A few days ago, he had received his first ever failing grade on an exam he hadn’t been able to focus his revision for. He had tried his best during the actual test, he really had. But his mind had been so racked with images of pretty dead boys drained out and left sprawled over the sidewalks that he had barely been able to string two words together, let alone maintain the sufficient level of analysis.

The bad mark stings, even though he knows he deserves it. Blaine is doing poorly in all of his classes, now. No concentration, distracted during lectures, fitful and broken sleeps every night like clockwork. School is starting to slip away from him, and even if Kurt decided to leave him alone his very day Blaine isn’t sure if he would be able to scrape through the year with a decent enough mark to move on to the second year of his post-grad.

Blaine tries his best to care; to get upset, to worry. To imagine his father, staring at him with that I’m so disappointed in you, I know you can do better expression embedded in the lines of his face. But even that is sliding out of his grasp more and more every day.

When Blaine turns on his computer after grabbing a granola bar for breakfast, however, there is a new e-mail in his inbox.

That in itself isn’t anything particularly unusual; he’s on the NYU Law mailing list, and receives frequent forwards with titles like [FW:] NYUL LEARNING EXPERIENCE OPPORTUNITY that he used to read and now deletes hastily, not bothering to even think about another opportunity he’s missing out on. His mother sends him check-up messages that have been coming more and more frequently lately, and Wes and David still sometimes send him little updates. Spam mail isn’t out of the ordinary, either.

However, when Blaine reads the subject heading, his breath catches in his throat. He scrabbles with the mouse to open it up as quickly as possible, stomach twisting and clenching in instant anxiety as his eyes speed over the contents of the message:


To: bwa455@nyu.edu
From: awilliams@princeton.edu

Subject: Re: A few questions about your work on folklore.

Hello Blaine,

I am so very sorry that it has taken me so long to get back to you. I’ve been retired for a few years now, and I don’t check my university e-mail nearly as often as I should. It only occurred to me this morning to open it up for the first time in months, and of course your e-mail caught my eye right away.

If I am not outside my boundaries to say so, the nature of your questions and the tone of your message leads me to believe that you might have a very serious problem on your hands. I notice from your e-mail handle that you’re a student at NYU; since my retirement I now live in New York City as well. If you are interested, I would very much like to meet with you in person to discuss this matter further. Perhaps you would like to meet for coffee some time this week if the circumstances are critical.

It is possible that I have misjudged the situation. If that is the case, excuse my ramblings as that of a dotty retiree with too much time on their hands.

Regards,

Dr. Williams
Formerly of the Department of Slavic Folklore
Princeton University


Blaine gorges himself on the e-mail’s contents so quickly that his eyes fly over sentences and skip entire paragraphs. He has to re-read it in its entirety three full times in order for all the words to sink in, and once more to convince himself that he isn’t imagining the underlying message concealed beneath the seemingly straightforward tone.

For a few absurd seconds after he finishes his fourth read of the text, Blaine honestly thinks he’s having a heart attack. After he realizes how ridiculously stupid that notion is and discards it, he re-evaluates and decides that he might just be having a panic attack, which is even stupider because this is good news, the first good news he’s had in weeks; the only person who has responded to any of his inquiries with more than flippancy and mild interest.

This is it. Oh my god, this is it.

His heart is clenching uncomfortably in his chest, breathing too hard and the whole world coming at him a little too fast as he types out a response with badly shaking fingers as quickly as he can. He has to work his way through a few versions of a response before he arrives at something not vaguely hysterical or insane-sounding.

Inexplicably, the strangest feeling starts to bubble up in Blaine’s chest mid-revision, and when he opens his mouth helpless, mirth-filled giggles burst out from between his lips like a small child. They’re nervous and high-pitched and he can’t stop shaking as he runs his hand over and over through his hair and makes it even messier, but it’s the first time he’s laughed in weeks and it feels like a dam breaking.

In the end, he decides on something short and to-the-point; this is enormous, a chance, yes – but he can’t in good conscience bring someone into the situation with any ambiguity in their mind as to what they’re up against. Blaine refuses take any chances, to endanger anyone who isn’t prepared and fully aware of the circumstances. He reads over the final product, eyes running the short bundle of words for what feels like the umpteenth time:


To: awilliams @princeton.edu
From: bwa455@nyu.edu

Subject: Re: Re: A few questions about your work on folklore.

Dr. Williams,

As relieved as I am to get your message, you need to know that my situation is as dire as you imagined. It could be dangerous – really dangerous – for you to get involved. If we’re talking about the same thing, I think you’ll understand exactly what I mean. There have been threats made.

I don’t want to put you in harm’s way. You have to be sure.

Blaine


When he is certain that he’s made things as clear as possible, Blaine lets out a heavy exhalation – and hits the send button. The loading screen pops up for a brief moment before the e-mail is gone, gone, gone. Careening off into cyberspace and rushing toward the only shred of hope he’s managed to find during this entire nightmare.

Blinking, Blaine leans back onto the couch, rests his head in his hands, and tries to ignore the way his eyes are stinging. The way his bottom lip is trembling. Tries to get a handle on himself before he flies apart into a dozen pieces. He should feel bolstered, now; braver.

For reasons he can’t quite explain, in this moment Blaine feels more fragile than he has in weeks instead.

Not expecting a response any time soon, Blaine rubs at his eyes and lets out a deep breath. He is about to close his laptop and head for the shower to get ready for class, hand hovering to pull the screen down and close it, when his high-pitched email alert tone nearly makes him jump out of his skin in surprise. He jolts, practically knocking the whole laptop off the table and scrambling to read the new message sitting in his inbox. It’s almost as though the sender was waiting for his response on the other end.


To: bwa455@nyu.edu
From: awilliams @princeton.edu

Subject: Re: Re: Re: A few questions about your work on folklore.

I understand. I’ve encountered them before.

When and where do you want to meet?

Dr. Williams


--


Back when Blaine still lived at home, he used to tend to frequent a certain kind of coffee shop more than others. His favourite haunts in Westerville had been quirky and small, usually with cute names with puns and baristas who didn’t care if he camped himself a place in the corner and stayed for hours on end. When he first came to New York, he clung to the tradition of seeking out the more unique, unusual places to get his caffeine fix for a few years. They weren’t always close or convenient, but the servers were always friendly and the drinks made with personality, and there were usually even open mic nights he could come to. Places he could perform, put himself out there; become the confident young man who owned the stage again, if only for a few minutes.

He’d stopped going to those little havens somewhere along the line, though, and Blaine can’t be sure exactly when. At some point, in the midst of midterms and essays and so many readings, it had become easier to just go to one of the two scridgy cafes on campus for his medium drips, or to the Starbucks nearby if he wanted something fancier. It was more efficient, this way. Quick, and easy, and the same drink every time. It had made sense.

Getting good marks was more important than finding time to sing, after all. It had been no big loss.

The coffee shop that Dr. Williams has chosen for them to meet at, Habit, is something close to a throw-back to the types of coffee shops he used to love what feels like so long ago. It’s a bit more streamlined, true; but it has that feel of individualism that makes him relax almost as soon as he pulls the door open and walks inside out of the cold. The shop is clean and warm, the walls made of old worldly brick; the colourful espresso machines behind the counter are clearly top-of-the-line. Large windows let the sun come streaming in to brighten up the small space, and that feature by itself is enough to make Blaine feel more secure. Safer.

Blaine scans the room as he pulls off his gloves — it’s November in New York and it’s cold outside – and tries to determine if he’s arrived before the professor has. There’s a group of college kids clustered around two tables pulled together and chatting intensely over their lattes, an older East Indian woman at a corner table by herself, a couple of men wearing business suits chortling into their serious cups of black coffee. He thinks he sees someone who might be likely for a second, but it turns out to be a middle-aged couple perched happily at a back table; they’re laughing, and smiling, and for a second Blaine looks at them sitting together easily and feels strongly jealous in a way he can’t fully explain.

In any case, he seems to have arrived first; he hadn’t been sure, having come directly from class. The coffee shop itself isn’t too far from the NYU Law campus, which Blaine suspects Dr. Williams might have just arranged on purpose. He slides himself into a sturdy wooden table with a good view of the door, strips off his heavy winter coat to hang over the back of his chair, and waits.

Jumpy nerves are twisting in Blaine’s stomach – they have been since the e-mail yesterday, he can’t help it – and to take his head off waiting, he lets his mind drift to imagining what Dr. Williams will look like. He’s retired, so on the older side of things; possibly with a shock of white hair and glasses perched over his nose. Blaine thinks of how very elderly indeed some of his own professors have been in the past, and how long academics in general tend to stick around in their positions. He imagines a frail handshake, the skin on the man’s hands aged and withered, soft and translucent like old paper.

“Excuse me?” asks a low feminine voice, and Blaine blinks out of his reverie and turns around. The East Indian woman is standing next to his table, her head cocked to one side and looking at him tentatively. “I’m sorry, are you Blaine?”

Oh.

Feeling discombobulated and caught off guard – as well as more than a little embarrassed with himself – Blaine opens his mouth and stammers out a hasty apology.

“God, I’m sorry,” Blaine rushes, jerking up from the table. “I’m – yes, Blaine Anderson.” He extends his hand, still cold and slightly numb from being outside. She takes it, wrapping her own long fingers around his hand and shaking. Her grip is firm, and she holds his gaze with kind brown eyes for the entire time.

“Dr. Amita Williams,” she says professionally, smiling at him with very white teeth. She’s a handsome woman, slightly shorter even than he is and with a softness around her middle that makes her look healthy instead of dowdy. She’s wearing an attractive green sweater that fits her well, and her hand feels warm and real as they shake hands. Even though the shoulder-length brown hair that hangs loose around her face is streaked with grey, she doesn’t look nearly old enough to be a retired professor.

“You’re younger than I thought you would be,” says Blaine, awkward and slightly too loud, before realizing that the sentiment had the potential to be offensive as well as complimentary. He winces, because he really is awful about not thinking before he speaks: he just hasn’t been interacting with enough people for it to be a problem lately. He relaxes, however, when she laughs.

“I retired early,” she says as way of explanation. “My husband and I decided to buy a bookstore in the city a few years ago, and now we live in behind it.” Absently, Blaine feels himself nodding along and blinking hard. There is a strange sensation pushing at his insides; restrained panic trying to get out, trying to escape.

“I should get you a coffee,” he begins, turning his head away and fumbling with the coat slung over the back of his chair, reaching his hands into the pockets. Blaine feels twitchy and under scrutiny like a small animal, fumbling as he slides his hands into one empty coat pocket after the other. He doesn’t know why he feels so lost when he’s finally been able to find someone to help him, it’s irrational and stupid and he feels as though he’s going to break. “It was really nice of you to come out here, I really appreciate it...”

“Blaine,” says Dr. Williams softly, but he keeps pushing on. Gives up on the coat in a flap of sleeves and reaches into his pants pockets with unsteady hands, right hand finding keys and phone but no wallet, where is it, why can’t he find it.

“It’s just,” Blaine manages, blinking hard as his left hand finally closes around the soft leather of his wallet. He pulls it out, and it won’t stop wavering in mid-air. “I should get you something, you know? Because I’m grateful, and. Do you want – tea, or coffee, or something to eat, I could get you something to eat –”

Blaine,” emphasizes Dr. Williams in a low, firm voice, and Blaine’s bottom lip trembles. He clenches the wallet in white-fingered hands, holding tight because if he doesn’t it’s going to fall to the ground, it’s shaking so hard. She reaches up and rests a hand on either one of his shoulders, strong and certain and holding his gaze kindly, and Blaine feels about five years old.

“It’s okay, Blaine,” she says softly, too quiet for anyone else to hear; the words make him suck in a breath of air despite their volume. Hey eyebrows are pulled together, and her hands are strong. “You’re safe. It’s going to be okay.”

A tiny noise escapes his throat, and his face feels hot and crumpling, and Blaine isn’t exactly sure which one of them moves into the embrace first but all of a sudden she’s holding him tight, arms stronger than they look as he buries his face in her shoulder and her hands wrap around and hold him close. Not saying anything and not making any move to do anything else, just holding him, holding him together, and there’s something so effortlessly maternal about the gesture that it makes Blaine squeeze his eyes shut against how suddenly and desperately badly he wants his own mother.

His mother is taller than Dr. Williams is, slighter, the feel of it isn’t the same at all. But the sentiment is there nonetheless. Dr. Williams he holds him tight and firm and close, and for the first time since everything started Blaine feels safe.

He presses his face into this woman who is not his mother’s shoulder and breathes in the smell of her perfume until he’s able to think again. Until the shaking in his limbs begins to ebb away, and his eyes stop burning, and it feels like he can stand on his own without leaning on her for support.

When he pulls away, feeling embarrassed and awkward – he just hugged a complete stranger, they only just met, she must think he’s insane, and the whole coffee shop was probably watching – she silences any words he might try to speak with a shake of her head and an understanding look.

“It’s okay,” Dr. Williams cuts him off softly, and for the first time Blaine really believes her. He nods, vision still swimming slightly but the tears stayed in his eyes so it doesn’t count, and lets out a shaky breath. She lets go of him to reach down to pick something up, and Blaine realizes that it is his wallet; he’d never even noticed dropping it. When she hands it back over to him, he takes it with surer hands.

“How about you get us something to drink and I’ll get our table all set up, all right?” she asks, and he nods fervently because this is something he can control. Something he can figure out, and make better, and fix.

“...what would you like?” he asks, trying to sound gracious – or at least to make his voice come out steady instead of weak and small. It mostly works.

“An earl grey tea misto for me, please,” she says, and gives him an encouraging smile.

Blaine looks down at the wallet in his hands, back up at the woman in front of him – and nods. He begins to make his way over to the counter to place their order as she combines brings her handbag and coat over to his table, not even caring about the looks he must be getting from the other patrons. Shaking his head and hardly able to believe how quickly everything has changed, Blaine gets in line to order their drinks.


--


When Blaine comes back with a medium drip and a London Fog a few minutes later, Dr. Williams accepts her drink gratefully. He tries to shoot her a charming grin as he settles back into his chair; the one he used to be so good at, but his face seems to have forgotten how to form lately. The smile he receives in return lets him know that he succeeds at least a little bit. She’s also very swift to correct him on the use of her name.

“Call me Amita,” she requests with a smile, blowing into her mug and shifting the top layer of foamy milk in the process. Her voice is low and comfortable to listen to; she enunciates her words carefully whenever she speaks. “Doctor Williams is too formal; I’m not even a professor anymore, although I’m grateful to say they can’t take my doctorate away from me.”

Nodding and laughing a little, Blaine makes the mental adjustment. He’s had friends accuse him of being too formal with adults before, but it’s just the way he was brought up. It’s instinct to go for the more respectful term first and wait to be corrected it later. A better mistake to make. She takes a careful sip of her drink.

“Now,” says Amita, putting the mug back onto the table. The teabag string hangs over the side, dangling and barely scraping the tabletop. She settles her hands on the table, and Blaine can see that there is a wedding band on her finger. “Tell me how you met the vampire who’s after you.”

The word is bare and unconverted on the air. Hearing her say it out loud, without any hesitation at all, is almost embarrassing in its way: like parents who say too much when their child’s friends come over. Blaine winces away from it, but Amita says the word with confidence; holds his gaze without shying away.

And that... god. That makes it real more than anything else could, hearing it out loud. From an adult, a real live person in front of him with knowledge and insight and who doesn’t think he’s crazy. Who won’t condemn him for doing more than implying, and will believe him, and who honestly seems to want for him to be okay.

Blaine hesitates, opens his mouth – and tells her the whole story.

Everything, the whole sequence of events. From intercepting Kurt in the alley, to the kiss on the bench – he really, really hopes that she isn’t homophobic, because there’s no way he can talk about this without going into that particular aspect. He talks about the man Kurt killed. The scratching at the door, the slaughtered officers. The heart in the box. He tells her about the days and weeks of hiding and being afraid and being a coward; about just how much he’d felt as though he was waiting for something inevitable to happen. How close he’d come so many times to giving up.

Blaine talks, and talks, and all the while Amita listens. Nodding her head in all the right places and occasionally asking for clarification, jotting notes down in a large blue notebook, and Blaine honestly cannot believe this. Cannot comprehend that he has someone to talk to about this now; someone who won’t think he’s insane, and knows the risks, and knows how to keep herself safe. Giddy hysteria keeps threatening snag at the narrative and pull him away, but Blaine keeps going determinedly until the whole story is told.

When he’s finished, Amita nods slowly. She looks slightly paler than before, and a section of her greying hair has tumbled over her cheek. Although her mug is empty, Blaine himself has been talking for so long with so few breaks that’s fairly sure his own drink has gone stone cold. Across from him, she takes a long look at her notes – and lets out a tiny breath of air.

“Well,” she begins after a while, settling down her pen. “That’s... well.”

“Yeah,” Blaine replies softly, mouth dry and throat sore from talking for such a great length of time. He shifts awkwardly in his seat, then automatically reaches up to run a hand through his curls. He encounters the slick of the gel instead, having forgotten that he’d taken the time to make himself look at least slightly presentable today in honour of the meeting.

“Blaine, I won’t lie to you,” says Amita, hand twisting at a ring on her finger and staring down at her notes. She looks slightly uneasy. “I’ve had some experience with these creatures in the past: I met one myself, many years ago now, and I’ve spent my life studying them. I’ve interviewed a few other people during my career for first-hand accounts. But your case...” She lets out a contemplative sigh, eyebrows furrowing as she stares at some point in the air beyond him. “I... I’ve never encountered anything quite like it. At least, not with the people I’ve talked to myself in the past.”

“Oh,” says Blaine quietly, staring fixedly into his coffee cup. She takes a deep breath.

“All that means, though, is that we need to take the time to think about this properly. Now.” Amita moves forward in her seat. “Let’s think about this. Kurt could have killed you the night he met you, Blaine,” she insists gently, leaning forward and clearly trying to catch his gaze. “But he didn’t. He let you walk inside your apartment where he cannot reach you, safe and sound. If he wants to kill you so badly, why do you think he did that?”

“I...” Blaine trails, taking a sip of his coffee to stall for time. It’s cold and unpleasant, now, but he swallows it down anyways. Memories of red sheets and candlelight are toying at the edges of his brain, overwhelming him. He swallows. “He said he had plans. That he wanted to...” Shame heats his face, and he can’t quite meet the older woman’s eye. “...make it special. With... candles, and romance, and...”

Blaine makes an abortive gesture with one hand, but Amita is already nodding. The expression on her face is uncomfortably similar to that of someone reading a particularly interesting footnote.

“He wants to kill me,” Blaine states dully, and the resignation of it isn’t even terrifying anymore. It’s so present, the threat of death, over him all the time and it’s so hard to keep being frightened of it. “And he’s a monster. I don’t... I don’t pretend to understand how his mind works.”

At once, Amita opens her mouth as if to speak – but she closes it again quickly, lips pressed tight together. For the briefest of moments, there is something almost reticent in her eyes. It’s gone quickly, though; replaced by the veneer of academic professionalism and careful listening. She brings one of her hands up to rest her chin on and nods.

And Blaine doesn’t have any time to wonder about it, not really, because more memories are straining at his mind. Tugging at the edges of his brain: the feel of Kurt’s hands along his skin, how in control Kurt had acted. The feeling of being thrown back on the bed and pinned down, taken

“There’s more,” says Blaine awkwardly, because by now there doesn’t seem to be any point in holding anything back. No more point to decorum. “It’s... I’m sorry, there isn’t really a good way to put this.” He laughs distractedly, then falls silent for a moment. “After Kurt told me that, about wanting to make it special... I had this dream.”

“Did it feel as though you were awake?” Amita asks immediately, and Blaine’s eyes fly wide open.

Yes! ” he exclaims, shocked vindication bursting inside him. “I’ve been having them every night, and it’s like – like I’m more awake there than I am while I’m asleep. The pain is more real, everything is more real, and after he mentioned making it special I went to sleep and it all played out like he said and I woke up so scared, and how did you know –?”

“Because I’ve had them, too,” she says, and Blaine is practically vibrating.

“Is he putting them there?” he asks at once, gripping the table a bit too hard and leaning toward her across the tabletop. “I mean, he practically said that he isn’t, but – he could be lying, and – is it all in my head, or is it him? In the dreams, it... it feels like him.”

Amita pauses for a long moment, biting her bottom lip as she hesitates.

“I... had the dreams for a few days after the night I encountered a vampire,” she begins, tapping her pen on her notebook. “They were... vivid, even when they were vague. Bright and real and awful; violence and death and sex, over and over.” She glances at Blaine for confirmation and he nods; for all the variance of the nightly visions, they all share at least one of those strands in common.

Amita leans forward. “But Blaine: I am almost certain that the vampire I met? Did not know I had survived the attack. I don’t believe he knew I was alive, let alone that he would have cared enough to get into my head. He didn’t focus on me the way Kurt focuses on you. From the lore I’ve studied, as well, I do not believe that they put the dreams there intentionally, or that they have the power to do so.”

“But... we’ve both had them,” Blaine insists, feeling confused. “There must be a connection, there has to be. He – Kurt knew.” A memory of the other night; Kurt’s groans and breathy gasps over the phone, the way that word had echoed in Blaine’s ears. Lover. Lover. Lover. “Kurt knew that I dream about him in that way. He was... he was happy about it.”

“I imagine he was,” says Amita darkly, and Blaine’s eyebrows furrow together. She wrings her hands across the table from him, appearing to think of the best way to phrase something.

“From what I can tell, vampires have a... tendency to get under our skin,” she explains slowly, taking her time. Strong, long fingers clasped in front of her as she speaks. “They aren’t human, Blaine, no matter how much they might look like us most of the time. Our minds have a... difficult time, sometimes, processing them. They’re different from anything we’ve ever encountered before; something beyond our experience. From what I can tell, when human beings encounter a vampire, something of their essence gets into our heads. Wriggles into our brains and stays there for a while, and the dreams are one sign of that. It’s a survival strategy, mostly, I think. It disconcerts us. Makes us more willing to give ourselves over to them; less likely to fight back.”

There is a cold, heavy sensation growing in Blaine’s chest as he tries to process the exact implication of the explanation. “You mean... there’s a part of him – Kurt – inside my head?” he asks, disbelieving horror woven through he words. His head is spinning.

Amita nods. “Not a conscious part, and a small one. Something beyond his own control. But if he’s spent any significant time with you? Then... I can only assume that the answer is yes.” Her lips purse together tightly. “These dreams... they’re fairly consistent in the research I’ve done in Eastern and Western Europe, as well. Something of him has wormed its way into you, and now your own mind is providing the details in order for you to find a way to comprehend it.”

“So this... part of him. It’s at the core, but...” Blaine trails off, looking determinedly down at the table. “But my own head makes up the details. What happens, and where, and how.”

Amita nods. Blaine bites his lip, feeling strangely hollow.

All this time – even after Kurt had seemed pleasantly surprised at his place within Blaine’s head, he’d still suspected... he’d still been sure that Kurt was controlling the dreams somehow. Injecting ideas into his head, forcing his mind to take him into the scenarios. That he had been using Blaine’s head as another battlefield with which to wear him down, and strip him bare, and drive him mad.

But even if there is something of Kurt inside of him, inspiring it all, the actual content – the sequence of events the dreams follow, the locations they take place at, the combination of the sensual and the brutal... it’s all being packaged and presented and topped with a pretty bow by his own subconscious.

For the first time, Blaine fully processes the fact that before he knew of Kurt’s true nature, the dreams had only ever been based around romance. About Kurt’s physicality and beauty, his mysteriousness; the way he had made Blaine feel wanted for the first time in a long time, and the sadness at the abruptness of his departure.

It was only after watching that man get killed that anything of blood or pain or fear had manifested within them as well.

“Blaine,” he hears Amita say through the fog, and he snaps back into the real world with a jolt. She is staring at him steadily, the lines of her face pulled into an expression of patient concern.

“What can I do?” Blaine hears himself asking, and there is a steely determination beginning to harden at the edges of his mind. He has an ally, now. A resource that he doesn’t intend to ignore. He isn’t alone in this anymore. He shakes his head firmly. “These past few weeks, I’ve felt so trapped, but – what can I do? How can I fight him?”

Across from him, something is shifting in the former professor’s expression. Sneaking into the creases of her eyes and tugging at her smile, making her sit up straighter in her seat. And when she speaks, there is the strangest sense of pride resonating from the words.

“You’ve been very brave,” Amita starts slowly, hastening to continue at the devastated expression Blaine can feel spreading over his face without his permission. “I know you don’t think so .You think that you’ve failed people, that you’re being a coward. But Blaine: you’ve held up well, and you’ve done the best with what you’ve had.” She takes a deep breath, letting it out slowly. “But you can’t last like this forever. You can’t cling on and hide and try to resist and turn this into a battle of attrition, because if you do? He will succeed.”

It’s an expected blow to his stomach, hearing that out loud, but that doesn’t make it any less true. Doesn’t make it any less something Blaine has already been aware of at the back of his head. He nods firmly, letting out a determined breath.

“Then what do I do instead?” Blaine asks, and she grins.

“We take the battle to Kurt,” Amita says with confidence. “Go on the offensive. Try to get information, be sneaky. Learn as much as we can and find out how we can hurt him most effectively. We’re at a disadvantage – the lore on killing vampires is big, and vague, and not very well tested – but we’re not completely without hope. We have my research, and access to information, and someone Kurt is very clearly willing to communicate with: you.”

Her eyes are shining with something frenetic and convicted, and Blaine can feel the stirrings of hope beginning to sprout and grow in his stomach. He’s been alone for so long, and finally – finally – he has someone on his side. They can do this. They can find a way.

“It’s going to be hard,” she warns. “But I promise you, Blaine: we will find a way to kill him.”

Chapter Text

--


The two of them are lying on a large bed, facing one another and fully clothed except for their shoes. The bed is fully made beneath them, its sheets and duvet cover a deep, handsome red and tucked neatly underneath the mattress. The bed frame itself is sturdy and attractive, made from a deep wood that Blaine doesn’t know the name of by looking at but makes him think of the plush rooms and corridors of Dalton Academy back in Westerville. Kurt is lying across from him, elegant and precise even in such a relaxed position; his head is propped up on his arm as he stares at Blaine with a mild, constant look.

It occurs to Blaine, all at once, that he has seen this bed before. In the distant slip of a memory that dances behind his eyelids and nudges at his mind, however, the room had been bathed in shadows and candlelight: intimate and sensual and intense, so intense. But here and now, with the overhead lights turned on, the room is flooded with brightness and light and normalcy. There is no fuzziness clinging at Blaine’s vision, no slip-slide of the world outside his perspective. He can see the walls clearly, adorned with tasteful paintings in wooden frames. The carpet, the dresser – everything is matter-of-fact before his eyes.

More than anything, though, he can see Kurt. Lying on his side in front of him with his cheek cradled by the hand propping his head up, hair styled back into an elegant sweep. He’s wearing a soft-looking long charcoal sweater to the knee that hugs every angle of his body, as well as a pair of snug dark jeans. The sweet lines of his face, with its beautiful pale skin and the curve of his cheeks, are drawn together into an expression that almost borders on apologetic. Sad, at least. Reserved. And his eyes – those beautiful eyes, blue-green and endless with twists of yellow surrounding the iris like an entire universe – are locked right on Blaine’s own.

For a second, Blaine wonders if he should feel scared.

He doesn’t.

“I’m tired,” Blaine hears himself saying, and it’s true. All at once he becomes aware of how heavy his limbs are; the way exhaustion is tugging at every part of his body, from his eyelids to the stretch of his back. He feels sore with it; aching. His mind, his body; everything is telling him how very badly he needs to go to sleep, to finally let go. He knows instinctually that it would be easier, if he let himself sleep at last. For some reason, though, he can’t.

Nodding, Kurt’s slender eyebrows pull together in an expression of sympathy.

“I know, lovely,” murmurs Kurt, reaching over with his free hand to card it gently through Blaine’s hair. Blaine’s eyes flutter closed at the sensation of pleasantly cool fingers rubbing over his scalp, twisting around the loose curls. Petting him sweetly and comfortingly, and he tilts his head up into the touch like an animal looking for praise. “I know,” Kurt says again, and Blaine never wants him to stop touching him like this.

When Kurt finally moves his hand, it isn’t to pull away. He slides it slowly down to Blaine’s cheek instead, dragging the backs of his fingers along the arch of it and stroking gently along the skin. Blaine opens his eyes drowsily, letting out a sigh.

“Is it always going to be this way?” asks Blaine, and all at once he isn’t sure what he’s referring to. Whether he’s speaking to the bone-deep exhaustion that thrums along his skin like a sickness, or to this perfect moment of tranquility here and now.

Regardless, Kurt shakes his head. The movement of it is tiny; the slightest of inclinations back and forth.

“No,” says Kurt, moving in closer as he speaks. His eyes are so beautiful, even with the horrible sadness hiding behind the thick lashes. He licks his lips, gaze trailing over Blaine’s face like a caress. “No, sweetheart. It isn’t.”

The back of his hand still trailing over Blaine’s cheek, Kurt moves to close the space between them – but instead of kissing Blaine on the mouth, he angles himself higher. He hovers there for a moment, and it takes a second for Blaine to realize what it is he wants. When it finally occurs to him, however, he obediently closes his eyes.

With the softest, gentlest touch, Kurt leans forward and brushes his lips over Blaine’s eyelid. Barely a kiss, barely even a touch – just the smallest gesture. The lightest possible press of skin to skin. He does it again on the opposite eyelid, the touch of his lips familiar and safe as he kisses the thin, delicate skin once more.

The hand on Blaine’s face turns inward, the skin of Kurt’s palm – soft, so soft, he has the softest hands Blaine has ever felt – sliding smoothly over his cheek. There is the smallest movement as Kurt shifts downward, closer and closer until his lips finally press against Blaine’s in a real, proper kiss.

It is tender, and careful, and so very melancholy that Blaine aches with a poignancy that has nothing to do with fatigue. Blaine presses back into the touch just as gently, eyes still closed but the smell and feel of Kurt so close and lovely as the other boy cradles his face and kisses him so very gently that Blaine feels like he might break. It’s chaste, but the tiny movements of Kurt’s lips under his and the little catches of breath in Kurt’s throat still make something warm and real hum contentedly in the base of his stomach.

He could melt into this touch, Blaine thinks. Drift into nothing; let the world stop and still, and never experience anything again but to have Kurt kiss him like this forever. And he would be happy as it happened.

But instead of Blaine, it is the world that starts to dissolve.

Floating and coming apart gradually at the edges as they kiss, blowing into the ether like dandelion seeds in the breeze. Blaine tries to hold the world together, but it’s a force beyond his control as the room disbands and melts and comes away into a hundred gentle pieces. Drifting apart in the air and giving way to reality with a slow pulse that fades away into nothing as the dream falls away.


Everything is dark.

Even amidst the blackness behind his eyelids, Blaine becomes aware that he is awake before even he opens his eyes. He keeps them closed for a few seconds longer than necessary, dragging out the time before he has to count himself as properly awake. The world behind closed eyes doesn’t need to be examined, or looked at closely, or taken apart – and for just a little while longer, it’s nice to let himself live in the lie of the dream.

But it can’t last forever. Can’t always be like this.

When Blaine finally blinks his eyes open, the sight of his own small bedroom drenched in the cold light of the morning makes his heart hurt. He takes in the room – with its ordinary white speckled ceiling, the plan blue curtains, the small dresser that used to belong to his grandfather – with a detached eye as he lies on his back. Tucked up into the blankets with his body warm and his face cold from the chill in the air, Blaine tries his very best not to feel bereft.

It was just a dream. It wasn’t real. The dreams are normal, and expected, and you can’t let it get to you.

It’s just that... it doesn’t happen too often, that the dreams tug him gently into awareness instead of slamming him forcefully awake in a haze of blood or pleasure or both. Logically, he should like these dreams the best. They aren’t frightening, or painful. They don’t leave him clutching at his neck and gasping through cold sweats; nor do they make him wake with the sick humiliation of pleasure pulsing through his veins and stickiness between his legs. They should be almost nice, in comparison.

Something light and wistful is snaking beneath his skin; up his spine, along the insides of his wrists. There is a sadness pooling at the base of his stomach that he can’t banish away.

Blaine thinks he might just hate these dreams worst of all.

It’s light outside. He reaches over and plucks his glasses and phone off the bedside table with one hand, sliding the glasses onto his face as he lights up the screen to check the time. Seven minutes before his alarm is set to go off, which is lucky; the dreams have a tendency to wake him hours before he was to get up, screaming and sobbing and shaking despite his mind yelling at him furiously that they’re fake, it’s fake, it’s not real, why do you feel this way when it’s not real, and he can never quite manage to get back to sleep afterward. Blaine turns off his alarm, places the phone back on the bedside table, and grabs his journal.

There is a pen already tucked into the spiral binding, ready for him to use. Blaine plucks it out, opens the book to the page with the folded corner, and begins to write.


November 27th, 2016

No blood this time. Bed with red sheets, lying on top with the lights on. Kind version tonight; reassuring...


Without bothering with neat penmanship or coherency, Blaine scrawls down is impressions of the dream as quickly as he can imprint them upon the page. Parts of the dream – images, and emotions, and sensations – are already starting to slip through his fingers like water, but he keeps on scribbling. Even as he feels the memories of the dream begin to slither away from his grasp, out of reach. Noting down words and ideas and notable thoughts with no rhyme or reason to the organization, circling and starring and underlining things where he deems it to be necessary.

The dream journal itself was one of Amita’s suggestions. They can sort through it all later; turn it into something that makes sense, something they can analyze. There might just be something important about Kurt there, buried underneath all of the trappings of Blaine’s own mind. And they don’t want to miss the hints that have so kindly been given to them.

Words fly across the page as the pen scrapes over paper, a messy scrawl of letters and punctuation in his small, cramped handwriting. He only stops when he runs out of things to say, everything having been either deposited onto the page or forgotten without a trace, lost to the night like a sacrifice. Blaine stares at the messy journal entry for longer than he should once he’s finished, eyes lingering over the words kiss and tired and safe.

Blaine only manages to wrench his gaze away when his phone buzzes and rings loudly on the table, still set to full volume from the night, and his heart slams against his ribcage in a Pavlovian response as he snatches out for it as fast as possible. Thankfully, thankfully, the message isn’t from Kurt. His eyes skip right to the name of the sender, the pounding of his heart beginning to slow once he realizes who the sender is.


From: Amita W.
November 27th, 8:43am
Good morning! I hope I didn’t wake you. Do you have some daylight today to drop by the shop? – A.W.


Body loosening and uncoiling at the contents of the message, Blaine quickly sends off an affirmative response.

Although he and Amita have been texting and calling back and forth over the past few week, it’s been difficult to find time when the sun is up for him to be able to go and meet with her in person. His classes tend to take up the majority of his daylight hours: the nights are coming quicker and darker with every passing day as winter keeps creeping forward, and being trapped halfway across town without the protection of the sunlight is the last thing Blaine wants.

They’ve managed to meet for coffee a few times, at cafés close to campus that he can escape to during his free periods; it isn’t the same, however, as having a whole swathe of time to talk and plan and let themselves think. Although he and Amita talked briefly of Blaine coming to stay the night at the Williams residence, the idea of Kurt’s reaction to deciding to come and knock on his door and finding him absent had been a very quick and very unpleasant deterrent. Having Amita over at his place, too, is out of the question. Having confirmed Blaine’s suspicion of the vampire’s acute sense of smell during one of their brief meetups, both of them know that having her anywhere near where Kurt could pick up her scent simply isn’t going to happen.

Finding time to meet properly and privately and talk has been difficult to say the least. Very fortunately, however, a cancellation of one of his lectures has freed up a large chunk of his afternoon. There should be plenty of time to commute to the bookstore, stay for a few hours, and come home long before the sun goes down.

Distantly, Blaine remembers a time when cancelled lectures only made him feel irritated, or pleasantly surprised. Not relieved as though his life depends on it. The idea of before, though, is painful. Thinking about before makes it harder to convince himself that there’s going to be an after.

Nodding softly at the empty screen on his phone, Blaine lets out a deep breath and swings his legs over the side of the bed. Pushing the blankets off and exposing his body to the chill of the air as he steps out with his bare feet onto the frozen-feeling hardwood. Trying his best to only think about the now, Blaine pads out to get ready for the day.


--


After his constitutional law class ends at noon, Blaine is followed out of the room by one of his friends in the class. Sarah is a nice enough girl; clever and sarcastic and hoping to go into corporate law one day, and the two of them used to revise for quizzes and midterms like clockwork. They’ve been sitting next to one another for this lecture since the beginning of the semester. That... shouldn’t feel like a long time, but it does. As though September was lifetimes ago instead of a couple of short months.

She trails after him persistently, walking quickly to keep up and staring in a not-so-hidden way at the bags beneath his eyes. As they walk, she won’t stop asking questions about how he’s doing and the last assignment and it just seems as though you’ve been having a hard time lately, Blaine, which is nothing but a more polite way of pointing out how badly he’s been failing at everything and Blaine just doesn’t have time for this.

He finally manages to shake her off by claiming he has an important doctor’s appointment to go to, which is a the first excuse he can think of but makes her face sag in relief in a way that makes his stomach twist in discomfort and self-consciousness. Even though Sarah has never been one for physical affection, she gives his forearm a sharp squeeze and smiles before she lets him go on his way. The way her lips stretch wide is supposed to look encouraging, he thinks. It comes out more worried than anything else, but Blaine has places to be. More important things to worry about, for now. Quietly filing the expression on her face at the back of his mind under things to think about when this is all over, Blaine turns and walks out of the building. The brisk warmth of the autumn sun tries its best to warm his face against the frigid air, its brightness all he needs to keep him company as he heads toward the station.

The bookstore that Amita and her husband own is over in Brooklyn. He tracks the time carefully on his phone as he goes, already trying to estimate what time he’s going to have to leave in order to get home before sunset. The train rumbles beneath the city, and Blaine keeps himself plugged into his iPod. Tucked into a corner seat with his head leaning against the window, feeling the quiet rumbling shake him down to his bones.

Being underground where no light can reach still puts him on edge, even though he knows it’s an impractical thing to feel. Even if Kurt found him down here, he reasons with himself, how would he manage get out? Walk up the stairs into the sun like a normal human being? No; this is as safe as Blaine can be, outside the walls of his apartment. It doesn’t stop the apprehension from niggling at his head nonetheless.

He tries to focus on the light, commercial music in his ears instead: dance music, love songs, soulful ballads, and all of them new enough that he doesn’t know the words yet. The male and female singers’ voices meld into a steady beat in his ears as Blaine speeds beneath the surface of the city.

The journey takes just over fifty minutes overall, including the time it takes him to walk to the exact address Amita had given him. It’s in a fairly nice area; still urban, but with the occasional barren tree dotted along the street and a slightly more laid-back atmosphere that makes him feel at ease. Most of the buildings are only five or six stories high, with shops nestled in the ground floor. It takes Blaine a few minutes to spot the bookstore despite the address clutched in his hand, his eyes skimming along ground level in search for a likely sign. Despite the very good directions, Amita had failed to provide him with the store’s actual name. That probably means that there’s only one bookstore on this particular street, but for the life of him he can’t seem to spot it. There’s a small law office with a sign above that proudly proclaims them to be Peterson, Cohen, and Chang; a deli, a corner store, a small dress shop...

It’s only when his eyes skirt upwards that he spots the sign. It’s right on front of one of the buildings at second floor level, green and slightly tattered as the lower portion shifts in the wind. It reads Second Story in slanted cream lettering, followed by a simple drawing of an open book.

When Blaine crosses the street and gets closer, he notices a plaque at street level next to a propped-open door with a doormat and worn-looking wooden staircase right inside. The plaque features a large arrow pointing up, and reads:

 

Second Story Bookstore
is just upstairs!
Second hand, fiction, reference, and more!


Taking a deep breath, Blaine obediently wipes his feet on the mat – it wouldn’t be there if people didn’t want him to use it – and begins to ascend the stairs. They creak pleasantly in a way that reminds him of old movies and the haunted houses his parents used to bring him to as a kid. There is a door right at the top with another sign that reads Second Story Bookstore: Come On In!

He turns the knob and pushes his way inside.

At once, the smell of books hits him like a physical force as soon as he crosses over the threshold. Old books, new books, hardcovers, paperbacks; the smell of pages and covers and knowledge all bound up inside, tickling at his nose and making his fingertips buzz from the desire to hold their soft, crinkled pages in his hands and read. The amount of open space is small, but warm and brightly lit; there is a large, full-pane window in the wall behind him that lets natural light flood the entire store. The old-fashioned hardwood floors creak with every step Blaine takes. What space there is seems to be filled with shelves upon shelves of books, lining the walls and creeping out into the floors, creating subsections and nooks and crannies full of information and stories and tales. The thousands of books tucked into the shelves are, without a doubt, what gives the space its vibrancy: their multi-coloured spines creating a sea of colours that makes it impossible to focus his attention on just one thing.

“Good afternoon,” says a soft, kindly male voice, and Blaine startles at the interruption. He spins around and comes face to face with an older man hovering behind the counter. He looks about the same age as Amita; maybe sixty-five, if not a bit younger. Thick salt-and-pepper hair curls behind his ears, and he has a pair of glasses perched on his nose that are almost certainly at least ten years old in style. He’s wearing a striped button-up shirt beneath a pullover sweater. There is a friendly smile on his face.

“Hello,” says Blaine formally, stepping forward and pulling his hand out of his pocket to extend it towards him. “I’m sorry, are you Mr. Williams?”

“You must be Blaine,” says the man with a wide smile, stepping out from behind the counter to take Blaine’s hand. The palms of his hands are pink and slightly pudgy, and he takes Blaine’s hand and shakes with a gentle grip. His palm is warm against Blaine’s as they shake. “Feel free to call me Jack, don’t you worry. I’ll go let ‘Mita know you’ve arrived.”

He heads toward the back of the shop, disappearing behind a plain-looking door with a No Public Access sign that he unlocks with a set of keys. Blaine takes the moment to slide his eyes over the hand-written section signs dotted around the store: Classic Literature, Religion, Large Print, Architecture. After less than a minute, the door swings open again. Amita steps out first, her husband trailing behind her. She’s wearing soft-looking indoor slippers, and hair is swept back into a low ponytail. There is a smile on her face.

“Blaine!” she exclaims, coming across the shop floor with open arms. There is a medium-sized box in one of her hands. She gives him a quick hug when he gets close enough, carefully avoiding hitting him with the box, which Blaine returns. It’s possible that he clings a little too tightly in her embrace, but he knows that she understands. When she pulls away, her eyes are lit up with purpose. “Did you bring them?”

“I did,” Blaine replies, nervous excitement bubbling up inside his chest. He opens his book bag, reaching in and rummaging around, pushing aside textbooks until his hand connects with cool plastic bag. Hand closing around the thing material of the plastic bag, Blaine pulls it out by the tied handles. It’s heavy.

“Oh, perfect,” says Amita, and Blaine shoots her a worried look.

“You two are okay here, right?” he asks, feeling anxious. Even though they’ve talked about this before, he can’t quite manage to make himself stop fussing. “You’re safe?”

Glancing up, Amita sends him a slightly amused smile. “We’re fine, I promise,” she reassures him, and her husband reaches over to rest a hand on her back as they stand. “Neither of us are leaving going to leave our home at night for any reason. And this whole shop is lit up with the windows, see? Just in case he gets curious.” She gestures broadly to the large windows that look out onto the street outside.

Jack smiles kindly over his glasses, and Amita turns to look at him. “Is it okay if we take over the back table, love?”

“Of course,” says Jack. “I’ll handle any customers that come in, but it’s been a slow day so far.” He turns to Blaine. “Would you like anything? Tea, water?”

“Tea would be lovely,” Blaine replies with an intentionally charming and bright-eyed smile, because it’s rude to turn down something to eat or drink when someone offers it to you. Amita gives him an amused side-eye that makes him think his private school attitude might have come through a bit strong, but Jack just smiles.

He gives his wife a quick kiss on the cheek before walking to the back of the store and heading through the door again. Amita rolls her eyes and gestures at Blaine to follow her, leading him behind a stack of books to a round reading table with four chairs. She lowers herself down into one of the chairs efficiently, dropping the box on the table with a slightly loud clunk that reverberates throughout the quiet space. Blaine follows suit, placing the plastic bag on the table. He unbuttons his heavy coat with cold fingers, sliding his arms out and pushing it over the back of his chair.

When Amita raises her dark eyebrows and glances at the bag, Blaine nods. She snags the plastic bag by the handle, tugging it over and undoing the knot in quick moments. When it’s opened, she reaches inside – and pulls out one of the six wooden stakes that Blaine has carved over the past weeks, turning it over in her hands and looking at it with a careful eye.

“Mmmmm,” she hums quietly, holding the stake up horizontally and narrowing her eyes at it. She tilts it from side to side, testing the weight, and all at once Blaine feels very much self-conscious of his work.

“I’ve never really done carving before,” he explains hastily, feeling a flush creeping up the back of his neck. “I mean, I was never in woodshop in school or anything. I honestly had no idea what I was doing.”

“They’re not bad,” intones Amita slowly, rolling the stake between her fingers. She lays it down on the table and reaches over to open the metal box she had brought over to the table, plucking out a very old-looking leather-bound book from inside. A page is marked with a bright yellow post-it note that juxtaposes unapologetically with the antiquated look of the book itself; Amita opens it to the bookmarked page and turns the book around to show him.

“From what I’ve been able to tell, this seems to be the most favoured design historically,” she says, and Blaine leans in to take a closer look. On the thin page in front of him, surrounded by blocks of text in a language he cannot read, is a faded picture of what is unmistakably a wooden stake. In the picture, it has a visibly elongated and sharp tip. The carving seems to start about halfway down the shaft, resulting in a long, drawn-out point.

Blaine glances down at his own stakes and feels a spike of worry; the tips he carved are much shorter, only about an inch long. Now that he thinks of it, too, they don’t look nearly sharp enough to puncture any kind of chest. It hadn’t quite felt... real, yet, when he carved these. He had barely been able to think the word ‘vampire’, let alone think his way through the practicalities of killing one. Now, however, it’s occurring to him just how insufficient his stakes would be in real life.

“Oh,” he says, feeling his eyebrows furrow together as he looks from the picture to the actual stake.

“We’ll make them a little sharper,” Amita reassures him quickly. “Did you bring a knife? I went out and bought a few today, but if you have your own...?”

“I did,” says Blaine, bending over to unzip the compartment of his book bag where his own whittling knife is nestled. He grabs it by the handle and lays it down on the table, glancing up at Amita and biting his lip. “I suppose it makes sense that they have to be longer, actually. If you want to, you know. Get past the ribcage.”

“Very true,” Amita smiles, plucking her own knife out of her box and shooting him a smile. Blaine stares down at the opened plastic bag full of the other five stakes, an uncertain feeling welling up in his stomach. They look so... inadequate. Small and flimsy and simple sharpened wood; nothing but oversized toothpicks, really. They don’t look anywhere near powerful enough to take down the monster Blaine knows Kurt to be; the beast he’s seen snap a man’s wrist backwards without a second of difficulty or hesitation.

“You really think these will work?” Blaine asks softly, hoping that he doesn’t sound like he’s doubting her expertise. It’s just that... god, they look like nothing. Splayed out on the table, cylindrical little jokes with too-short tips.

“I wrote and published a research paper a few years ago on the cultural implications of different ways to kill vampires in folklore,” Amita says, shrugging her shoulders and not looking offended in the slightest. “A wooden stake to the heart is definitely the oldest, most common, and most cross-cultural recorded method – although some groups preferred to use steel or iron rods instead.” She reaches into the metal box, rummaging around inside without quite looking him in the eye. “The problem, Blaine, isn’t just that it’s difficult to separate the folklore from the fact: it’s that there simply aren’t too many instances of proven vampire killings to choose from. The vampires’ own methods of butchery are much more well-documented; their powers, their abilities. Actually killing them is... not quite so common.”

“... I see,” says Blaine quietly, staring down at the bag full of stakes with a sinking heart. “Then... how can we be sure –?”

“We can’t,” she says simply, pulling something metallic out of the box. “Instead, we’re just going to have to be prepared for anything when the time comes.”

She opens her hand, and Blaine stares down at its contents. Resting on top of her palm are several small, thin discs of a shiny metal. Silver, he thinks, something from his less than successful internet searches rippling in his mind. Amita pulls a small hammer out of the box as well, holding it up for him to see.

“Once we have them sharp enough, I figured we could try to tip them with silver,” she explains. “Just in case: better to hit two birds with one stone?”

“Good idea,” Blaine nods, a small smile tugging at his lips at the obvious thought she’s put into this.

It’s still incomprehensible to him, sometimes, having someone on his side after so much time on his own. Another mind on the job to brainstorm ideas, and think of solutions, and just be there to believe him when almost no one else ever would. Everything is still hard, and horrific, and Kurt can still take Blaine apart with his words just as easily as he always has. But despite the way Kurt can still toy with him like a marionette on strings, Blaine has still felts so, so much more alive in the week since meeting Amita in the coffee shop. As though his life has some sort of spark of meaning again. As though there’s some kind of hope.

He’d been clinging to the edge of the precipice before, fingers slipping. So close to letting himself tumble off into the darkness. Now... now he thinks he just might have a chance.

“Here we are,” comes a friendly voice from behind him, and Blaine turns to see Jack coming out of the room with three steaming mugs on an old-fashioned tray. He doesn’t even flinch at the selection of stakes and tools on the table, which Blaine assumes speaks volumes about his inclusion in his wife’s career over the years.

“Thank you very much,” says Blaine with honest gratitude as a white mug with a cat on it gets placed in front of him – spicy-smelling and hot, with a floral hint hiding slyly underneath that reminds him strangely of his mother. When Jack places a deep red mug in front of Amita, they share a private smile; her fingers run down his forearm in a small and no doubt long-practiced gesture of quiet gratitude for the tea.

Irrationally, Blaine’s stomach twists uncomfortably at the gesture. His mind drags him back to last night’s dream – Kurt, pressing gentle, sweet kisses to his closed eyelids and running a hand through his curls with caring fingers – before he shakes his head to banish it. When Blaine opens his eyes again, Jack is already gone; going back across the room with his own cup of tea and the tray under his arm to man the desk again.

“Something on your mind?” Amita asks, expressive eyebrows raised ever-so-slightly, and Blaine thinks he must be imagining the apprehensive look in her eyes. He blinks, and there is nothing there but quiet curiosity only a moment later. She picks up her cup, cradling it carefully because of the heat, and blows on the liquid inside in just the same way he’s seen her do with every hot drink at every coffee shop.

Under the table, Blaine gives his arm a sharp pinch to bring him back to the present moment. He runs through likely topics with a slightly frantic edge, his mind settling on something he’s been desperately curious about for days anyways.

“You say that there’s so little information about killing them,” Blaine begins, hands twisting in his lap under the table. He hopes this isn’t too personal a question. “But... you said that you met one, once. And you survived. I just... I suppose I was wondering how that happened, and how you got out alive. If... if you don’t mind me asking.”

Amita pauses mid-sip of her tea, and for a split second Blaine wonders if he’s gone too far; overstepped some kind of secret boundary. But after only a moment she lets out a little sigh, resting her mug back down on the table and twisting her mouth in an expression of contemplation.

“Of course you can ask me that, Blaine,” she begins, nodding her head and looking serious. “It’s something I wanted to talk about in private, actually. Another reason I was eager to have you over this afternoon.”

“If it’s too much to talk about it –”

“It’s not,” Amita interjects calmly, picking up one of the stakes and spinning it absently in her hands. She looks very calm. “I wish I could talk to more people about it, actually. But people do have a tendency to think you’re insane when you say you’ve been attacked by a vampire.” She laughs dryly. “Funny thing, that.”

“For sure,” says Blaine uncertainly. She picks up her whittling knife in one hand and a stake in the other, not moving to start carving just yet. Simply holding them in her hands like a prop. She takes a deep breath before letting it out again.

“Many years ago,” she begins, staring at the point of the stake. “When I was a great deal younger than I am now, I had a very close friend called Charlotte. Our families both lived in the same neighbourhood in one of the suburbs around Chicago. We grew up together. Her family was... they were very liberal.”

He doesn’t have to ask to know what she’s talking about. Briefly, Blaine’s mind flashes back over some of the stories his mom and dad told him growing up. About how, even in the late 1980s, it had been far harder than one might have thought for his father to convince his parents to agree to let him marry a Filipina girl. They had been from old money, his Grandma and Grandpa Anderson.

They don’t really talk to that side of the family very much anymore.

“We went to a house party at a friend’s house one night,” Amita continues. She takes the whittling knife and begins to scrap it down the length of wood a full inch farther down than Blaine had, sharpening the tip slowly and absently as she speaks. “They used to be really fun, house parties back in the day. We put on our best dresses, did our hair up all nice, and got driven over by one of the other boys on our street.

“It was a great evening. Lots of fun, except... there was this man.” A far-away look comes into Amita’s eyes, and her hands still. “I never found out how he got an invitation inside. But there were quite a few people there I couldn’t have put a name to, and he was charming and charismatic enough that I don’t think anyone would have hesitated to ask him to come in.” She lets out a small, humourless laugh. “But he was... god, I still can’t find the words for it. He stood out, in my head. All of us so young and silly and thinking we were being dangerous, and you could just feel that there was something important about him.” She purses her lips. “And that whole night, he didn’t take his eyes off Charlotte. Not once.”

The story has just started, and Blaine already knows how it’s going to end. His stomach feels heavy with a sympathy that he doesn’t try to put words to.

“Most of the people there were old enough not to have curfews, but the two of us did.” Amita’s voice is steady; just telling a story. Nothing but another piece of vampire lore to show him. “Our street was only half a dozen blocks away, so we decided would be fine to walk home as long as we did it together. We’d had a bit to drink, and that’s probably why we only noticed we were being followed when we were already a couple of blocks away from the house.

“He wasn’t trying to be stealthy, or hide in the shadows. Nothing like that. He was just... walking behind us, steady as you please, with only the light from the streetlamps on his face. It struck me that he didn’t have a jacket, even though it was a bit chilly; just plain bellbottoms and a t-shirt.” She drags the knife up the stake again, going back to sharpening it calmly. “I remember getting a little worried, then. People always told us not to walk home alone, but we weren’t alone. We thought we would be okay. And he was a good ways behind us... until he wasn’t anymore. Until he went from being a block away to a few houses away to right there, right behind us, too fast and quick and abrupt to even process it.” Amita rests the whittling knife and the stake down on the table, a look of concentration on her face. A piece of her brown-gray hair dangles across her cheek, having escaped from her hair tie. She brushes it back absently, eyes narrowing as she thinks. From the corner of the room, there is the tinkling of the bell; the sound of Jack greeting someone. It sounds faraway; unimportant.

“It’s all slurred with alcohol and speed and fear, now. God, the fear,” she shivers, shrugging her shoulders in a tiny movement. “It didn’t help my case, later on, that I’d been drinking. But I remember grabbing Lotty’s hand and the both of us trying to run, trying to get to one of the houses on the road.” She sucks in a breath. “And then – pain. Pain in my shoulder, cutting through everything else. The man caught up to us, must have ripped me away from her and threw me head-first into the brick wall around one of the nicer houses, because that’s where I was found. I don’t remember it hurting, when my head cracked against the stones, but I do remember the flash of light that went off behind my eyes when it happened. Everything spun and reeled and started to fade around the edges, but I managed to drag my eyes open and keep myself conscious for a few seconds longer. In a crumpled little heap, with my world spinning. And what I saw...”

“The monster,” says Blaine quietly, and Amita nods. She narrows her eyes, focusing on some distant point in the room.

“I saw him grab her wrists,” she says quietly, vaguely; her mind clearly years away as she speaks. “It didn’t register with me, for a moment, that anything was different about him: Lotty was always a small girl, and even if he was a normal man he could have kept her pinned in place.” She pauses, shivering. “But his face.”

There is something peculiar hitched in the corner’s of Amita’s face as she speaks; full of conviction and ferocity. And Blaine realizes that this is the memory she has written dozens of articles about; the moment that she revisits and drags herself through with every book of lore she reads, every time she listens to him talk about Kurt. The quiet awe and horror shining in her eyes lets Blaine know that even though the memory must be over forty years old, it still exists flawlessly frozen in time inside of her mind.

Amita closes her eyes in concentration, clearly dragging details to the surface. “It was like seeing something in a funhouse mirror, almost. His face was all stretched and his mouth was big, full of teeth, with eyes so red they stood out in the darkness. Lotty was crying, but she couldn’t move.” She opens her eyes, lets out a breath. “And then he ripped into her throat like an animal.”

She sits there, staring at her hands clasped in front of her on the table for a long minute. Blaine looks down at his mug of tea, mind raking over the memory drunken man he had watched Kurt kill. Struggling weakly and gurgling his way to death as Kurt took exactly what he wanted, and it had been so obvious that there was no way for him to fight back. The similarities between the two stories, years apart, makes his stomach twist and clench.

They’re all the same, he thinks in revulsion. Swallows hard and stares into the amber liquid in his cup. Cruel and monstrous and horrible, so horrible, and all of them the same.

“I’m so sorry,” says Blaine softly after a minute, and Amita shakes her head as though trying to rouse herself out of a daze.

“It was a long time ago,” she says, picking up her mug and taking a long sip of tea. The soft brown of her fingers looks nice against the deep red of the mug. She shrugs. “I passed out after that, from the crack to the head and the alcohol and the fear. I woke up in a hospital two days later with bandages on my shoulder and head and parents who were so, so very grateful that I was alive. I tried to tell people what had happened, at first; it seemed so important to let people know. But I’d been drinking, and her family was grieving, and no one wanted to hear what I had to say. I had the dreams for three nights after that: the man’s face, coming after me wherever I hid. Watching him kill her – and worse – all over again.”

Amita glances up, and Blaine looks over to see that she is sharing a look with her husband across the room. Even at a distance, he seems to have noticed the change in her body language. Jack raises his eyebrows in a quick motion of non-verbal communication, but Amita shakes her head and sends him a smile. He nods, going back to cataloguing books from behind the counter.

“None of that really stopped me from talking about it, though,” she finishes coolly, shrugging her shoulders and taking a sip of tea. “It’s just that I found more... acceptable ways to talk about fairy stories.” She lets out a slightly bitter-sounding laugh. “Well. That worked for a while, anyways.”

“What do you mean?” asks Blaine curiously, glad for the shift in topic. Amita gives him a long look over the top of her cup.

She makes a small humming noise, lips pursing together as a ghost of some strong emotion passes over her face. Her hands tighten on the mug. “Apparently, if you reach a certain degree of... vehemence about your theories, it’s not out of the question for Universities to... well. ‘Request’ that you take early retirement, so to say.”

What?” asks Blaine, mouth falling open in surprise. “Your department, they...?”

“Mmhmm,” Amita confirms darkly, tilting her chin up, and for an odd moment she very much reminds him of an argumentative child. “It was all very civil,” she sneers, an icy tone underneath the words. “But they made it quite clear that I wasn’t worth their trouble anymore. Luckily, the opportunity opened up to buy the shop and move here, but...” She pushes her hair back behind her ear, looking older and more worn for her years. “It’s not the same, obviously.”

“God,” says Blaine, but Amita is already drawing herself up. Pushing the obvious resentment and frustration behind her, straightening the folds of her blouse.

“Anyways, there’s something I wanted to ask you about,” says Amita, folding her hands on the table and leaning toward him slightly. There’s a shift of movement that catches Blaine’s eye, and sees that Jack has wandered back across the room with his cup of tea in hand. He slides himself easily into one of the empty chairs.

Amita doesn’t pause despite his arrival. “Kurt... you’ve told me that he calls you on the phone, and sometimes the two of you have conversations outside the door. You’ve mentioned that he seems quite willing to talk about himself.”

“He is,” Blaine mutters, fingers feeling twitchy as he remembers the most recent set of gruesome descriptions he’d been forced to listen to while curled up on the living room floor, head pressed against the wood and eyes squeezed shut in an attempt to block out the details.

“Has Kurt ever made any indication of exactly how old he is? Where he’s from?”

Blaine blinks. “I... a bit? Not really; he’s... hang on, let me think.” He stares down at the tabletop for a long minute, willing the details to return to him. Dragging up facts from over the weeks and days. Kurt had said something on that first night. “Austria,” Blaine blurts, head snapping up to look at them. “He told me on the night we met that he’s from Austria originally. And... he was around when television was new. I... god, sorry, I can’t think of anything else.”

He’s always wondered, of course, about Kurt’s past. Thought about what kind of person he might have been back when he was alive; even trailed over the idea of a human Kurt wistfully in his own mind where no one else could hear him. But the actual specifics; times, and dates, and places? Kurt had always seemed far too ethereal to come from one specific place in time; whenever he’d tried to imagine the time Kurt lived in in the past, Blaine always drew a blank. Kurt had always seemed like too much of an enigma to try to place.

Amita nods seriously, and Blaine second guesses himself. “Is it important?” he asks, feeling nervous.

“It could be,” Jack chimes in, his voice warm and comfortable and soft. He is very much a gentle man, Blaine realizes at once. Jack shrugs, resting his weathered hands on the table. “If he’s very old, he must be very powerful to survive so long, right?” He looks over to his wife for confirmation, who nods.

“Blaine,” says Amita, turning to face him seriously. “Do you think you can manage to find a way to get him to talk about his past? It could give us a much better idea of what we’re up against; could maybe even give us the edge we need to know how to fight him.”

“I...” Blaine trails, a shiver of apprehension running up his spine. There is something of danger there, nudging at his mind. Some of his uncertainty must show on his face, because she rushes to continue.

“You obviously don’t have to anything you think would put you in danger,” she adds quickly. He bites down on his lip. “It’s at your discretion, Blaine. Whatever you think you could get away with asking without him getting suspicious. You could potentially find out something helpful.”

“... I can try,” Blaine concedes after a minute, and Amita reaches over to give his arm an encouraging pat. Her hand is warm and strong, and he manages an at least semi-charming smile in return.

It isn’t the Blaine doesn’t want to know about Kurt’s past – at least, in abstract terms. Not in details and bodies and gore, no, but how and when and why could be nice to hold in his head. The problem really is that Blaine has never been a very good liar. Not ever, not even when he was a kid. His parents have been telling him since he was small that he wears his heart on his sleeve, and he isn’t sure that Kurt’s inability to see his actual face will deter him at all from sussing out Blaine’s true purpose.

It has always, always been easier for Blaine to be someone else instead of pretending to be someone else. He just hopes that he can find a way to get Kurt to talk without fucking it all up.

“How about we get started on these stakes?” Jack asks after a slightly too-long pause, and that at least is something everyone can agree on.

They spend the next few hours at the table in the back, Jack popping up and out of his chair every time a customer comes inside. The three of them, talking about lore and history and the most recent dreams, and sometimes just about life in general. Chatting as they craft the tools to kill monsters.

The sharpening is productive, although they have a little bit more trouble with the silver tips. Dipping them into liquid silver would obviously be much faster and more productive, but none of them have access to the necessary facilities. The little disks might be made out of very thin sterling silver, but no amount of careful hammering will make them collapse onto the tips of the stakes and stay there in quite the way Amita had intended. Eventually, it occurs to Blaine to hammer them to fit to the sides of the stakes and stick them there with superglue; not directly on the tip but close enough that they’ll be plunged into a rhetorical chest if the occasion calls for it.

“If they are allergic, that should at least cause some mild heart rash?” Blaine offers up haplessly after quite a long time of tweaking and fiddling with the silver in an attempt to make it fit just right, and Amita throws back her head and lets out a loud laugh.

Eventually, Blaine has to leave. He wants to get back home with lots of extra sun in the sky just in case, and both of the Williamses nod seriously when he reaches for his coat. They gather up his stakes for him as he buttons himself back up. When they reach the door together, Amita gives him a tight hug, which seems to have become a standard form of greeting and farewell for the two of them ever since that first time in the coffee shop. She finally lets him go with a squeeze, and Jack offers to walk him to the street since he already has proper shoes on.

As soon as the two of them arrive at the bottom of the stairs to outside, however, a serious expression steals over Jack’s face. His greying eyebrows draw together, and he reaches up to place a hand on Blaine’s shoulder.

“You know that ‘Mita means well,” begins Jack carefully, his grip stronger that he looks on Blaine’s shoulder. “But Blaine; don’t do anything you think might put you in harm’s way. I mean it. Amita is a wonderful woman, and I love her more than anything, but she’s nothing if not committed to her research. She doesn’t always... think, when she’s digging for the truth. So just... stay safe. Both of us want you to be safe, even if she gets a little... focused, sometimes. All right?”

It is the longest Blaine has heard the man speak for the entire afternoon. Throughout their entire visit, Jack had seemed very much content to allow his wife to take the lead in the conversation; to fill the space with her knowledge and expertise and enthusiasm. In Blaine’s mind, the older man had almost been reduced to part of the scenery at times; nice enough, but so quiet and gentle that he snuck into the background.

But he isn’t being passive now. His light blue eyes are full of seriousness and concern as he holds Blaine’s gaze evenly, waiting for a response. Eventually, Blaine makes an affirmative noise and nods, which appears to be enough for Jack. He squeezes Blaine’s shoulder with long fingers, wishes him a very safe journey home, and heads back inside.

Wrapping his coat tighter around himself, Blaine blinks – before turning around and dutifully walking toward the subway. Toward his apartment; toward home, with the sun in the sky and a whole afternoon’s worth of new information thrumming in his brain.

 

--

When Blaine gets home – long before the sun has tucked itself behind the skyscrapers, thank goodness; he’d been very carefully with his timing – he can feel the anxiety of having a mission clenching at the base of his stomach. Like something out of a spy movie. Except he’s never had any of that kind of training and his confidence in his ability to wheedle out any kind of information feels small and scrunched up inside his chest. He doesn’t feel as frightened has he used to, ever since he met Amita; doesn’t feel like the world is ending every night, and he thanks whatever omnipotent force might be out there for that. But it doesn’t make waiting for Kurt to come and taunt him, coax him, purr at him through the door or into his ear any less wearing. Doesn’t stop his whole body from tensing and drawing taut as he waits.

He works through the evening as anticipation builds slowly in his chest; makes himself dinner, eats it mechanically, and sets himself up on the living room couch with his phone on the table to wait to see if Kurt tries to contact him. He tries to get a little bit of homework done; stares at the empty Word document on his laptop and attempts to entice words out of his head and onto the page, because this paper is worth too much of his mark to make something up the night before and he has to be able to do this. After homework largely proves itself to be a lost cause, he reads through a couple of Amita’s articles instead. First “Reconciling Terminology: Comparing Ancient Tales of Demons, Spirits, and Ghouls with the Modern-Day Vampire”, followed by “Garlic, Holy Water, and Crucifixes: Tracing the Development of Vampire-Killing Lore throughout History”.

As Blaine reads, he finds himself understanding more than ever why Amita chose to devote her life to studying these creatures, even when she could never discuss them as anything more than legends: it’s practically impossible for Blaine to focus on anything else, nowadays. His assignments and readings go ignored while he pours over lore and legends every night, finding translations of Russian fairytales and comparing equivalent myths from Malaysia, Iran, India. Trying to sort through supposed first-hand accounts and determine if they’re legitimate or false or something in between. If Blaine were paid to fixate on vampires in the same way Amita had been, he could make himself quite a living out of it.

As it is, his real obligations just keep on slipping more and more by the wayside anyways.

Nervousness and anxiety twist in the base of his stomach, and every little noise makes him jump and reach for his phone with his heart in his chest. Again and again, Blaine goes over potential ways to introduce a discussion about time and age in his head, rehearsing potential conversation segues until the words lose all meaning. He doesn’t have to do this, he reminds himself. If there’s no way to ask, he won’t: he’ll wait for another night instead. The reassurance does nothing to temper the anxiousness.

Eventually, Blaine flicks the television on when his eyes begin to grow too heavy to read anymore. Sharpening stakes as he watches first a news program, followed by a few re-runs of some makeover program or other that he can barely register the name of. He sits and waits and watches for hours, half-sleeping and half-waking, until the sky begins to lighten outside his windows and he realizes that Kurt isn’t coming tonight. Kurt does that every once and a while; to fuck with Blaine’s nerves, he’d always thought. Even though the realization that Kurt isn’t coming should feel like a balloon of anxiety deflating inside of him, all Blaine feels is frustrated and exhausted and reluctant to close his eyes for fear of the so-real visions of blood and pain and dying, dying, dying every night behind his eyelids.

When he finally goes to sleep, it’s six in the morning and he sleeps through two classes the next day.

And the opportunity to actually try his hand at getting information out of Kurt doesn’t come until tomorrow night.

It’s only one in the morning when Kurt arrives. Blaine is sitting on the ground in front of the door when it happens, his back slumped against the wooden barrier. There is a thin green blanket that usually lives over the back of the couch puddled up instead around his legs; every winter like clockwork, he manages to forget how chilly his building gets when the nights begin to stretch longer and longer. Cross-legged and slumped, Blaine sits and waits with his eyes closed to shut out the world. Awake, yes – but drifting. With the phone on the floor a few feet away with a discarded printed-off article Amita had recommended next to it, he lets his mind edge along unconsciousness as he waits for something to happen.

All of a sudden, he feels his whole body tensing up before he fully processes why. The hairs on his forearms stand on end, the skin exposed to the air where the sleeves of his pyjama shirt are rolled up. Something hot and sharp sparks along his spine, and then –

“Hello again, pretty,” hums Kurt’s voice through the door, right behind him, languid and warm and slippery as it washes over him. Blaine jumps instinctively at the suddenness of it, his eyes snapping open and pushing himself to sit up straighter against the door. Startled anticipation tingles along his fingertips, even as borrowed courage makes his spine feel hard and strong like steel.

The sound of Kurt’s high, beautiful voice in his ear over the phone or through the meaningless barrier of the door... it used to be everything. His whole world, narrowed down to a single point in space and time. Nowadays, Blaine tries to tell himself that he can almost detach himself from it on some base level. Hover above what Kurt says, or does, or makes him feel in some crucial way. He isn’t entirely sure whether it’s true or not.

Regardless of whether or not any opportunity will present itself to coax any information out of him, Kurt has made it abundantly clear that he fully expects Blaine to participate in their parodies of conversations through whatever medium they might take place. To sit mute and obstinate is to order the execution of some stranger out in the dark, and Kurt is responsible for enough death and pain and grief on his own without Blaine to help him along.

“Hello,” says Blaine quietly, licking his lips. He takes a deep breath, holding the air inside and making it warm before he exhales it back over his saliva-damp lips. Tilting his head back to rest against the door, he tugs the blanket higher up over his knees and waits for the inevitable response.

The long, drawn-out scraaaaape of fingernails resonates through the door, and Blaine sucks in a quick breath. Kurt is dragging his nails down the wood exactly where Blaine’s head is rested against the other side; he can feel the vibrations, hear the sound so very loud and clear and right there. He clenches his fists, refusing to move because to react would be a concession. The sound and feel of it comes again a few seconds later, Kurt’s fingernails hard and deep and insistent as they dig slow grooves into the wood.

After a moment, too, Blaine becomes aware of something else. There are deep, shuddering breaths coming from right outside as well. It’s unmistakably Kurt, breathing in air hard through his nose and releasing it through his mouth. The sound is so close that Kurt must be practically pressed up against the wood; in and out, in and out. Pulling in air and releasing it almost reluctantly into the night; every time Kurt exhales, he lets out a little almost-sigh.

“Did you miss me last night, beautiful thing?” Kurt’s voice drifts through the door, heated and close and so sly that Blaine can practically envision the coy grin on his pale, angelic face. The image drifts in front of his eyes for a moment, unbidden, and he squeezes his eyes shut to will it away. “I did miss you, Blaine, although I must say that I managed to have a rather fabulous time despite how very boring you’re still insisting on being.”

The best way to get information is to do what he wants, Blaine reminds himself, shoving a hard through his hair as another scrape of nails on wood sends visceral sparks of irritation and unpleasantness through his insides.

“I... yes. I noticed you didn’t come,” begins Blaine cautiously, trying his best hand at civility. Kurt lets out an amused little titter of a laugh in response, his voice so close that Blaine can practically taste it.

“Interesting choice of words,” says Kurt salaciously, and a combination of mortification and frustration twist in Blaine’s chest. He feels his lips tighten, hand clenching in the blanket around his middle at the taunt. From behind him, Blaine can hear another deep inhalation of dragged-in breath.

“Have I ever told you about smell, Blaine?” continues Kurt, blithe and heady and utterly unconcerned with whatever Blaine’s reaction to his insinuation might be. “God, smell. Every person smells different, you know. Smells and tastes ever-so-slightly unique.”

“Do they?” asks Blaine stiffly, suddenly very much aware of the way Kurt is breathing. In through his nose, out through his mouth. Deep and hard lingering, as though cherishing the air he takes in. Blaine’s skin prickles, and something curls up and tucks in on itself inside of him.

“Mmmm,” says Kurt, scraping a single nail idly down the frame. “From diet and lifestyle and everything boring, obviously. But there’s also something personal about it. Something real and inherent and them about the way a person smells.” There’s a pause, and Kurt makes a low, pleased sound. “The boy I found last night smelled good,” he says, and Blaine squeezes his eyes tight shut.

He hates this part the worst, he thinks. The nameless corpses that Kurt strews across his mind; the little details that make their way into his treacherous dreams.

“I’m very particular, I admit it,” Kurt continues, almost as though sharing a piece of particularly juicy gossip. “What can I say? There’s no need to settle for anything less than the best, don’t you agree? Mmmm.” There is a pause, and Kurt’s breaths grow even more ragged. Closer, as he whispers against the wood. “We danced...” The slide of hand up the firmness of the door, stroking over it like a lover. “...and fucked...” Words so close they may as well be ghosting along Blaine’s ear, and he wraps his arms around himself in the emptiness of his apartment. “... and then I opened up his pretty neck and tasted him on the inside.”

Every single one of the reasons Blaine had been looking forward to speaking to Kurt again have completely slipped away from him. His own breaths are coming in shuddery, jagged little bursts; his heart is beating rabbit-quick in his chest. And Blaine knows that Kurt can hear it; can hear and smell what he’s doing to Blaine’s body, how he’s making him feel. Can perceive it the way ordinary people can see things with their own two eyes; is probably basking in how very easy it is for him to shatter Blaine’s world to pieces.

The fear is back again, as though it had never been pushed aside by false courage. Skittish and sharp and horrible inside Blaine’s chest.

“And the whole time I thought about you, beautiful thing,” says Kurt, soft and intense. The gentle smoothing of a hand against the wood. “Always you. About how you’re going to taste when I finally get to have you.”

There is a sinking feeling in Blaine’s stomach. Despite the fact that Kurt cannot see him, Blaine feels suddenly and utterly exposed to him.

“What do I smell like to you?” Blaine asks quietly, eyes open but heavily lashed as he stares blankly at the empty space of his apartment. The words sneak out from between his lips before he can fully process them or stop himself.

And through the door, Kurt groans. It’s a high, helpless noise; desperate and wanton in a way he so rarely hears the man sound. There is the small, muted thud of weight colliding with the door behind him, and for a moment Blaine wonders if Kurt is sitting against the door on his side, too.

“Oh, Blaine,” Kurt whispers, inhaling deeply and letting out another breathy groan. His tone is practically obscene, and Blaine’s treacherous cock twitches between his legs. Conditioned by the dreams that he himself creates. “... I don’t think there are words to describe it,” Kurt finishes after a pause, voice high and strained, and Blaine shivers with a horrible mix of emotions he forces himself not to examine too closely.

They sit like that, the pressure of Kurt’s body on his side of the door against Blaine’s back, and do not speak for what feels like forever. As hard as he tries, Blaine can’t seem to calm his heart rate back into something normal. It’s a stalemate, like this. A tie between them that can’t be broken. Kurt so close that it feels as though he could crawl inside of Blaine’s brain if he wanted it, but unable to cross those few precious inches across the threshold.

Eventually, though, Kurt lets out a chuckle. “But now, aren’t I being self-centred?” The vibrations of his laughter resonates through the door, and Blaine can feel them against his back. Absently, Blaine notes that he could move if he wanted. Stand up and walk away, go sit on the couch or on a chair and put some distance between them. For some reason, however, he can’t make himself stand. Kurt’s voice is getting back some of its trademark carelessness; the air of certainty that is so familiar to him. “I haven’t even asked you how you’ve been, Blaine, how very rude of me. You only have so long to live this little life of yours, pretty thing. I should at least give you the courtesy of feigning interest.”

And all at once, the stalemate between them is broken. It feels as though the bottom drops out of Blaine’s stomach.

“Don’t,” Blaine pleads quietly, giving his head a shake and feeling his curls twitch around his ears. “Kurt –”

Tell me about your day, pet,” says Kurt firmly, and there is a rigidity to his voice that wasn’t there before. An insistence. This time, it isn’t a suggestion.

Feeling wound tight and breakable, Blaine lets out a frustrated sigh and frowns even though he knows that Kurt can’t see him. There is really only one option in terms of things that Blaine can talk about; everything important in his life is secret and covert and hidden away. School is the only thing that Blaine can possibly bring up.

Disturbingly, it takes him far longer than it should to remember what, exactly, he’s been doing in his classes lately; so much of his life has shifted to circle around his newfound friends in the past few days, and it’s worryingly hard to remember the contents of the classes that he sits through but doesn’t absorb anything from.

The nails scratch down the doorframe again, hard and sharp in reminder, and Blaine feels irritation jolt along his stomach.

“... classes are going well,” Blaine begins for lack of anything else to say, grasping at straws for details in his head. “We have a difficult professor in my constitutional law class, but he was in a good mood today. That was nice, I guess.”

Through the door, Kurt lets out a derisive snort; Blaine can practically envision him rolling his eyes. “Dry, boring old documents,” he sneers, and it’s disturbing how easily such a beautiful voice can be twisted and distorted into something ugly. “How very pedantic of you. Is all of that really what you’re fighting so hard for, Blaine? Trying to discern some meaning out of meaningless scraps of paper written hundreds of years ago–”

In retrospect, Blaine has absolutely no idea where the words come from. Before his mind can come anywhere close to catching up with his mouth, he cuts Kurt off mid-sentence:

“Maybe you know a bit more about that time than I do,” Blaine blurts out, almost accusingly, the words tripping off his tongue all speed and bravado and bluntness – before his eyes blow wide with sudden terror. He claps a hand over his mouth, full well knowing that Kurt can hear the action, and squeezes his eyes tight in disbelief at himself. He clenches his body together and down into the ground, willing himself to disappear.

“... excuse me?” comes Kurt’s voice after what feels like a very long pause, high and tight, and Blaine wishes he could melt into the floor. This – oh, god, this is definitely not what Amita meant by subtle. Or what Jack meant by safe.

You were going to wait for the right time, you complete moron. Not shout out the first thing that came into your head when the topic even vaguely came up, fucking hell.

Pushing his back against the solidity of the door, Blaine waits with bated breath for Kurt to explode at him. To snap and sneer, or even worse to calmly stand and leave and go out into the night to slaughter someone for his stupidity, his insolence. He can feel his courage shrinking down and shrivelling up inside of him, the fear pulsing through his chest and oh god please don’t kill anyone because of this please please please please please

“I just mean,” Blaine blurts again, hand flying off his mouth as he rushes to elaborate, to dig himself out of the hole he’s already managed to put himself in. The words trip all over each other in their haste to leave his mouth, and why doesn’t he ever think before he speaks? “— the constitution wasn’t all that long ago, you know? Just a few hundred years, really, the seventeen hundreds are practically modern, and I figured you might know more about it because –” the word won’t leave his lips, not in front of Kurt. “Because you’re –” he tries again, and it’s just getting worse and more awful and he’s digging himself even deeper.

He cuts himself off before he can do any more damage. Blaine’s heart is pounding in his chest, and he can feel anxious sweat prickling at his forehead. He bites down hard on his lower lip as Kurt stays silent, doesn’t say anything at all behind him. He’s still there – Blaine can hear him breathing, calm and quiet – but he’s not saying anything and oh, god. He knows.

He knows, Blaine thinks in a blind panic, already scrabbling to think of what to do. He knows I’ve been talking to someone, knows that we’re planning something, he knows he knows he knows he knows

There is a shifting sound from behind him: Kurt is moving, standing, and Blaine jerks his head sideways to look at his phone and wonders how long he should wait after Kurt leaves to call Amita. To panic, and babble, and have someone to apologize to for all of the mistakes he makes.

“Pretty thing...” says Kurt after an interminable stretch of time, speaking the words in a wondering sort of tone. He sounds utterly amazed at the question; or maybe just surprised, or maybe angry, Blaine’s whole body is vibrating too hard for him to be able to tell. “Are you... angling for a story?”

“Kurt,” Blaine chokes out, voice coming out weak and frightened. Using his name to show that he means it. “Kurt, please –” he says, because maybe if he begs nicely enough Kurt will have mercy.

But the rest of his sentence gets cut off by the incongruous, completely unexpected sound of Kurt laughing.

Really laughing, honestly laughing, like someone who just can’t hold it in. Long, high peals of laughter through the door, mirth ringing in Blaine’s ears like in a hollow space, and for a moment he’s worried that Kurt might wake one of his neighbours up.

“Blaine,” Kurt chuckles, and the confusion is so thick in front of Blaine’s eyes that he can barely see. He blinks, suddenly aware of the hardness of the floor beneath him and the chill of the cold in the air, and has absolutely no idea what to feel. “Blaine, you don’t have to be scared. I know that I should find your lack of tact annoying, pet, but it really is so very sweet. Stupid, yes, but sweet.” He lets out another little titter of giggles. “Lovely one, I’m not hiding anything from you; you’ve just never asked.”

“What?” Blaine asks in utter disbelief, holding his whole body ramrod still just in case this is Kurt’s idea of a joke. Give him a false sense of hope before going off to kill someone, or something equally cruel. “You’re not angry? That I’m... curious. About your past.”

“Like I said, I’m not hiding anything from you,” says Kurt slowly, as though stating a blatantly obvious fact of life. He drags a few fingernails idly down the doorframe, but Blaine barely notices. “I thought that much would be obvious by now. You’ve just never asked me about that particular subject before.”

“... oh,” says Blaine quietly, stupidly, feeling the tight knot of nervous anxiety start to loosen inside of him. The unbelievable luck of it feels like a punch to the chest, and he hears himself let out a breathy noise somewhere between a nervous laugh and being winded. He presses his lips together determinedly, not trusting himself not to say something at this point to fuck everything up.

Because from the sounds of it, and completely unbelievably... Kurt actually seems to be willing to talk about himself. To discuss his history, completely willingly.

Blaine feels as though he might just pass out.

“How old exactly do you think I am, though?” asks Kurt dryly, sounding at once amused and strangely offended. He scoffs, letting out a high little huff of annoyance. “I always thought that eternal life in death was the best anti-aging skincare regimen out there, but apparently I was wrong. How flattering of you to say I look like I’m over a hundred.”

“Um,” says Blaine helplessly, raising his hands into the air in defeat despite the fact that Kurt cannot see the gesture, because he definitely doesn’t know what to say to that that wouldn’t get him or someone else in trouble. Distantly, it occurs to him that he and Kurt are having a conversation again. Just... talking, like two ordinary human beings with nothing else between them, and it’s so surreal it makes his head spin. He keeps his silence, though, because Kurt might just be offering him everything Amita and Jack wanted him to find out on a silver platter, and even he knows better than to look a gift horse in the mouth.

It doesn’t help, though, that Kurt’s comment has very much caught him off guard. Even his preliminary research had practically beaten him over the head with the fact that vampires can live for great stretches of time, although nothing seemed to come to a consensus on exactly how long. Although Blaine has never ardently dwelled or theorized about Kurt’s life before he became what he is, there has always been something timeless about him that made Blaine’s mind instinctively stretch back to long-bygone eras.

Whenever his mind had drifted in that direction – on the edge of sleep or when he was so tired in class that the professor’s words lost all meaning and turned into incoherent streams of syllables in his ears – it was always with the assumption that Kurt had to be few hundred years old, if not more than that. His mind had always conjured up details like elegant ruffs around Kurt’s long, pale neck; powdered wigs and Mozart and elaborately fine clothes that would have taken hours to assemble properly. Hapsburgs, at the very least, if not sooner.

But if Kurt is balking at the idea of him being around in 1787... well. That notion seems suddenly very unlikely.

“When were you...?” Blaine trails quietly, not sure of the proper phrasing or if the sentiment is polite at all. Asking ‘when were you killed’ sounds awkward and rude inside his own head, at least. Kurt’s hinted at it before, but during their coffee meet up a few days ago Amita had confirmed for him that vampires are made, not born.

At some point in the past, Kurt was human. Alive. A person, like him. Blaine wonders what he was like, back then; if there are any similarities between Kurt then and Kurt now.

There is a long, weighing pause. Blaine imagines Kurt pondering and considering exactly what he intends to say, how he intends to say it. There is the sound of an idle hand stroking up and down the doorframe. And then –

“Anschluss,” comes Kurt’s voice through the door at last, the word taking on a sudden and unexpected pronunciation as what can only be Kurt’s natural accent tugs at the vowels. The sound of it is unexpected and foreign on the air, and it takes Blaine longer than it should to place where he knows the word. “Do you know what that is, pretty? Did they teach you about it in school?”

“The... the unification between Austria and Germany during World War Two, isn’t it?” Blaine asks uncertainly, trying to dredge up memories from high school and the couple of History classes he took in the first and second year of his undergrad. And god, that’s almost recent compared to what he’d been assuming before.

“Did you have any family in the war, pretty?” Kurt asks, sounding distracted.

“My great-grandfather died in it,” says Blaine, shrugging even though Kurt cannot see him.

“Interesting,” says Kurt, audibly perking up. “Normandy? Okinawa?”

“Liberation of Manila,” Blaine states, dry and flat, and Kurt seems to understand.

“Mmm, of course,” Kurt hums, sounding vague. His voice has taken on an almost light quality; vaguely distant and airy as he speaks. At once, there are a hundred questions that Blaine wants desperately to ask – but he remains silent. Keeps his lips pressed together and his back pressed against the door as he waits, tugging at his sleeves and adjusting the blanket over his lap to have something to do with his hands. Blaine waits – and after a pause, Kurt rewards him by continuing.

“My mother died when I was eight years old,” he begins, voice slow and calm. Matter-of-fact. “She was from a fairly well-off family; very well-educated for the time. She spoke English and French fluently, learned history and philosophy. But she fell in love with my dad, and that... well. That was the end of that.”

“Your father wasn’t well off?” asks Blaine, his natural inquisitiveness sneaking up on him before he has a chance to wonder whether or not asking questions is a good idea. Kurt doesn’t react badly, though; just lets out a little chuckle.

Definitely not,” says Kurt, and for a second Blaine thinks he might hear something fond in his voice. He’s enjoying telling his story, Blaine realizes at once. Having someone to talk to about it. “He worked in train repair, after he came back from the Great War; not a master mechanic, just a grunt man. It was slightly skilled work, at least, so there was never any shortage of jobs for him to do even when things got hard. But... no. He never made very much money.”

There is a sudden noise on the doorframe from right behind him, and Blaine is expecting to for it to be the scraping sound again – but that doesn’t come. Instead, the sound of distracted long fingernails going tap-tap-tap against the wood fills Blaine’s ears. It’s consistent, steady; seeming to drive the narrative onward.

“We lived in Vienna while I was growing up,” Kurt continues. “In such a completely working class neighbourhood. My mother raised me to speak English and French – the ‘languages of the great powers’, she always said. She was always so cosmopolitan to me – to everyone, where we lived.” There is a pause, a slight hitch in breath over the phone that Blaine can’t quite tell whether or not he has imagined it. “When she died... when she died, I became my father’s everything. I was suddenly his whole world, and he was mine.”

“I’m sorry,” Blaine mutters softly, automatically, before he can remember who he’s speaking to. Kurt lets out an ugly snort of laughter.

“It was over eighty years ago, pretty,” Kurt bites, a hint of bitterness twining along the words as he snaps out the endearment. Blaine winces, reprimanding himself for... for what? For feeling sympathy for a little boy who lost his mother? “I’m fairly certain I’m past it by now.”

Arms twisted around his middle, Blaine doesn’t say anything. He remains silent, and after a while Kurt continues.

“It probably seems stupid to you,” Kurt continues knowingly, and Blaine can practically hear the sound of him rolling his eyes, it’s so apparent in his tone. “Knowing everything that was happening at the time. But for me, it was just... life. The ways things were. If things in the city were tense, or uncertain, I certainly didn’t notice at all. It was beyond my concern; I had my own problems. Teenagers always do, you know, and they always seem like the end of the world.”

“Like what?” Blaine asks. The fingernails tap-tap-tap harder against the doorframe.

“I don’t know,” says Kurt. “Normal things. My dad was teaching me how to repair a steam engine. I wanted the newest fashions of coats and shirts and hats, but I couldn’t always afford them. The boys in my neighbourhood didn’t like me: they thought I was... feminine. And strange, and broken. Kid stuff, you know. Normal.” He lets out an amused little sound, high and twisted. Blaine shivers instinctively at the noise. “And after the Nazis came in, my life kept going in very much the same way.”

“Really?” asks Blaine, marvelling for a second at the absurdity of hearing someone who looks so much younger than him describe events from so far in the past. The things Kurt is describing so nonchalantly are narratives taught to every child in every school. Blaine’s eyebrows furrow together, and he frowns. “Things... didn’t change?”

Kurt makes a vague, indistinct sort of noise and huffs out a breath of air.

“I guess?” says Kurt, and Blaine can practically hear the shrug in his voice. “A few people left our neighbourhood without much warning. Some people were happy about the unification; other people were angry. It was all just politics, and I couldn’t really care. Politics was an unfriendly arena for me. And my dad was a practical, simple man: he didn’t care who was in government as long as he and I were safe and sound and looked after. It didn’t matter.”

Tap-tap-tap. Tap-tap-tap. The sound is drumming in Blaine’s brain, the tiny beat of it pounding in his ears as he listens.

“No,” says Kurt, making a thoughtful noise at the back of s throat. “Really, the only reason I really started to notice the change was because of the influx of German soldiers into Vienna. We lived near one of the main train stations, you see, and there were always soldiers coming and going. Nice boys, mostly. Friendly. That’s what they never tell you in the history books, Blaine; all of the worst things in the world are done by very nice people.” He pauses, hesitating. “But... there was one boy in particular. Who was... not. Not so nice, no.”

Blaine tenses, straightening up his back against the door. His skin is prickling. He tries to force himself to relax, but fails; it feels as though every single one of his nerves is on edge.

“It was never anything obvious,” continues Kurt, sounding calm. “Nothing he couldn’t justify, and never anything we would report him to his superiors for. You can’t report someone for always being around, can you? Or for staring, or for making you feel... unnerved. Exposed.” He lets out a little laugh. “Not when you’re a boy. Not in that time. But... he was always there. All the time, even when he wasn’t on duty. Watching me. It... made me feel scared, even though I didn’t really know why.

“My dad... suspected, I think,” says Kurt contemplatively, voice sounding far away. “He... well. He wouldn’t tell me why – it wasn’t something you talked about, god, no – but he told me to be careful. To watch my back around him.” Tap-tap-tap-tap, and Kurt lets out a little huff of air. “One day, the soldier even arrived at our door. Made excuses about needing to look at papers and barged his way inside, and there was nothing we could do. He rooted through our things – my mother’s old jewellery, even, and the kitchen – while he made noises about paperwork and licenses even after we’d proven that everything was in order. He stayed in my room the longest: emptying drawers of my clothes onto the ground, and checking under my mattress, and even shaking out my books as though he could find something hidden inside. When he finally left, I was shaking and I didn’t even know why. Just that he frightened me more than anyone else ever had.”

Every muscle in Blaine’s body is straining toward the closed door, desperate to hear more. He licks his lips, every second of silence feeling like a bottomless chasm in the night.

“And then, all at once, he stopped coming,” says Kurt at last, letting out a laugh. It is a small, unpleasant noise. “We assumed he had been stationed somewhere else, and we were so relieved. I was so relieved. We were safe again, no matter what was going on in the rest of the world. My dad and me, in our little broken home. Out of harm’s way.”

“But he hadn’t been stationed somewhere else,” says Blaine quietly, and it’s not really a question. Kurt purrs, and the sound of a fingernail scraping down the doorframe makes Blaine’s eyes widen. Kurt makes a low, heated noise his throat.

“Smart and gorgeous, I see,” he says, letting out a little breathy noise that makes Blaine’s blood feel cold. “I’m a lucky man.”

Keep him on track. Keep him talking.

“What happened?” Blaine asks quickly, not bothering with finesse when they’re so close. Kurt makes a wounded little noise that drifts through the door, but after a moment the tap-tap-tap of his fingernails begins to build up again. Slow, but gathering speed.

“One night,” says Kurt, the tapping getting faster, “I was walking home. It was late, and I was alone. I wasn’t being careful, not anymore: the solider was gone, and I thought I was safe.” Wet sounds; Kurt, licking his lips. Blaine wonders if it hurts him, to think about this. If Kurt can even feel hurt over anything, anymore.

“I turned the corner,” Kurt says, voice picking up speed. Tap-tap-tap-tap-tap. “And... there he was. He looked... different. Sharper. Harder. But the way he stared... god, it was the same.”

Kurt lets out a tiny, empty laugh. “I know it must be hard for you to believe, pretty thing, but when I was human? I was the farthest thing from a fighter. If my words weren’t going to be enough to save me, I... I would freeze. My body, my mind, everything. I would... lock in place, as though I could avoid whatever was going to happen by going limp like a doll.” He says the words contemptuously. “I saw him, and I froze, and when he came toward me I didn’t even try to run away, or struggle. He was bigger than me, and faster. A soldier. I figured he would hit me, maybe threaten me a little, and then leave. It would be my word against his if I struggled, and I was no one, Blaine. My word against his, and my word didn’t mean anything at all.

“When he grabbed me, I was scared. When he kissed me... god, I was terrified, more terrified than I’d ever been and so stunned, but I still didn’t try to pull away.” The tapping is almost frenetic now; a sharp juxtaposition against the calmness of Kurt’s voice. “And when I felt his face distorting and twisting against my lips...” There is a loud slam that rocks its way through the door, and Blaine jumps and sucks in a startled breath. It sounds like Kurt’s fist. The tapping of the fingernails is gone, now. Everything seems so much quieter than before.

“I tried to run,” says Kurt, and his voice sounds very empty. “I really did. But you know it was already too late.”

Blaine remembers the ease with which Kurt had trapped the drunk man up against the wall, and an image of Kurt, younger-looking and less sharpened by murder and monstrosity, flashes across Blaine’s eyelids. Warm and real and human and alive, innocent and helpless as he’s murdered in a cobblestone street. The image makes Blaine recoil violently, and he shudders.

“I don’t remember much, after that,” says Kurt simply. “I remember... pain. Pain in my neck, and fear. Screaming for my life, and how easily he held me in place while it happened. I remember the taste of his blood in my mouth and how he ordered me to swallow, and I was so scared. I remember more pain, and the world fading, and then... shouts. Yells and cries from the people in the houses, I think, and fire and blood and then everything was gone.” There is a pause. “When I woke, hours later, I was alone. On a cold, hard table with no one around. In the town morgue, I realize now. And everything was so cold. The boy... he was young – had just been changed when he found me, I think – and he was still weak enough that the people outside had able to find a way to kill him before I woke.”

There is a long spell of silence., and Blaine begins to come back to himself. The whole room has faded away as Kurt’s been speaking; reduced to the singular sound of Kurt’s beautiful and terrible voice behind him.

When Kurt speaks again, he sounds... distant. Preoccupied. Miles and miles away from the two of them.

“It was... cruel, the way he did it,” says Kurt slowly, and there is a pain in his voice that Blaine doesn’t understand. “Out in public, where he could be found. Where there was any possibility of him leaving me alone like that. It wasn’t fair.” Another pause, and when Kurt continues there is something sombre and insistent in his voice. “I wouldn’t do it like that.”

“But...” says Blaine in quiet disbelief, shaking his head and blinking hard. “You... you weren’t angry at him for doing it at all? He... he killed you, Kurt. That doesn’t make you angry?”

“Why would it?” Kurt asks, and the utter lack of comprehension in his tone makes Blaine feel sick to his stomach. The sound of a nail being dragged down the doorframe is back, frustrating and sharp, and it digs at Blaine’s brain. “He made more than I was. He made me better. I don’t regret that this happened to me, Blaine. Yes, it would have been nice if it could have been... could have been special, and perfect, and meaningful. It... some of the circumstances could have been... nicer, it’s true. But I don’t feel angry at him for making me what I am.”

“What else?” Blaine asks quickly, hands tightening in the blanket on his lap.

“... pardon me?”

“You said that the circumstances could have been better,” says Blaine, the detail plucked out in his mind as though highlighted in a textbook. “How? What else went wrong?”

For a moment, Blaine thinks he’s gone too far. “Typical,” Kurt snaps. “I give you a gift and all you want is more, you’re so greedy –”

“You said you weren’t hiding anything from me,” Blaine interjects quietly, barely more than a whisper, and Kurt stops talking. Blaine leans his head back against the door, holding his breath and thinking that he must have pushed his luck, that it isn’t going to work – when Kurt begins to talk again.

“When I woke up, I was cold and alone and confused. I was hungry – hungrier than I’d ever been before, it was all I could see. All I could think about. I had no idea where I was, or what had happened, and all I wanted to do was go home.” There is a hint of irony in his tone as he lingers over that last word. The silence is so thick that it feels like a palpable force. “So... I did.”

It takes Blaine long, long seconds before he finally realizes what is significant about that sentence. When it hits him, something distant and painful and unthinkable grips at his chest. His stomach twists, and images of his own parents flash in front of his eyes. His father’s solid hand in his as a child; the way his mother always smiles as though her world is lighting up whenever she sees him after a long separation.

“You didn’t,” Blaine denies quietly, shaking his head and closing his eyes.“... your dad.”

For minutes that stretch on forever, Kurt remains silent on the other side of the door.

“He invited me in as soon as he saw me,” intones Kurt finally, that musical voice twisted up in something thoughtful. Distant, and vague. As though remembering something from a dream. “He was so relieved, and confused, I was so hungry. I was his everything, Blaine, and he was mine. And it was over so quickly.” He hears Kurt let out a tiny breath of air. “Sometimes I think I regret it, now. Sometimes I don’t. It’s hard to tell.”

And there is absolutely nothing Blaine can say in response. There is a sick feeling in his stomach, and his whole body feels sweaty and dirty despite the chill.

Hearing that story... hearing about Kurt as a human... Blaine had pitied him. For long minutes, lulled by the sound of his sweet voice crooning through the door, Blaine had pitied him. Had tried to look between the lines to search out any remaining humanity still hiding inside – only to be met with this. This brutal, awful reminder of exactly who he is talking to.

Kurt, who wants to kill him. Kurt, who doesn’t care about the people he murders.

Kurt, who killed and fed from his own father.

“Won’t you open the door for me, Blaine?” says Kurt abruptly, seductive and heated in a way that makes Blaine’s stomach clench. He imagines finding the people who gave him life – who raised him, and loved him – and killing them. He tries to imagine not knowing if you cared. “You don’t have to invite me in, I promise. I just want to see your pretty face. It’s been so long, lovely. I’m pining for it.” The nails scratch down the door in one single, drawn-out drag of noise. “I gave you my story, Blaine,” Kurt whispers. “Won’t you give me something so small in return?”

“Please,” Blaine pleads quietly, squeezing his eyes shut. He’s not sure why he says the word, knows full well it won’t achieve anything.

So he is completely stunned when Kurt acquiesces without a fight.

“All right,” says Kurt quietly, neutrally, and the sounds of shifting weight and fabric make it sound as though he’s standing up. There is the single slide of a hand over the wood of the door – as well as the strangest noise that accompanies it. Soft, and brief; almost as though Kurt has pressed his lips briefly against the wood. It’s a quiet sound; so very quiet that Blaine thinks he must be imagining it. “Good night, beautiful thing. Dream of me.”

And all at once, Kurt is completely gone. Blaine can feel it as much as he can hear it; the absence of Kurt rings loud and obvious in the hallway. He lets out a breath of air, clutching at his middle and shaking.

By all rights, Blaine should feel triumphant. Victorious, for getting all of the information and facts and dates and places he could have wanted and more.

Instead, he curls up against the door, blinks hard, and prays to whatever gods there might be for the sweet void of dreamless sleep tonight.


--


Over the course of the next week, the sometimes-gatherings with Amita degenerate into full-out war meetings. Starting on the morning after Kurt shared his story with him, Blaine starts coming to the bookshop every day without fail. The contents of the table at the back of the stacks begins to resemble war plans more and more with every passing day; strewn with ancient and modern books alike, stakes and bits of crafting material, and even a map of the Five Boroughs. They put in an order online for weapons that look as though they’ve been plucked right out of a medieval period drama. Battleaxes and real swords; all small enough for any one of them to carry and use, but strong and tried and true tools for incapacitating things that don’t want to be killed.

During the visits, Jack brings them tea and snacks every few hours like clockwork, frowning over the frames of his glasses and staring at their handy work with something like apprehension. Blaine can tell, without the older man even speaking a word, that he was much more comfortable with their talk of killing and fighting when it was more abstract.

In contrast, Amita becomes practically frenetic with focus and intensity. Her hair seems to become less and less styled every time Blaine arrives at the bookshop door; degenerating from straightened, manicured tresses to messy buns and braids that leave small hairs escaping and trailing along her face.

“He’s young,” Blaine catches her muttering under her breath at one point, flipping through a leather-bound book like a woman possessed. There’s a fire in her eyes as she speaks; a slight frenzy to her movement. “He’s younger than we thought, we can do this. I can do this.”

After the first few days, Blaine even starts skipping classes on days where it would otherwise be impossible to have enough sunlight to meet. It doesn’t matter, though. None of it matters because they’re so close; so close it hurts to finding a way, to Blaine being free again. So close he can feel it humming in the marrow of his bones.

The next weekend, Jack has to travel out of state for a few days’ worth of book-buying. The plan is for Blaine to come by as soon as the sun will allow; the shipment of weapons should be coming in fairly soon, and Amita wants to go over some of the handling with him. The basics, in case he ever needs to use them. They’ve been starting to work out specifics, in the past few days; ideas of when and how and where that they throw out to one another like bones to pick for vultures.

In less than a month, they’ve decided, they want to have some concrete plan of attack. The idea of a real plan bursts in fissures along Blaine’s mind throughout the hours of the day; unbelievable, and incredible, and so close.

When Blaine arrives at the bookstore, sun shining weakly though the early afternoon mist to the air, he heads on up the staircase and past the cheerful ‘Open!’ sign without any preamble. This has all very much become his routine; climb the stairs, push the door inside, and begin the day’s discussions on South Eastern vampire lore and slaying myths, or the potential value of decapitation, or stories about trapping demons and whether or not that information could possibly be of any help to them. He heads up the creaking wooden stairs two at a time, the sound of his footsteps echoing in the old building. Without hesitating, he pushes open the door when he reaches the top.

“I’m here!” Blaine calls out to the bookstore, immediately winding away the scarf where he’s wrapped it around the bottom half of his face. The skin that had been exposed to the cold feels raw and slightly numb, and he’s grateful to be inside. “Amita, I’m here!” he shouts again, pausing when there isn’t any response.

Over the next few seconds, it occurs to Blaine that there is something... off. Something different about the store today that he can’t quite put his finger on. He freezes in place, eyes darting around the familiar sight of the bookshelves, the tables and chairs, the open door at the back, the handsome wooden floors. Everything seems to be in place; the electric lights overhead fill the space with its usual brightness, and it looks almost identical to the last time he was here. But there is a stillness to the shop that feels... unnatural. Wrong.

There’s no one at the front desk, Blaine realizes, brow furrowing. Every time he has ever come to visit before, either Amita or Jack have been stationed at or nearby the front desk. With Jack out of town, Amita should be there. There isn’t anyone else to do it, and she wouldn’t leave the front abandoned with the door unlocked.

Irrational apprehension is starting to prickle at his skin; it’s daytime, he tells himself, it’s safe. He takes a few steps forward. The floorboards creak beneath his feet; heavy and ancient and loud in the strange stillness.

“Amita?” Blaine calls out again, voice coming out less steady than he was expecting it to. He takes a few more steps forward before something catches his attention. It’s a splash of colour on one of the far bookshelves; a tiny smear of bright red along the bottom of the wood where it doesn’t belong. Liquid. Dripping.

And all at once, it occurs to Blaine what felt wrong about the space before: the only light inside is artificial. There are curtains drawn across every window.

The world has been yanked out from underneath him. Stark terror shooting up and down his spine, fireworks going off behind his eyes, Blaine stumbles forward to where the tiny smudge of red is, hoping and praying and please please please oh god, no, please

When he turns the corner to stare into the tiny cranny between two sets of shelves, the sight that meets his eyes makes his hand fly up to cover his mouth. His stomach twists and churns and the world spins around him, unreal and falling away as he stares.

For a second, Blaine’s mind cannot process the sheer amount of red. Red everywhere, red all over everything; smeared and spilled across the floor, splattered and soaking into books, drenching everything in sight. The blood is bright and liquid, for the most part; fresh and new and viscous, except in patches where it’s starting to clot and thicken and turn to horrible brown.

There are shapeless chunks that have been spread around amidst the blood. Shapes don’t make any sense until he looks closer and realizes that they’re body parts, like something from a butcher shop window. Torn away and strewn about, devoid of any meaning when separated from the human body itself. The largest one is in the back corner; a horrible lump of torn flesh and muscle and clothes that is utterly unrecognizable to his eyes. The smell of blood and raw meat hits his nose like a physical force, and Blaine clamps his hand over his mouth harder and forces down a retch as his stomach twists and his eyes stay wide and all-seeing. His knees feel weak and his legs are boneless beneath him, but he can’t look away; can’t drag his eyes away from the carnage in front of him.

Wake up, he yells at himself through the haze. Wake up, wake up, wake up, please god wake up.

But this is no dream, and he can’t force himself awake. Can only watch, and look, and stare in abject horror at the slick mess of what used to be a human being.

Amid the muddle of skin and flesh, Blaine’s eyes fixate on a single detail. A shape that he knows, but doesn’t want to recognize. Snapped away and with white bone peeking out from the end, limp and lifeless on the ground.

It’s a human arm attached to a hand; light brown skin with long, bright red fingernails and a golden wedding band on the ring finger.

The sound of a door slamming comes, loud and sudden and shocking, from behind him. Heart slamming in his chest, Blaine spins around with his eyes still wide and disbelieving, and –

And Kurt is standing there, right in front of the door that is the only way in or out. Hair styled in a messy, casual way; dressed in a shirt and jacket and soaked, absolutely soaked, in blood. His whole body is covered in splashes and smears of brown-red; steeped into his clothes in great swathes. His face, strangely, is practically clean; there are only the tiny splatters and spots across his perfect pale features, not a massive smear around his mouth. Instead, Kurt’s lips are decorated with a delighted, ecstatic grin. Stretching his smile wide across his face, eyes sparkling and bright and blue.

He’s here. In person, in real life; not over the phone or behind a barrier, but real and murderous and in front of him right now. There is absolutely nothing between them.

When he speaks, Kurt’s voice takes on a high, sing-song quality; like a child winning at hide and seek after a very long game. Smirking and self-satisfied and very, very pleased with himself.

“Got you,” says Kurt, his lips stretched into a wide, sinister smile as he tilts his head and stares, and there is nowhere left for Blaine to run.

Chapter Text

Frozen in place, Blaine’s heart feels as though it is stammering and stopping in his chest. Spluttering like a car that won’t come to life when the keys are turned in the ignition, the bookstore distorted and out of focus around him as he stands and stares and doesn’t comprehend. He can’t move; can’t run or hide or fight because his legs are numb and useless beneath him like wooden blocks, and his body is stark and deadened and useless. There is only static screeching in his mind, high and shrill and crackling, and he can’t make himself do anything at all. His own body is out of his control, and Blaine can’t think: can only gape uselessly at death as terror pulses under his skin.

The moment stretches on endlessly between them as Kurt continues to stand and stare right at him with that too-broad smile, eerie and elastic and grinning, still stretched across his lips. There is blood beginning to drip down from his clothes and onto the hardwood floors, a steady drip-drip-drip that echoes in the petrified silence. 

And Blaine’s mind is torn, utterly torn between the two incomprehensible, impossible, nightmarish horrors in the room with him. Between Amita’s body in pieces behind him, everything that made her special and human and alive gone and only hunks of meat and  bone left and Kurt Kurt Kurt Kurt Kurt in front of him like a monstrous, grinning vision right out of one of the dreams. His mind flits uselessly back and forth like a frightened bird, unable to fixate on either one or comprehend both at once. His brain keeps flashing back and forth between Amita and Kurt and Amita and Kurt, between the two world-ending things in the room, the bottom falling out of his stomach like a lead weight and Blaine is going to die. He’s going to die here, helpless and screaming and torn apart like his friend and left on the ground in pieces, and all at once he can’t make himself move or think or feel beyond that singular, sickening knowledge.

The curtains.

With a hot burst, the thought comes from somewhere deep inside; far beneath the white noise and bleak panic on the surface of his mind. The two words are nonsensical, empty sounds without meaning: like something in a foreign language as they echo in his mind. The curtains, get to the curtains, the curtains

 Without any truly conscious thought, Blaine’s whole body lurches forward toward the windows. Toward the tiny scrap of thin material that is the only thing holding back the torrent of sunlight outside form flooding in. It’s right there, so close, and if he can get to it before Kurt does –

But Blaine has only taken one step forward, breath caught in his throat and arm extended out towards his only hope when Kurt cocks his head to one side — and lets out a high, delighted chime of laughter.

“I’m faster than you are,” says Kurt quickly, blue eyes flashing briefly to the large window swathed in heavy curtains before they come back to settle on Blaine again. That sly smile still there on his face, stretching his expression into something impossibly distorted with pleasure and power. “Do you really think you could get there before I caught you, pretty?” Sculpted eyebrows rise delicately upwards, smirking and heated. “Do you really want to chance it?”

Almost before his body has properly moved, Blaine jolts back as though he has been electrocuted. He opens his mouth to speak before closing it again, stumbling back a step helplessly and not daring to take his eyes off Kurt for a second. Inside, his heart is hammering so forcefully that the feel of it shakes his body, and his hands are vibrating so hard that they’re twitching almost spasmodically at his sides. In front of him, Kurt is dragging his eyes up and down Blaine’s body as though he’s looking at a three-course meal, and the terror is so raw and unrestrained and real as it pounds through him that he can’t even attempt to speak.

Any words – begging, or crying, or screaming so hard the whole building could hear – all get stuck in his throat and refuse to leave. Lodged there like  a physical presence, choking on all the words that won’t make any difference at all. Wild hysteria is bubbling and frothing inside of him, the whole world blurring and unfocused around the edges as the all-consuming knowledge of what is about to happen rips and echoes and shakes through him.

And even with all of the ways he’s been in contact with Kurt over these weeks – talking on the phone, through the door, the dreams the dreams the dreams – there is something so very, very different about seeing him in the flesh. A discordance with the world as Blaine stares at the physicality of him; so jarringly different in real life than he has been in the night behind Blaine’s eyelids. Sharper, more real, and so incomprehensible that for a second the world spins and Blaine thinks he might be about to pass out.

It doesn’t make any difference. You’re dead either way, he has you. You’re dead, you’re dead, you’re dead

In front of him, Kurt appears to be almost drunk at the sight of him: eyes roving up and down Blaine’s body and drinking in every miniscule reaction. But Blaine can’t censor himself; can’t try to put on a front and look brave, not now. He can hear his own breathing in his ears; weak and ragged and panicked, filling up the air around him with the sounds of blind terror.

And slowly, slowly, with that sick smile still spread across his face like a taunt, Kurt takes a purposeful step forward.

Instinctively, Blaine takes a shaky step back. To keep the space between them equidistant, even as his legs feel as though they might give out with every movement.

 “How—” Blaine chokes out, high and frightened and more of a noise than an actual word. He swallows, heart stuttering in his chest and whole body vibrating with tremors, before trying again. He isn’t sure where the words are coming from, or why: as a way to prolong the inevitable, or try to find a way out, or simply because there isn’t any point in holding back any more. Not now. “How did you get in here, it’s daytime, you can’t –”

 “Mmmm,” Kurt hums, low and deep and amused. “Of course you’re still concerned with the how of it, pretty, until the very end.” He licks his lips, catching a few drops of the splattered blood that have landed at the corner of his mouth, and Blaine has to fight not to retch as another horrible burst of realization of exactly whose blood that is shoots through him. “It was very easy. There’s an underground parking lot for this building, did you know that? Mostly for the residents in the top floors.  I broke in while it was dark out, came up here, closed all the curtains and waited. It’s just a shop, not a residence, silly thing. I hardly need permission to enter a public space, now, do I?”

He takes another purposeful step forward, and Blaine stumbles back another step. He almost missteps and falls, but manages to just barely keep his footing.

“Why?” asks Blaine, quiet and shaky and disbelieving. The guilt that floods his mouth is like sickness, bitter and vile. “Why would you –” The image of the ripped off arm flashes across his mind, torn away and draining on the ground and pieces now, she’s just pieces. “You didn’t have to –”

“Of course I did,” Kurt snaps bitterly, and for a second his smile falters. Changes into something serious and convicted, eyes growing dark and slightly narrowed. “She was poking her nose into our business, wasn’t she? I told you I would kill anyone you brought into this, Blaine, but you didn’t listen. You never listen. I had to show you that I take my promises seriously.” He shakes his head, dismissing the momentary seriousness and letting out a small laugh. “Besides. As much as I’ve enjoyed playing this little game with you, beautiful, it was getting a bit tedious, don’t you think? And you were actually starting to think you had a chance of winning. It was getting cruel, watching you think you had a chance.”

Everything is upside down, whirling spinning wrong. Because Kurt... Kurt had known. Had been aware of everything for God knows how long, and every single thing Blaine thought was fact has suddenly dissolved into illusion. All of the secrecy with which their meetings had been conducted, making sure to do it far away to keep them safe and being careful, so careful...  Kurt had be aware of them the whole time.

That day when Blaine had asked about Kurt’s past, had worried about giving the game away – Kurt hadn’t been angry because Kurt had already known.

“How?” asks Blaine, voice small and unable to even finish asking the question, but the look of disdain that steals across Kurt’s face lets him know that Kurt understands. How did you know about what we were planning? How did you know where to find her?

Please,” says Kurt dismissively, contempt dripping from every syllable. “I could track down your scent halfway across the world, Blaine. Did you really think it would be a challenge to track this place down? Every inch of it stinks of you.” He rolls his eyes delicately, scoffing. “I’ve known about this pathetic little attempt at playing hunters since practically the very first moment. Now, I’ve had a fun time chasing you, Blaine, but there are a million ways I could have got my hands on you. You do know that, right?”

He takes another step forward. Automatically, Blaine takes another step back, not daring to look behind to see where he’s going for fear of taking his eyes off of Kurt.

“Why are you still trying to get away?” asks Kurt curiously, glancing down at Blaine’s feet. The casual manner in which he is holding himself does not for a moment speak to the blood slicked over him from head to toe; there is no urgency to anything he says or does. Just patience, and pleasure, and mild amusement. Kurt raises an eyebrow, staring at Blaine as though he is an animal behaving in a peculiar fashion. “It’s over now, lovely. I win, you lose. You know that.”

“Why should I make it any easier for you to kill me?” Blaine manages to bite out, voice almost steady as he takes another determined step backwards. But it isn’t courage bolstering him into bravado: no clinging, ridiculous hope that he can get away this time.

It’s resignation.

The shock of it all is starting to lessen, and now... now, the dawning comprehension has wiped all pretensions away. Blaine is going to die here, today, right now. Life drained out, punctured deep and torn to pieces like Amita, and it’s only a matter of waiting until Kurt gets bored with talking. There is absolutely nothing stopping Kurt from taking what he’s wanted all along; to rip Blaine’s throat out and drink until the screaming ebbs away into twitches and choked gasps and he finally, finally stills.

There is nothing Blaine can do to stop it from happening.

But if there’s any way to make killing him harder, even if it’s something small and petty and pointless? Then he’s just going to have to take it. The stakes he always carries with him are tucked into his bag, left slumped at the front door behind Kurt’s back and utterly useless to him now. Blaine is utterly defenceless in all of the important ways. But he still has this: can still move steadily and slowly backward, steps getting more and more certain and sure, and he’s only going to stop when his back hits the wall or if Kurt decides to speed things up. The next few minutes are all he has left, and he isn’t going to hand them over complacently like his life doesn’t mean anything at all. Like Amita’s life didn’t mean anything at all.

All at once, however, Blaine realizes that Kurt’s expression has shifted. Head cocked to one side, Kurt stares at Blaine with a wondering, dumbfounded expression on that perfect pale face, his sculpted eyebrows drawn together and nose crinkling in disbelief.

 “Oh my god,” says Kurt quietly, shaking his head with tiny movements as he comes slowly closer. “Are you still stuck on that?”

“Am I still stuck on that?” exclaims Blaine frantically, hysteria bubbling up in his chest and coming out of his mouth as sick incredulity pounds in his skull. He shakes his head defiantly. “You were human once. Don’t tell me you don’t understand why I feel this way, because that’s a fucking lie. I don’t – I don’t want to die, I don’t –”

But the words dry up in his mouth when he glances up, eyes stinging, to look at the man in front of him.  Kurt has stopped his slow progression forward, shaking his head slowly back and forth as he stands and looks at him. Looks, and fixates, and it’s the most intent, steadfast expression that Blaine has ever been on the receiving end of. There is something quietly mocking in his eyes, yes – but also something softer. Something unknown, hidden beneath the surface.

“Oh, my Blaine,” says Kurt quietly, a blood-soaked hand coming up to trace delicately along his own collar. The long fingers ghosting over the exposed line of his own neck, stroking at the skin there absently as he stares. “Oh, my silly, beautiful thing.”

His fingers leave smudge marks along the pale skin of his collar and neckline; impressions of fingerprinted blood smeared haphazardly in meaningless strokes. Kurt closes his eyes briefly, opening them again after a moment to intently hold Blaine’s gaze across the room.

“Of course I’m going to feed from you,” says Kurt quietly, eyes heavily lidded and voice full of want. “I want it so badly, Blaine, I’m reeling. I can smell your blood beneath your skin, and I now? Now I can finally taste it. I’ve wanted you so badly, and for so long, and god. You have no idea how hard it is to stop myself from having you right this second.” He licks his lips, eyes sliding down to trail over Blaine’s neck, hidden and covered up by coat collar and a scarf. “I’m going to drink, and drink, and... yes. It’s going to kill you, eventually.”

Blaine flinches violently as the words are spoken out loud for the first real time, feeling incredibly exposed despite his many layers of clothing. Everything has been insinuation, in the past; careful words and hints and leaving everything to his imagination. Before, Blaine had thought it had been even crueller, leaving his imagination to its own devices – but the light in Kurt’s eyes as his lips wrap around the word kill is almost enough to make his knees give out beneath him. The inevitability of it all is clenching at his chest in hard pangs, and he lets out a sobbing breath as he takes another unsteady step back.

Eyes dragging up and down his body, Kurt’s tongue darts out over his lips. He tilts his head to one side, eyes burning as he raises his gaze back up and locks them on Blaine’s eyes. Blaine cannot look away as he speaks, locked in place by the intensity of Kurt’s gaze.

“But then?” says Kurt quietly, conviction and need throbbing along every word. “I’m going to bring you back.”

For a few seconds, the whole world ceases to exist.

It falls away as the room burns white, everything reduced to flashes and bursts of incoming information that Blaine’s mind simply cannot process. He tries to speak but no words come out, catching in his throat as reality gets turned on its head. Blaine can’t feel his body anymore; can’t feel his feet on the floor or his arms in his sleeves, or even his pulse as it bounds through his body. He blinks, mouth falling open as he desperately tries to grapple with the words. To arrive at some conclusion that makes sense, Kurt... Kurt simply cannot mean what Blaine thinks he does.

Because that would mean that Kurt wants to... wants to...

“I’ve known since the second I laid eyes on you,” says Kurt heatedly, taking a step forward that Blaine is too shocked to counter. “Since the second I smelled you, god. You smell like forever, Blaine. You smell like mine.”

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.

“What?” Blaine whispers weakly, heart stuttering in his chest as he stares in disbelief. “You –  no, you don’t – you can’t –”

“I’m going to make you like I am,” Kurt continues, voice smooth as silk and hard as steel at the same time. His eyes are searing into Blaine as he speaks, and it feels as though Blaine’s heart has been ripped out of his chest. “That was always the plan, Blaine, from the very beginning. I thought you knew – or at least suspected by now, god. Did you really think I would follow after you like this for weeks if all I wanted was a quick fuck and a nice meal?” he asks contemptuously, gesturing broadly in the air. “There are thousands – millions – of people in this city that I could’ve had instead if that was all I wanted. God, I have been having them. Waiting for you has made me so hungry, Blaine, I can barely stand it.”

At once, Amita opens her mouth as if to speak – but she closes it again quickly, lips pressed tight together. For the briefest of moments, there is something almost reticent in her eyes.

“No,” Blaine chokes out, the denial small and useless in the room. Events from the past week are piling in front of his eyes, a mounting heap of incidents and moments and phrases that seemed normal at the time, but everything looks different when viewed through this new lens. Words from deep within his memory are taking on new implications; every interaction is altered, every moment laced with new and horrible meaning.

And worse – worse than anything else is the realization that, in some buried depths of his mind, Blaine has always known that this was how it was going to end. Not consciously; not on the surface, where everything is words and actions and thoughts. But deep below, in his gut and bones and spine, this is only the final confirmation of a suspicion that already existed. Growing quietly and unnoticeably at the back of his mind throughout everything, reverberating back to him now through the haze of shock and disbelief.

The fact that Blaine had only ever been able to ignore because of his own incredible capacity to not hear the things he doesn’t want to hear.

“Why me?” asks Blaine quickly, forcing the words out into the air. “What do you want from me?”

A low, pleasurable noise floats through the divider between them.

“Everything,” whispers Kurt. The word a drawn-out exhalation of heat and certainty.

Yes,” Kurt counters insistently, taking another step forward. The space between them is getting smaller and smaller, and Blaine stumbles back a few paces in a daze to make up for it. For a moment, his heart freezes as he thinks his back hits a wall – but the object swings back at the touch, and it’s only an opened door. Vaguely, he notices that he is passing through a doorframe into some kind of back room. “And I’m never, ever letting you get away from me,” Kurt growls, low and possessive in his throat. “You don’t get to leave, Blaine, you never get to leave. Not to run away, and not to someone else, and not to death. You’re mine, Blaine, since the first moment I saw you. Now, and forever, and always.”

This is worse, worse than anything Blaine has ever dared to let himself consider before. Worse than any scenario he’s ever thought about, or dreamed about in the so-real visions that plagued his nights like clockwork for so long.

Because as much as Blaine has feared death over the past weeks – has fought against it, and done his best to protect the lives of others, and been petrified of the day when Kurt would finally manage to kill him – death, at least, is an ending. It is final, and conclusive, and a way to finally rest. He’s so exhausted, now; hanging on by a thread, the mere thought of the gore he’s been the cause of making his mind feel unhinged and frantic to find a way out of this insanity, this pain, this torture.

After the living nightmare that his life as degenerated into, death would be peace.

Instead, that chance at peace is being stripped away and peeled back as he watches. And the mere idea of being turned, of becoming a monster like Kurt is, makes something heavy and horrible sit in his stomach. Having what makes him human – what makes him Blaine – being dissected and soured and turned rotten, twisting it into something dark and not-him and wrong... it makes him desperate for the death that was never offered to him.

For a split second, he tries to imagine getting the same joy out of killing people that Kurt obviously does. Of not being able to tell whether he regrets killing someone he loves. Of losing any kind of morality and goodness and having it replaced with sex and blood and death, only sex and blood and death for the rest of ever. Of becoming the monster.

Blaine stumbles back blindly, and Kurt follows with increasing speed. The space between them is beginning to close, getting smaller and smaller as Kurt comes ever closer. The stalker in the night, the predator closing in on its prey.

“It’s okay,” Kurt purrs in a low, comforting voice, coming towards him with steps that are getting quicker despite his obvious attempts at control. “Sweetheart, it’s okay, I’m here. You don’t have to fight anymore. You don’t have to be strong, or lonely, or scared any longer. I’m going to make you better, pretty thing, you’ll see. You’ll understand, I promise. Don’t I keep my promises?”

Kurt is almost right in front of him now, only a few precious feet keeping them apart. Explosions of panic and fear and denial are going off inside Blaine’s chest, but there is nothing he can do. Nothing that will stop Kurt from taking what he wants, just like before. What Kurt wants has just always been different from what Blaine assumed it to be; blind to what was right in front of his face.

Whole body shaking, Blaine lets out a desperate sob – and finally stops moving. He’s never prepared himself for this; for the promise of being kept, held close, changed into something he was never meant to be. Doesn’t know how to fight it, to cling on anymore. It’s too much, all too much, and Blaine simply cannot struggle anymore. Hasn’t got the energy; hasn’t got the will.

Bottom lip trembling and throat growing thick, he straightens himself up. Holding himself in place here, as though his feet are glued to the ground. Surrendering, throwing his hands in the air, and finally, finally giving up. Giving in. He closes his eyes, squeezing them tight and dragging in broken gasps of air as he stands in place and waits for his world to end.

That’s right,” murmurs Kurt quietly, sweetly, from the blackness behind his eyelids. Blaine can hear his footsteps coming closer, delicate and soft, and he chokes in a helpless gasp as terror resonates right down to his core. His whole body is shuddering violently as he waits, each second dragging on endlessly long. “It’s all over now, Blaine. I’ve got you. I –”

But the words are cut off, suddenly and abruptly, as an unexpected thud cracks across the air. Blaine startles, eyes flying open at the noise – and he stares in utter incomprehension at the sight in front of him.

In front of him, Kurt is standing at the doorway that Blaine had passed through moments before. Eyes wide in incredulity and his beautiful, angelic face twisted up in an entirely new expression as he presses his hands hard against the air in front of him. It takes a long moment for the image to make any sense, but after a moment’s utter confusion it dawns that Kurt must have hit some kind of barrier.

“What?” asks Kurt sharply, his voice raising in pitch as he presses his hands against the invisible wall. His eyes fly over the doorway frantically, scraping over it from top to bottom as he slams a hand against the barrier. It doesn’t do anything; only shudders and vibrates with some unseen force that pulses throughout the entire store.

Blinking in confusion so profound it shakes him to his core, Blaine turns and looks at the room in which he has found himself. He had assumed that he had been stumbling blindly backward into some kind of storage room, but now that he actually looks at it...

There is a couch against the wall directly in front of a television, tucked into the small space with a plush-looking throw rug in the space between them. A desk piled high with books and printed-off articles and a laptop perched on top. Around the corner, he can see a small kitchenette; there is a doorway that leads off into another room, and Blaine can see the corner of a bed peeking out from around the corner.

The room that the two of them had always been coming in and out of. The one with the No Public Access sign.

Entirely by accident, Blaine has found himself standing right in the middle of Amita and Jack’s apartment in behind the bookstore.  And somewhere out there, Jack is alive.

And the inherent protection of being inside someone’s home is still active.

“No,” Kurt mutters frantically, disbelievingly, fists slamming against the barrier with increasing force as the furious desperation grows and bursts in his voice. “No, no, no, no, no!”

For an endless moment, Blaine stands stock-still and stares in utter shock, unable to even comprehend the magnitude of what has just happened. Kurt is growling, throwing himself against the barrier know with his full weight and shouting.

Blaine!” he screams, face twisted in fury, and Blaine stumbles backward further into the room. Where composure and control had been moments before, Kurt has utterly degenerated to a creature of rage bordering on frenzy. All of that calm certainty is falling to pieces in front of Blaine’s eyes, replaced by the jilted outrage of someone who has been utterly cheated. “Don’t you fucking dare, Blaine, don’t you fucking dare! If you run away from me, I swear to god—!”

Without even taking the time to weather out the threat, Blaine turns on his heel and runs deeper into the apartment. Feet on fire and flying, the soles of his heavy shoes pounding on the well-worn hardwood as he throws himself through the rooms in search of another way out. Kurt’s high-pitched screams and bellows and denials fall on deaf ears, because there is absolutely nothing Blaine can think about except for finding a way out.

The bathroom window is too small to crawl out of, but when Blaine throws open the bedroom door all the way his heart nearly gives out at the sight of the full fire escape right outside its window. He stares at it with uncomprehending eyes for one second, two, three – before hurling himself towards it and fumbling with the catch, hands slipping on the partially fogged-up glass as he puts his weight against it and shoves, the burst of frozen air hitting him square in the face as it yields and slides open. He’s small and compact, and it doesn’t take much to fit himself through it; in the background, he can still hear Kurt shrieking and pounding his fists against the barrier, the doorway, the walls in a frantic attempt to get to him.  But he’s already out; out into the sun, out into safety, out where Kurt can’t follow him.

Even soaked in blood and waiting for him to arrive, Blaine’s never seen Kurt that unhinged before. He’s always been controlled and reserved, manipulative and sly, almost never raising his voice – but there isn’t time for him to panic. The metal of the fire escape stairs is partially frosted over and slippery underfoot, and he has to cling to the railings in order to get down as quickly as he has to, he needs to, without falling on his face and potentially down the whole way. The apartment is only on the second floor, and it only takes him a moment to get the final staircase leading down to the ground to release. He goes sailing down those last few steps, trying not to slip on the frosted metal, and once he hits the ground it rebounds up and back into place.

“Taxi!” Blaine shouts in desperation, running down the road and waving his hand like a lunatic as he goes. There’s a cab coming down the road, and people on the street are staring at him as though he’s insane, but he has never cared about anything less. “Taxi, taxi, please god, taxi!”

When a cab screeches to a halt, he hurls himself inside and yells out his home address as he gulps for air, telling the driver to go please go you have to go as he clutches at the car door and tries to swallow the feeling of his heart pounding in his throat. Slamming through his whole body, a drumming noise in his pulse, letting him know with every breath he takes and every heartbeat how very close that came to being the end.

It’s only when Blaine finally fastens his seatbelt after a few minutes and a couple of irritated reminders from the cab driver that he reaches up distractedly and feels the wetness on his own face. Hot tears streaming down his cheeks in twin lines, dripping down his chin and making the world swim.

He rubs them away with his coat sleeves, drags in a breath, and doesn’t feel relief. Doesn’t feel relieved at all.

 

--

 

The cab drops Blaine back off at his apartment, after the driver getting more and more irritated as Blaine taps his feet against the floor of the car and grips the back of the seat and urges him to drive faster, faster, please faster.  It’s the only place he can think to go; nowhere else is safe, and he hadn’t even thought about staying in the backroom of the store. Not with the body in pieces on the ground right outside the door, where the whole space would grow thick and cloying like rotting meat as time would pass and he wouldn’t even be able to go and bury or burn the remains because Kurt would never let him. Would stand outside the door all day and all night, screaming at him and howling and not again, not like that, Blaine wouldn’t have been able to stand it. Had just wanted to run as fast as his feet could take him, to get away so that he could think.

Only as he unlocks the door to his apartment and shoves his way inside (had thrown money at the cab driver like it was nothing, bills fluttering down onto the passenger seat with bad aim because it hadn’t mattered, none of that matters anymore), Blaine still can’t think at all. His mind is numb, switched to ‘off’ as he locks the door with shaking fingers and his keys fall to the floor with a clang, but he barely even notices. Doesn’t even bother to turn on the lights. Just strips off his coat, drops it onto the floor, and begins to set a frantic pace around his living room as he clutches at his hair.

Blaine can’t even see the world in front of him, and he can’t go outside because outside isn’t safe anymore, never was safe, it was all a ruse, and he can’t stop pacing. Pounding the floor with his shoes that he hasn’t taken off yet, hasn’t even thought about it, and it’s like a compulsion under his skin and he can’t stand still, can’t let it catch up with him.

Because Kurt wants to turn him, and Blaine can’t stop reeling at that because it’s so obvious. Right in front of his eyes all along, in plain sight, and even though something shameful in his heart twinges painfully at the idea of someone wanting him forever, the idea of it is so much worse than when he thought it was as simple as dying.  The room is swimming and liquid and his eyes are burning, a few tears spilling out over his cheeks when he blinks and they don’t feel like anything, anything at all, and it hurts.

 He’d thought that he had known guilt, before, and grief. With the police officers on the news and the wife whose photo had kept coming onscreen over and over again, a reminder and a memento of his failure. Had thought he’d felt it with the heart, holding a piece of a person in his hands; feeling the weight of it and knowing that it came from inside someone, that Kurt tore it out, that it didn’t have to happen at all. Or all of those nights spent being regaled with the tiny, gruesome details of Kurt’s murders; night after night, Kurt’s voice in his ear, never being able to tone it out and just having to listen.

But all of that is nothing – nothing – compared to this. Because Amita... god, Amita was torn to pieces and killed terrified, and it’s all his fault. She came to help him when no one else did, and she died because of him; if he’d never met her she’d still be breathing. And it’s so, so much more real than any of the others because he’d known Amita. He liked her. She’d been a real person, with a face and a name and a smile and a personality. She put honey in her peppermint tea, and did crosswords in pen when they were taking a break from research, and there had been a photo of her and Jack on their wedding day on the shop’s front desk all in bright reds and golds and smiling faces. There’s nothing left of her now, none of those important things. Just pieces, torn up and left and what made her her lost somewhere, gone, gone forever and –

Jack.

It feels as though something icy and hard is clutching at Blaine’s chest, and for a second he thinks he stops breathing. He stutters and stops his pacing of the floor, a hand flying up to cover his mouth  and eyes blown wide with horror.

He doesn’t know. Her husband doesn’t know.

The air gets caught in Blaine’s chest as the realization washes over him, sick grief impacting him in the chest all over again as he reels and sways on his feet. A hundred little things flash before his eyes – the way they’d looked at each other, the little touches, the casual intimacy that had made Blaine’s heart hurt so badly. And now Blaine has to tell Jack that the woman he loved – the woman he married – is dead because of some stupid kid.

He stumbles over to the couch before he can collapse, crumpling down onto it like a marionette with its strings cut, numb fingers shaking like a leaf as he tries to get his phone out of his pocket as his chest heaves. The screen lights up too bright in the darkened room, but it doesn’t matter, he needs to call. Except he goes through his contact list twice, scrolling through with unseeing eyes, before he realizes that he never got Jack’s number. Never bothered to write it down because he already had Amita’s, and that was supposed to be good enough, was supposed to work and it isn’t and it’s not okay. He has no idea where Jack is staying, or how to contact him, or how to tell him to stay away.

Someone else is going to die for him because he never got a stupid fucking phone number and it’s all Blaine’s fault, his fault, everything is his fucking fault.

There’s a loud sound filling up the air, dragging and ragged and pained, and it takes Blaine far too long to realize that it’s himself breathing. He’s gasping for air but he can’t get it in fast enough, clutches at his chest as the world spins, everything too numb and too sharp all at once around him. The room is hot, too hot, too stuffy, and Blaine grabs at his sweater and strips it over his head buttons and all because he can’t breathe.

The whole room is heightened, on edge, his body sweltering and gagging for air like he’s drowning, and it’s all too much, and Blaine can’t handle this anymore. Can’t deal with pieces of Amita’s body thrown around like slabs of wet meat over books and the promise of death, always death, death and sex for the rest of always and he doesn’t want this, didn’t expect this, can’t fight this.  It’s too much, too much and he’s too weak, ready to break like fragile china full of fault lines and cracks, ready to break into a hundred pieces, Blaine just can’t fucking do this anymore.

Hands tangling in his hair, digging them into the gelled strands and tugging hard. He’s been styling it for the past weeks, since Amita, someone to impress and count on depend on and prove that he can be an adult, be a grownup and face this but he can’t, there’s no point, it’s a joke. Sweating hard and face hot with shame and guilt and failure and despair, Blaine gasps for air in desperate gulps as his heart spasms in his chest like a caged bird, banging against his ribcage and the sound of it filling up his ears. Chest aching and the world swimming and breathe, breathe, why can’t he just breathe?

Blaine has no idea how long he sits like that, perched on the couch as though ready to spring up at any moment and run out into the street. Hands buried in his hair and breathing so hard the world spins, skin a mass of pins and needles all over and eyes blurring up and coming into focus over and over until it’s easier to just shut them, force out the world, close his eyes and concentrate on the sound of his own sharp, quick breaths and the heart pounding against his chest. The grief and guilt inside is like a hot element; whenever he dares to reach out and touch it, it sends pain searing all through his body. Leaves him shivering, and wrecked, and hurt beyond words. 

Eventually, though, his body gives out. Wrings himself out with the white hot panic of it, slumping back onto the couch to lie down with closed eyes and concentrate on the sound of his breath ebbing back, pulling away, slowing down. The room around him is pitch black, same as behind his eyes, so there’s no point opening them up. Just lies in the dark as wetness spills down his cheeks and drips off his chin, dripping back into his ears and onto his lips. He doesn’t bother to push any of it away; can’t even feel it at all.

The drumming slows, and the world drifts, and the dark of the room dims into an even deeper black.

 

--

 

When Blaine wakes up, his eyes feel tight.

It’s partially from the tears, but mostly because he fell asleep with his contacts in. He blinks at the itchiness of it, forcing himself not to rub as he pushes himself up on the couch and stares at the darkened room. It’s night time now, he can tell from the windows; no hints of dim light peeking through the edges. After a long moment, he flicks the side table lamp on. Blinks at the walls in the lit room. Sits, and stares, until he carefully manages to stand on sturdy legs and heads for the bathroom down the hall.

He takes out his contacts, brushes his teeth, uses the toilet. Heartbeat fixed and rhythmic as it beats in his chest, like the calm after a storm, and his hands as steady as the foundations of buildings. He washes the worst of the gel out of his hair, too, from where it’s crusted and uncomfortable from being slept on.

As soon as his glasses are perched on his nose and he can see again, Blaine walks calmly back into the living room and checks his phone. No missed calls, no new text messages. Eight forty five at night, and no one has knocked on his door. Blaine can feel his thick eyebrows raise up into his hairline at the surprise of it: even past hysterical, he had assumed that Kurt would come running as soon as the sun had set. Come to collect. His lack of an appearance is unexpected, but not entirely unheard of: in the past, leaving him alone for long stretches in order to leave him unstable and unnerved had been one of his favourite games. He places the phone on the table, sits back down on the couch.

For the next fifteen minutes, Blaine thinks very calmly and very seriously about killing himself.

Not in vague, dramatic terms, but in specifics. Thinks slowly and meticulously through the little intricacies of which method would be fastest, and easiest, and would hurt the least. He carefully runs his mind over his apartment, tabulating what he has right now that could be helpful. There’s a third of a bottle of sleeping pills that his father urged him to get when he was in second year and was so anxious that he couldn’t close his eyes at night, and there are a few knives in the kitchen. They would need sharpening, most of them, but they would be effective enough. There are razor blades in the bathroom, too. A few bottles of chemicals under the kitchen sink, including a container of Drano that’s at least half full.

It would be easy, he thinks. He could definitely do it. It would be better than letting Kurt turn him into something that walks, and talks, and looks like him but isn’t. Into something with his face and his voice and his body that isn’t him at all. Better than a life of forever-death, and violence, and revelling in gore and pain.

Because when Kurt catches him (not if, when, Blaine knows that now), whatever creature he turns Blaine into and keeps by his side like a trinket wouldn’t be him. Everything that makes him Blaine – his emotions, his humanity... all of that would be stripped away. The only thing left a sharp, cruel shell of what he used to be, kept around for Kurt to pet and fuck and be his pretty thing.  

Dying, at least, would be over quickly. It wouldn’t drag on for decades and centuries. Death is a human experience: not everyone lives, but everyone dies. He would rather die now, human, than live forever as a mockery of one.

For five whole minutes, Blaine becomes stuck on the idea of slitting his wrists and bleeding out on the living room floor. The flesh slashed and blood pooling onto the hardwood floors, everything growing dimmer and fading into peace with Kurt still trapped outside and unable to get to him. Helpless to pull him back from the edge, or finally have the blood he’s craved and smelled and longed after for so long. Blaine thinks about dying, slipping away, and taking the one thing Kurt wants with him when he goes.

In the end, though, it’s Blaine’s own selfishness that stops him from walking into the kitchen and picking up the first sharp knife he sees.

Because more than anything else, it occurs to him that if Blaine kills himself, Kurt will take it out on others. Isn’t above taking out his revenge even once Blaine is dead and cold and rotting on his living room floor; would want vengeance at having his favourite toy stolen away from him. Kurt would pay him back by going after the people Blaine knows, and likes, just like he took it out on Amita. People like Jack, or students at the NYU campus. And he just... can’t. Can’t, after all of the mistakes he’s made and all the way’s he’s caused people harm. Can’t knowingly let that happen.

But the time has passed for holing himself up in his apartment. It can’t last, and it won’t work, and Kurt will find a way to get him out of here.

In the end, running is the only logical option.

If he runs, there is still hope. There’s a chance – however small it might be – that he can still get out of this alive. That he can have all the things he’s been desperately clinging to: can see his family again, finish school one day, have a real life. There’s no hope left here in the city; nothing left for him to hold onto and wait to be picked off for. If Blaine runs, he can put Kurt off just that little bit longer. Can make things a last bit frustrating for Kurt if he buys the ticket and hops on the first plane out once the sun is up: to South Africa, India, Japan. It doesn’t matter as long as it’s far away.

There is nothing Blaine can do for the people who have already been killed. For Amita, or the nameless strangers in the streets. But this way, he can lead Kurt away from New York. Across the world and away from the living people he cares about.

If he runs, Kurt will chase him. He always keeps his promises.

Blaine lets out a deep breath, straightens his back – and opens his eyes. A tiny, flickering light of hope is burning in his chest again. Dim, and small, and so close to being smothered by a blanket of grief and pain and despair, but at least it’s something

Slowly at first, but gathering steam like an oncoming train, Blaine starts to think about the things he’s going to need. He’ll have to book a flight as soon as possible, the cost doesn’t matter at all. Supplies, too: a backpack full of clothes and pictures and food and a few of the stakes that didn’t save Amita’s life. The wisest choice would probably be to head to Eastern Europe, where the densest vampire lore is from; the best chance of finding someone to help him probably lies there.

Blaine is just getting to his feet when a loud, angry buzzing noise comes from the ground. Startling, Blaine stares down at his phone lighting up on the ground as the ringtone bursts forth in incessant, whining pangs. Steeling himself, Blaine picks it up and looks at the screen – and it’s Kurt, of course, could never be anyone other than Kurt. The only surprise is that he waited so long after sunset to call.

All Blaine has to do is get through tonight. One night, that’s all. One night of whatever Kurt can throw at him – insults, or vague threats, or angry screams at the audacity he had to run away. After that, it will be too late for Kurt to get to him easily.

There is almost nothing Kurt can say that can make that much of a difference anymore.

Steeling himself, Blaine lets out a breath – and presses the button. Holds the phone up to his ear, standing between the coffee table and the couch, preparing himself for whatever might come next.

“Hello,” Blaine says neutrally into the receiver, trying to not put any emotion into the word at all. He wanders over to the kitchen as he speaks, determined not to allow Kurt to get a rise out of him. Let Kurt get bored of him, it’ll be easier that way. He wraps his free arm around himself as though trying to ward something off, bracing himself for the inevitable fury to come.

Your parents have a lovely house,” says Kurt conversationally, calmly, and the whole world Blaine has carefully reconstructed falls immediately and grotesquely away beneath him. He sucks in a breath, stumbling backward as though physically struck and repeating the words over and over in his head. He can feel his own eyes growing wide, his head spinning like a top.

That means... that can only mean...

No. No, no, no, no, no. Anything but that, anything. Not them. Not this.

“... what?” Blaine asks, voice impossibly small, and all of the steely confidence and careful ambivalence is gone, so gone.  That tiny light inside his chest put out with a hiss, and he wants this to be a trick so badly it physically hurts.

 “It really is nice, though,” Kurt continues, as though he’s talking about the weather and not something so awful it’s making bile rise in the back of Blaine’s throat. He listens hard, clinging to every word and nuance in desperation. That doesn’t prove anything, not those words. Could be lying, could be making it up. From the sound quality, Kurt is outside somewhere. “Love the extended front porch. And the little stone mushrooms in the flower beds, oh. How terribly chic.”

The bottom falls out of Blaine’s stomach, and he clutches at the kitchen counter in order to keep standing. His knees feel weak and his legs useless beneath him.

“How,” Blaine stammers, voice already shaking and weak, and Kurt laughs bitterly into the receiver.

Oh, it’s wasn’t hard, if that’s what you’re thinking,” says Kurt breezily, a hint of steel beneath the lightness. “Andersons, in Albany, moved within the past few years. One fake phone survey to every Anderson in the white pages asking about post-secondary education, and your mother really was so very happy to talk about you. Nice woman. Very willing to give out personal information over the phone.

“Kurt,” Blaine chokes out, clutching at the kitchen counter so hard his knuckles are turning white. Stark, hot terror is thrumming through his whole body. He needs to know – right now – that they’re still okay. That they aren’t... that Kurt hasn’t already...  “Just... please. Please, tell me you haven’t –”

But Kurt cuts him off at once, not letting him get another word in.

What do you think the chances are that your mother would let me in if I knocked?” asks Kurt, sounding curious and snide and sharp. But all Blaine can feel is the enormous, incomprehensible flood of relief that rips through him at the fact that his mom and dad are alive. In danger so real it makes him feel feint, but alive. Still alive. He clutches at his chest through his t-shirt, breathing hard. For the first time, Blaine can hear the underlying coldness in Kurt’s voice. “It’s only nine o’clock, and I can see them moving inside. I certainly don’t look very dangerous, do I, Blaine? Too delicate to be dangerous. I wonder: if I knocked on her door and told her my car broke down and I needed to use the phone, do you think they would let me inside?

“Kurt,” Blaine whispers quietly, shaking his head back and forth and blinking hard against the stinging in his eyes. They’re counting on him, relying on him to get them out of this. On the edge of the blade without knowing it, and everything Blaine says is absolutely crucial. Images are flashing in front of his eyes; his mother’s smile, the way his father’s face scrunches together when he laughs. The scene at the bookstore, blood and body pieces splashed across the floor. “Please, Kurt, don’t do this.”

Don’t do what?” Kurt asks, faux-confusion dripping from every syllable. Hard and cold and sharp enough to cut, and all at once Blaine realizes that this is Kurt angry. Truly angry, beyond shouting or yelling or confrontation, and his blood runs cold. “Don’t tear your parents limb from limb? I suppose you’re right: I don’t particularly feel like playing human to get inside right now. Why don’t I just light the house on fire instead? Smoke them out, rip them up, nice and easy. I’ll be generous and keep you on the line so you can listen to them scream.

“Please,” he whimpers, voice cracking and straining as he tries to keep himself together. To stop from falling into a million pieces. Blind terror is bubbling up inside of him, and every atom of his being is straining frantic desperate to stop this from happening. Please, god, stop this from happening.

He squeezes his eyes tight, body sliding onto the linoleum with his back against the cabinets before he can even process what’s happening. He squeezes his knees to his chest, hand clutching the phone hard to his ear. Something wet drips down his cheek, and he shoves it away. “I’m begging you, Kurt, please. They... they don’t deserve that. I love them. You don’t have to –”

 “What did you think I was going to do?” Kurt snaps, temper flaring and words rushing together. “Sit around and wait for you to poke your nose out again? Playtime’s over, Blaine. No more second chances.

“Kurt,” Blaine whispers quietly, brokenly, but Kurt won’t let him speak.

You know, I could have had you a hundred times over,” Kurt sneers, and Blaine curls in tighter into himself. “But I drew it out, held back. Let you get it out of your fucking system. This is the absolute last time I let you slip through my fingers, Blaine. No more holding back, starting with Mommy and Daddy.

“Whatever you want!” Blaine bursts out desperately, the words finally escaping from inside. Something shatters inside his chest; fragmenting and dissolving up, crushed underfoot into grains of fine sand. He lets out a ragged, sobbing breath into the receiver; tears are streaming down his face now. He drags in a gasping, drowning breath. “Please, please, I’ll give you whatever you want. I’ll give you me, Kurt. No more hiding, or running. I’ll h-hand myself over. Willingly. You can have me forever, just like you wanted. Just... just don’t hurt them. Don’t hurt them, Kurt, please.”

Any other words dissolve quickly into broken, wracking sobs and mingled words of desperation. Please and anything and yours, all yours that he murmurs into the phone like offerings, meaning every single one of them. Because there is nothing – absolutely nothing – that Blaine will not do to stop this from happening. To keep the two people he loves more than anything still breathing, still standing, still alive. Kurt can threaten to kill him, or turn him, or anything else in the world and Blaine will still turn himself over without a second thought.

Because if Kurt does this, nothing else will ever matter again. He might as well be dead, because he’ll never be able to feel anything other than empty. Blaine pleads until there are no more words, nothing else to say, and all he can do is cling to the phone and wait on shaking edge for Kurt’s response.

The silence on the other end of the line stretches on forever, and now that all the words have dried up Blaine can’t breathe for how the fear wrenches and twitches and spasms inside. It clenches at his heart, tugs at his chest, and he’s falling apart as he waits. Eventually, after a silence that seems to last forever, Kurt speaks again.

What I want,” Kurt articulates slowly, precisely, “is for you to let me in. Tonight, Blaine. No more fighting, no more running, no more hiding away. No tricks. You let me in, I let them live.” He lets out a stiff breath into the receiver. “No more fucking around, Blaine. There are so, so many things I can do to hurt you, dearest. So many more things than you can imagine. Do you understand?

“Yes,” Blaine chokes out, clapping a hand over his mouth as sobs of mixed despair and desperate, desperate gratitude well up inside. Shaking and shuddering and clutching at the phone so hard it hurts before he moves the hand away again. “Whatever you want, it’s yours. You can have everything, I’ll be good. Just...” His voice grows thin, wavering. And there is no going back from this, not ever again. “Just don’t hurt them, and I promise you I’m yours.”

A  pause – followed by a small, pleased little noise. “You beg so prettily,” says Kurt quietly, distractedly, and Blaine feels a shiver ripple over his skin. “I’ll be there in three hours. Any funny business – anything at all – and I stop being so nice.

“Can I,” Blaine starts shakily, licking his lips and smearing the tears off of his face with his damp hand. “Please, Kurt, can I call them?” He can practically feel Kurt tense up angrily over the phone, and he rushes to elaborate. “Not – not to tell them to run, I know you could find them. I’m not going to risk anything with this. I just,” he gasps wetly, swallowing hard. “I just want to say goodbye.”

“... fine,” Kurt says after a moment, and for the briefest of seconds Blaine thinks he hears something less than brutal in his voice. A hint of something far away – but it’s gone as soon as he speaks again. Replaced with hard efficiency. “Be there when I get there, pretty. Three hours.”

There’s a click, and then silence, and it’s several long seconds before he realizes that Kurt has hung up on him. He sits there, crumpled on the ground with the phone still pressed against his ear and ringing out dead silence as he listens, and breathes, and tries to wrap his mind around it. The whole kitchen is blurry, swimming in water, and when he blinks more tears splash down onto his crumpled, ruddy face. Blaine’s bottom lip is trembling, whole face scrunching up and his whole body shaking as he opens his mouth – and shatters.

He cries, and cries, face buried in his hands like a small child left alone in the dark and afraid, so afraid. Messy, wet gasps for air and desperate sobs that make his chest hurt, not dignified and not pretty and certainly not restrained. Snot running down his face and eyes swelling up, red and puffy, face wet and hot and all composure finally lost. Clutching at himself and wailing, unrestrained, into the night.

There’s no backing out of this. No loophole to worm his way through. Alone on the cold linoleum of the kitchen floor, Blaine unravels. Falling apart at the seams and coming undone at last, no more holding back and clutching at himself to stay together. Undone, unwound, all heaving bawls.  And it’s all over, all done.

Every second he spends breaking down, falling apart, is a second that takes away from how long he has left to live. In three hours, Blaine is going to die. To stop being alive, in any way that matters. Drained and taken over and everything stripped away, gone forever and never coming back.

He manages to pull himself back from the edge after about twenty minutes, trying desperately to pull himself back into one piece. Forcing his breathing to steady and smearing away the tears and snot alike with his sleeves, slowing the shudders and shakes until he’s almost normal again. His throat is thick and sore, but after another five minutes he can speak properly again.

Three hours is all he has. Less than that, now. Two hours and thirty-five minutes.

Two hours and thirty-five minutes isn’t a lot of time, and he needs to make it count.

Without needing to look it up, Blaine takes a deep shuddery breath in – and dials the number. Holds the phone up to his ear as it rings, breath caught in his throat until –

Hello?” comes his mother’s voice over the line, warm and bright and familiar, slightly accented, and Blaine slams a hand over his mouth to stop a sob from escaping. Push it down, don’t think about it, keep it together. “Can I help you?

Taking a deep breath to steady himself – can’t let on that anything is wrong, has to stay natural – Blaine lets it out, licks his lips, and speaks.

“... mom?” he asks quietly, hoping his voice sounds normal. Not thick and slurred with emotion. But he’s been crying for so long, and it’s hard to pretend to be okay when okay is the farthest thing from him. “It’s...it’s me.”

Marita Anderson lets out a delighted noise.  “Darling boy!” she cries out excitedly, and he can see her face lighting up in his mind. It makes him bite down on his lip, hard, and shudder helplessly on the floor. “William!” he hears her shout off to one side, and his whole stomach lurches with another reminder of pain, and guilt, and so much sadness that he can’t even comprehend it. “It’s Blaine! He’s calling to say hello!

Blaine’s on the phone?” he thinks he hears his father say in the background, muffled and distorted with distance. It’s still his voice, though. His father’s voice, low and calm with a hint of excitement at hearing from him, and his stomach lurches.

This is the last time he is ever going to hear his parents voices. He’ll never see them in person again; won’t ever get to see the way his father’s eyes crinkle up when he laughs. Will never get to hug his mother again. This, right now, is the last time they will ever hear their son. His mom and dad won’t get to watch walk across the stage as he graduates, or go to his wedding, or become grandparents. After tonight, Blaine is going to disappear into the night, and his parents are going to be left wondering at happened to him for the rest of their lives. 

And so he clings to every word, digging his nails into every syllable. Trying to commit them to memory; to burn this last conversation into the lines of his mind like a brand. Maybe, if he holds on very tight, he’ll be able to remember that they loved him after Kurt turns him. Will be able to remember how much he loves them right now, because his chest feels like it’s sinking with the weight of love, and care, and regret.

Where have you been, sweetheart, you haven’t been responding to my e-mails,” Marita chastises him in an affectionate rush, words gathering speed in the way they always do when she’s excited. Distantly, guilt clenches in Blaine’s chest at the sudden awareness of how little he’s spoken to his parents in the past month. Barely at all, barely even thought about them, and now... now he’ll never get to talk to them again. “Or my phone calls, and I know that you’re busy, Blaine, but we do fret about you. Well,” she laughs breezily, the sound tinkling over the phone in abandon, and he replays the sound of it over and over in his head; holding it close and telling himself to never forget that sound, not ever. “I fret about you, you know I can’t help it. Your father knows that you’re fine, it’s just finals coming up and it’s winter and he’s always telling me to give you your space. But I can’t not worry, darling, it’s just in my nature, you know that.”

“I know,” he says weakly, letting out a small laugh into the receiver at hearing her ramble. It’s always been this way, as far back as he can remember; his mother, burning and bright like the sun, and his father the rock that keeps her grounded. “You... you always used to say that worrying was in your blood.”

“...Blaine,” says Marita slowly, dragging his name out in an almost warning fashion. She sounds concerned and slightly suspicious, and makes a loud tsking noise into his ear. “Are you okay, love? You sound all snuffly.

“I’m fine,” Blaine says quickly, swiping away some of the wetness on his face and swallowing hard to get rid of some of the phlegm clogging up his throat. His voice is coming out stuffed up and thick, as though he’s pinching his nose. “I just have a bit of a cold. That’s all.”

Beloved,” she responds in a low, dismayed voice. Blaine tries to focus on keeping himself together. On getting through this conversation without letting on, without making them worry. They deserve to go one more night thinking everything is okay, safe in their little world. A world where there are no monsters coming to get you, and no bad things waiting in the shadows; a world where he’ll get to grow, and live, and become old as they watch.  “You can always come up here and take a night off, you know? Bring your books on the train and stay for a weekend; get rested up at home. That should make you feel better right away, yes? I can make all of your favourites!”

“That sounds amazing,” he says quietly, throat thickening. He clamps down on the pressure rising in his chest. “How... how about next weekend. I can come by next weekend and stay at the house with you two. Would that work? Would you like that?”

Oh! Oh, I would love that, Blaine,” Marita says, surprised and excited; he hasn’t gone up to visit them in far too long, and his heart pangs at her excitement over a visit that is never going to happen. She lets a little excited noise into the phone. “It will be so wonderful to see you. But now you must tell me how school is going! Your father said this was going to be a hard semester for you, and you must tell me everything I’ve missed.

It has always been this way, with his parents and news: William Anderson is good at handling business deals over the phone, but any kind of remotely personal conversation over a long distance tends to result in his father awkwardly trying to hold up his end amid many long pauses. His dad... his dad is quiet, and steady, and passive in a way that makes it hard to talk to him. Ever since Blaine moved out all those years ago, he has always conveyed everything of substance to just his mother when he calls home. Blaine can only assume that she passes on the information to his dad later on; he always seems to know what’s happening with him when he comes back for visits.

It’s just something his parents have always done – a little tick of their relationship – but here and now, the invitation to tell his mother everything makes him squeeze his eyes shut and let his head fall back against the cupboard door. He takes a few deep breaths.

“Okay,” Blaine says after a moment, managing to make the word sound as normal as possible. “Well... you know how winter in New York City is...”

For as long as he can manage, Blaine tells his mother mostly-fake updates. And as always, Marita Anderson is a receptive and enthusiastic an audience: she hums, and sucks in sympathetic breaths when he mentions upcoming exams, and laughs loud and high and clear when he manages to force a joke out about his apartment’s heating that he knows for a fact she’s heard a million times before. When his chest feels too tight and his voice to thin to keep going about things that will never matter again, he manages to steer her into talking about how she’s been for the past little while.

For twenty minutes, Blaine sits on the cold linoleum floor, one arm wrapped around himself and the other clutching at his phone as though it’s a lifeline, and simply listens to his mother’s voice. She babbles happily about anything and everything he can wheedle out of her: about the new treatments they’re having done to the windows in the spring, and putting the garden to bed, and some kind of drama with one of the ladies she lunches with. He listens to her get excited about the Christmas party that William’s firm is hosting in December, telling him that I know it seems long way away, beloved, but if you can buy a green tie sometime soon we’ll all be able to match and do you remember last year with Mr. Elton’s secretary and the punch bowl? Oh my lord, how we all laughed!

Blaine sits, and listens, and makes all the right noises in all the right places as he holds every word she speaks in the palms of his hands like precious gems. 

When Marita finally starts to make noises about the time, Blaine clears his throat to get rid of the lump there.

“Mom?” he asks, and his lip and hands are shaking for a whole other reason. This... this shouldn’t matter anymore, it can’t matter, except...

Except that it does matter.

And he would rather ask now than continue to exist forever without ever knowing. 

“Can I... can I talk to dad for a minute?” he asks, before he can lose his nerve. She makes a pleasantly surprised noise, and he can hear her call out to her husband from off to one side. There are bugs under Blaine’s skin, making his fingers twitch and his breathing stutter. It feels as though something very small and very, very defenceless has curled up in his chest.

Rustling noises. The phone changing hands. And then –

Blaine?

It is impossible to convey the hot mess of emotions that hit him like a blow to the stomach at the sound of his father’s voice in his ear. Dread and determination, desperation, and a terrible, terrible sadness down out everything else for a long moment, and he sucks in a sharp breath. Blaine swallows hard in order to keep silent, the quiet rumble of the word still ringing in his ears, and stares determinedly up at the ceiling.

There are so many things he wanted to ask his father about, one day. When he was a kid, Blaine had always imagined the day when the two of them would finally figure one another out; finally be on the same page. That, at some point in the future, he and his dad would find a way to be closer, to relate to each other the way fathers and sons are supposed to. When he would grow up and magically become the person his father always wanted him to be: impressive, and contained, and not the rudderless fuck-up that he is. Blaine had always fantasized about it: coming home to visit one day, years from now, and he and his dad would look at each other and just know.

He’s never going to have that day, now. Never going to have any of the one days he always dreamed about.

So this...

This is just going to have to be enough.

“Hi, dad,” says Blaine quietly, his voice coming out unadorned and vacant when he finally manages to speak. There’s a shifting sound, and Blaine can almost picture his father adjusting himself awkwardly in his chair in the living room. Phone conversations have never been his dad’s strongest suit. Not with family. Not with his son.

“... how are you doing?” William Anderson asks after a slightly too-long pause, the words stunted and short, and Blaine takes a deep breath.

“Dad, I –” he starts off unsteadily, feeling his voice crack and stopping before it becomes audible. He coughs slightly, sniffing. “I... I have to ask you something.”

Of course,” comes William’s voice in his ear, low and confused and uncertain, and Blaine has no idea whether he sounds good or okay or not okay, but he can’t care. Can’t back out now. He has to know.

“Okay,” says Blaine. He blinks hard, swiping his tongue over his lips from where they’ve gone dry. “It’s just...” Quavering, feeble words in the air. “...I’ve been having a bit of a hard time. At school, this year, and.” He drags in a shaky breath. “And I... I don’t...” He can feel his eyes start to water again, burning unpleasantly as he tries to get the words out. “... I don’t know if I can do this.”

There is a pause over the line that sits in Blaine’s stomach like a weight.

... Blaine,” begins his father after a moment, cautious and slow. “...I’m not sure what you’re saying.

“I don’t,” croaks Blaine, the words hitching but he keeps going anyways. “I don’t know if I can do this, dad. Law school, and New York, and I don’t... I don’t want it. I don’t know if I’ve ever wanted it.”

He can hear William shifting awkwardly over the line again. “Blaine,” he says, sounding taken aback and concerned, but still restrained. “Everyone has bad semesters, it isn’t easy –

“I know,” chokes Blaine, the words hitched and thick. He face feels hot and crumpled as he scrubs his hand over his eyes to catch the tears that are spilling out freely now. He isn’t even bothering to hide it anymore, not holding back; voice tiny and childlike as the tears catch at it, dragging in big gulps of air as he tries to speak. Doesn’t remember the last time he cried where his father could hear him. “I know, but dad, it’s not... it’s not just this semester. It’s every semester, and it’s just – it’s killing me.”

Blaine,” comes William’s voice, shocked and weak and lost over the line. “Blaine, you don’t—

“Why do I have to feel this way?” he asks desperately, hot despair sliding down his face and off his chin as he shakes his head and squeezes his eyes shut. The words pouring out of his mouth have been trapped inside of him for years – since his first year, when he was away from home and lonely and so, so alone in the city that swallows you whole – and now they’re spilling out like a damn bursting. Rushing out of him because there’s nothing to hold him back, not anymore. No reason to let them linger and rot away at his insides like they’ve been doing for so long. “Why can’t I just be what you want me to be, daddy?” Blaine asks, voice snagging and catching violently, and it is the question that has defined so much of his life. “I want so b-badly to make you happy, and I’m never going to be who you want, and –”

Blaine,” says William, firm and hard enough to cut him off mid-sentence, and Blaine’s whole body falls forward and curls inward as his small frame shudders with sobs. Eyes pressed shut and holding himself tight and crying, just crying, crying about this in the way he never allowed himself to do. In the way he never, ever let his dad see because he’s always wanted to be the perfect son and he never was, he isn’t, and now he never will be. Gasping wetly and unable to stop himself, unable to hold back, and his father doesn’t say anything for so, so long.

When Blaine can finally breathe again, he opens his swollen eyes with difficulty and chokes out little half-gasps into the empty kitchen. He can hear his dad over the line, there but not talking, not saying anything, and he never should have brought this up never never never not ever –

Do you know why your mother and I pushed for you to go to law school?” his dad asks after a long, impossible pause. He sounds... tense, and held together, and there is something in his tone that Blaine’s can’t identify. He shakes his head weakly, bottom lip scrunching up, before he realizes that William can’t see him.

“No,” Blaine whispers, voice tiny and wrecked and useless. The pain is dull and worn from crying, now. Weathered at like rocks smoothed from the current. His sleeves are damp with tears, and he sniffs. “Because you thought I could handle it.”

Because we want you to be happy more than anything,” William emphasizes, a tremor in his voice, and Blaine’s breath catches in his throat. Mouth falling open and staring blankly at the cabinets in front of him. “I thought you knew that. Blaine... I know that I had a hard time, when you were growing up. With the fact that you... that you’re gay. But it’s only because...” He lets out a breath that vibrates into the receiver. “Because all we’ve ever wanted – all I’ve ever wanted – is for things to be easy for you.

“I don’t...” Blaine trails weakly, at loss. He and his dad... they don’t talk about this either, not really. About the elephant in the room for the entire time he was in high school and for a little bit after; the reason he never mentioned boyfriends or dating if he could possibly, possibly help it. It’s another topic that never gets broached, and yet... here his dad is, bringing it up freely without even being prompted.

It was so hard for us, before you were born. You know... about my parents. And how they were about your mother.” There is anger there, hidden beneath the surface. Simmering and buzzing and not forgotten. Never forgotten. “It was so difficult for us, and I just wanted  for you to not have to deal with that like we did.” William laughs, catching Blaine off guard. “Obviously, now I know that I went about that badly. But, Blaine... being an artist... it’s hard, and rough, and the whole world is against you. I just figured that – you’re talented, and bright, and if you could do something more stable and still be happy, that would be better. It would make things easier for you.

“I – dad –” Blaine manages haltingly, throat strangled and his eyes filling up again.

So if dropping out of law school will make you happy,” says William, letting out a breath. “Then take some time, think about it, and do it. You can always come back later to finish if you want, or try something else.” He inhales sharply, and when he speaks again Blaine can hear the waver in his voice. “You could never disappoint me, Blaine. You’ve always been the person I wanted you to be.”

“Dad,” he sobs, hand over his mouth and shaking his head. Whole face pulled together and clenching as helpless, ragged tears choke their way out of him and shake his whole chest.

I love you,” comes his father’s voice, strong and solid and thrumming with quiet conviction, and Blaine’s heart stops because he can count on two hands the number of times he has heard his father say those words to him. “I will always love you. There is nothing – nothing – that you could ever do to make me stop loving you.

And Blaine cannot speak. Cannot form words, cannot form thoughts. Can only press the phone to his ear and choke on his own tears as he listens to his dad’s steady breathing over the phone. In and out, in and out, simple and straightforward, and of all the hundreds of ways that conversation could have gone he never, ever dared to dream that it could be anything even remotely close to what that was. To what that meant.

He has no idea how long he sits there, his father’s words pounding in his chest like a heartbeat and just as warm and alive, as his sobs begin to slow and ease and finally, finally stop. The entire time, William stays on the line: listens silently, and steadfastly, and Blaine thinks that most people would try to be comforting. Say there there and it’s okay and everything is going to be all right, but it’s not in his father’s nature and it doesn’t matter. Because no empty, meaningless words of comfort could possibly mean more than what his father has already told him tonight.

When Blaine can finally breathe normally again, he lets out a shuddery sigh into the receiver – and his whole body slumps back against the cabinet bonelessly. Blinks, eyelashes clumped and throat sore and his heart infinitely, infinitely lighter.

Are you all right?” William asks, not patronizing or strange about any of it. Just... calm, and easy. As though everything that just happened is matter-of-fact, usual, and not like it’s something that has been dreaming hopelessly of hearing him say for years.

“Yeah,” breathes Blaine, pressing his lips together but unable to stop the tiny, choked little laugh that escapes. “Yeah, I’m... I’m good.”

Why did you never bring this up before now?” asks William softly, voice a bit rough, and Blaine’s whole chest tightens and constricts. He bites down on his bottom lip, mind still spinning from the entirely unexpected direction the conversation has taken.

“...I don’t know,” he admits after a minute, shrugging his shoulders and swiping a hand over his eyes. “I don’t know why, now. It was... there was never the right moment.” There was never going to be the right moment, and now he is so grateful – so incredibly, incredibly grateful – that he made that moment happen. Because he doesn’t have much time, but that... Blaine can cling to that knowledge of what could have been. Can hold it in his heart and try to take it with him when he goes. “I... thank you, dad. For... for what you said about... I...” Blaine gives his head a shake, cutting himself off before he starts to ramble. His father has never been one to abide rambling. “Thank you.”

 “I meant it,” says his dad quietly, unfalteringly, before letting out a little rumble of laughter. “Do you want to say goodbye to your mother before you head off?” It’s a question with to meanings: woven underneath is I know you don’t want her to know you’re upset, can you manage?

In response to both questions, Blaine lets out a little noise of affirmation. “I’d like that,” he admits, and he can hear the sound of his dad standing up. Calling out to his wife, letting her know that he’s going off the phone. Before he can pass off the phone, however –

“I love you, dad,” he blurts, all in a rush, and it feels more final than anything else ever could. He can hear William stop his steps, can hear his father let out a little breath of air.

“Goodnight, Blaine,” he murmurs warmly, and passes the phone over to his mother.

The two of them exchange goodnights, and I love yous, and goodbyes, and then... it’s over.

But not quite.

With legs that are stiff and sore and cramped from being curled up underneath him on the hard floor, Blaine grabs hold of the counter above and pushes himself unsteadily onto his feet. He sways there for a moment, hanging in time and space as he stares down at the now black-screened phone in his hand. He blinks; and the tears haven’t stopped, not really. They keep coming, unremarkable and warm as they smear down his cheeks. But there isn’t the same desperation there as before.

It feels... it feels as though a tight knot of pressure has been released inside of him. As though something that he’s been keeping sealed up, secret and hidden and straining to escape, has finally come free. There’s a lightness there that he hasn’t felt in years. Not since being in high school, and getting up on stage and opening his mouth and connecting with a whole room full of people.

The dread is still there; the resignation, the sadness. The knowledge that he only has an hour and fifty minutes left. But it doesn’t hurt in the same, all-consuming way that it did before the phone call: sharp and horrible and sickening, flooding and pounding through him with every breath. Instead, it is manageable. Distant, almost. Something he can wrap his head around.

There are still things that Blaine has to get done, before it happens. Now isn’t the time for grieving; it’s the time for finishing.

With surreal meticulousness keeping the panic vague and abstract, Blaine walks across the room and collects the supplies that he’s going to need. A stack of paper from his desk, his nicest pen. A mostly-full box of envelopes from a cupboard and some stamps that he finds in his kitchen drawer. When everything is laid out before him on the coffee table he sits down on the couch, lets out a bracing breath – and begins to write his final letters.

He begins with a letter to his parents. It takes the longest to write out of any of them by far, and two initial rough drafts full of crossed-out words and scribbled-in additions before he writes out the final version. It’s a strange headspace that he finds himself in as he carefully weights what to include against what to leave unwritten. It’s almost too logical and reasoned for the subject matter, although the tears keep streaming steadily and gently down his face as he writes. They splash on the page like little watermarks of grief, and he doesn’t try to hold them back. Lets them come freely as he puts his final message to his parents onto the page. 

As his mind slogs carefully through phrasing and scribbles it all out onto the paper – the apologies, the unspecific explanations that don’t say anything of substance – he wishes he had nicer handwriting. It’s an odd thing to fixate on, perhaps: the way he writes has always been cramped and scratchy. He wishes for a rounded, handsome scrawl: something elegant and important-looking. But this is just going to have to do.

When he finishes, the letter to his parents is two single-sided pages long. He signs his name at the bottom – I love you both for always, Your Blaine – before putting it aside to allow the glistening ink to dry properly.

The next two letters come fairly quickly: one for Wes and one for David. Another one to Jack, and that... that one is harder. Words of deepest condolences and grief, and honesty, and the knowledge that nothing can ever make up for what he did. After that, he folds each letter carefully: pressing his fingers along the crease and sliding them across, then tucking each one into an envelope. His smartphone has the addresses and postal codes for everyone, and he carefully scratches the necessary information on each envelope. Once everything is sealed, and stamped, and ready, Blaine lets out a shaky breath. He stands, pulls on a coat over his clothes and slips on his shoes – and leaves his apartment.

He almost expects Kurt to burst out at him as soon as the door swings open, or as soon as he reaches the bottom floor, or as soon as he walks out into the night. But it doesn’t happen. It’s been so long since Blaine has been out at night that he’s almost forgotten what it feels like. The chill on his face, the smell of the city like this. Frost on the ground, and his breath in the air, and he should feel colder than this with only a coat but his whole body is numb to it. It’s only a short walk from his apartment to the nearest mail box, but being outside at night feels more final than anything else Blaine has done so far.

Resignation and slow, steady acceptance fill the base of his stomach, heavy and dull and certain as the night. There is no point in hiding anymore. In trying to pretend that he can avoid this, that he can be safe.

This was always going to happen. There was never any other way his life could have gone, he knows that now. From the very first time Kurt laid eyes on him in that alley all those weeks ago, Blaine’s been living on borrowed time. Blaine had only ever been fooling himself whenever he considered life beyond Kurt, because that was never going to happen.

There was never going to be an after, not for him.

The people in the street don’t stare at his face, still streaked with tears that he hasn’t bothered to wipe away. They’re New Yorkers, and they’ve seen at all, and Blaine has nothing to be ashamed of anymore. The wetness makes the cold sting even sharper against his skin, but Blaine welcomes it: it’s the last time he’s ever going to feel truly cold again.

The letters will be delivered in the morning, but by then it will already be over for him. He feels a distant pang in his chest as he deposits them into the mail box, and then... they’re gone. Out of his reach and far away, his words speaking out to the people he cares about once he isn’t around anymore. Unfocused, Blaine stares at the mailbox for a long, long time before turning on his heel and heading back home for the last time.

There are still ten minutes left when he unlocks the door to his apartment and goes back inside. And Kurt is on his way, rushing toward Blaine like an oncoming train that he can’t throw himself out of the way from. He strips of his coat, kicks off his shoes. When he turns back to face the door, how very near it is comes rushing up and collides with his chest. Everything vital that he needed to achieve, the last bit of himself he needed to send into the ether – it’s done. Done and gone, and the minutes ticking down until Kurt arrives on his doorstep.

Since the night he found out what Kurt was, Blaine has felt fear in more ways than he ever thought it possible for a human being to experience. In terrified bursts of adrenaline, in dull dread that lasted all through the night, in bone-deep anxiety that sunk into his whole life and stretched out across days and weeks. He has felt fear that is red hot, and simmering, and mixed with disgusted lust and repulsion and grief and everything in between. Since that night in the alley, Kurt has left him weak and worn and frayed around the edges, clinging to sanity and control with white-knuckled fingers.

But he has never felt anything like this. This slow, determined procession toward the inevitable. Like a funeral dirge in his mind, slow voices chanting and bringing him closer and closer to finality. Rhythmic and measured and wrapping around him, the sinking knowledge of the end like a physical presence inside his body.

Wetness slides down without his permission or his acknowledgement as he stares at the door, nothing dramatic or exaggerated about it anymore. The tears simply are, just like the heavy desolation and certainty inside. Blaine breathes deeply and slowly, the sound only hitching slightly as he wraps his arms around himself and exists in this space that once seemed so safe to him. But these are just walls, and floors, and air – he doesn’t know how he could ever have imagined they could keep out his destiny. He was never made to be a lawyer, or a parent, or a performer. He was never made for more than this.

Blaine has never been a very religious person. Raised by a lapsed Catholic mother and an atheist father, he has never had much reason to believe in a God who always seemed so foreign and distant and full of condemnation for what he couldn’t help but be. But for a few precious seconds as he stands and waits for death – or as good as death, deeper than death – to arrive at his doorstep... he pretends. Pretends that he can feel something holding him close, something greater than he is. Some unseeable force reaching out to slide its hand into his; to stay with him through his last lingering moments by himself.

The illusion vanishes a moment later into the night, leaving him alone and empty as he ever was.

And a few seconds later, he can hear the subtle shift in the air as Kurt arrives outside his door.

Something lurches inside, like a car coming to a sudden halt. The tears are still coming down his face; sliding down his neck and soaking into the soft neckline of his t-shirt. Blaine takes a deep breath, lets it out shakily – and opens the door without being prompted.

Not one minute late and not one minute early, Kurt is standing there right in the doorway. With the door open and exposing him like something out of one of the many nightmares from the last few weeks, only Kurt is far too real and present and now to ever be a dream. Sharp and dangerous and achingly, achingly beautiful in a dark button-up shirt with a long, light scarf wrapped fluidly around his neck; he must have gone home to change out of the bloodstained clothes that had dripped and slopped all over the bookstore floor. His head is titled to one side and his eyes, blue and bright and burning, lock right onto Blaine’s as soon as the door is opened. Everything about his features is unnatural in a way that has haunted Blaine’s dreams for weeks; the curve of his cheek, the paleness of his skin, the delicate arch to his eyebrows.

And there has been a part of Blaine – a mad, unthinkable part that he’s been trying to silence and smother and ignore for so long – that has longed for this. That hasn’t just wanted an end to the fear and the pain and the exhaustion and the loneliness, but has been waiting with bated breath for him. For Kurt. For this unreal, unimaginable man to come out of the shadows and make his world fade away into nothing.

“It’s time,” says Kurt quietly, gaze lingering over the wetness on Blaine’s face before flicking down to ghost over Blaine’s body like a caress. He shudders helplessly, swallowing hard.

“I know,” Blaine whispers, lip trembling. He takes a deep breath, takes a few paces backwards into the room as the door rests ajar. And Kurt stares at him as he moves; deliberately, and intently, and a shiver whispers over his skin. The whole world rests on the edge of a cliff for a long second, hovering over the precipice and suspended in the air as thought weightless. And then... 

“You can come in,” murmurs Blaine, the words clinging to his lips as they escape out into the air, and the world spirals over the edge and into the abyss.

Slowly, gradually, a smile spreads over Kurt’s lips. Close-lipped and still looking straight at him, spun through with gathering satisfaction. As though those unremarkable, everything words are all he has ever wanted to hear. Leisurely, eyes sliding up and down over the place where the invisible barrier once stood, Kurt takes a single careful step across the threshold.

And after so long, Kurt is finally inside. Inside his apartment, the false safety of its walls utterly swept away once and for all into nothing. Wonderingly, Kurt looks around the space as he sees it from the inside for the very first time. Standing still as his eyes do all the moving, sliding through the front room before they finally come back to rest on Blaine again. He takes another step forward, footstep soft on the hardwood, closing the space between them.

Blaine doesn’t budge. Keeps standing in place as feeble shivers run along his skin and the tears come down his face. Slowing down now, not nearly as many as before: just the occasional bit of wetness that escapes and edges down over his raw face. Because there is absolutely no difference between Kurt inside his apartment and Kurt touching him and Kurt killing him. There’s no need to shy away or jerk back because Kurt’s already here. Has already made it past the last line of defence, and there is nothing stopping him from taking anything he wants now. Touching him or not touching him, it doesn’t matter. Close up or far away, Blaine had no control over anything anymore.

“No more begging?” Kurt asks, clearly trying to sound merely curious. But there is a high tightness in his voice that belies his excitement:  a breathy, tense quality to his movement as he comes closer and closer until they are standing right in front of one another.

“There isn’t any point,” says Blaine simply, swallowing and shrugging his shoulders. The sinking feeling has expanded within him, reaching out to every corner of his body. Filling up his limbs and pulling him down.

“There isn’t,” Kurt agrees softly, his eyes lingering over Blaine’s face, his lips, his exposed arms, his bare neck. Breath hitching and fully clothed, Blaine feels more vulnerable and uncovered than he ever has in his life. But he still doesn’t pull away, doesn’t flinch: he promised not to fight anymore, after all. And it will all be over in a minute. Kurt licks his lips greedily, taking another step right into Blaine’s personal space and –

And their bodies are touching for the first time in over a month. Just the barest, slightest brush of their chests and arms as they stand and Kurt breathes in deep, his eyes rolling back in his head as he pulls Blaine’s smell deep into his lungs. Kurt is taller than he is, and Blaine feels practically encompassed by his body even though they’re barely touching at all. He gasps, but doesn’t move away: there simply isn’t any point. Kurt will take whatever he wants whether Blaine struggles or not, and he promised to do this willingly.

When Kurt moves in toward him, Blaine braces himself for the sharp pain of puncturing fangs in his neck. His whole body clenches in terrible anticipation, freezing and squeezing his eyes shut and waiting for the pain to burst through him –

But instead, all he feels is the shock of a soft touch as Kurt pulls him into a gentle, sweet kiss.

One hand reaches up to stroke along the back of his neck, caressing the skin there as Kurt presses their mouths together. Tilting Blaine’s face up against him, and the cool, soft touch of Kurt’s lips against his, salty and damp from tears, is like something out of a memory. Blaine’s eyes fly open in surprise at the contact that is so far away from what he had been expecting, hands spasming and clenching into fists at his sides and whole body tensing up for long moments. But Kurt’s eyes are closed and peaceful as they kiss, and Blaine feels fingers edge gently through the now-dry curls at the base of his neck. Feels Kurt inhale deeply against him, and his hands unfurl at his sides. He relaxes into the kiss, letting his eyes flutter closed once more; giving into the touch at last. Giving himself over, with everything that means.

Against him, Kurt groans headily at the surrender, his other hand sliding up to curl around Blaine’s waist and pull him in closer. Blaine complies, leaning up into the chaste touch of lips to lips that is so different from that night on the park bench. This... this is electrifying, quietly possessive and deeply intimate; so utterly dissimilar from the hungry claiming of that grotesque, twisted, desperate contradiction of a night. Their first kiss had been full of ignorance and illusions, teaming with a million realities that could never come to pass.

Now, inside Blaine’s chest, the part of him that has yearned for this for so long unfurls and expands outward. Filling him up with dizzy, wistful satisfaction at finally, finally, having this.

When Kurt pulls away, Blaine hears himself make a quiet, pitiful noise into the night.

“Mine,” Kurt whispers intensely, as though it’s the most important thing he’s ever said. Looking down at Blaine with darkened eyes, his breath ghosting along Blaine’s damp lips.

But as soon as they’re no longer touching, Blaine can feel the panic welling up inside of him again: making his fingers twitch and his eyes water, heart clenching in grief and pain and frantic anxiety to do this, to make it finished, make it done.  

“Do it,” Blaine chokes out hopelessly, reaching up with violently shaking fingers. He tugs at the neckline of his shirt and turns his head, exposing a long stretch of bare neck. His whole body is wracked with helpless shudders, and his squeezes his eyes shut. Everything has been leading up to this moment, and now that it’s here waiting any longer is just too much. “Do it, please, just – get it over with.”

There is a long pause before he hears Kurt move again. And then –

The tender, caressing touch of Kurt’s hand against his cheek. It stays there for a long time, and eventually Blaine opens his eyes again cautiously.

“Beautiful thing,” Kurt murmurs quietly, voice full of gentle affection as his thumb strokes over Blaine’s cheek. “My beautiful, beautiful Blaine.”

He presses their foreheads together, and confusion is thrumming through Blaine’s body like a whisper. Kurt’s hand strokes over his cheek, fingers lingering sweetly over the skin. After long, endless moments, Kurt moves his head away. His eyes are dark, heavily lidded and lashed as he looks down at Blaine with sweet patronization in the lines of his face.

“Did you really think that I would chase you so hard, and for so long, only to have this be over in a split second?” Kurt breathes against his lips, and Blaine’s eyes widen.

Without any other warning, Kurt’s hand is balling up and crashing into his skull with a crack that makes the world flash white. It’s like an explosion of brightness and sharp pain behind his eyelids, and Blaine can feel his body crumple sideways through the haze. The ground is rushing up to meet him, speeding towards him as his eyes roll back and he slips away into the blackness of unconsciousness.

 

 

 

Chapter Text

When Blaine regains consciousness, it happens in bits and pieces.

Little details filtering through the thick layer of disorientation, slipping into his awareness like water through cracks. The sensation of something soft and sturdy underneath his back. The fact that his head is rolled sideways onto something, lolling against it whenever he twitches or shifts.

The sound of music playing quietly in the background.

At first, he hears it as though his ears are full of cotton wool – but after a few minutes, the fuzzy, distorted melody begins to clarify itself.

It is the music that wakes him up, in the end. His mind chases after the elusive sound of it like a white rabbit, internally frowning in concentration as he attempts to piece the broken rhythms and instrument tones into a pattern that makes sense. Eyes still closed but awareness beginning to breach sleep, Blaine furrows his brows as he follows the music back to wakefulness. It takes a few minutes, but eventually the song clarifies itself: old-fashioned instrumentals, crackly and slightly warbled. A slow, calm tune that reminds him inexplicably of black and white films. He shifts, turning his face further into the soft fabric rising and falling beneath his cheek.  

“Good morning, pretty.”

The shape he’s tucked up against rumbles slightly against him as the words fill the air. It’s a familiar voice; high and teasing, with a hint of affection nudging at the edges. At once, Blaine’s whole body tenses. His eyes fly open – but the sudden brightness of the world beyond his eyelids makes him wince shut them again quickly. Something pulls him in closer, holding him more securely as squeezes his eyes shut and coils up into himself. Into the shape of someone’s body, holding him close.

Now that he’s awake, Blaine becomes immediately aware of two things. First, there is the pain. Throbbing and pulsing behind his eyes like a physical presence that he could reach out and touch if he wanted. It aches and strains, and he lets out an inadvertent noise of discomfort as he tenses up again. Now that he’s aware of it, he has no idea how he managed to ignore it: the ache of it feels like something he could reach out and touch, run his fingers over.

Second of all, there come the memories of what happened. Of where he must be, and with whom.

Something cold and empty floods Blaine’s stomach.

Cautiously, he opens his eyes, keeping them narrow against the abrasive light. There isn’t too much he can see from this angle, but now that he’s aware of it... the shape that he’s curled into is unmistakably Kurt’s chest. Clothed, still wearing the dark button-up shirt, and for a bright white second Blaine isn’t sure whether or not he’s wearing clothes before he registers the sensation of his jeans and the soft fabric of his t-shirt rubbing against the sheets. They’re the same clothes they were wearing when he invited Kurt into his apartment, and –

And the set of emotions that clench and twist in his stomach at the reminder of everything that’s happened come and go too quickly to properly identify them. Dulled fear, and disorientation, and something hot and quick and constrictive that coils along his spine like a shiver.

The two of them are unmistakably lying in a bed together, sheets and duvet half on top of their fully-clothed bodies. Kurt is propped up a bit higher than he is, leaning-almost-sitting against a small pile of cushions. One arm is wrapped around Blaine’s shoulders, holding him snug so that Blaine’s head rests against his lean chest. Abruptly, Blaine becomes aware of a gentle pressure along his scalp; it takes him a few seconds to realize that it’s Kurt’s other hand, stroking through his hair idly. Sometimes tangling his fingers through the curls, other times rubbing in little circles along his scalp. The position would almost be sweet, like the snug embrace of a lover – except for the fact that Blaine has been unconscious for god knows how long.

“I can tell you’re awake,” murmurs Kurt, his high voice dancing on the air despite the softness of his tone. It mingles with the old-fashioned music around them, Kurt’s chest rising and falling very slowly as his fingers card through Blaine’s hair. “No need to pretend.”

“... I wasn’t,” Blaine denies quietly, wincing when the croaked words make the pounding in his head briefly increase. Trying to tell himself to remain calm – it’s over, it’s done, he remembers that now; there isn’t any point in running – he takes in a few slow, deep breaths that make the pain of it recede a little.

Focusing on his breathing makes him suddenly aware of the soft, elusive smell all around him; woven into the sheets, in the air, radiating off the body next to his and wrapped around Blaine’s senses like a blanket. It’s the smell of Kurt: all around him in a way he’s never experienced before, so close and right there, not a corner-of-his-mind memory. The entirety of that night so long ago – the night with the park bench, and the kiss that seared its way into his brain –  is all washed out with the terror and horror and fear, so much fear, that came later. If he did get a chance to take note of Kurt’s smell, Blaine doesn’t remember it. It’s... hairspray, and fabric softener, and something quietly masculine beneath it all that might be cologne or might just be Kurt.

By all rights, Blaine should be terrified. The man – the monster, he tells himself, the monster – who has spent almost two months stalking him, tormenting him, murdering people to get to him finally has him trapped. Has him tangled so tightly in threats and promises that there’s no way he can even think of trying to run. God, Blaine should be terrified if only because Kurt has him in a bed; held him to his chest while he was helpless and knocked out for god knows how long.

Kurt is so close, like this. Where there used to be at least the fragile solidity of the door between them, now there is a whole body wrapped around him instead. The quiet physicality of it is overwhelming, after all the distance. Kurt can do anything to him here. Could snap his fingers one by one, or starve him, or tie him up and leave him in the same room for weeks and there would be nothing he could do. Blaine should be crying. Should be frantic, and hysterical, and begging for whatever he can get.

But it’s too late for any of that now. After such a long time of teasing and playing, Kurt has finally wrung Blaine out; has finally snapped the few threads that were keeping him together. And it’s not as though he’s any more helpless unconscious than he is wide awake. 

So instead of panicked, all Blaine feels is surreal.  Disoriented, and dazedly bewildered by the fact that he can still feel at all: that he’s still alive, despite everything. Still human.

That apparently, Kurt has more in store for him than simply turning him as soon as possible.

The fingers are still moving through his hair. Calmly, deliberately, and it’s almost a claim all by itself. I can do this to you. I can choose to give you affection.

“Why did you hit me?” Blaine asks after a long pause, wincing again as the pain throbs quietly harder for a moment. It isn’t as bad as it was when he woke up, though, and that’s something.  He still feels slightly fuzzy, it’s true, but Blaine is not actively afraid of being chastised for asking. Kurt had said before that he wasn’t hiding anything from him, and Blaine believes those words more than ever now.

It isn’t that he’s safe here, with Kurt holding him to his chest like some kind of living doll. It’s that Blaine is so very, very far away from safe that it doesn’t matter anymore.

He gave himself over. Done now. No more.

 “Mmm,” Kurt hums quietly, and Blaine has heard that noise before. A detached, noncommittal little acknowledgment, except... except there’s something underneath all that right now. Something low and intense that makes Kurt tighten his arm around Blaine’s shoulders reflexively. Kurt scoffs, and it comes out forced. “I wasn’t sure if you were going to try something stupid,” he declares, all in a rush, before tightening his grip ever-so-slightly more. “I was... done. With chasing you.”

“You didn’t have to do that,” Blaine states dully, shrugging his shoulders as much as he can in his current position. He stares over at the dark cream of the wall; he doesn’t know where his glasses are, and even though his vision isn’t bad enough to render him anywhere near completely blind, the room isn’t as clear as he would like. One more thing among a million that puts him at the disadvantage.

Kurt’s fingers are still carding gently through his curls. “I... I can’t fight, anymore,” says Blaine slowly, and it’s true. True in a bone-deep, exhausted way that goes far beyond whatever leverage Kurt might have over him. Blaine is... done. He simply doesn’t have it in him to keep struggling.

With his head still cradled on Kurt’s chest, Blaine can actually feel Kurt shiver at his declaration. It’s all so personal, like this. Being held close. He can feel every tiny moment, every shudder, every breath.

After a few frozen moments, Kurt begins to shift around him. Unwrapping and disentangling himself from Blaine’s body in a deliberately slow and gentle manner.  Shifting his deceptively delicate-looking body out from under him, reaching over to position Blaine so that he’s lying sideways on the bed. Facing Kurt, now, with his sore head cushioned against the pillows. Then, in a careful way that almost reminds Blaine of a cat positioning itself down to go to sleep, Kurt lowers himself back down onto his side so that they’re lying on the bed facing each other.  Their faces only a few inches apart, the two of them can look each other in the eyes like this.

And Blaine can finally make out the room around them.

Kurt’s bedroom – it has to be Kurt’s bedroom, it smells like him, it feels like him – is lit with soft lamplight, just like Blaine always dreamed it would be. But other than that, the space doesn’t quite fit the image he’s always had for it in his head. The windows are entirely blacked out with some kind of dark film or covering, with heavy brown curtains pulled back on either side. It gives the space a sense of stillness, of ever-evening; there’s no way for Blaine to tell what time it actually is. The room is also slightly more bare than Blaine had been expecting: handsome shelves with only a few strategically placed books accentuated with large ornamental chess pieces in bright accents of red. On the bed, the two of them are surrounded by a pile of brown and white sheets and blankets.

But all of that is distant and incidental around them compared to Kurt. Lying on his side and staring at Blaine with heavily lidded eyes. Pale and defined and beautiful, Kurt looks strangely content as he trails his eyes over Blaine’s face. But that isn’t what catches Blaine’s attention; isn’t what makes his breath hitch in his throat. Instead, it is the reverence in Kurt’s eyes that makes Blaine want to squirm beneath his gaze. That makes his skin feel too tight and his fingers twitchy; makes him want to look away from that captivating, too-intense stare.  

After a moment, the gentle touch of Kurt’s cool fingertips reaches up and brushes along the side of Blaine’s face. His fingertips are cool but soft, so soft as they drift along Blaine’s cheek.

“I didn’t hit you that hard,” says Kurt quietly, still holding Blaine’s gaze with such concentration that it’s starting to make him feel uncomfortable. The fact that he almost seems apologetic is enough to make Blaine’s head spin. There’s a small, private smile on his face that is so very different from the jeering, elastic grin from Blaine’s nightmares. Quiet, and close, and every time he blinks his eyelashes splay across his pale cheeks for the briefest of moments that each stand out like soft-focus snapshots in Blaine’s mind. His eyebrows, expressive and sculpted, furrow gently together. “I just wanted to get you on the ground; check to see if you’d decided to play the hero and... I don’t know, lay traps or something. But you went down like a rock.”

“Oh,” says Blaine blankly, the fingers still stroking idly up and down the side of his face.

For the first time, he wonders if Kurt has any intention of hurting him at all.

Despite his sleep in the middle of the day, Blaine had still felt utterly drained when Kurt finally arrived at his door. Finding Amita (don’t think about it), his panic attack, his call to his parents (don’t think about that don’t think don’t think don’t think) – all of it had driven him to the very edge of composure. The past weeks have been utterly destructive, and Blaine has been sleep-deprived and terrified out of his mind for so long. Add being convinced that he was about to be turned only to have that one bit of certainty ripped out from under him, and it isn’t too surprising that it didn’t take much knock him out – perhaps more from exhaustion and emotion than the actual impact of the hit.

“Does your head hurt?” Kurt asks, his fingers flitting lightly up to graze over his forehead, his brow line. The touch is so fleeting, it almost tickles. The throbbing behind his eyes has started to fade, though. Ebbing back into something manageable as they lie on the bed together.

“A bit,” Blaine admits, everything still surreal and strange around him.

And to his utter surprise, Kurt leans in close – and presses a soft kiss to his forehead.

“You don’t have to worry,” Kurt murmurs comfortingly against his forehead, lips grazing over the skin and sending little electric shocks of apprehension and heat down Blaine’s spine. His breath is becoming slightly laboured, voice full of intimate conviction. Seeming almost drunk on the sight and smell of Blaine in front of him. “Soon enough, a little bump on the head won’t be a problem anymore.” His hand slides down along the side of Blaine’s face, his jaw, down to the curve of his neck. Fingers stroking into his main pulse point with slightly too much dragging pressure.

Despite the fact that he had given himself up so willingly in the end, Blaine had never really thought ahead to the specifics of what surrendering himself to Kurt would entail. Vague notions of blood and pain and being played with, yes. But before, he had always assumed it would end with his death; that he would be one of a long lifetime’s worth of kills for Kurt. The information that Kurt wants him forever is so new and so utterly incomprehensible that he hasn’t managed to get his head around it yet.

Blinking hard and chest constricting, Blaine glances back up to see a heady, almost intoxicated look on the other boy’s smooth features. Kurt licks his lips, eyes lingering at the spot where Blaine’s jaw meets his neckline. On his fingers pressed along Blaine’s pulse, the muscles of his neck. His pupils dilate and he sucks in a breath when Blaine swallows, his eyes following the movement of it. There are small spots of colour rising in the paleness of his cheeks, and he is visibly holding himself back from doing something.

“You don’t have to hold back with me anymore, sweetheart,” Kurt whispers intently, dragging his nails lightly over the sensitive skin, running his eyes over Blaine’s neck greedily. Drinking him all in. “Everything’s good now. Back to the way things were supposed to go.”

He grins, and all at once the world is twisting as Kurt moves lightning-quick, grabbing Blaine by the waist and yanking him over so quickly the Blaine can’t even register the movement. It’s too fast to process, and suddenly he’s lying right on top of Kurt with the other boy looking up at him hungrily.

“Finally have you all to myself,” Kurt continues, almost smug as Blaine is still attempting to get his bearings. He’s firmly in Kurt’s grip, all of his weight pressing down on the body beneath him in a way that would probably be uncomfortable if it wasn’t for Kurt’s strength. Blue eyes flick down to Blaine’s lips briefly before coming up to hold his gaze again, and Blaine can feel a thumb rubbing little circles into his waist through the thing fabric of his t-shirt. Their faces are close together like this; close enough to touch. “It was fun chasing you, beautiful thing, but having you...” His face is so close, now, that Blaine can feel the tickle of his breath. Slowly, Kurt brings up his free hand to rest along Blaine’s neck again, his fingers stroking deliberately over the skin. He inhales deeply, lets out a little shuddery breath of air that Blaine can feel against his lips, and smiles. “Having you is much better.”

When Kurt leans up and presses his mouth against Blaine’s, closing the few inches between them and bringing them that much closer, he is expecting it.

What is surprising, however, is how very easy it is for Blaine to let his eyes flutter closed, relax into the touch, and tentatively, tentatively, kiss back.

It’s like falling into a dream; as though one of the haunting, terrible visions of the two of them as nothing more than two ordinary people in love have come to life in glorious technicolour. Kurt’s body is lithe and solid beneath him, arching up appreciatively into the kiss once Blaine starts to respond. One of his hands stays on Blaine’s waist, the other stroking over his neck as though he’s something precious as their mouths press together, achingly familiar and so very new all at once. He lets out a high, satisfied noise right before he opens Blaine’s mouth with his own, sliding their tongues together sweet and soft and indulgent. A tiny shiver of pleasure twists along Blaine’s spine, and it’s the first time since he’s woken up that he’s felt anything other than empty and confused and resigned.

This feels right, like puzzle pieces fitting together. The smell of Kurt all around him and the gentle, scraping touch of his short nails dragging over Blaine’s throat as their mouths move and spools of heat begin to coil in his stomach. It’s easy, and instinctive, and Blaine is almost able to forget the full implications of who Kurt is. To fall back into the easy fantasy of who he used to think Kurt was; who he wanted Kurt to be so desperately.

It’s indulgent, almost sweet, and Blaine’s fingertips are starting to tingle as Kurt gently coaxes him past any hesitation he might have had. Soon enough, their mouths are moving together as though they were designed for each other; every tiny movement of Kurt’s lips against his making something warm and pleasant grow inside. A small, unintentional noise escapes from Blaine’s throat, and Kurt purrs in response against his mouth, his hand flaring on Blaine’s waist and pulling him closer. It’s easy to relax into this: to feel good, and be made to feel good, and not have to think about anything.

Until the pain of a bite jolts him back to himself.

It doesn’t hurt very much: it’s only Kurt worrying his lower lip between his teeth in what is clearly supposed to be a sensual way. But the sting of pain, as fleeting as it is, makes everything slam right back into sharp focus: the things Kurt has done, and threatened to do.

What Kurt intends to do with him.

All at once, Blaine becomes tremendously aware of the longing, attentive way Kurt’s fingers are stroking along his neck. Lingering on pulse points, nails scraping over the curve, thumb brushing carefully over his Adam’s apple. Against his will Blaine’s whole body stiffens and tenses, becoming rigid on top of him.

After only a moment of non-responsiveness, Kurt pulls away. A frown is stealing over his shining lips, eyebrows pulling together in confusion. His hands, however, stay right where they are. Caressing sly fingers along his neck and holding Blaine snug against his body all at once.

“So scared, pretty thing,” he murmurs softly, and Blaine cringes internally. Mentally curses his body, Kurt’s senses, everything that makes it so damn easy for Kurt to sense how he’s feeling. To know exactly what’s going on beneath his skin, in his brain. Kurt stares up at him curiously, lips visibly moist and slightly reddened from the kiss. A few hairs have escaped to brush over the pale skin of his forehead, and he looks so young like this. His fingers drag over the skin of Blaine’s neck, pressing into the main pulse point, and Blaine flinches. Kurt frowns. “What are you so scared of?”

The responses that could follow that particular question cannot be accurately summarized in a few sentences, and the fact that Kurt can’t guess – that he seems genuinely at a loss as to why Blaine could possibly be feeling this way – makes something small and unpleasant clench inside of him. He’s clearly waiting for an answer, though; head cocked to one side and staring up at him patiently.

Blaine wonders if Kurt can smell it when he lies. Or if he somehow just... knows him better than anyone else ever has, despite everything. Because of everything.

Either way, there’s nothing he can say except for the truth.

“I’m... scared of it,” Blaine admits after a pause, licking his lips and bracing himself to say the words out loud. “Scared of being like you.”

For a second, Blaine imagines Kurt’s angelic, sweet features stretching out into that grotesque, wrong face – before his mind supplies a whole new image. His own features, dark and soft, being corrupted in the same way; Kurt’s elastic, horrible smile spreading over his own lips. Blaine’s whole body shudders in response, recoiling away from the thought.

“Kurt,” he begins, and the name catches in his throat because he’s always held it back, before. Used it as a bargaining chip; only giving Kurt the satisfaction of hearing Blaine say his name when he desperately needed to offer him something up. But there isn’t anything left to offer, now. Nothing he can hold back. “Please, can’t you just... finish it now. Get it over with, make it done –”

“Don’t,” Kurt cuts him off in a low, warning tone. His body is tensing up beneath him, face lined with dark seriousness as he speaks. “I’m not rushing this.” His nails scrape down the skin of Blaine’s neck, just hard enough to chastise. A twist curls at his lips. “I told you. You don’t get to lead me on for months and expect me to make this quick, Blaine, you just don’t.” Kurt’s eyes are burning with conviction, lips growing tighter as he speaks. “I might get to have you forever, but I only get to have you like this once.”

Dread and relief are settling heavily inside like a lead weight, and Blaine sucks in a shaky breath. “Like what?”

Eyes roving over Blaine’s face, Kurt shudders underneath him. “Human,” he breathes out heatedly against Blaine’s lips, his hand tightening into the flesh of Blaine’s side.“All hot blood and breakable, so fucking breakable.” He arches his hips up, and Blaine sucks in a breath when he feels hardness press against his stomach. Kurt licks his lips, pressing right into the pressure point as he stares at his face and Blaine can feel the pump of his own pulse against his fingers. “Going to gorge myself on you, you made me wait so long. Want to bury myself in you and drink from you over, and over, and over. I want everything, Blaine, just like I told you. Everything.”

Pressed right up against Kurt’s solid body and so aware of the beating of his heart and his ragged breathing in the air, Blaine can feel something tightening in his chest. It isn’t going to be quick. It’s going to be messy. Drawn-out. Kurt wants to enjoy himself first. Apprehension tightens and twists in his stomach.

“How long –?” he begins, swallowing hard. “How long until you–?”

“As long as I want,” says Kurt with utter confidence, practically preening; smirking like the cat who finally, finally has his cream. He rakes his eyes over Blaine’s body on top of him, hand fisting in his shirt. “Fuck, you smell so good,” Kurt snarls quietly, some of the ruthlessness of the past weeks coming back into his face. “So beautiful.”

And without any warning, he slides his hand up to grip at the back of Blaine’s neck and pulls him into a searing, claiming kiss.

It’s heated, and hard, and there’s a desperation to the way Kurt’s kissing him that’s almost as though he’s keening out loud. His tongue presses into Blaine’s mouth, needy and claiming and utterly familiar from dozens of dreams, teeth worrying along his bottom lip. Hard and intense and taking, but Blaine is reeling too much from as long as I want, and his brain won’t turn off, and he cannot reconcile any of this in his head. Cannot make sense of the Kurt who hunted him down and terrified him and sent him a heart in a box against the soft, sweet moments that make him pine and his mind spin and send the whole world out of alignment. None of this is easy, and none of this is right. Kurt killed his friend, and threatened to kill his parents, and yet...

And yet, Kurt isn’t hurting him now. Is kissing him instead, taking what he wants and what he wants isn’t pain, and Blaine doesn’t know what to feel. Because Kurt is a killer, and Kurt is a lover. He is neither, and he is both: a quiet ruthlessness woven insidiously through with a gentleness that makes Blaine’s head hurt.

Apparently it takes Blaine too long to start kissing back, because after a few stunned moments Kurt makes a frustrated noise in the back of his throat, hand clenching at the back of his neck.

“Don’t pretend you don’t want this,” Kurt growls against his mouth, biting down hard and grinding his hips up simultaneously. Blaine gasps out loud as a spark of pleasure jolts through him, mouth open and feeling sweat already begin to collect along his forehead. “I can smell you, remember? You never stopped wanting this, not the whole time. Not even when I killed, or hunted you, or took care of your little friend –” Blaine squeezes his eyes tight, tries to block it out, “—you have never stopped wanting this, Blaine. Don’t lie to me, I can tell.”

“I—” Blaine chokes helplessly, and when Kurt rolls his hips up again he can’t stop himself from groaning out loud. “Kurt,” he gasps, Kurt swallows it up, pulling him into another possessive drag of a kiss. Long and hard and deep, his tongue coaxing and dominating as he keeps up a steady rhythm, grinding them together in a way that makes Blaine gasp.

“God, that first night you were gagging for it,” Kurt groans, and Blaine whimpers wantonly at the truth of it. “I could’ve pushed you up against the alley wall and had you right there and you would’ve let me.”

It’s true, it’s so true it hurts, but Blaine can’t gather himself enough to say so. He nods, blinking dazedly as Kurt reaches down and starts to strip off his t-shirt.

“I had to run, remember?” Kurt pants, hands sliding up Blaine’s torso as he helps him work the shirt off, and Blaine can tell from how hard he’s shaking that he’s barely holding onto himself by a thread. “Came so close to just biting you on the sidewalk, you know that? But I –” he lets out a high, breathy noise as soon as Blaine’s shirt is off and thrown off to one side, hands sliding over his torso as though he’s been given the very best present in the whole world. “— I knew I wouldn’t be able to stop. I was so hungry, you smelled so good, and I’d drink you dry and I couldn’t do that, needed you with me always. You smell like mine, you smell like perfect, there’s no one else in the world like you –”

Despite being on top, Blaine is basically pinned like this; Kurt is strong enough to control every movement, every touch, and all Blaine can do is gasp and kiss and roll back into it. His hands on Blaine’s skin are as unmovable as the mountains, and there’s a frantic desperation bleeding through his every movement.

It makes him sick, and wrong, and disgusting for still wanting Kurt, after everything. After the people he killed, and the lives he ruined, but Blaine can’t help it. And he doesn’t know if it’s because he’s deranged, or if it’s something of Kurt’s nature that’s wriggled into his mind and twisted under his skin. Maybe it’s neither, maybe it’s both, he’ll never know. Because he has been tortured for so long by the horrible, horrible fact that he’s still wanted Kurt through all of it, through everything, and now?

Now, the only thing he can do is give in.

And below him, Kurt’s eyes are starting to bleed through with red.

“Need you,” Kurt growls, his high voice deepening with want and certainty and harsh desperation. When he opens his mouth, eyes blown completely through with red, Blaine can see that two of his teeth have elongated and sharpened in his mouth. Glinting bright white in the half-light of the room, and the instinct to run run run run run seizes at his whole body. He tenses up in Kurt’s arms, the knowledge of what is about to happen pounding in his veins. “Need you, need you, need you –”

But Kurt’s whole body is shaking violently. Panicked apprehension is bursting in Blaine’s mind, but there’s nowhere to run. Nothing to do, no way to stop it, and he’s not even sure if he wants to stop it. Without another word, Kurt twists his hand through his curls, yanks him down, and buries his face in the side of Blaine’s neck.

The sudden piercing pain of fangs puncturing into his neck makes him cry out with a wrecked, strangled noise at the sudden sharpness of it. Slicing easily through the skin, stabbing into him and making his whole body spasm, and Blaine can’t suppress the instinct to try to thrash away from the pain. Flailing and bucking, trying to strain away; off Kurt, away from the feeling of something cutting into him, into one of his body’s most vulnerable places. But Kurt seems to be expecting it; holds him in place as he whines and gasps and tries to twist away, face pressed right up into the curve of Blaine’s neck and biting down.

 As soon as the skin is broken, Kurt groans headily against his neck, against the open wound in a way that makes Blaine cry out again at the vibrations. Shuddering, he can feel the hot wetness of his own blood spilling out from the punctures, into Kurt’s waiting mouth as his hands fist in Kurt’s shirt, the sheets, anything he can hold onto. Through the shock of it, Blaine can hear Kurt swallowing against him; drinking down the initial flood of hot blood into his mouth. A few drops are sliding down his neck, dripping onto Kurt’s chest beneath him, and a tiny whimper escapes from his throat.

The sharpness of the pain is starting to smooth over into an aching, drawn-out throb that pounds in his neck, in his head, right through to his fingertips. Kurt holds him tight, right up against his chest until Blaine stops struggling; until that useless, instinctual need to run can be conquered and shoved down and suppressed. Kurt’s hands are unmovable forces as they hold Blaine in place, holding him close and tight and real.

And slowly – after a long pause that fills the room and vibrates in every nerve – Kurt begins to suck down.

It is like every one of the past two months’ dreams all at once. The sweet, the sensual, the horrific, the painful. Mouth hanging open and face slick with sweat, Blaine gasps at the dragging, aching sensation of blood being drawn out of him, leaving his body, being swallowed down. It hurts, the too-much pull and throb of it reducing the entire room to the single point where Kurt’s mouth meets his neck; but it also makes something hot and coiled grip and twist in the base of his stomach. Something wrong and real and heated, spiking up every time the pressure of Kurt sucking edges higher. He sags down against Kurt’s chest, throat tender and pulsing as the greedy mouth pulls him all down.

There’s a loud, ragged noise in the room, and it takes Blaine far too long to realize that it’s his own voice. Groaning out wordless, meaningless noises that struggle helplessly out into the air. It’s starting to feel cold, a chill that starts in his neck but keeps sliding down into his chest, his arms, his legs. So much at once and it’s twisting, the whole room is skewed and sideways as he slumps against Kurt’s chest and doesn’t struggle and black and white spots swim in front of his vision.

 When Kurt finally wrenches his mouth away, Blaine can hear him panting raggedly against his neck. There’s a high, satisfied little sigh – and suddenly the world is spinning violently. Blaine squeezes his eyes shut at the ways his stomach wrenches at the movement, and when he opens them again he’s staring up from the flat of his back with Kurt on top of him, face tucked back into the curve of his neck and mouth pressed back against the wound. Not sucking, not anymore, but stroking over it in languid swipes of his tongue that slide along the skin wetly and collect the blood still trickling out. He can’t do anything in response; can only stare up at the ceiling with heavily-lidded eyes as the room drifts at the edges and Kurt presses down into him.

Blaine is still aching, still bleeding when Kurt slides his mouth away. Blood slides lazily down his neck and soaks into the sheets below, but it’s nowhere near as much as before. Has no idea how much blood he’s lost, except for the tiny voice in the back of his head that says he always imagined that neck wounds would bleed more. He lifts a loose-wristed hand up to his own neck, hissing when he brushes the puncture marks and pulling his fingers back wet and slick. He holds his fingers in front of him and stares for a moment, fixated by the bright red. The wound isn’t where he thought it would be; it’s not over a main vein, but off to one side.

He blinks up in dazed confusion at Kurt above him. His face is close and beautiful, mouth smeared with bright streaks of blood – his blood.  And the expression on Kurt’s face is absolutely sinful. He’s radiating satisfaction, delicate features all sagging and with no sign of the composure he usually wears like a constant mask to be found. He looks very much intoxicated, drunk on the taste of him: the red is gone from his eyes, but the bright blue that remains is heavily glazed. Hair tussled and tongue lolling out sloppily to collect the redness spread over his lips, it occurs to Blaine that he almost looks well-fucked.

“I...” Blaine tries to say, but it comes out as a tiny noise at the back of his throat instead. He blinks heavily. Before he can try to do anything else, however, Kurt is leaning in to kiss him messily on the lips.

There’s a delayed second before Blaine realizes what’s happening, and he starts to kiss back thickly before the strong coppery tang registers on his tongue. He chokes a bit at that, recoiling weakly, but Kurt just pushes in and keeps kissing him. Opening his mouth easily and sliding their tongues together, invading Blaine’s mouth with all the ease with which he just invaded his neck. His teeth are flat and human again.

“You’re so good,” Kurt murmurs breathily against him, languidly pressing open-mouth kisses to the corner of his mouth, his cheek, his jaw. Leaving little smears of wetness in their wake. “So good, just like I always imagined you would be.” Sliding down Blaine’s body, moving down to where his chest is exposed and naked in the lamplight. Kurt reaches over with a single finger to the wound on Blaine’s neck, swiping it along the two little marks and making Blaine wince at the jolt of pain. He brings his finger back wet, bringing it up to his lips and groaning as he sucks it into his mouth. Blaine’s cock twitches between his legs at the sight, and he feels too weak to feel shame.

“This is how it was supposed to happen,” says Kurt, going back to pay more attention to Blaine’s chest as he slides his way down his torso. Pressing little kisses, and soft licks, and biting down softly on one of his nipples as he works his way down; making Blaine arch up beneath him. “Before all my plans got spoiled. Just like this.”

When he reaches Blaine’s jeans, he can feel himself sucking in a startled breath. Kurt slides his tongue along the skin just above the waistband, hands trailing along his sides; skimming in a way that makes him shiver. His neck is still throbbing softly and he can’t quite get warm, but all of his body’s attention is beginning to shift lower. Kurt brings his hands down to the front of Blaine’s jeans, fingers drifting over the button. When Kurt looks up, he locks their eyes together and his mouth twists when he notices how Blaine is staring down at him in wonder. A smug, entitled little smirk nudges at the corner of Kurt’s perfect mouth, still stained pink, as he stares at him.

“I’m going to take such good care of you,” he purrs, and begins to unbutton Blaine’s jeans.

They aren’t skin-tight like the white pants Kurt himself is wearing, and it doesn’t take much for Kurt to slide them off his hips. To pull them down his legs and right off, dropping them onto the floor in a slither of heavy fabric. And then there’s only underwear left, and then that’s gone too, and suddenly Blaine is completely naked; every inch of skin bare and unhidden as he lies sprawled on Kurt’s bed.

Kneeling over him and still completely clothed, Kurt stares at him as though his appetite has been renewed. He licks his lips, eyes fixed between Blaine’s legs. All at once, Blaine finds himself feeling tremendously and profoundly self-conscious. He’s watched this scene play out in his dreams dozens of times, in dozens of ways, but this – this is the first time it’s ever happened outside his own mind. He’s felt exposed and vulnerable in front of Kurt before, it’s true. But this is still the first time Kurt has ever actually seen him like this.

“Kurt...” he mumbles, trying to push himself up onto his elbows. A hand pushes at his chest, gently guiding back down into a lying position onto the bed.

“Stay down,” Kurt commands, but there’s no real fire in the words. The smirk hasn’t left his face, fluid and heated as his eyes dance with excitement. He strokes his fingers along Blaine’s chest for a few long seconds, almost comforting, before pulling away. Kurt licks his lips. “Let me do this, beautiful. I want to touch you. Wanted to touch you for so long...” Quickly, Kurt stretches up over Blaine’s body for a moment, straining to reach his arm out and then rummaging through the bedside table, and something hot and liquid sparks in Blaine’s stomach. When he lowers himself back, he adjusts Blaine’s legs, spreading them apart so that he can kneel between them.

“Let me do this,” Kurt breathes over his skin, before leaning in to press a dry kiss against the crease of his thigh. Blaine shivers, unable to take his eyes off the beautiful, otherworldly boy currently kneeling between his legs. His cock twitches, getting harder at the close proximity and the touch of Kurt’s lips against the sensitive skin. He’s lost blood, though, and a far-away part of his brain hazily wonders if that’s going to be an issue. Blaine nods shakily anyways, and Kurt grins in palpable satisfaction.

When Kurt opens his mouth, however, the brief glint of teeth – normal, and human, but the ones that had been biting into him only minutes ago – sends a sharp bolt of anxiety up his spine. He whines sharply, trying to twist his hips away. For a moment, Kurt looks caught off guard before he seems to realize what happened. He grips Blaine almost-gently by the hips, tugging him back into place with ease.

“Relax,” he murmurs, and wraps a cool, deft hand around Blaine’s half-erect cock. The touch makes Blaine suck in a breath and arch up into it, letting out a helpless little noise as he raises his hips off the mattress. Kurt twists his hand over him, leaning in close and pressing more little kisses along his stomach, his hipbones, as he breathes in deeply through his nose. “It’s okay. You’ll enjoy this, I promise.”

And like a Pavlovian response, Blaine can feel the tension evaporate from his body at the words.

Kurt always keeps his promises, he thinks, hips stuttering and choking off a groan as Kurt’s thumb rubs lazily over the head. Stroking him to full hardness without any rush; working him up slowly as he keeps his eyes fixed on Blaine’s face to catch every one of his reactions. Drinking from Blaine (the sheet beneath him is getting crusty and everything smells metallic, clogging up his nose and making the room feel thick) has obviously taken the edge off, dulled the desperate need that had him so frantic only a short while aog. But there’s still something of the ruthless intensity in his gaze as he tightens his grip and sets a quicker pace.

Head lolling back onto the pillows, Blaine feels his face heat up at the shameless, throaty moan that escapes from his lips. The sounds are embarrassing, but it feels so good; warming up and intense sending bright shocks of pleasure through his body with every stroke, every twist deliberate little turn of Kurt’s wrist. Making him rock his hips up into it, looking for more of the sweet-wrong-perfect pressure that’s making heat pool slowly in the base of his stomach.

But Kurt just lets out an appreciative little noise in response to his groan, pressing a kiss to the skin right above Blaine’s cock and breathing warm air over the base. His hands are clever and sure, and that confidence... god, it’s what drew Blaine to him in the first place, all those weeks ago. The way he can take control in a world that has always been so overwhelming to Blaine; so impassive and unchangeable and alone.

Like this, Blaine can almost pretend that nothing bad has ever happened between them. As though he never found out what Kurt was; that the frenetic, blood-soaked nightmare of the past weeks never happened at all. The people in his life that he’s protecting, that he failed to protect... they don’t exist here. They can’t. Being so utterly prone, with the world still swimmingly weakly whenever he moves sharply, makes him feel stripped bare and open. It feels so good to be taken care of, and looked after, and wanted.

There is the soft click of a bottle being uncapped, and Blaine’s eyes open. Something hot and needy clenches at his insides when he sees the small bottle of lube in Kurt’s hand; sees the sly, eager look on his pretty features.

“Legs up,” Kurt orders softly, placing his hand on one of Blaine’s shins and guiding it so that the knee bends.  He raises his thin eyebrows at the other leg, and Blaine manages to move it up to mimic the other one. It wobbles slightly, but only for a second. Kurt sends him a small smile as a reward, and Blaine can feel apprehension twisting in his gut as he turns the bottle upside down and dribbles a generous amount onto his fingers.

It’s been a long time, since he’s done this. Done this in any way, with anyone, but... there’s a vulnerability to being with Kurt, and in this particular way. With his back flat on the bed, head against the pillow, and his legs bent and spread apart, he feels more than a little on display. Exposed, and with almost every inch of Kurt’s pale skin covered up like a secret.  His head is still slightly dizzy, and even though Blaine he knows intellectually that there is no way for him to fight back against Kurt even if he wanted to, the sluggish weakness in his limbs makes him feel apprehensive. What if he’s harsh, or viscous, or doesn’t care if he makes it hurt? What if he wants to make Blaine hurt?

But a moment later Kurt leans down, still fully clothed where Blaine is naked and pressing a hand flat on against thigh, and takes Blaine’s cock into his mouth.

The sight of it – Kurt, always so cool and collected, wrapping his lips enthusiastically around Blaine’s cock as though there is nowhere else in the world he would rather be – is enough to make Blaine let out a choked groan and bite down hard on his bottom lip, trying not to thrust up into it. The way it feels, though, is even better than how it looks. Even though Kurt’s body runs colder than an ordinary person’s, his mouth is still warm and wet around him. Swallowing him down, working around him as though he’s done it a million times before. (A hot jolt of discomfort jolts through him at the idea of Kurt doing this to someone else, doing this to some other boy that he would fuck and drink from and leave a pretty, cold corpse. Part horror, part jealousy, and Blaine doesn’t know what’s wrong with him.) His mouth is sure and confident, taking Blaine deep and teasing him in turns, and his tongue. Swirling around the head in a languorous, easy way that makes waves of hot pleasure flare and roll through his body.  

When cool, slick fingers slide down and graze his balls, stoke over the smoothness of his perineum and press against his entrance, Blaine is so lit up with the pleasure of Kurt’s mouth that he isn’t expecting it.

He sucks in a gasp, tensing up slightly as Kurt trails his fingers over the puckered skin. Teasing, not pressing in, not yet, just... there. A promise of things to come as he sucks at the tip of Blaine’s cock and strokes deftly over the lower shaft. It vaguely occurs to him that he had half-expected Kurt to push in without any lead-up at all, but Kurt seems to be enjoying the build-up. Keeps making high, contented little noises around Blaine’s cock, the vibrations shaking right through him and making him twist his hands weakly in the sheets.

After a few minutes of the slippery, gentle drags of Kurt’s finger against his rim, Blaine finally manages to relax into it. Starts to crave it; the tight fullness, the memory of how good it had felt in so many of the dreams flitting at the edge of his memory like a figment. It’s almost impossible to remember that this is reality, here and now; that all of this isn’t happening in Blaine’s head. It becomes even harder to remember when Blaine inadvertently pushes back into the blunt pressure of Kurt’s finger, the feel of the tip slipping in so familiar from dozens of restless nights, and he feels Kurt grin wickedly around his cock in response. Kurt looks up to lock their gaze for a brief moment, the blue of his eyes shining devious and pleased, before he leans forward to take Blaine all the way into his throat and simultaneously begins to push a single slick finger inside, past the ring of muscle and into Blaine’s willing body.

It proves to be impossible for Blaine to lie back and take it, even feeling as weak and drained as he is. His whole body jerks and spasms wantonly, pushing back into the push of Kurt’s finger in a way that’s familiar and easy and has never, ever been like this. Every single nerve is sparking on edge, flaring up and keening for more, more, more of everything and he wants. Kurt is swallowing around him, throat muscles contracting and working his cock, taking him down so deep that Blaine can feel his cock hit the back of Kurt’s throat. His throat clenches around him for a second but he keeps going, working up a slow slide up and down in wonderful, incensing rhythm. Kurt is gentle as he slides his finger inside of him, more gentle than Blaine had ever thought he could be before this moment, working it in slowly in tiny increments. He can feel it squirming, searching for something, until –

Pleasure explodes behind Blaine’s eyelids like a nuclear explosion, and he keens out loud as Kurt begins to suck him in tandem with the narrowed-in, determined pressure of his finger as he slides over his prostate again, and again, and again.

It’s like being lit on fire with every rocking movement, overwhelming and too much and everything as Kurt pushes in and swallows him down, touching him everywhere he needs to be touched. Playing his body like an instrument, learning quickly and ruthlessly what kind of touches and movements get the best reaction and relentlessly abusing the knowledge. Blaine’s whole body is wracked with tremors. He squeezes his eyes shut and turns his head into the sheets, but the movement makes a stab of pain flare through his neck and he chokes out a whimper. Kurt redoubles his efforts to distract him, pulling him forcefully back to the moment by sliding his finger almost all the way out – before pulling off his cock, quickly dribbling more lube down between Blaine’s legs, and adding another finger.

It’s so much fuller like this, with two fingers sliding in and stretching him out; the burn and stretch of it making him feel looked after and wanted, worshipped like he means something important. He hisses, clenching around the thicker pressure inside as Kurt takes hold of his cock with his free hand and begins to work the spit-slick shaft with cruel, clever fingers.

“Wanted this for so long,” says Kurt breathlessly, two bright spots of colour in his cheeks from the breathlessness of deep-throating him. Still needs to breathe, even like he is. His voice is slightly rough, with want and from sucking him down, carefully styled hair all askew in his fervour, and Blaine moans as the fingers start to fuck into him harder. Taking, taking, taking what he wants and wrecking him in the process.  “You’re so hot inside. Like a fucking furnace, Blaine,” he growls out, twisting his fingers in a way that makes Blaine writhe. The intensity of the way he’s looking at him, drinking in every gasp and reaction, is almost enough to make Blaine come on the spot. “Hot and human and your heart’s beating so fast, god. All for me. All mine.”

“Please –” Blaine gasps out, stifled and quavering as he tries to thrust his hips up into Kurt’s hand and rock back into his fingers all at once. The movement comes out stuttered and needy, wanting too much, but he can’t help it. “Kurt.” It’s there, so close, elusive and right there and he needs it, needs this. He’s scrabbling for something real to hold onto, but there isn’t anything. Can only fist his hands in the sheets as his body strains and searches for just that little bit more.

And without hesitation, Kurt gives it to him. Stops teasing and lets him have, hand tightening on his cock and pumping with hard intensity as he finds that place inside and rubs over it again, and again, unrelenting as he pulls and yanks Blaine closer to completion. Making starbursts go off behind Blaine’s eyelids and hot spikes of pleasure ravage through his body, no pause and all at once and it’s too much too much too much just enough perfect, and –

And he’s coming, hard, every touch coalescing into a hot, inescapable force that tears through his body and makes him let out a low, hoarse groan as he spasms and clenches around the thick, unrelenting press of Kurt’s fingers inside of him. He comes in thick bursts over Kurt’s hand as he strokes him through it, cock twitching as he shakes and gasps and arches up. He’s breathing so hard it hurts, body ringing like a bell as everything uncoils and bursts as half-memories of a dozen dreams sing in his ears and he finally, finally comes undone at Kurt’s hand.

Blaine is still shivering through the last of it, only starting to come down from such a massive high with his fingertips and toes still buzzing with the immense pleasure of it when Kurt jerks the hand holding his cock away. He doesn’t fully process what’s going on as Kurt’s hand, sticky with spit and come, grabs Blaine’s hip in a tight grip; too still distracted by the last coils of pleasure snaking through him to think clearly.

But the world shocks back into harsh, horrible clarity when he feels brutally sharp pain burst in his inner thigh.

It is like being woken suddenly out of a dream and dragged back down to crash land into hard, incomprehensible reality. He screams, strangled and hysterical, shoving back with his legs and clawing at the bedspread with violently shaking hands as he strains weakly, and flails, and tries with instincts that are bred deeply into his bones to get away from the pain. But it’s no good: something has him, pinning his hips down against the bed and holding him in place as easily as though he isn’t moving at all. Eyes blown wide and horrified, all Blaine can do is watch the sight at the end of the bed. Past his naked arms and torso and stomach slick with streaks of his own come is Kurt, kneeling between his legs, two fingers still insinuated up his ass as he holds Blaine’s hips easily in place with one hand and drinks down blood in greedy gulps from Blaine’s thigh. 

It hurts, aching drawing pain as the blood gets sucked out and into Kurt’s mouth, and his whole leg is flaring up with pain. Blaine whimpers,  arms giving out beneath him as he falls back onto the bed and the world swims and spins with the movement and the pain and the blood loss and the overshadowed, shoved-aside orgasm. He can feel something hot and wet sliding down over his thigh, onto the sheets of the bed and soaking in as Kurt drinks, and drinks, and makes groaning, heady noises as he buries himself in Blaine’s thigh and just keeps on taking. The pain starts to ebb away, after a moment; dissipating along the edges of his mind, drifting and diminishing as the room gets less and less focused. Everything reduces down to the little gasps of his breaths on the air, his slowing heartbeat, the slurping wet sounds from between his legs as Kurt drinks him down deep.

He has no real concept of how long they stay like that; Kurt’s hand clenched and firm along his hip, fangs punctured into the delicate skin of Blaine’s inner thigh and the occasional twitch of his fingers still deep inside making Blaine gasp and hiss and try to move away from the oversensitive, overwhelming touch as pain pounds through him at the movement. The room is already dark and low-lit, but everything is growing less distinct and fuzzier as Blaine lies, prone on the bed with his eyes heavily lidded, watching the ceiling drift in and out of his vision.

Eventually, though, Kurt pulls away. A sharp stab of pain jabs through him when he tugs his mouth from the wound on Blaine’s thigh, and he flinches weakly. His eyes are closed and he’s drifting, now; floating and indistinct as the room around him. After a moment, he feels the fingers slide slowly out of him. It should feel like an uncomfortable drag, but it doesn’t: he can barely feel it.

There are noises, for a while. A creaking shift as pressure lifts up from the bed and it lurches beneath him; the quiet rustle of clothes off to one side. Blaine’s eyelashes flutter weakly, feeling drained and empty and so cold again as he lies in the haze of the room. He shivers, naked body a mess of cooling sweat and drying blood and come. After an uncertain amount of time, however, he feels a pair of arms slide underneath him: one under his knees, one under his shoulders. Both places sting and hurt when they’re moved, but Kurt doesn’t pay his tiny noise of pained distress any attention. He scoops Blaine up easily, as though he weighs nothing at all, and nestles his limp body against his chest.

The sweeping movement of being picked up makes Blaine’s head spin even harder. He presses his face into Kurt’s chest against the feeling of the world jolting uncomfortably around him and finds his cheek pressed into the cool skin of an exposed chest. Kurt’s not wearing a shirt anymore, he realizes. Isn’t wearing anything at all as he walks Blaine across the room and pushes a door open with his foot.

The world twists again as Blaine is deposited to sit on a cool plastic surface. He leans forward, puts his head between his knees in an attempt to regain his balance. His body is loose and everything is cold, so cold, too cold like this. As though all the warmth has been sucked out of him and will never, ever come back. He wraps his arms around himself, feeling the naked skin and not even caring how exposed he is like this. There are noises in the background: a quick clicking, the pull of crinkling fabric, the sound of a tap being turned on and water rushing out. Slowly, Blaine manages to drag his eyes open and get the world to almost-focus for long enough to realize that they’re in a bathroom: clean and stylish, with dark brown tile on the ground. The object that he’s sitting on is the cool lid of a closed toilet seat.  

There’s steam rising in the air, now, and he feels the slide of a hand and a tug upwards as Kurt helps him carefully to his feet. Blaine sways, but stays mostly upright as he’s helped into the hot stream of the shower. Kurt is still clutching at his shoulder, making sure he doesn’t fall, and Blaine gasps when the water touches his skin. It’s warm, so warm, and he closes his eyes as the heat of it soaks him through. The pressure from the showerhead is high, and the water pounds loud in his ears as it beats across his torso and the bathtub around him. His body a pale stretch of legs and arms and skin, Kurt steps in after him, pulls the curtain across, and begins the process of washing Blaine clean.

It’s difficult, at first, because everything is the hot pressure of water against his skin and the rising steam making everything even hazier than it already it. Slate grey and porcelain all around, with a light brown shower curtain that lets the light filter through but keeps the hot air inside. Blaine feels weak on his feet and dizzy, but the grip of the bathtub mat beneath his feet helps to keep him from slipping. Kurt does all the rest of the work. Slumped against his chest with his face pressed into Kurt’s neck, Blaine tries to ignore the stinging ache in his neck and thigh as Kurt slowly begins to wash him. Manoeuvring him easily when necessary; using his strength to keep Blaine standing as he takes shampoo from the rack dangling beneath the showerhead and begins to work it into Blaine’s curls one-handed.

Beneath them, the water turns pink against the bathtub floor as the evidence of what happened flows down the drain. Apparently, some of his own blood found its way into his hair: he leans heavily against Kurt’s shoulder, their slick bodies pressed together under the spray, as he works his fingers gently through Blaine’s curls and breaks up hardened clumps of crusted blood from the hair at the back of his neck. It sends more weak pink water to the ground.

Like this, beneath the steaming hot water that is finally managing to make Blaine feel warm again, even Kurt’s skin feels warm and human beneath his touch. Warmed by the water but still cooler than his own, and Blaine clings to Kurt’s shoulders with both hands as the other boy carefully holds him under the stream and rinses the shampoo out. Keeps holding on, standing on trembling legs as Kurt works conditioner through as well.

Blaine flinches when Kurt moves down to skitter fingers briefly over the wound on his neck, hissing and turning his head to the side but not otherwise trying to stop him. Kurt’s been trying to keep that area out of the direct spray, but he works around it carefully with tender fingers to wash away the worst of the caked blood. He lets out a high, humming sound as he drifts his fingers down to graze over Blaine’s slippery chest, the underside of his arms. Running his fingers along the slicked-down chest hair as though it’s something new and intriguing to him. A single finger brushes over one of Blaine’s nipples, sending shivers down his spine.

Before he can fully process what’s happening, Kurt is guiding him to lean his back against the tile wall; away from the fullness of the water’s pressure. It’s cold to the touch at first, and he sucks in a breath, but allows for it to support his weight as he settles there. He looks up – and it occurs to Blaine for the first time that, pressed up so close against Kurt’s chest, he hasn’t even really looked at the other boy’s naked body for the first time. But he can’t properly appreciate it now, either: his eyes skim over the swathes of too-pale skin, not able to properly register everything the way he should amid the haze of hot steam and the dizziness tugging at his mind, at his impaired vision. He takes in the sight of his lithe chest, the rosy, hardened cock between Kurt’s legs; his arms, surprisingly developed in a way his well-tailored clothes would never let on.

But none of it fully makes its way through to Blaine’s brain: instead, the only thing that he can properly take in are Kurt’s eyes.

Bright blue amid the steam and the wet flickers of spitting water getting in his eyes, Kurt’s eyes are utterly focused on him amid it all. Still burning and intent and locked on his own, coaxing Blaine to look into them. When he complies, Kurt smiles a soft, heated smile that tugs at the corner of his lips before leaning in to press a long, water-soaked kiss against his lips. Blaine responds – or tries to, but it’s difficult. All he can really manage is to let Kurt open his mouth and to take what he’s given, to let Kurt have what he wants. It’s all that he can do, anymore. Kurt’s mouth tastes like clean, hot water. His legs are still uncertain beneath him.

“It’s okay,” Kurt murmurs softly, sternly against his lips when he pulls away. His eyes are close enough now that Blaine can get a proper look for the first time in so long: bright, catching blue along the outsides and bursts of yellow-green swirled around the dark of the pupils. His lashes are thick with water, and beads of it are collecting along his lips as he looks Blaine up and down and strokes a thumb over his cheek. “Just let me...” He moves away, reaching for a bottle of expensive-looking shower gel and a dark blue loofah, and begins to work up a lather.

He tilts his head against the tile and leans back as Kurt washes his body down, everything drifting in and out as Kurt presses the soapy touch all over his body. Scrubbing away the blood, as well as any trace of anything else still clinging to his skin. Raising his arms up and working it into the thick hair beneath his arms, kneeling down in front of him to slide the loofah down over his legs and carefully washing the puncture wounds in his thigh that have mostly stopped bleeding by now. Reaching his clever fingers up and sliding them between Blaine’s cheeks. The touch makes him suck in short breaths and twitch, but he doesn’t try to pull away. Not now.

He lets Kurt swivel the showerhead around to rinse the shower gel and conditioner alike off of him, closing his eyes as Kurt’s fingers twine sweetly through his sopping curls in order to make sure all of it gets worked out. Lets him rinse away the soap, and everything with it; watches it all flow down into the drain. They’re both dripping wet and clean, and the skin around Blaine’s wounds from Kurt’s teeth is red and raw. The air is steam-filled and heady.

And when Kurt moves the shower head away and plucks a small, familiar bottle that he must have brought with them from the bedroom off the metal rack, squeezes a quantity onto his fingers, and kneels back between his legs, Blaine lets him do that, too.

The stream of water is turned away from them, but little splashes keep coming into contact with their skin nonetheless. Blaine shivers and tenses when Kurt slides two fingers back up into him, but this doesn’t come as a surprise. Not really. Not with Kurt’s cock hard and wanting between his legs, and the gentle fleeting touches he ghosted all over Blaine’s skin as he washed him clean. Not with everything else he’s taken so far, and with this one glaring thing so obviously absent.

Blaine knew, when he gave himself over, that this would be a part of it – and even with two open wounds and Kurt’s belly full of his blood, he knows that a part of him has always wanted it. The part that woke with stickiness between his legs after the dreams, and hovered fingers over the doorknob of his apartment while Kurt scratched at the door outside, and kissed Kurt back when he finally crossed over the threshold. That part of him, deep inside, is throwing up its hands in relieved surrender. Finally able to let himself have what he’s hated himself for wanting all this time.

The parts of him that are still nervous, still on edge, still clinging to the fear and hate and terrible grief of everything that has happened between them... all those parts can do is simply give in.

The fingers feel blunt at first as they push inside, hot water having washed away so much of the lubrication from before and time having given his body a chance to tighten again. But Kurt is careful, almost sweet with his ministrations; pressing soft kisses along Blaine’s stomach as he insinuates his fingers slowly back in, the slick of the lube making things easier as he starts to rock them inside. The sight of Kurt, pale and long on his knees in front of him and soaking wet, is enough to make hot sparks shiver up Blaine’s spine with every press of his fingers. It’s dulled pleasure, though; distant and faraway, at the back of his mind.

Instead, he focuses on the stretch of it when Kurt adds another finger; the slight burn, but mostly the way his body relaxes and takes it. Kurt lets out a breathy, high noise at that, and all at once Blaine becomes suddenly aware of his free hand moving in a familiar way; touching himself, stroking his own cock as he gets Blaine ready. Another little shiver, and Blaine tilts his head back against the tile and feels water drip from his hair down his sore neck.

And when Kurt pulls the fingers out with a clinging, slippery drag and begins to slick more of the lube over his own cock, all he can do is let out a shuddery breath and try to remain standing.

“I’ve got you,” Kurt whispers, the sound almost getting drowned out in the noise of the water pounding against the bathtub basin. He gets to his feet, placing his hands on Blaine’s ass and pressing a soft kiss against his shoulder. Their skin slides together, but Kurt’s grip is firm and protective around him. “I’ve got you, Blaine.”

And with the sound of Blaine’s name on his lips – not pretty, or beautiful, or any kind of thing – Kurt pushes him back against the tile wall and hoists him right off his unsteady feet.

It’s a position that would be almost impossible for the two of them to make work if Kurt was a regular human being. They’re too similar in size and stature, and holding up Blaine – who is essentially dead weight – all by himself for an extended time would have been too much. But the effortless power concealed in Kurt’s frame, it’s easy for him to slide him up against the wall and keep him there for however long he likes. Blaine quickly wraps his legs around Kurt’s middle, clinging to his shoulders. He feels like a newborn kitten, weak and head still swimming from the blood he’s lost – not lost, the blood Kurt’s taken – and everything is strange, and dulled, and flitting in and out of his perception.

Right now, suspended in midair and held tight by Kurt’s arms, Blaine feels more unreal than he ever has in any of the dreams.

And so when Kurt lets go with one of his hands, guiding his cock to Blaine’s entrance, all Blaine can do is cling to him – to this man who is not a man, to a murderer, to his destiny – and take it.

 The angle is still slightly tricky, with Kurt still holding him up and guiding him down with his hands under Blaine’s ass, but after a moment it doesn’t matter. Through the haze of everything, Blaine can feel the blunt, slick pressure as Kurt’s cock slowly, slowly begins to push in; not slippery latex but skin, solid and personal. Past the tight ring of muscle, the slow burn and stretch making him gasp. It feels like the throbbing of a pulse in a darkened room; the dulled sensation the only thing holding his attention in a sea of dizzy, vague touches. All of his muscles are relaxed and loose, all the tension drained from his body like so much blood, and it’s easy enough for Kurt’s cock to slide in. Grounding him in place, filling him up, touching him everywhere, and it’s impossible for Blaine to process it all right now. Instead, he clings to Kurt’s shoulders as the other boy guides him achingly slowly onto his own cock. Doing the work that Blaine can’t do for himself, doll-like and loose where he’s held up against the cold tile wall.

When Kurt bottoms out, his cock so tight and snug inside and making Blaine shudder and clench feebly around him and grip his shoulders as hard as he can, he lets out a choked sigh.

Blaine,” he breathes out against the broken skin of Blaine’s neck, his voice high and strained, the steam still rising from the oncoming water as tiny splashes of it catch along their skin. He sounds overwhelmed, voice higher than usual, and Blaine feels a distant thrum of pride in the pit of his stomach at hearing his name on Kurt’s lips.

And then, with determined control, Kurt begins to move.

Rocking, slow thrusts that make Blaine’s back slide against the slippery tile. Pulling and gripping at Blaine’s hips, dragging him up and down deliberately onto Kurt’s cock. The movement of it makes Blaine’s head swim for a long moment before the sensation drags him back; the aching sliding fullness of it, being fucked and taken and gripped and moved because he can’t do any more than hang on. The little bursts of oversensitive pleasure behind his eyelids every time Kurt’s cock grazes his prostate; the way Kurt’s grip on his hips gets tighter and tighter as he begins to gain speed. Begins to manhandle Blaine’s ass and hips in earnest as he pulls and grinds him down.

And oh, god, because the pressure of Kurt’s cock inside is making him quiver and shake, sending little fissures of aching pleasure up and down his spine, but there’s no way Blaine can come again. Can’t even get more than half-hard with all of the blood he’s lost; with having come so recently and the two points of throbbing pain tugging him back every time the heat begins to build. The world is a haze around them, clinging together in the slip-slide of hot water and steam, and Blaine is loose and liquid-limbed as Kurt fucks him deep and grinds him into the shower wall. Holding his body up easily as he grows less gentle, less composed. In control and confident as always but shaking now, shaking, and Blaine did that. Is the only person who has ever made Kurt feel this way, and that means something.

Mind swimming and drifting, flickering out at the edges, Blaine has no real idea how long it lasts. Everything narrows down into tiny pinpricks of sensation. Kurt’s short, trimmed nails digging into the flesh of his ass; how cold and hard the tile wall is against his back; the way his sore thigh aches and burns with every movement. The low-key flare of pleasure that spikes every time Kurt drags him onto his cock just there, making him choke out little noises and tighten his legs around Kurt’s waist. There is none of usual sharpness of arousal or need pounding inside; instead, it’s as though he’s been submerged. Light-headed and wrung-out, he rides out the waves of continuous heat and pressure and dizziness as they wash through him. It’s all a low-key thrum as Kurt grips his hips hard enough to bruise, choking out intimate, praising words that echo unheard in his ears.

When Kurt finally slams his cock into his unresisting body one last time, choking off a low groan of pleasure as he stills, Blaine is caught off guard by the sudden stillness of it. Vacantly, he lets out a tiny low noise of confusion and attempts to raise his head off Kurt’s shoulder before the sensation of hot wetness spilling inside makes him realize what happened, why Kurt stopped.

Everything is stillness, tangled limbs and pounding hearts and a hot haze of steam as the two of them stay like that; frozen in time and nothing, nothing outside of this. Still buried inside, Kurt breathes heavily against Blaine’s skin, clutching at him hard and nails digging into skin. Blaine’s arms are starting to feel sore and shaky from holding on, but he doesn’t try to get down. They stay like that for a long minute, Kurt’s body shivering from aftershocks, before he leans in even closer to mouth against the wound on Blaine’s neck.  His body belatedly tenses in apprehension of pain, but it doesn’t come; only the dull ache of Kurt’s mouth and tongue running over the twin cuts. Pressing the gentlest of kisses there, possessive and sweet and heady, and Blaine closes his eyes and instinctively moves his head to give him better access.

Kurt only keeps them like that for a short while before he lets out a final, shuddery breath – and begins the process of disentangling them. Moving his head away from Blaine’s neck with a sigh and gripping his ass to pull his body slowly off of his cock. The dragging sensation of Kurt pulling out makes Blaine tense up, and how hollow he feels once he’s empty again makes him inhale and sag bonelessly in Kurt’s arms. The wet feeling of come – Kurt’s come, god – leaking slowly out of him feels unfamiliar and surreal.

Everything passes quickly, after that. Kurt lowers him slowly to the ground, doing most of the work in keeping Blaine standing upright on his tingling, useless legs. Holds him up as he redirects the now-lukewarm water to rinse the both of them off one last time before he turns the taps off, pulls back the shower curtain, and helps Blaine out.

It’s like letting out a massive breath of pent-up air as soon as they step outside the shower, and Blaine clings to Kurt for keep from falling down. The chill of the air hits him at once, and he’s already shaking as Kurt lowers him down to sit on the toilet seat. The room swims and the cold makes his teeth chatter as Kurt swaddles him in a massive towel, using another one to rub most of the wetness out of his hair. It makes him feel like a small child or an invalid, and he would protest if he didn’t feel as though he might collapse sideways at any moment.

When he’s as dry as can be expected, Blaine blinks at the t-shirt and ratty pyjama bottoms that Kurt seemingly pulls out of nowhere for him to wear. They look familiar. It takes Blaine until Kurt is halfway through painstakingly helping him put them on that he realizes that they’re familiar because they’re his.

Kurt must have taken them from the apartment, he thinks vaguely, but stops when Kurt scoops him up effortlessly into his arms and carries him outside.

They must look ridiculous like this; Kurt looks inexpressibly younger and more delicate than he actually is, and they’re so similar in size. Face pressed into Kurt’s chest, Blaine is carried out through the bedroom, romantic music still playing softly, and into a living room he can’t even take in properly. Kurt lays him down on what he realizes eventually is a large, comfortable couch already swathed in sheets and blankets and made to look more like a bed. Once he’s all tucked up inside with the blankets pulled up to his chin and the chill in the air finally sealed out, Kurt strokes a hand down the side of his face.

“Hey,” murmurs Kurt, in a tone of voice that clearly indicates it isn’t the first time he’s tried to get Blaine’s attention. Blaine blinks and looks up at him, leaning over the makeshift bed. Kurt’s skin is still warm from the water, and it’s the first time Blaine has ever seen him with less than impeccable hair and clothes. He’s dressed in a nice blue housecoat – when did that happen? – and his hair is an untidy, tousled mess. With his bangs unstyled and loose over his forehead, he looks a great deal younger than usual. There is a relaxed, soft expression on Kurt’s face; hushed, and intimate and sated as he brushes his fingertips tenderly over Blaine’s cheek. “You did so well, okay? So well. My Blaine...”

When Kurt leans forward and presses their lips together, it’s little more than a soft press of lips. Chaste, and brief, and Blaine feels so rewarded. Kurt pulls away after a second, eyes blue and heavily lidded, and smiles with quiet intensity. He licks his lips absently as he drags his eyes over Blaine, tucked up tight under mounds of blankets, clearly relishing the sight of him drained and weak and fucked-out on his couch. Blaine doesn’t mind, though. Doesn’t feel much of anything other than the lilting of the room and the softness of the cushions beneath him.

“Don’t fall asleep,” Kurt tells him, standing up and looking around the room. “I went out and got some things for you, and you shouldn’t...” He trails off as Blaine blinks vacantly up at him, a small affectionate smile quietly edging at his mouth. And even with his mind dim and worn, Blaine can feel the warm affection of his gaze. “Just... stay awake. Don’t sleep.”

Blaine nods absently, eyelids already heavy and his head slumping back against the cushions propped up against the arm of the couch when Kurt walks away with silent footsteps. He drifts, but obediently does not fall asleep while Kurt is gone. Blaine can hear him, puttering around in another room of the... house? Apartment? He can’t be sure. When Kurt comes back a few minutes later with a small tray laden with items, Blaine lurches himself mostly awake.

And nothing, not a single part of this, feels real. Not when Kurt carefully dabs antibiotic ointment over the side of his neck and the inside of his thigh, or slides Blaine’s own glasses carefully onto his face, or when he feeds Blaine juice and cookies slowly by hand, watching the movement of his neck as he swallows. It doesn’t feel real when Kurt crawls into the makeshift bed with him, pulling the covers over the both of them and twining their hands together as he strokes affectionate fingers over Blaine’s clothed chest, or when he presses sweet kisses to his temple.

It isn’t real. He isn’t real.

None of this feels real at all.

 

Chapter Text

Things don’t start to feel anything close to real again for a few hours, after that.

For a long time, tucked into the lean line of Kurt’s side and swaddled by piles of soft blankets as his body slowly regains heat, Blaine drifts on the edge of awareness. Cool, confident fingers drift over his chest, and along the side of his face, and knead his determinedly numb fingers in an attempt to rub some warmth back into them. His ability to focus slip-slides and blurs as his body and mind attempt to come to terms with what has just happened.

It’s almost nice, like this. Pleasant and rewarding, even though he’s achy and sore all over and the side of his neck and thigh are still quietly throbbing. It proves to be impossible to entirely lose track of where he is, though, despite the unreality of it. The sound of Kurt’s voice does its best to keep him grounded in place, anchored to awareness. The high, clear sound of it is so close to his ear as it drifts and lilts with anecdotes and stories that Blaine can’t quite pick out the details of, his mind trailing absently along the narratives.

As sweetly as Kurt holds him, however, the other boy proves to be ruthless with making sure that he stays awake. Every time Blaine’s eyes begin to flutter properly closed, or his head slumps down a bit heavier against the pillows or Kurt’s shoulder, he receives a hard pinch to the arm. Every time, the small chastisement proves enough to jolt him back from the brink of muzzy darkness. Every once and a while, too, Kurt interrupts his stream of speech to adjust their positions on the couch, or ask Blaine a question, or force a few more cookies and sips of sticky apple juice down his throat like someone who’s just given blood at a clinic. The pinching reminders to stay awake even start to register as annoying, after a while. Irritating, because all Blaine wants to do is sleep and Kurt won’t let him.

He had half-expected Kurt to get bored of him after a few minutes and let him sleep in peace, but it doesn’t happen. Instead Kurt stays, holding him close and not showing even the slightest hint of impatience. His whole body is limber and relaxed against Blaine’s, and he shows no sign of wanting to move any time soon.

After an indistinct amount of time, however, the world begins to clarify a bit at the edges. Solidifying and sharpening, coming back into focus. The thick haze of need to sleep starts to lift, and Blaine blinks himself back into awareness enough to attempt to sit up a little straighter against the cushions. Kurt makes a pleased noise at the back of his throat at that, effortlessly helping Blaine to sit up a bit taller. Blaine can see the room around him a little bit more from the new angle, glasses still perched awkwardly on his nose from having someone else put them on his face. He can see part of a wall, now, and the corner of a sleek-looking television set.

And as Blaine’s mind becomes less and less foggy, Kurt’s words start to shift from meaningless sounds to something much more comprehensible.

“... came across another when I was living in Chicago in the 1970s,” says Kurt conversationally, stroking a hand down Blaine’s side with idle little movements. He laughs, high and light. “Absolutely dreadful fashion sense, too. Constantly at least twenty years out of date. Honestly, I don’t understand why it’s so hard for some of us to keep up. Poodle skirts right in the middle of disco?” A scoffing noise, and Blaine can practically hear the rolling of his eyes even though Kurt’s face is entirely outside his line of vision from his position curled against Kurt’s chest. “Ugh.” There is a little movement as Kurt shakes his head. “Anyways, after we’d scoped one another out, we decided to have a little... friendly competition.” A tiny rumble as Kurt chuckles, and the smirk is apparent in his voice. “With regards to the local population.”

It’s about at this point that Blaine decides that, no, he would really rather not listen to any of this at all. Stiffening and skin crawling with a renewed discomfort, he focuses his attention instead on tuning out the chatter of Kurt’s voice instead of tuning it in. This proves to be much more complicated now that he’s swiftly gaining awareness again, however. He tries his best, though, letting his eyes glaze over as he stares at the walls and attempts to reduce Kurt’s casual, horrific words to background noise.

Not too later, however, Kurt’s chattering voice trails off – and Blaine nearly startles right out of his skin when he receives a hard, jabbing poke to the middle of his stomach.

“Hey,” says Kurt’s voice in his ear. Another poke, abrupt and tactless, to the same place on his middle. “Hey.”

“M’awake,” Blaine manages, blinking in confusion when the words come out slightly slurred.

“That’s nice, Blaine,” Kurt returns, sounding a little bit amused but mostly gently condescending. Another hard poke to the shoulder, and ow. Those jabs hurt. Blaine squirms to sit up higher in his grasp, and Kurt lets him. “Do you think you can stay awake if I leave you alone for a bit? I have go do something.”

And this is all still so strange, and unhinged, and wrong. Because the way Kurt is talking to him... god, it’s so ridiculous that it’s almost funny. Blunt and upfront and ever-so-slightly playful, as though the situation is anything resembling normal.

“... ‘s’fine,” Blaine mumbles after a pause, and he feels the soft press of cool lips press against his forehead. Kurt’s hand slides under the collar of his t-shirt, and it’s not strictly sexual as it presses against the flat of his chest. Just... touching. Reassuring, although Blaine can’t be sure which of them Kurt is attempting to reassure.

“All right,” Kurt murmurs fondly against his curls, giving Blaine’s body one last squeeze before disentangling himself from the pile of limbs and blankets. He comes back into Blaine’s vision properly for the first time in a long while as he tucks the covers back around him in the makeshift bed.

As he leans over him, quietly fussing over the way the blankets rumpled when he tries to tuck them underneath Blaine’s sides, Kurt looks... calm. Almost normal except for how pale he is against the dark blue of his housecoat, and the otherworldly quality that Blaine had been so struck by that first night in the alley. There’s a sweet, private little gleam of amusement in his eyes as he edges the covers back around Blaine’s body, and all at once it occurs to Blaine how much of an invalid he’s being made to feel like. As though Kurt thinks he isn’t capable of anything at all.

“I’ll be back in a minute,” says Kurt, standing up straight and looking down at Blaine with his nose crinkling and his hands on his hips. He narrows his eyes. “No sleeping.”

“Okay,” says Blaine quietly in response, a strange numb feeling growing in the pit of his stomach.

Sending a small twist of a smile in his direction, Kurt turns and heads down the hallway back into what Blaine knows to be his bedroom.

And for the first time, Blaine has an opportunity to take in the room around him.

They’re in an apartment, not a house. Now that the world has fallen back into place, that much is clear. Although it is at least twice the size of Blaine’s cramped little place, there’s no way the particular layout could conceivably belong to a freestanding home. The entire space speaks of the same understated modernity that had characterized Kurt’s bedroom: minimal clutter, neutral cream walls, sleek dark flooring that shines as though it has been recently cleaned. All of the windows are covered up meticulously with the same dark film as in the bedroom, heavy dark curtains hanging attractively and unnecessarily on either side. As with the bedroom, the warm glow from several lamps gives the space a sense of forever-evening that makes it impossible to know what time it actually is. The living room is large, full of handsome couches and square bookshelves with bright red accents nestled amongst the sparse books and movies. Across from the couch that Blaine is currently lying on is an expansive, thin television mounted on the wall – and on the coffee table sits a basket full of decorative wicker balls next to a futuristic-looking remote. There is a hallway leading out that Blaine knows leads to Kurt’s bedroom and the bathroom.

Craning his aching neck to see over the back of the couch, Blaine can see a closed door with no differentiating features – as well as an absolutely gorgeous kitchen. Glossy and contemporary, the cabinets are dark and topped with marble-looking counters. Everything is lined and accented with the metallic glint of chrome.

His mother would be beside herself to cook in a kitchen like that, he catches himself thinking – and his heart tightens and catches in his chest.

It’s a beautiful apartment, and although Blaine has no idea which neighbourhood or even which borough of New York it’s located in he can tell just by looking at it that it must cost a fortune. But aside from the quiet noises of movement coming from Kurt’s own bedroom, the whole apartment is quiet and still in a way that makes him certain that no one else lives here.

And Blaine... doesn’t really know exactly what he was expecting. Perhaps one of the covens described in some of the books of lore he had poured over so intensely; some kind of dark family to share in the sport and play that Kurt seems to enjoy so much. A community of immorality, and lavishness, and monstrosity like the kind he’s read colourful myths about. But it’s clear even at a glance that only Kurt himself occupies this space: that he keeps it clean, and neat, and nicely decorated.

 Blaine wonders who the last person to see the inside of this apartment was.

He wonders if they’re still alive.

From the depths of Blaine’s memory, Kurt’s words from the park bench are coming back to them. The ones that Kurt had whispered, his breath tickling teasingly over Blaine’s lips, right before leaning in to kiss him for the very first time. Somehow, despite all the fear and time that has passed since then, Blaine can still hear them clearly in his mind as though they’ve been imprinted on the very material of his brain.

“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.”

For the very first time, it occurs to Blaine to wonder whether Kurt might just be lonely, too.

The sound of soft, padding footsteps is coming from down the hall, growing steadily louder as Kurt comes closer. Blaine knows for a fact that his hearing them is entirely intentional: he remembers all the times that Kurt had appeared without a sound outside his apartment door, announced by the dragging scratch of nails and cooing words and without a single footstep to indicate his arrival.

The fact that Kurt is intentionally allowing Blaine to hear his movements – that he has decided to let Blaine be reassured by knowing where he is, and when he’s coming back, and what is happening around him – makes something uncomfortable and tight twist in the base of his stomach.

A few seconds later, Kurt steps back into the room. The blue housecoat is gone, as is the messy bedhead that had made him look so achingly, tragically young.  Instead, he is dressed in a floaty sort of turtleneck shirt and a pair of jeans that are loose enough for Blaine to know that they constitute Kurt’s idea of dressed-down. His formerly mousy-looking brown hair has been styled into something of a twisting sweep, and he smells strongly of hairspray.

Glancing over at the couch with a tight, wary expression as he comes into the room, Kurt relaxes as he sees that Blaine’s eyes are still open. Something affectionate steals across the pale, sharp lines of his face; a smile tugging at the corner of his expressive mouth, a certain softness in his eyes. Blaine’s neck and thigh ache and throb dully in reminder.

And all at once, three things occur to Blaine in rapid succession: he is hungry, he is thirsty, and he desperately has to use the bathroom. The ache in his stomach, the dryness in his mouth, the uncomfortable pressure on his bladder; all three things had been shoved aside for the past few hours by the haze of unreality. But now all three sensations are back with a vengeance. Absurdly, Blaine has never felt more human than he does now: weak and vulnerable, with a body that has to be maintained and fuelled and taken care of. That isn’t frozen in time and effortlessly stunning, a living piece of art that never fades and never changes.

Cheeks heating up as Kurt moves closer, Blaine struggles to disentangle himself from the tightly tucked-in mound of sheets. Before he can get even half-way emerged, though, Kurt is across the room and at his side. His hand grips at Blaine’s bare arm in a way that isn’t painful, per se, just... uncompromising.

“What are you doing?” asks Kurt, tilting his head pointedly to one side and fixing Blaine with a stiff stare. His face is tense, and he one of his eyebrows raises up minutely. For a second, it occurs to Blaine to wonder if Kurt is actually concerned about how he’s going to react. How he’s going to take all this, now that he’s waking; what he’s going to say.

It’s a ridiculous notion, but it wisps along the edges of his mind nonetheless.

“Nothing,” says Blaine thickly, slowly moving his arm out of Kurt’s grasp. Kurt lets his fingers loosen, lets his grip be tugged loose, and Blaine has no idea what this malleability means. He looks right up into Kurt’s eyes, though, trying to look confident. He can’t quite push away the illogical flush humiliation rising in his cheeks, though. For some reason, the fact that he’s a human being – with all of the mundane, sordid little things that that entails – is almost embarrassing to him in this moment. “Just... bathroom.”

“I’ll help you,” says Kurt smoothly. “Here.”

He shifts, moving to hook his arms under Blaine’s shoulders, and... no. No, no, no, no, no because that is just... that’s too much. He already feels enough like a rag doll and an invalid and a cripple without Kurt helping him go to the bathroom, and this is his kidnapper, technically, and Blaine just... he can’t. Even with everything Kurt’s seen, everything Kurt’s done to him today, this is just too much. Face burning, he tries his best to wriggle out of Kurt’s solid arms.

“I don’t –” Blaine starts, words choking in his throat. “You don’t have to – I can do it myself, it’s fine.”

Around him, Kurt’s arms stiffen. He pulls away after a brief moment, tilting his head to one side and giving Blaine a silently analyzing look that makes his thin brows draw together and his forehead wrinkle.

Something hot and uncomfortable twists at Blaine’s insides as he sits on the receiving end of the look, and he genuinely has no idea whether Kurt is trying to be patronizing or whether it’s unintentional. Maybe Kurt just has no idea how to handle a human being for anything longer than a few hours of heated touches and spilled blood, let alone someone who’s injured that he intends to keep breathing. Blaine has a niggling suspicion that none of Kurt’s string of pretty corpses has ever made it past a single encounter with him, and it’s almost as though Kurt has forgotten what’s embarrassing and what’s acceptable when dealing with normal people for extended amounts of time.

After a considering pause, Kurt inclines his head in a small nod of acquiescence.

“All right,” says Kurt quietly. His eyes flick down to Blaine’s limbs, still tangled and snared in the mess of blankets. “Let me help you to the door, at least. I don’t have to carry you,” he rushes to explain as Blaine opens his mouth to say something. Now that Blaine is able to think in a straight line again, the idea of being slung up in Kurt’s arms and deposited somewhere like an inanimate object is enough to get his hackles up. “I’ll just... support you while you walk. Would that work?”

There is a pause while Blaine considers this alternative; his legs still feel a bit wobbly and sore from being in the same position for so long, and at least it wouldn’t be as pathetic as being carried. He nods, irrationally thankful to be asked for permission for something to matter how small the matter might be. Kurt’s pale face stretches into a pleased smile.

“Okay,” Kurt nods, an understated grin tugging at his lips as he busies himself with methodically extracting Blaine’s legs from the tangle of sheets and blankets. When they’ve all been pushed aside, he stands and extends a long-fingered hand, palm up, for Blaine to take.

And when Blaine reaches out to accept the hand, the coolness of Kurt’s skin is only a little bit surprising to touch.

Kurt pulls him easily and smoothly to his feet, and when he puts weight on his legs Blaine’s inner thigh screams and aches in protest. He stumbles slightly, the room lilting and lurching violently from standing up after spending so long sedentary on the makeshift bed, but Kurt holds him close and firm. Doesn’t let him fall down, but doesn’t just roll his eyes and nonchalantly pluck Blaine off his feet either. Instead, Kurt holds him solidly around the shoulder and keeps him standing until his head stops spinning and everything settles back into reality. After a few seconds, Blaine nods – and Kurt leads him slowly back into his bedroom.

They walk together like something out of a very strange three-legged race. Even though Blaine’s legs feel prickly with sensation and his knees are far less sturdy than he would like after the shock of earlier’s intense emotional release, he is still able to put one foot in front of the other as Kurt helps him quietly along. He focuses on one step at a time, one foot in front of the other as he regains control of his body enough to walk in a straight line.

When they pass through the bedroom, Blaine can see that the bed has been stripped. The sheets, stained dark brown-red with drying blood (his blood his blood oh Jesus), are piled in a corner, and Blaine has to look away quickly to suppress the wave of nausea that rolls over him. His eyes land instead on a fresh set of sheets, neatly folded and resting on a chair, that are clearly intended to replace the ones stained with his own blood. With the bedding gone from the bed, Blaine realizes that the mattress has been zipped up in a thick plastic casing. After a second of staring at the little smears of dried blood on the plastic cover, he realizes that it must be there to protect the mattress from getting bloodstained, and how very intensely and intricately Kurt has planned out so many of the details makes him feel momentarily lightheaded with discomfort.

When they reach the bathroom, its light still on from what happened in here before, Kurt waits for Blaine to reach up and take hold of the doorframe before he moves away. Trying to force his mind away from the pile of bloodstained sheets in the other room, Blaine grips at the doorframe with both hands in order to keep himself standing without Kurt’s support.

But Kurt doesn’t leave him there; not yet. Instead, he just keeps on giving Blaine that same look he gave him in the living room; the one that makes Blaine feel as though Kurt is pushing his skin aside and seeing what’s underneath. As though Kurt is comprehending something important about him for the very first time. Blaine twists under the gaze, and Kurt tilts his head to one side before reaching up to run his fingertips very softly along Blaine’s cheek.

“So stubborn,” Kurt murmurs, quiet and affectionate and distant as his fingertips trail along Blaine’s skin. Not sure what to say in response, Blaine remains silent as he clings to the wooden doorframe. Kurt’s eyelashes are thick, and his fingertips are soft, and after a moment he leans in and brings their lips together in a quick kiss. The press of Kurt’s lips against his is soft, and kind, and it makes the side of Blaine’s neck throb with memories. But it doesn’t even last long enough for Blaine’s eyelids to flutter closed before Kurt is pulling away again, leaving Blaine blinking in the doorframe.

 “Let me know if you need help walking back,” Kurt instructs him sternly before turning around, heading back out to the living room, and leaving Blaine alone and shaky on his feet in the doorway.

 

--

 

As soon as the door is closed behind him, Blaine walks to the chrome-and-glass sink, grabs the fancy drinking cup off the edge, and promptly fills and consumes three full cups of tap water. His throat aches as he greedily and messily swallows the water down, his dry mouth and empty belly finally somewhat assuaged after so long without anything to ease them. He gasps wetly as he empties the third cup, one hand gripping hard at the glass counter as he savours the taste of cold water in his mouth, sliding down his throat in thick gulps. The refreshing, necessary chill of it brings him back to reality more properly than anything else has so far.

Not even daring to look at the mirror (to see what he looks like after everything, after giving up) or the shower (where everything was so hot and flushed and close but at least he knew what to expect), Blaine replaces the cup on the glass counter and stumbles over to use the toilet to relieve the aching pressure on his bladder.

When Blaine heads back to the sink to wash his hands, finally starting to feel like a person again instead of a heap of human needs, he cannot stop himself from looking into the mirror to see his own reflection.

The puncture wounds on his neck draw all of his attention, at first. They stand out sharply in the warm, glossy light and make something uncomfortable and blunt twinge inside. The two twin marks are stark and deep and raised against the skin, the skin around them raw and red. They’re ugly, and unpleasant, and they strain and ache when he tilts his head to get a better look at them. Blaine can even see the faint shininess around the wound where Kurt applied the antibiotic ointment earlier. After a minute, Blaine’s eyes trail up to take in the rest of his reflection.

Feeling dimly horrified, Blaine stares at the reflection that is practically unrecognizable as himself.  Gone is the young man he always tried his best to embody, with the winning smile and the slicked-down hair who roamed the halls of Dalton and tried so hard to find a home in New York City. Instead, there is a small, rumpled boy staring back at him who looks very much unsteady on his feet. His hair is a wild mess, uneven from being washed and then shoved up against Kurt’s chest while it dried.  The glasses perched on his nose give him an air of disorganization, and his own pyjamas seem to hang a bit loose on his body. Although genetics have made it impossible for Blaine to actually be pale, per se, there is an unfamiliar lack of colour beneath his skin that makes him look weak and strained. The red marks stand out angrily against his neck.

They look like war wounds.

Except that Blaine isn’t getting out of this alive.

He stares into his own hazel eyes reflected back at him for a long, long time before he flicks off the bathroom light and slowly heads back down the hall.

 

--

 

When he steps shakily back into the living room – he hadn’t wanted to call out for assistance even though his thigh burns with every step and his head remains determinedly woozy – the entire common area is steeped in the warm, practical smells of food cooking. Stomach grumbling loudly, Blaine stands and blinks as he takes in the very bizarre sight of Kurt efficiently cutting red potatoes into quarters on a large wooden cutting board on the kitchen island. There is a pan on top of the stove full of softly simmering chopped onions growing slowly more and more translucent from the heat, the savoury smell filling up the air.

Kurt doesn’t look up as Blaine enters the room, his attention fixed firmly on the cutting board in front of him as he slices thick pieces of potato, handling the knife in his hands with business-like precision. He does, however, incline his head pointedly in a wordless gesture toward a large brown wing-back armchair that Blaine swears used to be against the far wall of the living room. It isn’t there anymore, though; while Blaine was down the hall, Kurt apparently took the opportunity to drag the chair over to sit in the entrance of the kitchen. All of the blankets and sheets have been moved from the couch, as well; they now lie piled on top of the armchair.

The message is very clear and brooks absolutely no opposition. Feeling cold inside and still a little slow on his feet, Blaine walks over to the newly-positioned armchair and settles himself into it. The blankets are still pleasant to wrap around himself, actually; the tips of his fingers and toes are still determinedly cold. Now that he’s had water and relieved himself, the only real thing Blaine can think about is how very hungry he is. His stomach grumble and twists when Kurt empties a small bowl of cut-up pork into the saucepan, the smell of browning meat making his mouth water.

“I hope you like stew,” says Kurt airily, looking up at him for the first time now that Blaine is appropriately curled up in his designated seating area. Kurt quirks an eyebrow at him. “You’re going to need to keep your strength up over the next little while. You’re thin as a rake, Blaine, I swear. Have you even been feeding yourself these past weeks?” He tuts loudly as he grinds fresh pepper over the saucepan, shaking his head. “Luckily you have me to take care of you.”

When Kurt places the pepper grinder back in place on the kitchen counter, he shoots Blaine a measured glare. “Don’t even think about not eating out of some misguided sense of honour, by the way. I’d be very unimpressed.”

“I wouldn’t,” Blaine admits, twisting his hands in the blankets wrapped around him.

It’s true, too. Aside from the almost painful way his stomach growls and lurches at the smell of the food, the quiet fact of Kurt’s victory is draped over the both of them like a physical presence. The fact that Kurt has won is utterly inescapable, now. It’s over, and done, and he’s already taken everything that Blaine could conceivably want to keep from him.

Even if the fact that Kurt is keeping him alive to play with makes Blaine feel knotted up and snapped apart, it doesn’t change the reality of the situation. However long this lasts before Kurt decides to turn him, Blaine still has to comply with whatever Kurt wants in order to keep the people he loves from being hurt. Kurt sends him a satisfied little smile over his shoulder, clearly feeling the thrill of Blaine finally listening to his instructions without putting up a fight, and begins to chop away thick chunks of cabbage.

And Blaine has honestly never let himself think this far ahead. What happened in the bedroom, and afterward in the shower... that, at least, he had been expected. When Blaine surrendered himself and invited Kurt inside, he had done so complete with the unshakable knowledge that certain things were going to happen. It’s not done yet, Blaine knows that; he’ll be nursed back to health and bled and fucked out until Kurt gets bored of his taste or his heat or his fragile body. Even though the idea of being turned into something inhuman and wrong and not him makes Blaine feel cold and empty and dull inside, however, he had given himself over fully knowing it would happen. He knew when he opened the door that Kurt would drink from him, and that Kurt would fuck him; the other boy had never been particularly coy or subtle about any of those intentions during their long weeks of fear-filled conversations over the phone or through Blaine’s apartment door.

But Blaine has never truly managed to get his head past the prospect of Kurt’s teeth puncturing  into his neck; has never let himself consider all of the in-between moments amid the pain and pleasure that Kurt has been promising him for weeks. Being held tight against Kurt’s chest as they lie together on the couch, or Kurt cooking him dinner with the same focus and precision he pays to everything else. How the two of them would interact outside of those few anticipated factors.

It’s surreal. Surreal and confusing and it makes his head hurt, because it’s harder to remember that he isn’t here of his own volition when everything is so normal. When Kurt is acting like the boy he met in the alley all those weeks ago and not the monster Blaine has seen him become.

“Do you even eat?” Blaine blurts out, eyes fixed on the cool, quick movements of Kurt’s pale hands as he finishes chopping the cabbage. Kurt’s hands freeze mid-motion, and at once Blaine is gripped with the immediate and irrational fear that what he said might be considered rude. “I mean... I don’t know. When I was trying to... to research you,” Blaine falters, feeling a sharp jab to his chest  as he remembers elegant brown hands and steaming mugs of tea and piles upon piles of reference books. He lets out a little breath, wrenching himself forcibly back into the here and now. “... when I was trying to learn more about you, I mean. Everything seemed to be a bit... unclear on that.”

But Kurt is laughing quietly, a little trill of a chuckle. He walks over purposefully to the refrigerator, opening it up and extracting a container of packaged broth. In the split second that the fridge door is open, Blaine catches sight of the very small and centralized amount of food amid the white expanse of its insides. His stomach twists, and he wonders how long that much food can last. When Kurt turns around, he is wearing a smile that stretches his lips wide.

“I don’t eat,” Kurt confirms amusedly, walking back to the patch of counter he’s utilising and depositing the broth on top of it. He sends Blaine a wicked grin, blue eyes sparkling with something deeply private and slightly sly as he runs his eyes over Blaine’s body. “Well,” he says, his gaze sliding down to rest on the side of Blaine’s neck. The wounds there pulse as Kurt stares at them, straddling the line between playful and serious. “I suppose you could say I’ve already eaten today, if you want to be precise about it.”

The heat of a humiliated flush is creeping up Blaine’s neck, into his cheeks. He blinks hard, forcing himself not to reach up and cover the exposed wound with his hands. Blaine can practically feel Kurt’s eyes tracing over the rawness of the punctures, can practically feel him remembering what it was like to drink from Blaine for the first time.

And not the last, says a voice in the back of Blaine’s head.

“But your kitchen,” says Blaine, trying to break the moment. He looks up and catches Kurt’s eyes; they look darker than usual, and it makes something tighten hot and wrong in the base of his spine. “It’s... you’ve got pots, and pans, and food. You know how to cook.”

Kurt sends him a look, stirring the meat and onions with a brand new-looking wooden spoon. “I can still remember the basics,” he says dryly, arching an eyebrow. “My mom died when I was little, remember? I was always the one who did the cooking and cleaning while my dad was at work. It’s a bit like riding a bicycle, cooking again.” He stares down at the gently-simmering contents of the pan, wrinkling his nose. “Well. I might ask you to be the one to taste test this, though. It’s... mmm, no, not really appealing to me.”

But that doesn’t answer everything. “What about the cookware?” asks Blaine, an insidious suspicion already growing in his mind. Kurt shrugs as he empties the contents of the pan into a large pot, not looking him in the eye.

“I knew you were going to be staying here, didn’t I,” says Kurt neutrally, voice slightly stiff as he adds the chopped-up cabbage to the stew pot. “I like to be prepared.”

The words ring in Blaine’s ears. He blinks, looking down at his lap it occurs to him again just how much Kurt has been anticipating and organizing to prepare for something that Blaine had been so, so desperate to escape from. The plastic sheets, the food in the fridge, the newly-purchased cooking implements. He wonders, for a moment, just how much food Kurt had decided to purchase; how long he’s planning to keep Blaine the way he is.  

For the first time, as well, it occurs to Blaine to wonder how it is that Kurt supports himself. He bites down on his lip, eyebrows furrowing as Kurt putters about the quietly chic kitchen as he gets everything ready to simmer. This is obviously an expensive apartment, for one thing. Blaine has never seen any evidence that Kurt has some kind of civilian job, not that he would be able to hold onto any kind of position that required him to make appearances during the daytime. How can Kurt afford to ruin expensive sheet sets as though they’re nothing, and buy an entire kitchen set on a whim?

The idea of Kurt – beautiful and deadly, wrapped in fear and power and mercilessness, who is an actual creature out of a storybook – working as some kind of office drone to make ends meet is just too incomprehensibly ridiculous for Blaine to visualize. Besides, Kurt had spent so many of his nights in the past while stalking and harassing and terrorizing him that he couldn’t possibly have had time to hold up an ordinary job in the meantime.

From what Blaine can tell, Kurt is just finishing the last touches for getting dinner ready to sit and cook on its own. He empties a container and a half’s worth of broth into the pot, turns up the heat – and the homey smell of warming vegetable-filled broth begins to waft and spread throughout the house like a physical presence. It hits Blaine right in the chest like a blow, and his mouth falls open as memories rush to the forefront of his mind in the way that only the sense of smell can dredge up.

Tucked up in the chair, Blaine blinks hard as memories and sensation, smells and feelings all flood into his mind. Sitting in the kitchen of the house he grew up in, watching his mother ready stews and adobo while she chats happily about whatever would happen to come into her mind. The smell of broth, and the warmth from the oven, and the way she used to laugh with her whole body. The way she would wrap him in her arms whenever he was having a bad day.

And all at once, the phone conversation with his mom and dad – when he said goodbye to them, the first and last time he and his dad were ever going to understand each other, oh god – rushes up and catches him in the throat. It’s still so fresh, and so painful; like pressing down hard on an open wound. Blaine’s face feels suddenly so much hotter than the heat from the stove should warrant, and his throat clenches thickly. From the blocked windows in Kurt’s apartment, Blaine has no idea what time or even what day it is. It could have been only a few hours ago that he said goodbye to them. Or maybe it’s been over a day, or more than that; there’s no way to tell.

They might even know that something is wrong by now. The realization makes his eyes sting hot for a moment, and he blinks hard against it as the world blurs.

In front of him, Kurt inhales deeply and freezes. When he turns to face Blaine, his brow is furrowed. “Hey,” he says quietly, and only then does Blaine feel something wet and hot escape and slide pointlessly down his cheek.

And all at once, Kurt is right in front of him; kneeling in front of the armchair with a puzzled and apprehensive look on his perfect, angelic face. Leaning in close, Kurt leans up with a cool hand and swipes the tear away. As though to get rid of any physical manifestation of distress is enough to make it go away.

“Don’t cry,” says Kurt quietly, his clear voice tampered down with surprise and bewilderment. “You don’t need to cry.”

He sounds genuinely at a loss as to how to respond to the sudden change in mood. As though he honestly cannot think of a reason that Blaine could possibly be upset.

 “... I’m never going to see my parents again,” Blaine whispers, the words thick and heavy as he speaks the words into the air for the very first time. He knows this, already; has come to terms with what it would mean, trading in his life for theirs. But saying the words out loud brings the ache of it to the surface, touching a pressure point. Makes his eyes sting again, no matter how much he doesn’t want them to.

Kurt’s hand is still lingering along his hairline, drifting over the skin comfortingly.

“No,” Kurt responds, straightforward and simple. His voice is high and clear in the stillness of the moment, and for a moment he sounds so very old despite the youth that slides over his skin like a mask. He gently tilts Blaine’s face with his hand, guiding him so that he has nowhere to look except for right into Kurt’s eyes. They are blue, and endless, and for the life of him Blaine cannot tell if there is any pity in their depths at all. “No, you won’t.”

It’s... hard, hearing it like that. Stark and raw and so, so unforgiving. Blinking hard to force away the persistent stinging, Blaine attempts to incline his head ever so slightly downward to avoid the full brunt of Kurt’s stare. But the pressure of Kurt’s fingertips against Blaine’s cheek increases. Almost imperceptibly at first, and then firmer when Blaine tries to look away in spite of it. Kurt is refusing to let him look away, looking into his eyes with an intensity almost bordering on manic.

For a second, and for the very first time since waking up in a strange bed with Kurt’s arms wrapped around him like a loving cage, Blaine feels sudden and acute fear ripple through him. Squirming and twisting from underneath that look.

“Don’t worry, Blaine,” Kurt murmurs, unblinking and shaking his head the smallest amount back and forth as he speaks. His eyes are riveted to Blaine’s own as he speaks, and each syllable is practically shivering with quiet intensity.

And slowly, very slowly, Kurt’s fingers move downwards; sliding along Blaine’s jaw and down to the side of his neck. Kurt’s fingers circle the two twin wounds deliberately, his eyes leaving Blaine’s for the first time to watch the movement of paler fingers along darker skin and raw red wounds. The touch shoots a little bursts of pain up Blaine’s throat when Kurt’s presses down, and Blaine sucks in a sharp breath.

A cold jolt of primal fear shoots up Blaine’s spine, his legs feeling ever so slightly liquid and weak beneath him. He staunchly presses down the instinct to run because it’s useless, pointless, wouldn’t get him anywhere and he can’t. Has to let Kurt to whatever he wants because it’s over, he lost, and he can’t risk anyone else’s lives when his is already gone.  

But instead of hurting him, Kurt is suddenly kissing him. Hard and hot, a crush of lips against lips as he presses right into Blaine’s space. He worries Blaine’s lower lip between his teeth, biting down just hard enough to avoid drawing blood and pressing his fingers into the puncture marks on Blaine’s neck all at once. The twin pains make Blaine gasp wetly against Kurt’s lips, and Kurt takes the opportunity to slide his tongue into Blaine’s mouth. Claiming, taking, taking what he wants again and disregarding everything else.

By the time he pulls away, both of them are breathing heavily. Every nerve in Blaine’s body is steeled and perched on the very edge.

“Don’t worry,” breathes Kurt against Blaine’s mouth, ragged and convicted. His fingers ghost over the wounds once, twice, almost like a reassurance. “I promise you won’t miss them, beautiful. You won’t. Not once I make you like me.”

And nothing Kurt could have possibly said could have hurt as much as that did.

“We’re going to be so good,” Kurt murmurs, seeming not to notice that Blaine’s heart has fallen into the base of his stomach and everything is flashing white in front of his eyes. Doesn’t notice the way everything feels suddenly so cold and wrong and soon, too soon, and he doesn’t want to lose them to himself like that. Can’t even think about it, can’t even imagine it. His mom and dad, devastated and trying to find him and Blaine unable even to care.

It’s a repulsive thought, and it makes him feel hollow and horrible so, so lost.

Without pause, Kurt moves down to mouth against the side of Blaine’s throat where the skin is already broken. It makes Blaine’s whole neck throb with renewed aching soreness, and he clutches his fingers into the loose material of Kurt’s shirt.

“It won’t be me, though,” Blaine chokes out, sounding almost childish as the words sink and settle with horrible, horrible sadness in the pit of his stomach. He can’t tell if the words are a denial, or a defence, or just something to fill the gaping space inside. His eyes are stinging, and he shakes his head and blinks hard against it. “It won’t be me.”

But Kurt just sucks hard, groaning helplessly around the wound.

“Of course it’ll be you,” says Kurt dismissively, licking a long strip along Blaine’s neck. Blaine shivers at the empty reassurance, not even sure that Kurt heard what he’d said, and he can feel one of Kurt’s hands working through the pile of blankets around Blaine’s waist, worming its way through. It pushes the waistband of Blaine’s pyjama pants down and takes him in hand without preamble, stroking hard and fast and tight in a way that makes Blaine whimper out loud.

“We’re going to be so good, Blaine, you don’t even know,” Kurt murmurs nonsensically against Blaine’s neck, the words muffled and sending sharp vibrations along the skin that bring up tiny ripples of pain. “So good. You’re perfect, we’re perfect, you just – you just can’t tell yet.” His hand tightens on Blaine’s cock, pace slowing down into something determined and focused and intense. “So good,” he says again, licking a long stripe up the puncture marks and making Blaine shudder.

And after a long, long pause that hangs in the air and fills him up, Blaine leans his head against the back of the armchair, closes his eyes – and surrenders into the touch. Lets his mind go purposefully blank as Kurt slowly and patiently gets him off, the stroking touch of his cool hand on his cock a constant reminder of exactly what Kurt is.

Because it feels good, and Kurt’s hand is sure, and because part of him has always wanted this. Because Kurt isn’t going to give him comfort, doesn’t even know why Blaine could possibly want comfort, and so physical closeness is just going to have to be enough.

Because it is easier to let himself be touched and edged and drawn up into heat and slow, slow pleasure than it is to think about the way that this is all going to end. Easier than thinking about what Kurt wants from him, in the end: to twist and stretch Blaine out into a cold, heartless shell that looks like a person who wouldn’t exist anymore.

When they’re done, Kurt cleans the both of them up with a washcloth before serving Blaine a large bowl of steaming stew. The ladle shines as though it has never been used, and so does the silver spoon he takes out of the cutlery drawer with graceful fingers. He squeezes his way next to Blaine on the chair and feeds the stew to Blaine in small mouthfuls, sometimes blowing on the larger spoonfuls to cool them down. Blaine opens his mouth freely; lets Kurt hold him close, and nurture his body, and keep him alive long enough to play with.

He swallows the hot broth down, and lets Kurt stroke his hair, and tries not to think about what is going to happen once Kurt gets bored this.

 

--

 

Over the next little while, it proves practically impossible for Blaine to keep any meaningful track of time. With the windows blacked out and an almost pointed lack of any kind of time-telling device around the apartment, the days blur together into an endless repeating slide of pain, and sex, and blood.

Blaine wonders if Kurt is trying to drive him insane, not letting him know what time it is or how long it’s been.

He wonders if it’s working.

The dreams keep coming, and they don’t help. Hard and strong and achingly real, that part of Kurt that slithered beneath his skin and taken hold of his subconscious so long ago even more active and vibrant than before. The dreams bleed into reality, and reality bleeds back into the dreams until Blaine can barely differentiate between the two.

Even sleep provides no break from Kurt’s soft words, or his cloying touches, or the sharp heated pleasure-pain of his teeth piercing through Blaine’s skin.

It’s all one endless stretch of time that just won’t end, and the two of them float in this little hollowed-out space in utter isolation. Nothing can exist outside the walls of Kurt’s apartment: not the people Blaine loves, or has lost, or the life he always thought he would have. Not the put-together, charming boy he used to be when the walls of Dalton surrounded him like an embrace, or the unburdened young man his father left him with their final conversation. The world ends at Kurt’s door – or it does as far as Blaine is concerned. Thinking about outside is painful, and complicated, and there just isn’t any point anymore.

After that first time (the bed, the blood, the heat of the water, the soft touch of Kurt’s fingers trailing down his chest as they laid together on the couch afterward), Blaine knows without a doubt that there isn’t any room for any more than the two of them here. Nothing beyond Kurt’s teeth, and his nails, and his appetite, and the utter surrender that is all Blaine can muster anymore.

Blaine breaks down from the sheer uncertainty of it, a few days in. Unable to press it all down anymore, he shatters outwards after being fucked hard and drained deep and without any idea of how long his life is going to be this way. He breaks down with Kurt holding him close against his chest as though he’s something precious, stroking loving hands through dark curls and whispering shhh, Blaine, it’s fine, it’s all fine now, I’ve got you against his skin. Holding him tight and close and innocently for long minutes –  until Kurt’s hand slides down lower and Blaine’s hysterical tears turn into choked-out gasps of pleasure-pain, and it stops being sweet and innocent at all.

It doesn’t stop. Not the intimacy, or the way Kurt looks at him, or the sharp drag of blood leaving his body as Kurt bites into his skin and sucks. None of it stops, although Kurt is at least careful not to drink deeply enough to actually make Blaine lose consciousness. He walks the line, though; he brings Blaine close to the edge of the precipice, leaves him reeling and spinning and weak by the time Kurt finally wrenches his mouth away. Leaves him gasping and dazed to the world, so very close to the blackness but just barely, barely held back.

Afterwards, Kurt always practically buzzes with content. He holds Blaine close, and whispers loving words of praise, and makes sure the bleeding stays under control. But far more than the pain of the cuts and punctures or the blood loss itself, Kurt breaks Blaine down with the affection in his eyes and the world-changing phenomena of Blaine’s name on his lips. He drinks from Blaine whenever he feels like it, gorging himself on hot blood and never left wanting, and Kurt is always sure to sweetly nurse him back to awareness afterward.

Sometimes, Kurt leans close and drags a lust-sharpened nail along Blaine’s wrist, lapping at the wet heat that pours out; or he’ll dig his teeth into Blaine’s shoulder and groan as he swallows messily around it. A few times, the sharp pain of fangs piercing into flesh even wakes Blaine up in the middle of the night; Kurt’s arms no longer wrapped possessively around his middle but holding him down as he drinks covetously from whatever limb or swathe of skin is closest.

The first time, the happy ease of a thirst well-slaked stretches out over at least a few of days before Kurt wants to drink from him again. But the time after, Blaine thinks, the satisfaction doesn’t last quite as long. And the time after that, the where Kurt is full and sated is a little bit shorter still.

Every time Kurt drinks from him, Kurt seems to grow hungry and itchy with want just that little bit sooner, and sooner. As though he can’t drink deeply enough even when he leaves Blaine dizzy and weak and well-fucked; as though now that he can have drink from Blaine whenever he wants, it would take more and more to leave him satisfied. Before too long, Blaine’s body is a mottled map of cuts and punctures and scrapes and tears.

For the most part, the pet names vanish with an all-at-once abruptness that makes Blaine’s head spin. The pretty things and beautiful things that had haunted his dreams and coiled from Kurt’s lips like a seduction, a poison – they almost disappear altogether after that first day, and the shower, and Blaine’s name on Kurt’s lips as Kurt had buried himself in Blaine’s body and breathed.  As though the cloying terms of proprietary, dehumanizing endearment had been an element of the chase, not the possession. As though they aren’t necessary anymore, with Blaine in Kurt’s arms instead of behind an immovable barrier.

As though Kurt has nothing to prove, anymore. And no one to scare.

Instead, Kurt calls Blaine by his name – and that almost makes it worse. It turns Blaine’s own name into some kind of title; almost a signifier of importance that goes far beyond the word’s simple meaning. Twisting the single familiar syllable into something insidious, and personal; into a sound that, at times, Blaine can barely recognize. Whether Kurt says the word with a soft smile, or a smirking grin, or moans it into Blaine’s neck in the middle of grinding deep into his ass, it doesn’t matter. He calls Blaine by his name as though it’s important, as though it’s everything, and it practically turns Blaine’s name into a pet name in and of itself.

The way Kurt says it, too. As though the word holds hidden depths that Blaine himself isn’t privy to; as though there is something about who Blaine is that only Kurt can understand, and perceive, and see.

Blaine still feels like a thing, most of the time.

 Even though Kurt doesn’t call him one outright anymore.

 

--

 

The in-between parts don’t stop happening, either.

Showers and meals and sleeping and talking, and all of it still so surreal and incomprehensible to him. All of the elements and aspects that Blaine never even considered when he handed himself over, only they constitute the majority of their time, really. And they never stop shocking him, even as his body grows more worn-out and weakened as time goes by. Even as Blaine feels almost delirious with how overwhelming and restricted it all is, being kept this way. Like a pet, and a lover, and a treasure all at once.

Kurt even leaves the apartment, sometimes. Gives Blaine a kiss on the lips and walks out the door to go buy groceries, or go to get the mail. Sometimes, he doesn’t even articulate what he intends to do outside the four walls that constitute Blaine’s reality; just walks out into what Blaine can only assume to be the night without more than a brief goodbye.

The only thing that Blaine knows for sure that Kurt isn’t doing out there is feeding, and that’s only because Kurt had reassured him of it one time between drinking down large gulps over blood from Blaine’s waist. You don’t think I’m still having other people, do you, Blaine? and don’t need any of them when I have you and god, you taste so good; you’re amazing, Blaine, can’t believe you’re all mine as Blaine had arched and whined and clenched down on the stabbing pain of it all.

But no matter what his business in the outside world might be, Kurt always, always leaves the door unlocked behind him when he goes. Leaves Blaine sitting in the apartment, theoretically free to try to get away.

The first time, Blaine assumes that it’s some kind of a test. That Kurt must be waiting outside to see if he’ll make a run for it, or is yearning for the heated pulse of the chase again while he tracks Blaine down and hunts him throughout the city.

It’s the only moment where Blaine seriously wonders whether Kurt knows him half as well as he thinks he does. Because Blaine understands, now, with bone-deep certainty that there simply there isn’t any point in trying to escape. Any chance he ever had to get out of this only ever existed in his head; no matter his own stupid, human delusions, Kurt has him in Blaine palm of his hand since the first moment they met. If he runs, Kurt will find him. Will slaughter the people Blaine loves and smile while he does it, and make Blaine pay for even considering the possibility of escape.

He waits patiently for Kurt to return home, instead. He doesn’t even get close to the door.

After the third, fourth, fifth time it happens, however, Blaine starts to wonder whether or not Kurt leaving him alone is any kind of test at all; that maybe Kurt simply has utter faith that Blaine won’t try to get away from anymore. He has no idea which theory is more unsettling.

Other times, however, Blaine can almost forget himself in the strangeness of the entire situation.

“Are you... sewing?” asks Blaine in quiet disbelief, forgetting himself in his surprise as he cranes his neck to see into the space that had always previously been blocked off by a closed door. Until now, he had always assumed that he door concealed nothing more than some kind of storage closet. But instead of brooms and cleaning supplies or boxes  or books, there is instead a whole room now visible through the opened doorway. He can see Kurt, dressed impeccably in a tailored plaid jacket and hunched delicately over a sewing machine, his eyes narrowed and fixed on the fabric he is carefully feeding under the pumping needle.

Eyelids heavy with sleep and the cut on his shoulder (and arm, and thigh, and the swell of his ass and the back of his neck, and all over his body peppered like little sigils of ownership) throbbing softly, Blaine blinks at the very unexpected sight.

The thump-thump-thump-thump-thump of the sewing machine is what woke him up from his nap in the first place. (At least, he’s fairly sure that it was a nap; it’s hard to tell because the windows are covered right up and the lamps always cast the same light over the room and for all Blaine knows he could have been lying here asleep for quite number of hours.) For a moment, he wonders if he might be dreaming – until he comes to the conclusion that seeing Kurt, the creature out of a nightmare who had haunted and tormented and tortured him for so long, actually physically sewing is too strange and unreal for his mind to concoct on its own. He almost wants to laugh out loud at the sight.  

“Everyone has to make a living somehow,” says Kurt with a smirk, raising both eyebrows and looking over in Blaine’s direction with an amused look on his angelic face. He adjusts the position of the fabric, turning his attention back to the work at hand as he carefully nudges it under the needle. The machine is so loud that he has to almost shout slightly in order to be heard. “I wanted to welcome you properly, of course, but I really do have to make this deadline. No matter how long I’m around, the postage system remains painfully slow.” He huffs slightly. “It’s very disappointing.”

“This is what you do?” asks Blaine, still feeling a bit fuzzy and slow. His shoulder burns and twinges when he moves to adjust himself so that he’s sitting higher, and when he glances over at it he sees that the cut Kurt had suckled from so eagerly a few hours ago has been wrapped in gauze. Kurt nods, his eyes still fixed on the work in front of him.

“Mmmmm,” Kurt hums, finishing off the seam and cutting the threads. His voice is still raised slightly so that Blaine can hear him from the other room. “I’m the... well. What is it you call it when someone writes something and then it’s credited to someone else? A ghost author?” He shrugs. “It’s something like that.” He lets out a high chuckle, and there’s a little bit of noise as Kurt gathers up a few items and then practically prances out into the living room to join him. Kurt lowers himself gracefully onto the floor next to the end of the couch Blaine is curled up against, depositing a few sheets of paper right onto Blaine’s lap with something gleeful in his eyes.

Obediently, Blaine looks over the pile of papers in front of him.

The first is a swooping, gorgeous sketch drawn in thin black ink lines. It’s of a man, elegant and poised, decked out in a handsome jacket with a very interesting piece of detailing on the shoulders as well as some formfitting trousers. There are a few swatches of fabric pinned to the paper: one in a heavy cream denim, the other a rich green that feels like cotton. When Blaine flips over the page, he sees that the piece of paper beneath it contains an identical sketch – but this time, there are little handwritten notes and arrows drawn all over the margins. Bronze button for the fly and will want to show with unbuttoned collared shirt with no tie and be careful with the fit over the shoulders. When Blaine flips through, he sees this pattern repeats itself throughout the stack; menswear, women’s wear, there doesn’t seem to be a solid pattern.

“There’s this designer,” Kurt begins emphatically, his head resting lazily on Blaine’s thigh as he gushes. Kurt is still thrumming happily from drinking his fill earlier, energy rolling off of him in thick waves as he speaks. And as sick as that should make Blaine feel, knowing what caused it, his giddiness is still practically contagious. “Not untalented, per se,” he continues, cocking his head to one side, “but not nearly enough zing to make it on his own. So a few decades ago, I contacted him and we made a little deal. I send him my designs, as well as the occasional mock up. He remains the public front for the company, and in exchange for a hefty chunk of the profits no one ever has to know about his lacklustre abilities.” Kurt shrugs, a touch of what is clearly old bitterness making his lips thin and his voice tighten. “It’s his name on the brand, of course. But sadly, my... inability to participate in the public eye makes it impossible for me to branch out on my own.”

“I don’t know that many designers,” Blaine admits, feeling slightly embarrassed about it as he flips through more of the pages. They’re good designs – really good, actually – but he can’t truly put his finger on the elements that make them so exceptional.

When he was younger, Blaine had assumed that a natural part of being gay was to be interested in high fashion. And he had tried; he really had. He had purchased Vogue with the best of them for a few years, and attempted to keep up with the who’s who of the fashion world. But his own personal style had always been somewhat unconventional; almost retro, really, too old for him and nothing approaching cutting edge. Once he moved to New York, he had realized how unnecessary it was for him involve himself in that aspect of gay culture considering the kinds of men he tended to attract. 

Next to him, Kurt lets out an amused laugh. “I wouldn’t worry,” he says slowly, smirking slightly as he leans into Blaine’s side and lets out a little melancholy sigh. “You’d recognize the name if you heard it.” He tugs Blaine’s arm over and presses a kiss against the gauze, practically purring with his stomach warm and full with blood.

And it’s all so funny, and sweet, and makes Blaine smile automatically before his brain catches up with him. Before what the fuck is wrong with you and how can you be okay with this bludgeon him across the face like a slap, and the smile hangs empty and hollow on his face like the ghost of a feeling.

 

--

 

Blaine wakes up in drifting lilts of sensation that steal along the edges of his mind, slipping into his dreams and coaxing him into reality in slow pulls until awareness begins to solidify like an image clarifying. The little sensations pull him awake; the gentle press of dry lips against his shoulder, the heat of someone’s breath tickling the hairs at the back of his neck, the soothing touch a hand rubbing calming circles into the bare skin of his ass beneath the sheets.

When Blaine breathes in deep and smells Kurt, all around him like a blanket and an embrace, the familiarity of the smell makes any tension in his body ebb away into easy looseness and relaxation. He sighs into the pillow, sleepy and happy and with the beginnings of an erection already pressing into the mattress. And when he presses back easily into the touches, Blaine can hear Kurt make a quietly pleased noise above him.

There is the shifting of weight as Kurt moves closer, pressing his naked body right up against him so that his stomach is right up against Blaine’s back. The movement nestles Kurt’s cock, hard and wanting and the skin of it so soft, right into the cleft of Blaine’s ass. Kurt loves his ass; loves the fullness of it, the curve and fleshiness of the cheeks that is so very different from his own. Loves to dig his nails into it, to knead the muscles and spread his cheeks and grip it as he drags Blaine up and down on his cock. A small, low noise of pleasure escapes from Blaine’s throat at the touch, his eyes fluttering open.

They’re in Kurt’s bedroom, warmly lit as always, wrapped up together in the sheets of the bed. Blaine’s body is sore and worn out, hurting in dozens of places but tingling for Kurt’s touch all over. Kurt presses another kiss against Blaine’s neck, this one longer and more lingering, and he can feel his cock hardening from morning wood to a full, eager erection.

“Morning,” says Blaine sleepily, the sound turning into a satisfied little groan when Kurt slides his hand away from the flesh of Blaine’s ass, tickling along the jut of his hip, and wraps it dexterously around Blaine’s needy cock. The touch sends a little fissure of pleasure along Blaine’s spine, even though Kurt doesn’t immediately start to jerk him off. Just holds him close like this instead, hand wrapped around him and the pressure of his body so close an unspoken promise between them.

“Good morning to you, too,” says Kurt, and the coy smile in his voice is enough to make Blaine grin sleepily even though Kurt can’t see. Can probably smell him, though; can smell his happiness, his contentedness. The whole room is probably swimming with the heavy smell of Blaine’s arousal, and the thought of that is enough to make Blaine shiver with pleasure and press his ass back against the hardness of Kurt’s cock. He knows how much Kurt likes how warm he is, after all; how the heat of his body makes Kurt want to press inside and be warmed and held by that incredible, human heat.

Kurt lets out a blissful little noise at the instinctual movement, burrowing into Blaine’s neck and breathing in deep. Inhaling the smell of Blaine’s blood flowing beneath delicate skin, sliding his tongue against the pulse point. Almost certainly remembering the last time he fed, yesterday morning. Something hot and pleased curls and jolts in Blaine’s stomach at the thought of it.

“Want you,” Kurt groans, squeezing Blaine’s cock. The words are loud in Blaine’s ear, the vibrations tickling along the still-healing wounds on his neck – and the breathy desperation of his tone make Blaine groan right back as he remembers all of the things the two of them have done together after Kurt has expressed that particular sentiment. The time Kurt pulled him up by the hips and slid his tongue along the crack of Blaine’s ass, teasing him as Blaine fisted his hands in the sheets and arched up and whined for it until Kurt finally pushed his tongue inside, past the ring of muscle. Sucking and circling and fucking him with his tongue for what had seemed like forever until Blaine had finally come with a broken, strangled cry and spilled over Kurt’s hand. Or the time Blaine had crawled over Kurt’s body and taken his cock in his mouth, hollowing his cheeks and sucking hard as Kurt’s hand twisted in his curls and he’d chanted praise and encouragement before finally coming, hot and bitter, into Blaine’s mouth.

Even though Blaine is awake now, the world is still beautifully indistinct as a haze of lust slides around him. Kurt moves so that Blaine is lying on his back, clamouring on top of him with speed bourn of frantic neediness. Careful to keep at least some of his weight on his elbows in the way Blaine never has to do in return, Kurt settles on top of him, looking down at Blaine as though seeing something impossible and incredible.

And god, Kurt is so, so beautiful like this. Lying on top of him, all naked skin and staring down at Blaine with almost the same raw intensity as when he’s hungry and wanting and desperate to feed. Pale and sharp and inhumanly splendid, there is power running through every slender, strong line of Kurt’s body. He is captivating, and dangerous – and Blaine feels so very, very high on the fact that he doesn’t feel unsafe at all. Just protected, and cared for, and powerful in some strange way. Because Kurt is uncontainable, but Blaine can still have some kind of control over him.

 When Kurt leans down and kisses him, Blaine kisses back with heady enthusiasm. The taste of their thick morning mouths fades into the background after a few moments, and all that is left is the sliding demand of Kurt’s mouth as it slides against his own. After only a few minutes Kurt impatiently grinds his hips down, mouth still sealed over Blaine’s, making their cocks slide together roughly. The movement of it sends sparks of pleasure jolting up Blaine’s spine, and his mouth falls open wider in a soundless gasp that Kurt swallows down greedily. He reaches up to grip at Kurt’s ass, tight and round and muscled and masculine, as he returns the favour and grinds up as hard as he can in return.

They rock and grind like that, bodies sliding together in a raw and open undulation of imprecise pleasure. The heat in the base of Blaine’s stomach is growing, spreading, making the hairs on his arms prickle and raise with anticipation even as he groans out loud into Kurt’s hot, perfect mouth. Every movement makes a dozen little cuts and punctures all over Blaine’s body ache and throb deliciously, little tokens of Kurt as they burn sweetly. Reminders of how good he can be for Kurt, of how he can satisfy him more than any pretty cold little corpse from his past.

Kurt pulls away gasping after a few minutes, pressing sloppy kisses against the side of Blaine’s mouth. His whole body is a ball of tension, thrumming with want. His eyes are dark, heavily lidded but untainted by any flush of red. 

“More,” says Kurt, mouth wet from kissing as he presses it up against Blaine’s cheek and breathes in deep. Their hips are rolling together faster, harder, but even though Blaine’s body is coiling pleasantly it doesn’t seem to be enough for Kurt. “I want more.”

“Okay,” Blaine gasps, his head falling back as he grips Kurt’s ass and grids their cocks together hard. He even starts to move away, to reach over to get the lube from the bedside drawer when the too-tight clench of Kurt’s hand closing over his wrist stops him. He blinks up at Kurt, who is staring down at him with a needy, knowing smile curved over his mouth.

“Not like that,” says Kurt, the grin on his face turning wicked and confidential. And slowly, anticipation and excitement buzzing in every line of his body, Kurt moves Blaine’s hand back to his own ass – and guides Blaine’s fingers to his hole. It’s slick.

Blaine’s eyes fly wide open, and he stares up at Kurt in amazement. Kurt stares back, his gaze intense and purposeful as he holds Blaine’s hand in place. Even from the quickest of touches, Blaine would have been able to tell the slide of lube against skin. It’s a familiar sensation, and he’s become even better acquainted with during his time here. Hardly able to believe it, Blaine presses his finger experimentally against Kurt’s rim. His finger slides in easily to the first knuckle despite the awkward angle, and he realizes that Kurt must have stretched and slicked himself ready while Blaine was still sleeping.

“Fuck,” Blaine mutters weakly, and his eyes must be wide as saucers but Kurt just keeps looking at him as though he’s something incredible, practically purring when his finger slips inside and clenching around the tip of the digit. “You want --?” Blaine asks, stilted with shock and buzzing need. This is something they’ve never done; something that Blaine’s never been certain he could ask for. But Kurt just leans down and kisses him hungrily, rolling his hips and choking out a breathy little gasp.

“I want everything from you,” Kurt growls, biting down hard on Blaine’s lower lip. “I told you that,” he breathes, finally letting go of Blaine’s hand. Licking his lips and feeling flushed from low excitement, Blaine reaches a little farther over Kurt’s body and pushes his finger ever-so-slightly deeper into the tight, slippery hole. It goes in easily, but almost immediately Kurt wrenches his hand away.

Without a second’s pause, he snags both of Blaine’s wrists and slams them on the mattress above his head. Kneeling over Blaine’s prone body and pinning his arms down, Kurt leans down and kisses him rough and dirty. All teeth and tongue and sliding pressure, and his grip is uncomfortably tight and clenching around the delicate bones of Blaine’s wrists. But Blaine knows that Kurt isn’t angry; just eager, and determined, and wanting. He kisses back, groaning lightly into Kurt’s mouth and not attempting to break free of the pin. He wouldn’t be able to, even if he wanted to.

“Don’t need that,” says Kurt quickly, voice sounding strangled and higher than usual. He loosens his grip on Blaine’s wrists, seeming to abruptly realize how crushing his grip had been before. Blaine lets out a grateful little sigh, but doesn’t take his eyes off of Kurt on top of him. Beautiful and powerful, desperate and needy. His hair is messy, and there is the smallest hint of an uncommon flush growing in his cheeks. He lets go of Blaine’s wrists, leaning over to pluck up the bottle of lube from where it had been buried and concealed in a mound of sheets.

Moving himself far enough down to sit on Blaine’s thighs in order to expose his cock and balls to the air, Kurt pours a long squeeze of lube onto his graceful, pale hand before wrapping it around Blaine’s cock, fully hard and wanting so badly to be buried inside. The coolness of his fingers is cancelled out by the warming fluid, and Blaine hisses at how good Kurt’s slippery, focused hand feels as it strokes purposefully over him. Not trying to be pleasurable, just trying to get him ready, and Kurt’s eyes are fixed on Blaine’s thick, dark cock as his foreskin slides over the head. Blaine hasn’t moved his hands from their position above his head just in case Kurt doesn’t want him to, but his toes curl and his whole body tightens as Kurt slicks him up and stares at him hungrily.

Without even looking to see where it lands amid the sheets and covers, Kurt tosses the closed bottle away. He climbs back into place, kneeling over Blaine’s prone body and raising himself up as he takes Blaine’s cock in hand and positions it against his entrance. And Blaine barely even has time to marvel at the fact that he’s been awake for only a few minutes, and he’s getting this, and it’s so fucking hot he can barely breathe before he feels the tight slickness of Kurt’s hole, everything slippery with lube and stretching around him as Kurt lowers down and pushes himself onto Blaine’s cock, his body opening up and spreading around the thickness of it. 

“Fuck,” Blaine gasps, his head falling backward onto the mattress as the tip of his cock is swallowed up by the still-warm heat of Kurt’s body. At almost the exact same time Kurt lets out a low, hissed “yes” above him, his eyes fluttering closed as he inches himself down lower and lower onto Blaine’s cock. It feels amazing; tight an engulfing, Kurt controlling the speed and angle and Blaine just lying back and letting Kurt fuck himself on his cock. Groaning, Kurt grips at Blaine’s chest as he sinks down, nails human and clipped short as they dig into Blaine’s skin, and he looks so utterly debauched like this. Shameless and desperate, pale swathes of skin and lean muscles as his body lets him inside. Kurt is so tight all around him, pushing down quickly like he needs it right now, and everything is pressure and slickness and perfect as Blaine finally bottoms out.

“You’re so hot,” Kurt groans, clenching and squeezing around him, and Blaine whines pitifully at how fucking good that feels. Kurt’s voice is high and wrecked, and the way his thin body is shaking and straining with Blaine’s cock buried inside of him disguises and obscures just how dangerous he is. It makes the heat twist and clench in Blaine’s belly anyways, though, knowing just how ruthless this man can be. How vicious, and brutal, and so very beautiful as he finds another way of taking what belongs to him.  

“Please,” Blaine whimpers, because Kurt is squeezing around him so nice and all he can do is beg and plead for more. He’s helpless like this, pinned down and gripped tight in the best possible way.

Kurt rocks experimentally, one of his elegant hands coming up to rub at his own throat. His hair is messy, sweaty, and he looks so beautiful that Blaine can’t breathe. “So hot inside me, Blaine, god,” says Kurt, opening his eyes and staring down at Blaine with wanton intensity. “You burn, fuck. So good.”

And before Blaine can figure out what that means, Kurt’s whole body draws up. The muscles in his legs tighten and squeeze, and his mouth falls open as Kurt begins to move. Hard and fast, setting a brutal, punishing rhythm as he snaps himself up and slams himself down on Blaine’s cock. It feels so fucking right, being buried in Kurt this way – just as good as being fucked, but different, a whole different set of nerves bursting and flaring with every motion. It’s been so long since Blaine’s done this, but he doesn’t have to worry about doing anything wrong because Kurt is completely, utterly in control. Taking what he wants and giving Blaine exactly what he needs, just like always, the slide and tug of his body squeezing Blaine just right as he rides him hard into the mattress.

“Perfect,” Kurt groans, grinding himself down viscously and making Blaine moan. “So fucking perfect, Blaine. Love when you’re like this.”

“Like wha—” Blaine tries to ask, but then Kurt is doing some kind of rolling thing with his hips that makes him see stars, the slip-slide of lube and the clench of muscles around his cock so perfect, and oh fuck, for a second all Blaine can think about is focusing on is not coming right there and then.

Everything is hot and hard, unforgiving and growing pressure as Kurt fucks himself on Blaine’s cock. The muscles in Kurt’s legs are straining, a rare hot flush creeping up his chest and into his cheeks as he rides him, and he looks so discomposed. The pooling heat in Blaine’s stomach is spreading, uncoiling and twisting and making his vision blur. Every time Kurt slams himself down, a hot zap of pleasure jolts up Blaine’s spine. His skin is hot and flushed and slick with sweat despite the fact that all he’s doing is lying on his back and watching this gorgeous, perfect, dangerous man ride him hard, and Blaine blinks away the sweat that catches in his eyelashes.

When Blaine dares to bring a hand up to rest along Kurt’s hips he receives a keening moan of pleasure in response, and after a second he’s resting both hands along Kurt’s slender waist. Not guiding him, or pulling him down; just holding him as he thrusts back up as best he can. Trying to give Kurt everything, let him have everything, not holding anything back.

“There’s no one else like you,” Kurt gasps, his mouth hanging open as his movement begins to grow more erratic, uneven. “Oh my god, Blaine –” He chokes out a frantic, straining moan, leaning forward to change the angle and practically whimpering.

And everything is building up, getting stronger and closer as Kurt’s ass clenches and slides around him. Blaine is just trying to focus on lasting long enough for Kurt to get there when Kurt abruptly grabs one of Blaine’s hands from around his waist in a vicelike grip, drags it up to his mouth – and punctures the pad of his index finger with a single sharpened fang.

“Ah!” chokes Blaine, the movement of his hips stuttering and slowing as pain jolts and sears up his arm. Cutting and sharp and Kurt doesn’t even stop, doesn’t even slow down as he pulls Blaine’s finger into his mouth and sucks. But the pain isn’t the only thing that throbs from the cut because, god, it feels so good. The dragging pull of blood leaving his body, the ache of the broken skin, the light-headed swirl of everything around him – Blaine moans, and bites down on his lip, and practically wails as liquid pleasure twists through his whole body at the proof of how much Kurt wants him; how much Kurt needs him. 

Kurt’s eyes roll back in his head as he groans around the digit, swallowing down the blood that comes out as he fucks himself down hard and fast, the movement growing frenzied as he reaches up to jerk his own cock once, twice –

And Kurt’s coming with a groan that vibrates across Blaine’s throbbing finger, grinding his hips down as his cock pulses and spurts all over his hand, his stomach. Rocking himself through it and sucking at the small amount of blood from Blaine’s finger like it’s a fucking lifeline, his back arching and eyes closing in delight as his orgasm rolls through him. He doesn’t stop moving, either. Keeps fucking himself up and down, up and down, the dragging clench of his spasming body bringing Blaine closer, holding him on the edge with his whole body tensed and rigid. Kurt sucks at his finger and Blaine grinds up into him, their bodies squeezing together and tightening up before everything releases and bursts and pushes over the edge. Before he’s coming, hard and desperate and overwhelming, coming deep inside Kurt’s ass as the other boy grinds his ass down and moans in obvious delight at the feeling of Blaine coming inside of him.

Blaine’s head swims, and his whole arm pulses like a heartbeat, and Kurt is practically purring with satisfaction above him as the world settles back into place around the both of them. As Kurt clenches cruelly around his softening cock and makes him groan piteously through the aftershocks, his fingers trailing gratefully over Kurt’s side. As Kurt pulls himself off, and settles down next to him on the bed, pulling Blaine into his arms and the world keeps going, everything keeps happening, it doesn’t cut off or end abruptly and this doesn’t make sense and –

 

And that is when Blaine realizes, with a shaking, sinking horror that spreads through his body and makes his stomach plummet, that he isn’t dreaming.

Telling the difference between reality and the dreams has never been more difficult, in these past weeks that Kurt has kept him here. A few times, Blaine has even got the two actively mixed up. And the sudden sharp awareness that this is reality hits him hard. All at once, and almost with the same shocking jolt as waking suddenly from a dream feels like. Except that what just happened did not take place in a dream, or a nightmare, or a fantasy.

Tucked into Kurt’s shoulder with the other boy humming and loose-limbed next to him, the creeping mortification dawns as Blaine it fully dawns on Blaine that what they did just happened. Right here, right now. It has consequences, and implications, and the way he acted

“Mmmm, wakey wakey,” murmurs Kurt affectionately next to him, kissing him on the forehead. Blaine’s whole body is still thrumming and singing with his orgasm, but his body has gone rigid and his eyes are wide. Blaine’s face is hot with humiliation as his mind works over everything he just said, just did. The begging, and the desperation, and the coiling heat at the way Kurt had sucked at the wound on his finger, oh god

“I love it when you get confused like this,” says Kurt softly next to him, pulling Blaine closer and letting out a happy, satisfied sigh.  He hums in pleasure, stroking his hands over the bare skin of Blaine’s back. “That was so good, Blaine. So good.”

Blaine lies there, wrapped in the tight embrace of Kurt’s arms as their naked skin slides together. Feeling dull, and empty, and resigned as the world keeps moving. As everything stays the same, and doesn’t fade away, and the two of them keep on existing.

 

--

 

Days pass. Weeks, definitely, although Blaine can’t be sure of the exact amount of time. Not with no clocks on the walls and no windows to see the sun and all the appliances flashing zeroes in bright green letters that don’t tell him anything.

But the time in between feedings keeps getting progressively smaller and smaller, the wrench of Kurt’s mouth away from his wounds more and more reluctant as time goes by. And there’s nothing Blaine can do but wait as his nerves get more and more frayed, his body growing weaker by the day. It becomes hard to reciprocate Kurt’s touches, even when Blaine wants to. The hard taxing of his body, of his mind makes him less able to take care of himself, all of the vibrancy and life draining from his veins in slow, steady increments.

And Kurt’s purring satisfaction dries up sooner and sooner, his need to drink and gorge himself coming up stronger each time.

Every time Kurt drinks from him, the time it takes for him to move from loving caring worshipful to going to fucking take you gets shorter, and shorter, until it takes less than a day before Kurt is twitching and clawing at his skin again. Before he drinks deep and makes Blaine even weaker, and more exhausted, and more at a loss of what to do, and what to say, and what to be

Everything turns to nerves, and restlessness, and waiting. Horrible, sick waiting for a conclusion that is inevitable; waiting out every moment of respite knowing that it can only be spoiled even as Blaine clings desperately to the praise and tenderness. And Kurt hungers, and drinks, and is satisfied until he isn’t and it all repeats over again.

It’s a cycle, but not an endless one.

It can’t last forever.

 

--

 

When it ends, it doesn’t happen with the burst of violence and feeling that Blaine has almost been expecting. It doesn’t come to pass with the crashing bangs of struggle, or heaving sobs of emotion. Back when Blaine was still out in the world, trying in useless desperation to keep himself alive and away from the monster with the cruel grin stalking him in the shadows, Blaine had always imagined that he would go down fighting. Straining and resisting until his dying breath, clinging to life with all of the will and force in his possession.

But when everything breaks, Blaine is too weak and exhausted and drained, so drained, to really put up much of a fight.

By about a month into his stay in Kurt’s home, Blaine is little more than a shadow of his old self. Once healthy and strong, his body has grown so feeble that it’s hard to even move around the apartment on his own volition. The too-frequent losses of blood and his body’s inability to produce enough to replace it have rendered him almost constantly nauseated and frequently sick to his stomach. Beneath the ever-present darker pigment of his skin, Blaine’s skin is underlain with a lack of colour; his whole body is a map of little cuts and punctures and wounds that stand out harshly against it. His legs waver beneath him when he walks, and even with his glasses on the world has taken on a blurred, drifting quality that doesn’t seem to want to go away. No matter how much Kurt turns up the heat in the apartment, Blaine can’t get rid of the frigid chill that grips at his joints and makes his stomach feel hollow.

He doesn’t even look like himself, when he looks in the mirror. Wilted curls and cold, sweaty skin and clothes that hang off of him as though they were made for someone else.

On this particular day, Blaine blinks awake to an empty bed that feels cold and stoic and lonesome around him. It isn’t too unusual for him to wake up alone; sometimes Kurt goes out to run errands, and Blaine has been sleeping an absurd number of hours per day as his body frantically attempts to rest for long enough to make itself better again. Fruitlessly, of course; Kurt always gets hungry again before he can fully recover.  

But for some reason, today Blaine wakes up with a persistent buzz of anxiety already thrumming at the edges of his mind; he comes back into the real world from dreams of spiking heat and loving touches with apprehension already threaded through him. He tries to ignore it: his emotions have been unpredictable since his very first day here, after all. But he can’t seem to shake the continual niggling unease.

It gets worse once he struggles to his feet, uses the washroom, changes into a loose-fitting sweater and comfortable pants, and heads out into the living room. As he walks down the hallway, Blaine moves with the flat of his palm pressed against the wall for support the whole time, and his knees are in constant danger of buckling beneath his weight. And when he emerges, the anxiety twining along the edge of his mind is immediately amplified as though someone has cranked up a knob.

Kurt has one the most infectious personalities of anyone Blaine has ever met. When Kurt is pleased, the whole room lights up; his good mood spreads, and everything feels gleeful and safe and protected. If Kurt is happy, he practically vibrates with it. It’s one of the reasons that being here is so hard; seeing Kurt smile makes Blaine’s lips automatically pull into one as well and it’s so, so hard to make himself remember why he should feel upset and angry and violated instead.

But when Kurt is in a bad mood, his irritation spreads to everything like a disease. Everything about him is expressive, his emotions painted over his posture and face as clearly as though they were written out in flashing letters. And when Blaine walks into the main room of the apartment, Kurt’s whole body is coiled up tight with strain that makes Blaine’s skin prickle and his nerves stand on edge.

His back to Blaine, Kurt’s spine is ramrod straight as he cooks what looks like some kind of pasta and clangs down pots and pans with unnecessary vehemence. He doesn’t even turn to look at Blaine when he comes into the room, even though his amplified senses mean that he has doubtless heard him enter. When he turns his face, Blaine can see that there is an iciness to his expression; his lips are pulled thin, jaw set with some hidden strain.  

Immediately, Blaine can feel increased apprehension seep into his skin like cold air. He shivers, wincing when Kurt slams a bowl full of pasta and pesto on the counter in front of him without even looking at in his direction.

It gets worse throughout the day, the horrible tension of it crackling and building as the hours pass and Kurt studiously avoids him. Shuts himself up in his sewing room instead, thumping and clattering around as Blaine tries to distract himself with a book that he can barely remember the title of. Tries to ignore how unusual this is. Because when Kurt is hungry, he eats. He takes and claims and possesses without hesitation – and he never, ever avoids Blaine like this. Is always keen to show him attention, even if it’s just pulling him onto his lap or stroking his hands through his hair. The sudden change makes Blaine feel sick with apprehension. Every time he opens his mouth to speak, he thinks better of it. After a little while, he even starts to feel upset with himself; feels as though he’s done something wrong, needs to apologize, but he doesn’t know what to apologize for

And after a few hours, the door to the sewing room is thrown open with a loud crash that makes Blaine’s whole body jump in his chair. And when he looks up, he sees that Kurt is standing in the doorway. His already-sharp features seem exaggerated, somehow; narrowed in and focused. There is rigidity and tension straining in every line of Kurt’s lean body, and his hands are shaking as he stares at Blaine with something uncontrolled and burning in his eyes.

“Hungry,” Kurt growls, low and dangerous, something wild about the tightness in his body. His eyes are darkening, red seeping in to stain the blue, and when then he’s already stalking toward Blaine with speed and frantic purpose in every step. When he gets to the chair Blaine is in, he drops to his knees and immediately starts yanking Blaine’s sweater roughly over his head. “Hungry, so hungry, you make me so hungry. Let me, let me have this, need it –”

“Okay,” says Blaine, more of an acknowledgement than consent, almost glad for something to break the awful, sickly tension. It will be fine, and Kurt will feel better after this, and everything can go back to usual. His arm gets wrenched the wrong way as Kurt pulls the sweater off with such force that he can hear one of the seams splitting.

And then it’s off, thrown across the room, and Blaine’s arms are exposed to the cold of the air as his t-shirt-clad torso is revealed. But he barely has time to the cold before Kurt is already grabbing at his wrist, pulling it up so that the paler flesh of the underside is exposed – and crashing his mouth against his forearm, teeth slicing through skin as he bites down hard and begins to suck, brutally hard and wanton as he digs his teeth in with such ferocity that Blaine has to bite back a scream.

He gasps and chokes at the sudden stretching burst of pain instead, and the slicing sting and drag of it is usually too familiar by now for it to wrench any yells out of him anymore. Blaine bites down on his lip and lets his head fall foreword, a cold sweat already gathering at his temple as the suction of Kurt’s mouth pulls greedily at his the wound. Swallowing the blood down covetously, without any elegance or pacing; groaning around the burst of blood that floods into his mouth and practically attacking him for more.

Kurt’s angelic, beautiful face is twisted up and awful as he sucks down hard, and the pain of it flares angrily in Blaine’s arm. It’s almost a shock without the cushion of orgasm to distract him, but Kurt is way too far past desperate to bring either of them off at this point. His body is almost able to tune out the pain of it, after a moment; he can feel the sharp, hot tug in the base of his stomach instead as something uncoils and surrenders into the brutality of the touch. He squeezes his eyes shut, focusing hard on not wrenching his arm away from the overwhelming roughness of the sensation.

He’ll be happy after he drinks, thinks Blaine frantically, his free hand clenching on the arm of the chair so hard his knuckles start to ache. Horrible nausea twists in his stomach as he loses even more blood – so much more than he should be losing, god, it shocks him sometimes that he’s still standing – and keeps his arm still, expecting Kurt to pull away like he always does after about this much time.

But Kurt doesn’t pull away. Keeps his mouth clamped around the wound, redoubling the pressure and sucking so hard that Blaine’s hand is starting to go numb. The world jolts and spins, and panic is starting to grip at Blaine’s chest. He gives his arm an experimental tug – Kurt usually lets him get away, when he does that, because sometimes he gets overeager but he doesn’t actually want Blaine to pass out – but Kurt doesn’t let him go. Growls instead, animalistic as he grips Blaine’s wrist so hard it feels as though the bone is bending and sucks harder and oh, god, it hurts.

“Kurt –!” Blaine exclaims, trying to shove him away weakly with his free hand as searing, horrible pain starts shooting up and down his arm. “Kurt, stop it, you’re – you’re hurting me –”

With one final groan, Kurt finally tears himself away from Blaine’s arm. Panting and hard, bright red blood smeared around his lips and his eyes closed heavily as he breathes. Blaine chokes out a shuddery breath, looking down at the underside of his arm with something like numb shock. The skin is frayed and split, so much more than the clean double punctures Kurt usually leaves, and Blaine slumps back against the chair as he gasps for air and tries to make the world stop spinning around him.

A long, long moment hangs between them like a pendulum. Kurt is dragging in gasps of air as though he’s drowning, still clutching at Blaine’s wrist. He’s staring at the shredded skin of Blaine’s arm, fixating on the bright red gathering weakly at the surface.

And this is where Kurt, sated and happy and contented and full, will pull Blaine into his arms and whispers praising words into his curls. He’ll pick Blaine up and carry him over to the couch, or the bed, and apply antibiotic ointment and bandages to the wound as he murmurs apologies for being too rough. They’ll watch a movie together; one of the old ones that Kurt likes, filled with romance and music and exaggerated emotion. This is where things reset, and go back, and become something that Blaine knows how to deal with. He looks up through his thick eyelashes, waiting for the shift that will inevitably come and bring them back to familiar territory.

But when Kurt looks up, Blaine’s blood runs cold.

Kurt’s eyes are still blown through with red. Murky and sickly and there’s no blue at all, and panic flares up sudden and horrible in Blaine’s chest as he stares at the monster who has been gone for so long. Back, back again, and they’ve finally reached the breaking point and this is the end.

“It’s not enough,” he hears Kurt mutter under his breath, shaking his head back and forth as his eyes trail down Blaine’s face. Slowly, slowly sliding over his cheek, the jut of his jaw – and coming to rest on the exposed flesh of Blaine’s neck.  He licks his lips, swiping his tongue over and swallowing down the remaining smears of Blaine’s blood absently as he keeps on looking, delicately tilting his head to one side. His expression is entirely unreadable, inhuman like this with his eyes bled through and wrong and awful.

Kurt blinks, and the whites of his sharpened teeth are suddenly visible in the low light of the room.

“It isn’t enough anymore.”

 

 

--

Chapter Text

The whole world lurches to a stop, shuddering to a halt as time hangs between them like a lead weight.  Everything is frozen in stasis, a moment of shocking clarity that seems to stretch on without end. It’s only a second – enough time for nothing more than a single inhale and exhale of breath – but in Blaine’s mind, it twists and stretches and lasts for what seems like forever. Eyes wide and breath trapped in his throat, Blaine sits in the armchair and stares in front of him as though it is physically impossible for him to look away. His forearm is smeared with thick streaks of his own blood, and the frayed mess the punctures have made of the soft skin of his underarm throb and ache and sear with jolting, brutal pain.

But Blaine barely even registers how much it hurts, or the warmth of the blood as it oozes and slides along his skin. Everything is drowned out by the adrenaline pounding in his ears as he stares in front of him at the beautiful, horrible, world-ending sight of Kurt in front of him.

Kurt’s eyes – his beautiful, incredible eyes that Blaine has come to love despite every survival instinct in his body – are bled through with a sickening red like congealing blood. Standing in front of him like death in human form, hands shaking at his sides with elegant fingers clenching and nails visibly biting into his palms. Kurt’s features are all stretched and pulled, too long too harsh too sharp like a distorted photo that was developed wrong; the sight of him is jarring, doesn’t make sense against the normalcy of the rest of the room. His head is tilted to one side, tension and potential energy straining in his limbs, his posture.

And Kurt’s eyes are fixed on the side of Blaine’s neck, raking over the exposed stretch of skin as he shudders and his jaw tightens. His gaze holds the two of them in place, rigid and frozen. Keeps them prisoner in this moment, waiting and holding and stretching on and on as they stare at each other with unseeing eyes.

It’s not enough. Kurt’s words from a few moments ago are a physical presence between them; a footprint in the air that leaves Blaine numb and uncomprehending as sticky blood oozes over his fingers from where he has them pressed against the wound on his forearm.  It isn’t enough anymore.

When the full meaning of Kurt’s words hits him, the world kick starts back into normal speed with the abruptness of a car engine revving back to life. It’s not enough it’s not enough it’s not enough anymore, and  the numb shock rushes out of Blaine’s chest in one hard burst as fear slams into him like a physical force.

 “No,” says Blaine weakly, but the word snags in his throat and only makes it out into the air as a tiny, strangled little noise.  He licks his lips, jolts of red-hot panic bursting behind his eyelids like solar flares and terror rupturing in the base of his stomach. His arm aches, his own blood slippery beneath his fingers. He swallows hard, unable to take his eyes off of Kurt in front of him. “Kurt... Kurt, you don’t –”

“I can’t wait anymore,” says Kurt, tilting his head to one side in a measuring, predatory way. His voice is high and sharp and strangely calm as he stares at Blaine’s neck as through barely restraining himself from ripping his throat out right then and there. He blinks, eyes unfocused and posture rigid, and his eyes never leave Blaine’s neck. After a very dangerous moment he shakes his head – and a little bit of the red ebbs out of his eyes. Features softening and relaxing infinitesimally as something ever-so-slightly more human comes back into his face. Kurt looks down at Blaine with a taut expression, lips pressed tight together. He almost looks pained. “It’s too much, Blaine It’s time.”

This was always going to happen. Always, no other option. Absolutely everything in Blaine’s life for so long has been leading up to this; spiralling toward it like an inevitable conclusion. There is no other way any of this could have possibly gone. Every moment, every touch, every single breath that Blaine has taken since that moment in his apartment weeks ago, when Kurt first crossed the barrier and kissed him sweetly and chose to draw everything out – all of that has been nothing more than living on borrowed time. Blaine has been waiting for this with horror in his heart for so long, waiting and expecting and anticipating and knowing.

This is the only way that any of this could ever, ever finish.

It doesn’t matter, though, because Blaine isn’t ready.

“Please,” says Blaine softly, shaking his head and pushing back into the armchair. He’s pale, and sick, and weak from blood loss but he’s alive. Still alive. Still able to think and feel and remember and love his family and be afraid and everything, all of that, is about to be taken away from him. So much worse than being killed, because death is final and it happens to everyone and then it’s over. It doesn’t drag on, a sick parody of humanity lingering and killing and walking around with his face and his voice but nothing on the inside. Nothing that makes him real; that makes him who he is.

But there is no one waiting in the wings to save him. No one in the world who knows where he is except for Kurt; no last-minute way to escape despite the odds.

And so Blaine begs. Throws away the last bit of pride like it’s something inconsequential, walls falling down and his face crumpling as he shakes his head back and forth and begs.  For a few more weeks, or days, or hours to be who he is before he’s twisted up and corrupted and turned into something he never wanted to be.

 “Please,” says Blaine again, shaking his head hard and his eyes stinging as sinking awful terror fills his chest and weighs him down. He searches Kurt’s eyes; finds them steeped saturated with red, yes – but there is the barest hint of blue around the edges that he clings to like a lifeline as he speaks. “Kurt, please. Don’t do this, I’m – I’m frightened. I’m scared, so scared. You – you have to remember what it was like. Being scared, I know you remember –”

“I know,” says Kurt quickly, blinking away a little bit more of the red as he swoops down into Blaine’s space and strokes a pale, shaking hand down the side of Blaine’s face. He wrenches his eyes away from Blaine’s neck, seemingly forcing himself to look Blaine in the eyes. He’s breathing hard. “I know, Blaine. It’s okay, it’s just – it’s going to be all done soon. All done, and it’ll just be over –”

“I don’t want this,” says Blaine, clutching at Kurt’s arm and shaking his head as a sob clutches at his throat. Makes his words weak and choked as he drags in air and tries one last time. “I don’t, Kurt, please–”

“You will,” Kurt assures him, and his voice is strained as he leans in and presses a kiss to Blaine’s cheek. And then another to his forehead, his brow, the side of his nose. Peppering them over his face with lips that won’t stop shaking as his hand grows tight and painful on Blaine’s face, digging into this skin and holding him close. “You will, I promise, just – I can’t wait. Blaine, I can’t stop myself, it has to happen now. You’ll be fine, it’s okay. You’ll be better.”

Lips press against his skin, soft and kind and insistent, and noise is bubbling inside of Blaine like boiling water. The pressure increasing as the words choke in his throat, fighting to escape, and he can’t think can’t breathe can’t hold back. Months of being chased and played with and fucked and strung out make the pleading words dissolve into nothing.

And all at once there are other words, wrenching themselves out of Blaine’s throat in a wailing, angry scream.

Stop it!” Blaine yells, strangled and shouted and pained, point blank with Kurt’s face pressed right up against his. Kurt freezes in shock, some of the franticness of his movements stalled as he jerks away, blue eyes wide with surprise.

But Blaine can’t feel worried, or surprised, or even revel in the rare fact of catching Kurt off his guard. Can’t feel horrified or anxious or scared of what Kurt is going to do, because this is the end and he’s tried so hard but he just can’t anymore. Face screwed up and throat thick and horrible, Blaine wrenches his face out of Kurt’s limp grasp. He shoves himself back harder into the chair, all reservations gone. Horrible emotion – fear, anger, sadness, hurt, frustration – screw at his insides, and he just can’t anymore.

“Stop it,” Blaine spits out, shaking his head and feeling incongruent betrayal throbbing hot beneath his skin. He can’t fight back physically –could never fight back physically – but a million angry words are welling up like blood from a fresh wound. “Don’t you fucking talk like that, just... stop. Stop lying to me.” Blaine chokes out a breath that comes out more like a sob than anything else, voice swelling back up into a yell. “You don’t have to do this. You never had to do this, Kurt. Never. This isn’t something you had to do, it’s your choice. You could have left me alone, or done it right away, or explained. But instead you – you dragged it out and made it last and make me suffer, and you never ever had to.”

“Blaine,” says Kurt warningly, voice lowered and lips drawn  tight.

“And you can’t even admit it!” Blaine shouts, shaking his head and blinking hard against the wetness in his  eyes. “You – you pretend to be something human but you’re not, Kurt. Pretending to care about me but you don’t, you’re – you’re sick, and awful, and you’re killing me.”

“I’ll bring you back,” says Kurt, voice clipped and sure of himself.

“Whatever you bring back won’t be me!”

Kurt’s mouth falls open in silent shock, and Blaine doesn’t know where all of this is coming from. Doesn’t know how he rediscovered his courage after such a long time of being submerged in hopeless silence, but right now all he can feel is anger. Because Blaine bends, and bends, and tries to please people and makes things work and can be pushed almost to the end of the world. But when he finally hits his breaking point, it is like a dam breaking. He lets the anger fill him up, make him strong; for a second, he can forget the horrible sickness in his stomach, the weakness in his limbs. Because this is last time he’s ever going to be able to feel this way again; there’s never going to be another opportunity.

“It won’t be me,” Blaine says again, his skin feeling hot and flushed despite how cold he’s been for so long. “Whatever... whatever thing you bring back? That won’t be me. It might look like me, and talk like me, but it won’t – it won’t. You’re killing me, Kurt. You’re killing me and you won’t be able to have me back.”

“It will be you,” Kurt snaps, but Blaine thinks he can hear the slightest waver of uncertainty in his voice. He shakes his head.

“You don’t know that,” says Blaine, sadness seeping into the words, and all at once he just feels tired. He slumps against the chair, the anger flowing out of him like water through cupped hands, and all that remains is a terrible, aching sadness. “Kurt... if you do this, and what comes back is me... then how do you know I won’t hate you for what you did?” Something incredibly painful flashes across Kurt’s face, and Blaine keeps going. “How do you know that when you... when you turn me,” he says, voice catching on that word. He takes a breath. “How do you know that when you turn me, I won’t want to leave you? And what will you do then – keep me locked up in your apartment forever like before? Kill me? You’ve planned out everything; tell me you’ve never considered that this won’t work.”

In front of him, Kurt’s face is frozen in an expression of silent agony. He opens his mouth as if to speak, but stops before any sound can escape. Blaine scans his face, feeling exhausted and desperate but still looking for some hope, some chance. Kurt looks down at the space between them, blinking and letting out a little breath of air. Blaine’s breath catches in his throat as he sits and stares and waits.

After a moment, however, Kurt looks up – and his eyes are like iron gates. Impenetrable and hard, and ruthlessly closed off.

“I have to take that chance,” says Kurt, and it feels like icy water being poured over Blaine head. Kurt reaches a hand forward, resting a hand on the side of Blaine’s face. His whole body is taut and tense like a bowstring about to snap. “I have to try,” says Kurt again, his voice firm and his hand shaking. “If I don’t, I’ll kill you. I won’t be able to stop, and I won’t let you die. I won’t... I won’t let you get away from me, not like that.” He strokes his thumb too-hard over Blaine’s cheek, and hopeless certainty is building in the base of Blaine’s gut. “I remember what this was like, Blaine. I do. But it ends. It ends and you wake up and everything is different. I... I tried to make this special for you. But now it’s time to stop.”

There is only one more thing left that Blaine can think of to say; one last desperate attempt thrown out like a lifesaver into a storm. Hopelessness filling him up like lead and Kurt’s nails digging into the side of his face from holding himself back, Blaine opens his mouth to speak.

“Don’t be like him,” Blaine whispers, wincing as Kurt’s brow furrows in confusion. The words feel small and pointless as soon as he speaks them out loud. He keeps going anyways, has to keep going because this is the last chance he’s going to get. “Don’t... don’t be like the man who turned you, Kurt. Please.”

It’s the wrong thing to say.

Abruptly, the world is yanked right out from underneath him. Blaine shouts in surprise at the sudden feeling of weightlessness as the room spins, clutching at Kurt’s chest where the other man has given up any kind of pretence and snatched  Blaine right up into his arms. Roughly, without finesse or any of the gentle care that he usually holds him with, and he’s too weak from blood loss and sickness to even pretend to struggle. Grabbing him and gripping too-tight as he walks them down the hall with purposeful strides, not seeming to care when he jostles Blaine around in his arms.

And Blaine doesn’t have to see Kurt’s face to know how absolutely, sickeningly furious Kurt is.

“Shut up,” Kurt snaps in a high, ice-cold voice. His whole body is practically vibrating with anger. Taking them both into the bedroom with almost-stomping footsteps, shaking his head back and forth.

They reach the closed door to the bedroom, and Kurt grips Blaine’s body extra-tight in one arm and slams his free hand into the flat of the door. His palm impacts with a horrible breaking sound, bursting it open to crash against the wall with a violent cluttering crack that reverberates throughout Blaine’s whole body. Blaine squeezes his eyes shut, his heart spasming and screaming in his chest. Kurt is taking him to the bedroom. Where Blaine woke up all those indistinct weeks ago, where this whole little setup started. Kurt is taking him to the bedroom so that he can do this on the bed; do it properly, to lay him down and bleed him dry.

The crash of the door still reverberating along his skin, Blaine opens his eyes. Musters all of the courage still left in his near-useless limbs, gathers it up like spinning straw and holds it close in his chest.

“How are you different?” Blaine manages to ask, small and determined and not really begging anymore. Just... quiet and out loud, and asking. Really, genuinely asking. Not because he thinks it will help – the way that Kurt’s nails are digging down and cutting into his skin makes his whole body clench and shake with the realization that this is it, this is the end, it’s over.

No; Blaine asks because he wants to understand while he’s still him.

Without hesitating, Kurt takes those last few footsteps toward the bed before half-throwing, half-dropping Blaine onto it. The sheets are messily tucked in and easily mussed because Blaine was the last one here, not the hospital-corner precision that Kurt always uses. Blaine’s body bounces weakly on the mattress before Kurt is crawling on top of him, slamming Blaine’s hands above his head and pinning him to the bed with not effort at all.

“You don’t get it,” Kurt growls, grip painfully tight on Blaine’s wrists. He’s Everything is narrowing down and getting faster, speeding up and it’s so close so close so close oh god. “You don’t get it, you never get it, you –”

“Then explain!” Blaine yells up at him, utterly helpless and pleading and desperate. The world is spinning and lilting violently, his glasses skewed from the force of being thrown onto the bed. His heart won’t stop pounding uselessly in his chest, and the sound roars loud in his ears. “How are you different from him, Kurt? How?”

“Because I care about you!”

The words are screamed right in his face, the noise loud and piercing in Blaine’s ears. Kurt’s face is screwed up with upset and anger but Blaine can’t even think. Can’t feel, can’t see, can’t do anything but gape soundlessly beneath him.

Kurt keeps going, leaning down close and breathing hard as he keeps on yelling.  “I care about you, you absolute moron. Is that what you need to hear?” His lips are twisted in a sneer, and his whole body is shaking above him with emotion and restraint. “Spelled out like that, simple and stupid and nothing and words? Are you really so oblivious that you can’t tell?” He growls, low and hard and dangerous as his eyes narrow. “Even when you’re – when you’re stupid and breakable, I care about you.”

Utterly stunned and with no idea at all what to say, Blaine lies and stares up at Kurt with eyes as wide as saucers. Staring right into Kurt’s face, so close to his, and for the first time Blaine notices some of the smaller signs of agitation in his expression. His usually-immaculate hair is in complete disarray; mousey and brown and everywhere, absolutely everywhere sticking up at odd angles and looking as though it hasn’t even been groomed today. There are dark circles under Kurt’s eyes, standing out sharply against the pale of his skin. He looks sunken in; exhausted, and strained, and as though he is about to snap and break and shatter at any moment.

He looks starving, and Blaine doesn’t know how he hasn’t noticed that before.

But Kurt doesn’t pause. Doesn’t stop talking, doesn’t give him any time for this to sink in; just keeps shouting right into Blaine’s face, speaking too-quickly. His voice keeps catching, snagging as it gets higher and higher as he speaks.

“I’m not made out of stone, Blaine. I can’t – I can’t feel things the way you do, but I’m not empty.” He sneers, the expression catching along the line of his lips in an ugly, sharp way. “You turned my world upside down, do you even know that? You, and the way you fucking smell, and the way you – your everything, I — I can’t –”

Kurt cuts himself off, shuddering hard and seeming to hold back a yell of frustration. He shoves down hard onto his grip on Blaine’s wrists, making the bed rock and Blaine’s wrists ache. He can’t even feel it, though. Can’t feel the pain at all through the shock. Kurt is overflowing with words like a cup that has run too full and simply has to pour over the edges, words flowing out of him like a river.

“You’re special, I told you that,” says Kurt, the same irritation seeping into his voice that always happens when he accuses Blaine of not listening. He shifts uncomfortably above him, his grip on Blaine’s wrists loosening. “You’re special, I found you, I waited. I – I never thought I’d find anyone ever. I never wanted to find anyone, but you...” Kurt shakes his head, letting out sharp burst of laughter. “I chased you for almost two months, Blaine. Two months. I lingered, and waited, and thought about you for every second of every day, and I kept you in my home for over a month, and – and I’m making you like me. Do you think I’ve ever done this for anyone else?” He laughs, hard and exposed. “Of course I’m attached, you idiot. I’m not – I’m not taking the first pretty thing I found and turning into something to own. Not like he did, it’s different, we’re different and you just can’t see it.”

He stares down at Blaine angrily, as though expecting him to say something. But Blaine can’t speak. Can’t open his mouth, can’t do anything except lie beneath him on the bed and gape as the words wash over him. As they burn and sear like corrosive fluid.

“You can’t understand while you’re like that,” Kurt mutters bitterly when Blaine doesn’t respond, sitting back on his heels and shaking his head as he gestures to Blaine’s body. There is sadness and frustration and strain in every line of his body. “There’s nothing I can say to make you feel any better, Blaine. And... and you’ll never understand it, not like this. Soft and human, you’re like flies. You can’t understand, you’re not made to. You’re nothing, I know that, I know that, but...” he trails off uselessly, snapping his hand through the air in a violent gesture. “But you will be more. Once I do this... you’ll be you.”

The words don’t make any sense – Kurt is taking something away from him, not giving him something – but Kurt is already leaning back in close. Not pinning Blaine down, not anymore, just... pressing their foreheads together. Close, and tender, and so much like a lover. His skin is cool against Blaine’s, and he raggedly strokes a hand through Blaine’s hair as they press together.

“But I can’t wait anymore,” says Kurt quietly, shaking his head. He’s shivering, or maybe Blaine’s shivering – they’re too close to be able to tell. “I can’t, it’s not enough. You taste too good, and I’m... I’m starving, I’m so hungry, and you’re so weak and tired and small and I’ll kill you. I won’t be able to stop myself, I’ll just – I’ll keep drinking until I kill you, and that’s not going to happen. I’m not letting you die before we even start, you idiot. I won’t.”

Kurt takes a deep breath, his body stiffening with resolve as he moves away. He blinks, and when he opens his eyes again Blaine can see that there is murky red seeping in along the outsides.

“I’m not sorry,” says Kurt, voice empty and hollow and beautiful as his features sharpen and his eyes darken and he holds himself tighter. Straighter, coiled up; holding himself back from striking. “I won’t lie to you, and I’m not sorry, but... I’ll try to make it quick.”

They stay like that, for a moment. Both of them breathing hard and holding still and waiting for Blaine to say something.

Sprawled on his back and staring up into Kurt’s eyes – watching them bleed through with more and more red like crusted blood – Blaine’s mind whirls and stutters soundlessly at everything Kurt just shouted at him. At what has been spoken, and what hasn’t been spoken, and the concepts and ideas that still hang outside his reach but are close, now. Closer than ever, just beyond his fingertips.

There is no life for him outside these walls; not anymore. Not like this. There is no way for him to recover from this, or bounce back, or prolong this from happening for any longer. Blaine’s body is so, so weak by now. Wrung out and covered in cuts and wounds, drained and toyed with and made so empty compared to what he used to be. He’s sick and dizzy and has been for days, turned into something hollow and pathetic and not capable of anything real.

Logically, none of what Kurt said should change anything. None of it should make him feel differently at all.  

Everything hangs in the air for endless, lingering moments. Time drags on as a hundred cuts and wounds strain to make their pain known, the frayed skin of Blaine’s arm throbbing dully above it all. The two of them wait, tangled together in the bed where so much has happened between them; heated moments and whispered words and teeth slicing through thin skin. And Blaine’s mind isn’t racing; instead it’s slowing, winding down as it finally wraps itself around the only real conclusion.

When Blaine nods, the movement is so small that it would almost be imperceptible to anyone but Kurt’s eyes. He blinks hard against the stinging in his eyes, inclining his head again in a barely-there acknowledgement. And he never taking his eyes off of Kurt’s beautiful, monstrous, incomprehensible face.

“Make it quick,” says Blaine quietly, his whole body shaking as he turns his head to one side – and exposes the marred length of his neck to Kurt. Because nothing Kurt said should make any difference but it does, it really does, and even though tears are leaking down his cheeks there is something bolstered and brave inside Blaine’s chest. Reassured, and settled, and all of this is as inevitable as the setting sun. As unavoidable as day fading into night, and this as close to acceptance as he’s ever going to get.

“Yes,” Kurt exhales, breathy and all at once and not relieved but close. “Yes, yes, yes, yes.”

But instead of slamming his mouth against Blaine’s neck right away – crashing through skin and tearing him to pieces, ending everything right here right now – Kurt edges back. He sits back and extends his hand, palm up, to where Blaine is still lying on the bed.

“Come here,” says Kurt, his eyes so red but his teeth still human and flat and small, so small inside his mouth. Blaine takes his hand; lets himself be tugged up and into Kurt’s arms. Lets himself be held, Kurt’s eyes scraping over his skin as he looks over Blaine’s face, body, his eyes for what feels like the last time.

“Blaine,” Kurt breathes quietly, licking his lips and sounding so, so desperate. He holds Blaine gently, carefully, stroking his thumb almost reverently over Blaine’s neck – before pulling him close and kissing him. Sliding their lips together as though they were made to fit together this way, and Blaine just lets his eyes fall closed and kisses instinctually back.

The kiss is soft, and sweet, and one last time like this. Weak and worn but his skin still hot and his heart still human, Blaine shudders beneath the onslaught of sensation. Groaning, Kurt sucks softly at Blaine’s bottom lip as his hands shake from restraint. Pulling him close and holding Blaine against his chest like he’s fragile, like he’s made out of glass; as though if he were to stop focusing even for a second, he wouldn’t be able to hold himself back. It’s like being in the eye of a hurricane; just barely protected from the onslaught, so close that Blaine can feel it.

And it’s temporary. So, so temporary but there isn’t any point in being frightened anymore.

The world narrows down to the softness of Kurt’s cool lips pressed against his, the quietly desperate pressure of his tongue. Blaine leans into the touches, his whole mind numb with shock and certainty. The hollowness in his stomach is endless, and the fear is so large and incomprehensible that he simply cannot feel it anymore.

For one sweet and incredibly precious moment, Blaine’s mind goes blank.

Until Kurt breaks the kiss with sharp abruptness, pulling back with a hiss as he digs his fingers through the curls at the side of Blaine’s head.

“This is going to hurt,” says Kurt coldly, the words hard and high and empty, and Blaine’s blood runs cold. He doesn’t look Blaine in the eye as he speaks, staring down at the space between them instead. There is a shiftingchurningtwisting in the air, and Blaine’s stomach turns to lead when he realizes that he can feel Kurt’s skin rippling and changing in the split second as his face twists and becomes something inhuman.

And without waiting a single second longer, Kurt – not the monster, not a creature, but Kurt – clenches his hand in Blaine’s hair, wrenches Blaine’s head to one side, and buries his face in Blaine’s throat.

Pain, bursting shining bleeding ruptures through Blaine’s neck as Kurt’s mouth fastens too-wide over the muscle and sinew and skin and bites down, teeth sinking in viciously hard and ripping him open. Happening so fast, but he can feel everything.  It sears and wrenches and it hurts, it hurts, every nerve in his body screaming and the only thing he can feel the horrible sickening crunching pain as teeth tear into his throat. Sharp as knives and cutting him, slicing him, and Blaine’s mouth is hanging open and everything is vibrating pounding bursting. He’s being torn apart, hot wetness bursting out from the wound as sticky blood pours into Kurt’s mouth, over his tongue, running down the side of Blaine’s chest.

There’s a sound, strangled and choked-off and wailing, a horrible sound like a banshee that’s ringing in Blaine’s ears and it takes him too long to realize that it’s him. He’s shouting, screaming as his body struggles and thrashes with instincts too primal and deep to be ignored, trying to get away from the pain, to make it stop and the sobbing wail is drowned out by the horrible sounds of visceral growls against his neck as Kurt bites down harder and drinks deep. He’s been light-headed for days but now the world spins, slanting and tilting violently as incomprehensible pain pulses and radiates from his neck, fills up his whole body as hands grip him tight and the room tilts

 

— and Blaine is four years old, chubby and ruddy and with a big grin that always stays on his soft face like it was born there. He runs through the playground at the park, kicking up sand beneath his feet with every short step and throwing it up into the air so that it falls down like rain. It’s sunny, bright, the shining red of the painted monkey bars and tall slide and swing set gleaming proudly as the other boys and girls scurry left and right and play and have fun. Giggling and shrieking when he almost loses his footing but manages to pull himself up again, rounded little sneakers pounding on the ground and feeling hot and happy just from being here. Everything is so big and there’s so much, so much out here, and it’s all the best and he never wants to do anything other than play here forever.

“Blaine!” he hears a voice call out, very close, and he turns just in time before his father slides his hands under Blaine’s armpits and tugs him right off the ground and into the air.

“Daddy!” he squeals, looking back into his father’s young face. Moustached and dark-haired and smiling  a rare smile, because daddy usually has to work and doesn’t get to take him to the park very much and today is special. His dad leans forward and presses a quick, scratchy kiss against Blaine’s softly rounded cheek and Blaine laughs at the shock of it, and everything is easy and simple and it always, always will be.

And then his father takes a quick look around them, gets a private little look on his face – and begins to spin them around.

It feels like Blaine is flying. He lets out a scream of delight and his father laughs a rare laugh out loud, spinning him around like a helicopter. In a circle, around and around and Blaine tilts his head back and lets the momentum carry him harder, raising his hands in the air like he’s a bird that needs to flap its wings. It’s fast and fun but he never worries that his father will drop him, because his heads are big and strong and steady and would never, ever let him fall –

 

— and Kurt is pulling at the wound with his mouth in brutal, heartless sucks that send agony shooting down his neck, his limbs, everywhere. He screams until it forces all the air from his body, until there’s no more sound coming but his mouth hangs open in horror and shock and pain, oh god the pain, and Blaine is still weakly trying to get away from the source of it even with Kurt’s mouth locked onto his neck and his arms an immovable mountain around him, holding him in place and making him stay and it hurts, everything soaking up with blood that Kurt’s mouth misses as he drinks and drinks and gorges himself and finally doesn’t have to hold back any longer.

Blaine scrabbles helplessly at Kurt’s shoulder with one hand, mindlessly trying to make something happen but he doesn’t know what because it’s happening now it’s happening now it’s over it’s over it’s over.  Kurt reaches up to grab the offending hand, grips it hard to make him stop trying to get away and it’s too hard too hard too hard straining pulling, and he whimpers and struggles and screams when Kurt grips too tight and there’s a horrible, sickening sound as a few of Blaine’s fingers strain and strain and finally break with a snap

 

— Blaine is fifteen and happy and all right again, finally all right again, his strong fingers wrapped around the hand-held microphone as he bounces and bounds around the stage and belts his heart out to a crowd of several hundred people. Leading them all and the centre of attention as blue and red-clad boys bop and sing in perfect harmony behind him, and it’s all come together like a well-oiled machine. Because last year was awful, just awful (everyone shouting names and whispering threats and then finally getting cornered with his date outside the Sadie Hawkins dance where he was scared, so scared, more scared than he’s ever been in his life, and then broken bones and black eyes and so, so helpless) and Blaine had honestly thought it could never get any better.

But now he’s here, at Dalton. Where the Council picked him out of a crowd of nervous sophomores and told him to get up and sing, and he has never felt more at ease with who he is.

The Warblers fall in line behind him as he lets out a long, loud note and throws his head back, sweat pouring down his forehead and the back of his neck, the stage lights hot and blinding in a way that makes him feel like something extraordinary. He belongs here; can be the person he’s always wanted to be here where everyone is looking. The Warblers spin around and grin and point out at the crowd in perfect unison as they sing about don’t ever look back and  young forever and adrenaline is bursting in Blaine’s chest in ecstatic explosions as his body moves to the beat and he can’t stop smiling and his voice soars like a bird above everyone else’s –

 

— weak, now, so weak. Barely clinging to consciousness as the world tries to jolt and slide away from him. Pain, so much pain, he should be dead by now he wants to die he wants to die, wants it to be over and there’s no way his body can take much more of this. His neck is numb with how much it hurts, the pain too big to get his head around as a mouth slurps and sucks and blood soaks through the sheets and his hand dangles, useless and broken, between them. Everything is greying out, dimming at the edges, growing less sharp and distinct, and it’s all fading sliding numbing as his eyes roll back in his head and his limbs start to go limp. He barely registers the feeling of a mouth detaching itself from his neck.

The sound of a high voice hissing quietly in pain reaches his ears, but Blaine is too close to unconsciousness. Doesn’t see Kurt raise one elongated fingernail and scrape it across his own wrist, opening the skin and making slow-flowing blood burst from beneath pale skin.

But Blaine is brought back to reality just enough to choke and whimper when he feels a hand grip his jaw too-tight, forcing it open, and the torn underside of Kurt’s wrist gets shoved against his lips.

“Drink,” he hears Kurt’s voice order him, sounding distorted and heavy as though through a thick fog. He gags and gurgles as sickening metallic blood bursts into his mouth, spluttering and choking as he swallows some of it but the rest escapes his mouth and dribbles down his chin. Everything hurts, everything, and he can’t breathe and Kurt won’t let him move and the blood just keeps flowing into his mouth, gagging him, making him choke. “Drink.”

It’s all getting thicker and heavier and harder and Blaine doesn’t even think about swallowing, his damaged throat working weakly to gulp down Kurt’s blood as his body shivers on the precipice of unconsciousness and his hand screams and the side of his neck is a wounded mass of flesh and sinew. He drinks until his lips can’t move anymore and it all turns too dark to think, and the pressure at his mouth is gone and the pain at his neck is back again as Kurt latches back onto his neck and sucks the last of his blood down deep.

 

— the day he moved out of his parents’ house and went to New York, stomach twisting with uncertainty and doubt and pre-emptive loneliness that hung on his limbs like a weight. The way his mother had cried and said she was proud, darling boy, so proud and his dad had clapped him on the back and got in the car with him and all of his things and drove him to the airport and neither of them had spoken in the entire drive there –

 

His heart gets slow like a winding down toy,

                 and the floating numbness is like a blanket.

                                           White noise and nothing and sliding away.

 

— living alone in the city and letting all the confidence slip through his fingers like water, the person he wanted to be dead and gone and left behind in Ohio, and the shell of himself existing in and out every day through exams and essays and undergrad and law school. The person that he actually is buried underneath, deep inside where no one can see –

 

                                                                                                                 cold so cold too cold.

                                                                                 can’t feel the pain, can’t feel the ache

                                            just the touch of Kurt’s mouth on his neck

                       an anchor out at sea.

 

— until he turns the corner of the alley and there he is,

bright blue eyes and pale skin in the dark,

his destiny come to find him and take him home.

 

 

                            the life leaves his body

                                                     and the world dims down to nothing

                                                                                                and it doesn’t

                                                                                                                 hurt

                                                                                                                        anymore.

 

--

 

— gasping choking dragging in air, his back arching up spasmodically with his mouth hanging open and spluttering in an attempt to breathe breathe breathe breathe breathe. The air is raw and sharp and painful as it fills up his lungs, pulling it inside all at once as the sound of himself desperately sucking in air jolts through the still room. Blaine rolls onto his side, clutching at his chest and panting raggedly as oxygen floods his lungs and brings him awake again after the overwhelming emptiness of the nothing he was yanked from. He chokes the air down wetly, pressing his cheek against cool fabric as breathe breathe breathe need to breathe begins to lessen and become appeased by the swallows of sweet oxygen that feel like salve to his wrecked, sore body. 

Awareness is back again, coming over him in fits and starts as the frantic need falls into the background. Of the space in the room and the soft sheets beneath him and the smell of something amazing, amazing hanging in the air. Faint but incredible in a way that makes his stomach clench and twist and hollow out in horrible pain.

There is no pain in his neck, though. Or his hand, or his arm, and there’s something wrong about that – but he’s too disoriented to remember why, exactly, that’s important.

Abruptly, Blaine becomes tremendously and irreversibly aware of sound. All around him and so loud, and he has no idea how he didn’t notice it all before. Sounds of traffic like thunder outside, blaring horns and shouted words and the humming of car engines all mixing together to create a cacophony so loud he can barely process anything else. He slams his hands over his ears but pulls them away when the slow pound of blood in his palms rings loud and overwhelming, clutching at himself and breathing desperate hard into the sheets beneath him. He keeps his eyes squeezed shut, holding himself all together until he can make sense of it, put it together like a puzzle, wrap his head around the overwhelming noise of the world outside the window that blares in his ears.

After a few seconds, it eases itself to the background. Not gone, per se, just – not the most important thing anymore.

Slowly, slowly, Blaine is able to focus on the noises closer to home.

Small insects and animals in the walls; rats and spiders and flies all nestled up and unseen, hidden in holes and burrowed deep into drywall. The creaking of floorboards and people talking and moving and breathing and blood flowing in the apartments above and below and around. The neutral buzz of appliances in the other room, their ever-constant tones ringing in his ears.

And finally, Blaine is able to wrap his mind around the loudest noise of all. Someone in the room with him, their slow breathing quivering and laboured and like an explosion of noise beside him.

“Blaine?” comes a wavering voice, strained and worried and relieved, a drawn-out noise in the air that makes him wince with its closeness. Blaine squeezes his eyes shut, waiting for the echoes of the word to stop clanging in his ears like gunfire in a metal room. It does, after a second, and very gradually it all becomes more manageable. Comprehensible, and real. “Blaine?” comes the voice again, wrung-out as though the person has been crying, and suddenly the bed creaks and groans underneath another person’s weight. There are hands cradling his shoulders, rolling him into his back, and he can feel the warmth of a body kneeling next to him.

And all at once, a name is sounding in Blaine’s head like the tolling of a bell.

Kurt.

Kurt Kurt Kurt Kurt Kurt Kurt Kurt Kurt Kurt.

Blinking back against how much more harsh and vivid the light seems to be through his eyelashes, Blaine slowly opens his eyes.

The face above him is blurry, at first. Absurdly distorted and wrong, and Blaine screws up his face in annoyance. Blindly, he reaches up and grabs hold of the glasses that are distorting his vision, ripping them off his face. They fall onto the bed next to him, and when he blinks the world comes crystal clear around him; sharp and detailed in a way he has never seen it before.

Kurt is hunched over him, his pale face streaked with wetness and his eyes shining with stark, unconcealed relief. The angles and curves of his face, usually so beautiful and icy and controlled, are stained with uneven blotches and slack with too much emotion. Kurt’s grip on Blaine’s shoulders is tight, his hands shaking almost imperceptibly but for the fact that it feels as though Blaine’s whole world has been dialled up. His eyes are red-rimmed and swollen.

When Blaine inhales through his nose a moment later, though, that incredible smell lingering in the room hits him so hard he can’t focus on anything else. He almost groans out loud at how incredibly, unbelievably good it is; warm and animal and tantalizing, hanging in the air and emanating from a pile of discarded sheets in the corner of the bedroom. It smells familiar, somehow, too. It makes his senses burst and stand on edge, makes his stomach growl with horrible hunger.

It takes Blaine too long to realize that Kurt’s mouth is moving, forming words; a steady stream of too-fast too-high too-wavering words that force him to focus.

“... was so scared,” Kurt whispers shakily, licking his lips and looking as though he’s barely holding himself back from snagging Blaine up and pulling him into his arms. He looks a complete mess, Blaine realizes distantly; his hair is all askew, and he’s paler than usual, and it looks as though he’s been crying for hours. “Never done that before, and I – I didn’t know how long it was supposed to take. And I got you cleaned up but you wouldn’t wake up, you wouldn’t, and. And I didn’t know if I took too much blood before I made you drink, I lost control, and I was so scared that you wouldn’t come back to me.” Kurt hesitates, looking down at Blaine below him uncertainly. “Are... are you okay? Blaine, are you –?”

But Blaine’s whole body is aching – keening – for that wonderful smell that tugs at his nostrils and incites his senses, he wants it, he needs it. He’s hungry, so hungry, as though he hasn’t eaten anything for weeks and his stomach is hollow and useless and he imagines hot blood flooding his mouth and groans. He’s empty, empty inside and desperate, and his body is aware of exactly what he needs as though the knowledge has been hard-wired into his brain.

Before he fully realizes what he’s doing, Blaine throws himself up and against Kurt’s body with such force that it sends them both tumbling off the bed in a flurry of limbs and startled shouts. They land with Kurt falling hard on his back and Blaine all akimbo on top of him, scrabbling to move so that they’re lined up as he scrapes his nails over Kurt’s skin – it doesn’t feel cold at all, it’s warm and pleasant and wonderful – so that he can mouth frantically at the crook of Kurt’s neck.

“Kurt,” Blaine whines, letting out a drawn-out groan as he bites down hard. He scrunches up his face in frustration. It smells wrong, under Kurt’s skin. Not right, not what he needs, but close. Close enough that he keeps rubbing his face against Kurt’s clothed shoulder, nuzzling hard and tearing through the fabric with his nails. Beneath him, Kurt’s face is frozen in a rictus of shock. Blaine keeps talking anyways, the words escaping his lips in an unstoppable flurry. “Kurt, I’m hungry. So hungry, I need it, let me have it, I want it –”

For a long second, Blaine can feel Kurt tense in absolute disbelief beneath him. Before –

“Oh my god,” Kurt laughs after the long pause, throwing his head back against the floor as Blaine nuzzles and nips determinedly at his neck. It’s a short burst of sound, saturated with sagging relief, the edge of the laugh catching with growing delight and amusement. Kurt lets out a huffed little exclamation of surprise, and Blaine feels a hand come up to rest on his back. “Oh my god, Blaine, you’re ridiculous.”

Absently, Kurt rubs a hand over his back. Blaine barely notices, though. Keeps suckling at the skin of Kurt’s throat as though it can give him what he needs, what his whole body is pining for.

Laughing, Kurt grabs him by the back of the neck and wrenching Blaine’s head up for a kiss. Tongue and teeth and dirty, revelling in his mouth, and Blaine kisses back until he can’t stand it anymore and bites down hard on Kurt’s bottom lip, a sharpened tooth slicing easily through the skin and spilling blood slowly onto Blaine’s tongue.

“Ow!” Kurt yips, surprised and sounding slightly affronted, as Blaine wraps his lips around the open wound and sucks. His whole body is coiled up like a spring, bursting with anticipation to have the horrible hunger twisting at his insides sated. The feel of hot blood coating his tongue and filing his mouth feels good, yes – but it’s not right. Not right, not good, not nearly enough. Kurt’s blood is empty, somehow. It feels nice and tastes nice but it’s wrong, doesn’t have what Blaine needs, and he wines piteously against Kurt’s mouth and sucks down harder until Kurt gently pushes him away with superior strength.

“That won’t work,” says Kurt calmly, stroking a hand through Blaine’s curls. He’s staring at Blaine in the exact same way he did in the alley all those months ago; as though he’s a marvel, a miracle. Something that can’t possibly exist but does, defying the laws of reality and presented like a gift right into Kurt’s lap. Staring at his face, running his eyes over the edges and features as though trying to learn them all over again. It would make Blaine preen and feel a hot rush of pleasure at the attention except that he can’t focus, can’t concentrate, can only feel the awful ache of emptiness in his stomach. “That doesn’t work, Blaine, it has to be human.”

“Kurt,” Blaine begs, digging his nails hard into Kurt’s arm.

A slow, overjoyed twist works its way at the edge of Kurt’s mouth. The cut is still bleeding, the skin cut and open from the bite, but not very much.

“Would you like something to eat?” asks Kurt slyly, his sculpted eyebrows raising in flirtatious question as he smiles up at Blaine with slightly too much glee in his expression.

Yes,” Blaine growls out, something low and anticipatory twisting in his stomach. He grabs Kurt by the arm , grasping his hand dragging him up onto his feet as he stands, and oh. Even half-crazed and desperate to feed, Blaine feels strong. Almost sends Kurt stumbling from how enthusiastic he is, and it makes a hot spark shoot up his spine. The surprised happy delicious glint in Kurt’s eyes once they’re both steady on their feet is just too perfect. But the promise of something to make the aching emptiness in his stomach ease up is too important to ignore, and they quickly rush about getting ready to leave the apartment.

Kurt must have cleaned Blaine up while was out; there’s no blood drenching his skin, and his ruined sleep shirt has been removed and discarded. Apparently, though, Kurt didn’t bother to redress him. Blaine shucks the plaid pyjama pants that somehow avoided getting bloodstained with frenzied efficiency, not bothering to fake modesty. He quickly puts on a pair of jeans Kurt brought from his apartment and a button-up shirt Kurt made him from scratch. Kurt discreetly wipes away the wetness from his cheeks as Blaine dresses, and almost at once then the two of them are out the door and into the hallway.

They’re fast, together. So fast that it should make his head spin, but it doesn’t. It doesn’t, and that’s incredible beyond belief.

Socks on, then shoes. Blaine reaches out to grab one of the coats off the hat rack by the front door, but his hand wavers in mid-air. He hesitates, suddenly not sure if he’ll even need a coat at all. The memories are there, still; the night that he met Kurt in the alleyway, the night on the park bench. His mind can recall with perfect precision the way Kurt’s bare arms had practically shone in the lamplight, the way that the cold hadn’t seemed to affect him at all.

But even though Blaine can see it all playing out in his head,  it almost feels as though it happened to someone else. He can remember what happened, remember what he felt, but... he can’t make himself relate to any of it. It’s almost as though all of it was a dream that Blaine is only now waking up from.

His hesitation is cut short when Kurt stands after lacing his tall boots to grab what must be his own coat off the rack.

“You don’t need it,” he explains airily, throwing his own coat over his shoulders. “But you’ll stand out if you don’t have one, trust me.”

Blaine nods, grabs his coat, and flings it hastily over his shoulders. Kurt opens the front door – and without even a backward glance, the two of them walk out of the apartment.

It takes too long to get outside, the awful twisting gnawing hunger clawing at his insides as Kurt leads him out. Through the hallways, down the stairs, and the whole time wonderful smell of blood beneath skin wafts under the cracks of the apartment doors and makes Blaine whine with desperation.

“We can’t get in there,” insists Kurt firmly, lips pursed, tugging at Blaine’s hand and leading him along with sharp efficiency. Blaine’s eyes linger over the numbered doors of the apartment, and the smell is so strong he can almost taste it. “We can’t get in, come on, outside, so close –”

Down the last of the stairs, through the plush lobby, past an elderly doorman with knobbled knees beneath his handsome uniform. Kurt’s hand is strong and soft and delicate and indomitable around Blaine’s own as he pushes open the main doors to the apartment complex, ushers them outside –

— and into the white, flurried landscape of the city at night amid fluttering gales of winter snow. Blaine freezes mid-step, eyes wide and even the horrible hunger forgotten as he stares in amazement at the street in front of them.

It’s all so much; so much detail and intricacy he has never noticed before as he sees the world through new eyes. This is a nice neighbourhood, he can tell at once; well-kept and clean and even slightly commercial. A few people are rushing here and there even though the sky is dark, wrapped in coats and with scarves pulled snug around their necks to keep out the cold. Glove-covered hands stuffed into the protection of pockets as they rasp and shiver so loud against the frigid air, but even though Blaine is only wearing a button-up shirt under a wool coat in the middle of New York in winter he doesn’t feel the cold. Snowflakes drift down and land on his cheeks, his nose, his eyelashes; they feel pleasant, and cool, but not uncomfortable at all. It is as though that part of his brain has simply been switched off; he stares blankly at his bare hands, the fingers not numb or stiff at all from the air.

The people walking by all leave their mark on the snowy sidewalks, crushing the snow down beneath their feet and leaving wet, freezing slush that turns black against the darkness of the concrete. But the tumbling, twisting gusts of falling white flakes light up the night sky and the tall buildings around them far more than the streetlamps and bright signs could ever accomplish on their own. It looks like a Christmas card; the perfect picture of the urban holidays, splayed out in front of them like a film set.

Blaine has been inside Kurt’s apartment for a long time, and he did know that – but somehow he had never actually expected the world to keep moving without him. Time passing and seasons changing had seemed so distant. So far away. For a moment, Blaine strangely finds himself wondering whether or not Christmas has already passed. He shakes his head sharply, not sure why something like that could even matter.

The smell – blood, so close, right here for him, right here – hits him with renewed fervour, making his mouth water and his fingers twitch as the almost-taste of it, out here in the open with no doors or barriers between them, rushes through his body. The people in the street are rushing right and left, not paying any attention at all to two normal-looking  young men standing on the sidewalk; there are men, and women, and even a few children clinging to their parents’ hands through pairs of thick mittens.

And all at once, Blaine stands and looks and stares – and properly sees the people in front of him.

And they’re nothing.

Even through the hunger, Blaine knows it. Can feel it; the pounding, utter certainty that those things don’t matter. They smell like animals, they sound like animals; grunting little noises from the cold and loudloudloud footsteps and too-fast breathing that makes him stand straighter and stare. It’s like watching rats scampering around in a maze. Skin wrapped over bone and muscle and sinew and organs and blood like a little package, walking and talking and gesturing and none of it means anything at all.

And oh, god, the way they smell. Blaine closes his eyes and breathes in deeply through his nose, slumping wordlessly against Kurt’s shoulder as he stands and inhales it all in. He can smell the blood in them, flowing in their veins and concentrating in necks and wrists and thighs and absolutely reeking of life. Before, Blaine sometimes used to make a game out of people watching and speculating; guessing what people were thinking just by looking at them, or what they liked, or what they did with their lives.

But now the people walking around him simply don’t register on that level anymore.  They register as animals; they register as food.

It all smells like the most decadent feast in the world, all laid out for him to come and take and drink and have. His stomach growls angrily, twisting and clenching, and he lets out a deep breath before turning and walking down the sidewalk in a random direction. Kurt follows behind, his hand still clenched in Blaine’s tight grip.

“Not too close to the apartment,” Kurt warns in a low voice that Blaine would never have been able to perceive, before; the words would have been drowned out by the drone of the wind or the sounds of traffic. Instead, Blaine can hear that high, beautiful voice as clearly as though Kurt were whispering right in his ear.

Hungry,” Blaine reminds him, voice catching, because it’s almost the only thing he can say. It’s the only thing left, now; the only thing he can feel now that the shock and confusion of it all is wearing away. The horrible wrenching hunger, and the watering desperation in his mouth, and the way the emptiness inside makes him feel like he’s going insane.

“I know,” Kurt reassures him, speeding up so that he’s the one of them in the lead. They walk hard and fast down the sidewalk, putting more space between them and the apartment as the cars rush by beside them. “I know, I remember. We won’t worry about being fussy right now, okay? We’ll just get the first –”

They turn off into a side road, and Kurt abruptly cuts himself off. He puts a hand on Blaine’s chest, stopping him in place, as they both look down the narrow, poorly-lit little corridor off the main road.

The snow is falling a little harder now, thickening in the air and making everything whiter and more obscured. The side street is practically deserted; it’s all residential apartment buildings, any doormen tucked inside against the snow and cold. But a single figure, bundled up in a heavy coat to the knees and a knitted cap with flaps pulled down right over long hair is walking slowly away from them. It’s a woman; Blaine can tell, partly by the way she walks and holds herself and looks from a distance but oh, god, even by the way she smells. It smells feminine, somehow, even though Blaine doesn’t quite understand how he knows that.

Kurt raises a silent finger to his lips, but Blaine hadn’t been intending to say anything anyways.  His voice is caught in his throat, already salivating  as his stomach rumbles low and painful. Letting go of Blaine’s hand and without looking back at him, Kurt begins to walk quicker. Striding purposefully, silently down the road; his feet don’t make a sound in the soggy snow as he heads toward the lone figure hunched against the wind. Blaine doesn’t know how to mimic the lack of noise – not really – but he follows as quickly and quietly as he can, using every last bit of self-restraint to stop from charging in right now.

Twenty feet away.

Fifteen feet away.

Ten feet away, and she’s so close Blaine can barely hold himself back. His stomach aches and clenches and twists as every instinct in his body tells him to go feed take have want now kill, but Kurt is still moving silently closer so he holds himself back, makes himself wait for just one more second.

They’re just a few steps away from the open maw of an alley when Blaine mis-steps, his boot crunching in a patch of crisp snow with a noise that is audible even over the wind. She stops walking, starts to turn around with a startled look in her eyes, but Kurt is too quick for her. Hand darting out with brutal speed, Kurt violently snags the woman from behind; wraps a solid arm around her waist and brings the other one up to slam over her mouth.

“Hel –!” she shrieks before Kurt’s palm seals down over her lips and cuts her off, eyes wide and green and terrified as she struggles and bucks and lifts herself off the ground trying to break free. Her knitted hat falls to the ground and into the snow as she shakes her head back and forth, long blonde hair flying everywhere, clawing at Kurt’s hand over her mouth with painted-purple nails in an attempt to dislodge it so she can scream.

It’s no good, though, because Kurt is strong and hard and unmovable as he plucks her off her feet and carries his struggling burden into the secretive dark of the alley, away from prying eyes looking out windows and down onto the street below. Kurt’s face is so utterly calm and purposeful  as he holds her still and drags her into the alley, not surprised or bothered or startled by anything, and something heated twists along the hunger in Blaine’s stomach at the sight of him.

And, oh, her fear. Rolling off her in thick waves; panic and hysteria and terror, absolute terror. It smells heady and intoxicating, makes the hunger roar and crash against Blaine’s insides like waves over sharp rocks. The girl – and it is a girl, not a woman, no more than twenty – has wide-blown eyes and her whole body is shaking, shaking hard and he can feel her tremors through the air. Can smell the taste of her blood pounding in her veins, hear her heart slamming against her chest in terror as she struggles and lets out muffled cries.

Standing behind the girl with one hand around her waist and the other over her mouth, Kurt holds her in place as Blaine stands in front of them; and as Blaine watches, Kurt forcibly turns her head to one side and exposes the pale, freckled length of her neck.

And she – it – is a thing. Blaine can smell that; can feel it even stronger than he did with the people on the main street. It smells like an animal; it smells like food.

“Here you are,” Kurt purrs, licking his lips as he locks eyes with Blaine over the sobbing shape between them. Blaine stares at the girl’s exposed throat, the lean muscles of it tensed with struggle. He can feel where the main artery is; pulsing and beating frantically beneath the skin right there. He inhales deeply and the smell of food hungry need it want it make him growl out loud. Blaine cocks his head to one side, the growl still coming low in his chest as he stares at the stretched skin and needs to break it open so badly it hurts. His face twists, and shifts, and changes in a way that should feel unnatural but doesn’t, it doesn’t, and Kurt’s expression shifts into something practically giddy with excitement. His eyes are shining, and the girl is still struggling, and Blaine runs his tongue over his teeth and feels them sharp and jagged in his mouth.

“Help yourself, beautiful,” says Kurt sweetly, exposing even more of her neck to him as she shrieks beneath his hand. “Aren’t you hungry?”

 And that is all it takes.

Vibrations rumble in his throat as Blaine growls, launching himself forward and falling onto the girl like a starving man on a feast. He grabs at her and shoves his face into her neck, finds the main artery where it’s pulsing beating shuddering under the thin skin and bites down hard, ripping through skin and sinew and groaning with bliss as hot, perfect wetness gushes into his mouth and down his chin. The girl is screaming, audible even through Kurt’s hand but Blaine can barely hear her; can only feel the incredible heat of the blood as he swallows it down in greedy, messy gulps. It’s hot, so hot, burning and searing as it scorches his way down his throat in a way that makes him seal his lips over the wound and suck to get more of that unbelievable heat inside of him.

He drinks, and drinks; can feel his eyes rolling back in his head, keeps sucking as Kurt whispers soft little words of encouragement and the girl’s struggling gets weaker and weaker beneath him. Where his little taste of Kurt’s blood had seemed empty and useless on his tongue, the girl’s blood is full. Full and right and good, so good, the most amazing thing he’s ever tasted. Metallic and animal and earthy and sharp, the same taste blood has always had but somehow delectable. It’s filling him up, making the horrible aching emptiness and hunger of his stomach vanish. Flooding his limbs with strength and control and power, so much power, and Blaine snarls and bites down harder, increasing the suction from his mouth as the girl goes limp. Sagging into Kurt’s grasp and Blaine just keeps drinking, pulling it all down, digging his teeth in like a rabid wolf and having.

“Slow down,” Kurt warns him quietly, and Blaine would snap at him to give him a minute if it wasn’t for the subtle change in taste. He frowns, sucking harder as the blood starts to become more reluctant to dredge up into his mouth. It tastes... off, and then strange, and then foul; he jerks himself backward, spitting a mouthful of it into a pile of snow and gagging slightly at the taste.

“Wha –?” Blaine asks, furrowing his nose in confusion.

“Dead man’s blood,” Kurt explains quickly, wrinkling his nose in silent sympathy.  He glances down at the weight in his arms before he effortlessly lifts and tosses the girl’s slack, dead body into one of the dumpsters along the side of the alley. The corpse impacts the three quarters-full dumpster with a crunch of mixed refuse being impacted. One of the girl’s arms catches on the edge of the bin, dangling over the edge. They’ll have to shove it in properly before they go. “Not quite so nice to eat, I think you’ll find. Stale.”

The taste is already fading, overwhelmed by how good the rest of it had been. Blaine can feel the hot flush of the girl’s blood sitting inside, filling him with heat and energy. Mouth hanging open, Blaine reaches up and touches his face; it’s back to normal, looking human again, but he feels... strong. Charged and full and real in a way he’s never felt; in a way he’s never been before now.

There is power, raw and dark and insidious, humming along his skin and in his blood and in the drumming of his slow-beating heart. Blaine stares down at his hands in disbelief, giddiness welling up inside and building and finally releasing in a burst of uncontrolled laughter.

“Kurt,” Blaine laughs, rubbing a hand over his face and letting out a giddy burst of air. “Kurt, I feel amazing.”

A broad smile steals over his face and stays there, making him grin wide. He does feel amazing, though; it’s true, so true; he’s never felt so good before in his life. Blaine feels healthy for the first time in recent memory; truly healthy, not just the strength or the blood or the senses. Everything feels fresh and rejuvenated, reborn and powerful in a way he can feel right down to his bones. There is no fear or pain to hold him back; not anymore.

He feels... he feels satisfied, and in control, and so incredibly certain of himself. Not pretending; not putting on a front to fool his parents or his classmates or an audience or himself. Really, really himself; right here and right now, he feels more like Blaine than he ever has before. And he can have absolutely anything he wants in the world and no one would ever have the power to tell him no.

Blaine’s mind flashes back briefly to the weak, drained little thing he’d been only a few hours ago; begging and sobbing and pleading for something pointless, and he feels a sudden rush of disdain so strong that it almost makes him shudder.

“You look amazing,” says Kurt quietly, and Blaine finally looks up from his hands – fully mended, the bones in his fingers fixed and repaired by death in the same way that his neck and forearm had been – to meet Kurt’s gaze.

Standing right in front of him in the alley amid the soft drifts of snow that manage to make it down into the small corridor of space, Kurt looks so beautiful that it almost hurts to look at him. His startling eyes are locked right on Blaine’s, holding them in place as he stares and watches and knows. There is pride there, in his gaze. Pride and delight and pleasure and something soft and sweet beneath it all that makes Blaine’s insides twist in an amazing, validating, precious way.

But something is niggling at the back of Blaine’s mind. He glances sideways at the dumpster; at the arm of the dead girl dangling over the edge, her fingerless glove-clad fingers stiff from the cold as the hang in mid-air.

“Was I like that?” asks Blaine softly, tilting his head as he stares at the nothing nothing nothing shell of a human being he just emptied. Because the girl, and the people in the street, and all the people in the world – not a single one of them matters. He can feel that, now. Finally knows what Kurt has been talking about all this time. They’re less, so much less than the two of them are. Weak and helpless and stupid and nothing, buzzing around like flies and not seeing any of the world for what it truly is. He licks his lips, feeling snowflakes catching on his eyelashes. “Was I... was I nothing?”

“No.” The denial is quiet, but it recaptures Blaine’s attention completely. He turns his head back, dragging his eyes away from the nauseating reminder of what he used to be.

And all he can see is Kurt. Standing there in front of them, shaking his head back and forth in tiny motions as infrequent snowflakes fall around him. Even though it’s dark, Blaine can see every miniscule shift of expression on Kurt’s ethereal face. His eyes are that perfect bright blue surrounding swirls of yellow; they never flooded with red as Blaine ate, he realizes, because Kurt’s stomach is still full and contented with Blaine’s own blood and the thought makes a sharp spark of arousal jolt down his spine.  Kurt’s eyes are shining, slightly, but he blinks hard against it as he stands and stares and looks him.

Kurt is looking into his eyes as though trying to find something in their depths; examining and searching, his delicate brows furrowed and eyes narrowed. And after long, long moments, Kurt’s eyes widen – and he relaxes. All of the tension seeping out of his body and into the night air, his eyes filling with desperate relief as he finds whatever he was looking for.

“You weren’t like that to me,” says Kurt again, his voice shaking hard as he stares into Blaine’s eyes bottomless relief mirroring back at him. “Not even in the beginning.” Kurt hesitates, licking his lips – and lets out an enormous exhale of breath. “It’s you,” he whispers, barely audible, and heat floods through Blaine’s belly.

Kurt,” Blaine groans, low in his throat, something hot and intense and wonderful twisting in the base of his stomach. Because Kurt is the single most beautiful, incredible entity Blaine has ever met, and he saw Blaine when there was nothing in him to see. Picked him out among hordes of useless nothings under his feet and chose him, chose to make him special and strong and his. Something desperately, frenetically possessive wells up inside of him, makes him gasp – and then they’re both stepping forward and clutching at each other, their lips meeting in a frenzied kiss.

They’ve done this so many times before, but it couldn’t be more different like this. Blaine pushes right back against Kurt’s touch, reaching up to grab Kurt’s face and pull him in closer. Blood from Blaine’s mouth smears against Kurt’s, turning them red and dark and making Kurt hesitate and then groan wantonly as he licks up the excess. He opens Kurt’s mouth with his own, taking the kiss hard and fast and deep and revelling in every newly amplified detail. Learning Kurt’s mouth again, sliding his tongue in and mapping the contours of his mouth as the girl’s blood slides along their tongues. There is nothing cool or chilled about Kurt’s touch; not anymore, and the press of Kurt’s skin is warm and real against him. They’re the same, finally the same; Blaine digs his fingers into the stiffness of the styled hair at the back of Kurt’s neck and tugs him even closer, almost moaning out loud at the way he can perceive Kurt’s shiver of pleasure in his fingertips. 

They kiss dirty and long and hard; tongue and teeth and no holding back. Their tongues slide together, needy and taking and claiming each other. Blaine bites down on Kurt’s bottom lip, the corner still slightly frayed but already healing, and when Kurt groans out loud at the sharpness of his touch he swallows the noise down greedily. This is perfect, incredible; the way things have always supposed to be between them, and he just didn’t know it. There is palpable relief in the way Kurt kisses him; all openness and adrenaline, and something tells him that Kurt hasn’t been so vulnerable in front of anyone for a long, long time.

But there is absolutely nothing in Blaine that wants to seize the opportunity and hurt him. Nothing that wants to hurt or claw or fight. Because Blaine understands now, just like Kurt said he would.

And there is nothing – nothing – that could ever make him let Kurt go.

All at once, Kurt abruptly reaches his arms up and around Blaine’s neck, hitching himself up off the ground, his weight on Blaine’s shoulders. Right away, Blaine responds with almost-instinctive speed. Wrapping his arms around Kurt’s middle, holding him up off the ground so that Kurt can wrap his legs around Blaine’s waist. And once Kurt is safely tucked up into Blaine’s arms he purrs with satisfaction against Blaine’s mouth. If Blaine was still human, the position would never work; his stature is too small, and his upper body strength would never be enough. As it is, though, a wave of triumphant delight washes over him at the realization that he can hold Kurt off the ground. Kurt doesn’t feel heavy in his arms; he can feel his substance, but it’s somehow all so very easy.

 It’s hard to focus on kissing him like this, though, so Blaine spins them around and slams Kurt’s back against the alley wall. Doesn’t need to be gentle because he knows Kurt can take it; knows that there is nothing delicate about him, and the fact makes him feel flushed and excited. Kurt cries out in surprise and pleasure as his back collides with hard brick, throwing his head back and exposing his gorgeous pale neck. Blaine takes the opportunity to lean in and suck hard against that perfect skin, relishes the feeling of Kurt’s fingers twisting in his curls and urging him to suck harder.

“It’s you,” Kurt gasps, bucking up against him and trusting Blaine to take the motion in stride and keep him pinned there, hard against the wall with his legs around Blaine’s middle, his slow pulse irresistibly erotic beneath Blaine’s tongue. “God, Blaine, you’re you. You’re –” he sucks in a breath as Blaine nips hard against the skin, practically laughing. “—you’re you. More you, better you. Finally you, the way I knew you would be, god, Blaine –”

“It’s me,” Blaine breathes over Kurt’s throat, sliding his tongue over the beautiful skin that finally doesn’t feel cold anymore. He breathes in deeply through his nose, revelling in the incredible smell of Kurt all around him. Beneath the smells of normal life and products and below the skin, how Kurt smells. Something tells him that the way Kurt’s smell tugs at his consciousness and makes Blaine want to cling to him and never never never let go is something specific to Kurt himself. He smells like forever, smells like perfect, like home. “It’s me, it’s me, you found me, it’s me.”

Tiny flecks of snow fall around them like blinking eyes in the night, and the darkness provides a comfort so deep and intrinsic that it feels like surrendering into an embrace. They kiss, clinging to each other with clawing nails and too-tight grips that speak of need and want and finally. Blaine can feel the raw power in his veins; the strength, the speed, the sharpened senses finally beginning to settle into glorious place. The monster hiding under his skin that was never a monster at all.

With his stomach full to bursting and Kurt kissing him back viciously from where he’s pinned up against the alley wall, he knows that the two of them have the whole world at their fingertips.

And for the very first time, Blaine is finally free.

 

Chapter Text

They stay like that for long minutes; kissing and clawing and straining at one another in the darkness of the alley, Kurt’s legs wrapped around Blaine’s waist and the flurries of snow falling thicker and thicker like a blanket through the air. Kissing Kurt is like discovering him all over again; the taste of his mouth, the depth of his smell, the perfect way they’ve always fit together that Blaine can only begin to appreciate fully now.

The dead girl’s arm is still dangling over the edge of the garbage bin; it sways ever-so-slightly in the wind in a way that tugs at the corner of Blaine’s vision, but it’s nowhere near enough to distract him from Kurt. Kurt, whose nails are digging into his shoulders and is squeezing him so tight it should hurt; who is sighing and letting out soft little breathy noises into the kisses as he bites down on Blaine’s lip hard enough to draw blood. He lets out a little mewl of pleasure when Blaine pushes him harder against the alley wall; it makes his clothed back scrape against the roughness of the bricks as Blaine mouths over his neck and feels the erotic, slow pulse of blood beneath the skin. 

The cold of the air and snow feels like less than nothing, and the warm blood in his stomach fills him with so much warmth Blaine is practically bursting. He feels giddy and powerful, soaring and shining. Everything is different and new and reborn, rising from ashes and brand new eyes, and something wonderful twists in Blaine’s stomach at the hot realization of how much Kurt has done for him. Of how much he held himself back, and waited, and restrained, and thought that Blaine was special.

Kurt isn’t holding back anymore, though. And Blaine doesn’t have to either.

“I could do anything,” Blaine rumbles against Kurt’s mouth, still feeling drunk from the sudden rush of incredible power; it makes him laugh out loud, pressing his forehead against Kurt’s and breathing hard. He digs his nails into the back of Kurt’s neck; hears the sharp hiss of inhaled breath, feels the way Kurt leans into the pleasure-pain of it. It makes something needy coil along his spine and tingle beneath his skin. “I could – no one can ever tell me what to do again, Kurt, god. I could – I could go anywhere, have whatever I want. I could slaughter those kids who bullied me in high school, or – or anything.”

Yes,” Kurt groans, letting out a long breath of air as though the very idea is intoxicating. His pupils are heavily dilated, the smudges of blood along his mouth gleam in the low lamplight from the street. “Anything, everything you want. We can have all of it, forever, it never has to end –”

“I want you,” says Blaine, practically growling. “I never stopped wanting you, you were right. You were right about everything, I just couldn’t see it.” He presses a kiss against Kurt’s jaw, his cheek, the corner of his mouth. “Thank you,” says Blaine, his voice strangely high and choked and gratitude pounding in his chest like a pulse. He presses more of the little half-kisses against Kurt’s skin. “Thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you...”

Kurt swallows thickly. “Blaine,” he says, high and strangled and blinking hard, and Blaine cuts him off by pressing their mouths together in a hard, ferocious kiss.

“We should –” Kurt begins, trying to pull away but seemingly unable to resist pressing a kiss against Blaine’s cheek, his brow, the corner of his mouth. “Are you still hungry?” he manages after a moment, seemingly attempting to focus as he twists his fingers in Blaine’s hair and mouths frantically along his jaw line.

“M’fine,” murmurs Blaine, clutching Kurt around the middle and loving the way this feels. How they can do this to each other, now. Bite and tear and tug and not have to hold back, or pretend, or resist. “Just want you, I need you –”

“Home,” says Kurt decisively, biting down hard on Blaine’s lip and arching up against the press of Blaine’s body. He lets out a breathy little noise of satisfaction and anticipation and delight as he slides his tongue along the corner of Blaine’s lips, catching a smear of blood. “Let’s go home.”

“Home,” says Blaine in agreement, leaning his head to catch Kurt’s mouth in a final kiss.

It doesn’t take them long to get themselves organized. Once they break away from one another Kurt slides down from the wall with graceful ease, and Blaine speeds over to the dumpster to shove the girl’s hand over the edge while he still has the presence of mind to do so. It slithers bonelessly into the emptiness inside, and the body’s weight settling on the refuse at the bottom makes a soft little thump sound. It’s easy as that; simple and over and tucked away.

Kurt is quick but meticulous for the clean-up. Handfuls of the more clean-looking snow from the ground are enough to wipe their faces and hands perfunctorily clean of the slicks of bright red blood. There are only a few smears on Kurt’s face from their kisses, but Blaine’s face takes longer to clean. The bottom half of his face is sticky and tacky from the blood that had burst from the girl’s neck when he fed, and the red of it has steeped into his skin and left a pinkish stain that Kurt fusses over. Something impossibly affectionate flares in Blaine’s chest when Kurt pauses, reaches down – and pulls out a packet of moist wipes from his coat pocket. He swipes one of the wipes over Blaine’s lips and chin, rubbing in deep to remove as much of the stain as possible. When Blaine’s face is as clean as they can get it, Kurt removes his own scarf and wraps it loosely around Blaine’s neck to conceal the stains on his shirt and coat.

Barely-constrained anticipation shuddering anxiously in the space between them, the two of them catch one another’s eyes as Kurt finishes wrapping the delicate fabric around Blaine’s neck. They stay there for a brief moment, unspoken words ringing loud and clear as snow falls around them in the night.

And then they’re turning and going, going, going into the night. Out of the alley and out into the street. Back towards the main road, and the apartment, and the rest of the world.

Back to the home where they can finally have each other for what they are.

 

--

The journey back is a feverish rush of pounding hearts and soaring exhileration, and by the time they get to the apartment door Blaine’s vision is practically blurred from the excitement pulsing alongside the hot blood in his stomach. Kurt’s hands shake and fumble with the keys for seconds that feel like centuries until finally the door gives way and they’re pushing inside, already grasping clawing kissing again as the door slams shut behind them. He lets out an audible groan of pleasure at the incredible feel of Kurt’s mouth, so perfect and familiar and his as they stand in the place where Blaine – human Blaine, weak Blaine, pointless Blaine, the Blaine from before – had been kept and held and fucked and taken care of what feels like so very long ago.

The apartment is the same place as before but different, so different, because before it had been Kurt’s place and Kurt’s things and Kurt’s prison for a stupid little nothing who didn’t know any better than to run away from the things it didn’t understand, but now...

Now it’s theirs, everything is theirs, KurtandBlaine KurtandBlaine KurtandBlaine like it was always meant to be long before either of them knew it.

It’s a heady thought, and a heated jolt sharp arousal clenches at Blaine’s stomach as Kurt grabs his shoulders with delicate-thin hands and pushes so that Blaine’s back collides forcefully against the closed door. The impact is so hard that it almost hurts, but Blaine just tips his head back against the wood and laughs as Kurt kisses his cheek and scrabbles to tug the scarf off Blaine’s neck.

“You’re wearing too many clothes,” Kurt reprimands him, sending him an extremely unimpressed look at Blaine’s inappropriate laughter, but Blaine can see that there isn’t any real anger in it. Instead, Kurt’s voice is breathy and desperate as he tries to muster himself in chastisement, attempting to scold even as his fingers are imprecise from want. It’s funny, Blaine realizes, sweet understanding breaking over him like a wave. Kurt is funny. He’s a funny person – always has been, except Blaine can only see it now that his vision isn’t skewed and clouded and obscured anymore.

“Don’t worry, sweetheart, I’ve got it,” says Blaine quickly, reassuringly, laughing and out of breath and heartbeat filing his body. He reaches up and strips off the scarf in a single easy movement, then works at getting himself out of the rest of his clothes. Kurt catches on after a moment, reaching down to begin unbuttoning his own coat.

Before long Blaine is naked down to his underwear, jeans and blood-crusted shirt and coat and scarf all discarded in a messy pile of fabric on the floor around them. His cock is hard and aching and straining against the thin material of his boxer-briefs, mind running frantic-fast over all of the things they can do together now that his body is strong and hard, not weak and tired and dizzy and breakable. Kurt doesn’t have to toy with him anymore; doesn’t have to hold back and restrain and tamp down and treat him like a china doll because now he can take it. Can take what is given and give right back, and when Blaine thinks about picking Kurt up like he did in the alley – sliding him up against the living room wall and fucking him against it like Kurt did for him on his first night here – he practically whines in anticipation.  

But when he looks up, grinning eagerly and thumbs already hooked into the material of his underwear to push them down over his hips, Blaine is surprised to see that Kurt is still almost fully clothed. Although he is longer wearing the heavy winter coat, the long lines of Kurt’s body are still hidden away by form-fitting black slacks, and his collared shirt only partially undone. There is a pink tinge rising in Kurt’s pale cheeks as he stares down at the floor, and he almost looks uncomfortable as he lingers over the buttons.

“Hey,” says Blaine quietly, the heat of arousal dying down immediately at the sight of Kurt looking so uneasy in front of him. He gently reaches up to cradle the back of Kurt’s head, tilting their foreheads together. “Hey, what’s wrong?”

“Nothing,” says Kurt quickly, sounding high and strangled, shaking his head and biting down on his lower lip. “Nothing, it’s just...” Kurt glances down at his own body, squirming almost imperceptibly except for the fact that Blaine can feel so much more now than he did before. There is a perfect, tantalizing triangle of pale chest exposed by the half-undone buttons, and the slightest hint of a tightened rosy nipple exposed to the air. Kurt blinks, licking his lips and leaning into Blaine’s touch. “It’s just... it’s different, now. You seeing me. I’m not... I’ve never been like this before, not with them, not since... but...”

Worry and apprehension twist in Blaine’s stomach like fighting snakes. It hurts to see Kurt like this. Hurts to see him unsure and worried; it’s the worst sight in the world, because Kurt is strong and Kurt is sure and Kurt doesn’t hesitate, and all Blaine wants is to fix this. To wipe that nervous expression on Kurt’s face away; to make him feel better.

At the same time, though, a guilty warmth is growing in the base of Blaine’s stomach. Because it’s so very, very new that Kurt is letting him see this. Lets Blaine see him out of control, and worried, and scared. His mind flashes to Kurt’s face when he woke up on the bed, streaked with tears and frantic and begging for Blaine to be okay, and a ripple of something intimate and close and protective shivers through him.

In front of him, Kurt raises his eyes. He sighs, letting out a sardonic little laugh that sounds more than a little forced. “I... want you to like me. Like the way I look, and what we do together, and how we are together. And... and I’ve never been worried about that before. Not even when you were human, you know?  Even though it was you and you’re everything, not even then because I knew I could make you want me, Blaine, I knew it.” He hesitates. “But now... now we’re the same. You’re full and real and you, and I just...” He swallows, closing his eyes and reaching up to wrap his arms around Blaine’s neck. “I want you to like what you see.”

“Kurt,” says Blaine quietly, overwhelmed surprise and sweetness resonating in his chest. .

Blaine can see that Kurt is blinking away the wetness gathering at his eyes, and it strikes him that even in the months and months of being followed and hunted and kept, he never really saw Kurt the way that he sees him now. Never saw the vulnerable parts, or the funny parts, or the parts that are so sweetly romantic that it makes Blaine want to sigh and never stop kissing him. Through all they’ve shared together, Blaine never saw how strong Kurt was to keep Blaine alive when killing him would have been so, so much easier.

But he can finally see clearly now.

“Kurt,” Blaine murmurs, wrapping his arms around Kurt’s waist and barely holding himself back from burying his face in Kurt’s neck and never, never leaving. His voice catches when he speaks again, and he doesn’t even bother to hide it. He takes a deep breath, feeling Kurt’s newly-warm skin against his own. “Kurt... I more than like what I see. So much more than that.”

He can feel Kurt’s arms tightening around his shoulders, hard enough that it would have probably come close to breaking his neck if he was still weak like before. Instead, it just feels warm and safe and close and real.

“You do?” comes Kurt’s voice, so beautiful that Blaine’s heart aches.

“Of course I do,” says Blaine, and almost before he can get the words out Kurt is pressing their mouths together. Squeezing his arms around Blaine’s shoulders and kissing him as though he’s trying to consume the words, imbibe them and make them a part of him and keep them inside forever.

It’s all amplified, somehow. Every nerve buzzing and heightened and something so, so perfect shared between them like a promise. Kurt kisses him like it means something, like it means everything; slow and nearly chaste and the whole world narrowed down to this moment. Blaine holds him close, surrendering himself to this even as Kurt surrenders too, and wonders why he ever tried to run away when he could have had this all along.

When they separate, Kurt’s eyes are closed and his breath catches as he tilts their foreheads together again. He hesitates, and then –

“I love you. Love you, Blaine. Love you so much.”

Hearing that word – that perfect, perfect word that has been so pointedly and meticulously absent all this time, silent and muted through all the talk of caring about you and need you and mine – is like a revelation. It hits Blaine right in the chest, making his heart catch in his throat and his eyes sting as he hears and treasures and savours that amazing word.

He knows beyond a doubt that Kurt cared about him, before. Wanted to turn him, to make Blaine into something powerful and real and right like he was. Kurt knew he was special and pined after the idea of what Blaine had the potential to become. But even through all of that, Kurt didn’t love him. Couldn’t love him.

Inside, Blaine’s emotions are twisted about and different and strange. And since he woke, Blaine has been rolling them over and examining them in the back of his mind, trying to make sense of how very different everything feels. Some things feel amplified, others dialled down and softened so low he can barely remember what they used to feel like. But love...

Love is a word that Kurt held back and kept inside, cherished close and never spoke out loud – not even to lure or cajole him. It rings in his ears and hits him right in the chest, because Kurt loves him. Finally can love him, and it’s the single most glorious and shattering thing Blaine has ever experienced. More terrifying than dying, more exhilarating than his first feed.

As though seeing through fog, Blaine’s mouth softly falls open as all of the different feelings and facts click into place; as everything lines up and makes sense and he realizes that he loves Kurt back.

Blaine loves Kurt; loves him more than everything else put together, more than he has ever loved anything in the whole of his human existence. The rest of the world could burn and crumble and die screaming, and none of it would matter as long as he had Kurt with him.

“I love you, too,” says Blaine, fingers splaying out along the loose material of Kurt’s shirt on his back, and Kurt whimpers at the words. Blaine presses his lips against Kurt’s cheek, his jaw, his neck; savours the bone-deep rightness of Kurt’s smell, how it fills him up and makes him feel complete. “God, I love you, too.”

“Yes,” says Kurt, practically choking the word out, his nails digging into the skin of Blaine’s bare shoulders hard enough to draw blood. Blaine can feel it well up under the sharpness, can feel the hot wet trickle of it begin to slide down his back. It feels good. “Yes, yes, yes –”

Blaine cuts him off with a kiss, and Kurt’s lips are damp and warm and perfect against his. They’re both breathing hard by the time they pull away, Kurt’s eyes so blue and bright and wonderful; shining at him with incomprehensible emotion.

“You took care of me before,” Blaine murmurs against Kurt’s lips. “You’re so beautiful, Kurt. Let me show you how beautiful you are.”

“Okay,” says Kurt, looking at Blaine as though all of his dreams have come true at once. And when Blaine moves away and extends his hand for Kurt to take, Kurt smiles a genuine, perfect, real smile that makes his lips stretch wide and his eyes crinkle around the edges. “Okay.”

Slowly, Blaine leads them into the bedroom with sure steps and his hand nestled perfectly against Kurt’s palm. When they reach the doorway, it’s such a surprise to see the door partly-smashed in and hanging off one of its hinges that Blaine’s footsteps falter; he had almost entirely forgotten about the way he had struggled, before. It’s probably only been a few hours since Blaine had cried and pleaded as he was carried through this doorway, but instead it feels as though a thousand years have passed since then. Sure enough, once they turn into the room Blaine can see the pile of sheets discarded against the wall; crusted thick with dark brown bloodstains, shoved aside by Kurt as he waited for Blaine to wake up.

He grabs the clean duvet off the floor instead, throwing it over the bed and using it to cover the likely still-wet bloodstains on the mattress itself. They’ll deal with the mess later.

For now, they undress Kurt slowly and carefully. Shirt and socks and slacks and underwear all gently peeled away until there’s nothing but Kurt left; pale and forever-young and beautiful, staring back at Blaine with apprehensive anticipation and love in his eyes. He’s more beautiful than Blaine has ever been able to see, every tiny detail of his body standing out to Blaine’s sharp eyes like they never did before; the smoothness of his skin, the incredible strength hiding in his arms. Kurt’s cock is as beautiful as the rest of him, long and smooth and rosy-hard, the pubic hair trimmed meticulously neat. The sight makes Blaine’s mouth water, and when Kurt slides Blaine’s own underwear off of his hips the two of them a finally completely naked.  

Gently, Blaine guides Kurt so that he’s lying on his back on top of the duvet. Kurt allows himself be led, staring at Blaine with an expression that makes Blaine’s heart sing. When he’s finally lying down Blaine crawls between his legs, his own cock growing hard again as he stares at Kurt, sprawled out in front of him and quietly gorgeous. The smell of his own dried blood in the air only helps; human and old but alive when he bled, the heavy smell of it wrapped around the two of them like an embrace.

“So beautiful,” says Blaine softly, leaning down to ghost his lips over Kurt’s chest. Kurt sucks in a breath, his hand coming up to tangle in Blaine’s loose curls. My hair must look like a complete disaster, Blaine thinks briefly, absurdly, before he slides his tongue over one of Kurt’s nipples and any thought other than Kurt flies out of his head all at once. Kurt gasps, arching up into his touch as his hand clenches and spasms in Blaine’s hair, and Blaine can’t help himself from smiling as he sucks and worries the skin gently in his mouth. Kurt is sensitive, he realizes, the pleasant surprise tingling in his fingertips; there’s so much he hasn’t discovered about Kurt’s body. So much to learn about what he likes and what he doesn’t like despite all the times they’ve been together, and all he wants to do is know Kurt as well as Kurt knows him.

He slides his mouth down along Kurt’s ribcage, his concave stomach, the sharp jut of his hipbones; kissing and teasing sweetly with his tongue, inhaling deep as he gets closer and closer to Kurt’s cock. And god, the smell of him is so unbelievably erotic; blood pooled beneath the skin, pulsing and straining just for him, and the incredible smell of want rolling off of Kurt’s body in waves. Blaine makes himself hold back and wait; he mouths against the crease of Kurt’s thigh, the soft rippled skin of his balls that tightens as he breathes and kisses around them, the base of Kurt’s cock. Blaine focuses on filtering out the rest of the noise and input from the room and focusing on this. On breathing everything in and learning Kurt; heightened senses noting every gasp, every time Kurt tenses up, every shift of his heart rate.

It’s beyond intimate, beyond close; as though he’s reaching into Kurt’s body and feeling how he feels.

After a few minutes, though, Kurt is already panting and writhing underneath him. Hands twisted up in the loose duvet, Kurt lets out a needy whimper.

“Please,” Kurt moans, visibly restraining himself from grabbing the back of Blaine’s head and forcing him down. His eyes are liquid and desperate, and his whole body is begging for more god Blaine please need it want it please please please please please. Kurt’s hips twitch upwards as he stares wantonly up at him, and Blaine suddenly feels a hundred times more powerful than when he had bitten into that girl’s neck. “Blaine, please, I –”

The rest of the sentence is cut off, however, when Blaine opens his mouth wide and takes Kurt’s cock into his mouth as deep as he can go; wrapping his lips around the hot (gloriously hot, perfect, so perfect) skin and sucking wetly, his eyes rolling back in his head at the feel of it. The weight of Kurt’s cock filling up his mouth, the feel of the blood swollen and hot beneath the skin; the perfect curve of Kurt’s cock edging down into his throat.

“Oh, fuck,” Kurt gasps, both of his hands flying up to cover his face as Blaine slides his mouth around his cock. His voice is high and shaky. “Fuck, Blaine. God, you’re so good. You’re so good, even better like this, god.”

It’s been a long time since Blaine has done this properly. He has only ever made Kurt come with his mouth once during his stay here, and that had been during a blurred moment of confusion between sleeping and waking. Where the world had spun and seemed dream-like and strange, and afterward he had felt so ashamed and humiliated that he had almost been physically ill. Kurt had whispered sweet words and stroked his curls, and Blaine had tasted the salty tang in his mouth and wanted nothing more than to disappear.  

This, though. This is so, so much different than that had ever been. Every single bit of the power is Blaine’s, here; the power to give pleasure and the power to hold back. The power to leave Kurt gasping and begging for more.

Blaine doesn’t want to tease, though; he wants to make Kurt feel good, instead. He tightens his lips around Kurt’s cock and slides his mouth up and down in smooth quick movements, holding Kurt’s hips down with his hands when it becomes apparent that Kurt can’t hold himself back from thrusting back. Takes Kurt down so hard and deep he almost chokes before sliding back up and swirling his tongue around the head in turns, sucking and mouthing until Kurt it practically keening. Kurt’s hands are still pressed over his own face, shaking and twisted up and obscuring his features.

“Let me see you,” murmurs Blaine, pulling his mouth away from Kurt’s cock long enough to speak. “Come on, sweetheart. You’re so gorgeous, Kurt, so beautiful when I do this to you – so beautiful always.” Kurt chokes out a little moan in response, but doesn’t move his hands away – as though he can’t, as though he doesn’t have enough control over himself to do anything right now.

Blaine,” Kurt chokes, the sound finding its way muffled through his fingers. He sounds absolutely wrecked, his beautifully high voice all torn up and ragged. “Blaine.” His heart is thumping so fast in his chest, his body tightening up and straining.

“I can feel you,” says Blaine, leaning in to give the head a long suck, pulling his mouth away with a wet pop. Kurt whines. “Can smell how good you feel, everything, god, you’re so beautiful. You’re perfect, so perfect.” He wraps his lips around the tip again and sucks, lazy and slow, not wanting to do too much because Kurt is so close and Blaine desperately needs to see him when he comes. “Move your hands away, please, baby, I wanna see you. Wanna see what I do to you.”

With a strangled groan, Kurt finally wrenches his hands away from his face – and the sight of him is almost enough to make Blaine right then and there. His face is flushed and sweaty, eyes shining from underneath thick eyelashes. He looks so desperate, as though his whole world is falling to pieces and only Blaine can keep him together.

Kurt’s hands scrabble through the duvet for something to hold on to, and Blaine cannot hold back anymore. He takes Kurt’s cock back into his mouth in a single quick movement, grabbing one of Kurt’s hands from where it’s tangled in the duvet and shoving it onto the back of his own head, desperately needing Kurt to force his head down. Kurt’s cock is hot and perfect in his mouth, so far down his throat that he’s almost choking but Blaine doesn’t care, sucking and swallowing around the pressure of it as though it’s a lifeline as spit runs down his chin and Kurt’s hand clenches hard at the curls at the back of his head.

Close now, so close. Kurt’s whole body tensing and tightening like a bow string, coiled up and ready to release. Blaine manages to look up through eyelashes, wet and clumped from where his eyes have watered, and just manages to see. To catch the moment where Kurt’s mouth falls open and his head tips back, to take in how perfectly undone he looks. An expression of ecstasy passes over Kurt’s beautiful, beautiful face as his hips stutter and still, and Blaine can feel the cock in his mouth twitch and pulse as Kurt comes with a breathy, wordless gasp.

The hand in Blaine’s hair clenches spasmodically as the salty, musky taste spills over Blaine’s tongue. Beneath him, Kurt is shuddering hard; panting as though he’s run a mile as Blaine swallows down messily around his cock.

And Blaine is close, now; so close that he could just reach down and take himself in hand and come in a matter of seconds, he knows it. He lets Kurt’s wet, softening cock fall out of his mouth, pulling back and reaching down between his legs to do just that – when a vice-like grip snag’s around Blaine’s wrist and stops him.

“Wait,” says Kurt breathlessly, reaching over clumsily at the bedside table. When his hand comes back closed around the bottle of lube, a rush of searing heat spreads through Blaine’s body like wildfire.

“Are you sure?” Blaine asks, voice low and thick.

“Want it,” says Kurt stubbornly, squirting a large amount of lube onto Blaine’s fingers and guiding them to his entrance. “Want you to make me feel it. Make me feel it, Blaine.”

The order makes something even hotter jolt up through Blaine’s spin, and he groans as his fingers press against Kurt’s tight entrance. “I won’t last long,” Blaine warns him, pushing a finger right in without any warning. He takes the finger beautifully, the digit sliding in easily without much resistance until Kurt groans and clenches around it.

“That’s fine,” Kurt gasps, mouth hanging open as Blaine’s finger twists and strokes inside of him. He must be oversensitive after coming so recently, but Kurt just grits his teeth and moans as Blaine stretches him out and preps him quickly. Blaine’s cock is achingly hard, jutting out from his body with precome gathered at the tip. It feels as though the slightest touch might send him over the edge.

“I don’t need too much,” says Kurt breathily, and Blaine presses another finger inside.

True to his word, Kurt doesn’t need very much before he’s stretched and ready enough and urging Blaine to give him more. Shaking and fumbling and still so close so close, Blaine slides his fingers out with a wet noise, squeezes more lube over his cock, and hooks Kurt’s legs over his shoulders.

“Come on,” says Kurt, pressing his ass against the hard slickness of Blaine’s cock rubbing against his cheeks, against his hole. Blaine reaches down to line himself up, hands shaking and his body wound tight like a coiled up spring. His cock is hard and desperate to be buried in Kurt’s ass, but everything is slippery and tight and his hands are shaking. “Come on, Blaine, make me feel it. Come on –”

The words turn into a strangled groan and Kurt’s head falls back against the pillows as Blaine’s cock finally lines up and pushes inside, sliding right home in a single hard thrust that makes Blaine see stars. It’s perfect and hot and not quite slick enough around him all at once, squeezing his cock so tight that Blaine lets out a choked shout and has to bury his face in Kurt’s neck order to stop himself from coming right then and there. It’s good, so good, too good; so much at once but Kurt can take it, Blaine doesn’t need to hold back. It takes him a moment to notice the sharp pain along his back from where Kurt’s nails are once again biting into his skin, drawing blood.

“Yes,” Kurt moans, as blood slip-slides down Blaine’s back and pressure and heat roil in Blaine’s stomach like the ocean. His skin is prickly and over-sensitive, so close so close so close already, and it feels as though every tiny movement Kurt makes is almost enough to make him come. Blaine takes a steadying breath, letting it out against Kurt’s neck; Kurt grinds against him, clenching around his cock viciously and making Blaine groan.  “Fuck me, Blaine, yes.”

Taking  a steadying breath, Blaine tightens up – and does.  Pulling out and then snapping his hips forward with enough force to rock Kurt’s whole body back when his cock slams inside, the tight grip of Kurt’s ass squeezing around him as Blaine gives in and fucks Kurt hard into the bed. So tight, not enough prep, and Kurt’s jaw clenches even as he urges Blaine on. Kurt lets out a contented, blissful sigh and lets his head fall back against the pillows, each thrust jolting his body and making his nails bite into the muscle of Blaine’s back.

It’s hot, so hot watching him enjoy this, but Blaine can barely see. Every thrust makes explosions of white spots swim in front of his eyes, an unstoppable crescendo of feverish pleasure rising higher and higher. He holds back as long as he can, until his fingers and toes are tingling and Kurt’s nails are cutting into his back and heat is shooting up and down his spine, but even then it barely takes any time at all. Blaine was already close from getting Kurt off, and the taste of Kurt’s come is still strong in his mouth as he slams in ruthless-hard, over and over. Too much all at once and everything is building up, pleasure bursting behind Blaine’s eyelids as the tension uncoils and unfurls. He can feel his orgasm rushing up, catching him off guard and blindsiding him with how fast, how good, how sudden it is. Frantically, Blaine grabs Kurt’s hips and pounds into him as he comes – make him feel it, he wants me to make him feel it – mouth open and groaning and loving as over-hot pleasure roars in his ears.

They stay like that for long moments frozen in time, Blaine with his eyes squeezed shut and breathing so hard that it’s all he can hear and gripping at Kurt’s hips as the aftershocks shudder through him. After a while, though, he feels a hand gently pry away at his fingers from where they’re clenched tight on Kurt’s hips. The hand guides him and he moves where it leads, disentangling them from one another. Kurt guides his shaking body until Blaine is lying down, trembling, on his back. Kurt curls up at his side, resting his head against Blaine’s sweaty chest.

“Hey,” says Kurt softly, nuzzling his face against his chest and letting out an overwhelmed little breathof air against Blaine’s prickling skin.

“Hey,” Blaine agrees, letting out a little laugh and reaching up to push sweat-slicked curls out of his eyes. His eyes are drooping fast; it’s been a long, long day. A long life, and he’s ready for rest. But he squeezes Kurt tight; wants Kurt to be the last thing he’s aware of before he goes to sleep.

“I’ve wanted that for a while now,” Kurt admits – almost shyly – and Blaine lets out a shaky laugh and pulls him even closer. He can hear the smile in Kurt’s voice, and it makes his whole body grin and float and soar as the buzz of it slows down into a lovely thrum.

They stay like that for a long time, sticky and slick and messy, curled up around one another as the slow. Tempting pull of sleep tugs at Blaine’s eyes. After a few minutes he feels Kurt stand and go into the bathroom, hears the sound of running water. There is the almost imperceptible sound of Kurt’s soft footsteps padding over the floor, followed by the warm touch of a wet washcloth to clean him up between his legs. Blaine sighs happily when Kurt nudges him over to perfunctorily clean the bloody cuts on his back from Kurt’s nails. Everything is relaxed and smooth, no sharp edges anymore. Just a warm, dull prickling sensation as Blaine lingers on the cusp of sleep.

“... you don’t have to stay, you know,” comes Kurt’s voice, almost as though through the haze of a dream. Blaine snuffles and blinks his eyes blearily open, the strangeness of the words pulling him back awake for a few more moments.

Kurt is sitting on the edge of the bed, washcloth in hand. He’s wrapped himself in his blue dressing gown; it almost seems to dwarf him with the excess of fabric after seeing him naked for so long, and Blaine smiles happily at the sight. Kurt looks contemplative; quiet and internalized, his angelic face calm and at peace as he looks down at Blaine already dozing on the bed. He runs a hand along Blaine’s face.

“I would never make you stay,” Kurt admits softly, an unreadable expression on his face. “You could always leave. Go anywhere, do anything... find someone else. You... you could leave.”

If he had the energy for it, Blaine would roll his eyes. Instead, he presses his face into the pillow and closes his eyes again, patting the bed next to him to encourage Kurt to come and lie down already.

“I won’t, though,” says Blaine drowsily, yawning and waving his hand in the air vaguely. “Don’t be silly,” he says, because Kurt really needs to stop being ridiculous and get into bed with him.

Before he drifts off, Blaine hears the soft sound of Kurt’s laughter ring in the air – but by then, he’s practically asleep again. He feels Kurt slide into bed next to him, feels the press of his body against Blaine’s back before the sweet tug of exhaustion pulls him under. He slips away with Kurt’s arms wrapped around him in an embrace.

There is no blood and pain and heat waiting for Blaine once he closes his eyes – and even if there were, those could only be pleasant dreams now.

For the first time in so, so many months, Blaine falls into the warm peace of a dreamless, empty sleep.  

 

--

 

“Come on, where are we going?” Blaine asks again, practically bouncing on the balls of his feet. Kurt laughs and rolls his eyes.

“I told you, it’s a surprise,” says Kurt teasingly, sending a little devious grin in Blaine’s direction and giving him a squeeze where their arms are linked together. “It’s not very surprising if I tell you, is it?”

Kurt,” Blaine groans piteously, throwing back his head. Kurt lets out a high chime of laughter as the two of them walk down the still-bustling street; bright with street lights and flashing signs and lit windows even through the dark of the starless sky. The city that never sleeps is still alive and wild at this hour, and all around them are images of nightlife that sear into the inside of Blaine’s eyelids like perfect pictures: girls in short skirts and sparkly tops wearing tights and coats to keep out the cold on the way to the clubs, young men who smell of spray-on deodorant and the need to impress, bright yellow cabs clogging the road thick with traffic. The snow is idle and easy as it drifts down around them; light and bright and beautiful, and even though Blaine can technically tell that it’s cold everything feels soft and comfortable against his skin.

Beside him, Kurt’s posture is as straight and refined as a classical dancer; head held high and eyes bright with intelligence and awareness as he guides them down a seemingly impossible-to-determine series of streets en route to their mystery location. Even for a casual walk, Kurt’s whole body is held taut in that perfect, beautiful grace that Blaine had always previously suspected must be inhuman. It had to be part of Kurt’s nature, Blaine had always told himself: no one could possibly be so incredibly poised all the time naturally.  

Apparently it isn’t supernatural, though. Because the two of them might be the same now, but Kurt is calm and composed where Blaine is practically vibrating out of his skin with excitement in a decidedly not-elegant way.

A thought occurs to him, sudden and bright and riveting, and Blaine grabs hold of Kurt’s arm in abrupt excitement. “Is it a snack?” asks Blaine eagerly, looking right into Kurt’s eyes and trying to discern something. Kurt’s poker face is good though, damn it, and it’s nearly impossible to figure out what could be hiding in his really, Blaine? expression. “Oh my god, Kurt. Do you have someone all strung up for us somewhere so that we don’t make a mess in the house?” There’s a tiny pause, and Blaine feels his eyes grow wide. “Do you? Oh my god, is it a boy? Is he pretty? I want to know, Kurt, tell me.”

“Oh my god,” Kurt huffs disparagingly, looking at Blaine in disbelief. “Are you actually hungry again already? You just fed yesterday, Blaine, I swear.”

Blonde hair and fingerless gloves, the flyaway hat and the night he was turned and the lovely, lovely blood still warm in his belly and making him full. Blaine hums happily, leaning in to rest his head on Kurt’s shoulder as they walk.

“I’m not hungry,” Blaine reassures him, nuzzling into Kurt’s shoulder. “Just curious. Your evil secrets are evil and killing me with their atrocious suspense, Kurt. I hope you’re happy.”

“You’ll like it, I promise,” says Kurt quietly, giving Blaine’s arm another squeeze as they walk.

Kurt always keeps his promises, thinks Blaine happily, falling silent for a stretch as they weave together through the people on the road.

It’s the first time they’ve gone out since Blaine was turned last night. A celebration, Kurt is calling it, although Blaine genuinely has no clue where the two of them might be heading. It’s strange, beacuase Kurt had always struck him as something of a homebody during his months in Kurt’s apartment. Kurt had always seemed perfectly content to stay inside with Blaine, watching movies and reading books and sewing and fucking and cooking food he didn’t eat. He had never seemed to miss going out, or talked wistfully of clubs or parties or dances. It makes Blaine even more burstingly excited to see what Kurt has in store; to see what his idea of a celebration constitutes.

Regardless, Blaine is all dressed up and ready for the occasion; the gel in his hair is fresh and newly-bought, and it had felt good to finally have it out of his eyes again. To finally have himself under control in such a visual way. Every day, every hour, Blaine feels more and more like himself; like the person he was always meant to be.

All of the people around them smell good – although some smell better than others – but Blaine had been telling the truth in that he really isn’t feeling particularly hungry at the moment. Without the pain twisting hunger hunger hunger dragging at his insides, too, Blaine finds that he’s able to think beyond the need to feed alone. As they walk down the road, Blaine realizes that he can look around at the men and women passing them in the streets and see more than just the blood beneath their veins. Not much, granted, but the barest bit more. They aren’t just walking meals like they seemed to him last night: tonight, they seem to be something in between animals and children and – god, maybe slaves, it’s hard to say. They’re not real, still, in any case. None of them are real. There’s no proper word in the language he used to speak to describe what the beings around them are, now. Nothing that truly fits the way his mind wants it to.

He wonders how long it will be before he wants to feed again. It doesn’t matter too much, though, because Kurt knows what he’s doing. Kurt will make sure that he’s full and happy, Blaine knows it. Trusts him with his everything.

It isn’t cold enough for the snow to stick on the pavement, but the night smells cool and crisp and fresh nonetheless. They’ve been walking for a while now, having driven Kurt’s car to a parkade a few blocks away, and Blaine is just about to give pestering Kurt one more try when the two of them round a corner, walk a few paces – and Kurt shoots him a smile brimming with constrained excitement before gesturing to one of the buildings.

It’s set into the bottom two floors of what at first appears to be an ordinary commercial building. The sign above the door is understated and stylish despite the content of the name; cream font on black background quietly hailing people off the street. There is a man standing outside, all bundled up for winter in about three more layers than either of them are wearing; big and burly, a snug hat pulled over his bald head. There is music coming from inside, drifting out the door and onto the street.

It takes Blaine a few seconds to fully process the words on the sign – to understand what Kurt’s surprise for the night is – but when he does, his mouth falls open. He stares in stunned disbelief for long seconds, unable to think of a single thing to say. All at once, his throat feels thick.

“You said that you used to do stuff like this all the time,” says Kurt, sounding a little bit nervous at Blaine’s lack of response. He shifts against Blaine’s side, giving a small shrug as if this isn’t one of the most special things anyone has ever done for Blaine in his whole life. “And... you said that you loved it. That you missed it.” Kurt’s voice lowers to a soft murmur, and he gives Blaine’s arm a squeeze.

“You remembered,” says Blaine dumbly, still staring at the Karaoke Bar with disbelieving eyes. There are fissures of excitement growing and bubbling up in his stomach. He feels so incredibly touched, staring up at the sign: it’s a high-class place, that much is clear from the exterior. Perfectly Kurt, as much as singing for fun in public can be classified as a Kurt-like trait. Images of perfectly-synchronized bodies in blue and red blazers dancing on stage under bright lights hits him like a punch to the gut. There are more recent memories, too: of him and his keyboard tucked into the corner of quaint little coffee shops, trying to find something his in a world of midterms and finals and essays and revision until he stopped trying to make time anymore. “I told you so long ago, but you remembered.”

“Of course I did,” says Kurt, delicate eyebrows furrowing together. As though it’s obvious.

“Kurt,” says Blaine softly, gathering himself and turning to face him. “Kurt, this is... this is the most...”

He can’t finish, but Kurt seems to understand anyways.  

“Come on,” says Kurt, business-like and encouraging all at once as he reaches down to take Blaine’s hand in his. “I want to hear you sing.”

 

--

 

It’s the most brilliant, shining, victorious night of Blaine’s life.

They get their own booth because it’s a Tuesday night and thus not ridiculously busy, the two of them tucked into a warmly-lit corner seat. Everything is sleek and dark; faux-black leather upholstery and shining dark tile on the ground, brightly back-lit shelves lined with bottles of expensive alcohol and everything steeped in dim light that makes it all feel close and personal. There’s a small stage at the front of the room, topped with a standing microphone and lit by two small spotlights. When they walk inside there is a dark-skinned woman singing along fairly well to a classic rock song in a low voice, and when she finishes the song the people at the decently-populated tables all applaud as she smiles with bright white teeth.

At Kurt’s urging they order their first round of drinks right away, leafing through the songbook to find something for both of them. Blaine is unsure, at first, whether he’s going to like alcohol anymore. The thought of drinking doesn’t seem immediately unpleasant in the same way that food does, it’s true, but neither does it seem like an exactly tempting prospect. He doesn’t even know if alcohol will have any effect on him; there’s so much to learn and discover, so much he doesn’t know. Kurt reassures him, though, before quickly heading up to put their names down and pay the fee.

Their waitress comes back a few minutes later with two very stiff drinks, and Blaine eyes his uneasily until Kurt comes back and wheedles him into giving it a try. The whisky on the rocks tastes wrong at first; different flavours and altered tastebuds, more anemic on his tongue than he’s used to. It makes him wrinkle his nose in surprise, which makes Kurt laugh, which makes Blaine keep going in order to make him laugh again. After the first few sips, Blaine manages to get over how different the taste is from what he remembers. He settles into the flavour of it, relaxing into the difference with a pleased little smile that makes Kurt grin beside him.

There’s must be a lull in the number of people wanting to go on stage, because it takes less than fifteen minutes before it’s Blaine’s turn to go up. Too quick and not enough time to prepare, catching him off guard when his number is called. He freezes, takes a deep breath and smiles at the reassuring look Kurt sends his way, and stands.

As Blaine walks to the front of the room, climbing the few steps to reach the sleekly elevated stage, it feels as though his feet are floating above the ground with every footstep. Unreal exhilaration is thrumming, building up in the tips of his fingers. When he reaches the top of the stage and takes the microphone out of its stand to hold it in hand – he’s always preferred the mobility of being able to move freely around a stage if he wants to – he raises his eyes and looks at the room full of people in front of him.

The room is dotted with empty little parcels of bones and blood and sinew wrapped up in skin, talking quietly and eating and drinking and laughing. Some of them are looking up at him and waiting for him to begin; others are more focused on the companions at their table. It’s hard to see some of the people through the glare of the spotlights, but at least the lights are at least fairly small and compact and not enough to reduce the whole room to stark whiteness.

In the end, the only one of them who matters at all is Kurt. Clearly visible through the light, sitting in the corner and smiling widely with his head tilted to one side; looking at Blaine as though there is nothing else in all the world.

Blaine grins. The music starts up around him, four bars of musical opening before the words kick in. One and he grins at the audience, tapping his foot in time with the beat. Two and he can feel Kurt’s smile, eager and waiting and shining at him through the light. Three and he expects a rush of nerves but there isn’t one; only confidence and eagerness and so, so much joy building up inside, bubbling and bursting and ready to escape. 

Four and he takes a deep breath, opens his mouth – and begins to perform.  

Blaine performs like he hasn’t had a chance to in years; all stage presence and fervour, facial expressions and soulful long notes and a chorus that sways and swoons. The song he had decided on is as current as he could manage given the way he’s been tucked away for the past few months. By a female artist, but one with a low enough vocal register that he can easily hit all the high notes without having to alter the key. It’s a song about life; about living it and loving it, and never letting anything mess it up. Blaine has fun with it, plays with the notes in a way that has the audience clapping and cat-calling part way through. He grins at the audience, spins in place and has a group of people singing along with the chorus his second time through.

It’s like coming to life, being up here. Sweet adrenaline and joy are pumping through his veins as he grins and basks in the light of it, in the way everyone responds to him. Soaks it up and shines like the sun he will never see again. Blaine laughs when he finishes the last long note, and considerable applause greets the end of the song. He lets out an exhilarated breath, feeling flushed and warm even though he knows he isn’t, places the microphone back in place, and practically bounces down the stairs back to Kurt in the far back booth.

“What did you think?” Blaine asks eagerly when he gets back, an impossible grin stretched across his face as he waits for Kurt’s reaction. Eager to hear that he made Kurt happy.

What Blaine is expecting are nice words, and a smile, and maybe a gentle squeeze on the arm. Something sweet, and kind, and enough. Instead, Kurt immediately slides out of the booth, gets to his feet, wraps his arms around Blaine’s shoulders – and captures Blaine’s lips in a breathless, heated kiss for everyone in the room to see.

Initially surprised – Kurt has never seemed like the type for overt displays of public affection before – Blaine quickly surrenders into the kiss, letting his eyes close as Kurt holds him close and pours everything into the kiss between them. They don’t have to hide, or hold back, or feel ashamed; no one is ever going to hurt Blaine the way those boys at his old high school did, or the way Kurt was hurt by the man who turned him. They’ll kill anyone who tries to hurt them or make them break away from another, Blaine decides, remembering the drunk man with his hands snapped back against his arms all those months ago with a soft smile against Kurt’s lips.

When Kurt finally pulls away he lets out a soft sigh and presses their foreheads together, eyes still closed and a genuinely blissful expression on his face.

“God, you take my breath away,” Kurt murmurs, the sound as loud as thunder in Blaine’s ears. It feels as though Blaine’s heart is melting, merging into something transcendent and airborne as Kurt holds him in his arms and worships him. Pride is bursting in Blaine’s chest; pride at being here, at being loved, at being so special to the person who matters most in all the world.

Kurt’s number is called only a few seconds later, and he leaves toward the stage with a squeeze to Blaine’s arm and a bright shine in his eyes. Feeling expanded and cared for and so, so full, Blaine slides back into the booth and watches Kurt prepare himself on stage. He looks extremely confident, but in a different way than Blaine remembers feeling himself: cool and nonchalant where Blaine was passion and excitement, and it makes him smile for this man he knows so well when all the world could never know him better.

The song Kurt chose is one that Blaine has never heard of before. The opening few bars begin to play, filling the whole room with a deep double bass line that reminds him of smoky bars and femme fatales. It’s an old song, Blaine thinks, although he doesn’t know for sure. He wants to know what Kurt sounds like, as he sings; not a few hummed bars here or there in their apartment, but a real song played for people in public. Blaine smiles eagerly, practically vibrating as he waits for the lyrics to kick in.

But when Kurt opens his mouth, everything narrows down and the room vanishes with the first few, incredible notes. And Blaine is shocked to realize that it isn’t the voice of a human being sliding along the air, holding the whole room in its beautiful grip. 

It’s the voice of an angel.

Stunned captivation snug around his mind like a snare, Blaine forgets how to think. Forgets how to breathe. He can only sit back in perfect disbelief as Kurt fills the room with notes too beautiful to fathom.

 

--

 

They talk and talk and drink shots of vodka that hit the back of Blaine’s throat like a Mack Truck, torrents of words and questions and ideas and plans pouring out of the both of them as though they had hardly been able to contain them before now.  They talk with hands and expressions and excited words, not bothering to keep their voices down: the sound of people singing along is loud enough that no one will pay them any attention, and nothing of what they say would make sense to anyone even if they were overheard. 

Blaine finally gets some answers to questions, and the easily willing way that Kurt responds to every one of them makes his heart feel full and warm in the dim of the room. Yes, the alcohol can have an affect one them: they just need to drink more than a human being in order to get the same impact. No, Kurt has never tried to turn anyone before him; has never travelled with anyone other than him not ever, Blaine, never. Blaine asks what being in Europe during World War Two was like and is rewarded with twenty minutes of gushing, a vivid picture of endless comely young men of many nations who were never looked for too hard if they went missing in the line of duty.

“I went to Eastern Europe briefly,” Kurt adds a few minutes into the torrent of words, wrinkling his nose in obvious distaste. “Poland, and a little bit of Ukraine. It was... not very nice there, then. I didn’t stay long.”

 The biggest surprise comes a little bit later, once there is a small pile of shot glasses strewn between them – more of them on Blaine’s side of the table, it’s true – and Blaine is finally starting to feel the warm buzz of alcohol inside.

“Is there anything else I should be worried about?” Blaine asks, wiping away tears of mirth from his eyes: they’re both only just able to calm themselves down from Kurt’s hilarious story about an SS Officer, a small village in France, and two tonnes of explosives. He presses right up against Kurt’s side, pressing his face to Kurt’s neck and breathing in deep where the smell of him is the strongest. “I mean, other than a stake through the heart. Anything that I should try to – hey, Kurt, what –?”

Next to him, Kurt’s body is shaking in what it takes Blaine a few seconds to realize is laughter.

“Blaine,” Kurt gasps, pressing a pale hand over his mouth and visibly trying to bring himself back into some kind of composure. The giggles keep escaping, though; Kurt’s whole body is wracked with them as he shakes his head back and forth. “Oh, god, Blaine.  I forgot about that.”

“What?” Blaine asks, blinking and feeling rather left out of a joke.

“You – oh my god, okay,” Kurt chokes, gathering himself together. He straightens up, his natural elegance straining to re-assert itself through the laughter. “So... back when you and that professor bitch were having your little meet-ups – which was completely adorable, by the way, like watching a puppy trying to fire a rifle – I was following you quite closely, as you know. And – well. Both of you became quite focused on those little stakes, and I thought –” He chuckles, a wicked look in his eye. “I thought, why not? You weren’t actually a threat, but... better safe than sorry.”

There is a beat.

Blinking, Blaine stares at him in open-mouthed shock. “You... all this time. All this time I thought, but – they don’t –?”

“A bit of wood through the heart?” asks Kurt disparagingly, sending Blaine a wry sideways look. “Really, Blaine? Who even came up with that? No, eternal creatures of the night are not ended by toothpicks, thank you very much.”

There is a pause. Before –

“Oh my god!” Blaine bursts out, howling with laughter so hard that it garners a nasty look from one of the waitresses, but he doesn’t care. He laughs, and laughs, and soon there are tears running down his face as his whole body shakes. He can’t help it; all that time, all that trust and hope built around little splinters of wood that Kurt knew didn’t do anything, and it’s just hilarious. Somehow, he feels both humiliated and sorry toward the person he used to be all at once. “That’s... oh my god, oh, that’s terrible.” He almost has himself back under control again, but then he meets Kurt’s eyes, his face all scrumpled up with laughter as well, and gets sent into fits of helpless giggles.

“I know,” Kurt wheezes next to him, clutching at his stomach. “I know, I know.”

 

--

 

The night seems to stretch on forever in its brilliance. They drink a truly ludicrous amount of shots between the two of them, tiny glasses scattered across the table in such great quantities that it’s hard for the waitress to keep up with them. Blaine pesters Kurt until he finally talks about the real way that one of their kind can be killed –  removing the head and burning the body, Blaine; I have no idea where all this nonsense about stakes came from, I swear – and the two of them wind up back on stage at least one time apiece before the bar starts emptying out and the waitress starts asking them if they want their bill. It’s a beautiful night, absolutely beautiful, and Blaine feels as though he could fly by the end of it.

When the two of them stumble out into the night, it quickly becomes clear that the truly inhuman amounts of alcohol Blaine consumed has finally caught up with him. Blaine’s feet feel liquid and unstable beneath him, and he has one arm slung over Kurt’s shoulder in order to keep himself standing. One of Kurt’s arms is tucked securely around his waist, holding him close and upright. They’re shuffling along the scarcely-populated street dotted with only a few men and women smoking outside of clubs and bars, and Blaine can’t stop smiling and laughing. Can’t stop telling Kurt what a wonderful time he had, because he did, it was wonderful, and he got to sing and he loves singing and he never used to be able to, and it’s the most romantic thing in the world which is nice because Blaine isn’t very good at being romantic. He’s tried, he’s not the best, but Kurt is good at it and that’s better.

And Blaine keeps expecting Kurt to agree with him wholeheartedly. But Kurt just keeps giving him this little gleeful sort-of-smile instead, and saying that’s nice Blaine, and maybe Blaine should tell him that he had a good night again. Maybe.

Now that Blaine thinks of it, Kurt didn’t have nearly as much to drink as he did. Not nearly. It’s unfair, really. Stupid, because he’s drunk and Kurt should be drunk too and that would obviously be more fun for everyone involved, and Kurt is being silly by not agreeing with him.

He’s just telling Kurt that everything would be even better than the best if Kurt was drunk too (in fact, it might be the second... or third?... time he’s told Kurt that. He’s not sure, it’s hard to remember) when Blaine trips over his feet and stumbles, and the sound of Kurt’s laughter makes a man a few paces away glance up at them. He’s clearly been hitting the bars as well; he smells of rum and bar nuts and a woman’s perfume under his collar, the smoky chemical burn of the lit cigarette in his mouth unable to conceal any of the other scents that tell the story of his evening like a book. The man smiles politely over his cigarette, pulling in smoke, and the two of them are about to continue on their way when something... changes.

Blaine smells the man’s emotions change and shift before he properly sees the shift register in the his rumpled, middle-aged face. From neutral recognition to hesitation to suspicion; then doubt to confusion to surprise. Every shift is as clear as a choreographed dance across Blaine’s mind; simple to understand and immediate, cutting right through the haze of the alcohol.

“Hey,” the man says suddenly, tossing the mostly-finished cigarette on the ground and crushing it under the toe of his boot as he takes a step forward. His eyebrows are drawn together in confusion, and he looks uncertainly between the two of them. When he speaks, there is a strong slurred lilt to his voice. “Hey, wait, I know you,” he says, gesturing at Blaine with almost accusation in his eyes.

Blaine quickly looks him up and down, feeling a bit lost – but all of his nerves are on edge nonetheless. “Sorry,” he says, because some habits die hard, “I don’t know you.”

“You’re that kid who was on the news a while back,” the man insists, seemingly shocked at his own recollection. “I remember because you lived so close to my neighbourhood, yeah? Shit, man, your parents are freaking out. Where the fuck have you –?”

Without even thinking about it – no thought or contemplation even crosses Blaine’s mind, it’s a lightning-quick response that barely even registers – Blaine takes a step forward, reaches out toward the man’s neck, and snaps it one handed.

It’s quick, and easy, and barely feels like anything under his hand. The man is dead before he hits the ground, crumpling onto the ground with his neck at the wrong angle and the wide-eyed expression still on his face, and for a few moments Blaine just stares at his body on the ground. There is a long, long pause – before laughter bubbles up inside Blaine’s chest, escaping out of his mouth in a nervous burst.

“... I don’t even know what to do know,” Blaine confesses, giggling slightly as he looks at the lump of limbs and torso on the ground. He tries to run a hand through his hair, finds it thickly-gelled, and rubs his eyes instead as he stares. “I don’t... do we hide it? What do we do next? We didn’t do that last time.”

“You never think before you act, do you,” says Kurt quietly, letting out a little sigh as he gives Blaine’s hand a squeeze. It’s a statement, not a question.

Miraculously, no one around them seems to have noticed that anything is wrong. There aren’t that many people, really; it’s late at night, and none of the bars have really started closing yet. The man hadn’t made any noise as he died, either; there had been no raised voices to draw stares and curiosity. There are two women across the street who seem too sloshed and engrossed in their conversation to notice them at all, and a man maybe five yards away with his mp3 player plugged in as he smokes. No one else to silence, or Kurt would insist on silencing them.

One person is nothing, he had told Blaine earlier tonight, leaning in over the table and holding up a single finger. A scared city is a mob, Blaine, and that’s how our kind dies. Hunters and mobs, the only two real things to fear.

“Come on,” says Kurt, his beautiful voice that had sounded so amazing up on stage all twisted up with some emotion. Slight anxiety, Blaine can smell; he’s still getting used to determining how Kurt is feeling, which seems different to him than the way ordinary people smell. Determination, yes. Efficiency. And... apprehension?

Kurt hoists the man up, pulling his arm over Kurt’s shoulder – so that it might look as though they’re just helping a drunk friend home, Blaine realizes. “We’ll take his wallet and valuables, make it look like a robbery. There’s a storm drain around the corner, I noticed when we walked here. We can dump him down there.”

“Okay,” says Blaine complacently, slinging the man’s other arm around his own shoulder so that the corpse is dangling in the middle of them, feet dragging on the ground. The alcohol has worn off a little bit, but not much. He still feels just fine – and besides, he’ll get to see some of the ways that Kurt disposes of his bodies. He had always been morbidly curious about that, when he was human. “Let’s go.”

They start down the street, the sound of the toes of the dead man’s shoes dragging on the ground loud and jagged on Blaine’s ears. They don’t speak until they get home. Not as Kurt pockets the man’s wallet and takes the watch from around his wrist; not as Kurt disfigures the man’s face and wrenches out his teeth one by one (depositing them into a plastic bag to take with them – to avoid dental recognition, Blaine realizes), and not as Blaine heaves and hefts up the storm drain for Kurt to dump the body down the hole while the street is clear.

There is a realization creeping up Blaine’s spine that he would voice if he wasn’t so sure that Kurt is feeling it, too. It’s in the looks they share over the dead man’s body, in the way Kurt holds him close as they walk back to get their car from the parkade. They don’t need to say it with words, but it’s there nonetheless.

New York is a big city, and Blaine can’t stay tucked up in their apartment forever. No matter how much stronger and faster and better they are than everyone else, it’s still two against eight million if it came down to a fight. It’s inconceivable that they’ll never run into someone that Blaine knew from before, especially since his disappearance was apparently something of a public fuss. It will be a good few years before everyone who has known Blaine in living memory is gone.

The two of them are a pair of dark smudges on the night; raised hairs on the back of the neck, only the alarm has already been sounded. 

And they can’t stay here forever.

Chapter Text

Epilogue

Once the lingering buzz of alcohol and adrenaline wares off, though, the true severity of their situation beings to sink in. It settles over the pair of them like grey clouds over shining sun, blotting out the blind joy and relief and passion of it all with the sombre realization that what they have here simply cannot last. Not like this, not for long. Not without danger and uncertainty and the chance – always, always the chance – that everything they have could be taken away from them in an instant.

The next morning when Blaine wakes up, Kurt is already awake next to him with a steeled look on his face. Once they’re both properly awake and washed, he leads Blaine out to sit together on the couch in their living room. As soon as Kurt begins to talk in earner, used-to-be secrets start spilling from his like water.

And Blaine sits, and listens, and learns what the rest of the world has been thinking.

It had only taken Blaine’s disappearance less than a week to turn into a high-profile case. Splashed across every television screen and newspaper in the city, the story had saturated the media in a single burst that lasted a few days and caught the attention of many. People go missing in New York City every day, it’s true; murders and shootings and runaways and kidnappings, a near-constant flow of people who slip through the city’s fingers.

But it’s not very often that those people are successful law students from well-off families with connections. It’s not very often that those people have time to send frightened letters naming indistinct fears and regret and pain. And it’s not very often that those people’s doors are scraped raw with nail marks on from outside.

Blaine’s disappearance never looked like a runaway. He never packed any bags or had any intention of taking his possessions with him, and the few things that Kurt had taken from his apartment must have been practically unnoticeable to anyone who wasn’t Blaine himself. His passport, wallet, laptop, and toiletries had all been left behind; some of them because he wasn’t going to need them anymore, others because Kurt had already purchased replacements and didn’t feel the need to bother. There had been no indications of a robbery or struggle, no smashed in door or broken windows to suggest forced entry. When Kurt had finally came inside Blaine’s apartment, after all, it had been with permission and a smile on his face. It must have been the most peculiar thing, Blaine realizes in dull shock. Unexplainable, and a tragedy, and with just enough unsettling undertones to make it interesting to the city at large.

After a few minutes of explanation Kurt turns on the television, clicks through his Saved Programs folder on the database, and selects a three minute-long clip with a datestamp that indicates it was recorded just a few days after Blaine gave himself up.  When the video comes to life, slightly grainy on the top-of-the-line screen, it is the image of a male and female reporter sitting at a desk mid-conversation about something. It takes a few seconds for it to click, but once it does Blaine sits and is stunned to hear the reporters listing the details of his own disappearance. Both of them have well-practiced looks of sympathy and sadness and professionalism on their faces.

“... when law student Blaine Anderson went missing. After not hearing from their son for a few days, the arrival of an intensely unsettling letter in the mail made parents Marita and William Anderson grow worried. Inquiries with the NYPD revealed...”

The newsclip is from a local station, and Kurt must have recorded it weeks ago – perhaps while a still-human Blaine slept only a few yards away in the other room. All Blaine can do is blink and stare as the female reporter’s words play over panned shots of everything that used to make up his old life: his apartment building, the exterior of the NYU Law Campus. A grainy image of the nailmarks on his doorframe.

It’s strange – surreal – to hear his struggle to stay alive summed up into a few quick sound bites, and even more profoundly jarring when a picture of his own face comes on-screen. It strikes Blaine that the boy on the screen, smiling with friendly hazel eyes beneath slicked hair starting to curl, doesn’t even look like him anymore. The photograph is fairly old, cropped so that it only displays his head and shoulder.  It was taken on his parents’ back deck, and the green of their lawn in the background is just barely in the shot behind his shoulder. He remembers it being taken at least two years ago when he had visited their house for a few weeks during summer break. The ghost of his old self caught in the photograph has its eyes narrowed against the sun beneath thick eyebrows, and a red bowtie is peeking out right at bottom of the frame.

It isn’t a real smile on his face in the picture they chose to broadcast, though. Blaine can tell, even if no one else can: his face is too tight, too uncertain. Too furrowed by the anxiety that staying with his parents for long periods of time always brought about, even in high school: it had been one of the reasons he loved the long school months spent at Dalton so much. How young he looks in the picture almost makes Blaine feel angry, although he can’t quite figure out why. 

The news story isn’t long, but it manages to fit a great deal of content into the few brief minutes of airtime. They show a few seconds of a video of his parents, the two of them seated at a dense wooden table with standing microphones in front of them, obviously making some kind of statement. There is no audio – the newscaster speaks over the clip – but the mere sight of his parents is enough to make something uncomfortably empty twist in the base of Blaine’s stomach. His mother looks smaller than Blaine remembers her from real life, somehow; shrunken and withered, her long thick hair hanging limply down her back. His father looks as though he’d aged five years in a few weeks, and both of their eyes are obviously puffy and sunken in.

Seeing his parents makes Blaine even more aware of the prominent, hollow nothing in his chest. It should hurt, he thinks, seeing the two people he used to care about more than anything in the world in such pain. The two people he gave everything up for, in the end.

It doesn’t, though. It doesn’t hurt at all.

It also doesn’t take long to figure out that the reason – the real reason – that Blaine’s disappearance has received so much attention is the letter, tear-stained and crumpled and the third scribbled draft, that he had sent to his parents on the night Kurt came to collect him. And that’s surprising, mostly because Blaine had almost completely forgotten about the writing and sending of that letter entirely.  If he can remember correctly, most of the content had been some variation on I love you and I’m scared and I’m so, so sorry, and Blaine is fairly sure that the couple of sentences that the broadcast chooses to highlight had been little more than a throwaway. Nonetheless, the newscaster reads them out twice over the course of the very short clip.

“I don’t want to leave you,” the woman’s voice reads aloud, the words precise and monotone for the camera. White letters scroll across the a solid blue screen as she speaks, making the words he had practically sobbed out onto the page seem clinical and simple now. “I don’t, you have to believe me. But I haven’t got a choice. I got into such trouble. So much trouble, and I couldn’t get out, and it’s all over now. There’s something coming for me and it won’t stop until I’m gone.”

When the head reporter abruptly switches tracks and begins talking about another story, the video clip cuts off abruptly. And the two of them stare at the empty screen for a few long seconds in total silence, letting the significance of what they just watched settle fully onto Blaine’s mind.

Kurt might be a whisper on the air, but there are hundreds – maybe thousands – of people who have the potential to recognize Blaine’s face on sight now. It won’t be safe for him to be out in public for years. And the idea of hiding in the apartment like a secret – like Kurt kept him when he was human – is enough to make Blaine feel vaguely sick.

They’re going to have to leave New York City, and they’re going to have to do it soon.

“Wow,” says Blaine, rubbing a hand over his eyes.

“Yeah,” says Kurt, biting down on his lower lip and sending Blaine a look over his shoulder.

All at once, Blaine feels very tired despite the long sleep that followed the night of raucousness at the Karaoke Bar. His entire life has been nothing but change for months, so much so fast, and even though he’s overjoyed at the way everything worked out... part of him has been really looking forward to having a few days to relax with Kurt. Settle in and settle down, to start figuring out their new life together.

It doesn’t look as though that’s going to be happening now, though. He lets out a little exhalation of breath, trying to put on a positive face.

 “I remember when the Empire State Building was being built,” comes Kurt’s quiet voice from next to him. Blaine turns to look and finds Kurt with a melancholy expression on his face, looking down at his hands. “We had a radio that could get British channels when I was growing up, and you used to hear all these stories about how great this new, shining city was. And I remember thinking about going there, one day. About escaping all the people I didn’t fit in with. My dad always said I wasn’t made for where we lived.” He smiles, closing his eyes and letting out a little sigh. “I used to daydream about coming here for years.”

There is a hollow, horrible feeling churning in the base of Blaine’s stomach as he watches the corner of Kurt’s mouth twist up in a tiny smile at the memory. All at once he feels incredibly ashamed for feeling sorry for himself for no good reason.

New York had never been Blaine’s dream. Not the way it turned out: no stage lights and music, no audience full of admiration and praise to make him feel like king of the world. New York had never been what Blaine wanted it to be.

But New York had been Kurt’s dream, once upon a time. And there is something incredibly, horrendously heartbreaking about being the one to force Kurt to leave the city of his dreams.

When Blaine opens his mouth to speak, however – to say it’s okay, you don’t have to go, you don’t have to come with me – Kurt’s eyes fly open, a truly tremendous unimpressed glare on his face with startling quickness.   

“Don’t even say it,” Kurt snaps warningly, and Blaine blinks in surprise. Kurt narrows his eyes. “Don’t you go all self-sacrificing on me, Blaine Anderson, don’t you dare.  I’ve used that hero complex of yours before, and I am not going to get screwed over by it now. I’m coming with you, we’re in this together, and there’s nothing you can say to convince me otherwise. If you try to – to sneak out in the middle of the night without me noticing because of some misguided sense of ‘doing the right this’ I will chase you halfway around the world to get back to you. You don’t get to decide what’s best for me, we get to decide, and we will leave together if we have to. Understand?”

The words are sharp, but Blaine’s heart softens anyways as he closes his mouth. He sits and looks at the beautiful man across from him for a few long seconds. Bossy and brave and blunt and loving, those so-blue eyes flashing with resolve. Pale and sharp and still unnaturally beautiful, and Blaine knows without having to be told that Kurt isn’t going to back down on this. 

He looks so young, thinks Blaine absently, before his brain catches the mistake in that thought. We look so young, he corrects himself, a smile tugging at his lips. And we always will. Together.  

“We can always come back,” Blaine says instead, and Kurt visibly sags as the tension seeps out of his frame. Grateful that Blaine isn’t going to fight him on this, and it’s a relief for Blaine too because intentionally leaving Kurt is just about the last thing he wants in the world. Without even a pause Kurt crawls over to him on the couch, wrapping his arms around Blaine’s torso and pushing him to lie back against the armrest. So that Kurt can press himself against Blaine’s chest and be held, silently demanding affection. Blaine gives it to him gladly, stroking a hand over the back of Kurt’s neck as Kurt cuddles up close, nodding almost imperceptibly at Blaine’s words.

“You’re right,” says Kurt quietly, his voice muffled and soft. “There’s no time limit. It isn’t the end.”

Blaine presses a kiss to the top of Kurt’s head, the two of them a tangle of limbs on the couch together. “We’ll be back some day,” Blaine agrees, holding Kurt close and letting out a long, shallow breath of air into the night.

 

--

 

It takes a little under two weeks before the two of them can leave the city behind them, however. Arrangements have to be made, and details figured out, and a life left behind them in slow motion.

Packing up the apartment takes less time than he had thought it would. Blaine had rather blithely assumed that Kurt would be quite fiercely attached to his possessions; that he would agonize over what to bring, spending great amounts of time sorting through everything packing it all with impeccable care. He’s surprised to find out just how wrong he is about that. Despite how beautiful and expensive and lush the apartment’s contents may be, Kurt seems to have no problem at all with abandoning, selling, or throwing out the majority of the furnishings. Aside from his clothes and design equipment, which are stored and folded with obvious love and care, Kurt surveys and discards most everything he owns with a critical, unimpassioned eye.

He is a man who has had to do this before, Blaine realizes, watching him empty a box of designer china into the garbage bin in the apartment basement without a second’s hesitation. There is nothing new to Kurt about abandoning his life and starting one afresh – and he seems to be painfully aware of the fact that things are nothing more than things, and they can be replaced or remade.

Instead, it is the other arrangements that take longer to figure out. Running to a different state isn’t good enough, they decide. Too many risks, and too close to home. An entirely new beginning is what they need – a fresh start in an entirely new place. Perhaps one where the nights are long and hot; where the heat of the sun seeps into sand and the whole place is brimming with unsuspecting people who have never even heard of vampires before. A vacation, at least, before they find a new home. A holiday of warm nights and warm bodies; a chance to relax after the stress and change of everything that has happened in such a short time.

The planning is a stressful process, and the two of them take solace in each other to tough it out as well as in the reckless gluttony of a feed whenever they get hungry. They try to be careful to cover their tracks as best they can, but the barely-constrained eagerness to finally be somewhere where they can just let loose is palpable beneath their skin, and sometimes it just can’t be held back.

“Do you know what’s funny?” asks Kurt softly, two nights before their planned departure date. They’re sprawled out and naked on an unfamiliar bed, loosely draped in stained white sheets that cling wetly to their limbs. A few hours earlier they went to a club together, and it hadn’t taken much more than subtle implications, Kurt’s sly smile, and Blaine persistently unbuttoning his shirt to convince a beautiful young Hispanic boy – no more than twenty-two, at the oldest – to take them back to his apartment for the night. The boy had died so prettily between them, and smears and splatters of his bright red blood had run down their chins and smeared as they kisses and soaked the bed right down to the mattress. They’re resting in the afterglow of the feed, now, lying and letting the heat of it settle in their stomachs. Enjoying the heady sensation of being full and satisfied, lolling in the sweet musk of fresh blood until they decide to put boy’s shower to good use and start cleaning up.

“What?” asks Blaine, feeling a sappy smile stretch across his lips. Somewhere on the ground the boy’s body is slowly cooling and draining out, but he only has eyes for Kurt. Kurt, whose hair is clumped with thickening blood; whose eyes are shining so brilliantly it almost hurts. He looks so completely gorgeous, in fact, that Blaine can’t hold himself back from grabbing the sides of his face and pulling him into a quick kiss.

“Mmm,” says Kurt lazily when they pull apart, grinning as he stretches his arms and re-positions himself on the bed. “Of all of this... well. You know there are things I wish I could have done differently.” He smiles. “I thought that the way I killed that professor bitch might have been one of them, actually. That they’d... mmm... find your fingerprints at the crime scene, or something, I don’t know. And it would turn into a big thing. But it was on the news the day after I caught you, and you know what? Someone wiped that whole damn store clean. No fingerprints at all, not a one. Isn’t that strange?”

Jack, Blaine realizes, the name tasting odd and almost forgotten in his memory. The only living person to know the full story of why Blaine disappeared; who hadn’t been there when Kurt ransacked the bookstore. He had almost forgotten the letter he sent to Amita’s husband, and thinking of it now is so strange he nearly says something out loud. What must have happened hits Blaine all at once, and he blinks himself properly awake. Beside him Kurt is as languid and blissed-out as a cat in the sunlight, nestled between two dark red stains in the sheets.

The realization that someone Blaine barely knew went out of his way to hide Blaine’s involvement absolutely baffles him for a long, long moment. An echo of a feeling twinges inside, but it quickly fades away into the background of his mind; he’s getting used to those, now. The tiniest little hints that prod and whisper at his mind, reminding him of things he might have thought or felt in another life. But it’s gone almost as soon as he feels it, and instead he just feels unsure of what to do with the new information.

For an instant, he considers delaying their flight and going out to find the man: tracking him down and killing him, snuffing out the last remaining chain binding this life and his old one. But after a few seconds of feverish fantasy, reality kicks in. Jack has had months to sell the store and get as far away as possible – far away from Kurt, far away from Blaine even if he didn’t know it – and there’s no telling where he might be by now. It could take months to find him, even years. And the process of tracking him down and killing him could arouse more suspicion than it would eliminate.

Every loose end that they could get rid of – Jack, Blaine’s parents, his peers at NYU – has the potential to leave behind a hundred more little hints and clues  and snares and traps for them to be caught in later. It isn’t worth it to go on a wild goose chase for an old man who will be dead and forgotten in a few years anyways. It would be better to just move on cleanly. To leave the city with all its foils behind them for a time, and come back when everything is settled again.

“Mmm,” Blaine agrees, letting out a little laugh when Kurt nuzzles in close to press a kiss against his nose. He’ll tell Kurt what must have happened with the fingerprints in the bookshop later, he decides. After the shower’s hot water pounds away the encrusted blood from their bodies and sends pink water spiralling down the drain, just a little bit more muck and mess for the city to wash away before they leave.

 

--

 

In the end, it all comes down to how hopeful Blaine’s parents are that their son might still come back.

Even with Kurt standing supportively at his side, Blaine approaches the door warily. For a moment, he eyes the long, jagged scratch marks running down the door and frame with amusement. Apparently the landlord either hasn’t bothered to have them replaced yet, or just hasn’t bothered to. Only in New York City could something so brutally unusual be ignored by tenants and landlords alike for so long; only here could something so extraordinary be discounted as something unremarkable. Blaine’s eyes linger over the marks for a long minute before he turns them back to the doorknob.

Neither of them are at all sure if this will work. It’s entirely possible that Mr. and Mrs. Anderson have cleared it all out, or stopped paying the rent, or found someone new to fill the space. There is only the tiniest chance that it’s been kept pristine after all this time in the blind, useless hope that their son will come back to them wanting to have the solace of his own home, and both Blaine and Kurt know that the chances are small. In the last few hours before they catch their plane, however,  it had still seemed worthwhile to try.

But when Blaine’s key turns easily in the lock and the door to what used to be his old apartment on the Upper East Side swings open at his touch, they know that it was worth the gamble.

It seems at once smaller and larger than Blaine remembers it being, distorted with memory and time and change. He doesn’t know exactly what he was expecting. A room untouched by time and space, perhaps, or maybe something utterly different from what his unreliable memories from before keep telling him.

It isn’t either of those things. From what Blaine can see and smell and feel and tell, there were people in here who went through everything – opening cupboards and drawers and rearranging furniture, probably looking for some hint or clue to help with his disappearance. The apartment is brimming with stale smells, some familiar and some not, but they spell out a map of what happened nonetheless. And Blaine can tell that someone else – someone with a familiar-not-familiar smell of expensive perfume and rose-scented hand cream and warm broth cooking over the stove – has gone through and put everything painstakingly back into place as best as possible. Every little error and incorrectly arranged piece of furniture stands out to Blaine’s eyes like a flare on a dark night. The couch is at a slightly different angle than he left it; the books in a different order on the shelves. His laptop is gone, and the paper and pens that he had used to write his last letters have been tucked away somewhere. The lighting looks slightly different to his new, better eyes as well, and there is a fine layer of dust over every surface.

But it’s still his old apartment. It still smells of him, underneath it all. It’s still the space he lived in for two whole years, and all the important details remain the same.

It has the same soft white walls, the same shiny hardwood floors, the same comfortable couch that he used to drift off to sleep on in the middle of studying, surrounded by heavy books and papers. It’s still slightly cramped and overly chilly in the middle of a New York winter. His radio is still perched on a shelf in the kitchen from when he used to want to fill the space with music to drown out the loneliness, although the kitchen itself seems to have been given a thorough cleaning since he’s been away.

Blaine remembers a dozen nights spent camped in silent vigil with his back against the front door, waiting with desperate hope that seems so ridiculous now. He remembers collapsing onto the kitchen floor when he called his parents for the last time, remembers finding the human heart in the box outside the door, remembers Kurt kissing him right in this room before knocking him unconscious and taking him away.

He remembers those things happening, clear and distinct and comprehensible in his mind. But it is as though  he is remembering something that happened to someone else entirely; as though those memories took place a hundred years ago instead of a few mere months. The apartment is the same, but he himself is so utterly altered and enhanced that it’s hard to reconcile the memories with the present.  

And Blaine is looking at the home of a person who doesn’t exist anymore.

It doesn’t take long to gather up the few things that Blaine had been hoping to take with them. Some warm weather clothes, a few songbooks and his mp3 player full of music, the pocket watch his father got him when he graduated high school because it’s timeless. A small bust of a head that he’s had for as long as he can remember, the sword he used to fence with in high school. A blue-and-red striped tie. They add some cufflinks that catch Kurt’s eye, and a couple of shirts that he decides fit Blaine too well to leave behind. But even then, it’s not even enough to fill up the suitcase they brought.

When everything is packed away, Blaine takes in a breath – and looks around the bedroom that is paradoxically both so familiar and unfamiliar at once. There is a ball of nervous, excited energy fissuring and growing inside his stomach, and when he turns and catches Kurt’s gaze the feeling only intensifies. 

Because right now, Kurt is just as beautiful as he was the night they met. Months ago, a lifetime ago. Just as beautiful but so much more known, cryptic mystery given way to caring and kindness and love that Blaine never, ever wants to be apart from. There is a small, sure smile curving at the edge of Kurt’s mouth, and Blaine can already feel his own face falling easily into an identical expression.

There’s nothing to worry about, anymore. Nothing holding him back, or expecting something Blaine can’t deliver. There is only Kurt, just as there will only ever be Kurt. Just the two of them, their bodies never-changing and forever-young, and the world at the tips of their fingers.

“Ready?” Kurt asks, his voice high and delicate in the stillness of the room. He quirks his head to one side, a warm smile on his lips – and holds out his hand. 

“Ready,” Blaine replies, letting out the breath of air and smiling right back.

When Blaine reaches out and takes Kurt’s hand in his, the two of them turn and walk together out of what used to be Blaine’s bedroom. Barely even able to feel the weight of the bag in his other hand, Blaine leads the way. Down the short hallway and out the door, the sight of every room they pass like a touchstone to press his fingers against.

They walk out into the hallway hand in hand, and close the door behind them when they go.

 

 

 

 

The End